News Center

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New medical staff officers selected to serve at St. Francis Health

INDIANAPOLIS – Three physicians affiliated with Franciscan St. Francis Health have been appointed to new leadership roles for 2013-2014.

Steven Carr, MD, and Don King, MD, will serve as president and vice president, respectively. Heidi Dunniway, MD, moves into the role of immediate past president.

Carr is affiliated with Southeast Anesthesiologists; King is a member of Franciscan Physician Network Indy Southside Surgical; and Dunniway has a practice with Otolaryngology Associates of Indianapolis.

The president is responsible for communicating the needs of medical staff to Franciscan St. Francis administrative and clinical leadership and chairs the Medical Executive Committee.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

High-end technology used at St. Francis Health prevents esophageal cancer

INDIANAPOLIS – An outpatient treatment that destroys pre-cancerous tissue in the lining of the esophagus is being used by physicians at Franciscan St. Francis Health–Indianapolis.

The procedure, endoscopic radiofrequency ablation therapy using the HALO System, is a highly effective treatment for complete eradication of Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition that affects three million adults in the United States each year. Esophageal cancer is presently the fastest growing form of cancer in the country.

“Barrett’s esophagus occurs when the esophagus is chronically exposed to gastric acid of the stomach caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD,” said Brian Sperl, MD, with Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology. “With prolonged acid exposure, normal cells in the esophagus can undergo a genetic change and are then vulnerable to further changes that can lead to cancer.”

During the procedure, a catheter (HALO360 or HALO90 Ablation Catheter) is positioned on the abnormal esophageal tissue. Using the HALO Energy Generator, the physician delivers a rapid burst of energy which removes a very thin layer of the diseased tissue.

The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting, without incisions, and usually takes less than 30 minutes.

“The main purpose of the ablation procedure is to ablate, or remove the abnormal lining of the esophagus,” Sperl said. “The tissue then regenerates and normal tissue grows back. This eliminates or markedly reduces the chances of cancer developing.”

For a person with Barrett’s esophagus, Sperl said the risk of developing esophageal cancer is similar to the risk of developing colon cancer for patients who have a colon polyp. However, unlike a colon polyp which is removed immediately upon diagnosis through a colonoscopy, the standard treatment for Barrett’s esophagus was “watchful waiting” or surveillance to monitor the progression of the disease.

With the HALO System, clinicians can be proactive in treating Barrett’s esophagus just as they are with colon polyp removal.

“Previously we could use ablation therapy to remove or destroy pre-cancerous tissue, but the technology had limitations and wasn’t widely used,” said Sperl. “The HALO System provides uniform and controlled ablative therapy, which not only removes the abnormal cells but also allows for regrowth of normal cells. It also effectively treats patients without injuring healthy underlying tissue.”

Individuals with Barrett’s esophagus have a 40 to130 times higher incidence of developing esophageal cancer than those without the condition. Sperl said esophageal cancer is often incurable because the disease is frequently discovered in the advanced stages.

Esophageal cancer has a five-year patient survival rate of just 16 percent.

“It usually starts with GERD, which can cause Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer,” Sperl said. “That’s why it’s important to seek medical treatment for symptoms of GERD, the most common being heartburn.”

St. Francis Health employees conjure holiday ‘magic’ to benefit bereavement program

 INDIANAPOLIS – Employees and volunteers at Franciscan St. Francis Health opened up their wallets – and more important, their hearts – in a recent activity to bolster a hospital program which provides support to parents grieving the loss of their babies.

More than $5,000 was raised in a recent auction dubbed “Christmas Magic.”  Donations included gift and food baskets, toys, decorated Christmas trees and wreaths and myriad items.

The proceeds will benefit St. Francis Health’s Memories to Hold program, which offers support to families who have lost a child due to ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

“Many of our departments and employees, both clinical and support, generously offered items for bid and also placed their bids,” said Joni Cutshaw, bereavement coordinator for the hospital’s Women and Children’s Services. “We are grateful for their support.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Franciscan St. Francis Health nurses lauded for going extra mile for their patients


INDIANAPOLIS – Two registered nurses at Franciscan St. Francis Health have been praised by patients and peers for above-and-beyond the call in caregiving.

Registered nurses Erika Nance and Nina Patterson have been named the November 2012 recipients of the hospital’s DAISY Awards.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a national program that honors the compassionate care and clinical excellence. Franciscan St. Francis localized the program in 2010 to recognize its nurses for their achievements.

Nance, a nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis, was nominated by a co-worker for her compassionate caring way with a patient. “Erika takes wonderful care of her patients. She was extraordinary when she gave one of her patients a spa day,” wrote her co-worker. “Her simple act of kindness really helped boost her patient’s morale and spirit.”

Patterson, an Emergency Room nurse, was nominated by a family member who also happened to be a nurse. “Nina is patient, kind and compassionate not only with her patients but with staff she is also kind and helpful,” wrote the family member.

 “I never felt rushed and she never seemed to be in a hurry and took the time to explain everything.” She went on to say that, “We love St. Francis and your philosophy of caring for others in such a compassionate way at the time when it’s really, really needed. Nina is an extraordinary nurse.”

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

St. Francis Health Sister selected for national executive board

INDIANAPOLIS –Sister Martha Ann Reich of Franciscan St. Francis Health has been appointed to the board of directors for the International Executive Housekeeping Association (IEHA).

A member of the Order of Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (OSF) she has been affiliated with Franciscan St. Francis Health for many years and active in helping lead hospital-wide housekeeping and recycling initiatives.  Sister Martha Ann also has spearheaded many “green” programs, which contribute to a better hospital environment and operate more efficiently.

A long-time member of the Indiana chapter of IEHA, she recently began her four-year term on the board of directors.

Founded in New York City in 1930, IEHA is a 3,500-member professional for persons who direct cleaning, maintenance, housekeeping, groundskeeping, safety and/or indoor environmental programs in commercial, industrial or institutional facilities. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

St. Francis Health surgeon offers free joint replacement to needy patient

“This is a blessing. I really appreciate this  opportunity.” --  Duana Ulrich

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – While more than 1 million hip and knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, countless men and women continue to live with severe arthritic pain and immobility because they cannot afford joint replacement surgery.

One such patient received a free total joint replacement surgery Dec. 7 at the Center for Hip and Knee Surgery in Mooresville as part of an Operation Walk USA program.

The patient, Duana Ulrich from Franklin, Ind., met the hospital’s criteria for financial assistance and joint replacement surgery.


Center surgeon Michael E. Berend, MD, donated the surgery, a single knee replacement. Implant manufacturer Biomet of Warsaw, Ind., is donating the implants, and the Mooresville hospital and staff are contributing the rest of the services.

Ulrich, a church custodian for 18 years, was progressively unable to do her job because of the arthritis in her right knee and was recently laid off as a result. She found out about the Operation Walk program from fellow church member Melinda Quarles, RN, who works in the Franciscan St. Francis Health—Mooresville Intensive Care Unit.


Ulrich had no health insurance and “would’ve been freaking,” she said, if the Operation Walk program had not been available.


“This is just so amazing,” Ulrich said. “This is a blessing. I really appreciate this opportunity.”


She said she hopes her new knee will help her pursue a new career, using the master’s degree in business administration/health care administration she earned from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2010.


Her surgery took place at the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery in Mooresville, ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery five years in a row (2007-2011) by HealthGrades, one of the nation’s premier health care rating companies.

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the United States, affecting approximately 48 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. Hip and knee replacement surgeries are the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopedic procedures, eliminating pain and allowing patients to resume active, productive lives.

Operation Walk is a private, not-for-profit, volunteer medical services organization which provides free surgical treatment for patients in developing countries and in the United States.

Established in 2000 by Merrill Ritter, MD, who also founded the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery, Operation Walk Mooresville also educates in-country orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and other health care professionals on the most advanced treatments and surgical techniques for diseases of the hip and knee joints.

Through generous donations of time, money and supplies, Operation Walk Mooresville has been able to touch the lives of countless citizens in several countries, including Cuba, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Most recently, a medical team sponsored by Operation Walk Mooresville traveled to Managua, Nicaragua, from Feb. 26 to March 3, 2012, to perform life-changing surgery for patients suffering from immobility and joint pain. 

In four days, the group performed 104 surgeries for 84 patients, including 89 joint replacements and 15 foot and ankle surgeries.

The team of volunteers included surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and many others, who pulled together to perform more surgeries in one week than they normally can do in a year. The team brought the necessary equipment and donated supplies along with the expertise of the Operation Walk Mooresville group to get this important mission accomplished. 

The next medical mission trip will be to Guatemala City, Guatemala, Feb. 24–March 2, 2013. 

Each trip costs approximately $175,000 for transportation, cargo, shipping, medical supplies, medications, room and board. For more information, visit

Operation Walk USA began in 2011 following the tremendous success of Operation Walk, an international volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions throughout the world. To date, more than 6,000 patients have received new knees and hips through the International Operation Walk. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Surgeons tune into iPod for more precise, less-invasive orthopedic procedures

Franciscan St. Francis Health first in Indiana and among first nationally to use new device

Dr. Tim Williams (l) checks the iPod touch instrument and calibration
with an assistant as they  prepare to proceed with the knee replacement procedure

INDIANAPOLISFranciscan St. Francis Health orthopedic surgeons are using new technology in tandem with the Apple iPod touch ® to more effectively treat patients undergoing knee and hip joint replacements.

Timothy Williams, MD, a surgeon with the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports, today (Dec. 4) successfully treated a patient receiving a knee replacement, using a portable navigational system called the Dash ® Smart Instrument Technology by Brainlab. Recently approved by the Food and Drug Administrations, the system is designed to provide the benefits of traditional surgical navigation in a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution.

Unlike more complex computer-assisted surgical navigation systems, the iPod is a common, off-the-shelf device. The nuance is in the actual application.

A computer animation displays a "real time" step during the procedure.

Williams is the first in Indiana and among the first nationally to tap into the new application, developed by the Germany-based software company, Brainlab.

“This technology allows us to more precisely target the surgical area in a less invasive way,” said Williams. “In the end, this means better outcomes for our patients.”

Here’s how it works: In the operating room, the iPod is placed in a sterile clear bag and inserted into a small cradle with reflective spheres. An infrared camera system is then affixed to a mobile, easy-to-maneuver platform. The surgeon touches a digitizing probe mounted to the iPod to surgical landmarks as the navigational system records the information.

Williams uses the navigation system to fine-tune
adjustments to surgical instruments.

Calculations are made in milliseconds, and the camera sends a 3-D image of the treatment area to the surgeon.

“The intuitive navigation provides accurate navigation throughout the procedure and allows the surgeon to make fine-tuned adjustments to surgical instruments to ensure correct placement of artificial knee and hip implants,” Williams said.  “Well-placed implants can reduce initial post-operative complications, as well as potential revision surgeries in the future. The Dash technology provides me with information to ensure proper implant placement.”

Franciscan St. Francis Health    With hospitals in Indianapolis, Mooresville and Carmel, Franciscan St. Francis Health is a member of Franciscan Alliance, which operates 13 hospitals in Indiana and Illinois. Franciscan Alliance provides care for 3 million outpatient visits and more than 100,000 inpatient discharges every year with the most effective medical treatments and innovative technology. Franciscan Alliance, one of the largest Catholic health-care systems in the Midwest, employs 18,200 co-workers and has more than 3,300 affiliated physicians – both primary care and specialists – serving nearly 4 million people in the system’s service areas. To learn more about Franciscan Alliance and Franciscan St. Francis Health, go to and

Brainlab     Brainlab develops, manufactures and markets software-driven medical technology that supports targeted, less-invasive treatment. Core products are image-guided systems and software that provide real-time information used for surgical navigation and radiosurgical planning and delivery. Brainlab technology drives collaboration between hospitals and clinicians from a wide variety of subspecialties—from neurosurgery and oncology to orthopedics, ENT, CMF and spine & trauma. This integration delivers better access to improved and more efficient treatment. Founded in 1989, the privately held Brainlab group has more than 5,000 systems installed in about 80 countries. Based in Munich, Germany, Brainlab employs 1,070 people in 17 offices worldwide. To learn more, visit

Friday, November 30, 2012

Franciscan Weight Loss Center appoints new program director

INDIANAPOLIS – Terri Hohlt has been appointed program director of Franciscan St. Francis Weight Loss Center.

Hohlt comes from the IU Health Bariatric and Medical Weight Loss Center in Indianapolis, where she was responsible for program development, strategic planning and operational administration of the bariatric services. She has served as a consultant on developing software for managing bariatric patients and presented nationally on improving patient throughput from seminar to surgery.

Hohlt received her bachelor of science in nursing at Indiana Wesleyan University and a master in nursing administration degree from the University of Indianapolis. She was formerly clinical manager of orthopedics at Methodist Hospital and an outcomes specialist for its total joint program.

The Franciscan St. Francis Weight Loss Center, which recently marked its 10th year, provides surgical and physician-monitored weight loss solutions, including gastric sleeve, Roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery, and Lap-Band surgery and fills, as well as nutrition and behavioral counseling. Since 2002, the center and its staff have helped thousands of Hoosiers achieve a healthier weight and life through its weight management services.

The Franciscan St. Francis Weight Loss Center was named a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic &  Bariatric Surgery in 2007 and was reaccredited in 2011. The ASMBS Center of Excellence designation is awarded to surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.

Learn more about services at Franciscan St. Francis Weight Loss Center by calling (317) 528-7525 or visiting

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New executive director to assume helm of Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Terri S. Ruff has been appointed executive director of Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center, effective Jan. 6, 2013.

Since 2002, Ruff has served as director of Imaging Services, overseeing all radiological programs at Franciscan St. Francis’ hospitals at Indianapolis, Mooresville, Carmel and the former Beech Grove campus and six outpatient imaging centers.  In that role, she also supervised business and joint venture development; was responsible for transitioning imaging to a fully digital department; and led efforts to secure advanced accreditation, including the hospital’s recognition as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Ruff has been affiliated with Franciscan St. Francis since 1984. She received her undergraduate degree in health arts at the University of St. Francis, where she later earned master’s degrees in business administration and health care administration.

An Avon resident, she is a member of the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators and American Society of Radiology Technologists.

Ruff succeeds Michael Hertel, who had served as executive director since 2006.

Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center-Indianapolis has been recognized by Healthgrades as the number-one program in Indiana for overall cardiac services and named one of America’s 100 best hospitals for cardiac care and coronary intervention. In addition, the hospital has received national recognition for heart attack treatment, coronary interventional procedures, heart valve repair and replacement surgery, cardiology services and heart failure treatment.

Learn more about services and program at Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Can’t turn back time, but simplicity is key to healthy aging process

INDIANAPOLIS – Have you noticed that the numbers in the phone book seem to be getting smaller? Finding it more difficult to get down on your knees to look under the bed — and to get up again?

There’s no question that age brings changes to our lives. And yes, some of them we’d prefer to avoid. Physically, for example, stiffening joints can make it harder to get around. And many people find that their short-term memory just isn’t what it used to be. Often, difficult personal situations, such as the death of a spouse, can add to the negative changes.

“But age can bring positive changes too,” said Kerry Minnis, manager, Franciscan St. Francis Health Outpatient Behavioral Health. “Many older people say they have less stress and more time for family, interests and hobbies than they used to. In fact, the vast majority of older people report they are satisfied with their lives.”

To a great extent, what older age will be like for you depends on how you live now and how you cope with the changes that come your way. You may not be able to turn back time, but you can move in a direction that may make getting older easier and more pleasant.

Here’s what Minnis suggests:

• Maintain an active mind and body. Remember the adage, “Use it or lose it.”

• Be involved. Isolation can contribute to depression and other health problems. So keep connected to family and friends. Social connections can help ensure that you have physical and emotional support for what comes your way.

• Live a healthy lifestyle. The advice you heard when you were younger still applies: Eat well, maintain a healthy weight, get enough rest, don’t smoke, do what you can to stay safe and see your doctor regularly.

• Relish your leisure time. Do things you enjoy, and allow some downtime. Too much stress can contribute to a host of health problems.

• Practice healthy ways to cope. Believe in yourself, and remember: You can handle whatever comes your way.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Coping with holiday stress hinges on personal, realistic 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 Franciscan St. Francis Health, 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.

Franciscan St. Francis Outpatient Behavioral Health Services offers a variety of services and programs throughout the year. Click here to learn more. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New director selected to lead senior program at Franciscan St. Francis Health

INDIANAPOLIS – Jeanelle Regal has been appointed director for Senior Promise, a Franciscan St. Francis Health-based program, serving 22,000 customers throughout central Indiana.

In that role, she will oversee all day-to-day operations of the program, which offers a variety of benefits, insurance services and events to members 50 and older. Regal had served as supervisor for Senior Promise since 2008. Before that, she was a social worker for Franciscan St. Francis.

Regal also serves on the accountable care organization communications and education team for the hospital.

A resident of Indianapolis, Regal received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Andrews University in Michigan, and later earned a master’s degree in social work at Indiana University. She is a member of the board of directors for The Social of Greenwood.

Senior Promise is a robust way for seniors to take advantage of health screenings and counselors are available to help its members in myriad ways:
· Billing questions about services received at Franciscan St. Francis Health
· Medicare assistance
· Prescription drug coverage questions
· Life insurances questions
· Caregiver resources
·  Local business discounts
·  Free newsletter
· Discounts on classes, workshops and other programs offered by Franciscan St. Francis

Senior Promise is located near the ambulatory services lobby at Franciscan St. Francis – Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave. Learn more about the program at, or call 317-528-6660.

Weight Loss Center offers 12 ways to curb your 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 Franciscan 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.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Greenwood pediatrician saluted by St. Francis Health for stellar care

Dr. Hodson receives her award (from left) from Drs.
Joe LaRosa , Topper Doehring and Isaac J. Myers II.
GREENWOOD, Ind. – Mary Elise Hodson, MD, is the latest recipient of the Healing Hands Award presented by Franciscan St. Francis Health.

With her colleagues and staff looking on Hodson, a member of Franciscan Physician Network Pediatric Associates of Greenwood, recently received the award.

Board-certified in pediatrics, Hodson graduated from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 1989 and completed her residency training at Methodist Hospital of Indiana and at Michigan State-Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies.

Hodson is a Fellow with  the American Academy of Pediatrics and a mother of three. She has been affiliated with Franciscan St. Francis for several years.

Presented quarterly, the award recognizes Franciscan St. Francis Health physicians for excellence in clinical skills, patient relations, research, stewardship and their reflection of the hospital’s health-care ministry, values and mission.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

St. Francis Health physicians recognized as Indy’s ‘Top Docs’ by magazine

INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty-six Franciscan St. Francis Health physicians have been recognized as “Top Doctors” by Indianapolis Monthly magazine (November 2012).

That recognition was determined by Avvo, a Seattle-based organization which rates and profiles dental, legal and medical professionals across the country. Doctors were rated on a 10-point scale based on factors including experience, education, training and research. 

Physicians included in the rankings (asterisk indicates member of Franciscan Physician Network):

Cardiac Electrophysiology
*Robert Kinn M.D. 

*William Berg, M.D.

Cardiothoracic Surgery
Marc Gerdisch M.D.

Colon and Rectal Surgery
*Olaf Johansen, M.D.
* Dipen C. Maun, MD

Facial Plastic Surgery
Mark M. Hamilton, MD

Family Medicine
Mercy O. Obeime, MD

Gynecologic Oncology*David Moore, M.D. 

Pediatric Neurology
Keith R. Ridel, MD

Pediatric UrologyMartin Kaefer M.D.

Plastic Surgery
*Charles E. Hughes III, M.D.

Radiation Oncology
Peter Garrett, M.D.

The magazine also profiled Robert Prince, MD, of Franciscan Physician Network SpineSpecialists. Prince has been using A new motion-sensing neurostimulator to successfully treat patients with chronic pain conditions. You may view how his work is helping patients here.

Editorial lauds hospital's opening of Education Services and Support Center

New St. Francis facility valuable to community          

Nov. 15, 2012

When Alpine Electronics moved its manufacturing operations to Mexico, the fate of its factory building was unclear. Now that longtime vacant property on the east side of Greenwood has been given new life thanks to a major health and hospital group.

The abandoned factory has been reborn as the administrative center for Franciscan St. Francis Health. Hospital officials have renovated the building, creating workspace for departments such as billing, marketing and scheduling. Offices and cubicles have been constructed for 360 employees. Classrooms and training labs will serve 100 students daily.

Renovation work started in April and will continue through the rest of the year before the building is completely done, said John Ross, former hospital vice president of human resources and current project consultant.

The building had been vacant since 2006. The Alpine Electronics plant opened in 1986, manufacturing car audio and navigation systems for major automakers such as Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mercedes Benz and BMW. The company moved its manufacturing operations to Mexico in 2004 and shifted its business operations to a smaller space in Greenwood in 2006.

Many potential businesses looked at the space but passed it over throughout the years. Franciscan St. Francis officials were interested in the site because of its proximity to the main Indianapolis campus, as well as the possibility to add value to the Greenwood community.

But the building was in serious disrepair.

“When we came into it, it had been flooded. It had been mold infested. The roof was leaking,” Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell said. “We got into this facility and basically had to start from scratch.”

Franciscan St. Francis Health has spent about $14 million in refurbishing and equipping the building. New electronics, telephones, walls, carpeting and decorating have gone into the project. But much of the furniture, computers and other equipment came from the health group’s Beech Grove building.

Each department is housed in cubicles situated in an open-floor layout. Designers wanted the open layout, with just 19 private offices in the building. The decision was intended to encourage interaction and ease of communication, Jewell said. Individual areas for copying, printing and faxing, as well as conference rooms of different sizes, provide each department with autonomy, he said.

The addition to the Greenwood business community will help strengthen a developing section of the city and ideally serve as a spark for other businesses in that area, said Christian Maslowski, executive director of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.

“The Emerson corridor is strategically important to our economic development and our growth, particularly to our eastern growth,” he said. “Having a stable tenant who’s very much invested in the economic stability of this section of Johnson County is a win for everyone.”

We agree. Franciscan St. Francis Health could have built a new building at many locations. The health group made a significant commitment to Greenwood by redeveloping the Alpine Electronics building. It will be a valuable and valued community asset for generations.

Nurses host annual Med-Surg Bowl at Indy campus

The St. Francis Health team (from left): Rich Spencer, Corie Malone,
 Christina Ahnafield, Connie, Siegman-Jones Kate Kinney and Taren Popovich.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The 5th annual Med-Surg Bowl, sponsored by the Central Indiana Chapter of the Academy of Medical-Surgical, pitted a team of Franciscan St. Francis Health registered nurses against five other squads from around the region. The setting was the south-side hospital's auditorium.

The three-round Jeopardy-like competition tested the nurses' knowledge of their specialty and other clinical information. Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission and also a registered nurse, moderated the program. And when the contest  was over, Hendricks Regional Health's team claimed first-place honors. 

Sister Marlene Shapley presents the winner's plaque
 to the Hendicks Regional Health team.

Photos courtesy of Kim Devine

Former Lafayette diocese bishop honored by Franciscan Alliance

Bishop William Higi receives tje Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel
Award from Sister Jane Marie Klein.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Bishop Emeritus William L. Higi, was presented with the Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel award at the Nov. 12 Franciscan Alliance Leadership Conference.

The award is presented to a person whose service to our Franciscan Alliance health ministry most clearly reflects the personal attributes of the Venerable Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Bishop Higi accepted the award from Sister Jane Marie Klein, Chair, Board of Trustees for Franciscan Alliance.

The award honors Bishop Higi for holding some of the personal qualities that characterized Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, including leadership, joyful service, compassion, perseverance and acceptance of the will of God. Bishop Higi is a servant leader, dedicated to the betterment of others. He walks humbly in the service of others, his God, his Church, his Community and our health care ministry.

Bishop Higi well understands the importance of our health care ministry in the community. He was instrumental in the merger between St. Elizabeth Hospital and Greater Lafayette Health Services and the merger of both into Franciscan Alliance.

Bishop Higi has been a loyal and steadfast supporter of our Congregation and health care ministry for over 25 years. In the early 1970’s, he was instrumental in re-establishing Perpetual Adoration in the St. Elizabeth chapel.  Bishop Higi was born in Anderson, Ind., on Aug. 29, 1933. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1959 and served as associate pastor of Saint Bridget’s Church in Logansport for nine months before being transferred to the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, where he served as associate for five years. He was named Secretary to Bishop John Carberry in August 1962; Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese in 1965, Chancellor in 1967 and Vicar General in 1979.

He also served as pastor of Saint Augusta parish in Lake Village from June 1970 until his ordination as Bishop of the Lafayette Diocese in June 1984.

Bishop Higi joined with the management team and community leaders in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health – Lafayette East hospital and led the dedication of the new facility. 
One of the roles of a Bishop is to be a defender of the faith.  The Healthcare Ministry is certainly part of the “Faith” that needs to be defended.  On more than one occasion, Bishop Higi assisted us in making sure that the Sisters of St. Francis’ Health Ministry was supported and defended. 

Even though the office of Bishop is a very hectic and demanding job, Bishop Higi exemplifies the beatitudes in his outreach to others. On many occasions he can be seen walking the hospital halls and visiting the ill.

His entire life has been dedicated to enriching the spiritual lives of his flock, to caring for those less fortunate, to supporting education and health care ministries, to guiding priests and providing a moral compass that we can all follow. 

The award presented to Bishop Higi is a miniature version of a statue of Mother Maria Theresia that is located in a sitting area in the midst of the apple orchard at the Convent in Mishawaka. This is the sixth Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel service award presented.

About Franciscan Alliance
A trusted leader in providing faith-based, integrated health care, Franciscan Alliance, whose mission is “Continuing Christ’s Ministry in our Franciscan Tradition”, brings together the latest technology, innovative procedures and the brightest, most compassionate people to serve our patients in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Throughout our 13 hospitals and many medical practices, we offer a number of nationally recognized Centers of Health Care Excellence.

For more than 135 years, Franciscan Alliance has stayed true to our founding mission to care for everyone who comes through our doors. We treat our patients with the best possible care by following the guiding ethical values embodied by our founding congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Always mindful of our faithfulness to the values and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, we minister with joy, care and compassion according to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi and our founder, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel. For more information, please visit