Vote for Joe Gallagher
Pajaro Valley Health District Board

Election Update as of December 6

Hello Everybody,


Although the Nov. 8 election seems like forever ago, it’s only been four weeks. The official certification for the results happened Tuesday, December 6th. I received enough votes to win a seat on the Pajaro Valley Health Care District Board.

I’d like to thank everybody who voted for me, everybody who donated to my campaign, everybody who was encouraging, and everybody who helped in any other way. Thank you to the people who canvassed. Thank you to the people who let me put a sign on your lawn and Thank you to the people who convinced their family, friends and neighbors to vote for me.

In particular, I’d like to thank my son Brian, my wife Rose, her mom Agnes and sister Helen who were my first donors. Rose also built the web site. I’d like to thank Jeffery and the whole Valencia family for their excellent translation of my words into Spanish. Bruce Van Allen was a really great resource for campaign know how. Pajaro Valley Printing made all the nice post cards and signs. Amy Newell was massively enthusiastic and encouraging as I campaigned. Fred Castillo wrote that great opinion piece about me for the Pajaronian. The whole Farris family canvassed on my behalf. And the whole Roisman family donated. Special Thanks to all of you.

I learned a lot in the process of running for office, and got to talk to lots of terrific Watsonville people. In a major way it restored my faith in humanity and added to my excitement about the work ahead of restoring Watsonville Community Hospital to a place we can rely on and be proud of once again.

Please keep in touch. You can reach me at this web site, my email or my cell phone (831)332-2694.


Joe Gallagher, M.D.

Hello I’m Dr. Gallagher.

I was a Family Practice Doctor in Watsonville from 1985 to 2019. In my first year, I worked at Doctors’ on Duty, then opened a practice of my own on Green Valley Rd. I joined the Medical Staff at Watsonville Community Hospital in 1986. At WCH, I took care of sicker patients who needed to be hospitalized. During the first few years, I also took care of pregnant women and delivered their babies. Although I retired at the end of 2019 my dedication to WCH did not end there.

I grew up, as the fourth of five children, in an Irish Catholic family in a suburb of Philadelphia. For college, I spent two years at the U.S. Naval Academy, then resigned and moved to San Diego. After working for a year to get California residency, I finished college at UC San Diego. I started medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies. After two years there, I transferred to the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I got my M.D in June 1981 and stayed in Huntsville for my Family Practice Residency, which I finished in 1984.

I have been married to Rose Murphy for ten years and have two grown children from my first marriage. Brian lives here and Carey in New York.

Experience & Leadership

During my early years on the medical staff, I was encouraged to take on leadership roles. At first, I was the chairman of various committees, but after a few years I became Chief of the Medical Staff. This allowed me to meet with other physicians and the members of the Board to resolve issues and plan for the future. I found all of this very interesting and during my career served as Chief of the Medical Staff for six years and as a Board Member for eight.

When WCH was a non-profit community hospital, it was an honest organization. Everyone collaborated to do the right thing for patients. The physicians and employees, as well as the patients, were treated with respect. Everyone’s input was considered in the day to day operation of the hospital and the long term planning.

All of that started to change in 1998 when the hospital was sold to Community Health Systems. Over the subsequent 24 years, the hospital deteriorated drastically, as it changed owners several times. Community Health Systems sold to Quorum Health, who sold to Halsen Health, and they sold to Medical Properties Trust. MPT brought in Prospect Medical to manage the hospital.

Fortunately, in 2021, the Pajaro Valley Health Care District Project set things on a better course. They formed the health care district and started the process of buying WCH out of bankruptcy.

This is where I come in again. During my years at WCH, I worked during the earthquake, construction of the new building, and the sales to Community Health Systems, Quorum, and Halsen. I worked at WCH during the non-profit years and the for-profit years. I know this hospital because I have spent thousands of hours working alongside the Doctors of the Medical Staff and Nurses, Technicians, Therapists, Engineers, Clerks, Cooks, Housekeepers, and Groundskeepers of the Hospital Staff. I also worked successfully with numerous Administrators, Managers and Board Members.

I want to clean up the mess left behind by the for-profit owners. I will put my knowledge, skills and relationships to work restoring Watsonville Community Hospital to a place where good medical care is provided to this community and where everyone is treated with respect.

First Steps

The Pajaro Valley Health Care District Board is now the governing body of Watsonville Community Hospital. When I served on the WCH Board, I was an effective board member. And I know what needs to be done now. I would greatly appreciate your VOTE on November 8th, so I can get to work.

I believe the first step is rebuilding the relationships between the employees, doctors, administration, and board. As we all become part of the same team, we will be able to collaborate, and innovate in order to fix the numerous problems and create a hospital that we are proud of again. Along the way we need to reach out to the residents of the Pajaro Valley and apologize for the years of for-profit ownership. We can then ask for the opportunity to re-earn your trust.


Endorsed by Organizations

Endorsed by Pajaro Valley Doctors

Endorsed by Pajaro Valley Community Members

Pajaro Valley Health Care District

The Pajaro Valley Health Care District Board is a new entity formed to become WCH’s governing body. It took control of WCH on September 1, 2022.

Health Care District Boards are composed of five members. This Inaugural Board was appointed by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors from a pool of applicants. Two seats are open during the general election this November and the other three seats are up for election next year. The term of the elected board members is four years. Health Care Districts are governmental bodies defined by a set of laws called the Brown Act and under Section 32000 of the California Health and Safety Code.

p.s. On the ballot, the M.D. is missing after my name. The election rules don’t permit its use.