2021 Bayou Region Influencers | Dr. Michael Garcia

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SLMA CEO and President 


South Louisiana Medical Associates (SLMA) consists of physicians and specialists who provide an array of medical expertise for residents in Houma, Morgan City and beyond. Its mission is “to provide quality health care and a diverse group of experienced physicians and specialists to best serve residents of this region.” By employing over 100 medical providers and offering primary care adult and pediatric services and specialty services in cardiology, neurology, critical care, high-risk OB/GYN, ophthalmology, orthopedics and urology, the organization carries out its mission each day. CEO and President Dr. Michael Garcia leads the influential South Louisiana Medical Associates.


What led you to the role you currently hold in your company? Did you see yourself in this position when you started out in the workforce?

“I did not see myself in this role. In 2005, after 11 years of me being a part of the organization, the Medical Director and CEO of SLMA wanted to step back and asked me to take on the role.” 


What does your morning routine look like?

“When I get to work, I quickly scan my emails that may have come in overnight, and then I seek out the coffee pot. I gather in the surgery lounge with our residents to discuss patients that may have come in through the night or whatever might be troubling them in reference to patient care.”


What piece of advice do you share with your team regularly?

“For this past year being the eternal Monday that it was, the advice I’ve tried to deliver is to look past it, not let the day-to-day things get you down. We will get out of this; we will manage our way out of this. The virus hit many people, but it also hit many organizations. We have to manage our way out of that while keeping people healthy and trying to continue to see patients.”

What skill do you feel all successful leaders must possess?

“I think a successful leader has to have vision, and they have to be able to see problems through the eyes of their employees. The successful ones are the ones that can see those problems the way someone else does and then find the fix that is accepted in both places, because now you understand both sides of the argument.”


What has been your greatest accomplishment?

“In work, my greatest accomplishment would be leading SLMA for the last 15 years and markedly enlarging the company, covering multiple clinics in three different cities.

On a personal side, certainly my two sons — I’m very proud of their accomplishments. They have a strong work ethic, and they know where right and wrong are.”


Who are your greatest influencers? 

“I think the most important thing you can do to help with influencing is to not just manage people, but inspire people. I’ve seen that through the years many times in many ways, and people have inspired me and helped me to see beyond what I thought I could do, such as my uncle who is a doctor. I chased that dream after him after, his inspiration.”


What is the biggest challenge you have faced over the years and how did you meet it?

“The changes in healthcare, especially towards physicians, and how we navigate that, has been my biggest challenge in the last 10 years. You must figure out how to manage and lead an organization to keep people happy while the external forces are trying to hurt you.” 


How are you going to impact the Bayou Region in 2021?

“As a physician group, try to expand our base so that we can impact more patients and take care of more people. I will use my skills not only in doing that but also with the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority [TEDA]. This will be my second year as the President of TEDA, and I’m also the incoming Chair of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce. So, in those other two capacities, as well as what I do here at SLMA, I hope that we can put 2020 behind us and help out the parish as well as our group of providers and all the patients we serve.”•