Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 3:10 pm | Fair 79º

 
 
 
 

Glow in the Park Lights Up Elings Park to Benefit Doctors Without Walls

Gala event, featuring colorful hot air balloons and more, supports the organization's mission of providing free, volunteer medical care

Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine board president Paul Jaconette, MPH, left, with board members the Rev. Jon-Stephen Hedges and Jason Prystowsky M.D. at the Glow in the Park benefit event Sept. 10 at Elings Park. Click to view larger
Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine board president Paul Jaconette, MPH, left, with board members the Rev. Jon-Stephen Hedges and Jason Prystowsky M.D. at the Glow in the Park benefit event Sept. 10 at Elings Park. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The vast fields of Elings Park became a little smaller when large, lighted and colorful hot air balloons filled the skies at the Santa Barbara Glow in the Park benefit for Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine.

The out-of-this-world experience, field dinner and auction is now in its third year as a fundraiser to benefit DWW-SBSM, which is dedicated to providing free, volunteer medical care for the most vulnerable of Santa Barbara County, when and where they are in need, including in times of disaster.

The nonprofit organization also provides education and training for volunteers to promote the practice of humanitarian medicine.

Registered nurse Geneva Brown was manning the organization’s information booth at the Sept. 10 party.

“Although I work professionally as a nurse, I just love helping the community in this way,” Brown told Noozhawk. “It is a different side of medicine. I get to spend time with these vulnerable patients.

“We go to the people. We check their blood pressure, we do wound care. We supply water and new, clean socks, which they so appreciate.”

Glow in the Park opened with an hourlong VIP reception — allowing early birds to take a quick peek at an assortment of silent auction items that were on display and up for bid. Later, tethered balloon rides were available for sponsors and guests.

The gala event was organized by an event committee, including Julian Nott, Mindy Densen, Chris Lambert M.D., Michael Lazaro, Gail Arnold, Sonja Nelson, Henry Rosas and Beth Vos. Michael Hammer served as honorary chairman but was out of town and unable to attend.

Entertained by the cool sounds of Bruce Goldish on the music stage, guests enjoyed specialty cocktails, Brander wine, 805 beer and passed hors d’oeuvres. A delicious gourmet field dinner was prepared by Omni Catering, and later a dessert bar topped off the meal.

Elings Park namesake Virgil Elings, left, with event emcee and auctioneer Andrew Firestone.
Elings Park namesake Virgil Elings, left, with event emcee and auctioneer Andrew Firestone. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Medical director Jason Prystowsky ​M.D. presented a welcome toast that was followed by remarks by board president Paul Jaconette and executive director Maria Long.

Major sponsors included the Armand Hammer Foundation, Cottage Health, Sansum Clinic, CenCal Health, Elings Park, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Bryant & Sons Jewelry and many others.

“I am so proud to be a member of the Santa Barbara community that cares for the less fortunate,” emcee and master auctioneer Andrew Firestone said. “Doctors Without Walls looks out for the most vulnerable in our community. It is not a Band-Aid — it’s about pre-emptive medicine.”

Later, live music was performed by Hollywood U2, which got everyone out on the dance floor under the illumination of the rainbow-colored balloons.

Current board members include Paul Jaconette MPH, president; the Rev. Jon-Stephen Hedges, vice president; Marguerite Sanchez, secretary/treasurer; and medical directors Jason Prystowsky M.D. and Laura Polito M.D.

DWW-SBSM was founded in 2005 by three family physicians: Mark Stinson M.D., Sabina Diehr M.D. and Noemi “Mimi” Dooha M.D., Ph.D. The work of Jim Withers M.D. and his organization Operation Safety Net in Pittsburgh provided the DWW model for street medicine and medical volunteerism for the homeless.

The volunteer-based programs that Doohan and Stinson created have continued to develop and grow since their inception. The organization’s name was changed to Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine in 2008 to emphasize its connection with the international street medicine movement.

Integral to all of the DWW-SBSM programs is the goal of creating social change/social justice models for health care that can be efficiently scaled up in response to unmet community needs and replicated in all parts of the United States.

Last year, the organization had 1,757 patient encounters with 80 percent of its patients having some disease that puts them at risk of premature death.

Click here for more information about Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine, or call 805.452.5466.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine executive director Maria Long, left, with supporters Patty and Bob Bryant. Click to view larger
Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine executive director Maria Long, left, with supporters Patty and Bob Bryant. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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