Dispose of unneeded medications Oct. 23 at TMC Senior Services

Meds.jpgHaving old medications lying around puts children, teens and even pets at risk from inappropriately ingesting them.

It also increases the risk of mix-ups with any of your existing prescriptions.

If you have any medications you don’t need any longer, dispose of them safely and securely at a free Dispose-A-Med event at 1400 N. Wilmot in the El Dorado Health Campus.

Tucson Police Department will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon to accept prescriptions or over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Sorry but sharps aren’t accepted, and we have to decline medication in liquid, creme or inhalation/aerosol form.

Come early for a free 9 a.m  presentation that morning on medication safety – and make sure to bring your current bottles for free one-on-one pharmacist consultations from 10:30 am. – noon.

To RSVP for the presentation, please visit the event registration page at TMC Senior Services.

For more information, please call 324-1960.


Ballots are in the mail for Nov. 7 election

Engaged voters are fundamental to a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

If you’re registered to vote, watch for a ballot coming soon to your mailbox for Nov. 7’s consolidated election.

Depending on where you live, you’ll have a say in:

  • ward races for the Tucson City Council
  • ballot propositions that would raise the salary of Tucson’s mayor and council as well as to increase the sales tax to fund zoo improvements and early childhood education
  • bond or override elections in several school districts, including the Tucson, Sunnyside, Flowing Wells and Marana unified school districts
  • funding and other issues in several fire districts

Oro Valley, where voters will decide on a park improvements package, will have polling sites open on Election Day, but the other jurisdictions are holding mail elections.

Please mail your ballot by Thursday, Nov. 2 to ensure your ballot is ready for counting on Election Day.

You may also track the status of your Vote-by-Mail ballot online. Simply visit: www.recorder.pima.gov and click on “Early Ballot Status” to ensure your ballot was received and processed.

For more information, please direct questions to the Pima County Recorder’s Office at (520)724-4330

DACA participant faces uncertainty with resolve, optimism

YesikaMartinezYesika Martinez looks into her future and dreams that she will someday serve others as a nurse or a counselor.

But her future possible self is on hold while she waits to see what comes next after the Trump administration’s recent directive to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in six months unless Congress comes up with a legislative solution.

Martinez, 25, has been in this country since she was 9 months old. She was born with spinal bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal canal doesn’t close before birth. Fearful her complex needs would not be met in their small community in Mexico, her parents moved to Tucson.

Growing up meant a lot of time in hospitals, with many surgeries, as well as extended physical and orthopedic therapy, and neurology and urology care. With the assistance of leg braces, she can walk, ride a bike and drive a car and is successfully working toward her career path.

Martinez watched her other friends in high school celebrate things like driver’s licenses and first jobs that were out of reach for someone with undocumented status.  Her parents instilled in her to believe that all things are possible and encouraged her growth.

When she turned 18, waiting to see if DACA participants would be eligible for in-state college tuition, she began volunteering at the Children’s Clinics, where she had received much of her care, in order to help other young patients going through other health care challenges.

In the afternoons, Martinez volunteered to teach violin to the afterschool mariachi group at her previous elementary school. “I couldn’t work, but I didn’t want to sit home. I wanted to do something with my life and contribute,” she said.

When DACA was passed, she was hired on at the Children’s Clinics as a clinical associate.

President Trump’s announcement, she said, “was a rough day for me because I know there are so many people in my same situation who don’t know what’s coming next.” Thanks to a recent renewal, her status is OK until early 2019, but she hopes a resolution will come long before then.

“What I think people don’t understand is that we go through a lengthy process to get permits,” she said. “We aren’t bad people. We’re working hard to go to school to try to contribute. I would ask this community to help fight for us and support us.”

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich recently wrote an opinion piece for the Arizona Daily Star, urging Congressional leaders to resolve DACA. Click here to read it. http://tucson.com/opinion/local/judy-rich-dreamers-make-our-workforce-stronger/article_7cdc96c8-9fb9-5435-957a-1893de6d62ce.html


TMC recognized as a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence

BDP33616Tucson Medical Center is honored to be recognized by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tucson as the 2017 Southeast Arizona Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence, for going above and beyond the call of duty to help the NWS build a Weather Ready Nation.

This year,  NWS Tucson nominated TMC for its work in hosting its annual Be Safe Saturday event. For 13 years, TMC has conducted car seat checks, distributed bike helmets and booster seats and invited community partners to staff more than 100 interactive booths committed to the safety and wellness of children throughout Southern Arizona.

The National Weather Service is one of those Be Safe Saturday participants, speaking about weather safety to hundreds of families, said Ken Drozd, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS Tucson office. “Dozens of other organizations also help educate the public about how to stay safe and we appreciate TMC’s  dedication to community safety,” he added.

BDP33551The ambassador initiative recognizes leaders in the community that help build community resilience in the face of extreme weather events – from promoting safety messages in outreach activities, to being a “weather-ready” role model.

Safety Manager Steven Barnes said TMC monitors weather conditions to ensure the safety of its HazMat team when wearing gear in the heat of the summer. The TMC Safety Department presents heat stress prevention classes to facilities personnel each June, followed by lightning safety in July and West Nile disease prevention training every August.

TMC is prepared for electrical outages during the monsoon storms with very extensive backup generator equipment for patient safety, Barnes noted, adding the hospital also has a fully equipped disaster command center and participates in local and statewide exercises every year.

“As you can imagine we are very dependent on accurate weather forecasts and prepare on a regular basis for all weather threats and situations,” Barnes said, adding he was pleased with the recognition.

Any organization can  become a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador. Schools, government agencies, private businesses, civic organizations, home owner associations and others can apply online at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/amb-tou


TMC salutes Walker Elementary teacher on Legendary Teachers Day for infusing wellness into her school

LegendaryTeacherMonicaBermudez.jpgA few years ago, elementary school teacher Monica Bermudez had seen one too many students pull out tortilla chips or candy for their snacks – or worse, lunch.

So she started a “Fitness Fanatics” group at her school, volunteering after school to teach as many as 95 students at a time about wellness. It’s become something of the go-to club ever since.

On Legendary Teacher Day – a day set aside to honor special teachers who make a difference – TMC celebrates Bermudez, who has been teaching for 33 years and is currently teaching second grade.

Fitness Fanatics was her own brainchild. The students earn charms for every mile they run, participate in stretching exercises and play games that keep them active. The program is open to parents and teachers, too, to broaden relationships and opportunities for wellness at the same time.

There is also a nutrition component when funding allows, teaching students how to make nutritious snacks at home – from trail mix using cereal, raisins and nuts, to a fruit salad or banana sushi, which is essentially a banana rolled in Nutella and sliced. “I wanted to use things that they can find in their cabinets at home so they can make better choices,” said the 55-year-old Bermudez.

Bermudez doesn’t stop there.

MonicaGOTR.jpgShe coaches Girls on the Run, a youth development program that teaches life skills and culminates in a 5k run to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

She also volunteers with Fit Kidz, a program of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners that offers free one mile races for elementary school children.

In part, Bermudez does it because she’s become a disciple herself. Although she ran in middle school, she didn’t start running again until about seven years ago, trying to find more balance and take better care of herself. “It was my release,” she said of those early forays into running.

The next thing she knew, she was running with her daughters, and then signing up for races, and then joining a running group. She’s since started triathlons and offroad running, and is doing a half Ironman next month.

“It just took on a life of its own,” she said, noting she’s noticed a significant difference in her own health. “I used to be sick year-round, starting the second week of school and I wouldn’t be well again until the week after school was out. I wasn’t sick one time last year.”

But what keeps her going is what she sees from the kids. Inevitably, the shy girls start running and by the end of the semester they’re raising their hand in class and contributing with confidence. Several of her students have made a pact not to sit during recess, but instead, will either walk or run around the playground.

“And parents come and say, ‘Please keep doing what you’re doing because my child used to go to snack aisle at the grocery store first thing, and now they’re actually picking out fruits and vegetables from the outside aisles first.’ “

Nicholas Clement, the former Flowing Wells Superintendent and founder of Legendary Teacher Day, applauded Bermudez’ work. “Monica earned her Legendary Teacher stripes by energizing, engaging and enlightening every student every day.”

TMC encourages the entire business community to take time today to celebrate a Legendary Teacher who is making a difference in our future.

For more information about Legendary Teacher Day, which is always commemorated on the fourth Thursday of September, please visit  www.legendaryteacher.com. You may also share tributes of your own Legendary Teachers on Facebook as well.


Save Arizona health care – ‘No’ on the Graham-Cassidy bill

McCain say no on Graham Cassidy #saveazhealthcareToday, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) announced its formal opposition to the “Graham-Cassidy” legislation, the latest congressional effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. AzHHA President and CEO Greg Vigdor issued the following statement:

A central goal of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is to ensure more Arizona families have access to quality care they can afford. The Graham-Cassidy legislation being considered by Congress falls short on both counts.

This proposal erodes critical protections for patients and consumers, and would lead to costlier premiums for many individuals – especially those with pre-existing conditions. Millions would lose coverage altogether.

From a fiscal standpoint, the legislation represents a massive shift in financial risk and responsibility from the federal government to states like our own. According to an independent analysis by the non-partisan Avalere Health firm, this legislation would reduce federal funding to Arizona by $11 billion between now and 2026.

Just as troubling is all we don’t know about this bill. Because of the frenzied fashion in which it is being considered, Congress lacks even the most rudimentary analysis necessary to make an informed decision. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has indicated it won’t even have time to ‘score’ the bill in terms of its impacts to patient coverage and federal finances.

This process is the furthest thing from a ‘return to regular order,’ as advocated by Senator McCain. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association stands ready to work with our congressional delegation to address shortcomings with the Affordable Care Act, especially to stabilize the insurance market. This legislation is a step in the wrong direction. We urge Arizona lawmakers to vote NO.

About AzHHA

AzHHA is Arizona’s statewide association for those organizations and individuals devoted to collectively building better health care and health for the patients, people and communities of Arizona. Founded in 1939, AzHHA’s objective is to improve health care through Better Care, Better Health and Lower Costs with the ultimate goal of making Arizona the healthiest state in the nation. For more information, please contact communications@azhha.org or call (602) 445-4300.

Could you be a friend for a senior?

SeniorHomeVisitsThere are seniors in your area who are waiting for a visit right now.

In just an hour each week, you could make a difference in the life of an older adult.

Senior Home Visit volunteers provide a friendly face and supportive listening to older adults who may not see anyone else during the week.

Volunteers can make a positive difference in the lives of others, particularly for those who are socially isolated, since loneliness can lead to depression and worsening health conditions.

If you are 50+ and are interested in volunteering, please contact Anne Morrison at 324-3746 or anne.morrison@tmcaz.com to find out more.

Courageous TMC nurse takes on suicide stigma

Jason CuttingSeptember 10 – 16 is National Suicide Prevention Week – reduce the stigma, start a conversation and #StopSuicide.

Jason Cutting wanted to be in the middle of it all. He loved the arts and entertaining. RENT was his favorite musical, and he knew every word to every song. He put his heart into everything he did, whether crushing a performance in My Fair Lady or advocating for equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation.

Through it all, he struggled long and hard with mental illness. Even though Jason was lost to the disease when he died by suicide, he will always be a brave big brother to his sister, Sarah. She decided not to allow stigma to steal the focus from Jason’s beautiful memory.

Sarah, an Emergency Department nurse, is leading the effort to eradicate the stigma that surrounds suicide as the TMC champion for Tucson’s  Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide StigmaHard to say, hard to hear

The heart-wrenching loss of suicide – and the stigma around it – make conversations about it difficult.

“I didn’t even know how I was going to talk about it, because I was afraid people would judge, or react with shock or pity,” she said.

Sarah, though, was determined to make a difference and put aside her fears, directly challenging stigma. The open dialogue had an unexpected and positive result. “I found healing in talking about my brother, and I was surprised how many people approached me who have also lost someone to suicide.”

Better understanding, better prevention

Sarah also explained that more discussion brought about a better understanding of suicide.

Sarah Cutting“When survivors share their experiences, people will hear that suicide is not a selfish act,” she said. “Rather, people hear just how intensely someone was suffering, how they truly felt hopeless and believed they were a burden to all around them.”

Sarah believes that better understanding will lead to action. “With this knowledge, people will be motivated to learn the warning signs and feel more comfortable talking to someone they think may be having suicidal thoughts.”



You can have an impact

Out of the DarknessThe Tucson Out of the Darkness Community Walk is open to all, and free to attend. “This is a way to honor the memories of those we have lost to suicide, and the best way to start discussions and spread awareness,” said Sarah. “Join us!”


Walk Date: 10/14/2017                                                                 

Walk Location: Reid Park 

Check-in/Registration Time:  8:00 am

Walk Begins: 10:00 am

Walk Ends: 11:00 am

Donations can be made via Sarah’s donor page. Please note that all proceeds go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


Suicide warning signs and risk factors

Pima County assistance resources

AZ Department of Veterans Services resources

National suicide hotline

The Trevor Project

Pima County Crisis Response Center: (520) 622-6000 or 1-866-495-6738


Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild helps welcome new health care workers to Tucson; touts area strengths

NewHire1.jpgTucson Medical Center this week celebrated new employees here from out of state, wrapping up a month of hiring 130 people. Since January, TMC hires have come from 26 different states.

The mixer, held at TMC’s wellness outreach center, The Core at La Encantada, was designed to help newcomers feel welcome in Tucson.

“We’re really glad you came to Tucson. We are welcoming and friendly, that’s one of our values,” said Judy Rich, President and CEO. “Keep our patients in the center of everything we do. Be happy. Show up every day. Take care of our patients. That’s what we ask.”

NewHire5Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who was born at TMC, credited the hospital with being a strong community partner. “You should know you’ll have great and meaningful opportunities to connect with the community and to connect to things that are good in this community,” he said.

Rothschild touted Tucson’s quality of life that includes deep historic roots, great day trips, interesting museums, fun festivals and a vibrant food culture. “Tucson is a welcoming community that celebrates diversity. We understand we’re stronger by being diverse and you’ll have lots of opportunities to experience that.”

“I think you’ll find this at the core of Tucson: We try to help each other. We try to treat each other with respect. It’s a core value in the community and it’s what TMC delivers. We’re delighted to have you join us.”

NewHire9TMC’s Vice President of Human Resources, Alex Horvath, shared that after moving here from Chicago, he was stunned to find people at a local retailer one day urging him to move ahead in the express lane. “I found myself standing at the front of the line and it occurred to me, well, this is Tucson. You don’t find that everywhere.”

TMC Jobs link

‘Popcorn Kid’ retiring after singlehandedly raising $51k for kids through sales

DOROTHYLongtime employee, Dorothy “Popcorn Kid” Lietha, who is retiring after 43 years, made a difference kernel by kernel.

Lietha, who has worked a variety of jobs but most recently was part of the Wellness department’s efforts in the employee gym, is probably best known for her commitment to the children of Southern Arizona.

Since the early days of TMC’s relationship with Children’s Miracle Network, Lietha has sold popcorn — first for 25 cents a bag, and now 50 cents. Those quarters have added up. The TMC Foundation estimates that she has raised more than $51,000 to benefit area children.

“Dorothy embodies the spirit of this organization because of her generosity and her deep love of this community,” said Michael Duran, vice president and chief development officer. “We can each make a profound difference just by leveraging our individual strengths and passions – and for that, Dorothy is an inspiration.”

If you’d like to honor Dorothy and her commitment to children, consider making an online gift in her name for Children’s Services via the TMC Foundation.

Tour Tucson Medical Center’s Healing Art Collection

Bonuccelli_Dusk Carcassonne FranceTucson Medical Center has long believed in the power of surroundings in helping patients feel better.

It’s why we have 35 patios. It’s why our grounds crew cultivates a desert landscape. And it’s why we have a Healing Art Program to inspire, provoke thought, and cheer patients and visitors.

Since the program’s inception in 2014, TMC now has more than 700 gallery-quality art pieces throughout its hallways – from paintings to graphics, photography and sculpture. Each piece has been vetted to ensure quality and consistency with TMC’s healing mission.

TMC’s curator, Lauren Rabb, leads a regular tour of the Healing Art collection on campus.

“The walls of our hospital have been transformed, with more art and photography installed each month to enrich the lives of our patients, visitors and staff,” Rabb said. “But as a community hospital, we also believe it is important to share these gifts with the community – and especially since art draws its power from its stories, its imagination and its engagement.”

The tour covers one mile of hallway – with frequent stops to discuss specific works of art – and is recommended for those over the age of 12.

The next public tour is taking place Monday, August 28 at 10 a.m., with another following on Monday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m.

Space is limited so please RSVP for instructions on where to meet at 520-444-0363 or lrauthor@cox.net.

For those who are interested in the art, but not the tour, the works may be found on our catalog at https://www.artworkarchive.com/artwork/tmc-healing-art-program

TMC helped support conversion of multipurpose space for homeless youth

YOTOpaintingYouth on Their Own, a nonprofit dropout prevention agency supporting homeless youth in their goals of graduating from high school, did not have a functional space to hold youth events, host Board meetings or engage donors in providing critical services for vulnerable youth.

That all changed earlier this spring.

A new multipurpose room, adjacent to the program’s resale store at 1660 N. Alvernon Way, was the culminating project of Greater Tucson Leadership, a nonprofit program designed to develop future community leaders.

Tucson Medical Center was proud to join other local businesses in providing funding and support for the 880-square foot renovation project. Other donors included Tucson Electric Power, Cenpatico, Vantage West Credit Union, BeachFleischman CPAs, architect Kim Wolfarth, Porter Construction Services, Aztec Flooring, Universal Wallboard, Gilbert Electric, Mesquite Valley Growers and Goodwill Industries. Additionally, nearly 100 individuals contributed resources – and sweat equity – to the project.

Shawn.jpgIn addition to financial support, TMC lent the skills of Construction Supervisor Shawn Cole as project manager. Cole has known of the organization’s work for a long time and appreciates the help it provides.

“It’s very rewarding to give back to an organization that gives to so many and serves such a critical need,” Cole said. “It’s tough enough growing up and that’s compounded when kids are homeless and trying to stay in school. It was nice to be able to support that effort – and especially given the importance of the work that’s done there.”

Nicola Hartmann, the CEO of Youth on Their Own, said the space is getting a lot of use. Recently, staff held a summer “cool off party” for youth, with games, pizza and ice cream, as well as assistance with school work and college preparation.

“The youth who stopped in loved it. We would never have been able to do this without the fabulous space that was created for precisely these kinds of events.”

Kasey Hill, executive director of Greater Tucson Leadership, said the project epitomizes the goals of the program.

“At its root, leadership is about identifying a need and galvanizing the community to make a difference through collective energy, focus and commitment,” she said. “The community response to this project really highlights Tucson’s strengths – we come together when there is a need.”

Eclipse watchers: Follow these tips to protect your eyes

EclipseGlassesIf you’re planning to watch the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, do it safely.

Don’t look directly into the sun without eye protection – and sunglasses alone won’t do it. Those are some of the safety tips you’ll see in a short video from @MayoClinic to protect your eyes.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Tucson Medical Center works directly with Mayo Clinic, which again was named the top hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Reports.

The foundation of our relationship with Mayo Clinic is a shared commitment to improving the delivery of health care through high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based medical care. Our care network membership allows TMC access to the knowledge and expertise of Mayo Clinic to enhance the care we provide locally and save our patients unnecessary travel.

Tucson will see the eclipse as a partial solar eclipse – about 60 percent. It will start after 9 a.m. and end about noon. The Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium reports there will not be another total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States until 2024 – so happy watching, but take precautions!

Community hospital works to reduce opioid use after surgery

PillsInHand_444966868 (002)Even as Gov. Ducey declared a public health state of emergency regarding the misuse and abuse of opioids, physicians practicing at Tucson Medical Center were already working to minimize the use of opioids for patients recovering from surgery.

Physicians have several opportunities to manage the use of narcotics, particularly important as patients leave the hospital with a plan for pain management during recovery.

Anesthesiologists from Old Pueblo Anesthesia, who practice at TMC, have been working to enhance their regional anesthesia program to provide additional options for patients.  If patients can keep opioid use to a minimum in those crucial first days after surgery, while reducing their pain and inflammation, the hope is that they can use fewer narcotics through their recovery period.

Shoulder surgery, for example, is notoriously uncomfortable for some patients because the shoulder is engaged when a patient is standing or when laying down. Traditional anesthesia only lasts about 24 hours.

Now, in addition to direct injections to numb the area and block pain during surgery, physicians can place tiny catheters near the nerves that supply the shoulder with a local anesthetic to provide greater comfort for up to 3 days. The patient can care for the pump at home and throw it away when the anesthesia is depleted.

Dr. Robin Kloth said that Old Pueblo performed a comparison of patients with total shoulder replacement who used traditional pain relief and those who used interscalene catheter placement. “Over the course of the full 3 days, the catheter patients took less than half the narcotics that our compared group took in just a single day,” she said, adding patients also reported far less nausea.

Dr. Neesann Marietta concurred. “These techniques can really extend a patient’s pain relief, which greatly increases patient satisfaction. They can go home and sleep comfortably, which is so important for the healing process.”

And that’s just one example. For abdominal surgery, patients relied previously on epidurals that could only be used during their hospital stay. Now, anesthesiologists can do a block that provides local relief in the abdominal wall that will last up to 24 hours, and patients may be sent home the same day.

Colorectal and gyn-oncology surgeons are increasingly using a slow release local anesthetic that lasts up to 72 hours.

The colorectal program reports that between greater patient education, early ambulation and regional anesthesia, patients are seeing a decrease in patient length of stay by 1.3 days and an 88 percent decrease in morphine equivalent, given in the first 24 hours post-surgery.

“Both doctors and patients are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for the misuse of highly addictive pain medications and it’s important that we be part of this national discussion,” said surgical oncologist Michele Boyce Ley, who uses regional anesthesia as well as nonsteroidal medications such as Celebrex and gabapentin to help control pain for her patients having breast surgery.

Ley said her patients are doing so well, many are managing post-surgical pain with little more than Tylenol or ibuprofen.

“We have been working on this in earnest and getting training on these techniques because of concerns about opioid usage,” Kloth said. “Opioids have been the go-to solution for many years, in part because patients had high expectations of pain relief and because a bottle of Percocet is really cheap. These techniques are more labor intensive, but we’ve demonstrated value to the patient – and it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Many patients also feel less lucid and less awake when using narcotics, which could delay physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Marietta said the techniques are not right for every patient and every case, but patients who are concerned about the potential for opioid misuse should have a conversation with their physician about pain control – and see if a nerve block would be appropriate.



TMC encourages community members to be cautious in sharing information to avoid phone scams

MagnifierHand_221068210 (002).jpgWith local utilities recently warning customers of apparent phone scams in which payment is demanded over the phone, Tucson Medical Center is urging community members to be cautious in responding to such inquiries.

TMC does have conversations over the phone with patients about payments and we will accept payment over the phone as well.

What we won’t do is make threatening, high-pressure phone calls.

If something doesn’t sound right, ask the caller for their name and their phone number. Keep it as a reference but know that scammers have access to ID spoofing software that can disguise phone calls to appear that they are made from a reputable organization.

Instead, call Tucson Medical Center directly and ask the operator for the Business Office or call us directly at 324-1310.

A legitimate representative from TMC will be able to share information about the previous or anticipated hospital stay, including the date and procedure.

“If something sounds suspicious, honor that instinct,” said Maria Persons, the director of TMC’s billing office. “We will always understand and support your choice to be safe and to be extra diligent if someone asks you to share sensitive information over the phone.”

TMC also has a secure way for patients to pay their hospital bill online. To see TMC’s other mechanisms, please visit https://www.tmcaz.com/pay-my-bill


Lovell Foundation, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona partner to award nearly $3 million for end-of-life care and planning services


The year leading up to death for those with chronic conditions can be emotionally difficult and stressful for patients and families. It’s also costly, with patients in that final year accounting for 25 percent of total Medicare spending on beneficiaries over the age of 65.

There has to be a better way.

The David and Lura Lovell Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona in late July announced their alliance to award almost $3 million to Arizona nonprofits to cooperatively address issues related to the awareness, understanding, and availability of end-of-life care, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities.

Tucson Medical Center Foundation is pleased to be part of that coalition, which represents one of the largest end-of-life care initiatives across the country.

It also builds on four years of focused effort at TMC on improving care for those with life-limiting illness.

“Breaking down taboos about mortality is the first step in empowering patients and their families to have conversations that provide an opportunity to share their values, priorities and beliefs about death,” said Michael Duran, TMC’s chief development officer. “Having a clear road map about what you want from health care providers to how you want to be memorialized is a gift to yourself and to your family because it reduces the guessing and power struggles that can arise in the absence of that certainty.”

TMC has engaged case management, Hospice and Senior Services teams, and two accountable care organizations, Arizona Connected Care and Abacus Health, in the effort to improve advance care planning for adults and their caregivers throughout the community. The grant will provide resources to primary care practices and hospital case management to assist patients in making more informed decisions.

Karen Popp, the director of care coordination for Arizona Connected Care, said the coalition may ultimately serve as a national model for those assisting patients with their choices at the end of life. “What is particularly profound about this collaboration is that we have an opportunity across an entire region to create positive change around the ability of patients to honor the quality of life they expect as they face the end of their lives.”

The Lovell Foundation awarded a total of $2,507,619 for end-of-life care and planning projects. CFSA grants total $390,000. Grants range from $20,000 to $1 million to support end-of-life care programs that engage the community, educate professionals and patients, institute organizational and community standards of practice, develop the healthcare workforce and impact public policy.

“Our collective goal is to fundamentally change the narrative on how we plan for, care for and experience death and dying in Southern Arizona and beyond,” said John Amoroso, executive director of the Lovell Foundation. “Ultimately we all – individuals, families, caregivers, health systems and communities – bear the responsibility for changing the status quo by helping each other to engage in compassionate, honest conversations about our mortality, the type of healthcare we wish to receive and how it is given across the spectrum of life choices.”

This year’s grants were awarded to the following organizations:

The Lovell Foundation shared this interest in end-of-life care and previously funded “Passing On,” an award-winning documentary produced by Arizona Public Media and broadcast nationally by PBS, and other projects.

“We did a community-wide scan on end-of-life issues. We discovered this group of dedicated organizations and individuals that had been working together with support from CFSA funding. That kind of energy and potential emboldened the Lovell Foundation to expand our commitment to end-of-life care and make an even bigger investment,” said Ann Lovell, president of the family foundation and daughter of its founders.


Voting begins next week in the City of Tucson’s primary election

 Candidate Forum

A big thank you is in order to the four candidates running for a seat in the Ward 3 City Council race, who appeared at a candidate forum Tuesday night at Tucson Medical Center, sponsored by the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The foundation for democracy is an engaged and educated electorate,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC. “We appreciate everyone who came out to learn more about the candidates – and importantly, we thank each of the candidates for stepping up and running for office.”

The winner among the three candidates vying for the Ward 3 Democratic primary – Thomas Tronsdal, Paul Durham and Felicia Chew – will face Gary Watson, an independent, in the general election. The winner will assume the seat currently held by City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, who is retiring from the Council.

In addition to Ward 3, the Green Party has a contested primary race in Ward 6.

Ballots will be mailed Aug. 9 to registered voters.


TMC thanks, congratulates teacher in residence at close of program

Sheila at TMCCongratulations to Sheila Marquez, an anatomy teacher at Tucson High Magnet School, who finished her third summer working at Tucson Medical Center as part of the business-education partnership known as Teachers in Industry.

The program allows businesses to gain valuable perspectives by employing teachers over the summer, and allows teachers a chance to see firsthand the kind of skills students need to be effective in future careers.

“I’ve been a teacher and a research assistant for the entirety of my career – I’ve never worked outside of the academic realm,”  said Marquez, who has taught high school students for nearly 20 year. “This has been very valuable to learn about the breadth of careers available in health care as students consider their future possible selves.”

Marquez spent her first year at TMC working in infection prevention, her second year working in the lab, and her third year – the culminating year of the program – working in pharmacy.

After her first summer, she implemented a change in her classroom, emulating the one-on-one meetings her manager at TMC held with staff members. “I went back and did one-on-one meetings with each of my students in the first two weeks of class,” she said. “It made a world of difference: Instead of waiting at the end to tell them if they were in trouble with their grades or attendance, we had a chance to be proactive and talk about what might have kept them from being successful in earlier classes and what I could do to help support them.”

Marquez also learned about Lean management processes, which originated in manufacturing but are being used at TMC to empower employees to become problem solvers and to build efficiencies. Some of the problem-solving techniques can be applicable in a science-based classroom, she said.

She said businesses ultimately need students who don’t just regurgitate information, but are critical thinkers and can collaborate successfully with others. “It’s not just about knowing where the tibia is. It’s about having the tools to come up with successful solutions.”

“This has been an invaluable experience,” she said, encouraging other industries to participate in the program.

It has been a positive collaboration for TMC as well, said Pharmacy Technician Manager Sue Weygint.

Weygint credited Marquez with shadowing pharmacy technicians to learn about their processes and workflow, creating Excel spreadsheets and graphs that allowed data mining. “We can now see trends, anomalies and the overall work balance across shifts,” Weygint said, noting the goal is to increase productivity and level the workload.

“We have already made some adjustments with her help and we’re on a path to stronger metrics of productivity and efficiency,” Weygint said.

Master teachers in the program, including Marquez, will be celebrated on Sept. 12 from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. at Tucson Electric Power. For more information about the program, please visit www.teachersinindustry.arizona.edu

Cigna, March of Dimes and TMC share A Common Thread

008Summertime in not usually when Tucsonans think about needing a knit-cap…unless they are a preemie.

This summer, thousands of cute knit-caps are available for preemies thanks to Cigna volunteers, who donated the caps to TMC during national volunteer week.

In April, Cigna volunteers traveled from Phoenix to deliver nearly 3,000 knit caps for NICU babies at Tucson Medical Center.

The community service project is called A Common Thread, and was founded by Cigna employees as part of Cigna’s national sponsorship of the March of Dimes.

The caps provide warmth for babies, which is particularly important for infants facing serious health challenges. Crocheted in many sizes, the caps can accommodate both premature and full-term babies. In addition, families enjoy the different styles and colors that give the newborns individuality.

014“We are most proud of this project,” said Jessica Celentano, executive director of market development at the Southern Arizona March of Dimes. “Each hat takes about 20 minutes to knit – that’s more than 900 volunteer hours to provide a needed and heartfelt service for families in our region.”

Cigna has been a partner of the March of Dimes and a national sponsor of March for Babies for the past 23 years. Since A Common Thread was founded, more than 12,000 baby hats have been donated to NICUs throughout the country and more than 8,500 have been donated in Arizona.

“It is a priority for Cigna and our employees to meaningfully contribute to local communities,” said Dr. Isaac Martinez, medical director of Cigna HealthCare. He joined Cigna employees Pamela Martin and Theresa Richards to deliver the 2,700+ caps to TMC. “Thanks to the many Cigna volunteers, like Pamela and Theresa, we’re honored to make this contribution to TMC.”

002Celentano, Martin, Richards and Dr. Martinez carried countless blue satchels filled with the donated caps through TMC’s Joel M. Childers Women’s Center. Pat Brown, TMC director of women’s and children’s services, thanked them for the unique caps and their community service.

“We are so thankful for their time and effort,” Brown said. “These caps are wonderful gifts for the babies and their families – and there is enough to last us for years.”

The NICU at TMC treats about 500 infants in the NICU each year, and more than 5,000 babies are born annually at TMC’s labor and delivery department – one of the busiest in the state.  A perfect fit for the sizeable donation.

Learn more about Cigna’s community support efforts like A Common Thread, on their Facebook page or on Twitter @Cigna or #CignaAZ. The March of Dimes website can provide more information about their efforts to help infants and families.



General contractor survives cardiac arrest; teaches July 27 class to show others how to save lives

GaryBrauchlateachesCPRWhen Gary Brauchla went into cardiac arrest before daybreak in September 2012, he survived because others didn’t give up on him.

His wife kept up chest compressions until help came. First responders kept up CPR until they transported him to the hospital.

Brauchla, now 72, is on a mission to show others how to save lives with chest compression CPR.

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.

“Statistics show that 70 percent of people may not know how to respond if someone collapsed nearby,” Brauchla said. “People should know that in just a few minutes, they can learn how to save a life. You never know when you may need that skill, especially since like mine, four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home.”

With his second chance, Brauchla added two things to his life.

He started running for the first time in his life, and routinely runs 5K races.

And he became an advocate, starting a nonprofit, Arizona Cardiac Arrest Survivors, to provide education about cardiac arrest and the steps that can be taken to save lives. He also became an American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructor, capable of training clinical staff as well as those with no experience in CPR.

Brauchla will be teaching Save a Life, Don’t Give Up! Compression Only CPR on July 27 at 5:30 p.m. at The Core at La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Drive.

Chest compression CPR not only is easy to perform and eliminates a barrier for those reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Brauchla noted, but it works just as well as traditional CPR in sudden cardiac arrest cases.

“Feeling helpless as a bystander in an emergency is a terrible feeling,” Brauchla said. “It’s my hope to help others be able to take more proactive steps instead of wishing they could help.”

Registration is requested at http://www.thecoretmc.com. Participants will have an opportunity to practice this technique on mannequins during the class.

Artwork at TMC Rincon Health Campus reflects Vail’s community connection and spirit

Vail Preservation SocietyVail – the town between the tracks – is a vibrant community resting in the foothills of the Rincon mountains on Tucson’s eastside.

Along with its leading school system , picturesque landscapes and family-oriented neighborhoods, another of Vail’s greatest attributes is the community’s strong connection to the rich, cultural heritage of the area.

The community values its history, preserving locations like the Old Vail Post Office (built in 1908) and founder’s chronicles like those of the Estrada, Escalante, Leon and Monthan families. You’ll recognize the name Monthan from Tucson’s Air Force Base. Davis-Monthan gets half its name from early Vail resident Oscar Monthan.

Vail Preservation Society 3“Residents, especially the young ones, want to know who came before them,” explained J.J. Lamb, executive director of the Vail Preservation Society. “Our past shows us there is something unique about Vail that it is worth preserving.”

Tucson Medical Center recently opened the TMC Rincon Health Campus at Houghton and Drexel. In the final stages of construction, the community-owned hospital worked with the Vail Preservation society to include artwork and photography that would reflect the Vail community’s connection to their history and to the land itself.

“These photographs give us a sense of place and community continuity,” said Lamb. “We Vail Preservation Society 2were glad to work with TMC and establish these connections to our community through public art.”

The art and photos have an ancillary but equally important effect for the Vail residents visiting the Rincon Health Campus.

“It’s the right fit,” said Lauren Rabb, curator of the TMC Healing Art Program. “Art can be Vail Preservation Society 4powerful medicine, and we took it a step further at Rincon– including comforting and therapeutic images of local landscapes, history and people.”

Local photographer Gregory Cranwell shares thoughts on his photo of Jesus Arvizu that is displayed at Rincon. “Photographs like this show the backbone of our area,” Cranwell said. “This is a rancher doing real ranching. It’s not for show – he’s going about his daily work to provide for his family.”

Vail Preservation Society 7For Cranwell, the photos provide both beauty and truth. “You can’t separate the beauty of our landscapes from the beauty of our culture – all we have is our roots and I hope people will feel this place is special.”

Bill Steen is a Southern Arizona photographer who took several of the landscape photos provided. “Sometimes they just come together and the same conditions will never happen again in the exact way,” he said. “Photos can make people more aware of where they live – and enrich the possibility of being connected to it.”

Vail Preservation Society 6At Rincon, you’ll find many stopping to appreciate Bill’s photos of clouds passing over the Mustang Mountains and of the moon rising above the Huachuca foothills. “They are also designed to soothe – helping people stop and escape the moment.”

Vail Preservation Society 5TMC’s Healing Art Program accepts donations of gallery-quality paintings, graphics, photography and sculptures. The program considers all styles of art that would further our mission to enhance patient care through the creation and maintenance of a healing environment.


Southern Arizona hospital coalition addresses opioid misuse in rural areas

SAHA.jpgA coalition of five independent Southern Arizona hospitals this week secured a federal grant to diminish opioid misuse and dependence across rural communities in Southern Arizona.

The Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant, which provides about $100,000 in support to the effort, comes through the federal Health Resources & Services Administration. The grant aims to:

  • achieve efficiencies by collaborating with behavioral health and police departments in rural communities
  • expand coordination of quality health care services by identifying shared communication strategies tailored for rural communities
  • strengthen the rural health care system in Southern Arizona by identifying opportunities for the Alliance to better address regional opioid misuse through the implementation of innovative collaborations and strategies

Formed in summer 2015, the Alliance consists of Northern Cochise Community Hospital, Copper Queen Community Hospital, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, and Benson Hospital. Tucson Medical Center is the founding member.

“Our Alliance has already demonstrated we can leverage existing relationships within our network to improve the care we deliver,” said Roland Knox, the chief executive officer of Northern Cochise Community Hospital who will lead the grant project. “Although this is a national struggle, Arizona has the fifth highest opioid prescription rate in the nation, and this award will allow us to work in a more coordinated way to improve outcomes for those grappling with this issue.”

Hope Thomas, the network director for the Alliance and TMC’s director of community programs, noted the challenges in rural communities are magnified because of more limited access to health and social services. Thomas noted an average of 26 percent of adults living in Southern Arizona’s rural counties report current prescription drug misuse and fatal opioid overdose in rural areas is as high or even higher than rates in metropolitan areas.

The grant award runs through May 2018.

Doctors, nurses share implications of federal health reform (BCRA)

What our health care providers are saying about BCRAThe medical community has not had any substantive role in drafting the proposed health care reform legislation in Washington, D.C.

Doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses who practice at Tucson Medical Center have created videos to directly share their perspectives and concerns on behalf of patients who would be affected by changes to Medicaid as envisioned in the proposals.

“As a nonprofit community hospital, TMC provides educational and community events throughout the year on a variety of different topics, from heart health to water safety to nutrition,” explained Julia Strange, the vice president of community benefit for TMC.

“In this particular case, we have been getting a lot of questions from staff and providers and the community about what these legislative proposals would mean to the community and to hospitals,” Strange continued. “We believe it is important to focus on policy and not politics, so these videos are an opportunity for providers to share their perspective, as those closest to serving patients.”

Hear directly from clinicians in the following videos. You can also view all the videos on our YouTube channel.

health care, bcra, midwive

Greta Gill – Nurse Midwife

bcra, healthcare

Mimi Coomler, RN, CNO





Dr. Donna Woods, ED Physician

Joey Rodriguez, RN






Melissa Young, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Melissa Young, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Kimberly Fore, RN







Dr. Pal Evans, Physician

Dr. Daniel McCabe





Randy Friese, MD, trauma critical care provider.

Donna Woods, ED physician, reading a poem she wrote

Mimi Coomler, RN, speaking about her son with Type 1 diabetes

Regardless of your viewpoint, please consider sharing your own perspectives and stories with your elected leaders in Washington as they collect feedback from their constituents to help inform their vote. For more information visit Save AZ Health Care’s website. 

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

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 safekidspimacounty@tmcaz.com 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.

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.


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.


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


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.


TMC adopts new testing system to rapidly identify infections, allow targeted antibiotic treatment

Accelerate Diagnostics 4Tucson Medical Center has adopted a new technology developed by local biotechnology firm Accelerate Diagnostics Inc. that is expected to save precious time in identifying the source of bloodstream infections and determine which antibiotics would be most effective in treating them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late February allowed Accelerate to move forward with sharing information about the Accelerate PhenoTest BC Kit, which is designed to help save lives and reduce complications by initiating antibiotic treatment significantly more quickly in cases of bacterial or yeast blood infections.

About 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually in the United States and at least 23,000 die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because these infections escalate very quickly, physicians concerned about a delay in treatment may sometimes employ a more broad-brush treatment. Over time, however, that builds resistance.

Accelerate Diagnostics“When we talk about heart attacks, we say that time is tissue, which is why we need immediate medical intervention,” said John Allen, director of TMC Laboratory Services. “When we talk about sepsis, time is life.

“We’re very excited by the promise of this test to help us find more targeted therapy as quickly as possible to improve patient outcomes and potentially save lives.”

TMC has worked closely with the company since it was recruited to Tucson in 2012, from providing specimens to helping run testing prototypes. “We’re very proud to work with the team at TMC,” said Lawrence Mehren, president and CEO of Accelerate Diagnostics. “Their dedication to providing the best care possible to our community is evident in the work they do each and every day.”

The company, which at the time pledged to add 30 jobs, has experienced rapid growth and now employs more than 100 people in leased space in the Abrams Public Health Center. “In addition to the life-saving work this company is doing, TMC is pleased to foster the biotech presence in our community and support local, ongoing economic development efforts,” Allen said.

Accelerate Diagnostics 3Traditional test results may take up to 48 hours after infection is detected in a positive blood culture. In a fraction of the time, the Accelerate PhenoTest BC Kit can identify more than two dozen species of bacteria and yeast that can cause infection, and help indicate its responsiveness to 18 different antibiotics, according to the FDA. It can also help identify whether the infection is showing indication of antibiotic-resistance.

FDA approval was based largely on a review of a primary clinical study, which determined the test correctly identified strains of bacteria or yeast more than 95 percent of the time in a sample of 1,850 positive blood cultures.


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.

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 https://register.donatelifeaz.org/register/ref/TMC

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 www.tmcaz.com or check out the TMC for Seniors calendar of events.

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 https://www.tmcaz.com/survivewell17

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 http://www.elrio.org/location/healthon-broadway/ and read a recent Arizona Daily Star story here http://tucson.com/news/local/new-downtown-tucson-health-clinic-offers-a-different-patient-experience/article_e28afb80-5f60-5c77-9d56-6c1e9159d862.html.

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.


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 https://www.tmcaz.com/survivewell17

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.


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 http://bit.ly/PawsontheRun5k

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.

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.


Booster seats, bike helmets & ChooChoo Soul! TMC’s 13th annual Be Safe Saturday: March 18

Be Safe Saturday 045Becoming a parent brings a new focus to child safety.

Suddenly, you see your vehicle and your neighborhood swimming pool through a new prism. The same goes for bicycles and scooters and even everyday areas in your home.

TMC’s Be Safe Saturday, now in its 13th year, is designed to help parents and guardians create the safest environment for their children.

It will run from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on March 18 on the TMC campus,  parking lot #11.

The event typically draws 13,000 people and provides families with free bike helmets and booster seats, as well as roughly 100 interactive booths to provide education and resources to help improve safety. Safe Kids Pima County and the Tucson Police Department will offer car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon to make sure they are properly installed.

As a special treat, Disney’s Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve will be performing throughout the event and food trucks will be on hand for families looking to purchase delectable goodies from a variety of mobile kitchens. A “happiness wall” will also allow families to pledge small, simple acts of kindness they can perform to give meaning to the upcoming International Day of Happiness on March 20.

“TMC is here to provide care when you need it, but our commitment is to empower the community to be partners in wellness and safety,” said Hope Thomas, director of community programs at TMC. “Events like this one are one of the many ways TMC shows its dedication to serving as this region’s community hospital.”



TMC recurring location in mysteries by Festival of Book’s presenting author J.A. Jance

Visitors to the Tucson Book Festival this weekend will see many recognizable inspirational landmarks around town, but one that they might not classify as a literary landmark is Tucson Medical Center. It’s a place that not only delivers care and compassion, but also delivers a reoccurring location for medical scenes in the books by New York Times best-selling author J.A. Jance.

J.A. Jance, who grew up in Bisbee and now lives between Washington state and Tucson, will be revealing her latest book, Man Overboard: An Ali Reynolds Novel at the book festival this weekend. It is in her Joanna Brady books, set primarily in Cochise County and Bisbee, that you can find yourself transported to locations including TMC, which will seem very familiar to Tucson and Southern Arizona residents.

We caught up with Jance recently to investigate how she creates an environment for her storylines and why she thinks the Tucson Festival of Books is so important to our community.

How does the Southwest landscape inspire you?

I love the stubborn endurance of the creatures who thrive in the desert. Chop down a grove of cholla and months later, tiny cholla shoots will come up from the remaining root structure. I love how the trunks of saguaros puff up after monsoons, creating reserves of moisture that allow for survival during the dry months to come. But my absolute favorite? The ocotillo, which leafs out with new greenery within hours of each passing rainstorm. The ocotillo can grow and shed leaves time and again in the course of a single year. In the plant world it’s saying, “Here I am. I’ll do whatever it takes, but water helps.”

Do you scout locations?

If a location turns up in my books, you can pretty well guess I’ve been there and done that.

The various settings of the different series are wildly different, lush Washington versus the desert Southwest.How do the very distinct geographic locations impact the story lines?

I am not Frank Herbert and am too lazy to create my own universe. For me it’s simpler to set my stories in places I know well. Because I’m familiar with the various landscapes – the distances, the weather, the flora and fauna, I can report on those things in the background as my characters travel through those places while, a the same time, keeping my focus on what the characters are doing and saying in the foreground.

I grew up in Bisbee and spent much of my early adulthood working and teaching in and around Tucson and Phoenix. I moved to the Seattle area in the early ’80s and have spent most of the last 20 years as a snowbird with homes in both places. It turns out that I’m as bi-regional as my books are. Arizona will always be my home, but because I began my writing career shortly after my move to Seattle, Washington state will always be my creative home.

What day trips from Tucson in Southern Arizona would you recommend to Joanna Brady fans?

A trip to Bisbee is a must. The Lavender Jeep tour can give you an insider’s look at the Bisbee I grew up in.  A meal at the Café Roka on Main Street or Santiago’s at the base of Brewery Gulch can be counted on as reliable taste treats. Drive down to Naco and out past the Turquoise Country Club and take a look at the remains of a real Buffalo Soldier outpost. And when you look at the hole in the ground that is Lavender Pit, look around at the surrounding hillsides and remember, when I was a girl, that hole in the ground was a mountain that same size with little neighborhoods of houses – Jiggerville, Upper Lowell and Lower Bisbee tucked into the Canyons.

If you go to Tombstone, by all means go to Boot Hill. That’s fun. But take the time to go to the real cemetery, too, and see how young those pioneers were when they died and what they died of. And then go out to the Ed Scheffelin Memorial north of town, and imagine being a lone prospector traveling on foot with a mule and looking for gold and silver in a hostile territory in which the Apaches still ruled supreme.

For natural wonders? Visit the Chiricahua National Monument or, as it was called when I a girl, the Wonderland of Rocks. Go to Kartchner Caverns. And by all means, visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and gain some insight into the varied landscapes and wildlife that exist all around us.

In many of the Joanna Brady books there are scenes at TMC. What is your relationship with TMC?

Most of my experience with TMC came years ago when one of my friends, suffering from a very debilitating illness, spent much time receiving impressively caring care.

At this year’s Festival of Books you will be releasing your latest Ali Reynolds book and you’re on the panel of several sessions. Why do you think the Festival of Books is an important event for Tucson?

For me, going to China was a very real lesson in learning how it feels to be entirely illiterate. The Tucson Festival of Books supports literary efforts for both children and adults. Literacy Connects is one of the entities the festival supports, and I’ve had the honor of meeting a Literacy Connects client who, at age 58, decided to fight back against her lifelong dyslexia, by learning to read – using my Joanna Brady books as textbooks. As a result, she has transformed her life. She’s no longer stuck in a dead-end job. She can read aloud to her grandchildren. That’s one woman’s story, but is it important for the city of Tucson? You’d better bet it is, especially when you realize that story is being repeated, time and again.

TFOB is a rather large and potentially overwhelming event, what sessions would you suggest attending to one of your readers?

Go to as many as you can, but book your tickets beforehand online rather than waiting in a long line and missing out on seeing someone you want to see.

On your blog you mention the 10,000 steps a day you make toward wellness, something our TMC Wellness team also loves to encourage. What is your favorite Tucson walks that you would recommend to TFOB visitors and Tucson locals?

My neighborhood in central Tucson has been plagued with packs of coyotes and herds of javelina, so walking solo or with two little dogs is not necessarily recommended. I tend to walk inside my yard – in the back garden or around the driveway. When it’s too hot, I march up and down the hall with detours into the dining room and living room. I routinely walk four to five miles a day and have done so for close to two years now. For someone who was formerly primarily sedentary, this is a real change of lifestyle and focus. It takes time and energy – an hour plus a day of walking. But it also means that, by adjusting eating habits, I’ve lost 75 pounds. And by doing workouts with a personal trainer, I am no longer a 70-something who, in the case of an unexpected fall, would not be able to get up on my own. (I used to be one of those but not anymore!)

You can meet and hear J.A. Jance this weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books. You can find more information about her and her books on her website.

Tucson Medical Center is pleased to be a presenting sponsor of the Tucson Festival of Books. Like J.A. Jance we believe that literacy matters and the festival, along with the funds it raises for literacy groups within our community help support the health and well being of our community.

Not sure what to do with the car seat your family outgrew? Donate it!

car-seat-recycle-2For the third year in a row, Tucson Medical Center is collecting unwanted – and even expired – child car seats that are cluttering up garages and dens across the community.

Did you know that every car seat has an expiration date? It’s a little-known fact, but the date is usually found somewhere on a sticker or imprinted on the plastic. Typically, car seats have a shelf life of about six years from the manufacture date, because plastic can break down over time, particularly in Arizona’s sun.

In Tucson alone, an estimated 19,000 car seats expire every year.

Depending on whether they are still considered safe for travel, based on an evaluation of 10 factors, TMC either donates them to families in need in Mexico or properly recycles them. Last year, of the 324 car seats we collected, 40 were distributed to families in Mexico who otherwise may not have safe travel options.

You can drop off any used, expired or unwanted car seats including infant seats, convertible seats and booster seats. Don’t worry about the condition or cleanliness of the seat! Please drop donations off at the Teal Saguaro, Tucson Medical Center’s resale boutique: 5395 E Erickson Drive, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 795-1037.

Love retail? We’re looking for you!

volunteers-needed-for-the-tmc-gift-shop-and-teal-saguaroTucson Medical Center is currently recruiting retail volunteers for the TMC Gift Shop and our resale boutique, the Teal Saguaro.

Both shops support the medical services and programs through Tucson’s locally governed, not for profit community hospital.

The Teal Saguaro, which offers quality, gently used items at 5395 E. Erickson Drive, is also accepting donations. Needed items include clothing for the entire family, footwear, household items, small appliances, books and more.

All funds raised directly support TMC and its services. The Teal Saguaro also serves as a resource center for families in need, providing booster seats and bicycle helmets for children, as well as emergency clothing for patients who weren’t able to prepare for their visit.

“Whether you are looking for a way to donate to TMC or on the hunt for a great buy, both stores offer a truly unique shopping experience,” said TMC Auxiliary President Dan Bailey.

Information about volunteer work at TMC and the application to become a volunteer is found at www.tmcaz.com/volunteers. Information about the Teal Saguaro may be found at http://www.tmcaz.com/tealsaguaro.


March forth into Spring at the Women’s Wellness Camp

join-tmc-at-the-womens-wellness-camp-march-4Spring means the start of longer days and the rebirth of motivation.

What better way to revitalize your body and mind – and rejuvenate your spirit – than joining women of all ages and fitness levels at a half-day wellness camp?

The event, which takes place Saturday, March 4 on the campus of Tucson Medical Center, is designed to be fun, challenging and motivating and will help you to stay on track with your health goals.

Wellness experts will lead you through a schedule of activities that include:

  • 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Finding Your Center, discussion
  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Cardio + strength, exercise session
  • 10:15 a.m. – 11 a.m. Core strength, exercise session
  • 11 a.m. – noon Eat Purposefully discussion, with lunch
  • Noon – 12:45 p.m. Flexibility of Mind and Body, discussion
  • 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Yoga

The $40 price of the program includes lunch, a T-shirt and a wellness manual, complete with goal-setting tools and useful health information.

Register online at http://bit.ly/TMCWomensWellnessCamp

Call 324-4163 for more information or email wellness@tmcaz.com

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