Year in Review – Part 2

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the second quarter excerpt.


Blueprint teamTo 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.

Gov. Peter ShumlinJoining 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.

March of DimesEmployees 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 Menig celebrationlocum 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”.

Colorectal Health Talk Aims to Overcome Embarrassment, Improve Quality of Life

Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli

Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli

RANDOLPH -Gifford Medical Center general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli is working to bring colon and rectal health issues to the forefront in a Feb. 9 talk titled “Everyone’s Got One: A Discussion on the Colon and How to Keep it Healthy.”

Dr. Ciccarelli will lead the 5:30-7:30 p.m. talk in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center, sharing the important role of the colon and common colorectal health issues.

“Everyone has these organs. Yet people are reluctant to talk about problems with their colon or their rectum. Men especially find it difficult to discuss these matters,” Dr. Ciccarelli says. “But this is one area of medicine where we can actually prevent disease, extend lives, and improve quality of life.”

The human body contains about seven feet of colon, or large intestine, which plays a vital role in helping the body complete the digestion process, retain water, and eliminate waste. Like any organ, it can be subject to disease.

Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States and Vermont. One in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. And each year, about 140,000 people nationally are diagnosed with the disease and about 50,000 die from it.

Colorectal cancer develops from polyps that grow – silently, unseen, and unfelt – on the inside wall of the colon. Many polyps will never become cancer, but some will over the years.

Yet, a colonoscopy can both detect and prevent colorectal cancer. This is because during a colonoscopy, these polyps are removed in their precancerous state or before disease can be felt, preventing the onset or the spread of the disease. And when found early, colorectal cancer is highly curable.

Without colonoscopies, it is not until polyps become cancerous, grow large and block the colon, or break through the colon wall that colon cancer symptoms are evident.

Cancer, however, is just one disease that can affect the large bowel. Dr. Ciccarelli will discuss diverticulosis and its complications, along with routine anorectal topics, such as anal fissures and hemorrhoids.

“The colon and rectum can cause numerous problems that may drastically affect one’s quality of life. We want to eliminate the shame, fear, embarrassment, and misunderstanding of talking to your health care provider about colorectal health concerns,” notes Dr. Ciccarelli.

“At some point in their lives, most people experience some sort of problem with their colon or rectum. It’s not something people freely speak about,” agrees Gifford Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry. “We’re hoping community members can put aside any reservations they may have and come out to learn how they can feel better and live longer.”

The talk aims to reduce embarrassment by sharing a real patient story. After years as a surgeon, Dr. Ciccarelli also ensures he’ll infuse plenty of humor into the discussion, which includes a question and answer period at the end.

The event is free and open to the public. Register by calling Amanda at (802) 728-2238.

Gifford is located at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12 south of the village) in Randolph. The Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital and marked by a green awning. Learn more online at