Tehachapi News

New CEO of health care district wants to hear from residents

- BY CLAUDIA ELLIOTT Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be reached by email: claudia@claudiaell­iott.net.

Peggy Mendiburu is the new chief executive officer at Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District — and she wants to hear from residents as the district continues to chart a course into the future.

The new CEO is in a unique position. She previously worked for the district as an executive assistant when it operated the old Tehachapi Valley Hospital on E Street. Then she worked in the same role for Adventist Health, which leases the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital in Capital Hills.

Following the resignatio­n of Caroline Wasielewsk­i in November, the district recruited for a new CEO and Mendiburu was hired effective Feb. 6.

With just one other employee, Business Manager Lisa Hughes, the health care district is a pretty small operation. It is governed by a five-member elected board. Board members are President Mike Nixon, Vice President Bill Steele, Treasurer Duane Moats and Directors Lydia Chaney and Carl Gehricke.

Although the district no longer operates the hospital, its mission continues to be improving the quality of life and health of residents, Mendiburu said. To that end she hopes more district residents will respond to an online Community Health Needs Assessment available online at bit. ly/3XVQ3ok.

In addition to gathering basic demographi­c informatio­n, the assessment asks participan­ts to let the district know what resources or services may be lacking or insufficie­nt in the community. It also asks about health education needs and a final important question — if you could change one thing that you believe would contribute to better health in our community, what would it be?

Individual­s may also call Mendiburu or send an email to share their thoughts or suggestion­s for the district. She can be reached by email at pmendiburu@tvhd. org. The district’s office is located at 116 W. E St., Tehachapi, and the phone number is 661-750-4848.


In addition to continuing to pay off bonds that were used to help pay for the hospital’s constructi­on, the district manages property it owns in downtown Tehachapi and is considerin­g constructi­on of a new community resource center on the E Street property where the old hospital stood until its demolition in late 2021.

But Mendiburu said that future plans will depend greatly on community input.

In addition to the ongoing community needs assessment, the district looks for opportunit­ies to partner with other organizati­ons to advance health locally.

At its meeting on Feb. 21, the board approved a community garden partnershi­p with Tehachapi Humanitari­an Relief Group that will allow that group to create a new community garden on district property downtown, Mendiburu said. The district will provide water for the garden on property just to the north of the former hospital.

Mendiburu added that the humanitari­an relief group is in need of additional volunteers and support. It hopes to have the new garden operationa­l no later than the fall. More informatio­n about the group is available online at tehachapih­umanitaria­nrelief.org or by email: madeline.ruebush12@gmail.com.

The district has also partnered with Houchin Community Blood Bank, the city of Tehachapi and Tehachapi Vineyard Church for blood drives, Mendiburu said. The next drive is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22 at the church, 502 E. Pinon St. Reserve a time to donate by signing up on the HCBB website at bit. ly/3KHd1wm.

Another upcoming community activity which the health care district will help sponsor includes National Night August on Aug. 1. Mendiburu said the event will return to Philip Marx Central Park this year.

And the district will work with Rotary of Tehachapi to assist its youth group Interact with a mental health day proposed for May.

 ?? COURTESY OF PEGGY MENDIBURU ?? Peggy Mendiburu, CEO of Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, wants to hear from district residents.
COURTESY OF PEGGY MENDIBURU Peggy Mendiburu, CEO of Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, wants to hear from district residents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States