Our Hospital, Our StoriesCelebrating Asian Leaders in Healthcare: Tyler TamayosePosted on: May 13, 2022
In honour of Asian History Month, we are celebrating Asian leaders in healthcare at the Royal Alex like Tyler Tamayose, the Process Improvement Manager of the Medicine Program and Royal Alexandra Hospital.
In Canada, May is Asian Heritage Month. Representing over 4.8 billion people and a mosaic of cultures, Asian Heritage Month provides an opportunity for us to learn more about the history of Canadians of Asian heritage, and to celebrate their contributions to the growth and prosperity of our communities.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in Western Canada. It serves an extremely diverse population of people, with staff from all over the world. It is important to us at the Foundation to amplify and celebrate the different perspectives and voices that add to the richness of the hospital we support. While we aim to celebrate equity, diversity, and inclusion every day, we are proud to showcase some Asian healthcare leaders at the Royal Alexandra Hospital this month.
Where It All Started
Tyler Tamayose is the Process Improvement Manager of the Medicine Program and Royal Alexandra Hospital. He is a baseball, powerlifting and cycling enthusiast, husband and father of two small children, and proudly of Japanese descent.
Tyler grew up in Lethbridge and started his career in healthcare working at the Chinook Regional Hospital, where his mother worked for 35 years. While attending university on a baseball scholarship at William Woods University in St. Louis, Tyler would come home to Lethbridge every summer and work at the hospital loading docks, and as a porter.
"I really enjoyed being a porter because I got to talk to patients and realized quickly what little things you can do to brighten someone's day. It’s also where I started to understand how a hospital functions, and where I got to see hospital operations firsthand. It kind of hooked me at that point!” Tyler said enthusiastically.
Since then, Tyler has committed his career to continuing education, which saw him work hard in his Master of Science in Cancer Epigenetics at the University of Lethbridge, in addition to many accolades in Leadership and Coaching, Project Management, Change Management, and Patient Safety. Tyler has held a variety of high-level leadership and consulting roles within healthcare across the province. He is proud of being on a small list of healthcare leaders who have led teams in 4 out of the 5 zones in Alberta. “To make true change in healthcare one needs to understand the entire health ecosystem, and how each piece influences the next.” Since coming to the Royal Alex, Tyler has made a quick impact by overseeing the implementation of the Covid-19 pandemic plan and the roll-out of Launch 4 Connect Care, a "clinical information system" that will centralize medical information and workflows into a single point of access across every AHS site in Alberta.
Strength in Diversity
Tyler attributes his work ethic, adaptability, and capacity for resilience to his Japanese heritage.
I really look up to my grandma,” he said. “She was a teenager during the Battle of Okinawa, which was one of the most gruesome conflicts in WWII. Almost 150,000 Okinawan citizens died. She and her family hid in caves and lived on whatever they could find to survive—snails, raw potatoes—and managed to make it out alive. She had strapped a baby boy to her back and took care of it during the war. Years later I was able to meet the baby she had kept alive, and he was so grateful for my grandma. That story is so amazing to me. It makes me extremely proud of where I come from.”
After being chosen as the American Midwest Conference Player of the Year and NAIA All-American, Tyler remembers fondly his grandma telling him, “As a flower reaches its highest point towards the sun, even it takes a moment to bow and be thankful.” This has stuck with Tyler as a reminder to always be humble, and thankful for all life’s gifts and experiences.
Tyler even tattooed his entire upper body in honour of his grandmother, full of Japanese imagery.
“Our culture is everything. I try to show everyone I am a proud Japanese person.” – Tyler Tamayose
Tyler also noted the racial tensions his family went through as one of the main reasons why he deeply values promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion professionally and personally.
"My great grandparents came over originally to work on the railroad and then later after the war were beet farmers in Southern Alberta," he explained. "There were a lot of racial tensions at the time. People in the community felt like outsiders were coming to take their jobs on the railroad, that the Japanese were spies, and so forth. Even with the pandemic, Asians were targeted again. I look at those people and think they haven’t had the opportunity to learn yet."
This is why celebrations such as Asian Heritage month are so important to start conversations and create visibility. “Asian Heritage Month to me, I truly believe, is a chance to get educated about so many amazing cultures and hear other people’s stories," says Tyler.
“It’s important to reflect on where we are from and reflect on our history. It encourages me to reflect on my heritage and think about what it means to me to be part Japanese, and dig deep into where I come from.” - Tyler Tamayose
As a leader, Tyler stresses the importance of encouraging inclusivity, and that the diversity at the Royal Alex is one of the site’s greatest strengths.
“We have a lot of different people coming into the hospital, from all backgrounds and cultures. The Royal Alex is a moving city—there is so much diversity, from the patients to the staff. There are a lot of opportunities to engage with people. If you want to do great work, just walk down the hall.”
Thank you so much to Tyler Tamayose for taking the time to sit down and chat with us about this important topic, and for all his excellent work at the Royal Alex!