April is National Stress Awareness Month. If you’re like me, your first response to hearing that might be a nervous laugh—as if we needed to be reminded about stress! But because stress is something we all relate to and feel at times, we can easily normalize it. And we shouldn’t. While stress serves a beneficial function as a motivator in the face of danger, prolonged or chronic stress can undermine our mental and physical health.
Fortunately, there are things each of us can do to reduce and manage stress, including the proven practices listed here. In general, addressing stress starts by being aware, by paying attention to what our body is telling us. Just as important is resisting stigma around the subject of mental health, and seeking help when we need it.
Part of good health, and good healthcare, is talking openly and honestly about what is affecting us and what we are going through. That is illustrated beautifully by an article we offer you this month detailing a new program at Alliance Medical Center to better support parents experiencing the peripartum loss of a child. The initiative is being made possible by the generous support and vision of a Healdsburg couple, Josh and Lindsay Hall, and takes the form of a grant, issued by the Healthcare Foundation, that will fund key training for nurses and specially designed loss care kits for parents.
The generosity behind this new program, which we hope will find ongoing support after its initial launch, resonates so strongly with the Healthcare Foundation’s values of community, compassion and equity that we wanted to devote this month’s newsletter to uplifting local generosity as a part of what makes our region so resilient and dynamic. To this end, you can also read below about Erika and Ross Dawkins, two of our wonderful Healthcare Heroes. Erika is also a longtime volunteer with us, and we couldn’t be more grateful for her passion and expertise.
As National Stress Awareness Month makes clear, it’s important in these challenging times to be generous to ourselves, too, and practice selfcare through downtime, recreation, and the activities that bring us joy. Now that spring is here, I hope you’re finding ways to enjoy all that our region offers us in that department.
With great appreciation,
Board of Directors
Community Partner Spotlight
A Generous Gift Launches a New Perinatal Bereavement Program for Parents at Alliance Medical Center
This year Alliance Medical Center will start a new perinatal bereavement program designed to strengthen compassionate communication, assistance and care for parents experiencing the tragedy of perinatal loss. The program, which is being launched by a Healthcare Foundation grant underwritten by Josh and Lindsay Hall, will do this by providing tailored aid and services for parents as well as training and other resources for clinicians.
Perinatal loss, which can include miscarriage as well as stillbirth or the death of an infant within the first year, is a devastating event for parents and family members. It is also a subject our society tends to repress, leaving many unsure how best to support individuals grieving such a loss. This is reflected in our systems of care, which can be lacking in tools and training to address its immediate aftermath.
“As healthcare providers, we do not always feel well-resourced to know how best to support our families through loss and grief,” says Alliance CEO Sue Labbe, explaining the new effort. “Providing our staff with the tools to engage in empathetic communication to our families through these difficult times will support their journey towards healing and resiliency.”
Healthcare Heroes: Erika and Ross Dawkins
We are pleased to share the following conversation with two stalwart supporters of our mission, Erika and Ross Dawkins. In addition to Erika’s extensive volunteering with the Healthcare Foundation, both she and Ross are among our latest Healthcare Heroes. Healthcare Heroes are donors who make sustaining multi-year pledges to support our vision of eliminating health inequities in northern Sonoma County.
Erika, owner-founder of Bon Ton Studio and Bon Ton Baby, and the child of parents originally from the Bay Area, has lived in Healdsburg nearly all her life. Ross, after graduating university, came to Healdsburg directly from South Africa to launch his career in winemaking. Beginning their life together, Erika and Ross relocated for a job in Australia for six years, before coming back to Healdsburg to be closer to family and raise their own children.
Recently, Ross and Erika kindly responded to three questions we asked about their connection to the Healthcare Foundation’s mission and the region we serve.
“Our marquee event, Noche de Amor, is quickly becoming a standout occasion in northern Sonoma County to celebrate and uplift community wellbeing. I can’t wait to come together for this festive signature event to toast the positive impacts you all help make possible! Please consider joining Ronald and me in supporting the Foundation, Noche, and the essential programs we’re funding today and tomorrow.”
Courtney Cochran, Board Chair
NOCHE DE AMOR NEEDS YOU!
VOLUNTEER WITH US
Noche de Amor is a community celebration and a community effort! Please join us as a volunteer for Noche de Amor on June 3, 2023. We have multiple shifts and volunteer opportunities available during the 6:00-10:00 PM event. Volunteers should be 18 or older, enjoy working with the public, and take directions well.😊 We’ll provide orientation and training before the event—then, after your shift is complete, stay and enjoy our feature artist La Doña! If you or your company are interested in volunteering, contact Development Director Mary Ott at email@example.com.
Volunteer Positions Open:
- Event Check-in (2 needed)
- Parking Attendant (2 needed)
- Photo wrangler (1 needed)
- Bar Back, 21+ only (3 needed)
- Fund-a-Need Spotter (4 needed)
Your legacy gift can be one of the easiest and most thoughtful ways to leave a lasting tribute to your belief in equitable access to physical and mental health in northern Sonoma County. One of the simplest ways to make a legacy gift to the Healthcare Foundation is to name the Foundation as a beneficiary of your estate through a will or a trust. To LEARN MORE or if you are considering leaving a legacy gift to the Healthcare Foundation, we invite you to contact Development Director Mary Ott at 707-395-4928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to recognizing you as one of our Legacy Circle Donors. As an added incentive, a generous anonymous donor will contribute $5,000 for new or newly disclosed commitments to the Legacy Circle in 2023.