Tammy Capretta, RN, MPH, chief administrative integration and risk officer at Keck Medicine of USC, knew since childhood that she wanted to be a nurse — just like her mother. Capretta was a public health nurse prior to joining Keck Medicine in 1991 as chief operating officer for USC Care Medical Group.

“People often ask me how I came to be at Keck Medicine for 25 years,” Capretta said. “I like to answer that by saying it’s really a privilege to be part of the development of an academic medical center. Not too many health care professionals can say they have been part of building something so special as an academic medical center.”

Capretta grew up in Hidden Hills, a small town in the San Fernando Valley, riding horses and hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. She’s the only one of four children who didn’t graduate from USC, but considers herself an honorary Trojan after more than 25 years as an employee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She oversees the integration of entities that Keck Medicine acquires, as well as the areas of risk, health care compliance and credentialing.


What attracted you to health care?

From the youngest of ages I knew I wanted to be a nurse. It has been a wonderful career. I still consider myself a nurse even though I’m not directly nursing. I would like to think that many of my core professional values emanate from nursing.


Who is someone that you admire, and why?

I’d have to say my father. He taught me that the value of hard work should be at the core of anything you do. He also taught me the value of using your own ingenuity to create solutions when you’re presented with problems. I have a rock that I keep here (in my office) that has the word that he always used — “think.” Think about it and you’ll find the solution.


What item tops your bucket list?                                                                                   

Visiting Italy and diving deeper into Italian culture. My hobby is cooking. If I had an alternative career it might be to try to become a chef. As it is, I’m just a novice who enjoys making homemade pasta. But I’d appreciate the opportunity to go and spend time in various regions of Italy.


What’s an attribute that has led to your professional success?

To listen humbly. I like to think that when there is a conversation going on, my job is to really hear it. Listen to the intention of what is being said — beyond the words — to really see how we can find solutions and meet the needs of everyone in a situation.


What is something interesting about you that people might not know?

I love to throw theme parties. We’ve written our own murder mystery scripts for parties. All of us in health care work so hard every day, so finding opportunities to really be playful and rejuvenate in your off time is important. Sometimes having a costume party where you can really become someone else is a lot of fun.

— L. Alexis Young