Aug 02 2019

OCBC’s 2019 Health Care Forum Discusses Future of Cancer Care in Orange County

IRVINE, CA –  On Wednesday, July 24, over 200 business leaders joined OCBC for the 2019 Health Care Forum, “The Art of Innovative Cancer Care in Orange County,” featuring keynote speaker, City of Hope President and Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Michael Caligiuri, and a panel of Orange County’s most prominent healthcare leaders, who engaged in a discussion about the future of health and cancer care in Orange County. The panel discussion was moderated by Fawn Lopez, Modern Healthcare, and panelists included: Tammie Brailsford, MemorialCare; Mark Costa, Kaiser Permanente; Annette Walker, City of Hope; Richard J. Gannotta, University of California Irvine Medical Center; Jeremy Zoch, St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group; and Michael Ricks, Hoag.

Dr. Caligiuri, a leading researcher in the field of immunology, lymphoma and leukemia, began the conversation with an in-depth analysis of the future of cancer care, and how it is progressing rapidly before our eyes. According to Dr. Caligiuri, physicians now have the ability to sequence a patients’ genome and identify and remove cancer-causing genes well before they develop. In addition, physicians are creating a bank of genetic data, through which healthcare professionals can grow a comprehensive list of successful treatment methods to accelerate cancer treatments for future patients.

“Big data will solve the complexity of cancer,” said Dr. Caligiuri. “We have so much knowledge now about what cancer is, and technology is helping us to make phenomenal progress. Soon, patients will be able to be sequenced and find successful treatments much faster in community centers around the country.”

Following Dr. Caligiuri’s illuminating remarks, the expert panelists expanded on this topic, discussing how holistic cancer treatment, big data, and public-private collaborations for healthcare can further establish Orange County as an example for healthy communities in California and across the U.S.

To start the conversation, Annette Walker of City of Hope explained the importance of “treating the whole family” when an individual receives a cancer diagnosis, because treatment so often becomes the families’ and caregivers’ journeys, as well as the individual patient. The importance of such a collaborative healthcare system significantly increases as Orange County’s demographics change, especially since Orange County’s population is rapidly aging – heightening the need to accommodate those populations.

Jeremy Zoch of St. Joseph Health furthered the discussion on Orange County’s rapidly changing demographics, citing the need for diversity in healthcare to increase patient access – particularly in Orange County, which is growing more and more diverse.

“Within the St. Joseph healthcare system in OC alone, we have interpreters accommodating over 65 different languages which are provided for patients,” Mr. Zoch said. “There is a disparity of access in this county, and freeways are also a major dividing line. We need many different access points around the county to ensure the patients who need treatment can get to us.”  

To bring down the cost of care and enhance the patient experience, Michael Ricks of Hoag discussed the importance of precision care and treatment – or “the right care at the right time.” Ms. Walker expanded on this, citing data that 30-50% of cancer is preventable, and, by working collaboratively, healthcare providers can create a cancer prevention network by utilizing electronic health records to access better data and treatments for patients.

Richard Gannotta of UCI went further on how to alleviate the costly aspect of healthcare and cancer care in particular. “The best way to bend the cost curve is to prevent the disease,” Mr. Gannotta said. “Focusing on prevention and early detection is critical. It’s about educating people to not only take care of themselves but get tested early and often.”

Finally, each panelist discussed the future of health and cancer care in Orange County, and the prospect of building a healthcare system that future generations will inherit.

“Orange County now has the opportunity to look at healthcare differently and create a system that the rest of the nation will look to as a model,” said Ms. Walker. “We have affluence, smarts, and a wealth of innovation – If we put our mind to it, we can do it.”


About OCBC
Orange County Business Council is the leading voice of business in Orange County, California. OCBC represents and promotes the business community, working with government and academia, to enhance Orange County’s economic prosperity in order to preserve a high quality of life. In providing a proactive forum for business and supporting organizations, OCBC helps assure the financial growth of America’s sixth largest county. For more information, visit


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