September 2019 Newsletter


Contained in this Newsletter

Calendar of upcoming events
July and August's Distinguished Lecture Series
Our table at the Gravenstein Apple Fair
New Board Members
New Website


  • SWMF Regular Meeting, September 14, 2019; Sonoma Specialty Hospital (SSH), Conference Room, 6-8 pm.
  • Palm Drive Health Care District Board Meeting: September 9, 2019(SSH), 5:30 pm.
  • No Distinguished Lecture in September. Watch for October’s announcement.

Dear Esteemed Colleagues, Friends and Supporters of the Sonoma West Medical Foundation and of Health Care in West County:

Sonoma County is experiencing a very warm summer this year and we hope it finds you healthy and able to enjoy cool breezes nearer to the Coast. In the interests of building awareness of Health Care options and informing residents of the services available at our hospital and Urgent Care, our Foundation has been very busy with a number of fun events.

In July we participated in Sebastopol’s Sidewalk Sale with an informational table about health care options in West County. This was a collaboration by the Sonoma West Medical Foundation (SWMF), Sonoma Specialty Hospital (SSH), Progressive Urgent Care(PUC), Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHC), and Sonoma County Healing Academy (SoCoHA). You may have been among the fortunate visitors who received a complimentary blood pressure text or discussed your concerns with the medical staff from SSH and Progressive Urgent Care who were volunteering their time over the weekend. Many West County residents and visitors are still unaware of the health care options open to them here in Sebastopol.


Our July Distinguished Lecture Series hosted our own Vicchi Oleski of SoCoHA and Gayle Swift presented The Mandala of Self Care on Thursday, July 18, 2019. The talk was lively and well attended and offered valuable insights into our own role in preventing and in responding to illness and injury. Vicchi brings these insights to our Board and is working actively to integrate services around the community.


August was also a busy month. We had a delightful talk Thursday, August 15 by Dr. Elizabeth Flower on: Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine: A lifetime of Dedication. Her lengthy and diverse career was inspiring and those in attendance greatly appreciated her remarkable depth of commitment to her patients with a focus on those in rural communities, particularly here at home. She is working actively with the Foundation to realize a few personal key health care initiatives.

Later in the month SWMF, again in collaboration with PDHC, SSH and PUC participated in the weekend Gravenstein Apple Fair at Ragle Park in Sebastopol. Thousands of apple enthusiasts attend this event every year and we thoroughly enjoyed speaking with many from West County and beyond in such a festive, open-air location. Visitors were delighted to hear about the 7 day a week Urgent Care open 9 am to 9 pm that offers about 90+% of the services provided by our former Emergency Room. They were also pleased to know that a visit to Urgent Care costs a fraction of a visit to an emergency room and there is virtually no waiting. Of course if you know you are having a heart attack or stroke, you would want to call 9-1-1 and go to the nearest hospital with extended equipment and facilities. The imminent opening of Long Term Extended Care is being heralded by the other medical care facilities in the area since this service is not offered within a 75 mile radius of Sebastopol. This coupled with the on-going laboratory, 3-D mammography, x-ray services and other traditional acute care hospital offerings make SSH a desirable and convenient facility for those of us who live in West County. The really good news is that both SSH and PUC accept most insurance (including Blue Cross/Blue Shield now!) and Medicare/Medical.

Also, this summer your Board spent a Saturday undertaking Strategic Planning to help direct the future of the Foundation and to anticipate the needs of West County in the future as we move toward a greater collaboration with local preventative and responsive health care options. Some of the topics discussed included a mobile telemedicine clinic, an idea premised on our own global telemedicine with Dr. James Gude. Other ideas being discussed are exciting, such as finding ways to fund access for the under-privileged or those without insurance, providing transportation to appointments or to Urgent Care, taking services to our indigenous peoples and learning from them how to respond given their traditional ways, and others are all under discussion as we seek to expand offerings and fund raise for diverse opportunities in collaboration with other agencies in our local area.


We have some new Board members who have generously stepped forward to volunteer their efforts. Robin Birdfeather, Elisabeth Flower, and Hreith Pezzo have joined our distinguished team, bringing knowledge and experience in management, organization, health, prevention and medicine that are welcome additions to our Board. Their enthusiasm, insights and contributions at our planning session were truly invaluable.


We are excited to invite to you check out our Facebook page and our updated website at: Melissa Geissinger, a professional web developer, has done a wonderful job reformatting and upgrading our social media. While it is a work in progress, we think you will enjoy watching it evolve.


WE ALWAYS WELCOME YOUR SUPPORT: Should you want to support–or continue to support–our Distinguished Lecture Series and other tireless efforts on behalf of Health Care in West County, you can offer your tax deductible donation on our website.

We will be taking a partial hiatus in September as we undergo a transition, which will include postponing our Distinguished Lecture Series until October. We expect to be back with renewed energy in October and hope you will all enjoy a safe and restorative Labor Day weekend.

Wishing you good health,

Susan Moulton, President

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