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Music Programing Helps Soothe the Soul for Cancer Patients at UVMC’s Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center


collage of photos from concert

UKIAH, CA – From diagnosis to treatment cancer patients are often facing a difficult time in their lives. Traditionally, treatment has only focused on treatment of the disease or the physical symptoms. But is there more that can be done? This is a question that President and Chief Executive Officer of Ukiah Valley Medical Center asked her team to think about during the planning and construction phase of the new Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center.

“I posed a challenge to our team,” shared Matthews, “to think beyond normal medical treatment and incorporate the healing arts. Take a village approach by getting the community, family, friends, and especially others who have been on this journey involved. Think of ways to incorporate professionals from the healing arts – artists, musicians, journaling coaches, and movement therapists seep into places that cannot be touched by medications and other traditional cancer treatment.”

This challenge was met head-on by Allyne Brown, director of philanthropy, Tiffany Gibson, director of volunteer services and Angle Slater, Cancer Nurse Navigator. They set up a program supported by a volunteer who has a special interest in the Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center. This gifted volunteer makes herself available to talk with patients undergoing cancer treatment and helps care for some of their basic needs such as coordinating medical appointments.

Likewise, as Matthews continued, “Allyne, along with Angle spearheaded a program that focused on providing alternative healing modalities and therapies to patients such as art and music therapy. This program is now called Focus on Healing,” concluded Matthews.

In addition, the team worked with the physical therapy and rehabilitation department to implement massage therapy. “We are working toward having a comprehensive alternative therapy program for cancer patients throughout Mendocino County regardless if they are receiving care in our system or elsewhere,” said Brown.

In October music was added to the Focus on Healing program. Patients were graced with the sounds of local musicians who are eager to give of their time and talent to help boost the spirits of patients and their families. Chris Gibson, one of the musicians who came to play on a Thursday afternoon, commented, “I like playing here. I haven’t ever played in an environment like this before and didn’t know quite know what to expect. The staff and patients are so welcoming, appreciative and accommodating. I think it was just as rewarding for me as it was for them.”

Fritz Edmons of Willits, a patient receiving treatment who happened to be there on that Thursday was really impressed by the music. “This was my third time at the Center to receive treatment,” said Edmons, as she sat in her chair reading a book while overlooking the Mayacamas mountain range and enjoying Gibson’s guitar solo. “Chris’s music really took me to another world and helped me really put things into perspective. Music is good for people. This is a really great place for Mendocino County,” concluded Edmons referring to the Center.

The Focus on Healing program also hosted a free concert at UVMC featuring the inspirational sounds of Margie Salcedo Rice, a nationally recognized vocalist and violinist who is local. The program was open to anyone in the community with cancer, regardless if they are receiving care at the Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center. Rice thought it was an honor to share her music with patients, "It was an honor and privilege to sing and play for the patients and their families. They are so inspiring. If I helped ease their pain and give them a message of hope through music, I am humbled and blessed to do so."

The Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center is located at the Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center, 260 Hospital Drive, Suite 207, in Ukiah. To find out more about the Focus on Healing program you can watch this video,, or call (707) 463-7627.

-- UVMC --

Ukiah Valley Medical Center is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,600 includes more than 20,500 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,600 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 220 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit for more information.