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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022

Executive Profile: Paul Viviano

Paul Viviano is chief executive officer of UC San Diego Health System and associate vice chancellor for UC San Diego Health Sciences.

A serial CEO since he was 27, Viviano has served as the top executive for multiple California hospitals and health systems and one of the largest health care services companies in the U.S. He joined UC San Diego Health System, the region’s only academic health system, in 2012, arriving from Alliance Healthcare Services.

With locations from Encinitas to South Bay, UC San Diego Health System has entered an unprecedented period of growth, which will be highlighted by the planned opening of UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center in 2016.


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Essential business philosophy: Never be satisfied, even when performance is strong and all appears to be going well. There is always room for material improvement. With patients, this means constantly pursuing superior clinical outcomes, unparalleled service, higher safety measures and lower costs.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Invest in the right strategic plan and update it regularly. Invest in growth. Focus on your mission. Put the patient first.

Guiding principles: Build trust and respect by leading in a way that reflects integrity.

Yardsticks of success: Establish real metrics and then measure progress against success related goals.

Goals yet to be achieved: For UC San Diego Health System to be recognized nationally for superb clinical care in the same way that the UC San Diego School of Medicine is recognized internationally for its groundbreaking research and academic strength.


Best business decision: Pursuing an expansion plan for UC San Diego Health System that serves the entire region with comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services.

Worst business decision: In a prior organization, hesitating to develop a major new service line when the need was initially identified.

Mentor: Robert O’Leary, former CEO of St. Joseph Health System, CEO of AMI and CEO of Premier. Rob was a great leader who embodied strategic thinking, trustworthiness and service to the community.

Word that describes you: Analytical.


What you like best about your job: The opportunity to work with stellar, world-class physicians and scientists who strive to create a healthier world — one life at a time — through new science, new medicine and new cures.

What you like least about your job: Only seven days in the week.

Pet peeves: Complaints rather than solutions.

Most important lesson learned: Surround yourself with brilliant leaders.

Person most interested in meeting: Pope Francis. He is a visionary leader who has engaged a world audience through his dedication to serving human needs with a candid, honest and humble approach.

Three greatest passions: Family.

First choice for a new career: Division 1 college basketball coach.


Favorite quote: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”

Most influential book: “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin Zander.

Favorite restaurant: A.R. Valentien, The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Favorite place for business meetings: UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Scripps Seaside Forum.

Favorite vacation spot: Tuscany.

Favorite way to spend time: With family, always.


Name: Paul Viviano

Company: UC San Diego

Health System

Title: CEO

No. of employees: 7,461

Year founded: 1966

Education: Master’s degree in public health, UCLA

Birthplace: Los Angeles

Current residence: Del Mar

Family: Wife and two daughters, two grandchildren


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