For three decades, Phil Rather advocated for access to healthcare for our residents, especially those facing economic and social barriers. He championed the creation of the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust’s Diabetes Health Center (DHC), which has filled a significant gap in diabetes prevention and self-management education services for the community.

Watch the 2020 virtual award ceremony. use access code 2x%Fc7@4 to view.Support the Rather Memorial Endowment

Following Mr. Rather’s passing, his family created the Phil Rather Memorial Endowment Fund to honor his memory and support the DHC. Across nearly 15 years, the Rather Endowment Fund has been instrumental in sustaining access to DHC services.
Help us grow the Rather Memorial Endowment.

The Health Trust instituted the Rather Award for Leadership in Healthcare in 1999 to honor Phil’s legacy of service to the community. The award annually recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to health and quality of life in Pajaro Valley.

This year, we are honored to recognize the incredible contributions of Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, Superintendent of Pajaro Valley Unified School District, in recognition of her outstanding dedication to student success and visionary leadership in cross-sector efforts to promote equity for vulnerable youth in the Pajaro Valley. Read Full Bio for Dr. Rodriguez


Teen Kitchen Project, for being creative and tenacious, and meeting the needs of the community in a huge way while truly making an incredible impact for the people they serve as well as the teens who learn the value of community service. Read Full Bio for Teen Kitchen Project


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?!
2018 Dr. Michele Violich and Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
2019 Dr. Amy McEntee and Georgina Ibarra & Matt Nathanson, Homeless Persons’ Health Project