WineLover’s Auction Raises $300,000 For             Coachella Valley Volunteers In Medicine

CVVIM hosted its second annual WineLover's Auction fundraising event on February 3rd at the historic Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage to benefit CVVIM – the Valley’s only no-charge primary care healthcare clinic. What a night! $300,000 was raised to support CVVIM operations and programs, including direct patient care, education, case management services, and homeless medical outreach.

Sponsored by JFK Memorial Hospital and Desert Regional Medical Center, the event featured both silent and live auctions during a wine reception and wine-paired dinner, and was overflowing with fine wines and good-hearted generosity. Additional sponsors include; Wine Vault of the Desert, Cathleen Ellsworth, John and Sandy Powell, John and Carlene Williams and Frank and Mary Ann Xavier.

Auctioned items included Dom Perignon champagne and Osetra caviar, a case of 1985 Cos d’Estournel Bordeaux wine, San Diego and San Francisco travel packages, and a     five course gourmet wine dinner party for eight.

CVVIM Executive Director, Doug Morin, shared, “This is just the second time we’ve held the event and I’m absolutely delighted with how everything turned out. It was a beautiful evening, everyone had a great time, and importantly, much needed funding was raised to support CVVIM and the services we provide to our Coachella Valley neighbors in need.”

The WineLover’s Auction is the primary fundraising event for CVVIM, which doesn’t receive governmental reimbursement and relies exclusively on the generosity of individual and philanthropic organizations for funding. “A heartfelt thanks to the many donors and volunteers who made this remarkable evening happen,” added Morin.

Entertaining guests with music were Kaitlyn Farley, 2016 McCallum Theatre’s Open Call Winner, and Paul Cracchiolo, arranger/composer and house pianist for the McCallum Theatre.

WineLover's Auction is a signature event reflective of the extraordinary people who populate the Palm Springs area and the wines they love to drink. Just as the Coachella Valley draws fascinating people from all over the world, the superb wines presented at the annual WineLover's Auction come from all over the United States as well as from France, Italy, Chile, Argentina, Australia and more. Guests who attend can bid on wine travel packages and wine dinners, golfing events with wine, wine storage and wine accessories – everything an oenophile could ask for. Many of the exceptional wines that are available for bidding hail from private wine cellars and provide a spectrum of rare types and vintages.

2017 WineLover’s Auction Steering Committee    
(L to R): Joe Gandolfo – Co-Chair, Pat Fearey, Roy Pitkin, MD – Co-Chair and Ron Hare, MD

Guests peruse their choices at the auction table


Founding Board member and still-active CVVIM Director and Clinic provider Rosa Lucas, F-NP, was awarded the 2017 Community Justice Award from Bloom In the Desert Ministries. The award, presented on March 3rd at the Desert Ministries’ Spring Fling and Cabaret, recognizes and celebrates individuals engaged in social justice, peace and human rights advocacy work in the Coachella Valley. 

Rosa grew up in Beverly Hills and began her first social action efforts as a teen, going door to door in Watts getting signatures for a Fair Housing Initiative. After becoming a registered nurse, Rosa was involved in farm worker justice with Cesar Chavez and the grape strike, before heading to Watts’ MLK Hospital for post-graduate training to become a nurse practitioner. After moving to the desert in 1975 with her two children, she founded a health clinic in the east Valley, primarily serving Latino farmworkers. She later developed a private practice and now works full-time at Eisenhower Urgent Care Clinics.

As a CVVIM Director, Rosa was the driving force behind the CVVIM Homeless Medical Outreach program, sometimes referred to as Street Medicine, begun in the spring of 2016 and now an ongoing program of the Clinic. With her team of psychologists, social workers, nurses, a massage therapist and other volunteers, they assist east Valley homeless individuals with backpacks of medical supplies and supportive care items. More than 100 people have been served since the program began last year, many of them coming into the Clinic after contact with the team to receive medical care.

Rosa says, “I get joy, fulfillment and satisfaction working with the homeless population – more than words can say. The work is both political, and at the same time, spiritual.”


A Los Angeles native, Marie Brunner joined the CVVIM team as Clinical Operations Director in January. Marie has a lengthy history with both people and animal health operations, most recently as the Clinic Director for a local animal health clinic. “Her skills in clinic operations and management will be especially beneficial to CVVIM, as we continue to promote our services to the Valley’s low-income, medically underserved population,” said Doug Morin, CVVIM Executive Director. Marie is a La Quinta resident and enjoys spending time with her husband of 27 years. They have three children, a son at La Quinta High School, a daughter at COD, and another daughter in the Air Force  who is a canine handler.

Rachel began volunteering in January after graduating from Mayfield College with her certificate in Medical Assisting  to gain experience working in a healthcare setting. “I was finding it hard to gain employment without experience, and  I thought, well, I’ll volunteer to stay busy, help others and gain experience”, said Rachel. Rachel came in several times  per week to help with patients, assisting with  vital signs and working closely with the Clinic providers. She also  volunteered in our Homeless Medical Outreach program on Tuesday evenings, helping with medical and supportive  care. During all of this, Rachel continued to look for job opportunities and apply for appropriate positions when they came up. Congratulations to Rachel! She will start employment at one of our Valley’s local hospitals very soon,   and  you may have guessed, yes, her new employer commented specifically about her volunteer work with CVVIM. Good  luck, Rachel!

Volunteering at CVVIM is oftentimes an excellent way to fill time while you’re looking for employment   and generally to  gain experience or keep your skills sharp. Just ask Rachel! If you are interested in volunteering, for whatever reason,  call Ashley Celiz at 760-342-4414.

National Doctors' Day is a special day to recognize the contributions of physicians to individual lives and communities. CVVIM extends our utmost appreciation for the physicians who treat our patients. Without their valuable services and unique capabilities, our neighbors in need would simply have no way to receive the healthcare they require. 

During National Nurses Week, and every week, CVVIM would like to extend a special thanks to our nurses for providing the highest level of quality care to our patients. You deserve special recognition for your efforts in delivering compassionate care and exemplary skill.
The City of Indio granted CVVIM $1,000 in November to assist with our patient care costs. The average cost per visit is $130 which primarily is for lab work and imaging services. Our administrative costs are less than 15% of our total Cash Budget. We are proud to acknowledge the Coachella Valley Wellness Foundation for their $5,000 grant award in December, to assist with patient care costs for those 50 years and older. The Champions Volunteer Foundation provided a $2,000 grant to enhance our volunteer program – recruitment, retention and recognition, during the coming year. We were especially grateful to the Desert Classic Charities for awarding CVVIM $20,000 to assist with salary expenses for a Medical Assistant as well as medical supplies necessary and related to patient care. The City of Rancho Mirage granted us $3,000 for patient care costs. This was the first time CVVIM has been awarded a grant from the City and we are most appreciative to them. Additionally, the Indio Elks Lodge #1643 presented a $1,000 grant award to assist our Homeless Medical Outreach Program. 
Dave Hinkle of Indio Elks Lodge #1643 presents 
grant to CVVIM Executive Director, Doug Morin 
Trilogy at La Quinta Community Services presented a $5,000 grant award at their recent Health Fair, held on March 26th at the Trilogy Clubhouse in La Quinta. In addition to the grant award, proceeds from  a raffle were also donated to CVVIM and will be used to purchase a new TV to hang in our patient waiting area to display pertinent information to our patients. Trilogy has supported our Indio Clinic since 2014 and we count them among our most valuable contributors. Thank you Trilogy at La Quinta! 
Suzanne Petersen, RN • Ashley Celiz – Volunteer Coordinator 
Daisy Zendejas – Medical Assistant   
HARC (Health Assessment And Research For Communities)

Health Insurance Coverage
From 2007 to 2013, the percentage of Coachella Valley adults 18 to 64 who did not have health insurance was steadily climbing. Since the  implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there has been a sharp and significant drop; approximately 13.9% of Coachella Valley adults 18 to  64 (30,965 people) lack health insurance, currently.

Barriers To Receiving Care
People may be prevented from receiving regular healthcare by a wide variety of barriers, such as increased costs, inconvenient hours, and not  understanding what is covered by the health plan, to name a few. The most common barrier to receiving treatment was understanding what is  covered by insurance. Thus, it is clear that a program assisting adults in understanding the details of their health insurance would be beneficial  to the region. Additionally, many adults struggle with the hours that healthcare providers are open to see patients, which may account for the high rates of utilization of urgent care facilities.
• Transportation and income: Transportation is a barrier for 18.4% of people who live in homes with annual incomes below $20,000, while for  wealthier individuals, it ranges from 3% to 6%. • Language barriers/problems and ethnicity: Language problems exist for Hispanic/Latino adults much more often than for non-Hispanic/Latino adults (11.3% compared to 2.2%, respectively). • Taking time off work and age: Taking time off from work is a much more common barrier for adults under 55 than those older than 55, likely because many seniors are retired.  
Juan De Lara – Born on Mother’s Day in Sunnyside, Washington during asparagus season, Juan has lived in Coachella Valley all of his life. Committed to public service, Juan has volunteered hundreds of hours to many Coachella Valley organizations including current efforts with the Salton Sea Action Committee, Desert Golf Association, Knights of Columbus, Riverside County Workforce Development and FISH Food Bank. As an elected official, Juan served 3 four year terms, and one five year term, on the Coachella City Council, serving as Mayor four terms between 1993 and 2003. He also served two years on the Planning Commission from 1987 to 1989. 

Mr. De Lara is currently employed as Risk Manager by Federated Mutual Insurance, where he manages over 2,700 acres of farmland and two, multimillion dollar homes. Married for 34 years, he and his wife, Julia, have four children, all of whom share his compassion for community and public service.
Sandy Powell is a Coachella Valley resident of 30 years. Sandy and her husband John are active as 
retirees in the agribusiness community due to John's business, Peter Rabbit Farms.

Other involvements include the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley and The Springs Country Club.
Peter Rabbit Farm's donation of "An Acre of Carrots" at the CVVIM 2016 WineLover's Auction was a 
smash hit.
Coachella Valley Volunteers In Medicine
Board Of Directors
(L to R): Benjamin Guitron • Roy Pitkin, MD – Board Chair • Lorna Curtis – Secretary/Treasurer
Roy Young, MD • Dick Soderstrom, MD • Les Zendle, MD – Medical Director • Sandy Powell 
Glen Grayman, MD • Rosa Lucas, F-NP • Ross Hollenkamp, ESQ 
Ron Hare, MD, Past Chair & Founder • Doug Morin, Executive Director
The 2017 Board of Directors was installed at the regular CVVIM Board Meeting in February. Roy Pitkin, MD will remain the Board Chair and Lorna Curtis, MBA, continues as the Secretary and also assumes the role of Treasurer. Ron Hare, MD and Founder, is Past Chair. The position of Vice Chair is currently open, though the Board expects to fill this position in the near future. Sandy Powell and Juan De Lara were elected to the Board. Continuing directors are: Glen Grayman, MD • Benjamin Guitron • Ross Hollenkamp, ESQ • Janet Kerrigan, DO Rosa Lucas, F-NP • Richard Soderstrom, MD • Roy Young, MD and Les Zendle, MD. 

The Board of Directors also bid farewell to four Directors who resigned over the past several months for personal reasons or ended their term, including; Michael Sonner, Helene Dreyer-Koch, ESQ, Fred Owusu, JD, MBA and Russell Grant, MD. “We are grateful to each of these Directors who made varying and significant contributions to the Board and CVVIM during their tenure,” said Roy Pitkin, Chair. “Their commitment to the organization and dedication to our mission is without question and we wish them well in all their future endeavors.”
Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine 
provides no-charge primary healthcare 
to medically underserved adults 
residing in the Coachella Valley