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RICHARD SINAIKO (MPH ’77) believes his successful career in health care management would have been impossible without his Fielding School education. With that in mind, Richard and Patricia Sinaiko, and Greg (MPH ’01) and Marcie Sinaiko, decided to further elevate FSPH’s health care management program in a way that would allow others to enjoy the same opportunities.
The family’s $1 million gift through the Sinaiko Innovation Fund for Healthcare Management helped to establish the Fielding School’s Center for Healthcare Management. “We wanted to give back, and felt that we were in a position to help create something that would elevate the outstanding health care management program at the school,” Richard Sinaiko says.
Richard Sinaiko came to the Fielding School in the mid- 1970s after deciding to change careers. He was immediately enthralled by the health care management program, then under the leadership of Fielding School professor Dr. Paul Torrens, who would become Sinaiko’s mentor. Through the insights he gained, Sinaiko quickly ascended up the ranks of the health care management field, holding senior executive positions that included five years as chief financial officer of UCLA Medical Center before forming Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting in 1991.
Joined by both of his sons, Sinaiko grew the company into one of the nation’s most successful health care consulting firms, offering a personalized approach and bringing his expertise in managed care — then a relatively new phenomenon outside of California — to other parts of the country. When Medicare instituted complex new coding requirements in 2002, the Sinaiko family spun off a separate company, The Coding Source, under Greg Sinaiko’s leadership — significantly expanding the business.
The Sinaikos’ association with UCLA predates Richard’s enrollment in the EMPH program. Patricia Sinaiko recalls regularly roaming the halls of UCLA Medical Center as a child in the 1950s; her father, the late Dr. David Solomon, was recruited to UCLA in 1952 and became the first board-certified endocrinologist in Los Angeles. He went on to become chairman of the Department of Medicine and establish the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the UCLA Center on Aging.
Through all of his years as a busy executive and consultant and now in retirement, Richard Sinaiko has remained an active supporter of the Fielding School and the program that helped to launch his career — teaching Healthcare Financial Management and Healthcare Financial Applications in the EMPH program, serving on the Dean’s Board of Advisors, and always making sure to find time to meet with students looking for career opportunities or advice.
When students ask about the benefits of a career in health care management, Sinaiko doesn’t hesitate to offer his unqualified endorsement. “It’s always going to be challenging and you’re always going to have the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to society,” he says. “In addition, you will be working with similarly motivated people. To me, that adds up to a rewarding work experience.”