As my time on the Healthcare Foundation board draws to a close, I am grateful for the opportunity to thank you for the support you have leant to our efforts over these last several years, and to reflect briefly on what we have accomplished together.
I am extremely gratified by the support the Healthcare Foundation has directed to the HOPE program at Santa Rosa Junior College, thanks in particular to funding from the Medtronic Bay Area Community Engagement Council. HOPE, which stands for Health Occupation Preparation Education, is an outstanding foundation for success for first-generation bilingual and bicultural college students pursuing healthcare careers that benefit historically underserved Spanish-speakers in our region.
In the Healthcare Foundation’s most recent strategic planning process, which I chaired during its term in 2021, education emerged as a key focus. The Healthcare Foundation’s Mental Health Talent Pipeline (MHTP) scholarship program is a major part of this strategic effort. The enthusiastic support we have received from funders and our community partners has meant we’ve been able to continue successfully building on our initial 2018 pilot program to increase access to bilingual and bicultural mental health services across northern Sonoma County.
Indeed, the impact of MHTP goes far beyond the careers of the wonderful students it supports: it’s an investment in community health broadly. That point comes across beautifully in the interview we have below with Luigi Valencia, one of our very first scholarship awardees, who has applied his training in counseling psychology to two jobs, as director of restorative justice programs for youth at SOS Community Counseling and as a Santa Rosa police officer.
This month is Native American Heritage Month, inviting us to reflect on the Indigenous peoples, cultures and traditions that have long shaped this land and continue to do so. Here in Healdsburg, we acknowledge and honor the Southern Pomo people, original inhabitants and stewards of this land.
Below, we feature a conversation with Jocelyn Boreta, the executive director of the Botanical Bus, which is one of the outstanding community-based organizations we helped to support at the height of the pandemic in its critical outreach to Indigenous and Spanish-speaking residents in our region. The Botanical Bus continues to serve community members with integrative health services, many of which draw on the traditional medicines and remedies passed down through the generations.
The support of a compassionate and far-sighted community makes possible all of the above and more. Reflecting on the power of individual initiative and energy in the work we do, we highlight below one of our staunchest donors, Mark Hanson, interviewed by my board colleague Amy Hunsberger.
I step off the board next month knowing that the Healthcare Foundation, powered by you and our generous and knowledgeable circle of community partners, will continue to advance health and wellness in our region, and will do so to the benefit of everyone who lives and works and aspires to great things in northern Sonoma County.
Board of Directors
Community Partner Spotlight: A Conversation with
Jocelyn Boreta of The Botanical Bus
The Botanical Bus bilingual mobile herb clinic is a relatively young nonprofit, officially earning that designation only in 2019, but it has already built a strong presence in the communities it serves in Sonoma and Napa counties. Founded with a vision of community-led action for health equity, the Botanical Bus offers culturally centered integrative health services to Latinx and Indigenous communities through a regular series of pop-up clinics at work sites and community centers.
Powered by a team of Latinx and Indigenous promotoras, or Community Health Advocates, and integrative health practitioners, Botanical Bus services include acupuncture, clinical herbalism, massage, art therapy, somatic therapy, and much more. Last year alone, the Botanical Bus provided services to hundreds of community members through 19 farmworker clinics and 19 wellness workshops, as well as health education to nearly 300 promotoras through seven train-the-trainer workshops.
The Botanical Bus was part of a network of frontline community-based organizations that the Healthcare Foundation supported in 2021 in that network’s critical Covid-19 outreach to our region’s most vulnerable and isolated communities. This fall, the staff of the Botanical Bus took part in a project of Santa Rosa–based Integrated Medical Clinic Foundation (IMCF) to create a culturally centered Spanish-language version of IMCF’s highly regarded Imagine You resilience skills curriculum for mental health service workers, an initiative supported by a grant from the Healthcare Foundation.
Mental Health Talent Pipeline Spotlight: Catching Up with Luigi Valencia
In 2018, Luigi Valencia was a graduate student in counseling psychology at USF Santa Rosa. That year he also became the first scholarship recipient in the Healthcare Foundation’s then-new Mental Health Talent Pipeline pilot project. That support contributed to Luigi’s completion of his master’s degree as he joined SOS Community Counseling first as a student trainee and then as an associate counselor working in their youth diversion program.
Today, Luigi is the director of SOS’s Justice Programs for youth. He has also pursued his commitment to public service by becoming a Santa Rosa police officer. We were elated to have Luigi join us earlier this month at the Wetzel Awards ceremony, and are pleased to share the following recent conversation in which we catch up with the remarkable work he has been doing since becoming an MFT and our very first Mental Health Talent Pipeline scholar.
Donor Spotlight: Mark and Elizabeth Hanson of Bricoleur Vineyards
This month, we are pleased to share a conversation with the Hanson Family who own and operate the Russian River Valley’s Bricoleur Vineyards. Mark Hanson and Elizabeth Wall Hanson have been exceptional supporters of the Healthcare Foundation’s mission. Healthcare Foundation Board member Amy Hunsberger reached out to them recently to learn more about the reasons behind the stalwart support they have shown for health equity across our region.
A Year-End Giving Opportunity
Thanks to the generosity of Sharon and Robert Roper and an anonymous donor, plus Stephen Barber of Guaranteed Rate, The Frame Up and Donna and Eddie Merideth, all gifts up to $25,000 received by December 31 will be matched. Donate now and double your impact today!
The Healthcare Foundation Board and staff were saddened to learn of former board member Ross Stromberg’s passing in September. During his tenure (2016-2020), Ross provided valuable counsel as a healthcare attorney. A celebration of life hosted by his children, Kristin, Matthew, Gretchen, and Erik, was held last month at Ross’s home in Healdsburg.
We were thrilled to gather Thursday, November 3 at Dry Creek Kitchen in celebration of this year’s Wetzel Honorees Herman J. Hernandez, Wetzel Community Leadership and Bernice Espinoza, Spirit of Wetzel. Thank you for joining us in community.
Thank You to Our Wetzel Sponsors
Community Health Builder
Community Health Supporters
Costeaux French Bakery
Exchange Bank, Healdsburg
Healdsburg Running Company
Jim Silveira, Silveira Buick GMC, Healdsburg