Mark Apfel, MD
I was born and grew up in the Bronx, New York with my older brother, Alan and my identical twin brother, Russell. I attended Syracuse University and then went to medical school at the State University of New York - Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse as well. After years 8 years in upstate New York, I came to San Francisco to do my internship and decided to stay in Northern California. I had been active in the Civil Rights and the Anti-Vietnam War movement, and finally the Back to the Land movement which helped lead to this decision.
Initially, we planned on moving up to rural northern California after I finished my internship in 1974 but this was delayed until 1976. During that time, my cousin, Franklin Apfel had moved to Philo and had started the Anderson Valley Health Center. In September 1976 we moved to our property on Greenwood Road where I still live. I joined Franklin at AVHC as well as working at the ER at Hillside Hospital - now Ukiah Valley Medical Center. In January 1977, I joined Franklin in running the Outpatient and Inpatient service at Mendocino Community Hospital. We continued to do this for the next several years but in July 1979, I decided to focus my energies at AVHC. I still continue today in my role as the Medical Director. Franklin and I were both sponsors of the 1979 Mendocino County Initiative to ban the aerial application of herbicides which was passed but eventually overturned by the state in 1984. We also sponsored an initiative in 1980 which kept Mendocino Community Hospital open.
I remain an active part of the Ukiah Medical community. I worked at the UVMC Emergency Room part-time from 1987-2005. In 2005-2007, I was a fellow in the California Healthcare Foundation Health Leadership Program which expanded my horizons to a statewide level. This program now has over 420 graduates who are in positions of health leadership throughout the state. Because of this program, I was able to start the Mendocino POLST Coalition and we were funded as one of the pilot projects for POLST in 2007. POLST stands for Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment which is a document that encourages conversations regarding patient’s choices and preferences for their care at the end of life. Since 2009, I have been the Physician Champion for the Coalition of Compassionate Care of California which is the lead organization for this program in the state. I was Medical Director of Palliative Care at UVMC from 2010-2015. I am Board Certified in Family Medicine as well as Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
I have been married to my wife, Deanna for the past 31 years. We raised our 2 daughters in Anderson Valley and have been active members of this community. We have a 12 acre ranch where we have a large organic Garden/Orchard and raise chickens, sheep and goats. I enjoy doing building projects and maintenance on our property. We have been home winemakers for the past 28 years. I am an active sports fanatic and try to get in as many rounds of golf as possible.