The Gifford Health Care Board of Directors announced on Friday that long time Administrator Joseph Woodin will be leaving the organization in May to live in Massachusetts where he has accepted the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital CEO position.
In announcing his resignation, Woodin stressed that the move was for personal reasons.
“There is not a single reason why I should leave, or want to leave Gifford,” Woodin said. “In the last three years I lost my wife, and then my mother, and it has been a time of personal reflection for me. It’s the right time for me to move forward in life and pursue another opportunity.”
He expressed great appreciation for the relationships he has built with the board, staff, and community during his 17-year tenure, and for the accomplishments they had achieved together.
To assure a smooth and successful leadership transition, the Gifford Board will appoint an interim administrator to work with the hospital’s senior management team and facilitate operations and ongoing projects at Gifford. They have begun what is anticipated to be a 6-9 month national search for Woodin’s replacement.
“Gifford’s Board is fully supportive of Joe as he pursues this new chapter in his life,” said Gifford Board Chair Gus Meyer. “Gifford has a solid foundation, and we have exciting ongoing projects that we will continue to work on. Thankfully, we have an extraordinary staff, providers, and a management team, and we will continue to support of the excellent work they do.”
Since Woodin came to Gifford in 1999, the hospital has met its state-approved operating margin for 16 consecutive years while enjoying a period of expansion in services and physical growth.
Today Gifford has more than 600 employees in 11 locations. In 2013, Gifford’s long-time focus on community primary care was strengthened with a Federally Qualified Health Center designation, and in 2014 it was named a top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the nation.
During his tenure Woodin oversaw expansion of Gifford’s network of community health centers to include clinics in Berlin, White River Junction, Wilder, Kingwood and the popular Sharon Health Center. His commitment to strategic planning and master facility planning has brought a newly renovated ambulatory care center, expanded radiology and emergency department.
Woodin’s latest vision includes the creation of a Senior Living Community in Randolph Center and private patient rooms. The Randolph Center campus includes the Menig Nursing Home and work is slated to begin in the spring on the first independent living building. Patients and staff transitioned to the new private patient rooms in December and work continues on the renovated Birthing Center.
Gifford has also expanded patient services during this time, ranging from the creation of a hospitalist program in 2006 that has allowed the hospital to provide local care for more serious illnesses to the creation of a the Palliative Care program. The guiding philosophy has been to provide appropriate care for all stages of life from birth to end of life.
Woodin’s commitment to the community has spread beyond the walls of Gifford to include ongoing support for local businesses. He has worked diligently to encourage economic growth and vibrancy to help build a healthy community.
Dr. Mario Potvin has joined Gifford Medical Center’s general surgery team. A board-certified surgeon, he has lived in Minnesota for the last 19 years and most recently practiced at the Fairview Lakes Medical Center, in Wyoming, Minnesota.
Born and raised in Quebec City, Canada, Potvin earned his Medical Degree at the Universite de Montreal, Quebec, and completed a fellowship in Laparoscopic Surgery at Montreal General Hospital.
He practiced in Canada for six years before accepting a position with the Mayo Health Systems in Minnesota in 1997, and recently began looking for a position in New England so he could be closer to family in Quebec.
Potvin brings nineteen years of experience in general surgery, advanced laparoscopy surgery skills, and extensive knowledge of Endoscopy and GERD investigation. He likes to establish a direct and honest relationship with patients so they can discuss problems and treatment options together.
“I tell my patients that I’m here to give them the best treatment possible,” he said. “Sometimes this is surgery, sometimes there are other options to consider.”
Potvin has purchased a home in Randolph Center, and when not working enjoys skiing, reading, all kinds of music, and playing piano and guitar.
Gifford’s General Surgery team provides a wide range of services including skin lesion and cyst removal, comprehensive breast care, hernia treatment, and colonoscopies. To learn more about Gifford’s General Surgery program visit www.giffordmed.org, or call the General Surgery office at 802-728-2430.
On December 18th, every employee on Gifford’s main campus arrived to find a bag filled with four homemade cookies and a homemade caramel, either waiting on their desk or hand-delivered by an amazing Christmas spirit wearing a bright red reindeer nose.
Katelyn Duprey, a RN on HP, worked the night shift last night. After her shift ended, she pushed a cart overflowing with treats to every section of the hospital, making sure she left a bag for each staff member.
It took 48 batches of cookie dough and 7 batches of caramel to fill the 465 bags. Duprey and her mother Gloria started baking on Monday morning, helped by two friends, and they finished filling the last bag at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.
“I made up all the cookie dough in advance and we worked on a rotation system,” she explained. “Two trays of cookies in the oven, two trays cooling, and 2 trays lined with dough, ready to bake. “
Duprey began working at Gifford just before Christmas in 2013. Last year she made Christmas cookies for her co-workers on the HP/TCU units, adding extras for others in the hospital.
“I thought I gave out cookies to the entire hospital last year, but then I realized this year there were so many more here on the main campus!” she said. “So I counted up all the employees on the address book to make sure I had enough.”
“This tastes like Christmas in a cookie!” lab technician Susan Gallagher said, as she helped with the distribution cart Friday morning.
Duprey says comments like this, and the surprised reaction of people receiving an unexpected “goodie bag”, makes all the work worthwhile.
She said by far the best reaction this year came from Administrator Joe Woodin, who was uncharacteristically at a loss for words when given his gift.
“He just stood there looking at all the bags and saying, “Impossible! Impossible!” Duprey said.
Barbara E. Quealy, RN, MBA, has joined Gifford Medical Center’s senior leadership team as Chief Operating Officer (COO). She will lead Gifford’s hospital-based operations and report directly to Administrator Joseph Woodin.
“We are very happy to have Barbara join our Gifford team,” said Woodin. “Because of her early experiences as an RN, and in key leadership positions in small critical access hospitals, she understands how important collaboration and communication is to delivering quality patient care.”
Quealy was most recently vice president of Physician and Ancillary Services at the Huggins Hospital in Wolfboro, NH, where she oversaw the operations of the primary care and specialty practices, medical imaging, cardiopulmonary, laboratory, and rehabilitation departments. Previously she was vice-president of Physician Services at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH.
A Boston native, she began working as a candy-striper when she was fourteen, worked as a nurses’ aide through high school and college, and worked for 10 years as an RN in intensive care, cardiac care, and cardiac rehab units before moving into hospital administration. Quealy says she was attracted to Gifford’s commitment to community and strong financial performance, and because she could be an administrator and still interact with patients and their families.
“I began my career in nursing and learned early on the importance of these relationships. Because of this I’m able to bring the patient care conversation to the highest levels of an organization,” she said. ´“At Gifford I’ve been especially impressed by the attention to patient care, and the team work and collaboration I see in all areas of the organization.”
Quealy recently served as vice president of the NH Medical Group Management Association. She received a Masters of Business Administration at Franklin Pierce University, an Associates of Science in Nursing at North Shore Community College, and a Bachelor of Arts at Boston College.
Her new position at Gifford brings her closer to family (one of her two grown sons lives in St. Albans, VT), and she says she immediately felt comfortable here. She and her husband have already purchased land in Randolph, where they are building a home.
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Scott Rodi has been appointed Gifford Medical Center’s Emergency Department and Hospital Division Medical Director.
For the past 15 years Rodi has worked at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he has been the Medical Director and Section Chief of Emergency Medicine. He is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and since 2007 has also worked part-time in Gifford’s Emergency Department.
“I came to Gifford initially because I wanted to work in a rural community hospital and to work more directly with patients, which was difficult in a teaching hospital,” Rodi said. “Gifford’s community focus resonates with me, and I enjoy working with an administration that is so accessible.”
A native of San Diego, CA, Rodi first came to the East Coast to attend Dartmouth College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology. He went on to Cornell University Medical College, where he earned an MD, and then returned to Dartmouth‘s Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences for a Master of Public Health. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, and trained in Orthopedic Surgery in the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and in General Surgery at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA.
While at Dartmouth Rodi founded the Center for Rural Emergency Services and Trauma (an outreach program aimed at Critical Access Hospital Emergency Departments) and was involved in the early development of tele-emergency medicine. He has been named New Hampshire Magazine’s Top ED Doctor annually since 2010, and his clinical interests include emergency department management, rural emergency care delivery, and telemedicine.
Dr. Rodi comes from a long line of doctors (his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all physicians), and said because of this it seemed inevitable that he would practice medicine: “I saw that it offered opportunities to do meaningful work and be steadily employed.” Married with three daughters, he lives in Lyme NH, where he is currently working on building an Annapolis Wherry rowing shell.
Anesthesiologist Anthony Fazzone, M.D., M.S. has joined Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. He brings nearly 20 years of experience and has worked at several area hospitals, including the University of Vermont Health Care System, Springfield Hospital, and the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH.
Dr. Fazzone attended Georgetown University (where he earned his M.D. and a master of science in Physiology) and received a master of science in Human Nutrition from Columbia University. He completed his residency in Anesthesia at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and residencies in Surgery at Abington Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Board-certified by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Fazzone was first drawn to physiology (the normal functions of living systems) and says moving on to medicine and anesthesiology was a natural extension of this interest.
“Anesthesia alters how the body functions, so understanding how the heart, lungs, and neurological systems work helps us take a personalized approach with each patient,” he says. “I can often use regional anesthesia (nerve blocks, spinal taps, and epidurals) to help patients avoid high doses of medication and provide pain relief for patients after surgery.”
Fazzone has most enjoyed his work in smaller hospitals like Gifford because he has time to meet with patients to develop ongoing relationships. After his residency at UVM he knew he wanted to settle in Vermont, and says the Randolph area reminds him of the rural part of western Connecticut where he grew up. He enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and in summer relaxes by kite-boarding on Lake Champlain.
Funds raised through sales at popular volunteer-staffed community Thrift Shop
Members of Gifford Medical Center’s Auxiliary at their quarterly membership luncheon on November 15, 2015. (Photo credit: Bob Eddy)
Gifford Medical Center’s Auxiliary announced a million-dollar gift to the hospital’s Vision for the Future campaign at the organizations quarterly membership luncheon on November 15, 2015.
Funds for the generous gift were raised through sales at the popular volunteer-staffed Thrift Shop in Randolph.
The Vison for the Future campaign is raising funds to support a multi-phased project that built the new Menig Nursing Home in Randolph Center (which opened last spring), 25 private inpatient rooms (which will open mid-December), and an updated and more centrally located Birthing Center in the hospital (planned to open next spring). The campaign needs just $800,000 to close the $5 million campaign, and hopes the Auxiliary’s gift—created through hard work and small-dollar sales—will inspire others to invest in the hospital’s future.
“This gift represents an overwhelming generosity of time and resources,” said Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin, who noted that over the years the Auxiliary has supported strategic projects (including the original Menig Extended Care wing, the Philip Levesque Medical Building, and the employee day care center) as well as annual departmental “wish list” items not included in the hospital budget. “The Auxiliary is a key part of Gifford’s success, and truly adds tremendous value to our community.”
The Thrift Shop first opened its doors in 1956 and has been providing clothing and household items to bargain hunters and those in need ever since. The 148-member Auxiliary runs the Thrift Shop, with some paid staff and many dedicated volunteers who sort through donations, clean and mend clothes, price items, stock shelves, and staff the store. Each year the Auxiliary also funds scholarships for college students pursuing health careers, financial aid for students enrolled in LNA programs, and supports other community outreach programs.
Auxiliary President Margaret Osborn says the Thrift Shop’s success can be measured in terms of money raised, but also by the enthusiasm of the volunteer workers, the creativity of employees, and the many community customers and donors.
“This million dollar gift reflects our community’s enthusiasm for re-gifting their possessions through the thrift shop, helping to ensure that we have high-quality local hospital care and good merchandise at prices everyone can afford—from fire victims to frugal shoppers,” said Osborn. “We provide an effective, simplified process that gets unused goods out to those who can use them. At the same time we offer tremendous opportunities for people with vitality and skills who want to give time to community service.”
Woodin also notes the many layers of the Thrift Shop’s community contributions. “We are so fortunate to have this unique community resource,” he said. “It helps the hospital, it helps people with limited resources, it keeps unused items from cluttering homes and out of the landfill, and it offers everyone the joy that comes with finding a good bargain. That’s a universal gratification!”
To volunteer or learn more about the Thrift shop, call (802) 728-2185. For more information about Gifford’s Vision for the Future campaign, call Ashley Lincoln at 728-2380 or visit http://www.giffordmed.org/VisionfortheFuture.
Ellen Bando, PA-C has joined Gifford’s Pediatrics team, bringing 15 years of experience with pediatric and adolescent patients.
She most recently worked at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center in AZ, where she spent 5 years as part of a medical team providing outpatient care for Native American patients, and working a mobile medical van that brought preventive and screening services to remote communities on the Navajo Reservation.
Bando knew when she graduated from college that she wanted to help underserved rural communities, and first worked in hospital administration.
“I was disturbed by the inequality I saw in access to medical care, and decided that I wanted to make a difference by taking care of patients directly,” said Bando. “I began as a lab technician, and then at age 30 decided to train to be a physician assistant.”
She received a master of Medical Science from the Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, completing rotations in pediatrics, family medicine, ob/gyn, inpatient and outpatient internal medicine, emergency medicine, and surgery. She also completed elective clinical service in rheumatology, newborn medicine, and pediatrics, and worked on the Navajo Reservation.
An NCCPA-certified physician assistant, Bando has provided a wide spectrum of primary care services to children and their families, and she has a special interest in pediatric and adolescent care. Other clinical interests include pediatric obesity, adolescent health, and cross-cultural medicine.
Bando practiced at Upper Valley Pediatrics in Bradford VT before accepting her most recent position in Arizona. Wanting to be closer to family in Hartford, VT, she began to look for a position in a rural Vermont community where she could settle with her family. The position at Gifford was a good fit, and she has already purchased a home nearby.
“Patient-centered care is the heart of medicine—I’ve always practiced in a small community where people can get to know you and you can get to know them,” says Bando. “My work with Navajos taught me to be a good listener. I listen to what my patients say and then try to be their advocate.”
To schedule an appointment, please call 802-728-2777.
Two certified nurse midwives have joined Gifford’s Birthing Center team: Ali Swanson, who comes to Randolph from a practice in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Vermont native Susan Paris. Established in 1977, Gifford’s Birthing Center was the first in Vermont to offer an alternative to traditional hospital-based deliveries, and continues to be a leader in midwifery and family-centered care.
Ali Swanson grew up just north of Chicago and received a BA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her clinical interests include adolescent health and waterbirth.
After working as a midwife in the inner city of Chicago for two years, she was attracted to the Canadian midwifery model (where midwives function as autonomous providers who assist in childbirth in homes, hospitals, and free standing birthing centers) and obtained her Canadian licensure. She most recently was a registered midwife at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Wanting to relocate to Vermont, she is excited to have found a community hospital where she can draw on her experiences in both hospital and out-of-hospital settings.
“Birth is a life-changing event and a very unique experience,” says Swanson. “It is all about trust and a woman’s relationship to her body, her family, and her midwife. I want to help a woman experience it in a way that is supportive and comfortable for her.”
Susan Paris, raised in Jeffersonville, Vermont, always knew she wanted to help women with labor and delivery. “Midwifery is in my bones,” she says.
She received a BS from Johnson State College, an Associate in Nursing from VTC, and a Master of Science in Midwifery from the Midwifery Institute of Philadelphia. She most recently worked as a labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum nurse at Martin Memorial Health Center in Florida, and has also worked at Copley Hospital and the University Medical Center of Vermont. Paris says she brings a supportive and friendly approach to her work, and also a sense of humor—“It’s supposed to be fun too!” Her clinical interests include the prenatal and birthing experience, well-women care, and adolescent care. She is pleased to be back in Vermont and part of a team that offers women a broad skill set and choices in style as well as personality.
“With childbirth you need to have many ‘tools,’ available and consider many options –you never can predict how the process will go,” said Swanson. “I want to help women along the path they’ve chosen, but I’m always prepared to adapt and be ready to move in a different direction when needed.”
The Birthing Center team brings extensive knowledge and skill to their work: four licensed midwives and three board-certified obstetricians/gynecologists with expertise in high-risk pregnancy and birth collaborate when needed to provide compassionate, 24-hour care. At each step of the process they work to personalize the process, helping women choose their best options for a positive and rewarding birth experience.
Ali Swanson and Susan Paris are currently accepting new patients. To learn more about the Birthing Center, please call 728-2257.
This article was published in our Fall 2015 Update.
Anyone who has suffered chronic muscle and bone pain knows that it can be difficult to find a treatment that relieves the discomfort. Sometime these injuries can significantly impair mobility, or your ability to enjoy daily activities.
“We’re always looking for new ways to treat these conditions because one person’s response can differ from that of someone else who has the same condition,” said Sharon Health Center Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Peter Loescher.
Loescher suffers from chronic tendonitis of the knee himself, so he was especially open to trying out a new technology that might help similar conditions. He recently tested the EPAT (extracorporeal pulse activation technology) tool, a hand held device that looks like a small hairdryer, which uses pressure waves to increase blood flow to regenerate damaged tissue and promote healing. He liked that the tool offered a non-invasive treatment option to traditional cortisone injections or plasma replacement needle therapy.
“EPAT is especially good with repetitive injuries—carpenters elbow, tennis elbow, and some knee conditions,” Loescher said. “The body has long since given up trying to heal these daily repetitive injuries, and EPAT can help restart the body’s own healing process.”
After successfully using the technology on himself and other staff members at the Sharon Health Center, Loescher began a 3-month trial with patients who had not found a successful treatment plan and were willing to try something new.
Chronic shoulder pain interfered with work, limited daily routines
Randolph Personal Fitness Trainer Ginger Potwin came to see Dr. Loescher when the exercises and anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by an orthopedist failed to ease increasing pain in her shoulders. Over the course of a year, her daily activities caused flare-ups, and each time her symptoms worsened. She worried that she would be unable to continue working as a trainer.
“The flare-ups in both shoulders prevented me from doing outside activities like raking the lawn, shoveling, and gardening. Also, doing household chores such as mopping and folding laundry proved challenging,” she said. “I was unable to demonstrate exercises to clients.”
Initially Loescher used a needle to break up significant calcium deposits in both of Potwin’s shoulders. He mentioned that EPAT therapy might help her condition, and Potwin decided to try it.
I felt immediate results,” said Potwin, who has had four EPAT treatment sessions. “Following each session I noticed increased range of motion in my shoulders and the pain significantly subsided—including the flare-ups with regular activities.”
Potwin says that the EPAT session lasted about seven minutes (her needle therapy sessions were about 40 minutes), with a post-treatment recovery time of a few days compared to the two weeks she had previously experienced. When she first began EPAT she had about 20 percent use of her shoulders—this increased to about 70 percent after the first treatment. Very quickly she was once again able to demonstrate exercises to her clients, which is critical for her work.
“I am back to my normal routines: I am able to rake my yard, garden, and fold clothes without pain or potential flare ups,” says Potwin. “I am also training for a thirteen mile obstacle race (Spartan Beast Race) in Killington this fall. I would have not been able to participate in this race if my shoulders were in the condition they were in prior to the EPAT treatment!”
To learn more about EPAT therapy, call the Sharon Health Center at