Officer Spotlight: Dr. William K. Averill
Officer Spotligh: Dr. William K. Averill
We are pleased to have the opportunity to spotlight Dr. William K. Averill, the 146th LACMA President. Dr. Averill has been involved in LACMA and in organized medicine for decades as a strong advocate for physicians and their patients.
We sat down with him recently to learn more about why he values organized medicine, why he decided to become a doctor and where he sees LACMA headed over the next year.
Dr. Averill is a cardiologist in private practice in Torrance. He is on staff at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and Providence-Little Company of Mary Hospital – Torrance. He graduated from the UCLA School of Medicine and did his residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He completed his fellowship in cardiology at USC. He has spent his entire career in Los Angeles and this gives him a unique insight into the recent history of local healthcare.
Dr. Averill has been an active member of groups such as LACMA, CMA, American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. He said that through organized medicine we develop the leaders that are so necessary in healthcare. One goal is to educate legislators in order to maintain excellence in the field so they can appropriately represent physicians as they devote themselves to caring for the their patients.
He said that with LACMA and CMA, there’s a real appreciation “for our diversity and to build on what we have in common.” This is an important point with Dr. Averill and he is respected by his colleagues as someone who has the ability to work with others holding disparate views and find shared goals around improving patient care and preserving physician autonomy.
His foray into organized medicine followed a story that is familiar to many of our doctors. Early in his career, his Chief of Staff recommended he join LACMA and over the years, Dr. Averill has progressed through local district, LACMA and CMA positions.
He pointed to a few specific resources that CMA and LACMA offer that have been particularly useful to him as a doctor in private practice. He praised the CMA Legal Handbook for the information and clear, usable format. He also said that as a private practice doctor, economic advocacy has been important because when LACMA/CMA get involved, health plans pay attention.
Dr. Averill lists three main reasons that he went into medicine – A love of scientific knowledge, to become a healer and to strive to use his gifts and abilities. For him, cardiology is the perfect combination of technology and bedside manner. Since the stakes are so high in cardiology, he considers it “an honor and privilege to be entrusted to care for people at such a critical point in their lives.”
As LACMA President, Dr. Averill has several goals that include growing the LACMA partnerships, building support between LACMA and specialty societies, keeping legislators and physicians educated around advocacy issues such as SB349, nurturing the growing interface between LACMA and Department of Public Health and working with regional communities. He sees it as part of his job to help make new friends for LACMA and keep the old. He encourages members to come to events such as the Installation to experience first hand the work LACMA is doing.
The Installation of Officers on June 29th will be held at the Portofino Hotel and Marina in Redondo Beach. This is a fitting location for Dr. Averill to take office as the venue overlooks the ocean. Dr. Averill said the he “loves everything in, on and under the water.” In addition to sailing, Dr. Averill is an open ocean water swimmer and has taught veterans to scuba dive. To him, the water is the “off shore wilderness.”