The Health Trust Board of Trustees adds three new members

On September 26, 2018, The Health Trust Board of Trustees unanimously approved the addition of Greg Henderson, Director of Leasing & Development, Samaritan Medical Center; Ujjal Kohli, Operating Partner with Periscope Equity; and Rita Nguyen, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF.

Please join us in welcoming Greg Henderson, Ujjal Kohli, and Rita Nguyen to The Health Trust.

About Greg Henderson
Greg Henderson is passionate about improving the healthcare experience through innovative medical office design and development. Greg joined Samaritan Medical Center (SMC) in 2012 as the Director of Leasing and Development. SMC focuses on partnering with world leaders in healthcare to create spaces for modern healthcare delivery. Their latest development brought an integrated cancer center to San Jose, leased by Stanford Health Care.

Greg previously served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for TPC Stonebrae, a PGA Tour managed property. Greg earned his Bachelor of Business in Management and Minor in Biblical Studies from Biola University. Born in Illinois and raised in Northern California, Greg loves spending time with his family, going on a run, golfing and fostering dogs.

About Ujjal Kohli
Ujjal has over 30 years of experience in engineering, executive management, entrepreneurship, strategy consulting, venture capital and private equity. He is currently an Operating Partner with Periscope Equity.

Previously, Ujjal led three start-ups as CEO. Before this entrepreneurial phase, Ujjal served as EVP Marketing and National Sales for AirTouch Cellular. Early in his career, Ujjal was a consultant with McKinsey and Company in London, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. Ujjal started his career at Intel, first in Engineering and subsequently in Marketing.

Ujjal has also been an investor, advisor and board member to multiple companies including several IPOs and successful M&A exits.

He holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT-New Delhi, MSEE from University of Rochester and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

About Rita Nguyen
Dr. Rita Nguyen is a Bay Area native whose interests are founded on a desire to unite the humanitarian promise of medicine with the pursuit of social justice. Her public service work has been primarily community-based and focused on addressing inequities faced by underserved communities. In terms of addressing healthcare access, Dr. Nguyen helped found Pacific Free Clinic, a Stanford-affiliated, student-run free clinic on the east side of San Jose. Her work has also encompassed physician advocacy and health policy. As a Doctors for America State Director, she led physician advocates in the greater Boston area to champion reforms that would create a better healthcare system for all, especially the most vulnerable segments of society.

Rita’s clinical interests lie in transition in care, food environments, and physician advocacy. She spearheaded several projects that emphasize the importance of food and health, including creating Food Pharmacies where patients can fill prescriptions for healthy diets written by their providers and a transitional meal program that partners with Project Open Hand to deliver medically tailored meals to patients discharged from the hospital with heart failure. As an Assistant Health Officer and Chronic Disease Physician Specialist for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, she supports chronic disease and cancer prevention efforts for the City and County of San Francisco.

The Health Trust makes a Health Partnership Grant totaling $70,000

For Immediate Release: September 28, 2018
The Health Trust Contact: Maria Garcia, or (408) 513-8729

San Jose, CA – On September 26, 2018, The Health Trust Board of Trustees approved one Health Partnership Grant totaling $70,000 to build health equity in Silicon Valley.

Breakdown of Grant

Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits
According to the Food for Everyone report, there are approximately 29,755 low-income seniors in San Jose, many of whom depend greatly on community-based organizations and government-funded programs to meet their food access needs. Building on their momentum and strong track record in advocating for critical funding in support of food access for seniors at the County and City-level, over the next 12 months and through a $70,000 grant, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN) seeks to partner with the City of San Jose to provide critical backbone support for the soon to be established Food Access Task Force. Additionally, SVCN will provide capacity building support to Senior Nutrition Program (SNP) providers that are regarded as a critical lifeline for our most vulnerable older adults.

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About The Health Trust
The Health Trust is an operating foundation founded in 1996. Our mission is to build health equity in Silicon Valley. We believe everyone should be afforded the opportunity to be healthy – especially the most vulnerable. To that end, we provide direct services, fund community-based organizations whose work aligns with our mission, and advocate for policies and initiatives that help advance our mission. For more information, visit

Health Trust endorses and supports Measure V to the tune of $25,000

In late August, the City of San Jose announced that their $450 million housing bond – Measure V – will be placed on the ballot this November. 

Today, we enthusiastically announce that we are endorsing and supporting Measure V to the tune of $25,000!

The Measure will expand access to truly affordable housing for our working families, teachers, students and veterans in San Jose, while transitioning our homeless residents from our streets and underpasses into homes.

Current endorsers include:

  • Mayor Sam Liccardo
  • Most San Jose City Councilmembers
  • League of Women Voters
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Sierra Club
  • The Health Trust
  • Destination:Home
  • Silicon Valley @ Home
  • ….and many more affordable housing organizations

You can show your support by attending the Yes on V kick-off event on Monday, September 24th at Olinder Community Center (848 E. William Street in San Jose) from 12-1pm. You will hear from members our community speaking up for affordable housing solutions and learn how you can help ensure Measure V passes on the November ballot. Please RSVP to

NY Times: If Food Is Medicine, These Are the Labs

By: Lisa Prevost | August 27, 2018

BOSTON — The “food as medicine” philosophy has a simple goal: to control or cure chronic illness by changing what people eat. As the movement gains greater visibility, community meal programs are seeking bigger kitchens to meet demand.

Community Servings is a case in point. Its mission to nourish the sick in the greater Boston began 28 years ago during the AIDS epidemic, when volunteers set up meal deliveries for people suffering from the weight loss called wasting syndrome.

Today, the nonprofit organization has 60 employees and thousands of volunteers who help cook and deliver meals tailored to the dietary needs of clients managing various life-threatening conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. And Community Servings is poised to nearly triple its meal production with a $21 million expansion of its headquarters in Jamaica Plain, a Boston neighborhood.

When completed next year, the 31,000-square-foot “food campus” will house a kitchen large enough to prepare as many as 1.5 million meals a year, healthful entrees that these days include quinoa burgers, turkey tender Parmesan and sweet potato lentil soup. The facility will also include a learning kitchen for job training, classrooms for nutrition education and a policy center focused on teaching other groups how to replicate the organization’s model.

Continue reading the article.

Health Trust joins 300 grantmaking executives to call for removal of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census Survey

In August, Chief Executive Officer of The Health Trust, Michele Lew, joined 300 grantmaking executives from across the country by signing onto a letter urging the  Department of Commerce to withdraw the citizenship question from the 2020 Census questionnaire because it will significantly undermine efforts to achieve a fair and accurate census in 2020.

You can read the letter here.

Silicon Valley Business Journal: The Health Trust’s CEO makes connections over coffee breaks

By: Danny King | August 2, 2018

After serving as CEO of Asian Americans for Community Involvement for 11 years and a shorter stint as local government and community-relations director at Stanford Health CareMichele Lew capitalized on an opportunity to meld her interests in community service and public wellness by becoming CEO of nonprofit The Health Trust in January.

The direct-service provider and funder of local community organizations employs about 130 people.

Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


We asked Michele Lew to break down a typical work day for us.

Why did you join The Health Trust? I felt committed to helping our most vulnerable population to be as healthy as possible, particularly given what’s happening at the federal level. I’m seeing immigrants who are terrified of getting the government healthcare services they need so badly.

Continue reading the article.

California Health Report: Can Chef-Made Meals Serve as Medicine? State’s Low-Income Insurance Aims to Find Out

By: Ron Shinkman | July 26, 2018

On a recent morning northeast of downtown Los Angeles, Nick Cuccia turned his Volkswagen down a small alley. Cuccia, a retired editorial staffer for the Los Angeles Times, parked and unloaded a box from the trunk.

Inside was a week’s worth of chef-made meals for Jorge Marroquin, a 64-year-old retired factory worker who is in frail health. Marroquin is one of a handful of patients participating in a new state initiative that aims to keep low-income patients with congestive heart failure out of the hospital. Called “Food is Medicine,” the Los Angeles pilot program is operated by the local nonprofit Project Angel Food.

Headquartered in Hollywood, Project Angel Food received a $150,000 grant from the Medi-Cal health plan L.A. Care for startup purposes and will receive up to another $250,000 annually from the state to prepare meals for the program, according to Richard Ayoub, its executive director.

The three-year pilot project is being funded by the state of California to the tune of $6 million, with the intent of finding whether what is known as a “medically-tailored diet” can keep those with chronic illnesses out of the hospital.

In California, the overall hospital readmission rate for all patients was 14.5 percent in 2016. But among the Medi-Cal population, it’s 15.7 percent, according to data from the California Health and Human Services data portal. By comparison, the readmission rate for those with private insurance is 10.4 percent. Even before Medi-Cal coverage was dramatically expanded under the Affordable Care Act, readmissions were costing the program $10 billion a year.

Nationwide, 20 percent of patients with congestive heart failure are readmitted after a hospital discharge within 30 days, and half within six months.

The pilot project will focus on patients with congestive heart failure and is expected to serve about 1,000 Medi-Cal enrollees in all, whose hospital readmissions will be closely monitored. Aside from Project Angel Food, other pilot project participants include Project Open Hand in the Bay Area, the Ceres Community Project and Food For Thought in counties north of San Francisco, The Health Trust in Santa Clara County and Mama’s Kitchen in San Diego County.

Continue reading the article.

Mercury News: California’s push to make people healthy — and save taxpayers money

By: David Gorn, CALMatters | July 9, 2018

Diana Dooley may have led the largest agency in California’s government as secretary of health and human services for the past eight years, a job that led to her current post as Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief of staff — but she’s also a country gal from Hanford, in the Central Valley.

So despite the complexity of running an agency with an annual budget of $144 billion, horse sense told her what was basically wrong with the American health care system:

“One of the biggest problems in health care,” Dooley said in an interview last week, “is we pay for treatment of illness but we don’t pay for the advancement of health.”

That idea is at the heart of the state’s effort over the past two decades to revamp its system for delivering health care to the neediest. The strategy has included a shift to managed care, meshing mental health services with physical care and creating programs specifically to coordinate an array of services so patients don’t have to hunt them down one at a time.

More recently, the state has launched several pilot projects designed to make people healthier overall rather than just treat the pain or discomfort of chronic illness. Taxpayers foot the bill for the care of about a third of all Californians through Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program for the poor, spending tens of billions of dollars annually on treatment of chronic conditions.

A five-year, $1.5 billion Whole Person Care initiative, begun in 2016, aims to heal heavy users of medical services and save the state money by keeping them out of expensive emergency rooms and hospitals.

And a pilot program was created last year to use food as medicine — to try to reverse chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure — in projects across seven counties. Officially launched last month, it’s modeled on a project in Philadelphia that showed a roughly one-third reduction in patient costs.

These two state efforts include:

Continue reading the article.