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UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System

With deep roots in California, Montna family lends its support to the MIND Institute

Montna family © UC Regents
The Montna family during a visit to the MIND Institute. Standing from left to right: Stan Van Vleck, Christian Van Vleck, Nicole Montna Van Vleck, Nicolas Vogt, Al Montna, Michelle Montna Vogt and Casey Vogt. Seated from left to right: Tori Van Vleck, Emma Vogt, Gail Montna, Ryan Vogt and Natalie Vogt.

Posted April 17, 2013

The Montna family has deep roots in Northern California. In the late 1800s, Peri Montna migrated from France to California to grow prunes, apricots, peaches and Thompson seedless grapes in Sutter County. In the late 1930s, Alfred “Dutch” Montna purchased land in Dingville, south of Yuba City, developing it into a rice-growing operation in the 1930s. Today the Montnas specialize in growing Japanese short-grain rice, shipping it to markets all over the world.

The family’s ties to each other are as strong as their agricultural roots. The entire family, Al Montna and his wife, Gail, and their daughters Nicole Montna Van Vleck and Michelle Montna Vogt, are involved in the family business. Al and Gail have six grandchildren, and look forward to one day passing the farm on to the next generation.

“We are passionate about autism because it has affected our family. If we can help in any way with any programs or any research that would directly help Ryan or others that are going through the same thing, it would make us feel like we’re doing something significant.”
Michelle Montna Vogt

After Michelle’s son Ryan, now 7, was diagnosed with autism, the entire family rallied. When Ryan was first diagnosed at the age of 3, Michelle sprang into action to ensure that her son could benefit from the best therapies possible. Michelle brought Ryan to the UC Davis MIND Institute, where he received a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan from Medical Director Randi Hagerman. Today, he is enrolled in the social skills program led by Marjorie Solomon and Beth Goodlin-Jones, associate professors of clinical psychiatry, and making great progress.

Giving Opportunities

MIND Institute © UC RegentsThe UC Davis MIND Institute is unique in its vision and multidisciplinary research approach. We are committed to finding the causes, developing improved treatments and preventing the onset of neurodevelopmental disorders. Though we are community based, the MIND Institute is an international research facility providing much needed information, education and outreach throughout the world. The speed towards accomplishing our mission is directly related to our resources.

To succeed, we need your support. For further information about giving opportunities, please contact Bob Stout, UC Davis MIND Institute Development Director at 916-703-0221 or by e-mail at robert.stout@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu.

“He wasn’t talking when we started. Now he can say anything he wants. He seeks us out to tell us that he loves us. He looks you in the eyes. He shows you the rainbow that he drew. He’s not just hidden away in his room anymore,” Michelle said. “With time and effort and consistency we’ve been able to successfully go anywhere, even to amusement parks.”

“After speaking with Dr. Hagerman and (MIND Institute Director) Dr. Leonard Abbeduto, we have hope,” she added. Michelle also credits Ryan’s progress to the love and support of her family, especially Ryan’s siblings, Nicolas, Natalie, twin sister Emma and his cousins Christian and Tori, who are great role models.

“We are passionate about autism because it has affected our family,” Michelle said. “If we can help in any way with any programs or any research that would directly help Ryan or others that are going through the same thing, it would make us feel like we’re doing something significant.”

The Montna family has made a financial gift to the MIND Institute, and Ryan’s grandmother, Gail, has taken on a leadership role at the MIND Institute, joining its Community Advisory Board. “The research being done at the MIND Institute is so important, and it’s making life better for families like ours and children like Ryan,” Gail said. “It’s crucial that the research continue and that it be accessible to more people.”