Glendale News-Press: On the Town: Health Group Celebrates 20th Anniversary

A huge sheet cake marked the 20th anniversary of the Glendale Healthier Community Coalition. But supporters were encouraged to load up on a healthy buffet of stuffed turkey rounds before digging into the cake.

The celebration took place at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center on Thursday. Edna Karinski , chairperson of Glendale Healthier Community Coalition and News-Press columnist, welcomed some 200 supporters and introduced VIPs present including Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa and Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa.

Hospital representatives present were Glendale Adventist Senior Vice President Judy Blair, Glendale Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Jack Ivie and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Chief Executive Debbie Walsh.

The coalition was formed in 1993 as a collaboration among the three Glendale hospitals.

The Glendale Unified School District joined the coalition a year later. Glendale Unified Supt. Richard Sheehan was also present at the luncheon. Luncheon attendees support the coalition in promoting disease prevention, health education, clean environments and quality education.

Luncheon keynote speaker Bruce Nelson spoke on “An Enduring Vision of Health, 20 Years of Achievements.” Nelson is the director of community services at Glendale Adventist. He described one of the more recent coalition programs, the Care Transitions Program, as supporting patients when they are discharged from hospitals.

Later in the program, Chad Vargas offered more details, emphasizing the patient-centered mission of Care Transitions. Vargas is the associate director of Care Transitions and special projects.

Presenting the 2013 Tom Miller Awards was the focus of the annual luncheon. Miller, the luncheon’s namesake, was one of the coalition’s founders and the executive director of the Glendale Community Foundation for 16 years. His death in 2006 is memorialized with three awards.

The 2013 awardees were community volunteers Sylvia Lofftus and Sam Solakyan, the Glendale YWCA and high school seniors Kaitlin Cho and Mesrop Eqiazanyan. Cho attends Crescenta Valley High School. Eqiazanyan hails from Hoover High School. Receiving the award on behalf of the YWCA was Executive Director Michelle Roberts.

Award presenters were Miller’s wife, Susanne Miller, Patrick Campbell, president of the Character and Ethics Project, and Sharon Townsend, executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids, which was created 20 years ago out of the coalition.

Besides Karinski, Nelson and Townsend, coalition executive committee members are Sally Shaw, recording secretary, Carol Ann Burton, corresponding secretary, Janet Brooks, Lynda Burlison, Sam Engel, Marilyn Gunnell and Cassie McCarty.

A coalition workshop will be held Nov. 18.

For more information about the coalition’s programs, go to

By Ruth Sowby

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