The Northern California Center for Well-Being, along with the Northern California Medical Associates, today celebrated the 20th anniversary of the HeartWorks Fitness Center, a cardiovascular rehabilitation program.

The Center for Well-Being, which focuses on wellness and preventative care, and NCMA, a practice of cardiologists, have collaborated on the program made possible by ongoing support from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa for the past 20 years.

According to the Center for Well-Being, the program is one of only two such rehab programs north of the Golden Gate Bridge that provides a heart-monitored guided exercise program with diet plans developed for individual patients – known as phase II – and a phase III supervised exercise program.

About 6 percent of Sonoma County residents have heart disease, according to county Health and Human Services.

“HeartWorks is a beautiful example of local health care providers coming together with a shared vision for providing state of the art cardiac care,” said Alena Wall, executive director of the Center for Well-Being.

Norman Shore, imaging director for St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County and director of Memorial’s Heart and Vascular Institute, said HeartWorks has a proven record in helping patients who’ve had a serious cardiac event transition back to a healthier lifestyle. It’s something he himself can testify to.

“I had triple bypass surgery in July of last year, and I was referred to HeartWorks as a patient because there is an extraordinarily high percentage of patients who do well with exercise.”

The program, he added, has helped him get in the best physical shape he’s been in for 25 years. “It’s near and dear to my heart,” he said. “No pun intended.”


Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has completed a $444,000 renovation of its Family Birthing Center, as the hospital seeks to provide additional services for expectant mothers.

Upgrades to the 14,000-square-foot wing included the remodeling of five pre-existing rooms and the conversion of five double rooms to private rooms for mothers and families of newborns.

The hospital typically has between 80 to 100 deliveries a month, with many mothers coming from beyond Sonoma County fo the hospital's "continuum of care,” said Sharon McKenzie, perinatal nurse educator and manager at Memorial.

“There are supports here that aren’t available elsewhere,” Ms. McKenzie said, including a neonatal intensive care unit and two operating rooms, should the need for surgery arise.


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Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation has appointed Surani Kwan of Santa Rosa as its new executive director of operations for the foundation’s North Division.

Ms. Kwan, who began her new role on July 11, is responsible for overseeing operations as staff at care centers in Sonoma and Lake counties for the foundation, part of the Sutter Health network. Ms. Kwan has worked for Sutter Health for the past 19 years, most recently as patient care director at Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa.

In her new role at the 240+ physician network, which provides primary and specialty care throughout San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Lake counties, she will report to Interim Chief Operations Officer John Ray.

“Ms. Kwan has an impressive background and experience as a clinical leader,” said Mike Cohill, chief executive officer of the foundation. “She will bring depth and expertise to this new position. An important part of her role will be to work closely with Sutter Health leadership and Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa to build an integrated network of care in the North Bay.”

Ms. Kwan holds a master’s in nursing from Sonoma State University and is a California-licensed family nurse practitioner and public health nurse. She also sits on the on the board of directors and serves as president of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners.


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Andrew Russell, a physical therapist with advanced training in outpatient rehabilitation, has been promoted to director of rehabilitation at West County Hand & Physical Therapy, a division of Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol. He is a graduate of UC San Diego and obtained a Master’s in physical therapy at CSU Fresno. He interned at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto and was mostly recently a staff physical therapist at Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center in Oakland. He has been at West County Hand & Physical Therapy since January 2010 and replaces Ina Fitzgibbon.


Healdsburg District Hospital was awarded the Avatar International Exceeding Patient Expectations award for the third consecutive year, the hospital announced. Avatar, a research and consulting company firm based in Orlando, Fla., found that 91 percent of Healdsburg patients surveyed would return to the hospital for future care, and more than 92 percent said they would recommend the hospital to others. The findings put Healdsburg in the top three percent of 350 U.S. hospitals that were part of Avatar’s survey, specifically for services such as inpatient care, ambulatory services and emergency department care.

“We are proud of this fantastic team effort and encourage residents of northern Sonoma County to think locally for quality, accessible health care,” said Evan Rayner, chief executive officer of the hospital.


A flurry of activity is underway at the site of Sutter Health’s forthcoming $284 million hospital just north of Santa Rosa.

Phase two of surcharge and site grading work is expected to be completed by the end of July. The soil from the surcharging, which will help the new hospital be seismically sound, will be spread around the site, next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, and used to bring up the parking lot grade.

Sewer, water and storm drains are being installed and will be completed by the end of October, 2011.

And work is also under way on digging the trench for all PG&E, AT&T and Comcast wires. Overhead power will be intercepted near the Redwood Highway and East Fulton Road and will be placed in the trench. Once the work on the trench is complete by the end of October, the existing overhead utility poles will be removed.

Initial improvement work in Mark West Springs Road will begin in August, including utilities that cross the road as well as widening the road. Final work is being done on storm drainage detention basins in front of the Wells Fargo Center and the south triangle parking lot is 75 percent complete and will be finished by the beginning of September.

Lastly, the first phase of work on the main entrance has started. It consists of building two new additional lanes east of the current main entry road and the second phase will be building up the center divider. The third and final phase will consist of widening the existing east two lanes, which is expected to be finished by the end of October.


Novato-based BioMarin  Pharmaceutical announced the initiation of a Phase 1 trial for BMN 673, a poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitor (PARP), for the treatment of patients with advanced hematological malignancies. A Phase ½ trial for BMN 673 for the treatment of patients with solid tumors was initiated in January 2011 and is ongoing.

“We are excited to be at the forefront of studying the  potential benefit of PARP inhibitors in hematological malignancies,” said Hank Fuchs, chief medical officer of BioMarin (Nasdaq: BMRN).

The trial is a two-arm, open-label does escalation study to determine the maximum tolerated doses with once-daily, oral BMN 673 in patient with acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastice syndrome (MDS), chronic lymphocytic leukemia or mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). The study will enroll approximately 80 patients across the U.S. and UK.