Coming together during uncertain times |

Coming together during uncertain times

Hospital, SNMH Foundation boards worked together to keep community safe during global pandemic

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation Board President Jake Bronson with Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Board Chair Monty East. Together the two boards worked together to support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMHF) was first incorporated in 1984, it has worked alongside Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) toward a common goal of ensuring strong and vibrant health care for our community.

Working collaboratively, both the SNMH and SNMHF Boards have accomplished much over the years. In 1994, the Outpatient and Cancer Centers were opened, and in 2005 a free-standing outpatient Diagnostic Imaging Center welcomed its first visitors. Many other projects followed including a new Infusion Center and a transformation of the Emergency and Inpatient Diagnostic Imaging Departments in 2019.

While each organization’s mission, vision, and values are in alignment, the SNMH Board focuses on quality, strategy, and fiduciary responsibilities while the SNMHF Board focuses on philanthropy, community outreach, and education. However, in 2020 both entities were presented with a situation unlike any they had ever experienced — a global pandemic.

Working together and remaining in constant communication, the two boards quickly realized that the hospital would play a crucial role in protecting western Nevada County against an invisible, viral threat. Both boards were able to pivot to prioritize COVID-19 mitigation and community reassurance.

“SNMH physicians and staff quickly became the first line of defense between our community and a novel virus, and we had to adjust accordingly,” said Kimberly Parker, Executive Director of SNMH Foundation. “The ever-changing dynamics of COVID-19 made regular collaboration and communication between both the hospital board and the SNMH Foundation Board more essential than ever. Our shared priority was to ensure the health and safety of our community.”

As 2020 progressed and brought with it a variety of new insights and changes to policy regarding COVID-19, the SNMH Board worked diligently to ensure the hospital would be prepared for a potential surge in coronavirus cases. New information and best practices from government and state entities were under constant review and minute-to-minute decisions were made.

“The dedication of the doctors, nurses, and staff continues to be demonstrated over and over again,” said SNMH Board Chair Monty East. “Although many have been confronted with hardships such as childcare issues, working long hours, being away from family, and of course dealing with the virus itself, they have continued to perform above and beyond expectations.”

Meanwhile, the SNMHF Board focused its attention on weekly communication strategies designed to educate, reassure, and promote current philanthropic needs.

While much attention was paid to COVID-19, SNMHF was also able to continue fundraising on behalf of other community needs such as breast cancer, the SNMH Community Cancer Center, the SNMH Family Birth Center, updated equipment and technology, and respiratory needs that are expected to be crucial in the ongoing fight against COVID.

“We wanted to make sure that we stayed in regular communication with our community during an unprecedented, highly stressful year,” said SNMHF Board President Jake Bronson. “We decided it was vital to continue to reassure friends, family, and neighbors that SNMH would help to keep them safe. We also did not want to hit the pause button on other essential community needs such as cancer care.”

According to East, the SNMH Board’s ongoing goal is for the hospital to continue to provide the very best in health care, now and for generations to come.

“Our hospital and hospital foundation continue to work as a team to secure the latest and best medical equipment and technology in order to support the many services and programs that continue to provide the highest quality care for our community,” said East.

Prior to Bronson, Gil Mathew served as SNMHF Board president. Throughout 2020, Mathew, Parker, and the SNMHF Board collaborated with the County of Nevada and other local health care entities to provide the community with free personal protective equipment — such as masks, gloves, and sanitizer — helping to coordinate the opening of the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Whispering Pines, and acting as the fiscal sponsor for the Nevada County Relief Fund.

Three longtime board members rolled off the respective boards in June. Sean Metroka and Mary Bitle were longtime members of the SNMHF Board. Both served on the Starry, Starry Nights event committee and have helped with a plethora of other SNMH Foundation projects and campaigns. Scott Robertson rolled off the SNMH Board. Robertson served as chair of the hospital’s Finance Committee for a number of years.

Parker and SNMH Hospital President/CEO Dr. Brian Evans are extremely thankful for their contributions over the years. “Serving on these boards is a tremendous commitment of time, talent, and resources,” said Parker. “These volunteers are our heroes. The dedication they bring to the work they do, especially in a difficult health care environment, is truly appreciated.”

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