Sutter Health’s CPMC and San Francisco State Team Up to Target Nursing Shortage

A chance meeting led to the start of a new program that accelerates training for an expanded number of San Francisco State University nursing students and opens the door for California Pacific Medical Center nurses to teach.

To read the full article, click here

College of Marin Marks Milestone on $116M Student Center

More than 200 College of Marin students, staff and community members gathered this week to salute a key stage of construction on a new $116 million student center.

The Dr. David Wain Coon Center for Student Success, under construction since fall, is expected to become the central hub of the Kentfield campus. It is the last and most expansive project financed by the $265 million Measure B bond issue approved by Marin voters in June 2016.

“I wouldn’t have missed this day for the world,” said former COM president David Wain Coon, who retired in January after 13 years as head of the institution. “There’s the significance of the building itself, and then the board’s decision to actually attach my name to it, based on my time here.”

During his tenure, Coon presided over a series of major Measure B projects that reshaped and transformed both the Kentfield campus and the Indian Valley campus in Novato.

“I’m so honored and humbled that the board decided to do this,” he said of being selected as the building’s namesake.

Current president Jonathan Eldridge said the new three-story, 78,000-square-foot building will be the center of student life, where pupils can feel comfortable studying, congregating and connecting with classmates, faculty and staff.

“This is the capstone to our Measure B bond program,” Eldridge said.

“It really will be the living room of the Kentfield campus,” he said. “It’s the heart of the campus and will house the library and so many educational support functions.”

“Students will be able to use this as a landing place from early in the morning to the evening,” Eldridge said. A small cafe also will be part of the new structure, Eldridge said.

The student success center is scheduled for completion in fall 2025, with occupancy set for Jan. 1, 2026, according to college spokesperson Nicole Cruz.

Construction costs are estimated at $82.5 million out of the total $116 million project price tag. Alten Construction of Richmond is the general contractor. Gilbane Construction Management is the project manager.

The highlight of Tuesday’s ceremony came as construction workers hoisted one of the last steel girders that will make up the internal skeleton of the building. The installation was accompanied by cheers from the crowd, dozens of whom had earlier signed their names on the steel beam in fluorescent permanent marker.

“I hope there’s a hole in the ceiling in the new building so that you can look up and see everybody’s names,” said Richard Torney, a Kentfield resident and a former COM student.

Torney, who is active with the Kentfield-Greenbrae Historical Society, said local history is his hobby and “College of Marin is very much a part of it,” he said.

Torney said he hopes to participate in some way in the college’s 100-year anniversary in 2026. Preparations are already under way for the centennial observance.

In the crowd Tuesday were numerous local officials, including members of the college’s board of trustees.

“I’ve been on the board since 2009,” said trustee Diana Conti. “This building is a dream come true for me.”

The building “really reflects the priorities of the college to do everything they can to increase student success,” she said. “It’s going to be so beautiful.

“It’s going to open up the campus and tie it all together,” Conti said. “I just can’t wait for it to be done.”

John Carroll, Marin superintendent of schools, said he attended College of Marin for two years, transferring to California Polytechnic State University in 1984 to complete his bachelor’s degree.

“It’s a wonderful school with great values,” Carroll said of COM. “It’s my favorite college.”

David Schnee, a principal consulting architect on the project, said he was personally gratified to see the building taking shape.

“My son took classes here at COM five or six years ago, ” said Schnee, a Marin resident who said his son would be graduating in a few weeks from DePaul University in Chicago.

“This is where he really learned to love learning,” he said.

SMART Tax Renewal Passed by California Senate

As SMART officials stay mum on when they will seek extension of a sales tax needed to keep trains rolling, a bill enabling voters to place a renewal on the ballot has passed the California Senate.

Senate Bill 904, authored by state Sen. Bill Dodd, a Democrat from Napa, was proposed to help the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit secure its sales tax dollars, which account for nearly half of the agency’s total revenue. The tax collects about $51 million annually.

The new legislation would clarify that a citizens’ initiative process — in which voters are empowered to collect signatures on a petition to propose a measure — is an available route to the ballot. With enough signatures from voters in Sonoma and Marin counties, the measure could be considered at a special election and would require only a simple majority — rather than a two-thirds vote — to pass.

SMART, which operates 45 miles of passenger rail from Larkspur to Santa Rosa, opened in 2017 supported by a voter-approved quarter-cent sales tax across the two counties. That tax expires in 2029.

In 2020, SMART failed to gain the required two-thirds approval for a 30-year extension, leaving the agency financially vulnerable. The failed measure received a 54% majority vote in favor.

“We know we need to go back to the voters,” said Marin County Supervisor Eric Lucan, who serves as chair of the SMART board. “We want to have as many options available to continue our great success with SMART. Part of this is ensuring that all options are on the table.”

Lucan said he appreciates Dodd’s effort to push SB 904 forward.

The Senate passed the bill Tuesday on a 29-8 vote, with all Republicans voting no. The bill now heads to the Assembly.

In a statement, Dodd said SMART “is an incredible resource that helps achieve our goals of reducing emissions and providing an alternative to our congested highways.”

Julia Gonzalez, a SMART spokesperson, said the district has received numerous comments about the possibility of allowing a citizen-led voter-approved qualified initiative.

“SMART is supportive because it provides voters in Marin and Sonoma counties the opportunity to safeguard their investment in sustainable transportation,” Gonzalez said. “North Bay residents, as well as citizen advisory groups such as the Marin County Civil Grand Jury, have pointed out that local taxpayers have made a significant investment in a critical transportation system that needs to be preserved for future generations.”

Gonzalez said a citizens’ initiative cannot move forward without petitioners first collecting the necessary number of signatures.

“Per Elections Code section 9310, an initiative petition would require at least 10% of registered voters in the district,” said Lynda Roberts, Marin County registrar of voters.

At last count recorded on Feb. 20, there were 169,939 registered voters in Marin and 302,712 registered in Sonoma, according to the state elections data. Petitioners would need to gather more than 47,265 verified signatures for a valid initiative.

Once signatures are collected, the petition would be submitted to SMART staff, who then turn over signatures to elections departments in each county for verification, Roberts said. If certified, the petition would need to be presented to SMART officials to call an election, Roberts said.

Recent polling shows that of 642 responses from Sonoma County and Marin County voters, 65% indicated they would support a measure this November renewing the tax for 30 years. About 30% said no. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 4%.

SMART officials have agreed the only viable option to avert financial collapse would be a renewal. For now, officials have committed to focus its priorities on ridership growth.

The agency reports it continues to see more riders boosted by a program offering free fares for youths and seniors that launched in April. At last report on May 15, SMART trains had carried more than 722,900 riders for fiscal year-ending 2024, which is well above the 716,847 count set in pre-pandemic conditions in 2019.

Lucan said SMART is adding trips as more people are relying on its service.

“We’re making sure we’re setting this up for long-term success,” Lucan said.

Marin’s representatives in the Senate, Assembly and Congress said they’re on board with SB 904.

Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire said SMART and the Great Redwood Trail that runs along the spine of the rail corridor are great resources and have major momentum.

“Ridership numbers are now beyond pre-pandemic levels and multiple trail expansion projects are moving forward,” the Healdsburg Democrat said. “SMART’s success is the North Bay’s success.”

Assemblymember Damon Connolly, D-San Rafael, a former SMART board member, said the rail “is vital to connecting our region and promoting clean transit.”

“I am thankful to Sen. Dodd for authoring this meaningful legislation that will enhance community engagement and promote sustainable transportation,” Connolly said.

“Bottom line, it’s a great bill, and I support it wholeheartedly,” Congressman Jared Huffman said Wednesday. The San Rafael Democrat agreed that the rail service is an asset that “continues to get better and better.”

Huffman said he believes in the simple majority approval process made available through citizens’ initiatives.

“I believe democracies should be democracies,” Huffman said. “We need to get rid of these crazy supermajority, anti-democratic mechanisms that prevent community priorities from moving forward.”

Novato resident Mike Arnold, an economist who worked on the opposition campaign against SMART’s tax renewal measure in 2020, disagrees.

Arnold said gathering enough valid signatures will be hard, time-consuming work that would likely require enlisting paid petitioners.

Arnold said he is opposed to the use of citizens’ initiatives as a way to get around the two-thirds threshold. There is also the proposition referred to as the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act to consider, he said.

Essentially, the proposition aims to make it harder to raise taxes. That involves raising the threshold for certain measures such as citizens’ initiatives from a simple majority to a two-thirds majority. The Supreme Court is considering removing the proposition from the ballot.

“Even if SMART supporters obtained enough valid signatures to place a tax measure on the ballot, the effort would fail because voters aren’t likely to support the circumvention of Proposition 13,” the 1978 proposition that requires the two-thirds approval on special taxes in California, Arnold said.

Sonoma County Winegrowers Awarded the “Paint the Community Green” Environmental Stewardship Award by the North Bay Leadership Council week, the Sonoma County Winegrowers were honored to attend the Leaders of the North Bay Awards Luncheon, where we were awarded the “Paint the Community Green” Environmental Stewardship Award. This prestigious award is given to individuals and organizations demonstrating exemplary leadership in environmental stewardship. We are deeply grateful for this recognition.

Highlights from the SCW’s “Paint the Community Green” Environmental Stewardship Award Recognition

In 2019, Sonoma County Winegrowers achieved our goal to be certified sustainable in all of our vineyards, making Sonoma County the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. SCW developed the industry’s first 100-year business plan, established a Center for Ag Sustainability and created a sustainability wine label. These efforts were recognized when we were selected to be the U.S. case study for a grassroots approach to sustainability. Our latest achievement is the Farm of the Future initiative, an innovation accelerator for ag tech.

The global collaboration with Ford Pro has made SCW a “living lab” to create game-changing solutions to climate adaptation and led to many other collaborations, the latest being with Agrology to install real-time carbon monitoring systems in local farms, and with John Deere to do proof of concept 0f new innovation and tech. The throughline of SCW’s success is the leadership and vision of our CEO, Karissa Kruse, who is providing the road map for the ag industry to be sustainable and meet the environmental challenges today and tomorrow. To watch a video highlighting SCW’s achievements, go to

Thank you, North Bay Leadership Council, for recognizing our local, multi-generational farmers and their commitment to sustainability and leadership in farming for the future.

Congratulations to Our Members Who Made The North Bay Biz 2024 Hall of Fame

Since launching the live award program in 2002, some businesses have consistently proven to be reader favorites. Winning consistently is difficult and rare—and achieved only by the best in their respective fields. So this year, the magazine’s Best of the North Bay Awards department felt special recognition was warranted for our most-frequent reader favorites—and voila! The Best of the North Bay Hall of Fame was born. Here is a list of your inductees who have won a combination of first-place Best Of awards or runner-up Gold Medal awards more than 15 times! Each business has been elevated to its Hall of Fame status in the category they have dominated the most. Congratulations from NorthBay biz—you’re truly the best of the best.

2024 Hall of Famers

  • Category: Accounting Firm
    • Moss Adams
  • Business Bank
    • Bank of Marin
    • Exchange Bank
    • Summit State Bank
  • Business Restaurant
    • John Ash & Co.
  • Catering Service
    • Park Avenue Catering
  • Chamber of Commerce
    • Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce
    • San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
  • Chardonnay
    • La Crema Winery
  • Credit Union
    • Redwood Credit Union
  • Fine Jewelry
    • E.R. Sawyer Jewelers
  • Insurance Brokerage
    • George Petersen Insurance Agency
  • Job Placement Service
    • Nelson Connects
  • Luxury Car Dealer
    • Smothers European Volvo—Mercedes-Benz
  • Real Estate Agency
    • Coldwell Banker Realty

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging Gets Funds From Hevolution Foundation Promising Pre-Clinical Studies

Recent awards totaling nearly $5M from the Hevolution Foundation will enable two Buck labs to further explore the biology of, and identify potential new uses for, two promising interventions for age-related diseases: ketone bodies and glycation-reducing compounds.


Buck Assistant Professor John Newman, MD, PhD, received more than $2.9 million; his project is aimed at understanding cell-specific aging mechanisms regulated by ketone bodies and their role in human longevity phenotypes.  Buck Professor Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, received more than $1.9 million to investigate the connection between glycation and three hallmarks of aging, as well as exploring the potential of a glycation-reducing compound in mice.

 Ketone bodies

 Ketone bodies, naturally occurring compounds, are produced all the time by the body but increase when the availability of dietary carbohydrates (sugars in various forms) is limited, forcing the body to use fat instead of sugar for energy.  Various forms of fasting and the popular high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet can put people into ketosis, a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in body tissues. Both fasting and the ketogenic diet have been linked to several health benefits, including weight loss, a reversal of metabolic syndrome and reduced inflammation.

“Ketone bodies are exciting in the aging field because they touch upon many of the hallmarks of aging, including reduced cellular energy, jumbled epigenetics, and chronic inflammation. While ketone bodies are being tested in clinical trials to treat heart failure and Alzheimer’s, mostly for their energy function, there’s still so much we don’t know about the biology,” said Newman, who is also a practicing geriatrician at UCSF and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. “We think of ketones as a niche, unusual thing. How often do we fast in modern life? But do our bodies actually need ketones as we age? How do ketone bodies impact specific cells like neurons in the brain? What other diseases of aging might benefit from treatment with ketone bodies? My team is very grateful for the Hevolution Foundation’s support for this important work.”

To ferret out more ketone biology Newman will be looking at how ketone bodies affect the mouse brain, building on earlier work that showed a ketogenic diet improved memory in aging mice. Newman says in the aging brain it’s unknown if neurons are the primary cell type that ketone bodies should be delivered to and where those ketones need to come from. “Most ketone bodies are made in the liver, but there are hints that some are made directly in the brain. This work will tell us where to focus to get the improvements we seek both in the brain and in overall health,” he said.

While Newman describes the mouse work as highly sophisticated – it will involve a deep dive into genetic modifications, phosphoproteomics, and mass spectrometry -he is particularly excited about a collaboration with UCSF that will mine data from the large, longitudinal UK Biobank that includes metabolomic information from hundreds of thousands of people. He says the proposed analysis could reveal a relationship between people who have higher or lower levels of ketone bodies in their blood with current and future disease states. “We know that people with heart failure produce more ketone bodies as a way of compensating for impaired energy metabolism,” he said. “What other conditions might be treated with ketone bodies? Are people with naturally higher ketone bodies resistant to certain diseases? This project allows us to ask those questions to help target future clinical trials for both treatment and prevention.”

Using glycation to understand how hallmarks of aging interact with each other

 The Kapahi lab will use glycation, which occurs when sugar binds to proteins or lipid molecules, and its toxic methylglyoxal (MGO) byproduct to understand the interplay between three hallmarks of aging: dysregulated nutrient sensing, a loss of protein homeostasis and cellular senescence.  In thanking Hevolution for their funding, Kapahi added, “It’s crucial that we understand the hierarchy of these detrimental processes. What comes first? Where should we target interventions? Glycation burden connects all three of these hallmarks giving us a unique opportunity to expand our understanding of age-related pathology.”

Kapahi’s team will investigate the connection between MGO-induced protein glycation, insulin resistance and cellular senescence in the context of type 2 diabetes. The first aim is focused on investigating the direct role of MGOs in regulating insulin synthesis and secretion. Pancreatic β-cells from mice will be used to mechanistically assess the cell-autonomous effect of different doses of GLYLO, a novel glycation-reducing compound on glucose metabolism and insulin synthesis.  The second aim is directed at investigating the role of various dosages of dietary MGOs in regulating glucose homeostasis and insulin resistance in fat tissue, while validating targets that might ameliorate the resulting damage.

The team will bring the research together by investigating the interplay between MGO-induced protein glycation, insulin resistance and cellular senescence.  “One hypothesis is that in overweight people type 2 diabetes is driven by inflammation caused by cellular senescence in belly fat,” said Kapahi. “Type 2 diabetes can also be driven in the pancreas. What’s the connection? Does senescence in the fat tissue also affect insulin secretion in the pancreas? What comes first?”  Kapahi’s team will also test a senolytic drug to see if reducing the burden of senescent cells has an impact on MGO-mediated insulin resistance and release. They will also combine treatment with a senolytic and glycation-reducing GLYLO to determine if alleviating two hallmarks of aging, protein homeostasis and senescence, can show additional protection to lower insulin resistance and enhance survival in mice on a high fat diet.

 DISCLOSURES: Dr. Newman owns stock in BHB Therapeutics, LTD, and Selah Therapeutics, LTD, which develops ketone body-based therapies and consumer products.  The Buck Institute also has an ownership interest in BHB Therapeutics and Selah Therapeutics. Dr. Kapahi owns stock in Juvify Bio, the company that has commercialized GLYLO.  He is also an inventor on patents that relate to the product being studied.  The Buck Institute also has an ownership interest in Juvify Bio.

About the Hevolution Foundation:

Founded on the belief that every person has the right to live a longer, healthier life, Hevolution Foundation is a global catalyst, partner, and convener on a mission to drive efforts to extend healthy human lifespan and understand the processes of aging. With a focus on aging as a treatable process, Hevolution Foundation aims to increase the number of aging-related treatments on the market, compress the timeline of drug development, and increase accessibility to therapeutics that extend healthy lifespan, also known as healthspan. A global non-profit organization headquartered in Riyadh with a North American hub and an annual budget of up to $1 billion, Hevolution Foundation plans to open offices in other global locations to support a cutting-edge, global ecosystem of talent to propel aging and geroscience research forward and achieve medical breakthroughs to help humanity live healthier, longer. Connect with Hevolution Foundation on LinkedInX (formerly Twitter), and at

SMART Celebrates Record-Breaking Ridership, Credits Accessibility, Affordability Initiatives

Officials of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit — also known as SMART — are attributing a record-breaking ridership month to improved accessibility and affordability.

SMART reported more than 80,000 passengers in the month of April alone, marking the highest ridership in one month in the agency’s history.

Two recent changes suggest a reason for the spike. In the beginning of April, SMART began offering free fares for anyone under 18 and seniors 65 and older. It also reduced its regular fares by 40 percent and introduced the on-demand SMART Connect shuttle, which links passengers directly to Sonoma County’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.

“This unprecedented ridership demonstrates the immense value SMART brings to our communities,” said Eddy Cumins SMART general manager. “SMART offers a greener and more convenient way to travel and is connecting communities and helping to enhance economic development in the region.”

SMART riders eliminated 17.6 million car-driven miles in the past year, according to the agency.

The 45-mile rail system has 12 stations near the airport and in the cities and towns of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Novato, San Rafael and Larkspur. SMART also manages a bicycle and pedestrian pathway that’s integrated into the Great Redwood Trail, providing first and last-mile connections to the train.

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Earns North Bay Biz Magazine and Bohemian “Best Of” Awards

The readers of the Bohemian newspaper voted KP Santa Rosa “Best of” in 5 categories of the 2024 Best of the North Bay awards, including Best Local Hospital, Best Pharmacy, Best Tele-Health, Dr. Amy Merchant won Best OB/GYN, and the Best ER Doctor award went to Dr. Joshua Weil. Amazing recognition from the Bohemian newspaper’s Best of the North Bay.

In addition, the readers of the North Bay Biz Magazine voted KP SRO Best Health Care in Sonoma County. Congratulations to our amazing teams in the Santa Rosa service area for earning these recognitions!

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Urgent Care Clinic Opens

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa is excited to announce that we have launched a new Urgent Care Clinic at the Santa Rosa Medical Office Building, with walk-in appointments welcome.


Urgent Care

401 Bicentennial Way,

MOB 1, Suite 140

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

  • 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends and holidays


Visit for more information.

What is urgent care?

An urgent care need is not an emergency medical condition but does require prompt attention, usually within 24 to 48 hours. You can visit urgent care for:

·    Minor wounds or cuts

·    Minor injuries like bites, sprains, strains, backaches, or acute back pain

·    Frequent urination or burning sensation when urinating

·    Sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing

·    Severe sore throat, cough, or upper-respiratory symptoms

·    High fever

·    Mild breathing issues

·    Earaches

What is not urgent care?

Continue to use your primary care provider for:

·    Routine physicals

·    Pap tests or cervical cancer screenings

·    Follow up examinations

·    Management of ongoing medical conditions

Call 911 or go to the emergency room for:

·    Severe or persistent bleeding

·    Severe shortness of breath or chest pain

·    Major broken bones or head injuries

·    Sudden decrease in or loss of  consciousness

·    Sudden and severe abdominal pain

·    Slurred speech, or sudden inability to talk or move one side of the body


Midstate Construction Corporation, Housing Consortium of the East Bay (HCEB), and Open Heart Kitchen Completed Construction of Vineyard and Open Heart Kitchen

General Contractor Midstate Construction Corporation, developer Housing Consortium of the East Bay (HCEB), and tenant Open Heart Kitchen recently completed construction of Vineyard and Open Heart Kitchen in Livermore, CA.

Designed by Gunkel Architecture, the Vineyard scope of work included demolition of existing structures, and new construction of a mixed-use property, including (24) permanent supportive housing units, office meeting spaces, commercial kitchen, dining room, overnight shelter, showers, and laundry.

Vineyard is an affordable housing development for extremely low-income households with histories of homelessness. It includes 10,000 sq. ft. of space for a commercial-grade kitchen, dining room, and homeless resource center.

Open Heart Kitchen will operate the kitchen and dining room, providing hot meals 5 days a week for homeless and low-income neighbors, and an overnight 20-bed shelter for folks in crisis or experiencing homelessness. The homeless resource center will provide various services, including mental health, case management, housing navigation, and mailboxes.

Midstate’s additional projects for people experiencing homelessness include:

  • St. Clare at Capitol Park, a 134-unit hotel conversion in Sacramento, CA
  • Valley Lodge, a 54-unit motel conversion in Napa, CA
  • Studios at Montero, a 60-unit motel conversion in Petaluma, CA
  • Shasta Hotel, a 79-unit hotel conversion in Sacramento, CA
  • Mary Isaak Center, an emergency shelter for adults experiencing homelessness in Petaluma, CA

Coming soon:

  • The Sequoia Hotel, an 89-unit historic hotel conversion in Sacramento, CA

Santa Rosa Cannery, a 129-unit project with 33 units set-aside for formerly homeless families in Santa Rosa, CA