Clinic Coordinator and Patient Advocate

Tami Kendra-Romito is clinic and program coordinator for the Neuromuscular Disorders Program.


Tami Kendra-Romito Acts as Program Compass For Patients

Tami Kendra-Romito has been with Cedars-Sinai for 14 years, but it wasn’t until she took on the role of Neuromuscular Disorders clinic coordinator in the Department of Neurology that she found her niche.

"Each of us has a calling, and this is it for me," she said. "Working with this team and these patients doesn’t feel like a ‘job.’  I feel like I fit here, and my skills are put to good use."

Since February 2013, Kendra-Romito has served as the clinic and program coordinator for both the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Charcot-Marie-Tooth programs. For patients, physicians, administrators, and the team, she is the ultimate guide, helping them navigate care within the hospital. Not only does she make sure patients see the right physicians and experts, she also takes on the role of patient aide and liaison.

"She’s able to talk to patients, understand their needs and concerns, and then address them.  She just gets things done," said Robert H. Baloh, MD, PhD, director of Neuromuscular Medicine and the ALS Program. "She is one of the key components to the ALS program. For patients, she is the primary contact point. If you don’t have a person like Tami in that role, it makes it harder for the doctors, the patients and the whole care team."

Peggy Allred , PT, DPT, research program administer for the ALS Program, said it takes a special kind of person to interact with patients who are dealing with constant and unique challenges. Most of Kendra-Romito’s patients are living with ALS, which has a life expectancy after diagnosis of about five years.
"Tami serves as the center around which everyone hovers," Allred said. "She makes sure we’re all going where we’re supposed to go and I think it takes a dynamic person to do that."

Tami Kendra-Romito "handles all of it – it’s very wonderful," says Jennifer Kawaguchi, far right, whose father, James, in the forefront, has been a patient at Cedars-Sinai for a year. Also pictured are James’ wife and Jennifer’s mother, Setsuka Kawaguchi, center, and caretaker Ribeka Martin.

When it comes to the ALS clinic days Kendra-Romito administrates, she is the great orchestrator, according to Jennifer Kawaguchi, whose father James has been a patient at the clinic for a year.

"Any time you email her, she responds and asks what else she can do or says, ‘I’ll take care of it,’" Kawaguchi said. "She handles all of it – it’s very wonderful."

Kendra-Romito jokes about her multitasking abilities, saying if she was given one task it would take her all day and probably wouldn’t get done. During the ALS clinic days, she has eight hours to juggle 11 patients for 10 providers, including following up on recommendations made by the team to ensure continuity of care for the patients

"Organizing and problem solving is what I’m good at and it’s what I do," she said. "You ask, ‘How do you make that happen?’ We just do."

Tami Kendra-Romito is clinic and program coordinator for the ALS and CMT programs.