CSUMB Hosts Community Dialogues Forum on Health Care

October 16, 2017

"Obamacare: Mend it or end it?"

SEASIDE, Calif., October 16, 2017 -- More than 250 community members attended the forum led by CSUMB President Eduardo M. Ochoa on Monday, Oct. 16 at CSUMB. The panel was followed by facilitated group discussions where individual tables were encouraged to engage in open dialogue about the topic of health care.

I look forward to hearing from local patients and providers during this Community Dialogue.
— Congressman Panetta

It was the first of three Community Dialogues. The second will take place in Salinas next February on immigration. The next will be in South Monterey County on education.

"The goal of our Community Dialogues is to bring together people with different perspectives, promote understanding and build consensus. The issue of health care impacts all of us and we at CSUMB expect these events will be both interesting and constructive,” said CSUMB President Eduardo M. Ochoa.



  • CSUMB President Eduardo M. Ochoa
  • Pete Delgado, CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
  • Dr. Gary Gray, CEO of Natividad Medical Center
  • Dr. Steven J. Packer, President and CEO of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
  • Stephanie Sonnenshine, Deputy CEO of Central Calif. Alliance for Health
  • Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)


The highlight of the evening was the role our own Master of Social Works students played in being facilitators at each table.

They were previously trained for the event by our Dean of the College of Health Sciences & Human Services, Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis. Each table had two facilitators, one to moderate and another to capture ideas and thoughts on a nearby easel. Each community member had a name card in front of them as well.

The issue of health care impacts all of us.
— CSUMB President Eduardo M. Ochoa.

Many of the MSW students looked upon the opportunity as not just another day at school but as way to build their professional experience and we looking forward to adding this event to their resumes. Their interaction with the community had the additional benefit of highlighting one of our many academic programs at the university.

Closing Statements

The evening ended with the panelists addressing several key questions brought up by the dialogues. Congressman Panetta closed the evening with his response to the night's accomplishments.

"As Congress works to address our nation’s health care challenges, input from key stakeholders to find responsible and effective solutions to improve our health care system are critical,” said Congressman Panetta. “I look forward to hearing from local patients and providers during this Community Dialogue.”

The Community Dialogues are made possible by a generous contribution from Bud and Rebecca Colligan and are in keeping with CSUMB’s role as a community resource, providing forums for provocative discussions that can impact thought and action on issues important to our community.