December 20, 2023

2024 Rose Parade® participants showcase synchronicity between caregivers and patients

Float theme honors how Kaiser Permanente teams work together harmoniously to care for each patient.

Contact: Stephen Shivinsky

PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente announced its “Symphony of You” 2024 Rose Parade® presented by Honda float will feature Kaiser Permanente members and the teams who have helped them in their health journey.

Kaiser Permanente’s physicians, nurses and employees partner every day to ensure they are offering the highest quality of care to members and the communities they serve. The float participants represent how Kaiser Permanente synchronizes its care and services with each member’s unique health journey, and supports equity, inclusion and diversity in the workplace and within its communities.

Alongside Kaiser Permanente members and caregivers will be Kaiser Permanente’s business resource group (BRG) members, who help foster a culture of belonging, growth and empowerment in the workplace. All Kaiser Permanente employees and clinicians are encouraged to participate in the BRGs. Participation helps employees find inclusive communities and programs that create a sense of belonging and empowerment. This is especially important for employees from historically excluded communities and their allies.

Also participating in the Kaiser Permanente float are violinists from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music education program and a longstanding partner of Kaiser Permanente. Their participation speaks to the power and connection of music as it relates to the Tournament of Roses theme “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language.”

Kaiser Permanente’s 2024 float theme, “Symphony of You,” represents the many ways the people of Kaiser Permanente work together harmoniously to care for its members and communities. The float celebrates life’s milestones and how — like the coordinated, dynamic, and integrated notes of a song — Kaiser Permanente supports its members and the communities it serves. The float embodies the 2024 Tournament of Roses® parade theme, bringing everyone together through music.

Introducing 10 float riders

Patricia Egwuatu, DO, is a family medicine physician and faculty attending for the Kaiser Permanente Family Medicine Residency Program in Washington state where she co-leads the anti-racism and healthy equity curriculum and is associate program director for equity, inclusion and diversity. She practices preventive, patient-centered medicine with colleagues who value mentorship and believe in a positive and healthy work environment. Dr. Egwuatu loves the opportunity Kaiser Permanente provides to take care of patients in a health care organization that puts patients first. She believes music is a way to connect with others, and it has played a central part in her life. Dr. Egwuatu’s background is Nigerian and Ugandan American and Afrobeat music was core to her cultural upbringing. She grew up playing the flute and still finds herself playing music in her office because it not only lifts her spirits but gives her purpose throughout the day.

Jennifer Walker, RN, is a lead unit-based team consultant and improvement advisor for Kaiser Permanente. Working at Kaiser Permanente makes her feel like she is making a difference in patients’ lives. She plays the flute and keyboard and was also in a marching band. Jennifer believes that no matter what language you speak the sounds, the notes, the cadence and the instruments tell you what the music is saying. Music is a soundtrack to the many ups and downs in life — comforting you when you are down, helping with overcoming challenges, inspiring you when you need or helping you celebrate achievements. Jennifer has undergone medical challenges of her own in the past two years, so she is excited to participate in the parade and looks forward to bringing the spirit of everyone who has helped her in her health journey.

Edward Rott, MD, is a staff pediatrician and regional assistant medical director for customer and client engagement at Kaiser Permanente. As an accomplished violinist, Dr. Rott believes that music is a powerful tool for healing in our world and a fitting theme for this year’s Rose Parade. He believes that playing music is a way for us to turn pain and sorrow into something beautiful. Dr. Rott endeavors to bring peace and care to a stressed-out world, believing that a good life is about bringing happiness and joy to others. He believes it’s an incredible privilege to represent Kaiser Permanente on the float and hopes the parade will bring joy and pride to the community during the holiday season.

Alfred McCloud is a licensed clinical social worker and a psychiatric social worker at Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center. McCloud grew up near the Watts community in Los Angeles and obtained his clinical hours as an intern before licensure at Kaiser Permanente. He became a licensed clinical social worker to walk with others through some of life's most difficult moments. Being at Kaiser Permanente allows him to be a direct link to obtaining necessary and free mental health services for community members in some of Los Angeles' communities with the most need. To McCloud, music is a gateway to healthier living. He uses music to connect and build rapport with youth in Kaiser Permanente’s Kids Can Cope program. He also uses music as a coping strategy and method of creating space for youth to discover their own inner creativity, master self-regulation and experience relief from some of life’s greatest struggles. Music, along with other play therapy and art therapy approaches, is used to allow the youth to tend to their grief, sadness and worries to find peace and control amid life’s uncertainties.

Arsine Henry, MD, is a physician in charge at the Kaiser Permanente Glendale Medical Offices practicing the full scope of family medicine for infants, kids, and adults. She believes that music can inspire and bring comfort and joy to people in times of difficulty. Dr. Henry is grateful and honored to represent Kaiser Permanente during the Rose Parade and stand alongside her patient Traci Green, who survived ovarian cancer. The music of her life is her drive to show compassion in all that she does, and her commitment to always coming from a place of caring.

Traci Green is a five-year Kaiser Permanente ovarian cancer survivor, displaying strength, resilience and hope. She is the voice of many and encourages all women to pay attention to their bodies and not ignore the signs when something is not right. The theme of this year’s parade resonates with Green. She found comfort in music, and despite her illness, continued to sing, play her instruments and work with her band The Dickens Country Swing Show. Green first hit the stage at age 4 with Bob McGrath from Sesame Street. She has spent her whole life as a performer. She has also been a part of Los Angeles’ popular folk music band The Hollow Trees for the past 18 years. She teaches music to elementary school students and is a sound meditation practitioner for women with cancer. During the Rose Parade, she will stand alongside her physician Dr. Henry, whose care and support she is eternally grateful for.

Alison Taur, MD, (she/her), serves as regional coordinating chair of nuclear medicine for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California and as clinical assistant professor for the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. To Dr. Taur, Kaiser Permanente is family — a family that has shown her more love than she could have ever expected or imagined when she transitioned in 2014. Her hope is that everyone can feel that same sense of belonging. Dr. Taur believes that music weaves our lives together — that it is the very language of the soul, speaking directly to the heart and needing no translation. Music tells stories better than any words can, and our work and our patients’ lives are all distinct musical passages in a larger symphony — a beautiful tapestry of different instruments, different movements, different key signatures and different tempos in one cohesive whole. Dr. Taur is proud to represent both the gender-diverse community and Kaiser Permanente during the Rose Parade. She hopes her participation will show that diversity, equity and inclusion bring beautiful new melodies, harmonies and rhythms to all our communities.

Joshua Irving Gershick is a member of the Kaiser Permanente Trans Cultural Competency Team, where he met Dr. Taur, who is a professor at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. Together, they frequently speak side by side and share experiences, representing both transfeminine and transmasculine perspectives. Kaiser Permanente’s school of medicine is the first medical school to formally integrate gender-affirming care into the curriculum and have a dedicated LGBTQ+ health elective. The Kaiser Permanente community emphasizes wellness, empathy, curiosity and inclusion, Gershick says, which he loves both as a member and as an educator. Gershick believes music has the power to bridge differences, to uplift and to unify. In the 1970s and ‘80s, long before LGBTQ+ people had civil rights protections, dance clubs were among the few places where people went to be themselves, meet others openly, and exalt in that freedom. Music and movement brought people together, nourished the soul, and reminded everyone how good it was to be alive. 

Sergio Paez is a 20-year-old violinist born and raised in Los Angeles. At the age of 10, he began learning violin in his school orchestra and shortly after, began attending programs at YOLA. With YOLA, Paez has been afforded various opportunities to travel to some of the nation’s most iconic concert venues and perform with some of the biggest names in pop. Paez attends Los Angeles City College, where he majors in business administration and works as a Los Angeles Philharmonic project assistant with YOLA, specializing in college preparation. Paez believes that music has profoundly changed his life in so many ways that he cannot imagine what his life would be like if he hadn’t picked up a violin over a decade ago. He is excited to participate in the celebration of music and will ride the Kaiser Permanente float alongside his mentor Dale Breidenthal who has been his pillar of support, nurturing and championing his interests and pursuits.

Dale Breidenthal was born in Los Angeles and raised in the historic West Adams neighborhood. She began playing the violin as a substitute with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl while she was still a student at the University of Southern California. Breidenthal performed often with the orchestra in Los Angeles and on tour in Japan, Europe and across the United States, becoming a permanent orchestra member in 1983. She began her musical studies on the piano at age 6 and two years later began violin lessons. In addition to playing in school and youth orchestras, Breidenthal also collaborated with her brother and sister in chamber performances. From 1977 to 1981 Breidenthal was a scholarship student at USC. She will ride the Kaiser Permanente float alongside her mentee Sergio Paez. Breidenthal met Paez when he was 10 years old participating in YOLA. Initially, Breidenthal was not involved in teaching private lessons or working individually with YOLA students, however, when Sergio entered high school, Dale felt inspired to contribute to nurturing Sergio's talent and became his teacher.  

10 Kaiser Permanente Business Resource Group members

Michelle Linares, MBA, is the director of National Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity at Kaiser Permanente. At an early age, Linares was drawn to music to regulate her emotions and heal important moments in her life. When she leads creative sessions or meetings in her department, she starts by playing a song so people are welcomed with melodies, tunes and good memories. She believes we are pulled to serve the greater good throughout the rhythms in our personal and professional lives. Serving the greater good in health care reinvigorates her purpose. Honoring her ancestors and blessings as a woman, mother, daughter, sister and friend creates the soundtrack of her purpose.

Cori Stacy is the Kaiser Permanente Southern California operations lead for the Women Empowered Business Resource Group. Working for Kaiser Permanente has increased Stacy’s feeling of belonging. She thrives in the positive, inclusive environment that brings together incredible people who support each other. Music is exactly that. Music has always been there for Stacy, especially during trying times. Having the distraction from pain and anxiety allowed her comfort and ease. She is amazed by the part music can play for patients, particularly those with cognitive or neurological dysfunction.

William Woo, MD, is a family physician at Kaiser Permanente and part of the Asian and Pacific Islander Business Resource Group. What he loves most about working at Kaiser Permanente are the patients and the communities who are so appreciative of the care Kaiser Permanente provides. As a physician, he knows that music can be everything from a motivating factor during workouts to a stress reducer and mood booster, and can even lower pain levels. Dr. Woo believes music has so many benefits and that bringing a "Symphony of You" to the world and promoting the healing aspects of music through the Rose Parade is priceless.

Serena Welch is the manager of the Ambulatory Care Department of Neurosurgery and Neurology at Kaiser Permanente and a part of the Black@KP Business Resource Group. When she was in third grade, her mother had an aneurysm, causing a blood vessel in her brain to leak. That day forever shaped Welch’s life and provided her with a purpose. Kaiser Permanente ultimately saved her mother’s life and Welch remembers being in awe of the compassionate care her mother received in the hospital. She is a Kaiser Permanente “baby,” born at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. She’s also only ever had Kaiser Permanente as her health care provider. Today, the most rewarding part of working at Kaiser Permanente is not only being a part of the team that gets to do this incredible work and directly impact members’ lives, but being in the unique position to partner, guide, support, coach and care for the individuals who provide care to members and their families.

Ofelia McMenamy is a bilingual engagement specialist at Kaiser Permanente and part of the Native American Business Resource Group. She loves this year's theme because music runs in her veins. From a young age, her parents exposed her to music as it runs in her family. Her father sang and played piano, so she followed suit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McMenamy joined Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6 and sang a song called “Sing Gently.” It was a way to connect and bring music to others during a time when things were chaotic and isolating. It affirmed for her how music connects us all.

Brenda Sillas, MBA, is a program manager of National Sales and Engagement Solutions for Kaiser Permanente, as well as the Southern California co-lead for the Generations@KP Business Resource Group. What she loves most about working at Kaiser Permanente is the people she gets to work with every day to support Kaiser Permanente’s mission. She grew up watching the Rose Parade and is honored to participate and spread the word about Kaiser Permanente providing high-quality, affordable health care services and improving the health of members and the communities it serves. The theme of this year’s parade resonates with her as she’s always marched to the beat of her own drum. Sillas’ father always played music when she was growing up, making it a part of her everyday life.

David Keddle is a health sciences librarian at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center and a part of the Pride@KP Business Resource Group. Keddle has a love for music and sings in his church choir at the United Methodist Church Westlake Village in California. This year’s parade theme, “Symphony of You,” allows Keddle to be open and out as a gay man.

Jelissa Cummings is the area quality leader and patient safety officer for Kaiser Permanente. As a female veteran of Filipino descent, Cummings appreciates being a part of Kaiser Permanente’s Veterans@KP Business Resource Group, which makes her feel embraced and celebrated. She believes that music is a universal language that connects us all, and has witnessed a number of positive experiences using music to soothe patients and bring calm in challenging situations.

Ara Shanlian is a consultant for Kaiser Permanente and a founding member of the Armenians@KP Business Resource Group. Shanlian finds value in Kaiser Permanente's commitment to his well-being, inclusive culture and collaborative work environment. For Shanlian, the Rose Parade theme holds a special significance, echoing the profound healing power of music within health care. Recognizing music as a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries, he passionately believes that, for Kaiser Permanente, it symbolizes the therapeutic impact of music in patient care. Whether through innovative music therapy programs or the thoughtful integration of soothing melodies into patient care, the universal language of music plays a pivotal role in fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere for both Shanlian's work and the well-being of patients. This approach is a testament to Kaiser Permanente's dedication to promoting emotional well-being and creating an enhanced healing environment within its health care facilities.

Jamie Lopez is a project manager and health care consultant for Kaiser Permanente and a member of the Latinx@KP Business Resource Group. He grew up watching the Rose Parade and doesn't remember seeing someone who looked like him on the floats, so participating in this year’s event makes him proud and is a testament to Kaiser Permanente's emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Lopez is excited to represent Kaiser Permanente during the Rose Parade as an example of a success story. He started as a medical assistant and with the help of Kaiser Permanente mentors, he was able to finish his college degrees. To Lopez, the celebration of music is important as music transcends language and time, bringing communities together.

About the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® Association

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 will drive the success of the 135th Rose Parade themed “Celebrating a World of Music,” on Monday, January 1, 2024, followed by the CFP Semifinal at the 110th Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential. For more information, visit Like us on Facebook and follow us on 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 12.6 million members in 8 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.