HomeBlocksFront-GridKang Leads USC-VHH as Chief Medical Officer

Kang Leads USC-VHH as Chief Medical Officer

First published in the Jan. 22 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Dr. Tarina Kang, a healthcare professional who has experience at multiple USC-affiliated facilities, recently became USC Verdugo Hills Hospital’s newest chief medical officer.
Kang, who previously was the medical director of quality for Keck Medical Center of USC and medical director for the evaluation and treatment clinic at Keck Hospital of USC, stepped into the role on Jan. 4. While at the medical center, she planned and developed its outdoor COVID-19 evaluation tent and supervised physician staffing in the coronavirus vaccine clinic, according to a USC-VHH news release.
Kang is tasked with ensuring USC-VHH follows state and federal healthcare requirements, improving the hospital’s overall quality of service and coordinating patient care.
“It’s a really challenging but very exciting time to be in healthcare,” Kang said in a recent interview. “The COVID pandemic has tested all of us, I think, in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago. But at the same time, the pandemic occurred at a time when there’s just so much good happening in a healthcare setting, and I felt that this position would afford me the opportunity to create some lasting changes for our patients and this community.”
Kang , the first female Asian American CMO at USC-VHH, said she believes the culture of healthcare has shifted away from focusing on individual physicians and more to a team-based approach to treating patients. In recent years, she added, agencies have emphasized using patients’ experiences as a metric to show the quality of a facility’s service.
“What we have to do as a hospital organization — to work together to provide or create a safe environment for high quality care at a lower cost — is a challenge, but one that I think our hospital is up to task [for], and one that is a necessary component,” Kang said.
The current surge of COVID-19 cases is another challenge. Kang entered the leadership role at USC-VHH as Los Angeles County was seeing record-breaking numbers of new cases. And while the hospital has available beds, the increase in cases has affected its staffing levels, Kang explained. Many hospitals in the county have reported a shortage of workers, due in large part to their testing positive for, or being exposed to, the coronavirus.
The hospital is also seeing a major influx of patients in its emergency department, as well as an increase in the number of admissions, Kang said.
“I think I can speak for all hospitals in Los Angeles that this surge has really tested us in our ability to be able to provide the best care possible for these patients, just by sheer number of patients coming in,” she added.
Still, this is not USC-VHH’s first COVID-19 surge. Kang said the hospital was able to recreate teams and resume meetings it had implemented a year ago rather than starting from scratch. The pandemic, she added, has also highlighted the need for health care workers to collaborate rather than siloing from each other.
Dr. Armand Dorian, USC-VHH’s former CMO and current chief executive officer, lauded Kang for her previous administrative work.
“Dr. Kang has extensive health care leadership experience and a passion for maintaining the health and safety of our communities,” he said. “She brings tremendous talent and expertise to the position, and we are thrilled to welcome her onboard.”
For now, Kang believes USC-VHH and other facilities will continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. But she also has goals for the facility that go beyond COVID-19, such as providing transparent improvement metrics and responding to the most current best practices.
“My biggest hope is that our hospital, along with hospitals and health systems nationwide, will be able to step up in ways in order to always be able to serve the needs of the community, both for our COVID-19 patients … and those who are coming in for non-COVID-19 related problems,” Kang said.

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