Contact Info
Dr. Wynnelena Canlas Canio
Board Member

About

As a child, I often accompanied my grandparents on their monthly visit to the doctor’s clinic where I became fascinated with the doctor’s knowledge and ability to heal my grandparents, both emotionally and physically. During my high school and college years, I volunteered at various nursing homes and hospitals in the Bay Area, gaining invaluable experience in patient care.  I had a deep sense of fulfillment with helping the older patients and enjoyed listening to their life stories.

As a medical student, I loved the challenges in managing the geriatric patients’ complicated medical and psychiatric problems.  This led me to seek a combined Internal Medicine and Psychiatry residency program at the University of Kansas Medical Center prior to my training in Geriatrics at UCLA. I joined Kaiser Permanente (KP) Santa Rosa in 2012 as the chief of the new Geriatric Medicine Department, where I became responsible for developing strategic initiatives to support the care of older adults, including the implementation of a geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) model, which provides comprehensive services to evaluate, care for, and support older adults with dementia, polypharmacy, and frailty. I serve as the Clinical Rotation Director in Geriatric Medicine for the Family Medicine residency program at KP Santa Rosa with the goal of improving the awareness of and education for the care of older adults in our next generation of physicians. I also expanded this to practicing non-geriatric clinicians. In 2018, I was awarded the prestigious scholar award from the UCSF Tideswell, AGS, ADGAP Emerging Leaders in Aging Program and was also named one of the North Bay 40 under 40 for my work at KP Santa Rosa and with the broader community to increase awareness and to advocate for programs to improve the quality of life for older adults and their caregivers. I was also recognized for this work in 2019, where I received the Innovative Care Model award from the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry.

In 2020, I joined the staff at KP San Rafael to broaden the service area of vital programs supporting the care for older adults, including replicating the GEM model of care, and expanding the consultative support for the Senior Surgical Care Program in this region. Recently, I led the opening of the region’s first Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit in San Rafael, where I serve as its Medical Director, and was also appointed to provide oversight for the Special Needs and Complex Chronic Conditions Case Management Program. My work in KP Santa Rosa and San Rafael have helped to establish me as a subject matter expert in geriatric models of care in the continuum across the entire KP service area. I serve on the Permanente Medicine Interregional Dementia Clinical Practice Group, where I help guide the development and implementation of dementia care programs in KP nationally. Additionally, I serve as the  Dementia Workgroup Lead with the goal of standardizing the best practices for dementia care across TPMG.

My work and advocacy extend beyond KP. In 2019, I was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the State Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, where I helped make bold recommendations that will help the state of California lead the nation in tackling the growing dementia crisis. During the pandemic, I also developed and led the COVID-19 mitigation strategy in Residential Care Facilities in the Elderly (RCFEs) and Skilled Nursing Facilities in Sonoma County, where I closely worked with Sonoma County Public Health and the Senior Advocacy Services of Sonoma County. This important work reminded me of my duty to serve the community outside of the KP health system, which is why I decided to join the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Senior Advocacy Services, where I’ll support our mission to “serve seniors with dignity.”