New surgery center named after top doctor at RUHS Medical Center

Tuesday, November 1

Riverside University Health System’s outpatient surgery department is now The Dr. Arnold Tabuenca Surgery Center, in honor of a physician leader who has focused his career on improving healthcare in underserved communities and inspiring generations of doctors to treat their patients with quality and compassion.

The naming of the surgery center was unveiled Wednesday, one day after the Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to the recognition of Tabuenca, a surgeon and chief medical officer at Riverside University Health System (RUHS) – Medical Center in Moreno Valley. Tabuenca also serves as Chair of the Department of Surgery at UCR School of Medicine.

The center is housed in a three-story outpatient surgery and medical office complex that opened in 2020 and is linked by a sky bridge to the 439-bed RUHS – Medical Center. The outpatient complex has helped the growing health system address regional needs for more clinical and surgical services.

Tabuenca has held the top medical post at the 129-year-old public teaching hospital for 15 years. In that time, he has led transformations such as increasing access to services and improved quality of care, reducing hospital infection rates by 84%, driving down sepsis deaths and helping the hospital become a designated stroke center and the county’s only American College of Surgeons verified Level 1 trauma center.

He also was instrumental in growing the RUHS graduate medical education program to 10 medical residency programs that include family medicine, neurosurgery, psychiatry, and many others that provide training to hundreds of new doctors and medical students annually.

“An honor like this cannot belong to one person. ...This honor cannot belong to me. It belongs to everybody who surrounds me,” said Tabuenca, praising and thanking his wife of 44 years and crediting hospital leaders and medical teams across the health system. “I am very fortunate to work at a hospital where I am surrounded by the most wonderful medical staff who are always aiming for higher quality.”

Second District Supervisor Karen Spiegel said Tabuenca was well deserving of the recognition.

“We have seen how you love the hospital and the patients – your second loves,” she said.

Tabuenca will end his tenure as chief medical officer at the end of this year and will remain at RUHS as an associate chief medical officer.

To learn more about RUHS, visit

Dr. Tabuenca stands in front of RUHS – Medical Center’s Medical Surgical Center, now named The Dr. Arnold Tabuenca Surgery Center.