Author: Matt Schultz

Coastal nurses honored through MCHFoundation Charlene McAllister Excellence in Nursing Award 2023

MCHFoundation announces the awardees to highlight and promote local expertise and dedication.

October 1, 2023

Fort Bragg, CA—October 2, 2023—The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation is proud to announce the 2023 Charlene McAllister Excellence in Nursing Award, Mark Bellm, Director of Nursing of Sherwood Oaks Post Acute Care. Excellence in Nursing Honorable Mentions were also awarded to Melissa Hosier RN, Mendocino Coast Clinics; Kei Velazquez CNM, Mendocino Coast Clinics; Jennifer Salyer RN, Mendocino Coast Clinics; Dolores Taubold CNA, Adventist Health Mendocino Coast; Brittany Dilley RN, Adventist Health Mendocino Coast; Ariane Casey RN, Adventist Health Mendocino Coast, and Rebecca Yaffe RN, Adventist Health Mendocino Coast.

The Excellence in Nursing awardees demonstrate expertise in their professional practice, work to positively impact patient outcomes and experience, foster respect among their peers, and embody nursing ethics in their work.

MCHFoundation is proud to recognize Mark Bellm for his compassion and extraordinary care to his residents and coworkers at Sherwood Oaks Post Acute Care. Mark has been instrumental in creating a new Electronic Health Records system, implementing COVID-19 safety measures, and ensuring the comfort and safety of the residents at Sherwood Oaks. Business Manager Denise Vicars insists, “We need to show Mark just how much he makes a difference. I respect him as a nurse, this human, this man I get to call my coworker. He has chosen a life of health care, and he does it with respect and heart. His compassion is an opportunity to see health care in the right light and with love”.

The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation plans to award the Charlene McAllister Excellence in Nursing Award and Honorable Mentions during a series of ceremonies held at each participating facility. The namesake of the Annual Excellence in Nursing Award is MCHFoundation Vice President and lifelong nurse, Charlene McAllister. Charlene worked as a nurse for over 40 years, moving to the Mendocino coast in 1982 to work as Director of Nursing Services at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Charlene has been involved with the Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation, formerly the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, since 1987. She remains an active volunteer with a rich history of contributions to health and wellness. MCHFoundation is pleased to recognize Charlene’s many years of service, and dedication to the Foundation’s mission, through this award.

The Charlene McAllister Award is a project of the Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation All In for Nursing Initiative to support the recruitment and retention of skilled nurses on the Mendocino coast. The All In for Nursing Initiative provides critical funds to support our community’s current and future healthcare providers. The All In for Nursing Initiative includes a scholarship campaign that provides funds for the continued education of working coastal nurses, college students working toward their nursing degree, and high school students considering a healthcare career. The All In for Nursing Initiative includes a component to work directly with our health and wellness partners to address the immediate needs of the local nursing community.

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or (707) 961-4688.

Please note MCHFoundation’s new address: 130 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

New Collaboration Increases Access to Nursing Education for Mendocino and Lake County Residents

PUC Nurse

New Collaboration Increases Access to Nursing Education for Mendocino and Lake County Residents

August 1, 2023

FORT BRAGG, CA — Mendocino and Lake County residents now have a unique opportunity to pursue a world-class nursing education, thanks to a new collaboration between Pacific Union College (PUC), Adventist Health Mendocino Coast, and the Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation).

PUC has reserved 18 seats in their incoming RN class specifically for local applicants, with no lottery system. Qualified employees from Adventist Health Mendocino Coast will be considered first for the openings, with any remaining slots opened to interested candidates from the Mendocino and Lake County regions. The board approved, hybrid nursing program is ideal for working adults looking to advance their career without sacrificing their current job or income.

Through its innovative RN Student Support Fund, MCHFoundation aims to offer generous financial assistance to each of the 18 accepted students to help offset the cost of travel, books, childcare, and other education-related expenses. To date, the fund has helped six nursing students afford to complete their degree—four of whom remained on the coast to begin their career after graduation.

“There is a critical need for these funds, especially for students from Mendocino and Lake County,” says Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director of MCHFoundation. “Tuition for nursing school is extremely costly, and when you factor in expenses like gas for the drive to campus and childcare during class time, it can be enough to make talented, qualified students reconsider.”

The cost to support the cohort of 18 students throughout the entirety of their program, which begins this September, is $650,000—or $50,000 per semester. MCHFoundation is seeking philanthropic partners to invest in this important collaboration and innovative solution to the nursing shortage on the Mendocino Coast. The goal is to secure the funding by August, so that students can receive the exciting news about their scholarship in acceptance letters.

The RN Student Support Fund is one component of MCHFoundation’s broader All In For Nurses initiative—which increases access to education, eliminates financial barriers, and recognizes the hard work and dedication of our local healthcare heroes.

“This collaboration is the first of its kind in the country, and an opportunity for our neighbors to step up for the men and women who are keeping our beloved coastal communities healthy and thriving,” says Mary Kate. “Years ago, when Mendocino College needed funding to complete its Physiology Lab—the space that would support a mandatory nursing pre-requisite course—our MCHFoundation donors helped to close the gap and make it happen. I am hopeful that together, we can do it again today for these 18 deserving future nurses.”

To make a gift to the RN Student Support Fund, or to learn more about how MCHFoundation is All In For Nurses, please reach out to Mary Tinder, Community Engagement Manager, at [email protected] or 707-961-4924.

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

Please note MCHFoundation’s new address: 130 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Names 2023 INSPIRE Scholarship Awardees

2023 MCHF Impact Scholars

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Names 2023 INSPIRE Scholarship Awardees

June 1, 2023

FORT BRAGG, CA— Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is excited to announce six awardees of the third annual All In For Nurses INSPIRE Scholarships.

This unique scholarship addresses the caregiver shortage on the Mendocino Coast by supporting the next generation of healthcare professionals. Specifically, INSPIRE provides financial aid for coastal high school seniors pursuing college degrees dedicated to community health and wellness. The Scholarship Committee selects up to six students annually to receive $1,500 and up to two $20,000 INSPIRE+ awardees ($5,000 renewable installments over four years).

Thanks to the generosity of local donors, MCHFoundation has awarded $80,000 in scholarships to 16 students to date. In addition to pursuing careers in the field of health care, student awardees have expressed an explicit desire to return to the coast and apply their education to advance the wellness of our community.

Meet the 2023 INSPIRE Scholarship Awardees:

Lilian Hall

INSPIRE Scholar

Inspired by her own personal experiences and those of her family, Lilian hopes to attend UC

San Diego to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology. Her clear sense of self and strong determination helped her overcome adversity throughout her life, and her goal is to become a clinical laboratory scientist to help “give patients answers that [she] didn’t receive and change lives for the better,” Lilian says.

Sonja Ivankay

INSPIRE Scholar

Sonja has always loved math and chemistry—in fact, she was recently named Student of the Year for chemistry. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. It was a family friend who worked on a vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic who helped cement her goal of working with a major pharmaceutical company to develop vaccines and other medicines.

Nicole Rossi

INSPIRE Scholar

Propelled by her observations of her community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole plans to earn her bachelor’s degree at UC Davis to become a clinical laboratory scientist or virologist. “Humanity has come so far in medical research, but it still has a long way to go, and I hope to be part of that journey,” Nicole says.

Morgan Taylor

INSPIRE Scholar

Morgan hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering to advance medicine and help those with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. She also hopes to contribute to the science of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine for those with neural issues.

Kailee Thompson

INSPIRE Scholar

As an athlete herself, Kailee hopes to earn degrees in both psychology and kinesiology. Taking a holistic approach, she says, “I want to pursue a career where I am focusing not only on the physical health of athletes, but their mental health as well.”

Ryan Sutton

INSPIRE+ Scholar

Ryan has chosen to attend Hawaii Pacific University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It offers nursing courses based in the local hospital, which will allow him to gain hands-on experience. Upon earning his BSN, he plans to return to Fort Bragg for work and pursue specialized training in oncology.

“Being able to become an RN will allow me to fulfill my dreams, spread kindness to patients, and help my local community,” Ryan says. “I have a passion to serve, to care, and to give without receiving anything in return. There is truly no other place I would rather work than Fort Bragg’s amazing healthcare family.”

To learn more about the INSPIRE Scholarship and other financial assistance provided to aspiring medical professionals by MCHFoundation’s All In For Nurses Initiative, please reach out to Mary Tinder, Community Engagement Manager, at [email protected] or 707-961-4924.

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Located in Fort Bragg, California, Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) provides a path for vital community investment through supporting the health and wellness of our Mendocino Coast communities.

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

MCHFoundation Supports Trauma Counseling Program for Fort Bragg Police Department

MCHFoundation Supports Trauma Counseling Program for Fort Bragg Police Department

January 25, 2023

FORT BRAGG, CA — The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is partnering with the Fort Bragg Police Department and local psychologist, Dr. Kianna Zielesch, to implement Public Safety Mind Health, a new Trauma Counseling Program for all police department employees.

This program, funded by a grant from MCHFoundation, is a giant step forward in helping to eliminate the stigma around mental health, which is especially prevalent in the public safety profession. The funding will connect each police department staff member with Dr. Zielesch, who specializes in first responder trauma, for two private Mind Health Checkups per year—one every six months.

“The checkup just makes sure everything is going well and provides the opportunity for staff to see a therapist without requiring them to call, which can be difficult,” said Neil Cervenka, Fort Bragg Chief of Police. “A key component of this program is confidentiality as a way of defeating the stigma of mental health in my profession.”

The program is the first of its kind on the Mendocino Coast. The goal is to increase career longevity, and—most importantly—reduce police suicide. At the end of the year, participants will be asked to fill out a brief, anonymous survey, giving them an opportunity to reflect on the impact of their checkups.

MCHFoundation is proud to step up in support of this important initiative. “Our work revolves around the goal of creating a healthier Mendocino Coast, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than by taking care of the dedicated men and women keeping us safe,” said Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, MCHFoundation Executive Director. “Our generous donors help make grants like this possible. It is their ongoing support of our Immediate Needs Fund that enables MCHFoundation to act quickly and offer resources where needed most.”

Employees will begin their Mind Health Checkups early this year. Should it be determined that a staff member requires additional sessions beyond the two that are covered, his or her insurance will take effect. If the pilot program proves successful, it could be rolled out on a broader scale for other city staff and public safety roles.

To learn more or discuss partnership opportunities, please reach out to Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director, at [email protected].

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

Please note MCHFoundation’s new address: 130 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Receives Six-Figure Gift to Advance Coastal Health

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Receives Six-Figure Gift to Advance Coastal Health

December 8, 2022

FORT BRAGG, CA — The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is pleased to announce a $150,000 charitable contribution from a local family foundation—with $50,000 directed to helping recruit and retain coastal caregivers through All In For Nurses, and $100,000 for advanced MRI technology.

MCHFoundation and its donors are committed to improving health care on the Mendocino Coast, and transformational major gifts are critical to help solve urgent, multi-faceted issues like the local nursing shortage. While annual donors help MCHFoundation respond to urgent community needs, major gift investments catalyze programs and resources that support the long-term success of coastal caregivers and students.

“MCHFoundation and our Board of Directors wants to extend our deepest gratitude to this local family foundation,” says Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director of MCHFoundation. “Gifts like these are not only transformative financially to the Mendocino Coast, but also a powerful invitation and inspiration to other supporters.”

This generous donation will help All In For Nurses provide diverse funding for scholarship awards, recurring financial support for students, appreciation events for existing caregivers, educational partnerships like the CNA Collaborative with Adventist Health Mendocino Coast and other organizations, and more. As this movement gains momentum, our community has successfully graduated 15 new nurses, enrolled more than 25 in CNA training, and provided financial support to countless aspiring caregivers and dedicated nurses.

The gift will also help address the significant need for an advanced MRI machine at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast. In recent years, donors have helped the hospital to invest in local imaging, including 3D mammography and new ultrasound machines.

To learn more about All In For Nurses, the Advanced Imaging Initiative or to discuss partnership possibilities through major and planned giving, please reach out to Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director, at [email protected].

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

Please note MCHFoundation’s new address: 130 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Helps Six Local Nonprofits Secure Significant Federal Grant Funding

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Helps Six Local Nonprofits Secure Significant Federal Grant Funding

October 19, 2022

FORT BRAGG, CA — The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is celebrating our community’s success, thanks to its resourceful new initiative to invest in federal funding for coastal health and wellness greatest needs. A total of $1,440,060 was awarded in USDA grant funding to benefit Comptche Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Bragg High School, Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, Parents and Friends, Inc., The Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, and Adventist Health Mendocino Coast. An additional $199,500 was awarded directly to MCHFoundation.

Last year, MCHFoundation learned of the USDA Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, which provides up to $500 million nationwide to community-based nonprofits that primarily serve rural areas. This time-sensitive opportunity specifically offered funding to expand and support COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and telehealth capacity—all substantial needs for organizations serving the Mendocino Coast.

Based on community listening sessions, MCHFoundation prepared to apply for nearly $1 million in funding on behalf of community organizations with important needs identified. However, further research revealed that independent grant applications from each nonprofit could yield substantially more USDA funding.

MCHFoundation quickly pivoted and stepped forward to craft grant narratives and budgets, and ultimately facilitated submissions that helped each of the following organizations secure funding:

  • Comptche Volunteer Fire Department received a USDA Community Facilities Grant award of $49,900 to enhance critical infrastructure and equipment.
  • Fort Bragg High School received an award of $51,800 to expand its Pay it Forward Food Pantry.
  • Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center received an award of $140,960 for telehealth services, food distribution, and COVID-19 testing.
  • Parents and Friends, Inc. received an award of $450,100 to expand COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for staff, as well as for community members with developmental disabilities.
  • The Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County received an award of $25,000 to support COVID-19 treatment and testing for high-risk cancer patients.

MCHFoundation also connected Adventist Health Mendocino Coast with grant representatives and resources to help initiate their submission process. As a result, Adventist Health was awarded $722,300 to support staff wages and equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients. The award will also help with the operation of a mobile health clinic that will improve access to care in underserved areas within the community.

Each recipient is required to invest more in its project than just what was funded by the USDA grant—through fundraising efforts, additional grant submissions, etc.—yielding an even greater impact on the communities being served.

This initiative provided MCHFoundation with a unique, powerful opportunity to strategically support health and wellness above and beyond the scope of its own annual grant awards.

“We learned that many of these organizations struggle to respond to federal funding opportunities due to immediacy of client needs and capacity challenges,” shared Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director of MCHFoundation. “We’re proud to expand our mission by offering staff time and expertise to our coastal nonprofit partners to enhance and support the essential care they deliver to our community.”

MCHFoundation donors gave $50,000 in gifts to cover the cost of staff hours required for the grant submission process—an incredible show of support for the team’s responsive solution to leverage staff time for a significant return on investment. The health and wellness partners were thrilled to have additional resources to help.

As well, MCHFoundation provided over $45,455 in matching funds for these grant submissions.

“We would not have been able to avail ourselves of this opportunity without MCHFoundation’s extreme assistance,” said Karen Oslund, Executive Director of The Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County.

With the grant award, CRC will be able to launch a telehealth program and purchase a vehicle to ensure transportation barriers don’t prevent cancer patients from receiving care. In addition, the funding will assist patients who do not have their own computer or internet to connect with their doctors via CRC technology.

The USDA grant award of $199,500 to MCHFoundation will be used to support salaries for staff distributing COVID-19 test kits, as well as for equipment and software needed to input community data more efficiently.

To support MCHFoundation, please make a gift online or call 707-961-4671.

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

Please note MCHFoundation’s new address: 130 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Partnership Encourages 3D Mammograms for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Partnership Encourages 3D Mammograms for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

September 23, 2022

pink rose

FORT BRAGG, CA — The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is partnering with Adventist Health Mendocino Coast and Soroptimist International of Noyo Sunrise to remind women in the community to prioritize their breast health. Throughout the month of October, patients receiving a 3D mammogram at Adventist Health will be gifted a pink rose to take home through the Roses for Mammograms program.

Approximately 13% of women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Thanks to the generosity of donors and community partners, MCHFoundation recently invested in a new 3D Mammography machine for Adventist Health to ensure easy access to this lifesaving test for the coastal community. The state-of-the-art equipment—not typically found in rural healthcare settings—can take X-rays from many angles to better detect breast abnormalities.

After the machine’s installation, MCHFoundation spoke with a private donor who wished to encourage as many women as possible to receive their 3D mammograms. This donor’s gift to MCHFoundation will directly support the Roses for Mammograms initiative led by Soroptimist International of Noyo Sunrise, which gives roses to local mammogram patients during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This pink rose symbolizes the importance of early detection and preventative care, and is intended to inspire others to schedule tests as well.

Support for the 3D Mammography machine and Roses for Mammograms is part of MCHFoundation’s broader commitment to advanced imaging for Mendocino coastal residents, which is also the focus of the organization’s Greatest Needs campaign this year. With an ambitious $500,000 fundraising goal, the Foundation is working hard to meet the imaging needs of the community—with sights set on adding a new MRI machine to provide top-notch diagnostics locally.

“Our mission is to keep patients as close to home as possible for their care,” says Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director of MCHFoundation. “Through the funding and installation of the 3D Mammography machine—and now with our MRI project in 2022—people in our community will be able to access the same high-quality services found inland, without the need to travel. We are so grateful to our philanthropic partners for helping to make this equipment available, and for raising awareness of its lifesaving capabilities.”

Learn more about MCHFoundation’s latest Fund a Need initiative to support advanced imaging. To schedule a mammogram with Adventist Health Mendocino Coast, call the Medical Imaging Department at 707-961-4665.

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

Please note MCHFoundation’s new address: 130 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Noyo Headlands Race to Take Place on October 29, 2022

Noyo Headlands Race to Take Place on October 29, 2022

August 29, 2022

Noyo Headlands Race volunteer team

FORT BRAGG, CA — The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is pleased to host the sixth annual Noyo Headlands Race on Saturday, October 29. The course travels through the Glass Beach and Noyo Headlands Park Trails overlooking the ocean in Fort Bragg.

Participation options include 5k, 10k, Half-marathon, Marathon, Boston Qualifier Marathon, or Fun Run. As the race falls on Halloween weekend, costumes are strongly encouraged. All event proceeds directly support MCHFoundation’s Greatest Need Fund, which serves the most pressing healthcare needs on the Mendocino Coast.

Since the event’s inception in 2016, the Noyo Headlands Race has been led by longtime volunteers Kate Erickson, Bethany Brewer, and Mindy Slaughter.

“For the past 20 or so years, there’s been a pervasive feeling in our community that healthcare is doomed—but there are steps being taken, and all of us can help with those steps. I wish more people knew all the amazing things MCHFoundation is doing for nurses and to enhance community wellness.” says Kate.

“I love being part of a healthy activity with the proceeds going to a very important cause. We need a strong hospital and staff here on the coast!” adds Bethany.

Event registration is now open at runsignup.com/Race/CA/FortBragg/NoyoHeadlandsRace.

To learn more about opportunities to support MCHFoundation, please contact Mary Kate McKenna, Executive Director, at [email protected].

About Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation), located in Fort Bragg, is a non-profit with a mission to support the health and wellness of the Mendocino Coast communities. MCHFoundation provides a path for community investment in the health and wellness of our coastal region.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support our work by contributing or becoming a volunteer, please visit MCHFoundation.org or contact our team at [email protected] or 707-961-4688.

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Pilots Coastal Collaborative Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Course

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation Pilots Coastal Collaborative Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Course

June 30, 2022

FORT BRAGG, CA — This fall, Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundation) is partnering with Sherwood Oaks Health Center and Adventist Health Mendocino Coast to launch the community’s first collaborative Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Course.

Based on the 2017 National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, California has one of the highest nursing deficits in the country—a shortfall only amplified in rural regions like Mendocino County.

The Pacific Coast Collaborative CNA Course unites three of our community’s major healthcare organizations to address the local nursing shortage and offer an entry point to the healthcare workforce close to home. This pilot will graduate up to 25 new CNAs annually, provide experiential training within local healthcare organizations, and offer a model for future educational partnerships.

As program partners, Sherwood Oaks Health Center and Adventist Health Mendocino Coast will share the 100 hours of required clinical skills training, preceptorship, and testing, simultaneously increasing the recruitment of both facilities. MCHFoundation will provide financial support to purchase the curriculum and learning technology such as tablets and internet access, offer administrative support, and fund scholarships for CNA students.

CNAs facilitate up to 90% of direct patient care in residential facilities and support the entire care team in clinical and hospital settings. Therefore, a CNA course is a critical first step in enriching local offerings for a pathway into healthcare work.

Before the Pacific Coast Collaborative CNA Course, the closest CNA course available to our community was almost 60 miles away in Ukiah. This presented an enormous barrier for those with neither the time nor the resources to attend classes so far out of town. This course can become a model for local certification in the medical field with MCHFoundation providing ongoing financial aid and higher education scholarships for CNAs who wish to continue their career pathway into nursing.

At the Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation, our work to recruit, retain, and advocate for local nurses never stops. Our All In For Nurses program addresses the local nursing shortage by providing for the immediate and long-term needs of coastal caregivers and students—with scholarship awards, financial support, appreciation events, and educational programs. In addition to the Pacific Coast Collaborative CNA pilot, our program support includes partnerships with Mendocino College to offer more nursing prerequisite courses on the coast and with the hospital to coordinate internships for local students.

To learn more, please reach out to Lia Holbrook, Director of Community Initiatives, at [email protected].

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