The clinic staff of the Santa Cruz Community Health Centers is comprised of caring, experienced, professionals who maintain a passion and an expertise for community health. Our medical team includes physicians, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses. Our team of Licensed Clinical Social Workers offer behavioral health services through individual counseling, brief therapies, and group visits and they work closely with primary care providers to integrate mental health services into each patient’s care plan. Acupuncture and chiropractic care rounds out our whole person orientation to care. Our front office and billing staff are trained to help you find options to help pay for your visit and enrollment specialists are available to enroll you in health insurance (Medi-Cal and Covered CA), CalFresh, and other programs. Call us at (831) 427-3500 to make an appointment and to find a practitioner to meet your needs.
Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center Providers
Dr. Bréton received her undergraduate education at UC Irvine (1979). She later received attended graduate school in Sociology (1980-1985). Dr. Bréton attended medical school at Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico (1986-1989) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC (1989-1991). She completed her residency at the UCSF affiliated residency program in Santa Rosa (1991-1994). She was hired at SCCHC in April 2005 and works at the Women’s Health Center. Dr. Bréton is bilingual in English and Spanish. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the accordion, yoga, biking, horseback riding, and various arts and crafts.
Kristina graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz in 1990 with a BA in Psychobiology. She has a long history with the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center starting as a Medical Assistant volunteer in 1989 and then working as a Services Coordinator from 1990 to 1992. Kristina graduated from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine with a Master’s degree in Chinese Medicine in 1998. After graduating, she worked as an acupuncturist in the San Fancisco jails and at the Portland Alternative Health Center, where she treated clients who were both homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Since 2003, Kristina has been working at the Women’s Health Center as an acupuncturist. She currently sees patients at both the Women’s Health Center and the East Cliff Family Health Center. Since 2008, Kristina has also been on the faculty at Five Branches University where she teaches acupuncture protocols to help the clients at Janus of Santa Cruz detox from drugs and alcohol. Kristina feels drawn to work with the underserved, low-income population and to make acupuncture accessible to all people.
Casey KirkHart, DO, Medical Director
A Long Beach native, Casey attended UC Berkeley, where he studied biology and sociology. He spent a semester abroad in Costa Rica where he perfected his Spanish and salsa skills, and met April who’d become his dance partner for life. They moved to New York for medical school, choosing a D.O. degree (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) for its openness to complementary medicine, its approach to the patient as a whole person, and its philosophy that physicians are teachers and guides to support the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Casey engaged in health care advocacy and activism in New York and Washington, DC, where he mobilized thousands of future physicians and community organizations to bring their voice on justice in health to the public and political forum. Casey continued to hone his clinical, leadership and advocacy skills during residency training at Harbor-UCLA, a large County hospital in Los Angeles. Casey has served as Associate Medical Director at Saban Community Clinic, a busy, urban family practice in Southern California.
Lorena Russo, MD
Lorena Bishcoff Russo MD received her bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Santa Barbara, her MD from Wayne State University school of medicine in Detroit, MI and completed her family medicine residency at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, CA. Dr. Russo joined SCCHC is June 2015, has been in practice for 18 years and especially enjoys women’s health, pediatrics, and chronic disease management in concert with each patient. She most recently worked for Planned Parenthood in Watsonville for 14 years and was in private practice prior to that. She is married to a high school biology teacher and has 2 daughters and many dogs and cats. She loves hiking, dancing, and reading.
Dr. Macwhorter received his BA in Biology from Bloomfield College in 1972. He received his Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1980. He was a professor at both Palmer College of Chiropractic Iowa and California for 8 years, as well as adjunct faculty at Cabrillo College. Dr. Macwhorter was the first chiropractor employed with Doctors On Duty Medical Clinics as well as being the first chiropractor certified as a provider with Santa Cruz Division of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. He was one of the founding chiropractic providers with Central Coast Alliance for Health serving Medi-Cal and Healthy Families clients of Santa Cruz and surrounding counties since 1996. He has been in private practice in Santa Cruz county for 30 years and has been with SCWHC for over 10 years. Dr. Macwhorter is bilingual in English and Spanish and is now seeing patients at both clinic locations. He is married with 2 children and enjoys water sports, reading, travel and photography.
Dr. Mutén received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Brown University in 1981. She completed her medical training at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987 and her residency in Family Medicine at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas from 1987-1990. She started at SCCHC in August 1997 and works at the Women’s Health Center. She completed the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine through the University of Arizona in 2005 and has ongoing interests in nutrition, herbal medicines and other aspects of integrative medicine. Dr. Mutén is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is married and has two daughters, two cats and a dog. She enjoys yoga, reading, travel and cooking.
Dr. Sickels earned her undergraduate degree at UCSC in 1990 and graduated from UCLA Medical School in 1996. She completed her residency at Northridge family practice in 1999 and started work at SCCHC’s Women’s Health Center in January 2002. Dr. Sickels also completed an integrative medicine fellowship through the University of Arizona (Dr. Weil) in 2005. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children, as well as running, mountain biking, surfing, kayaking and camping.
Tom received his chiropractic degree from Palmer College of West in 1984. He is a certified chiropractic sports practitioner with a diploma in chiropractic rehabilitation. Tom has been working at the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center since 2004. He is a Qualified Medical Examiner for the state of California and is the sole owner of Chiropractic clinic in Santa Cruz since 1988. Tom takes a rehabilitation and exercise approach to injuries with a focus on self-care. He is highly involved in sports and is a high school basketball referee. He coaches youth soccer, basketball and baseball. Tom also plays adult baseball and is an active exerciser. Tom has 3 boys between the ages 9 and 13.
Emily Vandenberg, NP
Emily is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She completed her MS in Nursing and her Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate at Western University of Health Sciences in 2016. Emily receiver her Bachelor of Nursing degree from CSU Stanislaus and has been a RN from 2012. Emily has an undergraduate degree in Language Studies from UCSC in 2007. She enjoys living in her hometown, Santa Cruz, near the beach and the redwoods. She spends her free time with family and friends hiking, gardening, and traveling.
Jill is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker, serving patients at the Women’s Health Center since 2014. She started her social work career locally in 1997 at the Santa Cruz Needle Exchange and AIDS Project, which has influenced her current focus on serving marginalized and underrepresented populations. Today, Jill has more than 17 years of experience working with diverse groups including children, adolescents and teens, families experiencing homelessness, the LGBTQ community, survivors of domestic violence, and people of all ages struggling with substance abuse. She approaches behavioral health from a client-centered, humanistic perspective grounded in theories and practice of mindfulness, internal family systems, harm reduction and motivational interviewing. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, exploring the great outdoors and daydreaming about starting a non-profit sanctuary for rescued animals.
Rebecca Cope is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a bilingual therapist at the Women’s Health Center since February of 2018. She graduated in 1999 from Saint Mary’s College of California where she majored in Anthropology and Spanish. Rebecca earned her masters of social work at the University of Michigan School of Social Work with a focus on sex therapy and health. Prior to the Women’s Health Center, she served as a gender specialist and sex therapist at Kaiser Permanente for 9 years. Her professional interests include transgender care, LGBT issues, sexuality, maternal/infant mental health, and fostering the interconnection between physical and mental health. She is a Monterey Bay native and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially her 8-month-old son.
Amy Votta-Fierro is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who joined the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center in September 2017. Amy graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Social Work Degree and obtained her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Much of her career has been focused on crisis intervention and trauma with children, teens, and adults in a variety of settings, most notably at the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, and, for the past 13 years, with Monterey County Children’s Behavioral Health, supporting families involved in the child welfare system. On her down time, Amy enjoys teaching fitness classes and spending time with her husband, 2 cats, and her dog.
Rosalina Valdez received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the City University of New York (CUNY) and her Master of Social Work from California State University at Monterey Bay. She has several years’ experience in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention work and is a trainer for ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), SafeTALK (Suicide Awareness for Everyone – Tell, Ask, Listen, KeepSafe), and Mental Health First Aid for Adults. Her approach is greatly influenced by Trauma Informed Care and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Motivational Interviewing. Her interests include public policy reform, mental health advocacy, and suicide prevention and awareness. When not working, Rosalina enjoys watching baseball, cartoons, reading, and spending time with her loved ones and her cats, The Captain and Dewey.
Cindy Mendoza-Lopez, MSW, PPSC
Kayla Weiss is a Social Worker who started working with Santa Cruz Community Health Centers in October of 2016. Kayla has her Masters in Social Work from Cal State East Bay as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies (with a Queer Studies minor) and Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University. Coming from a background in anti-violence work in Sonoma County, Kayla has a passion for Social Justice work and advocacy for marginalized communities. In her personal life, you may find her with The Santa Cruz Derby Girls or walking her dogs down the beach.