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Special Effort Helps Some Lucky Patients Get the Specialty Care They Need

Encounters The semi-annual newsletter of

Fall 2008

Special Effort Helps Some Lucky Patients Get the Specialty Care They Need Suppose you have a hernia.

Now suppose you’re also uninsured.

You discovered it a couple months ago while lifting your youngest daughter from her highchair, a cramp-like pain filling your abdomen.

You could be in serious trouble. Unless you can pay for treatment at a private hospital—and most likely you can’t—you’ll have to wait more than a year for surgery through one of the County hospitals. That’s how great the need is. And there’s almost nowhere else you can go.

It causes you only occasional discomfort and inconvenience at home, but you’re having a hard time at your construction job, and your boss has noticed. He’s growing more impatient by the day.

Cover: Eric Schmitter, MD, a retired orthopedic surgeon, performs a carpal tunnel release on Deborah Champney. Dr. Schmitter operates on Clinic patients free of charge at Santa MonicaUCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, which donates its surgical suite for ten outpatient surgeries per month. Photo: Margaret Molloy

David Shih, MD, a gastroenterology fellow at UCLA, examines Georgina Ojeda at the monthly gastroenterology clinic. Georgina has had pain in her abdomen for a year, often triggered by stress. “What kind of stress do you have?” Dr. Shih asks. “You look like a happy girl.” Photo: Tim Smith

But it doesn’t have to be a hernia. It could be a back injury, a heart condition, a digestive disorder, complications from diabetes, lots of things. If you aren’t able to see a doctor who specializes in your condition, you might not be able to work, or sleep, or see, or hear. It could even kill you. The main County hospital on the Westside of Los Angeles, Harbor-UCLA in Torrance, is so swamped with emergency cases that staff there have almost no time to tend to anything else. Wait times for most types of specialty care are now measured in months, bordering on years. Gastroenterology—six months. Cardiology, neurology, and ophthalmology—nine to twelve months. Orthopedics—sixteen months. Venice Family Clinic has provided some level of specialty care since it started, at least by referrals, and has tried to keep pace with the steadily rising need by always expanding its corps of volunteers and its institutional partnerships. But things are different now.

At one of his Wednesday evening pulmonology clinics, Dr. Bierer examines Maria Marin, a cheerful 62-year-old woman who is clearly thrilled to see him. “Take a deep breath,” he tells Maria. She wheezes and strains a bit but insists she’s feeling better. He encourages her to pay special attention to her medications. “You’ve got to take your aspirin.” Earlier, Maria had been diagnosed with asthma, but Dr. Bierer suspected something else was going on. He ordered a stress test of her heart, which Maria got within about a month and a half, at County-USC Hospital downtown. Without the Clinic’s referral, Bierer says, it would have taken at least six months— a substantial difference, considering the test showed Maria had blockages in her coronary arteries. She might have coronary artery disease and end up needing a stent or coronary bypass surgery. These months are precious. But there’s another outcome that’s just as important as shortened wait times, Bierer says. “We’re talking about the number one killer of Americans,” he explains. “And a lot of times it’s unrecognized—particularly in a woman who has asthma and other reasons to have chest tightness.”

Volunteer rheumatologist Michael Weisman, MD, examines Luis Rangel at the monthly rheumatology clinic. Dr. Weisman is the Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and has been bringing rheumatology fellows to Venice Family Clinic for more than six years. Photo: Tim Smith

“One of the key benefits here is that we know her,” he says. “We know that when she has asthma, she reacts a certain way, she responds to the medications. But if I were seeing her for the first time, and she said, ‘You know what, I have this chest tightness, and it doesn’t really go away,’ I might approach it differently. She doesn’t have a tremendous number of cardiac risk factors—not any more than most of the patients we see, and certainly not all of them have coronary artery disease. So if I were seeing her for the first time, I would probably say, ‘You know what, let’s treat your asthma the best we can, and we’ll see you back in a couple months.’ But we know better…because we know her.”

“There’s always been a lack of specialty care for the uninsured, but it’s becoming a lot harder to get,” says Karen Lamp, MD, Venice Family Clinic’s Medical Director. “As we see more people and the population becomes sicker, we can’t just do primary care, even though that’s our model. Our mission takes us to these new places.” Despite the challenges of accessing specialty care, Venice Family Clinic provides more of it than ever—17 kinds at the Clinic; another 11 through outside referrals.

Dr. Shih then consults with the attending physician, Ronald Siegel, MD, of UCLA. The UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases, headed by Gary Gitnick, MD, is the largest of its kind in the world. Its generous contribution of gastroenterologists enables Clinic patients to access care much more quickly than the six months minimum it would take at one of the County hospitals. Photo: Tim Smith 2

One volunteer specialist, Gregory Bierer, MD, is, somewhat surprisingly, a staff physician at another of the County hospitals, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar. He deals with the overwhelming patient load every day, yet he still finds time, every week, to volunteer at Venice Family Clinic.

Gregory Bierer, MD, a volunteer pulmonologist from LA County’s Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, examines Maria Marin. Because he had been seeing Maria regularly, Dr. Bierer was able to see beyond her asthma and diagnose blockages in her coronary arteries. “[Having a medical home] gives patients continuity of care,” he says. “We know better…because we know her.” Photo: Tim Smith

“This gives patients continuity of care,” he says. “Once we see that their cases are not fitting the right picture, we have the ability to push the issue, to look for other things that could cause these problems.” More than a hundred other specialists volunteer for Venice Family Clinic. Some volunteer every week, others once a month. Some do it at the Clinic, some in their own offices—providing everything from cardiology to gastroenterology to obstetrics and gynecology. Despite this variety, Dr. Lamp is quick to point out that the Clinic can meet only a tiny fraction of the need. But that doesn’t keep everyone from trying. “It’s really a matter of finding physicians who have a warm spot in their heart and a little extra time,” she says, acknowledging that physicians are often overworked. Vic Wylie, MD, a retired family practice physician who volunteers at the Clinic, recently sent hand-written letters to select specialists at local hospitals. He got one response, from an ophthalmologist. “In some areas, like ophthalmology, neurology, rheumatology and urology, if patients don’t get treated by our volunteers, they might not get treated at all,” Dr. Lamp says. “Just one new volunteer can make a huge difference.” Consider again the hernia case. Recently, Venice Family Clinic was contacted by Robert Shorr, MD, from Surgeons of the Earth, who will provide hernia surgeries for at least ten of the Clinic’s patients in December. The patient list was filled immediately.

As she lies on the operating table, Dr. Schmitter narrates. “This is so simple, it will only take a few minutes,” he says. Deborah’s left arm—awash in betadine— glows red and yellow under the bright surgical lamp. She doesn’t feel a thing, even though she’s been feeling pain for the last two years. “And that’s it,” Dr. Schmitter says, as he begins stitching the incision. With that, the carpal tunnel pain in Deborah’s left wrist and hand is gone. She will come back in three months for the same surgery on her right side. Dr. Schmitter, like Dr. Shorr and Dr. Bierer, volunteers because he understands just how much people’s lives can be hampered or permanently altered by lack of access to care. They also know that delays in treatment can affect the stability of the health care system—by pushing patients to make emergency room visits, which they rarely can pay for. Patients, physicians, and hospitals alike are becoming more desperate. But some Venice Family Clinic patients get a reprieve from this harsh reality. At the end of her appointment, Maria, who knows how lucky she is, smiles at Dr. Bierer. “She must be nervous tonight,” he says, alluding to the camera. “Usually she tries to kiss me.”

Some procedures take only a few minutes to perform. Eric Schmitter, MD, a retired orthopedic surgeon, operates on Clinic patients free of charge at Santa MonicaUCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, which donates its surgical suite for ten outpatient surgeries per month.

If you are a specialist and would like to volunteer for Venice Family Clinic—or know a specialist who might like to volunteer—please contact Ingrid Trejo, Volunteer Services Manager, at 310.664.7532 or The Clinic has particular need for ear/nose/throat specialists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, podiatrists, rheumatologists, and urologists. Allergy Jonathan Corren, MD Mary Ellen Friedman, MD Robert Meth, MD Cardiology Joseph Ahdoot, MD Noel Baire, MD Noel G. Boyle, MD Lennis Burke, MD California Heart Center Foundation COPE Health Solutions Brian Fagan, MD George Grifka, MD Ibrahim Helmy, MD Joel Isackson, MD Allison Kean, MD Robert Loitz, MD Elizabeth de Oliveira, MD Pacific Heart Institute Alice Perlowski, MD Paul Poommipanit, MD Saint John’s Health Center Irving Tessler, MD UCLA Department of Cardiology; Juan Alvergue, MD, and David Chang, MD Marmar Vaseghi, MD William Vincent, MD Dermatology Jonathan Cotliar, MD Noah Craft, MD Wade Foster, MD Michael Freed, MD Jeremy Kampp, MD Ronald L. Moy, MD Maria Teresa Ochoa, MD Maggie Olsen, MD Rhonda Rand, MD Myron Samovitz, MD Howard Sofen, MD Teresa Soriano, MD Edward L. Tobinick, MD UCLA Department of Dermatology Ear, Nose and Throat Chester F. Griffiths, MD, FACS F. Monte Purcelli, MD Southern California Head and Neck Medical Group

One of his patients, Deborah Champney, 47, had been suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome. She used to be an office worker but now works as a housekeeper, in part because her carpal tunnel prevented her from working on a computer. “It’s very painful. I wake up in the middle of the night because my hands are like two rocks,” Deborah says, as she demonstrates how she stretches her clinched fists back and forth. “I’ve been taking ibuprofen, naproxen, muscle relaxers…a lot of them.”

Venice Family Clinic Thanks All of Its Volunteer Specialists for Their Generous Support

Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Velocity David Campion, MD

A happy Venice Family Clinic patient, Maria Hernandez, salutes Dr. Schmitter after surgery to correct her trigger finger. Just a few minutes into the surgery, Dr. Schmitter had Maria flex her finger. Maria, who spoke no other English during her visit, cried out in disbelief, “What?! Oh my gosh!” Photo: Margaret Molloy

Emergency Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital Philip Schwarzman, MD Endocrinology Mayer B. Davidson, MD Beverly Karpman, MD Janet Winikoff, MD

Gastroenterology Christopher Chang, MD Daniel Cole, MD Marvin Derezin, MD Francisco Durazo, MD Robert Elson, MD Jerold B. Federman, MD Terri Getzug, MD Aidran Lunn, MD Sammy Saab, MD Ronald Siegel, MD Southern California Medical Gastroenterology Group Inc. Brennan Spiegel, MD Kirsten Tillisch, MD Wilfred Weinstein, MD Marc Wishingrad, MD UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases; Eric Esrailian, MD, and Gary Gitnick, MD Genetics David Rimoin, MD Infectious Disease Ellie Goldstein, MD Nephrology Ronald Nudelman, MD Neurology Kevin Brennan, MD Christine Brower, MD Nancy L. Sicotte, MD Edmond Teng, MD Obstetrics/Gynecology Gayane Ambartsumyan, MD William A. Freije, MD William Frumovitz, MD Prudence Hall, MD Andy Huang, MD Michael Johnson, MD Bill Parker, MD Jeannine Rahimian, MD Laurie Reynard, MD Michael Sela, MD Leah Tonkin, MD UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Ophthalmology Assil Sinskey Eye Institute Eduardo Besser, MD Benton W. Boone, MD Barbara Breger, MD Joseph Caprioli, MD Candice Chen, MD Jay Gross, MD Jules Stein Eye Institute Daniel Krivoy, MD Retina Vitreous Associates Ken Wright, MD

Orthopedics Thomas Grogan, MD Satish Kadaba, MD Isaac Schmidt, MD Eric Schmitter, MD Mark Wellisch, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Ruth Carr, MD Fredric Corbin, MD Herbert Goldberg, MD Cadvan Griffiths, MD Robert W. Hutcherson, MD Michael McGuire, MD Dennis Thompson, MD Psychiatry Joshua Golden, MD Jacqueline Heller, MD David Marcus, MD Stephen Marmer, MD Regina Pally, MD William Resnick, MD Shirah Vollmer, MD Pulmonology Gregory Bierer, MD Gary Gibbon, MD Alvin Markovitz, MD Scott Oh, MD Ami Oren, MD Radiology American Wellness & Imaging Beverly Tower Imaging Landmark Imaging Medical Group Inc Parkview Imaging Saint John’s Health Center Santa Monica Bay Physicians Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital Western Imaging Woman’s Breast Center UCLA Medical Center Rheumatology Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Rheumatology Fellows Basil Clyman, MD Michael Weisman, MD Sports Medicine UCLA Sports Medicine Fellowship Surgery Tracey Childs, MD Marjorie Fine, MD Eric Fonkalsrud, MD Jeremy Korman, MD Every volunteer specialist is important to us. If your name is not listed within the appropriate category or is listed improperly, please accept our apologies and notify us at 310.664.7532 so the correction can be made. 3

How You Can Help Venice Family Clinic This Holiday Season

Looking for an Easy Way to Support Venice Family Clinic? Include It in Your Will

The end of the year is a great time to make a gift to Venice Family Clinic. Celebrate the holidays with one of these special support opportunities.

It’s easy to arrange. It can be changed at any time. And it can help ensure the sustainability of Venice Family Clinic’s essential services for tens of thousands of low-income and uninsured individuals. Dozens of donors have taken the simple step of including Venice Family Clinic in their wills, and you can, too. A provision or amendment prepared by your attorney at the time you make or update your will or trust is all that is necessary.

Send a Child to the Children’s Holiday Movie No one would expect children to go without food or housing or education, right? Well let’s not let them go without health care either. Help Venice Family Clinic provide a medical home to uninsured kids by making a donation through the Children’s Holiday Movie Campaign. Your gift will help send a child to a special screening of Madagascar Escape 2 Africa, and, more importantly, help pay for his or her health care throughout the coming year. Special thanks to the Children’s Holiday Movie Co-Chairs: Rick Bradley and Leslie Thurman

Photo: Margaret Molloy

Spread Holiday Cheer with Venice Family Clinic Artist Cards If you send holiday cards to friends, colleagues, or customers, consider using Venice Family Clinic Artist Cards—limited-edition reproductions donated by Venice Art Walk & Auctions artists and renowned collections. Only Venice Family Clinic has them! Each carries a message explaining that all proceeds from the program benefit Venice Family Clinic and its mission of providing free, quality health care to people in need. If you’ve been looking for a way to spread the word about your favorite charity, look no further. Venice Family Clinic’s Artist Cards Program is underwritten by a generous grant from the Frederick R. Weisman Philanthropic Foundation.

Penguin Walk, by Daniel Gottlieb. Image used with permission from G2 Gallery

Join Silver Circle Silver Circle is Venice Family Clinic’s premier annual giving group. Its members donate more than one million dollars annually. Join Silver Circle with a donation of $2,000 or more and then celebrate the accomplishments of this remarkable group at the Thank You Gala on February 23, 2009, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Hugh Laurie and David Shore from the hit Fox television show House will receive the 2009 Humanitarian Award, and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Health System will be honored with the 2009 Community Service Award. Special thanks to the Silver Circle Committee: Andrea Bacon, Vicki Baker, Kathy Barrett, Dorothy Breininger, Chris Griffiths, Ashley Johnson, Harley Liker, MD (Co-Chair), Julie Liker (Co-Chair), Deb Love, Frank Matricardi, and Cynthia Garvey Truhan

Make a Year-End Gift Support a specific clinical program or make an unrestricted gift that the Clinic can use in the area of greatest need. Photo: Margaret Molloy

We’re Here to Make It Easy To make a donation or for more information, please contact Venice Family Clinic’s Development office at 310.392.9255 or visit 4

Venice Family Clinic’s Legacy Society recognizes those—both living and deceased—who have remembered the Clinic in their wills or other estate plans. For more information about how to include the Clinic in your will or establish a life-income gift, please contact Bill Jones, Interim Chief Development Officer, at 310.664.7932 or

Legacy Society Members Robert C. Aronoff Katherine Bard Irma & Louis Colen Mayer B. Davidson, MD, & Roseann Herman, Esq. Sylvia & Mose Firestone, PhD Patricia & William Flumenbaum Elizabeth & Daniel Forer Elaine Hoffman Joanne Jubelier, PhD Marilyn H. Karsten Amita & Viren Mehta Charlotte Neumann, MD, & Alfred Neumann, MD Janet Papkin Maida Richards Stanley Richards Fern & Robert Seizer Jeffrey Sinaiko Leonard Stone Ina Tillman Beatrice Zeiger Anonymous If you have already named Venice Family Clinic as a beneficiary in your estate plan, please contact us at 310.664.7932 so that we may appropriately recognize your generosity.

Major Gifts April 23, 2008, to November 14, 2008 $100,000 + The Ahmanson Foundation Broad Reach Foundation Lou Colen The Eisner Foundation The Fineshriber Family Foundation Kaiser Permanente of Southern California Lincy Foundation Wilbur May Foundation Anita May Rosenstein & Arnold Rosenstein Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System Mission Fund Saint John’s Health Center Tides Foundation Weingart Foundation $50,000 to $99,999 The Dharma Grace Foundation Chuck Lorre International Creative Management (ICM) The Larry King Cardiac Foundation Shawn and Larry King The Barry and Wendy Meyer Foundation Stanley Richards $25,000 to $49,999 Blue Shield of California Foundation California HealthCare Foundation The Karl Kirchgessner Foundation State of California Attorney General United Way of Greater Los Angeles Westside Infant Family Network Witherbee Foundation Anonymous $10,000 to $24,999 Gerrie Smith & Dr. Neal Baer Albert & Elaine Borchard Foundation The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation Alison Cardoso Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Claneil Foundation, Inc. Roy E. Crummer Foundation Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation The Richard F. & Eleanor W. Dwyer Fund Robert L. Feldman Friends of the Culver City Youth Health Center Jamie Diamond & James Goodman David Hockney Tatiana & Todd James Susan G. Komen for the Cure L.A. Care Health Plan Carlos Lazaro Monica Lozano Merle & Gerald Measer Nestle USA Foundation Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation Peter Norton Family Foundation Idy Parker Pfaffinger Foundation Sawchuk Family Foundation Charlie Sheen Sunair Children’s Foundation Twentieth Century Fox J.B. and Emily Van Nuys Charities Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc Warner Bros. Television Production Billie Milam Weisman Marcia S. Weisman Foundation Frederick R. Weisman Philanthropic & Art Foundation Witherbee Foundation Ruth Ziegler Permanent Endowments Irma and Lou Colen Physician Endowment Mose and Sylvia Firestone Social Work Endowment Karsten Family Domestic Violence Endowment Sadie and Norman Lee Teen Clinic Physician Endowment Milken Family Physician Endowment Jack H. Skirball Medical Director Endowment Gail and Irv Weintraub Endowment Frederick R. Weisman Psychological Services Endowment Every donor is important to us. If your name is not listed within the appropriate category or is listed improperly, please accept our apologies and notify us at 310.664.7932 so the correction can be made.

Exciting Plans in the Making for the 30th Anniversary Venice Art Walk & Auctions, May 16 & 17, 2009 Volunteer Co-Chairs Leslie Adler and Mary Jensen are already hard at work on the 30th anniversary Venice Art Walk & Auctions, May 16 & 17, 2009. “The Venice Art Walk & Auctions has raised millions of dollars for Venice Family Clinic over the past three decades,” Adler says, “and that makes it well worth the many months of effort.” Expect to see dozens of arty spaces you’ve never seen before, plus an all-new Art Happening, the always popular Art & Architecture Tours, and plenty of opportunities to hand-pick original works from the 400-piece Silent Art Auction. For more information on corporate sponsorship and other involvement opportunities, contact Venice Family Clinic’s development department at 310.392.9255 or Special thanks to the 2009 Venice Art Walk & Auctions Steering Committee: Leslie Adler (Co-Chair), Alison Dockray (Co-Chair), Mary Jensen (Co-Chair), Ellen Belot, Karen Chu, Amy Coane, Rhonda DeVictor, Lisa Gelber, Dena Kleinrock, Roya Mina, Michael MacLachlan, Pam Morgenstern, Jodie Rea, Katrina Revenaugh, Alan Shaffer, Valerie Shavers, Ricki Sherlin, Sandy Singer, Matt Tager, Jessamine Tepper, Jamie Theis, and Irene Weibel

A lucky winner takes home several of the more than 400 pieces that were up for bid at the 2008 Silent Art Auction. Photo: Margaret Molloy

Whole Foods 5% Day Raises Nearly $7,000 for Venice Family Clinic On September 10, the new Whole Foods Market at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Rose Avenue in Venice held its inaugural 5% Day, and selected Venice Family Clinic as the beneficiary. Store managers later presented a check to Clinic staff for 5% of the day’s net proceeds, totaling $6,920.40. Many thanks to Whole Foods Market— especially Mike Bowen, Lisa Catanio, Richard Duran, Andre Sugars and Lena Pereira—and everyone who shopped that day!

Left to right: Clinic Development staff members Jenny O’Brian, Nicki Pincus, Liza Alon, Robin Nussbaum, Courtney Gero, and Alison Dockray, Whole Foods team member Mike Bowen, Clinic CEO Liz Forer, and Whole Foods team members Lisa Catanio and Lena Pereira. Photo: Tim Smith

Did you know? A gift of $50 can provide peak flow meters for three children with asthma A gift of $500 can provide glucose monitoring supplies for three people with diabetes for a year A gift of $2,000 can provide health care for three uninsured people for a full year Photo: Tim Smith


One Thing to Remember from the Board Chair If you take only one message from this issue of Encounters, please let it be, “I can help recruit a volunteer specialist.” Maybe you receive care from a medical specialist, or maybe you’re friends with one, or maybe you’re related to one. Either way, I hope the next time you see this person you’ll ask him or her to consider volunteering for Venice Family Clinic. They can do it at one of the Clinic’s sites or in their own offices, as little as once a month.

Meet the Clinic’s New Board Members Board of Directors Neal Axelrod Neal Axelrod is Assistant Vice Chancellor/CFO of UCLA External Affairs. He also serves as an ex-officio member of the UCLA Foundation’s Board of Governors and is Vice President-Finance/Treasurer of the Foundation and its subsidiaries. Prior to joining Venice Family Clinic’s Board of Directors, he had been a member of the Clinic’s Advisory Board since 2005. “It is an honor to be a part of such a prestigious organization that creates so much benefit for so many people. I hope that I will be able to bring my experience, knowledge and passion to add something of value to the amazing success of Venice Family Clinic in the years ahead.”

I make this request because, in many cases, Venice Family Clinic’s patients have no other timely access to specialty care. County hospitals are overwhelmed, and few low-income uninsured people have the financial means to pay for their care.

Rick Bradley Rick Bradley left the William Morris Agency in 2001 as a Senior Vice President to start his own talent and consulting company called Celebrity Consultants, Inc. In addition to representing talent in a variety of areas, including commercials, endorsements, infomercials, radio, licensing, and merchandising, Rick’s firm represents and brokers deals on behalf of leading companies.

Referring any kind of volunteer is easy. Just point them to the Clinic’s web site,—which features a list of volunteer opportunities, an online application, and contact information—or have them contact Ingrid Trejo, Volunteer Services Manager, at 310.664.7532 or

“I have been involved in various ways for years with the Clinic and I have always felt that there needed to be a bigger push to bring entertainment-related companies into the Clinic family. My hope is that I will be able to help educate this important LA community to the great service the Clinic has provided to so many needy families over the years.”

When we think of what we love about Venice Family Clinic— the number of patients it serves, the comprehensiveness of services it provides, the quality of care it delivers—it is important to remember how much of that we owe to volunteers. You see it in this newsletter’s feature story, in the profiles of new Board and Advisory Board members below, in the Clinic’s fundraising events, everywhere. There isn’t a single patient or staff member at the Clinic who isn’t affected by their generosity.

Aime Espinosa Aime Espinosa is a patient of Venice Family Clinic. She has three sons—ages 11 years, 7 years, and 20 months—and for the last two years has been enrolled in the Clinic’s Children First program, which is a home-based child development program for infants and their families.

Our deepest thanks to all of them.

Hutch Parker Hutch Parker is Chairman of New Regency Entertainment, an independent film, television and media company in association with Twentieth Century Fox. He recently joined the company from Twentieth Century Fox, where he was Vice Chairman of the film studio where he supervised film operations, including the animation studio. In 2007, Hutch was honored with Venice Family Clinic’s Silver Circle Humanitarian Award and helped the event set both fundraising and attendance records.


Jimmy H. Hara, MD Chair, Board of Directors Jimmy H. Hara, MD, FAAFP, is Lead Physician for Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Residency Program Director for the Family Medicine Residency at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles. He is also a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In addition, Dr. Hara is Immediate Past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Chair of the Healthcare Workforce Policy (Song-Brown) Commission for the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. He has been a volunteer physician at Venice Family Clinic for more than thirty years.


“I wanted to be on the Board because when I participate, I motivate other parents to advocate, to improve themselves and be better each day. The Clinic has the most beautiful mission of helping those who are in need.”

“My first tour of the clinic, a couple years ago, was a revelation—seeing a medical institution dedicated solely to meeting the needs of its patients moved and inspired me. My family and I have known the fear, uncertainty, helplessness, and confusion that accompany serious medical conditions, and we want to make sure those who lack our means still have access to the highest quality care and attention.” Bruce Tower Bruce Tower is Vice President of Commercial Banking at Wells Fargo. He is a Senior Relationship Manager based in the company’s Beverly Hills office. His focus is on the financial needs of middle-market businesses with annual revenues of more than $15 million. Bruce is a 24-year veteran of the financial services industry, previously having worked for Chinatrust Bank USA, Cathay Bank, General Bank and The Bank of California. “As a resident of Venice (on and off since 1990 and on again since 2004) I always had a special place in my heart for Venice Family Clinic and its mission. I believe in supporting the community, and what better way than by being a Venice Family Clinic Board member?”

Encounters Advisory Board Remy Levy Remy Levy is a former member of Venice Family Clinic’s Board of Directors and a current member of the Board’s Finance Committee. He moved to the Advisory Board when he and his family relocated to Wyoming. “I came to learn about Venice Family Clinic through our good friend and neighbor Susan Fleischman. When given the opportunity to join the Finance Committee and Board, I jumped. I found a family of similarly concerned folk collectively applying their expertise to best position the Clinic to do the maximum good. Living in Wyoming now I miss the opportunity to be more intimately involved. Venice Family Clinic is an incredibly well-run organization delivering amazing care in a much needed space. It deserves all of our support.” Michael McClain Michael McClain has been in the executive search profession for more than 15 years, the last 11 of which with Battalia Winston International. He has done extensive recruiting and consulting in a variety of areas including consumer goods, entertainment, financial services, industrial/energy and health care. He also has a long history of charity work, having served on boards and committees for the Center for Healthy Aging and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “I’ve been a diabetic for 41 years and can’t imagine not having access to health care. Without it, I’d be dead. So one day, when I met Liz Forer”—Venice Family Clinic’s CEO—“and learned how much the Clinic was accomplishing, I felt compelled to get involved and help it reach its goals, however I could.” Joseph Wright Joseph Wright is an associate in Proskauer Rose LLP’s Litigation Department in Los Angeles, where his practice areas include general commercial litigation and privacy. Previously, he worked on the habeas corpus appeal of a death sentence resulting from a prominent multiple-homicide and as a research assistant for the Michigan Law School faculty. “I joined the Advisory Board because I believe in the mission of Venice Family Clinic, and I want to contribute in any way I can to this incredible organization. I hope to use my organizational skills, legal knowledge, and enthusiasm to further the Clinic’s efforts to serve its population.”

Take a Tour of Venice Family Clinic If you’ve never toured Venice Family Clinic, you’re missing out on a story like no other. Come see how exactly the Clinic organizes 1,500 volunteers, 250 staff members and dozens of institutional partners to provide free, quality health care—from chronic disease management to mental health services to dental care—to more than 23,500 low-income and uninsured patients annually. Contact Tim Smith, Director of Communications, at 310.664.7910 or

Photos: Margaret Molloy

Published semi-annually by Venice Family Clinic

OUR MISSION To provide free, quality health care to people in need.



Officers Jimmy H. Hara, MD, Chair Frank Matricardi, Dr PH, Immediate Past Chair Neal Baer, MD, Secretary Jeffrey E. Sinaiko, Treasurer

Martin Anderson, MD, MPH Gregory Baker Bernard Briskin Saul L. Brown, MD David Buell Henry G. Cisneros Lou Colen Hon. Kathleen Connell Lucia Diaz Laddie John Dill Raymond Eden Leah Ellenberg, PhD Sylvia Firestone, MSW Suzanne Futterman Luis Galvez Lila Garrett Naomi Goldman Allan Gordon Karen Gunn, PhD Daniel Helberg Roseann Herman, Esq. Marilyn Hersh Elaine Hoffman Douglas I. Jeffe Dan Keatinge, MD Diedre Kelly-Gordon Remy Levy Julie Liker Connie Linn Al Markovitz, MD, FACP Michael McClain Kelly Chapman Meyer Robert Moverley Charlotte Neumann, MD, MPH Harvey Newman, PharmD Kenneth Ramberg Helen Reid, LCSW Joyce Rey Andrea Rich, PhD Brian K. Rosenstein Monica Salinas, PhD Miguel Sandoval Jeffrey A. Seymour Arthur Stickgold Leonard Stone Kate Summers Rebecca Tafoya, CSAC Jill E. Thomas Matthew A. Toledo Carl Weissburg, Esq. Joseph K. Wright, Esq.

Members Susan Adelman Carol L. Archie, MD Neal Axelrod Rick Bradley Lowell C. Brown, Esq. Mayer B. Davidson, MD Aime Espinosa Mose J. Firestone, PhD, LCSW Susan Fleischman, MD William Flumenbaum Chester F. Griffiths, MD, FACS Ashley Johnson Joanne Jubelier, PhD Brian D. Kan, MD Deborah Laub Lou Lazatin Barbara A. Levey, MD, FACP Harley Liker, MD, MBA Tracey Loeb Gail Margolis, Esq. Viren Mehta Wendy Smith Meyer, PhD, LCSW William D. Parente Hutch Parker Neil H. Parker, MD David Rubenson Paul Saben Fern Seizer Alan Sieroty Victoria Simms, PhD Baldeep Singh, MD Marsha Temple, Esq. Bruce Tower Cynthia Garvey Truhan Russel Tyner, AIA Michael S. Wilkes, MD, PhD Leisa Wu C. Victor Wylie, MD Board Emeritus Ruth Bloom Daniel Hillman, MD Karl A. Keener, Esq. Ruth Moss

PHILANTHROPY BOARD Kathleen Aikenhead Lou Colen Marjorie Fasman Ruth Flinkman Hilary & Robert Nelson Jacobs Glorya Kaufman Susanne & Paul Kester Shawn & Larry King Deborah Laub Susan Adelman & Claudio Llanos Chuck Lorre Laurie MacDonald Denise Richards Anita May Rosenstein Charlie Sheen Victoria & Ronald Simms Harriet & Richard Squire Eva Vollmer Billie Milam Weisman Sylvia Weisz Ruth Ziegler Diane & Michael Ziering Marilyn Ziering Janet & Jerry Zucker

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Elizabeth Benson Forer, MSW/MPH 310.664.7901

MEDICAL DIRECTOR Karen Lamp, MD 310.664.7648


GRAPHIC DESIGNER Courtney Gero 310.664.7918


Venice Family Clinic Wins the 2008 LEAP Award from California HealthCare Foundation for Helping the Uninsured Get Relief from Chronic Pain

Our Condolences to the Families and Friends of Our Departed Supporters

The chronic pain program at Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center uses acupuncture and chiropractic care, as well as counseling, to help patients manage pain from back injuries, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions. It has been so innovative and effective over the last three years that the California HealthCare Foundation recently selected Venice Family Clinic to receive its new LEAP Award.

Ralph Bacerra, Mary Elizabeth Booth, Saul Brandman, Dr. William Brice, Bernie Brillstein, Ann Bancroft Brooks, Michael Crichton, Enid Gruber, Margie Kelley, Harvey Korman, Michael A. Kreinman, Elaine Livingston, Shirley Magidson, Sydney Pollack, Barbara Stone, Beatrice Zeiger, Judith Zitter

The California HealthCare Foundation, an independent philanthropy committed to improving the way health care is delivered and financed in California, created its LEAP Award (Leveraging Excellence, Advancing Practice) to recognize model health care practices and innovative ways of meeting the health needs of the state’s underserved populations. Chronic pain is especially hard on those with low incomes because many are manual laborers and are unable to work effectively through pain. In addition, many live paycheck to paycheck and are devastated by any loss of income. Making matters worse, free clinics rarely offer treatment for chronic pain. “There’s a six-month wait list for many surgeries at County hospitals, and waiting that long can be agonizing, given that prescription pain-killing drugs are often unaffordable and over-the-counter pain relievers carry serious side effects from long-term use,” says Myles Spar, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine at Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center. “Acupuncture and chiropractic, on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive to administer and can provide relief in a matter of weeks. This is a model that clinics across the state and around the country could adopt.”

Get Clinic News by E-Mail Venice Family Clinic recently launched a new monthly e-newsletter, Short Story, with Clinic news and feature stories, involvement opportunities, and information about upcoming events. If you’ve never received e-mail from Venice Family Clinic, please visit and click the Mailing List Sign-Up link in the top right corner, or just send an e-mail to

The chronic pain program is just one of several activities at Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, which is home to the nation’s first health, wellness and integrative medicine program offered at a free clinic. Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center also features stress management, parenting and nutrition skills training, and family weight management programs, as well as health and wellness promotion, including tools to help patients find no- or low-cost fitness resources in the communities where they live. Photo: Tim Smith

Connect with Venice Family Clinic Online Learn more about and help support Venice Family Clinic electronically. Just enter “Venice Family Clinic” into the search field on Facebook, Myspace and Youtube. View videos, connect with other supporters, and share your own thoughts about the largest free clinic in the country. Printed on 50% recycled, FSC-Certified paper


Encounters: Fall 2008 | Venice Family Clinic  

TITLE:" Special Effort Helps Some Lucky Patients Get the Specialty Care They Need" CONTENTS: Special Effort Helps Some Lucky Patients Get th...

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