Oak Valley Community Bank announces new commercial loan officer

Rafael Martinez

Oak Valley Community Bank announced that Rafael Martinez has joined the bank as Assistant Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer. Martinez will be based out of the Turlock Office.

Martinez has 10 years of banking experience. He will focus on commercial and agricultural lending in Turlock and other adjacent cities.

“We are pleased to have Rafael join the commercial lending team,” said Gary Stephens, EVP Commercial Banking Group. “His Central Valley roots and experience working with the local business and farming community will serve him well and help expand our lending efforts in the greater Turlock area.”

Martinez received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Finance and International Business from CSU Stanislaus in Turlock. He is also a Hipereon Commercial Lending School graduate. Later this year, he will complete his final semester of the Agricultural Lending Institute program offered through the Craig School of Business at CSU Fresno. He is currently a board member for the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County, Turlock Young Professionals, and Knights of Columbus. Martinez is an avid waterfowl and upland game hunter, he enjoys the outdoors, community involvement in Stanislaus County, and watching is daughter learn and grow. Martinez resides in Patterson with his wife and daughter.

UC professor honored by alma mater

Jennifer Howell

Social psychology Professor Jenny Howell has been named a distinguished young alumna by her alma mater, Southwestern University in Texas. The awards are only given to one or two alumni annually.

After graduating from Southwestern in 2009, Jennifer Howell went on to obtain her M.S. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Florida.

As the principal investigator at the Merced Experimental Social and Health (MESH) Psychology Laboratory, Howell is conducting groundbreaking research on the intersection of social psychology and health, studying everything from how people manage bad information about their health to the narcissistic tendencies of women who go on a date with a man to receive a free meal.

“Dr. Howell is a star on her way to being a superstar in psychology,” says James A. Shepperd, R. David Thomas Endowed Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida. “She is among the best students to come through the social-psychology training program in my 27 years here, and she is doing amazing things as a research psychologist.”

Howell has published 39 peer-reviewed journal articles and five book chapters. She also serves as section editor of a journal.

University of the Pacific faculty researcher awarded $1.15 million NIH grant

Melanie Felmlee

Dr. Melanie A. Felmlee, an assistant professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry at University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, has received a four-year $1.15 million grant for research that focuses on the differences in the way males and females process GHB.

The grant is from the National Institutes of Health Support of Competitive Research Program for her project “GHB Toxicokinetics: Role of sex hormone dependent monocarboxylate transporter regulation and potential for altered overdose risk in transgender men and women.” The SCORE Research Advancement Award is co-funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“This grant provides the support to significantly enhance and accelerate the research conducted in my lab at University of the Pacific,” Felmlee said. “With this research we hope to understand why GHB toxicity is different in males and females, inclusive of all at-risk populations.”

Community Hospice announces new board member

Gino Patrizio

Community Hospice, the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice provider serving the Central Valley since 1979, is pleased to announce a new board member.

Joining the Community Hospice Board of Directors is Eugene A. “Gino” Patrizio, JD, MHA. “It is a great pleasure to welcome Mr. Gino Patrizio to our Community Hospice Board and family,” said C. DeSha McLeod, Community Hospice President/CEO. “Mr. Patrizio brings to Community Hospice years of healthcare organizational leadership experience. We look forward to working together to proactively provide quality care and compassionate support to our community.”

Patrizio is the Chief Executive Officer for Sutter’s Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. He has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry with extensive background in civil law, strategic planning, operations and financial oversight.

“Community Hospice means so much to the Central Valley. They provide comfort and care to loved ones at some of their most vulnerable moments,” said Patrizio. “It’s a very special opportunity to help support their work, which helps strengthen our overall community fabric.”

The Community Hospice Board of Directors is comprised of community volunteers who provide strategic oversight and governance to the organization’s mission to provide compassionate care, education and support to terminally ill patients and their families, regardless of ability to pay.

Stan State’s online RN-BSN program ranked No. 1 for value

Stan State’s Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was named the No 1. by Guide to Online Schools on their list of the “2020 Best Online Colleges Offering BSN Programs.” Stan State topped such colleges and universities as Indiana University-Northwest (No. 2), CSU Bakersfield (No. 7), Rutgers University (No. 12), University of Massachusetts-Boston (No. 15) and Loma Linda University (No. 22) in the top-25 rankings.

The rankings were based on best value options for online nursing degree programs, and Stan State, with annual tuition of $17, 622, showed the greatest return with an average wage of $128, 300.

“We quietly do our own thing at Stan State, and we didn’t know they were watching,” said Debbie Tavernier, director of the School of Nursing. “It’s nice to be recognized nationally for providing nurses the opportunity to advance their degree.”

The 12-month program provides students who are already registered nurses (RNs) the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree, was spawned by a desire to serve local nurses.

“We knew that nurses with their two-year degrees were looking for an opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree, and we heard they were going to very expensive, out-of-state, online, for-profit programs. We wanted to serve them locally,” Tavernier said.

The program offers such courses as nursing research, professional nursing and advanced health assessment, and unlike other online programs, includes public health training and certification, which expands a graduate’s career opportunities.

Designed to meet the needs of working registered nurses, the online program allows them to explore new perspectives by learning with other nurses. Students are able to apply real-world solutions in their current positions immediately.

The program also helps meet the increasing demand for bachelor’s prepared nurses in our region.

“What is now becoming the trend in the Central Valley — that has been the trend in Southern California, the Bay Area and pretty much the rest of the nation — is they want you to have a bachelor’s degree,” Tavernier said.