A passion for care: Meet Community’s "Ultimate People"

One nurse manages patient flow. Another nurse manages relationships with patients and their families. One doctor paved the way for his colleagues to practice in the hospital. Another doctor is seen as a national leader in mentoring young doctors. The thing all four share is a dedication to making Community Medical Centers an exceptional place for patients and employees alike.

Community Medical Foundation recently launched a program honoring “Ultimate People” – those who have distinguished themselves with service to Community and its Foundation.

In early May, nominees and winners will celebrate together at the Weber BMW Ultimate Party for Community’s corporate partners, physicians and donor-investors. The event will honor members of the Alliance, a unique corporate giving program for businesses that support Community’s mission and promote medical education.

“It was a tough decision for the entire panel,” said Rob Saroyan, vice president for Community Medical Foundation. “We had so many extraordinary people who were nominated, but we could only choose two physicians and two employees.”

All candidates were nominated by their peers. Find out how this year’s “Ultimate People” were described by their peers:

Jeffrey DiMarco, registered nurse    
Referral Coordinator, Community Rehabilitation Centers

DiMarco’s support for the Foundation’s fundraising efforts began with his role as manager of the Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center in 2001. In his current position as home health and rehab referral coordinator, DiMarco has been recognized by donor-investors for going above and beyond to help patients with their unique needs. Those efforts contributed to gifts received for Community Regional over the years. 

DiMarco was referred to as a highly self-motivated, positive professional and one of the biggest fans of Community Medical Centers’ hospital system. Building relationships with patients, their families, caregivers, physicians and coworkers alike is his expertise, peers said. DiMarco is constantly working to find, create and provide resources for Community’s patients and their families. His vast experience with Community Medical Centers and in the health care field enables him to view things from many angles and share this vision with those around him.

Robert “Bob” Putnam, registered nurse
House Supervisor, Clovis Community Medical Center

Putnam is seen as a strong leader in clinical operations on the hospital supervisor team at Clovis Community. He has excellent rapport with staff and manages patient flow with skill and flexibility.

His peers say the medical staff and administration are always glad to hear, “Bob’s in the House!” His peers mark him as an outstanding and positive person to work with. He clearly understands the role of the Foundation and how the grateful patient experience can lead to support.

Dr. Gene Kallsen           
Department of Clinical Specialties, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Kallsen started his career as a resident physician at Valley Medical Center (formerly University Medical Center, now Community Health Center-Cedar) in 1977 and soon after became part of the faculty and served as president of the medical staff. Today, as the chief of emergency medicine at Community Regional for the UCSF Fresno residency program, Dr. Kallsen’s leadership is recognized nationwide.

He’s been on Community’s board of trustees since 2005, helping facilitate additional funding opportunities with corporate prospects and individuals.

Dr. Michael Weilert      
Medical Director, Community Clinical/Pathology Laboratories

Dr. Weilert served as president of Community Medical Centers’ medical staff in 2001 and 2002. He instituted the medical staff credentials committee and has been chair from 2005 to present.  He is devoted to making sure the credentialing process is comprehensive as it gets presented to the medical executive committee for consideration.

As a member of the medical executive committee of Community’s medical staff, he has played key role in the accreditation process with The Joint Commission, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the regulatory accreditation survey process. Dr. Weilert is a member of Pathology Associates and has served as the director of Community’s pathology and clinical laboratory system since 1996. Dr. Weilert and his group of physicians have been leaders in physician giving. He led efforts to raise additional gifts during the planning and construction phase of Community’s new clinical laboratory.

Other nominees included:

  • Dr. Michael Alch, emergency medicine, department of clinical specialties at Clovis Community
  • Dr. Vassi Gardikas, general surgeon at Clovis Community
  • Jill Kienow, registered nurse, manager, Clovis Family Birthing Center
  • Lynn Bennink, registered nurse, director of the trauma program at Community Regional
  • Julie Cleeland, director of business development and marketing at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital
  • David Myers, assistant director of food service at Community Regional
  • David Bonnar, manager of application development for corporate information systems

The panel who chose this year’s winners consisted of Melissa Der Manouel, Foundation chair; Dottie Rohlfing, Foundation emeritus; Dr. Daniel Bluestone; Diane Pajouh, Weber BMW and Michelle Van Valkenburg, Community’s director of communications.

“This is our first year and we encourage people to gear up for next year’s nominations,” Saroyan said. “We are blessed with exceptional people at Community and the Foundation is proud to support their passion for care.”

To learn more about becoming a member of the Alliance or for information on employee giving, please call Kathleen Goble at 559-459-3951 or click here to visit the Foundation’s Web site.

This story was reported by Rebecca Wass. She can be reached at rwass@communitymedical.org.