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mayo 28, 2019

MNHC Spotlight: Patty Caplan, Chief Operating Officer

One of the first things you notice when you meet, Patty Caplan, Chief Operating Officer at MNHC, is her enthusiasm and commitment to her job.  It’s palpable.

Patty grew up in Scarsdale, New York in a family that modeled “giving back” and a strong sense of social justice.  Her grandfather was a general practitioner during the Depression in Chicago and was known for helping patients with few resources.  Her father sat on multiple boards of service organizations, public radio, and public school advocacy organizations.  As a young girl she would accompany him around the neighborhood seeking United Way donations.

“Early on I had a sense of the inequality in the world and in a way, it was a foregone conclusion that I would do something to give back,” she said.  “I just wasn’t’ sure how.”

After obtaining a BA in history from Cornell University, Patty earned her MA in Latin American studies and public affairs at LBJ School at the University of Texas – Austin. It was after attending a lecture in Austin by Wilbur Cohen, the former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare from 1968-1969, and participating in a year long case study about teen pregnancy in an impoverished Houston neighborhood, that Patty realized healthcare could be the field in which she could focus her passion for social justice.  She also earned an MBA at Northwestern Kellogg School in health services administration, marketing and organizational behavior.

Patty first joined MNHC in the early 90’s as a Grant Developer writing grants for HIV primary care; case management and prevention; teen family planning, smoking prevention; breast and cervical cancer screening; and the Section 330 Community Health Center program grant.  After a few years at MNHC, she worked for twelve years as a consultant with Freed Associates, a Bay Area healthcare management consulting firm, helping clients onsite with business process design and systems implementation

In 2002, Brenda Storey, Executive Director, asked her to return to MNHC to assist with the implementation of the electronic health record (EHR) that ultimately lead to her joining the staff at the executive level in 2012.

Patty’s vision is for MNHC to continue to serve people so they feel safe, included, respected and recognized for who they are and where they originate, especially as San Francisco continues to gentrify.  Part of that vision includes continuing to find opportunities to bring more services to MNHC that dovetail with healthcare and broaden its reach as a hub for the community.

“I would love for our patients to feel like they are home again,” she said.  “We all need a sense of belonging.”

When describing her role, Patty likens it to being a conductor of an orchestra.

“Just like a conductor,” she explained. “I see my job as coaching and supporting the different departments, bringing out their strengths, leading them to come up with solutions and then making connections between one another, so that ultimately we all work together harmoniously.  All the while, I am overseeing how we are doing and connecting the dots.”

When not working, Patty loves spending time with her family and friends, cooking, traveling, listening to different genres of music, escaping into novels and feeding her Masterpiece Theater addiction.

“I love my job,” Patty said. “I get to work with lots of smart and committed people, learn something new everyday, and work towards the greater mission of equality for all in healthcare. What could be better than that?”


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