Heroes & Hearts
The Heroes & Hearts Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional and inspirational behavior to another individual or the community as a whole. We are pleased to announce the six recipients of the 2009 award are:
Ed Marquez has been teaching math at George Washington High School in San Francisco for the past 16 years. Over the years Marquez noticed that many of the minority athletes were not taking four years of math; they were doing the bare minimum to "get by" academically and prioritizing their dream of playing professional sports over pragmatic academic achievement. Wanting to correct this trend, Marquez created and implemented the Athletes in Math Succeed (AIMS) program. He selected a group of at-risk male minority student athletes who would be instructed by him for the duration of high school. One of the goals of AIMS is to develop a productive disposition towards math. A second goal is to teach the student athletes social responsibility and the value of giving back to the community. In 2007, the junior class of AIMS took Advanced Algebra marking the highest number of African Americans, Latinos and Pacific Islanders ever to take the course in the 82 years of George Washington's existence.
After 24 years of service the public as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Dolph Shapiro was forced into retirement because of his own health. With the need to feel productive, Dr. Shapiro began volunteering as a math and reading comprehension tutor to third graders at Sandpiper Elementary School . After six years of volunteering at Sandpiper, Dr. Shapiro began volunteering at the Kipp School in the Bayview-Hunters Point District in San Francisco . Most recently, Dr. Shapiro has taken a volunteer position at a school on Treasure Island sponsored by the Delancey Street Foundation where he teaches ethics courses to former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom. Through his volunteerism and compassion, Dr. Shapiro has found ways to connect to those who have made mistakes in their lives and help them back onto the right path.
In 2001 Dr. Ilana Strubel, DVM started Veterinary Street Outreach Services (VetSOS), a volunteer-based project providing free veterinary care for the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans. Services are provided by volunteer veterinarians and veterinary technicians through the use of a specially equipped mobile outreach van. VetSOS provides free veterinary exams, basic veterinary procedures, vaccinations, referrals & transportation for free spay/neuter surgery and dispenses information about service animals in rental housing and responsible pet ownership. Many of the homeless San Franciscans served by VetSOS have been patients at San Francisco General Hospital at one time or another. In addition to her work at VetSOS, Dr. Strubel also holds an extensive history of community service. She served as president of the Board of Directors of Pets Are Wonderful Supports (P.A.W.S.) and was also a founding director on the Board of Rocket Dog Rescue.
At nearly 84 years old, Marlis Tanner has been serving the San Francisco community by providing a warm heart, a gentle touch, a beautiful smile and a clean fresh haircut to thousands of patients at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) for nearly 50 years. Volunteer Services at SFGH receives anywhere from 8 - 20 calls a week asking for Ms. Tanner to wash and cut patients' hair in the hospital. For many of these patients, Ms. Tanner is the only visitor they will see who is not there to treat them medically. Over the past 50 years, Ms. Tanner has given over 20,000 hours of her time to SFGH and has tended to over 10,000 patients. She also has the proud distinction of being SFGH's longest standing volunteer in the history of the hospital.
The Tenderloin, home to more than 3,500 children, was the only San Francisco neighborhood without its own public school. Many of these children rose before the sun to catch buses to nearly 50 schools within San Francisco County. Because many of these students did not speak English, they had trouble in school and were unable to participate in after-school activities. Midge Wilson, Executive Director of the Bay Area Women's and Children's Center, saw this void and, in 1998, created the Tenderloin Community School. Located in a state-of-the-art building, the school houses a preschool, an after-school program, a Family Resource Center, a community center, a garden, a kitchen and a medical, dental and counseling center to serve the needs of the students and their families.
In 2005, Hal Yee, Jr., MD, PhD, Rice Memorial Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at San Francisco General Hospital led the creation and implementation of an electronic system for managing referrals to Gastroenterology (GI) Clinic, which has become known as eReferral. Before this system was developed, the demand for appointments to GI Clinic greatly outstripped clinic capacity resulting in unacceptable wait times. Too often, the obsolete and inefficient analog referral process led to premature and inappropriate referrals, the potentially serious health consequences for patients. eReferral reduced wait times for GI Clinic dramatically and markedly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of clinic visits. In addition, more new patients were seen in the clinic, fewer follow up appointments were needed, and the no-show rates for new patients went down. eReferral has since spread to nearly all specialty clinics at SFGH, as well as radiology, and has been recognized by awards from the California Association of Public Hospitals, Kaiser Permanente and the California Health Care Safety Net Institute. eReferral has become a model for improving access to specialty care in safety net health care systems around the state and across the country.