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Revitalizing a Legacy: The Murrieta Hot Springs Resort’s Journey Through Time

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From Historic Health Haven to Modern Wellness Destination – A Conversation on Transformation and Vision

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the rich history and visionary future of the Murrieta Hot Springs Resort with none other than Jeroen Strack, the General Manager of this iconic establishment. Strack, a seasoned expert in the hospitality industry, brings a wealth of knowledge and an innovative approach to the rejuvenation of one of California’s most treasured wellness destinations. Under his leadership, the Murrieta Hot Springs Resort has undergone a transformative journey, blending its historic charm with modern luxury to redefine the wellness and hospitality experience. Join us as we explore the resort’s evolution, its commitment to health and wellness, and the exciting future plans under Strack’s guidance.

Jeroen Strack, General Manager, Murrieta Hot Springs Resort

The history of Murrieta Hot Springs Resort dates back to the 19th century. Can you share more about the origins of the resort and how it has evolved over time?

Murrieta Hot Springs Resort was established in 1902 and quickly became one of the nation’s top health resorts by the mid-1920s. Over the years, the resort has undergone several transitions with different uses. For the last 30 years, it has been used as a church retreat center and bible college, rendering it inaccessible to the public. 

The website mentions the therapeutic benefits of the resort’s hot springs. Could you elaborate on the specific healing properties of the mineral-rich geothermal water and how it benefits guests?

No two hot spring’s water mineral content is the same, making each location distinctly unique in how our bodies will feel the effects of soaking in the mineral water. The science of Balneology studies the therapeutic use of natural mineral spring water. This science has shown us that the waters have an innate and reproducible effect on people who soak in them.

The thermal, physical, and mineral components of soaking in mineral spring water contribute to the overall health-giving effect. Our medical director, Dr. Marcus Coplin, N.D., is the preeminent balneologist in North America and regularly contributes to the international community of researchers and physicians on this topic. Under his direction, we have designed the specifics of how our guests are guided through the resort experience to maximize the self-guided health and wellness benefits the waters provide while gently educating our guests on what our water does that is so far beyond simply relaxing.

The resort has undergone various transformations under different ownerships. How has the vision for the resort changed over the years, and what is the current vision for Murrieta Hot Springs Resort?

The vision for Murrieta Hot Springs Resort is to provide a hot spring-based wellness resort, welcoming guests from all backgrounds and empowering them to experience well-being and Vitality. Through a dedicated focus on the four elements of Vitality at Murrieta Hot Springs Resort- sleep, nutrition, dynamic activity, and revitalization guests depart vibrant and purposefully in tune with personal health possibilities, eager to integrate newly sparked resonance into their everyday lives. 

Can you provide details about the amenities and accommodations offered at the resort, both historically and in its present form?

We will be reinvigorating several amenities the original resort offered. First and foremost is the continued access to our therapeutic geothermal water. Many of the original buildings have been restored and revitalized as part of the improvements. When we reopen, we will feature more than 50 geothermal pools and water features, and overnight guests will have access to wellness activities like Yoga, Aqua Sound Bathing, Meditation, and more. 

The resort will also have a signature restaurant, Talia, a poolside bar, Tortoise Shell, and Cafe Azuli to keep guests hydrated and nourished.       

The historical aspects of the resort, such as the Monterey Hotel and the Mineral Bath House, are quite fascinating. How have you preserved and integrated these historic elements into the modern resort experience?

Through the thoughtful work of our lead architect Chris Campbell of RQTEX, and the design team at Omgivning, the restoration showcases original architecture, with each building expressing a distinctly California architectural history. Throughout the project, the goal has been to add modern amenities while harmonizing with the timelessness of the property. 

It’s mentioned that the resort has always had a connection to health and wellness. Can you explain how you continue this tradition today, including the role of the onsite medical director?

Murrieta Hot Springs Resort has functioned as a Health and Wellness resort since our inception over 100 years ago up until its previous use as a Bible College. The revival of the purpose of the resort, and the focus on health and wellness as delivered by our natural mineral spring waters, has been central to our work.

In decades past it was typical to come and stay at Murrieta Hot Springs Resort for over a week. Upon your arrival, you would meet with the onsite physician and be prescribed a course of treatments, including mineral water soaking, drinking, and mud baths, as well as some supportive physical therapies and diet.

In our revived vision for the resort, we have focused on two big changes that have occurred with time. One, with modern transportation allowing most guests in the greater Southern California area to be able to arrive at the resort within 1-2 hours of their home, and Two, catering to the schedules and health-knowledge base of the modern Californian, we have created the resort to be a place for self-guided advanced health and wellness practice. The health and wellness effects of our resort can be had if used for a day, a weekend, or a longer stay. The location makes our resort an easy way to incorporate our waters into your regular, seasonal, or annual revitalizing health and wellness vacation.

Working with our medical director, we took the layout and accessibility to our natural flowing geothermal pools and used them to enhance the other amenities at the resort. We have programmed guest amenities to enhance a total experience of Vitality that they will be able to take home with them. It is centered around our water, but also is seen in our Nutritious and delicious food and beverage offerings, our Revitalizing spa treatments and wellness activities, our Dynamic Activity offerings through Dynamis fitness, and is completed with a deep restorative Sleep with complimentary sleep enhancement trays for all overnight guests, and the opportunity to book a comprehensive sleep enhanced room for those wanting to take their restorative night to the next level.

Although Dr. Coplin, our medical director, does not currently see patients or direct treatments for individual guests, he ensures a science-informed basis behind everything we do. This allows guests to easily and organically enjoy the property, flowing between whatever offerings pique their interest, with an understanding that simply enjoying what we have built is creating a Health and Wellness experience of restoring Vitality.

The resort has a rich history of recreational activities. What are some of the leisure and wellness activities that guests can enjoy at Murrieta Hot Springs Resort now?

When we open, overnight guests can partake in water-centered activities like Aqua Sound Bathing, Aqua Yoga, and Contrast Bathing. We will also offer traditional wellness activities like Yoga, Meditation, and Stretch and Release classes. We will also open up a world-class fitness center that will be available to the public and accessible to overnight guests.      

The mission statement talks about maintaining the resort’s legacy while modernizing it. Could you share some of the modernization efforts and improvements you have made to enhance the guest experience?

We have revitalized all of the interiors of the hotel buildings, adding thoughtful touches that complement the historical elements while bringing the entire resort up to the expectation levels of today’s vacationer. 

How has the community of Murrieta been involved in the restoration and stewardship of the resort, and what role do you see the resort playing in the local community’s life?

The community has played an incredibly supportive role in what the future holds for the resort. 

Finally, can you provide insights into the future plans and developments for Murrieta Hot Springs Resort, and how you envision its role in the hospitality industry in the coming years?

We will continue to evolve our offerings to be in tune with the wellness needs of our guests. We are excited to bring our unique offerings to the industry. 

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

Health & Wellness

People On The Move — Claudia Medina Salazar, PA-C

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Claudia Medina Salazar, PA-C Joins Optima Health

Claudia Medina Salazar, PA-C is the newest member of the Optima Health medical team.

“I’m excited to begin my career as a physician assistant alongside the highly respected and accomplished Optima Health medical staff,” said Ms. Salazar. “I look forward to gaining added insights into primary care while working with patients to collaborate on care plans that they can incorporate seamlessly into their everyday lives.”

Ms. Salazar received her BS in Biology from the University of California, Riverside and her MS in Physician Assistant Practice from the University of Southern California. Her path to the medical field was formed through personal tragedy.

“My dad passed from a heart attack when I was a very young girl,” explained Ms. Salazar. “Recollections of that experience made me very passionate about preventative health for myself, family and friends. Today, that extends to the patients I treat.

“So many chronic conditions that are prevalent today are rooted in the minor choices we make every day. I make it a point to address ‘little things’ that can lead to an improved quality of life.”

The mission of Optima Health is to improve the health of patients served with a commitment to excellence and to offer the highest quality patient-centered care in a caring, convenient and accessible manner. Practices are located in Riverside and Crestline.

For more information, call 951-788-0008 or go to optimahealthgroup.com.

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Business

Sunitha Reddy, Prime Healthcare VP of Operations, Named to Modern Healthcare’s Top Emerging Leaders List

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Modern Healthcare has named Sunitha Reddy, VP of Operations for Prime Healthcare, as one of America’s 25 Top Emerging Leaders, in recognition of her work to help community hospitals remain open and improve performance across the country.

Modern Healthcare, the leader in healthcare business news, research, and data, annually honors emerging leaders aged 40 and under who have made significant contributions in the areas of innovation, financial, operational, and clinical excellence.

“Fresh perspectives, adaptability and strategic thinking are crucial to the advancement of healthcare, especially at a time when ideas about care delivery and patient needs are rapidly changing,” said Fawn Lopez, Modern Healthcare Publisher.

Reddy oversees revenue cycle and financial operations for Prime Healthcare and guides managed care strategy. Challenges in revenue cycle and operations, compounded with increasing costs have put significant financial strain on community hospitals, leading to bankruptcies or hospital closures around the country. Reddy has focused on revenue cycle improvement and building the bridge between finance and operations to aid communities struggling to keep their hospitals open. She successfully streamlined multiple clinical and financial operations to enhance performance across the organization, driving millions in improvements.

Reddy also led a multidisciplinary team to develop a user-friendly Patient Estimator Tool to help consumers better understand their healthcare costs, consistent with Prime Healthcare’s commitment to price transparency and consumer-focused care.

Prime Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading health systems with 45 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient locations in 14 states. Under Reddy’s leadership, teams at the hospital and corporate levels have designed and implemented new systems, data-driven processes, innovative technology, and best practices that have enhanced the operational performance of Prime Healthcare; helping the company triple in size since 2015.

“Sunitha is a proven innovator and servant leader who has helped position Prime Healthcare extremely well in the face of rapid advancements in the healthcare field,” said Sunny Bhatia, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Prime Healthcare. “In addition to her diligence and incredible contributions to our hospitals throughout the pandemic, Sunitha’s guidance and vision will be a key to ensuring Prime Healthcare’s continued record of clinical, financial and operational excellence.”

“Sunitha has been a leader in accelerating Prime Healthcare’s implementation of technologies and processes to drive improvements in performance,” said Steve Aleman, Prime Healthcare CFO. “She is always focused on our mission and our people, and she creates a culture of inclusivity and togetherness that celebrates everyone’s strengths and unique perspectives.”

Reddy is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University with honors; a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, where she received the Foster G. McGaw scholarship award for academic excellence; and a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Magna Cum Laude, from UCLA with college and departmental honors. For the last two years, Reddy has been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as a “Rising Star.”

“Thank you to Modern Healthcare for this prestigious recognition, and congratulations to my fellow honorees who are making an incredible impact through their work,” said Reddy. “I am honored to represent Prime Healthcare and our mission of saving hospitals to serve communities across the United States.”

This year’s honorees are profiled in the March 21 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine and online at Modernhealthcare.com/awards/top-25-emerging-leaders-2022

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Education

Defining Moment: Match Day 2022 for California University of Science and Medicine Inaugural Class

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Inaugural Doctor of Medicine class celebrates Match Day as they match with residency programs nationwide

California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM) is celebrating a milestone! The 62-member inaugural Class of 2022 discovered their perfect match, medical specialty match, that is. Along with 37,000 other senior medical students nationwide, CUSM students opened envelopes at exactly 9:00 am PT to discover where they would go and what they would do next in their long path to medical practice. Four years of learning, two years of the pandemic, and months of applications, interviews, and rankings from students and programs led to this day. Students learned where they would continue their training as residents, and training programs learned which new physicians will be joining July 1, 2022. All through the National Residency Match Program.

Established with the mission to create educational and economic opportunities for Inland Southern California and help meet our region’s healthcare needs, CUSM’s first MD class began in 2018. CUSM now enrolls over 400 MD students, 91% of whom come from California. 40% from Inland Southern California 

The inaugural match is a big step in advancing the university’s goal of addressing the critical physician shortage, improving health equity, and enhancing population health for Inland Southern California. Gathered in the courtyard of the state-of-the-art medical school, faculty, staff, students, and their supporters shared their hopes and well wished to the students. “We are thrilled to see these results. They are an exceptional reflection of our mission.” said Paul Lyons, MD, CUSM President and Dean of the School of Medicine

CUSM is pleased to share the National Residency Match Program results for the Inaugural MD Class of 2022.  

  • CUSM helps lead the national effort to address mental health with 12 students (20%) headed into Psychiatry. Among the highest in the nation.
  • CUSM helps fill the primary care workforce gap with 16 (26%) students headed into Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
  • CUSM helps address frontline healthcare delivery with 10 (16%) students headed into Emergency Medicine.
  • CUSM helps fill the regional workforce gap with approximately 1/5 in Inland Southern California and 2/3 in Southern California.
  • 100% of students have destinations after graduation, including clinical training and research. 
  • 18% (11) matched into programs in the Inland Empire.
  • 100% of matched students are headed to specialties that have shortages in the IE, the main area of fulfilling the mission of CUSM.
  • 38% (IM, Psych, OB, Peds, Family) matched into primary care specialties defined by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Ten surgeons will begin their training in the summer of 2022, with three in orthopedics, including two women, who are particularly underrepresented in orthopedics. Other surgical program matches include general surgery (4), vascular surgery (1), otolaryngology (1), obstetrics and gynecology (1), and ophthalmology. 

The class did well and placed in specialties with very few nationwide, such as urology, diagnostic radiology, anesthesiology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Among notable destinations are partnering and local institutions Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, UHS Southern California, Kaiser, Loma Linda Medical Center, and Riverside Community Hospital. 

CUSM students are also headed to residency training programs at Stanford, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, Mount Sinai Beth Israel (NY), Case Western (OH), University of Pittsburgh (PA), and University of Washington (WA).

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