Published on March 28, 2022

Montage Health and Montage Health Foundation honor area doctors for Doctors’ Day

Contact: Monica Sciuto (831) 622-2756
Communication and Marketing: (831) 625-4505

MONTEREY, Calif. — This National Doctors’ Day, March 30, Montage Health and Montage Health Foundation will honor Monterey County doctors for the great service they provide to our community. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored just how critical doctors are when it comes to protecting community health. Yet there is a growing shortage of doctors nationwide. Monterey County also faces additional obstacles to recruiting new doctors, including increased competition for their services and the high cost of living and educational debt. According to a 2020 study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the nation could be short by as many as 55,200 primary care doctors and 86,700 specialists by 2023. In a recent American Medical Association study, 1 in 5 doctors plan to leave the workforce in the next two years.

To address this community health need, Montage Health has invested in doctor recruitment efforts for the area. The effort has paid off. “We have been able to recruit more than 50 doctors to our area since 2016,” says Dr. Mark Carvalho, chief executive officer, Montage Medical Group. “With the high cost of living and housing, along with a high proportion of doctors that are over the age of 60, we must continue to do everything we can to entice more physicians to our area.” In addition to recruitment efforts, Montage Health and Montage Health Foundation help to grow the next generation of healthcare workers, who will work alongside doctors, through funding support for the Physician Assistant master’s program at California State University Monterey Bay and the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing at Monterey Peninsula College.

To assist with retaining valued doctors in the area, Montage Health Foundation developed the physician engagement program three years ago. The program oversees a variety of initiatives for local physicians affiliated with Montage Health to support their personal well-being, professional development, educational growth, connection to the local community, and more. The program continues to grow, thanks to philanthropic contributions from the community to Montage Health Foundation, including a $5 million gift from local philanthropist, Sally Lucas, in 2021 to form the Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence.

Today, the physician engagement program offers:

  • Professional development and continuing education opportunities, including grants, scholarships, and conferences, to grow local doctors’ expertise and advance healthcare initiatives that benefit our community
  • Well-being resources to support local doctors’ emotional, mental, and overall well-being, including free counseling services and special COVID-19 support
  • Social events that help build a sense of community and camaraderie among staff
  • A home loan program to help new Montage Health doctors’ plan for the future and continue serving patients in Monterey County long-term
  • Clinical volunteer opportunities to apply their skills and give back to our local community and beyond, including charitable clinical programs internationally 

This year, Montage Health moved from an annual day-long celebration of National Doctors’ Day into a month-long celebration. For the entire month of March, Montage Health and Montage Health Foundation, are offering a series of wellness opportunities for more than 400 doctors affiliated with Montage Health including meditation sessions, chairs massages, mindfulness workshops, family-friendly outdoor activities, care packages, and social events to connect with colleagues — as well as other forms of gratitude and recognition. “We hope these wellness activities help our doctors recharge and de-stress, as well as provide an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. They have continued to take great care of our community, and now it is our turn to take care of them” says Montage Health President and CEO, Dr. Steven Packer.

This month, Montage Health Foundation also awarded grants for its’ Physician Scholars Program, where doctors can apply for grants to advance projects they believe are vital to support the health of the community. Local Drs. Zhang and Luba, were each awarded grants to attend a Cancer Genetics conference at the University of Chicago this April, where they will learn about the latest advancements in cancer genetics research — information they intend to apply in their roles leading the new innovative cancer genetics screening program at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. This new program is designed to more effectively identify, screen, and treat patients with hereditary cancers.

Since 2019, Montage Health Foundation’s physician grants program has awarded 39 grants totaling over $523,000, supporting physician projects that advance local healthcare and strengthen community health, as well as support humanitarian efforts around the world. “The physician engagement program provides multiple layers of support to our physician community,” says Dr. Guru Khalsa, Medical Chief of Staff, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. “Montage Health and Montage Health Foundation have demonstrated through this program that they care about our wellness and value our commitment to care for this wonderful community. This creates a special environment where physicians want to build a career and home.”