This September marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and endorsed by the president of the United States, the month urges all Americans to recognize the importance of preparedness and working together to enhance national security, resilience and readiness.
All disasters are first and foremost local, and all emergency response starts locally. Individuals, families, communities, and businesses that are even somewhat prepared fare far better than those who are not prepared. While it’s impractical to prepare for all possible scenarios, every bit of preplanning and preparedness does make a difference. Outside help is not always immediately available. Think back to past emergency events you were involved in, or talk to someone who has been affected; what were some of the things you wished you had thought of and prepared for ahead of time?
The basic mantra is: Be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved.
Being informed means staying updated on local situations and information and knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency. All types of media, including social media sites, are used now for news, information, and directions. VT 211 (Get connected, Get answers) is a free, confidential, 24/7, reference to access hundreds of community resources, sponsored by the Vermont United Way (www.vermont211.org); it is not for emergencies (911), nor is it directory assistance (411). VT 511 (www.511vt.com) is free reference sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Transportation with updated road information.
Making aplan starts with where to meet; how to communicate with loved ones; evacuation and shelter-in-place options; plans for pets and livestock; plans for infants, elderly and those with special needs; obtaining important medications; and retrieval of important documents. Businesses and communities should also plan for identifying and preparing for alternate ways to continue crucial operations, and recovery. Plans really should be tested, updated, and adjusted periodically. September is a great time to do this!
Kits are generally divided into three categories: Personal “go” kits are in a backpack or duffle that can be easily grabbed and carried. They should have sufficient supplies for you to survive for 24 hours. Mobile kits are in a larger container that can be put or kept in a vehicle. Supplies should be adequate for three days of survival for you and your family. Home kits contain enough supplies and equipment needed in event of an extended shelter-in-place situation.
Getting involved means working with family, friends, community or larger organizations in planning for, preparing for, responding to, and mitigating for emergency events. There are a variety of organizations and groups that are always looking for volunteers.
You may have heard of the survival rule of threes: three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. My rule of threes has to do with redundancy. One should strive for three ways to obtain water, shelter, food, and light, as well as three methods of communication, three routes of evacuation, three alternate places to go, and methods to get there, and so on.
Finally, watch out for scams and fraud. Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who prey on the misfortunes of others. Never give out your account numbers or Social Security number, or pay in advance for anything unless you are 100 percent sure it is safe.
Please, take this opportunity to enhance your preparedness for emergencies, even if it’s just to make a few lists and jot down a few ideas.
Brad Salzmann is an orthopedics physician assistant at Gifford in Randolph. He also has a master’s degree in disaster medicine and management, and serves as part of the national Disaster Medical Assistance Team based in Worcester, Mass.
Vermont native Dr. Jesse Hahn has joined the orthopedic surgery team at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, providing surgical and non-surgical care for injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
A native of Essex, Dr. Hahn is a graduate of Essex High School and the University of Richmond in Virginia. He went on to earn his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, where he also completed his residency and served on the faculty as a clinical instructor.
Dr. Hahn has now joined Gifford full-time, is staying in Randolph and is relishing the opportunity to provide local care.
“I am now a neighbor,” Dr. Hahn says. “That’s what I enjoy, taking care of neighbors.”
The ability to help people is what drew Dr. Hahn to medicine.
He offers a friendly, comforting, patient-focused approach.
Seeing a doctor shouldn’t be nerve-wracking, he notes, likening his job to that of a mechanic. He is providing a service. But the service he provides goes beyond that of technician. He is also caring for an individual, and partnering with that individual to meet his or her unique goals.
Sometimes meeting those goals takes surgery. Sometimes more conservative approaches, such as physical therapy and time, work best.
“I am eager to help in any way I can,” says this modest caregiver with up-to-date training.
Dr. Hahn provides care for all types of bone, joint and tendon injuries. Early in his medical education, he contemplated a career in pediatrics. Orthopedic care for children and adolescents consequently remains a special interest of Dr. Hahn’s along with trauma, fractures and upper extremity ailments.
Dr. Hahn is a member of the Orthopedic Trauma Association and AOTrauma, an international community of trauma and orthopedic surgeons, researchers and operating room personnel. In the spring, he begins a trauma fellowship, first in Germany and then in California.
Dr. Hahn is accepting new patients at Gifford’s orthopedics practice in Randolph. Call Gifford’s central scheduling office at (802) 728-2777.
Dr. Hahn works with orthopedics physician assistant Brad Salzmann in Randolph.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephanie Landvater works out of Gifford’s Berlin practice, the Gifford Health Center at Berlin, and provides surgery in Randolph.
In his free time, Dr. Hahn enjoys the outdoors, including hiking and skiing, as well as auto repair.
Born in New Jersey, Dr. Lou DiNicola moved to Randolph in June of 1976 to become a local pediatrician. Passing up job offers in much larger areas then and since, he chose to stay in Randolph because he’s been able to able to practice medicine as he always envisioned. He has been able to affect change on a state level; create unique, trend-setting models of health care; and demonstrate his love of the community through his work.
Married to his wife Joann for 43 years, the couple has two grown children, two grandchildren, and a third on the way. Dr. DiNicola is an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying hiking, snowshoeing, walking, and gardening. He’s also a photographer and works with his artist wife, framing her paintings.
Dr. DiNicola has spent his entire career in Randolph while also working in Rochester from 1977-1992 with internal medicine physicians Drs. Mark Jewett and Milt Fowler.
Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.
Thirty-six years ago I was fresh out of residency and looking for job opportunities when I saw an ad in a magazine for a pediatrician in rural Vermont. Vermont was where I wanted to work, so I sent in my curriculum vitae, the medical equivalent of a resume, but never heard a word back. I called but the response was less than enthusiastic. I was basically told “thanks, but no thanks.”
I had three job offers in Pittsburgh and was literally sitting down to take a job at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where I’d just completed my internship and residency when my pager went off. It was Gifford President Phil Levesque’s secretary, wondering if I could come up in a couple of weeks for an interview. “I’ll come this weekend, or I’m not coming at all” was my response. The secretary covered the phone, relaying my message to Phil. “Hell, let him come” was his reply.
Needless to say, I came, and stayed.
More than three decades later I hope I have made a positive impact on the community and my patients, and know they have made a remarkable impact on me – teaching me how to communicate care, respect, and love.
It’s amazing how much you can love your patients. Also amazing is the window being a pediatrician gives you to see the love between a parent and a child. No more clearly is that demonstrated than in the unconditional love between a parent and a special needs child. More than once, parents of special needs children have amazed me and inspired me, as have the children themselves. I’ve seen parents of special needs children go on to adopt more children with special needs. Those are the moments that touch you most; those, and loss.
Dr. DiNicola thumb wrestles with patient Troy Daniels.
There is no greater loss than the loss of a child. Throughout my career, there have been car accidents, disease, malignancies, and newborn deaths. I think of two patients I lost to cancer, both of whom I visited at their bedsides at home as they were dying. As I reflect on my career, I think of them not with tears but fondness because of the relationships I have had with their families.
At Gifford, we are small enough to have that closeness with our patients and courageous enough to get up the next day and reflect on what we did or didn’t do, what we could have done differently, and how we can improve care. This ability to affect change is one of the things that has kept me practicing – happily – in this community and state for so many years.
One of the biggest changes Gifford has been able to enact in health care is around childbirth. When I first came to Gifford, I kept hearing about this guy Thurmond Knight, a local physician who was delivering babies in people’s homes. I met Thurmond at a Medical Staff meeting. He was knitting. I asked him what it would take for him to deliver babies at the hospital. He answered “a Birthing Center”. We opened the Birthing Center (the first in the state of Vermont) 35 years ago in 1977.
I’ve also been fortunate to be part of and help form organizations that were decades ahead of their time, in many ways laying the foundation for today’s medical home and Vermont Blueprint for Health models as well as utilizing computers for communication at the advent of the computer revolution. Additionally, Vermont has provided me with the opportunity to work on important legislation, such as child abuse laws, outlawing corporal punishment in schools, mandatory kindergarten, and the recent immunization law. These opportunities along with the privilege of making a difference in kids’ and families’ lives keep me going.
One of the things I find incredibly rewarding is living and working in the same town. I don’t mind if I run into someone downtown and they ask me a question. And I feel it’s so important that we recognize and talk to kids. One way I have been able to successfully converse and care for kids for so long is through humor. I try to infuse that in my appointments with children and often am treated – sometimes at unexpected moments – to humor in return.
One such humorous moment came from a 5-year-old. I try to end all my appointments by asking if patients have any questions for me. This 5-year-old’s question: “Why do frogs jump so high?” Should I ever write a book, I think this will be the title.
~ Lou DiNicola, M.D.
Above left – Dr. DiNicola in 1979. Above right – Dr. DiNicola with Kim Daniels of Berlin and her adopted son Troy. Troy along with his siblings, Maggie, Ben, and Alex, were patients of Dr. DiNicola’s for years. Dr. DiNicola credits Kim, who had a special needs child and then adopted two more, with showing him the true meaning of love and parenting. Troy credits Dr. DiNicola with seeing him as a person.
A Randolph resident, Dr. Milt Fowler had been an internal medicine physician in the region for 36 years. Originally from Indianapolis, Dr. Fowler helped create the Rochester Health Center. He practiced there and in Randolph for 29 years. In 2005, he transitioned to practicing only at Gifford internal medicine in Randolph.
Married with two sons and two grandchildren, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling and woodworking. It is his relationships with patients that have kept him serving the community where he lives and works for more than three decades.
Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.
“Nearing the end of my medical training and beginning the search for practice opportunities brought my attention to a medical journal ad placed by Phil Levesque, then CEO of Gifford. During the recruitment process, Phil and his wife Sandy’s hospitality and vision for Gifford were all the convincing I needed. That was more than 36 years ago, and we (my family along with the Jewetts and DiNicolas, who all came at the same time) are still here. None of us could have anticipated being here this long, or enjoying the richness of the Gifford family, or the beauty and talent of the people of central Vermont as much as we have.
At top – a 1979 portrait of Dr. Fowler. Bottom – Dr. Fowler with a young patient, also from 1979.
During those years, we have had the rare privilege of being part of the joy and sometimes tragedy of so many lives. All of our lives are connected in some way in this community, and the honor of caring for your neighbors and friends is difficult to fully articulate. It is a privilege. An office visit isn’t just caring for an illness in a stranger. In a small town, you are caring for someone whose family you know and about whose life history you are familiar.
Donald Dustin of Braintree is just one example. A furniture maker, he had donated a beautiful Shaker clock to a local church auction. The craftsmanship was notable and at the end of his next office appointment, I asked him if he would mentor me on woodworking. “Of course I would. When do we start?” was his reply. Then followed months of his tutoring, nudging, and pushing. It was during this time that he developed terminal cancer. We kept working together in his shop, and he often called asking, “Where the heck are you? We’ve got work to do.” We continued our clock project with Donald sitting in his wheelchair, barking orders, cigar smoke swirling around his head. The clock’s face was painted by Bill Olivet, another talented patient. “Our clock” is at my home in my study.
Unforgettable was also Rochester summer resident and professional violist 90-year-old Marguerite Schenkman who fell and sustained a large laceration to her scalp just before a concert at the Park House. At the Rochester clinic, she refused to be sutured before the concert. We wrapped her head in a gauze turban to control the bleeding, attended her concert, then repaired the wound after the Beethoven pieces were complete.
Or how could one forget 90-year-old Priscilla Carpenter walking to her appointment the afternoon of the famous Valentine’s Day snowstorm? She climbed over snow banks to get to her visit with a warm pecan pie in hand, which she slyly placed on my office desk.
It is experiences like these that make the daily stress of practicing so rich. It is what drew us and has kept us here. What a privilege.”
~ Milt Fowler, M.D.
Gifford Internal Medicine Physician
Above left – Dr. Fowler works in his shop crafting clocks, a skill he learned from patient Donald Dustin. Above right – Patient Priscilla Carpenter greets Dr. Fowler with a pecan pie, which they then share, toasting with a glass of milk.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Ken Borie has been a family physician in Randolph since 1980. Married with two grown sons and a teenage daughter, Dr. Borie lives a few doors down the street from Gifford, walking to work – even on his day off. His wife, Mary, is a registered nurse in Gifford’s Birthing Center.
In his free time, Dr. Borie is an oil and watercolor portrait painter and enjoys gardening, reading, jogging, whale and bird watching, and golfing. He studies history and medical history, teaches Civil War medicine to schoolchildren, and often has Dartmouth Medical School students with him as he shares his passion for family medicine and his compassion for patients.
Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.
“My journey to Randolph began when I was just 8 years old. I grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by doctors. I saw them as mentors and role models, and knew – even then – that is what I wanted to do with my life.
After acceptance to medical school, I spent my first year in awe of the anatomy of the human body. The summer after my freshman year, I hiked the Long Trail end to end and then went to Waterville, Maine for a six-week medical externship. That summer showed me the beauty of Vermont and where I wanted to practice. It also showed me my future specialty: family medicine, as I worked with an amazing family doctor who “did it all”.
The two sides of Dr. Borie – top, an early ’90s portrait shows the dedicated physician hard at work and bottom, Dr. Borie in 1989 sharing a smile.
I came to Randolph in July of 1980, right out of my family medicine residency. Peter Frankenburg was my real estate broker and sold me the house I live in today. One of his selling pitches included “…and the Fourth of July parade goes right past the house.” Dr. Ron Gadway and Dr. Ed Armstrong initially hired me at Medical Associates, but very soon I was able to open my own practice as Phil Levesque, the CEO at Gifford at the time, was looking for a family doctor in Randolph. I worked as an independent and solo practitioner in Randolph until Gifford officially hired me in 1994.
Thirty-two years of practice later, I can tell you first-hand that being a physician is a blessing. I feel honored to have patients put their trust and faith in me. There is no greater honor than to have a young woman ask me to take care of her newborn baby or after caring for an elderly woman for 25 years, sitting with her and her family as she dies in Gifford’s Garden Room.
I’m not alone in this work. Exceptional physicians, like Drs. Milt Fowler, Mark and Elizabeth Jewett, Lou DiNicola, Terry Cantlin, Mark Seymour, Bill Minsinger, and Dennis Henzig, along with many others on Gifford’s staff, have worked at my side for decades. Together we have helped keep the people of central Vermont healthy.
We’ve incorporated many strategies to achieve that goal, but there is a saying on a statue at Gifford that says it best. The statue is of two birds and is crafted by the talented Jim Sardonis. It reads: “Science has provided many tools for fighting disease, but the oldest tool, compassion, is still the most important.” These words help guide me through each day.”
~ Ken Borie, D.O.
Gifford family physician
Above left: an undated portrait of Dr. Borie. Above right: Dr. Borie chats with Joe and Lois Mulderig of Randolph. Joe and Lois, ages 88 and 85 respectively, have been married for 65 years and have been patients of Dr. Borie’s since moving to Vermont about 20 years ago.
Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the fourth quarter excerpt.
Food choices in the Gifford cafeteria get even healthier as the hospital transitions to a healthy breakfast bar; healthier, lower salt meats; less butter and heavy cream in foods; and more grains and legumes as starches.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stops at Gifford on his “Cycling Vermont’s 14″ 500-mile bicycle tour of the state’s 14 counties. He tours Menig as part of his stop.
Dr. Josh Plavin, a National Health Service Corps scholarship recipient, speaks out for the federal program supporting primary care providers on Corps Community Day on Oct. 11, and for the need for more primary care providers, especially in rural regions.
Two local women, Krista Warner and Teresa Bradley, organize a bowling tournament in support of Gifford’s Woman to Woman fund and raise $1,485 for breast cancer awareness.
The CT scanner is upgraded from a 40-slice model to a 64-slice model, offering patients faster service, clearer imaging, and less radiation.
A new system, a CAREpoint Workstation, for transmitting EKGs from ambulances in the field to the Gifford Emergency Department is brought online. The system, generously paid for by the Gifford Auxiliary, is for use with heart attack patients to determine if they should be brought to Gifford or directly to a cardiac catheterization lab at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center or Fletcher Allen Health Care.
Menig residents work with school children from the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph to create 100 boxes of gifts for children in Third World countries through Operation Christmas Child.
Working with Connor Contracting Inc., Gifford staff and community members Stuff a Truck for Hurricane Sandy survivors in the Rockaway neighborhood of Long Island, New York.
The first patient is seen in the Radiology Department’s new fluoroscopy room. The room is utilized for interventional radiology procedures, which have grown in number.
All Gifford grounds go smoke-free in concert with the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 15.
Gifford’s Annual Craft Fair raises funds for the Adult Day Program.
Married couple Elvira Dana and Jason Kass travel 36 hours from their home in Armenia to give birth at Gifford, for a second time.
Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire, the Vermont Ethics Network, and Gifford’s Advanced Illness Care team join together to offer a community discussion around end-of-life care planning. Other talks on death and dying continue at Gifford in the months that follow.
Family physician Barbara Lazar joins Gifford, bringing a love of geriatrics to the Randolph team.
Chef Wendell Fowler leads a free talk on the pitfalls of the American diet. He suggests cutting the food additives, chemicals, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup in favor of fresher, less-processed foods to improve our health.
Gifford once again supports the community through its holiday gift certificate program – a buy local program where employees receive “gift certificates” redeemable only at regional, locally-owned businesses.
Dr. Robert Smith returns to Northeast after 21 years in U.S. Army
Dr. Robert Smith
A native of New Jersey, pediatrician Dr. Robert Smith is returning to the Northeast after 21 years spent as a U.S. Army doctor in Texas, Germany and Afghanistan.
Dr. Smith has joined Gifford Medical Center’s Randolph pediatric practice, bringing his decades of experience, commitment to continuity of care and warm sense of humor to Vermont families.
A graduate of Drew University in Madison, N.J., Dr. Smith went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Vermont and then his doctor of osteopathic medicine from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. His pediatric internship and residency were at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.
Joining the Army helped provide scholarship money for Dr. Smith, then a young husband and father, to attend medical school and also allowed him to serve his country while seeing some of the world. He started his career in Texas and then moved to Germany in 1998, serving the majority of his career there as the head of pediatrics departments, primary care offices and health clinics at various U.S. military bases.
His most recent position was as chief of the Department of Pediatrics at the U.S. Army MEDDAC (Medical Department Activity) in Heidelberg, Germany and as a pediatric consultant to Europe Regional Medical Command.
From 2010-2011, he was in Kandahar, serving as a brigade surgeon. It was actually during down time in Afghanistan that Dr. Smith shopped for and bought his current home in Vermont.
He had maintained residency in Vermont since first going to college here in the 1980s and hoped to return upon his military retirement. That came just this month. He left Germany on July 1 and started at Gifford a week later on July 8.
“It’s a friendly hospital. It’s a great area,” says Dr. Smith with excitement over being able to practice medicine in a small community where he can build relationships with his young patients and their families.
Dr. Smith describes his style as warm and trusting. “The best compliment I’ve ever had is a child who said ‘Mommy, this guy is funny.’”
That humor leads to children being comfortable receiving care.
Dr. Smith provides care to children from birth through adolescents. Of special interest is ADHD, asthma, infectious disease and sports medicine or sports injuries, he notes.
Dr. Smith is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He is a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the American Osteopathic Association. He has garnered many awards throughout his career, including the Bronze Star Medal in 2011, an Order of Military Medical Merit in 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Young Outstanding Uniformed Staff Pediatrician Award in 2002, multiple Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals and much more.
Dr. Smith lives in Fayston. He and wife Rosemarie have four children, two daughters who are married, a third in nursing school and a 10-year-old son. In his free time, Dr. Smith enjoys the outdoors, including downhill skiing, gardening, camping and hiking.
He is now accepting new patients. Call him at Gifford pediatrics at (802) 728-2420.
Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the second quarter excerpt.
To support patient needs, the Blueprint team grows to include a behavioral health specialist (social worker) and a second care coordinator.
Gynecologist Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara of the Bethel and Twin River health centers leads a free women’s health talk at the Montshire Museum on menopause and genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers.
Gov. Peter Shumlin visits the Menig Extended Care Facility to offer thanks to the state’s top nursing home, calling it a “tribute to the community”. “We’re proud of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” the governor said to residents, families, and staff members. The governor’s visit came in the wake of the U.S. News Report “2012 Honor Roll” listing.
Joining Gov. Shumlin are Vermont Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry, Vermont Health Care Association Executive Director Laura Pelosi, Division of Licensing and Protection Director Suzanne Leavitt, and Assistant Director Fran Keeler.
Gifford provides free assistance with advance directives in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day.
Gifford’s more than 200 volunteers are honored with a luncheon served by hospital managers, prize awards, musical performances, and more.
Dr. Sandy Craig joins the hospitalist team, having previously practiced at The Health Center in Plainfield for many years.
Employees raise $455 for the March of Dimes by donning “Blue Jeans for Babies”. At the same time, the Vermont Chapter of the March of Dimes recognizes Gifford with a Leadership Legacy award for its commitment to prenatal, birth, and newborn care, and its support of the non-profit organization working to prevent birth defects, premature births, and infant mortality.
Long-time pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola receives a national award for his work around childhood immunizations.
Dr. DiNicola is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and the CDC Foundation as the first ever “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for the state of Vermont.
Ob/gyn Dr. Anne Galante joins the women’s health team full-time. She had worked as a locum tenens, or part-time contracted, provider at Gifford since 2009.
Menig residents celebrate a “Day of Play” with representatives of the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living. The day celebrated Older American’s Month and included a scavenger hunt.
The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center holds its annual preschool graduation, complete with caps and gowns.
Gifford and Valley Rescue Squad Inc. move forward with the formation of a new non-profit aimed at stabilizing ambulance costs and maintaining or improving quality through a new non-profit to be called Supporting Ambulances for Vermont Emergencies (SAVE).
A free men’s health talk by general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli and urologist Dr. Richard Graham address colorectal health, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.
For an eighth consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility receives a Nursing Home Quality Recognition from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.
A free talk on Medicare insurance, why it’s important, why participating in Medicare Part B is beneficial, and what one’s choices are under Medicare Part D is offered.
The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons grants accreditation with commendation to the cancer program at Gifford. Gifford’s cancer program, which includes outpatient chemotherapy, has been accredited since 1965.
Family nurse practitioner Emily LeVan joins the Bethel Health Center.
Gifford is awarded a Hospital of Choice Award from The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for “courteous, compassionate, and caring services for patients, family, and the community.” The ranking places Gifford among “America’s most customer-friendly hospitals”.
This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.
The following is excerpted from a letter sent to Gifford by patient Emily Betts Newman of Chelsea. With her permission, we share her words with you.
I underwent surgery at Gifford Medical Center, which was performed by Dr. Dina Levin. The short of it is that Dr. Levin treated me with kindness, compassion, and stellar professionalism – with some humor thrown in. I arrived at 8:30 a.m. and was escorted to a room where the business of prepping me for surgery commenced immediately. The nurse was outgoing, friendly, and knew exactly what she was doing, pleasantly professional.
Very shortly in came Dr. Levin. She spoke to me and then to my husband. Then in came the anesthesiologist. He too was most approachable, but at the same time remained professional. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, along comes a young man and a young woman, dressed in surgical scrubs, to walk me to the OR. They were both most
solicitous toward me and made the walk to the OR quite entertaining.
But wait, it still gets even better. Upon entering the OR, I was instructed to get up on the bed and stretch my arms out. As I did I felt many hands stroking my arms and touching my legs in very soothing manner, sending waves of reassurance through me. Dr. Levin came in, looked at me, smiled and said, “Emily, we are going to take such good care of you.” At that very moment I was relaxed, felt like all was well with me and the world. Dr. Levin was the last smiling face that I saw before I went into the dreamless world of anesthesia.
Soon I was back in the room where it all began. I was actually sorry to go when they decided to boot me out. The quality of care at Gifford is sterling and exceptional in every way. I even got a call from a gentleman at Gifford asking how I was doing since my procedure. I now tell my friends that it certainly paid off to have the surgery and there is only one person on the planet who can do it with compassion, humor, and professionalism. That person is Dr. Dina Levin.
This information appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.
Dr. Barbara Lazar
Dr. Barbara Lazar
Family physician Dr. Barbara Lazar has joined Gifford in Randolph, providing care to all ages, especially older Vermonters.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Lazar did her internship and residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She is board certified by the American Board of Family Practice.
She began her career in 1996 at the Indian Health Service at Northern Navajo Medical Center in New Mexico. Moving to Vermont in 2003, she worked as medical director at Genesis Elder Care in Lebanon, N.H., and as part of the family medicine department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She has also worked at Brookside Nursing Home in
White River Junction and most recently at the Program for All-inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) in Rutland.
A Sharon resident, wife and mother, Dr. Lazar joined Gifford for the opportunity to work close to home and at a small medical center committed to family care.
Call her at Gifford Family Medicine at 728-2445.
Tara Meyer, APRN
Tara Meyer, APRN
Family nurse practitioner Tara Meyer is the newest member of the family medicine team at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin.
Board-certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and a graduate of the University of Vermont, Tara has both nursing and family nurse practitioner experience. She worked as an inpatient nurse at Fletcher Allen Health Care, as a nurse practitioner to children and adults with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and most recently as a primary care nurse practitioner for the Program
for All-inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) in Colchester.
A Montpelier resident and wife, she calls her position at Gifford her “dream job.” “I’m very happy. I just love Gifford. A lot of my friends come to Gifford. A lot of my friends have had babies at Gifford,” Tara says. “It feels really great to work in a place where I’m proud of, that’s really invested in the community and has a great reputation.”
Tara provides care to all ages and also works in area nursing homes on Gifford’s
behalf. Call her at the Berlin Health Center at 229-2325.
Brad Salzmann, PA-C
Brad Salzmann, PA-C
Experienced orthopedics physician assistant Bradford “Brad” Salzmann has
joined Gifford’s orthopedics team in Randolph, providing office care and assisting
A graduate of Springfield College in Massachusetts, Brad is certified by the National
Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. He’s worked since 1996 in
orthopedics at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., and Wing Memorial
Hospital in Palmer, Mass. He also worked in hospitalist medicine at IPC Hospitalist
of New England.
In addition, he has a master’s degree in disaster medicine and management and serves as part of a disaster medical assistance team that responds to national crises.
Now a Royalton resident, this outdoor enthusiast has joined Gifford for the opportunity to work in Vermont and in a small hospital setting. “I’m really excited to be at Gifford. It’s personable. You get to know people and make more of a difference,” he says.
Call Brad in Gifford’s Randolph orthopedics practice at 728-2455. Orthopedics is also offered at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin.