Director of Health Services, Kerri Lauchner Continues To Keep Cal Lutheran Healthy

Director+of+Health+Services%2C+Kerri+Lauchner+Continues+To+Keep+Cal+Lutheran+Healthy

Jaclyn Holtz, Reporter

Kerri Lauchner, the director of Health Services at California Lutheran University, plays two overlapping but distinct roles that allow for health operations to run smoothly, especially during a global pandemic. 

“She has worked hard to make Health Services a place where students can come and feel safe and protected during times when many of them are feeling at their worst,” Physicians Assistant at Cal Lutheran Health Services Saul Miller said. 

Lauchner is both a provider and a health director, which makes her stand out from others in the medical field. Many people do not understand how different those two jobs are, Miller added.

Although she plays such a prominent role in on-campus health and medicine, she did not always know her dreams would lead to a career in the medical field. 

Before coming to Cal Lutheran in August 2006, Lauchner held physician assistant jobs in OB/GYN, internal medicine and family practice. After some time working in family practice she decided to look for a new job opportunity, which is when Lauchner said she stumbled upon the director of Health Services position at Cal Lutheran.

There are some students that have chronic conditions at Cal Lutheran. Health Services has helped refer students for cancer and other difficult medical diagnoses that might not be expected to exist on a college campus, Lauchner said.  

“My favorite part about working at Cal Lutheran is that we can help students transition their healthcare from their parents guiding their medical care to students taking care of, and being responsible for their own health,” Lauchner said.

When she started her undergraduate studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Lauchner was majoring in architecture. She then switched her major to biology, and then received a degree in microbiology and a minor in psychology, Lauchner said.

As a senior in high school, Lauchner said she broke her lower leg in a home accident and was in need of surgery. The surgical site became infected leading to two additional reparative surgeries, and resulting in months of intravenous antibiotics. This experience, however, is what made her interested in pursuing a career in medicine, Lauchner said. 

During a seminar on Allied Health Professions Lauchner first learned about the PA profession, and became very interested. Many of her friends were saying that she should be a doctor, but Lauchner realized that was not the right fit for her. As she continued to research into the profession, she began to realize that is what she wanted to do, Lauchner said. 

Lauchner attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas for graduate school and the PA program.

“I love working with my patients to solve their medical issues or refer them to someone who can and enjoy helping them live healthier lives. I appreciate getting to know them as people and hope they know I care,” Lauchner said.

Lauchner said she enjoys the flexibility of her position, and feels that she has more of a work-life balance than many doctors are able to have in their profession.

In regard to the COVID-19 situation, as a healthcare provider she hopes people realize the care, drive and passion most healthcare providers have for their patients. They are willing to put their own health at risk to take care of people, Lauchner said.

“Kerri [Lauchner] goes above and beyond what is asked of her in many cases, solely because of her devotion to her patients,” Miller said. “You can tell she really loves what she does and really strives to give the best care to every patient she sees.”