2018 Phil Rather Award for Leadership in Healthcare

Mrs. Betty Rather receives flowers in honor of her late husband, Phil Rather

The Board of Directors of the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust honored two winners of the 2018 Phil Rather Award for Leadership in Healthcare during a reception at the Health Trust on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Dr. Michele Violich, Medical Director for the Watsonville Health Clinic for nearly 20 years, was honored for her longstanding attention to health equity and healthcare access for low-income Pajaro Valley residents. Second Harvest Food Bank was honored as the organizational award recipient for its commitment to fostering food security and healthy nutrition among families struggling economically.

Instituted in 1999 and named for the late Phil Rather, a dedicated and generous healthcare advocate who led two major capital campaigns for the original Watsonville Community Hospital, the Rather Award for Leadership in Healthcare annually recognizes one individual and one organization that have made outstanding contributions to health and quality of life for Pajaro Valley residents. The Health Trust celebrated Dr. Michele Violich and Second Harvest Food Bank in its King Community Room with a crowd of 50 guests, including Phil Rather’s widow, Betty, and daughters, Amy, Sarah and Kathy

Many generous event sponsors helped to support the event: Mehl’s Colonial Chapel; Watsonville Community Hospital; Dientes; Second Harvest Food Bank; Brewington Cellars; Rocky & Judy Franich; Gina Gallucci; Betty & Peter Michelozzi; and Damian Maldonado.


Past recipients of the Rather Award include:

1999 Phil Rather
2000 The DiCicco Family of Watsonville
2001 Dr. Janet Bell
2002 Bonnie Gutierrez
2003 Jorge Sanchez, Si Se Puede and the Watsonville Community Hospital Service League
2004 Salud Para La Gente
2005 Ed and Doris Mann and Hospice Caring Project of Santa Cruz County
2006 Mary Boyd and The Central California Alliance for Health
2007 Dr. George Wolfe and the Youth Resource Bank of Santa Cruz County
2008 Kathleen Kilpatrick, RN at Watsonville High School and the Healthy Kids Program of Santa Cruz County
2009 Mary Solari and Ginny Solari Mazry and The Richard and Mary Solari Charitable Trust and Jovenes SANOS
2010 Thea Luiten, RN and The Child and Family Development Programs of the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center
2011 Dori Rose Inda and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.
2012 Cathy Cavanaugh, MS, RD, Community Bridges WIC and The Fitness 4 Life Program of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
2013 Dr. Miguel Vasquez and Dientes Community Dental Services.
2014 Chila Correa and Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services.
2015 Dr. Stanley Hajduk and the Community Alliance of Family Farmers
2016 Paul Furman and the Watsonville Family YMCA
2017 Eleanor Littman and FoodWhat?!