News Center

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

St. Francis Hospice appoints new clinical manager

INDIANAPOLIS – Connie L. Seigman-Jones, R.N., has been appointed clinical manager for Franciscan/St. Francis Hospice.

Seigman-Jones, who most recently served as patient care and clinical resource manager, earned her certification as a hospice and palliative care nurse earlier this year. She has been with St. Francis since 2006.

Before her hospice experience, she worked in St. Francis’ intensive care, emergency and surgery departments, and was a development coordinator/educator in an extended-care facility.

Seigman-Jones received her associate and bachelor degrees in nursing at the University of Indianapolis. She’s garnered recognition in her career as a nominee for the Indianapolis Star Spotlight on Nursing nominee; St. Francis Hospital Nurse of the Year (Clinical Excellence) and the hospital’s Family Spirit Award.

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

St. Francis Hospital nurses lauded for going extra mile for their patients

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Two nurses at Franciscan / St. Francis Hospital & Health have been praised by patients and peers for above-and-beyond the call in caregiving.

That’s why registered nurses Charity Basey and Amy Gillard at the hospital’s Beech Grove campus have been named the latest recipients of the hospital’s DAISY Awards.

Basey was caring for an out-of-town patient – whose spouse was serving in the U.S. military in Afghanistan – admitted for emergency surgery. During that time, Basey made repeated attempts to contact the spouse’s unit and commanding officer and seek his return.

Amy Gillard

“Charity was truly concerned with my well-being and tried everything imaginable to get him back in time,” the patient wrote in a letter to the hospital. “I will never forget her as she made a miserable time so much better for me and my family, and I will always be grateful to her.”

Gillard, who works in the emergency room, was credited for the help she rendered to the family of a seriously ill patient on a ventilator. That patient’s mother was unable to make it the hospital because of her own health issues and being unable to drive.

“Amy was getting off work and called the mother and asked if she could come to her home and bring her to the hospital so that she could be with her son,” a fellow nurse recalled. “That’s an exceptional example of the compassion.”

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a national program that honors the compassionate care and clinical excellence that our St. Francis nurses bring to their patients every day.

The DAISY Award was established by the DAISY Foundation in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at 33 an auto-immune disease. His family was so impressed by the clinical skills, caring and compassion of the nurses who cared for him that they created this national award to say “thank you” to nurses everywhere. For more information, go to

To learn more about nursing careers and programs at St. Francis, go to

Charity Basey

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

St. Francis Hospital selects new medical staff president

INDIANAPOLIS – Heidi M. Dunniway, M.D., has been elected president of the medical staff at Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers for a two-year term.

In that role, she will provide leadership on the clinical activities of physicians practicing at the hospital’s Indianapolis and Beech Grove campuses.

Dunniway, who is affiliated with Otolaryngology Associates of Indianapolis, is a member of the Indianapolis Medical Society’s board of directors and served as that organization’s president (2007-08). She is active in the Indiana State Medical Association and was elected vice speaker of that organization in September 2010.

A member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Dunniway completed her general surgery and otolaryngology residencies at Riverside Hospital and The Ohio State University, respectively, in Columbus.

A board-certified otolaryngologist, Dunniway earned her medical degree at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), where she also pursued graduate studies in biochemistry. She received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Iowa.

St. Francis operates hospitals in Mooresville, Indianapolis and Beech Grove, and offers services at its Plainfield Health Center.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

St. Francis, LifeBridge span need for assistance during holidays

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Christmas just got a little brighter for more than 250 families with 625 children on Indianapolis’ south side.

Employees of Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers boosted their efforts again to help needy families assisted by LifeBridge Community through the annual Operation Bright Christmas program.

In its ninth year, the program serves families during the holidays, benefiting children who live in poverty in Beech Grove and on Indianapolis’ south side.

“It was a huge success with donations pouring in every day up to the Dec. 15 deadline,” said Julia Dearing, who coordinates the program at St. Francis. “We were able to provide each child with three or four gifts and winter apparel donated by various partner organizations.”

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

Adult family members joined LifeBridge and St. Francis employees at Clinton Young Elementary School Dec. 18 to wrap the gifts.

“They [adults] were so thrilled to have something for their children to open,” Dearing said.

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 GROVE, Ind. – Christmas just got a little brighter for more than 250 families with 625 children on Indianapolis’ south side.

Employees of Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers boosted their efforts again to help needy families assisted by LifeBridge Community through the annual Operation Bright Christmas program.

In its ninth year, the program serves families during the holidays, benefiting children who live in poverty in Beech Grove and on Indianapolis’ south side.

“It was a huge success with donations pouring in every day up to the Dec. 15 deadline,” said Julia Dearing, who coordinates the program at St. Francis. “We were able to provide each child with three or four gifts and winter apparel donated by various partner organizations.”

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

Adult family members joined LifeBridge and St. Francis employees at Clinton Young Elementary School Dec. 18 to wrap the gifts.

“They [adults] were so thrilled to have something for their children to open,” Dearing said.

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

St. Francis Hospital strikes ‘silver’ in treating heart failure patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has earned the Get With The Guidelines ® -- Heart Failure Silver Performance Award from the American Heart Association (AHA).

This means that St. Francis has reached an “aggressive goal” of treating heart failure patients with an 85 percent compliance rate to core standard levels of care outlined by the AHA/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients.

The Guidelines program helps St. Francis’ staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes with quality measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. Ultimately, AHA officials say, this improves quality of care to heart failure patients, saves lives and reduces health-care costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks.

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

St. Francis cancer surgeon receives recognition, nat’l listing

INDIANAPOLIS – Denise Johnson Miller, M.D., of Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, has been inducted into Biltmore Who’s Who Top 10-Surgical Oncology, a national directory featuring leaders in their respective professions and careers.

Miller is director of the St. Francis Breast Surgery Program and a member of St. Francis Medical Group. She 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.

She 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.

Miller most recently was listed among “Top Doctors” by Indianapolis Monthly magazine (November 2010 issue). Her selection was based on nationwide surveys conducted by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., representing the upper tier of board-certified physicians in the Indianapolis area.

By Amber Moon

For St. Francis Hospital

St. Francis Hospital employee’s advent work is a labor of love

BEECH GROVE, Ind.It is the little things that make the holiday season merry. But there’s much to be done before those gifts appear under the tree, as bright lights, displays and colorful wreaths begin to appear on front doors.

Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove has one such employee who, every year for the past 32 years, has donated his time to ensure St. Clare Chapel is appropriately adorned during the Christmas season.

John Massing, painter for the engineering department, has made it his mission to construct the chapel’s Nativity scene for the pleasure of all who walk through its doors.

“He does sacred work when he takes time out of his personal schedule to decorate the chapel,” said Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services. “He always has gone above and beyond in everything that he does.”

Massing not only places the manger and glass figurines, but also builds and fluffs multiple Christmas trees to create a “forest” around the scene. He’s even made it a family affair by bringing in his mother, son and granddaughter to lend a hand.

“He’s the guy that takes care of the Sisters; he has always done a great job for us,” said Toby Orme, director of engineering at St. Francis Hospital.

Massing adds a bit of merriment to St. Francis patients, visitors and employees during the holidays – a season of much anticipation, good will and hope.


Amber Moon is an intern for St. Francis’ Community Relations and Marketing Department. She recently received her undergraduate degree in journalism/public relations at Franklin College.

Monday, December 20, 2010

St. Francis lung clinic offers comprehensive care to cancer patients

INDIANAPOLIS – The Lung Cancer Center of Excellence at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has a comprehensive multidisciplinary clinic that helps lung cancer patients every step of the way during their treatment.

The clinic allows patients to be evaluated in one visit by physicians in specialties such as pulmonology, thoracic surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology. These physicians also will consult with radiologists and pathologists to evaluate imaging exams, biopsies and surgical pathology reports.

“The goal of the lung clinic is to provide an easily accessible and streamlined avenue for evaluating patients with suspicious exam results or symptoms and, if necessary, develop a concise treatment plan for patients diagnosed with lung cancer,” said Kent Brumbaugh, executive director of St. Francis Cancer Care Services.

The clinic, located at the St. Francis Cancer Center at 8111 South Emerson Ave., is open each Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for scheduled appointments.

Nurse navigator Cheryl Streeval, R.N., will coordinate patients’ schedules and consult with physicians to develop treatment plans. Patients and families seen in the clinic will be an important part of developing an individual plan of care during their visit.

For scheduling information, contact Streeval at 317-782-7005, or via e-mail at

More information about St. Francis Cancer Center services is at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

St. Francis Hospital, Alverno employees’ gift program helps needy families

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – About 80 families on Indianapolis’ south side and south-central Indiana today (Dec. 16) received a helping hand for the holidays.

In that spirit, that’s what continues to drive the Gift-a-Family program, coordinated by the Mission Integration Committee and Service Excellence Department at Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. The annual program serves residents primarily on the city’s south side to an area near the border line of Morgan County.

St. Francis employees and their respective departments adopted families earlier and began collecting 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.”

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.

“There are so many people in need at this time of year, and it’s gratifying to know we were able to reach out and help them,” said Sandy DuPriest, who along with Gene Rosenfeld coordinated the food collections at Alverno.

Alverno employees have been strong partners and supporters of Gift-a-Family program for years, conducting activities and purchasing the food and toiletries.

The food baskets were blessed by Father John Mannion of St. Francis Spiritual Care Services before employees delivered the food and gifts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

St. Francis leads national trial to reduce atrial fibrillation in post-op patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Surgeons at Franciscan Alliance/St. Francis Heart Center have enrolled the first patient in a national study using a unique biomaterial device designed to reduce the incidence of post-operative atrial fibrillation (Afib), an irregular rhythm in the upper chambers of the heart.

The multicenter study, led nationally by principal investigator Marc Gerdisch, M.D., director of cardiovascular surgery at St. Francis, assesses new onset, postoperative atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing primary isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The procedure involves the reconstruction of the pericardial sac – the membrane surrounding the heart – using CorMatrix Extracellular Matrix’s (ECM).

"We've seen the significant results of the retrospective study published in Heart Surgery Forum and are encouraged by CorMatrix's commitment to pursue a prospective trial. We are excited to participate in this study because we believe reconstructing the pericardium with CorMatrix ECM will provide tremendous benefit to our patients," said Manesh Parikshak, M.D., the cardiothoracic surgeon who performed the procedure at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis.

"This is a particularly important trial given the clinical and economic implications of new onset postoperative Afib, and we are pleased to have enrolled the first patient,” added Parikshak, who is a trial co-investigator.

ECM is a unique biomaterial device that harnesses the body’s innate ability to repair damaged cardiovascular tissue. ECM is manufactured by Atlanta-based CorMatrix Cardiovascular Inc.

"CorMatrix is excited to initiate this study of pericardial reconstruction and looks forward to future studies that will explore the many potential uses of the CorMatrix ECM Technology," said Robert Matheny, M.D., CorMatrix’s chief scientific officer. "We hope this clinical trial will stimulate interest within the healthcare community on the unique advantages of ECM technology and the future of remodeling cardiac tissue."

The decellularized matrix material serves as a scaffold to allow adjacent tissues to deliver cells and nutrients to the matrix, which then differentiate into tissue-specific cells. The ECM material is gradually replaced, as the patient's own body reinforces and rebuilds the weakened site.

During the repair, the matrix is naturally degraded and reabsorbed, leaving remodeled functional tissue where scar tissue or injured tissue would normally be expected.

"The unique properties of the CorMatrix ECM provide an excellent opportunity to repair the pericardium and reduce postoperative atrial fibrillation," said Gerdisch. "This trial has the potential to revolutionize treatment options for postoperative Afib patients."

This prospective randomized controlled trial will enroll more than 400 patients in up to 15 trial sites across the United States.

An estimated 2.2 million Americans are said to have Afib, which, if undetected or untreated, can lead to stroke.

This isn’t the first time the St. Francis Heart Center has pioneered the use of ECM technology. In 2008, Gerdisch was the first in the world to successfully use the biomaterial patch in patients with damaged heart valves; he first used the patch in 2007 for intracardial repairs. You can view this work at

To learn more about CorMatrix Cardiovascular Inc., go to

More information about the St. Francis Heart Center and its services can be found at

Friday, December 10, 2010

St. Francis offers holiday HeartCheck Scan through Dec. 31

INDIANAPOLISThe St. Francis Heart Center is offering a HeartCheck Scan special from now until Dec. 31.

Participants can purchase $99 HeartCheck Scan and get one free. The 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scan detects hard plaque that may be blocking arteries due to cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries.

HeartCheck Scan is available to any person age 40 or over at the St. Francis Heart Center Thursday or Friday by appointment only. Physician referral is not required. This non-invasive procedure only takes approximately 15 minutes and the report consists of the following:

  • Calcium score of coronary arteries
  • Cholesterol lipid profile
  • Blood sugar check
  • Blood pressure check
  • Body mass index assessment
  • Customized report by St. Francis Heart Center
  • One-to-one evaluation with a St. Francis cardiac health coach

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women. Many of these deaths can be prevented if heart disease is detected early.

“The HeartCheck screening is very important because as that calcium builds up over 10 or 15 years, that’s what can cause a heart attack or cause those coronaries to become completely blocked,” said Amy Coffey, cardiac screening center coordinator. “The earlier you can catch it, the better.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, 317-782-4422.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New imaging technology at St. Francis takes aim at prostate cancer

INDIANAPOLIS – Physicians at Franciscan/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers have a new imaging tool that helps them to more precisely diagnose and pinpoint prostate tumors and their size.

It’s called VividLook®, a software package from iCAD used in tandem with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It provides a more reliable means of visualizing the presence and pattern of contrast in the prostate. These colorized images and additional data assist clinicians in effectively finding potential cancers and communicating available treatment options to patients.

St. Francis is the only hospital system in central Indiana to make use of VividLook. Four patients have undergone screening since this advanced image analysis technology was acquired.

Prostate cancer traditionally has been evaluated by digital rectal examination in combination with other clinical data including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests and other pathologic information. Often patients with a high PSA receive a random biopsy of the prostate

PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. It is normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood; however, prostate cancer and some benign conditions can increase a man’s PSA level.

Prostate cancer can be difficult to diagnose, said St. Francis radiologist Jason Mullinix, M.D., who is a member of Radiology Associates of Indianapolis. “With technology like MRI and advanced image analysis such as VividLook, we can more accurately localize and stage the prostate cancer while potentially minimizing the number of biopsies a patient may require.”

VividLook does not replace the need for biopsy. Rather, it’s helpful for patients who are concerned they may have cancer due to an elevated PSA and/or an abnormal digital rectal exam, but whose biopsies have come back negative.

“Previously, a rectal probe had to be inserted to acquire images,” Mullinix said. “With new MRI hardware recently acquired by St. Francis, there is no longer a need for this uncomfortable device, nor X-ray radiation. Only a small IV needs to be started. Otherwise, the patient rests comfortably on their back during the exam.”

Contrast enhancement of MR images is difficult to assess without advanced image analysis. The additional data and colorized images assist clinicians in effectively finding potential cancers and communicating available treatment options to patients.


About Franciscan/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers

Franciscan/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has three hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville and operates more than 40 medical facilities throughout south-central Indiana, including the Plainfield Health Center. St. Francis Hospital is part of a network of 13 hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois, owned and operated by the Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance (formerly Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc)., one of the largest health-care systems in Indiana. To learn more about St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, go to

About iCAD, Inc.

iCAD, Inc. is an industry-leading provider of advanced image analysis and workflow solutions that enable healthcare professionals to better serve patients by identifying pathologies and pinpointing cancer earlier. iCAD offers a comprehensive range of high-performance, upgradeable Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) systems and workflow solutions for mammography (film-based, digital radiography and computed radiography), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT). Since receiving FDA approval for the Company’s first breast cancer detection product in 2002, more than 4,000 iCAD systems have been placed in healthcare practices worldwide. iCAD’s solutions aid in the early detection of the most prevalent cancers including breast, prostate, colon and in the future lung cancer. For more information, call (877) iCADnow or visit

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

St. Francis Hospital patient safety duo honored by Indy-area coalition

INDIANAPOLIS – Two people who lead clinical safety initiatives at Franciscan/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers have been recognized with Patient Safety Hero Awards by the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety (ICPS).

Douglas Johnstone, M.D., and Shelley Voelz, R.N., were cited for their overall leadership in the patient safety program at St. Francis. Johnstone is medical director of quality and patient safety. Voelz is director of standards compliance and patient safety.

Voelz is credited for creating an “excellent structure and environment” for patient safety, consistent with the hospital and Franciscan Alliance (formerly Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc.) values. She leads the patient safety and regulatory compliance programs, incorporating them into the hospital’s goal of providing a safe clinical environment; and conducts rounds with clinical and administrative staff.

She also is active in clinical and safety issues in the larger community. She has been one of the driving forces behind St. Thomas More Clinic in Mooresville, a facility providing free care to the needy, uninsured and medically underserved in that area since 2005.

A nephrologist, Johnstone is known for his ability to bring evidenced-based medicine to the patient’s bedside for hospital physicians and staff, ICPS officials said. He has spearheaded safety- and quality-related measures and has served as co-chair of the hospital’s Institutional Review Board (oversees all facets of the hospital’s clinical trials), past president of the medical staff, and chairs the medical staff and quality improvement committee for St. Francis’ Central Indiana Regional Board of Directors.

“Our hospital’s patients and families, staff members, physicians and volunteers have been touched by these patient safety activists,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and chief executive officer, who presented the awards to Johnstone and Voelz at a recent ICPS ceremony.

Established in 2003, the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety is a public-private partnership of health-care leaders committed to patient safety efforts. For more information, go to

Brody is a member of the coalition’s board of directors. Donald Kerner, M.D., former chief medical officer at St. Francis, is a co-founder of the organization.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

St. Francis Heart Center ad campaign garners national recognition

INDIANAPOLIS – A television ad campaign touting the strengths and achievements of St. Francis Heart Center has won top honors from the CardioVascular Advertising Awards program.

The ad, “Heartbeat,” received a Gold Award, placing it in the top 5 percent of submissions among hospitals having 300-499 beds. Entries were judged by a diverse panel of health-care marketing professionals.

The 30-second spot was produced by Richmond, Va.-based Neathawk Dubuque & Packett under the direction of St. Francis’ Marketing and Community Relations Department and the Heart Center. It has aired on various television stations in the Indianapolis metropolitan area throughout 2010.

“As health-care marketing professionals, it is crucial we communicate within our communities what services are available to treat cardiac and vascular disease,” said Jennifer Westfall, vice president of marketing and product development. “This recognition attests to the dedication and hard work of the people at St. Francis Heart Center.”

To view the ad, go to the following link and click on TV Commercial 1

Monday, December 6, 2010

IU, Kendrick fellow begins training program at St. Francis-Mooresville

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Mark Casillas Jr., M.D., M.S., will begin a fellowship program July 1 with the Indiana University School of Medicine Colon and Rectal Residency Program at Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care, Franciscan/St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.
Casillas is the third fellow in this colorectal residency program, the first of its kind in central Indiana.
Casillas received his master’s degree from the University of Alabama and his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. He is completing his general surgery residency at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Upon completing his fellowship training, Casillas will be eligible for the qualifying and certifying exams of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
The residency program was established in 2008 through a partnership between IU, St. Francis and Kendrick Regional Center and marks the first educational joint venture between St. Francis and the medical school, the nation’s second-largest academic medical institution.
The teaching staff comprises surgeons with Kendrick Regional Center and assistant clinical professors with the IU School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. They are Drs. Olaf Johansen, Fred Lane, R. Barry Melbert, Bridget Sanders, Dipen Maun and Ben Tsai from Kendrick; and Drs. Bruce Robb and Virgilio George from IU.
Sanders was appointed program director in May 2010; Maun serves as associate program director.
More information about the fellowship is available by calling 317-834-9618 or at the Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care website, or the IU School of Medicine site,
In 2007, St. Francis established the Colorectal Cancer Center center of excellence for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. It’s one of the largest programs of its kind in Indiana. To learn more about its services, go to

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Coping with holiday blues focus of St. Francis Cancer Center workshop

INDIANAPOLIS – Even during the proverbial “most wonderful time of the year,” anxiety and depression can slump over those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

That’s why the St. Francis Cancer Center and Cancer Support Community are offering a special workshop to discuss positive ways to handle stress during the holidays. Counselor Karen Better will lead the event, which is free for adults with cancer, their loved ones, or who have lost someone to the disease.

The workshop is 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 9, at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave. Participants should enter at the Women and Children’s entrance and go the fourth floor Atrium.

To register, call 317-782-7794.

More information about the St. Francis Cancer Center is at

Weight Loss Center offers 12 ways to curb you holiday eating enthusiasm

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 a dozen 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