TMC follows up on questions from overflow crowd at June 26 health forum

Health Care ForumTucson Medical Center on Monday held a health care forum designed to share information about the impacts and implications of federal health care reform proposals.

The panel, which included health care experts in the areas of pediatrics, public health, rural health, primary care and hospitals, answered as many audience questions as they could within the 90-minute discussion.

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich committed to answering the remaining questions, which are shared below. In the interest of reducing duplication, topics were grouped if there were multiple questions on a topic.

For those interested in watching the entirety of the session, please visit

Single-payer related questions:

  • Do you support Medicare for all? Even under ACA, things are way too complicated, costs too high and 28 million uninsured. – Andrea
  • Why can’t the U.S. provide universal health care when every other developed nation can? – Warren
  • Since there is no way to cure the problems affecting our health care system unless we eliminate the profit motive, what are you doing to advocate the only plan that does that: Medicare for all? – Lee
  • Do you support a single-payer system like Medicare for all? – Maddy
  • Why not Medicare for all? – Tony
  • How do we achieve single payer, efficient health care? – Gary
  • What would it cost and how can it be implemented to build public health care infrastructure – the like V.A. – for civilians? – Howard
  • Will you support a single payer Medicare for all health system? – Barbara
  • What position does the AMA take on single payer? – Elizabeth

Thank you all for your question. Since they all follow a similar thread, we have grouped them together for one answer.

A single-payer system is certainly one of the policy options being considered. It’s a difficult question to answer because, as is usually the case, it depends on the details of the legislation. We are strong advocates for affordable and accessible health care insurance for all members of our community. Between Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare, government is a significant payer for most hospitals, so it’s possible there would be some system savings by consolidating at least those into a single program. Our commitment is to advocate for coverage, access and efficiency in a health care system and, as discussed at the forum, there are multiple ways to achieve that end. Unfortunately, the legislation currently proposed by the House and Senate do not achieve those objectives.

Affordable Care Act related questions:

  • How many insurance carriers have pulled out of Arizona since ACA? – Kathleen
  • ACA is collapsing under its own weight. What is the panels’ suggestion for a system that will work?  -Mike

Thank you for these questions. Kaiser Health News published a story that reported that Arizona had eight insurance carriers in 2014, 11 in 2015, eight in 2016 and two in 2017. The uncertainty of the future of the marketplace has impacted insurance companies’ interest in participating in the exchanges. (  But, remember the marketplace is just one small piece of the Affordable Care Act and, frankly, the portion of the legislation that, in our opinion needs to be addressed. Here is an opinion piece by Andy Slavitt, former director of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, one some commonsense solutions that would stabilize the health care exchanges:

  • With this current political turmoil, what is the future of the Az-CHIP program? – Preshit

We agree with our colleagues at the Children’s Action Alliance, who have concluded the future of KidsCare,  Arizona’s CHIP program, is at high risk.  That means affordable coverage for more than 21,000 children already enrolled is in danger.

As Children’s Action Alliance President and CEO Dana Naimark explains, “Currently, our federal tax dollars pay for the full cost of KidsCare. Our legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey just put a provision into our state budget that says if the federal funding falls below 100 percent, then enrollment in KidsCare will be frozen again.  The federal funding expires Sept. 30, 2017.  So Congress must act soon to reauthorize funding  for all states.  And the funding must be reauthorized at the current level for KidsCare to continue. Without KidsCare, many more children will go without the check-ups, treatment and behavioral health services that keep them healthy. 

There is still bipartisan support for KidsCare and CHIP. But the issue has gotten both sidetracked and tangled in with the fights over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. We will all need to raise our voices on this in the coming weeks.”

Political process


  • What does budget reconciliation allow you to do? – Brenda

Brenda, the reconciliation process may be complex, but it is also faster because it takes only 51 votes to pass a bill – allowing senators to sidestep the threat of filibuster, which would take 60 votes. Although there is some transparency in the sense that the bill is reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office and members do have an opportunity to amend the bill, this process has not been reflective of what is typical of legislation of this magnitude. The process typically includes extensive hearings as well as input from stakeholders.

  • What formal process is TMC using to register our community protest against this law? – Linda

Hello, Linda, and thank you for your question. As you know, there has been limited discussion about this legislation. TMC held this forum in an effort to share the expertise of those in the medical field about the impacts they foresee on the work they do and the people they care for. 

It was intended to provide audience members with real facts about the implications and hopefully inspire them to engage directly with their elected leaders. TMC has shared our own concerns with our federal delegation. We also will provide those leaders with a link to the forum and to these answers to your questions.

  • I’ve been told our senators do not keep a tally of calls they receive. What is the point of calling? – Robin

Although elected leaders have different approaches to how they keep track of comments directed to their offices, they absolutely know the pulse of their constituencies. Every call, every letter, every email, every tweet – they all add up and make a difference. Advocacy – not apathy and ambivalence – is ultimately what drives change, so please continue sharing your thoughts and expectations with your elected leaders.

  • Who are the senators on the fence and how can we contact them? Many of us have already reached out to Sens. Flake and McCain. – Suzann

The bill’s fate hinges on two Republican votes. At least four senators – Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee, are holdouts, saying the bill does not do enough to reduce the deficit or repeal the Affordable Care Act. Several others have voiced concerns about the deep cuts to Medicaid, including Dean Heller, Rob Portman, Shelly Moore and Susan Collins. The U.S. Senate website has a list of senators and their contact information at

General impacts

  • Are you aware of a Harvard research study that 24 million people losing health insurance means 45,000 additional deaths per year? Do you agree? – Guy

The American Journal of Public Health in 2009 published a study that associated 45,000 deaths annually with a lack of health insurance.  The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School, analyzed U.S. adults under age 65 and found the uninsured have a higher risk of death than those with private insurance. The study’s co-authors noted the numbers indicate one American dies every 12 minutes from lack of health insurance. There have been other studies that have come up with varying numbers, but the bottom line is that the body of evidence – combined with what we know as a health care provider – shows without question that coverage saves lives.

forum2Is it true that the number of uninsured will likely increase even more than the CBO score after the 10-year period? – Barry

Hello, Barry. It will probably serve best to quote directly from the report by the Congressional Budget Office and the staff on the Joint Committee on Taxation, which found that by 2026, there would be 22 million more people uninsured. “In later years, other changes in the legislation—lower spending on Medicaid and substantially smaller average subsidies for coverage in the nongroup market—would also lead to increases in the number of people without health insurance. By 2026, among people under age 65, enrollment in Medicaid would fall by about 16 percent and an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.”

To read the report in its entirety, please visit

  • So the emergency department becomes the primary care for all who do not have insurance. How will the hospitals cope and who will cover the cost?  – Paul

Unfortunately, Paul, those of us in Arizona know all too well what happens when large numbers of people lose access to care. After enrollment in our state’s Medicaid program was frozen in 2011, more than 160,000 people fell off the program rolls over the course of the next two years. They began showing up in our emergency department and those of hospitals across Arizona, seeking health care of last resort for the uninsured. Uncompensated care at Tucson Medical Center alone climbed to more than $25 million. Last year, that number had dropped to about $8 million, thanks for expanded coverage. For many hospitals, and particularly those in rural areas, that burden may be too much to bear, reducing access to care for many who need those critical services.

Medicare impacts

  • How will this bill impact people who are on Medicare? Not on Obamacare? – unsigned
  • How is Medicare affected? – Melvin
  • What does the Senate’s BRCA do to Medicare? – Judith

Although the proposed Senate bill does not make changes to Medicare eligibility or benefits, it will reduce Medicare revenues by eliminating Medicare taxes paid by high-income earners.

Currently, Individuals who are paid annual wages more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples) pay a Medicare payroll surtax – a tax higher than those who are paid wages less than $200,000 annually.

The Senate bill will eliminate the Medicare payroll surtax on high-income wages by 2023.

The proposed Senate legislation also repeals the Net Investment Income Tax – a tax implemented by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act to help fund Medicare. This tax applies to individuals that annually earn more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples) on certain investments (interest, dividends, capital gains and rental income).

The Senate bill makes this tax cut on high-income investments retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017.

It is not just health care entities who are concerned about these proposals. Nancy LeaMond, president of the AARP, has expressed deep concerns about the impact of the bill.  The Senate bill also cuts funding for Medicare which weakens the program’s ability to pay benefits  and leaves the door wide open to benefit cuts.”

These are the answers we have for now. We continue to work on more questions, and will provide answers in a future blog.

Downtown discussion: Healthy strategies for the grocery store

Fruits and vegetables overhead assortment on colorful backgroundSometimes we forget what a miracle – and a trap – the grocery store really is.

It can be a place of wondrous nutritional bounty.

It can also be a place where healthy lifestyles go to get derailed.

If you’ve got 45 minutes over the lunch hour Thursday, July 6, pop over to HealthOn Broadway to join members of Tucson Medical Center’s Wellness team to learn more about thoughtfully navigating those aisles.

“People often think they’re making the right choices at the grocery store but they’re often not the right choices for their health or their finances,” said Wellness Director Mary Atkinson, a registered dietitian. “This is an opportunity to help become a more informed consumer.”

Registered dietitian Laurie Ledford will share information, for example, about how to read labels more effectively. “The front of the packaging is not an accurate source of information,” she said. “The truth is in the fine print on the back.”

TMC’s free and informative wellness conversations take place the first Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. and again from noon – 12:45 p.m. The conversations take place on the first floor of HealthOn Broadway, 1 W. Broadway.

And mark your calendars for August’s discussion: Your Perfect Average Day – How to make small steps count towards big change.

About HealthOn

Tucson Medical Center joined forces with El Rio Health Community Health Center to create HealthOn Tucson, a new innovative, integrated health and wellness collaboration.

HealthOn Broadway provides:

  • State-of-the-art primary care
  • Immediate care (for those unexpected illnesses)
  • Virtual visits
  • Health coaching
  • Health and wellness classes

Staying active in the Arizona heat

“At least it is a dry heat.”

Whether it is a dry heat or not, it is still getting hot out there! This is the time of year that most year-round Tucsonans try to hide from the heat by staying indoors as much as possible. This seems like a good practice, but it can hinder many of the activities we enjoy the other 9 months of the year. So what are we to do?!

We definitely don’t want you to have to give up what you enjoy doing, and we want you to stay active, but we also want you to be smart and safe during your time outdoors. Planning and preparation are the keys to safety. Here are some tips from the TMC Wellness Team to consider as we enter the hotter months.

active in arizona heat

Rise Early

Whether you are normally a morning person or not, you pretty much need to be one from June through August if you ever want to do anything outside! With the sun rising as early as 5:15, meaning that it is light outside by 5:00 (that is a.m.!), you have at least an hour before the thermometer moves over 85 degrees. So for those of you who don’t enjoy exercising indoors, try planning for some early morning activities. We are fortunate to have some beautiful sunrises here in Tucson. You just need to get up and out to enjoy them!

If you aren’t accustomed to waking up early, try going to bed earlier than you normally would, so you will feel well rested. You might also plan to meet a friend or a group that will help motivate you to move in the morning. Once you get into a routine, you will realize it isn’t quite as bad as you used to believe.

Cover Up

Summer often means fun in the sun, but we all need to be careful that we aren’t getting too much of a good thing. The CDC recommends the following to protect ourselves from harmful rays.


  • Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and with both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Be sure to use enough. Apply a thick layer to all exposed skin.
  • Reapply every 2 hours that you are out in the sun or any time you sweat, rinse or wipe it off.

Protective Clothing

  • Wear clothing to cover exposed skin.
  • Loose fitting clothing may be more comfortable. Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics may offer better protection, because they absorb or block more UV rays.


  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Loose fitting hats may be more comfortable in the heat.


  • Don’t forget that the sun can damage your eyes and can increase your risk of cataracts.
  • Sunglasses that wrap close to your face and block both UVA and UVB will provide the greatest protection.


swimming in the summer to keep coolYou have gotten up early, put on the appropriate sun protection, and you are now ready to get out and do something active….Good for you! The final thing to remember about being active during the summer is to hydrate.

When it is hot out, it is easier to remember to drink water. But if you head out early or are swimming, you could forget to replenish the fluids you lose. The standard recommendation is eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day. During the summer, especially in Arizona, and particularly when adding in outdoor activity, the recommendation goes way up; some recommendations go as high as 30 cups per day. The best way to determine how much you need to drink is to take a look at your urine. Urine should be light in color, similar to lemonade; dark urine the color of apple juice is an indicator of dehydration. Drinking smaller amounts more frequently maintains hydration better than drinking a large amount all at one time. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start replacing fluids; rather, drink throughout the day.


Just because it is hot outside (really hot!) is not a good enough reason to stop all activity. Too often we hear, “I’ll start exercising again once it cools down.”  What people are really saying is, “Now that it is hot outside, I have a great excuse not to be active.” WRONG! With a bit of planning, you can still be active.

Enjoy your summer activities!

For more information about our Wellness programs or to sign up for our monthly wellness newsletter Live Well visit our website.

Temps are rising and the pool is beckoning – do you know your water safety?

Pool Safety 3Is it hot enough yet? With Tucson temperatures exceeding 115 degrees for three straight days, many families will be heading for the pool this weekend.

It’s no surprise why swimming is a summer favorite. Parents get a chance to cool-off, kids max out on fun and families make memories.

With the summertime exuberance of visiting, splashing and playing, it can be easy for all to forget important safety rules. This is serious because Arizona has the second highest number of child drownings in the United States.

Child drowning is tragic but preventable. Safe Kids Pima County Coordinator Jessica Mitchell works with community partners to provide helpful tips and education to prevent childhood drowning. She provided us important water safety standards every
parent should know.

It’s as easy as ABC

A = Adult supervision B = Barriers around pools, spas and hot tubs C = Coast Guard approved life vest and life-saving CPR classes

My kids love playing in the pool – what are the things to watch out for?

  • Active supervision is a must. Provide active supervision without any distractions – even if other adults are present and many kids are in the pool. They call drowning the “silent killer” because a drowning child can’t call for help.
  • Infants and toddlers should stay within an arm’s reach of an adult.
  • Don’t rely on swimming aids such as water wings and pool noodles. They are fun, but may not prevent drowning.
  • When finished, remove all toys from the pool. This can tempt children to go for the toys later, increasing the risk of them falling in and drowning.
  • Barriers should be in place to keep children from entering the pool on their own. Alarms on doors and pool fences with self-closing gates also helps to keep kids safe.
  • Always keep a phone nearby so that you can call 911 in the case of an emergency.
  • Empty kiddie pools and turn them upside down when finished. Tragedies have happened in just a few inches of water.

Pool Safety 2
What swimming rules should I set for my children?

  • Only swim if an adult is a present.
  • Do not dive in shallow areas of the pool (or the entire pool if it is not deep enough for diving).
  • Don’t push or jump on others.
  • Don’t go swimming during thunder/lightning storms.

My kids have already taken swimming lessons, so I probably don’t need to watch them as much, right?

While we encourage swimming lessons, children should not be swimming alone even if they are good swimmers. It takes multiple lessons before a child learns how to swim effectively and even then, there should still be active supervision by an adult.

How do I rescue a child I think might be drowning?

  • Take the child out of the water
  • If you are alone, call 911 and begin CPR. Starting CPR immediately is the most important thing you can do to prevent a child from dying.
  • If you are not alone, begin CPR and ask someone to call 911.
  • Check for breathing and responsiveness. Place your ear near the child’s mouth and nose to see if you feel air on your cheek? Determine if the child’s chest is moving and call the child’s name to see if he or she responds.

Should I be CPR certified?

Anyone who routinely supervises children around water should get CPR certified. The certification courses are provided by many community organizations, including the American Red Cross.

It sounds like there is a lot to prepare for – can the water still be safe and fun for my family?

Absolutely! Swimming can be great family fun. Make sure you take the necessary precautions, always supervise swimming children and that someone in the family has taken CPR classes.

Visit our website for more safety tips and information.



TMCOne opens specialty clinic on NW side, providing quality care and convenience

TMC One Med Group your health your team OLProviding high-quality care means recognizing all aspects that benefit patients and their families. Convenience matters, and TMCOne’s  new clinic will make quality medical care and treatment more convenient for northwest residents by including commonly needed follow-up services at one location.

TMCOne is opening a specialized clinic on 7510 N. Oracle just south of Magee road in northwest Tucson. The office will provide comprehensive and specialized care, as well as imaging, IV infusion and health management services.

Susan Vance 1“This unique clinic has been thoughtfully designed to meet varied medical needs in one place,” said TMCOne Executive Director Susan Vance. “From sports medicine and health counseling to imaging and same-day appointments, we’re taking the next step in care.”

Specialties that often converge such as wound care, chronic disease counseling and complex medication regimens can now be managed in one office rather than several clinics. On-site lab and x-ray services will also reduce multiple trips and appointments.

Borrás Carlos
Dr. Carlos A. Borrás has joined the provider team at the Oracle office. He specializes in both internal medicine and sports medicine, providing a needed perspective for injuries related to golf, swimming, tennis, and other sports.

Dr. Dawn Lemcke also joins the northwest office, brining more than 30 years of internal medicine experience – and a strong focus on communication with patients and families.

The office is conveniently located for Oro Valley, Marana and northwest Tucson residents. Same-day appointments and expanded hours further enhance accessibility.

Patients can visit or call (520) 324-4910 to schedule an appointment or for further information.





Safe Kids Pima County – keeping kids safe through education and advocacy

Safe Kids Pima County LogoPlenty of us have practice patching up the skinned knees and elbows of active children in our lives.

Unfortunately, though, accidents are too often far more serious than bumps and scrapes. In fact, accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 0 to 19 – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news about this chilling statistic is that we have the power to change it. “Childhood accidents can (often? always? Almost always) be prevented – a few easy steps for children and adults can help keep kids safe,” said Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator.

Safe Kids Pima County is a network of organizations focused on preventing accidental, childhood injury by educating adults and children, creating safe environments, conducting research, and advocating for effective laws.

Mitchell is a part of TMC’s participation in the Safe Kids initiative, working with community partners to actively engage adults in taking action for stronger child safety. From providing free bike helmets and pool safety to education workshops and school presentations, Mitchell coordinates a full schedule of activities to facilitate child safety awareness.

Jessica MitchellRecently, Mitchell spent a week at Frances Owen Holaway Elementary School, educating each PE class on the merits of bike safety.

“We explain to the kids ‘the brain can’t fix itself’ and make sure every student has a helmet and how to put it on correctly,” Mitchell explained. “The kids also learn the proper hand signals, where it’s safe to ride and how to avoid taking dangerous risks.”

Many child accidents involve bike riding. Over the past three years, Safe Kids Pima County has provided more than 8,000 free bike helmets to children in our community.

Safe Kids Pima County provides information and resources to help keep kids safe. Going forward, look for Mitchell’s monthly blog posts on helping keep kids safe, happy and healthy.

For further information about Safe Kids Pima County, please email or call (520) 324-2783. If you are holding a community event and would like Safe Kids Pima County to attend or participate, click here.

TMC Sponsors June 26 Forum on Health Care Reform: What it Means to Providers and Patients

community forum tmcTucson Medical Center is conducting a series of health forums to help inform the Southern Arizona community on current health care legislation and other federal actions.

Please join us at our next Health Care Town Hall: Health Care Reform and What it Means to Providers and Patients.

Come be part of the conversation and hear what health care leaders have to say about how health care legislation will impact patients and their families.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 26, at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom,  445 S Alvernon Way in Tucson.

 The moderator will be Judy Rich, TMC HealthCare President and CEO. Panelists include:

  • Greg Vigdor, President/CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, who will share the impact on health care and the economic sector
  • Daniel Derksen, Professor, Public Health Policy and Management Program, who will discuss the impact on rural health
  • Nancy Johnson, President and CEO, El Rio Health, who will share the primary care perspective
  • Francisco Garcia, Assistant County Administrator, who will discuss the impact on public health
  • Tommy Schechtman, Pediatrician, Past-president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who will share the impact on children’s health.

Please register here for the event to ensure your seat.

We Are Tucson – We Are Family

Dominguez Family
For Edward, Matthew, and Melissa Dominguez – working at Tucson Medical Center is literally a family affair.

About a year ago, Matthew Dominguez began working in the laundry department at TMC and has recently moved into grounds-keeping. The job is more than an eight-to-five for the young man; it’s a legacy.

“My grandfather, Keith Biggs worked at TMC for many years and just retired,” said Matthew. His grandfather is just one of his family members to work for TMC. “My dad, Ed and my stepmom, Melissa have worked for TMC for almost 15 years.”

Employment at TMC is important to the Dominguez family, and Matthew shared what they appreciate most. “Everything,” he said with a chuckle. “The environment, coworkers, the chance to make a difference in the community, even the history and knowledge.”

Matthew is a proud he and his family work at TMC, and he’s taking it a step further. “I encourage so many of my friends to apply for the TMC jobs they are qualified for.”

TMC logo
He says Tucson Medical Center is more than the place to work. “We always go to TMC if we need the Emergency Department or anything else – even more of our family have been patients.”

Tucson Medical Center is Tucson’s locally governed community hospital, where advanced technology meets compassionate care. TMC employees are more than a team, they are a family working together to build stronger health throughout Southern Arizona.

For more information about joining the TMC family, visit the TMC employment page.



Wound Care Awareness Week – celebrating treatments that are changing lives

Tucson Medical Center is honoring Wound Care Awareness Week by celebrating the treatments and therapies that are improving the quality of life for patients.

WoundCare 1Healing can be taken for granted – and many are unaware that a wound, sore or infection can be a significant challenge for seniors, diabetics and individuals experiencing illnesses that impede healing.

Several years ago, Carolyn Herman began noticing small red bumps that looked like insect bites – but each bump grew into a painful sore that would not heal.

As the sores grew in number and severity, Herman sought help from dermatologists who diagnosed her with Pyoderma Gangrenosum, a rare autoimmune disease whose cause is unknown. It began taking over her life, until she found the TMC Wound Care Center and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“It’s so frustrating because treating it is so hard,” Herman said. “Any small cut or skin rupture can turn into a very painful lesion.”

Wound Center Lavor“I just felt like things were always going to get worse,” Herman explained. “I saw specialists and wound centers, but it wasn’t getting better. I had tens of lesions on my body.”

In early 2016, Herman’s dermatologist referred her to the TMC Wound Clinic. “Everyone from the desk clerk to the nurses did a wonderful job of making me feel comfortable and at ease.”

Herman saw Dr. Michael A. Lavor, the medical director at the TMC Wound Clinic. Lavor performed surgery to address infections and prescribed ongoing hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy.

“With HBO, the patient enters a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber that looks like a wide hospital gurney with a large, clear acrylic cover – like a tube,” said Heather Jankowski, the director of outpatient services at the TMC Wound Care Center.

Woundcare4“The chamber is filled with 100 percent oxygen, and the air pressure in the chamber is raised– which allows the lungs to safely absorb greater amounts of oxygen,” Jankowski continued. “HBO strengthens oxygen absorption, helping tissue heal more quickly and completely by stimulating growth factors and inhibiting toxins.”

Herman engaged more than 100 treatments, every day for two hours. HBO is not painful and many patients sleep through it. Still, engaging so many treatments can take its toll. “The staff was so good to me, they were always compassionate and thoughtful – it made 117 treatments doable.”

The HBO provided great relief and sped healing. “I’m doing wonderful now – my infections are gone and I’m managing my condition much more easily,” Herman said enthusiastically.

The TMC Wound Care Center has been serving Southern Arizona for five years and treats a wide variety of patients with healing challenges such as diabetic foot ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, failed flaps, and ORN of the jaw.

For further information about the TMC Wound Care Center, please visit the webpage or call (520) 324-4220. Call (520) 324-2075 for scheduling.


Osteoporosis: “The most important factor is prevention”

May is Women’s Health Month, a great time to celebrate and promote stronger health and a perfect time to discuss the latest information about preventing and treating health challenges like osteoporosis.

More than 44 million American women experience the debilitating effects of the bone disease, and many women fear aching joints and brittle bones are an inevitable part of aging. It is important to know the risks, and engage opportunities to maintain optimum bone-health.

Dr. Lawrence R. Housman is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in musculoskeletal disease at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He sat down with us to discuss the best ways to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

OsteoporosisWhy are women at greater risk for osteoporosis?  

Women start with a lower bone density than men. They also lose bone mass more quickly as they age. Between ages 20-80, women will lose about 1/3 of her bone density compared to men who lose only 1/4 of their bone density in that time frame. Estrogen levels also affect bone density, and women lose bone mass more quickly in the years immediately following menopause than at any other time of their lives.

What can accentuate this risk?

Alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor, however more than four drinks per day results in a twice the risk of hip fracture. Steroids can also increase this risk. Long term use of steroids will double the risk of fracture in women.

It should be noted that proton pump inhibitors (e.g. Nexium/Protonix used for stomach disorders such as acid reflux) decrease the absorption of calcium from the stomach.

While increasing fiber, phylates (beans, wheat bran), oxalates (spinach, beet greens, rhubarb) and phosphorus (colas) can provide other health benefits they can also interfere with calcium metabolism.

What are the most effective means of preventing osteoporosis?

Regular exercise is one of the most effective means of preventing osteoporosis. Thirty minutes per day – walking is excellent, and Tai Chi reportedly decreases falls by 47 percent and hip fracture by 25 percent.

Nutrition is another import part of maintaining healthy bones. Fruits and vegetables are important. Women ages 19-50 should take in 1000 mg of calcium daily and women older than 50 should get 1200 mg per day.

Vitamin D is another vital nutrient the body needs to prevent osteoporosis. An individual can get their vitamin D through measured exposure to sunlight or through supplements. A diet with dairy, protein or calcium fortified foods (e.g. orange juice), fish (salmon/sardines) and yogurt (6 ounces has 300 mg of calcium) will go a long way in getting vitamin d to the bones.

What are the warning signs of the disease – and when is it time to see a doctor?

There are usually no warning signs before a fracture occurs; therefore, the most important factor is prevention.

A primary care provider (PCP) is the best person to monitor bone health. Most physicians recommend a DEXA (bone density test) after the age of 50.

The DEXA scan is the bone density test done most frequently and is predictive of fracture risk. The scan will also show whether you have normal bone density, osteopenia (bone is becoming weaker) or osteoporosis (bone is at high risk for fracture).

If a fracture occurs, then an orthopaedist would enter the picture to advise on treatment concerning the spine or extremity fracture.

If diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis – what’s next?

With treatment patients can live normal, active and happy lives.

There are many types of medications that are now available – which work to reverse and then rebuild the bone loss. With treatment, the risk of a vertebral fracture drops from between 30-70 percent and the risk of a hip fracture drops by up to 40 percent.

Housman OsteoporosisDr. Housman is an orthopaedic surgeon who practices at the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He earned a medical degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Montreal General Hospital and McGill University. Dr. Housman is fellowship trained in several orthopaedic pursuits and is a past chief of staff at Tucson Medical Center. He has also served as president of the Western Orthopaedic Association and Arizona Orthopaedic Society.



American Health Care Act could devastate health care system, panelists say

NursingPhoto.jpgTucson Medical Center  – as well as other hospitals and health institutions across the country – will be under threat if 23 million people lose their insurance in the coming decade under the American Health Care Act.

That was the consensus of panelists at the Mayor’s Health Forum Tuesday, part of a series of forums taking place this week in cities across the state, from Phoenix to Flagstaff and Sedona.  The forum, held at the Pima County Housing Center, was organized by Planned Parenthood.

“Having access to health care means having access to affordable health care,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who served on the panel, which also included patients. “If you can’t afford it, you can’t access it.”

With uninsured rates are at historic lows, Rothschild said he had to change his general stance of staying out of federal policy. “Being mayor gives me plenty of do here locally, but this affects all of us – at the state and at the city level,” he said. “And if bad results occur and it is left to the cities to deal with it, we likely will not have the resources necessary to address it. So to me, this is personal.”

Julia Strange, the vice president of community benefit for TMC, said as the largest hospital in the city, TMC injects $740 million in economic impact into the region, supports nearly 6,000 jobs, cares for about 100,000 people a year in its emergency room, and reinvests millions back into the community in terms of education, outreach, charity care and other benefits.

“I tell you all of this because TMC will not be the same if the AHCA happens,” she cautioned.

After the Affordable Care Act brought coverage to 400,000 Arizonans, TMC’s charity care and bad debt plummeted from $25.8 million to $8 million. Unraveling that would undermine the viability of hospitals, which would ultimately impact everyone – from the vulnerable to the wealthy.

“Even if you have insurance from your employer or are extraordinarily wealthy, coming to the hospital is the great leveler,” Strange said. “In our country, we don’t have a healthcare system for the rich and a healthcare system for the poor: It is for the community as a whole, and we need to invest in it to make sure the services we need are available when we need them,” Strange said, adding it is a moral imperative to protect the most vulnerable.

Panelists urged attendees to share with their Senators, who are largely back in their districts, the need to reset the discussion to protect their constituents.


TMC now offering scheduled appointments for Pediatric Emergency Department visitors

TMC now offering online appointmentsEmergencies and convenience don’t often intersect – but for those who can wait to seek medical care, Tucson Medical Center now offers scheduled pediatric appointments to make emergencies just a little easier.

Emergency Department appointments are not appropriate for those children with emergent medical conditions.

But for others, the new service offers a convenient alternative that allows them to rest in the comfort of their own home while waiting for a prescheduled time.s.

The new tool, which is easily accessible on the TMC website at, allows patients to go online to review a list of open appointment times and secure that time slot.

Patients should know that although TMC strives to see patients as close to their appointment time as possible, projected wait times may be impacted if patients with more significant emergencies present for emergency care or if their case is determined to be more serious after a medical screening exam by a provider.

For more information, please visit

We Are Champions initiative boosting community’s health care knowledge

We Are Champions patio

We Are Champions is an initiative created by the TMC Foundation to build a healthier Southern Arizona by bringing the community and health care knowledge together.

The group organizes in-depth health care presentations that cover important information regarding health and the health care system – helping each member champion stronger wellness and knowledge throughout our communities.

The presentations are conducted by health care leaders, offering the most current information about the technologies being used at Tucson Medical Center and the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences.

Luis LeonA recent discussion featured accomplished vascular surgeon Dr. Luis Leon, where the crowd learned details about the body’s vascular system and new advancements being used to treat complex vascular challenges.

Members will also receive guided tours of TMC, with information about each department and service line.

“This is a great way for our community to come together and share health care knowledge throughout Southern Arizona,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer.

Future presentations are planned throughout the year, with the next being held by Dr. Michele Boyce Ley, a fellowship-trained breast surgical oncologist.

We Are Champions Adaline KlemmedsonAdaline Klemmedson, steering chair of We are Champions also shared her enthusiasm, “It is my privilege to be a part of Tucson Medical Center’s We Are Champions and I look forward to watching it grow in the future, particularly with your participation. We are excited to present a lecture series, facility tours and much more.  Please join us to learn more about TMC, your community hospital.  And through this experience, you will become a more healthy and informed you!”

For more information about We are Champions, call (520) 324-2296, email Krissy King or visit the We are Champions website.


TMC celebrates 200 TAVR procedures – Tucson visitor thankful for life-saving technique

Furman 2Pennsylvania residents Frank and Jan Furman travel to Tucson every winter. This year, the couple was also visiting to attend an award ceremony for their daughter.

While in Tucson, a cardiac emergency put Frank Furman’s life in jeopardy. Thanks to a minimally invasive heart procedure known as TAVR, Furman has a new lease on life and was able to attend his daughter’s ceremony only a few days after the procedure.

Tucson Medical Center is celebrating the completion of 200 TAVR heart procedures. TAVR stands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a technique used to replace the aortic heart valve with less scarring, pain and recovery time than traditional open-chest surgery.

Furman had been experiencing some heart challenges, but received the OK to travel. Still, Jan worried for her husband as they made their way from Erie, Pennsylvania to Tucson. “He’s such a trooper and never complains, but I could tell he was more winded than usual.”

TMC Cardiovascular CenterThe couple enjoys southwest culture, and visited one of their favorite Tucson spots. “I couldn’t miss the Sons of the Pioneers show at Old Tucson Studios,” Furman said with a smile. But it was during the performance that things took a turn. Furman became so faint and winded after walking just 15 feet that he had to stop to catch his breath. The frightening experience motivated him to seek a cardiologist at Tucson Medical Center.

The structural heart team at TMC completed a number of advanced diagnostics and determined Furman’s aortic valve needed to be replaced immediately. While his family was concerned for his health, Furman had something else on his mind. “My daughter’s award ceremony was five days away – she’s worked so hard and I didn’t want to miss it,” Furman said.

waggonerThe close-knit family received some relief when Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Thomas Waggoner explained Furman was a strong candidate for TAVR.

With TAVR, an interventional cardiologist (or surgeon) guides the new heart valve through a catheter inserted in the upper thigh. The cardiologist then maneuvers into the heart and expands the new valve over the damaged valve, effectively replacing it with a tight seal.

The minimally-invasive procedure is an effective option for patients who are an intermediate/high surgery risk. In addition, patients experience minimal discomfort and a three-day average hospital stay – with patients returning to their normal activity after discharge.

“I felt better almost instantly,” Furman said. “The next day I was walking so fast that the physical therapist told me to slow down.”

Two days later, Furman left the hospital feeling great. “He looked so good! His face was full of color again and he had no trouble getting around,” said Furman’s wife, Jan. As for pain, “He didn’t even fill the prescription for pain meds,” she said happily.

Frank Furman’s life has changed; he’s no longer winded, has a strong prognosis and looks forward to rounding up the golf clubs again. “It’s the best thing that happened,” his wife of 57 years said.

TAVR Frank FurmanFurman wasn’t shy about sharing what he thought the greatest advantage of TAVR was. “I recovered fast enough to see my daughter Cheryl receive the Most Inspirational Mentor of the Year award; it was fantastic.”

TAVR is one of many procedures performed through TMC’s structural heart program, featuring advanced technologies, a specially-trained staff and a team of physicians who work with patients to evaluate and determine the best treatment plan.

The Furman family will soon be returning to Pennsylvania, where a new schedule for the patriarch includes walking, golf, cardiac rehabilitation and maybe a little more golf. When asked what he’d say to patients who are candidates for TAVR, Furman didn’t mince any words. “Go do it!”

Services Thursday for cardiologist Marius Wagner

Wagner-2012Marius Wagner, M.D, was known by many at Tucson Medical Center as a talented healer.

With a lifelong sense of duty to care for the sick, he practiced interventional cardiology as a partner at Pima Heart Associates for 30 years.

“Dr. Wagner was a great cardiologist and friend to many,” said Anita Bach, TMC’s Cardiovascular and Imaging Service Line Administrator. “He was extremely passionate about the care he provided to his patients and was often described as a big ‘teddy bear’ to those who knew and loved him. He will be missed in the cardiology community; especially at TMC where he served as our Cath Lab Medical Director for several years.”

Dr. Wagner completed medical school at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania and immigrated to America in 1975, where we would complete his internship and residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. His Cardiology Fellowship was completed at Coney Island Hospital.

Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular disease, Dr. Wagner moved to Tucson in 1983.

On Dr. Wagner’s Pima Heart site, he shared, “I practice medicine the old-fashioned way so I really enjoy interacting with my patients and hearing about their backgrounds and experiences. Every day I learn something new and interesting”

Prayers and a eulogy will be offered at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Chapel of the East Lawn Palms Mortuary, 5801 E. Grant Road.

To read more about Dr. Wagner’s life, please visit

TMC receives prestigious Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite

American Heart Association recognizes TMC’s commitment to quality stroke care

TMCawardedGetWithGuidelinesTucson Medical Center is pleased to announce that our hospital was recently honored with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite. The award recognizes TMC’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Tucson Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed. This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said TMC’s Stroke Program Coordinator Renee McAloney.  “TMC continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.”

TMC has also met specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center and as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. Certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, through the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, is a prestigious designation held by only two hospitals in the state of Arizona.

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize TMC for its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

Get With The Guidelines®-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.



TMC participates in compression-only World CPR challenge May 25

Picture1When real estate broker Gary Brauchla’s heart stopped in 2012, his wife knew to immediately begin CPR until rescuers could arrive.

“At 3 a.m., when I went into Cardiac Arrest and died:  If Kathie would have waited just the six minutes until the first responders arrived, I would not have survived,” Brauchla said. “Instead, she immediately called 911 and began pushing hard and fast. She saved my life – and will always be my hero.”

Would you know what to do if a loved one – or even a total stranger – suddenly collapsed nearby?

Tucson Medical Center, American Medical Response and Brauchla’s nonprofit, Arizona Cardiac Arrest Survivors, will team up on Thursday, May 25 from 8 a.m. to noon at various points on the TMC campus to participate in the World CPR Challenge to train as many people as possible in compression-only CPR.

Bystanders will have a chance to quickly learn two crucial life-saving steps: Call 911 and push hard and fast on the chest in uninterrupted rhythm to the Bee Gees hit “Stayin’ Alive.” Participants will be able to practice on a mannequin at tables staffed by instructors.

According to the American Heart Association, most people who experience sudden cardiac arrest die because they do not receive immediate CPR, which could otherwise double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.

The Association has maintained that compression-only works just as well as traditional CPR in sudden cardiac arrest cases. It can be easier to apply and eliminates a barrier for those who are reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

“We hope to train as many people as possible at this life-saving event, so that rather than stand by helplessly, they can take action and help another person,” said Alex Lopez, AMR account executive.


Tired of renting? TMC hosts Homebuyer Expo May 31

TowerresizedDozens of lenders and housing professionals will be available to provide free information to those exploring the path to homeownership at an upcoming event designed specifically for homebuyers.

The Expo, organized through the office of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, will be held Wednesday, May 31, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in TMC’s Marshall Conference Center, 5301 E. Grant Road.

Attendees can learn about mortgage options, find out how to improve their credit score and determine whether they might quality for down payment assistance programs.

Members of the public are welcome to join TMC employees at the event.

“We know homeownership strengthens neighborhoods. When residents have an investment in the community, they engage with the community, which is why this is an important priority for the city,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “We also know there are more homebuyer assistance programs out there than people are aware of, so this is one tool we can use to help get the word out.”

Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC, noted the economic, civic and social benefits of stable home ownership are well documented. “We are pleased to participate in an event in which provides local community members an opportunity to explore whether homeownership is for them, in a friendly, one-stop experience,” she said.

Parking is available in the Catalina Garage just north of the northeast entrance.

For more information about the Expo, please contact Jaimie Galayda at 791-4201.


During National Donate Life Month, organ donation impacted TMC family

National Donate Life 4.jpgThe Spohn family had a special reason to celebrate this year’s National Donate Life Month – a kidney donation that has made a meaningful difference in their lives, providing great relief and renewed freedom.

When it comes to doing things together, the Spohns are a close-knit family who share every triumph and every challenge. Ed Spohn credits the support of his wife, Michelle and son, Phillip for helping him brave the extraordinary challenges of polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

The Spohns are also a part of the Tucson Medical Center family – Michelle has been a member of the TMC nursing-staff for more than 20 years, and Philip will soon be moving from transportation into patient safety.

Now in his late 50s, Ed has been coping with the disease since age 17. “They told me I’d probably have to go on dialysis in my 50s.” Unfortunately the genetic disease took grip far sooner, and dangerously enlarged Ed’s kidneys before he turned 40. In 1997, Ed received a kidney from his wife, Michelle.

Ed’s life changed and he could resume most activities. After the transplant, Ed says he felt “wonderful.” Gone was the chronic pain in his back, the swelling in his feet, the nausea, and the intense headaches and shortness of breath. Ed’s family experienced the challenges with him – and Michelle knows she did the right thing.

National Donate Life“It’s so gratifying to do something like this,” said Michelle. “It is so hard to see a loved one suffer and It made all the difference. I’d do it again if I had another to give.”

Michelle said she has not experienced any medical issues as a result of her donation, and she encourages others to donate. “I tell people to get tested for a tissue-match if they have a family member or loved one with kidney failure – it will change everything for them.”

Receiving a kidney transplant requires constant care and monitoring. While the rewards change lives, there is a risk of rejection and the recipient will need to take anti-rejection medications that have additional risks and side effects.

Unfortunately, transplant kidneys do not last as long as our own organs. Ed’s periodic blood tests revealed the transplant kidney was failing in 2013. He soon began dialysis – a process in which a machine called a hemodialyzer performs the function of the kidneys. The process is life-saving, but strenuous – often causing anemia, fluid overload, constant itching, trouble sleeping, and other taxing symptoms.

Ed received dialysis treatment three times a week, for several hours at a time. The process also involves frequent testing. “You have to adhere to a strict diet, and get fluids and blood checked all the time,” Ed said. “It was never easy, but we did what we had to do.”

Dialysis also requires frequent sessions, restricting any travel. “I missed a lot of things,” Ed stated. “I couldn’t go to so many family gatherings, like my niece’s wedding – I even missed my mother’s special birthday party when she turned 80.”

National Donate Life 3.jpgAfter a year, the Spohns also provided hemodialysis for ED at home – a very difficult task that was understandably stressful and overwhelming for the family. “We experienced a roller coaster of emotions,” Michelle said. “Ed was on the donation list and we answered every phone call with such hope.”

Those hopes came to fruition last week, when the Spohn family received the call they had been waiting for. The transplant was a success – and the Spohns are overjoyed to be sharing a triumph. Michelle attended a ceremonial flag-raising on the TMC campus last week to bring awareness to the need for organ donation.

“I’m so thankful,” Ed said, with a grateful smile. Transplant recipients can write an appreciative letter to the family of the deceased donor through the Donor Network of Arizona. Ed said he wants to take it a step further. “I really hope I get to meet them, so I can tell them how much it helps our family – I’m forever grateful.”

What’s next for the Spohns? The family will spend the next few months ensuring Ed’s body accepts the new kidney – after that, they hope to travel and celebrate Ed’s restored health. “I’m already feeling so much better!”

For further information about organ donation, visit the website for the Donor Network of Arizona.

National Donate Life 5


TMC celebrates the economic impact of hospitals in building healthy communities, healthy economy

Hospital WeekWhat does $740 million in total economic impact look like?

It comes in the form of:

  • Salaries for 5,800 jobs
  • Vast deliveries of office supplies and medical equipment
  • Nutritious ingredients for 3,200 meals served each and every day
  • Technological innovation and capital investment

In short, it looks like Tucson Medical Center – the area’s sixth largest private employer – and its total annual economic impact, most of which occurs at home in Pima County.

Hospitals play a strong role in improving the physical health of a community, from caring for people in emergencies, performing healing surgeries and welcoming babies into the world.

Hospital Week 2Beyond that important work, National Hospital Week, starting May 7, is an appropriate time to celebrate the economic contribution hospitals make. The sector is the largest employer industry in the state, making up 13 percent of Arizona jobs and contributing $22 billion in direct economic impact.

Last year, TMC invested $58 million back into the community, in the form of providing charity care, engaging the community in wellness and helping to fund Medicaid expansion. In fact, nearly 80,000 people were touched by TMC outreach and education programs in 2016, spread across 751 events.

“As one of this region’s largest employers, and as Tucson’s locally-governed nonprofit community hospital, TMC is proud to play an active role in supporting our local economy and helping improve the community’s health and wellness,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of community benefit.

TMC: Telemedicine receiving strong praise in rural Arizona

When endocrinologist Shubh Kaur, MD, was first approached to consider telehealth visits with patients in the Douglas and Safford area, she was immediately intrigued.

It seemed an appropriate solution for patients whose zip codes made it difficult to get specialty care without a lengthy drive.

TelemedicineBut she was also new to the technology. “I had an open mind about what the interaction would be like, but I was very interested in the question of patient experience, and whether it would be effective in building relationships.”

So far, she is pleased to report, patients have given good reviews on their feedback forms.

Dr. Kaur was contracted for the service by Tucson Medical Center, which was the founding member of the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance, a group of five independent, nonprofit community hospitals in Benson, Bisbee, Safford, Tucson and Willcox. The group banded together to build stronger alignment to better serve patients and allow for greater efficiencies in purchasing, insurance and electronic medical records.

Recognizing the need for expanded access to specialty care in some of the areas, TMC reached out to the Arizona Telemedicine Program, operated by the University of Arizona, to work on expanding telehealth opportunities. TMC also surveyed the members of the Alliance to see what specialty care they most needed. Adult endocrinology was one of the most critical needs.

Dr. Kaur has provided weekly clinics for patients at the Copper Queen Community Hospital’s Douglas Medical Complex, as well as monthly clinics with Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in Safford. A medical assistant at those locations is able to palpate a patient’s thyroid, for example, or provide medical interpretation for Spanish-language patients.

“For many residents of the Safford and the Gila Valley, the two-hour drive to Tucson is a great challenge – so much so that they may forego needed specialty care,” said Mark Marchetti, CEO of Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.  “Through telemedicine, we are able to provide that care locally and help ensure that patients received the medical services that they need.” 

Telemedicine 2Hope Thomas, the network director of the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance, predicted telehealth is in the midst of an evolution. “Right now, the change is really starting to happen in rural healthcare, but that’s going to evolve. More and more, urban consumers are going to be demanding it.”

Joanne Martin, strategy program manager for TMC, agreed. “It’s a time saver for both the patients and the providers because it provides the convenience of being able to share expertise without anyone having to leave their own environment.”

“There’s some room to grow on the reimbursement side, but it’s a really good model if you really care about providing the care the patient needs.”

That’s what has most impressed Dr. Kaur. “I immediately liked the idea of being able to reach more patients, because there are so many patients with poorly controlled or complicated endocrine disorders, who never go to a specialist because it’s such a long drive and they have no other access to care. It’s great to be able to help people, no matter their geography.”

Dr. Kaur said she doesn’t expect it will replace face to face visits in a clinic. “But I do think it is a really good option for certain conditions and for certain cases, and it’s clear that patients are responding that they would recommend this technology to others and would continue using it themselves. The feedback has been really very positive.”


Every interaction a mentoring opportunity to help others build confidence, find success

CherylYoungCheryl Young, the Lean Transformation Officer at Tucson Medical Center, was recently named Most Inspirational Mentor of the Year by the Tucson Nurses Week Foundation, an award that promotes the growth and support of professional nurses in the community.

As one nomination notes:

“Her belief is that nurses should be teaching on a daily basis, and also learning on a daily basis. She is consistently approachable and willing to share her knowledge with everyone.

She creates the vision and possibilities for our future culture and processes, and consistently strives through coaching and mentoring to get us closer to that realization.”

We caught up with Cheryl to talk about the importance of serving as a role model and coach to other nurses.

I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was 3, when my mother bought me the Little Golden Book “Nurse Nancy.” It had a package of Band-Aids in the back that my mom would refill so I could keep patching up my two older brothers.

But what that career has looked like, and the shapes it has taken, has been the result of many voices.

Without each of their contributions at different places along the way, I wouldn’t be in this space, where I have had an amazing opportunity to help this organization – and the people who work here – improve what we do every day.

The recognition is very special to me, even though I don’t feel like what I do is particularly special. It feels like normal life: Something more like a neighborhood potluck than black-tie formal.

Just as opportunities within nursing are endless, the ability to support one another on those varied career paths is something we can do more often than we might realize.

Mentorships don’t have to be a formal relationship. There are formal mentoring programs, and we do them here at TMC, but for me, mentoring has broader applications.

Grandparents who make you a better person; parents who keep you motivated; older brothers who shared their career decisions; the seasoned nurse in ICU who took time to teach me skill sets and prompted me to think critically. Those are all forms of mentorship. It’s every time you gave words of encouragement, offered advice, or asked questions such as, “What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I think all of my bosses in one way or another have served as a mentor to me. Our interactions – whether good or bad – led me in different directions.  Early in my career, a charge nurse, who was a great mentor, gave me the confidence to know that I had the knowledge base to do critical care. A lot of what a mentor does is help you build the self-esteem you lack and get you to a place where you can say, “I can do this.”

Mentors don’t provide the answers. Mentors ask the right questions. They should get you thinking, stimulate the thought process, and provide feedback – not answer the question for you.

Help mentees find the source of their motivation. When people come to me and say they feel like they handled a situation badly and want to know how they could have handled it differently, we have a conversation. It’s important for them to figure out the “why” behind their response. What did the other person do or say – or what is it about them overall – that triggered that response? Once we get to the root of that, we can take a step back and think about how they might handle that situation differently in the future. You’ve got to have people in your life to serve as your sounding board, and provide honest feedback or you can’t improve.

Everyone is a mentor. For me, a mentor is a person you go to when you have a difficult decision to make and you are not sure which path to take. Every staff member here and every interaction can meet that definition if you take every opportunity to look for the positive outcomes and see how you might do things differently. Even when you’re a brand new nurse, you’re mentoring people. You’re mentoring your patients and family members to either help them get better or learn to deal with whatever it is life has given them that brought them into the hospital.

New manager called out by her peers for being the Heart of Hospice

Stephanie Carter, center, is honored as Heart of Hospice with bereavement specialist MK LeFevour, left, and director Alicia Ferguson.

Unbeknownst to the new TMC Hospice manager, many of her colleagues had already tossed her name into the hat for the program’s quarterly recognition award.

“She holds the bar to the highest level and is always there to help you,” said Alicia Ferguson, director of TMC Hospice.

After a blind judging, Ferguson explained, Stephanie Carter, the home-care supervisor turned manager was named the Heart of Hospice last Thursday during a breakfast ceremony.

“It’s very telling you all voted your new manager to be your new Heart of Hospice,” quipped Alicia Ferguson, noting that nominations had closed prior to Carter getting her new role.

“Stephanie plays the role of RN, supervisor, case manager, EPIC super user, teacher, student and voice for the team,” according to one of the nomination forms. “She stands up for what is right for her patients, families, employees and peers and will not take ‘no’ for an answer with her patients and the team’s best interests at heart.”

In addition to her own caseload, according to those who nominated her, “she picks up visits to help out the team. Not one to complain, she works tirelessly to ensure patient and family satisfaction as well as to take care of her teammates. She has a willingness to learn more about hospice and leadership and is always open to doing more.”

Almost as if on cue, Carter is doing more in a leadership role, taking her new position two days prior to receiving the award. Carter has nine years at TMC and seven and a half with TMC Hospice, and, in her new role as clinical manager, she leads both the inpatient and outpatient areas of hospice.

The Heart of Hospice is someone who embodies the hospice philosophy and represents all that is good in health care:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

In addition to being recognized among her peers, Carter has her name and photo displayed on a plaque in the entryway to Peppi’s House, received a “key” pin to wear on her ID badge representing the key to the Heart of Hospice, and parks in the designated Employee of the Quarter space at Peppi’s House.

Conquering my first marathon – and a few tips I’ve learned along the way

Tara Bruce shares tips on prepping for marathonHad you asked me two years ago, I never would have told you that running a marathon was something I would one day accomplish.  Like many, I assumed marathons were for dedicated athletes and super humans – my 3-5 leisurely miles a week didn’t qualify me as either.

When I signed up for the TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k in the summer of 2015 as a part of the FEAT program, I had no idea I would be starting on a journey that would lead me to the Boston Marathon.

After the 5k, I slowly started to run more miles, engaging with local running groups and picking the brains of the talented athletes in the TMC family.  It was the stories of other strong, fast and brave men and women I met during this time that shifted my perspective of what it meant to be a runner.  It was less about being a super human and more about having a passion for the sport.

Flash forward 15 months.  After a handful of TMC races, including the Tri for Kindness and the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown, I signed up for the Phoenix Marathon with a goal of running a qualifying time for Boston.

Training for a marathon was one of the most mentally and physically challenging experiences I have ever gone through.  Once again, I leaned on the knowledge and experience of my co-workers and running buddies to get me through the ups and downs, learning a lot along the way.  I managed to finish with a time of 3:16:49 and plan on racing the Boston Marathon in 2018!  Until then, here are a few tips I learned along the way in training for my first marathon…

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

How many of us have made the choice to train for a race only to find ourselves burned out or injured a week later?  Tucson has a robust running community of certified running coaches, running clubs, athletes and everyday runners who can help you plan and train for your race for the best results.

  1. Find a Running Buddy

The support of your running friends plays a major role in the entire process.  You are running more miles than ever before. There’s nothing better than finding a few people who will do 20-plus miles with you on their Sunday morning.

  1. Smart Running is a real thing

It’s not just about running as fast as you can!  How many times have you heard runners of every level say, “I went out too fast.”  Strategy and patience during the race was the key to getting me across the finish line.

  1. Listen to your body

Training for a marathon is a lifestyle change and can take a toll on your body if you don’t ease into things.  If your training plan says one thing – and your body is telling you another – don’t ignore that message.

  1. Good shoes

I can’t stress enough that there’s a difference between a pair of shoes and the RIGHT pair of running shoes.  If you’re going to invest the time in the training, your shoes are a crucial part to keep you injury-free and enjoying the miles ahead.  Many local stores will also do footwear analysis, so if you don’t know what the right fit is for you, ask! It’s easy to find out.

  1. Don’t do something if you don’t like it

After a while, if you aren’t in love with whatever physical activity you are doing, try something new.  Not every day of marathon training is going to be great – but you should never be jogging on the path and saying, “When is this over? I hate running.”  Once you find something that gets you excited to move and be active, there’s no stopping you from accomplishing amazing things!

Tara A. Bruce is the assistant manager for retail & wellness outreach for Tucson Medical Center.


National Volunteer Week: TMC volunteer receives prestigious award

Nancie Roahrig 1For many years, Nancie Roahrig has provided equine-assisted therapy at TMC Hospice and TMC for Children. Her company, Step Up to T.L.C., Inc., has received numerous accolades for bringing peace and happiness to patients when they need it most. Recently, Roahrig received a KOLD Hero Award – a special recognition presented by Heather Rowe, news anchor at KOLD – their story was featured on television earlier this week.

The non-profit has a unique mission. “Our goal is to enrich the lives of those who are in need through healthy interactions with our ponies and horses,” said Roahrig.

The handlers and horses donate their time at children’s in-patient units, rehabilitation clinics, group homes, retirement communities, nursing homes and in-patient hospice locations. You might also see the therapy horses at special events for local schools, Step Up into TLC 4.jpglibraries, and churches.

The organization’s name, Step Up into T.L.C., says a lot about what they do. “Step up” is a common equine term encouraging horses to quicken their pace. The “T.L.C.” part of the title stands for Therapeutic Loving Caballos – caballos being the Spanish word for horses.

Every two weeks, Roahrig and crew accompany two well-trained miniature horses at TMC for Children. Playful hats and ribbons adorn the manes and extraordinarily soft hair of the minis, like Buddy and Chancey.

Step Up into TLC 2A comical and functional addition to their outfits is the shoes – no, not horseshoes. “Build-A-Bear shoes,” Roahrig says with a hearty laugh. The shoes intended for the stuff-able teddy-bears are a perfect fit for miniature horses, and keep their smaller hoofs from slipping on hospital floors.

The gentle horses enjoy getting rubs on the nose and scratches behind the ears. They aren’t shy, and the pair of calm minis walk right up to the hospital beds. While the interaction is soothing for the horses, it’s even more meaningful for the patients and families.

“To have an animal come into a patient’s room with their unconditional love, is an incredible experience,” shared Roahrig. “It becomes a calmer and happier place with something so simple, but so profound, as a wet nose nuzzle.”

Step Up into T.L.C.’s stables house several therapy horses, including miniature horses, ponies, Arabians, a Clydesdales and a Percheron. All are specially-trained to bring comfort.

Step Up into TLC 3Roahrig comes from two generations of horsewomen. Combine that with her certified nursing assistant credentials, and you have a perfect match. In addition, she has experienced the benefits of equine-assisted therapy first-hand.

“I was on the receiving side on two separate occasions with family members, and I saw the benefits and memories that they make,” said Roahrig. “They offer no judgment, which says volumes, and provide a nurturing, safe place for healing.”

She is driven by a strong belief that through her work with horses, she is able to help others regain their sense of self-worth and hope.

Step Up into TLCToni Robinson, a recipient of Nancy Roahrig’s care, best summarized her generosity and expertise. “Horses change lives.”

For more information, please visit the Step Up into T.L.C., Inc. website at or their Facebook page at





Meet Holli, a TMC Hospice home care volunteer

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, Tucson Medical Center celebrates the passionate work of nearly 700 volunteers in TMC Hospice, TMC for Senior, Pet Therapy and the TMC Auxiliary. The dedicated patrons log more than 90,000 hours every year helping TMC patients have the most comfortable and pleasant experience possible, whether in the hospital or at home. Find more stories about TMC Hospice volunteers on our Facebook page.

Briefly describe yourself.
I’m Holli, and I am so fortunate to have been able to retire early and do more of those things that there was never enough time to do during my working years. I’m loving it! I’ve been traveling with my husband in our little camper/van and seeing lots of this beautiful country. I enjoy hiking with my friends (we call ourselves “a girl scout troop”), reading and doing volunteer work. I spent my career as a mental health therapist and I continue to work on the weekend at a behavioral health hospital. I am finding my retirement to be an exciting and fulfilling chapter in my life.

How long have you been a volunteer with TMC Hospice?
I have been a Hospice volunteer for two and a half years.

What role are you currently in?
I am a homecare volunteer.

Do you volunteer anywhere else currently? If so, where?
Yes, I am a reading coach with Reading Seed, a program through Literacy Connects. I spend time, weekly, reading 1:1 with 1st and 2nd graders with a goal of instilling in them a love of reading. I also volunteer each year at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Why did you choose hospice volunteer work?
During my years as a therapist I had the opportunity to help several clients’ deal with issues at the end of their lives. I found it to be some of the most rewarding work I did over the years.

I also experienced Hospice as a family member when my father and mother-in-law were dying. I found the Hospice staff to be so helpful; for me and my family. I am grateful that they were part of our support network.

What keeps you coming back? I love to hear people’s stories. I feel so privileged when patients’ and their families invite me into their lives.

Is there an experience that you have had through your volunteering with hospice that stands out? Please explain…

My first patient was a vivacious 96-year-old woman. When I met her she was feeling stronger after several months of being in and out of the hospital. She was very circumspect about her prognosis and had some things she wanted to do while she still could. #1 on her list was to feed a giraffe. We went to the Tucson Zoo and did just that. Her face lit up as the giraffe gently took the food from her hand. She was thrilled! There were other things on her list but in the week following our zoo visit she began to decline and died soon after. I am so honored to have shared that day with her.

When people say “I don’t know how you can volunteer at hospice, isn’t it sad?” What is your response?

Sad: yes, but so much more!

Any tips or suggestions for new volunteers coming in to hospice?

Be open! You may have some ideas about how you want your experience to unfold but set those expectations aside. If you allow yourself to be open to whatever presents itself, you may find the journey to be even more than you expected.

Would you like to add anything else?

Working with dying patients’ helps me to feel less fearful about the end of my life. it really clarifies how I want to make decisions about my care at the end of my life.

National Volunteer Week: TMC Auxiliary volunteer receives “more than expected”

TMC Volunteer HospiceIn honor of National Volunteer Week, Tucson Medical Center is celebrating the passionate work of nearly 700 volunteers in TMC Hospice, senior services, pet therapy and the TMC Auxiliary. The dedicated patrons log more than 90,000 hours every year helping TMC patients have the most comfortable and pleasant hospital stay possible.

If you visit TMC, you are sure to spot volunteers wearing teal shirts and friendly faces helping patients and visitors in more than 45 areas of the hospital. You’ll find them at the information centers, gift shops, surgery lobbies, patient care locations, hospice and TMC for Children.

And you’ll find them transporting patients, like Mr. Mark Harris.

Mark HarrisHarris retired recently, and after a long career in commercial real estate, he was looking forward to taking a few strokes off his golf game. The avid golfer enjoys the course, and there is no better place than Tucson to put those cleats and clubs to good use. Harris, however, soon found himself looking for something more rewarding.

The TMC campus spans more than 100 acres, but patients never need to worry about a long walk or finding a location. TMC Auxiliary volunteers operate an inside courtesy cart service, providing free transportation to all patients and visitors. This fit Harris perfectly, and he signed up to operate the in-house golf-cart twice a week.

“Transporting the patients is perfect for me, because I really wanted to have that personal interaction. I view each patient as a customer and focus on friendly customer service,” said Harris. He added an important reason why he chose TMC. “Volunteering at TMC was very easy – I didn’t have to jump through hoops and the hospital genuinely appreciates the volunteers.”

TMC AuxiliaryHarris knew he wanted to give back, but something unexpected happened. “The gratification is more than I expected,” he said with a broad smile. “The patients and families are so grateful – I’ve received so many positive, heartfelt comments. ”

Making a difference by volunteering at TMC won’t take over your calendar. “TMC’s Volunteer Services works with you to find the right fit for your schedule. The hours I contribute are just right for me – I still have plenty of time for the gym, hiking and the course,” explained Harris.

Volunteers are an integral part of TMC’s mission as a community hospital. TMC values every volunteer whether they have chosen to give a few hours a week or something more.

TMC Volunteer NICUVolunteers provide care and assistance that helps alleviate burden and concern, allowing patients to focus on their health. For Mark Harris, helping others has revealed a strong passion. “I love this job – I really do.”

Find out how contributing a little time can make a significant difference in our community at or by calling the TMC Volunteer Services office at (520) 324-5355.


Leftover medications? Dispose of them safely at TMC for Seniors April 24

BDP34260_2400x1Having unused medications lying around can have serious unintended consequences.

  • It can be easy to confuse them with medications you’re currently taking.
  • Children who are visiting your home may get into them, leading to accidental poisoning.
  • Teens who use prescription drugs to get high often report obtaining them from friends or the family medicine cabinet.

Flushing those old medications down the toilet may pollute the water supply, since sewage treatment plants cannot remove all of the contaminants.

Similarly, putting them in the trash may put pets and wildlife at risk, even if mixed with coffee grounds, kitty litter or other undesirable substances to try to prevent them from consuming the medications.

On April 24, TMC for Seniors, in partnership with the Tucson Police Department, will host a Dispose-A-Med event, designed to help the community properly and safely dispose of prescription drugs, as well as over the counter medicines. The drugs will be incinerated in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The drop-off event runs from 10 a.m. – noon at the El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road.

Better yet, if you have questions about medications, come early at 9 a.m. for a Medication Safety presentation from a Tucson Medical Center pharmacist. One-to-one consultations will take place from 10:30 a.m. until noon for anyone wanting to discuss their individual medications. Please bring your current medication bottles with you.

Here are a few other tips to participate in Dispose-A-Med:

  • Bring your medications in their original bottles to speed up the process. Dispose-A-Med members will remove the labels for you to protect your privacy.
  • Liquids, inhalation aerosol bottles, syringes, epi pens and creams are not accepted.

“Medication safety is a serious issue and we’re pleased to play a role,” said Maya Luria, director of TMC for Seniors. “Awareness is critical in minimizing risk, so we’re looking forward to sharing information through our pharmacists, while providing a venue to help our community combat the potential of medication abuse and protect the environment at the same time.”


TMC celebrates National Donate Life Month with flag-raising, patio dedication

DonateLifeLogoDid you know a single organ donor can save up to eight lives?

Join Tucson Medical Center throughout April in recognizing National Donate Life month, part of an ongoing effort to build awareness about organ donation and its power to heal and save lives.

Last year at TMC, organ donors saved 18 lives and improved the quality of life for many others.

To mark the month, TMC invites the community to a ceremony at noon on April 28, in which the Donate Life flag will be raised, serving as a beacon of hope at the main entrance off of Grant Road.

TMC also in the coming year will be honoring organ donation by dedicating a patio to the lifesaving work done here and across the state. The Garden of Life will be TMC’s 36th patio, as part of a longstanding tradition of seeing the outdoors as a place of healing.

“We’re so pleased to be able to pay tribute to the advocacy around organ donation, as well as the generosity of those who have extended the gift of life to others in need,” said Joby Jacob, a nurse and the professional development specialist in critical care services at TMC.

TMC also is participating in the #HealthCare4HopeAZ donor registry challenge. Show your support for the more than 2,300 people in Arizona alone who are still waiting for a transplant.

“Despite the growing awareness about organ donation, the need is still great: Each year, thousands of people die while waiting for this life-saving gift,” said Chelsea Scheeler, the donor program development coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona.

There is cause for hope, Scheeler noted: Last year, 614 lives were saved in Arizona thanks to 225 generous donors. And one donor can make a huge difference, since one tissue donor can heal up to 50 lives and one ocular donor can give the gift of sight to two people.

TMC is proud to participate in the Healthcare for Hope campaign, Jacob said. Those who want to register to be an organ/tissue donor are asked to sign up at

TMC takes pivotal role in Tucson Health Association

Tucson Health Association 1Tucson Medical Center President and CEO Judy Rich joined Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild yesterday to announce the launch of the Tucson Health Association – a public-private partnership to promote medical tourism in Southern Arizona.

Visit Tucson coordinated the initiative with the City of Tucson, Pima County and area hospitals.

“This new association will help promote Tucson as a health care and wellness destination to international visitors,” said Mayor Rothschild.

Health care providers have long been providing services to meet the needs of visitors from Mexico, and this effort helps make those services more formalized, collaborative and streamlined.

The collective focus is to share information with tourists about elective, nonemergency services. Such services include cardiac, orthopaedic (such as total knee replacement) and neurological services.

Tucson Health Association 2

TMC values providing high-quality health-care that is culturally sensitive and welcoming. For many years, TMC has employed a dedicated team of medical-interpreters and has provided training for about 120 certified bilingual staff, ensuring safe communication with Spanish patients and families.

This important step meaningfully emphasizes our region’s greatest strengths – diversity, community and care, said Judy Rich.

For further information, please view the recent Arizona Daily Star article or go to the Tucson Health Association website.

Cognitive benefits from running and other physical activities

DavidRaichlenMaking our community a healthier place is a goal shared by the Tucson Medical Center and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners. TMC is excited to partner with SAR to bring you regular features and wellness tips designed to make your running the best it can be.

In this feature, researcher David Raichlen shares how exercise benefits your brain.

Runners often strive for that “running zone,” when movements are rhythmic, effortless and almost unconscious.

But rest assured: Even when you’re in a zone, your brain is working hard to navigate what is really an incredibly complicated set of actions. And ultimately, that may be helping to protect your brain over time.

David Raichlen, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona and a runner himself, has been focused on the study of the evolution of physical activity – notably, why should you have to expend energy to ensure optimal functioning of the physiological system?

Think about it. Exercise builds bone density. It builds muscle. It helps protect elasticity in arteries. The reverse is also true: Lack of physical activity atrophies muscles and thins bones. And it looks like it may also change your brain in detrimental ways. “It turns out that our bones, our muscles, our cardiovascular systems – and even our brains – have evolved in a way that responds to stress,” he said.

Exercise in mature adults seems to be associated with larger amounts of gray matter, the cell bodies that make up the brain. That’s important in areas like the hippocampus, which serve as the nervous system and the command center for emotion and memory. People who engage in exercise also have more white matter – the connections within your brain that help with attention, planning and decision making.

Together with Gene Alexander, a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, Raichlen has explored the effects of exercise on the brains of individuals across the lifespan.

Their results are somewhat surprising. “Let’s say you go for a run in Sabino Canyon. What are you doing? You have to navigate, remember where you’re going, plan footfalls on uneven terrain, pay attention to surroundings,” explained Raichlen, who joined Southern Arizona Roadrunners a year ago. “Running actually involves some fairly complex processing, and it’s possible that is the stress that creates these connectivity differences and perhaps that’s the stress that improves brain function across ages.”

The good news is that it’s not too late to switch to a more active lifestyle. Most of the studies that have shown protective changes have involved sedentary adults who began walking at moderate intensity for 150 hours a week.

Raichlen’s research also studies hunter-gatherer cultures in Africa to get a better model on what physical activity was like more universally in the past.  “They’re very physically active, but they also rest a lot. When they’re moving, they’re really moving. And when they’re not, they’re resting: There’s not a lot of time when they’re moving with low intensity,” he said.

The take home message?  Runners may typically be the types who like to get out there and exercise, but for other mortals, it can be hard to prod them into greater activity. “But could you get people to walk a little faster when they park their car at the grocery store or get them to walk a little faster at the mall?  It’s not always the 30 minute run: The other thing people can do is accumulate moderate physical intensity throughout the day by just trying to aerobically challenge themselves more often.”


TMC Brain Week: Join us to learn ways to keep your brain healthy

BrainWeek_Gear2017Join Tucson Medical Center next week for a week-long series of discussions and activities designed to provide a better understanding of how the brain works and how best to protect it.

How does exercise affect the brain? What are the differences between normal aging and signs of dementia? What are treatment options for movement disorders or mild cognitive impairment?

All events are held at the El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road.

The following classes still have availability; please call 324-1960 to reserve a seat:

  • Monday, April 17, 10 a.m.; Golden Years, Golden Brain: Memory for Life. The golden years don’t have to mean the beginning of a slow decline of memory. Many things can help. Join Jill Jones as she shares some of the tips and techniques to use to keep your memory strong.
  • Monday, April 17, 2 p.m.; The Normal Brain vs. Dementia. Have you wondered if a “senior moment” could signal the beginning of cognitive or memory issues? Don’t worry needlessly; these could be just normal age-related issues. Join Heather Pederson, PhD, neuropsychologist with the Center for Neurosciences as she explains the normal memory issues we all face as we age vs. the telltale signs of dementia.
  • Tuesday, April 18, 10 a.m.; Mild Cognitive Impairment. Mild cognitive impairment can be an early sign of dementia, but some people never get worse, and a few even get better. Join Morgen Hartford, MSW, regional director for Alzheimer’s Southern Arizona, as he shares more information about this less-emphasized cognitive condition.
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2 p.m.; The Brain-Exercise Connection. Did you know that regular physical activity benefits the brain? Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Join Gene Alexander, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Department of Psychology Brain Imaging, Behavior and Aging Laboratory as he shares the latest research on this.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 10 a.m.; Brain Plasticity: The Key to Learning and Recovery. Research has shown that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life – allowing the brain to adjust for an injury and change with new situations. Existing areas of the brain can take over functions for damaged areas. Nadia Fike, M.D., PhD, neurologist and researcher with Center for Neurosciences explains how this happens and what it means for aging brains.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2 p.m.; Surgical Intervention for Movement Disorders. Not all movement disorders are life-threatening, but they may impair the ability to function independently. Surgical interventions are used when medications and rehab strategies no longer manage symptoms. Join Thomas Norton, M.D., neurosurgeon with the Center for Neurosciences as he shares information on how this is done and how effective it can be.
  • Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m.; Traumatic Brain Injury. There are many ways to suffer a traumatic brain injury with the risk of brain damage increasing each time we hit our head – in a fall, with whiplash, etc. It can affect memory, organizational skills, emotions, behavior and more. Join Sarah Burger, PhD, neuropsychologist with the Center for Neurosciences to learn some of the non-physical issues to look for after a TBI and what can be done to help.
  • Thursday April 20; 2 p.m.; Tips to Keep Your Brain Healthy. Do you want to enjoy lifelong brain health? Research has shown that there are some specific things that will help keep your brain healthy. Adam Reynolds, M.D., neurologist with the Center for Neurosciences will explain what these are and how they can help.

Find more information at or check out the TMC for Seniors calendar of events.

Obstetrix now providing care through TMCObstetrics – new name, same expert care

TMC-ObstetricsLogo_FINALAs of April 1, The Obstetrix Medical Group of Arizona medical practice is providing care through TMCObstetrics.

The Obstetrix physicians* and staff are part of the transition to TMCObstetrics, and patients can expect to receive the same expert health care in the comforting, patient-focused environment they appreciate.

TMCObstetrics pic 7The office location and hours will remain the same, inside Tucson Medical Center at 5301 E. Grant Road, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

TMCObstetrics will continue to accept the same insurance plans with the addition of United Healthcare.

Please call (520) 795-8188 to schedule an appointment or for further information.

About TMCObstetrics

TMCObstetrics offers a full array of services for high-risk and routine pregnancies, providing quality care in a safe and professional environment where patients and families feel secure, confident and welcome.

Maternal-fetal medicine experts

When it comes to a high-risk pregnancy, there are two patients being treated at the same time – mom and baby. Families and moms-to-be can feel confident they are seeing the best at TMCObstetrics.

TMCObstetrics pic 6The maternal-fetal physicians at TMC Obstetrix have extensive education and training, and focus on making every patient a priority.

Services include preconception counseling, high-risk prenatal care, diabetes management, ultrasound (including 3-D/4-D), genetic screening and diagnosis.

Complete obstetric and gynecological care

TMCObstetrics provides complete obstetric and gynecological services, including contraceptive care and well woman exams. Services are provided in a supportive and calming atmosphere, allowing patients to feel comfortable asking any and all questions.

A genetic counselor on staff

An experienced and board-certified genetic counselor is available to provide information about the genetic testing options available and appropriate for each patient’s pregnancy. The genetic counselor will explain the results of any genetic test, and assist with further information and options.

Certified nurse midwives offer personalized care and support

TMCObstetrics Pic 1The midwife provides individualized education, counseling and prenatal care, in addition to monitoring physical, psychological and social well-being throughout pregnancy. Their focus is to provide information about pregnancy and childbirth with encouragement and practical suggestions.

In addition to providing information about any recommended tests, procedures or treatments, the midwife will help resolve concerns and answer questions that patients and their families may have.

A team approach – where it all comes together

The physicians and clinical staff meet weekly to discuss each patient’s individual care and develop care plans that will be presented to patients for their questions, suggestions and approval.

*Dr. Teresa Orth is pursuing new opportunities. TMCObstetrics will transition Dr. Orth’s patients to the other physicians in the practice

2017 TMC Mega Raffle winners share joy and gratitude

In its fifth year, the TMC Mega Raffle culminated in great excitement across Southern Arizona as the top three winners shared their joy and gratitude with TMC.Mega Raffle Winners 1

Celia Mayo broke into tears of joy when she learned she was this year’s grand prize winner of the A.F. Sterling Home or $600,000 cash option. She’s been entering the TMC Mega Raffle for Mega Raffle Winners 2the past three years. Her husband had two back surgeries at TMC in the past year, and they are pleased Mega Raffle proceeds go to support TMC hospital programs. The young couple is now very excited to plan for their future.

Deborah Dohn and her husband, Richard, had heard about the TMC Mega Raffle but this was the first time they actually entered, and they are glad they did. Debbie thought, “Whether we win or not, it is for the good cause.” The couple is this year’s grand prize No. 2 Mega Raffle Winners 3winners of a Lincoln Continental or the $150,000 cash option. “We knew that the Mega Raffle benefited TMC, and participating was something that helps our community as a whole,” Debbie said.

This year’s 50/50 jackpot winners, Steve and Linda Heathman, are retired teachers who grew up in Tucson and dated in high school. “My wife suggested we enter saying it’s a good cause with good chances, and I’ve learned it is good to listen to your wife,” Steven said, adding that he was stunned and thrilled when he got the call learning the couple would split the $685,385 pot with TMC. The Mega Raffle Winners 4newlyweds said they can now consider buying their dream home as they build their next stage of life together.  “This is really life-changing for us!”

In all, more than 2,000 people will take home prizes from this year’s TMC Mega Raffle.

“We are humbled by the incredible support from our community,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Their participation goes a long way, helping TMC provide meaningful care for the real winners, TMC patients.”

Click to see how the TMC Foundation is making a difference in the lives of TMC patients and their families.

TMC, Mayo Clinic collaborate on Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium


Living with cancer 5

Tucson Medical Center, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, is pleased to offer the first Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium will take place on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona. Attendance is FREE.

Living with cancer 2Patients and families living with and overcoming cancer often have questions about the best approaches and strategies for moving forward in treatment or in recovery.

The free event, which Mayo Clinic has successfully offered for the past eight years, is designed to share expertise from well-respected speakers, as well as provide a unique opportunity for supportive dialogue between patients, caregivers and family members. The broad-based symposium will include discussions on physical activity, complementary and integrative therapies and techniques to deal with the stress of these diseases.

Living with cancer 3As a member of the Mayo Clinical Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and their families, from collaborating on tumor boards, to having access to Mayo grand rounds, as well as sharing best practices. “This symposium is an exciting extension of the work we’re doing with Mayo Clinic, to ensure that our patients benefit from our collective knowledge, with their care as close to home as possible,” said Dr. Robert Brooks, medical director of oncology at TMC.

Dr. Ruben Mesa of Mayo Clinic explained the goal of the symposium is to provide comprehensive information about cancer in a way that is approachable and actionable for patients. “It is also an important opportunity for patients to hear information they may not discuss in the exam room,” he said, “with others who share similar concerns and questions.”

For more information or to save your spot, please visit

Healthy feet means happier running: Tips from a podiatrist

Making our community a healthier place is a goal shared by the Tucson Medical Center and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners. TMC is excited to partner with SAR to bring you regular features and wellness tips designed to make your running the best it can be.

TVP_160623_7085Sometimes feet just don’t get the respect they deserve. But they’re surprisingly complex workhorses that make a huge difference in our quality of life, as well as our ability to lead active lifestyles.

Here are a few tips from Dr. Natalie Hua to keep those 26 bones and their associated muscles, tendons and ligaments in optimal condition:

It starts with the shoes. There are a lot of options in running shoes, from the thin layer of sole in minimalist options that make your foot muscles work extra hard, to options that provide the maximum support. Whichever version you like, the key is to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Quality running stores will have you run on a treadmill to look at your foot patterns and recommend some options for you. Go toward the end of the day when your feet are most swollen to get the right measurement. Make sure your shoes are wide enough and that there is a two-finger width from the longest toe to the toe box. Here’s an important tip: If you find some you love, stock up, because companies change styles and models with great frequency.

You’ll want to change your shoes about every 300 miles, because fatigue and pain are associated with insufficient cushion and support.

And if you need orthotics, Tucson Orthopaedic Institute has staff that will help you find the right ones, based on your arch. If they don’t work, an exchange or full refund is available. Custom orthotics are also offered at TOI.

Get the right socks.  Blisters are often triggered because of friction on wet skin, which can happen when your socks get too wet. Cotton socks are big culprits, so consider microfiber socks that better wick out moisture. Studies have shown compression socks do not appear to increase performance while you run, but have been shown to speed up the recovery process if you put them on afterward.

Blisters. Aside from getting the right socks, if you are prone to blisters, consider wearing antiperspirant on your feet before a run – and use Vaseline on problem spots you know are prone to blistering. And as for that age-old question – to pop or not to pop – the important thing is to leave the skin intact as a natural protective barrier. Clean a sewing needle with alcohol and just poke a small hole to allow the fluid to escape.

Black nails: These are common in runners because of micro-trauma as your foot jams into the toe box. There are two things to know:

1) It may look like fungus, but there is no way to tell from the naked eye so your physician will have to send a sample to the lab to know for sure.

2) Don’t rip it off if it lifts. Try to secure it down with tape, and as the new nail grows, it will push it out.

Pain: I am a surgeon, but I talk my patients out of surgery unless we have tried all non-operative treatments first. If your toes are spreading out and causing pain in the ball of the foot, tape your toe in place to take the stretch off the ligament until it can heal.

Heel pain is the most common complaint I hear and a lot of it has to do with degenerative changes of the plantar fascia, which are bands that run from heel to toe. The trick is to work on stretching both the calf muscle and the plantar fascia. Do a modified runner stretch to help. It also helps to get a golf ball and roll your foot over  it. It can be painful but it’s the best remedy I’ve found.

For Achilles pain, you can learn stretches that will help. But here’s an important caveat: If you have acute pain around your Achilles, and it’s inflamed and red, do not stretch because you can rupture it. We can put you in a boot and heel lifts to calm it down. Anytime you have an injury after a run, you’ll want to rest, put ice on it for 20 minutes at a time and elevate it above your heart. If you can’t put weight on it within a day, go see a doctor for a treatment plan to get you back on the road safely.

Natalie Hua, DPM, earned her medical degree from the California School of Podiatric Medicine in Oakland, California, graduating cum laude. She then completed her residency in podiatric medicine & surgery, and reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery at Tucson Medical Center.


Shropshire matriarch celebrates community service and advocacy

Mary Ruth Shropshire 1Tucson notables gathered in the TMC Women of Honor Courtyard in late March to celebrate the community advocacy and dedication of Mary Ruth Shropshire.

Mary Ruth is the widow of Don Shropshire – TMC’s chief executive for 25 years and president emeritus for 23 more until he passed in 2015. While TMC grew to more than twice its size under Don’s leadership, he remained a staunch advocate for the hospital to remain nonprofit and independent. In addition, the Mary Ruth Shropshire 8bow-tied visionary was respected for his civility and passion – taking the time to shake the hand of every TMC employee during the holidays.

Yet, Don could not have reached such incredible accomplishments without the constant support, advocacy and encouragement of his wife of nearly 65 years, Mary Ruth.

Smiles and laughs filled the courtyard as attendees shared nostalgic stories. The Rev. Bruce Martin, former associate pastor of Catalina Baptist Church where he and Mary Ruth worked with the youth, offered the blessing, followed by anecdotes about the Shropshire family.

Mary Ruth Shropshire Judy RichAbout 30 attendees, including Dr. Harold Willingham, Ed and Judy Parker, Tracy and Linda Nuckolls, Jerry and Ann Gilmore, Judy and Rich Polheber, Marian Rogerson and TMC CEO, Judy Rich chuckled and sighed during the recollections.

With her signature grace and aplomb, the 90-year-old Mary Ruth sincerely thanked all for coming. “I appreciate all of you – and what you have done over the years for TMC,” she said, while sitting next to the Women of Honor bench dedicated in her name.

Mary Ruth Shropshire 7An event honoring Mary Ruth would not be complete without an entertaining story. Mary Ruth shared one of her favorite Joe Hayes’ Native-American stories, “My Pet Rattlesnake.” All were spellbound by the unbelievable narrative from the semi-retired professional storyteller, only to erupt into laughter as the witty ending revealed it was all a tall tale.

The Rev. William Killian, former TMC chaplain and close friend of the Shropshires, wrapped up the dedication with an original acrostic poem honoring Mary Ruth and her attributes.

Mary Ruth Shropshire 9“The beautiful morning and gathering were a perfect tribute to Mary Ruth and her long commitment to our community,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “TMC and the TMC Foundation honor the leadership and commitment that Mary Ruth and the entire Shropshire family have shown – and we are forever grateful for the inspiration and accomplishment they have provided TMC and our community.”


TMC Chief Medical Officer selected as an honorary commander for the Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing

Rick AndersonThere are a few things you may not know about the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard, our neighbor adjacent to the Tucson International Airport:

  • From its roots as an adobe farmhouse and dirt-floor hangar 60 years ago, it has grown to be one of the largest Air National Guard wings in the country.
  • The 162nd Wing trains the world’s best fighter pilots and has graduated more than 7,000 pilots from 28 countries since 1969.
  • The unit’s Reconnaissance Group has remotely piloted more than 65,000 hours to support of efforts overseas.

For all of those reasons, Tucson Medical Center is proud that Dr. Rick Anderson, senior vice president and chief medical officer, has been selected by the commanders to serve as the honorary commander for the 162nd Medical Group for a two-year term.

The doctors, nurses and other medical personnel at the Medical Group work diligently to support the missions of the wing.  Many of these citizen-airmen work full-time in our community and serve our country part-time as guardsmen.

Dr. Anderson said he was humbled by the opportunity. “I believe this is an excellent way to connect with a vital part of our Tucson community,” said Anderson, who served four years active duty in the U.S. Army and is board-certified in family medicine. “As a veteran myself, it is an honor to better serve and connect with members of our Armed Forces.”

“The program is designed to educate community members about the mission, rigors, demands and camaraderie of the wing, as well as the Air National Guard,” said First Lieutenant Lacey Roberts public affairs officer for the 162nd Wing.  “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Anderson to our team and believe his knowledge and expertise will be a valuable asset to the program.”

Learn more about the advances in hip and knee treatment with Dr. Dalal

Join Dr. Ali H. Dalal from the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute for a free interactive discussion highlighting current advancements in treating joint pain – from non-surgical treatment options to the latest Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted technology.

El DoradoFaster recovery and increased mobility are more accessible than ever before!

If you or a loved one is suffering from joint aches and pains and thinking about seeing a specialist – this discussion is for you.

The presentation and discussion will be held at 1400 N. Wilmot (El Dorado plaza) on April 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Attendance is free, but you must register by calling (520) 324-1960 or you can register online at TMC for Seniors. See you there!


Dalal3Dr. Dalal is a fellowship-trained hip and knee replacement surgeon at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelors of Science in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology.  He received his M.D. from the University of California San Diego and completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Illinois Chicago.  He completed a fellowship in hip and knee replacement at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute.



HealthOn Broadway hosts grand opening celebration, poised to serve downtown community

HealthOn Boradway ribbon cutting.jpgA unique patient experience awaits at HealthOn Broadway, which hosted its grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting today at 1 W. Broadway.

A collaboration between El Rio Health and Tucson Medical Center, the creative space at HealthOn not only features modern traditional treatment rooms, but offers dialogue rooms meant for comfortable interactions for health coaching sessions, as well as areas for fitness classes and lectures designed to engage and empower patients in taking charge of their own health. The center soon will also feature virtual visits for its established patients.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild noted when he first heard about the plan to bring the center downtown, he had one word: Perfect. “And it is perfect because it is another piece of downtown redevelopment. The whole idea is to create a complete community downtown,” he said.BDP38673

“We have a grocery store; we have a lot of people living and working downtown. One of the things people who live and work downtown want is health care and this center brings two of our finest community partners together for wellness care, integrated care downtown.”

Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez, who was born at TMC, said health care is important to Pima County, as the largest employer in downtown Tucson. “Health care is an important service and is one of those pillars of the community. This center will help ensure that no matter what part of the community we’re in, this is a healthy community.”

BDP38645Judy Rich, the president and chief executive of TMC HealthCare, thanked the local leaders who have played a role in making downtown alive and vibrant. In addition to being part of economic development downtown, Rich said, “We’re going to take care of people here, we’re going to talk about being healthy and we’re going to offer primary care.”

The center is conveniently located in the heart of the commercial and residential boom and on the modern streetcar line. It will build on TMC’s longstanding efforts downtown, from Meet Me At Maynards events to a partnership with the Chef Janos Wilder’s Carriage House, as well as building on El Rio’s downtown clinical and administrative presence.

Nancy Johnson, chief executive officer of El Rio Health, noted that with expanded weekday and Saturday hours, HealthOn will offer an option for downtown employees and residents – either as a medical home, or for episodic acute care needs that will then be shared electronically with their primary care physician.

“We share a mission and a passion for community health and we could not be more excited about serving our downtown community with this new state-of-the-art facility,” Johnson said.

For more information, check us out on facebook or and read a recent Arizona Daily Star story here

Yee-Haw!! Rock ‘N Rodeo lassos 20 years of supporting TMC Hospice

Rock 'N Rodeo TMC Hospice 4The TMC Foundation is celebrating 20 years of hosting the western-themed Rock ‘N Rodeo event to support TMC Hospice.

There are many generous donors and passionate advocates to thank, including HSL Properties, and Desert Diamond Casinos.

TMC is exceptionally grateful for the outstanding participation of Brent Berge and his team at Desert Toyota of Tucson, who has been the title sponsor of every Rock ‘N Rodeo event over its two decades.

Rock 'N Rodeo TMC Hospice 2“Their extraordinary contributions of time, resources and sponsorships continue to make a meaningful difference for TMC Hospice patients and their families,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer.

Every Rock ‘N Rodeo event has been a lively, boot-scootin’ stampede of dancing, raffles, casino and cowboy games.

Whether it’s a chance to dust off those cowboy boots, learning how to toss a real lasso, two-steppin’ to live music or the satisfaction of winning with a royal flush – event-goers take great pride in knowing proceeds go to TMC Hospice, to support a wide range of programming.

peppi10Children with life-limiting or terminal conditions and their families have special needs, and the invaluable support from Rock ‘N Rodeo means TMC Children’s Hospice can offer specialized palliative and supportive care that provides joy and comfort.

Funds support soothing complementary therapies for adults, and also fund the We Honor Veterans and Hospice Veterans Partnership programs – helping TMC Hospice better care for, reach out to and honor veterans needing end-of-life care.

“We care very deeply for the patients and families – our focus is providing care and services assured to make a positive difference in a patient’s comfort and quality of life,” said Alicia Ferguson, director of TMC Hospice and Palliative Care.

Rock 'N Rodeo TMC Hospice 1This year, the event was hosted at The Last Territory of the Hilton El Conquistador on March 4. Attendees tapped their boot heels to the live music of the incredible Robert Moreno Band, and were careful not to get the savory barbecue on their favorite western-style garb.

A most sincere thanks to all who have participated, attended and donated throughout the years!

Would you like to make a difference for the adults, veterans, children and families enduring tremendous challenges?  Take a moment to learn about volunteering or providing a much needed and appreciated donation.


Over the Edge for Girl Scouts – Cindy Qu

cindy qu

Cindy Qu – Clinical Nutrition and Diabetes Education manager

Cindy Qu, manager of Clinical Nutrition and Diabetes Education for TMC, is a long-time supporter of the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona. This year she’s taking her support to new heights and will be going Over the Edge to raise money for the organization.

Qu, along with TMC’s Frank Marini and 78 other participants, will rappel down the 17 stories of 5151 E. Broadway Blvd. “Cindy is embodying the Girl Scout’s mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character; girls who make the world a better place, by modelling the courage and strength we hope to build in young girls in community,” said Julia Strange, vice president of TMC Community Benefit and a board member of the local Girl Scout council.

Until 24 hours ago Qu and Marini lead the Over the Edge fund-raising tally, when they were overtaken. While Marini still leads the pair, Qu has made headway and is now within $200 of Marini’s leading total. When asked if he was worried that Qu might topple him from his position on the fundraising total, Marini said, “I’m immensely proud of TMC’s representation at this event, and if a little competition between Cindy and me results in more programming for the Girl Scouts in our community then we’re all winners.”

Go Team TMC! To support Cindy Qu check out her Over the Edge fund-raising page.

All donations are 100 percent tax deductible and will support the Girl Scouts’ programming to more than 7,000 girls across Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz, Greenlee, Graham and Yuma counties.


TMC supporting C-PATH initiative to end TB on 35th annual World Tuberculosis Day

On March 24, the world will recognize the 35th annual observance of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day.

For most of us, the word “tuberculosis” is often forgotten, since the number of cases has dropped thanks to public health and surveillance efforts in the developed world, making it easy to forget that tuberculosis is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

Critical Path InstituteThe Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens (CPTR) – a consortium within the larger Tucson-based nonprofit the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) – is waging the global fight against tuberculosis through collaboration with TB research organizations, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry.

But C-Path is not the first Arizona-based organization to be at the forefront of TB diagnosis and treatment. Nearly a century ago, Tucson Medical Center established roots in Tucson as a TB treatment facility.

At the turn of the 20th century, cramped and heavily populated cities along the Eastern seaboard served as an ideal environment for the highly infectious tuberculosis. Though it would be years until the first successful antibiotic was developed, physicians of the time noted the benefits of dry, fresh air and a warm, sunny climate.

By the 1920s, the ideal weather and rural areas made Southern Arizona the “premier destination” for tuberculosis patients.

TMC TB DayOne such destination for TB patients was the internationally known Desert Sanatorium in Tucson. The historic “Desert San” provided an ideal environment for those suffering from tuberculosis.

During World War II, the Desert Sanatorium found itself stripped of critical staff and resources, eventually closing its doors in 1943. They wouldn’t remain closed for long, however. The Tucson community rallied to raise the necessary funds to convert the local landmark into a brand-new hospital — Tucson Medical Center.

“This site and these efforts would soon become Tucson Medical Center,” said Mimi Warwick Coomler, vice president and chief nursing officer of Tucson Medical Center Some of the original buildings remain in service today, as a testament to the importance and impact of a community’s strength and commitment to eradicating a disease that continues to this day.”

Today, TMC stands tall upon its deep roots – providing first-rate medical care to community members for more than 70 years. TMC has not forgotten its origins as a leading name in tuberculosis therapy so many years ago – and values C-PATH’s strong efforts to stop the spread of TB throughout the world.

World TB DayAlthough TB is far from the disease it once was, reports within the last 10 years have shown some bacteria to be resistant to anti-TB drugs.

Organizations such as C-Path are continuing the work that was started so long ago by the Tucson Medical Center – leading the way in global TB diagnostics and drug development. C-Path’s CPTR initiative is working with a global coalition of leading international pharmaceutical companies, public health experts, and regulatory authorities to bring the best TB care to those who need it most.

On March 24, we reflect on the lessons of the past successes achieved through strong partnership and collaborations. TMC strongly supports C-Path’s CPTR initiative – a meaningful step toward a global victory over tuberculosis.


TMC, Mayo Clinic collaborate on Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium

TMC Mayo Clinic offer symposium for patients with cancerPatients and families living with and overcoming cancer often have questions about the best approaches and strategies for moving forward in treatment or in recovery.

Tucson Medical Center, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, is pleased to offer the first Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium, designed to share expertise from well-respected speakers, as well as provide a unique opportunity for supportive dialogue between patients, caregivers and family members. The broad-based symposium will include discussions on physical activity, complementary and integrative therapies and techniques to deal with the stress of these diseases.

The free event, which Mayo Clinic has successfully offered for the past eight years, will take place on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona.

As a member of the Mayo Clinical Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and their families, from collaborating on tumor boards, to having access to Mayo grand rounds, as well as sharing best practices. “This symposium is an exciting extension of the work we’re doing with Mayo Clinic, to ensure that our patients benefit from our collective knowledge, with their care as close to home as possible,” said Dr. Robert Brooks, medical director of oncology at TMC.

Dr. Ruben Mesa of Mayo Clinic explained the goal of the symposium is to provide comprehensive information about cancer in a way that is approachable and actionable for patients. “It is also an important opportunity for patients to hear information they may not discuss in the exam room,” he said, “with others who share similar concerns and questions.”

For more information or to save your spot, please visit

Frank Marini goes Over the Edge to help Girl Scouts reach new heights

Frank-2Eighty brave community members are rising to the challenge to help girls in our community with the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona’s Over the Edge 2017. These participants will suit up Saturday, March 25, in harnesses and helmets and careen down the 17 floors of one of the tallest buildings in Tucson, 5151 E. Broadway.

Among those participants is Tucson Medical Center’s very own Frank Marini. For most people, rappelling off a 17-story building sounds more than a little daunting, it sounds completely crazy! For Marini, chief information officer at TMC, it’s just the kind of challenge he loves.

Marini, an avid mountaineer, has made it to the summits of four of the so-called “Seven Summits,” the highest peaks on each continent – Mount Kilimanjaro in east Africa, Aconcagua in Argentina, Mt. Elbrus in Europe and Mount McKinley in Alaska. Marini revels in the physical and mental challenge of mountaineering. But for this upcoming endeavor, the challenge is to help others reach new heights.

Each participant collects donations in support of the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona. Every penny stays right here in Southern Arizona helping girls in our community access programs that emphasize hands-on learning, life-skills development, service-learning projects, self-esteem building, financial literacy, career exploration and building sisterhood.

Marini’s support of the Girl Scouts’ mission to foster leadership and independence in young women has a personal perspective. “As a parent to both a girl and a boy, I want to make sure that my daughter has all the same opportunities as my son,” he said. “I understand the value and impact of outdoor activities in building character. Encouraging girls to reach their full potential helps us all in our community. This is also just going to be a lot of fun.”

“By going Over the Edge, Frank is helping foster leadership in half of the next generation that still, today, doesn’t have the same opportunities to lead,” said Julia Strange, vice president of TMC Community Benefit and a board member of the local Girl Scout council.

“A Girl Scout hashtag says it all: #ToGetHerThere,” said Strange, who went Over the Edge in 2015. Marini will make the descent at 11:35am.  Support Marini going Over the Edge by clicking here.


Tucson Orthopaedic Institute joins specialty care providers at TMC Rincon Health Campus

Tucson Orthopaedic Institute LogoTucson Medical Center is proud to announce Tucson Orthopaedic Institute is now providing orthopaedic care and physical therapy at the TMC Rincon Health Campus.

This January, Tucson Medical Center opened the TMC Rincon Health Campus at Drexel and Houghton to make high-quality care more available to eastside communities. The concerted effort includes partnering with premier health-care specialists in Southern Arizona, making specialty services more accessible and convenient.

Tucson Orthopaedic Institute joined the TMC Rincon Health Campus earlier this month, showing their commitment to caring for all of Southern Arizona’s communities and providing families with greater access to specialized care.

Tucson Ortho MapFive experienced and skilled TOI physicians are available at Rincon, providing comprehensive orthopaedic services, including; hip and knee, foot and ankle, pediatric orthopaedics, and non-surgical orthopaedic care.

In addition, TOI has designated their Rincon office as a dedicated physical therapy site. Eastside residents now have access to expert physical therapies administered by a highly-trained staff.

“Our practice is centered on patient needs,” said Dr. Ali Dalal, a TOI hip and knee reconstruction specialist providing care at the TMC Rincon Health Campus. “This location offers TOI’s quality and expertise at a convenient location where eastside families work and live.”

TOI’s Rincon office is located in suite 120 and is open Mon. – Tues. Their physical therapy location is in suite 130, open Mon. – Fri. Please call (520) 784-6200 for further information or to schedule an appointment.

Tucson Orthopaedic Institute PhysiciansTucson Orthopaedic Institute complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

TMC, Pima Animal Care Center team up for first Paws on the Run 5k on April 8

running-with-shelter-pets-at-pima-animal-care-centerThose who love shelter pets – and enjoy an active lifestyle – can now unleash their passion for both!

Tucson Medical Center and Pima Animal Care Center have teamed up to offer the inaugural Paws on the Run, a 5k run on April 8 supporting the community’s only open-admission shelter. Proceeds also support Girls on the Run, a positive youth development program teaching life skills to girls through physical activity.

The top 10 donors who contribute beyond the affordable $20 race entry fee will get to run with a shelter dog! In addition, pet adoptions are free all day for race participants.

“TMC has long been committed to supporting activities that allow members of the community to be engaged partners in their own health and wellbeing,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC. “At the same time, we’ve always appreciated the role that Pima Animal Care Center plays in supporting and protecting public health.”

“TMC has been a tremendous partner with PACC, and they always support our mission to build a compassionate and healthy community for people and pets,” agreed Justin Gallick, director of community engagement at Pima Animal Care Center. “This run will help keep our deserving pets healthy while they wait for forever home.”
The 5K run course at Christopher Columbus Park is around scenic Silverbell Lake and is untimed so everyone can safely negotiate the terrain.

The race, which begins at 7:30 a.m., precedes the Girls on the Run 5k at 8:30 a.m., and the Fit Kidz 1 mile Fun Run for children 12 and under at 9:30 a.m., hosted by the Southern Arizona Roadrunners.

For more information or to register, please visit

Stroke Prevention Saturday April 15 at TMC

Are you at risk for a stroke? Join TMC and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson for the annual free Stroke Prevention Saturday, April 15, 7 a.m. to noon at TMC Marshall Conference Center.

Free testing for:

  • Height, weight and body mass index
  • Blood pressure and oxygen saturation
  • Glucose and cholesterol measurements
  • Carotid Doppler ultrasound to look for blockages or narrowing
  • Electrocardiogram

A physician will review your results with you.

The screening is recommended for those 50 years and older. For best results, an eight-hour fast is recommended.

In addition, to learning about their risk for stroke, participants will also receive information on recognizing the signs of a stroke and how to control risk facts and the signs of a stroke.

No appointment necessary. Please allow 45 minutes for screening.

Light snacks will be available.

Click for a flier with map and, also, a Spanish-language version.

Two Tucson couples win big in Mega Raffle Early Bird draw!

Robert and Phyllis

Robert and his wife Phyllis retired in Tucson from Minnesota five years ago and they’ve been purchasing tickets for the TMC Mega Raffle beginning in 2014.

TMC Mega Raffle 2This year, Robert asked his wife if they should enter this year and she said she thought it was a good idea. In 2015, they were excited when they won a set of silverware, but when they learned they were this Early Bird winner of the 2017 Toyota 4Runner, a vacation for two to the Greek islands, plus $16,000, it was like winning the gold.

The couple believes the Mega Raffle is great for the community and a fun way to show support for TMC. They never took a honeymoon, so this will finally be there chance.

Matthew and Sarah

First-time winner Matthew and his wife Sarah were shocked to learn they were one of this year’s two Early Bird prize winners.

It was the first time they’ve entered the TMC Mega Raffle, deciding to purchase a 3-pack when they heard their friends were entering.

Matthew is a native of Tucson and was born at TMC. He and his wife will soon be new parents to their first child who will also be born at TMC as well.

Mega RaffleSarah and Matthew both work in health care and appreciate that entering the Mega Raffle, and supporting TMC is good for the entire community. In this year of firsts, they won a vacation to the French Polynesian islands, a new Toyota Avalon and $15,500, which is icing on the cake for these soon-to-be parents.

Is this your year to win?

The Early Bird prizes may have been won, but the Mega Raffle continues through midnight, March 30 or until tickets sell out!

MegaRaffle3Thousands of prizes, including a Sterling home package, Lincoln Continental, dream vacations and more are waiting to be won – and don’t forget the 50/50 add-on jackpot, which is now more than $630,000 and climbing.

Hurry and purchase your tickets before they sell out.

Buy your tickets at or call 1-800-395-8805

With proceeds supporting patient care programs through the TMC Foundation, our community wins with every ticket sold.

COST OF TICKETS Single Tickets: $100 Limited 3-Packs: $250

50/50 ADD-ON JACKPOT One ticket for $10 Five tickets for $25 15 tickets for $50

Note: 50/50 tickets must be purchased in conjunction with regular TMC Mega Raffle tickets. The 50/50 Drawing will be held immediately after the final drawing.

RAFFLE ODDS Odds of winning a single prize are 1-in-20 as calculated by the accounting firm of Eide Bailly LLP

RAFFLE DEADLINES Entry deadline: Midnight, Thursday, March 30, 2017 Drawing: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

All ticket purchase deadlines are midnight Arizona Standard Time.

Note: Your transaction must be complete before midnight on the cutoff date.

Proceeds benefit Tucson Medical Center supporting patient care programs.




TMC information technology specialist prepares to dance for diapers

MichaelGriffisMichael Griffis is no stranger to movement. He kicks soccer balls, rides a bicycle and swings tennis rackets on a weekly basis.

But when he started practicing tango for his upcoming performance to raise funds for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, muscles that were used to fast-twitch sports motion suddenly started protesting at the slow, sustained movement demanded in the sultry dance.

Griffis, director of Information Services at TMC, hasn’t had to break out the dance moves since his high school musical years –but he’s nothing if not an avid competitor as he enters the final weeks of his Dancing With Our Stars tenure.

“Strategies are top secret and we’ve had to be pretty sneaky since several other professional dancers dance where we practice,” he said.

He’s most concerned about fellow competitor Nathan Stupiansky from UA Health Sciences. “He looks like a contender – like the kind of guy who could really get down on the dance floor,” he said. But he’s feeling pretty confident, with professional dancer Amanda Skaff in his corner. Her mom, Elizabeth, works at TMC as a nurse in neurosurgery, so Amanda’s hometown connection is helping to inspire Griffis to bring the drama to the dance floor.

Joking aside, Griffis said he is honored to play a role in supporting the nonprofit. “I really appreciate the work they do in the community to help the underserved get the basic products they need, whether that’s young children or aging adults,” Griffis said.

The annual Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser is based on the popular ABC series “Dancing with the Stars,” and Griffis said he’s looking forward to the upcoming season. “I think I’ll be rooting for actor and comedian Chris Kattan,” he said. “Maybe he will bring out some ‘Night at the Roxbury’ moves.”

Show your support with a vote for Michael and Amanda! Each vote costs just $10 and along with the prestige it brings to the winning dance couple, the Diaper Bank is able to distribute $30 worth of incontinence supplies to the most vulnerable members of our community.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461