News Center

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Young Indy patients, students receive free books from foundation

INDIANAPOLIS – While some organizations have been forced to scale back their holiday giving, the Health Literacy Foundation, with the support of Hilton Publishing Corporation, has donated 10,000 books to youngsters in local hospitals and schools.

Copies of the book, Bear Crimbo (Hilton) by M.W. Goss, were distributed before Christmas to patients at St. Francis’ pediatrics and emergency departments, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent and Community Health Network. Students at Indianapolis Public Schools and the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association also received books.

The books have a retail value of about $180,000.

“The Health Literacy Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides free medically relevant literature to minority and other underserved populations,” said Monica Joyner, M.D., director of the St. Francis Wound Care Institute. Joyner recently was appointed executive director of the foundation.

Hilton currently contracts with the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc., whose network includes St. Francis hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville, and nine other hospitals in Indiana and Illinois. The partnership provides medical books, journals and other resources to St. Francis medical facilities.

The Health Literacy Foundation and Hilton Publishing were established by Hilton Hudson, a prominent African-American heart surgeon from Indianapolis who now practices in Chicago. To learn more about the foundation, go to

Postpartum screening, treatment focus of new St. Francis program

INDIANAPOLIS – Perinatal Mood Disorders, commonly referred to as postpartum depression, is said to occur in up to 20 percent in mothers. These disorders can occur at any time during pregnancy and often during the first year following delivery.

An even grimmer statistic is that about 80 percent suffering from PMD do not seek or receive treatment, which can adversely affect the mother, infant and family.

That’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has launched the Postpartum Depression/Perinatal Mood Disorders program. The initiative includes a support group (already in operation) and assistance through St. Francis Outpatient Behavioral Health Services.

The program also will provide screenings at its Indianapolis and Mooresville hospitals beginning Jan.1, 2010.

“Postpartum staff nurses will administer the screening test during a patient’s hospital stay,” said family nurse practitioner Angela Bratina, postpartum manager at St. Francis. “The program is a result of our hospital’s vision to provide excellent, patient-focused care.”

The program will receive an added boost on Jan. 20, when Birdie Meyer, R.N., a nationally recognized PMD expert, will make a presentation at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis.

For more information about the event and the new program, contact Bratina at 317-851-1657, or

More information about the Women’s Health Services at St. Francis can be found at

‘Emotional Eating’ program begins Jan. 5 at St. Francis Weight Loss Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Occasional “emotional eating” isn't a problem for most people. After all, that's what makes comfort food so appealing; however, turning to food every time a person has unpleasant feelings – or even positive ones – can lead to weight gain. Emotional eaters may find it difficult to stop on their own.

Finding a support group for people dealing with similar issues can provide guidance for dealing with emotional eating.The Emotional Eating Support Group at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center is for anyone trying to lose weight and struggling with emotional overeating, also known as compulsive overeating or binge eating.

This group offers support to patients struggling with emotional eating, or using food for reasons other than physical hunger and feeling unable to stop the behavior.The groups will be led by Holly Pittman, a therapist at the Center, has extensive experience providing individual, couples, and group therapy to patients with eating, mental health and addiction issues.

The six-week program gets under way 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, with each session held Tuesdays at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, 5230-A E. Stop 11 Road, across Stop 11 Road from the St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis campus.

The cost is $50 to participate in the program. Call 317-782-7525 or visit for additional information.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St. Francis Healthcare Foundation director named to charter school board

INDIANAPOLIS – Amanda Haugh, director of development for the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Paramount School of Excellence.

In that role, Haugh will help oversee various education and business aspects of the newly chartered school, located on the city’s near east side.

At the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation, Haugh focuses on major gifts, special events and marketing, working primarily with high-level donors, hospital vendors, corporations, physicians and medical groups.

The St. Francis Healthcare Foundation was established in 1995 as a separate corporation to help advance the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, specifically the service area of St. Francis Hospital & Heath Centers. More information about the foundation is at

Haugh also is active in the community. She is board director for the Indianapolis International Film Festival, where she serves on various committees. She is president of the Oakland Block Association, the 10th Street Civic Association and an active supporter of the Near East Side Community Organization.

To learn more about the Paramount School of Excellence, go to

Friday, December 18, 2009

‘Bricks’ training taking it to the streets in prep for Mini-Marathon

INDIANAPOLIS – Participants for the 2010 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon have the chance to get a head start with a training program offered by Ken Long & Associates.

“Bricks to Bricks,” sponsored by St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, is a 16-week training program designed to prepare runners and walkers for the May 8 race. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 35,000 from eight foreign countries and 49 states.

“There is much more to running and walking a road race than just putting one foot in front of the other,” said Ken Long We feel that going out and just doing mileage, whether individually or with a group, is not sufficient to adequately meet participants’ goals.”

Long is the owner of the KLA, a training, road racing and consulting organization. He is the former race director of the Mini-Marathon.

The training schedule and locations:

Jan. 26-May 4: Roberts Park United Methodist Church, 401 N. Delaware, Indianapolis.
Jan, 27-May 5: Greenwood United Methodist Church, 535 N. Madison Ave., Greenwood.

Runners and walkers meet at the same location and time. The downtown and south groups have separate rooms and instructors for the runners and walkers. Beginning with the second meeting, group workouts are offered either before or after class.

“All ages and abilities from the beginner to the experienced racer and the advanced are welcome,” Long said. “The program will prepare participants physically and mentally to accomplish their goals, not only for the Mini-Marathon, but for the continuation of their running and walking goals.”

Since 1985, St. Francis Hospital has served as a corporate sponsor of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. However, the hospital also takes it a step further by encouraging preparation and healthy lifestyles through Bricks to Bricks training. On race day, the hospital provides medical assistance and other forms of volunteer support.

To register or learn more about the St. Francis “Bricks to Bricks” training program, go to

St. Francis Hospital employees’ gift program helps 83 local families

INDIANAPOLIS – While one song hails the holidays as the “most wonderful time of the year,” for many families it’s a time of struggle.

That’s what continues to drive the Gift-a-Family program, coordinated by the Mission Integration Committee and Service Excellence Department at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. The annual program serves residents primarily on the city’s south side.

St. Francis employees and their respective departments adopted families earlier and began collected new clothing, small household items and children’s toys and gifts.

“Each year we identify families who have been referred to us, and while they have different backgrounds they all share a common denominator – they’re needy and often in desperate situations,” said Shirley Fox, chair of St. Francis’ Mission Integration Committee. “And in the spirit of St. Francis, our employees step forward with generosity and compassionate concern to help them.”

St. Francis employees assisted 83 families this year.

Employees of Alverno Information Services, a division of the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services located on the hospital’s Beech Grove campus, also provided the families with food baskets.

“Alverno employees have been strong partners and supporters of this program,” Fox said. “They conducted contests and fundraisers to purchase the food. Each basket contained more than $80 worth of food items and toiletries.”

The food baskets were blessed on Dec. 17 by St. Francis clergy and were delivered along with the gifts to families.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

St. Francis Insurance Services aims to serve senior participants

INDIANAPOLIS – Navigating the maze of life and health insurance coverage can be an odyssey, and St. Francis Insurance Services is there to help you chart a course.

The program is a component of Senior Promise, which offers myriad programs and benefits to its 10,000 members in south-central Indiana. But participants don’t have to be Senior Promise members to access St. Francis Insurance Services.

Established in 2003, St. Francis Insurance Services has licensed agents at its facilities in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville, all of whom provide counseling and sound advice about most insurance issues.

“We will not pressure people into buying a particular policy or plan,” says Director Jim Poole. “We work one-to-one with our customers and help them find what best fits their current needs and future plans at affordable rates.”

St. Francis Insurance Services offers a wide range of assistance including:

Medicare Advantage plans
Individual health insurance for those not receiving Medicare
Long-term care insurance, including the program back by the Indiana State Department of Health
Whole life and term life insurance
Final expense insurance

Office hours for St. Francis Insurance Services are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments are required at our Indianapolis and Mooresville locations. Poole adds that appointments at our Beech Grove hospital are encouraged to ensure that agents are on hand to assist.

To make an appointment, call 317-782-7770. More information about St. Francis Insurance Services and Senior Promise can be found at

St. Francis Medical Group physicians’ volunteer service is labor of love

INDIANAPOLIS – Several physicians with St. Francis Medical Group share their skills on weekends and off-hours as volunteers at various south-central clinics and programs serving the needy.

“Many of our physicians quietly go about their work in myriad ways,” said SFMG President Glenn Loomis, M.D. “They might have individual reasons why they do so but the unifying motivation is that they feel called to serve when and where they are needed.”

Among the physicians and their service:

Susan Hartman, M.D., family physician at Center Grove Family Physicians, has been volunteering at Shepherd Community Free Clinic since it opened in March 2007. She volunteers one Saturday a month. The clinic is located on the near eastside and serves the indigent population associated with Shepherd Community Church and its neighborhood ministries.

“I had been going to El Salvador for week long medical mission trips,” said Hartman, “but some health issues now prevent me from fully participating in these trips. Volunteering at Shepherd is the next best thing. I can still serve a need, see all the adorable Hispanic kids whom I love, keep practicing my Spanish and help out in our own neighborhood. I'm a big believer in giving back and this is my way to do it.”

Jennifer Bigelow, M.D., family physician Mooresville Family Care, agrees with the concept of giving back. She volunteers one Saturday a month at the St. Thomas More Clinic, which serves Morgan County residents who cannot afford to pay for their medical care and medications.

“I see my volunteer work at St. Thomas More as a natural extension of what I do every day,” Bigelow said. “God has given me certain unique capabilities, and He is able to use them to benefit His people in need. I know how to be a doctor, so I share that with my community because that's what God has called me to do.”

Recently, St. Thomas More was awarded the 2009 Hulman Health Achievement Award for Exceptional Contribution to Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Erica Duggan, M.D., family physician at Beech Grove Family Medicine, began volunteering at the Esperanza Center in Greenwood through the input of one of her patients. She volunteers two Monday afternoons a month at the center which serves the Hispanic population by providing limited medical services at a nominal fee.

Duggan noted that her work at Esperanza is “very fulfilling but very challenging.”

Aasha Trowbridge, M.D., grew up in a household where volunteering was routine. Today she volunteers at Gennesaret Free Clinics (GFC) which sponsors medical clinics in sites throughout the city for the homeless and indigent. Once or twice a month, she volunteers at the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry medical clinic and the Foltz Clinic for battered women and children.

“When people come to the food pantry they can get their health care needs attended to at the same time,” Trowbridge said. “These patients have limited resources, no insurance, no transportation, no food. I have been bestowed many blessings,” Trowbridge added. This is the least I can do for those with very little.”

To learn more about St. Francis Medical Group physicians and the range of specialties they provide, go to

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

St. Francis seeks patients for nationwide colorectal cancer study

INDIANAPOLIS – Researchers at the St. Francis Cancer Research Foundation is testing the effectiveness of a human monoclonal antibody in combination with chemotherapy to determine if it will extend the lives of patients with advanced colorectal cancer compared to standard treatments.

The study, PEAK, is open to men and women with inoperable colorectal cancer that has spread and who have not yet received treatment for the disease. The trial is being conducted throughout the United States.

“While colorectal cancer is both preventable and in some cases curable, current treatment regimens, in general, do not offer a potential for cure once the disease has spread,” said Randall Trowbridge, M.D., principal investigator at St. Francis. “We’re pleased to offer patients the opportunity to participate in this study, which we hope will lead to better information on treatment options and ways to prolong the lives for those with the advanced disease.”

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory fused human cells that can be used to selectively target substances living on the surface of cancer cells and helps tumors grow.

The investigation antibody used in this study, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006, is Vectivbix®, which is manufactured by Amgen, a California-based pharmaceutical company.

To check on eligibility for the PEAK trial at St. Francis, contact Debra Duvall at 317-782-7820. More information about the nationwide study is at

To learn more about other clinical trials under way at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, go to

St. Francis ER manager completes federal disaster response training

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Nathan Lowder, R.N., interim manager of the St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville Emergency Department, recently completed training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Lowder participated in exercises conducted at the CDP’s Noble Training Facility in Aniston, Ala. It is the nation’s only hospital dedicated to the training hospital and healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.

Lowder’s experience, in fact, came in handy on his way to training one day. He is credited for rescuing an elderly couple from an overturned car and provided medical care to them until emergency responders arrived.

A certified emergency nurse expert who has worked at St. Francis since 1997, Lowder is involved with the District 5 Hospital Committee, Morgan County Emergency Medical Services Association, and is a firefighter/emergency medical technician with the Morgantown and Washington Township fire departments.

Lowder also is a clinical instructor for the Indiana University School of Nursing.

The year-old Emergency Department at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville is far exceeding the predicted number of patients using its services. More than 31,300 patients have visited the ED in its first year of operation – nearly twice what was originally projected.

St. Francis’ ‘Healing Touch’ program right Rx to ease holiday stress

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Feel like you need a break from the tension and stress-related pain wrought by the holidays? The St. Francis Pain Clinic may have the answer.

The center is offering a free Healing Touch outreach to the public 5:30 8 p.m., Monday Dec. 21. The program will be at Hornet Park Community Center, 5245 Hornet Ave., Beech Grove.

“Healing Touch is a relaxing, nurturing therapy,” said Pain Center Manager Kim Bell, R.N. “It’s a non-invasive procedure used to clear and balance the human energy field, techniques that improve a person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.”

To learn more about Healing Touch and the St. Francis Pain Clinic, go to

Monday, December 7, 2009

Coping with holiday stress a matter of personal approach

INDIANAPOLIS – As the holiday tune resonates with the message that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, for many it’s a time of stress, grief over the loss of a loved one, or grappling with the rough economic times.

“There are many healthy ways to cope with issues many of us face during the holidays,” said Kerry Minnis, licensed clinical social worker at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, offering several tips:

Stress Overload
Simplify. Cut your “to-do” list. Delegate and get help.
Make choices that are good for you and your family.
Remember, time management is self-management. Teaching others to respect your time and having realistic goals are helpful.

Develop new traditions. Reaffirm your spirituality. Focus on family.
Examine your holiday rituals and traditions. Keep those that are enjoyable and meaningful. Create new rituals that fit your current lifestyle.
Reach out to others and share in the true meaning of the holiday.

Hard Time Economy
Avoid gift-giving frenzies. Use alternative gifts if money is a problem. Those may include something you can make or a card with the offer to provide a task or chore.
Focusing on the original meaning of the holiday can help overcome guilt associated with the inability to buy the gifts we would like.

The St. Francis Outpatient Behavioral Health Services offers a variety of services and programs throughout the year. You can learn more about them at

Thursday, December 3, 2009

St. Francis ‘Rejuvenation Station’ offers respite, health info to mall shoppers

GREENWOOD, Ind. – Shopping, particularly during the holidays, often seems to be a race to see what gives out first: your feet or your money.

Beginning this holiday season and throughout 2010, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will sponsor the “Rejuvenation Station” at Greenwood Park Mall. Located near the Sears store main entrance on the east side of the facility, the station provides shoppers the chance to rest and regroup during their mall visit.

The area includes comfortable seating and large-screen televisions. But it also offers more than just down time and respite.

“We have worked closely with Simon Property Group and the Rejuvenation Station just seemed to be an excellent way for St. Francis to reach out to the south side community and others,” said Marketing Manager LeeAnn Abercrombie-Logan. “The area will be continually stocked with brochures and other materials to promote health education, awareness and special events.”

St. Francis is no stranger in working with Greenwood Park Mall and its customers. The hospital sponsors St. Francis Mall Walkers. Participants receive computerized mileage tracking, free daily blood pressure screenings located at the Heart Check Center near Macy's and presentations from St. Francis health experts.

To become a St. Francis Mall Walker, visit or access the computer at Guest Services in Center Court of the Mall.

The hospital also sponsors another popular mall site – the children’s play area near the entrance of JCPenney. St. Francis participates in the Simon Kidgits Club, including Breakfast with Santa, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Food Court.

Simon Kidgits Club Members will get special time with Santa while enjoying a Chick-fil-A breakfast and making holiday cards for St. Francis patients who are in the hospital over the holiday season.

Physician establishes practice with Franklin Township Family Medicine

INDIANAPOLIS – John Palmer Snook, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, has joined Franklin Township Family Medicine.

Board-certified in family medicine, he comes to St. Francis from Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, where he served as staff president. He also was affiliated with the Family Medicine Center and Renaissance Medical Spa.

Snook completed his residency at St. Francis in 1999 and earned his medical degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree in movement and support sciences at Purdue University.

He holds memberships in the American Academy of Family Medicine and the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery.

Franklin Township Family Medicine, formerly known as Wanamaker Family Medicine, is located at 8325 E. Southport Road. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 317-862-6609.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

St. Francis groups offer hefty support to those considering bariatric surgery

INDIANAPOLIS – The decision to have bariatric surgery isn't an easy one – and it's often made with the support of family and friends.

At the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, that same support system is emphasized throughout the entire process, which is why it offers two surgical support groups: Pre-Op and Post-Op. The support groups are open to all current surgical weight loss patients or people who are considering surgery at St. Francis.

Support groups provide several benefits to patients including:

Fellowship with other patients through a common bond of a shared experience
Up-to-date information about surgery and latest developments
Education about nutrition, exercise and postoperative needs
Development of behavior modification skills
Forum for patients to share their experiences
Potential for great weight loss
Continuous reinforcement of the provided education

The Pre-Op Support Group meets on the third Wednesday beginning in January. The Post-Op Support groups meet on the first Thursday and third Monday beginning in February. Meetings are from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, 5230-A E. Stop 11 Road.

Call 317-782-7525 to register, or go online at

To learn more about St. Francis Weight Loss Center go to

Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Francis MDs to tackle fed panel’s controversial mammogram position

INDIANAPOLIS – A panel of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers cancer physicians will discuss how recently announced government recommendations on mammogram screenings for breast cancer may affect patients.

An informational meeting on that issue will be 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9, at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 5255 E. Stop 11 Road, Suite 305.

The breast cancer experts include Peter Garrett, M.D., (St. Francis Cancer Center Director and radiation oncologist), Denise Johnson Miller, M.D., (surgeon, St. Francis Medical Group), Michael Fisher, M.D. (radiologist, St. Francis Breast Cancer Center of Excellence) and Subhash Sharma, M.D. (medical oncologist, St. Francis Oncology & Hematology Specialists).

The panel will focus on breast cancer detection through mammograms, the value of self-examinations and treatment options. They also will address the recent controversial recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Nov. 17), the group announced most women don’t need mammograms in their 40s and should get one every two years starting at 50

That recommendation was a break with the American Cancer Society’s long-standing position – and held by most physicians – that women should get screening mammograms starting at age 40.

The meeting is free to the public, but reservations are encouraged. To register, call 317-782-4422.

To learn more about the St. Francis Cancer Center, go to

Oncology surgeon brings expertise to St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers

INDIANAPOLIS – Denise L. Johnson Miller, M.D., has joined St. Francis Medical Group and appointed director of the St. Francis Breast Surgery Program effective Dec.1.

Johnson Miller comes to her new position from the Stanford University Medical Center, Calif., where she was director of cancer outreach and the melanoma surgery programs as well as practicing at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

She also was Associate Professor of Surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine and has held other academic and administrative positions with the university. Additionally, she has served as General Surgery Section Chief at Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Johnson Miller, who specializes in breast cancer and melanoma surgery, has served as principal investigator of numerous trials, notably in the study of immunosuppression mechanisms in patients with cancer.

Board-certified in general surgery, she has amassed numerous honors and awards throughout her career. She has been listed among “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer” (Castle Connelly), was the inaugural National Medical Leadership In Education Award winner, is recognized in Women of Color in Education, Health and Technology; is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences; and received the Minority Medical Faculty Recognition Award, Stanford University.

Johnson Miller earned her medical degree at Washington University, interned in general surgery at Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, and completed her surgical residency at the University of Illinois Affiliated Hospitals (Chicago). She was a research fellow in immunology at the University of Dallas and a fellow in surgical oncology at the City of Hope National Medical Center.

Widely published in medical journals, Johnson Miller holds several memberships in professional organizations, including Association of American Women Surgeons, Society of Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, Society of Black Academic Surgeons, American Association of Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology and is an associate of the National Cancer Institute.

To learn more about services at the St. Francis Cancer Center, go to

One for the books: Cancer group offers conversation, camaraderie – and compassion

INDIANAPOLIS – A diagnosis of cancer can leave a person feeling as if he or she is walking a lonely road. But a newly formed cancer support book club helps patients learn from those who have traveled a similar path.

This newly formed cancer support book club is open to any cancer patient, caregiver or those affected by cancer. Participants of this book club choose and read books written by cancer survivors, or those who have passed.

The group meets the third Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The next book club will meet Thursday, Dec. 17. Meetings are held at 911 East 86th St., Suite 40, Indianapolis, directly across the parking lot from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offices.

Participants are asked to commit time to the reading group, as this club largely depends on participant involvement. Groups will decide which books they want to read at future meetings.

Barbra Cunningham, R.N., and Stephanie Costley, M.S.W., will lead the discussions and offer medical and emotional feedback. Ample time will be provided for participants’ questions and discussion; light refreshments are served.

Enrollment is limited to 12 persons. To register, call Claire Kammen, at 317-726-2275, extension 217.

The program is co-sponsored by the Indiana Blood and Marrow Transplantation unit at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

More information about the Indiana Blood and Marrow Transplantion unit at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers can be found at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More youngsters in need of Operation Bright Christmas donations

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – While there has been, in recent weeks, some glimmer the economy is on a slight rebound, more families are still feeling its dim effects. That’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is stepping up its efforts in its partnering with LifeBridge Community for Operation Bright Christmas

The annual program serves families during the holidays, benefiting children living in poverty in Beech Grove and Indianapolis’ south side. St. Francis has joined with LifeBridge and is now accepting donations until Dec. 17 to help these families.

So far, the families of 525 children have requested assistance – a substantial increase over last year’s 400.

Donations being accepted: new toys, new or gently used infant clothing and items, wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, ribbon, batteries, DVDs or CDs (“G” or “PG” rating only), video and board games (“G” rating only), twin size bedding, gift cards in small denominations, faith-based items, and sports toys (balls, bats, gloves, etc.).

Donors are asked not to provide clothing, or toys that are of violent and occult nature. Toys that are broken or missing pieces also will not be accepted.

Donations are being accepted 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Spiritual Care offices at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove, 1600 Albany St.; St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.; and St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Road.

Last year, more than 400 youngsters received gifts through Operation Bright Christmas, thanks to the many donors, volunteers and participating organizations. St. Francis filled a large truck with toy donations.

“We believe the need will be even greater this year as many are reeling from the effects the recession and the spike in unemployment,” said Julia Dearing, who is helping coordinate St. Francis’ participation in the gift-giving program.

LifeBridge Community is a faith-based ministry that seeks to instill hope in the lives of children, young adults and families through nurturing relationships and supportive services. More information about the organization is at

Friday, November 20, 2009

IU cancer pharmacy chief to discuss head, neck chemotherapies at St. Francis

INDIANAPOLIS – How does chemotherapy really work to kill cancer cells in patients where the disease has attacked their head and neck area?

That will be among the topics the clinical director of oncology pharmacy services at the IU Simon Cancer Center will tackle in a presentation before the Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer, 7 .m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3.

Christopher Fausel, Pharm. D., also will discuss managing the side effects of chemotherapy and the historical evolution of drugs used for the treatment of head and neck cancer.

The meeting, which is part of a free series, will be at the St. Francis Education Center, 5935 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 100. Participants can share their experiences and learn from other cancer patients. Ample time will be provided for participants’ questions and discussion.

This monthly support group meets the first Thursday of each month and is for anyone with oral, head or neck cancer, regardless of stage or type of cancer. Caregivers are welcome.

For more information, call 317-782-4422.

To learn more about services at the St. Francis Cancer Center, go to

Slower metabolism doesn’t always equate to being a hurdle in shedding weight

INDIANAPOLIS – In every group of friends there often seems to be someone who never gains weight, no matter what he or she eats. They are said to possess a “fast metabolism.”

The term “metabolism” often is used loosely. People tend to associate it with weight. But it’s really a collective term for all of the chemical reactions that occur in the body. One of those reactions is burning.

Technically, when people refer to their metabolism, what they’re really talking about is their metabolic rate — the rate at which the body burns energy, or calories.

“It is possible to naturally have a slower metabolism than someone else, but that doesn’t mean you need to focus on speeding it up,” said Eve Olson, M.D., medical director of the St. Francis Weight Loss Center. “Studies show that a slower metabolism doesn’t mean you’ll have problems losing weight.”

The key is to have a healthy metabolism, neither too fast nor too slow. It is the natural byproduct of increased physical activity and resistance (weight) training — both of which
help build muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, building muscle can help increase your resting metabolic rate.

Maintaining muscle also can be helpful for people who are losing weight.

“The key to weight loss is to lose fat, not muscle, protecting your metabolic rate,” Olson said. “Sensible dieting and resistance training may keep you from losing as much muscle during your weight-loss effort.”

But don’t focus on weight training alone. What is most helpful is incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. The more physically active you are, the more calories you burn. Healthy eating habits are important, too.

The bottom line: Obsessing about your metabolism won’t help you manage your weight. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to eat a healthy diet and exercise frequently. If you do those things, your metabolism will do its job.

For more information about services available at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, go to

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Maintaining good mental health means keeping brain, body engaged

INDIANAPOLIS – So it’s a day off from work. How about reading book, starting a new hobby, spending some time with friends over dinner or visiting an art museum? If you do any of those things, you could be doing your brain a favor.

That’s because certain kinds of activities appear to help maintain brain health throughout life. And it’s never too early — or too late — to give your brain a boost, said Steven Rumble, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist with St. Francis Outpatient Behavioral Health Services.

Rumble routinely tests referred patients for cognitive problems related to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or major depression in older adults.

“Brain health is a lifelong pursuit,” Rumble said. “and it should have the same priority as cardiac health.”

Based on the best available evidence for preserving brain health, the Alzheimer’s Association and other experts offer these suggestions:

Control risk factors. Keep your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels within recommended ranges. All of these are risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes — diseases that may increase the chances for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Choose a brain-healthy diet. Good choices include foods low in fat and cholesterol, cold-water fish, and foods rich in antioxidants.

Pump it up. Because exercise stimulates blood flow, it may encourage new brain cells. Whatever you can do — even walking a few blocks daily — is better than doing nothing, Rumble said.

Avoid brain-damaging habits. Don’t smoke or use illegal drugs or misuse prescription medication.

Put your mind to work. Your brain benefits most when you try a variety of activities that differ in frequency, intensity and social setting. For example, read, write, or work crossword or other puzzles. Play games or plant a garden. Attend lectures, classes and plays.

Maintain social connections. Studies have found that participating in sports and cultural activities and close, positive personal relationships that provide emotional support tend to protect against dementia and negative effects of chronic

Learn as much as you can. People who have academic accomplishments and intellectually challenging jobs may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, Rumble said. And if they do develop dementia, it may occur later in life.

To learn more about St. Francis Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, go to

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No bone of contention: Some men at risk of osteoporosis

INDIANAPOLIS – For those who think osteoporosis is a woman’s disease, think again. Some 2.5 million American males have it, and countless more are at risk.

“Unfortunately, osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed until weak bones break,” said Stefan Monev, M.D., rheumatologist with Rheumatology and Osteoporosis Specialists at St. Francis. “However, a bone mineral density test can detect bone loss. Talk to your doctor if you have risk factors for osteoporosis or if you have lost height, your posture changes or you notice sudden back pain.”

Ways to maintain bone health:

• Don’t smoke; it’s hard on bones.

• Be sure to get 1,200 mg calcium and 800 IU vitamin D from diet and supplements daily. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.

• Exercise regularly. Weight-bearing activities, like walking, are good choices.

Monev said it is crucial to determine the causes for low bone density at the onset of the disease and to seek immediate and appropriate treatment. Conditions such as vitamin D deficiency frequently contribute to bone loss and may require specific therapies.

Medications are available that help build bone and decrease risk of breakage in men with osteoporosis.

To learn more about rheumatology and osteoporosis services at St. Francis, visit

St. Francis workshop helps caregivers understand Medicare changes

INDIANAPOLIS – Health care reform will affect health care providers at all levels of care, with Medicare guidelines and new restrictions, making compliance more challenging.

To prepare for those changes, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is reaching out to the post-acute-care providers in Central Indiana, hosting a free workshop focused on Medicare benefits coverage and limitations across all levels and transitions of care.

The hospital is hosting Medicare 2010 and Beyond: Navigating the Slippery Slopes of Health Care, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 17, at Primo South, 2615 National Ave.

To ensure proper compliance, it is critically important for all health care providers to be aware of the ways changes will affect daily patient care. Representatives from Health Care Excel and National Government Services will address important implications of Medicare coverage at this event.

The event is designed for community health care providers but is open to St. Francis employees and physicians as well. St. Francis departments also will host informational booths at this event.

For more information, call St. Francis Integrated Case Management at 317-783-8101.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Monumental Day for Indy

Photos by Lee Ann Abercrombie-Logan

Part of St. Francis' medical team. This group staffed the triage area.

This runner is exhilirated as she crosses the finish line on the half marathon course.

Runners await the start of the 2nd running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

Mathew Chesang of Eau Claire, Wisc., finishes first in the marathon, trailed by last year's winner, Richard Kandie.

And the race is on. Just a few faces among the nearly 6,000 on hand for this year's race.

CEO Bob Brody and Dr. John Baldea (left) are interviewed by WISH-8 reporter Dick Wolfsie moments after the marathon participants began their journey.

Mark Rode of Indianapolis finishes first among those choosing the half marathon course.

The St. Francis medical volunteers followed the action along the marathon course.

And when the dust settled... the second running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was a success. Nearly 6,000 runners took to the city streets for the Nov. 7 event, which included a 26.2 mile trek and a half marathon.

"Truly, the marathon is a test of endurance for athletes and we are proud to return as title sponsor of this event," said St. Francis CEO Robert J. Brody, speaking at the opening ceremony. He was joined at the stage by IMM President Carlton Ray, IMM Executive Director Julie Patterson, Mayor Greg Ballard, IMM Honorary Chair Bob Kennedy (Olympiad marathoner) and others.

St. Francis had nearly 200 volunteers assisting in a variety of way, most notably a team of physicians, nurses and other health professionals led by Dr. Jeff Peterson.

Under a sun-splashed sky, a crisp 52-degrees and steady breeze, the participants began their individual paces with the "William Tell Overture" blaring in the background. Then came the wait.

Mark Rode of Indianapolis was first to cross the finish line for the half marathon (1:10:55). Mathew Chesang of Eau Claire, Wisc., led the full marathon field (2:21:03). Paul Erway of Shelbyville, Ky. won the wheelchair group (2:23:25). And Molly Brown-Boulay of Franklin, Tenn., finished first in the full marathon among women competitors (3:07:28).

For the results and other information about the 2009 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, go to

Thursday, November 12, 2009

St. Francis Hospital exec to head national PR honor group

INDIANAPOLIS – Frederick C. Bagg, M.B.A., an executive with St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, is the chair-elect for the Public Relations Society of America-College of Fellows.

He was elected during the week of Nov. 9 while attending PRSA’s International Conference in San Diego, Calif. The College of Fellows is an honorary organization within PRSA, made up of more than 400 senior practitioners and educators, each of whom has left a significant footprint on the public relations profession.

Bagg, a 30-year employee, is director of strategic planning and research for St. Francis’ hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville, a position he has held since 2005. He previously was director of Community Relations and Marketing.

He has been active in public relations organizations for many years and has served in various posts with public relations organizations. He has held all board positions – including president – with the Indianapolis Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as several officer positions with the Hoosier Chapter of PRSA, including president (2002).

Bagg is accredited by the IABC and PRSA.

In 1994, Bagg was selected for “Who’s Who in Public Relations” in America and was inducted into the prestigious PRSA’s College of Fellows in 2003.

Bagg earned a master’s in business administration at the University of Indianapolis and earned graduate hours in public relations at Ball State University. He received his undergraduate degrees in journalism and business administration at Butler University.

Connie Brandes assumes helm of St. Francis Ambulatory Services

INDIANAPOLIS – Constance “Connie” A. Brandes, R.N., has been appointed director of Ambulatory Services at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

In that position, she will oversee the hospital’s Occupational Health, Renal Dialysis, and Wound Care departments. She is the former director of Emergency Services and Ambulatory Nursing Services.

Brandes has has held nursing positions in the Indianapolis area, throughout Indiana and in Texas. She also has vast management level experience, including operations, human resources, finance and community outreach.

She holds several certifications and memberships in professional organizations, including the American Organization of Nurse Executives, Emergency Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau, an honor society for nurses.

Brandes earned a master’s of science in nursing degree at Indiana University, and has earned many graduate hours in business and health services administration. She received her bachelor’s of science in nursing at Marian College (now Marian University).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New manager brings wealth of experience to St. Francis Occupational Health

INDIANAPOLIS – Sondra K. Hutchison, R.N, has been appointed manager of Occupational Health at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

She comes to the position from Arnett Clinic Occupational Health in Lafayette, where she served as a certified adult nurse practitioner. Before that assignment, she worked at Hancock Memorial Hospital/Occupational Medicine/Urget Care in Greenfield.

Hutchison has held various nursing positions at various hospitals and medical facilities throughout central Indiana, including St. Francis’ sister hospital in Crawfordsville.

A certified nurse practitioner, she completed post graduate work and earned her master’s of science in nursing at the Indiana University School of Nursing. She received a bachelor of science in psychology at St. Mary of the Woods College, and earned an associate of science degree in nursing at Vincennes University.

Hutchison has been an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech State College and has served as a research assistant at the IU School of Nursing.

To learn more about the Occupational Health program at St. Francis, go to

St. Francis Hospital appoints new director of Emergency Services

INDIANAPOLIS –Jason Kaufman, R.N., has been appointed director of Emergency Services at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

Kaufman has worked in the emergency field at St. Francis for more than 13 years. In his new duties, he is responsible for the services at its Indianapolis and Beech Grove hospitals.

He most recently served as unit manager at the hospital’s Mooresville emergency department. He also was core triage educator of more than 200 emergency registered nurses at St. Francis’ three hospitals.

The Emergency Department at Mooresville far exceeded the predicted number of patients using its services when opened Oct.1, 2008. More than 31,300 patients visited the ED in its first year of operation – nearly twice what was originally projected.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Kaufman earned his bachelor’s of science in nursing at Indiana University.

St. Francis Hospital physicians named ‘Indy’s Top Docs’ by magazine

INDIANAPOLIS – Seventeen physicians at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers have been honored as “Indy’s Top Docs” by Indianapolis Monthly magazine (November issue).

They were among those selected by nationwide surveys of tens of thousands of physicians conducted by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., and they represent the top five percent of board-certified physicians in the Indianapolis area, the magazine reports.

The St. Francis physicians and their specialties:

Cardiovascular Disease
Richard Shea, M.D.

Colon & Rectal Surgery
Olaf Johansen, M.D.
Frederick Lane, M.D.

Family Medicine
Richard Beardsley, M.D.

Michael Elmore, M.D.
David Pound, M.D.

Gynecologic Oncology
David Moore, M.D. 

Interventional Cardiology
William Berg, M.D.

Medical Oncology
Mary Mayer, M.D.

Obstetrics & Gynecology
G. Alan Von Stein M.D. 

Thomas Fairchild, M.D.

Baron Kidd, M.D.

Pulmonary Disease
Charles Kinsella, M.D.

Reproductive Endocrinology
William L. Gentry, MD

Jonathan Mandelbaum, M.D.

Thoracic Surgery
Marc Gerdisch M.D.

Vascular Surgery
Dawn Salvatore, M.D.

Dr. Michael Elmore also was the subject of a magazine profile about his work as a gastroenterologist and hepatologist at St. Francis.

First recipient of nursing memorial scholarship at St. Francis named

INDIANAPOLIS – Pamela Opwonya is the first recipient of a newly established scholarship honoring the memory of a nurse at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

Opwonya, a student at Marian University, has received the Marty Ernsting Memorial Nursing Scholarship. She is pursuing a bachelor degree in nursing and is expected to graduate in May 2010.

“Nursing reaches the heart of those we serve during their time of need,” said Opwonya, who has been a nursing student and emergency departments staff assistant at St. Francis since 2005. I have realized that the focus is not on just the illness or injury; it is centered on the wellbeing of the complete individual.”

The scholarship honors the life and legacy of Marty Ernsting, who worked for many years as a nurse and medical surgical case manager. Her family established the scholarship after her death in August 2008, and it is administered through the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation.

“We congratulate Pamela and wish her well in her pursuits,” the Ernsting family said in a statement announcing the award. The family, Jack and Mary Ann Ernsting (parents) and sister, Kriss Ernsting, M.D., served on the selection committee with St. Francis nurses Susan Brundgardt, Theresa Carnagua, Mary Garnier and Susan McRoberts, vice president and chief of nursing.

To learn more about the Marty Ernsting Memorial Nursing Scholarship go to

Jack and Mary Ann Ernsting (left) and Dr. Kriss Ernsting (right) present Pamela Opwonya with the first Marty Ernsting Memorial Nursing Scholarship. The scholarship honors the late Marty Ernsting, who was a nurse at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers for many years.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nov. 7 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon has strong international field

INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 6,000 participants will take to city streets for the second running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Saturday, Nov. 7.

The runners hail from Kenya, the United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil, Honduras and Canada, and 44 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Among the field are Kenyans Richard Candle and Zeddy Chepkoech, last year’s champions in the men’s and women’s division.

“Our goal for this year’s race was 5,000, so we’re obviously pleased this event has generated widespread interest,” said IMM Executive Director Julie Patterson.

On-line registration is now closed, but would-be participants can still register at the IMM Health and Fitness Expo, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, 11a.m.-7 p.m.; or 6 a.m.-7a.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Indiana Convention Center.

The race features a full marathon (26.2 miles) and a half marathon (13.1 miles). Both courses will begin near Washington and West streets and will end their trek on Robert D. Orr Drive to the finish line, 200 yards east of West Street.

The urban courses are sanctioned and certified by the standards of USA Track and Field, the national body of road racing, with the marathon course serving as a qualifier for the 2009 Boston Marathon.

This year’s race also marks the second time St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has been the title sponsor and provided volunteers. The medical team includes 13 physicians, 50 nurses, 15 trainers and 10 physical therapists, and is lead by Jeffrey Peterson, M.D., a family practitioner and sports medicine expert.

Nearly 40 other St. Francis employees also will be on hand as volunteers in various capacities.

To learn more about the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, go to

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has three hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville and operates a medical office building in Plainfield. St. Francis Hospital is part of a network of 13 growing hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois owned and operated by the Mishawaka-based Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. For more information, go to


Order of Events
Friday November 6 (from 11 a.m. to 7 pm)
The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon Health and Fitness expo will host host 30 exhibitors featuring PUMA running gear and shoes, as well as the latest developments in sports, fitness and nutrition. The Health and Fitness Expo is located in the Indiana Convention Center - 500 Ballroom on Friday November 6 (from 11:00 am to 7 pm).
See the outstanding list of speakers that will be giving informative presentations:
IMM Health and Fitness Exposition Speaker Schedule Friday November 6
11:00 Welcome from the IMM President Carlton Ray
11:30 Hal Higdon author of “Marathon the Novel”
12:00 St. Francis Dr. John Baldea, MD on Nutrition and
1:00 Dane Rauchenberg author “See Dane Run”
1:30 Benefits of massage Terry Fletcher
2:00 Question and Answer with Organizers
2:30 Hal Higdon author “Marathon the Novel”
3:00 Ask the Race Director, Don Carr
3:30 American Cancer Society
4:00 St. Francis Dianna Miller- Wilson, RSPGT on Sleep &
5:00 Dane Rauchenberg author “See Dane Run”
5:30 St. Francis Joe Sagorsky, MS, ACSM Exercise
Specialist from Indiana heart Physicians on
“Target Heart Rate Training”

Late packet pickup will be at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon Health and Fitness expo at the Indiana Convention Center from 6 am to 7:15 am
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Opening Ceremonies Location and Timeline
Opening Ceremonies will be located close to the start line near the intersection of W. Washington St and Missouri Ave. at the South State Office Government Center.
7:25 Opening Ceremonies begin Matt Morris or Julie Patterson introduces Carlton Ray
7:25 Carlton Ray
7:28 First Lady Cheri Daniels
7: 30 Mayor Greg Ballard
7:33 St. Francis CEO Robert Brody
7:35 IPS Superintendent Dr. White Speaks
7:38 Color Guard moves into place
Vocalist sings National Anthem
7:42 Kevin Armstrong gives Benediction
7:45 IMM Honorary Chairman Bob Kennedy handles official start
START LINE is located near the opening ceremonies on W. Washington St. (east of Missouri)
7:55 Wheelchair athletes start
8 Half Marathoners and Marathoners start at the same time
Finish line is located just north of the start line on Robert D. Orr Plaza (west side of the State Capitol building)
2:30 pm Finish line closes; last participant must be finished by this time.

Assignment Editors/Reporters:
Looking ahead... the holidays translate into family dinners, office pitch-ins and many other excuses to eat – and often too much. Such "opportunities" pose challenges for everyone, but especially for those struggling to stick to their diets.

As the holidays approach, please consider scheduling an interviewed with a registered dietitian with the St. Francis Medical & Surgical Weight Loss Center. They can discuss proper portion sizes, healthy alternatives to traditional holiday foods, tips to avoid unhealthy foods and more.

INDIANAPOLIS – Whether you’ve been naughty or nice when it comes to your meal choices, the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely this fall and winter.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are just three days out of 365. But unabashedly enjoying the season’s treats from now until those resolutions kick in could wreak havoc on your health habits.

In honor of the 12 days of Christmas, the St. Francis Weight Loss Center offers 12 ways to watch your waistline while still enjoying the holiday season:

1. Take the focus off food. Instead of baking cookies with your children, create non-edible projects like wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house.

2. Plan to maintain your weight over the holidays. Decide which treat is worth the calories, take a smaller portion, and savor every single bite.

3. Think ahead to make mealtimes less hurried. On a cold, wintery night, few things say comfort like a bowl of hot soup, paired with crusty, whole-grain bread. Start a pot simmering on the stove or in the slow cooker while you spend the day decorating the tree, addressing cards or doing any other holiday preparations. Add a piece of fruit and a cup of milk, and you have a well-balanced meal.

4. Experiment with seasonal produce to lighten up your meals. Consider chutneys as an accompaniment to meats, slices of pears or oranges in your salad, cranberries or dried fruits in rice pilaf, or apple sauce substituted for some of the fats in your baking. A little creativity can go a long way toward heightening taste and sneaking in your produce needs in your diet.

5. Plan for parties. Don’t starve yourself the day of the party so you can fill up on food that evening. If you eat normally throughout the day, you’re much less likely to overeat at the party.

6. Lighten up. Substitute spices and fresh herbs for seasoning rather than fat and salt.

7. Make exercise time play time. Enjoy an afternoon of football, sledding, ice skating or playing in the snow. Or even enjoy the holiday lights while taking a long evening walk.

8. Discover different dips. Who says dips have to be high-fat and joined by chips? Replace cream cheese with silken tofu, or experiment with dips made with nonfat cream cheese or sour cream. Pair with vegetable spears or baked pita chips.

9. Watch your appetizers. Limit high-fat choices such as fried chicken wings, miniature sausages and most cheeses. Choose fruits and vegetables instead.

10. Enjoy the mall. While shopping, stretch your legs and squeeze in some exercise in a warm, dry environment.

11. Be a happy host. Balance your famous cookies with healthier options. Grab a fruit or vegetable tray from the store. Be sure to send your leftovers home with guests.

12. Have a healthy holiday spirit. Cocktails, “real” eggnog and other holiday drinks quickly add up in calories. Alternatives include sparkling or hot apple cider, light eggnog or seltzer mixed with fruit juices.

With a little creativity, you can start the new year without quite as many pounds to lose come Jan. 1 – and might just find a new tradition in the process.

To learn more about services and programs available at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, go to

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mooresville clinic lauded for public health service to Morgan Co. needy

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – The St. Thomas More Clinic has received the Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Award from the Indiana Public Health Foundation, Inc.

The award, presented annually, is for business and industry in the field of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. The St. Thomas More Clinic was recognized along with other recipients of the Indiana’s Premier Health Awards at a ceremony last month at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

“We are very proud and excited to be the recipient of this prestigious award and to accept the award on behalf of all of our clinic board members and volunteers,” said Shelley Voelz, who is clinic co-director with her husband, Ted.

In addition to the husband and wife team, the clinic is overseen by a 10-member board of directors, chaired by Father Mark Gottemoeller, pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Mooresville.

“We are so fortunate to have a very active and dedicated group of individuals to serve on our board of directors,” said Ted Voelz.

“The heart of the ministry of St. Thomas More Clinic is our volunteers: physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social worker, counselor and other clinical and clerical staff,” said Shelley Voelz, director of patient safety at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. “Many of the volunteers have been committed to this ministry since the clinic opened in 2005. We are very blessed to have such a dedicated and compassionate group of volunteers.

“We also would like to acknowledge the Kendrick Foundation for their support of the clinic through the receipt of grant monies over the years,” she added. “The clinic was just awarded a grant in the amount of $80,000 for 2009-2010. Without grant money from the Kendrick Foundation, we would not be able to exist.”

St. Francis and its Mooresville hospital have been significant partners of the clinic.
“Without the partnership with St. Francis our patients would not be able to obtain the lab services, radiology services and other treatments they need,” Voelz said. “This community project is part of St. Francis’ ongoing commitment to address the underserved medical needs of Morgan County residents.”

The clinic also receives support from local churches, philanthropic organizations, private donations and donations directed to the clinic through the Combined Federal Campaign and United Way.

The clinic opened in June 2005, originally at St. Thomas More Catholic Church and is now located at 410 N. Monroe St., Suite 16, in Mooresville. The clinic offers free, non-denominational, non-emergency medical care to uninsured or underinsured Morgan County residents. It is open the first and third Saturdays of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

Details about the Hulman Health Achievement Awards can be found at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Surgeon establishes new practice at St. Francis Vascular Associates

INDIANAPOLIS – Robert W. Zickler, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, has joined St. Francis Vascular Associates.

Board-certified in vascular and general surgery, he most recently was affiliated with Surgical Associates of Fredericksburg, Va., and was a staff surgeon at Mary Washington Hospital. He has held staff positions at hospitals in New York and New Jersey and academic appointments at Pennsylvania State University-College of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs-New Jersey.

Zickler’s clinical interests include repair and aortic stent grafting, carotid artery surgery, treatment of lower extremity venous disease, minimally invasive vein surgery, limb salvage surgery and endovascular interventions.

He received his medical degree at Hahnemann University-School of Medicine in Philadelphia and earlier earned a doctorate of medical dentistry at Farleigh Dickinson University-College of Dental Medicine.

Zickler completed residencies at Seton Hall University/Jersey City Medical Center and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School. He held fellowships in endovascular and interventional radiology and vascular surgery at Pennsylvania State University.

Widely published in professional journals, Zickler is a member of the Medical Society of Virginia and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

St. Francis Vascular Associates includes both patient offices and a vascular lab, where select diagnostic vascular procedures are performed. All vascular surgeries take place at the St. Francis Heart Center, located adjacent to the practice office building.

For more information about St. Francis Vascular Associates go to

New director of patient access appointed at St. Francis

INDIANAPOLIS – Sharla D. Rhodes, has been appointed director of patient access at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

In her new position, Rhodes is responsible for admitting, patient registration, emergency department registration, financial clearance and central scheduling.

In her nine-year career at St. Francis, she has served in director roles of special projects, nursing resources and emergency services, and manager of respiratory therapy. Prior to those assignments, she was chief operating officer of Select Specialty Hospital.

A graduate of Indiana University, Rhodes is a registered respiratory therapist.
St. Francis operates 539 beds at its hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville. In 2008, the hospitals had more than 24,000 inpatient admissions, served 954,000 outpatient visitors and treated 87,000 at its emergency rooms.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Brock Nolan, Iraq War MD, establishes practice with St. Francis Psychiatric Associates

INDIANAPOLIS – Brock P. Nolan, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, has joined St. Francis Psychiatric Associates.

Nolan most recently served as medical director of behavioral health services, a Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, Ariz., where he was a staff psychiatrist/executive officer, flight surgeon, and was responsible for supervising physicians and mental health specialists.

A commissioned Air Force officer, Nolan was detachment commander at Forward Operating Base Kalsu in Iraq in 2008. He commanded a unit in support of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division. During that tour of duty, he supervised treatment for soldiers experiencing a range of combat-related psychiatric conditions.

A graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, he was chief resident at Wright State University in Ohio, where he was awarded a fellowship by faculty and resident because of his leadership through residency training. Nolan is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

St. Francis Psychiatric Associates is now located at 610 E. Southport Rd, Suite 200, Indianapolis. To schedule an appointment call 317- 781-4588. The 24-hour crisis line phone number is 317-782-6495.

Operation Bright Christmas shines light on needy youngsters

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – The effects of the economy are never more glaring than during the holidays – and that’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is getting an early start by partnering with LifeBridge Community to help needy families.

Operation Bright Christmas serves families during the holidays, benefiting an estimated children living in poverty in Beech Grove and Indianapolis’ south side. St. Francis has joined with LifeBridge and is now accepting donations until Dec. 17 to help these families.

Donations being accepted: new toys, new or gently used infant clothing and items, wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, ribbon, batteries, DVDs or CDs (“G” or “PG” rating only), video and board games (“G” rating only), twin size bedding, gift cards in small denominations, faith-based items, and sports toys (balls, bats, gloves, etc.).

Donors are asked not to provide clothing, or toys that are of violent and occult nature. Toys that are broken or missing pieces also will not be accepted.

Donations are being accepted 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Spiritual Care offices at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove, 1600 Albany St.; St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.; and St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Road.

Last year, more than 400 youngsters received gifts through Operation Bright Christmas, thanks to the many donors, volunteers and participating organizations. St. Francis filled a large truck with toy donations.

“We believe the need will be even greater this year as many are reeling from the effects the recession and the spike in unemployment,” said Julia Dearing, who is helping coordinate St. Francis’ participation in the gift-giving program.

LifeBridge Community is a faith-based ministry that seeks to instill hope in the lives of children, young adults and families through nurturing relationships and supportive services. More information about the organization is at

Friday, October 30, 2009

St. Francis security chief completes disaster response training

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Michael Johnson, director of security/safety at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has completed training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Johnson was selected from the nation’s estimated 11 million emergency responders to attend training at the Anniston, Ala., center. He participated in hands-on training in scenarios ranging from terrorism and responding to hazardous materials crises in a health-care delivery environment.

The exercises were conducted at the CDP’s Noble Training Facility, the nation’s only hospital dedicated to the training hospital and healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.

Johnson, former chief of the Beech Grove Police Department, oversees all aspects of safety and security at St. Francis hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville.

St. Francis ortho surgeon explains therapies at Terre Haute ‘Road Show’

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Hip and knee pain shouldn’t keep people from leading active and rewarding lives – and St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers wants to show you how to get relief.

The St. Francis “Road Show” will be coming to town at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Holiday Inn, 3300 US Highway 41 South, Terre Haute. In the spotlight is a hip and knee replacement seminar.

Robert Malinzak, M.D., will explain the latest procedures in joint replacement and arthritis treatments. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in adult reconstructive surgery and joint replacement.

Malinzak is a surgeon with Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana, a practice group whose Center for Hip & Knee Surgery is affiliated with the St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

The Center has been ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery four years in a row by HealthGrades, one of the nation’s premier health-care rating companies.

To register for this seminar, call St. Francis toll-free at 1-877-888-1777.

More information about the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery at St, Francis Hospital-Mooresville is at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Support group for oral, head and neck cancer patients sponsored by St. Francis

INDIANAPOLIS – Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer will hold its south side care and share group meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5.

The next class meets Thursday, Dec. 3.

Meetings are at the St. Francis Education Center, 5935 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 100. Participants can share their experiences and learn from other cancer patients. Ample time will be provided for participants’ questions and discussion.

This monthly support group meets the first Thursday of each month and is for anyone with oral, head or neck cancer, regardless of stage or type of cancer. Caregivers are welcome.

For more information, call 317-782-4422.

To learn more about cancer care services at St. Francis, go to

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have a holly, jolly healthy heart beginning with the holidays

INDIANAPOLIS – Want to find ways to take time out of the upcoming busy season and share the best gift your family can enjoy: good heart health? That’s what the St. Francis Heart Center offers through a variety of cardiovascular classes, all of which are free.

Several of the Change of Heart classes are held at the St. Francis Heart Center’s Community Center, located on the southeast corner of St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.Registration is requested. Call 317-782-4422 or register online at

Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips
Nov. 3, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville

Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Super Shopping
Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Marsh, 435 Town Center St. North, Mooresville

Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.
Kroger, 8850 S. Emerson Ave.

10 Top Tips for Health
Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Healthy Meals on a Budget
Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville

Reduce Stress 102
Nov. 24, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Good Health Starts Here
Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Creative Cuisine
Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

About the classes:

Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips
Don’t blow your good eating and dining habits this season! Learn how to manage the holiday feasting and celebrations with low-fat and flavorful options to traditional recipes.

Super Shopping
With all the new and changing products on the shelves, grocery shopping can be overwhelming. Learn where to find the healthy foods and avoid packaging tricks while touring the grocery store with our dietitian. Discover how food labels make you a smarter shopper.

Top 10 Tips for Health
It’s a jungle out there! There is a lot of health and nutrition information coming at you and it can be difficult to find a common sense and practical approach to living a healthier lifestyle. This class will show you 10 things you can do to achieve your health goals.

Healthy Meals on a Budget
As food prices climb and budgets get tight, smart purchases at the supermarket are important. In this class, you will learn ways to stretch your food budget while still getting the nutrients you need.

Reduce Stress 102
For many, the holiday season is equally joyful and stressful. Learn to identify the causes of stress in your life and how to improve your health in this class. “Reduce Stress 102” is the second class in this series and is taught by James Nicolai, M.D., medical director of the Franciscan Center for Integrative Medicine.

Good Health Starts Here
Discover the building blocks of nutrition and how fats, carbohydrates and protein affect your body. Learn about healthy fats, the benefits of fiber and sodium requirements in your diet. This class offers the foundation for the remaining classes in the series and is just the beginning of a healthy lifestyle!

Creative Cuisine

New and different ingredients make cooking meals more fun and nutritious. Surprise your family with healthy meals made from the simple recipes taught in this class. Taste prepared samples as you learn.

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