Meet Joan August, vice president of Operations at Cedars-Sinai. She has helped keep Cedars-Sinai running smoothly for more than 2 decades. Learn more about her time here and who she considers her science heroine.
What do you do in a typical day on the job?
I am responsible for operations, research, and academic programs for the Departments of Medicine, OB-GYN, Pediatrics, Radiation Oncology, Cancer, Medical Genetics, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. On a typical day, I might be working with leaders in these areas on anything from budgeting to fundraising to strategic planning.
I’m also responsible for integrating Cedars-Sinai affiliates to ensure that the same cancer services are delivered at each of our locations.
“When people see something in you and empower you to grow and move ahead, you can accomplish anything.”
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
It is very rewarding to make rounds in clinical areas, where I speak with patients to get their feedback and suggestions. I usually do this in my official role, but I also interact with patients on weekends when I volunteer with my labradoodle Cooper in the Barbara Cowen POOCH Volunteer Program. Dogs in this program provide supportive experiences to patients and family members at Cedars-Sinai.
On a personal level, I also find mentoring to be rewarding. Many people helped me along the way, so I find it gratifying to pay it forward. Coaching others is a great personal achievement that allows me to share my skills and expertise.
Who is your science heroine and why?
My heroines are the many educators who have made a difference in my life.
My parents were educators, and they stressed the importance of higher education. I remember my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Shepard, gave me a lot of encouragement and said I could be anything I wanted to be by putting my mind to it. I also had supportive high school teachers and speech-language pathology professors who took the time to talk with me about career and personal development.
When people see something in you and empower you to grow and move ahead, you can accomplish anything.