IU Health Arnett Physicians welcome new Family Medicine nurse practitioner, Kristie Tidrick, FNP- BC

Indiana University Health Arnett Physicians is pleased to announce Kristie Tidrick, FNP-BC has recently joined our Family Medicine department.

Kristie Tidrick, FNP-BC began her nursing career in 2013. Tidrick believes in providing a personalized approach and partnering with her patients to develop a plan of care. Her goal is to empower patients with the knowledge and tools to not only manage their health conditions, but prevent illness and improve health. In her free time, Tidrick enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and spending time with her family.

Tidrick obtained her master’s degree in nursing from Walden University. She is certified through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She is practicing at IU Health Arnett Medical Offices located at 1 Walter Scholer Drive in Lafayette.

Indiana University Health Arnett Family Medicine physicians provide primary healthcare for the entire family — infants and children, teens, adults and seniors. They provide services at Greater Lafayette medical offices and regional medical centers.

Services include:

· Cancer screenings
· Care for infants, children, teens and adults
· Dermatological procedures, including mole removal and skin biopsies
· DOT, pre-employment and sports physicals*
· FAA physicals*
· Geriatric care, including extended care facility supervised care*
· Men’s health
· Prenatal and obstetric care*
· Preventive care
· Women’s health

*Available at select locations

For more information, call 765.474.MYMD or 866.377.MYMD.

IU Health Arnett Earns National Recognition For Patient-Centered Care

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced that Indiana University Health Arnett has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCHM) recognition for using evidence–based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships. This recognition includes primary care medical offices located on Walter Scholer Drive, Greenbush Street, Sagamore Parkway West and in Otterbein, Frankfort and Monticello.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. PCHM facilities foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that IU Health Arnett has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, IU Health Arnett demonstrated the ability to meet the program’s key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

“It takes an extraordinary amount of effort at all levels of the system to reach and maintain this designation,” stated Dan Neufelder, president of the west central region IU Health. “Reaching this designation is the result of several years of preparation and longstanding commitments to patient care through quality and process improvements as well as interdisciplinary collaboration.”

New police chief set on protecting the IU Health brand

His experience in public service comes as much from his upbringing as from his profession. Roman Holowka was recently named police chief of IU Health AHC Campus and he is proud to serve and protect.

There’s something very personable about Roman Holowka. It’s a presence he hopes will spread across the IU Health campus. He sees his role as the new police chief of IU Health as a member of team committed to providing the best customer service possible to patients, families and staff members.

“When our patients and families walk through the doors I want the men and women of the AHC police department to be passionate and fair. When patients come in contact with someone in uniform I expect them to receive the same customer service as anyone else they come into contact with,” said Holowka.

Raised on the north side of Chicago, this Cubs fan learned at a young age the importance of family. His father’s parents Gregory and Valerie Holowka were Auschwitz survivors and moved to the United States seeking new opportunities.

“When they came to this country there were few family members. Being Polish, I was raised to value family and community. We lived on the same block,” said Holowka. His grandparents found support through their church and Valerie Holowka named his dad “Roman” after the New Testament book of the bible composed by the Apostle Paul explaining salvation. His mom’s father – Grandpa Gene – was a Korean War veteran and his Grandma Otha, was a nurse in Chicago who administered care to inner city children who couldn’t afford to go the hospitals.

“I think that’s where I got my interest in healthcare was from my grandma,” said Holowka. In high school he played football and baseball and after graduation he enrolled in the Navy for four years. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor for a time and is a disabled Gulf War veteran.

“Even before the Navy, I felt my calling as a public servant. I used the Navy to gain experience learning about rank structure, discipline, and putting others before yourself,” said Holowka. When he moved to Indiana his dad and mom – Roman and Jackie moved too and live down the street from him. His sister Natalie Holowka also moved to Indiana.

Twenty-one years ago he married his wife Brandy. She was a server at a steak house and he wrote his number on a napkin to get her attention. She called him and they’ve been together ever since. They are the parents of Roman, 20; Faith, 19; Nathan, 13; and Ryan 10. The youngest became a Riley patient when he was diagnosed in December with epilepsy.

“I’m fortunate to be part of the Riley network I’ve bought into the culture because I see it every day in my house through the care for my son,” said Holowka.

Holowka joined IU Health in 2017 as the executive protection manager, providing security for the IU Health executive team, Board of Directors, IU School of Medicine leaders, and personal security for the CEO. In addition, he led a team of officers responsible for the physical security of the Pathology Laboratory, Medical Tower and Fairbanks Hall.

Prior to that he worked for the Indianapolis VA Medical Center as a criminal investigator, captain, lieutenant and lead evidence custodian, responding to the scene of critical evidence. He was also employed as a patrolman in the Town of Plainfield for eight years.

“When I was employed at the VA an executive position opened up and I knew IU Health was growing and I talked to people who were very happy working here. During the interview process I met with impressive people and felt the good vibe. This is the best job I could have,” said Holowka. The IU Health police department includes 50 police officers, and eight police dispatchers – working four shifts.

“We’re a new police agency having transitioned from a security department to being fully certified through the Indiana police agency. We have a few challenges but my objective is to meet those challenges and to show the value of the men and women in uniform and to protect the IU brand.”

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

Brother travels 13,000 miles to donate his kidney

When his brother’s kidney failed, Ram Cung Nung traveled from Southeast Asia to become a living organ donor.

There was a lot of excitement in a room on the transplant floor of IU Health University Hospital. There were also a lot of visitors.

Transplant nephrologist Dr. Asif Sharfuddin, stopped by to check on his patient, Aung K Oo, a friend stopped by and then there were family members – including Oo’s dad, Sui Di, and his brothers Boi Hmung and Ram Cung Nung.

There was cause for celebration. Nung traveled 13,000 miles from Burma, the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, to become a living kidney donor for his brother.

It’s estimated that more than 123,000 people are listed for organ transplant nationwide; more than 100,000 are awaiting kidney donation. Nearly 7,000 transplants were made possible through living donation last year. Doctors with IU Health kidney transplant program perform more than 200 kidney transplants annually. Last year, the program ranked 33rd out of 240 kidney transplant centers.

Diagnosed with Stage 4 renal failure Oo was originally scheduled for transplant on February 14 but an illness delayed surgery. On May 29 under the care of IU Health surgeon, Dr. William Goggins, Oo received a new kidney from his brother. He had been on dialysis since March of 2018.

The son of Sui Di and Lian Uk the 32-year-old Oo is the third of six children including five boys and one girl. Nung, 26, said he was happy that he was a match for his brother. He proudly wore a shirt with the message: “Got Kidney? Share Your Spare.”

Married six years to Niangtha Oo, Aung Oo lives in Southport and is the father to a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy.

“I feel great. The first thing I want to do is enjoy a beach vacation with my family,” said Oo. “Then I want to get back to work.” Before he became ill, Oo worked as a Medicaid specialist for the state. “I am thankful for my health. I am grateful to my brother, and I am happy for such great care.”

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

Patient With Eating Disorders: “I was Secretive. I had a World that Others Weren’t Aware of.”

She was an adolescent and her body was changing. She didn’t feel accepted. That may have been the beginning of Kristina Denton’s declining health that eventually led her to IU Health Charis Center for Eating Disorders.

She could say she was bullied. She could say she pushed her food around on her plate. She could say her weight was a target number.

But because Kristina Denton has been a patient with eating disorders, she knows the triggers. She knows that some people look at those target numbers, those behaviors and habits as a way to measure and compare the degree of their illness.

“Numbers and weight are tricky for people in recovery. My eating disorder mind became so insidious that it picked up on everything. It all felt so related to my eating disorder goal,” said Denton. She prefers to focus on the realization that she had health issues and how she recovered.

She grew up in a Southern Indiana community filled with German heritage. Her grandmother taught her to speak German as a child and she spent time visiting in the Black Forest region of Western Germany.

At about the age of 12 she began gaining weight and was going through the growing pains of adolescence that included wearing glasses and braces.

“Not only was my body changing but there were stressors at home that I was coming to terms with and I’m a very sensitive and emoting person. I was having a hard time dealing with the fact that I wasn’t accepted by my peers,” said Denton. “I didn’t wear name brand clothing. My mom worked at K-Mart and my dad worked at a factory. I was awkward and other kids bullied me because of that. One kid pulled my hair and broke my glasses on the bus,” said Denton. She remembers making herself vomit to avoid school.

“My logic was ‘if I’m sick I don’t have to go to school I can stay home and read and create a world where it is easier to cope,’” said Denton. By high school she was at her highest weight and decided she would decrease eating and increase exercise.

After graduation she left her southern Indiana town and headed to Muncie where she met a close- knit group of friends at Ball State. From the outside her life seemed fulfilled. She was enjoying her newfound independence and studying to be a social worker. But privately she had vowed not to gain the “freshman 15,” and fixated on her weight.

“I was secretive. It was like living in a world with rules and values others weren’t aware of. I would lie about whether or not I’d eaten,” said Denton. “I would exercise obsessively for hours on end. I would make excuses when eating with my friends to attempt to explain why I wasn’t eating. I was socially withdrawn to the point my eating disorder was my whole world.”

It was her junior year when her friends sat her down. Speaking through tears they told her she needed help and they would go with her.

“My motivation to lose weight became greater than my motivation to appease my friends and the people I surrounded myself with,” said Denton.

She first went to a therapist close to campus who referred to IU Health Charis Center for Eating Disorders. She was enrolled in therapeutic programming in 2012 and again in 2013. In 2017 she was enrolled in a partial hospitalization program.

At her worst, her blood pressure and blood sugar levels dropped so low she would pass out. She developed pre-osteoporosis and her skin was covered in lanugo hair.

“In 2012 when I did the intensive outpatient program it made me aware that my eating disorder was a problem. In 2013, when I did the program a second time, I realized how I contribute to the problem and by 2017 I was ready for a solution. It was something I never want to do again,” said Denton.

The programs involved group and individual therapy including expressive therapy such as art and movement. Counselors helped her focus on trauma and how to understand and express her emotions.

As part of the program at the Charis Center, patients learn about issues that can contribute to the development and maintenance of eating disorders such as perfectionism, cultural pressures and relationship issues. They are educated about physical and nutritional consequences and how to develop healthy coping strategies. A dietitian works with patients to help them plan healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. The programs run on set schedules ranging from six to eight weeks, but patients’ timetables may vary based on their individual treatment plans.. The program involves treatment for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other related disorders.

Denton’s diagnosis was anorexia, but the diagnosis shifted over the years. When she first walked into Charis Center she was struggling with binging and purging.

Not long after she enrolled in therapy, her mother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. She was diagnosed in February of 2014 and she died in August. At the age of 26, Denton left her job in Muncie and moved back to southern Indiana to care for her ailing her mom.

“It’s part of my personality to take care of other people’s needs and worry about others. I spent most of my life caring for others and through my work at Charis Center I learned about how to take care of myself, said Denton. “I have discovered who I fully am as a strong, confident woman. I found my voice. The past year and half has been about learning to accept my body and learning to step into my power. I am no longer afraid to advocate for myself and others who have experienced similar struggles.” As part of that advocacy she has helped plan the National Eating Disorder Association Walk.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders (ANAD) at least 30 million people in the U.S. of all ages and genders suffer from some type of eating disorder.

Denton has learned several myths about eating disorders.

First, eating disorders have little to do with a person’s body weight. She has been in treatment with people of all shapes and sizes. Second, eating disorders aren’t limited to people of a certain age, race, or culture. She’s met a diverse group of people who suffer from eating disorders. Third, eating disorders are not about food. It’s more about an underlying emotion.

“My advice to others is don’t be afraid to ask for help and when you ask, try to be as honest as you can during recovery,” said Denton. “There’s a lot of shame and a lot of people react to shame by hiding or lying. People who are trying to help you can’t fully help you unless you tell the truth.”

Anther thing Denton has learned is that “intention” is a verb.

“If I set my intention on recovery and eating, I have to take that intention. I have to decide every day I’m going to pack my lunch, eat dinner and take snacks for my day. There are days I don’t have the energy and they don’t go so well but I’m constantly trying and intention is an ongoing process.”

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

Type Of Services To Expect From Dental Clinics

Visiting a dental clinic is more of a habit than anything else. Our teeth and gums play a big role in keeping our digestive system working in good condition. They also play a role in defining our looks and appearances. Teeth and gums require regular upkeep and maintenance. While quite a few things could be done in the home, there are many problems that might require the help, assistance, and treatment of professional dentists in OKC. Visiting a dentist is not about visiting an office where some private practices are offered. They offer a host of services and you must know the kind of services offers so that you can make the best use of the services that are offered.


They Offer Regular Checkups

 To begin with, any good dental clinic offers the basics in checkups. They range from checkups to find out the condition of the teeth and gums. They could help the patients to know whether there is an excess buildup of plaque and tartar. These need to be removed immediately. Plaque if not removed regularly turns into tartar and this could lead to the weakening of the teeth and gums and cause tooth pain, gum infections, and other such problems. It also could lead to various other problems such as decaying teeth, weakening of the teeth and eventual falling off and so on. Hence, regular checkups from dentists could help you to be proactive rather than being reactive.


Diagnosis And Treatments

 Apart from the above, dentists also offer the best of diagnosis and treatments for various problems related to the teeth. This relates to the field of cosmetic dentistry and also restorative dentistry. Orthodontic problems are also addressed by dentists who have special skills in these areas. These include root canal treatment, filling of the teeth, dental crowns, veneers, Invisalign and other such problems. They have the best of experience, expertise, and technology to ensure that the problems are identified well on time before it becomes serious and unmanageable in some situations.


Treatment Of Periodontal Diseases

 Gums are extremely vital for preserving teeth and therefore you must try and avoid periodontal problem diseases as soon as possible. This can be done best by professional dentists. They offer the best of professional cleaning services, scaling, root planing, and other deep cleaning services. Periodontal surgery is also another area where dentists help quite a bit. Finally, once the treatments are over, they do help in keeping the gums and teeth healthy and in good condition.


Tooth Extraction

 There is no doubt that natural teeth are the best for biting and also for maintaining jawbone and mouth structure and shape. Therefore, the first task of any good dental professional in Oklahoma City is to try and repair, restore and help keep natural teeth in good condition. However, this might not be possible always because of deep-rooted dental decay, risk of pain and infection. In such situations, they offer painless and professional tooth extraction services.


Polishing And Cleaning

 Finally, no one would like to exhibit teeth that are dirty, stained and filled with plaque and tartar. A good dentist ensures regular cleaning of teeth, removing plaque and deeply embedded tartar. They also offer polishing and natural whitening of the teeth.

Reflections Dental Care Also Offers Following Services :

Midtown Dentists

Botox OKC OK

Invisalign In Oklahoma City

Teeth Whitening OKC

Cosmetic Dentistry Oklahoma City OK

Contact US:

Reflections Dental Care
Address:10924 Hefner Pointe Dr Oklahoma City, OK
Phone: (405) 563-7097

Chaplain speaks: “Surviving & thriving with blood cancer”

Chaplain Tanya Willis-Robinson serves bone marrow patients and their families every day at IU Health University Hospital. She will share some of her insights on the power of resilience at a free workshop on June 15.

As she enters the infusion waiting area of IU Health Simon Cancer Center Tanya Willis-Robinson is greeted by patient Debra Poynter. There’s a big hug and then Poynter says: “Gulp of Grace.”

Willis-Robinson has become known for the phrase encouraging others to be patient with their healing and take in a gulp of grace.

“You touch a lot of people’s lives. You are always so happy and cheerful,” said Poynter’s sister Susie Ferrand. Poynter, of Rochdale, Ind. had a bone marrow transplant at IU Health and is in remission. She’s one of many patients Willis-Robinson has seen in her six years with IU Health.

She treats each patient as an individual.

“I always give my best. I never know what difference I make. I go in and try to be very present and go in with fresh energy. It’s a new encounter every time,” said Willis-Robinson. So many patients remain on her mind. She tells about one who shared his fears of chemotherapy.

“I remember the day he became vulnerable and cried. I pulled a stool by him and held his hand. I said ‘we’re not going to talk about chemo or leukemia; we’re just going to enjoy this moment,” said Willis-Robinson. She met with him, his wife and daughter several times and after he passed his wife sent Willis-Robinson a letter of appreciation. She quoted Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Willis-Robinson lives by that motto.

A native of the city’s eastside, she graduated from Arlington High School and served two years on active duty and seven years reserved with the US Navy. She was stationed on the USS Yellowstone at a time women were just beginning to be integrated on Naval ships.

After the Navy she enrolled in Marian University where she obtained a degree in religious education and then received a Master in Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary.

“I saw my first female chaplain when I was in the Navy. It resonated with me. I am Pentecostal and you don’t see a lot of women in leadership but I knew it was something I was called to do,” said Willis-Robertson. “There was always a knowing in my subconscious that I wanted to work in a field that allowed my vocation to meet my faith. I was privileged to be able to do both. I’m a professional chaplain however my vocation is in spiritual care and I love it.

“As a chaplain I don’t go and offer prayer I offer myself and with that a space is created for them to share themselves. As chaplains we’re individuals who have been trained in many areas. I’m able to offer generous and empathic listening and let them talk about fears and hopes.”

Willis-Robertson will take part in a free workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at St. Richards Episcopal School where she will speak on the “Power of Resilience.” IU Health patient Teresa Altemeyer will join her. IU Health Dr. Rafat Abonour, who specializes in hematology/oncology, will also speak about Myeloma & Waldenstroms Emerging Therapies. The program is presented by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and will include complimentary breakfast and lunch for patients and caregivers.

“My focus on resiliency is coming from a faith lens – a more holistic lens that encompasses body mind and spirit,” said Willis-Robinson. “Not every person may have a faith story but they are individuals who can be touched and encouraged. My goal is to encourage families to share their hopes and fears and hopefully they can suspend their hopes long enough to be resilient. I want them to be able to speak the truth, to name their feelings and share them with loved ones. Before you can be resilient you have to speak the truth.”

More about Willis-Robinson:

  • She is the daughter of Samuel and Mattie Willis and the sister to Gregory Willis. Her older brother Samuel “Tyrone” Willis became a Riley patient when he was born with a heart defect. As an adult he was a patient at IU Health University Hospital until the time of his death at the age of 30.
  • She has been married to Ronald Robinson for 15 years. Together they have three sons ages 26, 22, and 11.

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

After surgery, she’s half the woman she used to be

For Brandi Jefferis, intracranial hypertension could have left her blind. But weight-loss surgery gave her back her vision and her life.

Brandi Jefferis is half the woman she used to be.

The 45-year-old eastern Indiana resident once weighed 312 pounds. After a serious health scare, she underwent gastric bypass surgery at IU Health North Hospital and lost a whopping 187 pounds.

Under doctor’s orders, she has since put 10 pounds back on her 5-foot 10-inch frame and weighs 135.

For her, it’s a whole new life. But the crisis that led up to it was frightening.

“I woke up one morning and was having a hard time seeing,” she said. She went to her eye doctor, figuring she needed glasses. But her doctor quickly referred her to a neurologist.

The next day she was having a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as a spinal tap – a medical procedure in which a needle is inserted into the spinal canal, most commonly to collect cerebrospinal fluid for diagnostic testing.

“My spinal fluid had built up to the point where it was crushing my optic nerves and squeezing my brain, causing blindness,” she said. “If I hadn’t gone, I could have gone blind permanently.”

Jefferis was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri (false brain tumor), also known as intracranial hypertension. It mimics the signs of a brain tumor but is benign.

She got started on medications to reduce her fluid retention, then was faced with a choice. She could get gastric bypass surgery to reduce her hypertension or have a shunt surgically implanted in the brain to drain fluid.

For her, bariatric surgery was the lesser of two evils. She met with weight-loss surgeon Dr. Ambar Banerjee and committed to working the program, which required her to lose a certain amount of weight in the six months preceding surgery.

After the November 2017 operation, she said she lost the weight quite rapidly and never looked back.

“I get up every day and I can see. I get out more. I ride a motorcycle, I have a houseboat. I’m an outdoors person and I can’t imagine waking up and not being able to see.”

Jefferis, who said Dr. Banerjee called her his “prodigy,” is proud of her 20 percent body fat and the fact that she can once again fit into clothes she wore in high school before she began gaining weight. She credits her husband, Darrell Thomas, her daughter and others for supporting her during her weight-loss journey. In fact, she said, it’s been life-changing for her entire family.

“Don’t be afraid,” she tells anyone who might want to pursue weight-loss surgery. “Everybody’s nervous about change, but sometimes it’s good. Instead of being home in pain and miserable, live life, spend time with your family, see the world. Live.”

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

Meet these Methodist transplant caregivers and their canines

They work as a team on the transplant unit and when they’re away from the hospital they have another team member. These caregivers love their furry companions.

They range in age from six months to 11 years – the dogs, that is. And their owners . . . well, these nurses have experience working with IU Health ranging from one to four years.

IU Health Transplant is one of the largest and most comprehensive centers of its kind in the region and, last year was ranked the eleventh largest by volume in the United States. At IU Health Methodist Hospital a team of caregivers combine clinical research and teaching excellence to care for heart and lung patients. IU Health performed 51 lung transplants last year and 13 heart transplants.

These caregivers all have a couple of things in common: They love their jobs on the transplant unit and they love their pups.

For most, the dogs offer comfort at the end of a stressful day. For some, their pooch is their hiking buddy. Here’s more:

  • Jordan Weed has been a nurse at IU Health since July 2018. Her three-year-old dog Heidi loves to relax outside and has her own pool.

What Jordan loves most about IU Health? “Working in transplant you get to give your patients another chance at life. You get to see them at their lows and highs. They go from being short of when breath getting out of bed to being able to jump up and down and walk laps without the aid of oxygen. It’s amazing and I’m forever grateful to be able to see what patients go through and accomplish but also to be part of their support system.”

  • Kalyn Scheidler has worked as a Patient Care Assistant with IU Health for one year. Her one-year-old dog Zoey loves to join her on hikes. Zoey is also a registered emotional support dog.

What Kalyn loves most about IU Health? “I love seeing positive patient progress after their transplant. A patient may go from no longer being able to do their favorite activities to being able to do those activities again. Their joy is contagious.”

  • Lindsey Casselman will celebrate two milestones in July. It will be her one-year anniversary of working as a nurse at IU Health and her dog Elmer celebrates his sixth birthday. She says Elmer is a spoiled dog who loves long cuddle sessions, long car rides and getting treats at the drive-thru window.

What Lindsey loves most about IU Health? “I love my coworkers who are passionate about their jobs and always willing to help each other. My favorite thing about working with transplant patients is the connections we get to make with them. They tend to be with us for long periods after they receive their transplant so we get to know them and their families really well.”

  • Meghan Tar also began working as a nurse at IU Health last year. Her dog Fitz, is a year old. On her days off she loves to take him for walks along Mass Ave downtown. Fitz likes stopping to say, “Hi” to everyone.

What Meghan loves most about working for IU Health? “I love the patients and their families. New transplants usually spend at least a few weeks here so we get to know them and their families. It is so rewarding when they come back to visit and we see how well they are doing at home.”

  • Jackie Coleman has been a nurse at IU Health for four years. Her white shepherd Denali is almost 11, and her black shepherd Juneau is three. They love going on hikes and enjoying an ice cream treat afterward. “It’s a great way to stay active and relax during my time away from work,” said Coleman. “They are always excited to see me when I come home from work. It’s a good way to come home after a busy or difficult day.”

What Jackie loves most about working for IU Health? “The patients are definitely the best part of working on the transplant floor. We see many of them multiple times a year for various reason and visits, so it becomes a small family-like environment.”

  • Morgan Britt has been a nurse at IU Health for three years. She has a 2-year-old whippet named Crosby and a 2-year-old greyhound named Jasper. She loves going on long walks and dog dates with her pups.

What Morgan loves most about working for IU Health? “I love the patients. We’re one big family.”

  • Alex Beardsworth has been a nurse at IU Health for two years. Her dog Zebedee is two and loves hiking.

What Alex loves most about working at IU Health? “The patients. It’s a big transplant family.”

  • Martha Bill has been a nurse at IU Health for two years. Her dog Buddy likes to go to local parks and for long walks. “Just being him, helps me relax. His tendency to make me laugh puts me in a good Mood,” said Bill.

What Martha loves best about working at IU Health? We get to know our patients and their families well. I enjoy having to think about the different components of their care and involving them through education so they can enjoy and take of their new gift successfully once they are discharged.

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

Merriman Award Honors Team Members Statewide

Five IU Health team members around the state have won the “Lynda,” the Lynda A. Merriman Award for Compassionate Care. Thanks to the generosity of Chuck Merriman, this award honors the kind of dedicated IU Health team members who eased his wife Lynda’s seven-month battle with cancer at IU Health Simon Cancer Center and University Hospital. The Lynda is a cash award, and its winners are nominated by their peers at IU Health hospitals statewide.

The winners are:

Bridget Jeffries is team lead of Individual Solutions, meaning she works with uninsured or underinsured patients from her office near IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. For most people, this job would be frustrating—but not for Jeffries, according to her nominator, Paul Davis, Revenue Cycle Services (RCS) program manager.

“Bridget goes above and beyond daily to make sure patients are able to receive the great care afforded by IU Health without the worry of a heavy financial burden,” he said. “She also handles medical escalations for uninsured patients and ensures we are caring for the physical and financial health of this vulnerable population.” Other nominators noted her ability to sustain relationships with state agencies that administer Medicaid programs, and her willingness to take calls to solve problems whenever she is needed—even outside normal office hours.

Larryetta Morris, a rehabilitation technician at IU Health Methodist Hospital, works on the wound care team. Her nomination included several examples of going above and beyond for patients, including buying a special lunch for a patient who had lost her appetite, enlisting a team member’s help to repair a patient’s wheelchair, and saying at the end of every patient interaction, “Thank you for letting us take care of you.”

Morris was nominated by Kate O’Halloran, PT, her co-worker on the wound team. She said, “Etta is called in to assist with those patients who require extra help because of the size and extent of their wound(s) and/or the patient’s immobility. She sets her own needs aside, works as a great team member, and doesn’t stop until she has done everything possible to provide the best possible experience for the patient.”

Jessica Snyder, RN is a wound ostomy continence nurse at IU Health North Hospital. She was nominated by Shelly Lancaster, RN and other colleagues at IU Health North.

“I routinely hear from her patients how they have appreciated her gentle and caring manner as much as her clinical expertise,” said Lancaster. “She regularly helps patients come to terms with their ‘new normal’ and helps them to master the self-care required to cope with a new ostomy.”

Lancaster shared one example. Snyder had several times cared for a patient at IU Health North with complex wound care and ostomy needs. When that patient turned up in the emergency room at IU Health Saxony Hospital, the patient asked for Snyder. Snyder continues to return to IU Health Saxony when this patient needs her.

Elaine Butler, RN improves the entire nursing team at IU Health Morgan Cancer Center, according to her nominator, Sonya Payne, RN.

Payne says Butler emphasizes continuing education for herself and her colleagues, and guides new nurses. “Elaine is dedicated to her specialty,” said Payne. “She is a great role model and mentor.”

Payne pointed out two areas in particular in which Butler excels. One is having difficult conversations with patients, including discussions of death and dying. “No matter how busy she is as a charge nurse, Elaine will stop what she is doing and give the patient her full attention,” said Payne. “She truly listens—which is often what our patients need most.” The second is ensuring that the team has proper orders, education and support to practice safely, and care for every type of cancer patient.

Jean Kolp, NP at IU Health Arnett Primary Care, goes well beyond medical care to deliver holistic experiences for her elderly people throughout the community, according to Brenda DeBlaso, practice manager.

“The senior population Jean works with daily can be very challenging, and she always has a smile and kind words for her patients,” said DeBlaso. Kolp, who receives referrals from Arnett Primary Care Physicians, assists with overall wellness, psychosocial, financial and socialization issues for patients as well as their caregivers. In addition to completing Individualized Medicare Annual Wellness visits (she did over 900 in 2018), Kolp shares resources and opportunities with her colleagues at IU Health and throughout the seniors-serving community in Lafayette. She established the Indiana Geriatric Society of Greater Lafayette, and volunteers at numerous seniors-serving events.

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