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News: Press Releases
Here you will find the latest information, feature stories, plus comprehensive articles in the latest treatment options and research at UPMC Altoona.

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PRESS RELEASES

04/21/15 - UPMC Altoona Foundation Announces Golf Classic For June 22
04/14/15 - UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club Sets Programs, Classes for May
04/14/15 - UPMC Altoona Offers Support Groups/Clinics in May
04/13/15 - 'Creating Wellness' Theme of May Is Mental Health Month Program
04/10/15 - UPMC Altoona Celebrates Volunteers
04/10/15 - National Donate Life Month Activities at UPMC Altoona
04/08/15 - Local Executive Recertifies Health Care Management Credential
04/03/15 - UPMC Altoona Sets Earth Day Activities
03/31/15 - UPMC Altoona Achieves New Status as Accredited Chest Pain Center
03/24/15 - UPMC Altoona Names Two to Patient Experience Team
03/20/15 - Medical Intensive Care Recognized for Zero Infection Rate in Central Lines for More Than Six Months
03/16/15 - UPMC Altoona Offers Support Groups/Clinics in April
03/13/15 - Ophthalmologist Receives Recertification from American Board of Ophthalmology
03/13/15 - Shehnaz Mohsin, M.D., FHM, Receives Fellow Designation
03/13/15 - Thomas M. Mextorf, D.O., Receives Recertification as a Certified Medical Director
03/09/15 - UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club Sets Programs, Classes for April
02/27/15 - New HR Director Named for UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial
02/27/15 - Fellowship-Trained Trauma/Critical Care Surgeon Joins UPMC Altoona Medical Staff
02/26/15 - Tickets on Sale for Women's Night Out Event
02/25/15 - AABB Accredits UPMC Altoona Blood Bank Services
02/23/15 - Mario Wilfong Named Regional Chief Financial Officer for UPMC Bedford Memorial and UPMC Altoona
02/23/15 - UPMC Altoona Achieves Accreditation as Comprehensive Center for Bariatric Surgery
02/20/15 - UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club Sets Programs, Classes for March
02/18/15 - Case Manager Receives Certification
02/16/15 - Joint Commission accredits UPMC Altoona
02/13/15 - Registered Nurse Case Manager Passes Certification Exam
02/10/15 - Kelli Reale Selected for Vice President of HR at UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial
02/08/15 - UPMC Altoona Employees Donate to Central Pennsylvania Humane Society
02/08/15 - UPMC Altoona Announces December Guardian Angels
02/05/15 - World-Class Breast Imaging: Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Available at UPMC Altoona
02/05/15 - Bio: UPMC Altoona's Lauren Deur, Diagnostic Radiologist
02/05/15 - Surgeon Specializing in Breast Diseases Joins UPMC Altoona
02/05/15 - UPMC Altoona Introduces New Breast Health Center With Surgeon Specializing in Breast Disease
02/03/15 - Media Alert: UPMC Altoona Introduces New Breast Health Center
01/16/15 - UPMC Altoona Radiologist Receives Certification
01/16/15 - UPMC Altoona RN Promoted
01/16/15 - Director Retires With 37 Years of Service
01/16/15 - Jonhan Ho, M.D., Joins UPMC Altoona Medical Staff
01/14/15 - Media Alert: UPMC Altoona Foundation Hosts Winter Splendor
01/01/15 - First Blair County Baby of New Year Born At UPMC Altoona


April 21, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Foundation Announces Golf Classic For June 22


ALTOONA, April 21, 2015 — Golfer registration is under way for the UPMC Altoona Foundation annual Golf Classic, a four-person scramble, on June 22 at Scotch Valley Country Club, Altoona.

For information and registration visit UPMC Altoona Foundation 2015 Golf Classic.

The morning session begins with breakfast and registration from 7-8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. A lunch for morning and afternoon golfers is from noon to 1 p.m. Hoss's Steak and Sea House is the meal sponsor, featuring charbroiled steaks. The afternoon round of golf begins with registration at 1 and a shotgun start at 1:30.

Awards will be presented at 5:30 and include prizes for:
  • Closest to the pin
  • Longest drive (men and women)
  • Longest putt
  • And more.
A golfer who gets a hole-in-one wins a car from Stuckey Ford/Stuckey Subaru, the hole-in-one sponsor.

Additional sponsorship opportunities are being offered. Sponsorship opportunities of $1,500 bronze level and above include four-person team entry, luncheon and various sponsor recognitions.

Cost for an individual golfer is $150 and includes greens fees, cart and luncheon. For more information, call Michelle Dodson at 889-6406.

"We anticipate this being the largest golf classic ever," says Tim Balconi, president, UPMC Altoona Foundation. "We expect a field of 220 golfers in two flights to participate. When you contribute to the UPMC Altoona Foundation, you help UPMC Altoona's mission of providing all people in the community with access to exceptional health care. From clinical programs to advanced medical technology to community outreach - your gift makes a profound difference for the entire community."






April 14, 2015 - UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club Sets Programs, Classes for May


ALTOONA, April 14, 2015 — UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for May as a community service. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 unless otherwise indicated to make an appointment or to register. Programs are open to all adult age groups unless otherwise specified.

Most classes are held at:
  • Altoona Alliance Church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd., next to Planet Fitness in the former Value City building.
  • The hospital, 620 Howard Ave.
  • Station Medical Center, 17th Street and 9th Avenue
For more information, visit www.altoonaregional.org/classes_healthyliving.htm

Healthy Steps in Motion (HSIM) is a fun, peer-led, weight resistance, and strength training program designed with you and your good health in mind. The classes meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:15 a.m. or 10 a.m. at Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, 231 Howard Ave., Altoona. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

If you are 55 or older, looking to improve your strength, flexibility and balance and start toning up, then Healthy Steps in Motion is for you!

Seniors for Safe Driving, a four-hour refresher course for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course, will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 9, in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center, at the hospital. Fee $16. Registration required. Call 1-800-559-4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

For anyone who has not taken the eight-hour course, the class will be 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 9, in the Rotunda. Must attend both sessions.

This classroom course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road, and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

Child Safety Seat Checkup Station is offered by appointment from 9:30 to 11 a.m. May 8, in the hospital parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Screening is by appointment only, between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 5, at Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. No fee. Call 229-2091 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. John Madey, BSRVT, technical director of UPMC Altoona's Noninvasive Laboratory, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Free Osteoporosis Screenings: Heel Scans for Men and Women is by appointment only, between 12:30 and 3 p.m. on May 8, at Station Medical Center, Imaging Services Department. No fee. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to schedule your appointment.

Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

"Don't Put It on the Table Until You Read the Label: Giant Eagle Store Tours" will be presented by Randy Grabill, UPMC Altoona clinical dietitian, on May 20, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Giant Eagle grocery store, Logan Towne Centre, Altoona.

No fee. Registration required. Tour size limited and open to those who have not taken the tour in the past. Please meet Randy in the produce section (right inside the door). Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to register.

Join Randy, as he guides you through Giant Eagle grocery store, showing you how to shop smart and eat a nutritious diet. We all know that the foods you choose affect your heart health, diabetes, blood pressure, weight and more. Learn what foods to look for, what foods to avoid, and how to decipher those nutrition labels. Randy will help you become a savvy consumer who chooses healthy and nutritious food for you and your family.

May is Stroke Month. UPMC Altoona's Stroke Team will perform a blood pressure screening and provide stroke prevention information before "Straight Talk About Aneurysms." If you aren't registered for the program, you can still stop by the on May 15 between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and have your blood pressure taken.

"Straight Talk About Aneurysms" will be presented on May 15, by Aurthur DeMarsico, DO, medical director of UPMC Altoona's Heart and Vascular Institute. Aneurysms are weak bulges in blood vessels similar to a bulge in an inner tube or thin balloon. They tend to form where an artery divides or branches off. Lunch is at 11 a.m. and the program is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Altoona Alliance Church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd. (next to Planet Fitness in the former Value City Building). Dr. DeMarsico will cover risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Ample time for questions. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

"Building Self-Esteem in Children" will be presented May 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m., including refreshment break, at the Station Medical Center Conference Room (enter the K-4 entrance, left of Fresenius Dialysis Center).

National Senior Health and Fitness Day is May 27, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., at People's Natural Gas Field. Join us for fun, music, exercise demonstrations, health screenings, and health information as you learn more about taking control of your health and how to make fitness part of your life at this year's National Senior Health and Fitness Day. No fee and no need to register. Just show up between 10 and 1 and have fun!

Women's Health and Wellness Fair is May 13, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., at Station Medical Center. This fair will feature information on various women's health issues, as well as screenings, door prizes, and more. Drop by to pick up valuable information for you and your loved ones.

Djembe Drum Class is a six-week series from May 26 through June 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Magee Lecture Hall 5th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. Fee $60. Registration required. Class size limited.

Djembe Drum Class is a workshop course on drumming. Whether you are a drummer or not, this class will help participants develop the needed skills to play the Djembe drum with joy. Instructors are Mlen-Too Wesley and Pam Wales, BSN, RN. Dr. Wesley is a Pastoral Care team member at UPMC Altoona. Pam is a registered nurse at UPMC Altoona. Please bring your own Djembe drum. A limited number of drums are available for those who do not have them.

Join the Rev. David Hammerle of UPMC Altoona's Pastoral Care Department as he provides the tools to manage anger. This seminar will focus on three different phases of anger management: 1. Managing my own anger before it takes control of me. 2. Slowing the anger of others, not allowing it to control me. 3. Helping children manage their anger.

Tools and guidelines will be offered to provide students with proper ways to vent anger and bring about positive results instead of regrets. This program was taught in Blair County Prison, Bedford County Prison, and Cambria County Juvenile Detention Center.

Offers 0.2 CEUs.

Donation of $10 is requested but not required. This donation will go toward the support of Day One of Altoona, a nonprofit, faith-based counseling service.

Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

"Healthy Breast Care for Women" will be presented on May 28, by Dianna Craig MD, FACS, of UPMC Altoona's Breast Health Center, a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast disease. She will discuss common breast care findings, tests, and treatment to maintain healthy breasts. Light dinner is at 6 p.m. and the program is 6:30 p.m. at Rotunda, 6th floor. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Class size limited to 50.

Caregiver's Conference will be held May 29, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital. No fee. Registration required by calling 889-3123.

This spring we will explore financial and legal issues as you enjoy conversation with other caregivers who may share many of the issues you face. We hope you will join us for education door prices, and a delicious lunch compliments of HealthSouth.

The conference is a project of the Geriatric Interest Network of Blair County Region. Space is limited and open to unpaid caregivers of older adults on a first-come, first-served basis. All reservations must be made by May 20.






April 14, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Offers Support Groups/Clinics in May


ALTOONA, April 14, 2015 — UPMC Altoona offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in May as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to where they are held.

Support groups meeting at the hospital, 620 Howard Ave., use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms, and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, and Dining Room A in the Cafeteria on Tower 4.

Alzheimer's Disease Support Group, 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 26, Allegheny Room. Speaker Brenda Ridgway, RDN, LDN, clinical nutrition manager at UPMC Altoona, on "Brain Healthy Foods." Call 889-2141.

Bariatric Information Sessions by UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates, 5 to 6 p.m. May 20, Rotunda. Pre-registration required. Call 889-7500.

Bariatric Support Group by UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates offers education, speakers and support for people who will have or have had bariatric surgery, 6 to 7 p.m. May 6, Rotunda. Call 889-7500.

Breastfeeding Class is offered to expectant parents from 6 to 8 p.m. May 6. Call for room information, 889-2557.

Breastfeeding Support Group is offered at 10 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 27, Bedford Room. Call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. May 7 at Hoss's in Duncansville. Call 889-3123.

The Depression and Bipolar Self-Help Group meets at 7 p.m. May 6, 13, 20 and 27, Bedford Room. Call 889-2141.

The Ostomy Support Group meets from 2 to 4 p.m. May 17, Rotunda. Call 943-3782.

Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One Through Suicide meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. May 20 in the conference room in the Access Center, Building C, Blair Medical Center, 501 Howard Ave. (across from UPMC Altoona). Following the loss of a loved one from suicide, individuals can find themselves searching for answers and feeling indescribably alone in their grief. This suicide survivor support group offers a place of understanding. Call 814-889-2141.

The following support groups meet at Station Medical Center, 17th Street and 9th Avenue. For the Conference Room, use the K4 entrance next to Fresenius Dialysis. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department offers convenient parking and a patient drop-off area on the 17th Street side of the building.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 7, Conference Room. Call Becky at 935-3738.

The Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. May 6 and 20, Conference Room. Call 889-2132.

The Hearing Loss Support Group meets from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 12, Conference Room. Call Leslie at 201-5033 or 949-1905.

La Leche League meets 10 a.m. to noon May 11, Conference Room. Call 934-0466.

The Sleep Apnea Support Group meets at 6 p.m. May 26, Conference Room. Call 889-4466.

The Stroke Support Group meets from noon to 2 p.m. May 12, Conference Room. Call 889-2356.

Wheelchair Clinics will be held at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. May 12, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department. Physician referral and appointment required. Call 889-4463.






April 13, 2015 - 'Creating Wellness' Theme of May Is Mental Health Month Program


ALTOONA, April 13, 2015 — The Blair County May Is Mental Health Month Committee presents "8-8-8 Time to Feel Great," a wellness program, Wednesday, May 13, at the Altoona Heritage Discovery Center, 1421 12th Ave., Altoona. Professional continuing education credits are available.

The May is Mental Health Month conference is open to the public and behavioral health professionals. Featured presenter is Chuck Sallows, a recreational therapist at Penn Highlands DuBois Behavioral Health Inpatient Unit. A motivational speaker, Sallows incorporates how a well-rounded day of 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of recreation promotes wellness.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The program begins at 6:30 and is expected to end about 8:30. For the first hour, attendees can visit representatives from different agencies to learn what help and services are available locally. Special "hands-on" tables will be available for those who wish to "practice" relaxing and enriching activities.

Nationally, May is designated as Mental Health Month to decrease the stigma society attaches to mental illnesses. Locally for 19 years, a group of mental health service organizations have presented programs designed to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of mental health-related subjects.

Joseph Antonowicz, M.D., medical director of UPMC Altoona Behavioral Health Services, will explain the importance of life balance and incorporating recreation.

Keynote speaker Chuck Sallows will speak about how emotions, thoughts and attitudes affect the energy, productivity and overall health of everyone - not just those with mental illnesses.

"Good mental health strengthens your ability to cope with everyday hassles and more serious crises and challenges," he says.

In his 16 years of experience as a recreational therapist, Sallows has worked with diverse people of all ages in skilled-nursing homes, group homes, physical rehabilitation, state facilities, partial hospitalization programs and inpatient psychiatric settings.

An advocate for healthy living and recreational therapy, he has developed activities, educational plans, motivational and outreach programs throughout the area.






April 10, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Celebrates Volunteers


ALTOONA, April 10, 2015 — More than 475 volunteers at UPMC Altoona gave 81,667 hours of their time in 2014.

UPMC Altoona will celebrate these hardworking people the week of April 12-18, National Volunteer Week. Volunteers, who range in age from 14 to 96, are recognizable by their blue jackets and "Volunteer" badges. They greet anyone entering the hospital or Station Medical Center (SMC) and provide assistance, directions and escorts. They answer phones, assemble charts, discharge patients, stuff envelopes and help with filing and paperwork. They clean wheelchairs, knit baby hats, deliver meals, transfer patients and deliver charts and lab specimens.

Friends, the auxiliary volunteer group, raises money to support the unbudgeted needs of hospital departments through fundraisers and the operating and staffing of the UPMC Altoona and SMC gift shops.

Volunteers are appreciated year-round, but one week each year is set aside as a reminder to truly recognize and celebrate their hard work. Throughout the week, Volunteer Services will provide refreshments for volunteers, and each will receive a small thank-you gift. Award pins will be given to volunteers reaching milestones in hours served; the highest milestone for this year is 22,000 hours by Virginia Socey.






April 10, 2015 - National Donate Life Month Activities at UPMC Altoona


ALTOONA, April 10, 2015 — April is National Donate Life Month. UPMC Altoona is taking part in the Donate Life Hospital Challenge.

Events will take place April through August to celebrate recipients and spread awareness of the importance of signing up to become an organ donor.

On Friday, April 24, staff from the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) will be at UPMC Altoona to share information about organ donation at a table outside the hospital Cafeteria.

UPMC Altoona will hold a flag-raising ceremony to honor those who have given the gift of life on Tuesday, April 28, at 11:30 a.m. at the flagpole in front of the hospital.

In Pennsylvania, approximately 8,500 people are waiting for a transplant, while nationally more than 120,000 are on the waiting list.

UPMC Altoona in 2014 provided 33 lifesaving transplants from organs and tissue, 58 cornea transplants providing the gift of sight, and more than 1,900 life-enhancing tissue transplants.

Additionally, countless individuals may someday benefit from organs and tissues recovered for research.






April 8, 2015 - Local Executive Recertifies Health Care Management Credential


Altoonan Ronald McConnell, FACHE, chief operating officer of UPMC Altoona
ALTOONA, April 8, 2015 — Altoonan Ronald McConnell, FACHE, chief operating officer of UPMC Altoona, recently became recertified as a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. Only 9,100 health care executives hold this distinction. To obtain fellow status, candidates must fulfill multiple requirements, including passing a comprehensive examination, meeting academic and experiential criteria, earning continuing education credits and demonstrating professional/community involvement.

"The health care management field plays a vital role in providing high-quality care to the people in our community, which makes having a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization critically important," says Deborah Bowen, FACHE, CAE, president and chief executive officer of ACHE. "By earning the distinction of board recertification from ACHE, health care leaders demonstrate a commitment to excellence in serving their patients and community."






April 3, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Sets Earth Day Activities


WHAT: UPMC Altoona Earth Day activities

WHEN: Friday, April 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Hospital atrium, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona, and UPMC Altoona at Station Medical Center, 17th Street and 9th Avenue

WHO: Sponsored by UPMC Altoona Green Team, a diverse committee comprised of UPMC Altoona employees; Stericycle, the hospital's consultant on green initiatives, and Intermunicipal Relations Committee COG

Representatives attending: Blair County Conservation District, Penn Electric (a branch of GPU), Blair County Recycling, Green Home Goods Home Improvements, Little Juanita River Association, Solar Power

WHY: UPMC Altoona Green Team encourages employees and the community to support UPMC's efforts to protect the environment.






March 31, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Achieves New Status as Accredited Chest Pain Center


ALTOONA, March 31, 2015 - UPMC Altoona has received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), an international not-for-profit organization that transforms cardiovascular care by helping facilities create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction.

To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, UPMC Altoona engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community served by UPMC Altoona, this means processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:
  • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
  • Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
  • Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital
Hospitals with SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the health care system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.

"People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that's a mistake," says Kristen Downs, BSN, RN, RN cardiac coordinator in UPMC Altoona's Quality Management Department. "The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient."

UPMC Altoona's state-of-the-art health care encompasses the entire continuum of care for the heart patient and includes such focal points as dispatch, emergency medical system, emergency department, cath lab, UPMC Altoona's observation services, quality management, and various community outreach programs.

"By becoming an Accredited Chest Pain Center," says Jerry Murray, UPMC Altoona president, "UPMC Altoona has enhanced the quality of care for the cardiac patient and has demonstrated its commitment to higher standards."

Participants at the news conference:
  • Jerry Murray, president, UPMC Altoona and Bedford Memorial
  • Linnane Batzel, M.D., senior vice president of Quality/ Medical Affairs
  • George Jabbour, M.D., UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Cardiology, medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at UPMC Altoona and physician champion of the Chest Pain Center
  • Matthew Bouchard, M.D., chairman of UPMC Altoona Emergency Services and medical director of the Chest Pain Center
  • Kristen Downs, RN cardiac coordinator, UPMC Altoona's Quality Management Department
  • Ron McConnell, chief operating officer, UPMC Altoona
  • Chris Rickens, senior vice president and chief nursing officer






March 24, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Names Two to Patient Experience Team


Sarah Carruthers - UPMC Altoona Patient Experience Team

Karee Saylor - UPMC Altoona Patient Experience Team
ALTOONA, March 13, 2015 — UPMC Altoona has created a Patient Experience team. Staff members are Sarah Carruthers and Karee Saylor, both of Altoona.

Patient Experience is a systemwide department with UPMC but is new to UPMC Altoona. Patient Experience's goal is to create a lasting first and final impression of UPMC Altoona. The team will be observing and rounding on patients, and assisting and supporting employees with issues/concerns.

Carruthers (photo top) is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business. She has been with the hospital since 2012, formerly working as office manager in the IT department.

Saylor is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication/Public Relations. She has been with the hospital since 1999, most recently working as greeter coordinator at Station Medical Center.






March 20, 2015 - Medical Intensive Care Recognized for Zero Infection Rate in Central Lines for More Than Six Months


ALTOONA, March 20, 2015 - UPMC Altoona's Medical Intensive Care Unit earned a UPMC Certificate of Recognition for superior quality nursing care which prevented bloodstream infections in all their patients who had a central intravenous line. No infections were reported for more than six months.

The Medical Intensive Care Unit cares for critically ill patients, who typically have at least one central line and, sometimes, as many as three. A central intravenous line is a catheter (a silicon tube) placed in the large veins in the neck, chest or groin. It delivers various medications into the bloodstream, provides access to obtain blood samples to test for oxygen saturation, and monitors the body's internal venous pressure.

While medically necessary, these catheters pose the potential risk of carrying infection into the bloodstream and causing significant complications. During the past decade, quality measures put in place reduce this risk.

Nurse Manager Irene Rubus, MSN, RN, CCRN, congratulated her staff and recognized them with a party March 17. The recognition certificate is signed by Tami Minnier, chief quality officer for UPMC.

"We have a high patient volume so going more than six months with zero infections is quite a big achievement," she said.








March 16, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Offers Support Groups/Clinics in April


ALTOONA, March 16, 2015 - UPMC Altoona offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in April as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to where they are held.

Support groups meeting at the hospital, 620 Howard Ave., use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms, and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, and Dining Room A in the Cafeteria on Tower 4.

Alzheimer's Disease Support Group, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 28, Allegheny Room. Speaker Joseph Clark, M.D., UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Neurology. Call 889-2141.

Bariatric Information Sessions by UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates, 5 to 6 p.m. April 15, Rotunda. Pre-registration required. Call 889-7500.

Bariatric Support Group by UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates offers education, speakers and support for people who will have or have had bariatric surgery, 6 to 7 p.m. April 1, Rotunda. Call 889-7500.

Breastfeeding Class is offered to expectant parents from 6 to 8 p.m. April 1. Call for room information, 889-2557.

Breastfeeding Support Group is offered 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 22, Bedford Room. Call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. April 2, at Hoss's in Duncansville. Call 889-3123.

The Depression and Bipolar Self-Help Group meets at 7 p.m. April 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, Bedford Room. Call 889-2141.

The Ostomy Support Group meets from 2 to 4 p.m. April 19, Rotunda. Call 943-3782.

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at 11 a.m. April 27, at Hoss's, at Valley View Boulevard and 7th Street. Speaker Joseph Clark, M.D., UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Neurology. Call 889-2141.

Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One Through Suicide meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 15, in the conference room in the Access Center, Building C, Blair Medical Center, 501 Howard Ave. (across from UPMC Altoona). Following the loss of a loved one from suicide, individuals can find themselves searching for answers and feeling indescribably alone in their grief. This suicide survivor support group offers a place of understanding. Call 814-889-2141.

The following support groups meet at Station Medical Center, 17th Street and 9th Avenue. For the Conference Room, use the K4 entrance next to Fresenius Dialysis. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department offers convenient parking and a patient drop-off area on the 17th Street side of the building.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 2, Conference Room. Call Becky at 935-3738.

The Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. April 1 and 15, Conference Room. Call 889-2132.

The Hearing Loss Support Group meets from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 14, Conference Room. Call Leslie at 201-5033 or 949-1905.

La Leche League meets 10 a.m. to noon April 13, Conference Room. Call 934-0466.

The Stroke Support Group meets from noon to 2 p.m. April 14, Conference Room. Call 889-2356.

Wheelchair Clinics will be held at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. April 14, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department. Physician referral and appointment required. Call 889-4463.






March 13, 2015 - Ophthalmologist Receives Recertification from American Board of Ophthalmology


ALTOONA, March 13, 2015 — U. Fusun Cardakli, M.D., a member of the UPMC Altoona medical staff, has been recertified by the American Board of Ophthalmology through Dec. 31, 2024.

She is affiliated with EyeDoc Associates, 501 Howard Ave., Suite F3, Altoona.






March 13, 2015 - Shehnaz Mohsin, M.D., FHM, Receives Fellow Designation


Shehnaz Mohsin, M.D., FHM, Receives Fellow Designation
ALTOONA, March 13, 2015 — Shehnaz Mohsin, M.D., a hospitalist at UPMC Altoona, has received the fellow in hospital medicine (FHM) designation from the Society of Hospital Medicine.

To earn the FHM designation, a candidate must meet diverse criteria, including being a hospitalist for five years, demonstrating dedication to quality and process improvement, illustrating commitment to organizational teamwork and leadership, and active engagement in lifelong learning and education.

Dr. Mohsin is one of 167 fellows in hospital medicine in the class of 2015, which will be inducted March 31 in National Harbor, Md.






March 13, 2015 - Thomas M. Mextorf, D.O., Receives Recertification as a Certified Medical Director


Thomas M. Mextorf, D.O., Receives Recertification as a Certified Medical Director
ALTOONA, March 13, 2015 — Thomas M. Mextorf, D.O., a family physician with UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates, has received recertification from the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) as a Certified Medical Director (CMD).

The CMD credential recognizes the dual clinical and managerial role of the medical director and requires indicators of competence in clinical medicine and medical management in post-acute and long-term care settings.

Established in 1978, AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, is dedicated to excellence in patient care and provides education, advocacy, information and professional development to promote the delivery of quality post-acute acre and long-term care medicine.






March 9, 2015 - UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club Sets Programs, Classes for April


ALTOONA, March 9, 2015 — UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for April as a community service. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 unless otherwise indicated to make an appointment or to register. Programs are open to all adult age groups unless otherwise specified.

Most classes are held at:
  • Altoona Alliance Church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd., next to Planet Fitness in the former Value City building.
  • The hospital, 620 Howard Ave.
  • Station Medical Center, 17th Street and 9th Avenue
For more information, visit altoonaregional.org/classes_healthyliving.htm

Healthy Steps in Motion (HSIM) is a fun, peer-led, weight resistance, and strength training program designed with you and your good health in mind. The classes meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:15 a.m. or 10 a.m. at Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, 231 Howard Ave., Altoona. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

If you are 55 or older, looking to improve your strength, flexibility and balance and start toning up, then Healthy Steps in Motion is for you!

Yoga will be held by Gail Murphy, registered yoga teacher, leads this five-week series Tuesdays, April 21 through May 26, 5:30-6:40 p.m. in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. Yoga offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Fee $25. Register now as class is limited to 30. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Yoga mat is needed for all classes.

Seniors for Safe Driving, a four-hour refresher course for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course, will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 11, in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. Fee $16. Registration required. Call 1-800-559-4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

For anyone who has not taken the eight-hour course, the class will be 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 9, in the Rotunda. Must attend both sessions.

This classroom course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

Child Safety Seat Checkup Station is offered by appointment from 9:30 to 11 a.m. April 10 in the hospital parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Screening is by appointment only, between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. April 7, at the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. No fee. Call 229-2091 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. John Madey, BSRVT, technical director of UPMC Altoona's Noninvasive Laboratory, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Free Osteoporosis Screenings: Heel Scans for Men and Women is by appointment only, between 12:30 and 3 p.m. on April 10 at Station Medical Center, Imaging Services Department. No fee. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to schedule your appointment.

Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

"Don't Put It on the Table Until You Read the Label: Giant Eagle Store Tours" will be presented by Randy Grabill, UPMC Altoona clinical dietitian, on April 29 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Giant Eagle grocery store, Logan Towne Centre, Altoona.

No fee. Registration required. Tour size limited and open to those who have not taken the tour in the past. Please meet Randy in the produce section (right inside the door). Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to register.

Join Randy, as he guides you through Giant Eagle grocery store, showing you how to shop smart and eat a nutritious diet. We all know that the foods you choose affect your heart health, diabetes, blood pressure, weight and more. Learn what foods to look for, what foods to avoid, and how to decipher those nutrition labels. Randy will help you become a savvy consumer who chooses healthy and nutritious food for you and your family.

"Breaking Out of Hibernation: Let's Get Active!" will be presented on April 16 by Donald Beckstead, M.D., program director of Altoona Family Physicians. He will explain the importance of exercise to our bodies and tell us proper ways to get moving and stay active for better health. Light dinner is at 6 p.m. and the program is 6:30 p.m. at the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Class size limited to 50.

"Who Will Speak for You If You Can't Speak for Yourself?" will be presented on April 30 by Vicki Wertz, attorney and member of UPMC Altoona's Ethics Committee. She will discuss the importance of making your health care wishes known to your loved ones. Lunch is at 11 a.m. and the program is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Altoona Alliance Church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd. (next to Planet Fitness in the former Value City Building). Ms. Wertz will cover the considerations involved, naming a substitute decision-maker and how to go about putting it in writing. Ample time for questions. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

"Anger Management" will be presented April 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., including refreshment break, at the Station Medical Center Conference Room (enter the K-4 entrance, left of Fresenius Dialysis Center).

Join the Rev. David Hammerle of UPMC Altoona's Pastoral Care Department as he provides the tools to manage anger. This seminar will focus on three different phases of anger management: 1. Managing my own anger before it takes control of me. 2. Slowing the anger of others, not allowing it to control me. 3. Helping children manage their anger.

Tools and guidelines will be offered to provide students with proper ways to vent anger and bring about positive results instead of regrets. This program was taught in Blair County Prison, Bedford County Prison and Cambria County Juvenile Detention Center.

Offers 0.2 CEUs.

Donation of $10 is requested but not required. This donation will go toward the support of Day One of Altoona, a nonprofit, faith-based counseling service.

Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

National Health Care Decisions Day will be marked at UPMC Altoona on April 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are 18 or older and don't have a living will or durable medical power of attorney, stop by the main lobby of the hospital. UPMC Altoona's Case Management Department is participating in a collaborative effort of national, state, and community organizations to ensure that adults with decision-making capacity have information and an opportunity to communicate their personal health care decisions. Pennsylvania advance medical directive forms and other information will be available. Make your health care wishes known by beginning the conversation.






February 27, 2015 - New HR Director Named for UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial


 Michele Scanlan of Ebensburg has been promoted to Human Resources director of UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford
ALTOONA, Feb. 27, 2015 — Michele Scanlan of Ebensburg has been promoted to Human Resources director of UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford. Michele has served as director of Human Resources at Home Nursing Agency since 2002 and has been a key HR partner in its integration into UPMC Community Provider Services.

Scanlan's previous experience working at Altoona Hospital for 12 years (1988-2000) will also be extremely valuable as integration of all hospital staff, physicians, and physician practice employees into UPMC continues.

She holds a master's degree from St. Francis University in Human Resource Management/Industrial Relations as well as a bachelor's degree in Human Resources from Geneva College. She has extensive teaching experience as an adjunct instructor at Penn State Altoona and Mount Aloysius College; is a certified Senior Professional Human Resources by the Human Resources Certification Institute, and has been an invited HR speaker on a state and national level with the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, the Visiting Nurse Association, Decision Health, PA Hospice Network, and the Press Ganey Annual Client Conference.






February 27, 2015 - Fellowship-Trained Trauma/Critical Care Surgeon Joins UPMC Altoona Medical Staff


UPMC Altoona welcomes A. Tyler Putnam, II, M.D. to the medical staff in the department of Surgery, clinical services of General Surgery and Trauma/Surgical Critical Care.
ALTOONA, Feb. 27, 2015 — UPMC Altoona welcomes A. Tyler Putnam, II, M.D. to the medical staff in the department of Surgery, clinical services of General Surgery and Trauma/Surgical Critical Care.

Dr. Putnam is affiliated with UPMC Altoona Trauma/Emergency General Surgery.

He is board-certified in Surgery and Surgical Critical Care by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Putnam received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and did his internship and residency at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, Texas.

He received fellowship training in Surgical Critical Care at the University of Maryland Medical Center.






February 26, 2015 - Tickets on Sale for Women's Night Out Event


Enjoy dinner and laughter with speaker Lisa Smartt
ALTOONA, Feb. 26, 2015 — Tickets are on sale now for the UPMC Altoona Healthy Living Club Women's Night Out on Thursday, April 23, at The Casino at Lakemont Park.

Enjoy dinner and laughter with speaker Lisa Smartt, who is back by popular demand with all new material. Plan to laugh out loud at the confessions of the "Queen of Imperfection."

The night also features a jewelry fundraiser.

Dinner is at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $40.

Call 889-2630 for a form to register by mail, or you can register online.

Lisa is a 47-year-old who loves to laugh! Born in a small town in western Kentucky, she now writes a weekly humor column from her home outside Dresden, Tenn. She lives on 16 wooded acres with her husband of 22 years, two sons (who sometimes fight), and four male cats who desperately need Prozac. She's written two books, "The Smartt View 1: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets" and "The Smartt View 2: Life in Progress."






February 25, 2015 - AABB Accredits UPMC Altoona Blood Bank Services


ALTOONA, Feb. 25, 2015 — AABB, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks, has accredited UPMC Altoona's Blood Bank, according to Joe Pufka, administrative director of UPMC Altoona Laboratory Services.

The accreditation follows an intensive on-site assessment by specially trained AABB assessors and establishes that the level of technical and administrative performance meets or exceeds national standards. AABB's accreditation procedures are voluntary and desired because it demonstrates excellence that contributes to quality performance and patient safety.

Accreditation contributes to the quality and safety of collecting, processing, testing, distributing and administering blood and cellular therapy products. AABB's assessment shows compliance with AABB standards, Code of Federal Regulations and other federal guidance documents.






February 23, 2015 - Mario Wilfong Named Regional Chief Financial Officer for UPMC Bedford Memorial and UPMC Altoona


Mario Wilfong Named Regional Chief Financial Officer for UPMC Bedford Memorial and UPMC Altoona
ALTOONA, Feb. 23, 2015 — Jerry Murray, president of UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial, is pleased to announce that Mario Wilfong, vice president of Finance and Administration at UPMC Bedford Memorial since 2011, has been named regional chief financial officer for UPMC Bedford Memorial and UPMC Altoona.

Over the past year, Wilfong has been instrumental with the integration of UPMC Altoona finance procedures into UPMC's. In his new role, Mario will oversee all fiscal matters related to the two hospitals as fiscal services are regionalized and aligned with UPMC in Pittsburgh.

Mario started with UPMC in 2002 as controller and compliance officer at UPMC Lee in Johnstown and moved to UPMC Bedford in 2005 in positions of increasing administrative responsibility, including responsibility for UPMC's physician practices in the Bedford area.

Prior to joining UPMC, he was a manager in the Health Care Regulatory Group at Coopers & Lybrand L.L.P. (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), providing health care consulting and financial forecasting / analysis services to providers across the continuum of care including insurers, physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities, with particular emphasis in hospital operations.

Wilfong is a certified public accountant and has a bachelor of arts degree in economics, with concentrations in accounting and finance, from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and an MBA from Saint Francis University, Loretto.






February 23, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Achieves Accreditation as Comprehensive Center for Bariatric Surgery


ALTOONA, Feb. 23, 2015 — UPMC Altoona has achieved accreditation as a Comprehensive Center for Bariatric Surgery.

The American College of Surgeons Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery states that UPMC Altoona demonstrated that its center meets the needs of patients by providing multidisciplinary, high quality, patient-centered care. The accreditation status formally acknowledges UPMC Altoona's commitment to providing and supporting quality improvement and safety for the metabolic and bariatric surgery patient.

The accreditation is effective through Nov. 14, 2017.

The announcement was made by Matthew Newlin, M.D., FACS, director, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at UPMC Altoona.






February 20, 2015 - UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club Sets Programs, Classes for March


ALTOONA, Feb. 20, 2015 — UPMC Altoona's Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for March as a community service. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 unless otherwise indicated to make an appointment or register. Programs are open to all adult age groups unless otherwise specified.

Most classes are held at:
  • Altoona Alliance Church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd., next to Planet Fitness in the former Value City building.
  • The hospital, 620 Howard Ave.
  • Station Medical Center, 17th Street and 9th Avenue
For more information, visit www.altoonaregional.org/classes_healthyliving.htm

Healthy Steps in Motion (HSIM) is a fun, peer-led, weight resistance and strength training program designed with you and your good health in mind. The classes meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:15 a.m. or 10 a.m. at Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, 231 Howard Ave., Altoona. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

If you are 55 or older, looking to improve your strength, flexibility and balance and start toning up, then Healthy Steps in Motion is for you!

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) screening is offered by appointment only from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital.

No fee. Call 889-2005 or 1-877-855-8152 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. John Madey, technical director of UPMC Altoona's Noninvasive Laboratory, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Gail Murphy, registered yoga teacher, leads this six-week series Tuesdays, March 10 through April 14, 5:30-6:40 p.m. in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. Yoga offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching, and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Fee $30. Register now as class is limited to 30. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Yoga mat is needed for all classes.

Child Safety Seat Checkup Station is offered by appointment from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, March 13, in the hospital parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

Free Osteoporosis Screenings: Heel Scans for Men and Women is by appointment only between 12:30 and 3 p.m. on Friday, March 13, at Station Medical Center, Imaging Services Department. No fee. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to schedule your appointment.

Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Seniors for Safe Driving, a four-hour refresher course for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course, will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. Fee $16. Registration required. Call 1-800-559-4880 or log on to sfsd-pa.com.

This classroom course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

It is never too late in the year or in life to make positive changes that will improve your health and quality of life. Join Jenna Stokes, D.O., of UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Family Practice for "It's Never Too Late to Start!" on Friday, March 20. Lunch is at 11 a.m. and program is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Altoona Alliance Church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd. (next to Planet Fitness in the former Value City Building). No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

"Coping With Complicated Grief" will be presented 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, including refreshment break at Station Medical Center Conference Room (enter the K-4 entrance, left of Fresenius Dialysis Center).

Donation of $10 is requested but not required. This donation will go toward the support of Day One of Altoona, a nonprofit, faith-based counseling service. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

This program will focus on grief that is complicated by things like trauma, death of a child, death by suicide, and anticipatory grief. As depression is part of the grief cycle, it is requested that registrants view, on their own, a series of half-hour television presentations dealing with depression on Altoona cable access channel 14.

The program schedule is:
  • March 5 "Understanding Depression"
  • March 12 "Seven Changes to Overcome Depression"
  • March 19 "Depression and Suicide Prevention"
Each program begins at 8 p.m. Offers 0.2 CEUs.

"Don't Put It on the Table Until You Read the Label: Giant Eagle Store Tours" will be presented by Randy Grabill, UPMC Altoona clinical dietitian, on Wednesday, March 25, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Giant Eagle grocery store, Logan Towne Centre, Altoona.

No fee. Registration required. Tour size limited and open to those who have not taken the tour in the past. Please meet Randy in the produce section (right inside the door). Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to register.

Join Randy, as he guides you through Giant Eagle grocery store, showing you how to shop smart and eat a nutritious diet. We all know that the foods you choose affect your heart health, diabetes, blood pressure, weight and more. Learn what foods to look for, what foods to avoid, and how to decipher those nutrition labels. Randy will help you become a savvy consumer who chooses healthy and nutritious food for you and your family.

"Putting Your Best Foot Forward" will be presented Thursday, March 26. Light dinner at 6 p.m. followed by program at 6:30 p.m. in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center at the hospital. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665

Join Harry Penny, DPM, podiatrist with UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates, who will discuss some common foot problems, their diagnosis and treatment options. Ample time for questions.






February 18, 2015 - Case Manager Receives Certification


UPMC Altoona's Victoria A. Hamer, R.N
ALTOONA, Feb. 18, 2015 — UPMC Altoona's Victoria A. Hamer, R.N., case manager in the Case Management Department, passed her certification exam for case management through the American Case Management Association. Hamer lives in Altoona.






February 16, 2015 - Joint Commission accredits UPMC Altoona


ALTOONA, Feb. 16, 2015 — UPMC Altoona has received The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for Hospital Accreditation based on results of a recent on-site inspection as part of The Joint Commission's accreditation program.

A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management.

The Joint Commission's hospital standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help hospitals measure, assess and improve performance.

The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects the organization's commitment to providing safe and effective patient care. The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years.






February 13, 2015 - Registered Nurse Case Manager Passes Certification Exam


Sharon Hayford, RN, of Hollidaysburg, Registered Nurse Case Manager Passes Certification Exam
ALTOONA, Feb. 13, 2015 — Sharon Hayford, RN, of Hollidaysburg, a case manager in the Case Management Department at UPMC Altoona, recently passed her certification exam for case management through the American Case Management Association.






February 10, 2015 - Kelli Reale Selected for Vice President of HR at UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial

UPMC is pleased to announce that Kelli Reale has been selected for the role of vice president, Human Resources, of UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford.
ALTOONA, Feb. 10, 2015 — UPMC is pleased to announce that Kelli Reale has been selected for the role of vice president, Human Resources, of UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford.

Reale will maintain her responsibilities as vice president, Human Resources, of Community Provider Services, UPMC East, UPMC McKeesport, and UPMC Mercy. Reale has been with UPMC since 1998 and has served in a vice president, Human Resources, capacity since 2007. She continues to grow in her leadership role within the Health Services Division and will bring a tremendous amount of experience, specifically with labor relations and organizational integrations, to UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial.

She was named in a joint announcement by John Galley, SVP & chief human resources officer, UPMC Corporate Services; Jerry Murray, president, UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial, and Craig Stambaugh, vice president, Human Resources, Health Services Division.






Bio: UPMC Altoona Employees Donate to Central Pennsylvania Humane Society


UPMC Altoona Employee Engagement Team donated $377 to the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society
ALTOONA, Feb. 8, 2015 — The UPMC Altoona Employee Engagement Team donated $377 to the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society following a Christmas wreath decorating contest in December.

Jill Brubaker Reigh (left), humane society director of outreach and marketing, accepts the donation from Rosemary Gibson (center) of the Employee Engagement Team. Patient Access representatives Amy Wagner (third from left) and Karen Claar accepted a gift certificate to La Pizza Casa on behalf of the department. Patient Access decorated the winning wreath.






February 8, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Announces December Guardian Angels


ALTOONA, Feb. 8, 2015 — UPMC Altoona Foundation's Guardian Angel program allows grateful patients and family members the opportunity to recognize a special caregiver - the individual or department who made a difference in their visit or stay at a UPMC Altoona facility. The list below includes the Guardian Angels for December.

Individuals
Becky Beck
Nancy Bergstein
Angela Boyer
Sue Burger
Jenna Davis
Jen Eger
Patty Fay
Joe Filer
Meghan Gordon
Nicole Hanna
Julie Holley
Joseph McDermott, D.O.
Grace McKee
Whitney Moritz
Terry Ruhl, M.D.
Jack Schocker, M.D.****
Cindy Sharbaugh
Brenda Vinglish
Hilary Whitsel

Departments
UPMC CancerCenter***
Cardiac Rehab
MRI
SPCU
STICU
Tower 10
Wound Care

*Indicates number of times nominated during December






February 5, 2015 - World-Class Breast Imaging: Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Available at UPMC Altoona


ALTOONA, Feb. 5, 2015 — Digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, is available at UPMC Altoona.

Tomosynthesis is world class breast imaging technology, a tool that uses low-energy x-rays to create a 3D image of the breasts. UPMC Altoona is the only provider in Blair County and began offering this state-of-the-art imaging in January.

Conventional mammography takes pictures of the breast from two angles - up and down, left and right. Tomosynthesis imaging takes multiple pictures from many angles. The x-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast, collecting multiple low-dose images from varying angles, says Lauren Deur, M.D., a board-certified, fellowship-trained diagnostic radiologist with UPMC Altoona Radiology.

Tomosynthesis may be used in conjunction with conventional mammography to provide the optimal image of a woman's breasts.

"For digital breast tomosynthesis, the breast is positioned the same way as for a conventional 2D mammogram," she says. "However, with 2D mammograms we acquire a single image in each position. With tomosynthesis, views of multiple slices of the breast are captured, providing more-detailed images. The more-detailed images are particularly helpful in patients with dense breast tissue."

These multiple views are sent to a computer where they are processed to produce the tomosynthesis images, which are viewed in conjunction with conventional 2D images. Tomosynthesis reduces the callback rates for mammography screenings, which reduces the need for further tests and biopsies.

"Mammography is not perfect, but it is still the best tool we have for breast cancer screening, and it has been shown to reduce the mortality associated with breast cancer," Dr. Deur says. "Tomography improves upon what we were doing previously."






Bio: UPMC Altoona's Lauren Deur, Diagnostic Radiologist


Lauren Deur, M.D., is a board-certified, fellowship-trained diagnostic radiologist with UPMC Altoona Radiology.
ALTOONA, Feb. 5, 2015 — Lauren Deur, M.D., is a board-certified, fellowship-trained diagnostic radiologist with UPMC Altoona Radiology.

She has been practicing since 2002 and came to Altoona in 2011.

She is board-certified in diagnostic radiology and fellowship-trained in breast imaging. She is also certified to read digital mammography.

During her fellowship training in breast imaging, she received the Fellow of the Year Award at New York University Medical Center.

Dr. Deur received her doctor of medicine degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. She completed a transitional internship at St. Vincent's Medical Center and a radiology residency and fellowship training at New York University.

She has two undergraduate degrees: B.A. in biologic basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences, and a B.S. in economics with a major in health care management from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of business.

Dr. Deur is a member of the American College of Radiology.






Surgeon Specializing in Breast Diseases Joins UPMC Altoona


Dianna Craig, M.D., FACS, a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast diseases, has joined the UPMC Altoona medical staff.
ALTOONA, Feb. 5, 2015 — Dianna Craig, M.D., FACS, a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast diseases, has joined the UPMC Altoona medical staff. She is practicing with UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates.

Dr. Craig performs the following procedures:
  • Ultrasound guided breast biopsy
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy
  • Excisional breast biopsy
  • Lumpectomy
  • Mastectomy
  • Sentinel Lymph Node biopsy
  • Insertion of MammoSite and Savi brachytherapy radiation therapy device
  • Port placement for chemotherapy infusion
Dr. Craig treats the following conditions:
  • Breast cancer
  • Benign breast mass
  • Nipple discharge
  • Breast abscess and infection
  • Breast pain
  • Abnormal axillary lymph nodes
Dr. Craig formerly specialized in breast disease at Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, Windber.

She is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Pennsylvania Medical Society and American Society of Breast Surgeons.

Dr. Craig received her doctor of medicine degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She completed her general surgery residency at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown. For information concerning an appointment, call UPMC Altoona Surgical Associates at 814-889-4100.






February 5, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Introduces New Breast Health Center With Surgeon Specializing in Breast Disease


ALTOONA, Feb. 5, 2015 — UPMC Altoona introduces the county's first comprehensive breast health service with the creation of the UPMC Altoona Breast Health Center, which offers women a totally new, female-centered and enhanced patient care experience at Station Medical Center.

The focus of the new Breast Health Center's staff, including a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast disease, will be to provide compassionate care for women by listening, understanding, caring and taking the time needed for optimal patient care, says Ron McConnell, chief operating officer at UPMC Altoona.

The new Breast Health Center caregiving team will provide the latest education and treatment advice from the world-class research of UPMC and from throughout the world of breast cancer research. This leading-edge knowledge will guide UPMC Altoona's first dedicated breast surgeon, Dianna Craig, M.D., whose practice encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of both benign and malignant breast disease.

Dr. Craig is a board-certified general surgeon whose practice has been dedicated to treating only breast disease for the last 13 years at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center in Windber. At her Station Medical Center office, Dr. Craig will see patients in consultation, order imaging studies, provide clinical breast exams and perform minimally invasive breast biopsies in the office and outpatient setting.

"I will be performing the most current surgical procedures for those patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer," she says. "Patients with a strong family history of breast cancer will also be able to have genetic testing and counseling via the experts at UPMC.

"UPMC Altoona is invested in the best technology, expertise and convenience when it comes to women's breast health."

"State-of-the-art technology coupled with Dr. Craig's surgical expertise and the convenience of Station Medical Center translates into a big step up in women's breast health," McConnell says. "Our goal is that women will receive the best and most comfortable treatment in the region.

"To accomplish this, we have immediately begun plans to expand the Breast Health Center's services so women in our region can receive the care and compassion they so truly deserve."

Dr. Craig joins a team that includes Lauren Deur, M.D., who is board-certified in diagnostic radiology, fellowship-trained in breast imaging, and certified to read digital mammography. She has been interpreting breast imaging at UPMC Altoona since 2012.

The Breast Health Center also includes a patient navigator to guide patients with a breast cancer diagnosis. Cheryl Litzinger, RN, a certified oncology nurse, is available to help patients obtain the care they need.

"To make this expansion of women's health services a reality requires a partnership between UPMC, UPMC Altoona, physicians, staff and the entire community," says Jerry Murray, president of UPMC Altoona and Bedford Memorial. "Today, the UPMC Altoona Foundation is pleased to announce that Karen Pfeffer, Esq., will be Capital Campaign Committee chairperson to fund this project."

"I look forward to working with the Campaign Committee to raise funds to support the UPMC Altoona Breast Health Center," says attorney Pfeffer.






February 3, 2015 - Media Alert: UPMC Altoona Introduces New Breast Health Center


What: Learn about UPMC Altoona's new Breast Health Center, new 3D mammography service, a new capital campaign, and meet Dianna Craig, M.D., FACS, a board-certified general surgeon/specialist in breast diseases.

When: 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5

Where: Conference Room at Station Medical Center, Altoona.

Who: Dianna Craig, M.D., FACS; Lauren Deur, M.D., a board-certified, fellowship-trained diagnostic radiologist; David Rose, M.D., medical director of UPMC Altoona Radiology; Jerry Murray, president, UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial, Ron McConnell, Chief Operating Officer, UPMC Altoona

Why: Introduce the community to advances in expertise and technology related to women's health.






January 16, 2015 - UPMC Altoona Radiologist Receives Certification


Jolanta Dennis, M.D., UPMC Altoona Radiologist Receives Certification
ALTOONA, Jan. 16, 2015 — Jolanta Dennis, M.D., a radiologist with UPMC Altoona Radiology, has been awarded her subspecialty certification in Neuroradiology by the American College of Radiology.

Dr. Dennis joined UPMC Altoona in July 2013 from the University of Virginia and practices diagnostic radiology.






January 16, 2015 - UPMC Altoona RN Promoted


UPMC Altoona registered nurse Nikole V. Gelvin, BSN, has been promoted to nurse manager of Tower 14 and the IV team.
ALTOONA, Jan. 16, 2015 — UPMC Altoona registered nurse Nikole V. Gelvin, BSN, has been promoted to nurse manager of Tower 14 and the IV team.

She began her nursing career as an extern on B4 at Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital while completing nursing school and was hired in July 2010 as a staff nurse on Tower 14, Altoona Hospital Campus. In September 2013, she took a position at Blair Medical Oncology as a chemotherapy nurse until her December promotion.

Gelvin received her associate's degree in Nursing in May 2010 and a bachelor's in nursing in 2011, both from Penn State Altoona.

She lives in Summerhill.






January 16, 2015 - Director Retires With 37 Years of Service


Lori Shelow, RN, BSN, OCN, administrative director of Medical Outpatient Services (MOPS) and Dialysis, retired Dec. 1 with 37 years of service
ALTOONA, Jan. 16, 2015 — Lori Shelow, RN, BSN, OCN, administrative director of Medical Outpatient Services (MOPS) and Dialysis, retired Dec. 1 with 37 years of service.

Shelow was hired in 1977 as a staff nurse in Maternity at Altoona Hospital. She transferred in 1982 to the outpatient clinics and was in charge of the prenatal, pediatric, oncology and special procedures clinics. She was promoted to charge nurse of the Ambulatory Care Department in 1985 and became a nurse manager in 1987. In 2005, she became the administrative director of MOPS. In 2010, her responsibilities were expanded to include Acute Dialysis.

In 1985-86, Altoona Family Physicians recognized her special contributions to the education of residents.

Shelow lives in Hollidaysburg.






January 16, 2015 - Jonhan Ho, M.D., Joins UPMC Altoona Medical Staff


Jonhan Ho, M.D., Joins UPMC Altoona Medical Staff
ALTOONA, Jan. 16, 2015 — Jonhan Ho, M.D., has joined the UPMC Altoona medical staff in the department of Laboratory Services.

Dr. Ho is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology and Dermatopathology.

He received his medical degree from Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, Rootstown, and completed his residency at Western Reserve Care System, Youngstown, Ohio, and fellowship training in Pathology Informatics and Dermatopathology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.






January 14, 2015 - Media Alert: UPMC Altoona Foundation Hosts Winter Splendor


What: Winter Splendor - A Sweet Celebration, a social and fundraising event hosted by the UPMC Altoona Foundation. Includes:
  • Reception and cash bar
  • Dinner
  • Silent auction with more than 30 assorted baskets
  • Live auction of 10-12 items
  • Health Care Honors recipients and former trustees Benjamin Levine and Joseph Reilly
  • Live music and dancing with the Flood City Brass Band
When: 6-10:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at the Blair County Convention Center. Best photo/video opportunity 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. for an interview with Jerry Murray, president of UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial.

Who: Dr. Charles and Carol Harvey are honorary hosts.

Why: The UPMC Altoona Foundation raises funds to support exceptional nonprofit health care for everyone in this region. As a qualified charitable organization, Foundation donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

With nearly 700 attendees, it is anticipated to be one of the largest events ever for the Foundation.






January 2, 2015 - First Blair County Baby of New Year Born At UPMC Altoona


Chris Rickens, Senior Vice-President/Chief Nursing Officer of UPMC Altoona, presents gift cards to mom Angel McKnight and baby Kaylynn Snyder, of Altoona.
ALTOONA, Jan. 2 - The first Blair County baby of 2015 was born at 4:55 a.m. Jan. 1 in UPMC Altoona's Maternity unit.

Kaylynn Geraldine Snyder was born to Angel McKnight and Joshua Snyder of Altoona. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 and 1/2 ounces and was 19 and 1/4 inches long.

PHOTO:
Chris Rickens, Senior Vice-President/Chief Nursing Officer of UPMC Altoona, presents gift cards to mom Angel McKnight and baby Kaylynn Snyder, of Altoona.

The family will receive the following gifts from the hospital:

Mother: Dozen Red Roses
$50 Gift Certificate from Target
Father: $50 Gift Certificate from Target
Baby: $50 Gift Certificate from Babies R Us (Toys R Us)

In addition, the last baby of 2013 born at Altoona Regional received the following gifts from the hospital:

Mother: Dozen Red Roses
$50 Gift Certificate from Target
Father: $50 Gift Certificate from Target
Baby: $100 Gift Certificate from Babies R Us (Toys R Us)

One other baby was born on Jan. 1 at UPMC Altoona and will receive:
Mother: dozen Red Roses
$25 Gift Certificate from Target
Father: $25 Gift Certificate from Target
Baby: $50 Gift Certificate from Babies R Us (Toys R Us)








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