Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living opened this month in Newport Beach. The community wellness center will
provide low-income families with services intended to meet physical, psychological
and spiritual needs.
Hoag Hospital, a nonprofit organization, converted a two-story office building
into free office space for 15 nonprofits working on issues such as improving
maternal health, supporting healthy aging and preventing domestic violence.
“We have these large pockets of poverty around us, which has created
tremendous inequality in wellness,” said
Michaell Rose, director of community health at Hoag, in an
interview with the OC Register. “The current system is fragmented. If we send
people up to Santa Ana, they may never get up there.”
Employees of the center will review and assess the needs of families and
coordinate in-house care. Some of the nonprofits providing services include
SOS Children and Family Health Center for medical appointments and an SOS dental clinic. Hoag also offers mental
health services, along with the hospital’s pastoral care programs.
It is expected that those served will likely work in Newport Beach’s
service industry but live in surrounding areas.
Jessica Romley, director of programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange
County, said the nonprofit plans to utilize the center a few times a week
to help families obtain needed services.
“We’re really excited to connect our families with some of
the other really great resources here,” said Romley. “When
your basic needs aren’t met, it’s really hard to move up from
The wellness center, funded through a
George Hoag Family Foundation $5 million donation to finance staff and programs for the next five years, is named for Melinda
Hoag Smith, whose family helped found the hospital. Her husband, Chuck
Smith, is executive director of the foundation.
“We really believe that investing in the center today is going to
help bend the curve on these social issues tomorrow,” Chuck Smith said.