The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics announced Thursday that they’ve appointed a new interim CEO and that several major foundations have stepped up to keep the clinic’s finances moving forward.


Trula Ann Breuninger

Trula Ann Breuninger has been appointed to the position, according to a statement sent out by the clinics, and her “extensive experience as a leader of community health, as well as an operations management and planning professional consultant, makes her ideally suited to lead the organization through this period.”

Breuninger previously served as CEO for four community health-care organizations across the Southwest, including the San Diego American Indian Health Center and most recently the Southern Indian Health Council Inc. in Alpine, Calif., the statement said.

“I am honored to lead SBNC and work with the Board of Directors and our dedicated staff as interim chief executive officer,” Breuninger said. “Our commitment to provide quality care and better the lives of our patients remains strong.”

In May, clinic officials issued an urgent plea for the community’s help in raising the money needed to cover operating costs while they work to revamp their business model by the end of the year.

The clinic serves patients regardless of their ability to pay, which has led to strain on the nonprofit’s bottom line.

“We are at risk of closing our doors today,” Acting CEO Mark Palmer told the media gathered in a conference room at the organization’s Eastside Clinic.

The clinics, located on the Eastside and Westside of Santa Barbara and in Isla Vista, serve as the only health-care option for many low-income people in the area.

Last year, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics served nearly 17,000 patients, 95 percent of whom were below the poverty line. 

Breuninger, who will be replacing Palmer, said she’ll be executing SBNC’s restructuring plan in the coming months.

Breuninger received her master’s degree in business administration from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and an MPH degree from the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, the statement said. She received a bachelor of science degree in nutrition from Brigham Young University.

As a consultant, Breuninger has performed the full spectrum of guidance to clients, including operations management, strategic planning, feasibility and marketing analysis, and has helped reduce costs and improve profitability.

Her clients have included state and local governments, tribal governments, nonprofits, governing boards, universities, research institutions and integrated health-care organizations, the statement said.

A coalition of major health-care providers and supportive foundations have partnered with the clinics to establish a 100-day restructuring plan that puts SBNC on course to financial health while preserving their vital mission.

Financial contributions continue to come in from the community as well, the statement said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.