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By Kathleen Alexander                              Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012    
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at 11:04 a.m.

 Photo of three RFHC board members
This photo shows from left, Sherri Sager, Melieni Tal-
akai and Julio Garcia-- three board members who have
served on the RFHC board since it started. 

In what could almost be considered a gala event, the Ravenswood Family Health Center (RFHC) held its tenth anniversary celebration at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley hotel. Melieni Falemaka Talakai, the chair of Ravenswood’s Board of Directors, welcomed several hundred guests, leading off with a story of what it was like “in the beginning” when many people in the community of East Palo Alto did not have access to primary care services.

Following a video about Ravenswood’s exceptional growth and accomplishments in its first ten years, the center's CEO Luisa Buada led an awards ceremony, recognizing key organizations and individuals.

First to be honored were five Founding Partner organizations that collaborated to build a community health center and a community resource center for nonprofits and that have continued to provide strategic support for the past 10 years.

Accepting the award on behalf of the organizations were Jean Fraser, Chief, San Mateo County Health Services, CEO Christopher Dawes of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Linda Baker of David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Eleanor Clement Glass, Chief Donor Engagement and Giving Officer of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Mayor Laura Martinez, from the City of East Palo Alto.

Three major health partners -- Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Medical Group and Sequoia Healthcare District -- received the Outstanding Commitment to Quality Healthcare Award. The three were recognized for their commitment and support to build capacity and quality improvement at Ravenswood.

The event, which was held on Friday, March 16, also recognized individual contributors who have been major advocates and contributors. Three board members, Melieni Talakai, Julio Garcia and Sherri Sager were recognized for over a decade of volunteer Board leadership and four Development Committee volunteers, Julie Brody, Juanita Duncan, Julie Merk and Bob Henderson, for their creative fundraising efforts.

Two women received the Inspirational Advocacy award. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo was recognized for her efforts to ensure stable federal support for core services at Ravenswood. Her award was accepted on her behalf by Cristina Padilla, Eshoo's legislative aide.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson has been on the frontlines at the county level, engendering awareness of health disparities and advocating for access to health care. As Supervisor Gibson noted, Ravenswood has “been meeting the needs of those who would otherwise not be served. And that’s what it’s all about.”

Finally, Ravenswood honored Dr. Fernando Mendoza, MD, MPH of Stanford Medical Center with the Outstanding Leadership Award for his tireless efforts to ensure community pediatric services in the East Palo Alto Community for many years and with Ravenswood.

Attending the event were several members of the Ravenswood Advisory Council: Patricia Bresee, the retired chair commissioner ot the Superior Court of San Mateo County; Caretha Coleman who is the prinicpal of Coleman Consulting; John Sobrato, the founder of The Sobrato Organization; Dr. Fred St. Goar, who is a cardiologist and Jane Williams, who is the CEO of Sand Hill Global Advisors as well as Christopher Dawes and Rose Jacobs Gibson.

Ravenswood acknowledges the sponsors who helped to make this event possible, including the presenting sponsor, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and Platinum Sponsors, the Four Seasons Silicon Valley, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation and 17 other contributing organizations.


To get more information about this article or to contact Kathleen Alexander, the author, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org or to kalexander@ravenswoodfhc.org.

(Copyright ©2012 East Palo Alto Today. All Rights Reserved.)



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