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Growing Health Leaders Conference

Golden Valley Health Centers Staff at Growing Health Leaders Conference

Growing Health Leaders Stephanie Hernandez

On Saturday, April 2nd the UC Merced Office of Medical Education held the Growing Health Leaders Conference, where local high school students were exposed to careers in healthcare.

Golden Valley Health Centers’ medical and behavioral health staff had the chance to speak at the conference to inspire the next generation of healthcare heroes. High School students had the opportunity to interact with GVHC staff, and other healthcare professionals, and explore different healthcare careers. Students also received helpful advice about attending college for a career in healthcare.

GVHC Medical at Growing Health Leaders Conference

One of the speakers at the Growing Health Leaders Conference was GVHC’s, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Stephanie Hernandez. Stephanie volunteered to speak at the conference alongside other practitioners from the Central Valley.

Stephanie spoke about what inspired and motivated her to be in healthcare and shared her journey from becoming a nurse to continuing her schooling to become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

Growing Health Leaders Stephanie Hernandez GVHCSpeakers at the event were able to connect with the students and answer their questions about their journey and profession. One of the students approached Stephanie for advice on what college courses she should take to start her path into nursing.

Stephanie Hernandez has been with GVHC for three years and currently works out of GVHC’s Planada Health Center. In 2021, Stephanie was named Employee of the 4th quarter.

What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?

A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specializes in the primary and specialty care of patients of all ages. In general, FNPs focus on preventive care, monitoring their long-term health, and assisting physicians with any issues that might arise. This is an extremely rewarding position, both professionally and personally, and requires a clear and compassionate communicator for all aspects of the job.

GVHC Behavioral Health at Growing Health Leaders Conference

GVHC’s Behavioral Health team had a huge presence at the Growing Health Leaders Conference, with four behavioral staff members in attendance. GVHC staff was able to share their backgrounds, educational and professional experiences, and obstacles faced to thrive in the field of behavioral health.

BH representingGVHC staff was excited to see that many high school students had a genuine interest and knowledge of the behavioral health field. The COVID-19 pandemic sparked growth and awareness of behavioral health, as there was an increase in the rate of anxiety and depression among their family and friends. Students showed signs of students having empathy for helping others, which is an important skill needed to become a behavioral health therapist/clinician.

In attendance From GVHC’s Behavioral Health team: Assistant Director of Behavioral Health Services, Heydi Herrera, and Licensed Behavioral Health Clinicians: Mirella Mendoza, Lupita Serrano, and Eva Lomeli.


Golden Valley Health Centers is a private, non-profit federally qualified health center system that has served California’s Central Valley for 50 years. GVHC provides comprehensive primary medical, dental, behavioral health, health education, and eligibility screening to a diverse population across Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties. GVHC currently has over 46 health centers and counting. GVHC’s mission is to improve the health of their patients by providing quality, primary health care services to people in the communities they serve regardless of language, financial or cultural barriers.

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Very friendly and helpful staff, Keep up the great patient care!
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