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Experienced Oncology provider decides to make Mendocino Coast her home


January 28, 2021 (FORT BRAGG, CA) Adventist Health Mendocino Coast is pleased to provide a warm welcome to Anna Antonowich. She is an experienced nurse practictioner in hematology/oncology who the Adventist Health team has had the pleasure of working with at the coast for just over 15 months and has decided to the make the Mendocino Coast her home.

Initially, Anna came to the coast for a short-term commitment, to help fill a gap in the oncology department, but after spending time in the community, and as part of her team at the hospital, she has fallen in love with the area and the people.

“In the short time that I’ve spent here, I’ve formed bonds with my patients and staff, and they are ultimately the reason I’m staying. They have already been through so many changes. I have seen them have to transition care from multiple doctors and I didn’t want to see them have to do this again. I wanted to be here to support them.”

Aside from her patients and the desire to continue serving the community, Anna says she’s also grateful to serve with such a dedicated team. “Our team is committed to giving their best to our patients. We support each other. I’m proud to be part of this team and excited to continue serving with them in caring for our patients.”

When it comes to patient care, Anna takes a holistic approach. She feels caring for mind, body and spirit is very important. “I enjoy getting to know my patients. I think I can best help them if I know who they are as people and their life outside of the clinic.”

Anna studied at the California State University of Chico where she received her Bachelors of Science in nursing. She then went on to receive her Masters in Science in nursing and family nurse practitioner from the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. She has worked for multiple medical facilities including U.C. San Francisco Medical Center and City of Hope Cancer Research Center. She has even traveled to Bhutan, Nigeria and Russia to provide lectures and training to the oncology nurses there.

COVID-19 has been especially trying on the community because of the physical distancing required for safety. “This pandemic has been especially hard on our elderly patients who have lost connection to others. They have no one to touch or hug, and even having a face-to-face conversation is avoided. We are at times a patient’s only contact.”

Anna has found ways to help those struggling by continuing to hug some of her patients all while adhering to COVID guidelines. “Physical touch and emotional connection are important to healing. I have even had patients cry after we hug because they haven’t had anyone hug them in months. No one should ever feel that alone.” Anna went on to say that the oncology practice has not had a single patient test positive for COVID-19 and they continue to be careful to ensure patient safety.

“I feel very well supported here and enjoy working in a small town that has a sense of community. It takes a village to care for anyone with cancer, and we are blessed that this community embraces and takes care of each other.”

When Anna is not working at the clinic, she enjoys snow skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, hiking, photography and gardening. She also enjoys reading and has written a book on angels. She lives with her two cats, Saphira and Aly, who provide her much love and entertainment.

Anna loves seeing her patients thriving in the community and especially loves that working in a small area allows her to see patients in their homes if they are unable to come into the clinic. She is grateful to call the Mendocino Coast her new home and excited to continue caring for our community.

For patients seeking care through our hematology/oncology clinic, please have your practitioner send a referral.

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Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii as well as others across the U.S. through its Blue Zones company, a pioneer in taking a systemic and environmental approach to improving the health of entire cities and communities. Through this work, Adventist Health is leading a 21st century well-being transformation movement. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides care in hospitals, clinics, its innovative Adventist Health Hospital@Home program that provides virtual in-patient care at home, home care agencies, hospice agencies and joint-venture retirement centers in both rural and urban communities. Our compassionate and talented team of 37,000 includes associates, medical staff physicians, allied health professionals and volunteers driven in pursuit of one mission: living God's love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Together, we are transforming the American healthcare experience with an innovative, yet timeless, whole-person focus on physical, mental, spiritual and social healing to support community well-being.