The new year also brings a new look to the Lompoc Valley Medical Center Board of Directors. In last November’s election, voters chose three new trustees to help guide the organization.
Challengers Dr. Christopher Lumsdaine; Leslie M. Kelly and Dr. Ellie Novin-Baheran were the top three vote-getters, with incumbents
Roger McConnell, Mary Sharpe and Sharon Martinez ending their service to the board. The new members join Board Chairman Ray Down and Dr. David McAninch III.
Dr. Lumsdaine is a family practice specialist who felt running for a seat on the board was his responsibility.
“I just feel I can really help the community by being a part of this and giving feedback from the point of view of a physician who is actually using all the services that this district provides.”
He said the role suits him because he’s trained to listen to people.
“There’s a lot going on now. It’s a good time for extra guidance.”
Dr. Lumsdaine has lived in Lompoc since he was an infant and wanted to return home after medical school to work in his hometown.
After earning his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed his Family Medicine residency training at Mercy Medical Center in Merced. In 1998, he returned to Lompoc.
“Everyone in town, everyone in this district, should take a vested interest in making this the best possible hospital,” he says. “This is theirs. This is their hospital; this is their hospital district. They should want it to be the best. They shouldn’t settle for anything less.”
His main goals as a new board member are to stress professionalism, kindness, and transparency.
“I want everyone to be professional, compassionate and kind; not just to patients but to each other.”
Improving how employees think they’re being treated will ultimately lead to patients being treated well, he says. That model, he says, needs to occur at every opportunity.
“By focusing on that, you’ll excel based on quality. That’s what the patients are looking for … We’re already doing it, but there are things we can strengthen … People will choose you even if there are other providers in town, because of the quality of care you deliver.”
Leslie Kelly, RN
Leslie Kelly is making a return appearance on the LVMC Board of Directors -- she was elected and served on the board from 1998-2013.
She also has a long work history at LVMC. For 12 years, she was a registered nurse in the Critical Care Unit. She also spent 20 years as the director of Cardiac Rehabilitation.
“I decided to run for the board because of a personal belief that there should be a nurse on the board,” says Kelly, a nurse with Assisted Hospice. “A nurse’s perspective on the daily workings of a hospital, and their training to advocate for the patient makes them a natural fit.”
In her campaign, she said she hoped to “restore pride and confidence of the community in its local healthcare system; support, retain and attract talented and respected physicians and healthcare professionals in the community (and) ensure fair, honest and accountable leadership is provided to the community and staff.”
She said she looks forward to supporting the collective work of the entire board.
“I want to see a smooth transition of new leadership, and personally, I do not want to be disconnected from the community and what their needs and vision are for community healthcare,” she says.
She said she was privileged to be mentored by Dr. Barry Coughlin, a cardiologist who spent more than 40 years in local practice.
“He taught me that I could never go wrong by asking, ‘What is best for the patient?’ The changes I would like to see would come from asking that question. ‘What is best for the patient?’ With that as the foundation for change, I can see nothing but positive outcomes.”
She sees many opportunities for positive growth at LVMC.
“There are so many people who have worked tirelessly and unselfishly to get our hospital to where it is today. I hope to build on that foundation.”
Elham Novin-Baheran, MD
Dr. Elham “Ellie” Novin-Baheran says she felt compelled to run for office by a need to give back and contribute to her community.
A similar drive to help her community led her to recently seek a seat on a Lompoc Parent Teacher Association board after she noticed the PTA at her children’s school needed more support.
A mother of three boys, she said the thought of being involved with the school -- and helping to make changes for the better -- was exciting.
“I decided to step up and be civic-minded,” she explains. “I liked how that felt. You feel like you can help.”
Previously a hospitalist at LVMC, she now sees patients in that role at Marian Medical Center, while still retaining privileges at both LVMC and Marian.
Her husband, Dr. David Lemmel, is an Emergency Department physician at LVMC.
What she saw in her job ultimately was a key reason for her campaign – she started noticing patients who were driving away from the Lompoc Valley to seek medical care, and that bothered her.
“You have to feel compelled to do something like this,” she says. “It’s not a ‘want’ or ‘need.’ I felt like I had to.”
She has a perspective, she says, of what’s needed in the hospital district because of her history at a wide range of medical facilities.
“A population this size needs a hospital,” Dr. Novin said. “We need a strong community presence and I think it can be really amazing. I feel like I can offer more in this position and I can do more for my community by stepping into this role.”
Dr. Novin, who earned her medical degree at the American University of the Caribbean, Montserrat, is an avid user of social media, and using that outlet, she routinely encourages local residents to be informed and involved.