Fall-Winter 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Supporters of the Sonoma West Medical Foundation,

We know you have missed our regular informational Newsletters and have appreciated our monthly Distinguished Guest Lecture Series, news of the Hospital Auxiliary, our Golf Tournament and parade floats, plus the many other activities we have traditionally provided for West County. In response to the global pandemic, like so many other non-profits and businesses the Sonoma West Medical Foundation needed to remain dormant until live events were once again possible. However, despite being in hiatus, our dedicated board and generous volunteers have continued planning and organizing in anticipation of a normalized future. We continue our decades-long commitment to supporting West County on health-related issues.  We hope that you will join us during the coming months as we put some of our newly developed strategic planning into action for the benefit of West County residents, businesses and visitors.  If you have expertise, time or resources to share please join us in building a responsive medical service infrastructure in West County. Our Board generally meets the first Tuesday of the month from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at 285 N. Main Street, Sebastopol.

 OFFICE NEWS

In an ongoing effort to reduce our overhead costs and respond to the closing of some office spaces, the SWMF Office has moved three times in the past two years. We are now housed in the Better Homes and Garden Office at 285 N. Main Street in Sebastopol. Thanks to Board member Randy Coffman for providing the space and to Susan Moulton, Vicchi Oleski, Joan Marler and assorted volunteers for their heavy lifting in doing the actual moves.  Our more permanent mailing address is P.O. Box 2225, Sebastopol, CA 95473 and our office phone number remains the same: (707) 703-7664 as does our email: SonomaWestFoundation.org or info@SonomaWestFoundation.org. 

Mariah Bernal continues to serve as our bookkeeper, keeping the foundation running during its dormancy with care and attention to detail.  We are extremely grateful for her continued efforts keeping our accounts in order and managing our insurance and taxes and other day-to-day accounting needs. She has helped us maintain continuity and financial stability.

Thank you and good luck in her new job to our former Office Administrator Alondra Gutting who took over last summer after our year and a half hiatus.  Recently returning to Sonoma County from the East Bay, Alondra brought a technical project management background, after studying History at U.C. Berkeley, and was key to keeping our website and daily office needs in order enabling us to move forward with our plans. She will be missed and hard to replace.  If you have office or web skills or know someone interested in a part-time office assistant job, please let us know. 

BOARD NEWS

A heartfelt thanks to Susan Moulton and Joan Marler, former President and Vice President of the Foundation for the past 4 years.  They have managed to keep the foundation running despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the transition of our local hospital from public to private ownership. Their leadership is greatly appreciated, and we thank them for their dedicated service. They were able to oversee our scaled-back operations, secure donations and cut office costs, enabling us to provide minimal functioning during the time we were forced to be dormant.  They are succeeded by Dennis Colthurst as the new President, and Gail Thomas as the new Vice President with Eira Klick-Heartt serving as Secretary/Treasurer. Both Dennis and Gail are long-time members of the Foundation and residents of West County and all three new officers previously served on the Palm Drive Health Care District Board. They are very familiar with West County medical care needs and issues and bring years of leadership in this field to the Board. We also welcome additional new Board members: Natalie McNamara and Randy Coffman. Please join us in celebrating our leadership and the infusion of new member energy on our Board, knowing it will help us to provide new avenues of medical care activity in West County on your behalf.

WHAT’S NEW IN WEST COUNTY?

SWMF has functioned as a support for a variety of medical options in West County over the years, including the need for access to Urgent Care. We are happy to announce that on August 23, SWMF Board Member, Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Flower and her colleague, Dr. Kathleen Whisman opened West Sonoma County’s premier independent Urgent Care filling the considerable vacuum created when the Sonoma West Medical Center Emergency Room and subsequent Progressive Urgent Care were shut down.  Drs. Flower and Whisman now provide a host of services including Rapid COVID-19 testing (important for knowing our family holiday gatherings will be COVID-19 free), as well as treating injuries, illnesses, and providing family medical care.  In addition to their Urgent Care office, they offer concierge care services which allow them to spend additional time with their patients.  Their goal is to provide quality, local personal, compassionate medical care to West County where they both live.  To meet unexpected emergencies and to make themselves available for their patients, their office is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and most holidays and they also do telemedicine. Contact them at www.sebastopoluc.com or by phone at (707) 509-5961. They accept most health insurance plans and encourage you to call or stop by their new facility, the former offices of Dr. Bollinger just north of the hospital. Their Grand Opening was this last August and they were joined by Foundation members in the September 18 Apple Blossom Parade to highlight the new presence of same-day medical services in our community.  Sebastopol and West County are grateful to have the Urgent Care now available in addition to existing health care clinics in our area. For a recent review of their services see sonomaindependent.org (“New Sebastopol Urgent Care Facility Opens at 555 Petaluma Avenue”).

MOVING AHEAD

As we adjust to challenging health issues as well as new leadership and staff, the future of the Foundation continues to evolve to accommodate changing times and medical needs in West County.  Recent strategic planning sessions have resulted in a host of new ideas for how best the Foundation might support both ongoing and emerging health care issues.  These include finding ways to bring new family practice physicians to our area; supporting uninsured and underinsured seniors; supporting health care advice and counseling for teens, seniors and families; collaborating to support medical and dental assistance for our agricultural workers; continuing our past popular lecture series on-line; collaborating with other health care related agencies on mutual projects; creating an informational on-line medical resource data base, and more.  Much work needs to be done, but the Foundation is committed and enthusiastic about moving forward. As we move into a Holiday Season and New Year with a focus on Fund Raising for critical needs in West County we hope you will join us in this effort by contributing your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and donating your time and resources. 

FINAL THOUGHTS – WE WELCOME YOUR SUPPORT

Emerging from our hiatus and moving forward, your involvement means more than ever.  If you would like to support our Foundation financially with a tax-deductible donation, you can do it on line at sonomawestfoundation.org or send us a check via USPS mail at P.O. Box 2225, Sebastopol, CA 95473.  For general information contact us at  info@sonomawestfoundation.org , or you can call our office at 707-703-7664.  We would love to hear from you!

Wishing you good health and all good wishes for

a safe and joyful holiday season.

Sonoma West Medical Foundation Board

Supporting Access to Local Health Care for you

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