16th Annual Community Health Fair

On Friday, May 10, thirty-one community organizations gathered in the Watsonville City Plaza to share free health and wellness resources with locals attending the farmer’s market at PV Health Trust’s 16th Annual Community Health Fair.

Among the many health resources offered, residents who participated in the Health Fair had the opportunity to receive free blood pressure and glucose screenings from our Diabetes Health Center, receive bags of fresh produce from Second Harvest Food Bank, and participate in a raffle promoting healthy life-style habits. Against a backdrop of sunshine, the festive Mother’s Day atmosphere also featured a live Mariachi band, Folklorico dancers, and fun kids’ activities hosted by students from Watsonville High’s Health Academy.

The Health Trust would like to thank all those who helped make the Health Fair a great success, including each participating community organization and the generous event sponsors: Kaiser Permanente; Watsonville Community Hospital; Dignity Health Dominican; Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center; and Salud Para La Gente.

Special thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank for the generous donation of 300 produce bags, Watsonville High’s Health Academy, for outstanding volunteer participation, Cabrillo College’s Nursing Students, for assisting with health screenings, and Si Se Puede, for helping to set-up the event.

#LivePajaroValley Conference

Event Details

When: Friday, April 26, 2019 8:30 – 4:00
Where: Veterans Memorial Hal

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors!

Harbourton Foundation

Reiter Affiliated Companies

LiUNA! Laborers’ Local 270

County of Santa Cruz Human Services

Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County

Salud Para La Gente

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

City of Watsonville

Pajaro Valley Unified School District

United Presbyterian Church of Watsonville

Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance

Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

Community Foundation Santa Cruz County


Digital Nest

Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County

Arts Council Santa Cruz County

Convened in 2018, the #LivePajaroValley initiative is a cross-sector response to the social inequities that prevent residents of the Pajaro valley, a place of relative abundance, from achieving fullness of health and quality of life.

Realizing a Community of Opportunity for All

In the first #LIVEPajaroValley conference, we will focus on pathways for sustainable and equitable prosperity, a critical lever for community health and well-being. We will engage people across sectors to explore what’s working and build on these strengths. We will also hear from regional experts about solutions that hold transferrable lessons as we strive to maximize health and economic well-being in the Pajaro Valley.

Event Materials

16th Annual Diabetes Forum: Plant-Based Eating Patterns for Diabetes

On Friday, March 29, 2019, the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust hosted the 16th Annual Diabetes Forum, which explored the theme: Plant-Based Eating Patterns for Diabetes and featured a community panel discussion on efforts to increase healthy eating behaviors in the Pajaro Valley

Attended by local healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, and members of the community, the event was generously sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center Santa Cruz, Watsonville Community Hospital, Salud Para La Gente and Dignity Health/Dominican Hospital and moderated by Cesario Ruiz of My Mom’s Mole, a business focused on sustaining traditional Mexican cuisine using responsibly sourced ingredients.

The panel of speakers from local nonprofits talked about the process of empowering individuals to make healthier nutrition choices, cultivating participants’ appreciation and openness to fresh fruits and vegetables, and the ways in which their programming works to create a sense of belonging in the community.

The keynote speaker, Meghan Jardine, discussed the benefits of plant-based nutrition for diabetes and offered guidance on how healthcare providers in the Pajaro Valley can implement plant-based eating in their clinical practice. Ms. Jardine ended her presentation with a plant-based cooking demonstration and distributed samples of her delicious chili and coleslaw.

Presentation: Health in All Policies & Advocacy 101

Presented by the Pajaro Valley Food, Farming and Health Policy Council , a Presentation on HEALTH IN ALL POLICIES (HiAP) with Mimi Hall, Santa Cruz Health Services Agency and ADVOCACY 101 with Tracey Patterson, California Food Policy Advocates

Power Point: Health In All Policies  


On February 12th, 20 community interested community members gathered to learn about an approach to planning called “Health in All Policies” (HiAP) being championed by the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA). HSA Director and Health Trust Board member Mimi Hall, MPH, described HiAP as an approach to public policies across sectors that systematically takes into account the health implications of decision, seeks synergies, and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population health and health equity. Ms. Hall shared several case studies of how HiAP led to expanded access to healthcare – such as MediCal express enrollment via school nutrition program eligibility – or improvements in public health programming, such as youth violence prevention and restorative justice approaches adopted in Santa Cruz County and elsewhere in the state.

Tracey Patterson, Director of Community Engagement at California Food Policy Advocates, stepped participants through a brief overview of Policy Advocacy 101. She observed that, “Policy provides the sustainability for the things we want to do,” and described how local policymaking and advocacy efforts can be responsive and creative, removing longstanding inequities, allowing new things to happen, or opening up funding for new initiatives. Ms. Patterson invited participants to discuss in small groups what they’d like to see changed. Responses included: refinement and expansion of a Healthy Food Ordinance for the City of Watsonville to include prioritizing local, healthy food and minimizing drive-through establishments; raising awareness of the significance of school meals provided through PVUSD and taking steps to ensure they are filled with locally sourced produced and available to all children & youth who need them; and identifying and incorporating high quality protein sources in food distribution through Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Food Farming & Health Policy Council’s next meeting is Tuesday, March 12th from 1:30-3:00pm in the King Community Room at 85 Nielson Street.

2018 Evening of Wine & Roses

On Friday November 2nd, we continued a decades-long tradition of celebrating the harvest with two dozen of Santa Cruz County’s talented vintners and brewers, brilliant local chefs and culinary entrepreneurs, a brilliant local band, and a few hundred local residents. Collectively, we uplifted the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust’s vision of a community in which every person has access to the resources and opportunities they need to live a healthy life.

Ken Schwan graced the stage to kick off the live auction, acknowledging the power of community as a therapeutic influence in his ongoing recovery from a devastating motorcycle accident. “I heard this phrase on KPIG yesterday morning, and it’s stuck with me: ‘Keep your gratitude ahead of your expectations.’”

Ken’s encouragement to gratitude motivated a tremendous response; event guests contributed $16,700 in Fund A Need donations alone!! Altogether, we raised more than $70,000 that we will return to the Pajaro Valley community in small grants to local nonprofits that provide oral and mental healthcare and connect residents to other well-being resources. We’ll invest in families and children-focused and youth empowerment programming, because we want to grow a healthy next generation of Pajaro Valley residents. Through our Diabetes Health Center, we will continue to support community members to prevent the onset of diabetes and learn and use strategies to realize good quality of life despite living with the disease. And we will use our own King Community Room and other spaces to facilitate collaborative efforts that drive toward a community where every resident flourishes.

We are wholeheartedly grateful to the participating flower growers and floral artists, fermentation masters, culinary greats, generous sponsors, hardworking volunteers and exuberant guests. Together, in community, you demonstrated how unity + creativity + regionally crafted food & drink + love yields a powerful blend of assets to invest in good health and quality of life for all local residents. Thank you for supporting the Health Trust’s first two decades of work, in which 15,000 local individuals benefitted from services through our Diabetes Health Center and 174,000 community members participated in programs or accessed healthcare provided by one of our grantee-partner organizations. Together, we are a mighty force for fostering a healthy community.

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?!

15th Annual Community Health Fair!

On Friday, May 25, from 4-7 PM, the Health Trust's Regional Diabetes Collaborative  hosted the 15th Annual Community Health Fair in conjunction with the Farmer's Market at the Watsonville City Plaza.

This fun, family-oriented event promoted public awareness of diabetes and provided free health education, screening and resources to participants. It featured face painting, music, Zumba, and raffle prizes too!

The Health Fair enabled us, along with our community partners, to deliver valuable resources to hundreds of community members. To our many generous sponsors- Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center Santa Cruz, Watsonville Community Hospital, Santa Cruz Naturals and Dignity Health/Dominican Hospital -  THANK YOU for supporting this fun community event!





15th Annual Diabetes Health Forum

On Friday, March 23rd, the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust hosted the 15th Annual Diabetes Forum. The Forum convened the Health Trust’s Regional Diabetes Collaborative to explore the theme Healthcare Beyond the Clinic: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health.

Forum speakers included Elsa Mendoza Jimenez, Monterey County Director of Health Services, Elizabeth (Betsy) Nahas Wilson, Director of Housing Development for MidPen Housing Corp and Swamini Bajpai, Director of the Senior Services Program for MidPen Housig Corp.; Panel speakers included, Maria Cadenas, Executive Director for Santa Cruz County Community Ventures; Reid Norris, Executive Director of Everyone’s Harvest, and; Richard Puente, Healthy Start Coordinator for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

For full Forum content, follow the links below:

To each of our generous sponsors, Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center Santa Cruz, Watsonville Community Hospital, Santa Cruz Naturals and Dignity Health/Dominican Hospital, THANK YOU for supporting this community event!

For information about how you can help locally to address the social determinants of health, contact Veronica Camberos, Director of Programs at the Health Trust, at vcamberos@pvhealthtrust.org or phone 831-761-5639.




Warm Thanks to our 2017 Evening of Wine and Roses Supporters!

On Friday, November 3rd, the Pajaro Valley celebrated the abundance of the harvest season with more than 600 community members at the 34th Annual Evening of Wine & Roses.

Together, we generated over $80,000 in support of the Health Trust's mission: to improve the health and quality of life for all Pajaro Valley residents. THANK YOU for participating in this effort!

Now in its 34th year, the Evening of Wine and Roses is made possible through the longstanding and generous collaboration of winemakers from the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation, as well as area restaurants, caterers, brewers and local rose and cut flower growers.

The fine wines, craft beers, sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and fragrant florals combine to create a beautiful,  bountiful celebration of good health typically enjoyed by more than 600 guests. Bottled specially for this event, most vintners also provide a double magnum of premium wine for lively silent and live auctions, which feature other unique gifts, original art works and collectibles.

Santa Cruz Oil Painters Exhibit

Santa Cruz Oil Painters Exhibit
Free art exhibit available for viewing

The Health Trust is pleased to announce that over the next year, The Santa Cruz Oil Painters (SCOP) have graciously agreed to exhibit original works of art at the Health Trust and in the King Community Room, at 85 Nielson Street, Watsonville.

Currently, works by contemporary California artists Lorraine Catiana and Jean Thomas are on display and available for sale. The exhibit showcases Still Life art, including beautiful colorful florals. 20% of all sales will directly support the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust.

We hope you will come enjoy these beautiful works!