Amy is the CEO of the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County in California


Amy Towner is one of the Exceptional Women Awardees and also is a Mentor Liaison for other EWAs. Amy is the CEO of the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County in California. Amy is one of our EWA Heroes. She is working from home as much as possible. However, she serves on the Ventura Hospital Incident Command Team. In the last few weeks she has organized hundreds of women sewing masks for doctors; assembled a 3D printer organization producing shields for Health Care Workers protection. She has assisted in converting 12 rooms in the hospital for Doctors who are COVID exposed so that they do not go home to their own families. She is collecting baby monitors so nurses can watch and communicate with isolated patients. She is also collecting donations and securing PPE for the whole health care system. She has leveraged the World Central Kitchen (the organization that fed those passengers on cruise ships that tested positive) to feed over 1,000 healthcare workers daily. She assembled the National Charity League via doctors' spouses collecting snacks and drinks for doctors. She is still in need of 50 iPads for isolated patients so they can FaceTime with loved ones and have mental stimulation  while in isolation, for mental health. Asked Elon Musk for 40 ventilators - no word yet. Working with United Airlines for first class airline snacks. Her day starts at 5 am, ends at 11 pm, 7 days a week. We are so proud of Amy Towner! She is just one of our incredible EWA's and one of our Women Heroes!


UPDATE (4/7/2020)


Our EWA Amy Towner continues to do amazing things in her community supported by EWA Melinda Yee Franklin of United Airlines and many more in her community. Here is an Update of major milestones from Amy for just the past week or so: Sewing Brigade started 3/23/20 and is well over 600 people and they have made 4,000 masks to date that we have counted but there are possibly more that have been given directly to nurses people know. More will be needed for hospital laundry turn around time and in case they need to be changed. We also have people near and far (Colorado, Orange County, Utah and New Yorkers are sewing masks and FedEx-ing them to Ventura). Also, local women, men, college kids, high school kids, 4H kids and ladies groups are all at the sewing machine.  Many elderly are sewing.  Those in the family that are not sewing are actually driving materials and especially for our elderly who need drop offs and pick ups. The Sewing Brigade realizes that bullets were protecting our country in WW2 and sewing stitches for masks are protecting our country in 2020. Today, Whole Person Care requested 300 for our homeless population and we were able to deliver sewn masks within 30 minutes to that vulnerable population that does not have as much access to hygiene swiftly because of our community support of sewing masks.  Gown Brigade just started and we have 60 people to assemble. Alternative PPE gowns from 55 gallon trash bags. Sourcing bags from vendors has been challenging so we turned to Ventura County Office of Education and their school districts, Community College Districts, State Colleges (CSUCI and Cal Lutheran) and state/county/city parks for any trash bags they could lend to the cause. Thousands of gowns will be cut, ironed, prepared, folded and distributed in the face of not having available authentic PPE isolation gowns.  Local Oxnard resident, Jason Collis of World Central Kitchen (WCK) has filled a huge vulnerability.  Hospital has a lean dietary staff and our first priority is feeding patients.  When factoring in surge of COVID patients in addition to normal census and feeding staff, it was deemed a vulnerability/threat that dietary may not have the staff for both.  Jason engaged global leader World Central Kitchen (which fed the COVID positive cruise liner in Long Beach), he learned of our challenges at county public hospitals and asked how they could help.  I shared that if we could get just one meal a day at lunch that would be HUGE for our staff.  I also shared that our community really wants to help, but it would be challenging for a restaurant or caterer to consistently produce 1,400 boxed lunch meals a day made with hospital infection control practices observing strict guideline in handling for the safety of staff. WCK made that happen!  They quickly pivoted, engaged local restaurants and caterers and trained them with strict protocols for food preparation with regard to COVID. This has been a beautiful circle effect.  Healthcare taking care of community, WCK engaging local economy so they can keep people employed and vendors/suppliers active which in turn keeps community healthy when they are working and providing for their families. Food is a nurturing way for our community to say with their craft, we appreciate you healthcare workers and value you. WCK is generously donating these meals and will likely be a $500,000 value. Ventura County is the beta site for WCK and this new offering of Frontline service for hospitals. Ventura County Medical Center will be shown all around the world to other hospitals of how this model can be implemented in their region. Thank you Jason Collis for your forward thinking progressive approach and willingness to face a big challenge with such holistic goodness.  Another best practice shared from University of Washington was baby monitors with video.  We will have overflow isolation rooms and they need to be monitored.  Good old fashioned baby monitors with video will be used so doctors, nurses and patients can stay in contact.  This has already been deployed at Santa Paula Hospital and doctors, nurse and staff say its ingenious.  When the COVID event has subsided, these donated baby monitors will be sterilized and given to low income moms who would not otherwise be able to afford a baby monitor.  Temporal infrared thermometers were absolutely unavailable to purchase and we sent out a plea to the public.  Many community members were able to assist and our faith based community came through strong.  Jim Sheldon and Ventura Missionary Church alongside Mission Church was able to ascertain authentic PPE and thermometers. Extremely grateful especially at our drive through clinics who have been the most efficient and effective through put for COVID drive through.  VUSD and Fillmore USD lent their SS cafeteria carts to our hospitals (VCMC& SPH) for our PUI (patient under investigation) rooms.  These products could not be sourced.  12 vintage patient rooms in VCMC Bldg 305 and the former Orthopedic Clinic were completely transformed and furnished to doctor/nurse/staff rooms on VCMC campus by Roxanne Packham and installed by her husband and grown son and daughter alongside Judy Samsky all of Camarillo.  This happened within 4 days. Roxanne swung into action using her skills gifts and connections.  Her husband accompanied this generous donation with 2,000 surgical masks from his local dental practice.  Roxanne also has a whole Sewing Brigade in Camarillo that sews for this effort. This idea came from a best practice shared by University of Washington.  Our hospital leadership and doctors are in regular contact with leaders from other organizations that are ahead of our county with COVID.  They are finding out best practices, what worked, what hasn't worked, and what they wish they would have done or how to do it better.  This was a key takeaway.  Especially because a lot of our staff have elderly parents watching their kids at home while they can be on the frontline.  We realized we would still need more sleep spaces for specialized doctors or services like respiratory and leadership asked for 25 recreational vehicles for VCMC and 5 for Santa Paula Hospital.  Kirby Auto Group to the rescue.  Texted Jeff Sukay early morning and he immediately texted back with a call mobilizing his thin team to make this happen. Heidi Whitcomb and husband Mike (retired county employee of 35 years) who own Ventura Rentals have been a stellar team with generators, NSF refrigerators for VCMC & SPH  Dietary, extended VCMC Emergency Department awning for the rain and social distancing of patients in front of the hospital. She also drop shipped 12 dorm style refrigerators to our dock from the Whitcomb family for the dorm rooms the Packham's furnished and decorated.  Face Shields, Alex Wulff and StemBassadors cranked out over 1,000 face shields that were prototyped with lean in from our Emergency and Trauma physician team.  These were produced by high school students and others from all around the region.  Extremely impressive to see the quality and collaboration.  I was picking up shields one night and a 15 year old girl has been working around the clock alongside her parents driving her for drop offs to Mr. Wulffs house gently smiled when I shared that these masks will save lives and what a tremendous difference she makes. Those moments are when we realize that our youth will forever be changed as a result of this pandemic.  Family Justice Center is prepping 6 rooms behind the center that will ultimately be used for women and children of sex trafficked victims.  These are quickly being transformed for doctors/nurses/staff to be steps away from the hospital and ultimately used for FJC. Again, Heidi and Mike Whitcomb are leaning in on these efforts as it is one of their personal philanthropic passions. This was a win/win!  Another unexpected gift from this pandemic has been customers that frequent their favorite restaurant want to keep them in business,  The customers buy a gift certificate for a healthcare worker, sign their name to it with a message of appreciation and hope on the back.  These are given to healthcare workers.  Sometimes they share them with family who are carrying the load with kids home and no work while mom or dad are at the hospital working long hours.  Several restaurants have done with such as Natures Grill in Ventura, Ventura Sandwich Company, and Danny's Deli in Ventura.  This circle effect has been another way to keep the health and vitality of our community going and for us all to feel connected.   We have a few other groups looking to create a washable gown that can be hospital laundry cleaned and we are seeing what we can produce with those special groups.  We are still attempting to purchase authentic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and have a fund for that through HCFVC.  We also have a fund for purchasing snacks.  I am a part of an amazing group of Women Leaders called The Exceptional Women Awardees (EWA) Foundation, and United Airlines, and fellow EWA Melinda Yee Franklin, Managing Director of United Airlines and Chair of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, sent first class snacks to our campus and will be used for quick nourishment for odd hours and on the go.  Some major gift donors are aligned with VCMC & SPH to get key equipment purchased that will hopefully aid in fighting this disease pending availability.  People from all over the nation have heard about the people of Ventura County, California and our collective grassroots efforts to protect their healthcare heroes.  New York Times, and local papers.  A woman from Chicago called today saying she is hearing all over the news about our community and what they are doing, loved our county public hospital's professionalism and practical approach in the face of not having basic needs and donated immediately to HCFVC for any immediate dire need based upon how creative and resourceful our county is.  We are working on getting donations for some portable showers for all the staff staying on campus currently. There are several other grassroots projects that are in the works!  So stay tuned!!!  Overall, the top notch care and proactive collaborative planning happening in the Incident Command Meetings held daily have been awe inspiring and an absolute pleasure to serve!!! Must close for now.  This was cathartic to take this moment to recap the past few days.... and let it out. #VenturaStrong Thank you for your service to our community.

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