News Center

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Central Indiana women invited to dance their way to healthier hearts

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Central Indiana women, their friends and families are invited to attend the sixth annual St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers' Spirit of Women Day of Dance event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, 1402 Southern Ave.

What: The free Spirit of Women Day of Dance event is open to women of all ages and their friends and families. The annual event promotes exercise and healthy living. Statistics show that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women. Exercise along with a balanced diet is the best way to lower the risk for heart disease.

Day of Dance participants will enjoy a fun-filled day of music and dance instruction. Professional instructors will teach participants the steps to swing, salsa, square dancing and more. Healthy snacks and beverages also will be offered.

The event’s emcee will be Stacia Matthews, health reporter for WRTV-Channel 6.

A detailed event schedule is available at

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28
Participants may attend at any time throughout the day.

Where: Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, 1402 Southern Ave., Beech Grove.
Parking will be available at the Benedict Inn. Overflow parking will be available at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove. Shuttle buses will take guests the short distance from the hospital to the Benedict Inn.

Who: St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is part of Spirit of Women, an elite network of hospitals nationwide committed to caring for women. As a Spirit of Women hospital, St. Francis works to find the very best in women’s programming across the nation to central Indiana.

Cost: Admission to Day of Dance is free, but advanced registration is suggested. To register, call 317-782-4422 or visit

How: To learn more, visit, or call 317-865-5865.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Program teaches image techniques to cancer patients

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis will host a free workshop for women with cancer from noon to 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 2, at the hospital, 8111 S. Emerson Ave, in Classroom 2.

The Look Good…Feel Better workshop teaches women with cancer beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Licensed cosmetologists lead small groups, usually consisting of six to 10 women, through practical, hands-on experience. Women learn about makeup techniques, skin care, nail care, and options related to hair loss such as wigs, turbans and scarves. Each patient receives a free kit of cosmetics for use during and after the workshop.

The workshop is supported by the American Cancer Society
, Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the National Cosmetology Association. Family members and caregivers are also welcome to attend.

Registration is required since seating is limited. To register, call 317-782-4422.

For more information on cancer services at St. Francis Hospital, visit

Breast cancer support group meets at St. Francis-Mooresville

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – The breast cancer support group at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers provides a nurturing place for patients to share their thoughts, feelings and gain practical information with others in similar situations.

The group meets the first Monday of each month from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, OB Classroom, 1201 Hadley Road.

The groups are offered free of charge, as a community service; however, registration is required. Caregivers and family members are encouraged to attend.

To register, call 317-782-4422 or visit for more information.

Researchers test drug for effectiveness in curbing bone cancer pain

INDIANAPOLIS – Researchers at the St. Francis Cancer Research Foundation are studying the use of an experimental medication’s potential to treat patients having cancer-induced bone pain.

Patients are being sought to participate in a clinical trial testing the use and tolerability of the experimental medication. The Phase II trial, which is being lead by St. Francis cancer researcher Maureen Cooper, M.D., is a double blind, study, whereby neither the patient nor the researchers know if the patient is receiving the actual drug or placebo.

Among the criteria to be considered for the study patients, must have bone-cancer pain resulting from a malignant solid tumor with radiographic confirmation. No initiation of new chemotherapy during the course of the 34-day trial, and subjects may be on other concurrent pain medications.

For more information about qualifying for the trial, call 317-782-7820, contact study coordinator Linda Frazier at 317-833-0068.

More information about other clinical trials under way at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is at

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The whispering fury: Heart murmurs explained at St. Francis seminar

INDIANAPOLIS – That low whispering inside some human hearts may speak volumes about a person’s health.

At an upcoming "Ask the Doc" program sponsored by the St. Francis Heart Center at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11, cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gerdisch, M.D., will explain the importance of understanding why heart valves may cause murmurs and when it’s time to seek treatment.

Heart murmurs are caused by valves inside the heart that don’t close properly. Sometimes, people can live with heart murmurs a long time without any symptoms. However, if the problem becomes more serious, the blood flow to the heart may be affected.

"A heart murmur isn't a disease, most are harmless and can either be innocent (harmless) or abnormal," said Gerdisch, a member of Cardiac Surgery Associates and director of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis Heart Center. "People who have abnormal murmurs – most related to congenital heart defects – may have other signs or symptoms of heart problems. In adults, abnormal murmurs are most often due to heart valve problems caused by infection, disease or aging."

People who have innocent heart murmurs have normal hearts. They usually have no other signs or symptoms of heart problems. Innocent murmurs are common in healthy children. Many, if not most, children will have heart murmurs heard by their doctors at some time in their lives.

Surgery, including heart valve repairs and valve replacement, can correct the condition and prevent heart failure.

The free, hour-long program will be at the Johnson County Public Library, 401 S. State St., Franklin. To register, call 317-782-4422, or register on-line by clicking on the Change of Heart classes link at

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

St. Francis COO goes on-line to answer construction, consolidation questions

INDIANAPOLIS -- Whether looking southward from a downtown Indianapolis skyscraper or motorists glimpsing a towering crane near Interstate 65, it’s hard to miss the construction at the St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis campus.

St. Francis is offering a live blog chat with Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, to answer questions about the construction project and what it means for medical services on Indianapolis’ south side.

Jewell also will field questions about the possible future use of St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove after medical services are consolidated at the Indianapolis campus in early 2011.

Visit the St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis construction blog at
http://stfrancis-Indianapolis.blogspot to post questions to Jewell.

Those unable to participate in the chat session can e-mail questions in advance to the St. Francis Community Relations team by 10 a.m., Feb. 3.

This chat session is s real conversation. For this reason participants should observe the same etiquette when participating in the chat session as they would in day-to-day conversation.

Those who would like to post comments should observe some simple conversational guidelines below. St. Francis reserves the right to delete comments it thinks may be offensive to the audience at large.

Support program helps kids handle grief in loss of loved one

INDIANAPOLIS – Consider the caterpillar: It builds a cocoon and remains safe until it transforms and emerges into a new life, one that takes flight.

Death is a part of the life cycle, and it’s especially difficult for children to grasp and make sense out of it, particularly when they lose a loved one. And that’s why St. Francis Hospice offers Caterpillar Kids, a support program that offers learning experiences for children ages 5 to 12.

St. Francis Hospice will offer its Spring Caterpillar Kids program beginning Wednesday, April 8 and ending May 13. The workshops, which are free, are from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and continue each Wednesday.

Meetings are at Christ United Methodist Church, 8540 U.S. 31 South, one mile north of Greenwood Park Mall.

“Children do grieve and they may express it differently than adults, but their feelings are as genuine and essential in healing,” said bereavement coordinator Karla Norton. “Caterpillar Kids brings children together in a safe, nurturing environment where they receive information about grief and learn healthy ways to cope with the death of a loved one.”

Led by staff trained in bereavement support for children, youngsters participate in storytelling, art projects, games and other sharing opportunities. Parents also are invited to participate in a concurrent session to assist them in supporting their children.

Registration is required. To register or for more information about Caterpillar Kids, call 317-865-2092 or toll-free at 800-390-9915.

More information about St. Francis Hospice is at

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Volunteers bring skills, compassion to St. Francis Hospice patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Do you have a special place in your heart for the dying? Perhaps talents or skills you’d like to share with these patients and their families?

St. Francis Hospice is seeking volunteers for a variety of positions and roles, including office assistants, people trained in bereavement to assist with phone calls and support groups and to make visits to patients’ homes and extended-care facilities. Musicians, massage therapists, hair stylists and volunteers with other skills also are needed.

"All St. Francis Hospice volunteers complete an orientation program provided by our staff and have the opportunity to meet other volunteers and to shadow a member of our team to patients’ homes," said volunteer coordinator Glenda Dennison. "Our goal is to create a meaningful experience for volunteers and the patients and families they will work with."

Volunteers must be 18 or older and willing to commit to four hours a week for six months. They must complete a hospital volunteer application process and attend orientation.

To learn more about the hospice volunteer program, contact Glenda Dennison at 317-859-2874, or

More information about St. Francis Hospice is at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Massage therapy program earns national Center of Excellence status

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Center’s massage therapy program has been awarded a distinction no other massage therapy program in Indiana has achieved.

St. Francis has become a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) Center of Excellence.

To obtain this distinction, St. Francis has promoted the highest professional standards in massage therapy by hiring only nationally certified massage therapists.

The NCBTMB recognized that St. Francis massage therapists uphold the profession’s ideal measure of excellence and professionalism. They adhere to the NCBTMB’s rigorous Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, which were developed to protect the integrity and safety of all clients. In addition, these nationally certified practitioners have demonstrated a high level of competency by passing a national exam.

To become nationally certified, a practitioner must:
· Demonstrate mastery of core skills and knowledge
· Complete 500-plus hours of massage education
· Pass an NCBTMB standardized exam
· Commit to safe, ethical practices
· Take part in continuing education.

“National certification is widely considered the highest standard in the field. We are proud to welcome St. Francis to our Center of Excellence program,” said Donna Feeley, chair of the NCBTMB board of directors.

“Becoming an NCBTMB Center of Excellence speaks to St. Francis’ commitment to excellence, ethics and experience,” Feeley added. “It offers reassurance to consumers and helps build trust because they know that only nationally certified massage therapists and/or bodyworkers are employed here.”

St. Francis massage therapists offer a variety of therapeutic massage services, including:
· Swedish massage
· Deep-tissue massage
· Trigger point therapy
· Hot stone massage
· Pfrimmer
· Sports massage
· Bamboossage®
· Reflexology
· Prenatal massage.

Massage therapy services are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are available at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis and St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville (hours vary by location).

For more information, call 317-865-5865 or visit

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New director tapped for St. Francis ortho, neuro services

INDIANAPOLIS – Chris DiGiusto has been appointed director of the Orthopedics/Neurosciences service line at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, effective Feb. 2.

In his new role, DiGiusto will provide operational and strategic guidance and support for all aspects of orthopedics and neurosciences at St. Francis.

“Chris is a results-driven leader who has provided direction in strategic planning, business development, and physician relations for St. Francis and brings that experience and new insight to his new position,” said Keith Jewell, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

In his previous position as director of product and business development he worked on various projects with St. Francis area physician practices. A Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, DiGiusto has been associated with the hospital since 2003 and has held several management and consulting positions.

DiGiusto, an Indianapolis resident, earned his undergraduate degree and master’s of health services administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati where he was an honors student. He’s also an alumnus of Roncalli High School.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

St. Francis cancer program earns Five-Star ratings from ACS

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has been recognized as a Five Star Investor and a Five Star Community Investor in the fight against cancer by the American Cancer Society (ACS), Great Lakes Division, Inc.

The awards come by way of the society’s Workplace Solutions program, which recognizes work sites and employers who are active in fighting cancer on multiple fronts through the ACS programs and services.

To earn recognition as a Five Star Investor, work sites must participate in a variety of ACS initiatives. St. Francis is involved in:

Receiving the American Cancer Society monthly electronic newsletter Because We Care

  • Formed a team for our signature breast cancer event, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
  • Formed a team to raise funds and participate in Relay For Life
  • Providing its employees a smoke-free work environment
  • Provides sponsorship dollars in support of American Cancer Society programs

    St. Francis also received the Five Star Community Investor award, which recognizes hospitals combating cancer in the community by providing a link to; offering low or no-cost cancer screenings and smoking cessation programs to the public; being a provider of screenings through the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program; and hosting “Look Good, Feel Better” classes for women being treated for cancer.

    More information about St. Francis Cancer Care Services is at

    For more information on Workplace Solutions, contact a local American Cancer Society office, or call toll-free at 1-800-ACS-2345.

St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville welcomes its first baby of 2009

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Brittany Finchum and Brent Green are the parents of St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville’s first baby of the New Year, Dylila Jean Green.

Dylila was born 11:08 a.m., Friday, Jan. 2, She weighs 5 lbs., 3 oz. and is 20 inches long. The Finchum family are residents of Paragon. Mother and baby are doing well.

For more information, please call Dena Allen at 317-834-5263.

Friday, January 2, 2009

St. Francis Hospital welcomes its first baby of 2009

INDIANAPOLIS – The first few notes of Jesus Loves Me sounded at 1:41 a.m., announcing the first baby born on New Year’s Day 2009 at St. Francis Hospital’s Indianapolis campus.

The boy weighed in at 7 pounds and 2 ounces, and measured 21 inches long. The names of the child and parents are being withheld at the request of the family.

The infant reportedly was the first to be born in Marion County on New Year’s Day, according to local news media.

More than 30,600 babies have been born at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis since 1996, when the Women and Children’s Services program was consolidated at the hospital’s south-side campus.

Each time a child is born at the hospital, Jesus Loves Me chimes throughout the hospital via the public address system.