El Camino Healthcare District awards $1.4 million grant

El Camino Hospital DistrictContinuing a partnership that began in 2008, the El Camino Healthcare District has awarded a $1.4 million grant to the VMC Foundation to fund low-income health services provided to North County residents at the VMC-operated Valley Health Center Sunnyvale.

The $1,400,000 grant includes $1,061,000 for integrated primary care services and $339,000 for the dental clinic.

The recent expansion of the dental clinic to include evening hours was entirely due to the District’s support. This allows the clinic to better meet the extremely high demand for adult dental services. Both daytime and evening clinic hours will continue due to this additional grant funding.

An exciting new aspect of the grant is the inclusion of public health activities as part of the integrated primary care model. Funding from El Camino Healthcare District will enable the clinic to add a public health nurse to work with the primary care team, specifically to focus on community level health factors for high-risk chronic disease patients. The public health nurse will conduct home visits to assess environmental and home conditions that influence health behavior (specifically identification of community health barriers) and assist in coordination of community resources.

For more background on this partnership, check out the video below.


It’s time to re-think charity…for the good of us all.


When I first watched Dan Pallotta’s TED talk, I wound up yelling back at my computer screen: “That’s IT! That’s what I’ve been trying to say!”

Of course Pallotta, the founder of the AIDS Ride, said it far better than I could. His talk, “The way we think about charity is dead wrong”, lit a fire under me and many of my colleagues in the public benefit sector. He discusses why salary ranges are all wrong, why marketing and advertising is undervalued, and why the mission and potential of a charity (like the VMC Foundation) is more important than that of a video game company…yet the double-standard of for-profit vs. non-profit keeps societal problems from getting solved.

He also points out something getting new traction: The amount a charity spends on “overhead” – meaning fundraising and administration – is a poor measure of their worthiness. Now, a letter written by the leaders of three leading charity watchdogs called The Overhead Myth, is making the case in a loud and clear voice.

I would add to this conversation that another area where charities under-participate is in issue advocacy. Many nonprofits believe they are not allowed to get involved in politics, and in some cases that’s true. But in others, like the county Measure A campaign in 2008, the VMC Foundation was the largest donor. Why? Because a victory would mean a new hospital building and seismic compliance for Valley Medical Center. Seriously – how could we NOT have been involved? It was the very definition of “go big or go home” for us. By the way, we won, and the Sobrato Pavilion opens next year as perhaps the finest public hospital building in the nation.

So we learned a lot in 2008, and we applied it again last year in another “Measure A” campaign. This time, the $400,000,000 generated over the next decade will support county services that include fully funding the Children’s Health Initiative—ensuring that every child in our county has health coverage. This is not just good, but GREAT for Valley Medical Center…and more importantly, for our young patients.

Is issue advocacy a risk? You bet it is. We failed in 2010 with a similar ballot measure, and I wish we had that money back! But the private sector risks all the time, and frankly, Silicon Valley rewards aiming high and failing when it’s followed up by trying again. The public benefit sector has too much expertise and mission alignment to be sidelined when issues like hunger, homelessness and health become the subjects of political decisions.

Charities need to be bold, take calculated risks, and be measured not by the smallness of their spending but by the largeness of their dreams.

VIDEO: NBC Bay Area on VMCs “groundbreaking” spinal cord injury clinical trial

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

The following story was posted on the NBC Bay Area website on Saturday, June 15, 2013.  Story by Marianne Favro.  For more info, visit http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Research-Aimed-at-Helping-Patients-With-Spinal-Cord-Injuries-Gain-Mobility-211637401.html.


Tom Anderson is a determined man.

He’s working hard in rehab to increase his mobility after he broke his neck and pinched his spinal cord last month in a fork lift accident.

“I hit my head on the forklift rail,” he said. “Before I know it I was paralyzed.”

The 41-year-old Mountain View resident has more than physical therapy on his side.

After his accident he was brought to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and within 12 hours after his injury he received a special shot as part of a new clinical trial. When it comes to injuries you will have to go to a lawyer and talk about how a primary care physician won’t see me.

That trial consists of receiving three shots a day of a synthetic molecule, which he was given for 28 days.

“The hope is that using these molecules — it will decrease the secondary injury and promote recovery,” said Dr.

Stephen McKenna, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s chief of rehab and trauma.

The molecule acts to prevent cell death that happens after the initial injury.

Anderson is already able to move his arms — something doctors told him was unexpected this soon given his type of injury.

“It seems after the test drugs I could move my arms and elbows,” he said. “I hope it will happen to everything else.”

View a full report by Marianne Favro by clicking on the play button on the video above.