SLVRMC received the ASC Grizzly Club Corporate Partner of the Year Award


Article by Chris Day

"We are good neighbors in our community” says Kathy Rogers, San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center Director of Development. The concrete actions behind that sentiment have earned the hospital Adams State's 2009 Grizzly Club Corporate Partner of the Year Award.

Rogers and SLVRMC CEO Russ Johnson will accept the award on behalf of their organization at the Adams State College Foundation's Donor Recognition Dinner, Nov. 6.

"What an honor," Rogers said. "The college and its athletic department have grown immensely. All of the things going on at the college are good for the whole community. The college is an unimaginable benefit to this community. It's incredibly important that we partner with the college."

The SLVRMC provides hands-on assistance to the ASC Athletic Department, as well as equipment and budget assistance. As a Grizzly Club corporate partner since the late 1990s, when Johnson and Rogers came aboard, the SLVRMC provides athletic scholarships and several invaluable in-kind services.

"Through providing professional and accessible medical services to our student-athletes, donating medical supplies to our athletic training room, providing ambulance service and scholarships, the SLV Regional Medical Center has always been of tremendous help," ASC Athletic Director Larry Mortensen added.

Some examples include complimentary ambulance service at ASC football games and the recent donation of a Biodex rehabilitation and testing machine -- a great addition to the new Grizzly athletic training room in the newly-renovated Plachy Hall.

ASC head athletic trainer, Clay Wilson, said, "They help us a ton." With 500-plus student-athletes, injuries are bound to happen. ASC's partnership with the hospital allows Wilson and his staff to get Grizzly athletes back to practice or competition - safely - as soon as physically possible.

"Taking care of injuries would easily be ten times slower if they weren't here. We don't have to fight to get our athletes seen quickly," Wilson said. "The (SLVRMC) staff is dedicated and interested in working with us. I'm so thankful they want to be involved." And it doesn't hurt that the hospital is right around the corner from Plachy Hall and athletics fields.

"Our orthopedic surgeon and therapy staff love working with the student-athletes," Rogers said, referring to Dr. Steven Kitchen and his crew. They cover home games, providing an extra level of security to Wilson and the ASC coaches.

Wilson also noted that ASC student-athletes regularly use the SLVRMC's physical therapy department for rehabilitation. Physical therapist Simon Gutierrez comes over every week to personally assist the Grizzly student-athletes.

Beyond the athletic realm, SLVRMC is an instrumental partner in ASC's relatively young nursing program.

In fact, Johnson identified the program development process, in collaboration ASC President David Svaldi, other college leaders, and Valley Wide Health Systems CEO Marguerite Salazar, as his most memorable accomplishment in partnership with Adams State.

The SLVRMC, a non-profit hospital in Alamosa for 82 years, has grown in parallel to the college, which was founded in 1921. The hospital is the area's biggest employer, with 530 staff members in Alamosa and another 70 at their partner facility, Conejos County Hospital. Many of those staff members are taking classes or pursuing degrees at ASC, Rogers noted.

Adams State has also grown significantly. This fall semester set an all-time record for enrollment, which can be partially attributed to the college's new sports programs and new facilities.

"As a corporate sponsor, ASC Athletics does a great job in advertising and promoting all of the corporate partners. All of that contributes to the win-win program that we both share."