Santa Clara University

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Meet Alumni

Alum of the Week

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Nick Leydon (Fall '01)

Executive Director, Kaizen Promotion Office

Healthcare is our common denominator. We all are born. We all get sick. We all die.

The latest stop in my career journey has brought me to a pair of challenged community hospitals in my native state – Massachusetts. My work is to lead transformational hospital change so we can close the gap between the science we know and the care we currently deliver. Our hospitals are full of smart, talented, dedicated staff who understand the science. However, the complexities of technology, medicine, insurance, and finance often provide substandard care that scares patients (and their families) when they are most vulnerable. We can do better.

While studying political science at Boston College, international affairs were often framed in the shadow of the Cold War. In that context, El Salvador was a perfect place to learn from communities that were rebuilding and growing after decades of economic and political war. But at the Casa in the Fall of 2001, the conversation shifted to global terrorism. While it was interesting to follow the sea change, I felt that human rights, specifically the common denominator of health, were my passion.

Since that time I’ve worked in grassroots political organizing, non-profit management, operations research and healthcare consulting. All of these jobs have focused on large-scale change and I’m always sensitive to how we’re directly improving the health for those who would otherwise not receive proper care.

The Casa was a transformative experience for me. In fact, it was one of the most thought-provoking and reflective periods of my life. Without a doubt, it was the most important single decision in college.

Healthcare is a common denominator. And I wish there were a few more experiences in that denominator. Learn an instrument. Study a foreign language. Live abroad.

And if you get the chance, study at the Casa.

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