Browning Claytor Health Center, a community benefit ministry of Mercy Health, recently celebrated the legacy of one of its namesake doctors, Robert Claytor, MD, with a community open house. The celebration on Wednesday, September 26 had over 200 attendees and included a barbecue, live music and an opportunity to learn about community resources.
“The event was fantastic,” said Charles Baker, practice leader of Browning Claytor Health Center. “I was truly blown away by the response of the community attending.”
Also in attendance were representatives from the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Fire Department, the Grand Rapids Urban League, Urban Roots, Seeds of Promise, Be Well Center, Triumph Music Academy and the Kent County Health Department. Live music was provided by JRob and Kevin Jones.
The community open house boasted a variety of guest speakers, including Dr. Claytor’s two daughters, Judith Claytor and Sharon Claytor Peters.
“I love to see how involved the clinic is with the community. This event is filled with a positive community vibe,” said Judith Claytor. “It is great to see people recognize my father’s legacy, because he was always such a quiet, modest man.”
Dr. Claytor maintained a practice in Grand Rapids for 43 years, becoming a godsend in the community by setting up long-term payment plans for patients who otherwise couldn’t afford the care. His daughter, Sharon Claytor Peters, described him as a one-man Medicaid program. Dr. Claytor received his privileges at Saint Mary’s Hospital in 1936, making him the first hospital-employed African American physician in Grand Rapids. Dr. Claytor also co-founded the Grand Rapids Urban League, becoming its second president. In 1976, Dr. Claytor was named Family Physician of the Year by the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians.
The Browning Claytor Health Center is a community benefit ministry of Mercy Health, honoring the legacy of Dr. Claytor by serving as an accessible Family Practice to the neighborhood.
The best part of Mercy Health is our people. We routinely go above and beyond the call to create a patient experience that’s second to none. In celebration of those who set the standard, eight colleagues, four from Mercy Health Muskegon and four from Mercy Health Grand Rapids each quarter will be selected to receive the new Living Our Values Colleagues Awards.
Highlights from the first seven nomination forms are below:
Alison Aubry, Nurse Practitioner, Geriatrics
In the THRIVE program, we have the sacred opportunity to be welcomed into patients’ homes to provide care. Because of this, we get to know our patients very well. Alison exemplifies reverence and respect in every interaction she has with patients and their families.
She pulls in important family members to her home visits and uses them as resources for the sake of the patient. She calls community resources, such as Area Agency on Aging, for families and then explains these calls in a way that families understand. She is our Health Ambassador and encourages all of us to use our time wisely and to practice a good work/life balance.
Misty Carr, Clerical Assistant Lead for PCN Oncology
Misty is amazing with our patients. As a mission-driven colleague, she always puts patients and her colleagues at the center of her work. She has completed the course on Crucial Conversations and uses it daily to resolve problems or to help another coworker.
She is continuously going above and beyond to find resources for our patients when we have difficulty getting a referral for patients. Misty is always supportive of her colleagues when they are needing help or are having a rough day.
Grant Depies, radiation therapist, Johnson Family Cancer Center Of the 60 or so patients undergoing radiation treatment for cancer at any given time, no fewer than 20 usually call him “Smiley” instead of Grant. Grant will always go out of his way to make a patient or family member comfortable, (getting them a blanket, taking extra time to explain processes and procedures).
Reverence: This value is probably his greatest strength. All radiation therapists keep people at the center of all they do, but Grant takes it to another level. Grant casts judgement on no one and will always take time to listen and understand.
Michelle Gravlin, manager, Quality Care & Transformation Michelle has connected with her staff in a way that we feel completely comfortable going to her about anything and everything. She has a plaque in her office that reads “Work Hard and Be Nice to People.” This is a spot-on description of Michelle, who spends part of her morning checking in with us (her staff) and asking us how we are doing; truly listening and caring.
I feel she has healthy and trusting relationships with not just her employees, but with others she collaborates with on a daily basis.
Kathleen Gray, PA-C, Mercy Health Specialists in Hospital Medicine
Kathleen has a servant’s heart. She spends a lot of time with staff and patients building confidence and holding each other accountable.
One day, Kathy went to several different stores buying diapers and necessities for her patient’s daughter. The patient and daughter were homeless. Our case management was helping with the housing situation, but the patient did not have clothes or diapers to put on her child. Kathleen asked the patient what size her daughter wore and during her lunch break bought the necessities they needed. Kathleen’s service to others is inspiring. Her grace and willingness to help others is demonstrated on a daily basis.
Karyn Honig, Social Worker, Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center
Karyn spent nearly two hours with a patient’s family member I’ll call Sandra, who has a cognitive impairment. Sandra was completely overwhelmed by all the medical discussion during the patient’s assessment and was crying alone in our waiting room. She opened up to Karyn about her fear that the patient might die and how people in her life have talked down to her because of her cognitive impairment. Karyn listened compassionately, put herself in Sandra’s shoes, and provided resources to help Sandra cope with these challenges.
By taking this time to hear a lonely family member’s story, Karyn went above and beyond in showing reverence for the value of every human life, showing special care for the most vulnerable.
Sheila Pearsall, Environmentalist, Environmental Services Sheila consistently provides exceptional care to patients, visitors and even her fellow colleagues. It’s difficult to catch Sheila without a smile on her face and a joyful word for whoever is passing by. She embraces AIDET and educates the patient and family as to who she is and what services she provides to make their stay safer and healthier.
Not a day goes by that Sheila is not encouraging or thanking those around her. I once heard her say, ‘What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?’ … and she lives this value out in her daily life by thanking patients for the privilege to serve them.
I have been a resident of Muskegon my entire life and was born at the original Mercy Hospital. As a nurse, I worked at Mercy’s present-day hospital. I worked out of state for a while, but my husband and I returned to Muskegon because being closer to the family trumped living elsewhere. In all, I worked at Mercy for 39 years.
My nursing career began on the Mercy Hospital surgical/oncology floor, 3 East, at the age of 24, and after a year or so, I went to Coronary Care, where I worked for several years. Then I spent a year in the ER, followed by 23 years in the Cardiac Cath Lab and Specials.
Most of the patients I had the pleasure of working with were critically ill or needed procedures, such as the insertion of pacemakers, intro-cardiac defibrillators, angioplasties or stents. We also served the dialysis patients, with procedures to maintain their lifelines for dialysis.
Many Ways to Volunteer
Now retired, I have chosen to volunteer at Mercy Health because I loved working at Mercy Hospital. I made so many wonderful friends at Mercy and learned a lot from others who worked there. Never, in the 39 years I was a nurse, did I ever question whether or not I had chosen the right field. No matter how difficult or tiring the day, I knew we were all there for the purpose of helping someone to return to their best possible health.
As a volunteer, I serve as a Patient and Family Advisor. We are an extension of the Patient and Family Advisory Council. We gather for various purposes as an ad hoc group under the direction of Mary Carlson. I have recently served as a Patient and Family Advisor providing input to our Marketing Department for signage and way finding in the new Medical Center.
I also I rock babies as part of the Gentle Touch program, which began in the fall of 2017. We gently rock and comfort newborns who have been born with an addiction. Comforting these infants is an integral part of their recovery. Under the direction of Kimberley Burrow, Gentle Touch is being expanded to include other infants and pediatric patients, as the need arises.
Under the direction of Shelly Brocci, I also help out at the Johnson Family Cancer Resource Center, which will be expanded into the Garden Level of the new medical center. At the Resource Center, we offer brochures about various cancers and information about nutrition, grief, family support and other topics. We also conduct online literature searches for patients or their families, and have a lending library for further reading on topics of their interest. This Resource Center will be expanded in the new medical center to incorporate other diseases as well.
The New Medical Center
The new medical center will benefit so many people in so many ways! It will benefit patients because they will no longer need to wonder which hospital to go to for their particular medical concerns. People who are sick or injured will come to one place and be treated by experts quickly, with less stress and fewer transfers between hospitals.
Also, the new medical center will make care more efficient. No longer will doctors have to travel back and forth throughout the day to cover patients at both hospitals.
There are many great people who work at both campuses. Once we all are working together, the differences will fade, and we will all be pulling together doing what we love.
I am excited for our community’s beautiful, upgraded medical center located right off the highway, which will offer easy access. We truly needed a new facility, as our hospitals were getting mighty tired looking.
The transformation that is taking place, coupled with expert care and the state-of-the-art technologies we’ve always had, will better showcase Mercy Health as the premium health care provider along the lakeshore.
With the beauty of Lake Michigan and a world-class medical center in Muskegon, we should easily draw more top-notch specialists to Mercy Health. This is an exciting time in our community, and we have so much to be thankful for!
Each quarter, an outstanding physician is selected for the Physician Appreciation Award, and none is more deserving than the fall 2018 recipient, Baljit Deol, MD, neurointerventionalist. Below is an excerpt from his nomination form:
“Mercy Health and our community are very lucky to have Dr. Deol working in the Neurointervention department. Whether his patients are 28 or 91, he takes care of them as the special individual that they are. His character and determination that provide the best care for his patients every day don’t go unnoticed. His patients will often return to express thanks, and some have even brought him Christmas gifts! People often ask me, ‘Is he always this nice?’ To which I reply, ‘Yes!’ For six years, he was the sole provider on call for neurointervention service, taking care of people until late into the night and coming in on weekends to save lives. I never once heard him complain.
“Several months ago, per the AHA guidelines, we changed stroke protocol to increase the window to be able to treat patients who have experienced a stroke up to 24 hours since they were last known to be well. Even though this meant we could help even more people with treatments, it meant more work for Dr. Deol and the team, but he has taken it all in stride.
“How do you express thanks to someone who has taken care of so many patients and their loved ones, yet asks for so little in return?” asks Deol’s nominator, Amy Groenhout.
The August 2018 Mercy Health Muskegon DAISY Award recipient is Shuling Gelderloos, BSN, RN, from North 2 Labor & Delivery Unit at the Hackley Campus. Shuling was nominated by one of her patients.
“Shuling was a wonderful nurse during my labor. She was caring, compassionate, courteous and attentive to all of my needs. She guided me during labor and encouraged me and my husband the entire time. She was always smiling and we were always laughing together. She kept us very relaxed and helped us to enjoy bringing our son into the world. She made sure to check on my husband to make sure he was eating and taking care of himself. I love so much that she truly took care of our family — me, my unborn baby, and my husband — not just me. She went above and beyond caring for us.
“One particular moment was when there was a mix-up about me eating lunch, and we were trying to eat something light really quickly prior to starting Pitocin. It was at peak lunch time hours, and I called to order a PB & J sandwich, but the doctor had put in the chart that I was to be clear liquid diet only — which was not the case, as the doctor had instructed me to eat before Pitocin was started — so the girl on the phone told me no on my food request. I called Shuling and the doctor, and explained to them what happened and told her I only wanted PB & J.
“Next thing I know, Shuling walks into my room with a PB & J sandwich, water, and popsicles — she said she brought it to me to avoid the long wait at lunch hour, and because of the mix-up, she did not want me to wait and starve any longer. She was the best nurse I have ever had! She was so kind and made certain that I was comfortable, respected and treated with dignity — things that vulnerable, laboring mothers need. I hope that her hard work and loving and compassionate care, will not go unrecognized. She is a one-of-a-kind, extraordinary woman!”
Shuling was honored with a surprise celebration on the unit before her leaders, peers, and patient and family.
“Our hospital has experienced an increase of drug withdraw babies over the past few years,” said Debra Perry-Philo, MSN, RNC, director of OB, Pediatrics and Med Surg. Perry-Philo created the program in September 2017 to address this increasing occurrence. “One action that helps these babies is gentle touch by a caring individual.”
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
According to the March of Dimes, NAS is a group of conditions that affect babies who were exposed to certain drugs- most commonly opioids– in the womb. These drugs may be illegal, such as heroin, but even pregnant women given prescription opioids by their physician can unintentionally pass the drug through the placenta and to their unborn babies, causing harm after birth.
Once born, these babies suffer withdrawal symptoms, which usually are noticeable within three days of birth and can include:
Tremors, seizures, twitching
Fussiness, excessive crying
Diarrhea, throwing up
Stuffy nose and sneezing.
Traci Wilks, a Hackley Nursery nurse experienced in caring for with special need babies, says that if treated immediately, most newborns will recover within two to eight weeks.
This is where the volunteers enter the picture.
The Power of Gentle Touch
“For these babies, it’s better to be held than left in their cribs,” said Wilks. “The Gentle Touch volunteers are a huge help to NAS babies when their parents can’t be there to hold them, and to the nurses when we are busy with clinical needs of our patients.”
The volunteer group includes retired and current Mercy Health colleagues like Sharon White, who worked in the Surgery department at Mercy Health until about 13 years ago.
“We have received specialized training to hold these babies, as you can’t overstimulate them, because they are very sensitive to stimuli,” said White. “You can’t bounce or jostle them. Part of the volunteer experience is so rewarding, but it’s so heartbreaking to see the effects of drugs on these babies. You just can’t understand how wide-reaching the drug epidemic is until you see these little babies.”
Perry-Philo says most NAS babies are treated with medication in addition to the comfort they receive at Mercy Health Hackley Campus, a specialized blend created by pharmacists trained for these little patients.
The Opioid Crisis
A White House report officially labeled the opioid crisis a public health emergency in 2017. The report states that “In 2014, the number of babies born drug-dependent had increased by 500 percent since 2000, and children being placed in foster care due in part to parental drug abuse is going up — now it is almost a third of all child removals.”
Read about how Mercy Health Saint Mary’s created an interdisciplinary team to address the rising issue of opiate-dependent births in 2016.
The Gentle Touch volunteer group is not currently in need of volunteers, but visit the Mercy Health Volunteer webpage to learn how you can contribute your time and talents for the benefit of Mercy Health patients in Muskegon and Grand Rapids.
Nominated by a patient in June 2018, Jerome Niedzwiecki, a clinical nurse who works in the Heart and Vascular Center, receives the Daisy Award at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for September 2018. Niedzwiecki was selected by the Work Environment Council for his skills and compassionate care, which exemplify him as an outstanding role model.
The nomination from the patient reads:
“I arrived at the ER a few weeks ago, experiencing sharp back pain, and was admitted to the hospital, suffering a massive heart attack. Testing showed a blocked artery, so I was sent to the cath lab and was prepped for a stent placement.
“It was in the cath lab that I met Jerome. He immediately calmed me down by explaining the procedure and took great care when prepping me.
“After my family left, Jerome took my hand and said, ‘This is the worst part right now, because I know you feel all alone; but I am right here with you, and so is God.’
“I can’t begin to explain how much hearing those words meant to me. Such a simple act of kindness, only lasting a few seconds, set my mind at ease and lifted my spirits. I knew I was in good hands. Thank you, Jerome!”
Niedzwiecki received his award during a ceremony on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, in the Heart and Vascular Center, led by Chief Nursing Officer Liz Murphy.
Every day at Mercy Health, we dedicate ourselves to being a compassionate, transforming, healing presence in the lives of patients. Our mission is why we exist — it’s what drives us.
Our colleagues embody our enduring mission, values and uplifting spirit. The combined efforts of all colleagues in our organization are nothing short of remarkable. That is why “Be Remarkable” is the new slogan of our organization.
“Be Remarkable” has been a successful slogan for our southeast Michigan market as it effectively captured the health system’s identity as a place where patients receive high-quality care delivered with compassion.
With this goal at the heart of Mercy Health’s existence, the marketing team produced a video for our colleagues, featuring our colleagues, who describe what “remarkable” means to them.
The Mercy Health Marketing and Communications Teams enjoyed working with our creative counterparts at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System to produce a video featuring our own colleagues helping us roll out our new tagline, “Be Remarkable.”
The video is a powerful representation of who we are and what we aspire to be to the people we serve. Its purpose is to inspire and acknowledge everyone who puts their heart, soul and talent into empowering patients – and each other – by fulfilling our mission. It’s personal and it’s unifying.
“Be Remarkable” is also a call to action. It speaks to our human values, quality medicine, amazing people, and unique desire to serve. For consumers seeking a provider, we hope it conveys peace of mind that their desires and needs come first.
Production has begun on new television commercials describing what “Be Remarkable” means, featuring patients who have found healing and restoration at Mercy Health. We are excited about the potential of this new brand awareness campaign to set us apart , in a highly competitive marketplace and to speak directly to our current and potential patients.
30 Colleagues Featured in “Be Remarkable” video
Thirty of our colleagues, including Presidents Bill Manns and Gary Allore and State CEO Rob Casalou, took part in the video. Filming took place at Hackley and Saint Mary’s campuses over three days in mid-June. We offer special thanks to all who offered their time and talent. We also appreciate their managers who made colleague participation possible.
Rob Casalou, CEO, Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Gary Allore, President, Mercy Health Muskegon
Bill Manns, President, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s
Felicia Kas, Nursing
Dr. Jessica Keto, Surgery
Dr. Angela Andrews, Primary Care
Dr. Muhammad Farooq, Neuroscience
Sheila Hamilton, Nursing
Keith Lothschutz, Respiratory Therapy
Sister Myra Bergman, Mission
Lisa Smith, Pharmacy
David Cook, TIS
Chelsea Wieringa, Registration
Jeremy Kelderman, Security
Carmen Rebedew, Imaging
Ewa Figiel, Lab
Michelle Needham, Finance
Tommy Fitzgerald, Nutrition Services
Dr. Rem Sprague, Administration
Melissa Hanna, Lab
Stephanie Peterson, Primary Care
Gaye Rollins, Volunteer Services
Cedric Shepherd, Environmental Services
Father Joachim Adione, Mission
Fida Kamal, Surgery
Brett Hallberg, Engineering
Chandra Dease-Davis, Nursing
Joel Best, Maintenance
Jacques Green, Social Work
Tammy Jerome, Process Excellence
Brett Applebach, Community Health Center
Television commercials featuring more of our colleagues — and patients — will roll out in the coming weeks. The campaign will be supported with digital (website), outdoor (billboard) and print advertising. We’ll also roll out our videos and stories on social media. Be sure to share them with your friends and family!
Most of the work is being managed in-house by our Marketing and Communications teams, in partnership with the Southeast Michigan Marketing team, under the leadership of Michele Szczypka, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.
We thank our colleagues for making each day at Mercy Health… Remarkable.
Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, is often pictured as she might have appeared during the last decade of her life: a Roman Catholic sister, dressed in full traditional habit, with a gentle smile on her serene face. She looks warm and welcoming, and seems to radiate caring, compassion, and a love for God. According to her biographers, she was all of that, and more. What one might not suspect, judging from her formal portraits, is that she was a passionate advocate for social justice and a radical reformer.
Catherine McAuley was born on September 29, 1778 in Dublin, Ireland, to devoutly Roman Catholic parents. Orphaned at a young age, Catherine and her siblings were raised by Protestant relatives who did not approve of Catherine’s Catholic faith. When Catherine turned 25, she came to live with the wealthy Callahan family. She grew close to the couple, who generously supported her charitable work. When Mr. Callahan died, Catherine was his sole heir.
Noting that “the poor need help today, not next week,” Catherine purchased a house on Baggot Street and set up an active ministry to the poor, sick, and uneducated women and children of Dublin. Twelve women who shared her faith and her passion eventually joined her at the newly named House of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy were officially established as a religious order on December 12, 1831. Catherine was 53 years old.
Catherine understood living the Gospel as a call to “contemplation in action.” For her, the way to love and serve God was by joyfully loving and serving the poor. Catherine’s vision for ministry was for “our charity to be cordial… something that renews, invigorates, and warms. Such should be the effect of our love for each other.”
Unlike the cloistered orders of her day, where nuns spent the majority of their time in prayer, study and meditation, the Sisters of Mercy under Catherine’s guidance, soon became known as “The Walking Nuns.” Catherine was already being challenged by the lay and clerical establishment for her decidedly unorthodox approach to ministry by women in the Church. “Who is this upstart, Miss McAuley? Why is the ‘unlearned sex’ doing the work of the clergy?” were only a few of the criticisms leveled at Catherine.
In the House of Mercy, the Sisters lived side by side with homeless servant girls and women. A school for poor girls was open there during the day. Not only was Catherine literally bringing the poor to the genteel doorsteps of the rich in Dublin’s Baggot Street neighborhood, but it soon became a startling, though common, sight to see the Sisters, dressed in simple habits and worn shoes, going about their work of nursing and teaching, as well as providing food, care and comfort to those in need.
As a woman of independent means, Catherine did have certain advantages which she did not hesitate to use if it meant that she could help those she served. Even while living with the Callahan’s, Catherine would often dress up in fashionable clothes, and gain entrance to the hospital wards to visit the sick and the dying – a practice which local clergy were denied.
She maintained a network of wealthy, well-connected friends throughout her years of ministry, from whom she sought donations and volunteers to fund and further her work. Well-to-do society households were a steady source of employment for the formerly destitute girls and women now trained and educated by the Sisters. In the end, the Archbishop of Dublin and several noted politicians were among Catherine’s most loyal supporters.
Throughout her life, Catherine demonstrated a profound respect for the dignity of every person, based on her fundamental belief that in serving the poor she was serving Christ. “To serve the poor was a privilege,” she told the Sisters. “We must do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
She set a high standard for professionalism, taking care that before setting up a school, she was familiar with the most current teaching techniques. Eventually, she established the first teaching assistant training college in Ireland.
In the area of nursing, the Sisters of Mercy, led by Catherine, maintained such high standards that during a cholera epidemic, there were less than half the deaths recorded in the areas covered by the Sisters, than in any other area in Dublin. Sisters who entered the homes of the sick and the elderly routinely attended to the comfort and cleanliness of the home as well as the spiritual care of the patients.
“Oh, what would we do, if in 70 or 80 years, God had appointed three or four hundred for our journey,” Catherine wondered a year before her death from tuberculosis in 1840. Almost two centuries later, there are more than 11,000 Sisters of Mercy engaged in ministries of healing, teaching, and social action around the world. Closer to home, we see Catherine’s devout faith, her passionate commitment to the poor and vulnerable, and her central belief in the dignity of every person reflected in the mission and core values of Mercy Health.
Why do we celebrate Mercy Day?
We celebrate to honor and remember Catherine McAuley, the radical reformer of Baggot Street, who brought a new vision and model for ministry to the streets of Dublin. We celebrate to honor and remember the Sisters of Mercy and our colleagues in ministry throughout the world. And, inspired by our storied identity, we celebrate to honor and remember our remarkable legacy and how it lives on today in our remarkable health ministry.