We recently celebrated Hospital Heroes who help to bridge the gaps in healthcare by providing exceptional care to their patients and their families, and who, through a deep desire to serve and connect, have left an indelible mark on their communities. They are specialists and nurses as well as volunteers, program directors, social workers, and surgeons. What follows are a series of profiles of these heroes.
Sam Digeraldo, a widowed Marine who served in Korea, volunteers five days per week at the Anaheim Global Medical Center, in every unit of the hospital. As a volunteer, Sam is called upon to assist the medical staff and patients in numerous ways, and he has become very well-known around the hospital. Sam also has the important role of collecting patient care surveys, which ensures that patients get the care and attention needed. Collecting pertinent information for the surveys requires Sam to take time to listen to patients and truly understand their needs. These surveys allow medical staff to focus on possible opportunities and determine resolutions. In addition to volunteering, Sam has also become a vital part of the Medical Explorers Program that offers high school students first-hand exposure to a wide range of career opportunities within the healthcare field. The students and staff meet twice per month, and Sam has not missed a single meeting. Sam is a true hero who spends his spare time helping Orange County's youth as well as its patients.
At ProvidenceLittle Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, Betty Liu is the emergency department social worker, serving the most vulnerable of her community – including psychiatric patients. The patients are frequently homeless and have multiple needs beyond their health care concerns. It challenges even the most compassionate person to look beyond certain behaviors in order to respond to the deeper needs of the patients, yet Betty meets the needs of her patients exactly where they are. She does not judge, rather she accepts them and assesses them to help them. She looks beyond the immediate story and identifies the real emotional and psychiatric issues of our most challenging patients. Betty serves as an advocate for her patients, often times going above and beyond to find resources to guide them once they leave the hospital. For one young woman, she immediately recognized she suffered more than a psychiatric issue. She researched and found the patient had suffered a poor outcome at another facility, and as her advocate, Betty was able to help secure a better outcome for her. That patient likely won’t remember Betty or that Betty saved her from the streets, but Betty does not need accolades to come back the next day and care for her patients.
For three decades, Sister Colleen Settles, has been a spiritual force, leading by example as she encourages the 13,000 Providence Southern California employees to live the Providence mission of compassionate outreach to the poor and vulnerable. She has created programs and community partnerships serving the homeless, the poor, school children in low-income neighborhoods, the uninsured and the elderly. She has led outreach missions to the impoverished in Mexico and Guatemala. She is an unwavering voice of compassion, ethics, respect and justice. Sr. Colleen served as regional chief mission integration officer, and last year became director of mission integration of the newest Providence hospital, SaintJohn’s Health Center. She guides chaplains in caring for patients of all faiths and supports employees managing transition issues, ensuring all concerns are addressed. Her steadfast support for employees inspires them to provide the best possible care to their patients, care driven by compassion, ethics, respect and a focus on excellence. She also was instrumental in creating Access to Care, which finds continuous care health care for chronically ill uninsured patients who rely on Emergency care.
At Palo VerdeHospital in Blythe, CEO Sandra J. Anaya is a hero. She has raised the importance of community rural health and has profoundly impacted the community and her staff. She has assisted several individuals who were in need of food, shelter and mental stabilization by personally reaching to Riverside County agencies for assistance. Since Blythe does not have any homeless shelters and has no mental health stabilization units, she ensured that these individuals received the appropriate treatment they deserved. Furthermore, she has encouraged and supported employees in continuing their educational development. In 2015, one employee received their certification as a Dietary Manager from the Association of Nutritional and Food Service Professionals. In addition to her outstanding work, she has deeply committed herself to the progress of this hospital. In the two years that she has been PVH-CEO, she secured hospital accreditation with Det Norse Veritas, has opened a hospital-based clinic, started a Tele-Psych Program with the ED Dept., received a grant for community prevention awareness in diabetes and obesity, received a partial grant for a EMR System, and will install a new CT scanner within the next few months. All of these actions have demonstrated what a hero's efforts are all about!
National Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the healthcare of the underserved by developing and supporting innovative programs that can become independently viable,
provide systemic solutions to gaps in healthcare access and delivery, and
have the potential to be replicated nationally.