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