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Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Celebrates 125 Years with Holiday Reception

Board members, donors and other supporters reflect on the organization's storied history, honor its successes and look ahead to its future

In honor of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s 125th anniversary, Cottage Health board chairman Steve Ainsley, from left, former board chairman Peter MacDougall, Dr. James McNamara and Cottage Health President/CEO Ron Werft lead the ceremonial cutting of the cake, which featured an image of the 1891 hospital, during Thursday’s holiday reception. Click to view larger
In honor of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s 125th anniversary, Cottage Health board chairman Steve Ainsley, from left, former board chairman Peter MacDougall, Dr. James McNamara and Cottage Health President/CEO Ron Werft lead the ceremonial cutting of the cake, which featured an image of the 1891 hospital, during Thursday’s holiday reception. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital welcomed guests and supporters to the Burtness Auditorium on Thursday for holiday cheer and in celebration of 125 years of uninterrupted service that will continue into 2017 with more milestones and community support.

As part of the acknowledgement of more than 100 years, a doctor’s carriage from the late 1800s — on loan from the Carriage and Western Art Museum of Santa Barbara — greeted guests at the Bath Street entrance.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Mary Ashley and the 50 women who envisioned, designed and raised the funds to create Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital,” said Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health. “For all of us who have ever worked at this hospital, it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve our patients every day.”

The annual holiday reception welcomed donors across the spectrum of Cottage Health Giving Societies, including the 1888 Society, benefactors, Cottage associates, Cottage Health and the affiliated foundation board, the Founders Society, the executive management group and Governance Circle members.

Representatives of these diverse groups included Renee Nordtrand of the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation board, Lynda Nahra of the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation board and Robert Nourse, a Cottage Health board member. Also in attendance for the festive night were a gathering of past Cottage Health board members, including Patricia Dow, Katina Etsell, Fred Gluck, Anthony Gunterman, Betty Hatch, Gerd Jordano, Karl Kassity, Robert Knight, Alex Koper, Peter MacDougall, James McNamara, Joanne Rapp, John Romo and Richard Welch.

A welcome message from Cottage Health board chairman Steve Ainsley kicked off the event, followed by a brief update from Werft about the anniversary, and a recap of 2016 and construction highlights.

"Today our mission says to provide superior care for and improve the health of our communities through our core values of excellence, integrity and compassion," Werft said. "And, when you cut through all of that it's really the same work, it's volunteers, board members — we have 1,000 other volunteers who are here, many of them many days a week. Our physicians, our nurses, our technologists, people who prepare and serve meals, who keep our rooms clean for patients — all of these talents that were developed individually came together and worked collaboratively in 1891 to make sure that we were here for people in our community who were injured or sick, or needed diagnosis, care or treatment."

Both Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital have earned the government’s first-ever five-star rating for overall quality and safety, for two consecutive quarters so far in 2016. And, Fortune magazine named Cottage Health among the nation’s best healthcare workplaces.

Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital also now offers advanced robotic technology, providing patients with stroke and spinal cord injury the opportunity to stand up and relearn how to walk using the Ekso GT wearable robotic exoskeleton.

In addition, Cottage has a new tri-county concussion management program and concussion clinic to provide care for youth participating in contact sports.

Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health, with wife Mary, in a doctor’s carriage from the late 1800s that greeted guests at the 125th anniversary holiday reception at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health, with wife Mary, in a doctor’s carriage from the late 1800s that greeted guests at the 125th anniversary holiday reception at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Cottage now also offers a new heart surgery technique called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a less invasive option of replacing damaged valves for those who are at risk for traditional open heart procedures.

In the areas of construction, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital continues progress on Phase 6, which is on schedule for completion in late 2018, including the building of a third patient care and nursing pavilion, plus the new Compton pavilion to house two medical-surgical units and the consolidation of the Cottage Children’s Medical Center inpatient programs.

And, open now to the public, is the new SAGE Library, from the support of Sara Miller McCune and SAGE Publishing.

During the reception, the Cottage Nutrition and Catering team provided guests with a menu of items inspired by Good Things from Good Cooks, published in 1909, featuring recipes from community members, including Delfina de la Guerra and Mrs. Eugene Knapp.

In celebration of the festive time of year and the anniversary, a ceremonial cutting of the cake, which featured an image of the 1891 hospital, led guests to join in singing happy birthday to Cottage. Former board chairman Peter MacDougall and Dr. James McNamara joined Ainsley and Werft for the occasion.

“We look forward to continuing to provide the highest levels of quality medical services to our communities for another 125 years,” Werft said.

Cottage Health will be celebrating Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s 125th milestone throughout 2017, and the community is invited to share the most memorable moments of how the hospital has touched their lives. To share a story, send submissions via email to [email protected]. Click here for more information.

The nonprofit Cottage Health is the leader in providing advanced medical care to the Central Coast region. Specialties include the Cottage Children’s Medical Center, the Level 2 Trauma Center, the Neuroscience Institute, the Heart & Vascular Center, the Center for Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital. The Cottage Health medical staff includes more than 700 physicians, many with subspecialties typically found only at university medical centers. Last year, the Cottage Health hospitals in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley provided inpatient care for 19,000 people, treated 76,000 patients through their 24-hour emergency departments and helped deliver 2,200 newborns.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Shenandoah Marr, second from right, with Bill, Bob and George Burtness, at the Burtness Auditorium celebrating Cottage’s 125th anniversary. Click to view larger
Shenandoah Marr, second from right, with Bill, Bob and George Burtness, at the Burtness Auditorium celebrating Cottage’s 125th anniversary. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
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