Launch Pad: New Doctor Hopes Her First Home Will be Forever

Posted on Oct 16, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

Catherine Martin D.O., MPH has spent seven years and $400,000 training to be a doctor, but time and money don’t reflect the full price of becoming a physician.

“I’ve made countless sacrifices, put my life on hold really, so I could meet the 60 to 80 hour a week demands of medical school, clinical rotation and residency,” said Dr. Martin. One career-delayed goal she hopes to revive: living with her fiancé and buying a home together, a move that economists call ‘household formation.’

Catherine A Martin, D.O., MPH

Dr. Martin’s dream of homeownership may receive an unexpected boost, in the form of down payment assistance from Landed —thanks to a pilot program option offered through her employer, the Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, affiliated with Sutter Health.

Landed’s shared-equity down payment program invests alongside homebuyers to help them reach a 20% down payment. Landed funds—up to $120,000 per household—come in the form of an equity investment in which homebuyers share in a portion of the gain (or loss, if any) of the home’s value once the partnership ends – typically by sale or refinance.

By providing access to opportunities like Landed, Sutter hopes to enable employees and clinicians to live where they work and in turn enhance the health of the communities they serve. “I know how difficult and costly it is to become a doctor, and I also know how rewarding it is to help people live healthy and productive lives,” said Elizabeth Vilardo, M.D., CEO for the Sutter Bay Medical Foundation. “Sutter looks for ways to support its healthcare workforce, so that they can support patients for all their years.”

Dr. Martin is eager to settle down and hopes her first home with be her forever home, because she is already committed to the community where she works. “I can’t see myself anywhere else,” remarked Dr. Martin. “I chose to go into family medicine because I want to care for my patients from cradle to college and I knew that in Watsonville I’d have the honor of caring for multiple generations of the same family, forming relationships with my patients that span decades.”

Close to Care: Nursing Couple’s Home Search Centers on Medical Services

Posted on Oct 16, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

Yi and Esther Wang are saving up to buy a house, but for now, their son’s hospital room feels like home.

The Sunnyvale couple are both registered nurses and they both work with specialists – doctors who have extra training in a specific area of medicine – but they never expected that they would need specialist-level care for their firstborn.

Yi Wang, R.N.

At only 5 days old, Nathan Wang was diagnosed with Hirschprung’s disease, a rare birth defect that affects the intestine and prevents a baby from passing stool normally. Nathan needed life-changing surgery when he was just one month old and continues to need services in the hospital and outpatient pediatric specialty clinic.

“As a nurse manager I directly support pediatric specialists, so I know these experts are in high demand and short supply. Now, as a father, I’ve seen how critical it is that these specialists are available in my community – if we’d had to wait one day more or travel any further for Nathan to be diagnosed and get the care he needed – his outcome could have been drastically different.” Yi Wang, R.N., clinical manager for pediatric specialty care at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).

Yi and Esther have taken the availability of expert medical staff to heart; it’s one reason they are committed to buying a home in the area. They now have the potential for help with their goal in the form of down payment assistance from Landed —thanks to a pilot program option through Yi’s employer, Sutter Health.

Landed’s shared-equity down payment program invests alongside homebuyers to help them reach a 20% down payment. Landed funds—up to $120,000 per household—come in the form of an equity investment in which homebuyers share in a portion of the gain (or loss, if any) of the home’s value once the partnership ends – typically by sale or refinance.

Sutter launched the pilot with Landed as one option to support their highly skilled workforce of doctors, nurses and others. “As the Wang’s story shows so well, when we maintain a stable, expert workforce it in turn helps enhance the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” said Elizabeth Vilardo, M.D., CEO for the Sutter Bay Medical Foundation.

Yi and Esther’s wish list for their future home is focused on making memories. They want a backyard for Nathan to toddle in and where their 3-year old Maltipoo dog, Beau, can roam free. A place where they can barbecue and garden, teaching Nathan the value of growing your own food. They want a big dining room for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, but also for a weekly dinners with extended family. More than anything they want a nursery for Nathan, decorated in grey, white and blue.

Whatever the square footage or style of home, Yi and Esther know that what matters most is that they can be close to their work and close to ongoing care for Nathan. Having a view into both sides, as a nurse who works with pediatric specialists and now as a father to an infant who needed immediate medical care from those same experts, Yi says he has an even better appreciation for how vital he and other healthcare workers are to the livability of a community. “Like school teachers and firefighters, a community needs doctors, nurses, and many other healthcare professionals to thrive, we are essential workers and we can be counted on – every day and in emergencies – provided we can adequately live where we work. I am truly excited about the down payment assistance opportunity with Landed because I know that if I can buy a home here it will be better for my family and better for the families that my wife and I will care for as nurses for the rest of our careers.”

Landed to Expand Homeownership Assistance Program to Sutter Health’s Essential Professionals in Healthcare

Posted on Oct 16, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

Pilot marks first expansion of Landed’s down payment program and homebuyer education services into healthcare sector

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, Landed and Sutter Health announced a pilot program to expand Landed’s homeownership assistance program to the healthcare sector. Landed, a personal finance company aimed at helping essential employees afford to buy homes, will bring new homeownership options to staff and physicians of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, respectively, as well as employees of Mills-Peninsula Medical Center.

The pilot program with Sutter Health is Landed’s first expansion into the healthcare sector, which comes on the heels of the company’s recent milestone of helping 500 educators nationwide access homeownership over the last five years through down payment assistance and other homebuying services.

“Now more than ever, we need to uphold essential healthcare workers as they uphold us on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic by making it easier to buy a home in the communities they serve,” said Alex Lofton, co-founder of Landed. “We’re thrilled to work with Sutter Health as our first healthcare partner, who like us, knows firsthand how challenging the expensive Bay Area market can be to retain good talent in these critical, essential professional jobs.”

Landed’s down payment program invests alongside employees working in healthcare and education to help them reach a 20% down payment. Landed’s funds, up to $120,000 per household, come in the form of an equity investment, meaning that homebuyers share in a portion of the gain – or loss, if any – of the value of the home once the partnership is ended — typically by sale or refinance. Landed also offers access to a network of agents and lenders, free homebuyer guidance and resources to help make informed buying decisions.

As part of its 2019 “Live Well, Work Well” project, Sutter Health explored options that might help staff purchase homes near their workplace—thereby decreasing commute time and helping employees live in the communities they serve. Landed’s decision to offer its program to healthcare workers at Sutter has potential to positively impact Bay Area communities now and in the future. For example, hours saved on the road gives more time for clinicians and staff to rest, recuperate and recharge. Additionally, Landed’s assistance could help a pediatrician live in the community he or she serves and increase the possibility that families have the same provider for their children for their entire youth.

Catherine A Martin, D.O., MPH

“I’m really excited about the potential of this down payment assistance program. I chose family medicine because I want to care for my patients from cradle to college. A program like this could help me achieve my goal of putting down roots in this community,” said Catherine A. Martin, D.O., MPH, from Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group who cares for patients in Watsonville. Read Dr. Martin’s story.

Jill Ragsdale

“Our teams are living our values every day, supporting numerous patients and families,” said Jill Ragsdale, Sutter Health’s senior vice president and chief people and culture officer. “We understand the importance of caring for our employees so that they may care for others. Sutter Health is responding in creative and compassionate ways to help employees feel supported—especially in a time with many unknowns. We believe helping alleviate some of the stress associated with aspects outside of work can ease team members’ peace of mind and enhance their well-being. We are very pleased Landed has agreed to offer its innovative support program to our valued staff.” Read an employee story that demonstrates why it’s important that our staff can put down roots in the communities they serve.

Sutter Health, like other healthcare systems in Northern California, faces recruitment and retention challenges in markets with a high cost of living and lack of affordable housing. Facilitating access to programs like Landed that enable employees to live where they work further enhances the health of the diverse communities Sutter serves. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017-2018 housing was by far the largest expenditure category for households in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. area, accounting for 39.4% of the household budget, as compared to the 33% U.S. average.

Since its founding in 2015, Landed has helped hundreds of educators purchase homes in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Honolulu, Seattle, Portland (Ore.), Washington DC, and Boston metro areas. Hospitals and care centers across Sutter Health’s not-for-profit, integrated health network support the delivery of safe, high-quality, affordable care to more than 3 million Northern Californians each year.

Sutter’s Samuel Merritt University Earns Top 10 California Nursing School Recognition

Posted on Oct 14, 2020 in Quality Care

Samuel Merritt University’s (SMU) School of Nursing has emerged as one of the Ten Best Accredited Nursing Schools in California for 2020, according to Nursing Process, a nationwide organization that assesses nursing education.

Nursing Process identified the top 10 list after an evaluation of 220 nursing schools across the state. Rankings are based on academic quality, licensure exam rates, affordability and reputation.

“SMU has phenomenal faculty, students, staff, and community partners. We work collaboratively to develop and implement excellent experiences for our students,” School of Nursing Dean Lorna Kendrick said of SMU clinching the tenth spot on the list. “Our curriculum is constantly evaluated and updated to make sure our students are receiving an exemplary education. We are preparing our students in hospitals and community settings where they not only learn hands-on skills, but, more importantly, how to incorporate compassion and responsive care for all.”

SMU, an affiliate of Sutter Health located at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, has educated healthcare professionals in California for more than a century. The school offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant and podiatric medicine.

In addition to classroom learning, SMU has integrated simulation-based learning into its programs for the past decade. In the 5,500-square-foot Health Sciences Simulation Center, students learn and practice clinical skills on computerized manikins that realistically mimic breathing, eye movements and pulse sounds. Specially trained actors play patients with specific health needs in the simulations.

Visit Samuel Merritt University to learn more about this top 10 recognition.

Mammography Goes Mobile

Posted on Oct 9, 2020 in Cancer Care, Scroll Images


The Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, part of Sutter Health’s not-for-profit integrated network of care, has launched a new mobile mammography van to provide convenient access to screening mammography services for underserved women and help improve early detection of breast cancer.

“Finding breast cancer at its earliest possible stage is critical to survival, and early detection through regular mammograms remains the best defense against the disease,” says oncologic surgeon Eileen Consorti, M.D., medical director of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Program. “As a breast cancer survivor, this cause is very personal to me. The mobile mammography van will provide screenings to hundreds of women each year, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured.”

Beginning this month, the 40-foot van will travel to community-based health care clinics in the East Bay and surrounding communities to provide mammography services to underserved women. The van will eventually travel to senior centers, houses of worship, health fairs and businesses once the COVID-19 threat lessens, broadening access to critical breast health services while providing the same high-quality care as patients who come to Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center locations.

“Access to affordable and convenient breast cancer screenings can be lifesaving. Our mobile mammography unit will help our team bring advanced technology to patients in our community that most need it,” says Alta Bates Summit Medical Center CEO David Clark.

The new mobile mammography van is equipped with 3D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis) and also offers a comfortable waiting area as well as a private changing and exam room.

The van is made possible by a grant from Peter Read, co-founder of Grocery Outlet in honor of his wife Carol Ann Read who passed away from breast cancer, and a Sutter match grant.

Read has worked collaboratively with Alta Bates Summit administrators and physicians to raise funds to update breast screening equipment in the East Bay and provide for the needs of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer for many years. He has also funded educational events to raise breast cancer awareness within Latino and African American communities.

Although the pain of losing Carol Ann will never go away, Peter Read is comforted by the impact his philanthropy has made. “This investment in Alta Bates Summit gives me great personal satisfaction,” he says. “I am excited about reaching even more women with the mobile mammography.”

This World Mental Health Day, Let’s Celebrate the Creativity of Our Young People

Posted on Oct 9, 2020 in Mental Health & Addiction Care, Scroll Images

A message from John Boyd, Sutter’s CEO of System Mental Health & Addiction Care:

World Mental Health Day is always an opportunity to reflect on our well-being, both as individuals and as a society. After the unprecedented difficulties and upheavals of 2020, it should also serve as a challenge. We can no longer minimize or overlook the impact of individual and collective trauma, and we must work together to ensure a more supportive, empathetic and human future. Central to that project is reimagining “mental health” as “human health”—it’s fundamental to who we are, how we connect with others and how we understand the world around us. Making this shift in thinking a reality must start with a focus on young people.

As I’ve written about before, my own childhood was shaped by experiences of trauma, stigma and shame. Sadly, these same experiences are far too common among our youth, and the events of the past year have only further intensified the impact. Too often, the heaviest burden falls on our most marginalized communities, including people of color and neurodiverse students. With schools across the country facing difficult questions about whether and how to safely re-open, it’s important to center students’ developmental needs in addition to their educational needs.

It goes without saying that young people, particularly adolescents, place a great deal of value in their friendships and peer relationships. There is a deep biological and psychological basis for this—adolescents are hard-wired to seek out friendships and form social bonds. They are also learning to assert their independence, challenge authority, and test boundaries (as any teacher or parent will attest!). School and extracurricular activities provide critical outlets for these fundamental needs, and unfortunately many public health guidelines—physical distancing, avoiding large groups—are in tension with the developmental needs of our young people. But we can learn a lot about how we can solve these problems from young people themselves.

One of the most heartening aspects of the past year, despite its difficulties, has been the many stories of creativity, hope, and resilience from young people. The developmental processes I mentioned above are also great drivers of creative thinking. What may look like boredom or impatience from the outside can also be an opening for a novel, innovative idea.

We’ve seen that spirit of discovery and creativity as young people continue to raise their voices in response to ongoing police violence around the country. Others have used technology in surprising ways to stay connected with friends despite many new obstacles. Young artists are also finding ways to create through diverse media, providing a vital outlet for self-expression at a difficult time in a young person’s life. No matter what the future has in store, we can always count on young people to surprise us.

In that spirit of creativity, Sutter Health is reimagining youth mental health through human-centered design. We have a assembled a diverse team of clinical experts, social workers, designers and youth advisors to understand the lived experience of young people as they transition from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. The interplay between the ups and downs of everyday life, developmental psychology and living with a mental health condition presents unique challenges for young people at this age. That’s why it’s so critical that we take a human health approach to reimagining the experience of young people living with mental health conditions.

We’re all facing more constraints than ever in 2020, and it’s our responsibility to keep exploring and imagining new ways to meet these challenges. We should inspire our young people to do the same—their resourcefulness and empathy gives me hope for the future. Our creativity is one of the things that makes us human. Let’s use that creativity to be healthier, too.

How an Integrated Health System Improved Care for Patients During the Pandemic

Posted on Oct 6, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sutter Health’s network of 22 hospitals has reduced the stays for COVID-19 patients from an average of 20 days to just eight days today, thanks to a coordinated response deployed by the integrated healthcare system.

It is one of the ways to show the power of an integrated network in responding to this health emergency. Care teams across the Sutter Health network give patients high-quality care whether at a medical center in San Francisco or Sacramento or a rural hospital in Amador County or Lake County.

Some other key examples of the effectiveness of Sutter Health’s integrated network include:

  • The ability to increase care capacity by 200-300% in the midst of the pandemic
  • Expanding telehealth services to shift from serving 20 to 7000 patient visits per day
  • Doubling the capacity of remote electronic intensive care units so patients could access 24/7 critical care specialists
  • Reallocating crucial resources to get personal protective equipment and ventilators where they were needed most
William Isenberg, M.D.

“We made investments very early on in the beginnings of our network so that we could best support the hospitals, care centers and other health services in our communities,” said William Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health. “That planning has helped us in ways we could never have imagined during the pandemic, as well as during some of the wildfires that have touched parts of our Northern California service area.”

Sutter Health serves one of the most demographically and geographically diverse regions in the nation, which means the healthcare system works to identify and respond to the different needs of different communities. An integrated network is able to quickly respond and adjust to the needs in local communities.

Phillip Yu, M.D.

“Rural healthcare has historically faced unique challenges, like location, capacity and supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic has only placed more pressure on these communities,” said Phillip Yu, M.D., chief medical executive and administrator of Memorial Hospital Los Banos. “Being part of an integrated network, however, our rural-based or remote area hospitals have the necessary resources to meet the needs of residents.”

An integrated network also supports an easier sharing of best practices, which can help improve clinical outcomes. For instance, care teams across Sutter were able to minimize the need for ventilators in COVID-19-positive patients by using other appropriate therapies. Consistent meetings and briefings between hospital clinical leaders and those within Sutter Health’s Emergency Management System helped provide the timeliest information and developments. Hospital clinical leaders then could quickly turn around and share these findings and approaches with their own hospital incident command centers and teams on the ground.

Abhishek Dosi

“Our mission has always focused on enhancing the well-being of people in the communities we serve,” said Abhishek Dosi, CEO of Sutter Solano Medical Center. “We meet our mission when we collaborate with teams across our network. These efforts have made an even greater impact during this remarkable point in time–helping improve patient outcomes and slow the spread of the virus. While there are still many unknowns with the pandemic, our network has the structure and our teams have the experience and expertise to continue serving the needs of patients and families.”