Barbara Leanse, CAVS
Executive Director, Volunteer Services, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Barbara Leanse has spent over 40 years in healthcare.  She started her social work career in home health where she had the opportunity to train with employees from St. Christopher’s Hospice in London.  She continued to work in hospice, and during this time began to train volunteers to visit and offer supportive care to patients and family members.  Barbara accepted a position in social work at St. Mary’s Medical Center to support patients in Oncology, Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, and various Outreach Community Programs.  She then opened a home hospice program and led St. Mary’s social work department in creating and implementing a volunteer program.  Barbara was eventually recruited to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when they were developing an AIDS/IDC unit, where she created and implemented a Volunteer Program for this area.  

Barbara served as President for the Southern California Association of Directors of Volunteer Services, has served on the national board for the Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals, and was the Chair of the Directors’ Coordinating Council for the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

As the Director of Volunteer Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Barbara has created many innovative and diverse programs. Cedars- Sinai’s Volunteer Services Department has received several Hospital Awards in Volunteer Excellence (HAVE) from the American Hospital Association for the volunteer programs which she developed.  Her department boasts over 2,500 volunteers serving in areas throughout the medical center. These programs, during her 30-year tenure, have become an integral part of every aspect of emotional support at the medical center for patients, families and staff.