Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Receives the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) Get with the Guidelines®–Stroke GOLD PLUS Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Achievement Award!

Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Stroke Team

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is the only hospital in Michigan to receive this award for the fourth year in a row.

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Congratulations, Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences stroke team, for the outstanding care you provide for Mercy Health’s neurology patients!

Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Accepted for Presentation at European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

From left to right: Thomas Beuschel, PharmD; Lisa Dumkow, PharmD; Andrew Jameson, MD; and Julie Belfer, PharmD, stand with their poster, which was presented at ECCMID in Madrid, Spain on Saturday, April 21, 2018.

The research team of Thomas Beuschel, PharmD; Julie Belfer, PharmD; Lisa Dumkow, PharmD; and Andrew Jameson, MD, had their work accepted for presentation at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) in Madrid, Spain.

The team studied the impact of different antimicrobial stewardship practices on prescribing for community-acquired pneumonia among three different Trinity Health sites. Dr. Beuschel traveled to Madrid to present this work on April 21, 2018. Congratulations to the entire team.

Post Graduate Year 1 Pharmacy Practice Resident, Lauren Fay, Receives National Research Recognition

Lauren Fay, a current Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) pharmacy resident at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, was awarded the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation Pharmacy Resident Practice-Based research grant for her longitudinal research project titled, “The Urgent Need for Urgent Care Antimicrobial Stewardship: Evaluating Prescribing Appropriateness and Patient Outcomes Associated with a Pharmacist-led Culture Follow-up Program.”

With more than 3,500 pharmacy residents, ASHP awards just six $5,000 awards each year. The following people served as preceptors for Dr. Fay’s research: G. Robert DeYoung, PharmD; Lisa Dumkow, PharmD; Lauren Wolf, PharmD; Kasey Brandt, PharmD; Adam Anderson, MD; and Nnaemeka  Egwuatu, MD. Congratulations, Dr. Fay.

The Indomitable Andrea ‘Speedie’ Hampton

“I have MS, but MS doesn’t have me.”

“When I was first diagnosed, I learned that I could have memory problems. My hockey life is something I didn’t want to forget. So I wrote down my memories, my stories, in case I would forget them. A friend of mine took the stories and made them into a book.”

Thirty-three-year-old Andrea ‘Speedie’ Hampton shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, despite her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). Her passion has always been sports, and this driven, competitive woman was, and continues to be, active in many sports.

Speedie has found creative ways to adapt her play and to work around her limitations. “My diagnosis was frustrating because I was used to being a star, and I had to learn how to play differently and to work the sports chairs.”

Her journey began in May 2011, when she was 26. “I was noticing a lot of pain and stiffness in my legs, and it was hard for me to walk for a long distance. My family noticed I was limping while walking.”

That’s when she sought care at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences and met Herman Sullivan, MD, interim medical director of Hauenstein Neuroscience Center Multiple Sclerosis Clinic.

“MS is a neuro-immunological disease that results in inflammatory injury to parts of the brain, and sometimes the spinal cord and optic nerve,” explained Sullivan. “Symptoms depend on where the injury is. Injuries are not always permanent, so the symptoms can disappear completely.”

Patients with MS can present with motor symptoms, sensory symptoms, balance issues, and changes in cognition, mood and behavior.

Initially, Speedie had little knowledge of the disease. “Mercy Health has clinics that are very helpful. I wasn’t sure what having MS meant. The team at the clinics helped me to learn about MS, how it would affect my body, and about the medications and side effects. It was a blow to find out that it is a disease that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

Adjustments came in other ways too. “When I was first diagnosed, I was trying to figure out why this was happening to me. I had to truly rely on my faith and remember that GOD gives you things to make you stronger.”

Stronger, indeed. Undaunted by MS, Speedie shared a list of her many activities during the past year: wheelchair softball, wheelchair lacrosse, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair ballroom dancing, sled hockey, skydiving, rock climbing and kayaking. “During the school year I am the assistant girls’ varsity basketball coach at East Grand Rapids.”

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Diagnosing MS can be difficult, Sullivan explained. “Some people who have MS have no symptoms. It’s not uncommon to diagnose MS before a patient shows symptoms because the patient has testing for another symptom, like a headache. So, when a patient gets a diagnosis of MS, there can be huge emotional angst. I try to show patients the larger picture, that a diagnosis does not automatically mean there will be neurological deficits. And if there are, we have medications to impact the symptoms of the disease.”

Since the early to mid-’90s, a variety of treatments have become available. Initially, the medications had to be injected; now some drugs are infused or taken orally. There are 17 different drugs for relapsing-remitting MS, a type of MS in which the symptoms come and go. At this time, there is also one approved drug for progressive MS.

The MS Clinic at Mercy Health’s Hauenstein Neuroscience Center uses a multidisciplinary, team approach consisting of neurologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, physical therapists, a nurse psychologist, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, medical social workers and physiatrists. Mercy Health sponsors a support group for MS patients as well.

“Andrea is a dynamic, multi-talented athlete. MS has affected her ability to compete, but her attitude makes all the difference. Her loving, supportive family and network of friends are neurologically nourishing for her. She is one of the great inspirations in my life,” shared Sullivan.

Speedie attributes her positive attitude to her parents and to the people she hangs out with. “Their support means a lot to me. You can’t let a diagnosis of MS be your downfall.”

Today, Speedie says she is “feeling fine. Mercy Health has been awesome. The medications I am taking are helping me. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face and thank God for another day.”

There is hope for the future, according to Sullivan. “Many neurological diseases will be cured when we learn to bioengineer parts of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. The ability to regenerate and regrow neuropathways is what we are hoping to do.”

“I feel that eventually there will be a cure for MS,” said Speedie. “That’s something that I can’t wait to have happen, but at this point, I have to live in the now.”

Watch Andrea Hampton’s story.

On the Same Page

Married Couple Thrives After Bariatric Surgery

Alicia before bariatric surgery

As a couple who has been married for  20 years and is raising three children, Tim and Alicia Parker tend to see eye-to-eye on most things. They even share the same profession: Tim teaches high school math and coaches football, while Alicia teaches first grade.

But when it came to facing the fact that they were both obese, it was Alicia who took the lead.

“We had both been overweight as teenagers,” Alicia said, “and I struggled with my weight by yo-yo dieting for more than 20 years.” It was feeling tired so often that Alicia found the most difficult. “I didn’t have energy for my students and my family.”


So in 2013 Alicia attended a seminar given by Bariatric Surgeon Brian Gluck, DO. “I had already been on a medical weight loss diet, so when I left the seminar, I knew exactly what to expect because Dr. Gluck and his team explained everything,” said Alicia.

Ready to move forward to prepare for surgery, Alicia was very impressed with Dr. Gluck’s staff. “Mercy Health worked with my busy schedule and didn’t waste my time. They were very efficient and made the process easy.”

With the support of her husband and family, in December 2013, Alicia underwent bariatric sleeve gastrectomy. “I started at 286 pounds, and I’ve lost 111 pounds. I went from size 26 to size 12. I have a pair of my old jeans, and now I can fit my body into one of the legs.”

Tim before bariatric surgery

Coach Tim’s surgery in 2017 was no less dramatic. “On the day I went into surgery, I weighed 286 pounds. Since then I’ve lost 100 pounds. The last time I was below 200 pounds was in 8th grade. Now I’m 46.”

Slower to embrace surgery as an option, Tim was motivated by a blunt conversation with his trusted family physician about his high cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight issues.

“I went in for a normal yearly checkup, and my doctor said, ‘Do you want to live to see your daughter graduate?’ That is what set me on the surgical path.” He wanted to be there for his family.

Why the hesitation? “As an athletic coach, I thought I was in pretty good shape. But as my weight increased, I kept lying to myself: I told myself that I was self-disciplined…that I could lose weight on my own. I didn’t need surgery. That’s the easy way out.”

Due to his health issues and a lack of energy, Tim finally attended one of Dr. Gluck’s seminars. “The toughest part is admitting to yourself that you have a problem.”

Tim was surprised by how quickly he felt comfortable with Dr. Gluck and his entire staff.

“Dr. Gluck has a network of nurses, PAs, dieticians, a psychologist and other staff. They didn’t shame anyone…they understood where I was coming from and were ready to help me with open arms.” Former patients also spoke at the seminar about their surgical experiences, which gave Tim even more confidence to choose surgery.

Tim was also amazed by how thoroughly Dr. Gluck’s team prepares patients both physically and mentally for the entire process — everything from blood tests to surgical aftercare.

“The staff has been unbelievably great. They help you go through months of preparation for the surgery. You have to be willing to change your mindset. They helped me change the way I view food and the way I eat. I think that overeating is almost like an addiction, something you can’t fix on your own.”

The Parker family today

Tim and Alicia’s lives have changed dramatically since bariatric surgery. Tim runs every day with an accountability partner, and Alicia is more active and has energy for her family and her students. “We feel better in our forties than we did in our twenties.”

The Parkers attribute their success to the way they support each other and hold each other accountable.

“We didn’t want our children to go through their childhood being overweight like we were,” Alicia shared. “Now our entire family is more aware of exercise, food choices and portions. We make smart choices and stay active.”

For Coach Parker, their family’s lifestyle changes mirror what he has taught his athletes: “Stay active, eat in healthy ways and pay attention to the nutritional value of what you are eating.”

In the end, the Parkers’ decision was mostly about their kids and their legacy. They eagerly recommend bariatric surgery to anyone who has struggled as they once did.

“Bariatric surgery has helped us to feel better, look better, hopefully live longer and thrive.”

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Showed Magnet® Site Appraisers “What We Do Best Every Day”

Members of SLT and nurses await the three Magnet appraisers in the morning of April 16, 2018, in the Lacks Lobby.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s hosted three Magnet® site appraisers as part of its re-designation process, answering questions and guiding them through “what we do best every day,” according to Theresa McGuire, MSN RN-BC, Coordinator, Magnet Program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, “which is providing excellent nursing care to those entrusted to us.”

Nearly 100 colleagues gathered in the Lacks Lobby to greet the appraisers at 7:40 a.m. on Monday, April 16, 2018, which officially kicked off the site visit. Over the course of the next three days, the appraisers spoke extensively with nurses, organizational leaders, patients, community members and other colleagues about their experiences with nursing at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

“I was extremely impressed with the high level of professionalism demonstrated by the nursing staff and the unwavering support shown by the physicians, senior leaders and ancillary colleagues,” said McGuire.

The American Nursing Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet designation is the highest and most prestigious credential a health care organization can achieve for nursing excellence and quality patient care. This outcomes-driven credential brings both external prestige and wide-ranging internal recognition and benefits including improved patient outcomes, nurse satisfaction and reduced costs.

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Being a Magnet-designated organization attracts and retains RNs who have high job enjoyment and high job satisfaction because they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day — provide excellent nursing care to those entrusted to us.

While the Magnet designation is a nursing designation, Mercy Health recognizes that nursing cannot be excellent without the support of all disciplines and areas of the organization.

“I look forward to hearing the outcome of our Magnet site Appraisal. Thank you to everyone for being themselves and putting their best self forward,” said McGuire.

The results will be shared with the organization in another six to eight weeks.

Epilepsy Center at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Earns Level IV Recertification

Mercy Health Epilepsy Center has once again earned accreditation as a level IV epilepsy center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC), valid through 2019. In addition, the center’s name will be sent to U.S. News & World Report.

“Our epilepsy center has been accredited as a level IV by the NAEC for more than five years now. We are one of only six such centers in the state of Michigan,” said Adriana Tanner, MD, FAES, director of the Epilepsy Center at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences.


Adriana Tanner, MD, epileptologist

“Our epilepsy center has been accredited as a level IV by the NAEC for over five years now,” continued Tanner. “We are one of only six such centers in the state of Michigan,” said Adriana Tanner, MD, FAES, director of the Epilepsy Center at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences. “This prestigious accreditation demonstrates the fact that Mercy Health provides the most complex forms of intensive neuro-diagnostic monitoring and evaluation for epilepsy surgery as well as more extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatments for epilepsy.”

Congratulations to Dr. Tanner and her team! For more information on the Epilepsy Program, please visit here>>


Discovering the Fun of Being Healthy

Pedaling for Better Health at The Ride 2018

Bob Johnson at The Ride

“There was an elephant on my chest,” said Bob Johnson of Grand Haven. Unable to breathe, he found himself hospitalized four years ago. Johnson’s diagnosis was severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but he did not take it seriously. He admitted to lighting up just 20 minutes after leaving the hospital.

Four months later, Johnson found himself in ICU. This was his wake-up call and “the end of my smoking career,” he said.

His pulmonologist told Johnson she did not think he would live, but he had a chance at a long and healthy life if he did two things: stopped smoking and started a 1500 calorie a day diet — two things that seemed impossible for a man addicted to nicotine and food.

Nicole Coverly, Bob Johnson and Cathy Schmidt

Ready to make big changes to improve his health, Johnson got a referral to the Mercy Health Heart Center for rehabilitation two days a week. He said his therapists, Cathy Schmidt and Nicole Coverly, helped him more than he thought possible.

“They inspire me,” Johnson said. At first, living with COPD was tough, but he was motivated to keep going no matter how difficult it was. Now, he is an inspiration.

By eating right, exercising and losing 85 lbs., Johnson said he “feels perfect,” and “he’s addicted to riding!” He is overjoyed at his recovery and all that he can do.

Last year, Johnson rode 2,000 outdoor miles on his bike. Additionally, long distances, like a 100-mile ride (known as a century ride), are no problem for him. Yet, with each ride, Johnson follows his doctor’s orders and dons oxygen as a precaution.

At The Ride 2018, we found Johnson having a fantastic time and encouraging others. His doctor said he is a one percenter because most people, given the diagnosis and poor condition he was in, would have sat at home and done nothing. “To be healthy is fun,” Johnson said.

We applaud Bob Johnson for taking charge of his health and for a successful ride in The Ride 2018.

Mercy Health Aims to Secure Permanent State Funding for “Stop the Bleed” Programming

Mercy Health, as a member of the Michigan Trauma Coalition (MTC), is dedicated to the reduction of traumatic injuries while developing better care and treatment of trauma patients in Michigan. Among the many programs supported by the Michigan Trauma Coalition is the “Stop the Bleed” movement which advocates for the education, engagement and empowerment of bystanders to help in bleeding emergency situations before professional help arrives. Stop the Bleed has proven to be an important program that could save numerous lives in critical situations.

State trauma systems are permanently funded in 48 states, excluding Michigan and Vermont, but Heather Ruffin, trauma program manager for Mercy Health Muskegon is hoping to change that. “Michigan is in danger of losing state trauma system funding in October, unless a bill is passed to make funding permanent. A bill has finally been introduced, so it is my job, in tandem with the MTC’s lobbyist, to present impactful information in front of Michigan legislators,” said Ruffin. She has been instrumental in the advocacy for this movement; serving on the Michigan Trauma Coalition board and also as chair of the marketing and legislative committee.  “On April 26, we will hold a Stop the Bleed rally on the steps of the capital. We plan on catching 96 percent of the senate and house representatives. The committee has pulled together the Michigan Committee on Trauma (MCOT) and the Michigan Chapter of the American College of Surgeons for joint name recognition and power to raise the level of awareness.”

With the goal of securing permanent government funding for the state of Michigan, as well as establishing April 26 as “Michigan Stop the Bleed Day,” all colleagues with an interest in trauma are invited to attend a Legislative Luncheon and Demonstration this upcoming Thursday, April 26 from 11a.m. – 1 p.m. in Lansing on the first floor of the Michigan Capitol Building’s North Wing.

“Legislators will register, receive a nice meal and tee shirt, go over talking points and experience a condensed Stop the Bleed training,” Ruffin added. Her message to colleagues: “Mercy Health and the Michigan Trauma Coalition need your support in recognizing the gravity of life-threatening bleeding and the ability to intervene effectively and save lives. We are encouraging all with an interest in trauma to help spread the word.”

If you would like more information on how to get involved, please contact Heather Ruffin,


Daniel M. Roper, MD, Receives Richard M. DeVos Award from the American Heart Association

Daniel Roper, MD

The American Heart Association honors three deserving individuals – Daniel M. Roper, MD, Brett Knoop and Phil Miedema – with the Richard M. DeVos Award at the Grand Rapids Heart Ball on April 13 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

This award is given annually to an individual or individuals who demonstrate a tireless dedication to their community through the work of the American Heart Association, in an effort to create a heart-healthy community. Through their giving and support, they enhance the cardiovascular quality of life for many and have played a significant role in advancing the mission of the American Heart Association in West Michigan.

The Richard M. DeVos Award for Medical Excellence was presented to Daniel M. Roper, MD, medical director and chief of Emergency Medicine, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus in West Michigan. Roper serves on the board of directors of Mercy Health and is a group partner with the Grand River Emergency Medical Group. He teaches as a clinical professor for Michigan State University in the department of emergency medicine. He is also involved with numerous committees, task forces and crisis teams.