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Dean Eric Spangenberg, Dr. Philip Richardson and Dr. Diana Ramos discuss the local and national response of healthcare providers to the pandemic and potential steps moving forward.

Dean’s Suite Virtual Series: Dr. Philip Richardson and Dr. Diana Ramos

June 12, 2020 • By Sydney Charles

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business is highlighting alumni, faculty and community members creating a positive change in the face of these uncertain times via a new series: The Dean’s Suite Virtual Series. The second discussion featured two guests, alumni Dr. Philip Richardson and Dr. Diana Ramos.

Dr. Ramos’s busy schedule has shifted immensely with the arrival of COVID-19. Currently, she serves as president of the Orange County Medical Association and works as an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center. She is also in the process of completing her Executive MBA with the Merage School.

“Every day is a different day, there is no standard. From Zoom meetings that we’re all inundated with, trying to keep up with that, and finishing up my executive MBA,” she said. “When I am working as a laborist for Kaiser, I am there in the hospital; that’s not every day. With Zoom, it’s about statewide initiatives and programs that are being developed. In particular, I have an emphasis on women and children, so coming up with what information should be shared for women in pregnancy, and how we are going to reinvent or give healthcare recommendations during this time. It’s a dynamic time, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to lead during this time.”

Dr. Richardson is a practicing, board-certified anesthesiologist at PIH Health and is on the front lines of this global health crisis serving as physician leader for PIH’s COVID-19 response.

He explained, “It used to be much more clinically oriented, and now we’ve seen about a 70% decrease in our surgical volume, so administrative tasks have taken over. There’s been Zoom meetings remotely around the state and nation and listening to hospitals. We listen so we can find out the problems and figure out the best solutions for those.”

According to both doctors, the current data being released about the pandemic’s effects on Orange County reflect positive changes.

“Speaking with my colleagues at UCI, Hoag, St. Joseph’s, it’s all the same. The hospitals are very empty,” Dr Richardson said. “As far as treatments, as we get more information and the data is more robust, I think we’re making good advancements, but there’s no silver bullet yet.”

Dr. Ramos said, “Looking at the specific Orange County data, you can see that we have a trend going down in overall hospitalizations in general, as well as ICU bed usage which is really good. All the usage has been going down, and we’re doing a great job. Because the hospitalizations and ICU beds are going down in terms of patients, we’re hopefully moving into opening up the state pretty soon.”

You can catch the entire interview with Dr. Ramos and Dr. Richardson here.