Clinical research is a core requirement of everything we do in the healthcare field—from accelerating treatments to developing the medical devices that save patients’ lives. Startups, in particular, recognize the value of having access to physicians and patients, which is why Fogarty Innovation is so fortunate to have access to the prestigious Taft Center for Clinical Research at El Camino Health right here on site.
Recently, John Tejeda, D.H.A., joined as the new senior director, bringing a deep background in clinical research, honed during a 25-year career at a number of illustrious facilities.
John says he always knew he would pursue a career in healthcare, initially wanting to be either a researcher or a physician. He first discovered his interest in research after graduating from Fordham University with a BS in biology and working as a research assistant in a pediatric infectious diseases laboratory at Cornell University Medical College.
It was while he was there that he learned about the physician assistant program at Cornell University Medical College. After completing the program, he started his career in cardiac surgery and cardiology. He practiced for 15 years and then pursued his Ph.D. in healthcare administration, which led him to a diversified path in a number of leadership roles. These multi-faceted stints have included positions in acute care management, strategic planning, operations management, sales, market development, clinical education and, of course, clinical research. Most recently, he served as director of research at Edwards Lifesciences, where he led the global research for the transcatheter heart valve division.
“I am very excited to come back to the point of care here at El Camino Health, and I am looking forward to working with Fogarty Innovation to bring more companies into the fold and expand research and to various different service lines,” he says. “I have deep experience in the early phases of medical technology startups, which is a passion I share with the leadership team at Fogarty — a passion for technology, innovation and advancing patient care.”
John believes that to ensure a successful clinical research enterprise across the El Camino healthcare system it is critical to build and maintain strong partnerships with all key stakeholders, which is one of his greatest strengths.
“You have to think and act both horizontally and vertically,” he says, adding that he has worked as a partner with physicians throughout his entire career. “The key for me is to maintain humility, integrity and ethical communication in all professional interactions.”
In fact, that philosophy is inherent in one of his favorite quotes: “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”
His honors and awards are many; to name two, he is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, where he is close to earning the highly respected fellow credential, and he holds a black belt in Lean Six Sigma. He holds a master’s degree as a physician assistant and is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
But these accomplishments are not what define his career.
“The proudest achievement in my career is not an event, award, milestone recognition or promotion,” he says. “It is the ability to effectively communicate, foster strong partnerships and collaborations, which ultimately result in advancing technologies and therapies that benefit patients.”
John has a variety of hobbies and interests, including golfing and running. A wine enthusiast and sommelier, he even owned a vineyard in Spain with a cousin—a family property that grew olives and almonds, which they cultivated as a vineyard. They planted a hybrid Cabernet Sauvignon and it evolved to produce award-winning wines.
Married with four children, he looks forward to future travel and hopes to soon visit Japan, Dubai and Hawaii.