Celebrate New Directions

This month, read about the Healthcare Foundation's new strategic plan, learn about critical disparities in mental health services to the Latinx community, and meet our latest Mental Health Talent Pipeline awardee.

Kim Bender, Executive Director
Kim Bender, Executive Director

Dear Friends,

The love and respect we at Healthcare Foundation have for our Latinx community is deeply interwoven into all we do, all year long.

As we acknowledge Latinx Heritage Month (Sep 15 – Oct 15), we take great pleasure in the opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for our Latinx familia, colleagues, neighbors, and friends. Northern Sonoma County benefits from a beautifully rich and diverse cultural landscape of which our Latinx community is a large and vital part.

On this occasion, we’re pleased to share some timely reflections from Healthcare Foundation Board member Dr. Michael Valdovinos, who speaks to the importance of our focus on accessible and culturally competent mental health services for our region, as well as to the wellsprings of resilience and pride in northern Sonoma County’s Latinx communities.

We also take this opportunity to highlight another of our remarkable Mental Health Talent Pipeline scholarship awardees, Cesia Jovel, a Salvadoran-born Sonoma County resident and third-year graduate student pursuing her MFT. Cesia shares her experience and on-the-ground perspective from her traineeship year at Side By Side, where she is delivering crucial (and still too rare) bilingual and bicultural mental health support to children, youth and young adults.

In celebrating new directions, such as the trails blazed by young local talent such as Cesia, we are also thinking about the horizon we are striving toward. Below, our Board member and Strategic Planning Committee Chair Jean Lalla sums this up beautifully in her introduction to Healthcare Foundation’s new strategic plan, whose North Star is nothing less than the elimination of health inequities in our region.

Finally, we also celebrate the hard work and persistence that goes into keeping on the right path. As of today, 77% of eligible Sonoma County residents are vaccinated. The effort to reach our most vulnerable and isolated residents with vaccine outreach continues, and to that end, I am thrilled to announce that the Healthcare Foundation has recently partnered to channel vital resources to this broad grassroots effort. You can read more below about how we’re doing that.

A lot to celebrate! And it wouldn’t be possible without your steadfast support for our work, the work of our partners and grantees, and our shared regard for that horizon of health and wellness for all. Thank you for all you do to keep our beloved region healthy, strong, and on the right path.

Kim Bender
Executive Director

Introducing Healthcare Foundation’s New Strategic Plan

By Jean Lalla
Chair of Strategic Planning Committee

Since the beginning of the ’20s decade, we’ve been inundated with change and turmoil – COVID, social injustice, and political disruptions have fundamentally changed how we live our lives. Although change can be hard, it does allow for us to reflect, review, and adjust how to move forward being the best version of ourselves and our community. This conscious view toward improvement and advancement is reflected in the Healthcare Foundation’s new strategic plan.

Read More

Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month by Understanding the Critical Disparities in Mental Health

By Malinalli López and Dr. Michael Valdovinos

Each year, Americans in the U.S. observe National Latinx Heritage Month, also known as  Latino or Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15 to October 15. The celebration of cultures from the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America honors the histories and cultural contributions of those whose ancestors and families are from these rich and culturally diverse regions.

September 15 is important because it is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

Yet even as the celebrations are a way to honor and remember the contributions of our Latinx communities and ancestors, our country’s largest ethnic/racial minority group continues to suffer many disparities in health, including barriers to accessing mental health services.

Read More

Bridging the Gap in Bilingual/Bicultural Mental Health Services

Cesia Jovel

A Conversation with Mental Health Talent Pipeline Scholarship Awardee Cesia Jovel

Cesia Jovel is in her third year in University of San Francisco’s masters program in counseling psychology. As a bilingual and bicultural resident of Sonoma County who is pursuing a career in mental health, with the intention of serving her local Latinx community, Cesia applied for and received a scholarship through Healthcare Foundation’s Mental Health Talent Pipeline Project to help support her studies and training.

With the first two years of class work now behind her, Cesia is currently spending her final practicum year working at Side By Side, the San Anselmo-based nonprofit serving young people impacted by adversity with a diverse range of programs. She is one of three mental health therapist trainees in the organization’s Santa Rosa office.

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the strain on mental health and wellbeing for many young people today, and the need for therapists with the linguistic fluency and cultural competency to work with and relate to both monolingual and bilingual members of the Latinx community has never been more apparent.

Read More

A Shot in the Arm

New Grants Supporting the Grassroots Vaccination Effort in Sonoma County

We are excited to announce that the Healthcare Foundation in partnership with Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) will be distributing a total of $354,000 to support vaccination efforts in northern Sonoma County.

The PHC grant, secured in September and managed by the Healthcare Foundation, will provide $204,000 to support the ongoing efforts of 12 community-based organizations in our county who are reaching out to some of the most vulnerable and isolated members of our region, especially in our Latinx communities.

Read More

Staff News: Promotions!

We are very pleased to announce the following promotions for two members of our dedicated staff—titles and added responsibilities that reflect the exceptional work, experience, and cross-training of our wonderful colleagues as well as the evolving needs of the Healthcare Foundation.

Mary Ott is now Development Director, a title that recognizes her extensive experience and achievements at the Healthcare Foundation. Mary’s organizational expertise and thoughtful collaboration with our donors have been instrumental in our success over the last year and more. Her expanded role in fundraising will help power Healthcare Foundation’s program development.

Hanna Scramaglia is now Operations and Program Manager. Hanna’s astute systems-thinking and attention to detail in maintaining organizational integrity have been vital to Healthcare Foundation’s continued, well-run operations. Hanna will continue her responsibilities on the operations side, while also becoming the main point of contact for current and future grantees, strengthening communication and improving coordination while nurturing our network of community partners.

We thank Mary and Hanna for their outstanding work and for being such stellar colleagues.

Congratulations Mary and Hanna!


2021 Wetzel Awards
Tuesday  |  December 7th

Join us via Zoom in honoring this year’s recipients of the
Wetzel Community Leadership Award and the Spirit of Wetzel Award.

Community.  Compassion.  Equity.

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