VMC Physicians honored for philanthropic efforts

P&P2014The VMC Foundation was delighted to honor three physicians for outstanding contributions to philanthropy at the 2nd Annual VMC Foundation Physicians and Philanthropy Awards, held on Tuesday, October 21.

The awards are named for Dr. Robert Violante, the former Chief of Emergency Medicine at VMC, and founding member of the VMC Foundation Board of Directors.

The awards recognize physicians who have gone above and beyond to support and enhance the work of the VMC Foundation, either through their personal giving, fundraising support and programmatic partnership.

The 2014 recipients are as follows –

  • Jim Byrne, M.D., Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Kazuko Shem, M.D., Chief of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinic
  • Phuong Nguyen, M.D., Chief of Gynecology, President of the Medical Staff

Below are highlights from remarks by VMC Foundation Chris Wilder from the awards ceremony.

On Jim Byrne
[quote]For our first recipient, I’d like to recognize someone who has become known as one of our most entrepreneurial partners. My first opportunity to work with this physician occurred many years ago, when he had an idea for a mobile clinic that would bring ultrasound services to pregnant women who live far from our healthcare facilities. I arranged a meeting with one of our most diligent and rigorous individual donors, Dr. TJ Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor, who proceeded to grill this physician about the practicality of his idea and the impact it could have. Well, this physician knocked it out of the park… he made a compelling case, and as a result, we were able to put the Cypress Maternal Outreach Van on the road later that year. [/quote]

On Kazuko Shem
[quote]This physician recently partnered with the VMC Foundation to cultivate a brand new foundation donor, first seeking a small seed grant to pilot a telemedicine program, and then receiving an invitation from the foundation to apply for a multi-year grant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to expand the program. She has led the grant process with grace and patience, giving so much of her time and energy to launching the program, and it has been our pleasure to partner with her in this effort which offers an exciting new element of care for discharged rehab patients. Plus, she has been a long-time donor to the VMC Foundation. [/quote]

On Phuong Nguyen
[quote]I feel compelled to mention that this physician has a long history of extremely generous personal donations to the VMC Foundation. She was one of the very first physicians to sign up as a donor with our Give a Booster Shot campaign and she is one of our top physician contributors to date. But beyond her personal donations, this physician stuns us by leading her department at VMC to nearly 100% participation in annual donations to the VMC Foundation. She is consistently our champion and cheerleader, both inside VMC and within the community. [/quote]


Former NFL’er, now Sheriff’s Deputy is inspiration behind “Heroes Run”

Jeremy Jones

Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Jones was the inspiration and key organizer for the Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP.

The 2nd Annual Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP is just weeks away (Saturday, November 8th to be exact – buy tickets here).  The inaugural 2013 event both delighted and inspired participants with hilarious costumes, lots of adorable kids and a great cause. The 2014 edition brings a new and better venue in Cupertino, a fantastic presenting sponsor (thanks SAP!) and (hopefully) many many funds raised to benefit VMC Pediatrics.

The event is the brainchild of  Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Jones.  He first approached the VMC Foundation in the summer of 2013 with an idea to organize a charity run to benefit VMC.  He had already received the support of Sheriff Laurie Smith, and pledged that the entire department would help with the effort.

Jones came with an impressive back-story.  A local football star, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills out of the University of Texas at El Paso.  When a career in football ended, he went back to college with aim of a career in law enforcement. He brought with him a strong ethic of public service, and a particular commitment to helping kids.  After becoming a Deputy, it did not take long for him to learn about how important VMC is to the kids of this community.

He wrote:

I  had responded to a call that involved a mother and small child. The mother was suffering from a mental illness while caring for her nine-month-old son. Due to her illness her son was lacking the proper care needed and was admitted to Valley Medical Center. I was the deputy chosen to chaperon the child while in the hospital. As hours passed and I held this little boy and became emotionally attached. During this time I spoke with the staff at Valley Medical Center and learned that they are one of the largest pediatric centers in California.  So I visited the unit and had the pleasure of meeting several children with injuries like a broken bone  or severe burn. Regardless of their situation, a smile shined from each child’s face. As I went room to room, I liked to ask the question, “Who is your hero?” One child’s response, “Cops and firefighters because you keep us safe and drive cool cars.” While replaying each child’s response in my head, I realized that these children are the true heroes. Each experience I encountered has left a lasting impression in my life and a passion to help children. That’s what inspired me to create the Heroes Run.” 

To learn more about the Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP, click here


VMC Foundation helping to close the “word gap”

Reach out and read

U.S. Congressman Mike Honda reads to children at a VMC clinic in San Jose.

This week, Hillary Clinton was in California to issue a challenge: We must end the “word gap!” We all know that low-income children are exposed to less reading material – which means fewer books and fewer words – than kids in more affluent families. This can leave a lasting deficit that extends far beyond a child’s first few years. As Clinton framed it, “The word gap leads to an achievement gap and has lifelong consequences.”

Solving this problem is harder than you might think, given that children develop letter and word recognition long before they typically enter the school system. We’re proud to be part of the solution. The VMC Foundation’s Reach Out and Read program provides free developmentally appropriate books to every child ages 0-5 at their medical check-ups, and physicians stress the importance of at-home reading to parents during the medical visit.

This year, the VMC Foundation’s Reach Out and Read program is on track to provide over 35,000 FREE BOOKS to children during their well child check-ups at the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System. That is the highest number of books ever given away since we launched the program in 2004.

We’re helping close the “word gap” one child at a time, and you can help! Please consider making a contribution to our Reach Out and Read program here: https://ssl.charityweb.net/vmcfoundation/ReachOutAndRead.htm

From Earthquakes to Ebola…VMC is here.

cypress-viaductToday is the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake…and if you were here, you remember where you were.

Of course, Valley Medical Center was here and cared for the injured—my neighbor Judy, for instance, who owes her life in part to VMC. The role of a comprehensive health and hospital system like ours is central in a disaster. With a top-level trauma center, burn center, brain and spinal cord injury center and so many other specialties, VMC was ready on October 17, 1989.

And here we are, a quarter-century later, facing another potential disaster: Ebola. The similarities are these: It may be coming, but we don’t know when. A big quake and Ebola are things for which we can drill, practice, and prepare. That’s what VMC is doing now, and what VMC has always done.

The differences are critically important: A virus is much smarter than an earthquake. We can’t be sure the Ebola today will act like the Ebola of tomorrow, or a year from now. Quake-related injuries look nothing like hemorrhagic fever, and broken bones aren’t contagious. VMC’s world-class doctors and nurses heal wounds every day…but Ebola, in Silicon Valley, is new.

So new, in fact, that it’s not here—and maybe, hopefully, will never be. But I am proud and sleep better at night knowing that Valley Medical Center is preparing, drilling and asking as many hard questions as we can think of. VMC is here for all of us, as it was for Judy 25 years ago, as it is in times of crisis or disaster. Count on it.

Soiree Under the Stars raises $125,000


A record-breaking crowd of 450 guests enjoyed a night of inspiration and fun on Saturday, September 27 at Soiree Under the Stars, the annual gala of the VMC Foundation.  The event raised nearly $125,000 to support Santa Clara County’s public hospital system.

Hosted at the breath-taking home of Colin Fan and Rita Chen in Saratoga, guests enjoyed great food, wine and live music – all for a good cause.

Check out aerial footage of the event, courtesy of CreaTV San Jose.

Above “Soiree Under the Stars” from VMC Foundation on Vimeo.

To view all pictures from the event, click here.

To  view and purchase portraits from the event, please click here (registration required).