Sac State Magazine is a publication produced by the Office of Advancement Communications and Stewardship at Cal State University, Sacramento highlighting alumni, students, faculty and staff.
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Quoc Vo '95 (Biological Sciences) Q uoc Vo travels light. Whether he's in a third-world village, lacking sophisticated medical equipment, or at New York's ground zero after 9/11, between his head and his hands Vo '95 (Biological Sciences) feels he has all the tools he needs to treat a multitude of medical ailments. An experienced osteopath with an extensive knowledge of anatomy, Vo works in the Spine Center at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, specializing in non-invasive treatment for pain. As a doctor of osteopathy, Vo stresses a whole-body approach in addressing his patients. "More and more research is showing there is a psycho-social connection to pain," Vo explains. "I look at not just the source of the pain, but how a person reacts to it. We do that through a long interview to get to know the patient and then suggest activities, medications or even surgery, but the crux of the treatment is See QUOC VO on page 23 care. We have a great opportunity, especially in California, to make the system better and to be a part of finding solutions to expand access and make it more user-friendly is just exciting and fun." Thomas started as Sutter's community benefits coordinator and decided to pursue a master's degree in public policy and administration at Sac State, graduating in 2006. Her father, former Sacramento city manager Bob Thomas '71, MS '78 (Recreation Administration), earned his master's at Sac State before working in local government for many years. "I fell in love with public policy and administration," Keri Thomas says. "It wasn't that I wanted to work in government, but I just thought it was so interesting because health care is so regulated, it is almost quasi-government. Most importantly, the social equity piece of the public policy degree fit my love and passion." Thomas says she appreciated the real-world experience Sac State professors brought to their classes. "The theory was important, but the practicality was even more important and Sac State had such a nice blend of the two," she says. Thomas has helped Sutter develop partnerships with numerous organizations throughout the region, including Sac State. The Sutter Volunteer Program places 100 students in positions throughout various medical fields, offering them the chance to gain experience and develop practical, hands-on skills. Sutter also sponsors Sac State scholarships in nursing, physical therapy, speech pathology and audiology and more. One of Sutter's most successful efforts in the community, the Serial Inebriate Program, was recognized nationally at the 2012 Hospital Charitable Service Awards. "The program takes people that repeatedly get picked up by the police and, instead "We make a difference in of putting them in jail, they are placed in a program to work on sobriety," Thomas people's lives and that's explains. "It decreases the number of emergency room visits, it decreases the costs pretty powerful." for public entities and most importantly, the clients are better off." Launched in 2006, it has saved Sacramento County thousands of dollars, reduced the number of homeless people chronically abusing substances and saved the Sacramento Police Department hundreds of hours. The Downtown Sacramento Partnership reports police referrals from businesses went from more than 1,100 in 2004 to less than 150 in 2010. Thomas says partnerships are crucial to the community's health. As the health care field undergoes major changes in the coming years with the Affordable Care Act taking effect, she hopes patient care will remain at the forefront. "If you cannot adapt easily to change, health care's not the field for you," she says. "Nobody knows what we're facing, but it's going to be very different over the next couple of years. You have to be nimble, but we make a difference in people's lives and that's pretty powerful." csus.edu/sacstatemagazine | Summer 2013 11