PHorum 2018

By Lynda Millner   |   April 5, 2018
VNHC therapeutic harpist Jeanne Martin Ph.D., president/CEO Lynda Tanner and music therapy program coordinator Stefana Dadas, MT-BC at the PHorum

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care (VNHC) will celebrate its 110th anniversary later this year. It continues to serve its communities and meet their needs when people are most vulnerable. It used to deliver firewood by horse-and-buggy and then started the first non-hospital health care service. Eventually, they developed homemaker and home health programs and provided services for our Veterans while ensuring care for the elderly and dying.

In 2014, VNHC launched a new and free community education program titled “Phorum: Perspectives in Healthcare.” It was designed to be an annual symposium featuring health care topics critical to our area. Each year, the attendance increases and this year the Lobero was filled with 500 folks. Thanks to Union Bank sponsorship, there was a wine and tapa reception, VIP and regular, plus the program itself.

This year, our community has been deeply impacted physically, emotionally, and spiritually from the tragedy of the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides. Prior to these disasters, the planned program for the 2018 PHorum was designed to focus on Music Therapy used at the end of life. Because of our current community needs, the program was changed to “Music is Medicine—Comfort & Renewal After Loss.”

There was a featured performance by Gary Malkin, a multiple Emmy, Clio, and ASCAP award winner whose work as a musician, composer, and health innovator has redefined the role music and sound can play in healthcare, education, and mindfulness programs. He is particularly known for a palliative classic “Graceful Passages”, co- produced with Michael and Doris Stillwater, which has touched nearly a million people worldwide.

As Gary says, “Music is the universal language of emotion, and music therapy offers emotional support and provides an outlet for reflection and expression of feelings, ultimately improving one’s quality of life. I know from talking to all kinds of people about the disasters that we feel like crying when we discuss it. Perhaps this music therapy will help. Gary uplifted the audience with his charismatic chatter and his singing while playing the grand piano. He’s been playing since he was a child.

Also on the program were VNHC music therapists Stefana Dadas and Jeanne Martin. Stefana played the guitar and Jeanne the harp.

Performer Gary Malkin at the PHorum “Music in Medicine” event
Randy Weise, community relations from Union Bank at the VNHC reception, vice president Penny Sharrett, and VNHC executive director Rick Keith

President/CEO Lynda Tanner and executive director Rick Keith gave special recognition to our local news media: Montecito Journal, Carpinteria Coastal View News, Edhat Santa Barbara, KEYT-KKFX-KCOY, Noozhawk, Pacific Coast Business Times, Rincon Broadcasting, Santa Barbara Independent, and Santa Barbara News-Press. The crystal awards said, “One-hundred-ten percent award for going Above & Beyond the call of duty when our community needed you most. VNHC 1908-2018.” The awards were given because the information provided helped our VNHC emergency team inform their staff volunteers and patients so they could evacuate safely.

VNHC just won a National Award for its PHorum: Perspectives in Health as the 2018 ElevatingHOME Program of the Year from Visiting Nurses Associations of America. Lynda Tanner just went back to Washington, D.C., to accept the award during the Opening Plenary Session at the VNAA National Leadership Conference.

The senior director of ElevatingHOME said it was difficult to select one individual from a pool of deserving nominees. “At VNHC, we are especially honored to win this award because PHorum, like any great program, ‘takes a village’ to present successfully,” Tanner commented. “This award represents the dedication of staff and volunteers, and healthcare professionals who share their expertise to better educate our community about the complexities of healthcare reform. The nuances of end-of-care and now the power of music therapy.”

Today, VNHC has approximately 500 dedicated employees and volunteers who provide care to more than 12,000 patients and families. Each year, the VNHC Foundation provides more than $2 million in various charitable programs. If you would like to help support VNHC, contact the foundation at (805) 690-6290 or visit their website at


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