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A Personal Message from Vesper Society

A Personal Message from Vesper Society

We hope you, your families, your friends are safe and healthy. If you know someone who is ill or has succumbed to this virus, we send our heartfelt healing thoughts to you. Our lives were abruptly changed by COVID-19 and every day we go through a range of emotions.  By now we have established a new rhythm to our daily lives which will change yet again as we emerge from the initial phase of this pandemic. We will be living in this new reality for a while until a vaccine is developed. Before this crisis hit, the Vesper board of directors voted last year to increase the annual draw on the corpus from 5 percent to 8 percent in order to support greater capacity building efforts in the California communities we serve.  Never did we think the economy would be shut down so swiftly to slow the spread of the virus.  But here we are. We are grateful that we can direct the extra resources to our community clinics who are on the front lines serving the most vulnerable people in our state. During times of crisis, we turn to our core values to ground us amid all the chaos. One of our guiding values is compassion which means “to suffer with.” This pandemic has exposed many inequities in our world and has deepened our commitment to link arms with leaders of overlooked communities to work together to create a healthy future. In doing so we are inspired by the words of Peter Ellyard: The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made; and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. We bring back the notion of solidarity, one... Read More

Welcome HealthRIGHT 360

Welcome HealthRIGHT 360

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. One way we are improving the health and well-being of communities is through our support of HealthRIGHT 360. HealthRIGHT 360 gives hope, builds health, and changes lives for people in need. They do this by providing effective and compassionate medical, dental, mental health, and addiction treatment, as well as reintegration services for people coming out of prison. HealthRIGHT 360 believes that every individual deserves quality health care. Seven core values serve as the foundation for the organization’s commitment to meeting growing demand and improving access to services. These values are: Patient-Centered Care, Comprehensive and Integrated Care, Evidence-Based Care, Judgment-Free Care, Community-Based Care, Meaningful Care, and Efficient Care. The organization was formed out of the growing need for integrated safety net services for overlooked communities. In 2011, two groundbreaking and historic San Francisco providers – Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, the first free nonsectarian medical clinic in the country, and Walden House, a residential mental health and substance abuse treatment center – came together to form HealthRIGHT 360. HealthRIGHT 360 has continued to expand by welcoming other California programs as part of their organization. These include Asian American Recovery Services, Women’s Recovery Association, Rock Medicine, Lyon-Martin Health Services, North County Serenity House, Prototypes, Tenderloin Health Services, and Women’s Community Clinic. Prior to joining HealthRIGHT 360, each entity operated independently as a stand-alone nonprofit. Today, the organization provides services in 13 California counties and improves the health and self-sufficiency of more than 32,000 individuals annually. Located at HealthRIGHT 360’s San Francisco headquarters is the Integrated Care Center, a ‘one-stop’ for comprehensive, culturally competent health services that incorporates medical, dental, outpatient behavioral health, care management, food, pharmacy, resources & referral, GED diploma program, employment &... Read More

welcome new board members!

welcome new board members!

Vesper Society is delighted to welcome three new leaders who join our board of directors this year: Erika Carlsen, Kevin Martinez, and Sid Stolz. They share Vesper’s belief in the simple idea that a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. We look forward to working with them to find long-term solutions that improve the health and well-being of overlooked communities. Erika Carlsen’s work in leadership development and training aligns with her life purpose to inspire joy, compassion, and connection among the people and within the organizations where she works. She also serves on the board of directors of Lideramos, a national alliance of Latino leadership development organizations. Kevin Martinez is a board-certified internal medicine physician and hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente Fresno, where he also mentors underrepresented premed students. He recently obtained funding to start a non-profit to provide housing and life skills to homeless veterans in Fresno. Sidney Stolz has 35 years of experience in healthcare and well-being improvement, holding leadership positions with innovate, industry-leading companies. He also serves on the board of N Street Village in Washington, DC, that empowers homeless and low-income women to claim their highest quality of life. These remarkable individuals reflect our commitment to our values of service, justice, and partnership. With their compassion and expertise on our board, we are one step closer to realizing the potential for healthy communities to thrive and prosper. Learn more about board... Read More

Asian Health Services Fights Public Charge

Asian Health Services Fights Public Charge

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. Every day, we link arms with leaders of overlooked communities that want to create a healthy future and help them devise ways to do it. In today’s political climate, that future depends on sound public policy that creates an environment where communities can thrive. (Photo caption: Thu Quach, Asian Health Services’ Chief Deputy of Administration, Programs, addresses One Nation rally.) In July 2018, Vesper Society’s Board of Directors visited Asian Health Services in Oakland, California. Asian Health Services is a federally-qualified health center that provides comprehensive health care to nearly 30,000 low-income Asian immigrant and refugee adults and youth in Alameda County. For Chief Executive Officer Sherry Hirota and her 500 staff who stand on the front lines – doctors, nurses, dentists, mental health clinicians, and many others – carrying out the organization’s mission means fighting for justice in their patient’s health care rights, regardless of immigration status. During our visit, Vesper Society learned about the proposed changes to the Public Charge Rule that would impact immigrant communities. A Public Charge is a person who the Department of Homeland Security considers as someone who might rely on the government for support at any point in time. If you are labeled as a Public Charge, the Department of Homeland Security can deny your application for lawful permanent residence (a green card) or deny entry into the country. While the current rule restricts the use of public benefits programs to cash assistance and long-term institutional care, the new rule would expand it to include food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. This new rule would have chilling effects on low-income families. It is estimated that between 1 and 3.2 million members of... Read More

Connecting to Care Celebrates Ten Years of Telehealth Services

Connecting to Care Celebrates Ten Years of Telehealth Services

Vesper Society links arms with the leaders of overlooked communities to develop long-term solutions for a healthy future. One such leader, Connecting to Care, is celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. Connecting to Care, is a nonprofit TeleHealth Service Center whose mission is to fill gaps in health care service. TeleHealth is a telecommunications technology that supports long-distance health care and health-related education. Currently located in Redding, California, Connecting to Care serves a variety of organizations including rural hospitals and clinics, regional centers, the Department of Rehabilitation, residential group homes, physicians and clinicians, speech-language pathologists, school districts, and physical therapists. Connecting to Care implemented telehealth in 2009 in Northern California’s rural and frontier communities where distances are vast, populations are often isolated, and health resources are limited. Lack of health and specialty providers is profound in the region, especially providers qualified to serve fragile dual diagnosis patients and developmentally disabled populations. Over the past ten years, Connecting to Care has offered an integrated approach to the delivery of health care. Their spectrum of services includes: TelePsychiatry, Assistive Technology, TeleBehavioral Health, Comprehensive TeleDiabetes Education and Breast Cancer TeleNavigator Support Groups. Funding from Vesper Society was instrumental in helping Connecting to Care establish a TeleBehavioral Health Program as well as a Comprehensive TeleDiabetes Education Program. These services had previously been unavailable to patients in remote clinical settings. Through our partnership, 98 percent of the participants in the TeleDiabetes Program successfully decreased their A1C levels and hospital readmissions. Data they have collected clearly shows that individuals’ health outcomes are strengthened through collaborative treatment plans versus treatment delivered in silos. For example, providing TelePsychiatry for medication stabilization in combination with Assistive Technology to increase communication skills has resulted in 100 percent of patients receiving both services, successfully reducing their psychotropic medications. In 2018,... Read More

FACES Students Create Videos to Tell Their Stories

FACES Students Create Videos to Tell Their Stories

Vesper Society is committed to supporting the health and well-being of youth and families. In order to achieve this goal, we link arms with leaders and organizations to help them create long-term solutions in their communities. The FACES for the Future program was founded in 2000 by two pediatricians specializing in adolescent health. In April, Vesper Society supported a four-day workshop for students in the FACES for the Future program at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, California. Students engaged in a digital storytelling experience in which each participant created a short video. The workshop was facilitated by StoryCenter, a participatory media non-profit based in Berkeley, California, whose work is based around the idea of “Listen Deeply, Tell Stories.” The goal of the workshop was to give students the space and structure to think about important moments in their lives and understand how those experiences have impacted them. Students had an opportunity to reflect deeply and develop their own language to share their stories, and in doing so, take ownership of how their lives are represented. Prior to the workshop students were given preparation materials to help them think about the story they would include in their video. The first day of the workshop, students simply shared their stories verbally with meaning and intent. Next, they wrote a script, applying the input and supportive feedback they received through group participation. They then created an audio recording of the story and learned how to use a video editing platform. During the final day of the workshop, they used the editing platform to create a multimedia piece from their voiceover recording, pictures and video. The workshop concluded with a viewing of the digital stories they created. FACES for the Future students have successfully overcome challenges in their young lives – many of... Read More

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