Lola Osawe becomes health department director

Lola Osawe
Lola Osawe, Health Department director, anticipates great things coming to the Southern Ute Health Center as part of the department’s ongoing expansion.
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

Every day, people become inspired by goals in their daily lives. Inspiration has been a driving force in achieving these goals as motivation brings it all together.  For Lola Osawe, director of the Southern Ute Health Department, motivation has brought her to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe where confidence has allowed her to bring her medical experience to the fold.

Originally from California, Osawe had large dreams of going into space. But due to some unfortunate losses caused by health issues, it was evident her next goal was to pursue a career in health services. However, her pursuit in medical practice still allowed this astronaut to shoot for the stars.

Osawe’s medical career began in 1998 while serving in the military as an Air Force active duty officer in management engineering and medical services. She is an executive as part of the American College of Medical Practice Executives with a Master’s degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Pre-med/Biological Sciences.  She describes how her military background allows her to bring the right attitude to the table when aiding the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

“I go by the core values: honesty, transparency, and teamwork,” she said. “I truly believe teamwork is key and fundamental to our success. My style is collaborative leadership. That is how it has been since I arrived and how I plan to continue.”

Prior to coming to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Osawe served with The Camden Group, a national healthcare-consulting firm located in Southern California. She worked as a manager in the Physician Services division that specializes in physician organizations, including large medical groups and IPAs. Additionally, she served as the ambulatory surgery center administrator for Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, CA. She supported 200 plus multi-specialty surgeons providing same day surgeries while managing six operating rooms. Patient care has always been her number one concern, and teamwork is what makes it happen.

“I want diversity in thought, unity, and purpose. The patients will see the results when we’re all on the same page,” she said.

As Osawe looks toward the future, she anticipates the up and coming changes of the Southern Ute Health Center as it continues to grow. With the addition of newer services, the health department is able to focus on the reconstructerof patient access, workflow, and the topic of behavioral health.

“We’re hoping to engage in community health, improve patient access, and update the policy and procedures,” she said. “There is a vision of collaborating with behavioral health and supporting the citizens of the reservation. We have a great team to work with, and we have to address the resources. We all have these issues because society is changing fast with so many pressures people deal with. If we address it now, it will help impact the youth.”

With fourteen years of experience in healthcare operations under her belt, Lola Osawe hopes to continue to develop the Southern Ute Health Department towards a bright future. She is currently working toward her Doctorate of Health Administration. With the resources and knowledge at full swing, she made it clear that patient care is the main goal.

“Taking care of your people is truly more than a cliché. You need to take care of one another. That is what healthcare is truly about.”

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