Going above and beyond – Mission Moment

Rhonda Bodfield, right, leading a Zumba class at Armory Park during 2016 Beyond! commemoration events. Photo: A.E. Araiza

We all have that person in our office – that positive, first to volunteer, always going above and beyond, trying to make the day brighter for everyone, person – like Rhonda Bodfield, the director of Communications at TMC.

Bodfield is respected by her coworkers for her professionalism, strong work ethic and pleasant demeanor – no surprise; she takes it a step further, demonstrating TMC’s dedication at local events.

“She is one of our best and most active volunteers,” said Jessica Mitchell, program manager for outreach at TMC. “We see her at five to six TMC events throughout the year, from the Summer Safari Friday Nights to Be Safe Saturdays.”

If you have been to a TMC event or visited a TMC booth at a community event, then you’ve probably seen Bodfield helping fit a bike helmet for a child, handing out helpful information or discussing public health.

“It’s not just that she volunteers, but how she volunteers,” said Mitchell. “She really wants to help people and you can see that it’s rewarding to her – her participation inspires other TMC employees to volunteer too.”

The next time you are enjoying one of Tucson’s many, fun community events, stop by the TMC booth and say hello to Rhonda.

TMC Hospice: Honoring Our Veterans

TMC Hospice volunteers Lewis Jones, center, and Dave Falkner honor a veteran and hospice patient for her service to her country.

When Lewis Jones came on for his shift at Peppi’s House, staff let him know that one of the hospice patients was a veteran and had been honored for his military service earlier in his stay. When the man died later that day surrounded by his large extended family, which included active-duty military, Jones joined with another volunteer to drape the unit’s American flag quilt over the body. As the mortuary came to take him away, the pair, themselves veterans, stood silently saluting as the patient was wheeled out of the building.

The family and staff were overwhelmed with emotion seeing such a show of respect and appreciation for this veteran. Jones stayed to comfort some of the family members, giving that special touch he gives all the time that makes him memorable to everyone.

Today, on Veterans Day, the staff, volunteers and supporters of TMC Hospice honor those who have served our country. TMC Hospice provides care for close to 300 U.S. veterans each year. With the need only growing, we partner with We Honor Veterans and the Hospice Veterans Partnership to better care for, reach out to and honor veterans needing end-of-life care.

Earlier this fall, Jones was one of 200 hospice volunteers across the nation nominated for the 2018 Volunteers Are the Foundation of Hospice award by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. While he wasn’t one of the top winners, he’s still a winner at TMC Hospice.

“Out of many volunteers, Jones is the one everyone talks about. His hugs, smiles and greeting help uplift the staff every time he volunteers,” said Krista Durocher, volunteer coordinator for TMC Hospice, noting that November is also Hospice Awareness Month.

Jones has been a TMC Hospice volunteer since 2010, logging nearly 1,100 hours of service in that time. He started out filing medical records and then was recruited to the bereavement team making weekly calls to families. He started helping with quarterly celebrations of life and eventually became the lead volunteer for these events.

In 2016, this versatile volunteer migrated from bereavement calls to the Tuck In program. Each Thursday, Jones gets a list of homecare patients who are still in their homes (vs. a care facility or nursing home) and checks in to make sure they’re OK and have enough supplies to get through the weekend. Not only do the patients appreciate the calls, but the weekend on-call staff appreciates the reduction in urgent calls for supplies, allowing them to better focus on symptom control and other pressing needs.

“When we started its journey with We Honor Veterans a few years back,” Durocher said, “we knew right away that Jones would be an excellent person to help grow this program in our community.” Jones met with various veteran organizations in town and made invaluable connections as his love for honoring veterans began to blossom.

Hospice patients who are veterans are offered the opportunity for an honoring. During this ceremony, a patient is presented with a certificate of appreciation, a lapel pin and a small American flag as small tokens of gratitude for their service.
Jones, being a Vietnam veteran, has a soft spot for other Vietnam veterans and especially loves to conduct those honorings.

“At every one of those honorings,” Durocher said, “he makes a point to say ‘welcome home’ to the veteran and explains to those in the room why it’s especially important to say that to a Vietnam veteran.”

From all of us at TMC Hospice to all our veterans – including Lewis Jones — thank you for your service.

If you’re a veteran interested in helping honor other veterans or are interested in volunteering with TMC Hospice find out more.

Community partnership establishes new housing program to break addiction cycle

Tucson Medical Center and CODAC Health, Recovery & Wellness are partnering with the Connie Hillman Family Foundation to launch an important, transitional housing program for mothers in recovery from substance use disorders, promoting sustainable recovery and keeping families together.

As established in the Pima County Community Health Needs Assessment, substance use disorders continue to be a top health challenge in our community. Mothers discharged from inpatient substance use treatment face common hardships, such as poverty, housing, limited economic opportunity and lack of support services that lead to relapse and threaten families.

TMC and CODAC are taking a proactive step, committing to a transitional housing collaborative with each providing elements of their specialties to ensure a safe and stable housing environment. In addition, mothers will have access to aftercare treatment, life-skill training, pediatric care and other evidence-based services that facilitate recovery and independence.

Each member will receive a behavioral-health evaluation and an individualized, integrated behavioral and physical health treatment plan, including medication management and counseling therapies. Services incorporate life-skill building, such as communication, budgeting, parenting, employment/vocational and daily living. A CODAC recovery coach facilitates these services and works on-site to offer real-time assistance. Residents will also participate in outpatient recovery services at CODAC’s treatment centers.

“This program is specifically designed for mothers and their families,” said Dennis Regnier, CODAC president and CEO. “CODAC has a long history of providing unique substance use treatment to women and their children. Through this partnership, we’re taking the next critical step in providing comprehensive support services to break the cycle of addiction and create a stable – and very literal – foundation for recovery and long-term health of the whole family.”

TMC support programs will help families connect to the appropriate medical care, including postnatal and developmental services. Recovering moms will receive wellness, nutrition and home safety education. And TMC child-life specialists will provide activities for children that build cognitive skills and healthy relationships.

“This effort will provide the meaningful care and support families need to build healthy and happy lives together,” said Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO. “Together, we’re building a pathway to independence and sustained recovery.”

The Connie Hillman Family Foundation has provided a generous grant to renovate and properly outfit the 16-unit apartment complex near E. Monte Vista Drive and Alvernon. The apartment complex will open in January of 2019, with the ability to house up to 19 women and their children; one unit will be utilized as a community room and counseling office.

TMC Foundation recognized the shared mission and vision of TMC, CODAC and the Connie Hillman Family Foundation, in bringing the community partnership together, creating an opportunity to boost the positive impact of the transitional housing program.

“We are grateful to The Connie Hillman Family Foundation which has made it possible to meet the critical needs of a vulnerable population,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Investing in the transitional housing program is an important step toward a long-term solution that creates better outcomes for families and our community.”

TMC’s perinatal educator on ending domestic abuse in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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More than 200,000 people across the community have pledged to learn more and take action against domestic abuse.

Tucson Medical Center’s own Elizabeth Burcin was interviewed by Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse as the chair of the TMC Domestic Abuse Awareness Committee.

“It’s a silent issue for a lot of people. The community doesn’t know about the scope because so many survivors live in the shadows.”

She talks with us about why she got involved with ending domestic abuse, sharing that a co-worker kept her abuse private until the day her husband threatened her with a knife.

To read the interview, please visit the Emerge! Center against domestic abuse website.

 

Mission Moment: TMC ICU staff give back to our community

TMC ICU Gospel volunteersWhen a number of nurses on staff in the Adult Critical Care Unit (ACCU) expressed to Clinical Nurse Specialist Angie Muzzy a desire to find a way to give back to our community, they had come to the right place.

“I said I know about a couple of great opportunities for us. One is the Gospel Rescue Mission Women and Children’s Shelter and the other is volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build,” said Muzzy.

At the Gospel Rescue Mission, groups can purchase and bring in food and then cook a meal for the women and children staying at the shelter.

“It’s really a gift for us because it gave us the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful program and do something tangible for women and children that need a helping hand.”

A group of nine nurses and one pharmacist pooled their resources to plan, purchase and make a nice Italian meal for about 100 people. They bought 20 chickens from Costco, pasta, sauce, meatballs, salad, garlic bread … the works.

“When we asked what kind of food would be best, they said meat, any protein. And it was great because there was leftover chicken that the chef was able to use the next day for another meal,” said Muzzy.

She added of the experience, “It was just a nice way to spend an afternoon. You leave there feeling like you did something great.”

When Muzzy reached out to the folks at Habitat for Humanity they said they had ten open spots for the September build.

Overwhelmed by the response to participate, they were able to take a group of ten and had a waiting list of ten more.

The group plans to continue finding opportunities to get out in the community and volunteer at least twice a year.

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

TMC recognizes Acacia Elementary teacher Linda Anderson as a Legendary Teacher

When Linda Anderson turned 40, she got serious about getting fit.

She started walking and before you knew it, she was running short distances.

She was hooked.

The third grade teacher has since run nine marathons, including one up Mount Lemmon for her 50th birthday and too many half-marathons to count. She runs three times a week, including three miles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and a longer 7 mile run on Saturdays.

She’s shared that love of fitness with students, serving for eight years as a Girls on the Run coach.

For her commitment to building health in her community, Tucson Medical Center honors her on Legendary Teacher Day, held annually the fourth Thursday in September – Sept. 27 this year.

Legendary Teacher Day

TMC selects a special teacher each year to honor on the day, which was established in 2014, is a tribute to teachers and a chance to reflect on those who make differences in the lives of others.

Anderson never thought she’d be a teacher. After a career in the banking industry while raising her two children, Linda began working in the children’s ministry at her church. That inspired her to embark on education studies.

“It’s a calling and I know I am exactly where I need to be, praise God,” she said.

Girls on the Run

When she learned about Girls on the Run in 2011, Anderson was able to combine her passions for teaching and for running. The youth development program teaches life skills, culminating in a 5k to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment in girls. This fall, Acacia has four coaches with two groups of 15 girls each.

Sylvia Brown, who serves as the TMC coordinator of the program, said she was honored to nominate Anderson. “Linda has been a consistent supporter of Girls on the Run, fully supporting the program and the mission,” she said.

As for Anderson, she said she believes in the purpose of the program.

“The girls are at such a pivotal age to learn these things. With third through fifth graders, they are still young, but their foundations are being set. There are things they’ll have to deal with and this program helps teach them and provide them tools to meet these challenges – whether they come next week or years down the road.”

Anderson recalls getting choked up at one year-end celebration, when one girl shared that the program “has changed my life. I was one of the mean girls, but I’m not anymore.”

“I can see girls grow into their own,” she said. “Some are shy coming in and they open up, gaining self-confidence.”

“I believe in the program and the impact it has on these girls. They learn they can do anything they want. They can make decisions on their own.”

This fall’s season, sponsored by TMC and UnitedHealthcare of Arizona, is just getting underway with the girls, who meet twice a week.

“Girls on the Run provides a tremendous opportunity for UnitedHealthcare to help support these Tucson youngsters as they learn to live healthier lives and to become strong, independent and confident women,” said David Allazetta, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “We salute Linda Anderson for the commitment she has made to their education and their transformation through running.”

The program also comes at a critical time, when peer pressure starts ramping up, Anderson noted. “The program teaches them to be healthy, not skinny, that they are worthy. We encourage them to see the beauty and self-worth inside of themselves, and we talk about the benefits of moving and taking care of themselves.”

An elementary school teacher’s life is busy by default. Still, taking on the added responsibility of being a coach is not a problem for Anderson. “It’s not extra for me. Its part of what I do. I look forward to it. It’s one area I can make a difference.”

“It’s really cool to watch them encourage each other. We encourage them to be the best you, you can be.” We don’t ask if you beat the other girl. We ask ‘Did you do your best?’”

“Then to see the sheer joy when they finish their first 5K run is so amazing,” she said. “Their smiles are as big as Texas.”

In just one year, TMC volunteers donated a whopping 10 years of collective work

Volunteers help others get around the hospital.jpgChecking people in for breast screenings. Making home visits to hospice patients. Sharing the love of a therapy pet. Cuddling babies. Playing soothing instruments. Sewing heart pillows for cardiac patients. Running a resale boutique. Making daily visits to patients. Praying with patients under the guidance of pastoral services. And on and on.

Volunteers make a difference every day at Tucson Medical Center.

TMC thanks its more than 600 volunteers – from college students to retirees – who give their time across nearly 60 areas of the hospital to bring comfort and support to those in need.

TealSaguaro (2).jpgIn fact, our volunteers donated nearly 92,000 hours in 2017 to support TMC’s mission to provide exceptional health care with compassion.

That’s slightly more than 3,833 days of helping others. That’s the equivalent of 10 years of work – and 44 annual full-time employees! Whew!

 

 

Monday’s the last day to register to vote in the primary election

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A number of important, hotly-contested races are on the Aug. 28 primary election ballot.

Make sure you have a say in who will represent you in the nation’s Capitol and at the state legislature.

If you’re not registered yet, July 30 is the cutoff date.

Primary elections may not get as much buzz as general elections, but in many districts with lopsided partisan registration numbers, the primary is where the real decisions are made.

There are a few reasons you would need to complete a new registration form:

  • You’re a new resident to Pima County
  • You’ve changed your address since the last time you registered
  • You’ve changed your name
  • You want to change your party

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Make sure your voice is counted. Register to vote online. 

If you’re not sure if you need to register, you can check your status by going to the Pima County Recorder’s website.

And don’t forget, if you’re an independent voter, you may choose the partisan primary you’d like top vote in.

Questions? Call  the Pima County Recorder’s office at 520-724-4330.

‘Maynards to the Moon’ challenge: 5 tips to design a walking plan that’s out of this world

Meet Me at Maynards thinks our community can take 478 million steps in the coming year to “walk to the moon” in honor of Neil Armstrong’s historic one giant leap for mankind.

Starting Monday, Tucson will be challenged to walk a collective 238,857 miles!

That number may be astronomical, but we can get there, one step at a time. Tucson Medical Center has been a proud supporter of Meet Me at Maynards since the beginning, as part of our work to encourage active lifestyles.

Here are our five tips to get started on a walking plan, compliments of Employee Wellness Manager Amy Ramsey, that will make you a star.

Five tips to get started on a walking plan

  1. Schedule it.

Any new challenge or lifestyle change requires intentional, daily decisions.  Decide which days you can realistically fit in the walking time and give it its own space in your calendar. Don’t just leave it to chance, and assume you’ll get to it when you have an extra 30 minutes.  Life will happen and some days even your best plan will get derailed, but you’re more likely to follow through if you’ve got a solid plan.

  1. Get proper footwear.

Quality shoes and socks can be found in many different price points, so go with something that feels good and fits properly. There’s something to be said for going to a shoe store that help you find the right fit, rather than going it alone. Avoid cotton socks, which can cause blisters, and go for a synthetic blend.  Your whole body will thank you.

  1. Be visible.

Save your black workout outfits for the treadmill. Make sure if you are going to be walking in an area that requires you to be near traffic, or crossing streets, that you wear bright colors, reflective gear,  or even lights. It seems nearly everyone is a distracted driver these days, so don’t chance it. Make sure they can see you.

  1. Find a buddy.

Whether two-legged or four-legged, walking with someone is not only safer, but it’s more enjoyable. Let someone know what challenge you’re involved in, and challenge them to join you! It’ll help both of you stay more accountable to the goals you set.

  1. Get creative.

When time’s feeling crunched, it makes sense to stay close to your home or work to get that walk in, but if you’ve got extra time, make it a point to get in the car and drive to new spots to walk to keep things interesting. You could try some trails, check out new neighborhoods, or start at a new coffee shop, knowing that when you return you can treat yourself to a cup.

 

Find more information about Maynards to the Moon year-long challenge here

– and say hello to the Tucson Medical Center team when you see us on the path!

 

 

 

Separate Girl Scout troops deliver encouraging notes, tiny onesies to cheer patients at TMC

Girl scout notesWhen Girl Scouts Jenna Ahrendt and Megan Smith of Troop 475 recently took to Tucson’s streets to leave sticky notes with positive, encouraging messages all over town, their first stop was Tucson’s nonprofit community hospital, Tucson Medical Center.

The small gesture went over in a big way when pediatric patients at TMC for Children and TMC’s pediatric Emergency Department began to see the pink, 3-inch-by-3-inch notes with kind and supportive memos.

“Believe in yourself!”

“You have someone who cares.”

“You are an inspiration!”

“Sentiments like this can have a wonderful impact on children who are anxious or frightened about a hospital stay,” said Heather Roberts, MSW, CCLS, the Child Life supervisor at TMC for Children. “It might seem like just a few words on a pink post-it, but it really helps us put a smile on those faces.”

Experts, physicians, and parents know it can be a challenge to bring a smile to sick children –  for Jenna and Megan it only required colored parchment, a sharpie and heart.

“They wanted to do something for the community, to spread positivity.” said Troop leader Becki Ahrendt. “I asked where we would put them and they said, ‘Everywhere!’”

GirlScoutsWithTieDyeDonations.jpgMeanwhile, 8-year-old Annabella Carpenter and 7-year-old Mary Redding of Troop 908 worked over the summer to tie dye nearly 80 onesies for babies born prematurely and recovering in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at TMC.

Mary, born at TMC, was treated as a newborn for jaundice in the NICU. And both girls experienced the unit last year when a friend of the family had twins who came early and spent time recovering there before the whole family went home.

The girls made the babies some tie-dyed onesies, made after Annabella received a tie-dye kit last year and started experimenting. The onesies for the twins were such a hit with the mom and the staff, the girls decided to use a part of their cookie profits to expand the effort.

“We wanted to congratulate them for being strong,” Annabella said. “And the babies will be happy to have something warm to wear when they go home,” echoed Mary.

TMC CEO participates in bipartisan initiative to ensure equity in care; serves on panel discussion

USofC_fb_shareTucson Medical Center CEO and President Judy Rich will serve on a panel discussion with leaders across other health systems to discuss viable ways to ensure quality, affordable health care for every American.

Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, as well as former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger are among the well-known health care leaders who are supporting the United States of Care effort and are participating in the July 23 discussion.

“The founding belief is that when political rhetoric is removed, Americans outside of Washington agree more than they disagree about health care access and coverage,” according to a statement from the group. “The organization seeks politically and economically viable solutions that can garner broad support that won’t disappear with the next election or presidential administration.”

JudyCropRich said she is supporting the effort because it builds on the commitment TMC has made to the community.

“As a nonprofit community hospital, TMC cares for everybody who comes through our doors, regardless of their ability to pay,” she said.

“We’ve spent a lot of energy in this country debating whether the Affordable Care Act was a good thing. TMC has spent a lot of energy for a number of years refining our systems to provide more efficient care, to better coordinate our care and to manage our population to actually keep them out of the hospital,” Rich explained. “But at some point, there’s just a basic fundamental question we have to answer and that’s whether we believe that all Americans have a right to health care.”

Other panelists include Sandra Hernandez, the president and CEO of California Health Care Foundation, and Mark Zitter, the chair of The Zetema Project.

For more information, please visit A Bipartisan Approach to Health Care Reform event page.

 

Soap, Suds and SAHA – Collaborating together for S.AZ

hospital laundryTucson Medical Center is collaborating with its rural partners in the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance to provide laundry and linen services. This project, which is launching first at Northern Cochise Community Hospital in Willcox, will provide this service at a lower cost than commercial options.

“This is one of many initiatives that have been developed through SAHA to strengthen the nonprofit hospitals serving rural communities throughout Southern Arizona,” said Susan Willis, executive director, Strategy Development, and a member of the SAHA board. “I want to thank the leadership of the TMC Laundry – particularly Richard Parker, the director of TMC Facilities and Plant Services, and Lacee Kimball, manager of Laundry Services – for their efforts on this project.”

TMC’s Laundry operates 365 days a year laundering 13,000 pounds of laundry each day, said Kimball. “We have a great team and when asked if we could support our SAHA partners, we came together to make it happen. The first delivery rolled out of the TMC Laundry on July 2, arriving at the Willcox hospital just a few hours later.”

Started in 2015, the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance includes five independent, nonprofit community hospitals. The alliance works on projects that leverage each member organization’s expertise to collectively improve clinical care coordination and the quality of care provided throughout the region.

11 years and counting – TMC employee takes volunteerism up a notch

Tucson Medical Center is fortunate to have the support of passionate volunteers – and many of those volunteers are TMC employees like Heather Burkett, donating their time and effort to build a safer community.

All in

TMC sponsors and participates in community-based events throughout the year, providing free bike helmets, safety information, free car seats, school supplies and much more. It’s an important way TMC contributes to the overall health and well-being of the communities it serves.

If you attend any such events, you’ll find a TMC table or two with friendly volunteers like Burkett, helping fit children to the right bike helmet, handing out pool safety tips, offering health-related prizes and the like.

From an early age

“I’ve been volunteering since age 10,” said Burkett, who has been working at TMC for nearly twelve years in central scheduling. And she has been volunteering for TMC ever since she signed on the dotted line.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Burkett said. “You get to see the diversity of our community and meet so many people – I’m so glad that TMC participates in ways that allow me to keep volunteering.”

Above and Beyond

Many TMC employees donate their time – it’s part of the community-focused culture of the hospital.

“We really are lucky to have so much staff involvement,” said Jessica Mitchell, CPSTI, the TMC community outreach coordinator. “With busy lives and families, we don’t expect employees to volunteer at every event – but Heather Burkett does.”

Mitchell said It’s more than Burkett’s frequent presence that makes her memorable. “It’s her positive spirit and cheerful smile – no matter how busy the event is, what the weather is like or how early we are volunteering, she brings happiness and it spreads to the staff, children and families.”

Real reward

Although Burkett enjoys meeting new people in the community, she explained her true motivation to volunteer.

“It is a great feeling to know you are helping families, but It’s so rewarding to get feedback from people when they tell you they were born at TMC or a relative recently stayed at TMC and had a good experience – you get to hear their story and appreciation.”

What’s next?

Burkett has logged more volunteer hours than most do in a lifetime – so, does she intend to continue volunteering?

“Oh yes!” she said. “I will always try to do as much as I can.”

 

Click here for more information about the TMC Desert Kids Safety Program. And don’t forget to check out the Safe Kids Pima County page as well.

 

Keep the Sparkle in Your Celebrations – Firework safety

Firework safety - tips from our Safe Kids CoordinatorIt’s time to hoist the flag and celebrate our independence from the British Empire. And what would Independence Day be without fireworks? But before you break out the sparklers and the Roman candles here are some important considerations to make sure you keep it safe for everyone in your family.

Fireworks are spectacular, but also very dangerous.

Last year 12,900 firework-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms across our nation. The vast majority of those injuries, some 8,700, occurred around July 4th, according to a report from Consumer Products Safety Commission and National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Are fireworks legal in Tucson?

There was a time when you had to travel to legally purchase fireworks, but in 2014 Senate Bill 1158 required Pima and Maricopa cities and towns to allow the sale and use of ground fireworks around July 4th and New Year’s Day. So yes, fireworks can be legally bought and used in Tucson, but with significant limitations. Check this informational sheet to make sure you know which fireworks are legal here in Tucson. Did you know that while you might be able to buy bottle rockets, Roman candles and the like, anything that shoots into the air and detonates is not legal in Arizona? Check out the sheet linked above from the city of Tucson to find out what you can and can’t use within the city limits.

Firework Safety Tips

We asked Jessica Mitchell, coordinator for Safe Kids Pima County, for her firework safety tips this Independence Day.

“We know fireworks are fun and young kids look adorable holding those sparklers. Unfortunately, fireworks can cause serious injuries to children, including devastating burns and other injuries. The best way to keep your children safe is to not use any fireworks at home. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals. If you plan to use fireworks, make sure to follow the tips below to keep your kids as safe as possible.”

  1. Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

  1. Be Extra Careful With Sparklers

Yes they’re legal, but little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,800 degrees! Instead, let your young children use glow sticks. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.

(The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s stats from Fourth of July festivities in 2014 indicated sparklers were involved in a majority of fireworks-related injuries sustained by children under 5 years of age.)

  1. Take Necessary Precautions

  • Always have a bucket of water, hose and/or fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks and protect your eyes with safety googles.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances (at this time of year and considering how dry it is, this should dissuade most of us.)
  1. Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury

  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

For more information on fire safety and more visit Safe Kids WorldWide. 

 

TMC helps kick off effort to save more lives at Pima Animal Care Center

Julia Strange and Simon at campaign kickoff

Julia Strange and PACC alum Simon at campaign kickoff

Any given day at Tucson Medical Center, pet therapy teams including 32 dogs and one miniature pony visit hospitalized patients to share comfort and affection.

“They bring their love and their compassion to our patients and they provide a welcome distraction when people are at their most vulnerable,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of Community Benefit.

Pup at PACC waiting for new home

Pup at PACC waiting for new home

Many of the dogs on these teams are rescues. It’s just one of the reasons TMC, which appreciates the role pets have in the overall wellness of the community, is supporting an effort to raise funds for life-saving programs at the shelter, said Strange.

Strange and TMC’s President and CEO Judy Rich are serving as co-chairs of the
Your Love Saves Lives campaign through the Friends of PACC, the nonprofit arm of Pima Animal Care Center.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $5 million in private donations to expand veterinary services, to purchase needed medical equipment and to support programs such as community cat screenings and behavioral training for dogs.

To date, the community has raised more than $4.25 million toward the goal, announced Friends of PACC Executive Director Jennifer Camano.

Ray Carroll and Dan Eckstrom with PACC alumni Simon

Ray Carroll and Dan Eckstrom with PACC alumnus Simon

“We are asking the community now to help us close the gap,” Camano said, at a kick-off press conference with supporters. “This is a doable goal for this community and we know this community loves pets.”

The only open admission animal shelter, which accepts every pet in need, Pima Animal Care Center saved more pets in 2017 than ever before – more than 91 percent, of the more than 16,000 pets it took in.

Additionally, the shelter performed more than 7,500 spay and neuter surgeries and addressed more than 20,000 animal protection calls.

“We are honored to be a part of this effort,” Strange said, “and passionate about making sure the public understands the important role pets play in public health.”

To learn more about the campaign or to donate, please visit the Friends of PACC website

 

Giving back gives back – TMC volunteers find true love together

Amidst the busy TMC surgery reception area, a few sparks flew on Tuesday afternoons between volunteers Paul Kelly and Sharon O’Koren. “We just had so much in common,” said Kelly. “From growing up in smaller towns and raising children to our likes and our dislikes – I felt like I could talk to her about anything.”

A lot in common

The two had a lot in common and shared something in common as well. “Paul and Sharon were perfect for surgery reception – both have such helpful attitudes and a sincere rapport with patients,” said Mary Leyva, a volunteer services specialist at the TMC Auxiliary.

Paul and Sharon started volunteering about a year ago, and as the weeks became months, the two volunteers got to know each other better. Both looked forward to volunteering at TMC every Tuesday afternoon – in part because they were making a meaningful difference in the community, and in part because of each other.

“We were doing a lot of good at the reception desk – but I really couldn’t wait to see him,” said Sharon. “We had great talks and great laughs,” Paul said with a smile.

Dinner

After several months, Paul decided to ask Sharon to dinner. “I didn’t hesitate,” said Sharon. “We really do have a lot in common – even our birthdays are just days apart,” Sharon said. “We really hit it off,” Paul shared.

The question

The two continued to grow closer as they dated due to their shared experiences. “We have both lost our spouses, we both have family in Tucson, graduated high school around the same time and have the same sense of humor – the more time we spent with one-another the more we enjoyed each other’s company,” said Sharon.

What brought them together

Serendipity and an affinity for helping the community brought them together at TMC. “I worked in the medical field for many years and wanted to volunteer in a hospital,” said Sharon. “My daughter is a nurse here in Tucson and she recommended TMC.”

Paul is a retired Raytheon engineer, who originally hails from Jerome, but has called Tucson home for nearly 45 years. “I wanted to volunteer at TMC and give back to the hospital that cared for my family over the years.”

Earlier this month, the couple endeavored to spend the rest of their lives together when Paul popped the question and Sharon said yes!

What’s next for the happy couple? Sharon was quick with an answer. “Plan a wedding and keep volunteering at TMC.”

 

Rear Admiral visits TMC for Children as part of larger engagement tour of Tucson

Honorary Soldier enjoys stories from Rear Admiral MacInnis.jpgSmall patients were wowed by the sheer mass of an aircraft carrier – surprised to hear that it would be the equivalent of a floating city with nearly 5,000 crew members on board, sharing space with aircraft and helicopters.

Rear Admiral Daniel MacInnis was perfectly suited to answer their questions: While participating in the U.S. Navy’s flight program, after all, he landed craft 17 times on each of four carriers during training runs. MacInnis, who also served as a diving officer, deployed to Iraq in 2006 and to Afghanistan in 2013 and has earned several recognitions, including three Meritorious Service Medals.

Rear Admiral MacInnis on tour of TMC for ChildrenA sleight of hand magician, MacInnis entertained youngsters and handed out certificates that dubbed them an “honorary sailor.”

One of 180 rear admirals in the Navy, MacInnis visited TMC’s executive team and TMC for Children as part of a larger two-day tour to share the importance of naval service with city leaders, including civic groups, universities and veterans groups.

“We meet local leaders in cities that are away from fleet-centric areas where people may not have as much information about the importance of the Navy so we can hopefully inspire their support and advocacy,” MacInnis said.

MacInnis noted that 70 percent of the earth is covered with water, 80 percent of the world’s population lives near water and 90 percent of global commerce uses maritime routes. “The Navy is a 24/7, 365-day organization that is here to protect America, preserve our way of life and America’s influence in the world and to deter aggression,” MacInnis explained.

To see more coverage of his visit, please see KGUN’s story. 

 

Incredible reward at no cost – How cord blood donations are changing lives at TMC

Cord Blood Kristen Wilt

Cord blood donations can enhance and save lives, and do even more – providing donors and their families with the uplifting benefit of knowing their cord blood gift will have a positive impact for years to come.

“My brother-in-law passed away from a rare blood disorder when he was just 19,” said Stephanie Babcock, a mom who recently donated the cord blood from her baby Midori at TMC. “It’s so rewarding to know our donation can save someone like my brother-in-law – we know what it means to that person and their family.”

What is cord blood?

What exactly is cord blood and why is it so beneficial?

“Cord blood is the blood that is left inside the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born,” said Kristen Wilt, cord blood coordinator at TMC. “It is so important because it contains blood-forming stem cells that can be used in blood transfusions to heal or repair damaged cells that cause serious diseases.”

Saving and improving lives

Wilt explained cord blood stem cells are used to treat more than 80 life-threatening diseases, which include many forms of cancer, as well as immune and genetic disorders. “Acute myeloid leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and sickle cell anemia to name just a few,” Wilt said.

Cord Blood 4Blood transplants can have a significant and permanent effect for individuals facing specific debilitating and severe health challenges, she explained. “By and large, the treatments can cure many diseases or have a significant impact that dramatically improves the quality of life for the recipient.”

How donation works

Wilt said the process is quick, easy, and it is free. “At TMC the mom and family are asked if they would like to donate the cord blood immediately after birth,” explained Wilt. “There is one simple consent form to sign and a health history questionnaire to review and you’re done – you’ve just created a life-saving possibility for someone.”

Participation in the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program is growing, but currently available only in a few Arizona hospitals. “It made a great impression on us that TMC was the only hospital in Southern Arizona who offers cord blood donation,” said donor Babcock. “It can seem like a small thing but has such an incredible impact.”

Cord blood donations from TMC have gone to help patients all over the United States and as far away as Australia.

Safety and anonymity

Donating cord blood poses no risk to the baby or mom because the cord blood is collected after the birth, when the placenta and umbilical cord are no longer needed.

The hospital assigns a number to each donation so that it is received and tracked by the public cord blood bank anonymously.

“We did our research,” said Babcock. “We had no concerns about safety or privacy – TMC made it a simple, easy part of the birthing experience.”

Cord Blood 3

Where it goes and how it helps

For the past four years, TMC has worked with the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program and has provided almost 5,000 cord blood donations.

“Within 48 hours, the cord blood is delivered to the University of Colorado Cord Blood Bank (an FDA-licensed facility), where it is cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen tanks,” said Wilt. “This process conserves the stem cells in the blood for a very long time – donations have been used after 20-25 years.”

The donation becomes part of the national registry managed by NMDP/Be the Match registry. “Worldwide, patients of all ages who are in need can work with the registry to determine if they are a match,” Wilt said.

Why your donation matters, for others and for you

Some moms and families decide to save and privately store their baby’s cord blood. However, the cryopreservation process and on-going storage fees can be cost-prohibitive. “If cord blood is not donated, it is disposed of as medical waste – and it is truly a waste,” said Wilt.

Donating cord blood has such significance because finding a match can be very difficult. “About 70 percent of people in need are not able to find a match from their family,” Wilt said. “More cord blood donations means a greater chance that someone in need will find a match.”

For Babcock, making the donation was more than a fulfilling gesture. “It’s not a big sacrifice, and it changes your life just knowing that you could save an adult or child who is fighting a deadly disease.”

Cord Blood 1For more information about cord blood donations, contact Kristen Wilt at (520) 324-6210 or visit the Save the Cord Foundation website.

TMC recruiter hits her stride at 200th Meet Me at Maynards achievement

Kim Loya reaches 200th Meet Me walkIt is often shared that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Kim Loya remembers those first few steps in what would become a weekly Monday tradition and help her find new goals, new friends and a new love for the city she lives in.

It was five years ago when Loya discovered Meet Me at Maynards, a free social walk and run that’s designed to build community through fitness.

“I have a vivid memory of that first experience,” recalled Loya, who is a human resources recruiter for TMC, the title sponsor of the event. “The walk took me to cute little neighborhoods around downtown that I had never seen before, and I just distinctly remember texting my friend the whole way about how much I love where I live.”

Loya will achieve her 200th milestone T-shirt the first Monday in July. She jokes that her dog, Paris, a white toy poodle, may be a bit prissy, but she’s been a faithful walking partner for almost every outing, even if she won’t have the standard-issue burgundy shirt to prove she reached the 200-walk threshhold.

Kim and Paris walk three miles each Monday.jpg“For me, it’s something I look forward to every Monday and it starts my week on a good note,” Loya said, adding that when her husband is able to join her, they turn it into a date night and sample the downtown eateries.

Like many Maynards aficionados, Loya is committed: They’re out there walking rain or shine, holidays, and even in heavy monsoon downpours, with streams of rain pouring off raincoats.

The three-mile route, combined with other weeknight walking commitments and her weekend cycling and hiking trips, helps her stay in an active space. “It really does help with my walking routine,” she said, adding she is now training for the Camino del Santiago, a 700-mile pilgrimage to northwestern Spain that is popular with hikers and cyclists. The Camino requires a walking commitment of at least 100 kilometers and she’s set her goal for fall 2019.

She’s also developed friendships as a result. One couple – rounding out on their 500-walk milestone – are now counted among her good friends and they just finished a wine-tasting trip together.

“It definitely helps build a sense of community,” she said. “It’s like a family because you see many of the same people each week and you start talking to the person next to you. And you see everything from runners to people out there with canes. It’s very family-friendly and a lot of fun.”

Tim Bentley, manager of The Core at La Encantada and who has been involved in the Maynards races on behalf of TMC, said he’s been impressed by Loya’s dedication. “She really personifies TMC’s commitment to healthy communities – and healthy in a broader sense than just physical health, but social health as well,” he said.

Loya said she’s proud of her achievement. “I’m a person who really likes to meet goals, so reaching 200 is really important to me,” she said, telling of a rain-slick bicycle race in Hawaii that she completed, despite four falls and bloody knees.

Fortunately, Maynards is not as grueling, with its 2-, 3- and 4-mile routes. To get the most out of the experience, Loya recommends:

  • Bring water
  • Go early to find parking (although the point, after all, is to walk, so….)
  • Despite the moniker, the walks typically start at The Cup Café at Hotel Congress
  • Sign up for the newsletters. You don’t want to be the one without the tutu.

For more information visit Meet Me at Maynards.

 

Do I need a fence for the inflatable above-ground pool? Pediatric Emergency Notes

Do I need a fence for our above ground pool? Drowning prevention,We don’t have a built-in pool at our home, but we often use a little splash pool which got me to thinking about the safety of above-ground pools — you know, the sort that just go up for the summer, whether rigid sides or inflatable, and come down when school is back in session.

As a pediatric emergency department nurse I’ve seen my fill of child drowning victims and so I tend to be hypervigilant around pools. The absolutely crushing part about drownings is that they are nearly always preventable.

I asked Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator, what the rules are regarding fencing and general safety practices around temporary above-ground pool structures.

“The law…oh the law on pools! It can be so confusing. Pretty much, if you have a pool that is taller than 18 inches and wider than 8 feet intended for swimming, it requires a fence/barrier that is at least 5 feet tall with a self-closing or self-latching gate. The entire law for pools can be found on the Arizona government pages“ Jessica shares.

“Mesh fencing is a great option for those with above-ground temporary pools because when the pool comes down, the mesh fence can also come down. There is one exception to having to put up a pool fence, and that is if everyone in the household is 6 years or older, no safety measures need to be in place. This doesn’t mean this is the safest option. Not everyone over the age of 6 can swim, and even swimmers can get into difficulty in a pool.

“If you decide to get a temporary above-ground pool make sure you have a fence at least 5 feet tall with a self-latching gate. Make sure your child cannot use a chair or other item to climb over the barrier or to unlatch the gate. And emphasize to all kids and adults that the gate is not to be propped open.”

Also, we worry most about pool mishaps in the summer, but be vigilant all year for drowing hazards. Empty the cooler of melted ice water; dispose of the bucket of mop water; drain the bathtub (and never leave your toddler or pre-schooler in the tub unsupervised). Unfortunately, we see all these drowning scenarios in the emergency department.

Whether it’s in the pool, the ocean or the bathtub, you will not hear a child drowing. Drowning is silent … keep your eyes on your child.

This summer we’re going to follow all the advice above as well as the ABCs of pool safety whether it’s a splash pool or a regular pool:

“A” is for Adult Supervision

Always have an adult watching the pool, not reading, not looking at their phone, not taking an afternoon siesta – just watching the kids in the pool. Go ahead and take turns if it’s a social gathering, but make sure that the designated adult knows the rules. Better yet, consider hiring a trained lifeguard. While it seems like the more adults who around, the better. But the reality is that it seems to be the opposite – everyone thinks someone else is wathcing. Make hiring a lifeguard a part of your pool-party budget.

Jessica also wanted to remind folks that floaties are toys and not safety devices. If you have a life vest, they need to be the right size, and they are not a substitute for adult supervision.

“B” is for Barrier

Yes, even with an above-ground temporary pool that you picked up for $75 you want a barrier. It can be mesh; it just has to be at least 5 feet tall and have a self-latching gate. Even if your kids are over the age of 6, what about the neighbors or the grandkids? Make sure the barrier isn’t compromised – there aren’t any chairs or trash cans that can be dragged over to act as a ladder, and that nobody props open the gate.

“C” is for Classes

Tucson has lots of great options for swim classes including Vest it Up!  TMC for Children and Credit Unions for Kids offer FREE year-round swim lessons at dates, times and locations that meet the needs of busy families. These free lessons are at local YMCA locations and include a free personal flatation device, or PFD. This U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest for kids is provided to kids completing swim classes. The free classes are available to the first 400 kids each year between 4-17 years old.  Register here for Vest it Up!

I have a few additional thoughts:

Having a party? Hire a lifeguard.

It seems like the more adults are around to watch the better right? But in reality it seems to work in the opposite way. Everyone thinks someone else is watching. Make hiring a lifeguard part of your pool party budget.

It’s not just pools and it’s not just summer time

We worry especially in the summer when kids are in the pool, but be vigilant all year. Empty the cooler of melted ice water, dispose of the bucket of mop water, drain the bathtub (and never leave your baby, toddler or preschooler in the bathtub unsupervised.) Unfortunately, we see all these drowning scenarios in the emergency department.

Eyes peeled

Whether it is in the pool, the ocean or the bathtub you will not hear your child drowning. Drowning is a silent affair…keep your eyes on your child.

Hope your summer is splashing good fun.

Stay safe,
Melissa

P.S. Did you know that the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona provides pool safety checks? Request one here 

Melissa HodgesPediatric Emergency Notes from Melissa
Melissa Hodges is a pediatric emergency room RN and mom to two young boys. Melissa has been at Tucson Medical Center for 10 years. She is a knitting ninja apprentice who makes a mean chili and enjoys spending time with her family and friends in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.

TMC participates in national day of awareness to end violence on June 8

IMG_0289Violence is an ongoing public health and safety challenge throughout the country.

Join Tucson Medical Center and hospitals and health systems across the country on June 8 for the second annual #HAVhope, a national day of awareness that calls for ending violence in all forms.

IMG_0294“Hospitals serve as the backbone of healthy communities, supporting victims of violence-related trauma, answering the call in times of tragedy and attempting to prevent violence in the first place by building healthy communities and embracing best practices to keep employees safe,” said Judy Rich, TMC’s president and CEO.

“This event presents an opportunity for us all to show our commitment in ending all forms of violence, both in our workplaces and in our communities,” she added

IMG_0291

To support #HAVhope day:

  • Share a photo on June 8 of yourself holding hands with others in your community or workplace committed to combating violence. This collection of photos will provide a visual to demonstrate that we stand together to combat violence. Download a sign here.
  • Use #HAVhope on social media to highlight your work or commitment to combat violence in your community or workplace.

TMC, Davis-Monthan work together to augment training for military medical personnel

BDP41009Master Sgt. Pablo Vasquez may someday be called upon to care for wounded warriors on a faraway battlefield.

The medical techinician has to keep his skills sharp to be ready for that assignment. But rather than travel across the country for those training opportunities, he just had to take a short drive across town, recently spending a week caring for patients at Tucson Medical Center.

TMC is partnering with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to provide week-long rotations designed to augment the training of the skilled medical staff working at the base clinic. The rotations will continue through the year.

“The clinic is a busy place, but we are able to get exposure to a much larger variety of medical needs here at TMC,” said Vasquez, a San Antonio native who came to Tucson in September for a two-year tour of duty. “This is a great opportunity to help enhance the skills and confidence we need when we deploy to a place – whether overseas or here – where these kinds of skills are needed.”

BDP40992As will his counterparts throughout the year, Vasquez spent two days in the Intensive Care Unit, one day at TMC Wound Care Clinic, one day in the medical-surgical units and two days helping to staff the Emergency Department – which alone sees nearly 100,000 patients each year.

Aside from the hands-on training with patients, he said, it was also an opportunity to learn more about hospital operations and best practices. “There are training platforms like this in other cities for other bases, so when I heard about this, I was really excited about the opportunity to obtain more training and education.”

Dr. Michael Lavor, a trauma vascular surgeon and Navy vet who deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 to direct medical operations at a base there, came away from that experience knowing exactly what kind of training soldiers need to care for their colleagues.

As the Honorary Commander for the 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and the former physician leader of TMC Wound Care, he thought there might be a way for those two entities to come together to build a stronger community. He brought leaders from TMC together with leaders from Davis-Monthan to solidify the mutually beneficial training relationship.

“These are medics who are highly trained, but the experience they’re getting at the Wound Care Clinic, for example, is still very valuable,” Lavor said. “When you go to a war zone, you’re going to see wounds. It’s beneficial to learn from the highly experienced nurses here about how to put a dressing on or the different techniques in helping patients heal.”

“It’s one thing to read a book and be told how to do something. That’s an important part of medical school or nursing school – but it’s absolutely critical to then participate in clinical training to apply what you’ve learned. “

From TMC’s perspective, he noted, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the 1 percent of the population who work in military service, he said. “There is no small amount of work involved in setting up these rotations, so I give TMC credit for stepping forward to help support ongoing training of medical personnel.”

Judy Rich, TMC’s president and CEO, was part of those initial sessions with Air Force leaders. “We really salute the work that’s being done by the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe,” she said. “The base is a critical part of Tucson’s economy, but they’re also our neighbor and a huge asset to this community, so we’re pleased to be able to support their readiness and training efforts.”

For more coverage of the effort from Arizona Public Media, visit https://news.azpm.org/p/news-articles/2018/5/31/130552-air-force-and-local-hospital-team-up-for-training/

 

TMC welcomes newest teacher in business-education partnership

BethanyAs a teacher of high school anatomy and physiology, Bethany Thiele will absolutely know you are talking about a bone, and not necessarily something funny, if you mention “humerus.”

So when she learned that Tucson Medical Center was participating in Teachers in Industry, she jumped at the chance to find meaningful summer work that will enhance her teaching.

The program allows businesses to gain new perspectives by employing teachers over the summer, while allowing teachers an inside look into how to shape their classes to make sure they’re responding to industry demands of current and future workers. More than 160 teachers – who collectively influence more than 20,000 students each year – have so far gained industry experience.

The fourth-year teacher at one point was so interested in anatomy that she thought she might be a doctor or a physical therapist.

But as a counselor at an academic summer camp each year throughout college, Thiele began thinking there might be a way to teach students about health in a more proactive way. Many of the other camp counselors were teachers. “I saw how they were able to work with young people and make learning fun, and so teaching was the path I chose.”

Thiele said the best part about teaching – and also the hardest – is the end of the year. “It’s so exciting to look back at the progress your students have made, but it’s also hard. I teach seniors, so we develop strong relationships through the year and then I send them off into the world, which is a very bittersweet experience.”

The Tucson native will be assigned to TMC Pharmacy over the summer. She already teaches students about how different chemicals work in the body and medical interventions that can help bring the body back into balance.

And now she can talk shop at home with the hubby, who is in nursing school himself and poised to graduate in August. The two play soccer and go rock climbing and are training for El Tour de Tucson this year – all of which is also a great fit for TMC’s approach to helping build community wellness and promote active lifestyles.

“With most summer jobs, it’s just a way to supplement your income. But I have a chance to do something this year that I can use to become a better teacher.”

The program was established in 2009 in part by the University of Arizona College of Education and Tucson Values Teacher. It is geared to teachers of math, science, engineering and technology. TMC has participated for four years.

“TMC, like others in the health care industry, relies heavily on skilled workers,” said Alex Horvath, TMC’s chief human resources officer.

“We’re looking forward to Bethany’s role as a contributing member of the team, but also interested to see how this experience translates into what she brings into the classroom as she trains tomorrow’s workforce.”

To learn more about why nearly 60 local businesses are investing in the program, which has so far provided industry experience to more than 100 teachers, visit Teachers in Industry.

 

1,600 days, 400 blankets and countless lives touched

donating crafts to hospital“Each blanket takes about four days to make,” said Marlies Terpning, a community advocate who has donated more than 400 hand-crocheted blankets for babies born at Tucson Medical Center.

The plush, super-soft blankets are a perfect welcome for the newborns and Terpning’s favorite way to support her community. “We first went to TMC in 1977 and they have been so wonderful every time my family needed care,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for crochet and this is a way I can make something with my own hands to give back.”

The grandmother and long-time Tucson resident has been making blankets for TMC since 2008. When it comes to production, Terpning is a one-person show. She purchases all the materials and crochets each blanket herself.

Four days times 400 is the equivalent of 1,600 days – or more than four years of time – that Terpning has given to provide families with a memorable memento.

“I just love making them – my husband jokes that everyone in Tucson will eventually have one,” said Terpning. And it turns out her husband might be right. “I talked with a mom just the other day, who said her 9-year-old daughter still has the blanket on her bed, and she still loves it.” That sentiment was particularly rewarding for Terpning. “It meant so much to me to know how much the blanket meant to that family.”

If you visit TMC, you will see the Terpning name across the hospital – and on more than newborn blankets. Marlies’ husband, famed artist Howard Terpning, has donated many of his southwest-themed prints to the TMC Healing Art program. A TMC courtyard also bears his namesake, a dedication from Marleis. The couple have also been frequent and generous donors to the TMC Foundation.

“We are grateful for the tireless support of Marlies and Howard Terpning,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “They care deeply for the Southern Arizona community and we’re honored to be a part of their philanthropic efforts.”

You might be wondering what’s next for Marlies Terpning? “More blankets! Oh yeah!”

For more information about how you can support the TMC Foundation and the TMC Healing Art Program, please call (520) 324-3116.

 

San Diego Zoo Kids channel begins broadcasting at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities

San Diego Zoo Kids Debra EricksonYoung patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including a fennec fox, a ferret, a blue-tongued skink and a snake from Reid Park Zoo—at a gathering at Tucson Medical Center this morning.

The special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television channel, at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television channel with programs produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

The creation and development of the channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America Grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities across the nation over the next three years.

San Diego Zoo Kids FoxThe generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors in every patient room at Tucson Medical Center and in the children’s play area at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.

“TMC is thrilled to partner with the San Diego Zoo to bring to our patients a little more of what’s magical and wonderful in the world at a time when they’re not feeling their best,” said Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO.

From TMC’s long-standing support of Reid Park Zoo to its robust pet therapy program, Rich noted that the educational and entertaining channel builds on the work TMC is already doing. “This effort helps us in supporting families, offering a child-friendly environment and fostering an appreciation of the healing qualities of animals and nature.”

The channel also features animal stories from Reid Park Zoo. “We are excited to be collaborating with San Diego Zoo Global, TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities to share our passion for animal conservation and education,” said Nancy Kluge, president, Reid Park Zoological Society. “We hope this glimpse into the lives of the animals at Reid Park Zoo will bring excitement and joy into the lives of those in our community who might not be able to visit the Zoo.”

The service is also making its debut at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Frenetic Fox“We are so pleased to partner with the San Diego Zoo, Tucson Medical Center and Reid Park Zoo on this entertaining and educational program,” said Kate Jensen, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

“One of our goals is to create a sense of normalcy for children and families, even while they are going through very difficult times,” said Jensen. “The San Diego Zoo Kids channel has become a very popular diversion. It is so well produced, educational and entertaining. We are grateful for this wonderful contribution from the San Diego Zoo.”

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids host Olivia Degn.

Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the world.

San Diego Zoo Kids Judy Rich“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 137 children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, pediatric wards and children’s hospice centers across the U.S., in 33 states and the District of Columbia; and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Singapore.

For further information about San Diego Zoo Kids, visit their website. And don’t forget to have a peek at all the fun happening locally at the Reid Park Zoo.

For more information about the Ronald McDonald House visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona website or call (520) 326-0060.

IT professionals teach high school computer science classes to fill need

Paul.jpgBy a happy stroke of destiny, there was a computer lab in Paul Lemmons’ high school. It allowed him to play in the environment enough to know he was drawn to that work.

“The food I have put on my table for the past 40 years has come from that high school experience,” said Lemmons, who is a lead systems engineer at Tucson Medical Center, helping to manage the computer programs that run TMC’s electronic medical records platform.

So when Lemmons heard about a program that taps IT professionals to volunteer to teach high school classes, while working in conjunction with a certified classroom teacher, he jumped at the chance. He and his TMC IT colleague, Michael Cecil, were assigned to Presidio School, a college preparatory high school in midtown, through Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS.

“Computer professionals are compensated at much higher levels than teachers are, so there is a gap in how many schools can actually employ computer professionals,” Lemmons said, noting he and Cecil spend one hour each weekday teaching students two different programming languages.

TMC supports the program by paying for their employees’ classroom time. “Giving back to the community is something we take seriously as a nonprofit community hospital,” said Susan Snedaker, director of IS Infrastructure and Operations. “This program allows us to make a difference by preparing students for a professional life in computer programming. And it helps our employees as well, since teaching demands that you reflect deeply about your own career and skill sets, which often leads to new insights.”

The students spend the first semester writing video games and the second part learning Python, one of the fastest-growing computer languages.  The work, Lemmons explained, “teaches them how to logically think through a problem and how to communicate their mental solution into something a computer could represent.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience. Kids are like sponges. It’s fun watching their imaginations go once they pick up the concepts.”

For Cecil, who is now in his second year of teaching in the program, it was important to make a difference, knowing about the deficit in computer science offerings in public education. “It’s been really rewarding because you’re making a tangible impact with young adults and you can see the effects,” he said. “You start with a kid who is kind of interested in this stuff and now, they’re planning to major in computer science or they’ve gotten a scholarship for college. It’s an incredible opportunity to give back.”

Lemmons added there is value in helping students find out early whether they have an aptitude for computer science because it helps them in planning their college experience. And there is value for industry participants as well. “I’m eventually going to retire and someone has to come in and do this. We’re preparing a new workforce to come in and take care of TMC’s computing department.”

TEALS has expanded from one school in 2015 to 18 schools in the coming academic year, but it looking for more IT volunteers to help meet demand.

TEALS is hosting an Info Session at The Lodge on the Desert on Thursday, May 17, at 11:30 am.  Please find more information and the RSVP link here.

TMC, Pima Council on Aging salute those who have witnessed a century

IMG_0432If you were 100 years old, what would you do to celebrate life?

Tucson Medical Center and Pima Council on Aging had a chance to ask just that of 48 centenarians, who gathered at TMC for the 31st annual Salute to Centenarians – the largest known gathering in the country of those who have reached 99 years or older.

Geneva Borrowman, who reached 100 in January, starts every day with a prayer of gratitude for all she has in her life. In Geneva’s case, that’s a lot, with 55 great-grandchildren!

Don Davis, who was a star even as a kid as a child actor in silent films, celebrates by riding a bicycle – and enjoys the occasional martini (gin, straight up, one olive) on the patio in the evening.

IMG_0437For Aniceto Gonda, who was born in the Philippines 101 years ago in April and served in the Army, it’s about looking forward to each day with optimism. “And most of all, try not to worry and just live life as it comes.”

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said he was inspired by the myriad ways the collective gathering had impacted the world, from serving in the military, volunteering, staffing elections, supporting churches and caring for their families and others. “Each one of you has enriched the world and taught us about the art of living – and for that, we are all thankful,” he said.

Maya Luria, director of TMC for Seniors, applauded the group for reaching such a significant milestone. “You have certainly lived a life that has laughter and love, but at times tested your strength, your courage, your values. The wisdom you have gained and shared along the way is priceless.”

A big thanks to the elected officials who helped honor the group and for A Touch of Grey barbershop quartet, which provided the entertainment, as well as to Brookdale Senior Living Solutions for the lunch and Sierra del Sol for the cupcakes.

Mission Moment: Nurse helped organize drive to help family in darkest time

Jenna CarboneIt was hard for Jenna Carbone to imagine that a family would have to weather so many blows at a single time.

A young mother was making the wrenching decision to stop intervention for her husband, who had suffered cardiac arrest.

Their baby had come just two weeks before – she had been so pregnant that her elementary-school-aged son had to perform CPR when his dad collapsed, guided by a 911 dispatcher. The family had recently moved from California, so there were no friends or family to turn to for support. And money would be tight: the husband had been the traditional breadwinner while his wife took care of the kids.

A TMC Intensive Care Unit nurse, Carbone held the newborn for an entire shift to allow the mom and son some time to say goodbye. The Mom-Baby Unit supplied formula and diapers, and Child Life specialists helped the boy work through his grief and the long hours at the hospital.

While the staff was helping with the baby, they got to thinking about the upcoming school year. “Mom was making funeral plans and trying to adjust to a brand new baby in a brand new city. It just didn’t seem right she was having to do all of this by herself – who could put it all together on a good day? We couldn’t imagine she’d have the time or ability to go shop for school supplies,” Carbone explained.

And the boy was such an inspiration, she said. “You could tell he had faith. He would try to comfort others to tell them he would see his dad in Heaven someday and that it was better than having him suffer,” she recalled. Even as young as he was, he was trying to help hold the family together.

The power of teamwork was immediately clear to Carbone, who has been a nurse for six years.

Case Management called the school to get the list of items the boy would need. Within hours, staff from the Lab and Finance and clinical areas started bringing supplies – everything from a tablet for the boy, to diapers, baby bouncers and professional clothes for the mom for future job interviews.

Carbone filled up her hatchback and even though she couldn’t see out of the rear view mirror, set off to deliver the supplies to the family’s rural home.

Carbone said it was her honor to help – and thanked her colleagues across the hospital for their contributions. “We see some fragile situations sometimes and it’s really nice when you know there are things we can do to help and to try to bring comfort when people are going through difficult times. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve them and to help another person in need.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we doHundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

TMC dedicates Garden of Life patio honoring generosity of organ donors

GardenDedicationDid you know one organ donor can save up to eight lives?

In honor of those who made the choice to share the gift-of-life, Tucson Medical Center Tuesday dedicated a new Garden of Life Memorial patio on the TMC campus.

The soothing patio area features a garden of flowers and a tree hand-painted by TMC facilities as a symbol of strength and life.

Over the last decade, 33 organ donors at TMC have saved the lives of 83 others. The first plaque to be placed on the tree honors Jared Koltnow, whose gift saved three other people after he passed in 2016. His family and friends helped place the plaque and raise the Donate Life flag at the campus entrance that flies as a beacon of hope for those awaiting transplants.

DonateLifeFlagIn addition to the 16 lives saved in 2017 alone, 21 tissue donors and 14 ocular donors at TMC helped enhance and heal hundreds more. Each tissue donor can heal up to 75 lives, and one cornea donor can restore the sight of two individuals.

“It is our hope that the memorial reflects our deep respect and gratitude for organ donors,” said Joby Jacobs, a TMC professional development specialist and a champion for organ donation. “They – and their loved ones – have brought life, hope and compassion to others, and that is truly worthy of recognition and reverence.”

The need for organ and tissue donation is still great, said Chelsea Scheeler, the donor program development coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona. “Sadly, with more than 2,400 Arizona residents on a waiting list for organ donation, thousands of people die while waiting for this life-saving gift,” she said.

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation. For more information, please visit https://www.donatelifeaz.org/

Helping sexual assault victims take a first step toward healing and justice

 

Too often stigmatized and seldom talked about, sexual assault is a serious, community health issue. Someone becomes a sexual assault victim every two minutes.*

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to lift stigma’s cloud, recognize the needs of sexual assault victims and acknowledge our community’s responsibility to provide care and support.

For victims, this is the first step toward healing and justice,” said Stephanie Green, RN, MSN, who oversees the Southern Arizona Center against Sexual Assault (SACASA) forensic exam program. “There is a relief for victims knowing the exam will support prosecution. Victims want as much evidence as possible to show this was wrong and not invited.”

For more than 10 years, Tucson Medical Center has partnered with (SACASA) to complete a comprehensive forensic exam for victims of sexual assault and provide immediate care and resources – the only program of its kind in Southern Arizona.

At the TMC Emergency Department, there is a dedicated private space for sexual assault evaluation and treatment. SACASA provides certified sexual assault nurse examiners who work with physicians to treat, document and provide additional support and resources.

The quiet room is a dedicated private space, with soft lighting, and a calming space in our emergency department

“A victim’s needs are far more than physical,” Green said. “From necessities like food, clothing and safe shelter to complex needs like behavioral health-care, prescription fills and transportation to medical appointments – we can make immediate referrals to help victims at every level.”

For the care providers, it is more than a program. “It is our priority to provide the most advanced and compassionate care for sexual assault victims during the worst time in their lives,” said Cynthia Carsten, RN, MSN, the director of patient care services at the TMC Emergency Department.

A separate, dedicated quiet room

Green noted that sexual assault is a community health matter that affects us all – men and women, adults and children. “Stigma and avoidance will perpetuate the problem, hindering every victim’s recovery with unjust shame and fear.”

As a community member, we encourage you to learn more about sexual assault, have more open discussions about your knowledge and build empathy and understanding.

Green further explained that collective education and action are the answers. “It will take a community effort to prevent, and hopefully end, this community health problem.”

If you have been the immediate victim of sexual assault call 911. If you are a victim and seeking resources, contact SACASA at (520) 327-7273. Learn more about sexual assault at www.sacasa.org or call (520) 327-1171. SACASA is a division of CODAC.

Dine Out For Safety – support survivors of sexual violence by dining out on April 18 – participating restaurants will donate up to 20 percent of proceeds to support SACASA programs.

TMC Mega Raffle -Thank you Tucson for a record-breaking year!

 

The TMC Mega Raffle celebrated a record breaking year, selling out tickets faster than ever before! And that wasn’t the only record broken – the 50/50 jackpot reached a record-high of $693,600.

“We are so grateful to the community for their extraordinary support,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Mega Raffle proceeds directly contribute to hospital services, programs and equipment that help provide exceptional health care with compassion to the communities we serve.”

Last year, Mega Raffle funds brought the most advanced echocardiogram imaging machine to TMC, and supported new cardiac rehabilitation equipment for heart surgery patients. The TMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received a new transport incubator, providing life-sustaining care for infants who must be transported across Southern Arizona.

“We thank each and every ticket buyer for supporting Tucson’s locally owned-community hospital,” Duran said. “The Mega Raffle also has some incredible prizes and we wanted to share some of the winners’ stories with you.”

Grand Prize, A.F. Sterling Home

Frank and his wife, Sherrie are Tucson natives that have entered the TMC Mega Raffle the last couple of years. This year they purchased one ticket and entered the 50/50 jackpot. “TMC is a big part of our family and we love this cause,” said Frank.

Their children were born at TMC and their daughter has received treatment for her Asthma. Sherrie also worked at TMC as a clerk in the emergency room when she was attending school at the University of Arizona. When Frank learned that he was this year’s grand prize winner of the A.F. Sterling Home or $600,000 cash, he could not believe it.

Frank and his wife both work for local school districts and their winnings will allow them to help their children with their college education. “This is life changing for us – we are so grateful to TMC,” Frank said.

50/50 Jackpot, $693,600

Barbara Gomez of Mesa, Arizona, is a retired engineer that worked for the state of Arizona for 32 years and has been entering the TMC Mega Raffle since it began. Two years ago, she won Omaha steaks and was thrilled. This year, she was shocked when she learned she was the 50/50 jackpot winner and will be splitting $693,600 with TMC!

Gomez is a cancer survivor that received care at TMC almost 40 years ago. She said, “I’ve had blessed life and need to give back. I had health issues and members of my family have too, so anything I can do to support this cause, I want to do.”

Gomez said she’d like to do some things for her grandchildren and give to her church. “This is amazing, but even if I never won anything, I would keep entering.”

Grand Prize, 2018 Lexus LC

Beverly Kudla planned to enter the TMC Mega Raffle the last few years, but said she always missed the deadline.

This year she was determined to enter and she’s glad she did, as this years’ grand prize winner of the 2018 Lexus LC or $150,000 cash option. Kudla’s late husband received care at TMC before he passed away last May.

After learning she won the grand prize, Kudla shared that the day after the final drawing would have been her husband’s 88th birthday. “This is really a gift. I always wanted to enter win or lose because TMC has been good to us,” Kudla said. With her winnings, she hopes to plan an exotic vacation to celebrate her 84th birthday.

Honda Civic and $9,500

Andrew Kent has entered the TMC Mega Raffle every year but never won anything until now. “My family has a strong connection with TMC,” he explained. Growing up, his father was an anesthesiologist at TMC and his mother was involved in the TMC Auxiliary.

Kent’s four daughters and two grandchildren were all born at TMC and he worked at the hospital in transportation to help earn money while he attended college and graduate school. A retired school administrator that now works as a dean of students, Kent was excited and shocked to learn he’d won a 2018 Honda Civic and $9,500.

Toyota C-HR and $8,500

Melinda Diaz works as a server at a local restaurant and it was her day-off when she got the call and learned she’d won the 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE plus $8,500.

“This news could not come at a better time,” said Diaz. “My car is not working right now, so this is amazing news!”

Diaz has entered the TMC Mega Raffle for several years, but this is the first time she’s won a prize. Her friends and family have received care at TMC. “It is a good cause and something worth giving my money to,” Diaz said.

Chief Nursing Officer, Marketing Manager go “Over the Edge” for the Girl Scouts

Four questions with TMC’s Chief Nursing Officer Mimi Coomler and Marketing Manager Tim Bentley on supporting the Girl Scouts by rappelling 17 stories from the 5151 E. Broadway Boulevard Office Tower on Saturday, March 24:

  1. What speaks to you about the Girl Scouts?

Coomler: The Girl Scouts is amazing at empowering young girls – and I support them so they can help more and more girls find their own center and their own power. My 7-year-old daughter is a Girl Scout so I’ve seen firsthand the great work they do.

Bentley:  I like their drive to instill confidence in girls at a young age. As a former high school coach for cross country and track, I truly believe that young people – especially girls – set themselves on a path to be successful by gaining confidence at a pivotal age.

2. Have you rappelled before?

Coomler: I haven’t, but I’m always up for an adventure!

Bentley: One time at a rock climbing gym. It was a 20-foot wall and all the young kids cheered me on when I did it. :/

3. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Coomler: I did the tango in front of 500 people to the tune of Sweet Caroline to raise money for the Diaper Bank. That was way out of my comfort zone.

Bentley: I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane years ago – with a parachute of course. I’m assuming the step off the building will be similar to the step out of the airplane. Although, I’m hoping my answer will be different this time –

Parachute Instructor: “Ready, GO!”

Me (looking down 5,000 feet): “You mean, right now??!?”

  • 4. What’s the most important lesson young girls should learn?

Coomler: Dream Big! When I was little, we said, “Girls can do anything they want to.” Now, it is more a reality than ever. Find your voice, find your dream and go for it.

Bentley:  It’s OK for girls to be smart, it’s OK for girls to be successful and it’s OK for girls to be recognized for their accomplishments. Don’t ever downplay them.  And as a track coach, it’s always OK for the girls to be faster than the boys. I always told the girls #BeFierce #BeStrong #BeBrave

Rather than directly sponsoring Tim or Mimi to go over the edge, we encourage donations to the Girl Scouts of TEAM G.I.R.L. who will also be going over the edge on Saturday to support their Girl Scout sisters here in Southern Arizona.

Teen honors roots and community with traditional dance and generous donation

The gift of dance became a gift to the Tucson community recently when a local teen selflessly donated proceeds from a time-honored, traditional Indian dance to benefit breast cancer care at TMC.

University High School student, Naina Bhamidipati, honored her passion for her community and her Eastern Indian heritage by raising $5,000 for the TMC Foundation to support breast cancer prevention, treatment and care for women in need.

“I chose to donate to the Women’s Cancer fund at TMC in honor of the people close to me who have been effected by breast cancer,” Naina said.

Since age 5, Naina has been studying and practicing the classical Indian dance known as Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of Guru Kalashri Asha Gopal.

The origins of Bharatanatyam can be traced back to centuries ago in ancient India as a celebration and representation of spiritual ideas and Hindu religious themes.

Bharatanatyam is recognized the world over for its unique style, featuring complex footwork, flexed knees and bent legs while maintaining a straight torso. The hands move gracefully, making sophisticated and meaningful gestures, and all are performed to traditional music.

“The significance of Bharatanatyam to me is an art form that has taught me how to live my life. It taught me to be focused, balanced, and how to always be in control of my life. I learned how to express myself effectively without saying a word,” said Naina. “But most of all, it taught me to accept myself, be proud of myself, and accept the people around me. It has been and always will be an integral part of my life.”

When the instructor, called “guru”, determines the student has mastered the Bharatanatyam, a special ceremony called Arangetram is held to honor the student’s accomplishment.

“I also wanted to raise awareness for such a widespread disease and help families that were going through a difficult time – it was the best present on my Arangetram day,” Naina said.

With 10 years of intense study behind her, Naina has performed in many dance conventions, productions and gatherings, including the North American Telugu Association’s annual convention in Los Angeles.

She also has a deep appreciation for knowledge and community advocacy. Naina volunteers as a teen attorney with the Pima County Teen Court, and serves on the Dusenberry-River Library Teen Advisory Board. She is also a proud member of the leadership council at Be Free Pima – Pima County Community Prevention Coalition, a substance abuse prevention program.

“Helping my society and constantly exploring how I can make life better for people around me is one of my passions, and community advocacy is the first step to being able to do that,” Naina said. “No matter what cause I advocate for, in the end, I always leave with a new community and a new group of people that I will always support and that will always support me. For me, that’s the thrill of it, and I can’t wait to take part in many future endeavors involving community advocacy.”

Tucson Medical Center is pleased to recognize the accomplishments and generosity of this young woman.

“We are simply overcome by Naina Bhamidipati’s thoughtful gift,” said Erika Grasse, director of development for pediatrics. “The resources will provide mammograms for women (over 40) as well as fund breast cancer treatment and care for women who need it most.”

Thank you, Naina Bhamidipati and congratulations on your Arangetram!

For more information about supporting breast cancer patients, please contact the TMC Foundation at (520) 324-3497.

TMC and Mayo Clinic collaborate to promote survivorship at Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium

carousel_survivewell_std2018.jpg

For the second year in a row, Tucson Medical Center, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, is pleased to offer the Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium, designed to help patients find more about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as shared issues facing patients, caregivers and family members.

The broad-based symposium, with a focus this year on celebrating survivorship, will include discussions designed to help participants deal with the stress of these diseases and move forward in a positive direction.

The free event, which Mayo Clinic has successfully offered for nearly a decade in the Phoenix area, will take place on Saturday, April 7. Mindful walks will kick off the day at 7:30 a.m., with sessions beginning at 9 a.m. at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a Holocaust survivor, who will share her perspective on embracing the possible. In addition to cancer-specific breakout sessions, TMC, Mayo Clinic and Arizona Oncology experts will also lead other topic discussions including intimacy after cancer, genomics, as well as exercise, diet and inflammation. Celestino Fernandez, a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, will close with a session on finding happiness every day.

“Survive Well is a fitting venue to share advancing technologies, leading treatments, and support services,” says Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Mayo Clinic Dermatologist and Deputy Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Arizona. “The symposium is a valued part of our collaborative efforts to provide meaningful information and support to patients with cancer and their families.”

As a member of the Mayo Clinical Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and their families by sharing education and best practices. “This symposium is a continued maturation of the relationship we’ve developed with Mayo Clinic, to ensure that our patients benefit from our collective knowledge,” said Dr. Robert Brooks, medical director of oncology at TMC.

For more information or to save your spot, please visit our website.

Mission Moments: Helping out with a four-legged family member

Ru

Pets are familiar sights at Tucson Medical Center: Our K9 units help keep the hospital safe and our pet therapy teams brighten spirits of patients and staff.

So when Wellness Director Mary Atkinson saw this fun little guy out stretching his legs with his owner along TMC’s walking path, she introduced herself to the pair.

It turns out the dog was waiting in the car for his dog mom to have a procedure done and his dog dad was trying to split his time between checking on his wife and checking on his four-legged family member. As recent arrivals to Tucson, he didn’t want to leave the pet unattended in an unfamiliar home.

Hearing about the predicament, Atkinson offered to keep the terrier mix in the Wellness Department through the day.

He was a perfect gentleman – and looked quite dapper in the Girls on the Run bandana he scored during his sojourn in the new digs.

MaryAtkinson (2)“We were happy to help, and his owner was very grateful that he could focus on his wife’s surgery and know that this other member of his family was safe,” Atkinson said. “It’s always important to us to practice kindness and to be cognizant of ways we can help other people – and especially during stressful times in their lives.”

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

 

 

TMC Healing Art Program Photography Exhibit

Steve Dell Sunrise at Mesa Arch

Steve Dell “Sunrise at Mesa Arch” 2010

More than 900 works of art have been donated and installed at Tucson Medical Center as part of the Healing Art Program. Why? Because artwork can make us feel better and speed recovery – and that’s more than a pleasant notion, it’s an evidence-based best practice.

“The donated paintings, drawings and photographs really go a long way in promoting healing and enhancing the patient experience,” said Lauren Rabb, curator of the TMC Healing Art Program.

On March 8 you can view a hand-picked selection of the first exhibit of TMC art outside the hospital at the Temple of Music and Art.

 

“The TMC Healing Art Program helps patients heal in surroundings that inspire, encourage and cheer,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Events like the photography exhibit help us populate the hallways, numerous courtyards and many public spaces throughout the TMC campus with life-enhancing art.”

Bill Steen   “Monsoon Intersection, the Malpais, NM”   2007

Bill Steen “Monsoon Intersection, the Malpais, NM” 2007

The event features the images of renowned national and local photographers, such as Gregory Cranwell, Steve Dell, B.G. Boyd, Marla Endicott, Larry Hanelin and Niccole Celeste Radhe.

The exhibit also includes the photos of professional photographer Pamela Gresham Knight, who is traveling from Texas to attend the opening in-person.

“I am astonished by the incredible artwork the TMC Healing Art Program has received,” said Knight. “These photos and paintings are what you might normally see in a museum or gallery.” Knight also explained she strongly supports the cause. “I’m honored and humbled to have my photographs be part of providing relief and comfort for patients who are healing.”

Enjoy the rare opportunity to view the artwork at the treasured Temple of Music and Art. The Arizona Theatre Company bar will be open.

TMC Healing Art Photography Exhibit

March 8, 5 – 8 p.m.

Temple of Music and Art Gallery, 330 S. Scott Ave.

FREE to attend (no RSVP needed)

Photographs, 16 x 20 inches or 10 x 20 inches, are available for purchase through May 12. Proceeds support the TMC Healing Art Program

TMC’s Healing Art Program accepts donations of gallery-quality paintings, graphics, photography and sculpture. “You will be truly amazed by the quality of the images presented at the fundraiser,” said Rabb.

To donate artwork, take a TMC artwork tour or for more information visit http://www.tmcaz.com/healing-art-program or call (520) 324-3116.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TMC nurse helped make wedding dream come true for one couple

Malloree Ingalls (2)It only takes a quick chat with TMC Cardiac Unit nurse Malloree Ingalls to understand why she was drawn to a career in nursing. Her upbeat smile and approachable attitude put her patients at ease during what is often the most stressful time in their lives.

One such patient was just days away from open heart surgery when his fiancée of 12 years told him that she would like to stop waiting and just get married, to her delight, he said yes. “She was worried about upsetting family and friends by not having a big thing. I told her, “Don’t worry about them, this is for you,” Ingalls recalled.

Cutting the cake at hospital wedding

When the couple asked cardiothoracic surgeon Kushagra Katariya, M.D., how many times he had performed this particular surgery, the patient’s fiancé recalled with a laugh, “He said five times … this week.”

With that reassurance and the surgery in a few short days, Ingalls and the team from the Cardiac Unit sprang into action. “She told me that she heard that you can get married in a hospital, so I started making some calls,” said Ingalls.

With two rings purchased at the TMC Gift Shop, calls were made to arrange for a cake, refreshments from Food and Nutrition Services, a notary and TMC Chaplain Mary Klaehn.

With that, a wedding came together.

 

The bride nominated Ingalls for a DAISY Award, an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. In her nomination, the bride said of Ingalls, “Words can never explain my utter love and gratitude towards her and her beautiful soul…Having her as our nurse was the best thing that happened to us, in our most troubling time.”

hospital wedding rings

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Nominate an extraordinary nurse for the DAISY award

Mission Moment: Traffic accident allows TMC Security to shine

IMG_8780

TMC Security Officer Raymond Dugdale

On a recent weekday morning, an elderly gentleman lost control of his vehicle and struck one of the signs at the entrance to the hospital.

TMC Security made sure the man and his wife were not injured, ensured the electricity was turned off to the sign, and directed traffic around any blockages.

Officers Raymond Dugdale and Richard Jaeger didn’t stop there.

They waited with the man and his wife about two hours until the tow truck arrived for the badly damaged vehicle.

They made sure they had water.

They helped the couple cancel some later medical appointments that day, since they would be dealing with the fallout from the accident.

The man called to thank their boss for the kindness they demonstrated.

IMG_8781Dugdale, who came to TMC three years ago after being drawn by its mission and the quality of its Security Department, said people might be surprised at the ways they are called upon to assist patients, families and visitors. On any given day, help might include assisting with failing batteries and flat tires, to finding lost belongings or even helping frazzled family members find their vehicles after parking in a rush to go to the side of a loved one.

“I like to be able to help people,” Dugdale said. “I just put myself in their shoes and in this case, it was clear the gentleman was receptive to help and appreciated it, so we responded in kind.”

Jaeger, who came to TMC nine months ago, added, “I would do the same for anybody.”

He learned kindness, ironically, from working in the prison industry. “Just because someone is incarcerated, you still treat them as people and so you help them when they need it. It’s the same thing here. I try to treat people like family, because they could be going through a lot here at the hospital.”

“What I like about TMC Security is that it’s a lot more than that. It’s overall just helping people, no matter what the issue is – like a complete care package.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with yo

Mission Moment: Life-saving care inspires first donation to Mix Miracles Radiothon

Phil WagmanAlthough Phil Wagman says he can never repay Tucson Medical Center for saving his granddaughter’s life, he certainly tries – making the first donation to the MIX Miracles Radiothon every year.

At just six-weeks-old, Wagman’s granddaughter, Kaylee, became extremely ill. “Little Kaylee had a terrible fever and other serious symptoms – we knew it wasn’t just a cold,” he explained.

Comprehensive tests at TMC revealed Wagman’s instincts were correct. Kaylee had a splenic infarction – a serious condition in which the oxygen supply to the spleen is cut-off and threatens the vital organ. “She could have died,” said Wagman. “Their equipment and expertise saved her.”

For the past six years, 94.9 MIXfm has broadcast the MIX Miracles Radiothon from Tucson Medical Center. The two-day, radio fundraiser benefits Tucson’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital – TMC for Children.

In 2011, the first Mix Miracles Radiothon got off to an early start at 5:30 a.m. The Radio DJs were surprised to find Wagman already waiting.

“I wanted to be the first donor – it was time to give back and keep giving back,” said Wagman, who has been the first donor of every Mix Miracles Radiothon.

Wagman takes his participation a step further than dollars, answering the phones and speaking on the radio. “I want to share our experience every year – so that everyone can feel confident their donation is going toward the medical equipment and programs that save children’s lives.”

How is Kaylee now? “She is a healthy young lady who will graduate high school in 2018,” Wagman said.

“She is wonderful and her family can’t imagine life without her.”

Wagman shared another aspect of Kaylee’s care that motivated his philanthropy. “At the time of Kaylee’s illness, her mother didn’t have insurance and that really added to her worry.”

Although, there was never a worry for Wagman. “A strong push for my loyalty and love of TMC is that care is the first and foremost priority. I also knew that TMC has a program to help families in financial need.”

The TMC Community Care program is designed to provide assistance for patients experiencing financial challenges. It’s another way TMC supports the community and provides exceptional care with compassion.

Wagman is a native Tucsonan, who grew up less than a mile from TMC – where he has worked for more than 25 years.

“As long as they have a Radiothon, TMC can count on me to be the first donor.”

Every dollar raised from the Mix Miracles Radiothon stays at TMC, helping purchase life-saving equipment, promoting health and safety education and expanding pediatric programs.

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share?

Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

 

Mission Moment: Bringing comfort to a patient in need

Tucson Medical Center employee Rochelle Kee went above and beyond, providing exceptional health care with compassion for a patient struggling to find needed medical equipment.

A health crisis can be frightening and overwhelming – which is why TMC employees actively look for ways to bring comfort and peace of mind to patients.

If you have walked by the TMC Outpatient Check-In Desk, then you’ve been met with a helpful smile from Kee, who has been a patient service representative at TMC for the last three years.

“I help patients check in for procedures, radiology and more,” she said. “The ‘more’ part covers a lot – because if I can’t help you, I’ll find the right person who can.”

Recently a patient approached Kee, though he wasn’t checking in – he had been discharged from the Emergency Department with a prescription for a cane and was looking for help.

“The gentleman was limping and I could tell he was suffering,” Kee said. “He was so frustrated and upset because every provider was too expensive or didn’t take his insurance.”

Kee took the initiative to call several locations. “Some of the locations couldn’t help and the few that could were across town, and he didn’t have transportation.”

The elderly patient seemed to lose all hope. “He said he was going to give up,” said Kee “But I don’t give up.” She had an idea – and asked the patient to wait a few more moments.

Kee went across the street to the Teal Saguaro, a thrift store operated by the TMC Auxiliary with proceeds supporting TMC and its services.

“He just couldn’t believe it when I came back with a cane for him,” said Kee. “And I couldn’t believe it when he started crying – he even gave me a hug.” Although Kee bought the cane herself, she presented it to the patient as a Christmas gift from TMC.

Her act of kindness quickly spread, with other TMC personnel offering the patient lunch at the nearby café inside the hospital.

Several fellow employees witnessed Kee’s interaction with the patient, and nominated her for a “Caught in the Act” recognition.

At TMC, we aspire to serve our community by being the best health system as defined by the quality of care we deliver, the experiences we create and the value we bring. Employees like Rochelle Kee help make the hospital’s vision a reality, every day.

“I just want to help people the best I can,” she said. “I feel blessed in my life and I hope I can be a blessing to others.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share?

Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

 

Mission Moment: Two hearts, two stories and a stocking

Marlise and baby in stockingBridget Stith’s Story

On a Christmas Eve nearly 46 years ago, Bridget Stith gave birth to her son, Kalyn, at TMC. Early on Christmas morning the TMC nurses carried her baby boy into the room, holding him in a precious holiday stocking.

“It was so memorable – I never forgot the thoughtful gift and the special joy it brought me and my family,” said Stith. “Every year since, Santa has left gifts in Kalyn’s stocking.”

Fast forward four decades – Stith and her family are active community advocates who were motivated to action when they made a discovery.

“That holiday stocking made such a difference for me, and I remember it as though it were yesterday,” said Stith. “I recently learned that TMC Labor and Delivery needed funds to provide stockings for babies born around the holidays – I’m sentimental and I felt in my heart that I had to do something.”

Marlise Mackey’s Story

In 1988, Marlise Mackey was rushed to TMC, excitedly expecting her first child – but that excitement turned to worry when complications arose.

“My placenta had detached and I was taken to surgery right away – I was so worried for me and my baby,” she said. Both baby and mom made it through – Mackey welcomed a baby boy at 7 lbs. 9 oz.

“I never forgot the TMC doctors and nurses, they were so caring and so professional – it inspired me to become a labor and delivery nurse.”

Today, Marlise Mackey has been a nurse for almost 30 years, and she currently serves as a surgical technician right here at TMC Labor and Delivery.

When an expectant mother was experiencing a detached placenta, just as Mackey had, she provided comfort as she moved the mom-to-be into the very same operating room that she was treated in.

“We saved the mom and baby, who was born at 7 lbs. 9 oz., just like my son,” said Mackey. “When I had the chance to give back to a mom and baby in the same OR, with a son born in the same way and at the same weight – my heart told me I could do more.”

Marlise and Bridget

Two Hearts

The two hearts came together when Bridget Stith provided a generous grant to the TMC Foundation to fund the stocking materials, and Marlise Mackey offered the time and effort to tailor the festive garb.

“The doctors and TMC nurses were so good to me – they went above and beyond, and this is my way of doing the same,” said Mackey.

The non-denominational holiday stockings are provided for babies born the week before, during and after the Christmas holiday.

“I’m so excited to be a part of it,” said Stith. “I hope the stockings bring families the same joy and memories that it still brings me.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com

Mission Moment: Transporter warms hearts with simple gesture

Transporter Christina Ruebush living the mission by going beyond.
When a simple get-well card brought joy to a discouraged patient, a TMC employee decided to provide a thoughtful card to every patient she serves.

TMC patient transporter Christina Ruebush joined the ranks six months ago, after having an exceptional health care experience at TMC. “The staff were so polite and thoughtful that I knew this would be a great place to work.”

Ruebush’s fast-paced position takes her back-and-forth across TMC’s 100-acre campus, but she doesn’t mind. “I really enjoy the patient interaction,” she said. “Anytime I can be supportive or help in any way, I do.”

Not long ago, a patient motivated Ruebush to start doing something new. “I had transported an elderly man several times – each time he was very unhappy, grumpy and even mean.”

Ruebush thought about what might help. “So I went out and bought him a get-well card.”

When Ruebush was called to transport him again, she handed the card to the patient. Although Ruebush didn’t expect anything in return, she received a new understanding that would change her forever.

“The patient’s demeanor was completely different – he kindly thanked me over and over, and explained that he was alone, with no friends or family – he really just wanted someone to talk with.”

After enjoying a conversation with the patient, Ruebush stopped by the dollar store on the way home. “I decided that I was going to give every patient I transported a get-well card.”

For months, Ruebush has been providing every patient she transports with a card offering kind and sincere wishes. “It’s well worth the heartfelt thank yous and smiles I get,” she said.

This week, Ruebush is doing even more – she is providing each patient staying at TMC on Christmas Day with a get-well card.

“At TMC, we thrive on patient experience,” said Ruebush. “No matter what they are experiencing, patients appreciate knowing that TMC cares.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com

Mission Moments: Cultivating kindness at a crosswalk

Audrey Fimbres has started building extra time into her walk across Grant Road as she heads to Tucson Medical Center’s surgical tower from her office across the street.

A nurse and the manager of Pre-Anesthesia Testing located across from the main hospital, Fimbres typically comes upon others in need at least three times a week, and particularly as they head to the Emergency Department.

Recently, she came upon a man on crutches, carrying two large bags of belongings and clearly in pain, trying to make it from Grant to the Emergency Department. She had him rest where he was while she got a wheelchair to get him more comfortably to his destination.

The day before, she met a woman whose car was stalled in the intersection. Fimbres helped her call for assistance, and in the interim, called an officer from TMC Security, who was able to jump her car, revive her battery and get her back on the road.

“I want to help people and be kind to people – because sometimes people aren’t kind,” Fimbres said, adding that commuters were honking and yelling at the woman whose car had stalled. “She was crying and she clearly needed someone to be kind to her that day. You can’t just walk past people who are in distress or who need help.”

Fimbres started cultivating kindness as a way of getting through those awkward years in middle school when kids can be mean – and it’s something she’s practiced the rest of her life. It’s why she got into nursing 16 years ago and why she has been at TMC for the past 11.

“I became a nurse to take care of people and my favorite part of working here is all the ways we get to engage with our community,” she said. “I just think it’s important to think about what kind of day other people might be having and what they’re going through.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Health insurance a passion for outreach specialist

Sylvia Brown lives insurance.

As an assister who helps community members sign up for insurance on the marketplace or through government channels, Brown knows when open enrollment comes around in the fall, she will be fielding lots of insurance inquiries.

“Off hours, after hours, weekends – you have to help when you get the call, so if it’s 7 or 8 p.m., that just means I’m hopping on the laptop to walk someone through it,” said Brown, who has been helping community members with marketplace enrollment since its inception in 2014.

After open enrollment began this fall, Brown received a phone call from a woman who was worried about the high cost of insurance premiums through her employer.

Brown walked her through why it was going to be more cost effective to stay with the employer’s health plan – but insurance can be complex, and she knew the woman would benefit from coming in after work to go through it in person. While she was at it, she helped the woman understand other benefit fundamentals, such as the difference between a health savings account and a flexible spending account – and how those could help her meet her health care goals.

“Even though I knew it wasn’t going to change the outcome and it was going to be a late evening, I wanted to take the time to sit with her and go through numbers with her so that she had peace of mind that she was making the right choices for herself and her family,” Brown said.

She makes her personal phone number easily accessible on social media – and has become a bit of the go-to guru on insurance for her family and friends as well.

Brown is so committed because she knows all too well the difference that insurance can make for a family.

“As a young single mother of small children, having to provide coverage by myself for my kids, there was one time my daughter jumped off the bed and cracked her head on the dresser,” Brown recalled. “I was so thankful I had budgeted to have insurance – so I know firsthand how important health coverage is and I also know there are so many consumers out there are in need of information.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Missing tennis shoes meet a bulldog of a nurse

After an elderly patient left Tucson Medical Center following a stroke, her sister called in a panic.
The patient had compromised movement with partial paralysis of the left side that required special shoes to help with her mobility. They would be important in physical therapy sessions to help rebuild her strength.

And they were missing.

Will Bascom was the charge nurse that evening in the Emergency Department when the frantic call came in. He promised to track them down.

They weren’t in the Emergency Department and they weren’t in the room she recovered in. It took a bit of sleuthing, but ultimately it turned out they already had been brought back to the patient’s care home and were waiting for pickup.

The patient’s sister called later to say how appreciative she was. “Amidst his busy scheduled, he hunted them down. I can’t say enough about how he treated me when we were going through such a hard time.”

For Bascom, of course, he was going to help.

“More often than not, we see people in some of the worst times of their lives. It’s as simple as that. So if I get a request like this – to help someone out at a time when they’re going through this life-changing event and even a small thing means the world in that moment – I’m like a bulldog,” he said.

Bascom said people typically get into health care because they have compassion and empathy for others. “I treat everyone like my own family. I don’t care why you’re here and where you’re from. I’m not a judge. My job here is to take care of you. I think many people just lead such busy lives that it’s hard to have time for anyone else. I’ve always done what I could to help others.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Community projects give added purpose to employee group

Each quarter the 230 employees who make up nine different areas of TMC Revenue Cycle & Health Information Management pick community projects in which to participate.

The employees, who work in areas such as admitting, billing and medical records, have been doing these projects as a group for 15 years – ever since their director, Maria Persons, brought the practice with her from Yale New Haven Health.

They’ve held drives for household items for survivors of domestic violence. They’ve adopted schools for back-to-school supplies and backpacks. They’ve collecting clothing and monetary donations for homeless teens. They’ve adopted nursing home residents, providing lap blankets, socks and other necessities we often take for granted.

They’ve donated books for book drives and stocked Peppi’s House “family closet” with pajamas, playing cards and family games for hospice visitors to help ease stress and build memories during those times of transition.

There have been holiday toy and food drives, campaigns to help provide for underserved children and most recently, an effort to provide vaccinations, leashes, collars and other supplies for the pets of homeless people. They’ve even helped fellow employees, supporting one whose home burned down and provided holiday food baskets for others going through rough patches.

The donations come from a “jeans fund” that employees pay into so they can wear jeans on the last Friday of the month, but the bulk of it comes from personal donations. The projects are selected by a committee of about a dozen employees from the nine areas and designed to mesh with TMC’s values.

“I am always overwhelmed by the generosity of the staff,” Persons said. “We’re a community-based hospital and we’re here to serve, and I think these efforts just add another level of humanity to the work we do here.”

She added that “it is just so heartening to see the work of the other community organizations out there helping and it feels good to jump in and be part of it. I’m so proud of the efforts they make each quarter because even though we’re a small group, I think we’re making a big impact.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moment: Nurse heroes saving a life out in the community

When nurses Kimberly Fore and Cindy Sacra agreed to staff the first aid booth at the recent Health Insurance Enrollment & Family Fun Festival in early December, they figured they might help with the small injuries that can come along with community running events.

With three races that morning, including nearly 1,000 girls and their running buddies doing a 5k through Girls on the Run, they figured it would be the usual. Scrapes. Maybe a blister. At worst, a turned ankle.

So in that split second when they heard there was a runner down during a 1-mile running event for men, they thought maybe they’d be patching up a skinned knee.

Fore, the director of TMC Hospice, started loping out to the scene. A passing runner told her it was serious. She broke into a sprint and found the runner in the throes of a serious medical event.

Sacra, the Clinical Informatics team lead, was right behind her, carrying medical supplies.

The two, along with TMCOne front desk service representative Lauren Barnhart, whose son was participating in the race, provided CPR until medics arrived.

In large part because of the speedy reaction of the TMC staff member, the man was revived and taken to the hospital.

While others at the festival were in awe of the heroic work that unfolded before them, Fore and Sacra afterward brushed off any adulation. “We’re nurses. This is what we do,” Fore said. Sacra agreed. “When we have an opportunity to help someone in need, we are always going to respond.”

Barnhart agreed that help was just instinctive. “It was my first reaction to help this gentleman. In the moment I was doing what I do best. It is so rewarding to know I helped save someone’s grandpa, uncle, brother, dad or son.”

But for others, it was a moment that crystallized TMC’s mission.

“Our mission is to provide exceptional health care with compassion. That was on display on this day and I am humbled to work with amazing people who serve our community every day,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of Community Benefit.

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Heart of Hospice: The glue that holds the team together

Sherry Schneider, admissions coordinator for TMC Hospice, was honored this week as the Heart of Hospice.

Schneider, who has been with TMC Hospice for almost eight years, coordinates the assessments of patients to ensure they qualify for hospice benefits, and then begins the process of admitting patients into Hospice. She works hand and hand with admission nurses, case managers and physicians within TMC Hospice as well as all over the community. She is also usually the person one would call if they were considering hospice for themselves or a loved one.

TMC Hospice admissions coordinator holding a boquet of red and white rosesAnyone who was around for the morning celebration would have heard the superlatives flying around to describe Schneider.

“Sherry is a really incredible person to work with,” said Stephanie Carter, manager of hospice care. “She’s always willing to help out no matter how long it takes.”

According to the anonymous nomination, “Sherry is amazing! Somehow she is able to juggle so many responsibilities at once. She always does her best to get as many people seen as quickly as possible; often with not enough staff and paltry records. She navigates the murky waters of insurance companies, Medicare and the VA and case managers, all the while be politic and professional.”

But perhaps the highest praise comes by those who have had to step into her shoes when she is not around.

“I can safely say that anyone of us who has ever covered for her has likely cried at his or her desk, overwhelmed by the phone calls, requests, question and responsibilities,” the nominator said.

Her director, Kim Fore, put it succinctly, “Sherry is awesome. She’s our glue.”

The quarterly award comes with a recognition plaque on the unit, a pin and a dedicated parking space. The award allows colleagues to recognize their peers:

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

Has a TMC Hospice nurse made a difference in your life? Consider recognizing this extraordinary nurse with a DAISY Award nomination.

Mission Moments: Responding to the disaster in Puerto Rico

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas watched helplessly as news reports showed her childhood home in Puerto Rico being decimated by hurricane winds and rain.

Her parents still live in her small hometown of Villalba, in a remote central area high in the mountains. For 16 days, she couldn’t reach them to find out if they were in a refugee center or if they were OK.

When the anesthesiologist at Old Pueblo Anesthesia finally was able to connect with them, she was relieved that they were OK. But she heard terrible stories of people on dialysis or in need of oxygen tanks struggling for any kind of routine medical services given the damage across the island to road networks, communication channels and power services.

“It just all seemed so desperate and I could not believe what I was seeing. I knew I had to help somehow.”

Dr. Guzman decided to ask if TMC might be able to assist with medications. The Pharmacy rapidly identified drugs that could make an immediate impact in the disaster, including those needed to treat infections and provide relief from symptoms.

“I cannot tell you how happy I was,” she said. “I asked because I feel that TMC is very involved in the community to make a difference. They don’t just say it, they do it. Their goal is to help the community to make things better, and that was true when another part of this country was in great need,” she said.

Guzman partnered with an aid group comprised of other doctors from Puerto Rico who banded together to secure desperately needed medicine, equipment and supplies. Dr. Guzman drew strength from seeing the photo (above) of the medical staff on the ground in Puerto Rico opening the boxes.

“It feels great to be able to help, especially being originally from there and seeing the destruction and knowing that what you remember is not there,” Dr. Guzman said. “You feel you are so far away and not able to reach them, so to be able to make some difference, I just don’t have the words to describe it.”

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

TMC and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona

 

Tucson Medical Center and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona have a long-standing partnership that is delivering special friendship to isolated and homebound Arizonans.

For nearly 50 years, Mobile Meals has delivered nutritious, locally-prepared meals to elderly and disabled adults in Tucson and the greater area. The homegrown nonprofit supports the independence, health and dignity of homebound adults by providing home-delivered, special-diet meals each day.

Special effort providing special meals

“What makes Mobile Meals unique is we deliver meals that are specially prepared for each client’s specific nutritional needs,” said Tamara McKinney, executive director of Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona. “And they are delivered daily by volunteers who really care about our client’s health and well-being.”

The added challenge of delivering medically-tailored meals doesn’t discourage McKinney or the organization. “That’s when people need us most – 94 percent of our clients need a special diet,” she explained. “Our Mobile Meals dietitian works closely with each client’s medical provider to determine what specific diet is needed.”

A community working together

McKinney noted that Mobile Meals doesn’t happen without the support of local organizations. “TMC has been a key partner since Mobile Meals began in 1970, together we are helping our community’s most vulnerable adults maintain their health and independence.”

The specialized meals are prepared at TMC each day, explained Ruth Halter, TMC’s manager of food services and Mobile Meals board member. “Proper nutrition is key to maintaining health in general, but it becomes increasingly important when someone has a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, kidney disease or diabetes.”

Halter added that the meals have an indelible and positive effect. “Those receiving Mobile Meals are able to continue living at home – which is a benefit to our patients and the community as a whole.”

Volunteers make the difference

Like clockwork, a supervisor reviews the meals in the TMC Kitchen, ensuring each recipient receives the correct food. Volunteers soon arrive to pick-up and deliver.

“The delivery is the best part,” said Mobile Meals volunteer Bev Lundquist. “We sit, talk and get to know one another – I’m friends with every person I deliver to.”

The connection and friendships that are cultivated through mobile meals go a long way. “They’d be happy to see me even if I didn’t have any food,” Lundquist said. “It’s very fulfilling to know we are making a real difference in the lives of people in need – we get such a great sense of community.”

Improving health, enriching lives

McKinney explained the volunteers are very passionate, motivated by the challenges recipients are facing – including isolation.

“Many recipients live alone and really look forward to interacting with our volunteers,” she said. “The visits are more than meal delivery or social visits; for many of those isolated and medically fragile adults, the volunteers are making sure they’re safe.”

McKinney explained that a client fainted during a recent delivery visit. The volunteer was able to call 911 and get the client immediate medical attention. “Can you imagine what might have happened if our volunteer hadn’t been there? Many of our clients have outlived their friends and family, and our volunteers might be the only people they see in a week.”

Grateful for community partnership

“We are so thankful for the local support that makes our program possible and for our partnership with TMC,” said McKinney. “Our collaboration shows how we can bring together needed resources to protect our most vulnerable, and it inspires volunteerism to make a positive change for our whole community.”

To volunteer or donate to Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona, call (520) 622-1600 or email info@mobilemealsoftucson.org.

 

 


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