Celebrate Our Future

This month, we introduce you to new board member Dr. Michael Valdovinos and share the latest news from Alexander Valley Healthcare.

Dear Friends,

I hope February finds you enjoying the rays of sunshine and blue sky shining through the welcome rain. Though 2021 had a challenging start, each new day brings new causes for gratitude and, yes, celebration. In 2020, Believe In Our Future was a theme that kept us going with hope during abundant challenges and months of sheltering in place. As the Healthcare Foundation approaches its 20th anniversary this year, we look forward to celebrating our future with you—a nod to our new 2021 campaign, which headlines this newsletter.

Our Valentine’s Day motto this year is: Love is getting vaccinated! To that end, we are thrilled to be helping coordinate COVID vaccine clinics, along with multiple partners and our local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), for their low-income patients and the general public (for those age-eligible and healthcare workers at this time). Below, we share more about Alexander Valley Healthcare’s vaccine clinics in Cloverdale, and will share more information on Alliance Medical Center’s upcoming vaccine clinics in Healdsburg and Windsor.

Both FQHCs anticipate continuing vaccine clinics for the next six months or more, until it is no longer necessary. We are proud to be involved in this herculean, collaborative effort. If you are interested in volunteering now or in the coming months to help with vaccine clinics, please see details below and contact Susan Schmid at sschmid@nschd.org.

Also, on February 11 at 6:30 pm, please attend our virtual PULSE ON THE VACCINE – Northern Sonoma County panel with local medical professionals and community advocates to learn up-to-the-minute logistics on where, when and how to get vaccinated, explore the topic of vaccine hesitation, and understand how our collective effort is helping to address health equity. Register here today.

Finally, we are incredibly grateful to our four new volunteer Board members for joining the Healthcare Foundation as we face the most challenging health crisis of our time. Please join me in celebrating the arrival of Francisco Lopez, Kathi Safford, Wanda Tapia, and Michael Valdovinos. Read on for more on Dr. Valdovinos, who will co-moderate our vaccine panel on February 11.

With hope, gratitude, and a commitment to celebrating what we can achieve together,

Kim Bender
Executive Director

Michael Valdovinos, PsyD, APPP

Board Certified, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Board Member, Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County

Dr. Michael Valdovinos was born and raised in Sonoma County. He is a US Air Force Veteran, board-certified clinical psychologist, and trained organizational psychologist with 12 years of broad domestic and international experience working with non-profits, the private sector, government and academia. Michael graduated from UC Davis and The School of Professional Psychology, earning a degree in Chicano studies and a masters and doctorate in clinical psychology. Michael is one of the few licensed psychologists in the county who have earned board certification in behavioral and cognitive psychology. 

As a lifelong learner, Michael continues to push himself academically and is currently a graduate student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Clinically, Michael has particular expertise in the treatment of anxiety and trauma, teaching and coaching, and building health programs that leverage technology. As a consulting organizational psychologist, Michael helps employees and organizations improve their overall workplace, including employee performance, communication and professional satisfaction. Michael remains connected to the community, volunteering in collaboration with Latinx and Indigenous community leaders  across Sonoma County to promote and improve health, and hosting a weekly, health-focused Spanish radio show on 89.1 KBBF. 

Why did you decide to join the Healthcare Foundation Board?

Being invited to join the Healthcare Foundation board is an absolute privilege. I was raised in Sonoma County, in an underserved community. As a young adult, I was often asked to help underserved families navigate health systems, including my own. In an almost serendipitous manner, I now hold the privilege as a board member to continue to advocate for and be part of such a special group that has the honor of being able to evaluate and make funding determinations for programs that serve our vulnerable and amazing communities.

What do you love about the Healthcare Foundation?

There is lots to love about being part of the Healthcare Foundation. With the support of gracious donors, I get to work with extremely talented, connected and inspiring people who care deeply about meaningful community healthcare impact.

What are you most excited about?

The Healthcare Foundation encourages and supports action and meaningful healthcare innovation. This gives me great purpose. This energy helps me intrinsically want to go above and beyond in service. I’m especially excited that mental health will continue to be a focus area for the Healthcare Foundation as our community’s mental health is as principal as physical health.

Can you give us the details on your weekly radio program?

The radio show is called “Tardes con Dr. Valdovinos,”every Tuesday at 4pm on 89.1 KBBF, which is the first bilingual radio station in the US. My show is a health and wellness radio show that airs across 18 counties in Northern California, with an average 15-18K active listener audience. Our show focuses on the healthcare pulse in our Sonoma County LatinX communities. The voices that join me on my show are diverse and include community leaders, farm workers, adolescents and young adults, physicians, Chaplins, legal experts, physician residents, community activists and Indigenous community leaders from across Sonoma County.

How are you planning to build vaccine confidence among Latinx community members who are hesitant?

We are already building out robust education campaigns on radio, which is a significant platform that LatinX community members use to get information. Another example of culturally relevant outreach ideas is a vaccine megaphone car campaign in key communities. Car megaphone campaigns are common in Latin and South America and are often the way people get mass information out in small villages and towns across Latin and South America. We are also actively working across organizations and with organizational healthcare leaders to help them refine their vaccine outreach efforts in LatinX communities. I think the important point is that we continue to keep an active presence in the LatinX community to build trust but also learn about their customs, traditions and preferences to better improve our outreach.

Thank you Dr. Valdovinos, for bringing your wisdom and expertise to this community! We look forward to working with you to bring health justice to all.

Grantee Spotlight: Alexander Valley Healthcare

Healthcare Foundation Helps Alexander Valley Healthcare Weather COVID-19 Pandemic

As we approach the one-year mark of the global COVID-19 pandemic, big changes are afoot at Alexander Valley Healthcare.

CEO Debbie Howell says the Cloverdale healthcare provider and Healthcare Foundation grantee has managed to weather the challenges of the last year with the help of dedicated people, a can-do attitude, and the ability to respond quickly to crises.

“We’re resourceful and resilient, and we have dedicated staff and dedicated community members,” she said. “This has been a difficult time, but I think we’re all starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Like most organizations in Sonoma County, Alexander Valley Healthcare (AVH) was taken by surprise last March when Sonoma County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase issued the first of a handful of shelter-in-place orders. The clinic had to close its dental department and reduce staff. By summer, Howell and her colleagues had to figure out how to reopen. Reserve funds and a grant from the Healthcare Foundation helped.

Quickly, AVH brought back some of its people, reopened the dental facility, secured necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and came up with new policies for minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19.

A new facility was part of the pandemic plan. AVH took over the former Healdsburg Hospital site in downtown Cloverdale and turned it into a same-day urgent care facility. Howell says this has enabled AVH to divide its main site to separate sick patients from those who feel fine.

It also gives AVH staffers the ability to administer COVID-19 tests without having people leave their cars. “The whole idea was to try to minimize exposure,” she said. “By taking all the COVID stuff and moving it away from everything else, it gives us the ability to mitigate the spread.”

With the new facility, AVH now has three sites:

  • A primary medical care site on the south end of Cloverdale that offers treatment for behavior health and basic medical care. This site also coordinates financial-oriented services such as sign-ups, food stamps, and prescription drug programs.
  • A secondary medical site on the north end of Cloverdale that comprises dental services and administration.
  • A third and new site in the middle of Cloverdale for COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 treatment. Some of the AVH administrative offices are in this facility as well.

Next up: Vaccine distribution.

During the last week of January, AVH set up a drive-through vaccination site at the Cloverdale train depot and managed to vaccinate 1,223 people over the course of three days. Patients who were vaccinated were healthcare workers and age-eligible North County residents. Howell said AVH will hold additional vaccination drive-through events over the course of the next few months to eventually vaccinate somewhere between 5,500 and 6,000 people.

“The sooner we do it, the sooner we all can get back to our normal lives,” she said. “It’s all based on supply we get from the county.”

The relationship between the Healthcare Foundation and AVH goes back more than 10 years. In 2020, we provided AVH two Emergency Healthcare Fund general operating grants that supported vital initiatives including the new COVID facility, high-risk patient outreach, and now vaccination efforts for their low-income patients.

According to Howell, the partnership with the Healthcare Foundation has helped AVH to grow, and likely will provide a strong foundation for additional growth in the months and years ahead.

“The Healthcare Foundation is a valuable partner for us,” she said. “I rest easier knowing we’re in this together.”


Technology-savvy administrative volunteers are needed ASAP to help schedule Healdsburg Physician Group patients 75+ for a vaccine clinic this weekend.

Volunteers will be responsible for calling and scheduling patients using an online software portal and excel spreadsheet. A script will be provided and training on the software program. Confidentially is critical and required.

If interested and available, please contact sschmid@nschd.org

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