Pivotal Position Filled at Elica Health Centers
Dr. Zwerdling, a pediatrician, joined Elica’s staff of providers last year, and in short order, joined the Clinical Leadership Advisory Team, which was convened to, among other things, perform certain functions that would typically be handled by the CMO, an unfilled position at the time.
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Zwerdling joins Elica’s leadership team and is responsible for all clinical matters related to patient care, including oversight of Elica’s staff of providers and allied health professionals.
“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Zwerdling has agreed to serve as our CMO,” said Kenneth McGuire, Elica’s CEO. He added that “with a distinguished 30-plus year career in pediatric hematology/oncology, a well-deserved reputation for excellence in patient care, and a keen understanding of quality management and the systems that support it, we could not have asked for a more qualified individual to hold this critically important job.”
Dr. Zwerdling has several goals that he intends to pursue in his new role, with improving patient care at the top of the list. Among the initial projects he plans to focus on are developing a robust integrated Behavioral Health program and increasing vaccination rates for Elica’s patients, both children and adults.
“Through concentrated efforts involving systems development, team building and data analysis, I also hope to establish benchmarks for our success in all clinical areas,” said Dr. Zwerdling.
As someone who views challenges as inflection points of opportunity for change, Dr. Zwerdling believes that effectively delivering health care to vulnerable populations within one of the most diverse regions in California, provides opportunities for developing new and exciting approaches to care delivery ‒ ones that respond to the cultural, health and social needs of the unique populations being served. His hope is that some of these approaches may be applicable and exportable to other health systems.
Another new pursuit that Dr. Zwerdling plans to initiate involves developing strong relationships with other health care partners in the community to forward mutual educational objectives through involvement in training and teaching the next generation of providers.
“The broad base of our patient population, locations of our clinics, and extended scope of our ongoing service programs, offers students unparalleled opportunities for education and personal growth,” said Dr. Zwerdling.
Prior to joining Elica, Dr. Zwerdling served as Principal Investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, California. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati, School of Medicine, in Ohio, and completed his residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Stanford University.
Dr. Zwerdling is an active lecturer, board member, researcher, published scholar, and participant in numerous community programs focused on pediatrics, quality management and quality management systems.
Tracing its roots back to 1979 and the establishment of the Midtown Medical Center ‒ a modestly sized group practice catering to the region’s growing Russian, Ukrainian and other Eastern European immigrant populations ‒ Elica Health Centers in its current form was founded in 1999, when former CEO Elizabeth Cassin and two physician partners purchased the practice, converting it into a non-profit community health center. Following its designation as a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in 2012, Elica embarked on a period of unprecedented growth, which included the addition of 6 new locations, a nearly 500 percent increase in annual patient encounters, and an increase in annual revenue from $2.5 million to $18 million. In July, 2017, Kenneth McGuire became Elica’s CEO, only the second individual to lead the organization in its 18-year history.