What's happening at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center


SVMC pulmonary rehabilitation opens fall session

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) is now accepting patients for their fall sessions. People who have trouble breathing in the heat and humidity, who get short of breath walking long distances or upstairs, and who are struggling to quit from cigarettes are encouraged to seek a referral.

SVMC Pulmonary Rehabilitation started in January 2015 with seven participants. Since then the program has completed nine sessions and has helped forty three patients improve their lung function and breathe easier. The success of the program prompted an expansion to morning and afternoon classes this past January, accommodating up to sixteen patients at a time.

"Many people feel a sense of panic when they can't catch their breath, so they exercise less and, as a result, their condition worsens," said Caitlyn Boyd, DPT. "This program gives people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other lung conditions the tools and confidence they need to manage their symptoms and live full and active lives. Anyone living with a chronic lung disease can benefit."

The program combines comprehensive education with supervised physical exercise twice per week for eight weeks. Boyd helps participants track their progress by measuring blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, and shortness of breath. Some participants continue physical exercise at home or at a fitness facility. Several use the program's ongoing maintenance component, which allows them to continue exercising with a group twice a week.

"Most patients see a real difference in their daily lives. Plus they get the satisfaction of tracking their improvement from beginning to end," Boyd said.

Over the last year and a half, 70 percent of patients who completed SVMC's Pulmonary Rehabilitation had a significant improvement in shortness of breath symptoms, 74 percent had significant improvement in their quality of life, and 60 percent had significant improvement in their functional ability.

Participants can choose to join a morning or an afternoon session, as space permits. Both morning and afternoon sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for eight weeks. After completion, the maintenance program is offered on Wednesday and Friday afternoons for a small fee.

Those interested in participating in the upcoming sessions should call Boyd at 802-447-5140 or Michael Algus, MD, of SVMC Pulmonology, at 802-442-4855 for more information, or contact their primary care provider for a referral.

Three named to SVHC Foundation Northshire Regional Advisory Board

Southwestern Vermont Health Care Foundation Northshire Regional Advisory Board welcomes three new members: Connie Blatchford, Judith M. Livingston, and Caren McVicker.

Connie Blatchford of Manchester, comes to the Northshire Regional Advisory Board with experience in marketing, human resources and educational program administration. She was most recently employed as marketing manager for J.K. Adams. She was a member of the Women's Leadership Council for the Upper Valley United Way and served on the Friends of the Children's Hospital Board at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She currently serves on the Board of The Dorset Equine Rescue.

Judith Livingston served the district of Manchester for 14 years as State Representative. During that time she held several committee appointments. She has a wide range of board experience for local organizations, including The Bank of Bennington, Hildene, Dorset Theater Festival, and Burr and Burton Academy. Livingston has lived in Vermont since 1972. She has worked in public relations and graphic design but her major effort was chairing fund raisers for local not-for-profit organizations. She received her education in commercial and fine arts from the University of Connecticut, National Art Academy, the Corcoran School of Art, and Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Caren McVicker is a professional business productivity coach and social media consultant for small businesses. She holds a bachelor's in Communication Arts from Southern Methodist University in Texas. McVicker moved with her husband and two teenaged sons to Dorset from the Boston area full-time in 2014. She is an active member of the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert and has served in volunteer positions for several other charities.

The SVHC Foundation Northshire Regional Advisory Board consists of 12 members. Members are nominated by members of the group or health system. The SVHC Foundation's mission is to engage in development and fundraising activities exclusively for the support of the Southwestern Vermont Health Care corporation.

Hospital welcomes two new podiatry residents

SVMC Podiatry Residency Program is pleased to welcome Marie "McCamie" DeArmon, doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), and Jeffrey Pantano, DPM.

Dr. DeArmon earned her doctor of podiatric medicine from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine, OH, in May 2016. She received her bachelor's in health services from the University of Pittsburgh, Pa., in 2005. She has worked as a research technician with SAIC-Frederick Inc. at the National Institutes of Health, MD, and as a front office administrator for an internal medicine practice.

Dr. Pantano received his doctor of podiatric medicine from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine, OH, in May 2016 and a bachelor's in psychology from Salve Regina University, RI, in 2008. He has conducted research on Endobronchial Brachytherapy Treatment and a liquid crystal sensing system for the early detection of various pathologies, including diabetic foot ulcers.

SVMC's Podiatry Residency Program was founded in 2013 by Dr. William Sarchino, DPM. DeArmon and Pantano were selected from a pool of 90 applicants representing podiatry schools from across the country. They join two second-year residents, and one third-year resident in the program. It is the only podiatry residency program in the state of Vermont and the first residency program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

During the course of the three-year program, residents rotate through a number of disciplines, including anesthesia, internal medicine, emergency medicine, podiatric medicine, and surgery. In addition, residents are involved in research projects, present posters at scientific conferences, give case presentations, and author research papers for publication. Activities are regularly evaluated by the Council of Podiatric Medical Education.

Dr. Sarchino is a local podiatrist based in Bennington and Greenwich, N.Y. He is a member of American Podiatric Medical Association, a fellow of the American Academy of Wound Healing, certified in wound healing, and is the president of the American College of Lower Extremity Surgeons. Sarchino, who has taught in England and holds a medical license there, also is a well-known author of scientific papers on podiatric surgery.

For more information about the Podiatry Residency Program at SVMC, visit svhealthcare.org/podiatry-residency or call the program coordinator at 802-447-5558.

Fels named as examiner for 2016 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Jennifer Fels, RN, MSN, SVMC director of utilization management and clinical documentation improvement and the director of Bennington Blueprint for United Health Alliance, has been named to the Board of Examiners for the 2016 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Baldrige Award is the nation's highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

Appointed by the NIST director, examiners are responsible for reviewing and evaluating applications submitted for the Baldrige Award. The examiner board is composed of more than 350 leading experts competitively selected from industry, professional, trade, education, health care, and nonprofit (including government) organizations from across the United States.

Those selected meet the highest standards of qualification and peer recognition, demonstrating competencies related to customer focus, communication, ethics, action orientation, team building and analytical skills. All members of the board must take part in a nationally ranked leadership development course based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and the scoring/evaluation processes for the Baldrige Award.

In her work for the Vermont Blueprint for Health, Fels is the co-chair of OneCareVermont and the Blueprint Bennington leadership team and the leader of the Bennington Accountable Community for Health, an initiative to address population health. She is responsible for the design and development of new clinical systems across multiple practice settings, including the physician office practices. Fels received her associate's in applied science from Trocaire College School of Nursing in Buffalo, NY, and both her bachelor's in nursing and a master's in nursing administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. Awards may be given annually to organizations in each of six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care and nonprofit. The Award promotes innovation and excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. Since the first group was recognized in 1988, 109 awards have been presented. For information on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and the Baldrige Award application process, visit nist.gov/baldrige.

SVMC nurses receive continuing education scholarships

Fifteen nurses at SVMC received funds from the SVHC Foundation in support of their continuing education efforts. The funds were provided to the Foundation by the Helen Dixon Kunzelmann Nurse Scholar Program, grants, and donations for nursing education.

The nurses awarded scholarships represent many hospital departments, including Education and Professional Development, Emergency Department, Information Systems, Intensive Care, Perioperative, Medical Surgical Nursing and Ambulatory Nursing. They are attending a variety of institutions including Vermont Tech and Southern Vermont College, as well as distance learning sites.

Nurses receive partial scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and related educational expenses. Scholarships are awarded in addition to the traditional tuition reimbursement benefit offered through SVHC Human Resources.

As a designated Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence, SVMC recognizes the value of higher education among its professional nursing staff to improve patient outcomes and sustain a professional and rewarding work environment. One of the SVHC Nursing Strategic Goals is to advance Academic Progression in nursing in general, and specifically, to increase the percentage of nurses educated at the bachelor's level or above to 80 percent by 2020.

Helen Dixon Kunzelmann made a bequest to SVHC to further nursing excellence. The Nurse Scholar Program aims to reduce the financial challenges to nursing staff pursuing higher education.


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