The Palomar Health Foundation recently made a large donation to Palomar Health to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak. But it is not alone. Hundreds if not thousands are stepping up to help in one of the most significant battles of our lifetime.
Dr. Jaime Rivas, a board member of the Palomar Health Foundation, is also an emergency medicine physician at Palomar Medical Center and Palomar Medical Center Poway. The former medical director of Palomar Health for 15 years, today he is in the front lines of fighting the coronavirus. He previously sat on the board of the foundation for nine years, took some time off and is back.
He told The Times-Advocate this week about the foundation’s gift to the hospital. “The foundation recently donated $500,000 to the hospital for supplies to fight COVID-19.
We are also sending a letter to the public asking for help. Recently we got a $200,000 anonymous gift to fight the virus and some donations from Home Depot. What’s more, each individual board member has committed to donating personally.” He added “We felt it was very important to all be in on this donation. We want to lead by example.”
Everybody is watching the news anxiously, he said. “We are all seeing what is happening. We are grateful for anything the community can offer in regards to protective gear such as masks. I’ve noticed local businesses helping with meals. It’s amazing what I’m seeing!”
Dr. Rivas has lived in this community since 2005. His children all attended San Pasqual High School. “I have a sense of loyalty and community to North County and Escondido and a sense of pride sitting on the foundation board. Anything I can help to raise money for the community is where I’m committed.”
Although any gifts are welcome, cash is especially good because it can be used to buy whatever is needed, such as masks (always needed) and any kind of protective gear to help medical staff members feel secure. “The hospital is doing a great job of communicating,” said Dr. Rivas. “My role as a board member is to get that message out. I’ve been texting my friends who are in construction and asking ‘Do you guy have masks?’ Not just any masks, but the N-95 masks used in high risk situations and which filter out viruses.”
“Any of those would be greatly appreciated,” said Dr. Rivas. “I take deep pride is seeing us coming together and through all the acts of kindness I see.”
Dr. Rivas was much involved in the passage of the 2004 Proposition BB (which approved the bonds that built Palomar Medical Center.) “That was a happy time,” he recalls. “It is with that same sense of pride that I seek to rally the community to pitch in anything that they can to help. To me it’s another level given that I live in the community. We’re wearing the gear that protects them.”
He added, “I feel blessed that I am a physician in the community and able to serve on the board. I’m proud as a doctor working on the front. It’s great for me to stay involved and help. I’m super proud of the work they are doing.”
For those interested in donating to the foundation, the best contact is the main site at www.palomarhealthfoundation.org. You are also welcome to email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the main number at 760-739-2787.