SVMH Foundation’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program has raised over $15 million to support local health and wellness initiatives in the tri-county area since 1989. The Foundation recently pledged $900,000 to the Pediatric Wellness Program. (Contributed Photo)

SALINAS — Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation has pledged nearly $1 million in financial support to double down in the fight against pediatric diabetes.

Announced Dec. 6, the SVMH Foundation Board of Governors approved a monetary commitment of $900,000 to the Pediatric Wellness Program, operated by Community Health Innovations in partnership with Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and Montage Health.

“The vision of Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation is accessible healthcare for our diverse community, and this program exemplifies what we are trying to do,” said Jeff Wardwell, CEO of the SVMH Foundation. “Thanks to generous donations made to our Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Program, the Board of Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation has committed $900,000 to support children’s health through diabetes prevention.”

The $900,000 pledge coincides with the conclusion of Diabetes Awareness Month and underscores the reality that pediatric diabetes is a year-round concern.

Community Health Innovations launched the comprehensive Pediatric Wellness Program in 2019, responding to a critical gap in health services for local children. According to the SVMH Foundation, “Youth diabetes prevention services are not covered under many health plans, yet pediatric diabetes and obesity are increasingly common health concerns for children across Monterey County.”

This investment in pediatric health and wellness means the ability for hundreds of pediatricians and family practitioners to refer thousands of local children into this comprehensive program. With no cost to the patient’s family, the Pediatric Wellness Program provides group and individual health coaching in both English and Spanish (with video and telephonic options available), a family-based approach to wellness and regular followup to help ensure that families stay on track.

“Children and families need health education and support to live healthier lives, and these new lifestyle choices can make a lifelong impact,” said Monica Tovar, board chair of the SVMH Foundation.

Since inception, this program has reached more than 2,500 families, partnering with over 20 referring providers from Monterey, Seaside, Marina, Salinas, Greenfield and Gonzales.

The curriculum for the Pediatric Wellness Program includes the “5, 2, 1, 0” method, which teaches families to aim for 5 or more fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks daily. Families are taught about portion control, critical beverage choices and physical activity.

Since 1989, the SVMH Foundation’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program has raised over $15 million to support local health and wellness initiatives in the tri-county area. 

Corporate partners, foundations and individual donors have raised significant funds by supporting the iconic yellow and red balloon campaigns in Monterey, Santa Cruz or San Benito counties. Those donations stay local and are essential to important pediatric health needs, such as the Pediatric Wellness Program.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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