Delivering virtual care to you today: CareNow App

CareNow -virtual doctor visit appWhether it is 2 a.m. or 2 p.m., at home or on vacation, TMC’s new CareNow app allows patients to speak with a physician, face-to-face, using the built-in camera on the patient’s smartphone, tablet or desktop virtually at any time. The board-certified doctor can provide medical advice, recommend treatment and even prescribe medication.

The service is designed for anyone who is experiencing an illness or injury that doesn’t require an emergency room visit, but is urgent enough to need immediate care.
“It’s about providing care whenever and wherever patients need it,” said Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO. “We’re meeting patients where they are, helping them get quality treatment faster and get back to their lives.” Available now, the free and convenient app can be quickly downloaded from a smartphone’s store or marketplace.

It’s healthcare when and where you need it!

This service is not appropriate for those needing emergency care, but it is a convenient alternative for those looking for immediate care for other ailments.

You can find CareNow here on TMC’s website.

And on your smartphone’s app store whether Android or Apple, just search for TMC CareNow.

Who is it for?

CareNow providers are certified in internal medicine, family practice or pediatrics and can help patients over the age of 2. Providers can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication, if medically necessary, for many medical issues, including:

• Sore throat and stuffy nose
• Allergies
• Cold and flu symptoms
• Bronchitis
• Poison ivy
• Pink eye
• Urinary tract infection
• Respiratory infection
• Sinus problems
• Ear infection
• And other non-emergent conditions.

What is CareNow not for?

CareNow is not appropriate for those with more emergent health care needs such as:

• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain or pressure
• Severe bleeding
• Head injury
• Weakness and/or numbness to one side of your body
• Loss of consciousness/fainting
• Severe allergic reaction
• Abdominal pain/discomfort
• Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
• Diabetic complaints
• Severe depression, hallucinations, or thoughts of suicide
• Pregnancy related concerns
• Injury to the eye

These symptoms may indicate a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. Please seek medical care immediately by going to the nearest emergency department or call 911.

How does CareNow work?

• Request a consult: Open the CareNow App and request a consult, provide medical history and pay for the consult. Your CareNow account is also available at carenow.tmcaz.com or (855) 754-6898.
• Talk to a provider: Within minutes, a licensed provider reviews your medical history and contacts you via phone or video.
• Pick up a prescription: If a prescription is a medically necessary next step, a prescription can be submitted to a local pharmacy of your choice.

Does CareNow replace my doctor?

No. Your primary care provider knows the intricacies of your health and is crucial in providing care that’s right for you so you can prevent illness, manage chronic conditions and identify health concerns early. CareNow provides general medical care for those times when you’re too busy, too sick, or it’s too late in the day to see your own provider. You can download a copy of your visit information to share with your regular provider at your next scheduled visit.

How long does it take to see a doctor?

Most requests are answered within 30 minutes or less. While you’re waiting for the next available provider to come online, we’ll keep you posted on your status. If you miss your visit, you’ll be returned to the end of the queue. The consults have no time limit so make sure you have the answers you need to get back on the road to recovery.

What does the CareNow app allow members to do?

The CareNow app allows members to:

• Authenticate your CareNow account.
• Talk to a provider, anytime, anywhere.
• Create and update your medical history.
• Update personal, contact, login and billing information.

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad you can integrate your Apple Health information to enable your provider to form a better diagnosis.

TMC is first Southern Arizona hospital to deliver virtual care to our community.

TMC CareNow is part of our ongoing investment in technologies that make life easier and healthier for Southern Arizonans. TMC has consistently been the first in our state and area to implement digital advancements, including an electronic medical record and an online patient portal. For the seventh year running, Tucson Medical Center has achieved recognition as a Most Wired® hospital, awarded by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The distinction recognizes hospitals that leverage information technology to provide stronger care for patients, improve quality, and streamline operations.

 

 

 

Work colleague inspires fellow salon manager to get joint replacement

Charles and ANnieHelping our community right here in Tucson get and stay healthy and keep on dancing is what Tucson Medical Center is all about. We’re showing off some of our fabulous community members in our latest commercials and you get to find out a little more about them here on our blog. Meet TMC dancers Charles Colbath and Annie Collins.

Bavilon Salon owner Charles Colbath would wince a little seeing Salon Coordinator Annie Collins hobble about.

A former marathon runner, Collins had agonizing arthritis in her right hip. “I almost couldn’t walk. I couldn’t lift my leg to get in the car. I would be walking, and my leg would just freeze.”

She had hip replacement with orthopaedic surgeon Russell Cohen. “It was a miracle. I had surgery one morning and was home the next day by noon. I was pain free – literally, pain free.”

Colbath was struck at her recovery. He had been suffering with his own trick hip for four years. “Dr. Cohen did an evaluation and said he could do it. I trusted him. And I had the same experience Annie did. The whole process was amazing. I’ve had worse tooth extractions.”

Collins, who is an avowed pickleball addict, said dancing is her next favorite thing and she’s thrilled to be able to do it.

For Colbath, the minimally invasive procedure was a life changer. “It’s hard to believe you would go in for something that would be seen as major, but it honestly wasn’t,” he said. “The process they use now is so perfected, that I was back to my routine in three days. And I’m getting my life back now, which was key.”

After knee replacement, ‘People tell me I look different’

Mary.jpg

Helping our community right here in Tucson get and stay healthy and keep on dancing is what Tucson Medical Center is all about. We’re showing off some of our fabulous community members in our latest commercials and you get to find out a little more about them here on our blog. Meet TMC dancer, Mary Rowley.

For business owner Mary Rowley, pain was a part of everyday life.

“I had bone-on-bone arthritis. I couldn’t use my knee very much,” Rowley recalled. “It was to the point where I forgot what it was like not to have pain.”

Rowley, who had two previous unrelated surgeries at TMC with great outcomes, came back to TMC, with orthopaedic surgeon Russell Cohen.

“It was great. The experience in the hospital was wonderful – I felt like I was with friends,” she said, noting she went home the next day.

“My knee is fantastic. Before, I coudn’t run at all. Now I can run up steps. I’m walking more, I’m exercising. I can bend. People tell me I look different: that I don’t have as much pain on my face.”

Rowley has a recommendation for others considering knee replacement surgery. “Everyone said put it off as long as you can. I would say don’t. If you really need it done, and a professional tells you that you need to get it done, get it done. It’s great on the other side.”

Check out Mary getting to dance again in our latest dance video.

Ask the expert about Orthobiologics: The healing power of our own bodies

knee orthobiologicsOrthobiologics is a tongue twister, but the science behind regenerative medicine seems so simple. By taking our own healthy cells, extracting the growth factors, platelets or stem cells and then using those cells to heal our chronic pain, doctors are reducing the need for harmful therapies like steroids exponentially.

“Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can stimulate stem cells to the area and create a healing cascade. The therapy wakes up your body’s own healing properties,” said Dr. Tad DeWald, of Tucson Orthopaedic Institute and noted expert on regenerative medicine procedures.Dr. Ted DeWald

“The PRP is injected into ligaments, tendons, muscle, or joints and is a long-term solution to musculoskeletal injuries and pain, including arthritic joints.”

When you have an acute injury like tendonitis, your body creates inflammation around the area to heal it. If the injury doesn’t improve after about 12 weeks, your body stops trying to heal. At this point the condition is considered chronic. The tendon fibers aren’t viable. “It still looks like a tendon, but it doesn’t act like one. Treatments like PRP and stem cells get your body back on board and working to heal,” said Dr. DeWald.

Stem cells have several unique abilities. They can transform into other cell types, such as bone, cartilage, muscle and tendon. And they also serve an important role as medicinal signaling cells, recruiting other stem cells to the target area and triggering nearby cells to begin the repair process.

“Healing properties that come from your body have no negative effects. For any active person looking to feel better and get around better, this treatment is beneficial. And for patients looking at a total joint replacement down the road, this treatment offers the possibility of delaying or avoiding surgery,” said Dr. DeWald.

To find out more about how these innovative treatments use your body’s own cells to heal, attend a free event at The Core at La Encantada, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 5:30 p.m. Register today!

Struggling with breastfeeding? We have help

breastfeeding baby carlo-navarroBreastfeeding at its best is inexpensive, easy and provides a whole host of health benefits for both mother and child. But you would not be alone if at first you struggle with breastfeeding. A trained lactation consultant, typically certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, can provide the insights needed to get over the stumbling blocks that prevent many women from continuing to breastfeed and reap the benefits.

Along with our weekly free breastfeeding support group, we also now offer private outpatient consultations. Supplemental funding from TMC Foundation ensures that all women can access this resource.

An outpatient breastfeeding clinic

Tucson's outpatient breastfeeding clinicThe TMC for Women Outpatient Breastfeeding Clinic was created to help women and babies with breastfeeding once they have left the hospital or birth center. Lactation consultants can help address latch problems, provide nipple shields and help with supplemental nursing systems (for those babies who are ineffective at nursing, preemies or special needs babies, or for moms who have a low milk supply or whose bodies need encouragement to lactate).

The goal of the clinic is to make sure all new mothers in our community can access trained lactation consultants and overcome hurdles to breastfeeding, no matter what their insurance or ability to pay. You can still access support via telephone on our breastfeeding warmline, (520) 324-5730. (When clients call this phone number you can leave a message either on our Outpatient Line to schedule an appointment or the main line for questions. The lactation consultants return calls in between patient care and between hours of about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

In-person visits provide another level of support that is impossible to attain via a phone conversation. The appointments are typically 60 to 90 minutes long and take place in a comfortable, non-clinical setting, nestled in a quiet corner of our campus.

Call (520) 324-5730 to make an appointment for an outpatient consultation.

What you should know about our breastfeeding consultations:

  1. Services are available to anyone in the community regardless of where you deliver your baby
  2. You do not need a referral
  3. If you have insurance, it will be billed first; if the insurance company refuses to cover the consultation or if you don’t have insurance, the cost will be covered under a grant from the TMC Foundation. Our TMC community recognizes the benefits of supporting breastfeeding for the health of mom, baby and the community at large.
  4. Don’t have easy transportation? Perhaps you’ve just had a C-section and can’t drive? No worries, we can help with transportation to and from your appointment. Just ask when you schedule your appointment.
  5. You will see a registered nurse who is a certified lactation consultant
  6. Need more than one consultation? No problem, multiple appointments are available.
  7. This appointment is not in a cold hospital room. Consultations take place in a comfortable, private sitting area designed by the lactation consultants in line with what we know helps support women who are breastfeeding.

TMC’s team of diagnostic nurses receives national certification for conscious sedation

Diagnostic nursesConscious sedation is a technique that is sometimes used when a patient might need a little extra help relaxing or some additional pain relief for a procedure.

Although patients are awake and recover quickly, it’s important for nursing staff to have expertise in assessing and monitoring patients.

Nine of Tucson Medical Center’s 12 diagnostic nurses recently completed rigorous study and testing to receive national certification in conscious/procedural sedations. The remaining three members of the team are currently pursuing certification.

“This certification means from pediatrics to geriatrics, our nurses have the additional education and the skills to ensure we’re providing the best care for patients who may need assistance with claustrophobia, anxiety or pain relief,” said Rachel Byrnes, manager of diagnostic nursing services.

“This certification, which meets accreditation standards for hospitals, helps ensure our patients have that additional sense of security and confidence that the care they’re receiving is safe and high-quality.”

The certification was made possible through a grant from the TMC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of TMC, which raises money to support programs, facilities and equipment to improve the health of Southern Arizona’s residents.

‘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!

 

 

 

When big breathing problems trouble little ones – Pediatric pulmonologists provide expert care

Asthma- when to see the pediatric pulmonologistStruggling to breathe can be terrifying, especially for children – and their parents. Acute and chronic respiratory challenges including asthma need specialized care to keep airways open – enter the pediatric pulmonologist.

Chiarina Galvez, M.D., explains when a child with asthma symptoms should see a pediatric pulmonology specialist.

What is pediatric pulmonology?

Pediatric pulmonology is a medical specialty that focuses on the care of infants, children and teenagers with disorders of the lung and airways, and those with sleep-related breathing problems.

If a child has moderate-to-severe asthma, should the child see a pediatric pulmonologist?

Children with moderate-to-severe persistent asthma may benefit from a consultation with a pulmonologist. Asthma guidelines recommend seeing a specialist for children ages 0 to 4 years who need daily controller therapy.

These recommendations are made because several studies have shown that patients who received specialized care had better outcomes, which included improvements in asthma symptoms, as well as fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

If the asthma diagnosis is uncertain, or if there are difficulties maintaining asthma control, then pulmonology referral should be strongly considered.

Asthma is not as common in Arizona because the climate is hot and dry – right?

Unfortunately, we’ve learned over the years that asthma is prevalent in the state. In 2014, it was estimated that the prevalence of asthma in Arizona children aged 17 years and younger was higher than the national average (10.9 percent vs 9.2 percent).

Asthma is a complex condition, and it is likely that genetics and multiple environmental factors interact to trigger the disease.

The right environment depends on the individual’s triggers. A climate that might be good for one child’s asthma, might be terrible for another. Achieving good asthma control requires working with a specialist to identify and avoid triggers, medication adherence and regular follow-up visits to optimize therapy.

What respiratory symptoms should a parent of a child with asthma be mindful of?

In children, symptoms of respiratory problems are often varied and may be subtle. If a child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, a pediatric pulmonologist may be able to help.

  • Cough for more than four weeks and is not improving
  • Two (or more) episodes of pneumonia in one year
  • Chronic wet cough
  • Pauses or stops breathing while awake or asleep
  • Fast or labored breathing on a frequent basis
  • Frequent or recurrent brassy or honking cough
  • Gets a cough after he or she choked on food or another object, even if he or she choked on the object days or weeks ago

It may also be helpful to see a pediatric pulmonologist if a child has received treatment due to a respiratory illness.

  • Hospitalization
  • More than one visit to an emergency department
  • Received more than two courses of oral steroids in the past year
  • Has complicating conditions (e.g., chronic lung disease of prematurity)

Dr. Galvez - pediatric pulmonologistWhat motivated Dr. Galvez to become a pediatric pulmonologist?

It has been my life’s calling to care for children who are acutely ill and admitted to the hospital. But what makes pediatric pulmonology so special to me is the opportunity to see patients over the long term – I build relationships with the children and their families. It’s why I chose this field.

In addition to completing medical school and a pediatric residency, Dr. Chiarina Galvez completed her pediatric pulmonary fellowship – a three-year, specialized training in the treatment and management of pediatric, respiratory illnesses.

What are the most common illnesses you treat?

Conditions we frequently treat include asthma, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (breathing problems related to prematurity), chronic cough, recurrent pneumonia and sleep apnea. We also take care of patients who are technology dependent, such as those with tracheostomies and on home ventilators and oxygen.

Dr. Galvez is a pediatric pulmonologist at TMCOne. Call (520) 324-7200 for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Rock ‘N Rodeo chips in fore TMC Hospice

This year two great events came together to support one great cause. The Desert Toyota of Tucson 21stAnnual Rock ‘N Rodeo event expanded festivities with the 1st Annual Swinging fore Hospice Golf Tournament.

The two events raised more than $70,000 to support a wide range of services and programs at TMC Hospice and TMC Children’s Hospice.

Taking fun to the next level

Rock ‘N Rodeo is known for ropin’ in the fun with southwestern dancing, raffles, casino games and a tasty dinner.

Desert Toyota of Tucson is a proud, long time sponsor of Rock ‘N Rodeo,” said Brent Berge, owner of Desert Toyota. “We have a lot of fun each year, but the real reward is knowing every dollar raised supports services and programs that enhance hospice care for patients and their families.”

After an evening of two-stepping, event-goers traded in their boots and Stetsons for clubs and cleats the next morning. With amazing raffle prizes and the chance to win a new car with a hole-in-one, the Swinging Fore Hospice Golf Tournament was a real hit!

How proceeds enhance hospice care

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

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

“The Rock ‘N Rodeo and Swinging Fore Hospice support a very important community need,” said Kim Fore, director of TMC Hospice. “We’re grateful for the team at Desert Toyota of Tucson, as well as every sponsor and participant who helped make this year a great success.”

How you can be a part of the fun

Keep your spring calendars open for next year’s events. In the meantime, The TMC Foundation works with TMC Hospice and TMC Children’s Hospice throughout the year to identify needs and support programs that make a positive difference for patients. For more information, contact the TMC Foundation at (520) 324-3116 or visit www.tmcaz.com/foundation.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Jenna Carbone

Jenna CarboneTMC Intensive Care Unit nurse Jenna Carbone approaches her work with intense focus and singular caring for many of the most critically ill patients on her unit.

A nurse for six years, Carbone always knew she was meant to be a nurse.

“Even as a little girl, when my dad would come home from biking with cactus in his legs, I would get out my light and tweezers and pick each one out,” she recalled.

Since then, she not only graduated with honors, but also holds Critical Care and NIH stroke certifications to enable her to provide care to the highest acuity patients, including those with neurologic injuries. She’s also dedicated thousands of hours over the years to new graduate and student nurses.

Carbone, who is close to her parents and her family, credits her great grandfather, who was a stubborn, hard-headed kind of guy, with teaching her patience. And she has a deep commitment to getting to know the people she is serving in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It’s really great to get to know the families,” she said. “You know what you are fighting for. They are able to tell you about the patient and their personality.”

As much as she fights for her patients, she has had to learn that not every patient can be saved. She has been with patients at their deaths and participated in ceremonies at the end of their lives. “Because of my faith, I am comfortable with death and it is an honor to serve someone who is at the end of their life. My mom is a deeply faithful woman and when she gets bad news, she always says she knows that God has a plan for her.”

Carbone may cry at commercials for the Olympics, but she’s strong when it comes to patient care. “I don’t get emotional in the moment or at work. You have to know how to help and be a shoulder for others to cry on.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Jenna on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50. nurses 

 

Pediatric Emergency now within TMC for Children

The Tucson Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Department has relocated within TMC for Children.

Patients and loved ones will gain entry to the Pediatric ED by going through the main TMC for Children entrance on the hospital’s south side.

The layout and design of the 14-bed Pediatric ED is structured in a horseshoe shape to enable staff to monitor patients more easily, spend more time with patients and promote better teamwork.

In addition, the new location is in close proximity to other TMC for Children services, which allows TMC to better integrate comprehensive children’s services.

“With all services in the same area, it will allow for more timely collaboration with pediatric specialists and better coordination of care for our youngest community members,” said Dr. Moira Richards, the medical director of TMC for Children.

The Pediatric ED also offers online appointment scheduling. Visit our home page to find out more.

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 volunteer shares two best tools that helped her lose 48 pounds

DonnStairs.jpgDonn Corder has battled extra pounds for most of her life. So when she decided to fight back, she turned to two tools: Measuring cups and a food scale.

Corder, 59, who has volunteered in pastoral services at TMC for two years, was attending a lunch & learn session for volunteers when she learned about TMC’s weight management program. “I knew I needed to do something,” Corder explained. “My weight was creeping up and no matter what I seemed to do, it wasn’t going away. I also knew I didn’t want surgery and I also didn’t want a ‘system.’ I wanted to eat real food and not something out of a box.”

Corder met with registered dietitian Laurie Ledford, who went over her blood work to determine any risk factors. Corder was borderline on cholesterol and she comes from a long line of family members with diabetes.

Corder was surprised when she left the visit without a food plan to follow. Instead, she left with a food log, instructed to write down everything she ate for a week.

They discovered her servings were too large. The average serving for cereal is one cup. She had been just filling her bowl, and the result was twice that.

“I eat fast, so I didn’t realize how much I was eating. I started measuring and weighing everything,” she said. And she started to be more conscious of what she was eating.

Take cheese – a food Corder is particularly fond of. Ledford asked if she could really taste it in her salad, for example. And the answer was: Not especially. So the two of them agreed: Corder should eat her cheese, but she should have a chunk of it as a snack and really savor it.

Same with ice cream. Come on: Who eats half a cup of ice cream? But now, if Corder has a craving, she buys those individual servings at the grocery store to help her manage the portion size.

She made other little changes. Two percent milk dropped to one percent. She makes her own salad dressing. She makes snack bags of trail mix she’s made herself with just mixed nuts and raisins, since the ones at the store often have additional candy in them. She even put two weeks of snack bags in her carry on luggage when she took a two week trip.

With the help of the program’s physical activity counseling, she also added in more activity, whether it’s walking the hallways at TMC, jumping on the elliptical machine in the living room or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator.

“It’s worked for me because I don’t feel deprived because I still have my favorite things.”

The only downside? A shopper she is not, and she now needs new clothes.

“You’re not going to be perfect every day, but it’s a question of whether you can make progress overall. It’s made a huge difference for me because I feel better, I sleep better and I have more energy.”

To find out more about TMC’s weight management program please contact TMC Wellness, (520) 324-4163 or Wellness@tmcaz.com

 

TMC welcomes Tucson’s first two babies of the New Year

Two families at Tucson Medical Center had a lot to celebrate when the clock struck midnight and the calendar turned to 2018.

Baby Nic Tribolet arrived at midnight on the dot, and Baby Aminah Albaka came into the world two minutes later.

Both babies came early, earning a place as Tucson’s newest residents.

“He’s a delight. He’s beautiful and he defies description,” said Nic’s dad, Dominic, of his 7 pound, 15 ounce bundle of perfection. “He’s definitely our New Year’s present.”

Aminah, meanwhile, a petite 5 pound, 10 ounce miracle, was described as a “peaceful baby” by mom Christina Bowe. After a long labor, Bowe said, “All my worries left when I saw her. She’s just a little blessing.”

For more coverage of the babies, check out the links to reports by the Arizona Daily Star and KVOA.

We offer free tours of our maternity departments. Find out more about our services here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

TMC receives Dietetic internship accreditation

dietetic internship tucsonTucson Medical Center has been granted accreditation for a Dietetic Internship Program by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). TMC will accept four interns per year to complete the 1,200 hours of supervised practice in order to be eligible to take the exam necessary to become a Registered Dietitian.

“For this first year what we really wanted to do is give back to TMC, so we did an internal candidate selection. We wanted either an employee or a volunteer,” says Beth Dorsey, director of food and nutrition services. The interns starting Jan. 2 are Zoe Schroeder and Lance Kokot, both Food and Nutrition Services Associates. TMC will participate in the national match program for the next round of interns.

“You have to complete an accredited supervised practice internship in order to sit for the examination to become a registered dietitian. There aren’t enough internships in the United States and of those internships, there is only a 60 percent match rate,” said Dorsey.

To be eligible for the nine-month TMC internship program, candidates must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition with a Dietetics emphasis from an accredited institution.

“While precepting interns is a time commitment, it encourages us to stay up to date on the most current research and nutritional practice. All of our clinical dietitians are qualified to precept dietetic interns because they are credentialed through CDR and maintain a current registration,” said Dorsey. “We have precepted interns in the clinical portion at TMC for years for other organizations; we’ve just never had our own baby, we’re really excited.”

The full dietetic internship program includes community, clinical, research and food service. To build the program prior to applying for accreditation, Dorsey and Patient Food Services Manager, Ruth Halter, reached out to consultant Apameh Bashar, “Her expertise was essential to the creation of this program and we are so grateful for her,” said Halter. After guiding them through the development and application process, Bashar joined the TMCOne staff as a certified diabetes educator.

Dorsey says, “Ultimately, it’s good for the Tucson community. The reason that we did this is because the University of Arizona has so many graduates in nutrition, approximately 150 a year, and there are very few spots in Tucson to get an internship … maybe ten spots for all of the graduates. And if they don’t get an internship in Tucson that means that we lose them and we want to keep them in the community of Southern Arizona.”

TMC resale boutique holds big sale to celebrate five years of helping patients

resale, tucson, thrift, sale,What’s better than a great sale on quality clothing and household items?

A great sale, combined with the knowledge that all proceeds go to help patients and families in need.

The Teal Saguaro, Tucson Medical Center’s resale boutique across from the hospital, is holding a fifth anniversary sale on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., with a whopping 50 percent off most items!

When TMC opened the Teal Saguaro, it was envisioned as another way to raise revenues to serve the community, with all proceeds directly support TMC and its services.

The retail space also serves as a family resource center, where families can pick up free booster seats and bicycle helmets for children. And because families can’t plan for emergencies, the shop accepts vouchers from the hospital so that families who dropped everything to come to a loved ones’ side, can pick out clothing or other necessities to help during their stay, which can sometimes be days, depending on a patient’s condition.

“The Teal Saguaro vouchers bring a lot of comfort – providing a fresh pair of clothes for child patients and parents who have had an unexpected hospital stay,” explained Jamie Antrim, a child life assistant at TMC for Children.

Director of Community Programs Hope Thomas, who opened the shop five years ago, applauded it as a great example of a volunteer-run business. “I think it’s been such a success because it really combines creativity, a clean shopping environment and a fabulous group of dedicated volunteers working to support those in need,” she said. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with our community.”

 

 

 

When bed rest is required- Tucson Medical Center’s Antepartum Program

Bed rest at TMC for Women - a specialized antepartum program TucsonIn theory bed rest sounds glorious! Hours to read and to watch your favorite movies, without disruption! In reality, bed rest can be far from heavenly. The extra time to focus on concerns about your baby’s health as well as worries about disruptions to your family, your work and your relationships can make bed rest particularly difficult.

Expectant mothers on bed rest have always had a place at TMC for Women, and efforts are made to provide stimulation and support during this sometimes stressful time. After seeing how bed rest affects expectant mothers, talking with women who had experienced bed rest and reviewing the peer-reviewed research, Women’s and Children’s Services has formalized the TMC for Women Antepartum Program to better support women during this time.

Why are women placed on bed rest?

There are a myriad of reasons that you might be placed on bed rest.

Primarily, we see women who:

  • Are in preterm labor
  • Have problems with the placenta, such as placental previa or partial abruption (the placenta is near the cervix or a small section has separated from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery)
  • Have pre-eclampsia (a dangerous condition for mom and baby characterized by high blood pressure)
  • Have uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have a baby who is not growing sufficiently (intrauterine growth restriction)
  • Have a premature rupture of the membranes (the bag of water has broken)

While you may be able to restrict your activity sufficiently and stay at home on bed rest, it is dependent on how serious your condition, your proximity to the hospital, what support and demands you have at home, many women need to be at the hospital.

How the TMC for Women Antepartum Program supports women

Addressing the whole person

You and your baby’s health is our priority, and that includes your mental health. Finding out that your pregnancy and baby may be at risk would be enough, during the hormonal rollercoaster that is pregnancy, to depress any woman, but the other aspects also make it difficult for mom. In our antepartum program we monitor mom’s physical and mental health throughout, initiating counselling to support mom if need be. Rather than waiting until baby is here, our program recognizes the mental strains that accompany bed rest during the antepartum period.

Combating loneliness

Bed rest can be isolating. In the antepartum program you can have visitors throughout the day, 24/7, and a pull-out sofa is available for your support person. We also have opportunities to socialize with other women who are on bed rest. Knowing you are not alone can bring comfort.

Knowing what to expect

If we expect your newborn to stay in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a neonatologist (specialist in newborns) will meet with you during your stay. We also have a weekly tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Knowing what to expect, and the expert care that our Level III Nursery provides, helps lessen the fear of the unknown.

Making a home away from home

While we know that our hospital breaks the mold when it comes to providing yummy and nutritious food, we also know that sometimes you just want your grandma’s chili or a favorite snack. Each of the private rooms has a refrigerator, and you have access to a kitchen so you can enjoy a little bit of home. You can also decorate your room to make it homier, and as a unit we can help you celebrate festivities and your milestones.

Conquering boredom

We’re building a library of both fiction and baby-related books to share with you, as well as a growing DVD library when what you can find online (Hello, free Wi-Fi!) is no longer enough of a diversion.

Our pet therapy dogs love to visit, and those wagging tails and gentle dispositions are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

If your condition allows, wheelchair excursions to one of TMC’s beautiful courtyards can bring a little beauty into your day.

We have crafts to occupy your time and volunteers who can teach you to knit and introduce you to the world of fiber arts.

By recognizing the unique challenges of antepartum bed rest, we aim to make your journey a little easier.

Take a FREE tour of our maternity services.

Ballots are in the mail for Nov. 7 election

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jawna and Finn – Finding support for breastfeeding at TMC for Women

Jawna and Finn, breastfeeding and lactation consultants at TMCFor six years Jawna Stickney has helped mamas welcome their babies into the world at Tucson Medical Center. When it came to her first child she had no doubt where she was going to give birth, “I had that peace of mind and that trust that comes from working with the staff at Tucson Medical Center” … “I would never deliver at any other hospital.”

“Giving birth can be nerve wrecking for first time moms. As a labor and delivery nurse, I really enjoy being part of someone’s life-changing experience, providing them with support and comfort. When I gave birth to my son, I had the ability to look over at the monitors and see that baby was fine, and to know we were both in good hands with my coworkers.”

While Jawna’s medical education and experience provided her with an added advantage when it came to childbirth, breastfeeding was another matter.

“The lactation consultants were life savers. Finn had some trouble latching on and so I asked for some one-on-one support from the lactation experts.”

Finn was tongue-tied. The tissue that connected his tongue to his mouth didn’t allow him to move his tongue so that he could nurse. While some infants can still nurse if they are tongue-tied or others may need a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy which can be done with or without anesthesia, Finn’s tongue-tie was more significant. Finn was referred to Dr. William LaMear of Tucson Ear, Nose and Throat. At just ten days old he went into the operating room to have corrective surgery.

“As soon as he came around after the surgery he latched on. No problems. Breastfeeding was 100 percent better than before surgery. Because Finn was so young we had to stay in the Pediatric unit overnight. The lactation consultants came over to the Pediatric unit to help Finn and me.”

What breastfeeding support is available at TMC for Women

Before baby:

In the hospital:

  • Nursing assistance during your hospital stay, offered seven days a week
  • The Desert Cradle hospital-based shop offers electric breast pump rentals and sales, nursing and newborn products

After baby:

TMC offers outpatient breastfeeding support services, whether you deliver at TMC or not.

  • Outpatient Breastfeeding Support Clinic with an IBCLC*-certified nurse (by appointment only).

For more information on any of these services, please call (520)324-5730.

*International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

“I was able to exclusively breastfeed Finn because of the support I received from the lactation consultants and the lactation support group. “

Finn continued to nurse for 19 months. Jawna’s advice to new moms: “Go to the TMC breastfeeding support group and ask for help from the lactation specialists.”

Finn was two years this month, and Jawna is due on October 28 with her second child.

“This pregnancy is so different from my first. If I was tired or nauseated before, I could rest or do whatever I wanted. In some ways, having Finn made my first trimester easier this time around, because I had no time to sulk or bask in morning sickness.”

Jawna knows if breastfeeding proves challenging with her second child she will be back at the support group. “Breastfeeding has a learning curve. I knew nothing about breastfeeding with Finn. He was learning how to nurse and I was learning how to breastfeed. This time, the baby will be learning, but I will have the knowledge gained while nursing Finn.”

Join us for Breast is Best: Breastfeeding Techniques for Success

October 4, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. The Core at La Encantada

TMC Lactation Consultants Bev Carico, RN, IBCLC, and Asa Lader, RN, IBCLC, for a free engaging presentation and Q&A on breastfeeding resources available at TMC.  Knowing all of your options can help you have a successful breastfeeding journey! Register today.

 

Tucson Medical Center certified as a great workplace

Tucson Medical Center was certified as a great workplace in early September by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®.

Tucson Medical Center earned this credential based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at http://reviews.greatplacetowork.com/tucson-medical-center.

Overall, 80 percent of surveyed employees characterized their workplace as “great,” with 92 percent saying they feel good about the ways they contribute to the economy and 91 percent crediting TMC with a great atmosphere.

“We work hard every day to build a culture in which our employees are valued and supported in doing the best work they can every day for our patients,” said Alex Horvath, vice president and chief human resources officer. “We like to say we’re a family here. And to get to that place, you have to build relationships with each other and with the community you serve.”

Nearly 90 percent of employees said they were proud to work at TMC, which has 600 beds and has been providing quality health care to the community for more than 70 years. In addition to strong connections to the community, TMC is an award-winning hospital with an advanced information technology footprint, innovative programs to support new nurses, and a management philosophy that taps the expertise of all employees to drive improvements.

“We applaud Tucson Medical Center for seeking certification and releasing its employees’ feedback,” said Kim Peters, Executive Vice President of Great Place to Work’s Certification Program. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with Tucson Medical Center should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

Tucson Medical Center employees completed 701 surveys, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.77.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list.

Screening reveals stroke risk – An update on Norman

Norman and Mary Louise Clarke - carotid artery screening

Norman and Mary Louise Clarke

Norman Clarke had no reason to think that there was anything amiss when he stopped by for a preventative screening including a carotid artery screening at TMC two years ago. At 81 years old, the retired automotive engineer exercised three times a week at the gym, saw his doctor twice a year for checkups, took medication to keep his cholesterol in check – and his blood work always came back great.

He and his wife, Mary Louise, were stunned at his results of a preventative screening.

A scan of his carotid artery showed a blockage of more than 70 percent on the left side.

“I was shocked. There had been no symptoms and nothing to indicate this was a problem,” Norman recalled. “It was serendipity that we went that day, because I would never have known otherwise about the great risk I was facing.”

The carotid artery screening, part of the vascular wellness screening, uses an instrument called a transducer to scan the carotid artery in your neck. The transducer scans the carotid artery to check the flow of blood and can identify plaques and blockages that put you at risk for an ischemic stroke.

A stroke on the left side of Norman’s brain would have impacted the right side of his body, possibly impacting his mobility on the right side of the body, as well as speech and language problems, and memory loss.

Following the screening results, Norman’s doctor cleared the calendar to bring him in on a Monday morning, and by Monday afternoon he was having a scan of his arteries. The news was even worse than he had learned initially: the blockage was 90 percent.

Instead of being on a plane to Michigan, where the Clarke’s spend six months of the year, Norman was scheduled for surgery. The 90-minute surgery, known as a carotid endarterectomy, required one night of hospitalization and a week of good behavior at home: no lifting or dragging of heavy objects and listening to every instruction from Mary Louise, a former medical-surgical nurse and retired nursing professor.

Fast forward to 2017, Norman and Mary Louise are planning their return to their Tucson home from Michigan, to the magical pink mountains, the town and the network of Tucson friends, to volunteering at TMC, and to see Norman’s Tucson doctor.

Norman’s doctor monitors both the left and right carotid arteries every six months. The initial screening alerted the Clarke’s to the danger lurking in Norman’s left carotid artery. A subsequent screening has revealed a growing plaque in Norman’s right carotid artery. At this time there is no surgery planned, but monitoring is critical. Norman’s advice: “Be your own health advocate … get screened. Everything looked rosy for me, but just because your blood work is OK, it doesn’t mean everything is.”

 

Preparing for childbirth – Katie chose TMC

Katie and Goldie KeatingKatie Keating can run a marathon, 26.2 miles, in 3 hours and 3 minutes. During graduate school she investigated what the universe is made of, literally! Her studies centered on the interactions among galaxies. So, when it came to having a baby, Katie applied the same level of dedication and effort to preparation as she did to her running and academic studies.

Katie ran during the first two trimesters of her pregnancy preparing herself physically.

“After that I walked a few miles per day up until the end. Everyone’s experience is definitely different though,” she says. “I would recommend doing what feels best to you.”

Katie and her husband, Jared, toured the TMC Mom/Baby unit, and took the weekender Preparation for Childbirth, Baby Care ABC and Breastfeeding Basics classes.

”The classes definitely helped me feel more in control, since I understood a lot more of everything that was happening around me. It was also helpful that when there were choices to make during labor, I had already thought about them ahead of time and was prepared, rather than having to make decisions in the heat of the moment when I was in a lot of pain.”

 From healthy pregnancy and VBAC classes to breastfeeding and newborn care we’ve got you covered.  Sign up for a class today

On Jan. 9, 2016, Katie and Jared welcomed their daughter Goldie to the world at TMC. Six weeks after Goldie’s birth Katie was back running. “That is just what worked for me,” she says. “ I don’t think there’s anything wrong with waiting longer to exercise, you are going through so much as a new mom that I think you should only exercise if it’s helpful to you mentally and physically. Sometimes you need a nap, sometimes you need a run.”

Interested in developing or maintaining your exercise routine while pregnant?
The Core at La Encantada offers seminars including those on exercise and pregnancy.

Katie, Jared and Goldie are expecting another addition to the Keating family in 2018. Katie reports she is able to run more than she did last time. “I feel pretty lucky it’s worked out that way this time.”

See Katie, Goldie and other TMC moms and babies in our latest video!

Improving 1 percent every day: TMC employees find their momentum

Michele S Human Resources.jpgTucson Medical Center made a commitment to its employees’ health four years ago: With the opening of new surgical suites in the tower, the previous operating room space was converted into an employee gym.

TMC employees embrace healthy lifestyles in many ways, but nearly 900 employees and their family members are part of the gym, which is open 24/7 and offers weight training, group fitness and personal training.

To mark the fourth birthday of the Optimal Results Fitness and Wellness Center, TMC asked nine employees to help us celebrate the personal health achievement of employees. Their photos will be shared over the coming weeks on social media and will be displayed in the gym.

“Perfection isn’t the goal,” said Amy Ramsey, manager of employee wellness. “It’s about being realistic and being consistent. The key is taking small steps to get incrementally better every day.”

Employees were asked to be part of the campaign based on their visibility in Jeffrey H Food Services.jpgwellness activities, their ability to inspire others and their ability to serve as role models across TMC, Ramsey said.

Michele Stewart, who works in Human Resources, said exercise gives her balance. “Also, diabetes runs in my family, so I’m literally fighting for my life, every day. As long as I’m here, I want my quality of life to be the best possible.”

Jeffrey Hirschfield, from Food and Nutrition Services, remembers far too well the impacts of poor nutritional choices and a lack of exercise. “I felt sickly all the time, I had zero energy to do anything and I hated the way I looked.”

“I train now to look good, feel good and make sure I can continue to do fun and active things even when I reach old age.”

 

5 Reasons why you need a primary care provider

5 reasons why you need a primary care physiciaWhy do you need a primary care provider?

You feel fine. No major illnesses, the occasional sniffle, and that niggling headache of course, and your mom just got diagnosed with high cholesterol, but you? You feel fine. You haven’t seen a doctor since you had to rush into urgent care that weekend two years ago.

The time to go to your PCP is when you’re sick right? You don’t have time right now.

WRONG!

Establishing a relationship with your primary care provider has all kind of benefits:

  1. Try getting in to see a provider quickly if you don’t have a primary care provider.
    They’ll want you to have had a new patient appointment to get a history and baseline information first. Those long appointments are usually at set times and not as flexible as regular appointments. Having a PCP established means the office is more able to squeeze you in for a quick appointment or call you back to discuss an issue and get you back on your feet and maybe back to work quickly.
  2. Back on the road to recovery
    A primary care provider can follow up and make sure you’re on the way to recovery following a visit to urgent care or an emergency room.
  3. Keep you up to date
    Whether it’s a new flu strain or new wellness screening guidelines, your primary care provider can help you stay current on vaccinations and preventive screenings maintaining your good health.
  4. A medical professional who looks at the whole you
    Your cardiologist is worrying about your heart rate, your neurologist your seizures, but who is looking at the big picture? Your primary care provider can oversee management of your overall health – your PCP  is able to see results from all specialists and able to get the big picture. And because your PCP has a relationship with you, he or she can help come up with a plan if you have complex medical needs. Which leads us to:
  5. Someone you can talk frankly with about your health concerns
    With a relationship that develops over time, a primary care provider can better understand what matters to you with respect to your lifestyle choices, health goals, etc. Building trust and a connection is an important piece of the relationship between a patient and a primary care provider. If you have a good relationship, it is easier to share those pertinent factors that you might be shy about otherwise.

Don’t have a primary care provider? Let us help you find one today! Call (520) 324-4900

find a doctor in Tucson

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

 Candidate Forum

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

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

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

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

Ballots will be mailed Aug. 9 to registered voters.

 

TMC employee turns hardship into inspiration

Donatian Mahanga TMC 2At the age of 10, Donatian Mahanga became a refugee in the Congo, introduced to the overwhelming challenges of intense poverty, starvation, disease and political strife.

There was a constant shortage of food and medicine. “We buried people every day because of starvation,” he said. Of his 32 aunts, only three survived.

That incredible story of survival fueled a positive mindset and a deep passion to help others.

“People ask me why I am always smiling,” said Mahanga, who works in environmental services at Tucson Medical Center. “It is one of the ways I heal my heart.”

United Way Champions 2017 Donatian MahangaMahanga, who recently served as a champion in TMC’s United Way campaign, also finds healing in giving to others after being affected by more than 20 years of moving between refugee camps in the Congo and Uganda.

War and deprived living conditions claimed six of his 12 siblings. The harrowing experiences were made worse when he was abandoned by his parents at age 13, leaving he and his remaining siblings to fend for food and clothes.

Mahanga was surrounded by a terrible situation that he felt was consuming a generation of young Africans. He wanted to improve living conditions – but not just for him, for his community.

“So many people were suffering at zero. There was no hope at all – I wanted to create a change,” he said. Mahanga took part in organizing a group of young men called COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA). What is COBURWAS? The founders took letters from the names of the countries that refugees traveled from: Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Sudan.

Donatian Mahanga CIYOTA 3Their first step was to raise funds and learn craftsmanship. Mahanga, himself, helped build a school in the refugee camp. “Without education, nothing will do!”

He brought the diverse group of refugees together, and taught himself eight languages in the process. “If you want to help someone, speaking in their language will put them at ease.” He helped many express their grief through performance and song, a method he still uses to engage refugee communities in Tucson.

Mahanga and his friends even reached out to sources in the United States to provide medicine and mosquito nets to treat and stop Malaria, which claims so many lives in the refugee area.

CIYOTA also advocated for women’s rights and encouraged young women to obtain an education, a rare pursuit for women in refugee settlements.

Donatian Mahanga CIYOTA 2After 12 years in operation, CIYOTA has grown into an international, volunteer-based non-profit, that is now organized in the U.S.

Mahanga is glad to see the school he built become a large and prosperous education center. “My number one goal is always to help people,” he said.

In August of 2016, Mahanga came to America with his wife and five children. A temporary staffing agency helped him get a job with TMC and his position soon became permanent.

“TMC is the right place for me –the workers treat each other and the patients with such compassion,” Mahanga explained. “They really show humanity – always working to help others.”

A friend from Uganda reached out to Mahanga to say good bye because he could not afford a life-saving surgery. He was touched when his coworkers raised the needed funds.

TMC monument signHe has already begun helping others, donating his time to help other refugees find work and acclimate to life in the United States. “Change is a part of life, but everyone should feel proud of who they are.”

“Donatian’s love for humanity is visible from the moment you meet him,” said Beth Dorsey, the director of food, nutrition and environmental services at TMC. “His compassion for others truly shows in all he does at TMC and for the community.”

Mahanga is proud to work at TMC and proud of the difference he’s making in the community. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, ages 2 through 10. “The secret to happiness is being content with what you have.”

 

 

We Are Champions initiative boosting community’s health care knowledge

We Are Champions patio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

It comes in the form of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

For more information or to save your spot, please visit https://www.tmcaz.com/survivewell17

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

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

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

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

How does the Southwest landscape inspire you?

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

Do you scout locations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March forth into Spring at the Women’s Wellness Camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dementia: Starting the conversation

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Few things are more frustrating than misplacing the car keys – again. It is normal to forget things from time to time, like those keys, a wallet or that extra item on the grocery list. Even though this amounts to a mild inconvenience, it is aggravating and even distressing to have a lapse in memory.

Can you imagine how frightening it would be if you couldn’t remember the week-long vacation you just went on, as if the entire memory was erased? No matter how much you focused or concentrated you couldn’t remember taking that vacation. This is not an inconvenience; this is a symptom of dementia. dementia7

Dementia effects more than memory and can make everyday-life a struggle. Having a basic conversation is exhausting because every time you try to say a particular word, another comes out. You might read the simple instant-coffee directions over and over, but they never make sense. Easy tasks like buttoning your shirt seem impossible – as though your body isn’t doing what your brain is telling it to.

There are many aspects of dementia, and many misunderstandings. TMC is beginning a three-part blog series to discuss the definition, behaviors and treatment of dementia. This is the first blog, defining dementia and outlining its basic affects and characteristics. It might surprise you to learn all that dementia entails.

What is Dementia?
Dementia is a broad term for the diseases (or conditions) that cause nerve cells (neurons) in the brain to stop working or malfunction.

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Symptoms
When the nerve cells in the brain cease, a person will experience a decline in memory and the ability to think clearly and rationally. In addition, many experience changes in behavior, vision and motor function. The most common symptoms of dementia are:

•  Memory loss (affecting daily life)
•  Impaired judgment
•  Inability to reason
•  Problems focusing or paying attention
•  Confusion with time or place
•  Challenges completing familiar tasks
•  Problems finding the correct word(s) in speech and writing
•  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
•  Frequently misplacing things – inability to retrace steps
•  Changes in mood or personality

What are the causes?
The common causes of dementia are:

How does someone get a dementia-related disease?
Medical science has made significant advancements over the last thirty years, and dementia continues to be a dynamic research field. There are still many mysteries about the brain and it is not yet known, conclusively, what causes many dementia-related diseases.

Age is the greatest risk factor for acquiring dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 percent of individuals over the age of 65 experience a form of dementia. Although the risk increases with age, not every senior will experience dementia.

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Family history is another strong risk factor. An individual is at higher risk if a sibling, parent or child has experienced dementia. Certain genes have been identified that indicate an increased risk for specific dementia-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Sudden or gradual?
Dementia symptoms progress slowly over several years. Many forms progress in stages:

  • Early Stage (Mild)
    • Recent memory loss
    • Difficulty managing money, driving, or handling social situations
  • Middle Stage (Moderate)
    • Difficulty with language
    • Problems keeping track of personal items
    • May need help with grooming
  • Late Stage (Severe)
    • Long- and short-term memory affected

If dementia symptoms are sudden and acute, it could suggest a reversible medical cause such as:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Metabolic changes (Thyroid)
  • Nutritional deficiencies (Vitamin B12)
  • Tumors

The symptoms of dementia will drastically improve or alleviate when the reversible medical cause is treated. If sudden and severe symptoms arise, contact your doctor right away.

Behavior
Dementia can cause strange and unexpected behavior, which can be one of the most challenging symptoms for individuals and their caretakers. Like most chronic conditions, dementia can affect every person differently. Some of the more common behaviors are:dementia9

  • Repetitive actions, such as hitting, wiping surfaces, making noise (clapping, etc.), rocking
  • Wandering and pacing, not able to sit still
  • Going to the door often, trying to open locked doors, trying to leave when visitors leave
  • Boredom, lack of purpose, looking for something lost
  • Anxiety, stress, fear
  • Hunger, thirst, bathroom needs
  • Wanting to go home (even if at home)

Assisting a friend or family member who has dementia can be exceptionally challenging because symptoms can be severe and persistent. Often, a caretaker will have to repeat things several times – even within the span of a few minutes. The affected individual will usually respond negatively if someone tries to convince them that their thoughts or actions are irrational. The symptoms may become so acute that constant monitoring is needed.

Sound like it would be pretty hard to be the caretaker? It is, however, we must recognize the person’s behavior is beyond their control.

“If you are going to help a person with dementia, you must understand they cannot think, reason or remember,” said Terri Waldman, former director of memory and dementia care at Handmaker/Tucson Medical Center. “You have to let things go, and refrain from challenging their misconceptions.”
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What can we do?
Consult a physician who specializes in dementia-related illness. “It is important to get a diagnosis,” Waldman said. “A diagnosis will determine the most effective medical treatment(s) and will help the individual and their family develop the best care plan.”

 

Medical specialists will perform:
•  Mental status test (memory, reasoning, visual-motor skills)
•  Physical examination (lab tests, brain scan, test for other disorders)
•  Psychiatric evaluation (rule out emotionally related symptoms)
•  Family interviews (get more information about behavior and symptoms)
What treatments are available?
Currently, there is no cure for dementia and all dementia-related conditions are degenerative, meaning they will get worse over time. There are medications that can control or reduce the severity of symptoms, and there are medications that can slow the progression of dementia-related diseases. Medication therapy can help with behavioral and cognitive challenges, and improve the quality of life for some individuals experiencing dementia.

More than memory loss
Dementia is more than memory loss, and the numerous life-changing symptoms have a detrimental impact on individuals and families. Treatments are available, and it is important to know what symptoms to look for and who to talk with. Medical research continues to move quickly, in hope of finding a conclusive prevention and cure.

 

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Support resources:

Girls on the Run educate, empower, train

Girls on the Run show off their new running shoes.

Eight weeks into our training and the girls at Whitmore Elementary are playing and training as a supportive team. We show off everyone’s new running shoes, complete with rainbow shoestrings, that everyone will wear at this month’s Girls on the Run 5K run, Nov. 13.

Our thanks to New Balance and Fleet Feet Sports Tucson for providing the shoes to all the Tucson Girls on the Run! The shoes arrived Oct. 4, and the girls were so excited! With only a little over a month left before the New Balance Girls on the Run 5k event, these shoes are perfect to help the girls train.

Meeting twice a week after school, Kristin Wook and I coach these third- through fifth-grade girls, with one of our goals being to get them prepared to run 3.1 miles. We hope to teach them a whole lot more than just the importance of exercise.

They’re at an age where boys aren’t yet their primary concern, but that’s going to change. It won’t be long before they begin to look to their peers for answers instead of the adults in their lives. That’s only normal. So now is the time to get across messages that we hope will serve them well for a lifetime.

Our  aim is the same as Girls on the Run: educate and empower girls at an early age in order to prevent substance and alcohol use, eating disorders, early onset of sexual activity, sedentary lifestyle, depression, suicide attempts and confrontations with the juvenile justice system.

It seems so simple, but being active in sports help girls and teens grow into confident, self-assured women.  We want them to know and believe that they are in control of who they are and that they are perfect and beautiful just the way they are!

Mary Atkinson, R.D., director of TMC Food & Nutrition, is passionate about promoting wellness. This is her third season coaching Girls on the Run

Dr. Balserak promoted to brigadier general

James Balserak, M.D., F.A.C.S., with Southwest Surgery Associates, was promoted to brigadier general this past Friday at the 162nd Fighter Wing Arizona Air National Guard headquarters on Valencia.

In addition to his surgery practice here in Tucson, Balserak is assigned to the Assistant for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) Force Health Protection and Readiness, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Balserak  has served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more info about his military work read this October 2008 article in the Tucson Citizen.

Balserak’s colleagues join him at his ceremony. From left to right, Dr. Thomas Rotkis, Dr. Daniel McCabe, Dr. Jolyon Schilling; Dr. Matthew Atlas; TMC President & CEO Judy Rich, Balserak, Dr. Gregory Robertson. Photo courtesy of Dr. Atlas.


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