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The power hitters behind UCI Health — Irvine

April 02, 2024 | UCI Health
These women have been instrumental in the development of the $1.3 billion medical campus, UCI Health — Irvine. They are, left to right, Sandra Masson, Mary Ezzat, Donna Hurt, Tara Kasmarek, Mara Rosalsky and Georgina Hess.

The work of these women has been instrumental in the development of UCI Health — Irvine, a $1.3 billion medical campus opening this spring. Standing in front of the Joe C. Wen & Family Center for Advanced care are, left to right, Sandra Masson, Mary Ezzat, Donna Hurt, Tara Kasmarek, Mara Rosalsky and Georgina Hess. Photo by Jason Wallis

With the opening of the first phase of UCI Health — Irvine this month, Orange County's only academic medical system is expanding access to the academic health system’s unparalleled expertise at the $1.3 billion medical campus opening along with a new rehabilitation hospital coming in 2025.

A cast of hundreds have been involved in the planning, design, construction, equipping and staffing for the medical complex at Jamboree Road and Birch Street at the northern edge of the UCI campus in Irvine.

It could not have been done without six formidable women whose unwavering leadership in the planning and execution of these essential projects will bring world-class, compassionate care to more people throughout Orange County.

Tara Kasmarek, MBA, as vice president of operations, has played a pivotal role in sustaining high-quality care and excellence in patient safety, helping UCI Health earn recognition among the top 10 performers in the 2023 Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Annual Ranking by Vizient Inc. Her focus is ensuring that patients have access to state-of-the-art care, including imaging and laboratory services, aligned with their clinical needs, whether it be elective surgery, infusion therapy, regular physician visits or urgent care visits.

She is also the driving force behind a joint venture to build the UCI Health Rehabilitation Hospital, which will offer the highest level of care for patients recovering from stroke, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, among many other conditions when it opens in Irvine. 

Donna Hurt and Mary Ezzat, RN, MSN, who are both directors of ambulatory care administration, have been instrumental in expanding the UCI Health outpatient care network, which has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 systems by Vizient. Their leadership has been essential to bringing a full range of adult and children’s services, along with urgent care, to the new Joe C. Wen & Family Center for Advanced Care, which opens April 30. It is the first of three state-of-the-art buildings at the new medical complex.

Sandra Masson, RN, MSN, executive director for UCI Health cancer operations, and Mara Rosalsky, RN, MSN, vice president of perioperative services, have spearheaded the second phase of the medical campus buildout, the new Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building. Together, they have worked tirelessly to ensure that it will deliver the most advanced treatment and seamless, patient-centered care.

When new new cancer center opens in July, patients will have access to same-day appointments, an exceptional team of oncology specialists, leading-edge care and early phase clinical trials, says Masson.

“As a cancer survivor, I know first-hand the challenges cancer patients face and how much it means to have knowledgeable, caring clinicians on your team," she adds.

"At UCI Health, our patients and their families are at the forefront of everything. The new cancer center in Irvine will enable us to do what we do best, serve our patients and the community. It's an incredible honor to be part of it!”

Like her power-hitter colleagues, Georgina Hess, head of operations activation, has provided critical leadership for the massive project. The former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer has coordinated logistics and the work of hundreds of UCI Health planning and operations team members who are involved in every aspect of the UCI Health — Irvine project. With the opening of the third clinical building 2025 — a seven-story, 144-bed acute care hospital — the medical complex will be among the most advanced on the West Coast.

“This will have a such positive impact on so many lives,” Hurt says of the Irvine medical campus. “I’m honored to be a small part of such a great work. At UCI Health, we truly are a forever institution — as well as being the best place to give and get care.”

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