Paving an Unorthodox Path: Learning from Leader Philip Chuang

by | Aug 31, 2022 | Learning from Leaders

By Abraham Cicchetti, MSHA, CHEP, Campus Director, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

Philip Chuang LfL
LfL Audience

Philip Chuang, FACHE, Northern & Central California ACHE Regent, has had an unorthodox journey to leadership. The ACHE Regent for both CAHL and the Central California chapter has never held a position longer than 5 to 6 years – and it’s this very intentional stepping-stone career path that he credits with his rise to new opportunities, most recently as Senior Vice President of Clinical Services for Kaiser Permanente.

That, and the willingness of colleagues to take a chance on him.

This combination of proactively seeking new challenges, and rising to the expectations of others, underscored Chuang’s Learning from Leaders session on Aug. 25. Moderated by Sheila Baxter Lamb, MPH, Chief of Staff, Business Development, Kaiser Permanente Digital, ACHE Regent’s Advisory Council, the afternoon kicked off with networking among the 44 attendees, who ranged from emerging leaders new to healthcare, to those like Chuang who have achieved their “third age” in their career – when they’re pivoting a life of aggregated learnings to a period of giving back by addressing even more complex challenges. (This theme carried through with CAHL Annual Meeting keynote Anthony A. Armada – see story below.)

The typical path of operational leaders is similar to the path of someone pursuing ACHE Fellow designation: Earn your stripes, then take a key role. Chuang challenged us each to instead create our own paths, and to devise unorthodox opportunities to lead by always pursuing learning and fulfillment. Further, his journey from being a scientist by training (complete with quizzical nature), to taking roles in IT, consulting, a tech startup during a recession, and only later coming into healthcare operations, underscored his message to not just use your established skills, but to seek always to learn new ones. Anyone, he noted, can ascend into a leadership role – it’s a matter of learning from each opportunity, and ensuring that those who see the value in your current skillset also believe in your ability to develop what it’ll take to lead in the next role. 

With the attrition of so many healthcare leaders during the pandemic, the opportunities before those of us who remain committed to the industry are ours to earn, if we only take the leap, as many CAHL members have done during Covid. The stories we’ll tell in our own “third ages” will be all the more meaningful to those who follow us if we continue to build on what we’ve learned, and always act in pursuit of the next challenge.

What a Year Together, Apart!

28 CAHL events so far in 2022

1,392 members 

215 new members

231 Fellows 

On the way to 5,000 attendee hours in 2022!