Gerald E. Bruce Community Service Award

Dr. Charity Thoman, Deputy Health Officer at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, earned the 2013 Gerald E. Bruce Community Service Award for her contributions to the medical field and to her community.

The Ford Scholar Alumni Association noted, “Gerald Bruce was one of the founding directors of The Ford Family Foundation. He inspired others with his commitment to his community, to giving back, and to stewardship and leadership. Bruce passed away in 2002 after a battle with cancer.”

In memory of Gerald Bruce, the Foundation provides a $5,000 grant to the organization of the winners’ choice. Dr. Thoman has selected the Pacific Pride Foundation as the recipient of the award. Dr. Thoman explained, “There are many excellent non-profits I considered as beneficiaries of the award, but I chose Pacific Pride Foundation because I have seen first-hand how they truly do God’s work: they feed the hungry, treat the sick, and embrace those who have often been marginalized by society.”

Dr. Thoman began with the Public Health Department as Director of the Communicable Disease program and Deputy Health Officer in March of 2011. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from Oregon State University. She earned both a Medical Doctor and Master in Public Health and Tropical Medicine degree in 2005 from Tulane University School of Medicine.

Dr. Thoman contributes to this community in multiple ways. In addition to her position with the Public Health Department, she is a volunteer on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara County Medical Association and the Board of the Pacific Pride Foundation. Dr. Thoman is also involved with the state-level California Medical Association on legislative issues.

When asked about her work, Dr. Thoman states she “is motivated by my desire to serve the underserved and marginalized populations within our community and our state. That’s why I went into medicine, and that’s why community service is so important to me. And that’s also why I chose to work for the county.”

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