Published on May 24, 2021

Physician scholars and clinical volunteers selected in Montage Health Foundation grant program


MONTEREY, Calif. — A medical-career mentoring program for low-income, first-generation college students from underrepresented groups and efforts to reduce opioid abuse are among the latest projects by local doctors to receive grants from Montage Health Foundation’s Physician Scholars and Clinical Volunteers grant program.

The program recognizes outstanding Monterey County doctors and provides grants in support of their pursuit of professional excellence and volunteer service.

Selected as physician scholars were: Dr. Reb Close, Dr. Kenneth Gjeltema, and Dr. Casey Grover. Dr. Juan Magaña was selected as a physician scholar and also received a clinical volunteer grant.

“Our Physician Scholars and Clinical Volunteers program is now in its second year and the foundation is extremely pleased to have been able to recognize outstanding members of the local medical profession and to help support the important work they do,” says Kevin Causey, vice president and chief development officer of Montage Health. “They have used their grants to increase their knowledge in areas from cancer treatment to assessing autism and to volunteer in our community and around the world. Our community is so fortunate to have them.” 

The Physician Scholars and Clinical Volunteers program was established by Montage Health Foundation as part of Montage Health’s efforts to engage, recruit, and retain excellent doctors to care for our community. Awards are made twice a year and the program is open to all independent, private practice, Montage Medical Group, or hospital-based physicians on the Monterey Peninsula. Since the program began, more than $384,000 in grants have been awarded to 24 recipients.

The most recent honorees were selected by the foundation’s grants subcommittee, led by Dr. Dan Hightower and Margi Wiest, a member of the foundation’s board, and including Dr. Lauren Farac, Dr. Guru Khalsa, Dr. Zach Koontz, Dr. Hallie Metz, Dr. Craig Stauffer, Dr. Kathryn Swanson, and Dr. Susan Swick.  

Following is information about the latest honorees and their work.

Dr. Casey Grover and Dr. Reb Close are Emergency department physicians at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and the leaders of Prescribe Safe, a nationally recognized effort to reduce opioid abuse and misuse. They were each awarded grants to become board-certified in addiction medicine, enhancing their education, training, and experience to support their work to reduce overdoses, improve access to addiction treatment, and increase drug abuse prevention.

Dr. Kenneth Gjeltema, a family practice doctor with Montage Medical Group, was awarded a grant to support training in the use of the Butterfly IQ, a handheld ultrasound device usable on the whole body. It’s about the size of an electric razor and can plug into a smartphone. Gjeltema says it could be used for in-office imaging for issues such as cysts and gall stones.

Dr. Juan Magaña,a hospitalist at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, was awarded a grant to develop a strategic plan for a year-long shadowing program at the hospital for 12 first-generation, low-income college students from underrepresented groups who are interested in careers in medicine. Magaña and his colleagues have been mentoring students, but many face significant barriers to regular participation, including lack of transportation or demands from jobs. The strategic plan will detail what additional funding and support would be needed to enable students to participate. Magaña also received a volunteer grant from the foundation to continue mentoring students while he develops the formal plan.