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San Joaquin Medical Society’s Lisa Richmond: Supporting Physicians to Provide Quality Medical Care

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Lisa Richmond, executive director of the San Joaquin Medical Society, has always been affiliated with medicine in one way or another. While she was growing up, her father, Larry Philipp, was the chief operating officer for Stockton’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center, getting his start there after moving to the area in 1974. Her sisters went into nursing, and during her own career as a pharmaceutical representative, Lisa built strong connections with doctors as well as the volunteers at the American Heart Association. Lisa always saw her dad as a strong role model for her career. Interestingly, after he retired, he worked on an interim basis in her current role at SJMS. She reports that, very occasionally, they still receive mail addressed to him.

“The medical society is a professional organization for doctors whose board of directors is passionate about recruitment and retention of physicians.” Lisa said of the group. “We have been facing a shortage of physicians for years. Our goal is to support physicians and their staff so they can deliver quality healthcare as efficiently as possible. Quite honestly, in this economic time when overhead is up so much that it’s practically prohibitive, we see these physicians caring for their patients, no matter what. Their devotion is just very, very impressive.”

Growing the Ranks
The organization is helping to meet the need for more physicians through its long-term commitment to Decision Medicine, a yearly summer program that introduces high school students to the field of medicine, and Bridge to Medicine, a mentoring program. Lisa said that the programs are essentially “growing our own” by encouraging talented local students to become doctors and come back to serve the community. “They are needed so much,” she stressed. Financial arrangements such as loans are a longtime part of the group’s history, again with the intention of encouraging newly minted doctors to stay and practice medicine in the area. Students can pay back their loans by practicing medicine locally, creating an advantage for all involved.
A recent and very exciting change is the expanded opportunity for residents to do their training at St. Joseph’s Medical Center. “In the past, residencies were available only at San Joaquin General Hospital, but now they have programs at St. Joseph’s for various specialties including internal medicine, psychiatry and orthopedics, to name a few,” she revealed. “We know that those who either grew up here or trained here are far more likely to practice in our community.”

Stockton Roots
Lisa and her husband, Mark, both grew up in Stockton and graduated from Lincoln High School. Now married 23 years, they have two kids. Riley, 22, graduated from UCLA and, over the past ten years, has made a name for herself at numerous local venues with her musical performances featuring guitar. She is following the medical path by going to Physician Assistant School. Ryan, 20, is currently studying political science at UCSB and, like his sister, is also a talented musician.
‘Change is good and keeps people moving forward. For Lisa, it also comes with the territory. “I have a new boss every year,” she laughed. The medical society elects a new president each year, bringing fresh energy and insight to the board of directors. The current president is Dr. Cyrus Buhari of San Joaquin Cardiology, and the incoming president-elect is Dr. Neelesh Bangalore of Stockton Hematology Oncology Medical Group. “Each new president has their own style, and we are happy to adapt and learn from them. We are a small team but a very effective one,” she said, referring to her fellow staffer, Jessica Peluso, membership coordinator, who has worked for 11 years at the society. Speaking for both, Lisa said, “It’s very fulfilling for us to work with such amazing doctors who care so deeply about their patients.”

Executive Assignments
Elaborating on directing the medical society, Lisa explained, “Our board of directors is a dynamic group of volunteer physicians who drive the priorities for the medical society, and it is my job to follow through on those directives and handle the day-to-day activities of the organization. These include publication of our quarterly magazine, directory, advocacy, social and educational events and our workforce pipeline programs, Bridge to Medicine and Decision Medicine.”

Describing a recent, well-attended event addressing physician burnout, Lisa disclosed that burnout is something many physicians face. She pointed out, “Physician burnout is due not only to the intensity of the job, but the increased red tape and burdens placed on them by insurance companies and other regulations. Physicians give so much of themselves to their patients and community; it is essential that they remember to take care of themselves as well.”

“My hope is that through the medical society, we build a sense of collegiality and community for our physicians,” Lisa said, summing up her outlook as executive director. “Our membership is diverse in every way, and we hope that whatever the interest or passion of the member, we have a way for them to get engaged. I am so proud to lead an organization of outstanding physicians who truly provide exceptional care.”