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STAR Award for 5-STAR Patient Care Spans Generations

STAR Award for 5-STAR Patient Care Spans Generations

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

September 6, 2022 – A clinical assistant in the emergency department at Salinas Valley Health delivered exceptional care to a family so consistently, over so many years, that it earned Jose Santos Herrera Jr. the latest STAR Award. Santos followed in his mother’s footsteps working at the medical center by joining Salinas Valley Health in 2008.

The patient family who nominated Santos for the prestigious STAR honor noted that during a recent visit to the ER, the care he provided their daughter was just as outstanding as the reassurance he provided many times during a difficult pregnancy more than four years ago. Santos didn’t recognize the family however they distinctly remember him.

The mother shared her many experiences involving Santos with Emergency Department director Carla Spencer, telling Carla they brought their 4 ½ year old daughter to the emergency room vomiting and with a temperature of 102.5° The mother recounted “We were scared I was silently crying. Santos went to my daughter first and assured her she would be okay and then she turned and looked at us and said "you hear that mama, papa I will be fine" and that's all it took for my husband, my daughter and myself to once again find our strength.”

The patient shared that it wasn’t the first time the professionalism and compassion Santos demonstrated make a profound difference during a time of medical need. She said “I had a very difficult pregnancy and had to visit the emergency room while pregnant and was even required to stay. Santos helped my husband and I so many times. Every time we had to come and if we were lucky enough to see him, Santos reassured us that we would be okay and that our baby would be fine. Every time, he really made us feel safe and secure, really knowing that he truly cared. It takes just a few moments of an employee's time to make the whole difference in a patient's world.”  

The story of the way Santos cares for patients and their families at Salinas Valley Health doesn’t surprise his mother, who joined Salinas Valley Health in 2003 and works as a nurse aide in medical surgery. Lourdes Herrera says Santos is not only a fabulous care provider, he is an amazing son.

Four other individuals were also nominated for the August STAR Award including Fidelia Calderon, Nurse Aide on Tele/5T; Rona Fajardo, Clinical Pharmacist in Pharmacy; Lidia Mendez, UA I in Mother/Baby; and Kaitlin Roe, Speech Pathologist in Speech Therapy.

Every month, Salinas Valley Health recognizes two extraordinary employees, one with a DAISY Award (for nurses) and another with a STAR Award (for all staff). STAR stands for the Salinas Valley Health values of Support, Teamwork, Accountability and Respect. Nominations can be submitted by patients, visitors and staff. Nomination forms and drop boxes are located throughout the medical center and online. To learn more about the awards visit Nurse Recognition | Salinas Valley Health or STAR Award | Monterey County Health System (

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