San Diego County CA— The charitable foundation formed 11 years ago by the San Diego County Medical Society has changed and shortened its name. Formerly called the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, the foundation’s new name is Champions for Health.
“The name was changed to Champions for Health to reduce confusion and misconceptions,” said Barbara Mandel, Champions for Health CEO. “Some people thought we existed in order to give money to doctors, which is incorrect. Rather, the new name was selected to reinforce the selfless contributions of doctors and many others in medicine who are involved in addressing the unmet healthcare needs of low-income and uninsured people in San Diego County. The name describes the tireless efforts of medical professionals who work to improve community health and wellness and change lives. These people really are our champions for health.”
Mandel said the rebranding also includes a new logo displaying a stethoscope. “Champions for Health is a name not only inclusive of our community partners, such as doctors and nurses, other medical staff and allied health professionals, but it will help us be more recognizable in the general community. It’s a name that highlights our health heroes and means more in the public eye.”
James T. Hay, MD, who served as the first-ever board president of the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation when it was formed in 2005, said, “Throughout the development of the organization and even more today, I reiterate that the organization was created by physicians to facilitate what we love to do most, care for patients.”
“Our goal is to create the healthiest community in the nation,” said Will Tseng, MD, president of San Diego County Medical Society and Champions for Health board member. “As the community builds on the momentum of health, not just healthcare, Champions for Health is ready to pursue its mission with passion.”
The mission statement of Champions for Health states: “To improve community health and wellness, access to care for all, and support for physicians through engaged volunteerism.”
Mandel said Champions for Health’s flagship physician volunteer program, called Project Access San Diego (PASD), will continue, along with several other existing programs.
PASD links volunteer specialist doctors with uninsured people who need healthcare services and cannot afford specialty surgeries. The volunteer doctors represent a variety of specialties, including vitroretinal surgeons, urologists, cardiologists, vascular surgeons and plastic surgeons who care for victims of accidents, abuse, war or disease. Mandel said others also providing pro bono care as supporters of PASD include more than 25 area hospitals and outpatient surgery centers and numerous imaging and laboratory centers, as well as other ancillary health service providers.
Initiated in 2008, PASD has helped more than 4,600 uninsured patients receive specialized medical care, Mandel said. She estimates donated care provided by PASD volunteers, including more than 11,600 specialty medical appointments and more than 1,100 surgeries and procedures, exceeds $10.9 million in value.
Mandel also said all other programs previously operating under the Foundation name will continue with the new Champions for Health name, including free screenings for breast cancer, colorectal cancer and high blood pressure, along with flu immunizations, a speakers bureau and scholarships for medical students and residents planning to care for the medically underserved.
“Champions for Health plays a unique role in providing a coordinated vehicle for physician engagement and volunteerism,” Mandel said. “Our organization has a solid future with plans to expand and implement new programs and services and host special events.”