Successful Wish-A-Mile® Ride for Team Trinity

Across the finish line for Team Trinity.

After three grueling days of riding into the wind, the 300-mile cycling event, Wish-A-Mile®, which benefits Make-A-Wish® Michigan, was a success for Team Trinity. The cycling took place from July 26-28, 2019, and benefits hundreds of children, including Brynlee, the daughter of Mercy Health Colleague Ashlee Senn.

Led by Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan Region, Team Trinity raised more than $144,000 for Make-A-Wish Michigan, with the event raising more than $2.3 million overall. For a day-by-day recap on the event, read St. Joe’s blog, where Casalou personally shares each day’s triumphs and stories while en route.

Below is an excerpt from the finish line, on Sunday:

“Our team crossed the finish line just before 3 p.m. and immediately met Brynlee, our team wish hero,” said Casalou. “What a precious little girl! What made it even more special is that Brynlee is the daughter of Ashlee Senn, who works at Mercy Health West Michigan in Human Resources. To be able to adopt a wish hero of a member of the Trinity Health family was so special and we were all beaming as Bryn placed our medals on our necks. This capped another Wish-A-Mile and another great experience.

“I wish to thank all the Team Trinity riders and also all who supported them with donations, prayers and good wishes,” said Casalou. “Ten Michigan Wish kids were on their wish as we rode these three days.

More than 400 wishes will be granted to Michigan kids over the next 12 months.

Brynlee Senn shows her support of Team Trinity.

“I hope the team slept well, and I know they all have a sense of accomplishment for the difference they made in the lives of many children and families this weekend,” said Casalou.  “See you next year!”

June 2019 DAISY Award Recipient Jessica Sayer “Was My Light” for Patient

In November 2018, Jessica Sayer, a nurse on PMU, was nominated for a DAISY Award by a patient. Sayer’s compassionate care and advocacy for patients exemplify her to our patients and their families. Our staff recognizes her as an outstanding role model. The Work Environment Council selected Sayer to receive the June 2019 Daisy Award.

The nomination from the patient reads:

“The help of the psych med unit is unparalleled, it is true. The teamwork PMU must perform to become this good is highlighted by the work of one particular nurse, Nurse Jess. In the dark, Jess was my light, amazing, holding me, and going beyond the parameters of normal nursing practice. Jess is a role model, exhibiting the most caring example and model of true nurse etiquette.

“She got me through the deeply dark time of trial for me, when I was near death and darkness in my mind. Oh, how I appreciate her!  She taught me something I can only define in feelings, something inside my soul that can last forever. Jess is equipped to handle all aspects of her nursing job and is an example of understanding. She is an example of Jesus Christ.

“She deserves this because of her heart. Jess is super cool-as-a-cucumber, I say. Jess was the most ever-present person in my life here, and she made me believe that others care about me and cannot and shall not live without me. Thank you and bless you, Jess!”

Congratulations to Sayer and her team. Thank you for providing excellent nursing care to those entrusted to us.

It’s Remarkable to Love What You Do – Told by Dominic Green

Dominic Green works for The Christman Company, constructing the new medical center.

Dominic Green, 22, is one of hundreds of local workers who have contributed to the construction of the new Mercy Health medical center in Muskegon.

That fact alone may not be remarkable, but since the groundbreaking in 2017, 32 percent of the workforce has been “diverse”*and that is noteworthy.

Early on, Mercy Health Muskegon and The Christman Company (builders) were committed to hiring as many diverse workers as possible for the medical center project. To accomplish this goal, they collaborated with multiple organizations across West Michigan that could recruit, identify and train local residents.

Hiring Green was part of that intentional effort to employ local talent. Since April 2018, Green has been a carpenter on the project as an employee of The Christman Company.

What follows is a reflection by Green about growing up in a community that has offered few opportunities for young men like him to learn a skill, get a job, and take care of their families.

Where I Come From

I grew up in Muskegon Heights.

It’s hard for people in our community to get opportunities. People assume the worst about us [young black people].

At the high school I went to, many people were on the honor roll and had 4.0s, and many people got scholarships. It was a normal school. Not everybody in my school went to prison, but some people did. You can’t hold everyone accountable for a few people’s actions.

After graduating high school at 17, I attended a state college, but I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared to succeed. I’m smart…I tutored other kids when I was there. I tried my hardest, but I didn’t learn the MLA and APA formats for writing in high school, so didn’t meet their writing standards. I failed academically, and that experience broke me down.

So I applied to learn carpentry at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center, a trade school in Grand Rapids. Afterward, I went to a job fair where I met Charlie from Christman [Company].

Some people look at us [black youth from Muskegon Heights], and they’re scared of us; they fear us. Charlie wasn’t scared. He understood that where I’m from doesn’t make who I am. I told him: ‘I have a good work ethic. I promise I will give you my all, but I just need the opportunity. Give me a chance to show you what type of person I am.’

On the Job

I love working. Christman has different projects in different cities. I work at Mercy Campus [in Muskegon] and on other projects too.

I do everything that has to do with carpentry — all things to do with wood, doors, hardware and frames. I’ve worked on every part of the new [medical center]. I love putting on doors. I get a thrill from it.

My foreman taught me a lot. He took me under his wing and took the time to be patient with me. Everybody has been patient with me.

“The Dominator”

I didn’t give myself that name. Another person gave me the nickname. The only reason it stuck is because my peers liked it. I dominate what I’m doing, not the people I work with. I’ve been working here for so long, that people in other trades call me the dominator too.

Working on a team, I’ve learned so much. You can’t be selfish and work on a team. You also have to trust everyone who works with you. What I love the most about my team is that they have my back. They want to see me grow and succeed. Most of the time I have been helping with assignments, but now I’m beginning to venture off on my own…I’m becoming more independent. I’m working my way up.

My Motivation

My 1-year-old son, Dominic, is my motivation to come to work every day. I wake up at 6 a.m. and kiss him. Then I get ready for work. At 7 a.m. we get our work assignments. Work stops at 3 p.m.

I walk by faith. Everything in my life I leave in God’s hands. There are always going to be barriers. I still have struggles in my life and don’t know what to do, but I try to get over it and put my trust in God. I know that life is going to be hard and that certain stuff will come that is unavoidable — certain problems you can’t change — but I know in my 22 years of living, God has never let me down. God is always listening and is always there for me.

My Future

I’m a person who is not content with keeping things the same. My father taught me that even when I am at my best, I can be better.

I have my first house and first car, but I can see so much more for myself. I believe in myself and hold myself to high expectations. I should never have to settle. I want to keep on working my way up. Five years from now, I want to be in a better position.

Starting in the fall, I will keep working and take night classes at Muskegon Community College. I already signed up. Nobody said life would be easy. I think about my son because I’m really doing all this for him.

I’d like to go back to college and become a project engineer. I want to soak up all the knowledge I possibly can so I can start my own company and help people from my community…people who are fresh out of high school who have no opportunities.

Sometimes kids think they have only one option — to live at home and let other people pay their way. They need to get a job doing what they love. I want to teach them there’s a better way.

*Diverse as defined by the federal government is “people of color and women.”

Retirement Announcement of Liz Murphy, Chief Nursing Officer, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Liz Murphy, chief nursing officer and vice president for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s announces her retirement, effective November 5, 2019.

Elizabeth (Liz) Murphy, BScN, MSBA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer (CNO), announces her retirement. Murphy has been widely recognized as an innovative leader and a tireless advocate of nurses and the nursing profession. Her last day will be November 5, 2019.

Combining her passion for nursing excellence, her dedication to patient care and her business acumen, Murphy has worked diligently for more than 15 years at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s to ensure that nurses have a role in any major hospital decision. From championing the concept of acuity-adaptable rooms in the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center in 2009, to earning the highly sought after NICHE Exemplar accreditation for the staff nurses, Murphy has significantly strengthened and elevated not only the nurses on staff, but also the quality of care throughout the entire organization.

One of the most arduous projects Murphy tackled during her tenure was leading the organization through the journey to Magnet Recognition®, which Saint Mary’s received in May 2013 and received unanimous re-designation in 2018. Magnet Recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the highest and most prestigious distinction a health care organization can receive for nursing excellence and high-quality patient care. Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is currently one of only 13 hospitals in the state to hold this designation.

Within the community, Murphy has served on a number of boards, including but not limited to, Grand Valley State University Kirkoff School of Nursing, American Heart Association of West Michigan, Davenport University School of Nursing, Hill-Rom National Patient Care Executive Advisory and the West Michigan Nursing Advisory Council.

Her recent accolades include receiving the West Michigan Woman 2019 Brilliance Award in the category of Mentorship and the 2017 CNL Visionary Leader Award, one of the highest honors presented by AACN to practice leaders making significant contributions to advancing the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) initiative.

“Liz is responsible for elevating the nursing profession within our health system. Throughout her transformational leadership, nurses look to her as an example of excellence,” said Hyung Kim, MD, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Above all else, Liz connects with patients and this fine-tuned ability allows her to truly be their voice and support them in a way that patients appreciate.”

As a nurse executive, Murphy has cultivated relationships with educational partners to improve nursing curriculum, identify pipelines for new talent and secure development resources for established nurses, designating herself as an impactful, transformational leader, a true advocate for patients and a role model for nurses everywhere.

An internal search is underway for a new CNO for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.



Team Trinity Ready to Ride Across Michigan for Wish Heroes

Rob Casalou will lead a team of more than 50 Mercy Health and Trinity Health colleagues on a 300-mile, three-day bike ride to support Make-A-Wish® Foundation.

More than 55 colleagues will join Trinity Health Michigan President and CEO Rob Casalou and “Team Trinity” for the 32nd annual Wish-A-Mile bike tour through Michigan. Cyclists hailing from St. Joe’s, Mercy Health, System Office and IHA will pedal 300 miles from Traverse City to Eaton Proving Grounds over the course of three days from July 26-28, 2019.

Organized by the Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Michigan, Team Trinity will ride the grueling course to support wishes granted to seriously ill children. In 2019 alone, the team has raised more than $110,000 for this ride, the second highest of all teams riding in the 32nd edition of the Wish-A-Mile.

And this time, Casalou and the team are riding for the 7-year-old daughter of Ashlee Senn, human resource consultant at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. Brynlee Senn has a disease known as “Mito,” when the mitochondria of cells fail to produce energy for organ function. Her younger brother, Braylon, who passed away at four years old, also had the disease.

“I can’t speak enough about how proud I am to work for this organization,” Ashlee said. “They truly care about us as colleagues and especially for the communities we serve.”

An avid cyclist, Casalou first rode the course solo in 2010 when he was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.  Over the years, more colleagues joined him on “Team Joe’s” to raise support and awareness for children with serious illnesses.

As CEO of the Michigan Region, Casalou changed the group’s name in hopes more colleagues join Team Trinity for future Wish-A-Mile events.

“Team Trinity is more representative of the health ministries that together comprise Trinity Health Michigan,” he said. “We are all proud to display our Trinity colors in an event that embraces our mission to serve the most vulnerable people of our communities.”

Brynlee Senn pictured with Jessie from Toy Story.

Brynlee will be waiting at the finish line on Sunday to greet the cyclists and present them with medals for completing the ride. The Make-A- Wish Foundation made Brynlee’s wish come true a few years ago, when they sent her and the family to Disney World to meet Jessie from Toy Story, enjoy the water park and go to McDonald’s.

Ashlee knows firsthand the positive impact Make-A-Wish has on children. She treasures the memories of her son’s wish trip just a few months before he passed.

“Those memories will never go away,” she said. “It’s one of the few times he got to be a kid without doctors and nurses surrounding him. The pictures, videos… We will treasure everything that encompassed that trip.”

Brynlee is “the spunkiest little girl” who is looking forward to starting second grade this fall as a mainstreamed student in elementary school.  Ashlee said she’s excited to be part of the next Wish-A-Mile ride benefitting wish heroes. “To know these riders are willing to take on this long-distance ride to ensure other kids like Brynlee have opportunities… is huge for us.”

PCI Program Earns Accreditation From Corazon

Members of the Heart and Vascular team pose for a photo with their certificate.

Corazon Cites the Multidisciplinary Approach and Collaboration Among Team Members

Corazon, Inc., a national leader in services for the cardiovascular specialty, has granted accreditation to the PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Commonly known by the term primary elective angioplasty, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has performed 900 PCI procedures since April 2016.

Through a rigorous process, the accreditation establishes that the program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has met or exceeded the requirements established by governing bodies. Some requirements include providing 24-hour coverage for PCI emergencies and undergoing detailed quarterly quality reviews to ensure outcomes and practices meet or exceed national standards.

“The accreditation from Corazon validates that Mercy Health provides excellent care for our cardiac patients,” said Ann Dabkowski, BSN, RN-BC, Manager, Heart & Vascular, Mercy Health. “We are especially proud of our collaborative approach with staff from both the Emergency Department and Heart and Vascular department to treat our patients who present with symptoms.”

According to a news release from Corazon, Inc., “Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus has demonstrated through their accreditation survey that they are committed to providing the highest quality level of care to their patient community. Their dedication, hard work, and exceptional leadership has afforded this opportunity in engaging their entire hospital team, enhancing their cardiac service line, thus allowing them to excel through achieving this accreditation.”

In order to learn more about the interventional processes for both cardiac and stroke, Corazon invited a representative from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s to present at its national conference in May 2019. Sarah Simon, CNL, Heart and Vascular, presented about first responders and the Emergency Department staff collaborate to care for patients who present with heart attack or stroke symptoms.

David Baumgartner, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, to Retire

After a very successful 47-year career with Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Dr. David Baumgartner has announced his retirement, effective September 6, 2019.

Baumgartner’s history with Saint Mary’s spans from physician of Infectious Disease to administrative leadership, including as interim president from October 2018-May 2019. He began at Saint Mary’s at the age of 16, working in various departments, from housekeeping to patient care to the hospital’s executive team.

Baumgartner faithfully served for 30 years at Mercy Health Infectious Disease McAuley Program, a community benefit ministry of Mercy Health. The McAuley Program has become one of the nation’s highest-achieving treatment centers for people living with HIV and the largest clinic on the west side of the state, treating more than 1,000 patients annually.

During his tenure in that role, Baumgartner treated many of his young HIV patients through their geriatric years, and pioneered treatment for his patients that eradicated HIV-infected women from passing the virus to their babies.

He retired from that role in 2017 to focus on his administrative role as CMO.

Baumgartner earned his medical degree at Wayne State University and was fellowship-trained in Infectious Disease at University of Michigan.

“Throughout his entire career, Dr. Baumgartner has shown deep passion for the mission of Mercy Health,” said Dr. Hyung Kim, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “He has demonstrated tremendous servant leadership and compassionate care for his patients and colleagues. We wish David and his wife much happiness in retirement.”

A search is underway for his successor. Matt Biersack, MD, who serves as the organization’s chief quality and patient safety officer, has been named interim CMO.

Generosity, Perfection and Love: Celebrating the Life of Sister Mary Maurita Sengelaub

Mary Maurita Sengelaub, RSM, served as administrator of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s from 1957-1961.

Mary Maurita Sengelaub, RSM, former CEO of Saint Mary’s Hospital, now known as Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, passed away peacefully at the age of 101 on July 6, 2019. Throughout her 73 years in religious life, Sr. Maurita worked with the Sisters of Mercy to expand Catholic health care throughout the state of Michigan and beyond, forming the forerunner to today’s hospital systems, according to Modern Healthcare. In 1970, she became the first woman to lead the Catholic Health Association.

Sr. Maurita started her nursing career at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s as a floor supervisor on the orthopedic unit in the 1940s before taking her vows as a Sister of Mercy in 1951. After fulfilling other leadership positions and educational requirements elsewhere, Sr. Maurita was called back to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s to become an administrator “as soon as possible,” arriving in August 1957.

“I came to St. Mary’s knowing I would be faced with many difficulties,” Sr. Maurita wrote in her autobiography, My Life’s Journey in Faith.

Although only at the helm in Grand Rapids from 1957–1961, Sr. Maurita left a lasting impression on the organization, which is still felt today. She accomplished all three of her major goals, which were to:

  • Organize the hospital’s first financial department to ensure fiscal responsibility, which still exists today.
  • Build a new power plant for heating and cooling the hospital’s buildings, which was operational before she left.
  • Provide adequate housing for medical students and students at St. Mary’s School of Nursing. This housing is now known as for Sophia’s House. Also, the new school of nursing was being constructed before she left.

During her tenure, Sr. Maurita also spearheaded major improvements to the clinical pathology department and oversaw the building of a new chapel. In addition, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s focused on improving parking and community relations, and also collaborated with the other local hospitals in Grand Rapids to improve relationships with insurance companies.

After her four years at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Sr. Maurita went on to lead several other health care organizations, including becoming the first female CEO of the Catholic Health Association. She was a trailblazer for the apostolate of women and a lifelong advocate of healthcare for migrant workers.

“Throughout my life, it’s been my faith, my prayer life that has guided me along as a Sister of Mercy and a nurse,” said Sr. Maurita in an interview with The Michigan Catholic. “When I was discerning entering the Sisters’ convent, two angels came to me while I was praying. Three words came to my head: generosity, perfection and love.”

For those accomplishments and for her work facilitating discussion on ethical-care issues, Sengelaub was presented with the Catholic Health Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and was inducted into the Modern Healthcare Health Care Hall of Fame in 2013.



McKayla McDonald Receives May 2019 Friends of Nursing Award

Recipient of the coveted Friends of Nursing Award, McKayla McDonald works as a patient care assistant on the 7th floor of the Mercy Campus. She consistently exemplifies the following qualities, which are the criteria for this award.

  • Accountability
  • Excellence
  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Continuous Learning
  • Respect

An excerpt from her nomination follows:

“McKayla consistently goes above and beyond for her patients and coworkers. She is always available to lend a hand, even when the patient isn’t necessarily assigned to her.

“Today she saw a patient in tears and decided to try to cheer her up by painting the patient’s nails with nail polish she happened to have from home. She sat with and consoled the patient. It made all the difference in the world to this patient.”

Congratulations, McKayla.

Regular Screenings Can Help Catch Skin Cancer Early

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the main cause of skin cancer is being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun?

Warm summer weather often means taking part in more outdoor activities. While it’s important to be more active, when it comes to being out in the sun, be sure to take care of your skin.

As a component of summer safety, Mercy Health would like to encourage you to care for yourself and your loved ones by reminding you of the importance of regular skin screenings.

Your primary care physician (PCP) or other health care professional might advise that you perform routine skin self-exams to check for the development of any unusual changes.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the best time to do this is after a shower or bath. Check your skin in a room with plenty of light and use a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror to learn where your birthmarks, moles, and other marks are as well as their usual look and feel.

If you find anything that looks unusual, such as a sore that won’t heal, a new mole that is different from others or a change in the way one of your moles looks, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor.

Having a PCP who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice.

If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

Mercy Health is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.

Find a Mercy Health provider