The Health Trust created the Phil Rather Award for Leadership in Healthcare in 1999. The award was inspired by its namesake and first recipient, Phil Rather, whose volunteer leadership in healthcare spanned more than 30 years in the Pajaro Valley. The Award recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in the community whose contributions of time, effort and/or philanthropy have helped make a difference in the quality of our community’s health.

This year, we are pleased to announce that the winners of the 2018 Rather award are Dr. Michele Violich, in recognition of over three decades of championing access to high-quality whole person healthcare for Pajaro Valley residents, and Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Cruz County’s lead agency addressing food insecurity. 

The Health Trust will publicly celebrate this year’s winners at a reception to be held in the King Community Room at the Health Trust on Wednesday, May 16th from 5:30-7:30pm. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Annie Puckett, Development & Communications Coordinator, at

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?!