2015 Risk All Star: Angeli Mancuso

On a Mission to Revitalize

Angeli Mancuso is a vital cog in the management team at the three hospital, one laboratory Cottage Health system based in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Angeli Mancuso, Manager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health System

Angeli Mancuso, Manager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health System

As manager of the eight-member employee health and safety department, Mancuso has been involved in many major initiatives for the hospital system, but none more important than being a key member of a group that rode to the rescue of a safe patient handling initiative that had begun to stagnate.

Launched with much fanfare in 2009 to reduce serious injuries to employees — especially nurses — involved in the manual lifting, transferring and handling of acutely ill patients, the hospital system was coming off 41 such injuries in 2008.

In the $6 million program’s first year alone, the 41 injuries were reduced to 28 injuries, and then to 17 in 2010. “In 2010, 2011 and 2012, we were in the teens so we weren’t moving,” said Mancuso, who joined the organization in 2011.

“So in 2013, based on recommendations from employee health, including myself, we went to the board of directors and said, ‘This should be on the radar for an organizational goal,’ ” said Mancuso.


“In 2013, the first year the revitalized program was a top goal of the organization, it was suggested we set our goal at no more than nine preventable injuries, and that year we had only three preventable injuries,” Mancuso said.

So in 2014 the goal was renewed to no more than three preventable injuries. “Unfortunately we had four,” said Mancuso. “This year we’re shooting for no more than four, and we’re at only one so far.”

An important duty for Mancuso is serving as the coordinator of communications throughout the 583-bed organization.

“On a monthly basis I go in front of all of our critical management staff,” said Mancuso. “I give them an update on how we are tracking to our goals, what things we have seen go wrong, what things we have seen going well. I outline where we are struggling with compliance, how we are using equipment or training or things like that.”

“In 2013, the first year the revitalized program was a top goal of the organization, it was suggested we set our goal at no more than nine preventable injuries, and that year we had only three preventable injuries.” — Angeli Mancuso, Manager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health System

Mancuso coordinates all the visits  when Prevent, a consulting group that was instrumental in establishing the safe patient handling program, comes to the hospital group on a quarterly basis.

“I set up all the meetings to make sure Prevent gets in front of the right leadership teams to keep this program in the forefront of people’s vision, to say that this is still a significant issue, that we still have work to do,” said Mancuso.

Prior to joining Cottage Health, Mancuso was the staff nurse in the occupational medicine department at Sansum Clinic, a Santa Barbara-based multidisciplinary, non-hospital based group. In all, Mancuso has been in the occupational safety industry for 10 years.

Encino, Calif.-based Karla Hacker, director of claims for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., who works closely with Mancuso, said of her: “I have the opportunity to see the impact Angeli has on the overall Cottage Health program. She took the lead in tackling one of the industry’s most challenging exposures, patient handling injuries. She’s made a profound impact on the quality of life of Cottage Health employees while reducing claims costs.

“While her attention to detail allows her to deliver on day-to-day objectives, she brings a big-picture approach to her role.”

Responsibility Leader

Angeli is also being recognized as a 2015 Responsibility Leader®.

Taking It to the Streets

After a hard week at work making the Cottage Health hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., safer, Angeli Mancuso takes it to the streets, literally.

As a nurse with the nonprofit Doctors Without Walls, which also goes by the name Santa Barbara Street Medicine, Mancuso visits the public parks in Santa Barbara to offer medical services to the homeless. There are multi-pronged benefits to the work that Mancuso and Doctors Without Walls perform.

One, seeing the disenfranchised in public cuts down on emergency room visits, freeing that service for those who in many cases are in much more urgent need of care.


Doctors Without Walls does manage chronic wounds in the homeless population, but many times the doctors and nurses in the program are needed to just lend a sympathetic ear. Or to refer someone to another service.

“It’s a lot of talking,” Mancuso said.

The group also brings along students who are interested in a career in medicine to work as scribes and on outreach.

Mancuso also serves with Aeromedicos of Santa Barbara, a nonprofit formed in Santa Barbara decades ago that flies professionals to Baja California in Mexico once a month to staff free medical and dental clinics. The hard-working Mancuso made three trips with that group this year.


R9-15-15p26_Intro_Allstar4-2.inddRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2015 Risk All Stars.


Responsibility Leader 2015Responsibility Leaders overcome obstacles by doing the right thing over the easy thing to find practical solutions that benefit their co-workers and community.

Read more about the 2015 Responsibility Leaders.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

The risk manager for Boyd Gaming Corp. says curiosity keeps him engaged, and continual education will be the key to managing emerging risks.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was trained as an accountant, worked in public accounting and became a CPA. Being comfortable with numbers is helpful in my current role, and obviously, the language of business is financial statements, so it helps.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Working in finance in the corporate environment included the review of budgets and the analysis of business expenses. I quickly found the area of benefits and insurance — and how “accepting risk” impacted those expenses — to be fascinating. I asked a lot of questions. Be careful what you ask for — I soon found myself responsible for those insurance areas and haven’t looked back!

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?


I have found the risk management community to be a close-knit group, whether that’s industry professionals, risk managers with other companies or support organizations like RIMS and other regional groups. The expertise of the carriers and specialty vendors to develop new products and programs, along with the appropriate education, will continue to be of key importance to companies going forward.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

As I’m sure many in the insurance field would agree, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 changed our world and our industry. It was a particularly intense time and certainly a baptism by fire for people like me who were relatively new to the industry. This event clearly accelerated the switch to the acceptance of more risk, which impacted mitigation strategies and programs.

Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, Boyd Gaming Corp.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The fast-paced threat that cyber security represents today. Our company, like so many companies, is reliant upon computers, software and IT expertise in our everyday existence. This new risk has forged an even stronger relationship between risk management and our IT department as we work together to address this growing threat.

Additionally, the shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017 will have an enduring impact on firms that host large gatherings and arena-style events all over the world, and our company is no exception.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?


With the various types of insurance programs we employ, I have been fortunate to work with most of the large national and international carriers — all of whom employ talented people with a vast array of resources.

R&I:  How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We use brokers for many of our professional coverages, such as property, casualty, D&O and cyber. We are self-insured under our health plans, with close to 25,000 members. We tend to manage those programs internally and utilize direct relationships with carriers and specialty vendors to tailor a plan that works best for team members.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside some smart and insightful people during my career. A key piece of advice, said in many different ways, has served me well. Simply stated: “Seek to understand before being understood.”

What this has meant to me is try everything you can to learn about something, new or old. After you have gained this knowledge, you can begin to access and maybe suggest changes or adjustments. Being curious has always been a personal enjoyment for me in business, and I have found people are more than willing to lend a hand, offer information and advice — you just need to ask. Building those alliances and foundations of knowledge on a subject matter makes tackling the future more exciting and fruitful.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Our benefit health plan is much more than handing out an insurance card at the beginning of the year. We encourage our team members and their families to learn about their personal health, get engaged in a variety of health and wellness programs and try to live life in the healthiest possible way. The result of that is literally hundreds of testimonials from our members every year on how they have lost weight, changed their lifestyle and gotten off medications. It is extremely rewarding and is a testament to [our] close-knit corporate culture.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?


Some will remember the volcano eruption in Iceland in spring of 2010. I was just finishing a week of meetings in London with Lloyd’s syndicates related to our property insurance placement when the airspace in England and most of northern Europe was shut down — no airplanes in or out! Flights were ultimately canceled for the following five days. Therefore, with a few other stranded visitors like myself, we experimented and tried out new restaurants every day until we could leave. It was a very interesting time!

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

I am originally from Canada, and I played ice hockey from the time I was four years old up until quite recently. Too many surgeries sadly forced my recent retirement.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

That’s a funny one … I am a CPA working in the casino industry, doing insurance and risk management, so neighbors and acquaintances think I either do tax returns or they think I’m a blackjack dealer at the casino!

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]