Inside Tarzana Reimagined
Behind the scenes with executive director of construction, Sharon Gross
As the executive director of construction at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, Sharon Gross works with the architects, general contractors, subcontractors, regulatory agencies and hospital staff to ensure construction at the facility doesn’t interfere with patient care.
Sharon has worked in health care for 38 years — 27 of them at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in a director’s position. Five years ago, when she took on her current role supporting the Tarzana Reimagined project, she gained a deep appreciation for the complexity involved in a project of this scale. “To see this project firsthand is amazing,” says Sharon. “To watch them build it from the ground up gives you a whole different perspective.”
Down to the doorknobs
Part of Sharon’s role is filling the new spaces being built, including selecting the furniture, fabric, hardware, signage and artwork. Vendors were selected for the patient care furniture. Caregivers were invited to sign up and visit the hospital’s rented warehouse to review the furniture, provide feedback and vote on furnishings.
“We didn’t just go out and pick something,” she says. “We had a process to involve the caregivers and get their input on what they thought would work best for our patients and those who will be using the space. We took them to the warehouse in shuttles and let them sit, lay down and interact with the chairs, sofa beds, recliners, overbed tables, bedside tables and guest chairs.“
In addition to considering aesthetics and function, Sharon’s team carefully tested everything for cleanability and durability. Every decision was researched and thought out, from the fabrics to the furniture to the doorknobs.
A cooperative effort
Although her team went to great lengths to minimize the impact on caregivers, patients and the community, it was impossible to avoid inconveniencing people in and around the hospital during different construction phases. A note of well-placed pride comes into Sharon’s voice as she talks about the tremendous patience and spirit of collaboration from those directly impacted.
“We could not have been successful with this project without the cooperation of physicians, caregivers and volunteers,” she says. “It was a cooperative effort. Many people had to change their routines for periods of time, but everyone worked with us. Even the EMS (emergency medical services) team was squeezed into a small space in the back of the emergency department, but they stuck with us. Everyone was willing to do it for the greater good. Through it all, we maintained exceptional patient care.”
The excitement is building
Sharon constantly communicates with the caregivers and medical center staff on the project’s status. Not only do they know what to expect and where construction is taking place, they can track the progress. From her Daily Dispatch to her monthly newsletter with before and after photos, her updates fuel the excitement for reaching the finish line.
Anticipation is building in the community. Sharon loves giving tours to donors and board members, and is delighted by the tremendous community support for the project. “Donors have played a huge role in influencing what this will become for the community,” she says. “We are so grateful. Their giving is providing the needed resources to make this a world-class medical campus.”
For Sharon, this has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “It’s very rewarding to see this and say, ‘I had a part in that,’” she says. “Everyone in this building and all the donors who’ve supported us along the way were part of making this happen.”
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