Tattoo Removal Program Recognized 
Ron Yukelson 
Monday, 26 January 2009 
    A collaboration between Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and the Liberty Tattoo Removal Program, has received national recognition by the American Hospital Association in its publication Community Connections: Ideas & Innovations for Hospital Leaders. 
    The partnership was cited under the Quality of Life section which states, “Recognizing that the role of a hospital is not simply to treat illness but to strengthen communities, the programs in this section illustrate how hospitals provide peace of mind and better tomorrows for the communities they serve by building strong families, fostering safety and creating opportunities for people to improve their lives.” 
    The Liberty Tattoo Removal Program, under the auspices of the Economic Opportunity Commission of San Luis Obispo County (EOC), offers free removal of unwanted, antisocial and/or gang related tattoos that inhibit employment or otherwise interfere with life. Participants are required to perform 16 hours of community service in exchange for their hours of treatment. Community physicians Charles Fishman, MD and Frederick Novy, MD donate their time each month to the program.
    Sierra Vista houses the Liberty Tattoo Removal Clinic and in addition to a generous annual monetary donation, provides medical supplies and clinic space free of charge to the program. 
    “People with tattoos often find themselves being stereotyped, making it difficult to find employment or to be promoted,” said Janet Allenspach, program coordinator. “The removal of tattoos for our program’s participants helps to decrease recidivism, removes anti-social and/or negative behaviors and prejudices and increases opportunities for employment, education and quality of life.” 
    In 2008, Liberty Tattoo provided 221 tattoo removal treatments to 73 individuals, resulting in 3,456 community service volunteer hours. Since 2000, 2,180 treatments have been performed. 
    Each year, Sierra Vista partners with many community and charitable organizations from throughout San Luis Obispo County to help provide those less fortunate with opportunities for improved health, health information and healthy lifestyles.