Bits 'n' Pieces

New Health Center

On Monday, Feb. 12, MemorialCare Medical Group hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new health center in Lakewood. Recognizing the increased demand for health care services in the area, MemorialCare Medical Group Lakewood expands access to care for those in the Lakewood community, providing pediatrics, family medicine and internal medicine to residents of Lakewood.

The highly anticipated ceremony included MemorialCare executives Dr. David Kim, chief executive officer, MemorialCare Medical Foundation; and Yair Katz, chief executive, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.

“This newest primary care location in Lakewood expands the access that local families have to outstanding health care right in their backyard,” said Mayor Pe. “This new primary care facility ensures patients will have timely access to diagnosis and treatments. I am excited about this development and the services it adds to our community.”

Guests were able to explore the facility through guided tours led by MemorialCare Lakewood team members. The Lakewood health center has 16 exam rooms, a lab for efficient blood draws and a shared procedure room, beautifully designed to support comprehensive primary care services.

The health center will accept most insurance plans including Medi-Cal – offering expanded access to one of the most vulnerable populations: children. Patients who visit this center also have access to MemorialCare’s Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital and Long Beach Medical Center, located within a 15-minute drive, should the need arise for pediatric or specialty care, bringing comprehensive care to the Lakewood community.

The MemorialCare Medical Group Lakewood location is open and began seeing patients the morning of Monday, Feb. 12. The health center is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patients can make appointments by calling (877) 696-3622 or by visiting

Arlene Vernon Named Chief of Staff at SMMC

Arlene Vernon, MD, is the newly elected Chief of Staff at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center, and is the first female to hold the position in the hospital’s history. During her two-year term from January 2024 to December 2025, Dr. Vernon will be responsible for enforcing the medical staff bylaws, rules and regulations, and will represent the Medical Staff on the Hospital’s Community Board.

Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Vernon earned her medical degree from The George Washington University in Washington D.C., and her residency in Emergency Medicine from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

She has served as an attending emergency physician at St. Mary Medical Center since 1989, and brings over 30 years of experience to her role as chief of staff. Her previous roles at St. Mary Medical Center include vice chief of staff, chair of the Medical Executive Committee, chair of the Emergency Medicine Department, and chair of the Bylaws Committee. She is also an assistant medical director for Vituity, which manages St. Mary Medical Center’s Emergency Department, and is a clinical champion for the hospital’s Emergency Department, Comprehensive Stroke Center and STEMI Receiving Center.

With a passion for mentoring and teaching, Dr. Vernon has served as a clinical instructor and attending emergency physician at Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar and at UCLA Medical Center in both Westwood and Torrance. She was also a simulation instructor at Providence Little Company of Mary San Pedro where she performed scenario writing and debriefing for the emergency department and clinical teams.

Highly respected by her peers, Dr. Vernon is the physician of choice for other doctors, nurses and ancillary staff. She’s passionate about patient care for all patients and is a tireless champion of underserved patient communities with HIV, Hepatitis C and Opioid Use Disorder.

As a dedicated community advocate, Dr. Vernon was a founding member of the City of Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce and has served as a Girl Scout leader, Boy Scout leader, assistant scout master, and Red Cross blood drive organizer.

Sawday Named LBBA Attorney of the Year

TLD Law announced that Jennifer Sawday, a partner at the firm, has been honored as the Attorney of the Year by the Long Beach Bar Association (LBBA) for her exceptional contributions to the legal community and her unwavering commitment to the areas of trusts and estates.

The LBBA will formally recognize Sawday at their Annual Installation Dinner on March 7, at the Long Beach Yacht Club. This accolade is a testament to her profound impact in the field, especially noted for her dedication and enthusiasm in trusts and estates.

Sawday’s legal career, spanning over two decades, showcases her remarkable expertise in guiding clients through probate and trust administration. Her dedication extends beyond her professional achievements, embodying a personal commitment to prevent the challenges and conflicts that arise from inadequate estate planning.

Renowned for her engaging public speaking, Sawday has inspired many to take active steps towards effective estate planning and trust creation. Her approachable demeanor and clear presentations demystify the complexities of estate planning, making it accessible to a broader audience.

In her roles, including her tenure as president of the Women Lawyers of Long Beach and the Estate Planning and Trust Council of Long Beach, Sawday has significantly contributed to the legal community, fostering growth, professionalism, and unity.

Her achievements include being named a SuperLawyer and Rising Star by SuperLawyers magazine, receiving a perfect 10.0 “Superb” rating from AVVO, and earning the title of Best Wills and Trusts Attorney by the local Long Beach community. She is also AV rated preeminent by Martindale Hubbell.

TLD Law celebrates Sawday’s accomplishments and her leadership, diversity, and inclusion efforts within the firm, which reflect our core values of integrity and compassion in legal service.

We invite the community to join us in congratulating  Sawday on her well-deserved recognition and to continue supporting her efforts to positively impact the lives of those we serve.

Wagner Appointed Animal Care Services Manager

Melanie Wagner has been appointed bureau manager for Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS), under the City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM). She brings to the role extensive experience and knowledge about animal care and the LBACS Compassion Saves model and has over 20 years of professional experience. Wagner began her role as bureau manager on Jan. 31, 2024.

“Congratulations to Melanie on being named manager of Long Beach Animal Care Services. Great things have happened at LBACS under her leadership of the Bureau in recent months to support the health and wellbeing of shelter animals, and greater things are in store in the years ahead,” said Brent Dennis, director of Parks Recreation and Marine and Animal Care Services.

Wagner joined LBACS in May 2023 as superintendent and has served as acting bureau manager since the June 2023, following the resignation of former Bureau Manager Staycee Dains. After a thorough recruitment and selection process, Wagner was identified as the best candidate to fulfill the responsibilities of this role.

As bureau manager, Wagner will oversee a staff of 50 and lead the bureau that provides animal care services for Long Beach, as well as the Cities of Los Alamitos, Signal Hill and Cerritos. LBACS’s Compassion Saves operating model supports people and animals through outreach, education, guidance and support services.

LBACS protects shelter animals by creating an environment of care through enrichment and innovative programs such as low-cost pet clinics, adoption events and fostering programs.

In addition to her extensive career in animal welfare, Wagner also has a lifetime of experience working with animals. As a child and young adult, her family worked professionally to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. She earned her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University while also serving as the education director for spcaLA for 10 years.

In 2015 she began working as the executive director at Kitty Bungalow in Los Angeles where she turned the agency into one of the most reliable and reputable cat organizations in LA County. In addition, Wagner is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.


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