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Kaiser Permanente Honors Health Care Heroes with 2022 Rose Parade Float Participants

Float Theme “A Healthier Future” Celebrates Those Making a Difference Today and Tomorrow

Published on Thursday, December 16, 2021 | 11:16 am
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Kaiser Permanente announced today its 2022 Rose Parade® float participants, which include Kaiser Permanente employees and front-line heroes that served our communities over the last 20 months during the pandemic. Millions of health care workers around the world have faced the challenge of providing care for patients with COVID-19, risking their own lives to save the lives of others, and played a key role in vaccine development. Kaiser Permanente’s 2022 Rose Parade® float will honor their commitment, dedication and professionalism.

Kaiser Permanente’s 2022 float theme, “A Healthier Future,” celebrates the devotion and talents of our health care heroes and the possibilities that exist when passionate people come together to use their expertise for the greater good. The float embodies the 2022 Tournament of Roses® parade theme, “Dream. Believe. Achieve.” a celebration that childhood dreams become careers that make the world a better place.

Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s leading health care providers, and its team of physicians, nurses, and employees partner every day to ensure they are offering the highest quality health services to members and the communities it serves. The Kaiser Permanente employees riding the float this year embody the dreams of the children you see depicted on the float. They include researchers, scientists, doctors, nurses, and front-line workers who were once the children dreaming about their futures in health care. The float riders truly represent the best of Kaiser Permanente and have helped all to have, “A Healthier Future.”

Introducing Kaiser Permanente’s 9 float riders

Elizabeth Hudson, DO, MPH, (depicted on the float as the child reading a book) is a regional chief of infectious diseases for Kaiser Permanente in the Los Angeles area, caring for a wide variety of patients with both acute and chronic infectious diseases. Hudson always knew she wanted to be a doctor from the time she was a little girl. Her dream of working in infectious diseases was solidified in the late 1980s after she volunteered with children who had one or both parents die as a result of AIDS. Hudson strongly believes that children’s imagination and capacity for wonder is what allows them to explore without limitations, eventually making their dreams a reality. As a woman of color, she recognizes the importance of representation — children seeing role models who look like them gives them increased confidence to achieve whatever they set out to do.

Gurinder Chatha, MD, (depicted on the float as the child with a stethoscope) is a physician in charge at our Ming Medical Offices in Bakersfield, and physician director of access in Bakersfield. Dr. Chatha has spent nearly a decade with Kaiser Permanente, most recently overseeing the mass vaccination site at California State University, Bakersfield, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Chatha grew up in India, where he always wanted to be a doctor, and loves helping our members get the best care possible to improve their lives.

Jerry Barba, PhD, (depicted on the float as the child with a telescope) is a clinical psychologist for Kaiser Permanente in Downey, who has been with Kaiser Permanente for 20 years. When Barba saw the enormous pressure that front-line workers were under during the pandemic, he volunteered his time in the emergency department at our Downey Medical Center, providing quick interventions and coping tips for front-line workers in need of a little extra connection. Barba believes dreams are a part of imagination that help guide our present and future direction in all pursuits of life.

Jennifer Rodriguez (depicted on the float as the child in a lab coat) is an equity, inclusion, and diversity project manager based in Downey. After leaving the U.S. Marines, she joined Kaiser Permanente, and in addition to serving in her current role, Rodriguez is working on her second master’s degree — in marriage and family therapy — thanks to the Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Scholars Academy. Rodriguez always wanted to work in the mental health field and says that she is living proof that if you focus and work hard, you can eventually achieve your dreams.

Grace Firtch, MD, is the physician in chief for our Redwood City Medical Center and San Mateo Medical Offices and has worked for Kaiser Permanente for 29 years. Dr. Firtch always knew she wanted to help others and is proud to work alongside health care professionals who are dedicated to bettering the lives of patients and the communities in which they live. Since her gender transition in 2019, Dr. Firtch has worked to help other transgender people realize their dreams of fully expressing their true selves. She hopes this year’s Rose Parade float encourages children to dream big, as she believes big dreams lead to big things, even if they aren’t exactly what you first imagined.

Erin Shih, DO, is a pediatric endocrinologist at our South Bay Medical Center who specializes in hormone imbalances. She cares for children with diabetes and helps manage issues with growth, puberty, and more. Growing up, Dr. Shih was immediately drawn to the career of a pediatrician as she knew she wanted to work with children and help people. She believes it’s important for children to dream about their future careers because it helps them grow and learn about themselves, and at the same time, they should keep in mind that dreams can change and evolve over time, and that’s OK, too.

Stephen Shih, MD, is a general pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente with the privilege of taking care of the overall well-being of young people in the greater South Bay region of Los Angeles. During high school, Dr. Shih recognized his love of science and community service, which led him to realize that a career in medicine would be a great fit. He believes that having a dream and goals to aspire to can help children escape the day-to-day pressures of school and allow their passions to drive them to a bright future.

Avery and Aidan Shih are the children of Stephen and Erin Shih. Avery and Aidan volunteered to participate in the Moderna vaccine trial that took place at our Los Angeles Medical Center. The clinical trial helped assess the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine for children age 6 months to 12 years as part of the global effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The 13 people walking alongside the float

Amanda Williams, MD, MPH, is the maternity director at our Oakland Medical Center. Dr. Williams is especially passionate about supporting diversity and inclusion in medicine. She coaches students on perinatal equity, cultural humility, and implicit bias in clinical care to promote the safety and well-being of all women during the birth experience. Growing up, Dr. Williams always wanted to be a doctor, and she believes it’s important for children to dream about their future careers to set intention and pave a path to the future.

Carmen Bautista is a Kaiser Permanente project manager supporting medical specialties and COVID-19 vaccine efforts in Antelope Valley. Bautista is proud to contribute to changes that better serve patients and the community. She believes it’s important for children to dream at an early age so they can begin to find their passion and look forward to growing up.

Danielle Flowers, MD, is a pediatrician and the assistant area medical director for Kaiser Permanente in the Panorama City area. Dr. Flowers has spent the pandemic caring for children and creating a comfortable space for every patient by showing up each day with empathy, compassion, and kindness. As a child, she dreamt of being a doctor and has found joy in caring for her young patients and watching them grow into amazing teens and young adults. She believes our dedicated health care workers inspire children to dream about their purpose and future careers.

Davy Lin is a chaplain for our Los Angeles Medical Center, providing spiritual care for patients and their families during hospitalization. He has been with Kaiser Permanente for 20 years and loves both the working environment and his talented co-workers. Lin’s path to becoming a hospital chaplain started at age 24 when he suffered a spinal cord injury from a motorcycle accident and experienced the challenges of being a hospital patient. Lin will be accompanied by his wife, Susana Lin, who is a bookkeeper.

Dina Madden, RN, is an assistant medical group administrator and chief nursing officer leading medical specialties and nursing services in Kern County. Madden also has served as an operations leader at the California State University, Bakersfield mass vaccination site and incident commander during the pandemic. She describes becoming a registered nurse as the best decision she’s ever made and is passionate about going to work every day where she has the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Jose Luis Ramirez is an acting lead for material management in Fontana. Ramirez has worked for Kaiser Permanente for 6 years. He is inspired by his colleagues’ commitment to helping patients get better and by the advancement opportunities provided to employees. Ramirez once dreamed of becoming a police officer, and he believes childhood dreams are important to help achieve goals in the future.

Kelly Shriver is a medical student at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. She’s a member of the inaugural class of 2024 who dreamt of being a doctor or a pastor — and she’ll achieve both! Shriver believes you can’t be what you can’t imagine, so it’s important for children to dream about their future to envision a path forward.

Kham Sayachack is an 18-year Kaiser Permanente employee currently serving as project manager for surgical services and COVID-19 vaccinations. In this role, Sayachack is a member of the COVID-19 vaccination team for Antelope Valley, and comes to work every day ready to help in any way possible.

Maria Guzman is an environmental services aide for Kaiser Permanente in Anaheim. She is also attending Fullerton College to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. Guzman believes with hard work and passion dreams can always come true. She is proud to work alongside health care workers who save lives and care for patients with understanding and love.

Maritza Rivera is a Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Scholars Academy scholar and Southern California Region employee who earned her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy while working as a behavioral health service representative at our Harbor Corporate Medical Office in Santa Ana. Having spent the past 14 years working for Kaiser Permanente, Rivera enjoys the culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion that resonates with her values and allows her to live her passion of working with people of different backgrounds and human experiences. She hopes that this float inspires and uplifts children to dream big and achieve their heart’s desires.

Nina Rica Vallega, RN, works in the intensive care unit at our Los Angeles Medical Center. Vallega is inspired by the bravery of her colleagues who embody what community is. As a kid, she dreamt of being an artist and creating beauty in the world. Today, she uses her creativity to care for others in a different type of art form: nursing. She hopes that all children are encouraged to dream and imagine and to use those dreams to discover their true selves.

Rene Aventura, RN, is a staff nurse in the critical care unit and charge nurse in the COVID-19 unit at our Baldwin Park Medical Center. A 20-year Kaiser Permanente employee, Aventura has dedicated his life to helping others as both a platoon sergeant in the U.S. Army and front-line nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aventura always gives his best to care for sick patients with empathy and genuine concern for their and their family’s well-being.

Robert Nocon, PhD, is an assistant professor of health systems science at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. Nocon devoted all of 2021 and half of 2020 to conducting research studies that help us understand how the U.S. health care system can better serve patients most in need. He is proud to see the dedication of his colleagues day in and day out as they care for their patients. As a child, he dreamt of being a doctor or lawyer and hopes that this year’s float plants the seeds of joy, excitement, and curiosity in the minds of the next generation of health care workers.

About the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® and The Rose Parade® presented by Honda

The Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that hosts America’s New Year Celebration® with the Rose Parade® presented by Honda, the Rose Bowl Game® and a variety of accompanying events. The Association’s 935 volunteer members supply more than 80,000 hours of human power, which will drive the success of 133rd Rose Parade, themed “Dream. Believe. Achieve.,” on Saturday, January 1, 2022, followed by the 108th Rose Bowl Game. For more information, visit Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 12.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, visit

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