VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA
Message from CEO, Desiree Zapinsky, RN
Fiscal Year 2024 is here, and we are moving at breakneck speed! For starters, we are upgrading to the latest software in the Medical and Philanthropy departments, maximizing resources through the latest technology and processes. On the staffing front, we are pleased to welcome Paula Diaz, Volunteer Coordinator and Vilma Gonzalez Guzman, Behavioral Health Coordinator to VMSN staff.
We saw four of our staff graduate under the mentorship of SBIHS Director, Lariza Soto, LMSW. Learn more about Lariza in the Employee Spotlight below. And finally, we are thrilled to be able to offer our diabetes patients blood pressure monitors, paid for by the Giving Machine funds raised last holiday season, and classes on how to use them.
Thanks to our partners including the Cashman Family Foundation and Tony and Renee Marlon Charitable Foundation for their latest gifts, we continue to serve our community’s most vulnerable population with much needed programs and services.
Originally from Mexico City, Roberto and his wife, Rosalia, had gone without healthcare for over sixteen years. They have three daughters, two of whom were born at UMC Hospital right here in Las Vegas. Because they are undocumented, they had no medical coverage. It took Roberto over six years to pay off the hospital bill.
Since being introduced to VMSN four years ago by a friend who is also a patient, he and Rosalia, have been diagnosed with and treated for hypertension, asthma, infection, ulcer, prediabetes, and a host of dental issues. Roberto says “I appreciate all the staff that works here. Everyone has treated us with care and respect. I appreciate eligibility, medical, dental, social services, just everyone has been so nice. I learned so much about how to take care of myself, and what activities and habits can keep me to stay healthy.”
DIABETES CLASS WITH BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR GIVE-AWAYS*
Nicole Cabrera-Heiring, APRN, leads bi-monthly diabetes education classes on how to use a blood pressure monitor to manage diabetes. With passion, knowledge, and humor, she taught a room full of patients eager to learn all about health management.
Nicole received many questions from eager patients who were excited to take control of their diabetes. They were especially grateful to learn about the long-term effects of diabetes and how incorporating good habits now can make a significant difference in diabetes management.
*The blood pressure monitors were purchased with funding raised through the Giving Machine.
SBHIS Director L. Soto, Brittany, Maria, CEO D. Zapinsky, Karla, Alondra, Eligibility Coordinator S. Hall
As the director of Social Behavioral Health Intervention Services, I have had the opportunity to guide, mentor and teach students in a social work-related field. Karla and Alondra were students at UNLV when they did their practicum hours at VMSN in 2021.
They are both now staff members. Alondra is the Diabetes Case Manager and has helped establish a partnership with an optometrist so our patients can receive a free eye exam. Karla is the Social Services Coordinator and has helped patients in a variety of ways from guiding them on court procedures to helping them find childcare services. Now that Alondra and Karla have a master’s degree, they will be able to do support groups for our patients.
Maria joined us as a staff member in the eligibility department after her internship in 2022. She has been accepted to the Clinical Mental Health counseling program at UNLV and will be starting this fall. Britney is currently taking a break and looking into the master’s program for Psychology at NSC. It’s been an honor having these young ladies under my wing and watching them grow and expand their horizons.
SBIHS Director, Lariza Soto, LMSW
Lariza Soto, LMSW
A non-profit health clinic serving the underprivileged population is often a place where emotions run high. In such times, Ms. Soto’s compassion goes into high gear, and she’s able to rapidly de-escalate tense situations. She becomes an anchor; calm, self-assured, and wise beyond her years. It is our good fortune that she’s chosen VMSN through which to share her gifts. Let’s take this opportunity to get to know her!
VMSN: Why did you choose to work at VMSN?
LS: I selected VMSN as my first professional job because I knew of the special population that is receiving help from VMSN and it hits close to home. My passion is helping the Latinx community especially those that don’t have a voice. As an adult and professional I am now the voice that my community needs, and I enjoy being part of the journey in people’s lives as they learn new coping mechanisms and improve their overall wellbeing.
VMSN: Is there a particular patient story or memory that you would like to share?
LS: I remember being a student at VMSN in 2017 and loving the people that worked here. I never imagined I would work at VMSN and share my knowledge and experience with students.
VMSN: What do you like to do to decompress from work?
LS: I try and do small things like drink water, eat, take breaks, breathe, keep up with hygiene and adequate sleep. Whenever possible I plan a trip every 3 months so that I can enjoy life without thinking about work. My baby niece always brings me joy and I love spending time with her.
VMSN: What books or TV shows are you currently enjoying?
LS: Currently I am watching season 3 of Bridgerton.
VMSN: What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
LS: People would be surprised to know that I am a safe and cautious driver despite the red sports car that I drive.
CONNECTING WITH THE COMMUNITY
VMSN celebrated volunteers and staff with their families at Sunset Park during Volunteer Week, sharing fun and relaxing moments together.
Bonding as a community while playing a thrilling game of Giant Jenga or cooing at babies together was a VMSN highlight for our valuable members who run the daily operations of VMSN. Thank you again!
Judy Robinson, center, with the Eligibility Department.
This quarter’s Volunteer Spotlight is on Judy Robinson, or Miss Judy, as she is affectionately known. In her eleventh year as a VMSN volunteer, she is a mainstay in the Eligibility Department. About VMSN, she says she “is truly humbled and blessed to be part of such an amazing organization.” A self-described “cowboy in disguise”, she’s most comfortable on a horse! She first learned about VMSN through attending the annual ball in 2012 where she helped with the auction. Staff describe her as compassionate, having the biggest of hearts, and always willing to lend a hand.
When asked about a memorable moment at VMSN, she shares an experience of helping a patient with gender dysphoria get the therapy and social services help needed to navigate out of a deep depression. Since then, the patient fully transitioned, and she’s just so happy VMSN was able to help that person out of suffering. Her hopes and dreams for VMSN? She’d love to see a satellite clinic in Henderson where she feels there is also a great need for a free clinic. From all of us at VMSN, thank you for your service, Miss Judy!
To learn about how you can volunteer at VMSN, please click here. We would love to have you!
NEWS AND EVENTS
Due to increased demand and patient population, a Pharmacy expansion is in the works. Currently, we are limited to filling about 100 prescriptions each day. The expansion would allow for an additional window, more storage, and increased space for students and interns.
At the same time, we would be helping train new pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in our community. If you are interested in supporting this endeavor, please reach out to Lacey Frantz at email@example.com, Philanthropy Coordinator to discuss a personalized giving plan or other ways to contribute.
Join VMSN for our Back to School Drive this August 1st – 3rd! School supplies are crucial to quality education and working with our Social and Behavioral team to help our patients is one of the easier ways for our volunteers and donors to participate! We will collect NEW, unused school items from Preschool – 12th grade for our patients and their families. The VMSN Back to School Drive will be coordinated by our Social Behavioral and Intervention Services team.
For more information, please contact Lacey Frantz, Philanthropy Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to donate to further our cause of providing quality health care within a culture of compassionate caring, please consider a donation here.
If you are considering a major gift and would like to tour the clinic or speak with a Philanthropy representative, please feel free to reach out to Lacey Frantz, Philanthropy Coordinator,
at 702-800-7886, or email email@example.com.
Thank you for your generosity!
Tony & Renee Marlon