1179 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma 94954; 707-559-7575; phealthcenter.org
Professional background: Hospital administrator, strategic planning consultant, community health center administrator
Education: Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology (community health and healing traditions around the world), Master’s degree in Health Care Administration
Staff size: 170 employees
Describe your organization
The Petaluma Health Center provides high quality basic health care services to everyone who needs it in our community. We remove barriers to care, such as financial barriers, with our sliding fee scales, as well as cultural and linguistic barriers with our many bilingual and bi-cultural staff. We have 35+ medical, ob/gyn, dental, mental and behavioral health providers; including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, nutritionists and health educators. More than 18,000 patients come through our doors each year. We do an amazing job with treating and slowing down the development of chronic diseases, we are now focusing even more on preventing disease, and keeping people healthy and well. We have found that helping people effectively deal with the stress in their lives has a major impact on their physical health outcomes. We often use a very successful “integrative” medicine approach to our patients, incorporating some alternative medical practices with “western medicine.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I grew up in a bustling family of 7, with 3 brothers and a sister, in Rochester, N.Y. My mother was a teacher who stayed home and raised us until most of us graduated from college. My father was a corporate executive. I learned compassion from mom, and business from dad. I wished for world peace when I blew out the candles on my 16th birthday cake. I have always been adventurous, and actually flew off by myself to Ecuador during a summer in college to immerse myself in another culture. I always dreamed of living in foreign lands and have spent significant time all around the world. I have two sons, 21 and 26, who live with me here in Petaluma. I learn as much from them as I teach. I try to be a good role model by living what I believe in. I believe in people, and that we need to live our lives the way we want the world to be. I believe we are responsible for making ourselves happy and successful and that what we believe becomes our reality.
I believe in participatory leadership and the value of diversity of opinion as foundations for any organization to be successful. I believe in hiring and surrounding myself with people who are smarter than I am, and then letting them be creative and achieve the goals on which we collectively agree.
What is your role in the organization?
My role is to inspire, support and lead an amazing team of health care professionals, staff and volunteers to deliver high quality primary health care and wellness, dental and mental health care services to everyone who needs them in our community.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Helping our organization become one of the finest and most highly respected and innovative community health centers in the country, while at the same time, funding, building and moving into our new 53,000 square foot building in Petaluma.
What is your biggest challenge today?