Receive our e-newsletter:
The Valley’s Leading Resource for Health and Wellness

2019 Nominees Announced!

Photos by Lani

We are proud to present this year’s deserving nominees submitted by the community. The Desert Health Wellness Awards Executive Committee will select three finalists in each category to be announced in the May/June issue. Winners will then be announced at the grand celebration on May 22. (* Asterisk notes previous winners honored as nominees once again, but not qualified to be finalists).

To show your support, please leave a comment below and/or on our Facebook page.

2019 Nominees


Beth L. Aune, OTR/L
Desert Occupational Therapy for Kids, Inc.

“I am blessed with the opportunity to pair purpose with passion – to make a loving and positive impact on the lives of uniquely made children.”

Jim Bantley, OTR/L
Myofacial Release Therapist
Palm Springs Myofascial Release

“After 25 years of chronic pain and every therapy available, intensive myofascial release got me off medication and I became a practitioner to help others.”

Regina Basterrechea, MS, CNC
JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa

“I was born into a family that believes in being one with nature and my passion is to cultivate and share that with others.”

Valeria Batross
Fitness & Wellness Director
Sun City Shadow Hills

“Embedded in me since I was 15, wellness and fitness have taught me that with knowledge, passion and empathy, I can continue to impact other’s lives for the better.”

Dominick Cece-Sherley
Nursing Assistant
Personal Fitness Trainer, Eos Fitness

“It really means a lot to be recognized for doing what I love.”

Denise DuBarry Hay
Bikram Yoga Plus & Wildest Greens

“I’m thrilled that I can create businesses that help people be their healthiest and happiest.  It’s my small contribution to our community.”

John Feller, MD
Medical Director/Founder, Desert Medical Imaging
Co-Founder/Board Member, Desert Doctors

“My motivation as a clinical radiologist, teacher and researcher is simple; I am passionate about having a geometric impact on healthcare both locally and internationally.”

Norma Greer Fishkind
Board of Directors
ACT for MS

“I went to the gym and walked out of my wheelchair. I wanted to help others with MS and asked my Mom, Gloria Greer, to start a charity.”

Bronwyn Ison
Evolve Yoga Studio &

“As a health and wellness influencer over the years, I’m grateful to inspire and encourage others to evolve into overall wellness in mind and body.”

Kristi-Lynn Lake
Certified Fitness Trainer
In-Joy Fitness

“I believe the meaning of life is to help others and win together. I teach fitness and nutrition to support a pain free, strong, and independent lifestyle for all.”

Doug J. Morin
Executive Director
Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine

“It’s all about our patients, ultimately.  Knowing they are better because of something I had a small part in makes all the difference.”


AcQpoint Wellness Center

“Our practitioners work synergistically with compassion and positivity to restore patients’ health. Our greatest reward is their wellness.”
– Diane Sheppard, PhD, L.Ac., Founder

Cetina Raw Natural Beauty

“Beauty starts from the inside out. My purpose is to educate everyone how to use and make raw natural ingredients to feel and look beautiful.”
– Ana Cetina

Contour Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center

“From life-saving skin cancer diagnosis/treatment to face and body rejuvenation, we are passionate about curing skin diseases and helping people look and feel beautiful.”
Timothy Jochen, MD

Desert Oasis Healthcare

“As a local health care leader, we have a strong commitment to the health and wellness of our greatest assets – our employees, patients, and the community.”
– Megan Guerra & Kristi Vaughn

Fit in 42

“We wanted to create a road map for people so they have all the tools necessary to achieve their fitness goals and live their best lives.”
– Casey Washack

GRACE The Health Studio

“I feel blessed to be a part of my client’s transformations, not only in their mind, but body.  Seeing people happy and well is beyond rewarding.”
– Katie Juretich, Founder

Kinetix Health & Performance Center *

“For over 30 years we have vested our skills in providing our clients with cutting edge services and programs, giving them the opportunity to improve their quality of life.”
Mike & Susan Butler, Founders

Lifestyles Nutrition Center

“On my journey to heal myself, I found a way through Lifestyles to share my knowledge, experience and products so that my clients can heal themselves.”
Gayla Shafer, Owner

Mot’us Floatation & Wellness Center

“Improving quality and quantity of life is not just about the physical, but also the emotional, spiritual and mental balance we all need to find.”
– Louise Evans, Owner


Celeste Amaya, MD
Integrative Primary Care
Desert Meridian Wellness Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine

“I merge ancient Eastern healing with modern traditional medicine to consistently produce dramatic reversals of chronic health issues. Patients report powerful, transforming and multidimensional shifts in mind, body and spirit.”

Jeralyn Brossfield, MD*
Integrative Primary Care, XO Health

“My purpose is to use my talents and curiosity to create an environment for people to build their best health in order to lead extraordinary lives.”

William Grimm, DO
Integrative Primary Care
Pure Health Palm Springs

“I believe the integrative physician is the doctor of the future. Years ago I chose my training in osteopathic medicine for this reason. And, for the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of helping patients heal themselves through my evolving holistic approach.”

Steven Gundry, MD*
International Heart and Lung Institute/Center for Restorative Medicine/ GUNDRYMD™

“I continue to work seven days a week seeing patients because every day I learn something from them that helps me help others.”

Lisa Lindley, MD
Gynocologist, Women’s Health, Obesity Medicine
Eisenhower Women’s Health

“In 2013, I started Lunch & Lose, a free weekly nutrition and education program with the goal of giving people power to change their life and health.”

Tina Louise Moreno, RCP, RRT
Reiki Master, Ordained Minister
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Coordinator
Desert Regional Medical Center

“After the death of my sister, Gail, at age 28 from severe asthma, I dedicated my life to helping others breathe easier.”

Nicole Marie Ortiz, NMD
Naturopathic Doctor
True You Medical

“I am driven each day to learn, share, inspire, and journey with my patients to help them experience life’s blessings to the fullest.”

Diane Sheppard, PhD, LAc
Acupuncturist and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
AcQpoint Wellness Center

“My greatest gift is seeing clients walk in feeling distressed or in pain and walk out with a glean in their eye and free of pain.”

Christina Vu, MD
Internal Medicine Resident
Desert Regional Medical Center

“It’s important to have a sense of self-care and well-being. As health care providers, maintaining wellness is vital to providing optimal patient care.”


Alzheimers Coachella Valley

“Our mission is to provide education, support, respite care, and advocacy for those in the Coachella Valley living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.” – Dom Calvano, Board President

Desert Regional Medical Center NICU Volunteer Cuddler Program

“Working and busy parents take great comfort in the fact that if they can’t be at the hospital during daytime hours, “Cuddlers” are there to provide that human touch so desperately needed by all babies.” Gary Levin, program developer

Chabad of Rancho Mirage

“Rabbi Shimon and Chaya Posner of Chabad of Rancho Mirage recognize the infinite potential in each person and help them to achieve that every single day.”


Andres Castaneda
Cathedral City High School

Created a suicide prevention campaign at school and for the community.

“In this conservative Latino community, it is forbidden for people to talk about how you truly feel. When I’m done, I hope they yell it.”

Desert Oasis Healthcare Interns (12 Seniors)
Cathedral City High School

Creating an awareness campaign on the dangers of E-cigarettes for local middle and high school students.

“Our mission is to improve the health education of the next generation.” – HEAL Senior Gustavo Serrano

Jessar Corona, Yuvia Hernandez, Zenia Hernandez
Cathedral City High School

Created a mental health and suicide prevention education campaign for middle and high school students.

“We strive to de-stigmatize mental health one student at a time through the power of awareness, self-empowerment, and the promotion of healthy habits.”

Secilia M. Valenzuela
Indio High School

HANS Academy student and health advocate for her school and community.

“Changing my diet and lifestyle helped me to be more energetic and the best I can be. I want to help others to do the same.”


39 Responses to “2019 Nominees Announced!”

  1. Jimmy T.H. Pham says:

    Dr. Christina Vu has gotten my vote for this year. I am a founder of a non-profit organization and had the opportunity to work with her when I conducted a medical mission in South America, where I met her for the first time. She is an extraordinary person who has sacrificed so much time and effort in providing care for the underserved. I learned later through my colleagues that she founded different committees, organizations, and clubs with a focus on providing healing, mental support, and emotional outlet for providers and patients. Her works have spread far beyond her organizations and clubs, as many of those who worked with her have carried on her ideas to create a similar environment for their patients and those who work with them. She is an outstanding example of an individual whose passion is to promote wellness in her patients, colleagues, and anyone who has worked with her.

    • Lauren Del Sarto says:

      Wonderful! Thank you for your feedback and support, Jimmy!

      With sincere appreciation ~

      Lauren Del Sarto

  2. thea rabb says:

    Cetina raw beauty is on the cutting edge of cosmetic and bath products. She’s finally providing the public with safe, healthy luxurious products that nourish us while making us beautiful.

    • Lauren Del Sarto says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Thea! More nominees to come and your input is appreciated.

      Lauren Del Sarto

  3. Brittany Boyd says:

    Cetina Raw Beauty is an amazing place with caring and passionate people. Ana is dedicated to the complete beauty of everyone she encounters. I have watched her grow from a tiny rented chair in a hair salon to this amazing empire she has built. It warms my heart to see her nomination for this amazing accolade. She puts her heart and soul into every thing and person she touches. She has my vote, and always will.

  4. Leesann Shefa says:

    Valeria Batross is a shining star of integrity and enthusiasm! I am honored to be a part of her team at Shadow Hills Community. Valeria has an unwavering commitment to heath and wellness at all levels. It is wonderful to see her nomination here!

  5. Heidi Rose Gerner says:

    Valeria Batross is a bona-fide asset to the Coachella valley. Her expertise, enthusiasm and professionalism are unparalleled. She gives something personal and special to every client/person that she meets. Her drive to improve her knowledge and credentials makes her exceptional. I have known her over 10 years, and I don’t know anyone more dedicated to her craft. Kudos to you Valeria for a well-deserved nomination !

  6. Salli Rychlik says:

    I have know Valeria Batross close to 15 yrs. she has worked hard to be where she is and is totally dedicated to the health and well being of her clients. Always encouraging and kind. I’ve moved away but miss my training sessions with her every day.

  7. Traci Barnett Hone says:

    The health and fitness program at Sun City Shadow Hills continues to grow and flourish thanks to Valeria. Our classes are challenging and our instructors are top-notch. Valeria has raised the bar!

  8. Jessica “Panda” Alfrey says:

    Valeria Batross is such an amazing example of Wellness, what a perfect nomination for an amazing individual. For as long as I have known Valeria, she has always been helping everyone around her and in her community with her knowledge of being healthy. She has so much to offer on every level of spiritual, physical and emotional well being. Not only does she lead this life by example, but is always learning new ways to help and innovate the wellness community. I’m so proud to call her a friend , and know I can always turn to her with any questions of my own.

  9. François Gay says:

    In the 40 years I have been active in the fitness industry, i have met very few people that not only have a great knowkedge and know how to inspire others to put it into practice but also live every day themselves what they are preaching! That’ s right: Valeria does not only talk the talk but she walks the walk! They are not enough adjectives to describe her; let’ s just say that she is amazing!

  10. Becky Alfrey says:

    I cannot name a Better person for this Award than Valeria Batross. Being the epitome of Consciousness and Discipline, Valeria doesn’t just Show Us the Way to Living a Healthier and High Quality Life, She Lives it Every Day by Example. Realizing the Importance of Truth, It is her Nature to share these Lifestyle Choices with Friends and All who have the privilege of getting to know her. Integrity is Priority. Sharing her Wisdom and her Life Path, makes her the Best Candidate for this Category.

  11. Erin Smith says:

    My vote is whole-heartedly for Valeria Batross who is our Fitness Director at Sun City Shadow Hills. As one of the lucky SCSH residents, I have personally witnessed all of the positive changes Valeria has made to bring Health and Wellness to a very diverse population of seniors! Our classes now fill up with energetic, enthusiastic participants, due to Valeria’s vision and the outstanding instructors she has hired. She is a tremendous asset to our community and is a very deserving candidate for this award!

  12. Gary C Miller says:

    I too would like to put in my vote for Valeria Baltross, our Fitness Director at Sun City Shadow Hills. Every since our first contact with Valeria, as Aqua Fitness Instructor, we knew we had someone special. My wife’s and my goal was intense training and Valeria was “Sergeant Major” of Aqua Boot Camp, getting right in the pool with us and setting the pace. She is a delightful, thoughtful, supportive individual with great knowledge and experience and a desire to make every class and experience worthwhile. Thank you Valeria!

  13. Wayne D. Chandler says:

    Being new to Sun City Shadow Hill’s I was aware my wife wanted to participate in the fabulous fitness facility we had viewed prior to our purchase. I made it a point to contact Valeria Batross the fitness director.

    As the result of my contact, Valeria followed up with a text to my wife. My wife is now totally “All In” with regard to her personal fitness program at Shadow Hills.

    As we all know many of us have all the good intentions of involving ourselves in a regular physical fitness regime. “Regular” being the key word. Valeria cuts to the chase and as a result removes the hesitation so many of us have. Valeria’s knowledge and delivery makes one believe they can accomplish their dream.

  14. Colleen Fraser says:

    Tina Louise Moreno creates a welcoming environment that meets the needs of people with a wide range of abilities; her humour and love dominate a well focused program; we benefit greatly and thereby improve our well being – physically, emotionally and socially.

  15. Robyn Brooks says:

    Louise Evans at Mot’us Floatation and Wellness, she deserve to have my vote because she have incredible knowledge about health and fitness as well as spirit, mind and emotional balance. She also demonstrate that she care about each individual that come across to her place that show patience with love, understanding and do listen well. Her favorite word “MOVE”!

  16. Bonnie Milne says:

    Tina Louise Moreno has my vote. By planning events and leading Fit after Fifty, Tina Louise provides opportunities for people to meet new people and build friendships. She radiates love, reminding me and I’m sure countless others, to live our lives to the fullest!
    Bonnie Milne

  17. Maria Rodriguez says:

    For Secilia Valenzuela.
    My daughter, Secilia Valenzuela, is commited to a healthy lifestyle. She helps her little brother who has Type 1 Diabetes choose healthier meals. Even though we have taken nutrition classes when he was diagnosed, I’ve learned more from my daughter than the classes. I’ve also have made a change in making better food choices because of her. She opened our eyes to the world of nutrition and this is a start to being a healthy FAMILY.

  18. Pattie Falo says:

    Tina Louise Moreno is a great teacher and friend to all who know her. I have learned not only diaphragmatic breathing and balance but love, happiness and giving. Because Tina is an inspiration
    to everyone she is most deserving of this award. She has definitely changed my life.

  19. Cathy/Fred Nielsen says:

    Valeria Batross has done an amazing job managing the fitness program at
    Sun City Shadow Hills. She has oversees many classes to enhance the wellness of the community retirerees. She offers many educational seminars as well as
    Fitness programs on a daily basis. The instructors are all knowledgeable and encouraging. I especially appreciate the Aquatic exercise programs.
    Bravo Valeria. A true professional, hard working lady!

  20. Canice Menking says:

    Tina Louise Moreno gets my vote. I have been volunteering with Tina for 4 months now, and she is amazing to watch. She is so caring and loving for her patients and they all totally admire and love her. I really am impressed and love watching her working with them, and the social outings she plans for them, and showing them that life can continue, even when we have medical issues. She is also a neat lady to work for, I am really happy I got her department to work in.


    I appreciate Dr. Gundy’s dedication to helping others. “Always looking out for them”. His program has helped me tremendously.

  22. Rick Mauery says:

    Congratulations to Tina Louise Moreno, RCP, RRT on her well-deserved nomination. She is a respiratory therapist who approaches treatment with a holistic view of the important mind, body, and spirit connection.

    I participated in pulmonary rehab with her in 2015, and now volunteer in her program at Desert Regional Hospital. I am inspired by her constant joy and positivity which helps patients manage and improve their respiratory conditions with so much more optimism.

  23. Mika Iniguez says:

    Congratulations Tina Louise Moreno!!!

    Tina Louise has helped my family and I learn about the COPD that my mum has and how to prevent mum from having exacerbations.

    She is extremely knowledgable on all things respiratory with an excellent bedside manner, firm but very kind.

  24. Kiyoshi Ishikawa says:

    Tina Louise Moreno is helping my wife and I learn how to live a full and active life with COPD. She is always smiling with a positive outlook to keep us motivated and optimistic when sometimes we are feeling blue.
    Tina Louise definitely has our vote!

  25. Dick Stetson says:

    There will never be a more deserving winner of the Wellness Award. Tina Louise has been an inspiration to so many seniors who participate in her Fit After Fifty class. Her dedication to the welfare of of those who participate. She is strong, kind, warm and genuine in all she does. She has developed a sense of community to many. I find Tina Louise to be a person to be admired.

Comments Welcomed

It's All About Balance
of an
top categories
news by section