Healthcare Heroes Honored at First Annual Utah Business Healthcare Summit
Salt Lake City—The Utah Employers Healthcare Summit Tuesday was jam packed with content geared toward educating, inspiring and facilitating collaboration with attendees.
At the event’s luncheon, the backbone of the healthcare industry—the healthcare professionals, administrators, practitioners and volunteers—were honored as Utah Business’ annual Healthcare Heroes. The honorees range from innovators in the laboratory like Brian Caplin, chief science officer at Flouresentric, Inc.; to dedicated practitioners like Diane Richins Hunt, registered nurse at Lakeview Hospital; to selfless volunteers like Betty Nichols, who dedicates her time to Timpanogos Regional Hospital.
“I’m a firm believer that if you love what you do, if you take joy and pride in what you’re doing, everything else will fall into place,” said honoree Evelyn Valencerina Gopez, associate dean of the Office of Inclusion and Outreach at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as she accepted her award.
The 2015 Healthcare Heroes are…
Innovation in Healthcare
Brian Erich Caplin
Chief Science Officer
Unhappy with the industry standard for testing nucleic acid amplification, a common procedure for detecting pathogens, genotype testing and other uses, Brian Caplin developed a breakthrough in molecular diagnostics, XCR. While the decades-old tests take 40 to 60 minutes, XCR amplification and detection occurs in less than five minutes. The reduced turnaround time helps doctors get a clinically actionable result in critical testing areas, helping to improve and target care.
Upon making the breakthrough, Caplin took his recently patented technology and formed Fluoresentric Inc., which has already seen national attention for its work. Caplin, who has a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology, says he thinks the potential of XCR has only been tapped in the last eight years of study, and he is excited by its possibilities.
“It took PCR nearly 20 years to be fully implemented diagnostically and thousands of labs were working with the technology. XCR has only been around for about eight years. In that time, only Fluoresentric has been doing research into XCR’s capabilities,” he says. “It seems as though every day I get to actually learn a bit more about what we have here and that keeps me working.”
Peter G. Forstall, MD; Cardiac Electrophysiologist; Ogden Regional Medical Center
David G. Affleck, MD; Cardiovascular Surgeon; MountainStar Cardiovascular Surgery
Michael Eifling, MD; Cardiac Electrophysiologist; The Heart Center at St. Mark’s Hospital
An unlikely team of MountainStar Healthcare doctors in different disciplines has developed a minimally invasive procedure for patients with advanced atrial fibrillation, or a-fib. Cardiac surgeon Dr. David Affleck of MountainStar Cardiovascular Surgery approached Dr. Peter Forstall, cardiac electrophysiologist at Ogden Regional Medical Center, and Dr. Michael Eifling, medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at St. Mark’s Hospital, to develop the new procedure.
The procedure includes a series of small, controlled burns on the outside of the heart through small incisions to block errant electrical signals, which is followed a few days later by a detailed map through a catheter to confirm the errant signals have been blocked.
The hybrid solution effectively restores a patient’s heart rhythm when other treatments have failed and allows many patients to stop taking blood thinners and other medications afterwards. The procedure also decreases a patient’s risk of heart failure and stroke.
“Patients who previously were incurable without open heart surgery now have the option for the hybrid approach. This approach opens the door for many more patients to be cured of this life-altering disease,” Dr. Affleck says.
Samuel M. Brown
Director, Center for Humanizing Critical Care at Intermountain Medical Center
Though he began his career as a doctor-scientist looking for the cure for sepsis, Intermountain Medical Center’s Dr. Samuel Brown soon found that better life-saving technology is only part of the battle—the technical treatments work better when doctors care for the whole patient.
Dr. Brown works toward that goal daily as the founder and director of the Center for Humanizing Critical Care at Intermountain Medical Center, where he and his team work to combine quantitative, qualitative and humanistic approaches to focus care in the Shock/Trauma Intensive Care Unit on the emotional needs of patients and their families.
“We’re changing the way people think about intensive care and life-threatening illness. In the past, the idea was that the technology mattered most, to the exclusion of the human side of patient care. The attention was always on the life support machines and the patient was almost a kind of abstract collection of poorly functioning organs. But the ICU can also be a place of human healing, one where the people aren’t forgotten in the midst of the medical drama,” Dr. Brown says. “We’re studying how to improve the results that matter most to patients and families: better and stronger recovery after life-threatening illness, getting back to their families, minimizing memory problems and psychological distress.”
John J. Zone, MD
Chairman, Department of Dermatology
University of Utah Health Sciences
Dr. John Zone was tapped to lead the University of Utah Health Sciences’ Division of Dermatology in 1987, and he had his work cut out for him. He set out to expand and perfect dermatology services for patients in the fledgling division—which was elevated to departmental status in 1996. Over the years, Dr. Zone has expanded the faculty from eight physicians to 37, filling its ranks with experts in the fields of psoriasis, allergy testing, autoimmunity, esthetics, pediatrics and skin cancer. The department has also grown from two clinical sites to 11, allowing patients to visit a department dermatologist from South Jordan to Stansbury Park to Park City.
The program continues to grow, too—by 2017, the program will have 12 participants in the three-year residency program, a huge leap from the single resident in its inaugural residency program in 1990.
The expansion of the residency program aligns with Dr. Zone’s priority on teaching and sharing dermatology knowledge. Other means include the ongoing Grand Rounds service, where dermatologists from the community can bring a complex patient to the hospital clinic for a comprehensive consultation, and the department’s involvement with skin cancer screenings and health fairs. Roughly 7,000 free skin exams have been given over the last 16 years of annual skin cancer screenings.
Brian E. Shiozawa, MD
St. Mark’s Hospital
If a 31-year career in emergency room medicine weren’t enough to keep Dr. Brian Shiozawa busy, the St. Mark’s Hospital emergency room physician is also a senator in the Utah Legislature, as well as heavily involved with his church and community and a member of the board of trustees for the hospital.
Dr. Shiozawa has found ways to combine his many hats, though. He played a vital role in passing a bill that provides insurance coverage for Utah’s autistic children, and he is currently at the forefront of the push for passing the Healthy Utah Bill.
In his day job, Dr. Shiozawa has helped the ER department flourish as department chair for the past 15 years, including by growing the number of doctors in the department from six to 24. Dr. Shiozawa says he chose emergency medicine for the constant opportunity to treat illness and injury right as it happens, and he thrives on being able to treat patients irrespective of their income, class or whether they have insurance.
“It is rewarding to intervene in the potentially very sick or injured, like those with a heart attack or a recent injury like a fracture or wound,” he says. “Often, we make a meaningful difference for the good of the patient.”
William L. Hamilton, MD, MBA
Anesthesiologist, Medical Director
Intermountain Healthcare – Central Region
After 30 years practicing medicine, 19 of them as medical director for Intermountain Healthcare’s Central Region, Dr. William Hamilton is at the top of his field. To cap off his career, the anesthesiologist was recently elected as president of the Utah Medical Association.
As medical director, Dr. Hamilton has had a direct impact on 1,700 physicians and a million patients at five of the busiest Intermountain hospitals. After being named as medical director, Dr. Hamilton earned an MBA in an effort to better understand the business end of healthcare. As he noticed a growing diversity among patients, Dr. Hamilton learned Spanish. Through eight years of service on the American Medical Association’s political action board, Dr. Hamilton has become a civic expert as well.
That expertise will come in handy in his coming role with the UMA, where he’ll be the chief advocate for 6,100 physicians in the state as he deals with rising healthcare costs, public health and government health programs.
“We can do so much for patients that we couldn’t do in the past. The question becomes should we be doing everything, and can we, as a society, afford it,” he says. “We need to pay closer attention to patient safety, and make sure we don’t harm as we try to heal.”
Nurse Administrator, Intermountain Medical Center
Suzanne Anderson oversees 1,610 employees, including nurses, doctors, nurse managers and patient care techs in Utah’s largest hospital. She is dedicated to the patients at Intermountain Medical Center and to improving healthcare and patient safety.
Anderson’s efforts to provide extraordinary care include the development of a Grassroots Engagement Team, which enables front-line staff from across the hospital to provide ideas to improve service and engagement. She also is a leader in Intermountain Healthcare’s Zero Harm initiative, which aims to improve patient safety in the hospital.
In 2014, Intermountain Medical Center experienced high volumes of patients as the insurance they received through the Affordable Care Act took effect. Anderson responded by increased hiring and improving staffing protocols. Some days, after her administrative work was done, she would even put on scrubs and help in the nursing units that needed assistance.
“My role is to inspire and support nursing professionals to learn more and achieve more,” says Anderson. “I also have daily rewarding experiences with my colleagues from the various specialties that make up the healthcare team as we work together to provide extraordinary care to our patients.”
Her advice to other healthcare administrators is to “stay with what brought you into healthcare and the passion for making a difference each day.”
Evelyn Valencerina Gopez, MD
Professor of Pathology; Associate Dean, Office of Inclusion and Outreach
University of Utah School of Medicine
The Office of Inclusions and Outreach, headed by Dr. Evelyn V. Gopez, offers programs that reach out to underserved populations in the community. Through these programs, more than 12,000 students in grades k-12 have received tutoring and mentorship—and encouragement to complete their schooling and consider higher education.
University of Utah medical students have donated 12,300 hours of community service through the Office of Inclusion and Outreach. Dr. Gopez has also created greater collaboration in the community, and some of those partners include the Calvary Baptist Church, the Mexican Consulate, Latter-day Saints Community Relations, the Utah Department of Health and many more.
“When I come to work every day, I try to learn something from the people I meet both at work and in the community, just as much as they try to learn from me. I enjoy teaching students, residents and fellows about medicine and also how to treat patients who come from a different background,” she says. “To be able to see with my own eyes the enthusiasm, excitement and motivation of my staff to help students succeed is so encouraging. … To be able to incorporate knowledge and education to our students and healthcare to the underserved community is exhilarating and gives me the reason to keep on going one step at a time.”
CEO, McKay-Dee Hospital; Regional Vice President, North Region; Vice President, Continuous Improvement
In addition to his dual roles as CEO of McKay-Dee Hospital and regional vice president for Intermountain Healthcare – North Region, in 2014 Timothy Pehrson was tapped to lead Intermountain Healthcare’s overall Continuous Improvement efforts. The company-wide initiative grew out of Pehrson’s efforts to standardize and streamline processes in the North Region.
The Continuous Improvement management system relies on employee ideas to reduce waste in various processes, from reduced patient wait times to the elimination of unnecessary tests or procedures.
“When we started implementing Continuous Improvement in 2006, it was challenging for our clinical and administrative teams to see its immediate value in their work because it was a new way of approaching problems,” says Pehrson. “Over time, the slow turning Continuous Improvement flywheel began to increase in speed of adoption, where team members at every level in the organization were using Continuous Improvement principles to improve care and reduce costs.”
Since the initiative was launched, over 30,000 employee and physician ideas have resulted in more than $70.6 million in documented savings.
Pehrson says it is important for administrators to partner with their clinical team. “Seek ways to understand their perspectives and be quick to seek their advice on issues you do not understand,” he says. “Make improving patient care your top priority and you will have many committed clinicians to aid your efforts.”
Robert Hoesch, MD, PhD
Medical Director, Intermountain Neurosciences Institute
Dr. Robert Hoesch has contributed enormously to the field of neurosciences in Utah. In 2014, he became medical director of both the newly formed Neurosciences Clinical Program and the Intermountain Neurosciences Institute at Intermountain Medical Center.
With a goal of optimizing care and reducing disability for patients with neurological disease, Dr. Hoesch has led a program to connect neurologists to all of Intermountain Healthcare’s emergency departments via telehealth. This enables rapid neurological consults with patients suspected of stroke, and these consults help doctors quickly determine if the patients are candidates for a clot-busting drug that can reduce the complications of stroke.
“I have clearly been able to see the impact of this program on patients’ lives and on the workflow of our colleagues within emergency departments,” says Dr. Hoesch. “We are collecting data about the impact of this program on patient outcomes after stroke and hope to be able to demonstrate that our program has contributed to a reduction in disability.”
Prior to joining Intermountain Healthcare in 2013, Dr. Hoesch was assistant professor of neurology and chief of the neurocritical care division at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
R. Pepper Murray, MD
As a teenager, Dr. R. Pepper Murray worked as a cowboy and farm hand for ranches across the West and competed in high school rodeo competitions. He continued that passion as a college student, competing on the collegiate rodeo circuit until a rodeo injury sidelined that activity. However, his love of animal science and biology led him into the medical profession.
After graduating from Harvard Medical School and completing his residency at the Mayo Clinic as an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Murray returned to Utah and opened a solo practice in Bountiful. Over time, that practice grew to nine orthopaedic surgeons in two office locations, as well as a same-day surgical center called Mountain West Surgical Center.
“Over the past 23 years, I have had the opportunity to care for many patients including parents, teenagers, kids and grandparents who have injured themselves playing sports or unfortunately broken a bone during their daily activities,” says Dr. Murray. “But with my love for rodeo, I’ve also been fortunate enough to care for world champion cowboys and cowgirls in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Bull Riders Only and Professional Bull Riders Tour.”
Dr. Murray has been involved with the Justin Sports Medicine Team for two decades, having served as team physician, past co-medical director, and past director of education and research.
“Few men and women are blessed to realize what they were born to do, and been able to pursue that as a career,” he says. “For me, being a physician has been one of the greatest privileges and blessings of my existence on this round sphere we call Earth.”
Finn Bo Petersen, MD
Program Director, Intermountain Center for Hematological Malignancies
LDS Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant and Leukemia Program
As a medical resident in Denmark, Dr. Finn Bo Petersen was extremely interested in bone marrow transplants, and he convinced his superiors to start performing bone marrow transplants for leukemia. “I was fortunate enough to orchestrate the first BMT for leukemia in Denmark in 1980,” he says. “Fortunately, the transplant patient, who was 14 years old at the time with a very poor risk acute leukemia, did very well and is alive and doing well to this date.”
Dr. Petersen’s career eventually took him to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and then in 1992 to the University of Utah, where he helped spearhead the university’s bone marrow transplant program. A few years later, he was named the program director of Intermountain Healthcare’s Blood and Marrow Transplant program.
Now, Dr. Petersen is a world-renowned hematology expert. Under his leadership, Intermountain Healthcare became one of the first organizations in the United States to pioneer half-match technology, which greatly increases the chances of finding a bone marrow donor.
In 2007, Dr. Petersen changed the program to include all non-transplant complicated hematological cancers, especially acute leukemia. “From 2007 to today, our program grew exponentially, treating hundreds of newly diagnosed patients with chemotherapy and transplants yearly,” he says.
“I am very happy to be able to end my career doing what I love, working with the best staff anyone can wish for, and knowing, that when I retire about five years from now, the program will be in the best of hands.”
Ogden Regional Medical Center
Dr. Shelia Garvey, Trauma Medical Director; Pamela Vickery, Trauma Registrar; Deanna Wolfe,
Trauma Program Director, Ogden Regional Medical Center Trauma Team
A culture of fast and aggressive treatment of trauma patients has saved countless lives and made the trauma team at Ogden Regional Medical Center shine.
The 14-member trauma team hones their processes for maximum efficiency, including moving patients off of backboards within five minutes wherever possible and using early intervention to stop an escalating chain of medical events that can lead to organ failure.
The team also enjoys an involved administration that is quick to support the department’s justified financial needs, including investing in equipment with demonstrative life-saving capabilities. An unusually high number of physicians who have agreed to be on-call 24/7—four surgeons, 10 orthopedic surgeons and four neurosurgeons—further bolsters the trauma team’s mission and ability to save lives against sometimes staggering odds.
“Trauma care is a team effort; it is not provided by just one or even two people. When you see coordinated expert care come together to save a life, there is no better reward,” says Trauma Program Director Deanna Wolfe, a registered nurse who has worked in the emergency department since 1991.
Diane Richins Hunt
Registered Nurse, Clinical Supervisor
For the past 26 years, Lakeview Hospital’s Diane Hunt has gone above and beyond in her role as a registered nurse and clinical supervisor for same-day surgery, and she has an uncanny knack for connecting with patients and their families to relieve pre-procedure fears.
“Illness scares patients and their families. I am passionate about helping patients and their family members feel like they are in control,” she says. “My hope is that my patients and their families know that I care about them, just like they were part of my immediate family.”
Her care extends beyond the hospital’s walls, too—Hunt once helped shovel a path through a blizzard to a family’s car that had been buried in snow during their stay in the hospital, and she says she always tries to give the best information possible when asked medical questions by friends, family or neighbors.
Hunt is well known for her excellent leadership skills, whether in her official capacity or leading by example with compassion and empathy. She is also dedicated to improving processes wherever possible; her most satisfying committee work, she says, was on a committee focused on improving patient experience.
Kismet Rasmusson, DNP, FNP
Kismet Rasmusson is a problem solver. A nurse practitioner with the Heart Failure Prevention and Treatment Program at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, Rasmusson noticed a gap in patient information about managing heart failure. To combat hospitalizations that could be prevented through better self-management, Rasmusson developed a model with simple, memorable principles to educate people living with heart failure to manage it successfully. The program, dubbed MAWDS (for medications, activity, weight, diet and symptoms), has been a cornerstone throughout the Intermountain Healthcare system since 2000 and is taught to all nurses through an education process Rasmusson also helped develop.
To further improve training and usefulness to patients, Rasmusson continues to study the effectiveness of different means of education and training environments in helping patients take the program to heart, and she puts together patient focus groups to understand the education experience from their point of view.
“Having a dual role with being able to care for patients and also work on processes by which care is delivered has led to many amazing writing, speaking, collaborating and research opportunities,” Rasmusson says. “I have worked hard and always want to stay interested and find ways to improve care delivery.”
John Oglesby, MD, OB/GYN
Salt Lake Regional Medical Center
Salt Lake Regional Medical Center’s Dr. John Oglesby always knew he wanted to be a surgeon, and while attending Medical College of Ohio at Toledo he found his surgical calling: obstetrics and gynecology. Not satisfied with merely becoming an expert in the female health cycle, Dr. Oglesby has sought volunteering opportunities to share his expertise with those who may not be fortunate enough to visit an exam room.
“I felt a desire to give back to those who are less fortunate. What I discovered from this service was a deep, profound joy and satisfaction in the human connection of giving,” he says.
In addition to mentoring budding humanitarians in Thailand and Kenya, Dr. Oglesby has taught neonatal resuscitation in African Angola and introduced laparoscopy surgery to Western Samoa in the Pacific. The opportunities that hit him closest to home, though, are just that: close to home. Dr. Oglesby serves as a specialty consultant with the 4th Street Clinic in Salt Lake City, where he can help improve the quality of life for homeless patients.
“Volunteering without secondary gains takes all the blur away and places focus squarely on alleviating human suffering,” he says. “I always feel I receive more than I give, and that is better than almost everything else in life.”
Timpanogos Regional Hospital
There’s a good chance anyone who’s visited Timpanogos Regional Hospital over the last five years knows Betty Nichols, who has put in more than 1,900 hours of volunteerism over the last half decade.
From greeting everyone she sees to helping the public become more familiar with the hospital, Nichols has been a driving force in helping patients and visitors feel comfortable and cared for at the facility. Nichols previously has served as the volunteer auxiliary president for the hospital and played an instrumental role in fundraising for the healthcare scholarship program, which helps nurses get financial assistance to gain or continue nursing education. Nichols also trains other volunteers, either officially or by example.
Nichols’ passion for healthcare hasn’t diminished since she was a nurse working at Denver’s Children’s Hospital at the height of the polio era, and she says she loves being able to give back to her community in retirement.
“I really feel great at the end of my day—I know that I have helped those who have either come in looking for a loved one, or a patient who needed an extra hand or by visiting a patient who needed someone to visit with them in their hospital room because they didn’t have family here,” she says.
Vice President and COO of Questar Energy Services;
Chair, Intermountain Healthcare Central Region Board of Trustees
Questar Energy Services
Shahab Saeed takes his position as chair of Intermountain Healthcare’s Central Region board of trustees very seriously—he took a recent Friday off of his day job as vice president and COO of Questar Energy Services to attend a daylong training session on patient safety, and encouraged his colleagues on the board of trustees to attend a three-hour session on the same subject so they could better understand initiatives underway in hospitals.
Saeed, who has been on the board since 2006, has also put a priority on asking tough questions of the 1,800 physicians in the region who have to come before the board for practicing privileges, to ensure top physician quality and that the best interests of the community are being followed.
A savvy leader, Saeed understands the need to separate the governance of the trustees with the operations and management at hospitals, and keeps board members focused on their own responsibilities. Because many of the board members do not have formal training in healthcare, Saeed has sought to provide continual training to the board so they might all have a better understanding of healthcare economics, population health and an overview of national healthcare public policy.
Intermountain Homecare & Hospice
Mark Huggins, Communications Director; Lisa Musgrave, Chief Nursing Officer; Carter Dredge,
Assistant Vice President; Marty Hall, Operations Officer, Medical Equipment and Pharmacy; James Burgess, CFO
As the state’s only full service not-for-profit homecare and hospice provider, Intermountain Homecare & Hospice serves around 10,000 patients each month and makes roughly 186,000 home visits annually, offering its services regardless of background or even ability to pay. In 2014 alone, Intermountain Homecare gave charity care in 6,601 cases worth a total of $3.9 million.
Carter Dredge, assistant vice president and administrator for Intermountain Homecare & Hospice, says the group’s mission is to provide better care and keep patients out of hospitals.
“We have worked very hard to set the standard for low hospital readmission rates in Utah. The result is that when you come home with Intermountain Homecare & Hospice, the likelihood of you having an unexpected return to the hospital is significantly lowered. We take great pride in this,” he says.
The tools in the group’s box include medications like antibiotics or chemotherapy that avoid prolonged hospital stays or reduce the need for repeated clinic visits, medical equipment and oxygen therapies that allow people to come home sooner, and advanced telehealth devices that can help clinicians remotely deliver expertise into patients’ homes, in some cases preventing the need for hospitalizations.
University of Utah Hospital
David Entwistle, CEO
Utah’s own academic teaching hospital has built a legacy over the last 50 years of offering a wide array of treatment options and clinical trials for patients. It’s the home of the region’s only comprehensive burn center and the area’s largest group of medical specialty services, such as brain injury and stroke treatment, high-risk obstetrics, orthopedic care, and state-of-the-art heart and vascular treatment programs.
Its historical claims to fame also include implanting the world’s first total artificial heart in 1982, opening North America’s first integrated electrophysiology MRI lab in 2009 and performing the world’s smallest liver-kidney transplant to save a toddler’s life in 2014.
These cutting-edge techniques and departments are right at home with the hospital’s mission to educate and innovate. For the past five years, the healthcare system has been ranked among the top academic medical centers in the country. It keeps a commitment to helping patients who might not be able to otherwise afford medical care—last year alone, it provided an unsustainable $120 million in uncompensated care. And while it’s state-owned, it receives only 0.4 percent of its operating budget from state tax appropriations, earning the rest through clinical services.
Arches Health Plan
Shaun Greene, CEO
Reading the draft for the Affordable Care Act turned out to be providential for Shaun Greene.
Greene realized even with that early draft that the law would have a significant impact on healthcare, especially on an industry he felt to be unsustainable. What he saw was an opportunity for disruption and innovation. And with his background in business development in the healthcare insurance sector, he was the man to do it. Greene assembled a team to look at the funding options available, and together they launched Utah’s first new health plan in 18 years.
In 2013, Arches Health Plan was born and has since amassed more than 60,000 members. Greene says the growth is due to the company’s mission statement (“To pioneer new approaches to healthcare that result in improved health, satisfaction and financial well being of our members”) and its workers’ dedication to cooperation and customers’ needs.
“We want to reform healthcare payments so that incentives are aligned,” he says. “We all must work together, healthcare systems/payers, providers and patients to solve the healthcare inflation problem.”
Larry D. Fannin, BSPharm, PharmD
South Jordan Campus Dean and Professor – Pharmacy
Roseman University of Health Sciences
When Larry Fannin first joined Roseman University’s South Jordan campus in 2005, there were no students and the school was just two or three offices in a small building. But Fannin’s leap of faith in joining the school has paid off in spades—from the first class of 48 students in 2006, the school has blossomed into an institution that enrolls 115 students a year and supports dozens of faculty members.
The South Jordan Campus dean and professor of pharmacy, who has turned a temporary stint in education into a 38-year career, relished the challenge of pioneering a new branch of a young program and has found fulfillment in watching his current and former students succeed.
A natural leader, Fannin has developed interprofessional education curriculum in conjunction with Roseman’s nursing and dental medicine program, in addition to taking a hands-on approach to helping students succeed.
“Nothing makes me prouder than to attend meetings and see former students who are now clinicians making patient care presentations, or seeing students rise through the ranks to become faculty and/or academic administrators or patient care managers,” he says. “For me it’s always been about the student.”
David A. Morton
University of Utah School of Medicine
University of Utah School of Medicine’s David Morton originally applied to medical school but applied to a graduate program of clinical anatomy as a backup. The clinical anatomy program, however, required a project that piqued his interests—writing a cadaver dissection manual—so he took that path. A Ph.D., 12 years of teaching at the school of medicine and six textbooks later, Morton’s choice has turned out to be a good one.
Morton doesn’t shy away from tough classes, including an advanced anatomy course for students who plan on becoming surgeons, radiologists or pathologists. His expertise is nationally recognized from his textbooks and numerous papers on educational outcomes research.
In the classroom, Morton is known as a professor who looks for unusual ways to get concepts to stick—after completing a topic in his anatomy courses, Morton plays guitar and sings about the subject to help sum up the section.
“I believe medical school is an institution of higher learning and that medical students want to be challenged and stretched. It is my privilege as a teacher to help them in this process. A teacher’s job does not end after information is taught,” he says. “It is the application of the knowledge where true learning occurs.”
Director of Continuing Medical Education
As director of continuing medical education for Intermountain Healthcare, SarahAnn Whitbeck is in charge of ensuring healthcare professionals have access to the additional training they need to meet licensing or certification requirement and learn new skills to improve overall patient care. Whitbeck, though, has gone above and beyond the call at Intermountain Healthcare.
She partners with healthcare professionals to devise programs that complete educational gaps and craft courses that will help them fulfill their long- and short-term goals. The classes are also provided in a variety of instructional types, including symposia, live online courses, recorded online courses and mobile applications. Last year, Intermountain Healthcare provided more than 3,100 hours of accredited education with around 34,000 educational interactions.
Whitbeck also practices what she preaches: in 2012, she became the first person to earn CCMEP certification. She has also spent the last five years designing and launching the Utah Alliance for Continuing Medical Education, a state and regional nonprofit for helping provide educational and networking opportunities for continuing education professionals in Utah.
“My favorite aspect of healthcare education is the direct impact it has on patient care—even for those of us who are non-clinical,” she says. “Healthcare education reinforces and supports the importance of continued learning, training and skill development, as we know that even the most educated healthcare providers spend a relatively small amount of their time in formal education in comparison to the lifetime of their careers.”
MassMutual Intermountain West SpecialCare Team
MassMutual Intermountain West
Hank Warner, Blake Hansen, Jordan Jones, Spencer Mack
Having a family member with special needs can drain caregivers both physically and emotionally—and navigating the fragmented network of resources can be terribly time consuming. That’s where the MassMutual Intermountain West SpecialCare Team steps in.
The SpecialCare Team members have been trained to help families and individuals with special needs connect with the various programs, assistance, planning and support groups available in the community. The team built a network of local and national programs, and there are now 70 members of the network, including nonprofit and advocacy groups, attorneys, physicians, financial service providers and government officials.
Many of the SpecialCare Team members have been in the industry for over a decade and have developed specific skill sets in financial strategies to help families prepare for the future. Two team members have obtained the Chartered Special Needs Consultant ChSNC designation, which only a handful of professionals have received in Utah.
“The greatest reward we receive is seeing the peace of mind that comes to a family as they complete a plan and feel comfortable with the care of their child with special needs,” says Hank Warner, financial services professional and SpecialCare Team lead. “We see the relief of parents and families as they are able to participate in activities within a network of organizations and other families who understand even small things—like how challenging it can be to even have a night at the movies.”
Director, Community Benefit – Behavioral Health Programs
Delia Rochon has more than 25 years of hands-on experience as an organizer, trainer and community-based program designer. A native of Uruguay, Rochon has travelled extensively, studying and implementing community programs in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
Through her role at Intermountain Healthcare, Rochon has served low-income families experiencing mental illness for nearly two decades. Rochon says those with mental illness have significant, often unmet needs. She led the creation of Community Behavioral Health Networks across the state with the three-fold objective of making behavioral health treatment more available to those who need it, to make it more affordable, and to reduce and remove the stigma that has traditionally accompanied it.
“These networks have given access to services for thousands of people, and with that, the opportunity for a better, healthier life,” she says. As a result, more than half of the uninsured in Utah are now receiving appropriate treatment, and the length of time patients need to wait for a first appointment has been reduced from an average of 42 days to an average of 5.2 days.
“Working along with those experiencing mental illness, I have given sound to voices that have not been heard, replacing charity with dignity, increasing hope when it was almost lost,” says Rochon.
Teddy Bear Clinics
Nate Black, educator leader, Mountain View Hospital; Angie Brewster, education leader, Lakeview Hospital; Ryan White, education leader, Timpanogos Regional Hospital
The innovative, kid-friendly MountainStar Healthcare Teddy Bear Clinics make hospital visits less scary for children. In these events, children can bring their favorite stuffed friend on a journey through several hospital experiences. Along the way, the animals are weighed, measured and dressed in the birth center; their broken limbs are splinted; they are given anesthesia and a shot to prep for surgery; and they visit the x-ray department, the cardiac catheterization lab and the emergency room. The tours usually end with an opportunity to explore vehicles like ambulances and a helicopter.
“These clinics help us to put children’s minds at ease when they come to the hospital—and their parents, too,” says Ryan White, director of communications and education leader at Timpanogos Regional Hospital, which launched the first Teddy Bear Clinic. “The kids’ responses show that they are enthralled with taking care of their teddy bear, which overrides any fear about being in a place that is new to them. They are in charge of that bear’s care as they go through various hospital departments and procedures; there is a sparkle in their eyes when they see the cool technologies.”
In addition to Timpanogos Regional Hospital, the Teddy Bear Clinics are also held at Lakeview Hospital and Mountain View Hospital. Since their inception, approximately 4,000 children have attended a Teddy Bear Clinic.