Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chair*
Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is an internationally renowned expert on mental health in ethnic populations. As on-site principal investigator of the Mexican American Prevalence and Services Survey–the largest U.S. mental health study on Mexican Americans–he identified the most prevalent mental health disorders in the Mexican population in California’s central valley. Read full bio.
José Arévalo, M.D., FAAFP, Chair*
Dr. Arévalo is Senior Medical Director for Sutter Independent Physicians, a 600-physician multispecialty IPA in Greater Sacramento. He is a board-certified family physician with a long and prominent reputation as a teacher, researcher and administrator. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, he completed his residency and clinical research fellowship at UCSF. Read full bio.
James Cruz, M.D., Principal, Health Management Associates
Dr. James Cruz is a data driven, transformative physician leader adept at evidence-based physician practice and hospital-physician collaborations which strengthen provider networks, improve access to care, and reduce total cost of care. He is an expert in initiating and executing creative solutions to improve utilization management, transitions of care, and provider network performance.
With nearly 10 years of senior executive healthcare experience, Dr. Cruz joined HMA from Molina Healthcare of California, a Medicaid and Medicaid-Medicare focused managed care organization that arranges for the delivery of healthcare services to low-income families and individuals who are eligible for government-sponsored programs in the state of California.
During his tenure at Molina, Dr. Cruz served as senior medical director, medical director and chief medical officer (CMO). He restructured Molina’s Quality Improvement Department, implemented a practice facilitation program in collaboration with key medical groups, augmented Molina’s pay-for-performance incentives, and supervised the reorganization of Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) data collection processes. He led a multidisciplinary team that developed and implemented performance improvement initiatives targeting dual eligible members, resulting in a 15 percent reduction in the total cost of care.
As medical director, Dr. Cruz collaborated with contracted medical groups to improve clinical processes to meet both quality and cost benchmarks for various product lines. He reviewed contracted medical group performance reports of ambulatory and inpatient utilization metrics and identified opportunities for improvement.
Prior to Molina Healthcare, Dr. Cruz served as associate vice president of Health Services and medical director at Arcadian Management Services, where he oversaw the quality improvement program, as well as all utilization management nursing functions, case management, and utilization data analysis. He developed and managed a million departmental budget and was responsible for ambulatory and acute care authorization review, claims review, and review of provider appeal and grievances. He reviewed medical group performance reports and identified opportunities for focused improvement. He also collaborated with contracted medical groups to educate, modify, and recommend medial group adjustments and physician practice behavior.
Throughout his career, Dr. Cruz has helped young physicians for practice in California’s medically underserved communities. In 1992, he established California’s first family medicine residency program sponsored by a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Fresno. He provided administrative and academic leadership for family medicine training programs in Sacramento and Pomona, California.
Dr. Cruz earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He completed his residency in family medicine and a fellowship in community medicine at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
Margarita Loeza, M.D., Legacy/Sustainability Leader*
Dr. Margarita Loeza graduated from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in 1997 then completed a Family Medicine Residency at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. In 2001, Dr. Loeza started volunteering at Venice Family Clinic returning to the free clinic where she and her family had received medical care as a child. Read full bio.
Connie Casillas, M.D. *
Dr. Consuelo (Connie) Casillas is a family physician at Kaiser Permanente (KP) Pasadena Medical Office Building and physician champion for the Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Committee at KP’s Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC). Dr. Casillas enjoys providing care for a diverse patient population and leading program initiatives to improve health equity and inclusion at LAMC. She also serves as Clinical Faculty for UCLA School of Medicine and clinical preceptor for Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center’s Family Practice Residency Program since 2000. She is currently involved in assisting with the development and integration of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity into pathway programming at the newly developing Medical School at Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena. Prior to joining Kaiser, Dr. Casillas practiced with Pomona Valley Health Center’s newly established Family Practice Residency Program as its Obstetrical Coordinator and Core Faculty between 1997-2000. Read full bio.
Alvaro Garza, MD, MPH, Public Health Officer retired, California Conference of Local Health Officers, Health Officers Association of California
Dr. Álvaro Garza is a retired Public Health Officer. He is a public health physician with local, state, national, and international practice and research experience. His local service was with San Joaquin, San Benito, Stanislaus, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties. State service was with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). National service was with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and international service with the Pan American Health Organization of the World Health Organization…Read More.
Nancy Rodriguez, Medical Student, MPH
Chief Information Officer, Latino Medical Student Association- West Region
Nancy Rodriguez is a third-year medical student at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine (SOM). Her commitment and passion to address health inequities and social injustices in underserved Latino communities, has provided the fuel to pursue a career in medicine and inspires her to become a leader in her community. Read more.
Waldo Concepcion, M.D.
Waldo Concepcion, MD, FACS, is a Professor of Surgery, Chief of Clinical Transplantation at Stanford University and Chief of Pediatric Kidney Transplantation at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Dr. Concepcion was born in Omaha, Nebraska and spent his early years in Panama and Costa Rica. He graduated Medical School from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico. He then completed his General Surgery Residence at Loma Linda University Medical Center and his Transplantation Surgery Fellowship at University of Pittsburgh under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Starzl, world leader in the field of transplantation. Read more here.
Silvia Diego, M.D., LPOC Treasurer*
Dr. Diego is the Chief Medical Officer at Golden Valley Health Centers in California’s Central Valley. She was appointed to the Medical Board of California by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 and reappointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., in 2011. She serves as assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine. Read full bio.
Richard S. Baker, M.D., LPOC Secretary*
Dr. Baker is Executive Director of the Center for Health Services Research and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science and President of the Charles Drew University Multi- Specialty Practice Group. He holds a joint faculty appointment at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Read full bio.
John R. Valencia, Legal Counsel*
John Valencia is a partner with Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP in Sacramento, Calif., and serves as LPOC’s legal counsel. He heads the firm’s Legislative Advocacy and Government Relations group. He spent 10 years in campaign management, public relations, and health care policy consulting to the California State Assembly. Read full bio.
* LPOC Executive Committee Members