Carilion Clinic: November 2007

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Congratulations to Nancy Agee, Chairman-Elect of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

Nancy Howell Agee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Carilion Clinic, was named Chairman-Elect of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) at the Association’s 81st Annual Meeting of the Membership.

VHHA formed in 1926 as a trade association of Virginia hospitals with the mission of helping members improve the health status of the communities they serve. VHHA’s activities focus on four areas: representation and advocacy, education, communication and health care data.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nobody wants to be in the hospital for Thanksgiving - but if you have to, Carilion dietitians and Food Service Partner chefs provide a taste of home

When you sit down to a home-cooked meal of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce, so will hundreds of patients, their families and staff at Carilion Clinic hospitals around the region. Thanks to chefs, dietitians and others working together, it will look and taste a little bit like home. (yes the plate you see above is an actual meal prepared by the folks at Food Service Partners, who operate Carilion Clinic's central kitchen in Roanoke. (FSP operates kitchens in San Francisco, New York and Roanoke)

Because many hospital patients are on restricted diets, the chefs and dietitians have developed recipes that can be safely eaten by just about anyone - without sacrificing taste. For Thanksgiving, it means buying additive & preservative - free turkeys, using low-fat cooking ingredients, sugar substitutes and a special variety of spices that give the food flavor without adding salt (how does it taste? keep reading!) And then ship it out by the truckload! (Food is prepared one day in advance, and shipped out at 5 a.m. each morning, to make sure it arrives fresh)

Roanoke Times reporter Christina Rogers and photographer Justin Cook recently visited our central kitchen for their Thanksgiving article "Cooking for the Masses". We thought you might like to see part of the tour. Many thanks to Executive Chef Jay Brinkley for coordinating a fascinating tour!

How do you roast 800 pounds of turkey? You use a "turkey tank"!

The tank uses hot water - the boneless turkeys are sealed in plastic bags so the water never touches them - they are roasted by the heat. When they're done, the tank circulates super-cooled water around the turkeys taking them from above 140 degrees to below 40 degrees in minutes (this keeps the meat fresh). The turkey is re-heated in a special oven at the hospital.

Here you seen green beans being strained, 50 pounds at a time. You might notice that our kitchen is a lot like yours - pots and pans and utensils - just bigger (ok, you probably don't have a winch and chain)

Rice Pilaf is also on the Thanksgiving menu. Here it is prepared in very large stainless steel bowls and sealed in plastic bags for delivery to the hospital kitchens where it will be re-heated and served. (nothing is frozen, the food is chilled to below 40 degrees, but not frozen to protect quality and flavor - major restaurant chains often use the same technique).

I love the gravy machine! Once the gravy (or soup, etc) is done, the machine extracts it from the pot and stores it in sealed bags for easy delivery

The finished product looks something like this - Its a bit like having an executive chef come to your house, plan your menu, preparing your meal, serve it, and clean your kitchen. But how does it taste?

For an unbiased opinion, we invited Christina and Justin to sample the Thanksgiving menu for themselves - see the results on the video below.

One interesting note - in addition to preparing food for all the Carilion Clinic hospitals each day, the kitchen also prepares daily meals for the patients and staff at the 800 bed INOVA Fairfax hospital. Northern Virginia knows where to come for good food!

Media Note - Thanksgiving Holiday/weekend

When I get home from work today, I strongly suspect my blackberry will be confiscated. If you need assistance with media-related issues between now and Monday, call the media pager number. If you don't have it, call the main Carilion Clinic switchboard at 540-981-7000 and ask them to page media-relations person on call.
Hospitals and news outlets don't close for the holidays, but I hope all of you get to spend at least some time at home with your families and/or loved ones. That said, if something hits the fan and you need information, page me.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Carilion Clinic Breaks Ground for Outpatient Facility

Members of Carilion Clinic's leadership team and Roanoke City Manager Darlene Burcham ceremonially broke ground for the Clinic's new, 200,000 square foot outpatient facility in Roanoke. The building will serve a a cornerstone of sorts for the Riverside development, which will include an existing office building, the outpatient facility, a 1500 space parking garage and the college of medicine/research institute being jointly developed by Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech.

It was a bit of a blustery morning, so the event began in the adjacent building, but the skies cleared and the wind died down just in time to break out the golden shovels and break ground on the site itself.

Following the groundbreaking, participates and guests warmed up with a cup of coffee in the nearby Riverside Center building, where they were able to catch a panoramic view of the construction site, and see renderings of the finished project.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Media Alert - Carilion Clinic Groundbreaking - Thursday Morning - November 15th - 9:00 a.m.

Members of the media are invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future Carilion Clinic outpatient facility on the corner of Jefferson and Reserve. Members of the Clinic leadership team will wield the ceremonial shovels. In addition, information will be released concerning Carilion Clinic's economic impact on the region, including jobs created and tax revenue generated (the numbers may surprise you).

Use the parking lot entrance by the existing Riverside Building, off Jefferson, right across from Roanoke City Mills.
Members of the Clinic leadership team will be available for media interviews following the ceremony.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Cynda Ann Johnson, MD, MBA will join the college of medicine, jointly operated by Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic - in January, 2008

Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech are very pleased to announce that Cynda Ann Johnson, MD, MBA, has accepted the position of Founding Dean of the Clinic and University’s joint College of Medicine. Dr. Johnson comes to Roanoke from East Carolina University, where she was Dean and Professor of Family Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine. She most recently served as ECU’s Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research.

“Dr. Johnson brings a broad and distinguished career as a physician leader, educator, academician, and national leader in healthcare and medical education,” said Carilion President and CEO, Edward G. Murphy, MD. “Her experience and strengths will complement the strong faculty at Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech and further provide the leadership and vision needed to successfully develop and launch our new medical school.”

“This appointment is another step in our journey toward a successful medical school and enhanced translational research programs,” said Virginia Tech President Dr. Charles Steger. “Together we will continue to grow a dynamic and energetic relationship between Virginia Tech, Carilion and the Roanoke Valley which provides leadership in medical education, transforms health care delivery in our region, and contributes important research which informs the well-being and healthcare of our communities.”

Dr. Johnson graduated from Stanford University and the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine. She completed her family medicine residency at the University of Kansas and a fellowship in Faculty Development at the University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. She served as Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at both the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas. She has been a long time director of the American Board of Medical Specialties, currently serving as Board Chair. Her national leadership roles are numerous across medical education, the field of family medicine, and as an advocate for women in medicine.

“We will benefit greatly from her experience and wisdom leading medical schools and being a national thought leader in medical education,” said Carilion Chief Medical Officer Mark Werner, MD. “Her experience, insights, and wisdom about the role and approaches to translation research will help us to further energize the work already underway across Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic.”

Dr. Johnson will be a member of the Deans Council at Virginia Tech working alongside her fellow deans and with the Provost’s office to integrate the medical school into the University and assure collaborative supportive relationships across Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, and the medical school. She will be a senior physician leader within Carilion Clinic working alongside the Clinic’s clinical chairs and Chief Medical Officer to provide the same integration and collaboration in their efforts devoted to excellence in medical education, research, and patient care.

Dr. Johnson will begin her role as Dean in January of 2008. The college of medicine will welcome its inaugural class in the fall of 2010.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Parking Garage Construction Underway

Like putting together a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, the new parking structure at the Carilion Clinic Riverside Center site is already three stories high. Things began moving quickly once the foudation was in place, as cranes began lowering the pre-fabricated sections into place.
The 450,000 square foot structure will hold 1500 cars, and serve the Riverside Center office building, the new Carilion Clinic Outpatient Facility currently undergoing site preparation and the College of Medicine and research institute being jointly developed by Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Blueprint for Saving Lives: Carilion Clinic’s “Heart Alert” Program

Dave Cole, who has developed architectural designs most of his life, was recently saved by a different kind of design — a protocol called “Heart Alert” that outlines steps of treatment for heart attack patients.

Cole worked on the design and architecture of Roanoke County’s Fort Lewis Fire & Rescue Station 9, the same station that came to his aid when he suffered a heart attack in his Salem home.

Station 9 is one of many local fire and rescue stations that had been trained in the program, which was designed by Carilion Clinic to diagnose and treat heart attack victims as quickly and efficiently as possible. It was this program’s design that got Cole from his home to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital’s (CRMH) catheterization lab, where he received the life-saving treatment he needed.

Cole, 54, recently had the opportunity to go back to the building he helped design to meet and thank the rescue team that saved his life, including paramedic Chad Wheeler. In the picture above Cole (left) meets Wheeler (right) for the first time while Dr. Paul Frantz, the Director of Carilion Clinic Cardiac Services looks in.

Wheeler put his Heart Alert training to the test when he picked up Cole, who lived only minutes from the station. Using a 12-lead heart monitor, or electrocardiogram, Wheeler was able to diagnose Cole en route to the hospital, saving time and ultimately saving Cole’s life.

“We train day and night for this,” Wheeler said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to help.”

Wheeler, and Roanoke County Fire & Rescue, began training with the Heart Alert program in February. Station 9 was one of the first stations in the area to implement the program. The protocol is designed to expedite treatment in heart attack patients, when time matters most. Using the Heart Alert program, paramedics are able to identify a heart attack in the field and notify CRMH while en route. This allows them to bypass the ER completely and gives the medical staff in the heart catheterization lab ample time to prepare for the patient and get them the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

“It was one efficient process,” Cole stated. “They knew what they were doing, having had the training that Carilion set up. Everybody had a role and did it, and I’m the one that benefited. I’m living proof that the program’s working.”

Paul Frantz, M.D., medical director for Carilion Clinic’s Cardiac Program, was instrumental in bringing the Heart Alert program to life. He said that through the program, “We’ve been able to dramatically reduce the time it takes to get a patient into treatment, and I believe we are saving more lives as a result.”

Cole is now in cardiac rehab through Carilion Clinic.

He said, “We might build the structure, but it’s the people and the programs that make a medic unit. I’ve got a second chance because of these guys.”

Carilion Clinic’s Heart Alert program has been in operation for more than three years and has already treated over 500 patients. Through its coordinated transportation plan and involvement with 13 community hospitals, as well as local fire and rescue stations, the program has a service radius of over 200 miles.

Listen to Dave Cole tell his story.

Television News Coverage of Dave Cole and the Carilion Clinic Heart Alert program.