Our Visionaries: Leveling the playing field for children

In honor of Purposeful Parenting Month, we’re celebrating leaders whose contributions have been instrumental in the development of Venice Family Clinic’s children’s programs, including our pediatrics and Children First Early Head Start, which offers child development, prenatal and nutrition education to low-income families. Our children’s programs help to close the opportunity gap for underserved families and their children on both health and social levels.

These pioneers are on our list of 50 Visionaries, people who have had a positive impact on the health of our patients and our community. They continue to inspire us, and so we honor them as part of our 50th anniversary celebration.

Yasmina Vinci
Yasmina Vinci has been a tireless champion for children and families living in poverty through her work as the executive director of the National Head Start Association. She has been instrumental in shaping national and international policies that support her belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.

Donna Shalala
As the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala championed programs critical to Venice Family Clinic patients. She was instrumental in developing Early Head Start, giving infants and toddlers in low-income families greater opportunity to succeed. And despite significant public criticism, she was a strong advocate for needle exchange services, which recognized the dignity of people with substance use disorders and demonstrated compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS. 

Al Obsorne
Al Osborne is senior associate dean for external affairs at UCLA Anderson School of Management. His passion for leadership development and for applying business models and methodologies to the nonprofit world has had a meaningful impact on the trajectories of Head Start programs and community health centers nationwide.

kim belsheKim Belshe
As executive director of First 5 LA, Kim Belshe is an advocate for health access and equity, promoting policies and programs to improve the health and well-being of young children. She also played a pivotal role in implementing the Affordable Care Act in California as Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

fern seizerFern Seizer
Fern Seizer’s 10-year tenure as executive director of Venice Family Clinic was marked by tremendous growth. Under her leadership, the Clinic developed and grew programs, including Children First Early Head Start, behavioral health and homeless outreach. She established our first permanent site and created our fundraising program. 

wendy slusserWendy Slusser
Dr. Wendy Slusser built the pediatric residency program at Venice Family Clinic, making it possible for doctors to get a window into the valuable role that community health centers play in the lives of low-income pediatric patients. She has led important research on the value of a multidisciplinary approach in reducing obesity in children and the importance of good nutrition to children’s health.

Pediatrics Innovators
Drs. Charlotte Neumann, Norma Rosales, Susan Mackensen and Earl Rubell built Venice Family Clinic’s pediatrics program, providing comprehensive medical care for our youngest patients while also thoughtfully considering how to minimize the burden coming to the Clinic might have on their families. Their wisdom and knowledge in this field continues to provide and guide parents with the necessary knowledge needed to give their child the best healthy life possible.