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.

In Your Words…A Patient’s Story

This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.

patient feedbackThe 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.

Career Exploration Week: November 13-16, 2012

Preparing Students for the Next Stages of Their Lives

Career WeekRUHS Student Services is hosting a Focus on Careers week for all students November 13-16.

Throughout the week, professionals from a wide range of occupations and organizations will give “lunch talks” to students who are interested in learning more about particular careers. Students may sign-up to attend any workshops they are interested in.

For each presentation a student attends, he/she will receive a raffle ticket to win local prizes such as gift certificates, VTC clothing, RUHS athletic gear, etc.

Our Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Dina Levin was responsible for getting so many Gifford people involved. She wants kids to know and understand the variety of health care careers available – some medical, many not.

Here is a list of this year’s speakers.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Lyndley Mittler: Preschool Teacher, Warren Elementary School
Dina Levin: Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Gifford Medical Center
MaryKay Dreher: Academic Coordinator, Community College of Vermont
Anne Bridges: Registered Nurse, Gifford Medical Center
Mark McDonough: Firefighter, Burlington City Fire Department

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Amy Harris: Psychologist, Private Practice, Montpelier, VT
Nicolas Benoit: Podiatrist, Gifford Medical Center
Ed Striebe: Chef, Gifford Medical Center

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Emma Shumann: Project Coordinator, Gifford Medical Center
Samantha Medved: Social Worker, Gifford Medical Center
Tammy Hooker: Graphic Design/Marketing, Gifford Medical Center
Geoffrey Schaubhut: Ph.D. Candidate in Neuroscience, UVM
Kathy MacAskill: Medical Laboratory Technician, Gifford Medical Center

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16
Winthrop Smith Jr.: CEO Sugarbush Mountain Resort, Warren, VT
LaRae Francis: Project Manager, Gifford Medical Center
Tyson Moulton: Director of Facilities, Gifford Medical Center
TC Webb: Film/Media, RTCC
Ryan Dreimiller: Art Direction/Graphic Design, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters