October 1, 2011

Cover Story

Healthcare Heroes

With unwavering courage and compassion, the 2011 Healthcare Heroes are imp...Read More

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Sean Whalen

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Kris Rudarmel


Healthcare Heroes


Dianne Lewis, Heather Stewart

October 1, 2011

While Hofmann enjoys his work at the Center for Precision Joint Replacement, his primary goal now is to give back. Four years ago he founded the Utah chapter of Operation Walk, a nonprofit volunteer group that provides free joint replacement surgeries for people with disabling arthritis. Since then, Hofmann has led a team of volunteers every year to El Salvador to perform joint replacements.

Dr. Amit Patel

  • Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine; Director of Clinical Regenerative Medicine, University of Utah Health Care

Dr. Amit Patel is changing the face of medicine with his groundbreaking work in regenerative medicine. Patel is using the body to heal itself with stem cells. In a clinical trial, he was able to harvest stem cells from the bone marrow of patients in heart failure. He then cultured the cells in a bioreactor and injected them back into the patient’s dying heart to grow healthy tissues.

Patients who could only walk a few steps are now able climb stairs or do yard work. While Patel says the stem cells are not a cure, or even a permanent solution for heart disease, they do give patients a better life and more time with family and friends.

Patel is using stem cells in other pioneering ways, creating a spray to speed healing of burn wounds and bones, and reducing amputations in patients with diabetes and vascular disease. As a researcher, and a heart and lung surgeon, Patel is saving lives.

ADP AdvancedMD

ADP AdvancedMD is changing the way medical offices do business. As a pioneer in cloud electronic health records and practice management technology, ADP AdvancedMD is saving money and time for small and medium private practice physicians. With the company’s innovative software, physicians don’t have to invest in their own IT infrastructure. The software also minimizes red tape for clinical data and billing information.

Raul Villar, who joined ADP AdvancedMD as president in March 2011, is leading the company into a new period of growth, making sure the company is meeting the needs of its customers, and accelerating hiring to keep up with that development and expansion.

“We are revolutionizing the way healthcare and patient care is delivered. We are enabling doctors to attain meaningful use incentives, but most important, we are empowering them to work more efficiently and ultimately achieve better patient outcomes,” Villar says.

By reducing time spent on health records, Villar says doctors are better able to focus on patient care. For him, that is the motivation needed to keep improving the product.


University of Utah Health Care Burn Camp

After seeing the mental and physical trauma inflicted by severe burns, the University of Utah Health Care Burn Center created Burn Camp programs. Created in 1993, these camps support patients throughout the Intermountain West with the personal challenges they face after surviving a burn. Programming is specific to building self-esteem and friendship.

Brad Wiggins, Burn Camp director, says the programs provide a safe atmosphere to begin the healing process with other survivors, firefighters and care givers. The camps are split into different age groups. Attendees are also placed in programs based on social needs. Camps for kids and teens are free to participants.

The Burn Camp, which is open to people with minor to severe burn injuries, focuses on helping survivors with long-term healing. Burn Camp staff members recognize that even people with smaller or less severe burns may experience large amounts of stress and can benefit from the camp and its programs.

Michele Straube

  • Atrial Fibrillation Activist

Michele Straube had always been an active outdoor enthusiast. But a 30-year battle with atrial fibrillation, a heart-rhythm disorder, left her nearly sedentary. In late 2009, Straube underwent a groundbreaking surgery at the University of Utah’s Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research & Management (CARMA) center to cure the condition.

With a renewed sense of vigor and purpose, she set out to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation, which affects nearly 6 million people in the United States, taking the lives of more than 66,000 people each year.

To demonstrate that atrial fibrillation can be cured, and to raise money for research, Straube launched the “Into the Heart of the Alps” campaign this past summer. She and her husband completed the first leg of a multi-year hiking adventure in the Alps, attracting national media coverage of the disease and providing fodder for her blog on CARMA’s website.

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