IU Health extends behavioral health support to White Memorial Hospital

This week, Indiana University Health began providing virtual behavioral health support services to IU Health White Memorial Hospital.

The new service provides around-the-clock access to advanced practice nursing and psychiatry for emergency room patients in need of a psychiatric evaluation. The virtual service aids IU Health’s smaller hospitals, such as White Memorial, enabling access to behavioral health expertise found in larger urban hospitals.

“Our Behavioral Health Hub serving rural hospitals will give more Hoosiers access to behavioral health care and will alleviate some of the strain put on emergency departments,” says Anne Gilbert, psychiatrist and medical director of Behavioral Health Virtual Services. “For many who don’t have access to a primary care physician or don’t know where to go—the emergency room becomes their entry point for treatment.”

Traditionally, patients at smaller or rural hospitals in need of a psych assessment must be transferred via ambulance to a bigger hospital—causing long wait times for treatment, expensive bills and transportation issues once they are released. The hub will allow them to stay where they are and significantly cut the wait time for an assessment.

“Addressing the growing need for behavioral health issues in our community is a priority,” added Mary Minier, president of IU Health White Memorial Hospital. “Having around the clock access to experts when help is needed most during critical moments is an important key.”

Patients will be assessed when they come into an IU Health White Memorial emergency department as someone in need of a psych evaluation. ED personnel will connect patients with the advanced practice nurses or psychiatrists who interact live via video.

The Behavioral Health Hub offers 24/7 access to social workers and therapists so that even when they are not admitted, they’ll have access to a safety plan, acute treatment and a follow-up the next day behavioral health services in their area.

“Our clinicians in the emergency department have identified behavioral health as a critical need and are excited about this innovative approach to psychiatric care. We are confident that it will help us better serve our patients during a time of crisis.” says Cherri Hobgood, MD, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at IU School of Medicine.

This initiative is part of IU Health’s strategic plan and aims to impact the health of Hoosiers. Mental health has become more of a focus because in order to move the needle on becoming a healthier state, we must address mental health.

IU Health is always looking for community partners in behavioral health.

Transplant nurse works through the night

Jennifer Whitehead is known by patients for her calming ways – some things she learned at her mother’s bedside.

The patient was in severe pain. Medicine had been administered and every effort was made to make her comfortable. And then Jennifer Whitehead had an idea.

She started a water fight with another nurse using syringes. The distraction did the trick. The patient began to laugh. Laughter isn’t always the best medicine for the patients in Whitehead’s care but her intuition usually steers her in the right direction.

“She is the best. Without her I don’t think I would have been able to get through my recovery,” said Sarah Henderson Powell, a two-time pancreas transplant recipient.

As she begins her night shift, Whitehead looks through the patient list and addresses some of the more familiar ones by a nickname. Some of the patients she has seen more often than others.

“Liver, pancreas, and multi-v patients go straight to ICU. With kidney patients, we’re constantly in their rooms – every hour drawing labs, checking their urine, so we have lots of time to talk,” said Whitehead. “I like to ask them, ‘what do you need from me?’ Each patient has different needs and I want to set them up for the best possible success with their transplant. Do they need me to hold their hand; encourage them; give them sarcasm, or make them laugh? “

Whitehead remembers talking through the night with a college student who had multiple questions. It was all in a day’s work for this caregiver who began her pre-requisites for nursing school at the age of 35.

She started her career with IU Health working as a secretary in OR at Methodist for nearly 10 years.

“One of the girls encouraged me to enter the cohort program for my associate degree in nursing. I had been pondering it so I jumped on board,” said Whitehead, who also has an undergraduate degree in business and worked for years in sales positions.

She was in her first nursing school lecture when her mother, Anne Christian was undergoing surgery for a traumatic brain injury.

“The first nine weeks of the semester I ran between class, the lab, and the hospital. I was her primary caregiver for years and learned things about nursing at her bedside,” said Whitehead. “The whole reason I became a nurse is I was watching other nurses do amazing things. I haven’t been in that hospital bed but I’ve been in the chair next to the bed. I know how that feels.” She graduated from nursing school in May of 2014, turned 40 in July and her mother passed in August.

The next Christmas Whitehead worked to keep her mind occupied. It was tough but through that holiday shift she was reaffirmed of her purpose.

“I took care of a young girl who came in with abdominal pain. She was being evaluated for an intestinal transplant. Her parents were divorced and took shifts visiting her. She was terrified and I sensed that I was a calming presence for her family. When I came in for my shift Christmas night her dad had left me a cookie and a note of thanks. I felt I had made the right choice just being there for someone who was scared.”

More about Whitehead:

  • She is married to Steve Whitehead. Fun fact: Jennifer is preparing to go on her third mission trip to the Ukraine this summer. To help support her trip, her husband makes and sells homemade salsa and guacamole.
  • They have one son Anthony Joseph “AJ” who is 16.
  • What surprises Whitehead the most about her career in nursing: “The connections I have with my patients which is stupid because I watched how close my mom got to her nurses and I’m still connected to some of her nurses.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

Melissa Fox named 2019 Pediatric Hero Award

Melissa Fox, emergency department clinical nurse at IU Health Arnett Hospital was recently awarded the 2019 Pediatric Hero Award. The award is for nominee’s who provide extraordinary care within the areas of dispatch emergency care, public safety, pre-hospital care, emergency hospital care, community leadership and pediatric community advocacy work.

Fox was nominated for this award by Benton County EMS Director Jason Fisher for her work with Every 15 Minutes.

As the chair of the Benton County Every 15 Minutes program, she spearheaded the organization of the program from start to finish. While working closely with school administrators and public safety partners, Melissa has created an ongoing program to provide the high impact program to kids at Benton Central. The program while initially centered on impaired driving, also highlights good decision making, texting and driving and the potential results of those decisions. From start to end the three month process involves much work coordinating the many aspects of the program. Heavily involving and engaging parents and students to play the various roles is the main focus of the program – students making choices that will impact the rest of their lives as well as others around them. Whether it was a donation for food, coordinating an overnight retreat, getting the students to act their part or even coordinating a helicopter for a flight, Melissa made sure the details of the program would have a lasting impact on Benton Centrals student lives. Involved students live the results in various ways for example, being arrested, court, being treated at the ER and being a fatality victim, all while not having contact with friends or family for a day. While many of the details are frivolous, the hope of the program is to impact as many as possible through the simulated, but realistic encounters the students face. Melissa puts well more than her a whole effort into making this program a success.

Congratulations to Melissa Fox for living the IU Health Way every day.

Patient’s song climbed to #1 on country charts

Adam Dorsey, a patient of transplant surgeon Dr. Richard Mangus, co-wrote a song that was recorded by country music artist Craig Morgan. The song climbed to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart.

If Adam Dorsey knows anything about life, it’s this: Things don’t always happen according to plans.

He grew up in Southern California with a big dream – to become a famous country singer. At the age of 18, he moved to Nashville, Tenn. By his senior year at Tennessee State University as a music business major he was well on his way to accomplishing his dream. After graduation he signed his first publishing deal and also married his wife Christi. In addition to writing songs he performed his original music alongside other up-and-coming musicians at such Nashville hot spots as Douglas Corner Café and the Bluebird Café. Over the years he’s written hundreds of songs.

“At a young age, I fell in love with the music of Garth Brooks. I studied his work line for line and when I got tired of playing other people’s stuff, I started writing my own,” said Dorsey, who has met Brooks on more than one occasion.

But the music industry wasn’t an easy road. For seven years, Dorsey faced rejection. But in November of 2004, a small independent label, called Broken Bow Records released the first single from country singer Craig Morgan’s album: “That’s What I Love About Sunday.” The song was co-written by Dorsey and Mark Narmore. On March 26, 2005, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart and remained in that spot for several weeks.

The triumph came at a time when the Dorseys were facing other life-changing experiences. They were adopting their first child, and Christi was diagnosed with accelerated liver disease and added to the transplant list of a Nashville hospital. She received a transplant in May of 2009. The couple has since added two more children to their family.

Adam Dorsey had no idea back then that he would one day be a patient of IU Health transplant surgeon Dr. Richard S. Mangus, who specializes in liver, intestine and multi-organ transplants. Dorsey was originally diagnosed at another hospital with chronic intestinal pseudo obstruction – a blockage of the intestine. He was referred to Dr. Mangus for evaluation and consultation.

“We’re hoping to avoid a transplant,” said Dorsey. His mom Nancy Dyer joined him during his stay in Indianapolis. “I love Dr. Mangus. I can tell he’s very intelligent, knowledgeable in his field and a straight shooter with dry sense of humor,” said Dorsey.

For most of his life, Dorsey has believed that his plan is in God’s hands. In 2005 he felt called into the ministry. In May 2005, Dorsey and his wife, and their newly adopted son moved from Nashville to New Orleans where Dorsey enrolled in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Again, Dorsey said the plans were out of his control. Hurricane Katrina hit three months after they moved and flooded their home and wiped away all of their belongings. They packed up and moved to Christi’s hometown of Louisville where Dorsey completed seminary in 2007.

They spent several years serving as missionaries in Canada establishing churches in Newfoundland and Labrador. When Dorsey became ill in 2015, they moved to Charleston, Ind. to be closer to family.

“I don’t know what is ahead but I know I am in good hands with Dr. Mangus,” said Dorsey. “Everything that’s happened in our lives has been by the grace of the Lord.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

IU Health team member has pride in his eyes

IU Health ophthalmic technician will reign over Indy Pride Festival.

One of his best qualities on the job is his ability to make patients feel comfortable. Anthony Bradburn has worked in eye care for more than a decade earning an associate degree in ophthalmic science and opticianry.

“He is one of the most highly skilled technicians on the team,” said his supervisor Sharon Blanchard, administrator for IU Health Physicians ophthalmology clinics. As an ophthalmic technician, Bradburn works directly with patients promoting eye health, rehabilitation and general education. He joined IU Health two years ago.

“His patient communication skills are great. He is very good at explaining things and is very caring and observant,” said Blanchard.

Outside the office, Bradburn uses the same interpersonal skills to help bridge relational gaps for the LGBTQ community – one that he says is often misrepresented or marginalized. He was recently chosen as one of three ambassadors for the 2019 Indy Pride Festival on June 8. He earned the title “Mr. Indy Pride” following a competition where he was asked the question: “What do you want to do for the organization?” His answer was: “To create a bridge amongst those in the community that don’t feel well represented – including people of color, non-binary and transgender.”

He will be wearing a sash and medallion at every event and hopes to draw others into candid conversations about Indy Pride. The festival began in 1996. The first Indy Pride Parade was held in 2002 and draws about 95,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people and allies to the streets of downtown Indianapolis in a celebration of diversity.

“I also want to promote body positivity and HIV awareness,” said Bradburn, who grew up in Fort Wayne, IN. He was in his senior year of high school when he told his friends and family that he is gay.

“I was an ornery student in high school the one who liked to do the jokes. I used the comedy as my defense. Being someone who is gay who grew up in a conservative environment comedy helped me mask my story. By my senior year I didn’t want to keep a secret anymore and I realized people would either accept me as I am or I’d never see them again,” said Bradburn, 29. He played saxophone in the marching band, pep band and wind ensemble and became involved in the technical side of theater. After high school he began working in eye care and also for Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.

In addition to Mr. Indy Pride, Bradburn holds eight other titles including “Mr. Gay Indianapolis,” and “King of the Closet.” He regularly performs lip-sync routines at clubs, pageants and benefits throughout the Midwest under the name Vincent T. Debeaute, and has about 90 costumes in his wardrobe.

“I chose that stage name because it means ‘the very beautiful.’ I want people to embrace their beauty,” said Bradburn. “I think the best way you encourage that is to have conversations. The more you make people feel comfortable, the more they are willing to talk and start understanding. We are a small enough community we need to look out for others.”

More about Bradburn:

  • His parents are Scott and Susan Bradburn. He has an older brother Nik Bradburn and an older sister Lena Byanski, three nieces and two nephews.
  • He will perform at the Bag Ladies Loud and Proud event on June 6, benefiting The Gregory Powers Direct Emergency Financial Assistance Program (DEFA), an emergency financial resource for people living with HIV/Aids.

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

IU Health breaks ground on new Frankfort Hospital

IU Health celebrated construction of the new Frankfort Hospital with a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning, just west of the current facility on the south side of the city. A large crowd gathered for the event, including IU Health executives and staff, Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes, city councilmen, county commissioners, utility service board members and many others who have worked on the project.

Read the full story from The Times

After dropping 66 pounds, she is flying high

IU Health nurse wants to celebrate her 60th birthday by getting her pilot’s license.

Alice Ramsey wants to be sky high on her 60th
birthday. Three thousand feet above ground, to be exact.

Ramsey, who lives in Terre Haute and works from home as an IU Health utilization management nurse, is taking flying lessons and hopes to get her pilot’s license by the time she turns 60 in October.

But before she could make that birthday wish come true, she decided she needed to lose weight. At 5 feet, 2 ½ inches and 205 pounds, she said, “I was a pretty big girl.”

Her husband, Rick, is a former pilot. He earned an aeronautics degree and flew jets for the Air National Guard in the 1980s. He doesn’t fly anymore, but she got to thinking maybe she could – if she could get healthier.

Ramsey went on a tour of Terre Haute in a small plane early last year “just to see if I could stand being in one of those little planes,” she said. It was uncomfortable, to put it mildly.

“I was so big and I’m sitting in this little two-seater plane and I felt like the plane had to be wrapped around me. I knew I couldn’t pass a flight physical because I was on three blood pressure medications. I knew that wasn’t gonna fly.”

Ramsey had already sought out information on the bariatrics program at IU Health. She met with Dr. Jennifer Choi in late 2017 and had gastric bypass surgery at IU Health North Hospital in August 2018. (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a type of weight-loss surgery that involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and connecting the newly created pouch directly to the small intestine.)

She has lost 66 pounds, weighing in at 139 earlier this month. And if that’s where she stops, she’s good with that number. “I feel good and that’s what matters. Nobody gave me a goal, so I’m just letting my body do what it wants to do.”

While her weight was certainly high, it was the high blood pressure that was the real problem, she said. “I was probably at a pretty high risk for stroke.”

The surgery went well, Ramsey said, but the recovery for her was difficult. She suffered nausea and vomiting for months and had to be hospitalized for dehydration. Eventually, Dr. Choi started her on an anti-depressant that caused her body to feel hunger again, she said.

Ramsey doesn’t sugar-coat the difficulties she faced, but she also doesn’t regret having the surgery.

“What I regret is that I lost four months of my life. She missed a trip to Maryland with her sisters and her youngest daughter’s 30th

“It was a bit depressing,” she said. “Dr. Choi was awesome though. She kept encouraging me and tried different things until we found something that worked.”

Ramsey tried to keep her eye on the prize – that pilot’s license – but admits she sometimes lost hope. “I thought I was going to be lying in bed, crying and throwing up the rest of my life.”

That’s why climbing into the Piper Warrior aircraft with her instructor and taking the controls feels so good today. How good?

“This is awesome,” she said. “It’s amazing to be up there and to be able to control a plane by yourself.” Sure, the thought of it terrified her at first, “but once I was up in the plane and the instructor let me take the controls and you see that you have control of the plane, it’s exciting.”

The hardest part of flying for her has been training her brain to fly with her feet.

“When you drive (a car), you use your hands on the steering wheel to get where you want to go. In flying, you use your feet … on the rudders. The ‘steering wheel’ is used only slightly to make turns and to pull up and lower the nose.”

Twice a week, she goes up, eager to improve her skills. She needs at least 40 hours of training before she can apply for a license. On Tuesday night, she sent some pictures and texted after she landed. It had been a particularly rough flight, she said.

“It was windy and bumpy and scary. LOL. I survived.”

At 3,000 feet, the winds were relatively calm, she said, but the plane was buffeted as she brought it in for the landing.

“I calmed down when we finally landed and I got my feet on the ground.”

Ramsey, who has three daughters and two grandchildren – with another grandchild due in June – said her family has been supportive of her flying lessons. They know she already has a destination in mind for her first true solo flight. She hopes to fly to Oklahoma City because that is where her daughter and son-in-law are moving – with her two grandkids.

“That’s part of my motivation.”

Ramsey has been with IU Health for 20 years. She worked as a bedside nurse and in the operating room at IU Health University Hospital and in interventional radiology and the MRI nursing unit at Riley Hospital for Children.

“Interventional radiology was my absolute favorite job bedside,” she said. “The kids at Riley are a joy to work with and I learned so much.”

She agreed to share her story of surgery and recovery to give others hope.

“People get so discouraged with this process. I put it out there to encourage people to identify your goal and go for it.”

Even if that goal takes you 3,000 feet in the air.

– By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist
Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

He’s the voice of the Indy 500 and he’s making history

Last year, Bob Jenkins, long-time Indy 500 announcer underwent hip replacement surgery by
IU Health Saxony Doctor R. Michael Meneghini. Today, Jenkins is making history as an inductee into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame.

The only reason Bob Jenkins has slowed down when he walks around the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is because he keeps getting stopped. He takes just a few steps and someone holds out a hand, pats him on the back or snaps a picture.

“I feel great and I’m moving much faster than last year. I don’t have the pain anymore,” said Jenkins, 71. A month after last year’s race, Jenkins was in so much pain he said it took his breath away. On June 4, 2018 under the care of IU Health Saxony’s Dr. R. Michael Meneghini Jenkins underwent surgery for a total hip replacement.

His surgery involved removing the diseased femoral head (the ball of the joint) and the socket joint and replacing it with a stem down the femoral bone (thigh bone) with a new ball attached to the top. The procedure then involved placing an implant into the pelvis that has a polyethylene liner (the socket) that accepts the ball and acts as the new hip joint.

Between 100-120 total hip and knee replacement procedures are performed monthly at IU Health Saxony. Dr. Meneghini estimates 95 percent of the hip replacements last about 20 years.

For a few days after surgery Jenkins had some assistance at home and then he was on his own. “I dreaded that I might have to go into rehab after surgery but Dr. Meneghini said, ‘get up and walk. So I did,” said Jenkins, who went to his first Indianapolis 500 qualification in 1957. Three years later he attended his first race with his dad. Since then he has been hooked on the Indianapolis 500. In fact, he’s been to every race since 1966.

Little has slowed Jenkins down in the past year since his surgery. After fixing up a yellow 1960 Thunderbird he named “Big Bird” he’s traveled to a number of car shows placing in the top 40 at each showing. He enjoyed a cruise up the east coast to Nova Scotia where he visited Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the resting place of more than 100 victims of the sinking RMC Titanic.

“It’s been a good year. I’ve had little discomfort since surgery. Dr. Meneghini was an excellent surgeon,” said Jenkins.

Also in the past year he vacationed in Florida and traveled to Phoenix to take in some pre-season baseball games.

“I feel so much more comfortable doing things now. For instance, I’m a hockey fan and with the St. Louis Blues in the play offs, I just decided one morning I was going to book a hotel and take off for St. Louis. A year ago, before surgery I may have hesitated,” said Jenkins.

Walking miles around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has required less effort this year.

  • PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Voice of Indy 500: “Hip Surgery Relieved My Pain”

For years, Jenkins’ voice has been heard throughout the month of May. He worked for the IMS Radio Network from 1979 to 1998 and in 1994 when the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race made its debut he became the point man for television coverage. He remained active with ABC and ESPN through the 2003 season and later served in various roles with the Speedway before returning to television broadcasting. He retired in 2012 from television but continues to serve as both the voice of the IMS public address system and an emcee during key events.

That distinction has not gone unnoticed. In addition to shaking hands, signing autographs and chatting with fans, Jenkins has been selected to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame. Tonight – during special ceremonies a the Marriott -Jenkins will join such familiar racing greats as three-time Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti and two-time Brickyard winner Tony Stewart in taking his place in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

“This is the greatest honor ever,” said Jenkins. “I always thought the Hall of Fame should be for drivers, mechanics and others more closely associated with the track.” He joins other famous speedway media personalities, such a Tom Carnegie and Sid Collins.

A panel of 140 journalists and racing historians votes the award on annually. Joining Jenkins as the 2019 Hall of Fame recipient will be two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon.

“The unique thing about this is that I’ve been hesitant to get too close to a lot of the drivers over the years but Dan and I were great friends,” said Jenkins. In addition to racing, Wheldon was an in-race reporter. He died Oct. 16, 2011 at the age of 33 following a racing collision.

“I’m going to be nervous and emotional,” said Jenkins. “The speedway has been my life. I will be here as long as they’ll have me.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

Dancing pharmacist keeps fit on the dance floor

For Erin Arkins, who earned top scores in the Indianapolis Open Dancesport Competition, ballroom dancing is excellent therapy.

For IU Health pharmacist Erin Arkins, the dance floor is her happy place. Dance has been her go-to activity since she was a child, but in the past few years, she has kicked it up a notch.

Arkins, 36, recently worked up the courage to enter her first ballroom dance competition. Lucky for her, she had experience on her side. Arkins teamed up with her dance instructor, Sean Gehlhausen, owner of Paradise Dance Indy, in the Indianapolis Open Dancesport Competition last month in Downtown Indy.

On a crowded dance floor, the two showed off their moves – the Hustle, the Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, West and East Coast Swing and, of course, the Tango. And those were just a few of the dances they performed for judges during the three-day event.

“Ballroom dance in a very real sense is therapy,” Arkins said. “Where else can you combine physical therapy, touch therapy, cognitive therapy, emotional therapy and music therapy all in one activity?”

Dance helped get her through pharmacy studies at Butler University, and it continues to help her today as she works out the stresses of everyday life on the dance floor.

“Inherently, we all love to listen to music and move our bodies to the beat,” she said. “Even babies will smile and bounce to the beat when they hear a song they like.”

While she has been dancing most of her life, it’s only been in the past seven years that the Ambulatory Care clinical pharmacist has been taking ballroom dance lessons, and she is hooked.

“For me, it is so much more than a hobby. It is expression, connection, beauty and joy. You’re connecting on a soul level, on an emotional level.”

As an amateur ballroom dancer, she has performed choreographed routines in showcase-style events and volunteered at the Special Olympics ballroom dance in Fort Wayne, but competing was her dream.

Though she admits to having major butterflies before the Dancesport competition began, Arkins received firsts in the proficiency entries, along with a first, second and third in the competition entries. She exhibited a flair for fashion as well, cobbling together her own costumes with help from second-hand finds and YouTube videos.

Not only did Arkins earn accolades for her dance steps, she earned points in the Healthy Results Make Your Move program sponsored by IU Health.

Now that she’s had a taste of competition, she can’t wait to do it again.

“It was an amazing experience and helped me grow as a dancer.”

— By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist
Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org
Photos by Cori Lynn Life Photography