‘Healthcare Heroes’ honored at Alameda Health System Foundation’s ‘A Night of Hope’ Gala

There may not be any capes, super powers, or super villains with evil plots to foil, but Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery in Pleasanton was recently the site of heroes just the same.

On Saturday, May 4, two Alameda Health System doctors and one nurse were honored as Healthcare Heroes at the “A Night of Hope” Gala event hosted by the Alameda Health System Foundation. During the 29th annual event, Dr. Sophie Shabel, Dr. Michael Villania and Registered Nurse Theresa Cooper were recognized for living up to the Foundation’s mission of “Caring, Healing, Teaching and Serving All.”

Dr. Sophie Shabel received the “Outstanding Physician of the Year” award. She has been with Highland Hospital since 2004. She feels fortunate to be working with her preferred patient populations of medically underserved and immigrant communities through her full-scope Obstetrics and Gynecology practice. In 2011 she served as Division Chief of Obstetrics for five years and Interim Department Chair for two years before returning to full-time clinical medicine.  She finished medical school in her native Colorado and her residency at University of California, Davis. Dr. Shabel is currently serving a two-year term as Vice Chief of Staff for Alameda Health System.

“Outstanding Behavioral Health Caregiver of the Year” recipient Dr. Michael Villania started his career at Alameda Health System’s John George Psychiatric Pavilion in 2013 and was promoted to his current position of lead Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) physician in 2018. From his San Leandro location Dr. Villania has been an indispensable pillar in Alameda Health System’s care for patients experiencing mental health crises.  He has spearheaded several PES initiatives, including the standardization of the suicide screening process and hospital transfers. Dr. Villania attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed his residency with Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.

The “Outstanding Health Caregiver of the Year” award went to Theresa Cooper, Vice President of Patient Care Services. Based at Oakland’s Highland Hospital, she created a new triage system, oversaw the move of the Family Birthing Center into the new Acute Care Tower and earned the medical center the distinction of being a Baby-Friendly hospital. Ms. Cooper started her career with Alameda Health System in 2007 as an emergency room nurse. She eventually moved to Assistant Nurse Manager before accepting her current position earlier this year. She has an advanced degree in nursing leadership from Loyola University New Orleans.

Along with its “Healthcare Heroes” tribute, the 2019 Foundation’s Gala honored Highland Hospital’s Sexual Assault Response and Recovery Team (SARRT) program. Live and silent auctions were held with all proceeds going to further Alameda Health System’s goal of Serving All in the community.

Encourage healthcare equity throughout Alameda County. Make a donation to the Alameda Health System Foundation by visiting www.foundationahs.com.



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