Health Exec With Ties to White Memorial to Retire

January 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Beth Zachary, who led Boyle Heights-based White Memorial for 15 years before rising to senior vice president of parent company Adventist Health, where she also serves as president and CEO of the Southern California Region, will retire on Jan. 31, the company has announced.

While CEO of White Memorial, “Zachary helped lead one of our most troubled hospitals into an era of success by rebuilding the campus to meet seismic standards, bringing state-of-the art technology to East Los Angeles, obtaining national recognition for top-tier quality care, and making it one of Adventist Health’s strongest hospitals financially,” the company said in its announcement.

Adventist Health Senior Vice President Beth Zachary will retire Jan. 31. (Courtesy Adventist Health)

Zachary, who the company described as a “tireless advocate for listening to the needs of Adventist Health’s employees, physicians, and communities,” leaves after 37 years of “dedicated service.”

Since 2011, Zachary has led the Adventist Health Southern California Region and for the past three years has served as its president and CEO, chairing the hospital boards at Adventist Health Bakersfield, Glendale, Simi Valley and White Memorial as part of her role.

“I am grateful for all Beth’s contributions especially her dedication to mission and quality leadership. Her presence will be missed at Adventist Health,” said Scott Reiner, president and CEO of Adventist Health.

Bill Wing, president of Adventist Health, will step in to oversee operations of the Southern California Region and to chair the region’s hospital boards while a permanent leadership plan is developed, the company said.




Club Optimista Honra Jóvenes Voluntarios

October 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Ayudando a otros les viene naturalmente a Jasmine Serbin y Jestin Jiménez, quienes fueron honrados el sábado por el Club Optimista del este de Los Ángeles-Monterey Park durante el Inaugural de Premios de Apreciación Juvenil de la organización sin fines de lucro en El Encanto Hall en Monterey Park.

Para Serbin, una estudiante de último año de la preparatoria Garfield en el este de Los Ángeles, es importante ayudar a personas de todas las edades.

Como miembro dedicado del Club Power of Change (Club del Poder del Cambio), el trabajo voluntario de Serbin incluye distribuir comida en Skid Row, visitar a ancianos en asilos y ayudar a alegrar a los niños a través de los programas navideños del White Memorial Medical Center.

El trabajo voluntario de Jasmine Serbin y Jestin Jiménez (sentados, con sus certificados) fue reconocido el sábado 30 de septiembre en un desayuno organizado por el Club Optimista del este de Los Ángeles-Monterey Park.

El trabajo voluntario de Jasmine Serbin y Jestin Jiménez (sentados, con sus certificados) fue reconocido el sábado 30 de septiembre en un desayuno organizado por el Club Optimista del este de Los Ángeles-Monterey Park.

Voluntariado con los niños es especialmente gratificante para Serbin, quien dice que planea estudiar para convertirse en una médica especializada en niños con necesidades especiales.

Jiménez, graduado en 2017 de la escuela preparatoria de Mark Keppel, es actualmente estudiante de primer año en el colegio de Rio Hondo. Él está especialmente dedicado a ayudar a veteranos y familias necesitadas en Montebello, el este de Los Ángeles y Pico Rivera. Aunque aún joven, es un voluntario “de largo tiempo” con grupos como Heart of Compassion (Corazón de Compasión), Rotary, Lions y Kiwanis Clubs de Montebello.

Durante los últimos cuatros años, Jiménez también ha estado activo en el Programa Explorador del Departamento de Bomberos de Monterey Park, que es una combinación perfecta para su objetivo de convertirse en bombero.

Serbin y Jiménez fueron seleccionados para este reconocimiento por sus destacadas contribuciones a la comunidad, el miembro del Club Optimista Jaime Rodríguez le dijo a EGP.

Amigos y familiares de Serbin y Jiménez asistieron a la ceremonia del desayuno del sábado, orgullosos de tener en cuenta el impacto positivo que los dos jóvenes están haciendo en sus comunidades.

White Memorial Honored for Community Programs

February 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Initiatives to prevent cancer, help new mothers and promote healthy eating habits to combat diabetes have earned a Boyle Heights-based health care provider national recognition.

“Keeping the community healthy has been White Memorial Medical Center’s mission since its beginning,” said John O’Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee, announcing that White Memorial is one of three national finalists for the 2016 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service.

According to the announcement, White Memorial was selected for “its exemplary commitment to provide culturally competent, comprehensive care for the community” and will receive $10,000 to support its community health initiatives.

The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by the Baxter International Foundation, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and its not-for-profit affiliate Health Research & Educational Trust. First awarded in 1986, the prize recognizes the achievements of hospitals and health that significantly improve the health and well-being of their communities.

White Memorial’s “enduring initiatives – inspired by the patients, community leaders, physicians and volunteers the health system staff interacts with every day – have altered the overall health of its community, provided economic stimulation and have had a positive impact on residents,” O’Brien said.

White Memorial President and Chief Executive Officer John Raffoul said being named a finalist is “an honor,” adding that at the hospital “community service has for over 100 years been integral with healthcare. “This distinction is a testament to our commitment to keeping our communities healthy with consistent year-over-year superior clinical performance.”

Glendale Adventist Discovers Patient Record Breach

December 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The protected health information of 528 patients, including 88 patients from its sister hospital, the White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights, was accessed by a hospital employee who exceeded their authorization, “and not an external hack,” the Glendale Adventist Medical Center reported last week.

“We take this breach very seriously. Our patients are our top priority and privacy is a critical part of our commitment to patient care,” hospital spokesperson Alicia Gonzalez told EGP in an email.

The breach was discovered during a routine security review and all the affected patients have been notified and advised how to protect themselves from any potential misuse of their information, which could include patient demographic and clinical information such as name, date of birth, address, diagnosis, and social security number, Glendale Adventist said in a written statement.

According to the statement, the hospital runs regular and thorough security reviews designed to identify such events without the need for third party intervention. It went on to say the hospital it is “taking additional steps to both ensure this event is resolved as well as ensuring these events don’t happen in the future.”

By law, any breach involving more than 500 patients must be reported to local media.

“We sincerely apologize for any impact this incident may have on patients affected by this incident,” Gonzalez said.


White Memorial Debuts Free Health Video Library

June 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Access to quality health information just got easier, and perhaps more engaging with the opening of White Memorial Medical Center (WMMC) very own Community Health Education Video Library featuring preventive health content with top WMMC medical experts.

According to White Memorial, the video library segments are condition-specific, offering valuable insight into limb preservation, asthma, allergies, breast cancer diet & nutrition, heart disease and much more.

The videos are from White Memorial’s award-winning TV show ¡Tu Mundo Hoy!, a daily half-hour television program that provided health education to the Greater Los Angeles community. More than 100 segments aired during the running of the show between October 2013 and November 2015.

The segments, along with other helpful health educational videos, are available in English and Spanish on White Memorial’s website, The content is available in an easily-searchable format, making it more convenient for users to access exactly what they need, even when on-the-go, according to the Boyle Heights-based healthcare provider.

“We encourage the community to browse our digital library and enjoy videos on a variety of health topics featuring our medical experts,” said Cesar Armendariz, VP, White Memorial Medical Center.

“Topics range from the benefits of learning basic CPR to discussions of flu prevention, diabetes, childhood obesity, cancer screening, cardiac care and how to evaluate one’s overall health,” he said, explaining that while many of the episodes are in Spanish, White Memorial has also produced an English-speaking counterpart, Your World Today!, which is also available in this digital library.

“I hope everyone enjoys learning from these video segments as much as we enjoyed producing them for the community.” said Armendariz.

Proyecto Jardin Out: Gardeners Can Stay

April 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Ignoring the plea of a grassroots organization over its management of a community garden, the White Memorial Medical Center has announced it will partner with the Lucille and Edward R. Roybal Foundation to expand services at the site in Boyle Heights.

White Memorial is also in the process of developing plans to change leadership at the community garden, spokesperson with the hospital Alicia Gonzalez told EGP Tuesday, clarifying confusion over who would ultimately manage the garden and programs.

Roybal Foundation Executive Director Crystal Torres said they want to work with the community group, not get rid of them.

Lea esta artículo en Español: Proyecto Jardín Fuera: Agricultores se Pueden Quedar

The announcements come following a months long dispute between White Memorial and the community garden’s longtime tenant and management team, Proyecto Jardin.

White Memorial refused to renew Proyecto Jardin’s lease when it expired Dec. 31 of last year, ending, at least on paper, the group’s 15-year tenancy despite pleas from the group’s members and community organizations to enter a new agreement.

Over the last decade and a half Proyecto Jardin has developed programs to cultivate the land and teach urban gardening and other skills, and is now refusing to give up their fight to remain.

Executive Director Irene Peña has managed the small farmers and local families cultivating the land free of charge, and says the community garden provides organic products at low or no cost to a community that would otherwise not have access to fresh produce. Forcing out Proyecto Jardin will harm, not benefit the community, she told EGP.

Signs protesting displacement can be seen all over the Boyle Height’s community garden. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Signs protesting displacement can be seen all over the Boyle Height’s community garden. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Families and farmers currently working the site are welcome to stay, but they will no longer be under Proyecto Jardin’s direction, said Gonzalez.

“Irene Pena will transition out of her current role…the only thing that has changed is the leadership of the garden, which will now be determined through the partnership of [White Memorial] and the Lucille and Edward R. Roybal Foundation,” she clarified.

White Memorial, in its initial announcement, cited the Roybal Foundation’s “successful track record in building and sustaining community gardens.”

According to Torres, they will take over one-third of the site for an aquaponics project where they will teach seniors how to use the aquaculture systems to farm tilapia, and use their waste to supply nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which also purifies the water.

The foundation wants to improve eastside residents’ access to healthy affordable food, Torres told EGP, explaining their goal in the partnership. It was never their intention to displace Proyecto Jardin, said Torres, adding they want to work with them.

“We don’t know how to work the garden, we are just trained for our [aquaponics] system,” she said, explaining the need for experienced gardeners to work the land.

White Memorial, however, says it has been unhappy with Proyecto Jardin’s management for more than a year. Neighbors were complaining that the garden was in disarray and becoming a hazard, Vice President of Business Development Cesar Armendariz told EGP: allegations the group strongly denies.

Proyecto Jardin was given a 30-day notice in January to vacate the property, but has instead initiated a “plant-on” campaign, a 24 hours a day, seven days a week sit-in to keep from losing control of the garden.

With “El jardin vive, la lucha sigue” (the garden lives, the fight continues) as their motto, members continue working the land, holding community events and teaching farming skills to keep the garden going.

Eviction Defense Network Attorney Elena Popp told EGP the group is within its legal rights to remain until a judge orders them to leave.

“If Proyecto Jardin does not vacate the land voluntarily, [White Memorial] has to file an eviction action,” she said, adding they will wait to see what the hospital decides to do.

Armendariz, however, told EGP no eviction is required because there is no lease. “They are trespassing,” he said, adding they expect to start working on-site with the Roybal Foundation, possibly as soon as two weeks.

Torres, however, said she expects to start work on the garden by June or July.

“We are not taking the whole site,” she reiterated. “We want to work with the farmers…the more the better,” she said, adding that she has already spoken with some Proyecto Jardin members and plans to meet with the group soon to talk about the future of the garden.

Peña said they are glad the new partner is the Roybal Foundation, which has a legacy of empowering the community and “standing for the underdog,” but she still believes White Memorial has ulterior motives for trying to get rid of Proyecto Jardin’s leadership, and her in particular.

The hospital doesn’t want to have an organized group of farmers and gardeners because if they organize that gives them more power, she told EGP. “We don’t want White Memorial to erase our existence or [silence] our voices.”

At this point, according to Armendariz, there is no turning back and White Memorial wants Proyecto Jardin, as the managing organization, out of the site.

“Families and the community shouldn’t be affected, they are more than welcome to stay,” but not the Proyecto Jardin’s name, he said.

On Tuesday, Proyecto Jardin was awarded a $26,000 USC Good Neighbors Campaign grant to continue their work in the garden. The grant had been on hold for about two months due to the dispute between the group and the hospital. On Wednesday night, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council was scheduled to vote on whether to release $5,000 previously approved for Proyecto Jardin’s Earth Day event, scheduled to take place April 24.

Given the turn of events, it’s unclear how management of grant related programs on site would work.


Twitter @jackiereporter

Boyle Heights Community Garden in Dispute

March 3, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

For more than a month, supporters of a community garden in Boyle Heights have been holding daily sit-ins to keep the current operators from losing control of the site.

Located on a piece of land owned by the White Memorial Medical Center on Bridge Street, Proyecto Jardin has for 15 years operated under a $1 a year lease agreement with White Memorial. In 2010, Community Partners became Proyecto Jardin’s fiscal sponsor, managing their accounting after the group received grants to maintain the project.

Lea este artículo en Español: Jardín Comunitario de Boyle Heights en Disputa

Proyecto Jardin has allowed individual gardeners and small farmers to cultivate the land free of charge. It provides organic products at low cost or no cost to a community that would otherwise not have access to fresh produce, according to Irene Peña, Proyecto Jardin’s executive director.

“We accept donations for the produce, but we don’t turn away anyone who doesn’t have money to pay,” she told EGP.
The group’s lease expired on Dec. 31, however, and it now finds itself at odds with White Memorial over control of the community garden.

Community Partners relationship with Proyecto Jardin ended at the same time, after the group requested separation, Lauren Kay, the organization’s director of communications told EGP, not wanting elaborate further.

White Memorial — a Seventh-day Adventist, faith-based teaching hospital owned and operated by Adventist Health — offered Proyecto Jardin a 6-month lease extension but only for one-third of the land. They also informed the collective of their plans to bring two new nonprofits into the community garden.

The extension offer also included operating conditions that Proyecto Jardin said it could not abide by, such as taking training on how to observe the Sabbath, a religious doctrine that recognizes the seventh day of the week – sunset Friday to sunset Saturday – as a day of rest and prayer.

Naarai Hernandez, a member of the garden, told EGP they rejected the offer and rules because reducing their space by two-thirds would not allow the collective to continue its work as a healing, artistic, meditation and teaching center. They also did not want to be forced to observe another religion, Hernandez said.

Proyecto Jardin members are conducting round the clock sit-ins to maintain control of the property owned by the White Memorial Medical Center. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Proyecto Jardin members are conducting round the clock sit-ins to maintain control of the property owned by the White Memorial Medical Center. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Instead, the group issued a counter-offer: A five-year lease on the entire location.

“Once we submitted the counteroffer it was just an automatic no, with no intention to [release] what they had originally said,” Hernandez told EGP.

Hernandez supports Proyecto Jardin’s continued management of the site because as a student pursuing a degree in agriculture she says she understands the benefits it offers the community and students like her.

“Due to challenges with the lease terms and Proyecto Jardin leadership, WMMC and Community Partners, the fiscal sponsor for the gardens, decided to terminate their lease with Proyecto Jardin. Proper notice was given to them,” White Memorial told EGP in an email.

The “notice” referred to gave Proyecto Jardin 30 days to vacate the property after its lease expired on Dec. 31.
In response, the group stepped up its campaign to drum up support for its bid to continue operating the community garden as it has for years.

Boyle Heights resident Cecilia Caballero told EGP she first heard about Proyecto Jardin about two years ago, but it wasn’t until last summer that she became a member and started growing her own organic produce.

Since joining, Caballero says she’s learned how to grow vegetables and often takes her 6-year-old son along so he can learn the techniques of harvesting in an urban area. Members grow produce seasonally, from leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and cabbage in the winter to tomatoes, carrots and chiles in the spring and summer.

“We learn a lot and teach each other how to grow vegetables … it’s a community working together,” Caballero said.
“It is an injustice to the community of Boyle Heights that they want to take over management and rebrand it in a corporate manner,” she complained.

Proyecto Jardin, acting on the advice of their attorney, is now occupying the site 24-hours a day, 7-days-a-week to keep from being locked out. They have erected tents and installed a makeshift kitchen at the site.

They have also partnered with the nonprofit Hunger Action LA to serve as their fiscal sponsor.

Cesar Armendariz, White Memorial’s vice president of business development told EGP the healthcare provider has been wrongly “painted as the bad ones” in the dispute. He said throughout the process there has been misunderstandings. Rumors that White Memorial plans to stop allowing the site to be used a community garden are untrue, he told EGP.

However, according to Amendariz, in June 2015 White Memorial started receiving complaints  from neighbors that the garden was in disarray and not being tended to, among other issues.

“If the mission of the garden was to produce, it was no [longer] serving its purpose,” he told EGP. “We needed to do something.”

As a result, White Memorial informed Proyecto Jardin last July that operation of the site would change when its lease expired in December 2015. “They knew about the changes six months in advance,” giving them ample time to transition, Armendariz explained.

“We want to work with true partners and [Proyecto Jardin] continues with the stand of ‘all or nothing,’” he said.
According to Armendariz, the “Sabbath clause” was not included as a way to change people’s religion but to get them to be respectful of their neighbors. As an Adventist institution, White Memorial hospital and clinic employees respect the day of rest, even if they are working, and White Memorial expects the same respect to be shown by garden members.

“People in the garden bring their drums and are loud,” he said, pointing out that the garden is situated between two homes, in front of an Adventist church and behind the hospital.

He said White Memorial has always been supportive of healthy habits and the garden will remain open, but with two new nonprofits sharing the space, which will remain anonymous until an agreement is finalized.

Families are invited to stay,” he said, explaining that the garden will continue serving its purpose.

White Memorial has no intention to locate bungalows inside the property or to have “marketing and advertising” departments as part of the operation, he said. Eventually they will have to change the garden’s name to better reflect the new shared space, which he expects the community will be very pleased about once they learn the identities of White Memorial’s new partners.


Twitter @jackiereporter

Chern Earns Health Industry Philanthropy Award

October 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The president of the White Memorial Medical Center Charitable Foundation on Friday will receive the prestigious Harold J. (Si) Seymour Award of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).

Mary Anne Chern, FAHP, ACFRE, has been selected to receive the award, which recognizes excellence in advancing charitable support for health care institutions in the United States and Canada, the group announced earlier this month.

Mary Anne Chern (White Memorial Medical Center)

Mary Anne Chern (White Memorial Medical Center)

White Memorial, a part of Adventist Health, is a nonprofit teaching hospital based in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. For the past 18 years, Chern has been president of the medical center’s charitable foundation.

“Mary Anne Chern is a truly dedicated and outstanding health care development professional,” says Steven Churchill, MNA, president and CEO of AHP.

With more than 30 years of experience as a hospital fund development professional, Chern is one of only four individuals in the U.S. who are both a fellow of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (FAHP) and also hold advanced certification as a fundraising executive (ACFRE) from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

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