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Desert Sun

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									                        The Desert Sun

 Phoenix VA Health Care System                                                May/June 2010                                                           Vol 32 • Issue 3

 Safety program helps nurses avoid injuries
    Nurses and nursing care staff rank in                  8-hour shift. A nurse’s lifting environment is
 the top 10 most hazardous occupations for                 not a controlled space and that means it is often
 musculoskeletal injuries. According to the                limited space, resulting in awkward positions.”
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number one                    Wyatt explained that back injuries are
 cause of these injuries relates to patient handling       cumulative. “As nurses lift, turn and provide
 and movement.                                             care for patients, they may exceed the
    The effects of these injuries are far reaching.        biomechanical limits of their backs. Since
 In fact, 12 percent of nurses leaving the field each      many injuries relate to patient handling and
 year do so because of back pain, according to a           movement, the VA is making sure patient
 report from the American Nurses Association.              safety always comes first. We cannot ignore the
 The report also states that 38 percent of RNs             caregivers’ health and safety.”
 have suffered occupational-related back pain                  The Safe Patient Handling Program is in full
 severe enough to require taking leave from work.          force at the Phoenix VA, with almost 200 lifts
    So, what is the Phoenix VA Health Care                 set for facility-wide installation. Multiple training
 System doing to protect our nurse’s health?               events continuously improve communication of
 The PVAHCS offers a Safe Patient Handling                 the transfer needs of the patients we serve.
 Program to build a “culture of safety” to                     “Today, we have more than 60 Unit Safety
 educate staff in the latest ways to provide safe          Peer Leaders representing each area and shift,”
 patient care and safe working environments.               said Wyatt. “These strong, caring leaders are
 Safe Patient Handling Programs began in all VA            actively working to make a difference in the lives
 facilities in 2009. The program is supported by           of their coworkers and our patients.”
 a three year, multimillion dollar funding project.            As a part of the National Patient Safety
    Susan Wyatt, an RN and PVAHCS Patient                  Awareness Campaign, the Phoenix VA is                                                              Photo: Paul Coupaud
                                                                                                                   Sheila Girard, CNA, moves Jamie Powers, a Veteran living
 Safety Manager said, “Research has shown the              reminding all nursing staff to use lifts and help       in the PVAHCS Community Living Center, into her bed using
 average nurse lifts 1.8 tons of weight every              others safely make the change.                          a patient lift system.

    L I F T S A F E LY !                                                                                                  INSIDE
                                                                                                                        Director’s Corner .............2
    •	 Tuck in the chin to keep the back as straight as possible while lifting.                                         News ...........................3
    •	 Lift with the strong leg muscles.
    •	 Ask for help with the heavy, awkward items.
                                                                                                                        CLC Transforms ...............6
    •	 When possible, use mechanical equipment to move heavy items.                                                     Nursing Week .................8
    •	 Use your back muscles to do lifting.
                                                                                                                        Recognition ................. 10
    •	 Try to lift an item that is too heavy of awkward.                                                                Highlights .................... 13
    •	 Twist your body while carrying an object.
    •	 Attempt team lifting without proper coordination.
                                                                                                                        Literature ................... 15

VHA Mission: Honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.
                             Directors Corner

                                   PVAHCS doing great, ‘Go team Phoenix!’
                             By Gabriel Peréz                                                                          exceeding these to give “the best Health Care to our Veterans” in our
                             Health Care System Administrator / Medical Center Director                                delivery of health care.
                                “GO TEAM!” We had great participation on the all-employee survey                          Areas we have to work on include:
                             by our Phoenix VA Health Care System team. A special “thank you” to                          • Suicide Evaluations
                             everyone who participated.                                                                   • Inpatient and Outpatient satisfaction
                                We had an all-time high for participation and led the VISN for the first                  • Processing of 1358s
                                                                     time in a long time with an 88 percent               In the area of patient satisfaction, our scores dropped for the first half of
                                                                     response rate. We could not have                  the year. This is our Veterans’ perception on how we satisfy our Veterans.
                                                                     accomplished this without your input.             Here are a few ways we can improve our Veterans’ satisfaction:
                                                                     It really demonstrates the kind of spirit            • At every level, we need improved communication with our patients
                                                                     and teamwork we can be proud of.                         about their care process, what to expect, and to make sure we are
                                                                         Our mid-year evaluation revealed                     keeping them informed about what is next. This knowledge can
                                                                     we are at 81 percent in our rating                       reduce anxiety in patients.
                                                                     for the facility. This is a big increase             • Treat our customers with the highest dignity and respect. How we
                                                                     over last year’s 64 percent. Our                         expect our own providers to treat us is exactly how we should treat
                                                                     goal is to be at 100 percent and                         our Veteran customers.
                                                                     lead the nation in VA facilities for                 • Look around your environment, if it is not a welcoming space that
                                                                     our delivery and quality of health                       instills confidence in our Veterans, think about what you can do to
                                                                     care. Each of us has to do our part                      support change and/or make suggestions for change. Little things
                                                                     to deliver the best customer service                     can make a big difference (magazines in a waiting room, soothing
                                                                     and the “Best Health Care to our                         music, signage, etc.).
                                                                     Veterans.”                                           All of us working together can make the Phoenix VA Health Care
                                                                         Many areas are meeting quality                System the place where each of us delivers the “Best Health Care to our
                                       Gabriel Peréz                 delivery goals and we should be                   Veterans.”

                             Social workers: Helping homeless Veterans find a way
                             By Robin Bernier, LCSW                                       apartments in the community by helping to pay the                     a will, there’s a way and HUD/VASH is the way.”
                             Social Worker                                                rent and providing supportive services. Acceptance                       “I will have a roof over my head and not have
                                 While on a trip, a person asked me what I did            into the HUD/VASH program is based on a need                          to worry about where I’m going to stay. I will be
                             for a living. My response was “I help Veterans               for subsidized housing, meeting of certain eligibility                around people my own age and be able to make
                             find homes.”                                                 requirements and the ability of the VA staff to                       new friends, fit into my new environment, to be
                                  Being a social worker at the VA is a rewarding          effectively work with a particular Veteran.                           clean and take a shower and bath, wash clothes
                             career in itself, but I work as a Housing and                    In my job I hear many stories. Here are a few                     and cook meals.”
                             Urban Development/VA Supportive Housing                      quotes I’ve heard:                                                       “It will help me get my life back together. If
                             program social worker. The program is an                         “I’m homeless.”                                                   you have your own place, you have your own
                             initiative to end homelessness among Veterans.                   “Because I have a disability and I get a fixed                    sense of security ... it stabilizes me and provides
                                 HUD/VASH is a joint project between the                  income, I really can’t afford an apartment ... I                      me a foundation.”
                             Department of Veterans Affairs and the local                 really need the help.”                                                   I am privileged to be able to serve the men and
                             housing authorities. The goal of the program                     “To advance my horizons, I want to use this as                    women who have served our country by helping
                             is for homeless Veterans to secure independent               a stepping stone to a brighter future. Where there’s                  them find a place to call home.

                                                                                                                          The Desert Sun is a bimonthly printed publication for VA staff, volunteers, our
                                                                                                                       Congressional members, Veterans Service Organizations and the Phoenix
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                                                                                                                          This publication is supported by:

                                                                                                                       Gabriel Peréz .....................................................................Medical Center Director &
                                                                                                                                                                                             Health Care System Administrator
                                                                                                                       Chris Bacorn, FACHE.....................................................................Associate Director
                                                                                                                       Dr. Raymond Chung ............................................................................... Chief of Staff
                                                                                                                       Cynthia McCormack Ph.D. ......................... Associate Director Patient Care Services

                                                                                                                       Paula L. Pedene, APR..................................Public Affairs Officer & Managing Editor
                                                                                                                       Medical Media ........................................................... Graphic Design & Photography
                                                                                                                       and the Desert Sun Editorial Board
                                                                                                                          If you would like to submit an article, that falls within medical center and
                                                                                                                       appropriated funding guidelines, please contact PVAHCS PAO Paula L. Pedene,
                                                                                                                       APR at (602) 222-2667 or via e-mail at paula.pedene@va.gov.
                                                                                                                          We are not authorized to accept any advertising, political or editorial content.
Periodontal team dispels myths, warns of risks
By Debby Kurtz-Weidinger, RDH, M.Ed.                   Myth #1: Bleeding gums aren’t a
Staff Dental Hygienist                                 big deal
   If a person decided to make a list of the top           Red, swollen and bleeding gums
ten things they’d like to do in their lifetime, it’s   are an important sign of periodontal
a good bet that gum surgery, better known as           disease. If you notice your gums
periodontal surgery, wouldn’t make the cut.            bleeding when you brush your teeth
   Unless, of course, they’ve had the                  or when you are cleaning in between
opportunity to have their gums examined and            your teeth, this could be a sign of
treated at the VA                                      periodontal disease. Gum disease
by the dynamic                                         can lead to tooth loss, and may also
periodontal team                                       contribute to the progression of other
of Dr. Laurence                                        diseases, including heart disease and
Ambrose and                                            diabetes, so it is important to begin
his assistant,                                         treating periodontal disease as soon as
Kristina. Together,                                    possible. This includes dental hygiene
they have been                                         treatment to remove hard and soft
helping maintain                                       deposits from your teeth.
the periodontal                                        Myth #2: Daily flossing isn’t
health of qualifying                                   necessary
Phoenix Veterans              Dr. Laurence Ambrose         Routine oral care, which includes
for nearly 12 years.                                   brushing daily to remove bacterial
   Ambrose is a board-certified periodontist,          deposits (commonly referred to as
a dentist who specializes in the prevention,           “plaque”), and using dental floss (or
diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease,       any other type of adaptation that
and in the placement of dental implants.               goes in between your teeth), is the                                                                       Courtesy photo
                                                                                                    Dr. Lawrence Ambrose, VA periodontist, works on a Veteran with his
Periodontists receive extensive training in            best way to prevent gum disease.             dental assistant, Kristina.
these areas, including three additional years of       However, it is estimated that only 14
education beyond dental school and they are            percent of Americans clean in between their                 presence of sufficient supporting bone and a
familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing     teeth on a daily basis. It is vital that you keep           healthy mouth that will support the implant.
and treating periodontal disease. In certain           up with your daily oral care, and see a dental              Myth #4: Poor oral hygiene is the only way
instances, periodontists can also perform              professional for a thorough check-up and dental             to develop gum disease.
cosmetic periodontal procedures to help a              hygiene treatment. If gum disease is detected, a                Failure to include optimal oral hygiene in
person achieve an aesthetically-pleasing smile.        consultation with a periodontist                                             your daily routine can certainly
   Approximately 75 percent of Americans               may be indicated.                                                            contribute to the progression of
suffer from some form of gum disease — from            Myth #3: A tooth lost to gum                                                 gum disease, but there are a variety
mild cases of gingivitis, or gum inflammation, to      disease is a tooth lost forever                                              of other factors that can also
the more severe form known as periodontitis,               Gum disease is a major                                                   impact your risk. For instance,
which includes loss of the supporting bone             cause of tooth loss in adults.                                               tobacco use has been shown to
around the tooth. With increasingly more               However, in addition to treating                                             greatly increase your chance of
research indicating that gum disease may be            gum disease, periodontists are                                               developing gum disease. Stress,
linked to several other diseases, including            also experts in placing dental                                                poor diet, and even genetics can
diabetes and heart disease, maintaining healthy        implants — a convenient                                                       also play a role in the health of
teeth and gums has become more important               and comfortable way to                                                         your gums.
than ever.                                             permanently replace missing                                                         “Your oral health is
   It is felt that the discrepancy between the         teeth. A dental implant is an                                                    invaluable,” Ambrose
prevalence of gum disease and the lack of              artificial tooth root that is                                                     said. “While quick fixes

                                                                                                                                                                                  Desert sun | May/June 2010
treatment can likely be blamed on a lack of            placed into the jaw to hold                                                        for periodontal disease
understanding of the effect periodontal disease        a replacement tooth. Dental                                                         may seem like a good
may have on overall health. Patients don’t always      implants have a fairly high                                                          option, it’s a better idea
seek the periodontal care they need because they       success rate, and with proper                                                        to research treatment
are not aware of the long-term and potentially         care, allow you to speak, eat                                                    options and discuss them
dangerous implications of untreated gum                and smile with confidence. It                                                    with a periodontist first. We
disease. Unfortunately, a variety of myths exist       is important to note, though, that in order for             can evaluate your unique condition, and offer
surrounding periodontal disease and the effects it     an implant to be successfully placed in patient,            the treatment that is best for you — one that is
can have on overall health, these include:             specific criteria must be met, including the                supported by both science and experience.”

                                                                                                   By Frances Hamumaiah                                 promote healing, and decrease the
                                                                                                   Clinical Nurse Specialist                            burden of post-operative pain.

                                                                                                      There is a growing body of                             We recently submitted a proposal
                                                                                                   evidence that enforces the beliefs on                describing the benefits of massage
                                                                                                   the benefits of music and massage                    therapy and other complementary and

                                                                                                   therapy improving a patient’s surgical               alternative therapies and were fortunate
                                                                                                   experience. Listening to music before,               to have received grant funding to include

                                                                                                   during and after surgery can lessen                  massage therapy to our patients following
                                                                                                   anxiety, and is a distraction from the               major surgery.
                                                                                                   ambient noise and flurry of activity                      We are still planning the program,
                                                                                                   necessary to make sure the patient’s                 recruiting staff and ordering equipment so

                                                                Innovation                         surgical experience is safe and effective.
                                                                                                      With suggestions from our
                                                                                                                                                        this benefit will be available to Veteran’s
                                                                                                                                                        during their hospitalization for surgery.

                                                                in patient-
                                                                                                   surgical patients, nursing staff, and                     We will keep you updated on our
                                                                                                   generous support from our Volunteer                  progress via bulletins and posters located
                                                                                                   department, we are in the process                    throughout the facility.

                                                                centered                           of developing our Perioperative                           (Editor’s note: This is the first in a series
                                                                                                   Patient Music Library and purchasing                 of informal communications regarding the
                                                                                                   equipment (iPods, CD players,                        introduction of complementary and alternative

                                                                 care                              headphones) to meet patients’ music
                                                                                                   preferences and delivery needs.
                                                                                                                                                        therapies to our Veterans scheduled for surgery.
                                                                                                                                                        Additional information will be provided as
                                                                                                      Therapeutic touch, such as massage                progress on this project is made. Please watch for
                                                                                                   therapy, helps to decrease anxiety,                  bulletins as the program comes full circle.)

                             VA training requirements still transforming
                             By Joan Etzenhouser                      Changes include the annual                   • New supervisors must                        Training
                             Training Specialist                  education requirement being                        complete a pre-test and the                 Portal.
                                There have been significant       reduced from 40 to 20 hours.                       14 modules of “Nuts and                     In the
                             changes recently in the VA           Also, the VA has eliminated the                    Bolts of Supervision” in LMS.               future,
                             education training requirements.     20-hour annual safety education                    There is also a post-test after             they
                                                                  requirement.                                       the modules are complete.                   will be
                                                                      In addition to these changes,                • Most of the all-employee                    available
                                                                  there are other helpful LMS tips                   mandatory annual reviews                    only on
                                                                  to help VA staff members get the                   are now on LMS. The only                    LMS.
                                                                  most of the educational time:                      course currently remaining               • To be a
                                                                     • VA staff should call their local              on the VISN 18 Training                     mentor for the VISN & facility
                                                                        LMS administrator when they                  Portal is “Prevention of                    leadership programs (LDI,
                                                                        need assistance. Please do not               Health Care Associated                      LITE, & SAW), employees
                                                                        call the VA LMS Help Desk.                   Infections.”                                must attend an 8-hour core
                                                                     • Existing supervisory staff                  • For the time being, most                    mentor training course.
                                                                        need to have 20 hours                        clinical staff and critical care          For more information, call the
                                                                        of education containing                      nursing staff MARs will be             education department at extensions
                                                                        supervisory content each year.               available on the VISN 18               5785, 6369 or 6423.

                                        VAEA                         Membership in the VA
                                                                  Employee Association is only $5 per
                                                                                                               coupons for Sea World, Catalina
                                                                                                               Island, and free or reduced price
                                                                                                                                                            site where you can look at
                                                                                                                                                            the discounts we have. They
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                                                                  year and offers many discounts to            tickets for the annual Home and              range from mortgages, banks,

                                    provides                      members. People who are members
                                                                  are added to the e-mail group and
                                                                                                               Garden Show and the Men’s
                                                                                                               Luxury Toy show. We also have a
                                                                                                                                                            chiropractors, leisure time
                                                                                                                                                            activities (i.e. Dolly Steamboat,
                                                                  will receive announcements about             Halloween party with costume and             Verde Canyon Railroad and
                                   discounts,                     discounts and events.
                                                                     Some of the attractions we
                                                                                                               pumpkin decorating contests.
                                                                                                                   The vendors for the discount
                                                                                                                                                            more), books, candles, camping,
                                                                                                                                                            white water rafting, and more.

                                                                  discount tickets we for include              programs hold a fair during these            People interested in joining the
                                                                  Castles and Coasters, all three              parties and bring lots of door               VAEA can call Michelle Roberts
                                                                  water parks, and Legoland. We get            prizes. There is a VAEA web                  at extension 6442.

VA diabetes
researcher earns
prestigious award
    The Phoenix VA Health Care System’s
director of diabetes research, Dr. William
was honored
for Outstanding
Achievement in
Clinical Science
with the first ever
presentation of the
John Blair Barnwell
    The Barnwell
Award recognizes
leading VHA
investigators who have
                               Dr. William Duckworth   Research staff celebrates successes,
achieved international acclaim for outstanding
scientific achievements in clinical research that      announces upcoming projects
advance the diagnosis and treatment of diseases
                                                       By Angela Boyd, RT, MHA, CCRC                           Jeanne Attrep, M.D., Registry study
and disorders in the Veteran population. Clinical      Research Senior Clinical Coordinator                to determine incidence of hypocalcemia
research recognized by the Barnwell Award
                                                           The Department of Veteran Affairs               post reclast with Paget’s disease, funded
reflect efforts leading to clinical implementation
                                                       celebrated 85 years of research during National     by Novartis. The study will investigate
of new diagnostic or treatment strategies.
                                                       Research Week, April 26-30. The PVAHCS has          the effectiveness of physician and patient
    This award recognizes Duckworth’s lifelong
                                                       84 research investigators conducting 110 studies.   education strategies about calcium and
contributions to advancing diabetes care in
                                                           The majority of investigators are clinicians)   vitamin D supplementation by assessing
patients with this devastating disease, and
                                                       who get their ideas from their daily work with      the incidence of hypocalcemia in patients
comes with a three-year, $50,000 stipend to
                                                       patients. Some investigators work in research       with Paget’s disease of bone ten days after
the PVAHCS which will continue to help fund
                                                       laboratories on projects that ultimately lead       treatment with Reclast 5mq IV.
future diabetes research studies.
                                                       to patient-centered studies. Investigators are          James Felicetta, M.D., Impact of non-
     “We are incredibly proud of Dr.
                                                       supported by staff who coordinate studies and       severe hypoglycemia on attitudes, decision
Duckworth’s achievements,” says Dr. Raymond
                                                       maintain regulatory documents.                      making, and glycemic control in type 2
Chung, Phoenix VA’s Chief of Staff. “However,
                                                           Some of the successes include:                  diabetes, funded by Eli Lily in conjunction
we are mostly grateful for his work in improving
                                                           April 27:                                       with Albuquerque. The study objectives
the treatment of type 2 diabetes.”
                                                           • 250 poster presentation viewers               are to determine the prevalence of non-
    In earlier work, Duckworth has also been
                                                           • 227 “permission to be contacted” forms        severe hypoglycemia in patients on medical
instrumental in studying the use and value of
                                                           April 28:                                       therapy for type 2 diabetes, describe patient
implantable insulin pumps in patients with type 2
                                                           • 61 visitors to the poster presentations       and provider attitudes about hypoglycemia,
diabetes and has developed programs to increase
                                                           • 30 R&D office tour visitors                   describe how hypoglycemia affects patient
the use of insulin pumps and the management of
                                                           • 46 laboratory tour visitors                   and provider management of diabetes, and
patients with diabetes.
                                                           • 50 evaluations completed                      describe the effect of hypoglycemia on
    Although most of his work has been done in
the VA, but this work is applicable to all patients        April 29:                                       glycemic control.
with diabetes. His most recent accomplishment              • 282 visitors to the poster presentations          Paska Permana, Ph.D., Madres para la

                                                                                                                                                              Desert sun | May/June 2010
was as the initiator and co-chairman of the VA             • 39 R&D office tour visitors                   Salud, funded by the National Institute of
Diabetes Trial, along with Dr. Carlos Abraira              • 93 laboratory tour visitors                   Nursing Research. The project examines the
at the Miami VA. This seven-and-a-half-year,               • 22 “permission to be contacted” forms         relationship between moderate increases in
1,800-patient study was directed at examining              • 192 evaluations completed                     physical activity and body fat loss in sedentary
the major cause of mortality in patients with              • 500 people ate at the BBQ                     Hispanic women during the postpartum
diabetes, namely, cardiovascular disease, and                                                              period, and to explore the relationship
determining whether intensive glucose control          Upcoming studies                                    between postpartum depression symptoms,
reduced heart attacks, strokes, death from                Some newly approved research studies             physical activity and inflammatory processes
cardiovascular disease, and other diabetes             starting in the spring include:                     in body fat tissue.
                             CLC transformation continues at PVAHCS
                             By Michelle Roberts                            the Voc Rehab program, we were
                             PVAHCS Community Living Center                 offered his services as part of his
                                 As part of the Community Living            training to change careers.
                             Center’s cultural transformation                   Bryant has been working with
                             to provide a more homelike                     residents for the past five months in
                             atmosphere, organizers continue                the recreation therapy program. He
                             to strive to add more activities for           organizes domino games, evening
                             patient residents.                             movies, one-to-one exercises, and card
                                 To help achieve this measure, the          games, and generally helps wherever
                             Community Living Center staff has              he’s needed. He also started a
                             extended recreation therapy services           program that allows a Veteran resident
                             to include evening activities. This is         to present another resident with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Courtesy photo
                             the result of the CLC’s association            certificate that thanks that person for a     Michael Bryant, a Community Living Center volunteer, helps CLC patient residents through
                             with the Vocational Rehabilitation             Random Act of Kindness.                       a	series	of	fitness	exercises.
                             Service. Michael Bryant, a volunteer               The “act” could involve someone           have been two recipients so far.               in more meaningful uses of their
                             who provided exercise classes                  observing a Veteran helping                   Both gentlemen were extremely                  time in the CLC.
                             twice a week for residents, had                another Veteran or a Veteran just             surprised and grateful for the                     Bryant has accepted a position
                             been working as a physical trainer             helping another Veteran through               recognition. All of these activities           at the Regional Office Wellness
                             for some years. When he entered                an emotionally tough patch. There             help to keep the residents involved            Center.

                             Plant life thriving thanks to CLC gardening table project
                             By Ruby Sheffer and Julie Effron                    There is some of (Navajo                         crew who set up two of                    •    Our local administration for
                             PVAHCS Community Living Center                   code-talker) Edward Anderson’s                      the planters and made one                      their support.
                                 It started with a very special               corn in the east side planters. It’s                of them into a wonderful                  •    A special thanks to the
                             table made by an Eagle Scout                     there because when he asked what                    sensory garden.                                grounds crew here, many
                             named Carter                                                              we were going         •    Candace and Nick Martinez                      who are also gardners, that
                             Doyle.                                                                    to grow in the             who help with plant care.                      set the planters into place.
                                 The table                                                             planters and
                             was designed                                                              was told that
                             to hold potted                                                            it was for CLC       Good ‘Karma’ comes to CLC residents
                             plants and                                                                Veterans to          By Emily Waldron                                          Effron said when
                             helped those                                                              grow whatever        PVAHCS Community Living Center                         Parker passed away, his
                             who could not                                                             they wanted,             It might take the                                  family allowed Karma to
                             bend down                                                                 he raised an         average person a little                                continue to bring love
                             to garden.                                                                eyebrow,             more sniffing around                                   and hope to patients
                             The table is                                                              grinned, and         to learn about a recent                                here. Jack Doherty, a
                             still in the                                                              said, “Corn.”        addition to the Phoenix                                medical center patient,
                             Community                                                                 And so there         VA team.                                               said he takes delight
                             Living Center                                                             it is, all three         Karma, a German Shepherd                  in Karma. “Karma is very easy
                             Wander                                                                    varieties,           service dog, is thriving in the               going and laid back,” he said.
                             Garden and is                                                             including blue.      confines of the medical center                “She even has a nicer room
                             full of potted                                                                A lot of         and she’s a hit with patients,                than I do!” Doherty explains
                             plants. Only                                                              people made          doctors and nurses.                           he often becomes bored, but
                             now, thanks                                            Photo: Bill Pedene
                                                                                                       the CLC garden           Karma has had a background                with Karma his boredom is no
                             to the help                                                               possible. The        of bringing love and hope to                  longer an issue. “I spend a lot of
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                                                     Navajo code talker Edward Anderson grows
                             of a lot of             corn in the CLC planters                          CLC staff            members of the community.                     time patting her and rubbing her
                             good people,                                                              would like to        According to Julie Effron, a                  belly,” he said.
                             it has been joined by two new                                             thank:               recreational therapist, Karma                    Karma provides love and
                             wheelchair accessible planters.                     • The volunteers of                        worked as a service dog for the               entertainment to employees
                             In addition, on the east side                           Honeywell, in conjunction              visually impaired. She found her              and patients alike. Any medical
                             of the CLC, there are three                             with Rebuilding Together –             way into the medical center while             center guests that meet up with
                             similar planters. They exist for                        who built the planters.                working for Robert Parker, a                  Karma will definitely get a smile
                             wheelchair-bound Veterans to                        • Kaitlin Smith and her                    World War II Army Veteran who                 from this beloved German
                             grow what they wish.                                    hardworking Venture Scout              spent the last year of his life here.         Shepherd.
Miracle on the Mountain                                                           Clinic assisted by
                                                                                  his coach, Eva

     Blind Veteran challenges                                                     Gergely, who is an
                                                                                  Orientation and

     slopes, achieves dreams
                                                                                  Mobility Specialist
                                                                                  working for the
                                                                                  Phoenix VA

     at winter sports clinic                                                      Advanced Low
                                                                                  Vision Clinic.
By Eva Gergely                           won a gold dollar for hitting the pin         To be
Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist      in the target.                           considered for
    When Veterans conquer the                “There were a lot of events          selection, Gorski
mountain, at the National Disabled       to choose from and they were             had to apply for
Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, it        professionally handled, the most         an opportunity
proves to all that a disability need     memorable event was the trout            to participate in
not be an obstacle to an active,         fishing” he said.                        the 2010 Winter
rewarding life.                              “The hospitality at the clinic and   Sports Clinic
    “It’s very important because         all of volunteers really assisted in     by completing
Veterans with disabilities have          making this clinic run so well,” he      an extensive
a feeling of frustration, fear and       said. “From the Elks to the DAV,         application and
anxiety that they can’t perform at       there were groups to meet and            body conditioning
the level they were accustomed to        escort everyone at the different gates   program to                                                                      Courtesy photos
before their disability, said Andrew     at the Denver airport.”                  prepare him              Andrew Gorski, a blind Veteran, learns self defense techniques
Gorski, a blind Veteran. “At the             Gorski added “The volunteers         for the physical         at the 24th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in
clinic these barriers are broken         were most impressive and very            activities. Once         Snowmass, Colo.

down, making us feel whole again.”       upbeat.” He had a great week             his application was
     In late March, the Phoenix          interacting with other visually          approved, he received an orientation
VA National Recreation Events            impaired veterans from Reno, Nev.,       and mobility lesson from his coach
Committee and the Disabled               and Michigan.                            to assist him in navigating unfamiliar
American Veterans sponsored                  This year many Veterans were         areas, such as the airport, without
Gorski to attend the 24th National       able to interacted with a few Para-      the benefit of vision.
Disabled Veterans Winter Sports          Olympians and Olympians, including            At the Phoenix VA Health Care
Clinic in Snowmass, Colo. Gorski         downhill skiers Bode Miller and Casey    System, a team of blind rehabilitation
was one of 352 Veterans ranging          Puckett, along with snow boarders        specialists start with a patient-centered
in age from 19 to 86 from across         Gretchen Bleiler and Andy Finch.         approach that includes primary
the nation that went to learn and        Veterans experienced the slopes          care, ophthalmology, low-vision
improve their skills in winter sports.   with the Olympians along with a          optometry, social work, audiology and
    The clinic promotes rehabilitation   celebratory “Night of Champions” to      other services. This interdisciplinary
by teaching Veterans with significant    meet and greet the athletes.             approach helps visually impaired
disabilities and visual impairments           Before attending the clinic,        Veterans get on track to rehabilitation
how to participate in downhill and       Gorski said he wasn’t familiar with      and greater independence. The
cross-country skiing. Alternative        the services offered the VA offered      PVAHCS also has an Advanced Low
activities are available that allow      for blinded Veterans. He said            Vision Clinic that serves Veterans who
Veterans to experience other             he contacted Visual Impairment           still have some sight, but who struggle
adventures such as scuba diving,         Services Team Coordinator                with reading and mobility. This
                                                                                                                                   Gorski	poses	on	the	slopes	during	the	first	
pistol shooting, snow shoeing,           Tom Hicks, and Hicks referred            clinic teaches them about their eye              day of the clinic.
snowmobiling, fly fishing, sled          Gorski to a six-week inpatient           conditions and provides them with
hockey, self defense and curling.        comprehensive blind rehabilitation       low vision tools to help them remain             nearly 50,000 Veterans nationwide
    On his first day at the clinic       training program at the Tucson           independent. These tools include                 who are visually impaired are
                                                                                                                                                                                    Desert sun | May/June 2010
Gorski broke his right hand while        VA’s Southwestern Blind                  magnifiers, talking clocks, closed               those age 55 and older who
downhill skiing with his instructor.     Rehabilitation Center. At the center     circuit video magnifiers and special             have lost their eyesight due to
Despite his injury he persevered         he learned skills to improve his         sunglasses.                                      diseases like macular degeneration
and said he had an overall incredible    personal safety and independence,             The programs also include                   and diabetic retinopathy. Blind
experience. He also participated         such as working with a white cane,       outpatient rehabilitation services in            or visually impaired Veterans
in trout fishing and snowmobiling,       sighted guide techniques, and other      Veterans’ homes, as well as referrals            interested in referral to any of
where he won the sprint with a           adaptive techniques and tools.           to a world-class VA inpatient rehab              the aforementioned programs
sighted guide amongst his sighted             Gorski said he took his new         center located at the Tucson Southern            should contact Tom Hicks, VIST
peers. He also curled, sponsored by      adaptive knowledge and skills and        Arizona VA Health Care system.                   coordinator, at 602-277-5551,
the Colorado Curling Team, were he       put them to use at the Winter Sports          The largest portion of the                  extension 7236.
                             VA nurses have you covered
                                The Phoenix VA Health Care
                             System celebrated Nurses’ Week
                             from May 6 to 12
                                Events were organized by the
                             Nursing Recruitment and Retention
                             Committee and focused on fostering
                             nurses caring today for healthier a
                                Four PVAHCS nurses — Sheila
                             Girard, Jane Grover, Anne Glynn-
                             Baldwin, and Jolyn Moeller —
                             earned the Secretary of Veteran
                             Affairs Award for Excellence in

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photos: Bruce Bowens
                                                                       Gathered for Nurses’ Week events are, back row from left to right, Dr. Cynthia McCormack, Dr. Keith Piatt, Gail Smith, Stephanie Bowles,
                                                                       Ann Sena, Kim Atwood, Rosemary Vogel, Judith Jungbluth, and Charles Olsen; In the second row from right to left are Tom Burns, Joan
                                                                       Malone, Loretta Chase, Angie Otradovec, Maribel Luna, Joselyn Dimeco, Linda Jones, and Cindy Dewaters. Front row from left is Marietta
                                                                       Stites, Sharon Navratil, Sharon Navratil, Michaela Arnaudova, and Gabriel Peréz

                                                                                                                      has seen more than 350 patients in the RN Diabetes Case Manager clinic in
                                                                                                                      the nine months the clinic has been open full time. With an intensive focus
                                                                                                                      on this population, A1C rates have shown a reduction in more than 85
                                                                                                                      percent of the Veterans who participate in the Case Management
                                                                                                                          Moeller serves on the Phoenix VA chapter of the Prevention of
                                                                                                                      Amputation Care and Treatment committee, with the goal of improving
                                                                                                                      diabetic foot care within primary care and appropriate referral to
                                                                                                                      podiatry. She also participates in the Diabetes Redesign committee, a
                                                                                                                      multidisciplinary committee seeking to improve patient outcomes in
                                                                                                                      diabetes and compliance with clinical reminders in diabetes.
                                                                                                                          She provided input to the Diabetes Flow Chart, an algorithm for
                                                                                                                      diabetes care within primary care. Using current evidenced-based
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                                                                                                                      community practices and research, she also helped to create the insulin
                                                                                                                      adjustment patient instruction sheet, widely used in primary care to assist
                               JOLYN MOELLER, RN, BSN CDE                                                             Veterans in managing their insulin use. She ensures all changes in practice
                                  Jolyn Moeller applies advanced nursing skills in the assessment, treatment          and process are shared with her nursing peers and providers in the in-
                               and nursing care of patients with diabetes across ambulatory care. She is a full       house primary care clinics and the community-based outpatient clinics.
                               time RN diabetes case manager and an expert in diabetes care. Moeller does                 Moeller represents the spirit of collegiality among VA nurses and is a model
                               assessments of diet, exercise, medications, sleep, lifestyle and home blood            VA ambassador in her community activities. She focuses her growth on the
                               sugar readings, and makes recommendations to the patient and provider for              on the improvement of the care and the health, safety and rights of the patient.
                               improvements in blood pressure, lipids and A1C.                                        Moeller has fully embraced her clinical role in Diabetes Case Management and
                                  She coordinates with dieticians in the care of patients with diabetes. She          is currently completing the last semester of her master’s degree.
   Jane Grover exhibits strong nursing traits: communication,               SHEILA GIRARD, NA
accountability, and professionalism. Grover is a dependable,                   Sheila Girard is a nursing assistant who consistently performs at a
compassionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated member of the Ward 2C           high skill level, and takes pride in providing Veterans with excellent
health care team. She has excellent organizational skills and is always     patient care. Because of her strong knowledge base, she is able to
there to assist team members.                                               identify abnormal levels and vital sign readings and promptly informs
   She completes patient care needs in a positive manner. Grover is         her team leader of these changes for resolution. Girard enjoys learning
a wonderful person to work with and is well-liked by her peers. She’s       new skills and offers a positive approach whenever she is floated to
currently taking pre-requisites classes with the goal of becoming a         different departments.
registered nurse.                                                              Girard received training on safe patient handling and is involved in the
   Grover often takes the lead in preventing and treating skin              continuous staff training in proper usage of the equipment. She’s taken
breakdown. Because of her interest in skin care, she is now a               the lead in completing required paperwork for the program and works to
member of the Skin Care Committee.                                          prevent injuries by educating others on lift and transfer equipment.
   She is conscientious and proficient in medication administration.           Girard is sensitive to the needs of the different groups of Veteran
She demonstrates excellent knowledge and skill in navigating the            patients, including the World War II, Korean War, Gulf War and
BCMA, consistently placing in the “top performer” bracket each              Iraq War Veterans. She spends extra time learning about each
month for the documentation of PRN Effectiveness within one-                patient’s history and their special needs. She routinely goes the extra
hour campaign.                                                              mile to provide her patients with a more comfortable hospital stay.

                                                                          element for each patient, assisting them in any way needed to
                                                                          reduce additional stress.
                                                                             Glynn-Baldwin finished the BSN program at Grand Canyon
                                                                          University and plans to begin her masters program in the fall.
                                                                          She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the National Honor
                                                                          Society for Nursing. Glynn-Baldwin is passionate with oncology
                                                                          nursing and her goal is to advance her skills in chemotherapy
                                                                             The completion of the Oncology Nursing Society’s class,
                                                                          Biotherapy and Chemotherapy Certification, helped her become
                                                                          proficient in the complex medication administration.
                                                                             In spite of knowledge in medication compatibility and usual
                                                                          chemotherapy routines, she consistently collaborates with the

                                                                                                                                                          Desert sun | May/June 2010
                                                                          multidisciplinary team when administering chemotherapy to
                                                                          ensure high level of patient safety.
                                                                             She is a role model and an excellent preceptor. When
ANNE GLYNN-BALDWIN, RN, BSN                                               orienting new employees, she emphasizes that lifestyle choices
   Anne Glynn-Baldwin shares the charge nurse role in 2C.                 should never be considered when providing a high level of health
Glynn-Baldwin consistently provides the highest level of                  care for our Veteran patients.
care possible for our veteran patients. She has an excellent                 She consistently promotes the positive nursing image by her
organizational skill, and has the ability to utilize staff to meet        dedication in providing excellent care to her patients and their
each patient’s needs.                                                     family. She ensures that quality care is provided at all times, and
   She prepares assignments according to patient acuity, and time         reflects the qualities of a true VA nurse.
                                                                                                                                                                     GLBT month features
                                                                                                                                                                     celebration events
                                                                                                                                                                         The Phoenix
                                                                                                                                                                     VA Health Care
                                                                                                                                                                     System kicks off gay,
                                                                                                                                                                     lesbian, bisexual and
                                                                                                                                                                     transgender month
                                                                                                                                                                     at 8 a.m., June 1
                                                                                                                                                                     with a presentation
                                                                                                                                                                     by Assistant Mayor
                                                                                                                                                                     of Phoenix Tom
                                                                                                                                                                     Simplot. Simplot has
                                                                                                                                                                     been instrumental
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Tom Simplot
                                                                                                                                                                     in the face lift of the
                                                                                                                                                                     Melrose Place District of Phoenix.
                                                                                                                                                                         He represents a widely diverse district in the
                                                                                                                                                                     heart of central Phoenix, stretching from 51st
                                                                                                                                                                     Avenue to 24th Street, and Bethany Home Road
                                                                                                                                                                     to Van Buren Street.
                                                                                                                                                Courtesy photo           Dr. Becky Allison,
                                                                                                                                                                     a local cardiologist
                                 It’s a wrap!                                                                                                                        and president of the
                                 Arizona	Senator	John	McCain	and	Phoenix	VA	Health	Care	System	Administrator	Gabriel	Peréz	display	a	patriotic	                      Gay and Lesbian
                                 quilt.		Senator	McCain,	an	ex-prisoner	of	war	from	the	Vietnam	War,	visited	May	1	with	Veterans	here.		During	his	visit	            Medical Association,
                                 the senator donated the quilt to the patients in the Community Living Center. The patients visited with the senator                 will speak at 2 p.m.,
                                 listened as he shared his thanks for their service to our country. The senator also thanked the staff for their support of
                                                                                                                                                                     June 8. Allison
                                                                                                                                                                     has had many of
                                 our patients. Senator McCain took photos with patients and staff during the visit.
                                                                                                                                                                     our Cardiology
                                                                                                                                                                     Fellows under her
                             PVAHCS salutes volunteer contributions                                                                                                  tutelage. Allison
                                                                                                                                                                     and her partner host
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Becky Allison

                             By Sheila Beran-Parker                                                                                                                  the Transgender Day of Remembrance in
                             Voluntary Specialist                                                                                                                    November each year at the Arizona state capitol.
                                 If you have ever put together                                                                                                           Finally, Allison
                             a jigsaw puzzle, you know how                                                                                                           Sinclair will hold
                             important it is for each piece to                                                                                                       an in-service
                             connect and fit properly in order for                                                                                                   and educational
                             the “big picture” to come together.                                                                                                     presentation at 9 a.m.,
                                 But more importantly, the puzzle                                                                                                    June 29. In addition
                             symbolizes interchanging pieces                                                                                                         to her duties here,
                             of various shapes and designs                                                                                                           she serves on the
                             interlocking with each other to                                                                                                         board of directors
                             serve a purpose and to complete a                                                                                                       of 1 Voice GLBT                  Allison Sinclair

                             mission.                                                                                                                                Community Center and was instrumental in the
                                 More than 260 volunteers, guests,                                                                            Photos: Bruce Bowens
                                                                                                                                                                     construction phase of getting the Center open. The
                                                                               More than 260 volunteers, guests and staff joined together March 30 for the
                             and staff joined together March                                                                                                         Center is at 725 W. Indian School Rd., Suite 125.
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                                                                               annual PVAHCS Volunteer Recognition Awards Ceremony.
                             30 for the Volunteer Recognition                                                                                                            She will show the documentary “Trinidad,”
                             Awards Ceremony: “Volunteers - A                                                                                                        which features Dr. Stanley Biber and his
                             Perfect Fit.”                                                                                                                           predecessor Dr. Marci Bowers, who brought
                                 Thank you goes out to all the                                                                                                       changes to the town of Trinidad, Colo., and the
                             staff in assisting with the Volunteer                                                                                                   reactions of the townspeople of this small town.
                             Recognition Ceremony, and huge                                                                                                              GLBT month originated in the United States
                             thank you to the staff who served                                                                                                       and was first celebrated in 1994. The month-
                             the lunches to the volunteers. Our                                                                                                      long annual event focuses on gay, lesbian,
                             volunteers were truly touched by                                                                                                        bisexual and transgender history, the gay rights
                             your overwhelming presence.                       Volunteer awards                                                                      movement and related civil rights movements.
Sisters share PVAHCS
volunteer recognition
By Paula L. Pedene, APR              Veterans Program includes
Public Affairs Officer               monthly check-ins, gift baskets
   Sisters Kathy Laurier and         and additional support to new
Barb Shaw are responsible for        moms and their infants. “The
the creation of the Maternity        calls from Kathy and Barb are
Support Program for new moms         often the only connections these
and their children at the Phoenix    Veterans have with the VA
VA Health Care System. Thanks        during their pregnancy,” says KJ
to their diligence and the support   Sloan, Women Veterans Program
they offer new moms, the sisters     Manager. “Kathy and Barb are
can now add the title of VA          the face and voice of our VA.
Volunteers of the Year to their      Through their regular interaction
accomplishments.                     with the Veterans, women’s needs                                                                    Sisters Kathy Laurier
   “These two women have             are identified and addressed,                                                                       and Barb Shaw
                                                                                                                                         earned	2010	Volunteer	
gone above and beyond as             while a rapport and trust is
                                                                                                                                         of the Year recognition
volunteers. Their dedication,        established and maintained.”                                                                        at	the	Phoenix	VA	
compassion and spirit of                Through donations to the                                                                         Health Care System
excellence are very apparent,”       Phoenix VA Health Care System’s                                                                     for the creation and
said Maternity Program Veteran       Women Veterans Program,                                                                             operation of the
                                                                                                                                         PVAHCS Maternity
Kori Kirkpatrick. “As a first-       Laurier and Shaw regularly create
                                                                                                                                         Support Program.
time mother, I appreciated having    giant gift baskets for Women                                                  Photo: Bruce Bowens

someone to trust with personal       Veterans who are expecting and       are identified and referred to        demonstrated what excellence in
issues and concerns. At the          they conduct “house visits” before   appropriate providers,” says KJ       health care can look like.”
Phoenix VA, we are honored           or after the babies are born.        Sloan. “The women Veterans also          According to PVAHCS leaders,
to have people of this caliber           “Our women Veterans are          are given a gift (the baskets) that   Laurier and Shaw have made the
volunteering.”                       no longer disconnected from          says ‘The VA cares about you and      Maternity Support Program such
   The compassion they show          the system, so issues that once      this new life you have brought into   a success that it has become the
in their work with the Women         would have gone unaddressed          the world.’ Kathy and Barb have       national model for other VAMCs.

Public Affairs recognizes PVAHCS staff PR contributions
Paula L. Pedene, APR
Public Affairs Officer                                                    T H A N K                    Y O U !
   When staff members assist our VA                      Thanks to Scott McRoberts, Anna Ivey,      who were trying to film the VA Medical
with media and other PR requests, their              Bobbi Larson, Tina Simmons, Michele            Center to the public affairs office.
efforts help us respond to media queries             Laib, Michelle Bagford, Geri Ryan,                To Scott Timiney and the Outpatient
                                                     Caroline Rosemond, Manny Moneda,               Pharmacy staff for their support in the
and other public relations requests in
                                                                                                                                                                   Desert sun | May/June 2010
                                                     Karen Walenga, Betty Beason, Bonnie            ABC 15 filming of the pharmacy.
a positive and timely manner. These                  Conrad, Judy Cosby and Jeff Bagford for           To the CLC recreation therapists
“PR Providers” earn recognition in this              their help with the Doctor’s Day event and     and others for the support of the “Veteran
column and receive a special token of                activities.                                    Walking” and Senator John McCain visit.
appreciation for their PR efforts.                       Thanks to Dr. Vivienne Halpern                To the VA Police for their support
                                                     for the DVT series to be placed on the         during the Senator McCain visit.
                                                     social media sites. We received numerous          To Kathy Laurier, Barb Shaw and
                                                     compliments on the information she shared.     Sheila Beran-Parker for their support with
                                                         Rebecca “Becky” Munoz for following        the Maternity and Newborn Program media
                                                     policy and sending the ASU students to the     requests.
                              APRIL               By Vic Nickson
                                                  Patient Services Assistant
                                                                                               roster to those who require it.
                                                                                                   Leslie respects our Veterans and
                                                                                                                                        consuming project, requiring patients
                                                                                                                                        be seen within 30 days, which she
                                                      Leslie Johnson was selected as the       in turn is respected by them. She is     handles like a “maestro.”
                                                  Employee of the Month for April.             so calming and reassuring to others,        Leslie Johnson is committed
                                                      Johnson has gained the trust and         it endears a loyalty from them to        120% to the Veterans and to VA
                                                  respect of all those with whom she           her, seldom seen or experienced at       mission accomplishment. For
                                                  comes in contact, and exhibits the           her level. For example, cardiology       example, as alluded to earlier, she
                                                  qualities of excellence, commitment,         patients continue to seek her out        stays late, comes in early, and has
                                                  and compassion.                              even though she has not worked           come in on weekends to get the job
                                                      Those who know her describe              there for over a year. Likewise, file    done. She is the type of unsung
                                                  her as trusted, highly reliable and          room employees search out her            hero, little notice, but who keep
                                                  as the glue who holds the office             expertise, even though she has not       organizations humming along at
                                                  together. As an example, Johnson is          worked there in almost three years.      maximum efficiency.
                                                  responsible for the Internal Medicine            She is not only excellent in            She is compassionate. She spends
                                                  House-Staff Roster. This roster is           every way, but is an outstanding         time with patients; follows-up to
                                                  time consuming to prepare and very           employee already strategically           ensure they have what they need
                               Leslie Johnson
                                                  difficult to maintain with not only          thinking organizationally at the next    to get the best care possible. In
                                                  daily but sometimes hourly changes.          level. Leslie is always seeking higher   addition, she does tremendous work
                                                  It must be updated, clear and 100            education and self-improvement.          for the Phoenix VA Health Care
                                                  percent accurate at all times.               She takes pride in her work and          System’s blood drive. she writes
                                                      She not only accomplishes this           goes the extra mile. As an example,      and coordinates the advertisements
                                                  during normal duty hours, but has            she volunteers for many projects,        for the Drive; secures prizes and
                                                  been known to give up her personal           including preparing the clinic access    incentives; makes a big Hollywood
                                                  time and come into the office while          spreadsheets for the Medicine            production out of it to get volunteers
                                                  on scheduled annual leave to get this        Service. This is another time            to give blood to help the Veterans.

                                MAY               By Vic Nickson
                                                  Patient Services Assistant
                                                                                                   George excels at building and
                                                                                               sustaining relationships with all
                                                                                                                                        Service redesign team as well.
                                                                                                                                            She is sensitive, compassionate,
                                                       San Juanita George is the Program       customers. She respects others;          and has excellent rapport with all
                                                  Support Assistant for Human                  conducts courteous interactions          customers. She cares and helps
                                                  Resources Management Services, and           with customers; handles conflict in      everyone. She has her own customer
                                                  is congratulated as the Employee of          a professional manner; builds and        satisfaction survey system, utilizing
                                                  the Month for May.                           sustains trust and respect and is open   customer feedback to bring in better
                                                       The superlatives for San Juanita        to ideas from other people.              valued items available for the Pride
                                                  George roll down like a mighty                   She has earned many compliments;     Award program. In addition, George
                                                  river. She has been described as the         Pride Awards and is respected among      improved PVAHCS morale which has
                                                  pulse, the catalyst, the heart and soul,     peers, customers and supervisors.        had the side benefit of contributing
                                                  the single most valuable member              Additionally and importantly, she        to the hospital’s reputation within the
                                                  of HRMS; the behind the scenes               supports the chain of command,           outside community.
                                                  mover responsible for much of the            whereas others may not even grasp            She is excellent in every sense of
                                                  organization’s success; and excelling at     the concept of the chain of command.     the word and is a 2009 graduate of
                                                  all facets of her duties, responsibilities       George is not only a multi-          the LITE program. In addition, she
                                                  and VA core values.                          task person, but a versatile multi-      is a certified mentor for PVAHCS
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                             San Juanita George
                                                       She is knowledgeable, skillful,         talented one as well. She honors         virtual training in mediation. Lastly, in
                                                  performs without supervision, and            commitments to all, wears many hats      a final burst of whirlwind of activity,
                                                  exceeds all expected functional and          and completes all assigned tasks.        she attends annual dispute resolution
                                                  technical literacy skills required for       For example, she not only installed      conferences; prepared a booth and
                                                  her duties. The acting HRO trusted           a new system for tracking advanced       entered an education board at the
                                                  her to assist with the end of year           and voluntary leave; is responsible      2009 VA Quality Expo Pride Award
                                                  budget reporting and allotments.             for timekeeping, purchasing, HRMS        Program resulting in a 95 percent
                                                  Also, she not only managed the leave         intranet vacancy announcements;          turnover rate of Pride Award items
                                                  administration program, but improved         and the Pride Award program; but         (an unusually high rate); and has also
                                                  it as well.                                  is on the Facility Systems Customer      had time for personal development.
]Dr. Marciella Moffitt recently         Transplantation and the third        ]Ben Mormino,                           psychiatrist, will become a U.S.
 received two prestigious awards        will be published in June in the      a six-year                             citizen in June. Geete moved
 from the College of Medicine           Journal of American Society of        veteran of the                         from Bombay (also known as
 Faculty at the awards banquet          Echocardiography.                     United States                          Mumbai), India to Chicago, Ill.,
 held at the Virginia G. Piper                                                Department                             in 1996 on an Exchange Visitor
 Auditorium. One recognized her       ]Congratulations to Christian           of Veterans                            Visa.
 efforts as a teacher for the class    Meyer, M.D., the 2010 American         Affairs Police                            He moved to Arizona in 2005
 of 2013 and the other was for her     Diabetes Association Cure Award        was promoted                           after receiving his green card
 efforts in teaching doctoring.        winner. He received his award          to the rank of                         and accepted a position with the
                                       April 24 at the Diabetes Update        lieutenant/                            PVAHCS last August.
                                       Awards Luncheon at the Phoenix         criminal              Ben Mormino
                                                                                                                        He said the best part of his
                                       Convention Center.                     investigator                           job is listening to Veterans talk
                                          The Phoenix VA also had             April 25. In this capacity he          about their combat experience.
                                       an exhibit booth and provided          is responsible for sharing in          “Learning from them helps me to
                                       information about diabetes             the duties, responsibilities           understand other people, and stay
                                       programs. Patty Hamm                   and authorities of the chief of        connected to the next Veteran”
                                       coordinated volunteers from the        police for the management and          he said.
                                       PVAHCS Community Relations             operations of criminal and other          Geete will be completing his
                                       Committee for the effort.              investigations.                        citizenship in June and is looking
            David Simper                                                         Prior to his promotion,             forward to his interview. He
                                      ]April 21 was National                  Mormino served as a detective          says it’s a “special privilege being
]Dr. David Simper recently             Administrative Professionals           with the Department of Veterans        an American,” and that “It is an
 had two articles published            Day — the Endocrinology                Affairs, New York Harbor Health        honor and privilege not everyone
 on PubMed.gov and in the              Department thanks Becky Miller         Care System. He is also a retired      is blessed to get.”
 American Heart Association            for all she does to help Veterans,     detective sergeant from the New
 Journal. The first was on             the endocrinology staff, and the       York City Police Department         ]Karen Cizek, MSN, RN;
 acute coronary syndromes,             Diabetes Program. Her hard             and served honorably as an           Nicolette Estrada, PhD,
 such as unstable angina, acute        work, dedication, compassion           investigator with the U.S. Coast     MAOM, RN, FNP; Jan Allen,
 myocardial infarction, and sudden     and expertise (especially this past    Guard Reserves.                      MSN, RN, CIC, CPHQ; and
 cardiac death, and how they are       year when she was often the only                                            Teresa Elsholz, MSN, RN
 commonly associated with the          administrative professional in        ]Danny Franco, Ph.D., won the         were recently published in the
 presence of vulnerable plaques        Endocrinology) were the glue           best poster contest at the VISN      May edition of the Nursing
 in coronary arteries. The second      that held the department and the       18 Research Forum. The project       2010 Journal. Their article was
 was on proteomics profiling           Diabetes Program together.             works to uncover the function of     titled “A Crystal-Clear Call
 reveals role of smooth muscle                                                a protein called Clusterin in tumor  to Standardize Color-Coded
 progenitors in extra cellular        ]Welcome aboard to Mehr                 cell, chemo-drug resistance.         Wristbands”.
 matrix production.                    Ahmed, M.D. Ahmed did his
                                       residency trainings in physical       ]Dr. James Felicetta, chief of        ]Several PVAHCS staff members
]Dr. Brian Boudi had two papers        medicine and rehabilitation at         medicine was a lead investigator      are participating in Project H3
 published in eMedicine World          University of Illinois at Chicago      on the Accord Study, designed         orientation and training to better
 Medical Library Specialties           from 1991 to 1995, and is              to look at the diabetic population    assist homeless Veterans.
 Cardiology Section found on the       board certified in that field          and lipid control. The report,           Team U is Michael Leon,
 VA Allecat. The first was on          since 1996. He has worked in           published in the Journal of           Anthony Irby and Robin

                                                                                                                                                            Desert sun | May/June 2010
 risk factors for coronary artery      the VA system for more than            American Medical Association,         Bernier; and Team T is Michelle
 disease. The second paper was         13 years. He joined the OEF/           found that aggressive lipid,          Cook, Esther Thomas and
 on atherosclerosis causes, signs      OIF program and team at                hypertension targeting yields no      Chris Hughes.
 and history.                          PVAHCS last October. He is             benefit for some with diabetes.          More than 58 representatives
                                       the OEF/OIF physiatrist and            The findings were presented           attended the orientation to learn
]Dr. Raymond Migrino was               his practice involves seeing           at the American College of            the history of how survey data was
 recently published in American        OEF/OIF patients with spine            Cardiology’s Annual Scientific        developed in New York and how
 Journal of Physiology. He will        pain, musculoskeletal pain             Session here in March.                this evidence- and community-
 have two other publications           and polytrauma-related special                                               based practice is ending
 soon at the Journal Heart Lung        rehabilitation needs.                 ]Dr. Jayant Geete, a PVAHCS            homelessness across the country.
                             PVAHCS staff gain Veteran insight through discussion program
                             Richard C. Katz                            VA has always recognized the need          program’s founders is Dr. Timothy         by two professionals who studied
                             Chief, Audiology and Speech Pathology      for training regarding the technical       Richardson, chief of staff at the         literature and its effect on the way
                                 Stories are unique to human            and interpersonal aspects of our jobs.     Augusta, Maine VAMC and himself a         people perceive the world. Elizabeth
                             beings. Stories are powerful because           Literature & Medicine: Humanities      Vietnam Veteran. A VA psychiatrist        Larson-Keagy, Ph.D., a lecturer
                             they involve not just facts but            at the Heart of Health Care is a           from the Boston, Mass., Dr. Jonathan      at ASU in Cultural Geography,
                             emotions, too, and provide listeners       national award-winning reading             Shay, has worked with Vietnam             and Erica Kinias, M.A., Arizona
                             with a deeper understanding of others      and discussion program for health          Veterans for more than 20 years,          Humanities Council Grant Manager,
                             and, upon reflection, themselves.          care professionals that, as one            and won a McArthur Foundation             facilitated the first group discussion
                                 I have worked for the VA for           participant wrote, “renews the heart       Genius grant for his books, “Achilles     series (Oct. 2009 to March 2010) at
                             more than 35 years and still remember      and soul of health care.” Literature       in Vietnam,” which describes the          this medical center and have lead
                             the first time a Veteran told me a story   & Medicine discussions help health         lasting effect of combat on soldiers,     groups at other hospitals in the
                             during his examination for speech and      care professionals improve their           and “Odysseus in America,” which          Phoenix area. They will return in
                             hearing problems.                          communication and interpersonal            describes the barriers challenging        June with a new series of books and
                                 He was a navigator during World        skills while increasing their cultural     returning Veterans.                       films for the second series.
                             War II, shot down over Germany             awareness,                                                         Many Veterans         Because the first series of
                             and captured by civilians who              empathy for                                                        themselves        Literature & Medicine discussion group
                             tortured him until he was rescued by       patients,                                                             have written   sessions at our medical center was so
                             German soldiers. In order to survive       and job                                                                  books       successful, the Literature & Medicine
                             as a prisoner of war, who were fed                                                                                   that       Program and the Arizona Humanities
                             only a watery potato soup, he learned                                                                                           Council agreed to fund a second
                             to suppress his natural instinct to                                                                                             series of six discussion sessions at
                             gag so he could eat insects – catch                                                                                             our medical center on the following
                             them, put them in his mouth, chew                                                                                               dates (all Mondays): June 7, July 12,
                             them, then swallow them – until he                                                                                              Aug. 2, Sept. 13, Oct. 4 and Nov. 8.
                             was liberated at the end of the war.                                                                                            Each session is from 4 to 5 p.m. and
                             He told me his life now was good:                                                                                               meets in a quad meeting room in the
                             He enjoyed his job, was happily                                                                                                 ACC basement. The grant will buy
                             married, and had four children, but        satisfaction. First created by the         describe their experiences overseas       all materials so there are no out-of-
                             he had one complaint: Whenever             Maine Humanities Council in 1997           and at home. By reading their books       pocket expenses.
                             he heard or saw someone cough or           for Maine health care professionals,       and discussing what we read with              In order to facilitate discussion,
                             gag, even his dog, he himself would        Literature & Medicine groups have met      other employees, we gain insight into     the group will have a maximum of 25
                             immediately vomit.                         in more than 130 health care facilities    the lives of the men and women who        participants. Materials are selected to
                                 I referred him to Psychology           in 25 states, and more than 15 VA          served and sacrificed for our country,    focus on different populations and
                             Service and they found his reaction        medical centers.                           better preparing us for the needs of      issues, but ultimately the emphasis
                             was caused by his POW experiences.             Literature & Medicine provides         Veterans who come to our hospital         is on patients, health care providers,
                             After a few weeks of therapy,              a mechanism for VA employees               for help.                                 and Veterans. In addition, an author
                             he no longer suffered from this            to gain more insight into the                  Reading and discussing written        (a Vietnam War combat Veteran) will
                             reaction. Fortunately, his outcome         needs of Veteran patients and the          accounts of illness, death, and           attend and participate in discussions
                             was successful, but the lesson that        experiences of our fellow health care      human relationships in other places       when the group talks about his
                             stayed with me was time did not heal       workers. Literature & Medicine builds      and times helps us see the world          book, “Recondo: LRRPs in the 101st
                             all wounds. People could survive           community within the medical center        from the perspectives of others.          Airborne.”
                             terrible experiences and upon              and helps easy feelings of futility and    This is crucially important for                In addition to books, DVDs and
                             returning home, still suffer for the       isolation. One participant wrote, “It      health care professionals who treat       other materials provided by the grant,
                             rest of their lives. I think about this    feels wonderful to come back to why        patients and work with others from        Dr. Raymond Chung, the PVAHCS
                             man every time I meet a new patient        I was attracted to medicine in the         religious, socioeconomic, or cultural     chief of staff, will buy pizza for
                             and that memory causes me to listen        beginning and to share dialog with         backgrounds different from our            discussion session members.
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                             and watch and act with more care           others who care.” Participants report      own. Discussing shared readings                To participate in the group, you
                             than I might otherwise.                    an increase in empathy for patients        with fellow workers deepens our           can pre-register through TEMPO
                                 As people responsible for              (79 percent), interpersonal skills (64     understanding of each other’s work        (under “Literature & Medicine
                             providing health care to Veterans –        percent), communication skills (58         and enriches our relationships with       program”) or, space-providing,
                             and that includes us all, whether we       percent), job satisfaction (62 percent),   patients and each other.                  register at the first session at 4 p.m.,
                             work directly with patients or support     and cultural awareness (67 percent).           Literature & Medicine is the only     June 7 in the ACC basement.
                             those that do – we are obligated to            Veterans and VA staff are leaders      national program that engages a cross          (Editor’s note: Contact Rich Katz
                             do whatever we can to improve the          in this effort to strengthen delivery      section of experienced health care        by e-mail at richard.katz@va.gov or
                             state of health and quality of life of     of health care with experiences            professionals with the humanities.        call him at extension 7043 for additional
                             the Veterans entrusted to our care.        represented in literature. One of the      Our first discussion series was lead      information)
Disabled Veterans

    Walk across America raises awareness
   His smile is big, his heart is huge
and his feet were made for walking
to help our nation’s Veterans.
   On Nov. 11, 2009, U.S. Marine
Corps Veteran Richard Hunsucker
embarked on a journey to walk
across America from Jacksonville,
Fla., to San Diego, Calif. His quest
was to make it to San Diego by
Memorial Day and participate in
ceremonies there.
   Hunsucker includes VA clinic
and hospital stops along the way.
On Saturday, April 24 he met
with patients in the PVAHCS
Community Living Center in the
dining room for coffee talk.
   “The first Veteran I met on
my journey was a World War
II Veteran. He was a Marine in
uniform and we talked for 20
minutes. When you meet someone
of that stature, I knew right then
my walk across America would             US	Marine	Corps	Veteran	Richard	Hunsucker	stops	at	Phoenix	VA
                                                                                                                                                          Courtesy photo

be outstanding. I think about
that Veteran every day,” says            returned as many phone calls and            build better lives. At last count he     personally decorated by Hunsucker
Hunsucker.                               e-mails as he could when he was             had more than $630,000 pledged.          with white paint markers, stickers
   Hunsucker walked about 17             resting at night and prepping for              Along his journey Hunsucker           and thousands of signatures from
miles or more each day. He would         the next day. The purpose for               was accompanied by fellow Army           Veterans and others along the way.
then sit down at his computer and        the walk was to raise awareness of          Veteran Vince Strickland, who               You can read more about his
blog about the day’s journey. He         disabled Veterans and to help them          drives the pace car which was            journey at www.vetwalking.org.

Buckeye VA community clinic gets new location, provider
                                                                                         The Phoenix VA Health Care           health education programs,
                                                                                     System is committed to the health        screening programs, and women’s
                                                                                     and well-being of Veterans.              health services. The clinic’s highest
                                                                                         To better meet the needs of          priority is to provide personalized,
                                                                                     local Veterans, the Buckeye VA           world-class health care services to
                                                                                     Health Care Clinic moved to a            Veterans. For more information,
                                                                                     different location with a new            please call the Buckeye VA Health
                                                                                     provider in early May. The new           Care Clinic at 623-386-6093.
                                                                                     clinic is located in the office of Dr.       VA Health Care Clinics provide

                                                                                                                                                                           Desert sun | May/June 2010
                                                                                     Rohita Malhotra, 213 E. Monroe           ease of access for appointments
                                                                                     Ave., Buckeye, Ariz. 85326.              for patients rather than driving
                                                                                         The Buckeye VA Health Care           to the main hospital. Each clinic
                                                                                     Clinic provides comprehensive            provide primary health care services
                                                                                     primary and preventive health            to Veterans within 30 miles or 30
                                                                                     care services, as well as other          minutes of a Veteran’s home, reduces
                                                                                     specialized services such as             travel time and shortens waiting times
                                                                                     chronic disease management,              for Veterans needing outpatient care.

                                                                                                                                                                              Eyes also need
                                                                                                                                                                              from solar rays
                                                                                                                                                                                  Extended exposure
                                                                                                                                                                              to the sun’s UV rays
                                                                                                                                                                              has been linked to eye
                                                                                                                                                                              damage, including cataracts,
                                                                                                                                                                              macular degeneration, and
                                                                                                                                                                              photokeratitis that can cause
                                                                                                                                                                              temporary vision loss.
                                                                                                                                                                                  In order to protect your
                                                                                                                                                                              eyes in the sunlight, your
                                                                                                                                                                              sunglasses should:
                                                                                                                                                                                  • block out 99 to 100
                                                                                                                                                                              percent of both UV-A and
                                                                                                                                                                              UV-B radiation
                                                                                                                                                                                  • screen out 75 to 90
                                                                                                                                                                              percent of visible light
                                                                                                                                                                                  • be perfectly matched in
                                                                                                                                                                              color and free of distortion
                                                                                                                                                                              and imperfection
                                                                                                                                                                                  • have lenses that are
                                                                                                                                                                              gray for proper color
                                                                                                                                                                                  If you spend a lot of time
                                                                                                                                                                              in bright sunlight, wrap-
                                                                                                                                                                              around frames can provide
                                                                                                                                                            Photo: nasa.gov   additional protection from
                             The	risks	of	sun	exposure	and	its	relationship	to	skin	cancer	have	been	well	documented.		Regular	sunscreen	use	seems	to	help	limit	these	
                             harmful	effects.		Sunscreen	use	is	recommended	in	all	individuals	exposed	to	the	sun.
                                                                                                                                                                              harmful UV radiation by
                                                                                                                                                                              keeping UV rays from
                             Sunscreen helps protect from sun’s harmful rays                                                                                                  reaching the eyes. Frames
                                                                                                                                                                              with a close-fitting, wrap-
                                As the late Nat “King” Cole                 that taking precautions against                 15 or higher                                      around style provide the
                             sang, it’s almost time to “roll out            sunburn is only necessary when                     • SPF 15 filters out over 90% of               best protection because
                             those lazy, hazy, crazy days of                they’re at pool side or on the golf             the sun’s harmful UV-B rays                       they limit how much stray
                             summer.”                                       course. However, as ACS officials                  • SPF 30 - 96 percent                          sunlight reaches your eyes
                                But there’s more to summer                  warn: “Sun exposure adds up day                    • SPF 45 - 98 percent                          from above and beyond the
                             than just “soda, pretzels and beer.”           after day, and it happens every time               • Waterproof if sweating or                    periphery of your sunglass
                             Summer also means long, hot days               you are in the sun.”                            swimming                                          lenses.
                             of sunshine and, if we’re not careful,             The ACS offers a simple                        • Made specifically for use on                     Also, remember UV eye
                             painful and often dangerous over-              reminder about the four key                     your face                                         protection for children and
                             exposure to the sun.                           ways to protect yourself from the                  • PABA (para-aminobenzoic                      teenagers. They typically
                                According to the American                   dangerous UV radiation: “Slip!                  acid) free if you’re sensitive to that            spend more time in the sun
                             Cancer Society, “It isn’t possible             Slop! Slap! and Wrap!” It stands for            chemical                                          than adults.
                             or practical to completely avoid               “Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen,               • Water-based if you have acne                     Finally, even if you are
Desert sun | May/June 2010

                             sunlight, and it would be unwise to            slap on a hat, and wrap on                      or oily skin.                                     wearing contact lenses that
                             reduce your level of activity to avoid         sunglasses to protect the eyes and                 Apply sunscreen about 20-30                    have UV protection, you
                             the outdoors. Time in sunlight also            sensitive skin around them from                 minutes before going out in the                   still need to wear sunglasses.
                             helps your body make vitamin D,                ultraviolet light.” Not all sunscreens          sun, plus every two hours when                    UV rays will likely affect
                             which can be important for good                offer adequate protection, so it’s              outdoors, after swimming or                       the eye tissue that is not
                             health. But too much sunlight can              important to choose the right one.              sweating, and even if wearing hats                covered by the contacts.
                             be harmful. There are some steps               Look for one that is:                           and protective clothing.                              Your eyes will be more
                             you can take to limit your amount of               • Broad Spectrum - protects                    Finally, remember that no                      comfortable, too, with most
                             exposure to UV rays.”                          against both UV-A and UV-B rays                 sunscreen offers one hundred                      of the bright light blocked.
                                Some people mistakenly believe                  • SPF (sun protection factor) of            percent protection.

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