WESTMINSTER SUCCESS STORIES

After 12 Years, Local Michelle Levy Comes Back to Westminster Clinic as Michelle Levy, MD

“The clinic gave me the opportunity to not only delve into the world of medicine and explore my passion, but to become part of a team, which provides crucial medical care and education to the underserved in our community,” says Michelle. “ My time at the clinic allowed me a lot of hands-on experience that has put me ahead in my classes as well as in my work as a medical student and resident,” she adds. She also notes, “I have great memories of my time at clinic helping my dad and the other doctors. I hope to come back after I finish my residency and volunteer at WFC again.”.

One can see how proud Howard Levy, MD is of his daughter, Michelle, who is now a physician and third year internal medicine resident at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara. Michelle started volunteering at WFC as a high school student in 2001. Soon after, she convinced Howard to volunteer as well – which he has done for the past 14 years. As a high school student interested in medicine, Michelle appreciated how Westminster Free Clinic was the first step of many in her path to becoming a physician.

Howard says, “ It has been such a great experience volunteering at Westminster Clinic, that I have recruited other doctors and donors to help out, too. You can see the difference you make in the lives of patients and high school student interns.” Howard, an ophthalmologist at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills, screens diabetic patients for bleeding in the back of their eyes, which, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. “Just a few months ago, I identified a young man with a retinal bleed at Westminster Clinic,“ says Howard. “Finding this early will change this patient’s whole future. He will not have to lose his vision which means he can work, drive, and care for a family. It makes volunteering worth it. It feels so great.”

Michelle Levy, MD, plans to pursue a career in Oncology, another area where one can make a big difference. She says “Every day, there are new treatments and procedures for cancer and it’s exciting!” They both marvel over how big the clinic has become since the early days when they volunteered together. “It was just a small room,” Howard reminisces. “Yeah, we only saw like eight patients on a clinic night,” says Michelle, “and there were only a few student interns. Now you see over 100 patients each night and have over 80 interns in the program, and you have so many more services. The clinic has really grown,” she reflects. Michelle gave a “grand rounds” doctor talk to the current clinic high school interns in May. “It was so awesome to be back at clinic and talk to the students,” she said. Michelle and her father’s passion for service is truly inspiring!.

Vivian Linares, RDH Becomes a Much Needed Spanish Speaking Dental Hygienist

“While volunteering at WFC, I acquired skills such as responsibility, assertiveness, and how to be a team player – skills that helped shape the individual I am today” says Vivian Linares.

Vivian Linares graduated with a second Associates of Science Degree, making her a Registered Dental Hygienist, in addition to her degree as a Certified Nursing Assistant with Certifications in Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, and Dental Assisting. She is certified in soft tissue diode laser, local anesthesia and Nitrous Oxide Administration, and specializes in the prevention and treatment of oral disease and periodontal therapy. Growing up in an immigrant family, Vivian remembers cleaning houses with her parents and cooking dinner for her family, in addition to going to high school and completing her homework. On top of her many responsibilities, Vivian was also a long-term volunteer at WFC. While at WFC, she noticed the need for bilingual dental professionals to serve in low-income communities.

Vivian looks back on her experiences as a WFC “promotora” in the community outreach program as being eye-opening to the benefits of bringing medical services into communities with transportation barriers. “I can remember the numerous amounts of referrals the RN would encounter every weekend for undiagnosed high blood pressure and high glucose readings. Being a promotora is my favorite Westminster Clinic memory because every time we went out into the community we made a huge difference and saved so many lives.”

Vivian is still living in the area and helping her parents while practicing as a Dental Hygienist in SImi Valley and Oxnard. VIvian continues her passion to help people by volunteering at Simi Valley’s free dental clinic and at local “dentistry of the heart” non-profit events as a Triage Hygienist in Ventura County which provides dental care and treatment for those in need.

Westminster Community Care Center proudly serves the East Ventura County area, including Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Camarillo, and Fillmore.