Coachella Volunteers in Medicine
Fall 2016


“We are excited and pleased to announce our Presenting Sponsors for the 2nd Annual    WineLover’s Auction as JFK Memorial Hospital and Desert Regional Medical Center,” said Roy Pitkin, MD, Event Co-Chair and Chairperson of the CVVIM Board of Directors. “This event is the single fundraising activity for CVVIM and the support shown by these two hospitals is greatly appreciated, ensuring all proceeds from the Auction go directly to our Mission.”

The Auction, which will feature both silent and live auctions during a wine reception and wine-paired dinner, is planned for Friday, February 3rd of 2017. Building upon the success of the first WineLover’s Auction held in February of this year, the event is again planned for the Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Jay Fiske, a locally known, Seattle-based professional auctioneer, has been chosen to lead next year’s Auction. Tickets to the 2017 event are $250.

Joe Gandolfo, Event Co-chair, encouraged people interested in the Auction to go the event website at for information, to make an auction or financial donation, and to buy tickets. “This year’s event sold out quickly with 250 attendees, so we’re encouraging everyone to register early,” said Gandolfo.   

The February 2016 event, the first-ever event of its kind for CVVIM, raised more than $180,000 in proceeds for the Clinic in Indio which provides primary medical and dental care to low-income residents from across the Valley. Donations for the auction are still being accepted and can include wine, wine-themed baskets, travel and entertainment items, art, jewelry and “just about anything you think someone might be interested in!” said Doug Morin, CVVIM Executive Director.

“One of the most unusual items received thus far is an Acre of Carrots,” said Morin. Peter Rabbit Farms donated this item which will entitle the winning bidder to proceeds from one of California’s Finest Carrots. Another highly anticipated package is for Dom Perignon Champagne and fresh osetra caviar. For highlights of these and other items, visit


In June, volunteers from CVVIM began providing medical outreach to homeless persons living in several areas within, and at
the edges 
of, the City of Indio. Oftentimes referred to as Street Medicine, CVVIM is working with Officers Ibarra and Haworth from the Indio Police Department, as well as CVVIM volunteer physicians and staff, and residents from Eisenhower Medical Center (Family Practice and Internal Medicine Residency programs). This followed several months of planning with all parties and The Narrow Door, a nonprofit organization that offers food distribution at several sites across the Valley, including Indio.  

Over the course of the next several weeks, more than 140 encounters were made with homeless persons the team visited in parks, food distribution sites and area underpasses. The outreach team, carrying backpacks loaded with medical supplies, always includes a medical professional (physician(s) or nurse practitioner), nurses, social workers, a psychologist, even a massage therapist, who provide care and attention to whomever they met. Most conditions, such as skin rashes, dry eyes and sunburns, are treated in the field, while more serious issues, such as abscesses, require the person to visit our Indio Clinic.  

In September, after a 12 week pilot program, the CVVIM Board of Directors gave approval for the program to continue indefinitely. Les Zendle, MD, CVVIM Medical Director said, “Unfortunately, this is a much-needed program across the Valley and other organizations are already helping as they can, but not in the East Valley. What makes our efforts different, is the ability to see patients in a clinical setting and encourage them to make the CVVIM Clinic their medical home. They may be homeless, they may have other issues we can’t help with, but we feel it’s important they have a welcoming and open place to come for basic medical care.”

The CVVIM Homeless Medical Outreach Program welcomes new volunteers from all walks of life as well as donations. “Right now, we’re getting ready for the cool, and possibly wet winter,” said Rosa Lucas, Nurse Practitioner and driving force behind the effort. “Gently worn blankets, new socks, gloves… these are all needed and appreciated.” Over the summer months, the team handed out sun visors and glasses donated by the Palm Springs Tramway and Eisenhower Medical Center. “It’s the littlest things that can make the biggest impression.”

For more information on the Homeless Medical Outreach Program, call the Clinic at     760-342-4414 and speak to Doug Morin.


The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation recently granted $25,000 to the Clinic  to support our volunteer services program. Funds will be used for staffing, outreach, recognition and equipment. “This is an exciting opportunity for CVVIM to expand and improve our volunteer program,” said Doug Morin, Executive Director. “Volunteers are   the heartbeat of our Clinic and so it’s very important for us, and to them, that we have
a professional program to encourage, support and recognize their participation and needs.”

A second grant from The Community Foundation, Strengthening Inland Southern California Philanthropy, was also received to support our volunteer services, specifically to evaluate current and former volunteers at the Clinic. The hope is to gain
a better 
understanding of why people decide to volunteer, what they get from their experience and what they would like to see Clinic staff improve upon to make their experience even more rewarding.  

Each month, an average of 70 volunteers donate more than 1,200 hours to assist in the Clinic. “Together, these grants will help us to understand our volunteers more, identify new volunteers and better appreciate those who already volunteer. With more and more satisfied volunteers, we can provide more services to more patients,” said Morin.  

To volunteer, call the CVVIM Clinic at 760-342-4414 or visit


Regina came to the Clinic in September of 2015 with a desire
to brush up on her clinical 
nursing skills. You see, Regina is
an LVN, having graduated from College of the Desert in 1996 before becoming a stay-at-home Mom for 15 years to her four children. As usually happens with the passage of time – in this case 15 years – the children grew up, family dynamics changed, and Regina was left wanting something more. But what? She had 
been out of the job market for so long, what could she do?

CVVIM offered an ideal environment for her to not only refresh her nursing skills but also to gain valuable experience to include on her resume. At first Regina volunteered at the front desk, greeting patients, assisting them with applications, answering questions, scheduling appointments and the like. After several weeks she was able to begin assisting physicians with taking patient vital signs, entering notes into the Electronic Medical Record, and generally become more involved in direct patient care services. Regina says it helped her increase, refresh and improve on her direct patient care practice – exactly what she had hoped for.

In the early summer, Regina accepted a part-time position at CVVIM as our Volunteer Coordinator, where she has been interviewing, screening, processing and training new volunteers. Although it isn’t within her nursing scope of practice, Regina feels she has gained valuable interpersonal skills, not to mention knowing she is helping to make a positive difference in patients’ health and wellbeing!  

With new grant funding, we have been able to increase the Volunteer Coordinator position from part-time to full-time, and unfortunately, but understandably, Regina is not interested in assuming these additional responsibilities. However, the good news is, she wants to continue as a volunteer once she becomes employed in a nursing position and settles in. Thank you, Regina, for volunteering and for becoming a valuable member of our team!


Anna Lisa Vargas joined the Clinic in February of 2013
in this full-time position after having been a contract
employee in several capacities since 2011, shortly after the Clinic opened their doors. For the past three years, she was responsible for administrative tasks including credentialing all licensed providers, scheduling clinics, helping to structure the volunteer program and developing Clinic Policy and Procedure.

Rosa Lucas, a Nurse Practitioner at the Clinic and one of its founding members, has known Anna Lisa in various capacities since shortly after her graduation from the University of Irvine, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. “Anna Lisa is absolutely dedicated to the betterment of the East Valley community and its accessibility to services.” Lucas commends Anna Lisa on her community involvement with many other local organizations, including serving as a Trustee with the Coachella Valley Unified School District.

Current CVVIM Executive Director, Doug Morin, agrees with Lucas and applauds Vargas for all she has done to help make Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine all it has become today. “Like most other nonprofit organizations, it takes a team to keep things moving forward, and Anna Lisa has certainly been a major player on the CVVIM Team. We will all miss her and wish her well in her new endeavors.”  

Ms. Vargas is resigning to become more involved in what she loves the most – community organizing and action.  

CVVIM will recognize Anna Lisa for her contributions to the Clinic at the Holiday Open House on December 15th at the Clinic 4 – 7 pm. 

For more information, call 760-342-4414.


Volunteers from all walks of life and with widely varied skills are the heart and soul of the clinic. From physicians to the college student answering the phones, patients are served by individuals who give selflessly of their time and talents to help their less-fortunate neighbors. We are always in need of additional volunteers, such as; medical assistants, physicians, dentists, nurses, office support and special events and project volunteers. 

If you’re seeking a rewarding opportunity to serve others, we’re continually accepting applications for volunteers. We’ll tailor your volunteer experience to suit your busy lifestyle – whether you can volunteer four or 40 hours. To discuss volunteer opportunities, call us at 760-342-4414 or send us an email at


We’ve recently begun a Ride Program for our patients and are looking for volunteers who would be comfortable picking up patients to bring them to the Clinic for their appointments and take them home afterwards. The number one reason our patients are unable to keep an appointment with their physician or dentist is because they lacked transportation. This is not only unfortunate for the patients who miss their appointments, the time could have been productively used by another patient seeking medical attention. To learn more about becoming a Ride Program volunteer, call us at 760-342-4414 or send us an email at