22 to watch in 2022: Petaluma’s Pedro Toledo

“If there’s been one recurring lesson over the past two years, it’s been that inequality costs lives,” Toledo said.|

For more people to watch in 2022, go here.

Name: Pedro Toledo

Title or position: Chief administrative officer for Petaluma Health Center

On the job since: 2014

Age: 43

Hometown: Alameda, but living in Petaluma for 10 years

Why Toledo is someone to watch:

Toledo, also an appointed member of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, sits at the nexus of two major themes that will carry through into 2022 and beyond in the wake of the pandemic: Healthcare and equity. As the chief administrative officer for Petaluma Health Center, Toledo has seen firsthand how the pandemic has had an uneven impact across racial and socioeconomic lines. As the son of a farmworker, he’s keenly aware of the forces at play to keep those lines intact.

“If there’s been one recurring lesson over the past two years, it’s been that inequality costs lives,” Toledo said. “It won’t go away until we all commit ourselves to widening the circles of opportunity for those who have been excluded.”

Through the Petaluma Health Center, which serves an area home to 80,000 people, Toledo is able to both expand opportunities in the health care industry, and better serve communities that have often been forgotten.

For Toledo, it’s about honoring the original mission of community health centers, most of which were established in the 1960s and 1970s as a means of lifting people out of poverty.

“The main focus back then was getting people out of poverty, creating workforce opportunities, getting them the training they might not otherwise have to succeed,” Toledo said, adding that “we know that income is tied to life expectancy.”

What others are saying about Toledo:

“Pedro has a laser focus when it comes to understanding the gap in programming provided, not just by the Petaluma Health Center but with all their community partners like Petaluma People Services Center. This focus makes us all better at what we do. South County is lucky to have his leadership.” — Elece Hempel, CEO, Petaluma People Services Center

What Toledo says about 2022:

“For the health center, I predict that we’ll continue to grow and expand … and to work towards meeting the needs of the community – both in Sonoma County and in Marin County, and trying to figure out how to do it better. We have this new mobile van we bought, we took over a practice in west Marin. We will be expanding to better meet the needs of the population.

“I also predict we’ll continue to be an employer of choice. I think a lot of the workforce is wanting to work for organizations that are committed to equity, that are committed to making a difference in the community. That’s what we do. We provide healthcare access for individuals who might not otherwise have it.

“In terms of coronavirus, we’ve certainly been successful. We’ve given 45,000 doses of vaccine so far. That’s been successful. I think we’ll continue to have success making sure communities of color, low-income populations get vaccinated, have access to the vaccination.

“When the pandemic occurred, we shifted to urgent care, making sure everyone had care that they needed. Prevention was less of a focus. That has shifted, and we’re once again moving back toward prevention-focused healthcare, doing all of the cancer screens, all of the preventive work.”

For more people to watch in 2022, go here.

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