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Celebrating Women's History Month

The women of Presbyterian have always been inspired to make a difference, supporting each other, our patients and community through a life of giving. These are just a few of their stories.

Mrs. Van, a history-maker

Marion Lea Kellogg, known to many as Mrs. Van, was born in 1893 in a Victorian world. A true trailblazer, her resiliency and commitment to uplifting the community, her family and Presbyterian staff provided healing and hope throughout her lifetime and remains the foundation of our everyday work. 


Giving Comes Full-Circle

Dr. Denise Gonzales MD, Medical Director

Q: Tell us about a memorable moment at Presbyterian that has connected you to the foundation?

A: Early in my career at Presbyterian, I took care of a young man with muscular dystrophy in the ICU. Although he unfortunately passed, his family expressed their gratitude for my care by contributing to Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation in my name.

I was able to see first-hand the impact of their generous gift effect progress on our telemedicine program. It was such an amazing way for them to express their gratitude by giving to others. This act continues to inspire my life of giving!

Q: While working on opening Rust Medical Center and in thinking of Women’s History Month, who is a woman that has influenced your work and why?

A: My mom has really been the most influential woman in my life. She is a Mexican-American woman who grew up in the sixties and was subjected to racial and gender discrimination.

Despite this, she made sure she evolved. After getting married at 20 and having four daughters over the next seven years, she went to college while working full time. She started college when I was in the tenth grade and by the time I was in medical school, she completed her master’s degree in education.

She inspired me with her work ethic and ingenuity. I remember when she helped me make burritos to sell so that I could go on a trip to DC to learn about government when we didn’t otherwise have the means to pay for it. She expected nothing less than all A’s, that I work starting at 14 years old and that I excel in sports. It wasn’t that she forced me to do this. She inspired me because I saw how hard she worked every day!


Passion and Purpose

Maria Apodaca, PRESGiving Committee & Captain

Q: During your work as a Presbyterian Captain and Committee member, who is a woman that has inspired you?

A: Brandy Solis, my director and mentor, inspires me to serve on the PRESGiving committee and as a captain with her courage and passion to make a difference every day!

She has a special way of seeing things and is always willing to listen with an open mind and open heart. She is always thinking about others and how to make them happy. Brandi truly cares about our whole organization and how we can become a better Presbyterian!


Individual Health is Community Health

Leigh Caswell, Vice President for Community Health

Q: Tell us about a woman who has influenced your work with Community Health and why?

A: Helen Wertheim has had a powerful influence on the community health work. Helen has been an advisor, a champion, and a connector. She asks meaningful questions and pushes us to do better and be more accountable. I’m incredibly grateful for her volunteer commitment to our purpose of improving the health of the communities we serve.

Q: Who is a woman who has influenced your work with Food Farmacy and why?

A: Somava Saha, MD led an effort through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to learn from bright spots across the country. This is how we learned of a Food Farmacy model. Somava instilled the importance of learning from others, failing forward, and building strong collaborations. I’m so grateful to have been inspired through her leadership.

Your generosity continues to inspire us. Thank you for choosing to make significant and measurable change. 


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