Carrying on the Tradition of Accessible Care

The following article was published in our 2012 Annual Report.

carrying on the tradition

Above left – One of Gifford’s newer providers, internal medicine physician Dr. Cristine Maloney, lives in Randolph and brings special training in palliative care to Gifford’s already robust advanced illness care program. Here she is pictured with patient David Wark of West Topsham. Above right – Emergency Department physician and clinical director Dr. Saul Nurok joined Gifford in 2010. Here he is shown with patient George Carr of Bethel.

Gifford is fortunate to have many long-serving health care providers, but the medical center would not be successful without the providers who have joined Gifford in more recent years.

Lured in part by the stability and quality provided by the very individuals highlighted in this year’s report, Gifford has welcomed new providers in almost every area of medicine.

For example, joining long-time pediatricians Dr. Lou DiNicola and Dr. Elizabeth Jewett, who have both been at Gifford for 36 years, are Dr. Joe Pelletier, now with Gifford for 10 years, and Dr. Pam Udomprasert, who joined more recently in 2011.

“Joe is now the cornerstone of pediatrics here,” says Dr. DiNicola.

At the Chelsea Health Center, long-time U.S. Navy family physician Dr. Brian Sargent joined physician assistant Starr Strong in practice in 2008. “I am especially appreciative of Brian,” Starr states, “and his commitment to the folks of this valley and the joy he takes in developing relationships in this unique place.”

In Bethel, family nurse practitioner and former emergency department nurse Emily LeVan joined long-time family physicians Dr. Mark Seymour and Dr. Terry Cantlin just this year. “Emily brings her wealth of emergency room experience and a firm commitment to primary care. She also has a strong tie to the area, working with her husband and family running a local farm,” Medicine Division Medical Director Dr. Josh Plavin says.

In the Emergency Department, Drs. Steven Fisher, Josh White, and Saul Nurok have filled the shoes of long-term physicians like Dr. Lucy Wollaeger, who retired from full-time work in 2012 after 21 years at Gifford.

“Often people’s first opinion of the hospital is through the emergency room, and Steve, Saul, and Josh are amazing,” Dr. Ken Borie, a family physician at Gifford for 32 years, says.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Dennis Henzig, a 20-year veteran of Gifford, has been joined by Drs. Jon-Richard Knoff in 2007 and Nazek Shabayek in 2012. Both of Gifford’s orthopedists, Dr. Stephanie Landvater and Dr. Bess Brackett, have come to Gifford within the last decade as Dr. Bill Minsinger prepared to retire.

Hospitalist medicine is a newer specialty. Consequently, it melds newer doctors and mid-level providers with experienced ones who have transitioned from another area of medicine, such as family care. Gifford’s certified nurse-midwifery team additionally melds newer and more experienced members. Ob/gyn physicians Dr. Anne Galante and Dr. Dina Levin have both joined Dr. Brent Burgee, a 27-year veteran of Gifford, and experienced gynecologist Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara.

The most recent addition in the Randolph primary care office is family physician Dr. Barbara Lazar. “Barb brings a wealth of experience, particularly in geriatrics, and is an extremely competent and kind provider. She is an excellent long-term fit for our community-focused practice,” adds Dr. Plavin, who is also among those providers who have committed themselves to the community.

Most of Gifford’s newer providers – of which there are many more – are from the immediate area or have made it their home, raising children here and engrossing themselves in the community in a variety of ways.

Together – even as health care changes and recruitment, particularly of primary care physicians, becomes more and more challenging – they are carrying on the tradition of neighbors helping neighbors and of high-quality, accessible care in our communities.

carrying on the tradition of accessible care

Above left: Family physician Barbara Lazar joined Gifford in 2012, bringing a background in geriatric care. Above right – Certified nurse midwife Donna Butler, pictured here with a patient and her baby, only joined Gifford in 2010, but this Vermont native has more than 25 years of experience.

Breast cancer awareness talk slated for Oct. 22 at Gifford

Dr. Anne Galante

Dr. Scott Smith

RANDOLPH – Experts from Gifford Medical Center will lead a free breast cancer awareness talk on Oct. 22 from 6-7:30 p.m. in concert with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Ob/gyn Dr. Anne Galante and radiologist Dr. Scott Smith will discuss screening and prevention of breast cancer among women of all ages. Specific topics include breast exams, clinical breast exams, the importance and limitations of various methods of breast imaging, and genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

Time will be provided for one-on-one questions with these local experts.

Michele Packard, Health Connections specialist, will also be on hand to enroll qualifying women ages 21 and up in Ladies First as well as explore other insurance options.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States and in Vermont. It’s also the nation’s leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, about 473 breast cancer cases are diagnosed among Vermont women each year. About 92 people each year die from the disease. Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes.

While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment.

“We hope to increase awareness of breast cancer risks, prevention, screening and insurance opportunities available to Vermont women,” Dr. Galante said. “Early diagnosis offers the best chance of surviving breast cancer, but if we don’t know about the disease, we can’t treat it.

“This is an opportunity for women of all ages, and whoever they want to bring with them, to learn more about breast health.”

The talk, titled “The Importance of Breast Cancer Screening,” will be held in the Gifford Conference Center at the medical center at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph.

The event is free and open to all. No registration is required.

For more information, call the hospital at 728-7000 or visit www.giffordmed.org.

Ob/Gyn Dr. Anne Galante Joins Gifford

Dr. Anne Galante

Dr. Anne Galante

RANDOLPH – Anne Galante never planned to be a physician.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Upstate New York, Galante graduated from Cornell University and worked in insurance in Los Angeles and then New York City for a decade. While in New York, she began volunteering in the Emergency Department in Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. “It was very easy to be helpful,” Galante recalls. She cleaned rooms. She held children while they got stitches. She hugged patients newly diagnosed with cancer.

Then she started doing ride-alongs with an ambulance crew, going into to some of the city’s worst neighborhoods.

The experiences gave her stories to tell her friends until one evening during a gathering with those same friends, Galante was suddenly aware that her interest in medicine was more than idle curiosity. “God’s finger thumped my head. I had a calling. I said, ‘I think I’m going to try to go to medical school.’”

“I might as well have said I was going to fly without a plane.”

But soon she found her plane.

She enrolled in medical school at the University of Vermont in 1994, graduating in 1998 and going on to a four-year obstetrics/gynecology internship and residency at Albany Medical Center Hospital in New York.

She initially thought emergency medicine was her calling, but the very first clinical rotation she worked in medical school was in gynecology, and it stuck. “I just loved it, and I loved surgery,” says Dr. Galante, who was intrigued with women’s health.

She went on to work for four years at Porter Medical Center in Middlebury and then worked for an additional four years as a travelling physician filling in where needed. (The industry calls this a locum tenens.) She worked as the “house” ob/gyn on the Rosebud (Lakota Sioux) reservation in South Dakota, at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, at Springfield Hospital and at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.

She has filled in at Gifford since 2009, but when the opportunity to transition to a full-time, employed provider presented itself this year, Dr. Galante was enthusiastic.

“I’m very happy. I feel like I came home. It’s wonderful to walk into a place where people already know you. They’re confident in you,” she says.

Gifford is renowned for its Birthing Center and midwifery and obstetrics team. In addition to collaborative birth support, Dr. Galante also provides a wide range of well-woman care, including adolescents’ gynecology, care for abnormal pap smears, colposcopies, sexual dysfunction, standard well-woman visits, and perimenopausal help.

Board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she is a fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and has worked as a volunteer physician with organizations such as Medicine in Action caring for women in Jamaica, Haiti, and Tanzania and at the Open Door Clinic in Middlebury.

A mother of two, Isabelle, 11, and Jackson, 10, Dr. Galante is a New Haven resident, published photographer, sailor, cyclist, and cook.

She sees patients at Gifford Ob/Gyn and Midwifery in Randolph. Call her (802) 728-2401.