Did you know that Oxnard is the largest city in Ventura County with a population of more than 210,000? With a community of that size – and growing – it's vital for a city to have access to essential resources to ensure its residents’ health and well-being.
With that in mind, participants in the 2019 Oxnard Leadership Program went behind-the-scenes to learn about several organizations that help care for and feed the community. "Health and Human Services Day" was the group's seventh session and coordinated with the help of Cristina Cortez, Internal Communications Manager at Dignity Health.
The morning focused on Dignity Health St. John’s Regional Medical Center, located just off the freeway in the heart of Oxnard. They were welcomed by Dr. Robert Streeter, Chief Medical Officer, who gave an overview of the hospital and its medical staff.
St. John’s offers 24/7 access to full ER and hospital services and features 265 beds, including a 23-bed acute rehabilitation center. Together with its sister hospital St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, it is the largest acute health care organization in Ventura County.
Human Resources Manager Craig Jeffery spoke about the hospital’s approach to HR recruitment, retention and company culture, while Chief Operating Officer Aaron Chang shared insight about hospital operations.
This private, not-for-profit health care system was founded more than 100 years ago, and treats more than 187,000 patients annually. The hospital also has a foundation that provides philanthropic support for building projects, equipment, and patient care services.
Oxnard Leadership met with St. John’s Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy Debi Klein who explained the foundation’s mission and achievements throughout the community. She also led the group on a tour of the hospital, including a hardhat tour of the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) expansion, which is scheduled to open later this year.
After lunch sponsored by St. John’s, the afternoon focused on two organizations that help feed those in need in the community.
The group traveled to St. John’s Food Pantry at Christ the King Church. There, they learned about St. John’s Health Ministries and received a tour of the food pantry from George West, Vice President of Mission Integration. The pantry delivers approximately 90 tons of food per year, provides produce to over 5,000 families, serves more than 15,000 hot meals and provides 2,100 holiday food baskets.
Their final stop was at FOOD Share, which provides food for more than 75,000 hungry friends and neighbors monthly. Its facility in Oxnard has two warehouses with a combined 36,000 square feet of space, and staff and volunteers distribute almost 10 million meals annually through its 190 pantry and program partners.
Every year, the Oxnard Leadership Program leads participants through 10 unique, day-long experiences to gain a better understanding and appreciation of Oxnard and the surrounding areas’ realities, opportunities and challenges. Each session includes visits to various locations and provides participants with a unique opportunity to meet key business and government leaders who play integral roles in the region.