Rancho Mirage, California - City Guide
City of Health and Wellness
By June Allan Corrigan
“Health and Intellect are the two blessings of life,” wrote Greek dramatist Menander. Without a doubt if he were around today, the City of Rancho Mirage would sit squarely in his sights, because no other valley location better exemplifies this belief. A top-notch medical facility and all manner of cultural offerings set in the midst of unparalleled desert beauty and resort accommodations draw discerning individuals from around the world.
Dining establishments appealing to every appetite abound along the city’s famed Restaurant Row and at The River at Rancho Mirage. Tennis, golf, and spa enthusiasts take special delight in the wealth of options available, whether in a private country club setting or at a world-class resort, including the much anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage. Fine brush strokes are continually being added to the canvas that is Rancho Mirage, a community ever evolving and expanding — a masterpiece in which to live, work, and play.
“Rancho Mirage has always been a luxury desert enclave cherished by U.S. presidents, Hollywood celebrities, and corporate executives. Few know that Lucille Ball was twice our honorary mayor or that every president from Eisenhower through Clinton vacationed with Walter and Leonore Annenberg at their beloved Sunnylands estate,” says Mayor Scott Hines. “Today Rancho Mirage remains a well-managed, quiet oasis populated by successful professionals involved in all aspects of the valley’s business and philanthropic communities.”
In coming years, more professionals will likely call Rancho Mirage home as Eisenhower Medical Center launches its most ambitious project to date: establishing itself as a teaching hospital with the School of Graduate Medical Education. This forward-thinking move and first of its kind locally is a response to Eisenhower’s vision to change the way healthcare is delivered in the Coachella Valley and to address the insufficient numbers of primary-care physicians residing here. “Evidence has shown that as residents graduate, 68 percent tend to stay within the community where they trained,” says G. Aubrey Serfling, Eisenhower’s president and chief executive officer.
It’s hard to believe that 46 years have gone by since famed entertainer Bob Hope was asked to lend his name to the Desert Classic golf tournament and to serve on the board of the hospital that would be built from tournament proceeds. His wife, Dolores, seamlessly moved into a board position in his stead, beginning a long and illustrious relationship with the facility. Together the couple donated the original 80 acres of land for the midvalley hospital to be named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The 130-acre Eisenhower Medical Center includes a 540-bed hospital, Annenberg Center for Health Sciences, and Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. The highly regarded Betty Ford Center also is on the campus. Centers of Excellence representing the hospital’s specialized services include Smilow Heart Center, Lucy Curci Cancer Center, Eisenhower Neuroscience Institute, and Eisenhower Desert Orthopedic Center. A recent feather in Eisenhower’s cap occurred when its Inpatient Rehabilitation Center received a prestigious three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, making the hospital the only one in Riverside County thus recognized. In July, Eisenhower earned a ranking as one of the nation’s “most wired” hospitals, according to a survey published in the American Hospital Association’s monthly journal.
Never content to rest on its laurels, the facility now strives toward achieving its next milestone of becoming a teaching hospital through academic affiliation agreements with the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University. Medical students already have begun clerkships at Eisenhower Medical Center.
By 2013, training in internal medicine and family medicine will begin for 16 residents. And by 2016, Eisenhower’s School of Graduate Medical Education will be at capacity, with a total of 55 residents undertaking their three year training in vital primary-care specialties. The program has the wholehearted support and financial muscle of Eisenhower’s newly formed Founders Society. Its members share the vision of training tomorrow’s physicians and are dedicated to attracting world-class physicians as faculty members. With a fundraising goal of 100 households pledging at least $50,000 apiece, 70 have already committed to the fund.
The entire initiative is game changing and just one more example of Eisenhower’s commitment to make wellness and prevention a mainstay in a new integrated healthcare system for the region. Teaching hospitals also bring out the best in healthcare delivery. The climate of continuous learning will require all members of the medical staff, from physicians to nurses to allied-care professionals, to remain at the forefront of the latest in evidence-based medicine, which can only impact the valley in a positive way.
While Eisenhower Medical Center is engaged in leading the community to new levels of medical and academic excellence, the city of Rancho Mirage continues to deepen its wealth of intellectual pursuits. As Mayor Scott Hines points out, “An active and engaged citizenry is a distinguishing hallmark of our city. The Tolerance Education Center, the Sunnylands Center & Gardens, and the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert are extraordinary institutions that offer a panoply of intriguing programs. The Rancho Mirage Public Library has become a popular cultural destination for residents of the entire valley. With year-round lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions, the library is a major contributor to the quality of life in our city and the region.”
Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert continues to spark intellectual curiosity and self-expression in the younger set. It has a capital campaign underway in response to the community’s request for additional quality gallery experiences and classroom space. Soon valley families will have even more opportunities to learn and enjoy time together.
Sunnylands, the imposing estate of Ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg, is most notably home to The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, a distinguished destination for global leaders to convene and address major challenges facing our nation and our world. In March, Sunnylands Center & Gardens opened, welcoming the public to stroll down 1.25 miles of beautifully landscaped paths; view selections of art from the Annenbergs’ collection; and learn more about the couple’s commitment to country, philanthropy, education, and the arts through interactive educational kiosks, panels, and videos. Tours of the historic house also are available.
It’s a rare community that can blend spectacular weather conditions with rich cultural offerings to stimulate the intellect. It’s a rare community that can provide so many enjoyable pastimes, yet be so clearly focused on all matters pertaining to health and wellness. Rancho Mirage is that rare community, a truly blessed one indeed.
Description: From fine dining to championship golf to the worldclass, $25 million La Prairie Spa at the new The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, there’s no doubt, Rancho Mirage is a five-star resort experience within a small city. Visitors need never leave the city limits to enjoy almost 70 restaurants, over a million square feet of shopping; and a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment choices at The River.
Mayor Scott Hines stands at the new entrance to Rancho Mirage; the recently completed $25 million I-10 / Bob Hope Drive Interchange.
Dr. Roy Young, Program Director, Internal Medicine, Eisenhower’s School of Graduate Medical Education (right) makes rounds with third year USC medical student, Raj Dedhia. Eisenhower Medical Center is makings inroads as the first Valley hospital to become an accredited Teaching Hospital.
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