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Adventist Health physician honored as California’s “Community Star”

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Dr Ayala Community Star Award[1] National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) honors health leaders each year for being a “Community Star” in the rural community they serve. This year, NOSORH is honoring Raul Ayala, MD, Ambulatory Medical Director for Adventist Health Central Valley Network, as the Community Star for California.

The NOSORH program honors individuals and organizations working in and serving rural communities and supporting rural health collaboration, communication, education or innovation. The Community Stars are featured in an online publication that is always released on Rural Health Day, which is the third Thursday of every November.

Dr. Ayala leads the clinical integration for more than 50 Adventist Health clinics that cover four counties and 2,500 square miles in California’s Central Valley.

Dr. Ayala has been our biggest advocate in assuring the rural communities we serve in the Central Valley receive the best coordinated care possible. He has been instrumental in practice transformation related to adult & child wellness screenings; and comprehensive care for diabetes, asthma, mental health and heart disease.

Delivering care is a highlight for Dr. Ayala’s work. He has tackled health disparities by implementing screenings for food insecurity, home insecurity and depression into every clinic visit. He has collaborated with local, national and international non-profit organizations to close the gaps in essential needs.

One innovative project he is working on is creating virtual care for the homeless. During this difficult time with COVID-19, virtual provider visits were expanded across all Adventist Health clinics. As a result, Dr. Ayala and team collaborated with a local non-profit organization and started providing virtual visits for homeless camps in Selma and Sanger, California.

Dr. Ayala is also dedicated to continuing medical education, where the Adventist Health in the Central Valley will welcome its second graduate medical education residency program in family medicine. This will create opportunities to train future physicians who will help fill the gap of physician shortages.

Congratulations Dr. Ayala and thank you for the many ways you continue to innovate and meet the specific needs of our rural residents!