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SONOMA COUNTY -- St. Joseph Health System announced that seven physicians recently joined the Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County, bringing the total number of physicians in the foundation that contract with Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals to 43.

The physicians range is specialties from primary care to psychiatry to general and trauma surgery, and include several longtime Sonoma County providers as well as recruits from beyond the area, according to the health system, which founded the medical group in 2008.  The health system has since invested significant resources into the foundation, a theme seen throughout the industry as hospitals and health providers look to secure physicians in lieu of anticipated shortages and federal health care reform.

Annadel  President Dr. David Smith said the latest influx of physicians will benefit local patients while enhancing the organization’s ability to integrate multi-disciplinary care throughout Sonoma County and the region.

“It’s exciting for the Annadel group to add respected, experienced physicians who are well known to people in our communities along with these new physicians who, by relocating here, will expand patients’ access and choices in both primary and specialty care,” Dr. Smith said.

This recent infusion is the second such addition of seven physicians to the group in the past two years.  The new doctors, who will begin seeing patients in January and February, include:

 -- Nicholas Strange, a family medicine physician, who will join two veteran Petaluma primary care physicians – Paul Umino and David Sisler, formerly partners in the El Rose Medical Group – thereby expanding family practice availability in Petaluma. Dr. Strange is completing a three-year residency in family medicine at Aultman Hospital, an 814-bed hospital in Canton, Ohio.

 -- Mounir Belcadi, a psychiatrist, who for five years has served as medical director of North Bay Psychiatric Associates in Santa Rosa. Dr. Belcadi’s expertise include care of patients with attention deficit disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions.

 -- Jon Jackson, a psychiatrist, who has been a private practitioner of outpatient psychiatry with North Bay Psychiatric Associates since 2010. Dr. Jackson chairs the Numina Center for Spirituality & the Arts in Santa Rosa and formerly served as chief of inpatient psychiatry at St. Helena Hospital and with Sonoma County Mental Health.

 -- Elpidio Mariano, a general surgeon of Petaluma, who has been in private practice for 28 years. Dr. Mariano has served three terms as chairman of the Department of Surgery at Petaluma Valley Hospital.

-- Cesar  Veluz, a thoracic, vascular and general surgeon of Petaluma, who has been in private practice since 1979. Dr. Veluz has served multiple terms presiding over the Petaluma Valley Hospital medical staff and as chief of general surgery at the hospital.

 -- Melissa Strange, a pediatric hospitalist, will join the pediatric hospitalist team at Santa Rosa Memorial in early February. She recently concluded a general pediatric residency at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and earned her degree at the Des Moines University Medical School in Iowa. 

 -- David Russell, a trauma surgeon, joined the Level II Regional Trauma team at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in September after finishing a fellowship in surgical critical care at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Annadel President Dr. Smith said the expansion of Dr Belcardi's and Dr. Jackson's roles providing inpatient psychiatry was of particular importance, given the gaps Sonoma County has endured in the availability of psychiatric care. After joining Annadel, the psychiatrists will provide outpatient services in Petaluma at one of the group’s existing offices on West El Rose Drive.

“Their expertise will broaden our impact in meeting mental health needs for inpatients who are acutely ill or dealing with chronic disease, complementing the outpatient work these doctors and St. Joseph Health System’s own Outpatient Behavioral Health Services team have been doing in the community for years,” Dr. Smith said.

Annadel Medical Group is the local physician organization that partners with the St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare medical practice foundation and St. Joseph Health System.