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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 12:03 pm | Partly Cloudy 62º


Doctors Without Walls Names New Board Members

Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW-SBSM) has announced six new members of their board of trustees, including:

Police Chief Lori Luhnow, retiring Fire Chief Pat McElroy, Dr. Fred Kass, Dr. Laura Polito, Dr. Kayla Rosen, and Fr. Larry Gosselin.

"These local luminaries are committed to assisting the organization meet the growing demand for access to free medical care and disaster relief among the city’s homeless and working poor, delivered by local doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who volunteer their time to take medicine to the streets," DWW-SBSM said.

“What makes the addition of this board so special, is not only are these leaders exceptional in their fields, but they are also extremely compassionate people dedicated to what’s best for all of Santa Barbara citizens, including the most fragile — those who we typically serve,” said Maria Long, executive director.

Long said she “finds it a great privilege to lead beside them. I have great confidence in what this board will achieve.”

“Doctors Without Walls provides a valuable and needed medical specialty to our most vulnerable citizens,” saidy Luhnow. “Their passion for dignity in health is a humanitarian effort I support wholeheartedly.

"As chief of police, I am looking forward to being more involved in promoting public health and safety for the entire spectrum of our community.”

In his 36 years with Santa Barbara Fire Department, McElroy has experience cooperating with regional and state fire agencies and commanding citywide emergencies.

Emergency medical treatment calls comprise 80 percent of the Fire Department’s caseload, he said.

McElroy said he became interested in the work of Doctors Without Walls because they help reduce the demand on emergency services by treatment medical problems before they become acute.

“Doctors Without Walls builds relationships; people on the street trust them, and that’s really an important thing,” McElroy said.

Dr. Kass, director of medical oncology at the Ridley Tree Cancer Center, brings his compassion and expertise to the work of Doctors Without Walls, the group said.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among homeless individuals, DWW-SBSM said.

“The staff are my heroes,” Dr. Kass said. “They are dedicated healers in the most noble sense of the word.

"We know the homeless. They are our neighbors who live on our streets, whose presence stirs us to walk a little faster, and with whom we work hard to avoid eye contact. Where we speed up, they slow down," Dr. Kass said.

"Where we avoid contact, they work hard to engage," he said. Where we react with hesitation and fear, they respond with love and kindness and enormous skill.”

Dr. Polito, is a family medicine doctor and assistant medical sirector of health information at Sansum Clinic. She also sits on the board of the Santa Barbara County Medical Society.

Her passion, she said, lies in humanitarian medicine, providing needed care to the most vulnerable and underserved populations in a community. In addition to serving on the board, Dr. Polito heads up DWW-SBSM’s street medicine team.

Dr. Rosen is assistant director of crisis services for the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness and a staff psychiatrist at UCSB Student Health Services. In addition to serving on the board, she is a volunteer street psychiatrist.

Fr. Gosselin, OFM, is a Franciscan friar of the Province of Saint Barbara and is serving in the parish at Old Mission Santa Barbara.

In his vowed commitment to the Franciscan way of life, Doctors Without Walls said it is grateful Fr.Gosselin has chosen to help shepherd their humanitarian mission to serve the community's most vulnerable people.

Other founding board member include: Paul Jaconette, president; Fr. Jon Stephen Hedges, vice president; Marguerite Sanchez, treasurer/secretary; and Dr. Jason Prystowsky, medical director.

For more about Doctors Without Walls, visit www.sbdww.org.

— Graham Brown for Doctors Without Walls.


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