I’ve been in the health care field for over 30 years, starting my career as a medical technologist and moving into administration after obtaining a master’s degree in health care administration. I decided to go into administration because I felt I could have a greater impact and make a real difference given my background and the fact that I started out working in the laboratory. I was fortunate enough to have some strong female mentors along the way, which is why I think it is so important to mentor other young people. I often tell my mentees that we are our biggest critics and unfortunately this creates a barrier to success. When I first went into administration, there were not a lot of individuals who looked like me around the table. I had to remind myself to be bold and realize that I deserved to have a seat at the table. When people see individuals that look like them in leadership positions, it gives them hope that they can also achieve that status.
St. Mary Medical Center is located in the historically marginalized community of Long Beach, Calif., and I tell our team we should consider it a privilege to play a role in improving the lives of individuals residing in our community by providing high-quality care in a compassionate and safe environment. The care that we provide to our community doesn’t just occur within the walls of our hospital, we are also humbled and blessed to serve the greater Long Beach community.
St. Mary Medical Center addresses priority needs for our most historically marginalized populations, whether it is our Families in Good Health program that provides health benefit enrollment, health education and resources for new moms and families, to our mobile unit that provides pulmonary screenings in our community. Our Low Vision Center provides no-cost vision screenings and optical aids for children. One program I’m most proud of is our CARE Program, which has been providing care to those in our community impacted by HIV/AIDS through medical, dental, nutritional and social services for over 30 years.
Being known as a great CEO is wonderful but what I want to be known for is being a great mother to two wonderful adult children, a great wife, a good neighbor and friend. These will have a lasting impact and bring many years of joy and happiness to many in my community.
Carolyn Caldwell is the President and CEO at St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach.