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COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

WINNING TRADITION

COACH PHIL DANAHER

DR. SWETHA PANATI WORKING FOR WORKPLACE WELLNESS

REMOVING THE BARRIERS

NURSE NAVIGATORS AT CHRISTUS SPOHN OCT/NOV 2016

FULL CIRCLE WOMEN'S SHELTER OF SOUTH TEXAS

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Kingsville, Texas www.neessenautomotive.com

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Great Selection. Great Prices. Great Service. Now 7 Brands to Choose From

Phil Neessen is proud to announce he has acquired the existing Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Kingsville, Texas. This makes seven franchises under the Neessen Automotive name! Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram. There is no question that the

automotive dealership business runs in the Neessen blood. In 1960 Phil’s father opened a Chevrolet dealership in El Paso and 20 years later Phil started his car business here in the Coastal Bend. Since opening his doors, Phil vowed to treat his customers like neighbors. When you walk in the doors of a Neessen dealership, you receive a warm welcome and a smile. The staff there

works with every customer individually to assure they are providing the best deal on every vehicle. He knows that the customer deserves choices and he can give the best prices by providing a large selection of vehicles. Phil has been growing the Neessen Family of customers for 36 years, proudly serving the Coastal Bend and surrounding areas. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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River City Hospice offers high quality, compassionate care to persons who can no longer benefit from curative treatment. Services are provided by a team of trained professionals that include: physicians, nurses, counselors, social workers, therapists, chaplains, nurse aides and volunteers.

ALICE

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CORPUS CHRISTI

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Things close to my heart: 1. My daughter ’s giggle 2. My grandfather’s record collection 3. My cardiologist right down the road When you list the things you love, home is among

diagnostic care to our state of the art surgical

the things closest to your heart. CHRISTUS is here

suites and nationally accredited chest pain center,

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Spohn Heart Institute, you can rest assured that

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procedures help get you back home quicker.

Visit christusspohn.org/heartinstitute to learn more. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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Cornerstone Home Health Cornerstone Home Health can provide a service or a combination of services in your HOME. Along with your physician and our qualified staff, we plan, coordinate, and provide care tailored to your needs.

Services we offered include: Skilled nursing, Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Worker, and CNA

If you have any questions or want to make a referral, contact our office at 361-727-2131 or Toll free 1-855-328-2131

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AAdi Home Health is a full service home health agency. We provide quality nursing services and outstanding support services. The staff at AAdi Home Health has the experience, dedication and compassion needed to provide care in a home environment without sacrificing quality or safety.

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Compassionate care for your special deliveries. Providing the best for mommy and baby. Sophia Ommani, M.D., FACOG

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Located at Bay Area Hospital 7121 S. Padre Island Drive, Suite 200, Corpus Christi, TX Call for your appointment today 361.993.6000 ext. 7201 Accepting New Patients 6

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Annie J. Castro, LUTCF, CLU® Agent, New York Life Insurance Company 4466 S. Staples Corpus Christi, Texas 78411 (361) 986-1321 ajcastro@ft.newyorklife.com www.anniejcastro.com Registered Representative offering investments through NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/ SIPC), A Licensed Insurance Agency.

Life Insurance. Retirement. Investments. SMRU1614160(Exp.08/07/2016) © 2013 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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Welcome to the SOUTH TEXAS BRAIN AND SPINE CENTER. Our surgeons provide neurosurgical care in many of the major hospitals in Corpus Christi, Texas. Our surgeons and staff provide individual and conservative treatment using the most effective and modern technologies available in the world.

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MEET THE STAFF

COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

Interstate All Battery Center Corpus Christi

OCTOBER.NOVEMBER 2016

PUBLISHER/SALES

Medical supply batteries...We got it!

ADRIAN GARZA EDITOR Allison Alvarado

ART DIRECTOR

ADRIAN GARZA

PUBLISHER/SALES

adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.548.1044

Liv Madison

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND PRODUCTION Holly Duvall

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Brittanie Robertson

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steven Alford Kaitlin Calk Ellissa Cuevas David Hamilton Christina Jaramillo Trista Martinez Joe Perez Dr. Nestor H. Praderio Paul Romans Erin Wilder Dayna Worchel

PHOTOGRAPHY HOLLY DUVALL

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND PRODUCTION holly@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 479.935.0868

www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com

4903 Ambassador Row, Corpus Christi Texas 361.854.5000

For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

InterstateBatteriesCorpus.com

For editorial comments and suggestions, please email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

Store Hours Mon-Fri 7:30am – 6pm Sat 8:30am – 2:30pm Sun Closed Facebook.com/interstatebatteriescorpus Instagram@interstatebatteries_cc

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Edgar de la Garza Raymond Gray Mark Joseph/Dark Lab Photography Mary Ann Mondragon David Olds

7957 Wolverine Corpus Christi, Texas 78414 Phone: 361.548.1044

BRITTANIE ROBERTSON

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE brittanie@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.425.6483

Copyright © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


CONTENTS OCTOBER.NOVEMBER 2016

COVER STORY DR. SWETHA PANATI 

FEATURES

16 Empowering the Community 18 Mission of Healing 20 Why We Walk for Memory

PATIENT

22 Hope and Help

PROFILE

28 COACH PHIL DANAHER

Inspiring and igniting a winning tradition, the head football coach for the Calallen Wildcats maintains a love of the game and a commitment to excellence.

PROFILE

With her focus on excellence and compassion, CHRISTUS Spohn’s new oncology physician is truly a leader for women in the fight against breast and ovarian cancers.

34 NURSE NAVIGATORS

AT CHRISTUS SPOHN

As part of the health system’s Workplace Wellness Program, this new initiative is the first of its kind in the region, helping businesses keep their employees healthy and happy.

HEALTH & WELLNESS 38 All the Difference

EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION 40 Respect and Healing

NONPROFIT

COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: RAYMOND GRAY

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44 Gold Standard 46 New Building, New Future 48 Keeping Tails Wagging

EVENTS

50 Mixing Things Up in the

Coastal Bend - July Mixer

52 Mixing Things Up in the

Coastal Bend - August Mixer

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WE WILL PUT YOU BACK IN THE GAME OF LIFE

TREATMENTS AND PROGRAMS FOR: Musculoskeletal Injuries Pregnancy (Pre/Post Natal Care) Diabetes Fall Prevention Neuropathy Cardiovascular Therapy Osteoarthritis Vertigo (Dizziness) Osteoporosis Athletic Rehab (Sport Specific) Thoracic-Outlet Syndrome Orthotic Evaluation/Fabriation Pre-Op/Post-Operative Therapy

ALL 6 LOCATIONS OFFER CAREFULLY DESIGNED AND SUPERVISED EXERCISE PROGRAMS IN STATE OF THE ART GYMS AND LARGE INDOOR HEATED POOLS:

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CORPUS CHRISTI

2

CALALLEN

3

ALICE

5026 Deepwood Cir. • 361.854.2278 4040 Five Points Rd. • 361.241.7399 1302 E. 5th St. • 361.664.9675

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PORTLAND 114 Lang Rd. • 361.643.8243

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ARANSAS PASS 2150 W. Wheeler Ave. • 361.758.5199

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ROCKPORT 1811 Broadway (a.k.a. Fulton Beach Rd.) 361.729.8777

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FEATURE

EMPOWERING THE COMMUNITY

Smoothie King – Corpus Christi is excited to announce the grand opening of a new area location, which will help the company in its mission to help its communities stay active and healthy. By: JOE PEREZ PHOTO BY: MARK JOSEPH/DARK LAB PHOTOGRAPHY Smoothie King – Corpus Christi also is involved in wellness/fit fairs and our annual SK Fitness Challenge. We strive to help our community become healthy by staying active and providing natural smoothies

OUR SMOOTHIES ARE ALSO GREAT FOR CANCER PATIENTS, DIABETICS AND THOSE WHO HAVE UNDERGONE GASTRIC BYPASS OR THE SLEEVE.

S

moothie King – Corpus Christi is passionate about empowering the community with knowledge on health and wellness. We provide smoothies for individual needs – fit blends, slim blends, wellness blends and blends to simply take a break. We have the right smoothie to fuel unique purposes for individuals from all walks of life, from the very young to the wise. Our smoothies are also great for cancer patients, diabetics and those who have undergone gastric bypass or the sleeve. We focus on overall wellness. With more than 800 stores nationwide, we have become a nationally recognized brand in our community; we lead the nation as the top Smoothie King. Our community has definitely taken note of our efforts to stay healthy by partaking in our annual 5K run/walk and numerous 5K runs we participate in.

WE HAVE THE RIGHT SMOOTHIE TO FUEL UNIQUE PURPOSES FOR INDIVIDUALS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE.

and athlete-friendly supplements and vitamins. Smoothie King – Corpus Christi provides our guests of all levels in different types of sports to engage in their own valuable personal attributes. We have many sponsored and guest role models within Smoothie King – Corpus Christi who have worked extremely hard to showcase what it takes to stay healthy. So at Smoothie King – Corpus Christi, we are excited to open our second location on McArdel Plaza next to Get Air at 5366 McArdle Road, Ste. 100, in Corpus Christi. We anticipate opening on Oct. 2, 2016, at 6 a.m. We look forward to continuing our efforts to make our communty healthy by joining forces with our healthy alternative partners.

For more information, contact Jessica Salinas at jessicasalinas@smoothiekingstx.com or 361-425-4114.

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FEATURE

MISSION OF HEALING

My amazing, transformative journey to help heal the culture of disregard and abuse of children with disabilities in Ghana By: CHRISTINA JARAMILLO

“MY CHILD IS POSSESSED BY A DEMON – A SNAKE.” This is the translation of harsh words from the mothers of disabled children in Ghana, Africa. Tears poured down their faces as they described the challenges of raising children with disabilities in Ghana. Though I was given extensive information on the culture leading up to the mission trip, the harsh reality was almost suffocating. One mother testified that she would beat her disabled child in an effort to free him from the demons or snakes that plagued him. Another spoke of the challenges of trying to care for her 4-year-old son, Ekow, and his younger sibling. Ekow, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is unable to walk or even hold his head up for long periods of time. His mother shared how he is labeled as a “snake” in their community due to the stigma the culture associates with his disability. She went on to describe how she is unable to take both children down from her hilltop home into the village due to her inability to carry both of them and the groceries back up. She explained that her only option is to leave Ekow outside all day in the sun. When she would return home, she would often find Ekow passed out in the dirt from heat exhaustion. When we first arrived in Ghana, we were told not to look at the floor these people live on, but into their hearts. While it is easy for us to judge the actions of these parents based on our own culture and experience, it’s a perspective that was entirely foreign to them. To compound matters, besides the social stigma that these families experience, there is a profound difference in how the medical system works. In Ghana, when you need to see a doctor, payment is expected upfront. This is true regardless of the situation. Emergency rooms are not required to treat patients who can’t afford to pay. The unfortunate reality is that most people we visited were unable to pay for any medical treatment whatsoever. Besides the inherent physical conditions some of these children were born

with, many were malnourished, had no access to antibiotics and were subject to all manner of ailments that are easily treated in America, but can turn into serious issues in this part of the world. Joni and Friends, the faithbased group that organized and led the mission, provided physical therapy sessions and coordinated donations including wheelchairs, braces and other necessary mobile equipment to every child at the retreat. As a nurse, for the past seven years, I’ve helped heal cuts and bruises. Healing the culture of disregard and abuse of children with disabilities was the true challenge here. We were fortunate to have accompanying us a Corpus Christi doctor of physical therapy who was born in Ghana. Dr. Sam Owiredu has been part of this amazing mission for the past six years. His medical expertise and understanding of the culture gave us insight into treating both the physical and cultural difficulties that afflicted the families we visited. During our time in the country, we found that many a Ghanaian’s view of America was one of awe and admiration. They were taken aback by the care and affection we showed the children who they saw as cursed and burdensome. In treating their wounds and teaching them to use the equipment that would help them get around, we connected with these children in a way that inspired their families to listen to the truth: that their

children weren’t full of snakes or demons, but love and hope. In our time there, we could see the transformation. Through our compassion and example, they began to see their children differently. They embraced them where once they shunned them. Kisses replaced curses. Nourishment replaced neglect. The men and women insisted they were going to make changes in their communities – that they would be advocates for their children. They made plans to help other families just like them. In the weeks following our visit, we’ve received regular updates from the families. They have come together in support of one another, and they meet regularly to socialize and create positive change in their communities. They’ve even managed to have a wheelchair ramp installed at a local church. The last update showed the group happy and healthy together at a birthday party for one of the children.

Promptu Immediate Care Locations: 5638 Saratoga Blvd., Ste. 114 Corpus Christi, Texas 78414 361-444-4280 4938 S. Staples St., Ste. E-8 Corpus Christi, Texas 78411 361-452-9620

Christina Jaramillo is a nurse at Promptu Immediate Care in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was inspired by her faith in Jesus Christ to use her medical expertise to help those less fortunate. For more information on how you can help, please visit Promptu Immediate Care online at www.promptucare.com.

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FEATURE

WHY WE WALK FOR MEMORY The Ninth Annual Face to Face Walk for Memory: raising Alzheimer’s awareness and funds for education, resources and respite By: DR. NESTOR H. PRADERIO | Photos by: MARY ANN MONDRAGON

“MY NAME IS MARY LOU CANO. I walk for memory. The disease does not

define me, but it is personal. My mom, Dolores Cano, God rest her soul, died on Dec. 7, 2013, due to complications from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. I walk for the many who can’t. Currently, there is no cure, but I have faith that at the end of the walk, just around the corner, there will be a cure! And I know my mom walks with me. That is why I walk.” Mary Lou Cano was a caregiver for her mother for six years. She is an active participant in the Face to Face Walk for Memory, and she continues to volunteer even after her mother’s passing. Our Face to Face Ninth Annual Walk for Memory is set for Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Heritage Park. Come rain or shine, we will be there. Just ask the many dedicated individuals who walked last year despite the downpour. I was moved at the spirit of solidarity for Alzheimer’s awareness. The rain could not wash away the resolve to raise funds for respite and other support services. Such undaunted determination yielded approximately $10,000 in funds to provide respite care services and community education on a local level. That, my friends, is the single most distinguishing characteristic of the Face to Face Walk for Memory event. All proceeds remain right here in the Coastal Bend to provide viable respite and resource options for local families. The Walk for Memory promotes awareness and education about Alzheimer’s disease and provides respite support (in-home or short-term inpatient care), which allows family caregivers much-needed respite from their “24/7” caregiving. It also facilitates training and resource coordination for family members. Another dedicated walker is Loyce Woods, who has been the primary caregiver for her mother, Roxie, for four years. Woods shared her reason for walking. “I’m an athlete. I have played competitive tennis since I was 14 years old, and now I sometimes compete in senior leagues and tournaments. I know that I need to stay physically active as long as I possibly can, so I carefully budget my time to include stress-busting exercise. “I’m a caregiver. My mother needs my help (time) in taking required daily medications, and she also needs me for getting her to and from social activities that benefit both of us. I look after her personal items and needs, go to doctors’ appointments with

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her and I help her with household chores, which she now finds too difficult and laborious to complete. “My father is a valuable team member in our family dynamic. I find that at times, I need to help him with life issues, as well. As the commitments to my parents increase over time, how can I possibly reconcile these two seemingly diametrically opposed themes: good quality exercise and time-consuming caregiving? Here’s how: “I’m a walker! My time is becoming more limited for competitive tennis, my first love.  But I can always walk.  In fact, I can find absolutely no excuses for not walking when I’m home. As an added bonus, my mother will walk, too, when she feels up to doing it. We walk on Saturday mornings on the Bayfront seawall – not very far, but some walking is better than no walking; a short distance is better than no distance at all.  “The two of us will participate in the Walk for Memory event together until she cannot do it anymore. After that, I will continue to walk – far – for her, for me and for all those who suffer the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And I’ll be calling on all fellow caregivers to join me!”

THE WALK FOR MEMORY PROMOTES AWARENESS AND EDUCATION ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND PROVIDES RESPITE SUPPORT.

Raise awareness and funds for education, resources and respite by participating in the Face to Face Walk for Memory on Nov. 5. Join us for a 2-mile awareness walk featuring a resource fair, refreshments, entertainment, games and activities. Awards will be given to top individual, top team, top corporate team, youngest/oldest walker, best unique outfit, most spirited team and school spirit.

For more information about the upcoming Walk for Memory event or other events from Face to Face, call 361-238-7777, visit our website at www.texasfacetoface. com or follow us on www.facebook.com/texasfacetoface.


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PATIENT

How treatments can change lives for those with bipolar disorder

S

creaming temper fits, wild, reckless behavior and even dark, gloomy moods make for captivating TV drama. But in real life, such behaviors can devastate lives and relationships. People who suffer from a condition known as bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings – manic or high episodes characterized by hyperactivity and irritability, and depressed or low periods dominated by sadness or hopelessness. According to Raul R. Capitaine, M.D., P.A., people with this disorder are often on a path of self-destruction. In worse cases, persons who are not diagnosed and not treated can end up financially ruined, in prison or dead because of risky behaviors or suicide. Fortunately, there is hope. Capitaine, a psychiatrist who treats children, adolescents and adults in Corpus Christi, Alice, Beeville and Victoria, says that bipolar disorder is a condition that responds extremely well to treatment. Treatment most often includes prescribing medication that works with the patient’s unique brain chemistry, plus psychotherapy (talk therapy) or behavioral counseling. The National Institute of Mental Health Institute lists the following general descriptors of manic and depression episodes.

WHEN PATIENTS FOLLOW THEIR TREATMENT PLAN, THE IMPROVEMENT CAN BE DRAMATIC.”

During manic episodes, individuals may: • Feel very “up” or “high” • Feel “jumpy” or “wired” • Have trouble sleeping • Become more active than usual • Talk really fast about a lot of different things • Be agitated, irritable or “touchy” • Feel like their thoughts are going very fast • Think they can do a lot of things at once • Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex During depressive episodes, individuals may: • Feel very “down” or sad • Sleep too much or too little • Feel like they can’t enjoy anything • Feel worried and empty • Have trouble concentrating • Forget things a lot • Eat too much or too little • Feel tired or “slowed down” • Think about death or suicide During a manic episode, relationships with friends, colleagues and family are strained, as the manic person is often highly irritable, getting unreasonably angry and sometimes violent. Yelling at the boss or talking incessantly can lead to being fired, sometimes repeatedly. Impulsive or irrational behavior leads to a lack of trust, which can destroy relationships. Impulsive sexual encounters or impulsive spending can have dire consequences. And during a depressive episode, one might not be able to work or even get out of bed. There is no interest in life and little or no reason to carry on. How can parents know if their teen has bipolar disorder? Isn’t it normal for teens to be moody, impulsive and combative? “Yes, it is,” Capitaine says. “The difference is in the extremity of the moods, behaviors and energy levels. Some things to consider: Is your teen sleeping very little or excessively? Does he or she have temper fits in a variety of environments or only in a specific place like home? Are other people, besides family members, noticing odd behavior

By: ELLISSA CUEVAS

or expressing concerns? Is your teen failing in school or at work? If so, take him or her to a doctor for an evaluation.” While it is interesting to try to diagnose yourself or someone else using online questionnaires, such as Mental Health America’s screening quiz, it takes psychiatrists who are medical doctors with specific training in brain physiology, brain chemistry and mental, emotional and behavioral disorders to make accurate diagnoses. Bipolar disorder can look like other disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA) or various forms of depression. Plus, there are several forms of bipolar disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists the diagnostic criteria for several distinct bipolar disorders. In addition, patients can have more than one condition simultaneously. According to Capitaine, the disorder manifests itself differently in each situation, and patients should be treated as individuals. The person’s internal body chemistry and external stressors need to be considered. Although a specific cause of bipolar disorder has not been determined, some medications have been found to reliably treat the disease. Drugs used to treat the disorder include mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics and antidepressants. “It is so important that patients continue to take their prescribed medication, even when they are feeling fine,” Capitaine says. “Bipolar disorder is episodic; there are periods of highs and lows, but also times of [relative] calm or normalcy. It can be tempting to feel that one is cured and stop taking medication. Unfortunately, there is no cure, and when medication is discontinued, mania and depression return. But when patients follow their treatment plan, the improvement can be dramatic. The good news is that people with bipolar disorder can enjoy life and realize their potential with doctor-supervised treatment.”

Source: the National Institute of Mental Health website For more information, contact Raul R. Capitaine, M.D., P.A., at 361-993-4835.

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AXELBUECKERT/BIGSTOCK.COM

HOPE AND HELP


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COVER STORY

Excellence Compassion and

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System is pleased to welcome DR. SWETHA PANATI, who is ready to fight cancer in the Coastal Bend. By: ALEXIS MAYS Photos by: RAYMOND GRAY

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Coastal Bend women now have a new leader in the fight against breast and ovarian cancers. Dr. Swetha Panati was born in India and attended medical school there, and she is thrilled to now be practicing medicine in the Coastal Bend after falling in love with Texas during her residency at Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Odessa. She has always been focused on fighting cancer, and she went on to receive two oncology fellowships: one in hematology and oncology from Louisiana State University and a second in hospice and palliative medicine from the University of Kansas. She says that helping people in the constantly advancing field of cancer care drew her to the profession. “Hematology and oncology is a rapidly evolving specialty,” Panati said. “I want to integrate the newest advances to provide individualized treatment strategies for the patients to give them the best chance to beat their disease.” This passion for cutting-edge technology and the latest treatments is a reason Panati joined the region’s only nationally accredited cancer program at CHRISTUS Spohn Health System. According to Cancer Center Executive

Director Tom Enright, they are excited to have her join the team. “Dr. Panati’s well-rounded, compassionate care and multidisciplinary approach will help our patients reach the best possible outcomes while maintaining their quality of life,” Enright said. “Our team uses a patient-centered approach to make sure they are treated like family.” Panati is a seamless fit with the mission and values of CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, which includes excellence and compassion. She enhances the already impressive team of cancer physicians while bringing an important focus to the table: a special interest in breast cancer and gynecological malignancies. She says the greatest tool in the battle against cancer is early detection. “I advocate for educating the patients about screenings to catch the cancer at the earliest stage, which gives the best chance for successful treatment,” Panati added. Panati is thrilled that she joined the CHRISTUS Spohn cancer team just as its First Friday Pinks Links initiative began; this is a unique outreach program that is close to her heart. First Friday supports free screening mammograms, and from September to October, they will be selling Pink Links, paper loops in honor of those fighting breast cancers and in memory of loved ones. Every link sold will then be connected in a powerful display at La Palmera mall. “I want to encourage everyone to participate because every dollar collected stays in the Coastal Bend and goes towards providing free mammograms,” Panati said. “I want to help remove the barriers that prevent early detection.” Her fighter spirit, dedication to her patients and compassionate nature has resonated with her new patients in South Texas. When she isn’t at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two young children, who now love living close to the beach. Though the doctor is just getting started on her journey with those she is privileged to serve, she looks forward to a time when cancer is an ailment of the past. “I envision a day,” she said, “when I can tell all my patients that they are completely cancer free.”

Dr. Panati’s compassionate care and multidisciplinary approach help our patients reach the best possible outcomes.”

To learn more about the CHRISTUS Spohn Cancer Program, please visit www.christusspohn.org/cancercenter or call 361-737-0600.

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Help us Build a Refuge for Healing. We are working to end Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking

Master of Ceremonies: State Representative Todd A. Hunter Honorary Chairs: Judges Deeanne & Bobby Galvan

Friday, January 27th at the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center Corpus Christi, Texas 6:30-10pm

Dinner // Live Texas Country Music Silent & Live Auctions Roping Steer // Get Your Boots Shined

Christian Comedian

For Tickets or Sponsorship & Underwriting Opportunities Contact (479) 935-0868 or visit www.newliferefugeministries.org

Mike Williams Corpus Christi’s Texas Country Music Artist

Jake Ward

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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PROFILE

FAITH, FAMILY and

FOOTBALL Committed to excellence: Coach Phil Danaher and the Calallen Wildcats By: PAUL ROMANS Photos by: DAVID OLDS

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As I sit in the office with Jean Brown, the athletic department office manager, waiting for the athletic director/head football coach, Phil Danaher, I feel a certain commitment to excellence – a commitment that has lasted over 30 years. Brown has been here at Calallen for two years longer than Danaher, and she knows well the tradition that is Calallen football: 31 years of consecutive playoff football, which was preceded by 29 years of a playoff drought. Danaher invites me into his office, which is adorned with trophies from the previous years, and pictures of his sons, Cody and Wes, who played at the University of Texas and SMU. In another picture is his daughter, Brittany, who graduated from Texas State University. It is obvious that faith, family and football are priorities to Danaher. He insists that one of the anecdotes for the longevity of their success at Calallen is the time that he, his coaches and his players get to spend with their families. Danaher grew up in Harlingen, Texas. His mother and brothers moved there when Phil was 2 years old after he lost his father in an automobile accident. He never really knew his father. Danaher played football, basketball and baseball and ran track in high school at Harlingen, which was where he met one of his biggest influences, Coach Carl Spoonmore. Spoonmore brought out a passion for sports in Danaher, and Danaher still calls to check on Spoonmore today. Danaher knew he wanted something more for his future. He wanted to be a father and a hus-

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band, but more than that, he wanted his kids to have more than he grew up with. Danaher was recruited by Angelo State University for football and baseball. After he arrived at Angelo State, the baseball program was discontinued, but he continued with his football scholarship. After college, Danaher continue to play baseball in semi-pro leagues throughout Texas until his sons were old enough to play ball. Danaher has maintained a competitive lifestyle throughout his life going from football, to basketball, to tennis and now to ping-pong. As

you age, he says, the playing field gets smaller. So I asked Danaher, “Leadership – where does it come from?” Danaher has always believed it is what you do, how you do it and how dedicated you are to doing it. Those who want to follow will follow. Leadership comes from deep inside each of us. Leadership comes from who we are – from the values that define and shape our actions. You lead by example. It is your loyalty, and what you believe in. You have to make them believe the same thing you are trying to accomplish. That has been Danaher’s philosophy – that and having great assistant coaches. “It’s not that I am the smartest coach; I have surrounded myself with great coaches,” he said. “When you have good coaches, treat them right.” Danaher takes players from one of the smallest ISDs in the region and turns them into successful student athletes. He does this by keeping a good, solid coaching staff around him. He enjoys family time, and so do his coaches. They take great strides to give coaches and players time with their families because that is what is important. He makes time for coaches to participate in the lives of their kids other activities, be it other sporting events or to take off to take their kids to college for orientation. He has had two sons who have played Division I football: Wes for SMU as a running back, and Cody for the University of Texas as a strong safety. Danaher knows what it is like to need family time. He has told his daughter, Brittany, that if there were a scholarship for being beautiful, she would have gotten one, too. Brittany kept the stats, or rather a record of plays for the statisticians, through her high school years. She was right there on the sidelines with dad. When Calallen was going to be moved to another district, Danaher was instrumental in keeping them in the 5A Region IV District 30


based on the high level of academics that Calallen maintains. It was argued that why would you jeopardize academic excellence by making students travel excessive distances for away games? Calallen excels in all aspects of academic measures in the district. Danaher takes immense pride in this. I asked Danaher, “Why did you settle in Calallen? You were at Dilley and Hamshire-Fannett,

Danaher never kept up with statistics or records. One of his friends told him a few years ago that he was approaching Gordon Woods’ coaching record at Brownwood. After surpassing that, he was on target to rival G. A. Moore for all-time winningest coach in Texas. He already holds the record of most playoff victories all-time. Troy Jones, one of Danaher’s former players, remembers the first lopsided loss to Greg-

Danaher coaches to win – not to break records. but why did you stay at Calallen?” He responded, “There are many reasons why we stayed in Calallen. No. 1, we realized early on that this was where we wanted our children to grow up and have an opportunity to establish lifelong friendships. We wanted them to graduate from Calallen rather than uprooting them and moving from school to school. Other reasons include the outstanding and supportive school system, the community, good friends and a church family.”

ory-Portland when Calallen lost 69 to 0 his first year at Calallen. The next year, they had to do 69 push-ups at every practice to remind them of the loss and what they needed to do be better prepared for the next playoff run. Danaher took total responsibility for the loss. He was determined to build a better future, more prepared for the playoffs and more prepared for life. Complacency seems to be one of their biggest enemies or toughest hurdles. The system beI N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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comes expectant on the playoffs. Sometimes it is hard to motivate players for what it takes to continue to be mentally and physically prepared for greatness every year. Our players were not even born when we made the first playoff appearance. They have grown up with not knowing what it means not to make the playoffs. The season before last, Calallen had to win their last game of the regular season to make the playoffs. After the last practice, the week of the

If Coach Danaher told me to run through a brick wall, I would do it because I know that brick wall would be gone by the time I got there.

game, Danaher felt he had to motivate them and make them realize the importance of the game. Thirty years of playoff tradition was hinging on a victory in that game. Calallen won and continued the tradition of 30 consecutive playoff appearances. Even though they made the playoffs, Danaher had to remind them that just making the playoffs didn’t qualify the team to have a trophy in the Trophy Room. Only champions get the privilege to have their team picture and trophy place in there. They don’t give trophies for just making the playoffs. You have to win a playoff game to be rewarded with a place in the Trophy Room. Needless to say, they won the bi-district championship 54 to 14.

The last day of school at the end of that year, Danaher sat the team down and reminded them of how quickly time passes. He used props to illustrate the years and delivered a motivational presentation that was designed to ensure that the athletes used their summer wisely in a way that would prepare them for success. He reiterated that it’s not just about a season; it is a lifetime of memories. The next year, they made the state quarterfinals and lost to the eventual state champion Cedar Park. In 2005, Calallen lost in the state championship game to Lewisville Hebron. Hebron has an enrollment of 3,200-plus at their high school; Calallen has less than 1,200. The fact that Calallen was able to give them a good game is a testament to Danaher’s ability to build relationships with his athletes and to get them to perform far beyond what anyone expected. Players have said, “If Coach Danaher told me to run through a brick wall, I would do it because I know that brick wall would be gone by the time I got there.” Danaher says he hasn’t won a state championship yet. I believe God wants to keep him humble and keep trying. Danaher does not coach for the record. He loves the game, and he loves being around the kids. That is what motivates him. He doesn’t feel any pressure to break the record. He does have former players and friends from Dilley and Hamshire who are going to be at the record-breaking game whenever that day comes. He coaches to win – not break records. “I’ve been asked many times if I am thinking about retiring if and when I break the record,” Danaher said. “To be honest, I really don’t plan that far ahead. I love what I do; I am a competitor. The thought of sitting around without a routine does not appeal to me in the least. I have to compete. Whether it involves creating a winning game plan for football, then executing or playing golf, or simply playing a competitive game on my iPad, I have to be doing something competitive.” When asked about the recent media uproar about praying at football games and what kind of influence religion had in his athletic program, Danaher said, “Every home game we have a devotional, it’s non-denominational. Either the coaches or one of the youth directors in the area preside over it.” Danaher continued, “What I consider our biggest accomplishment is Still Water Christian Camp. Still Water Christian Camp is for underprivileged kids that get donations from the public. The young man who started it, Matt Moehrig, is a former football player from Calallen. He started out as a football coach, but found his true calling at the camp ministering to youth at the Still Water Christ-centered sports camp.” Danaher’s sons help out at the camp as guest counselors. The camp is located outside of Fredericksburg, but they have facilities in Blanco, Leakey and Pagosa, Colo.

For more information, visit Still Water Camps online at www.stillwatersportscamp.com/main/index.php.

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• DEPRESSION

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I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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PROFILE

The CHRISTUS Spohn Health Network’s Workplace Wellness Program helps create a more health-conscious workforce with its new nurse navigator initiative.

By: Steven Alford

Johanna Mettlach, MSN, R.N., is part of the CHRISTUS Spohn Health Network nurse navigator initiative, a new initiative to help regional businesses improve the health of their employees.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRISTUS SPOHN

HEALTHY AND HAPPY


ONE OF THE BEST INVESTMENTS A COMPANY CAN MAKE IS IN THE HEALTH OF ITS EMPLOYEES. IT’S BEEN SHOWN THAT A HEALTHY WORKFORCE IS ALSO A HAPPIER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE ONE. MANAGING THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS OF EACH ASSOCIATE AT A COMPANY IS A FULLTIME JOB, WHICH IS WHY THE CHRISTUS SPOHN HEALTH NETWORK HAS LAUNCHED THE NEW NURSE NAVIGATOR INITIATIVE AS PART OF THEIR WORKPLACE WELLNESS PROGRAM. A nurse navigator is a registered nurse who works one-on-one with each employee to manage chronic diseases, improve diet and fitness and navigate the health care system. This unique program is the first of its kind in the region. Their passion is helping businesses monitor and manage the health of their workforce. “People are very busy and often put their health last,” says Susanne Wood, workplace wellness coordinator at CHRISTUS Spohn. “By bringing health and wellness to the workplace, it gives people the chance to do the things that they put off. The importance of health at work also affirms that a business values its employees.” Among the many services a nurse navigator provides are health education, monitoring blood pressure and blood sugar levels, organizing disease management programs, weight management counseling and smoking cessation, just to name a few. The nurse also helps employees navigate the health care system, from connecting them with primary care physicians to referring them to specialists. Johanna Mettlach, MSN, R.N., is a CHRISTUS Spohn Health Network nurse navigator who works with employees at Turner Industries. She explains how this program is beneficial not only to employees, but for employers, too: “A lot of money is spent every year on health issues. There is direct and indirect loss to businesses due to illness and disease. We are trying to avoid that loss by preventing and/or managing diseases like diabetes. We are working for the employees and the employers at the same time.” The work of the nurse navigator doesn’t end at 5 p.m. or stop outside the walls of the business. Mettlach recently organized an after-work shopping trip at a local grocery store with many associates from Turner Industries to help them make better food selections and plan healthier meals. She has already seen an impact of the program on many lives. “I recently worked with an associate who is in his 50s, who was found to have high blood pressures and elevated blood sugars, yet had not been to a doctor since he was a teenager,” she said. Mettlach immediately was able to refer him to a primary care physician within the CHRISTUS Network and arrange an appointment for him to be seen right away. Edward Vargas, director of business development for CHRISTUS Spohn Health Network, is thrilled by the success of the program. “This program is aimed to help create a more health-conscious workforce. We want to help every person navigate the health care system so they can get the care they need. This investment also comes back tenfold to the business by reducing their medical expenses of health plans and reducing paid sick time.”

WE WANT TO HELP ALL PEOPLE NAVIGATE THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM SO THEY CAN GET THE CARE THEY NEED.”

 Nurse Johanna Mettlach works with area employees to manage their health and navigate the health care system, part of the new nurse navigator initiative from CHRISTUS Spohn Health Network.

Interested in a nurse navigator for your business? Call the CHRISTUS Spohn Health Network at 361-881-3945. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

ALL THE DIFFERENCE Muscle Maker Grill offers some simple tips for leading a healthier lifestyle year-round. By: DAVID HAMILTON

with healthy and fast digestion is to drink water 30 minutes before or after eating, not during a meal. Limit the consumption of processed foods and alcohol as much as possible. Instead, opt for natural foods, light beers and organic wines. If you are drinking liquor, pair it with club soda. It’s important to snack throughout the day, but with smart choices. Clean foods like nuts and fruits are ideal to provide fiber and natural sugars to keep the body full and energized. Grill proteins and vegetables – never fry them. When food is fried, it absorbs a lot of fat, which makes it more difficult to digest versus grilled foods. Pairing your proteins with great seasonings is key to flavor; however, try to avoid salt and heavy fats. Always incorporate many colors in your food selection, like brown rice, tomatoes and black olives, to bring out the vitamins and essential nutrients to promote good health and lower disease risk. Lead an active lifestyle without a gym membership. Simple ways to incorporate more activity include parking farther away from your destination and opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Body weight exercises at home are also a tried-and-true method to keep the body strong. Exercises like push-ups, lunges, squats, calf raises and even arm circles are simple and effective ways to improve balance, flexibility and strength. By incorporating these and similar tips in your daily routine, you can positively impact your overall health and well-being.

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ieting and exercising regularly can seem like a daunting task. Throughout the year, something always seems to get in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, from holidays and vacations to busy work schedules. However, the right help can make all the difference. Muscle Maker Grill, a fast-casual restaurant offering guests healthy versions of mainstream-favorite dishes in Corpus Christi, understands that staying healthy is an important task that shouldn’t be pushed aside, and offers these tips to help lead a healthy lifestyle year-round. Walk one to two miles in the morning prior to work or daily activities to make you more alert and help get your metabolism going. To keep it fresh and interesting, vary your route or listen

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to music along the way. If you don’t know the distance of your route, calculate the distance by driving the route with your car. Eat carbohydrates in the morning so your body can burn them off throughout the day. It will also provide energy everyone needs to survive the day, which is also why skipping meals is not recommended. Instead, have four or five small meals throughout the day to avoid overeating during meals. Never eat right before going to bed. The body requires activity in order to properly digest food, which is necessary so our bodies can absorb the nutrients in what is eaten while rejecting those that should be discarded. Incorporating green leafy vegetables or a salad with every meal also helps with digestion. Another good trick to help

For more information, visit Muscle Maker Grill online at www.musclemakergrill.com or in person at 7426 S. Staples, Ste. 2, in Corpus Christi. You may also call 361-992-9696.

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EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION

RESPECT AND HEALING

Coming full circle: The Women’s Shelter of South Texas advocates for all of those who are affected by domestic abuse. By: DAYNA WORCHEL | Photos by: DAVID OLDS and MARK JOSEPH/DARK LAB PHOTOGRAPHY

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anielle was desperate to escape her abusive husband. She knew her life and the lives of her children depended on it after she “stared death in the face.” “I knew it was time for me to love myself enough to make a change. I needed to burn bridges and create a distance,” she said, adding that she chose Corpus Christi because of its proximity to the ocean and its tropical weather. So she drove across numerous states and through two storms with her children, some suitcases and a very strong determination to build a safe and secure life for all of them. The Women’s Shelter of South Texas made arrangements to transport Danielle and her children from the Cor-

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THE WOMEN’S SHELTER OF SOUTH TEXAS SAVED MY LIFE.”

pus Christi International Airport. Once she and her family arrived at the shelter in the South Texas area, they were given food and a safe place to stay with fresh linen on the beds and the resources they would need to start again. “I needed an open door. Anyone does when they are in that situation,” Danielle said. “I came on a week day, so I got transportation passes and got my kids enrolled in school.” The shelter provided counseling for Danielle and her children, and through that process, Danielle said she was able to begin healing and to find some peace. And it gave her a way to begin a new life. “They saved my life. I couldn’t go back. I had to go where nobody knew me,” Dan-


ielle said of her journey to Corpus Christi. The residential shelter offers a full spectrum of services for both male and female survivors who are fleeing the abuse of an intimate partner, according to Sammie Ramón, stewardship coordinator. These include counseling for survivors and their children, ages 5 and up, and food and safe shelter for as long as the survivor needs it. The shelter, which serves a 12-county area in South Texas, has outreach offices in Al-

ice, Beeville, Kingsville and Sinton, and one residential shelter and an outreach office in Nueces County. It serves Aransas, Bee, Duval, Jim Wells, Live Oak, Refugio, San Patricio, Nueces, Brooks, Kleberg, Kenedy and McMullen Counties. “We have advocates based out of each office, there to assist the 12-county region we serve,” Ramón said. “There is case management to see which services the survivor needs to rebuild his or

SOME DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATISTICS:  One in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.  An abused woman will leave her partner an average of seven times before she leaves for good.  In 2014, one in three women and one in four men in the United States experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.  The average shelter stay lasted just over 31 days.  On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls, an average of close to 15 calls every minute.  Seventy-five percent of Texas 16to 24-year-olds either have experienced dating violence or know another young person who has. (Sources: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Women’s Shelter of South Texas)

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her life, and we work with community partners for job placement,” added Julie Burnett, counseling services director at the shelter. “We also have a legal advocate.” The criminal justice advocate is not an attorney, but she does have a criminal justice background. She can help guide the clients if they need a protective order or are having issues with child custody, and she can get a volunteer to go to court with them if necessary to guide them through the process, Burnett said. “It’s a little daunting if you have never gone through the process in a courtroom, maybe facing the perpetrator for the first time since the abuse,” Ramón said. “The advocate can guide the client through the process.” It is not only the survivors of abuse who benefit, but the batterers, as well. There are special classes for males, which they attend on court order, known as the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program. There are also classes called Turning Points for female abusers and another group known as Yield, which is for male and female abusers who wear ankle monitors and hope to get them removed early as a part of the pretrial process. “We try to come full circle and help everyone involved,” Ramón said. Linda Marie Rodriguez and Brian Keith Permenter are counselors who teach parenting classes approved by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in Corpus Christi and Aransas Pass, respectively. Rodriguez works at the residential shelter and helps evaluate the women and children when they arrive in crisis mode. “I do an evaluation of what type of support they have at home in case they do decide to go back,” Rodriguez said. “I mention to them that we are a 24-hour emergency shelter. Sometimes they just need a day or two to clear their heads.” The reality is that clients return to the abusers an average of seven times before they leave, Ramón said. And there is no typical look or education or socio-economic circumstance for an abuser or for the abused. “If it were that easy to walk away from a situation like that, I assure you that someone would have figured it out,” she said, adding that there are so many different levels of abuse, and there is so much conditioning of abuse survivors that happens over time. “All of the cases will be a little different,” Ramón said, “but the common thread is domestic violence.” Permenter has counseled abuse survivors who are educated and can easily obtain a job anywhere in the country. But the situation changes once the violence begins and the abuse survivor needs help to escape because he or she is separated from family and friends, he said. “The abuser has his network. The victim is brought down here with no family, no resources, and her family may be six or seven hours away.

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She is being watched. His family says to forgive him. It doesn’t matter how educated she is,” Permenter said. Those who abuse also come from all economic and education levels, said Carolina Kolpack, BIPP coordinator for the shelter. Kolpack counsels male batterers at the shelter’s administrative offices in both Spanish- and English-speaking groups. They must attend for the full 24-week period to receive a completion letter for the court, and they must pay a fee, on a sliding scale, for each session as part of their accountability, according to Kolpack. “We use current events and movies during our discussions, which allow us to know their mindset,” she said. “Their peers in the group will talk to them. We tell them there is a difference between respect and fear. We focus on respect.” Very often, the men don’t realize the way they are treating their partners is abuse. The men in the BIPP groups learn tools for changing their behavior using the Duluth Model, which is a method of holding batterers accountable and keeping the victims safe, Kolpack said. “We challenge their beliefs,” Kolpack said. “They will say things like, ‘I didn’t know when I don’t tell my partner how much money I make that is financial abuse. I didn’t know that I can’t touch my wife’s breasts whenever I want and that is considered sexual abuse.’” They think physical abuse is only slapping or touching, according to Kolpack. There have been some positive outcomes in the BIPP groups. Kolpack said one man who was struggling with a drinking problem came to her at the conclusion of the 24 classes a few months ago with tears in his eyes. “He said he is sober. He said he used to wake up in the morning and wonder where everyone went. He couldn’t remember what he had done the night before. He said coming (to the BIPP group) had saved his life and his marriage,” Kolpack said. Danielle is still hopeful about her future, even though her plans took a detour recently. She had to leave her new home with her children and quit her new job because her abuser tracked her to Corpus Christi. But she was able to return to the home after spending a few days back at the shelter, where staff helped her devise a safety plan of escape, should he return. She wants to be an advocate for domestic violence survivors as someone who has walked through it. “I am keeping the dream going while healing myself,” she said. No appointment is needed for face-to-face crisis intervention and advocacy services. Please call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-580-4878 or 361-881-8888. Note: The name of the abuse survivor has been changed, along with other identifying details to protect her identity. The facts of the story are accurate.


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NONPROFIT

GOLD STANDARD

The members of the American Heart Association’s Corpus Christi board of directors are honored for their dedication to transforming heart health in the Coastal Bend. By: ERIN WILDER

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The Corpus Christi board of directors is as follows:

THE CORPUS CHRISTI BOARD IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON PROTECTING AND EXPANDING PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS.

 Board Chairman Larry Elizondo Sr., CITGO  Board President David Saldana, M.D., Radiology & Imaging of South Texas  Victor Aguirre, Valero  Steve Arnold, Corpus Christi Caller-Times  Rafael Berio-Muniz, M.D., Coastal Cardiology Association  Hugo Berlanga, Berlanga Business Consultants  Morgan Campbell III, M.D., Corpus Christi Neurology  Regina Garcia, H-E-B  Dr. Mary Jane Garza, NAS Corpus Christi  Gabe Guerra, Kleberg Bank  Dr. Roland Hernandez, Corpus Christi Independent School District  John LaRue, Port of Corpus Christi  Michele Mora-Trevino, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System  Nicholas Nilest, Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital  Sudhakar Papineni, M.D., Corpus Christi Hospitalists PLLC  Julio Reyes, AEP Texas  Carol Scott, Kailo Communications Studio  Salim Surani, M.D.  Iain Vasey, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation  Tammy Weaver, Driscoll Children’s Hospital  Jay Woodall, Corpus Christi Medical Center The award is shared with the following former board members:  Past Board President John Liu, M.D., Radiology & Imaging  Polly Harris, Polly Harris Insurance Agency  Paulette Kluge, Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau  Darcy Schroeder, Valero

If you would like to learn more about how the American Heart Association is taking on the challenges of transforming the health of the nation, visit www.heart.org.

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AZURE_1/BIGSTOCK.COM

hat does it take to turn a ship around? It seems we’re inundated daily with the bad news about our country’s declining health situation – more children are obese, more adults are inactive, too many people still smoke and heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of Americans across all ethnicities. But working behind the scenes to slowly, but surely steer us into a brighter, healthier future are an army of volunteers for the American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization in the United States. This summer, the members of the Corpus Christi board of directors for the American Heart Association were honored for their outstanding work in transforming the heart health of Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend region. The board of directors – which draws from a diverse and inclusive volunteer base of medical professionals, business leaders and philanthropists – was honored for their contributions in the Coastal Bend region toward the American Heart Association’s ambitious 2020 Impact Goal. The 2020 Impact Goal aims to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. For its work, the board of directors was recognized at a Silver Level in the association’s nationwide Gold Standard Board program, where just under 100 cities across the country were honored. It takes dedicated, consistent hard work toward a singular mission to turn a ship around and transform the health of a region and a country. And it takes great dedication and a giving heart to achieve an award like this. Over the last year, the board met a high number of criteria, including engaging local companies and community groups to participate in health initiatives such as CPR training, nutrition education, high blood pressure management and walking or corporate fitness programs. Nationwide, boards may focus on increasing access to safe places for children to be active and ensuring access to nutritious food and beverage choices in each community – criteria that have been shown by research to have positive impacts on population health. Our local board is currently working on protecting and expanding physical education in schools.


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NONPROFIT

NEW BUILDING, NEW FUTURE

Thanks to generous funding from the Charity League of Corpus Christi and H-E-B’s Tournament of Champions, CASA of the Coastal Bend is finally giving foster children a room of their own. By: TRISTA MARTINEZ

N

ot many people understand exactly what CASA of the Coastal Bend does in the community. And that’s OK, as it takes some time even for staff members to fully understand all of the moving parts that make CASA the influential organization that it is. To start, an abridged description of CASA from its beginnings in Corpus Christi to its current goings-on is appropriate. Back in December 1991, the Junior League of Corpus Christi established CASA of Nueces County. By May 1992, CASA volunteers took their first cases. In June 2000, CASA of Nueces County became CASA of the Coastal Bend by serving children in Nueces, Aransas and San Patricio Counties. As CASA expanded its volunteer and staff teams, each office was filled to capacity – leaving two staff members working without an office. It was at this point that the property at 2602 Prescott was purchased; this was an exciting milestone, and the location is still CASA’s home today. This property contained two buildings. Renovation started by constructing 10 office spaces and a 500-square-foot conference room within the larger building. With room for further growth and an onsite training facility, leadership staff and CASA’s board of directors devised an exciting plan to renovate the second building on the property. Shell Olympus helped in the form of a grant and volunteer labor. CASA staff and Shell employees gutted the building – a huge undertaking on everyone’s part. Shell Olympus’ grant provided funds for demolition of one-third of the building and the structural buildout of the remaining portion. This made for quite an awesome opportunity to continue the organization’s mission for CASA volunteers to advocate for foster children in court and help them find loving, permanent homes. But back to the second building facelift: Demolition was completed in 2013, and the building was ready for renovation. It wasn’t until 2015 that the Charity League of Corpus Christi and H-E-B’s Tournament of Champions provided CASA a grant and generous funding. This allowed CASA to not just renovate the second building, but also create the kids’ room that was always just a dream. Now complete, the second building houses seven offices solely for CASA’s program team who support CASA’s volunteers and casework. The long-awaited kids’ room is not to be forgotten – because it is, after all, the best part of the building. Let’s talk about why. Often, CASA volunteers find themselves in more McDonalds,’ Peter Piper Pizzas and bookstores than they’d like to admit, trying to talk to their CASA “kiddos” about their foster home, medical issues, school or overall feelings. This hasn’t always been easy, given the circumstances foster children are living. Court hearings are inevitable, with judgements made concerning where the children should go and what’s happening with

THE KIDS’ ROOM PROVIDES ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING CASA’S FOSTER CHILDREN NEED TO FEEL COMFORTABLE.

parents and sometimes siblings. Typically, you see CASA volunteers in the hallways of the bustling courthouse, explaining to their foster child or children what just happened in the courtroom and why. These are scenarios CASA wishes to avoid. One-on-one conversations are expected to be had in privacy, with 100 percent full attention on the foster children. How are CASA volunteers supposed to do their job correctly and give foster children the hope and understanding they deserve? How will they be able to hug the children with the sound of arcade games or other children around them? This is where the kids’ room comes into play – both figuratively and literally. And so much is going on in that kids’ room, it’s great. There’s custom shelving, appliances, game consoles, furniture, books, interactive learning tools – just name it. This is a room that will both have a comforting effect and allow foster children to just be children – anything and everything CASA’s foster children need to feel comfortable. No more McDonalds,’ Peter Piper Pizzas and bookstores. Not that these aren’t great places – Peter Piper’s pizza is pretty tasty, and everyone loves a whipped cream-topped Frappuccino from a bookstore. But with so much community support and consideration for what goes on, CASA’s dreams are finally coming true. Because of that, CASA can continue to make foster children’s dreams come true.

For more information on CASA of the Coastal Bend, visit www.coastalbendcasa.org.

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National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon

®

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 11:30am to 1pm Solomon P. Ortiz Center, 402 Harbor Drive Honoring

William “Dusty” R. Durrill

Andy Crocker

Legacy Award

Outstanding Philanthropist

Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation

PR E SE N T E D B Y

Mary McQueen

Sam E. Susser

Outstanding Fundraising Professional

Outstanding Philanthropic Youth

Outstanding Philanthropic Organization

Tickets are $50 and tables of eight start at $500. Reserve your seats now at afpcoastalbend.afpnet.org. For more information, call 361-960-9677 or email afpcoastalbend@gmail.com. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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NONPROFIT

Bonita, a long-term resident of GCHS, playing in one of the runs before renovation.

KEEPING TAILS WAGGING The Coastal Bend Community Foundation funds an exciting new project to help the homeless dogs of the Gulf Coast Humane Society. By: KAITLIN CALK

hundreds of dogs and cats under our roof healthy is wonderful, they are pretty basic. Grass, dirt, and happy while they are waiting to be adopted a tub of water and the occasional tennis ball is into a loving forever home. When it comes to our about as exciting as the runs get – and frankfurry friends, some may think healthy and haply, that’s just not very exciting. With a lack of py go hand-in-hand – if an animal is physically excitement comes unwanted behaviors such as healthy, that animal is happy. digging, fence fighting, incessant barking and However, a bit more than a clean bill of health chewing – all signs of distress in dogs. is needed to be happy. With an inNot only do these unwanted behouse veterinary clinic and a group of haviors signify that a dog is not hapTHIS RENOVATED py, they also deter potential adopters wonderful fosters, the physical health RUN WILL aspect is simple enough to maintain. from making these dogs a part of their ENABLE OUR Maintaining happiness in animals, esfamily. Even worse, these behaviors DOGS TO HAVE pecially those in a shelter environment, can lead to an animal being returned to MORE FUN WHILE GCHS if they are discovered after the is a bit more complicated. THEY WAIT FOR Mental stimulation like walks, animal has already been adopted. THEIR FOREVER playtime at the park, enrichment Fortunately, we recently received HOMES. treats and daily “run” times play a a $5,000 grant from the Coastal Bend large role in keeping our dogs’ tails Community Foundation to renovate wagging. The runs are large, fenced-off areas in one of our runs! The Coastal Bend Community which our dogs get to run around off-leash evFoundation was incorporated in 1981 with the ery day. While the runs provide a sense of freemission of enhancing and improving the quality dom and let the dogs soak up some sun, which of life in the seven counties of the Coastal Bend.

The foundation serves donors by providing a vehicle for the establishment of various types of charitable funds designed to fulfill their wishes. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed more than $93 million from donor contributions and revenues to scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations. With this generous grant, we plan to enhance one of the runs with agility equipment like an A-frame ramp, large rope toys and balls and even a child’s outdoor playset for the dogs to climb on! All of the dogs at GCHS will take turns playing in this run, and we are so excited to see them explore and interact with these items. We are confident that this renovated run will enable our dogs to have more fun while they wait for their forever homes. This will lead to happier dogs, and happy dogs are adopted more quickly. We are extremely grateful to the Coastal Bend Community Foundation for providing their support, and we look forward to sharing our progress in this project with everyone.

The Gulf Coast Humane Society is a nonprofit animal shelter located at 3118 Cabaniss Parkway in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, call 361-225-0845.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GCHS

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE DO HERE AT THE GULF COAST HUMANE SOCIETY (GCHS) IS KEEP THE


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EVENTS

Mixing Things Up in the Coastal Bend Networking with Inspire Photos by: EDGAR DE LA GARZA

July mixer

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EVENTS

Mixing Things Up in the Coastal Bend Networking with Inspire Photos by: EDGAR DE LA GARZA

August mixer

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24 Hour Skilled Nursing Care | Peritoneal Dialysis | Short-Term Rehabilitation Long-Term Care | IV Therapy & Trachs | Advanced Wound Care | Hospice & Respite Care Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy | PICC Line & In-House X-Ray Services

Compassion & Excellence

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361.992.0360 Hours: Mon-Fri: 6am-3:30pm, Sat: 6am-4pm, Sun: 6am-3pm

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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