Leadership Team

The Surgical Affiliates Management team includes experienced surgeons, executives and healthcare providers who are committed to delivering the highest quality of surgical care to every patient.

Leon J. Owens, MD, FACS

President & Chief Executive Officer
Surgical Affiliates Management Group, Inc. and Acute Care Surgery Medical Group, Inc.

“The value we are committed to bring to our hospitals, their surgeons and their patients is a collaborative, team approach. We all work together to improve patient care, to enhance the patient experience, and to achieve the halo effect that drives superior performance throughout the hospital.”

Leon J. Owens, MD, is the founder and visionary behind Surgical Affiliates Management Group, Inc., the first company to specialize in providing surgicalists, and the only company with published, proven results demonstrating improved clinical, financial and efficiency metrics. This innovative clinical model now has a seven-year track record in multiple hospitals for improving quality and access to care, enhancing hospital revenue, and permanently resolving the growing problem of developing a committed surgical team.

A respected surgeon in Northern California for more than 25 years, Dr. Owens co-led the development of the trauma center for Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, California, and was the trauma medical director there for 15 years.  He is currently appointed to five different Sacramento-area hospitals, as well as a member of several surgical associations including the Sacramento Surgical Society, The Earl F. Wolfman, Jr. Surgical Society, and the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

In addition to his role as a pioneer in the surgical hospitalist field and his experience in trauma care, Dr. Owens has lectured across the U.S. on a variety of medical and clinical topics, and has co-authored a number of research articles in clinical journals.  He is a contributing author to the publication, “The Surgical Hospitalist Program Management Guide: Tools and Strategies for Executives and Physicians.”

Dr. Owens is also a noted educator in the medical field and has served as clinical professor of surgery at the UC Davis School of Medicine.  The UC Davis Department of Surgery has twice made Dr. Owens its Outstanding Teaching Resident Award winner. Additionally, he was awarded the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award in Resident Surgery Staff in 1981 and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 1995.

Dr. Owens has also been honored with the Sacramento County Executives Rose Award.  Recently, he was awarded the prestigious Lloyd Bowles, MD Distinguished Service Award at Mercy San Juan Medical Center.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Owens attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, from which he received his doctorate in 1976.  He served his internship and residency at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, where he also completed a surgical critical care fellowship. Dr. Owens maintains board certification in both surgery and critical care.

Lynette Scherer, MD, FACS

Chief Medical Officer

“Our goal is to deliver a standard of care that is unparalleled, to a very vulnerable population. We are doing for emergency surgery what the American College of Surgeons did for trauma care – elevating care across the board.”

Dr. Scherer is an internationally recognized, fellowship-trained trauma surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery in general surgery and trauma/critical care. She joined Surgical Affiliates from her most recent position as professor of surgery and chief of trauma and emergency surgery at UC Davis Medical Center. After joining Surgical Affiliates, Dr. Scherer took on the role of trauma medical director at Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a Level II Trauma Center that has continuously achieved verification from the American College of Surgeons since 2000.

Dr. Scherer received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston where she graduated with honors. She completed her general surgery residency and trauma/critical care fellowship at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. In addition to being board certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Scherer is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is an active member in the largest national trauma society, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

During her tenure at UC Davis, Dr. Scherer was recognized with several teaching and staff recognition awards.  While at UC Davis, Dr. Scherer assisted the Air Force in training trauma surgeons to treat soldiers wounded on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and traveled to Afghanistan for on-site evaluation as part of this assignment.

Dr. Scherer’s primary interests center on the management of trauma and emergency surgery patients. Some of her most recent work published in the Annals of Surgery focuses on the choice of fluid resuscitation during the first 24-hours after injury. In addition, her work in evaluating the life-saving effects of administering transexamic acid (TXA) was recently presented at the Western Trauma Association and has been published in the Journal of Trauma and Treatment. She is committed to standardizing care for severely injured patients while advancing Surgical Affiliates’ clinical and administrative model to current and future client partners.

Robynn Gough Smith, RN, BSN, MSC

Chief Administrative Officer

“Surgical Affiliates brings a culture of caring and a passion for providing a new level of value to our hospitals, our surgeons, our employees, and most of all, to the patients. We are dedicated to being the best partner that a hospital could imagine and the employer of choice for our clinicians and our other employees.”

Robynn Gough Smith leads Surgical Affiliates’ quality initiatives and is deeply involved in advancing and continually enhancing the System of Care© clinical service model.

Robynn joined Surgical Affiliates after a long career in healthcare management, primarily focused in trauma care. After beginning her career as a critical care nurse, Robynn graduated to positions as a trauma clinical coordinator and director, and has spent many years as a trauma consultant. She became the first trauma program manager of Mercy San Juan Medical Center, developing a Level II Trauma Center from the ground up for this community hospital.

Robynn has managed trauma center operations at Level I and Level II ACS verified centers, as well as assisted multiple Level III hospitals in developing their trauma services. She has a history of assuring repetitive successful site reviews by the ACS.

She is an active trauma center site reviewer for the state of Mississippi and the state of Washington. She has also worked as a consultant to a nationally known trauma registry and to a Northern California EMS agency, focusing on compliance, data capture and analysis, and quality improvement.

Robynn earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from the Sacramento State University and a Master of Science with distinction from Queen Mary University of London, Blizzard Institute of Medicine and Dentistry.

Gerald Souza, RN, BA

Chief Operating Officer

“Hospitals want predictability and performance, while providers want new alternatives that offer a better quality of life. Surgical Affiliates delivers both.”

Jerry Souza brings more than 30 years of experience in emergency medical services, critical care and trauma nursing, hospital administration, post-acute care service development and physician practice management to Surgical Affiliates.  He is responsible for a broad variety of practice operations including recruitment and credentialing, and hospital and third-party payer relationships.

Jerry started his career in pre-hospital care working as a paramedic in both urban and rural settings. He has clinical and administrative experience in trauma, surgical intensive care and cardiovascular critical care settings.  Prior to joining Surgical Affiliates, Jerry served as the director of practice management at Evolution Health and held various leadership positions at American Medical Response, including director of nursing, general manager and vice president of managed care.

In addition to his clinical background, Jerry has a solid background in clinical program development, managed care start-up operations and regional and national provider networks development. He is experienced in large account management, complex labor relations, payer and client contract negotiations and implementations, revenue cycle management and value based purchasing arrangements.

John M. Wyatt, JD, MBA

Chief Business Development Officer

“Surgical Affiliates is transforming the way emergency surgery is performed in the United States. Through our programmatic approach, our hospital partners are seeing significant results in their surgical care delivery systems.”

John M. Wyatt joined Surgical Affiliates in 2013, to direct and manage the organization’s national growth strategy.

John brings an extensive background in hospital and healthcare operations, sales and marketing. Prior to joining Surgical Affiliates, he was director of practice development for CEP America, a national multispecialty physician partnership, managing business development for intensivist, radiology, hospital medicine, observation unit, post-acute and urgent care service lines. He has also been director of business development for IPC Healthcare, a national hospitalist organization, now owned by TeamHealth. As a hospitalist practice administrator, he was vice president of operations for Alameda Inpatient Medical, Inc. and also held positions at Horizon Health Corporation and Psychiatric Management Resources Corporation.

John earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from Golden Gate University, School of Law and an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University, Ageno School of Business.  John is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certified.

Theresa Hylen

Chief Financial Officer

“Surgical Affiliates has all the assets to realize its mission of improving surgical care: proven programs, outstanding leadership, and a solid financial foundation.”

Theresa Hylen joined Surgical Affiliates Management Group in October 2015 as Chief Financial Officer. She brings more than two decades of experience to the company, the last 19 years of which were in the healthcare sector in Sutter Health Systems. An accomplished financial leader and seasoned executive, Theresa will be responsible for accounting, revenue cycle and financial reporting.

Theresa’s experience within the Sutter Health organization encompassed financial leadership positions in several areas in the organization. She joined Surgical Affiliates from her most recent position as the CFO/Finance Executive for Sutter Medical Foundation, North Division. Prior to that position, Theresa served as CFO for Sutter Amador Hospital. Additional positions within the Sutter organization included Director of Finance for Sutter North Medical Foundation and Finance Director/Accounting Manager for Sutter Medical Foundation. Before joining Sutter, she was a Senior Auditor with Ernst & Young LLP.

She is a graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she received her BS in Accounting. A CPA, Theresa is California Board approved and is currently working on her Master’s in Health Administration.