Miles of Healing Art profiled by AZ Illustratrated

Our thanks goes out to Arizona Public Media for the awesome story that ran Aug. 12 on Arizona Illustrated about our Healing Art program. Check it out:

Find out more about TMC Healing Art. #AZPM, #HealingArt

TMC director, Beth Dorsey, honored as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Beth Dorsey, Dietitian, President Elect of Academy of Nutrition and DietitiansBeth Dorsey couldn’t believe it when a recent Saturday Night Live skit used a relatively rare word that just happens to also be one of her favorites: dietitian.

In the skit, the protagonist’s sandwich fell on the ground, much to his consternation. He went on to complain that he has GI issues and that meal had been specifically planned for him by a dietitian.

“He said he was working with a dietitian! I couldn’t believe it – it was like we had arrived,” joked Dorsey, the director of Food and Nutrition Services at Tucson Medical Center, who was recently recognized as a Fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

The designation recognizes Dorsey’s commitment to the field of dietetics and celebrates her professional accomplishments and pursuit of life-long learning.

We caught up with Dorsey for a few questions:

  • What is the reaction from people when you explain what you do?

I get one of two reactions: They ask what they should eat, or they share a confessional that they need to eat better.

  • So what do you tell them when they ask what they should eat?

I let them know that there isn’t a magic pill. For dietitians looking to help their clients create change, it’s all about relationship building, communications and goal setting. The fact is, it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet, and that’s why this is usually not easy. We start with what they currently eat and what their goals are. Then we go from there.

  • It has to be difficult to keep track of all the nutritional information out there. It seems we’re inundated with it.

There is incredible complexity in what we do because of the breadth of patients we see, who have everything from easy issues to address to very difficult, chronic issues to manage. On top of that, we see all ages, from beginning to end of life. And the reality is, that something innocuous like eating a banana is really not advisable for some people. If you have kidney malfunction, that may not be a food of choice for you. If you are taking an iron supplement, you have to take it with other vitamins, such as C, to increase absorption of iron in the stomach. There is a lot of nuance involved in what we do.

  • What are some of the challenges that face the field?

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition and are incredibly skilled people. They must have a bachelor’s degree and 1,200 hours of supervised, post-graduate practice, and they also must pass a national exam and maintain credentials with 75 hours of continuing education every five years

Even with all of that, we still have a hard time being reimbursed by insurance for the work we do. Medicare only reimburses for some very specific disease states. Other insurances may cover up to four visits a year.

We’d also like to increase the diversity of our workforce. America’s first dietitian is considered to be Sarah Rorer, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1849 and educated herself in chemistry, anatomy and medicine and eventually, was consulted to prepare special meal plans for patients. The field continues to be dominated by women and we would like it to evolve to see more gender and ethnic diversity.

  • What would your recommendations be for people who want to improve their nutritional intake?

First, check your insurance to see if dietetic visits are covered. Dietitians can tailor and assess the total picture of your health using your individual lifestyle along with your lab results and any medications you might be taking to formulate a nutrition plan.

Secondly, some of the standbys still haven’t changed. If you do not have any medical issues that restrict your intake, drink plenty of fluids, eat moderate portions and enjoy lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. And keep in mind, too, that less isn’t always more. Don’t skip meals and starve yourself or you will undermine your efforts by either slowing down your metabolism or binge eating later.

Dorsey, who serves as president-elect of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and directs a dietetic internship at Tucson Medical Center, was also named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2016 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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

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

It comes in the form of:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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