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Welcome to the Heart of Hoag

Anyone who has recently met Yolanda Padilla would probably be surprised to hear she used to be very shy.

But after taking computer literacy and other classes at the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, her shyness disappeared, replaced by newfound confidence and an outgoing demeanor. Yolanda’s confidence has encouraged her to prioritize her overall health and become a model of self-improvement for her family.

In this issue of Heart of Hoag, you’ll read about how computer literacy classes for older adults are making positive differences in their lives. The free classes are just one small part of Hoag’s major commitment to help all age groups attain and maintain strong physical and emotional health.

At Hoag, helping to promote the independence, health and dignity of older adults is just one way we reveal our heart for the communities we serve.

Our new promotoras program is another way. Our four promotoras — Spanish for ambassadors — are compassionate community health workers who serve as critical bridges between low-income families and vital health services that many families aren’t aware of. You’ll meet them as you turn the pages.

Sixteen years ago, Stanley Galant, M.D., took a fortuitous ride aboard a borrowed van, hitting the road with a nurse to deliver vital asthma and allergycare to some of Orange County’s most underserved children. Today, he serves as a mentor to the next generation of doctors and nurses who are making sure his amazing Breathmobile keeps rolling in the name of helping children lead healthy lives.

Meanwhile, back at the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, Jacque Ruddy recalls how Project Self-Sufficiency helped her through several extremely rough patches as a single mom. Located at the Center since January, Project Self-Sufficiency is one powerful example among many of the benefits of locating so many community health services and education programs under a common roof.

As these and other stories in this issue show, the Heart of Hoag comprises a wide variety of programs, classes, doctors, nurses, promotoras, and even a van called the Breathmobile. No matter what form it takes, our heart — along with our compassion and expert care — belong to the community we so proudly serve.

Robert T. Braithwaite
President and Chief Executive Officer

Michaell S. Rose, DrPH, LCSW
Director, Community Health and Community Benefit Program