Vicki F. Grove is a candidate for Zone 2 of the Palomar Health hospital board. Zone 2 includes some parts of Escondido. Note: In the original version of this article we stated that it included most of Escondido. That was incorrect.
A resident of North County for 20 years and of Escondido for five years, Grove is a licensed marriage and family therapy counselor with clients all over North County. She has a biology degree from UC Davis and an MA degree in counseling. Before she opened her practice, Grove did work with at-risk youths, survivors of human trafficking and with bereaved families at Elizabeth Hospice.
“As a marriage and family therapist who specializes in trauma, I have been hearing a lot about trauma in recent months and how it has really taken a toll,” said Grove. “I’ve also been hearing from my husband who is a surgeon. I decided it was time to step up and advocate for my patients and others.”
She has watched the hospital board meetings remotely, “and they are frankly quite embarrassing,” she said. “That’s another reason why I’m running. The directors act like a feuding married couple. I’d like to help them work together in the spirit of collaboration instead of hostility. I think they could use a marriage and family therapist.”
She added, “They argue about just about everything. There is little they don’t argue about. They are not a unified board by any means.”
The issues she wants to focus on are “access to safe quality health care for all residents of the district, not just COVID patients. Also maintaining the safety and wellness of our healthcare workers—not just their physical wellness but their morale. The big one is supporting the expansion of mental health services as we recover.”
There is “so much fear” out there added onto other worries people have related to COVID, she said. “This all has to be done while keeping the district financially viable,” she said.
The district’s financial well-being is also a big issue, one that she feels is not being addressed adequately by the board. “It’s a complicated question and takes a lot of critical thinking and thoughtful collaboration because there are so many factors to be accounted for,” she said. “It’s a difficult job because some things clearly need to be cut for other things to happen.”
Cutting the CEO’s and some executives’ salaries have been discussed. “I’m not sure if I would be in favor of that but I am open to it,” she said. “The CEOs make a lot of money and that’s a big cost for the district. I’m a therapist, it’s part or my job to look at things critically and not make kneejerk decisions. That’s something I think is important and it requires the emotional intelligence I bring to the board.”
In reaching out to voters, Grove has found that “their concern is to expand mental health and I’m happy the district is already answering that call. It would be irresponsible not to elect a mental health professional to the board. I’ve made a career of serving my community. My calm critical thinking and ability to build relationships is imperative right now. If you don’t want four more years of a non-unified board, then vote for me.”