Keeping You Connected

The SMLMA keeps you up to date on the latest news,
policy developments, and events


2024 Physician Wellness Leadership awards announced

Nominations and award recipients were announced at the Physician Wellness EXPO and Dinner on April 26, 2024, in Petaluma. Awards were presented to physicians in six categories of wellness leadership achievement. Click here or the icon below for the full dinner program, which includes photographs and statements from each of the nominees. Additional details and list of awardees may be viewed in May 2024 News Briefs.

2024 Physician Wellness Expo & Dinner



June 2012

Kaiser set to launch family medicine residency in 2014

Responding to the growing need for family physicians, Kaiser Santa Rosa last month announced plans to open a family medicine residency in July 2014. The program, which has been in the formative stages for more than a year, will be sponsored by Kaiser but will collaborate with the existing residency at Sutter Santa Rosa. The Kaiser residency director will be SCMA President-Elect Dr. Walt Mills, a family physician who is currently deputy director of the Sutter residency.

In an interview to be published in Sonoma Medicine later this month, Dr. Mills explains the rationale behind the new three-year program: “We came to the conclusion together, Kaiser and Sutter, that it was best for us to have a Kaiser-sponsored residency program that would be a new program and then collaborate with the current residency program with didactics, curriculum, shared rotations, and other things.” He noted that the Kaiser program will admit six residents per year, meaning that when it’s fully up and running in 2016, there will be 18 residents. When the 36 Sutter residents are added, Sonoma County will be home to more than 50 resident physicians within a few years.

Kaiser, Sutter and the Santa Rosa Community Health Centers have cooperated on the Sutter residency since 2006, when funding issues threatened the program’s existence. Since then, the residency has stabilized and even prospered, attracting hundreds of top-notch applicants from around the country. Current residents rotate between Kaiser, Sutter and the health centers. Those rotations will probably continue for both Sutter and Kaiser residents, according to Dr. Mills, but the details are still being worked out.

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SCMA publishes book on Santa Rosa Residency by Dr. Rick Flinders

SCMA has just published its first book, The Santa Rosa Reader: A Personal Anthology from the Family Medicine Residency, by Dr. Rick Flinders, a family physician who trained at the residency and later became its director. The anthology includes essays, histories, journals and reflections from Dr. Flinders’ long career in one of the preeminent family medicine residency programs in the United States.

“The writings for this book span over forty years,” notes Dr. Flinders in the introduction, “and provide temporal landmarks in the history of our specialty. Mostly they offer glimpses into the extraordinary process of training, teaching and becoming family physicians.”

SCMA is selling the 108-page paperback book for $9.95 (plus shipping), and all proceeds will be used to benefit the residency program. To purchase by phone with a credit card, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or You can also purchase online at, or you can fax or mail the order form below. In addition, the book will be available at local bookstores and online retailers within the next few weeks. An eBook edition is being prepared as well.

Santa Rosa Reader order form

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Dr. Stephen Steady is new SCMA President-Elect

The SCMA election results are in, and Dr. Stephen Steady, a Petaluma gastroenterologist, has been confirmed as the medical association’s president-elect for the 2012-13 fiscal year. He will become president in July 2013. The current president-elect, Dr. Walt Mills, will serve as president from July 2012 to June 2013.

Other new members of the SCMA board of directors confirmed by the election include Drs. Ed Chang (treasurer), Francesca Manfredi (secretary), Rachel Mayorga (North County district), Peter Brett and Phyllis “Jackie” Senter (Santa Rosa district) and Ed Chang (The Permanente Medical Group). Three members of the CMA delegation were confirmed as well: Drs. Leonard Klay, Catherine Gutfreund, and Phyllis “Jackie” Senter. A complete list of new SCMA officers and board members will be posted at in July.

In addition to their election ballots, non-Kaiser members received a staff wage and benefit survey. Physicians can use the results to help manage their practice. Later this month, results will be sent by first-class mail, marked “confidential,” only to physicians who completed the survey.

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Health Information Exchange conference set for Rohnert Park

The annual Health Information Exchange (HIE) conference cosponsored by SCMA will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park on July 19 and 20. Titled “Connecting California to Improve Patient Care,” the conference will focus on practical solutions for securely sharing electronic clinical information between unaffiliated health care facilities, such as outpatient practices, hospitals, laboratories, imaging centers, long-term care, home health and public health. Conference attendees will learn best practices in clinical informatics, quality analytics and HIE services.

To register, visit Attendees can register for either one or two days. A separate Interoperability Exhibition will be held in conjunction with the conference.

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Redwood Regional

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Extra copies of 2012 Physician Directory still available

Extra copies of the 2012 Sonoma County Physician Directory are still available. They cost $30 for SCMA members, $40 for nonmember physicians and health care facilities, and $55 for the general public. To order by phone with a credit card, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or You can also purchase online at, or you can fax or mail the order form below.

Sonoma County Physician Directory order form

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SCMA sponsors celebration for future physicians

A happy crowd of medical students, resident physicians and SCMA board members gathered after work on May 11 for a celebration of future physicians at the Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa. The students, from Touro University in Vallejo, are doing clinical rotations at Kaiser Santa Rosa, along with residents from the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency.

Several of the students wrote notes expressing their appreciation to SCMA. “As one of the medical students in Sonoma County, I am honored to have been welcomed into the SCMA,” wrote Jasmine Hudnall, a third-year student at Touro. Her classmate Assunta Ritieni concurred: “It was wonderful to have incoming and current students, mentors, faculty and community physicians come together. It was a great means to strengthen the thread that connects us all.”

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John Muir

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Wine & Cheese Reception draws nearly 100 physicians and friends

Almost 100 SCMA physicians and their guests gathered at the Williams Selyem Winery on May 30 for the medical association’s 12th annual Wine & Cheese Reception. The spectacular winery, situated on a hilltop above the Russian River, proved a wonderful setting for conversations and collegiality.

Outgoing SCMA President Dr. Jeff Sugarman, whose term ends this month, was honored for his many years of service to the medical community. Dr. Walt Mills, who becomes president next month, spoke about the need to retain joy in medical practice.

Photos from the reception will be published in the next issue of Sonoma Medicine. They will also be posted online in SCMA’s new Facebook page, which is coming soon.

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Top stories from CMA Alert

Here are the top stories from the latest CMA Alert, the California Medical Association’s biweekly email newsletter. For a free subscription, visit

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Dr. Laura Norton, a 36-year-old breast surgeon at Redwood Regional Medical Group, has received a “40 under 40” award from the North Bay Business Journal for her efforts to provide uninsured women with consultations and outpatient surgery for breast disease. The annual award recognizes local professionals under 40 years old.

Santa Rosa family physician Dr. Deborah Donlon has been inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame. An accomplished athlete, Donlon is the all-time leader in field-goal percentage and blocked shots for the Harvard women’s basketball team. She also holds the school record for most rebounds in a game, and she helped her team win an Ivy League championship in 1991.

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On June 14, James Schieberl, MD, and Kelly Jones, RRT, will present a free lunchtime seminar on identifying, treating and managing asthma in adults. The seminar--to be held at the Public Health Department, 490 Mendocino Ave., Suite 202, Santa Rosa--runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. and includes a free lunch. Dr. Schieberl is an “asthma champion” at Kaiser Santa Rosa, and Ms. Jones is an asthma care manager. Please RSVP by June 12 to Jeny Bard at

Shriners Hospital and the American College of Surgeons are cosponsoring an all-day disaster management and emergency preparedness course on June 7 at the Northern California Shriners Hospital, 2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento. The course, approved for 8.25 hours of CME, will address planning, triage, incident command and injury patterns. The $100 fee includes lunch, breakfast, course materials and CME credit. To register, contact Shriners Hospital at 916-453-2041 or

The West County Health Centers are sponsoring Resorts in Bloom--a garden tour for charity from June 8 to 10. The event, which raises money for the six clinics in the West County network, features self-guided tours of eight lush gardens at local resorts. There’s also a VIP reception on June 8 and a wine-tasting event on June 9. Tickets are $30 for the garden tours and $50 for the VIP events. To purchase, visit or call 707-869-5977, Ext. 3313.

Local physicians and guests are invited to attend the Spirit of Hippocrates Dinner and Auction, which will benefit the Jewish Community Free Clinic. Set for Sunday afternoon, June 10, at the French Garden Restaurant in Sebastopol, the dinner features a sumptuous three-course meal and an array of local wines. The silent auction includes offerings from some of Sonoma County’s finest restaurants, wineries and spas. Tickets are $100 per person. To purchase, contact the clinic at or 707-585-7780.

AMPAC, the political action committee for the American Medical Association, is supporting Congressman Mike Thompson’s re-election bid and encourages local physicians to attend his Annual Sonoma County Pasta Dinner, scheduled for 5 to 7:30 p.m. on June 9 at Monroe Hall, 1400 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. Tickets are $25 per person. To purchase, visit or call Mary Jane Bowker at 707-226-8989.

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The Stroke Center at Palm Drive Hospital has earned a Superior Performance award from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. Palm Drive is the first hospital in California to receive the award, which is based on a hospital’s ability to meet or exceed federal standards for patient care. The hospital was certified as a Primary Stroke Center in 2010.

Sonoma Valley Hospital has received a $3 million donation from staffing company founder Gary Nelson and his wife, Marcia, to help fund a new emergency department. The donation is the largest gift in the history of the hospital, which has just embarked on a $39 million renovation. The Nelsons made the donation in honor of their son Justin, whose life was saved by physicians in the hospital’s emergency department about 30 years ago. “We have never forgotten how fortunate we were to have this hospital nearby,” said Mr. Nelson.

Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa has selected the Hammes Company to develop and lease a planned 80,000 square foot medical office building next to Sutter’s new hospital, still under construction. Hammes, a Wisconsin company that specializes in healthcare facilities, will lead all development, leasing and capital financing initiatives for the office building, which will house ambulatory services and physician office space.

Several local health centers received federal construction grants in May as part of the Affordable Care Act. Sonoma Valley Health Center received $5 million for dental chairs, and Santa Rosa Community Health Centers likewise received $2.78 million to establish a dental clinic. West County Health Centers received $492,000 for general facility improvements.

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Four CMA webinars are scheduled for June. All webinars begin at 12:15 p.m. and run until 1:15 or 1:45. To register, visit Seminars are free for CMA members and their staff; cost for nonmembers is $99 per person. Here’s the lineup:

  • A manager’s guide to lowering practice costs (June 6; includes CEU)
  • California worker’s comp eBill--part 4 (June 7)
  • Accessing CMA’s legal library (June 13)
  • Writing effective appeals (June 20)

Medical fitness to drive: Is your patient at risk? is a free web-based course from the American Medical Association that helps physicians identify medical conditions that may impair their older patients’ ability to drive. The course, available at, includes assessment tools, case studies and additional resources to help doctors evaluate and counsel older drivers in their care.

Technical assistance is available at no cost for Medicare FFS PCPs to participate in the CMS Physician Quality Reporting System Program. Learn how you can improve healthcare quality for your patients, qualify for incentive payments and avoid future payment penalties. For free assistance, contact Shanti Wilson of the Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) at or 916-217-7078. HSAG is the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for California.

Marsh, the insurance broker sponsored by SCMA, is offering a 5% rate reduction on term life insurance policies worth up to $1 million. Rates for the first 10 or 20 years of coverage can be locked in. Coverage can also include spouse, domestic partner or eligible employees. For details, contact Marsh at 800-842-3761 or, or visit

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Room for rent
One bedroom w/private bath & storage for rent in 2-bedroom house in beautiful Bennett Valley. $800/month + security deposit. Contact Gwyn at or 415-306-9814.

Office space
Small suite for lease. Reception, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

SCMA members get free classifieds!
SCMA members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Erika Goodwin at or 707-548-6491.

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The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

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