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The original location for one of the fastest-growing community health centers in Santa Rosa recently expanded yet again.

Southwest, part of what is now known as the coalition Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, began treating members of its  increasingly expanding patient base at a new 3,340-square-foot section of the flagship Lombardi Court clinic in April. The expanded wing of the health center that is second only to Kaiser Permanente in primary care in Santa Rosa will serve an additional 5,000 visitors a year.

The expansion, which was funded with $500,000 from federal stimulus money, includes an addition of seven primary care exam rooms and two behavioral-health offices. It will also enable the center to increase its yearly patient capacity by 50 percent to 15,000 patients, according to Cindy Dickenson, chief of clinical services at Southwest.

“We're going to meet a huge need in the community,” Ms. Dickenson said. Three new physicians will be hired to work in the new space, along with support staff, the center said.

In addition to Southwest, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers has six other locations throughout Santa Rosa, serving a total of 25,000 patients a year and has grown by 20 percent to 30 percent every year for the past eight years.

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Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa was recently ranked in the 90th percentile, or top 10 percent, of all U.S. hospitals in numerous categories. The hospital scored 95 percent or better in four areas – heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

The ranking came from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sutter of Santa Rosa also earned the Certificate of Excellence by the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce – one of only 40 in the state to receive the award. The recognition from CHART, a third-party consumer reporting agency, awards hospitals with above average or superior scores in measurement areas.

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Healthy Kids Sonoma County, a program that enrolls children into public health programs, recently received numerous contributions from the area’s major hospitals, according to Pedro Toledo, director of government and community relations for Redwood Community Health Coalition and the Healthy Kids program.

St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County contributed $33,500, Kaiser Permanente contributed $40,000, Sutter Medical Foundation committed $25,000 and United Way has raised more than $25,000 from sponsorships for Redwood’s annual golf tournament.

The health coalition’s health centers have invested more than $5 million in the Healthy Kids program, which has enrolled more than 25,000 children and families into public health coverage a year, Mr. Toledo said.

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Kaiser Permanente was recently recognized by Breathe California for efforts to reduce carbon emissions and global warming, earning the Clean Air Award in San Francisco last month.

Kaiser’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint includes the Sustainable Energy Strategy, which attempts to reduce energy for demand, increase the use of renewable-energy sources while limiting air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year, the energy strategy was started with an initial investment of $2.4 million to go toward energy deficient areas such as lighting and window film installations.  Improvements in these areas are expected to save more than $1.2 million in annual energy costs. Kaiser also announced it will deploy 15 megawatts of solar power, which will implement solar systems at 15 facilities throughout the state by summer of 2011.

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The Calistoga Institute will present its inaugural symposium on heart health entitled “The Surprising New Science on Heart Health” starting May 14 through May 16.

The symposium will explore “new paradigms that promise to revolutionize the culture and practice of heart health in America,” the institute said in announcing the long-planned event.

The symposium, which will be held at the Mayacamas Ranch, will feature a gathering of physicians from an array of fields to explore the following topics: anatomy and physiology; the heart and emotional life; diet; exercise and sexuality; lifestyle and social factors; and touch, breath and psyche.

More information, including registration details and presenters, can be found at www.calistogainstitute.org.

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Sonoma Valley Hospital recently brought on two new surgeons – Dr. Brian Freeto, who is a member of Napa Valley Orthopedics and who opened a Sonoma practice in March, and Dr. Mike Brown, a joint replacement specialist.

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Submit items for this column to Dan Verel at dverel@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4257 or fax 707-521-5292.