Valle Verde tapped Yvette Duarte to be the community's new health services director.
The journey to become community's new health services director started more than 20 years ago. As a teenager, Duarte's first official position at the Santa Barbara retirement community was a server on the dining team, but her roots with the community can be traced back long before she was eligible for a paycheck.
“When I was five, I began dancing flamenco for residents here each year as part of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara,” Duarte says. “I did that until I started my job as a server in high school, and as my education and skills have expanded, so has my role.”
In 2012, Duarte graduated from the LeadingAge California EMERGE program where she completed a service learning project on person-directed care in skilled nursing. She followed that with an undergraduate degree in business management from University of Phoenix and an MBA from Antioch University with a focus on strategic leadership, nonprofits and social business. She completed her 1,000-hour administer in training program and the required state and federal exams to become a licensed nursing home administrator.
“I’m honored to step into this role — the comfort and overall wellbeing of residents is of the utmost importance,” Duarte said. “The people here are like family to me, and I’ll provide the same level of care and attention as I would to any of my own loved ones.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. Factors such as poor diet and exercise habits, and chronic conditions like diabetes, increase the likelihood of needing long-term care.
“We could not be more proud to see Yvette transition into this position,” says Melissa Honig, executive director of Valle Verde. “Her passion and dedication to our community is evident by her 23 years of service, and I am grateful residents will benefit from her servant leadership."