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UCI Health appoints Anne Marie Watkins as chief nursing executive

Experienced, dynamic leader to oversee all aspects of patient care at OC's only academic health system

July 20, 2023
Anne Marie Watkins, DNP, MSHCA,
RN, CENP, will play a key role in
developing and executing the strategy
for the growing UCI Health.

Orange, Calif. — UCI Health has appointed Anne Marie Watkins, DNP, MSHCA, RN, CENP, as chief nursing executive to oversee all aspects of patient care and nursing practice at Orange County’s only academic health system. Watkins will also serve as assistant dean of nursing education for the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing. She will join UCI Health on July 24.

“Anne Marie Watkins is an experienced and dynamic healthcare leader,” said UCI Health CEO Chad T. Lefteris. “As chief nursing executive, she will be a key member of our executive leadership team and will play an important role in developing and executing the UCI Health strategy for our growing health system.”

UCI Health operates the 459-bed UCI Medical Center in Orange, a growing ambulatory care system and is developing the $1.3 billion UCI Health – Irvine medical campus. The complex, adjacent to the UCI campus at Jamboree Road and Campus Drive in Irvine, will feature the Joe C. Wen & Family Center for Advanced Care and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care facility, both opening in 2024, and a 144-bed acute care hospital with an emergency department, opening in 2025.

Watkins comes to UCI Health from Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Health Plan, where she was vice president, National Patient Care Services, Operations and Strategy, and provided executive leadership for the organization’s National Patient Care Services programs and services to all Kaiser Permanente markets.

Previously, Watkins was chief nursing executive for Kaiser Permanente, San Diego Medical Center and Zion Medical Center in San Diego. She brings much experience working in Orange County, having served in nursing leadership positions at Placentia-Linda Hospital, Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center, CHOC Children’s and OC Global Medical Center Santa Ana.

Watkins received her doctor of nursing practice degree from University of Illinois at Chicago, master of science in nursing, master of science in healthcare administration and bachelor of science in nursing from California State University, Long Beach.

About UCI Health

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 22 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About UCI Health — Irvine

UCI Health — Irvine, a new medical complex under construction at the north end of the UC Irvine campus, will bring unparalleled expertise and the finest evidence-based care that only an academic medical system can offer to the communities of coastal and south Orange County.

As part of UCI Health — which includes the flagship UCI Medical Center in Orange, Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and multiple outpatient care locations — the new 1.2 million-square-foot campus will offer key clinical programs in oncology, digestive health, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and spine surgery.

The nation’s first all-electric, carbon-neutral medical center, UCI Health — Irvine will be home to:

  • The Joe C. Wen & Family UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, a five-story, 168,000-square-foot medical facility offering the full range of multidisciplinary specialty care for children and adults under a single roof, urgent care services, the Center for Children’s Health and the UCI Health Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders — Opening spring 2024
  • The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building, a five-story, 225,000-square-foot tower with 36 private exam rooms, numerous infusion bays and operating rooms — Opening 2024
  • A seven-story, 350,000-square-foot, acute care hospital with 144 inpatient beds, 10 operating suites and a 24-hour emergency department with 20 treatment rooms — Opening 2025