Providence Sonoma County, Sutter Health, and Kaiser Permanente All Recognized by U.S. News as Best Regional Hospitals

We recognize that it’s not always possible to travel distances to receive ongoing care, therefore U.S. News created the Best Regional Hospitals which ranks hospitals in both states and major metro areas and recognizes hospitals in every region of the country. Within a state or metro area, the regional hospital rank is determined by a hospital’s performance in the adult specialty rankings analysis and by its scores across each of the twenty-one procedure and condition areas we evaluate. For the best hospitals across the nation, check out the hospitals that made our 2023-2024 Honor Roll.

BioMarin’s Gene Therapy for Hemophilia A Approved by United States FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved BioMarin Pharmaceutical’s (BMRN.O) gene therapy for severe hemophilia A, the company said, giving patients with the inherited bleeding disorder an alternative to regular injections of missing blood proteins.

It priced the one-time therapy, Roctavian, at $2.9 million. Pivotal trial results showed that Roctavian reduced bleeding events, but its durability is not known, and the company said it would include a warranty to health insurers.

BioMarin said most study participants continued to respond to the gene therapy through year three and beyond, and it would continue to monitor them for 15 years.

Gene therapies use a deactivated virus to deliver the needed genes and the immune system would recognize and eliminate a second dose of the therapy.

The company said it would offer all U.S. health insurers a “warranty”, under which it would reimburse the wholesale cost if a patient does not respond. The company said the reimbursement would be “pro-rated” for patients that stopped responding in the first four years after treatment.

Roctavian is the first gene replacement therapy for the most common form of hemophilia, enabling patients a way to forego or reduce the need for lifetime treatment with factor proteins needed to help blood clot or with monthly doses of a newer antibody drug.

Shares of the California-based company closed 3.6% lower on Thursday.

The approval was pretty widely expected and now there is debate on how the uptake will pan out, said Joel Beatty, senior research analyst at Robert W Baird.

Roctavian, which is manufactured at the company’s facility in Novato, California, works by delivering a functional copy of the missing gene that would help hemophilia A patients make a blood-clotting protein known as factor VIII.

“Roctavian’s launch will probably be a little slow at first, because there are already some effective treatment options on the market. But longer-term, one-time dosing will likely end up being attractive to a lot of patients,” Beatty added.

BioMarin’s therapy will compete for market share with Roche’s (ROG.S) Hemlibra, an antibody drug which mimics the function of the blood clotting protein missing in hemophilia A patients.

Roctavian was approved for hemophilia A in the European Union last year, and is sold under the same brand name.

In April, BioMarin cut its annual sales forecast range for Roctavian to $50 million to $100 million, from $100 million to $200 million.

The company said on Thursday it expects about 2,500 of around 6,500 adults living with severe hemophilia A in the United States to be eligible to receive Roctavian with this initial approval.

There are about 16,000 patients in the United States with hemophilia A in which they are missing the factor VIII clotting protein.,protein%20known%20as%20factor%20VIII

Northern California Public Media Purchases New Headquarters Location

As reported on Darren Lashelle’s (Northern California Public Media’s President & CEO) LinkedIn, “It is early days yet in our major project at Northern California Public Media, but I’d like to make a celebratory note that we closed the purchase on our future headquarters.

We have at least a year ahead of us in major renovations and the challenge of creating a community space that integrates our mission with community need.

As we embark on this exciting journey, I would love to talk to others who have built or renovated a headquarters for your organization, or are in the process of doing so. Let’s learn from each other.”

Sonoma Valley Hospital Lauded for Social Responsibility

A national nonprofit think tank has recognized Sonoma Valley Hospital with an “A” grade for social responsibility, putting it in the top 1% of 3,637 hospitals ranked, the community hospital recently announced.

The 49-bed Sonoma Valley Hospital’s “A” grade ranked No. 14 nationally and No. 2 among 282 California hospitals in the 2023 Lown Institute Hospitals Index, a report that measures hospitals for social responsibility based on health equity, value and outcomes data. Coming in at No. 1 was Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in Chula Vista, San Diego County.

Of the 282 hospitals in the state, 118 received an “A” grade, according to the report’s rankings.

On its second-to-highest-ranking in California, Sonoma Valley Hospital CEO John Hennelly said in the release, “As a vital part of Sonoma, (Sonoma Valley Hospital) is committed to serving the whole community to the best of our ability. We are pleased to receive recognition for our unwavering commitment to provide outstanding care.”

Sonoma Valley Hospital wasn’t the only North Bay health care system to receive an “A” grade in Lown’s social responsibility measures.

These North Bay hospitals also received an “A” grade, in descending order: Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital (No. 11), Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport (21), Petaluma Valley Hospital (23), Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo (31), Adventist Health Ukiah Valley (33), Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center (35), Adventist Health Howard Memorial in Willits (51), Novato Community Hospital (54), Adventist Health St. Helena (64), Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center (66), Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (79), Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa (80), Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center (94), and Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center (106).

Four local hospitals received a “B” grade: MarinHealth Medical Center (137), NorthBay Medical Center (152), Healdsburg Hospital (173), and Adventist Health Clear Lake (209).

The Needham, Massachusetts-based Lown Institute on its website states its rankings are nonpartisan, and that no funding is received from outside sources.

“While most rankings measure just patient outcomes, the Lown Index takes into account the full breadth of what hospitals do as care providers, employers and community partners,” the organization states on its website, noting racial inclusivity and pay equity among the factors. “By setting these benchmarks, we seek to shine a light on those hospitals that provide exceptional, high-value patient care to all who need it in their community — and encourage all hospitals to follow their example.”

The late cardiologist Bernard Lown founded the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation in 1973 to promote cardiovascular health around the world through research, education and global outreach. It evolved throughout the years and in 2012 was renamed the Lown Institute, according to the organization.

Read the full report here.

Keysight Visits White House as Tech Firms Pitch in Effort to Craft Smart-Device Safety Standards

Keysight Technologies is participating in the development of a national cybersecurity labeling program that sets the safety standard for smart devices, ranging from refrigerators and microwaves to televisions and fitness devices.

Representatives of the Santa Rosa tech firm joined 19 other companies in mid-July at the White House for a ceremonial unveiling of the program.

The U.S. Cyber Trust Mark, initiated by the Biden Administration and proposed by the Federal Communications Commission, aims to standardize the safety of devices referred to as the “Internet of Things,” or IoT, devices with software, sensors or tech exchanges data with other devices through the internet. Much like the nutrition labels on cereal boxes, a distinct safety shield logo would be applied to products deemed to pass the certification criteria.

The FCC is applying to register a national trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. After a public comment period, the safety standard may be operational by January.

Studies by data security companies have shown cyberattacks on these devices on the rise in the last year, with some involving personal operations in the home such as room monitors for babies and pets.

“There are so many devices being added. And now, your thermostat on the wall can have more computing power than the old space shuttle,” Keysight Vice President of Security Solutions Scott Register told the Business Journal.

Register, who attended the White House function, confirmed that the safety standard is long overdue, and working on it is rewarding.

“It feels really good to build something that will protect so many people,” he said.

Keysight will use its expertise in testing software to contribute to the program. Specifications may be finalized in a few months.

Manufacturers and retailers that have already committed to using the program include Amazon, Best Buy, Google, LG Electronics, Logitech and Samsung.

Kevin Kraus, vice president of technology alliances and IoT business development for San Francisco home-lock manufacturer Yale and August, also attended the White House ceremony.

“The security and privacy of our customers is our top priority. We are excited for the launch of this program as it shares our commitment to make IoT devices safe, secure and convenient for consumers,” Kraus said.

Santa Rosa Junior College Invites Community to the Polly O’Meara Doyle Hall Ribbon Cutting

Please join Santa Rosa Junior College for the ribbon cutting ceremony of our new affordable student housing community – the Polly O’Meara Doyle Hall Student Housing, on Friday, September 8 at 3pm.

With housing stock in short supply due to the high cost of living, wildfires, and a global pandemic, affordable housing can be a significant barrier to higher education, especially for low-income students. To eliminate this barrier to student success, Santa Rosa Junior College initiated a public-private partnership to build a 352 bed affordable student housing residence called Polly O’Meara Doyle Hall.

Polly Hall, as it is affectionately known, will open in August 2023 with priority housing for low-income and first-generation college students, current and former homeless students, foster youth, disabled students, active military, and veterans. Access to affordable housing for students will uplift our entire community, which will benefit from an educated and trained workforce remaining locally and supporting the economic outlook of the region. With Polly Hall, our students will have access to a welcoming space on campus to live, learn, and grow while they pursue their higher education goals.

Please RSVP at this link: Ribbon Cutting RSVP

Sonoma County Winegrowers Leadership Academy Vineyard Workers Honored In Washington D.C.

This month 31 graduates of the Voz de los Viñedos’ (Voice of the Vineyard) Leadership Academy were honored in Washington D.C.. Congressman Mike Thompson helped to organize the event and Alaska Airlines provided the ‘gift of flight.’ The Mexican-American vineyard leaders are all from Sonoma County where, collectively, they represent more than 200 years of expertise in farming some of the most prestigious vineyards in America.

“I was honored to welcome Sonoma County’s Fundación de la Voz de los Viñedos’ Leadership Academy to our nation’s Capital,” stated Thompson. “They are the heart of our wine community and my colleagues, and I was impressed with the leadership skills they have honed over the last year.”

Because these 31 men and women are already deeply skilled in viticulture, the Leadership Academy doesn’t teach farming skills. Instead the 8-month program focuses on teaching critical skills, such as finance, communication, conflict resolution, human resources and disaster preparedness. In this way the vineyard employees can become future leaders in the wine industry and community.

“When I started in the Leadership Academy, I felt like a puzzle piece in a bag,” stated Ricardo Corona, a 2022 Leadership Academy graduate who works at Munselle Vineyards. “As time went by, I started to finish the puzzle, and now I am much better prepared at work and as a person.”

While in Washington D.C., the vineyard leaders had the opportunity to attend the Congressional Wine Caucus, tour the White House, and meet with some Members of Congress. Nancy Pelosi greeted them, and they were able to share with her and others their experiences in the vineyard and their hopes for the future.

“This was the most important experience, because I never thought in my dreams to go to Washington D.C.,” shared Jose Cervantes, a Leadership Academy graduate from Cornerstone Vineyards. “Being with Congressman Mike Thompson was the most important thing,…. and shaking the hand of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most influential women in the U.S., meant a lot. She listened to our story – which is huge, since we are the people who work in the vineyards.”

Young Vineyard Leaders Important to Future of Wine & Farming Industry

In addition to assisting these 31 leaders to achieve their career goals, the Leadership Academy for vineyard workers also is important to the future of the wine and farming industry. This is because recent demographic data highlight a growing need for younger, more diverse leaders and consumers.

Farmers are critical to the agriculture health of the U.S., but American farmers are aging rapidly, according to a recent U.S. Census report. The average age is now at 57.5 years while farmers under age 35 account for just 9% of the country’s 3.4 million farmers. And in the wine industry it is estimated that 70% of the vineyard workers were likely born in Mexico, according to the U.C. Davis Global Migration Center. Yet they are under-represented in leadership positions.

A related demographic issue is reflected in the lack of diversity amongst wine consumers in the U.S.. Now slowing wine sales have caused industry experts to urge wineries to connect with younger multi-cultural consumers in order to develop new consumer bases for the future. Having Mexican-American vineyard leaders in upper management and executive positions in the wine industry can assist towards this goal, and the Leadership Academy helps to prepare them.

“When we first had the idea to create a Leadership Academy for vineyard employees, I could never have imagined that within two years we would be taking these men and women to Washington, D.C..” reported Karissa Kruse, CEO and President of Sonoma County Winegrowers. To watch the Leadership Academy graduates connect with the history of our country and beam with pride during their interactions and conversations with Members of Congress was an honor. It was a week that will forever live in my heart.”

Dominican University’s Pollinator Garden Gains Campus-Wide Support

This past winter, it only took one rain storm to fully fill a 3,000 water tank that will supply Dominican University of California’s newly-developed pollinator garden with enough water for an entire year.

The tank is part of a student-developed project to develop a campus pollinator garden that will educate both students and the community on landscape concepts that are water wise, fire smart, and support biodiversity of Marin County’s almost 300 species of bees, as well as butterflies and birds.

The vision for the Daniel Stralka Memorial Pollinator Garden began in May 2019 when Dr. Denise Lucy, Professor of Business and Organizational Studies and Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Studies, and dedicated honeybee keeper with hives at her home, attended a workshop led by Bonnie Morse of Bee Audacious, a Marin nonprofit focused on preserving pollinator populations by encouraging and educating people to create and preserve environmentally conscious ecosystems that help bees and other pollinators flourish.

It was at that workshop that Dr. Lucy learned of the grave realities of the decline of pollinator habitats both in Marin  and beyond.

“Bonnie encouraged each attendee to consider a project in their communities that may improve these habitats,” Dr. Lucy recalls, “Having local plants in gardens greatly promotes biodiversity and can not only positively impact bees and butterflies, but also the planet.”

Dr. Lucy pledged to engage Dominican students, faculty, administrators, and staff to examine possibilities on the Dominican campus, with a focus on developing a garden that will benefit both the university and the greater community.

Fast forward two years, and Dominican recently celebrated the opening of The Daniel Stralka Memorial Pollinator Garden. The garden, located next to Albertus Magnus, is named in honor of the late Daniel Stralka, a chemist with the Environmental Protection Agency and a hobby beekeeper.  Bonnie Morse generated all of the in-kind donations that totaling $25,000 and also connected with Dr. Stralka’s wife, Judy, who contributed $25,000 this spring, which ensured the garden’s future as a living learning biology lab.

The garden is divided into sections that contain plants curated to highlight specific functions, including serving as pollinators for bees and butterflies; providing food and nesting materials for birds and butterflies; thriving in shaded areas, including under oak trees; and providing safer planting options for areas with high fire risk. One of the beds will have a mixture of plants to ensure something is blooming all year round.

All the plants are rated for low to very low water consumption. Irrigation will be supplied via the rainwater catchment tank that collects water from the Albertus Magnus rooftop. The roof has been calculated to have the capacity to collect 8,200 gallons of water with one inch of rain, which means additional tanks can be added to the system in order to provide water to other areas of campus.

It is anticipated that within three years of average annual rain, the plants will be fully established and only need supplemental water during drought conditions.

This is very much a student developed project, with Morse serving as the client during three consecutive sections of BUS 4046: Leadership and Teams in Organizations in the Barowsky School of Business. The course is structured so that students teams collaborate with community partners on Leadership Practicum projects.

Planning for the pollinator garden started with students in Dr. Lucy’s spring 2021 leadership course where one student team worked with Bonnie Morse as their client. The team identified locations for the garden and generated project collaborators from selected Dominican departments. Dr. Lucy invited biology faculty to join and advise the team. As a result of this work, faculty in the School of Health and Natural Sciences from Dominican’s Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, including Dr. Diara Spain, Dr. Erik Nelson, Dr. Jim Cunningham, and Dr. Mietek Kolpinski, committed to using the pollinator garden as a living lab for appropriate biology and chemistry classes.

The project continued in fall 2021 when a student team in Associate Professor of Management Dr. Thomas Cavanaugh’s Leadership Practicum developed outreach strategies to promote a lecture on biodiversity and native plants. They also contacted local nurseries to locate sources of plants and develop a template with plant inventory and signage that others in the community can use as a model to start their own biodiverse gardens with local plants.

Then, during the spring 2022 semester, students in Dr. Lucy’s Leadership course finalized the project by mapping the pollinator gardens in Fairfax, Sausalito, and Corte Madera using GPS and GIS software to record coordinates and calculate the area of each garden. The students also collected plant inventories, labeled existing plants, and completed a historical description for each garden. All of this information will be available on the Marin Biodiversity Corridor Initiative (MBCI) website as a reference for creating future gardens.

Students involved with the Leadership Practicum project include Amaya Viera, Hannah Bonflis, Jenny Le, Nora Fe, Mitchell Sanders, Fenina Gonzales, Dorothea Hill, Andrew Lucero, Lizbeth Arau Lezama, Zach Dickson, and Alissa Salazar.

Bonnie Morse led all three teams during these three semesters to achieve the vision that she and Dr. Lucy had to create a water-wise pollinator garden that would also be an educational tool for generations to come. Based on the students’ work and input, Bonnie and her husband, Gary, designed and planted the garden pro bono and coordinated with many organizations to contribute materials, plants, and services to plant the garden located in front of Albertus Magnus.

“Our goal with this garden is to make it a community-based garden that attracts individuals from all around the community who will gain awareness of the importance of the garden for our pollinators and our environment,” Dr. Lucy says.

“Not only will the garden promote safe and healthy environments for pollinators, but it also enhances understanding of the importance of water conservation.”

The garden will be promoted by Dominican, Bee Audacious, and the Marin Biodiversity Corridor Initiative. There will also be opportunities to promote the garden through partnerships with FireSafe Marin, Marin Conservation League, Marin Municipal Water District, and the Marin Master Gardeners.

Redwood Credit Union Earns 2023 Bronze Anvil Award from PRSA

Redwood Credit Union recently earned a 2023 Bronze Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America, the leading professional organization serving the communications community in the U.S. and beyond.

Each year, PRSA delivers awards for the best public relations tactics and campaigns of the year, highlighting the highest standards of performance for the profession. This year, 21 Bronze Anvil Awards were given, one of which was in the Annual Reports category—and that award went to Redwood Credit Union.

“This recognition is a testament to your outstanding dedication, expertise and exceptional contributions to your organization,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of PRSA. “The award underscores the collective efforts of your entire team and is a true reflection of your organization’s exemplary skills and relentless pursuit of excellence in the field of public relations.”

Redwood Credit Union moved its annual report online to allow for storytelling in a more engaging way, with a medium that lent itself to better use of photos and video. Those are sprinkled throughout the report with featured sections and interactive elements that illustrate how RCU connects with its communities and provides financial education to its members. About the report, one judge stated, “Integration of videos and animations makes the report breezy and desirable to use. REFRESHING!” Readers can view RCU’s 2022 annual report here.

About Redwood Credit Union
Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. With a mission to passionately serve the best interests of its Members, team members, and communities, RCU delivers many ways for its Members to save and build money through checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, digital banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, and more. Wealth management and investment services are available through CUSO Financial Services L.P., and insurance and auto-purchasing services are also offered through RCU Services Group (RCU’s wholly owned subsidiary). RCU has more than $7 billion in assets and serves more than 430,000 members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah. For more information, call 1 (800) 479-7928, visit, or follow RCU on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn for news and updates.

Northern California Public Media’s News Director Greta Mart and the KRCB News Team Announced as Finalists for the 2023 Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards

Congratulations to News Director Greta Mart and the KRCB News team for being finalists for the 2023 Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards!!

Eight California public radio stations collaborated and contributed excellent climate reporting which was edited into an hour-long special “Climate Costs”, exploring the high price of climate change for California Communities.

Congratulations to the contributing stations, host and editors from KVPR Valley Public Radio, KAZU 90.3, KZYX – Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, North State Public Radio, KCBX, KCLU Radio and KVCR !
Listen to Climate Costs here: