Orozco began his career a physical therapist and today serves as CEO to the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.
BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14
ON FRIDAY, MAY 13, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy will hold its first in-person satellite ceremony since 2019. Behind the lectern, delivering the keynote speech, will be Jorge Orozco, CEO of the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.
Orozco began his career as a physical therapist at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. After nearly 20 years, he became Rancho’s Chief Executive Officer. His clinical and leadership expertise transformed the campus into a state-of-the-art facility that integrated the patient population into all aspects of care.
In February 2018, Orozco took the position of Chief Executive Officer at LAC+USC Medical Center, a 600-bed level one trauma center and one of the nation’s premiere academic teaching hospitals.
“We are immensely proud that Jorge has been a friend and supporter of USC Physical Therapy since his early days at Rancho,” said Associate Dean James Gordon. “We are delighted that our graduates and their families will have the opportunity to hear him speak at Commencement. He is a powerful and inspiring speaker.”
Orozco earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of California, San Francisco before going on to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare management from California State University Los Angeles.
As a longtime healthcare administrator with a physical therapy background, Orozco has a unique perspective on the ways in which physical therapy fits into overall health and well-being.
“I wish I would have known more about the role of physical therapy in promoting the health of a population versus the individual,” Orozco said of what he’s learned since he sat in a robe and mortarboard at his own graduation. “The pandemic made it excruciatingly clear that the burden of disease is greater in communities that are poor and marginalized. Access to physical therapy services are disproportionately absent in these communities, so what can we do as professionals to address this disparity?”
When Orozco leaves the podium after having delivered his keynote speech, he hopes the Class of 2022 graduates will walk away with at least one important lesson.
“I hope the graduates will realize that their own unique history and perspectives are what bring the most value to a profession,” he said. “Physical therapy does not have it figured out, and there is room to innovate, change and push the profession towards new knowledge, new clinical practice and new professional norms.”