Please scroll down the page to see written blog entries from various Aurora Charter Oak staff members. 

Video blogs can be viewed here:



Making a Difference in Someone’s Life


Steve Jennings - photoSteve Jennings - Director of Business Development

I come from a family of educators, and from the time I was a child, I wanted to grow up being able to help others.  If I didn’t end up being a professor or a teacher, then perhaps I would become a counselor or therapist.  Only by chance did I end up getting my first full-time job at a psychiatric hospital in Dana Point – that was over 30 years ago. A friend knew they were hiring and suggested I might like working with patients.  They were right! 

I spent the next six years working “on the units” with adults and adolescents: patients experiencing mental health, chemical dependency, and eating disorder crises. It was a life-altering experience, setting me on a career in healthcare.  Being able to see the positive impact I could have on another person, each and every day I went to work, was a revelation.  It’s what continues to inspire me here at Aurora Charter Oak, whether I’m interacting with a patient or family member, a referral source, or a co-worker. 

Healthcare has changed a lot since most of us started working in this field, and who knows what is coming down the road.  But what hasn’t changed for those of us working in behavioral health is the ability we have to touch someone’s life and help them through a crisis.  It can be as simple as smiling and saying hello, or asking how someone’s day is going and if there is anything we can do to help them. 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  - Leo Buscaglia 


What the Nursing Profession Means to Me

Sheila Cordova COO - Aurora Charter Oak HospitalSheila Cordova, COO

What the Nursing Professional Means to Me - Sheila Cordova


Carol's Corner

Carol Ivy has been a Community Liaison with Aurora Charter Oak Hospital since 2016. Her community outreach territory includes San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties.

Carol Ivy Community Liaison Aurora Charter Oak Hospital

Visiting Senior Parents – An “Away” Daughter’s Thoughts.

I spent my vacation, recently, visiting my senior parents.  My mother, age 93, and my father, age 94 are blessed with the ability to still live at home.  My mother suffered a stroke last year and now has a 24-hour caregiver.  My father is able to care for himself (pretty much) without the help of an aide.

I’d like to share some thoughts on the things I experienced, and what one might want to look for when visiting with senior parents.  I did a little research before going (e.g., and, so, had some idea of what to look for and what to expect.

Emotional Well-Being.  The first thing I wanted to evaluate was my parents’ emotional health.  According to my research, emotional well-being is one of the big indicators of how well aging parents are maintaining in the home.  Even though I spoke with my father almost daily, it was difficult to gauge how he was really doing without seeing him face to face.  I had to see him in person to observe how he was coping with the stresses of having a caregiver in the home.  I needed to be with my mother one-on-one to see how well she was responding to the new caregiver and to see how she looked physically.  I wanted to assess both of them for any signs of depression or unhappiness.

Fortunately, both of my parents seemed very well emotionally.  I think it is a little stressful for my father to have a caregiver in the house--cooking, rearranging the kitchen, moving clothes, etc.--but he is hanging in there and really very happy to be at home with his wife of 70 years.  My mother, who was in a nursing home for several months, is now eating well, laughing more often and just seeming to be in good spirits over all.

Changes in Mobility.  Observing how parents are moving in the home is of primary concern.  On this visit, I found that both of my parents have had changes in their mobility since I last saw them four months ago.  My mother, who has been in a wheelchair for about a year, continues to be at risk for falling and now requires help to move from the bed to the wheelchair.  My dad now keeps a cane handy--something he rarely did before--and struggles on and off with joint pain.  The physical therapist who visits weekly is a new addition to the weekly activities.  She does exercises with my mother and encourages my father to participate as well.  My father, up until last summer, played golf once a week.  He now swears that, once the weather turns from snow to sunshine, he will go right back out there again with his 91-years-young golfing buddy.

Home Environment.  On this visit, my brother and I decided that it was time to assess the house for needed repairs.  Our father, who for years was adamant about not “changing anything that doesn’t need changing” or “fixing anything that doesn’t need fixing,” had to be over-ruled.  The old kitchen floor carpet needed to be replaced and the bathroom needed new tile.   The kitchen counter had seen its last days.  With loving persuasion, we were able to convince our father to let us make arrangements for the needed repairs. 

So, my vacation was a working one but filled with joy and love.  The next visit will come much sooner than before.  Even though my brother lives close to our parents, it will take both of us to help them maintain the home environment in a way that meets up to their usual standards.  It will take both of us to have those conversations about personal hygiene, to deal with the supportive services and to maintain the “to do” lists to keep the household functioning.  I look forward to working with my brother and my parents jointly to keep them at home for as long as possible.  We are all looking forward to their 71st anniversary in September, 2018!


Are you one of those unique people who are passionate about health and wellness and have decided to make the healthcare field your career path?  It can be a daunting and challenging experience to say the least! In my work as a Community Liaison with Aurora Charter Oak Hospital, I am privileged to meet all types of people who work in the healthcare industry. This list includes therapists, owners of health-related businesses, and even patients and family members investigating a career in a health-related field. 

I recently had an opportunity to meet with Dr. James J. DeSantis, a licensed psychologist with a successful private practice in Glendora, California. I thought that some of his ideas might be very helpful to anyone trying to build a fulfilling health care business.  Jim has great ideas on how to identify, target and retain the ideal client. He offers real-world business strategies to help make you successful. 

Dr. DeSantis has written several articles and a book (The Business of Practice: Building an Optimal Private Practice for Mental Health Professionals) specifically for mental health professionals to help them develop strategic marketing plans. Below are some of the marketing guidelines by Dr. DeSantis that may be particularly useful to anyone hoping to increase their business market share: 

Jim De Santis, PhD Marketing Tips:

  • Formulating Business Goals – Private practice is a business. Clinicians are not usually taught to think about themselves as entrepreneurs, or therapy as a business. In order to be successful however, you must follow some general business practices. The most important of these is to clarify and prioritize your long-term goals. Base your goals on your core values and beliefs.
  • Inventory your unique pool of existing resources – including expertise, interests, aptitudes, and support systems. Rather than responding to the marketplace (“Here’s what I can do”), think about “What do I enjoy doing?” What am I good at?” These questions will help you to identify a niche where you can excel.
  • Design must come before Implementation – First, research the market. Identify societal macro-trends and future markets. Identify your target market and referral sources. Analyze “customer” expectations and needs and what you can deliver. What’s in demand?  If people don’t want what you have to offer or you don’t enjoy doing it – you probably need to rethink your marketing plan.
  • Implementing Strategy – Assess your competitors and market position. Articulate your unique image and message. Design promotional strategy which maximizes your personal competencies and interests. Also consider the following: Who do you enjoy working with? Who keeps coming back? Remember the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule): 20% of your customers create 80% of your revenue!
  • Maintain Persistence – Deploy a coherent business strategy consistently over time. Persistence in overcoming obstacles is a better indicator of success than any other characteristic or skill.  DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!  Actively track results, evaluate progress, and modify goals and methods until you are successful

I hope you find these marketing tools and concepts helpful. Dr. DeSantis is available for further consultation through his website:

--Carol Ivy   

Pictured above left: Jim De Santis   Pictured above right: Carol Ivy


Please Help!  My child is struggling with depression and addiction and did not come home last night!

This distressed call from a mother is just an example of one of the many calls we may receive on any given day in our Intake Department at Aurora Charter Oak Behavioral Health Care Hospital (ACOH).  Recently, as a Community Liaison Representative for the hospital, I received such a call from the family member of an individual struggling with both mental health and substance abuse concerns.  By making that important but frightening call to me, this family took the first step toward getting help for their loved one, who is now receiving compassionate, quality care and treatment at ACOH.

What do we do?  The steps below outline how we help you or your loved one if you are seeking care during a mental health and/or substance abuse crisis.

  1. When a family or an individual is in crisis, the first step is to connect them to our Intake Department for a free confidential assessment.  Our Intake Department is open ALL OF THE TIME, including weekends and holidays.  In other words, when in crisis, call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There will be a qualified mental health/substance abuse professional to walk you or your loved one through the next steps.  CALL: (800) 654-2673 to speak with a professional staff member, who will listen to and assess your immediate needs.
  2. Once the telephone assessment is completed, our staff member will inform you as to the next steps.  You may be asked to come directly to the hospital for a more thorough free evaluation.  We offer inpatient services for anyone found to be in need of crisis stabilization.  Our inpatient treatment services are available to anyone struggling with mental health concerns, chemical dependency, or a co-occurring disorder.  We offer services to adolescents (ages 13+) and adults (ages 18+). 
  3. If you are asked to come to the Hospital, come directly to Aurora Charter Oak Hospital, 1161 E. Covina Blvd., Covina, CA. We are conveniently located close to the 210 Freeway and the 10 Freeway.
  4. It may be that you or your family member would best be helped by our Residential Treatment Center, or by our Outpatient Services Department, or by referrals to other services in the community. Whatever the case, you will receive a free assessment at the hospital to determine which program will best meet your needs.  

We have helped thousands of people in crisis over the past 75 years.  It is our goal to provide compassionate, quality care.  I hope this brief outline has helped you to understand our process and to help you MAKE THE ONE CALL THAT MIGHT SAVE YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE’S LIFE!

--Carol Ivy



My name is Carol Ivy and I am one of the Community Liaisons at Aurora Charter Oak Behavioral Health Care.  I have worked at many places during my healthcare career over the past 40 years. I have been a mental health/substance abuse intake coordinator, a pharmaceutical sales representative, and an eldercare specialist. Since I joined Aurora Charter Oak Hospital in 2016, I have found it to be an amazing place, where not only patients, but the families of patients, and employees are treated with respect, caring, and compassion. I am thrilled to be part of the Charter Oak team.

As an African American woman, growing older and becoming increasingly concerned about the future of our world, how I contribute to the world has become more and more important to me. Charter Oak has offered me a unique and quite inspiring place to be of service. The issues of mental health and substance abuse affect us all – our families and our communities. I enjoy spreading the word about how Aurora Charter Oak Hospital provides help and hope to those in need.

Please feel free to contact me at or 626-488-4622 if you have any questions about our services or are looking for behavioral health education or other resources. 

-Carol Ivy