News Center

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let a heart healthy future be your holiday stocking stuffer

INDIANAPOLIS – Knowing your family’s health history can help identify your own risk for heart disease and help you reach for the tools needed to minimize the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.

Certainly, the holiday season provides an excellent opportunity to develop that history at family gatherings, say physicians at St. Francis Medical Group Indiana Heart Physicians. Knowing the health challenges your family members have had can help guide you to pay more attention to that same aspect of your health. Here’s the information that’s needed:

· If relatives have had a heart attack or stroke, how old were they (if they were younger than 50 years old, your risk of the same thing happening is high)?

· Who in the family has high cholesterol, high blood pressure?

· Does diabetes run in the family?

· Have your parents had surgery for heart valve disease?

· Does any family member have peripheral vascular disease (bad circulation in the legs), aneurysms and blocked carotid arteries? These are all signs of cardiovascular disease.

“Identifying cardiovascular risk factors in your family is a vital step in assessing your own risk,” says Franciscan St. Francis cardiologist Carson Turner, M.D. “With this information, you can begin to make important lifestyle changes to decrease your risk.”

Don’t give up just because you may have a family history of heart disease. There are controllable risk factors: Don’t smoke; maintain a healthy weight; exercise 30-60 minutes 5 days per week or simply increase the level of current activity; control blood pressure (less than 120/80); control cholesterol levels; and control blood sugar if diabetic.

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

St. Francis Weight Loss Center chimes in with 12 healthy holiday tips

INDIANAPOLIS – Christmas and New Year’s are just two 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. Plan to maintain your weight over the holidays. Decide which treat is worth the calories, take a smaller portion, and savor every single bite.

2. 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.

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. If you like to socialize near the kitchen, move the conversation away from the food so you will not be tempted to grab something to eat within arms reach that you really do not want.

6. Avoid temptation- invest in the desserts your really want. If there is a bowl of candy on the table, but you really want Aunt Carol’s famous pie, avoid the candy, save those calories for the items you really want! Its okay to indulge in sweets occasionally and still stay on the weight loss track, just keep your portion sizes small and your eye on the overall goal.

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, sour cream or Greek yogurt. 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. Try drinking a glass of water before you drink an alcoholic beverage. This will cut down on excess calories consumed from satisfying your thirst as opposed to drinking for pleasure.

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.

More holiday eating and nutrition tips are at

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

St. Francis Health employees poised to help south side needy during holidays

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – While there has been some glimmer of an improving economy, many in the community are still in need as the holidays approach.

That’s why Franciscan St. Francis Health again is serving as a collection site for LifeBridge Community’s Operation Bright Christmas

In its 10th year, the program serves families during the holidays, benefiting children living in poverty in Beech Grove and Indianapolis’ south side. LifeBridge is now accepting donations beginning Dec. 1.

Last year, 250 families having 625 children were helped. This year the event will focus on the meaning of Christmas with added services and a pageant.

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.). There’s a particular emphasis this year on children’s clothes, coats, hats, gloves and food this season.

Donors are asked not to gift toys that are of the 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 Franciscan St. Francis HealthlBeech Grove, 1600 Albany St.; Franciscan St. Francis-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.; and Franciscan St. Francis-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Road.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St. Francis Health’s Mooresville hospital preps for new unit opening

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – A new medical unit is scheduled to open Nov. 29 at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Mooresville

It is called the Inpatient Medical Unit to differentiate it from the existing Medical-Surgical Unit. Located in what was the original patient/surgery wing in the original hospital before the 2008 expansion, the new unit houses patient beds in 13 private rooms, two large enough to be semi-private if needed. The unit was created to address the growth trend at the hospital.

The population served by this 8,800-square-foot unit will be primarily patients with a general medical conditions such as respiratory, heart failure and sepsis. Patients requiring progressive or intensive care will be cared for in the ICU.

“Our goal is to use this unit for medical patients only and keep all surgery patients in the existing orthopedics and med-surg units,” said Cindy Knipe, R.N., clinical services assistant director.

The unit includes the latest technology, including Spectralink phones and the G.E. Tellergy nurse call installed in the 2008 Phase II addition. It also will be equipped with a an advanced tube system station and Pyxis drug-dispensing unit.

To learn more about Franciscan St. Francis Health-Mooresville and its services, go to

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Franciscan St. Francis Health and Cardiac Surgery Associates announce integration

INDIANAPOLIS – As part of Franciscan St. Francis Health’s commitment to offer the most dynamic and innovative program for the treatment of vascular disorders, the hospital has announced an expanded partnership with Cardiac Surgery Associates, S.C. (CSA), one of the largest, most respected and experienced cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgery practices in the nation.

Effective Oct. 1, management and operations of the St. Francis Medical Group Vascular Surgeons practice transitioned to CSA. CSA also now manage and conduct all readings for the accredited Franciscan St. Francis Vascular Diagnostic Laboratory.

As Franciscan St. Francis’ trusted partner in cardiac and vascular care for the past five years, CSA and the St. Francis Medical Group Indiana Heart Physicians (IHP) will build upon their already successful professional collaboration and develop a fully integrated, multispecialty center where cardiovascular surgeons, endovascular specialists, noninvasive vascular specialists, diagnosticians and other specialists will provide the most comprehensive diagnostic interventional and surgical services for vascular disorders.

“This integration will help grow Franciscan St. Francis Health’s national reputation for quality and compassionate patient care,” said Marc Gerdisch, M.D., chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, St. Francis Heart Center. “It is an expansion of our already remarkably successful collaborative approach to cardiac disease, which has grown tremendously in the past five years. Now an all-encompassing program will include treatment and research for the full spectrum vascular disorders.”

One of the nation’s top cardiac and vascular surgery groups, CSA is an independent practice with 29 surgeons and is also a long-standing clinical partner of Franciscan

St. Francis Health. CSA performs more than 3,500 open heart surgeries – 500 at the St. Francis Heart Center – and 3,200 vascular, thoracic and other surgeries annually.

IHP is the first and largest provider of cardiovascular care on Indianapolis’ south side and has 26 board-certified cardiologists specializing in peripheral vascular disease, electrophysiology, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, interventional cardiology and clinical cardiology.

“With Dr. Gerdisch’s leadership, our cardiac and vascular surgery team has developed many new treatment approaches to ensure patients receive access to world-class care,” said Robert J. Brody, CEO and president of Franciscan St. Francis Health. “CSA surgeons are among the best in the world, pioneering next-generation devices and technology.”

Both the surgical office and the Franciscan St. Francis Vascular Diagnostic Laboratory will remain in the same location, and a centralized scheduling number (317-851-2323) allows easy, convenient scheduling for patients and physicians.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Family medicine physician Ryan Lacy joins St. Francis Medical Group in Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Ind.Ryan R. Lacy, M.D., has established a practice with Martinsville Family & Internal Medicine with St. Francis Medical Group.
He joins Dianna Boyer, M.D., an internist who was the first physician to see patients at the new medical office which opened Sept. 19. The new medical office, located at Martinsville Shoppes at 49 Bills Blvd. near State Road 37, has 9,000-square-feet. Boyer will share the space with SFMG’s Indiana Heart Physicians, primary care physicians and nurse practitioners.
Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, Lacy most recently was employed by Greensburg Medical Association, providing care to patients in rural areas.
Lacy received a bachelor of science degree in biology and master’s degree in physiology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. He earned his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed a family medicine residency at Franciscan St. Francis Health.
He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Indiana Academy of Family Physicians and American Medical Association.
Led by President Isaac J. Myers II, M.D., St. Francis Medical Group is a multidisciplinary group of physicians throughout central Indiana. These physicians offer a variety of primary care and specialty care services and all practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health.
To learn more about St. Francis Medical Group, go to

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

St. Francis Health exec earns career achievement award from ACHE

Jared Stark (l), executive director for Franciscan St. Francis Health-Mooresville, is presented with the award by Michael O’Neil, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Memorial Health System in South Bend, Ind., andIndiana ACHE Regent.

INDIANAPOLIS – Jared Stark, executive director for Franciscan St. Francis Health-Mooresville, has garnered recognition from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Indiana chapter.

He is the recipient of the 2011 Early Career Professional Regent’s Award, awarded to a hospital administrator under 40 years old who has demonstrated significant accomplishments in the health care field; participation in local and state hospital association activities and civic/community projects; and creative management.

Specifically, Stark was cited for a variety of accomplishments during his tenure at Mooresville, including HealthGrades rankings in the top 5 percent for joint replacement; increases in patient, employee and physician satisfaction; expansion of the Mooresville campus; and increases to the hospital’s income.

He also has been tapped to lead the development and operations of a new short-stay hospital in Carmel, scheduled for opening in April 2012.

Stark, who was appointed executive director of the Mooresville hospital in July 2008, also served in executive positions at Riverview Hospital (Noblesville) and Provena St. Mary’s Hospital (Kankakee, Ill.). He received his bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and his master of business administration degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.  

A native Hoosier and Morgan County resident, he is a Certified Health Care Executive and Fellow of the ACHE and holds memberships in several professional and civic organizations.

Stark received the Early Career Professional Regent’s Award at the recent Indiana Hospital Association’s annual meeting.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 Indy Monumental Marathon: Kenyan sets the pace for more than 10,000 participants

INDIANAPOLIS – Thousands of runners and walkers took to the city streets this morning (Nov. 5) for the fourth running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

With sunrise edging upward, near –freezing temperature and a brisk breeze, the participants stepped off with a thumping hip-hop tune blaring in the background. Then came the wait, with spectators clutching their coffee mugs, and marking time before making their way to the finish line.

The winners and their times:

MARATHON (MEN, 2:22:21) Hillary Cheruiyot, a Kenyan based in Coon Rapids, Minn.

MARATHON (WOMEN 2:42:37) Mandy Grantz, Pasadena, Calif.

HALF MARATHON WINNER (1:05:27 new course record) Jesse Armijo

Local luminaries were on hand to greet the participants before the starter’s gun sounded: Mayor Greg Ballard, St. Francis President and CEO Robert Brody, Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White, IMM President/Founder Carlton Ray, IMM Executive Director Kim Gale, and IMM Honorary Chair Bob Kennedy, a former marathon runner for the U.S. Olympics team.

Indeed. The IMM, whose title sponsor is Franciscan St. Francis Health, has sparked tremendous interest in the world-wide running community. The record number of participants this year more than quadruples the number who signed up for the inaugural 2008 race.

The event also included a 5K race sponsored by local engineering firm, HNTB Corp.

“This is an amazing race and one for which the City of Indianapolis can be proud,” said Ray. “The number of participants has nearly quadrupled since the inaugural race in 2008.”

Franciscan St. Francis Health had about 150 volunteers assisting in a variety of ways, most notably a team of physicians, nurses and other health professionals with the St. Francis Sports Medicine Program.

“Promoting health and wellness benefits our entire community, particularly our youth,” said Robert J. Brody, Franciscan St. Francis CEO and president. "Truly, the marathon is a test of endurance for athletes and we are proud to return as title sponsor of this event.”

And it takes a monumental effort to organize an event like IMM. Overseeing that task was The Tuxedo Brothers, a local sporting events management company, operated by brothers Don and Phil Carr.

The IMM’s urban courses are sanctioned and certified by the standards of USA Track and Field, the national body of road racing. The marathon course also serves as a qualifier for the 2012 Boston Marathon.

Since 2008, the IMM has generated more than $180,000 in proceeds, most of which has have benefited Indianapolis Public Schools programs.

For the final results and other information about the 2011 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, go to

To learn more about the St. Francis Sports Medicine program, go to

You can view photos of the 2011 IMM on Facebook and local media coverage at

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Record roster of runners poised to pound pavement at Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

St. Francis Health sets pace again as title sponsor

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 12,000 have registered for the 2011 running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (IMM) – presented by Franciscan St. Francis Health – and the number of participants surely will soar higher as organizers prepare for the Saturday, Nov. 5 event.

“The response and depth of enthusiasm among runners is truly impressive,” said IMM Executive Director Kim Gale. “I think our venue, coupled with the time of year and course layout, continues to stir interest in the international running community.”

Runners from 42 states have signed up, including participants from Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Kenya.

Last year’s IMM registered more than 9,000 participants.

The race, which steps off at 8 a.m., features a full marathon (26.2 miles) a half marathon (13.1 miles). A 5K run – sponsored by local engineering architectural firm HNTB – also is featured. A new featured race this year is the Kids’ Fun Run.

All courses begin near Washington and West streets and finish on Robert D. Orr Drive to the finish line, just steps away from the Indiana State Capitol building.

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 2012 Boston Marathon.

Franciscan St. Francis continues in its role as title sponsor of the IMM. The hospital provides a variety means of support, but perhaps the most significant is providing a full medical team ready to assist runners along the course and at a Franciscan St. Francis Sports Medicine-staffed area near the finish line.

Several lndianapolis-area educational institutions will get a leg up on their programs. The IMM donates its proceeds to those organizations. Since its inaugural race in 2008, the IMM has generated more than $180,000 in proceeds, all of which have benefited Indianapolis Public Schools.

To learn more about the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, visit

More information about the St. Francis Sports Medicine program is at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Joined at the hip: Replacement surgeries return these sisters to active lives

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Five years apart in age and just five minutes away from each other’s homes, sisters Gail Romine and Chris Harrington were leading different lives.

Their lives and families were taking them in different directions over the past several years, and with Chris’ upcoming move to Madison, Ind., almost two hours away from their current homes in Carmel, the sisters were expecting to see each other even less often. But new hips brought them back together.

“Most people have reunions; we have hip replacements,” Gail said, with the familial sense of humor that added a spark of entertainment to their recovery.

The sisters share a genetic tendency toward accelerated cartilage wear in the hips, and both had already had one hip replaced before scheduling their second replacements (each on the opposite hips) for this past March. Gail jokingly refers to the two of them as “double hippies.”

Chris’ first replacement was 11 years ago, when she was 47 years old. Gail’s was eight years ago at age 46.

This time around, Gail’s hip was in worse shape, but she didn’t schedule her surgery until her older sister had hers on

Both under the care of Jeff Pierson, M.D. – orthopedic surgeon with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Mooresville – the two were able to share their experiences from the first day. They asked to share one of the center’s semi-private rooms and supplemented their recoveries with a healthy dose of each other’s humor.
the books. “She was waiting for Big Sis to take the lead,” said Chris, who moved her surgery date so that they could have both on the same day.

Nurses cautioned them not to compare their recoveries against one another, as both could recover at different speeds and have varying experiences. But the sisters weren’t concerned. They saw the opportunity to support each other, offer encouragement and, most of all, reconnect.

As they recovered, they shared time away from work and activities and joked about having walker races around the island in Gail’s kitchen. While they are extremely pleased with the success of their surgeries and had no complications, they both say the best thing to come out of the experience for them was the family time.

“It was fun to just be together,” Chris said. “That was the most enjoyable part of it,” Gail said. “That, and feeling happy again, instead of waking up thinking, ‘I can’t move. I just have to get through the day.’”

Gail and Chris both say they had been living with pain in their hips for about a year before scheduling their surgeries. Gail recalls hearing clicking sounds as raw, cartilage-deficient bones in her hip rubbed together when she moved. Chris was experiencing a catching sensation as her bones caught against torn pieces of cartilage. Just five weeks after their surgeries, both were experiencing significantly better movement and less pain.

And already they were noticing a difference in how they felt. “When I walked back into work (after surgery), people said, ‘I don’t see the pain in your face anymore,’” Gail said. “I feel happy again.” She was looking forward to participating in a fundraising walk.

Chris said she feels “like a free bird.” Her experience this time around was different from the first, when it was common for physicians to recommend that their patients not put weight on their new hips during recovery. Newer guidelines suggest that putting weight on the joint can positively affect recovery, so she has been active and mobile since surgery.

“I am just amazed at my recovery,” she said. “I bounced back so fast, and I’m 11 years older this time.”

She was walking with only a cane just two weeks after surgery and by five weeks had almost completely progressed to walking without support. Gail’s experience was similar; she returned to work just three weeks after surgery.

Pierson credits the two for staying motivated and informed and working hard toward their recoveries. Thei

r personalities were an added benefit.

“Gail and Chris are really terrific patients,” he said. “They brought a unique perspective to their surgeries. They are positive thinkers. They shared their experiences with each other, and they supported each other along the way. And it is so much fun to have them as patients.”

For Gail and Chris, their positive experience with total joint replacement keeps them from being concerned about the need for future surgeries. With total prosthetic joints typically lasting 20 years or more, their young ages means they might need similar surgeries down the road.

“It doesn’t bother me to think it could happen again,” Gail said. “Since this one has gone so well, even if it’s in 20 years, I’ll be able to recuperate just as well as I could when I was younger.”

Neither has regrets about surgery and recommends making the commitment as soon as significant pain is interfering with one’s life. “Why suffer, because if you can get the surgery done and move on with your life and be pain-free, it’s worth it, that’s for sure,” Chris said.

She is looking forward to spending lots of time outdoors — without pausing to sit because of pain — at her new farm-like home in Madison. With five llamas and active grandchildren, she’s expecting to be up and joining the fun, not watching everyone else from the sidelines.

And she plans to visit her sister in Carmel frequently, this time staying in her sister’s home during her visits. She says it’s funny that they will probably see each other more often now that she’s two hours away than they did when they were five minutes apart.

“It’s a strange way to get that reconnection back, through surgery, but we have,” Chris said. “It’s just been an awesome thing. It’s been a great experience.”

Gail Romine (left) and her sister Chris Harrington exercise their new hips on the Monon Trail in Carmel. The two sisters had their hips replaced on the same day by Dr. Jeff Pierson.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

St. Francis Health nurses recognized for extraordinary care to patients, families

INDIANAPOLIS – Franciscan St. Francis Health has two nurses whose acts of professionalism and compassion has sewn seeds of gratitude among their patients and colleagues.

Becky Teising and Mickey Sullivan are the latest recipients of the hospital’s DAISY Awards. The awards are part of The DAISY Foundation, a nationwide program recognizing nurses.

Teising, who works in the surgical intensive care unit at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis, was nominated by a co-worker. The wife of a patient spent many hours sleeping in the waiting room for days. Recognizing this, Teising tried, but was unable to get her a complementary hotel room for restful night of sleep. So Teising booked and paid for the room.

“Becky is a very good nurse with a big, compassionate heart,” said the co-worker who nominated her.

Sullivan, who works on the surgical unit at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Beech Grove, was nominated by a grateful spouse of a patient, who wrote: “I had never expected to receive that kind of sympathy or genuine concern for my husband as well as myself.” She goes on to say that Sullivan made her and her husband feel like family. “I can not really put into words all the wonderful things she did for both of us. She is an awesome person and great nurse.”

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a national program that honors the compassionate care and clinical excellence that our Franciscan 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 Franciscan St. Francis, go to