Three years before joining the Healthcare Foundation Board in January, I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to support my graduate studies in Counseling Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of San Francisco as part of the Foundation’s Mental Health Talent Pipeline (MHTP).
On May 19, 2022, five other MHTP scholarship awardees and I (the largest cohort of MHTP scholarship recipients so far) got to walk the stage at USF’s St. Ignatius Church as we graduated from our program, joining the four percent of Latinas with Master’s degrees! The evening was filled with laughter, joy and tears. As first-generation college students, we celebrated with our friends and family, including those who watched the commencement virtually from Central America and those who joined us in-person.
One of my goals as a Board Member is to continue supporting the efforts of the MHTP to provide more opportunities to other Latinx folks in the community who want to pursue their Masters and be able to address the need for more bilingual and bicultural healthcare professionals in our county. I cannot express enough how much of an impact the MHTP program had on me, not only giving me the opportunity to pursue this degree but also to go through the journey with some amazing bilingual and bicultural amigas (Las Comadritas), who pour their heart into community work.
Today, we are officially out in the field as Associate Marriage and Family Therapists with organizations such as Side By Side, SOS Counseling, YWCA, Kaiser, and On the Margins. I am just wrapping up my first week with On the Margins (OTM) as a Bilingual Clinician for the Health and Healing program. It is an honor to be working with Dr. Daniela Dominguez, Cindy Berrios, and other individuals who center their work on the justice mission and inclusive vision of OTM. In this newsletter, you will read more about Danny Dominguez and the work done with OTM.
You will also hear from Obelia Martinez, a promotora (or community health worker) working with several organizations in northern Sonoma County as a trusted health messenger and navigator for community members who face multiple challenges in accessing reliable information and health services. The role of Obelia and her fellow promotoras during the last two years of the pandemic has been nothing short of critical in terms of outreach and vaccine uptake among our most vulnerable as well as marginalized communities.
Finally, this month’s sponsorship spotlight falls on my wonderful fellow Board member Gary Barth, an ophthalmologist who has volunteered his services around the world and who is one of the generous supporters of Noche de Amor, our annual celebration raising funds for Healthcare Foundation programming—with a special emphasis on our Mental Health Talent Pipeline!
So we come full circle. I want to thank you for all you are doing for the health and well-being of our neighbors in northern Sonoma County, and I sincerely hope to see you on July 9 at Bacchus Landing for Noche de Amor!
Daisy J Cardenas, AMFT
Hearing from a Promotora de Salud/Community Health Worker
Obelia Martinez is a promotora de salud (community health worker) serving Spanish-speaking communities in northern Sonoma County.
A promotora is a bilingual and bicultural public health worker who acts as a trusted health messenger and navigator for members of their community. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, promotores have had a vital role in outreach efforts in our region’s most vulnerable and marginalized neighborhoods. Outreach includes education as well as support with access to care, resources and vaccinations. The close ties and understanding that promotores have with their communities make such targeted outreach possible and impactful.
Obelia works with the Coordinated Outreach Collaborative (COC), which is made up of local organizations working together to support the community-based Community Health Worker Model in Sonoma County. COC includes the Center for Well-Being, Latino Service Providers, CURA Project, and Sonoma Connect | Sonoma Unidos. Promotoras receive training through the COC, which includes weekly COVID updates to help in outreach, training in mental health resources, and training to conduct certified blood pressure screenings.
Obelia also works with Roseland CBI (Community Building Initiative) & Equidad, which is focused on improving the Roseland neighborhood and keeping youth safe and out of trouble by assisting residents in taking the lead in creating meaningful change in their community.
We reached out to Obelia in order to hear directly from someone doing this critical and still under-appreciated work in communities where there are significant challenges to accessing information and services, especially during a crisis.
Community Partner Spotlight: Daniela Domínguez of On the Margins
Daniela Domínguez has been collaborating with the Healthcare Foundation in several capacities. As an assistant professor in the counseling psychology department at USF and the coordinator of its Marriage and Family Therapy program, Daniela has been instrumental in supporting the Healthcare Foundation’s Mental Health Talent Pipeline program, which grants scholarships to local bilingual and bicultural graduate students pursuing their training in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Daniela is also the founder of On the Margins, a multi-service Bay Area organization of health professionals, artists, researchers, and consultants that “seeks to amplify community care, cultural wealth, and resilience in bold and politicized ways.” On the Margins has recently embarked on a two-year participatory research project with a collective of northern Sonoma County community-based organizations to develop a community-led plan for the realization of a Community Wellness Center in Cloverdale—a project made possible by a grant from the Northern Sonoma County Healthcare District secured earlier this year by the Healthcare Foundation.
Daniela will also be helping to host the festivities next month at Noche de Amor, the Healthcare Foundation’s annual celebration raising awareness and funds for its programs, including its Mental Health Talent Pipeline.
We spoke with Daniela recently about the nature of the work she does at On the Margins, as well as the importance of developing a support pipeline for aspiring bilingual and bicultural mental health clinicians like herself.
Noche de Amor Sponsor Spotlight: Barth Vision & Optical
Noche de Amor is made possible by the support of our event sponsors, generous community members like Champion Sponsor Dr. Gary Barth of Barth Vision & Optical.
Barth Vision and Optical is proud to support the Healthcare Foundation as a Champion Sponsor for Noche de Amor. “It is our nature to serve,” states Gary. “The Healthcare Foundation links our medical and mental health community together so that more of us can aid those in need.”
Gary’s involvement with the Healthcare Foundation began in 2021 as a principal sponsor of our 20th anniversary gala. He has subsequently become a Healthcare Hero Community Partner, although for many years now Gary has been quietly putting the Healthcare Foundation’s mission into action through his medical practice, both in northern Sonoma County and around the world. In February, the Healthcare Foundation was thrilled to announce Gary as a board member.
A special opportunity: A generous, anonymous donor will contribute $5,000 for the first five new or newly disclosed commitments to the Legacy Circle in 2022. Contact us today and multiply your impact!
"My parents gave a large gift to the Healthcare Foundation and Denny and I want to do the same to honor the important work that the Foundation continues to provide for our entire community. Legacy gifts can be the best gift to an organization that is established for a future of great work."
- Katie and Denny Murphy, Legacy Circle Donors