2021 Excellence in Healthcare Honoree: Caitlin Stella, MPH
Meet Caitlin Stella, the Chief Executive Officer of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Caitlin Stella began her professional career as the start-up administrator of the multi-million dollar Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA Health. Caitlin also co-managed a state-wide pilot study looking at the epidemiology of Autism in California, which was published in 2002. After completing her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at UCLA, she joined PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) national healthcare consulting practice working with payer, provider and life science clients throughout the country, including several children’s hospitals.
She was a senior executive at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles before becoming Chief Administrative Officer for UCLA Health’s Mattel Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health Programs. She was a Board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles and is Past-President of the alumni association for the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.
Stella is currently a Board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida and is/has been an executive/community leader for the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, United Way, Junior Achievement and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
She is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Public Health Association, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and Women in Health Administration. She is the healthcare representative for the Broward Economic Council and a member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) and IWF (International Women’s Forum).
Favorite Quote: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso
Fun Fact: I am a trained speed reader.
What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? I moved up quickly in my career. Sometimes it was a steep learning curve or I was on the edge of my comfort zone. I’ve learned over time that it’s usually a sign of growth when we feel that way and that your “village” – your family, teammates, mentors, leaders and teachers are there to guide and support you. Our own personal evolution is a team sport!
What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Being here at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital as we expand the hospital by four stories and grow our programs and services for children and families!
How is the healthcare industry important to you personally? I went into healthcare based on my own family’s experience during my Grandfather’s illness. I have been on both sides of the bedside, so to speak, as a healthcare leader and patient family member and advocate. It has taught me to lead with love and compassion because every patient is someone’s child, sister, parent, etc. At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, we care for every child and family like they’re our own.
How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in the healthcare industry, and how did you adapt? Our world has been turned upside down on a regular basis, but it is important for us to stay true to our true north and band together as a health system and team and continue to provide exceptional patient care. Especially during a global pandemic and public health crisis…this was the most important time for us to step up and lead.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? “Don’t look back. Only look to the future!” – my mom