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ke e p au s ti n w e l l Your Guide to Living Well Every Day

104,141 Texans are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer in 2010.

Keep Austin Well Cosmetic and Holistic Dentistry

81 Research Leads To Advancements


In The Fight Against Cancer 82 TCMS Physician Profile: Thomas B. Coopwood, MD, FACS 84 When A Salad Can Be Bad For Your Health 87 Saving Money And Lives:

Comprehensive care with a personal touch...

Five Years Of Progress At Central Health

• General and Cosmetic Dentistry • Limited Root Canal Treatment editor Stephanie Triggs, Director, Community and Government Relations contributing writers Thomas B. Coopwood, MD, FACS, Beth Hellerstedt, MD, Stanley Wang, MD Art Director Daniel Ramirez Advertising Kristen Donner contact us

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about TCMS The Travis County Medical Society is a component society of the Texas Medical Association, a statewide professional organization of licensed physicians. Its more than 3,100 members include approximately ninety percent of all practicing physicians in the Greater Austin area. In addition to activities promoting high standards of medical practice, the Society provides representation and advocacy for patients and physicians at all levels of government and medicine.


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To them, New research =


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ccording to the Texas Cancer Registry, in 2010 an estimated 104,141 Texans will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 37,000 people will die from the disease. Recent reports suggest that the number of patients developing cancer has declined, and the number of patients who are cured of their cancer is increasing. This positive change is due to prevention, early detection and new treatments developed in clinical trials. Many people think that clinical trials (or research studies) occur only in large institutions. Cancer patients in the Austin area have access to the most promising therapies without leaving the city. Research taking place locally is making a difference in the future of cancer care, and ensures that more patients have a chance to participate. Currently, only 3 percent of adults with a cancer diagnosis participate in clinical trials, which slows the development of new therapies. Through participation in clinical trials, patients can help physicians identify and develop new treatment options. In addition, clinical trials provide patients the first opportunity to benefit from the most promising drugs, while always receiving the current standard treatment. Participating patients are volunteers who not only expand their own treatment options, but ultimately provide a tremendous service to other patients and physicians in the search for better treatment. Since 1999, Texas Oncology in Austin has participated in more than 200 research studies. Currently, our patients are part of 35 studies exploring treatments for all types of cancer and blood diseases and cancer prevention by identifying high risk patients. The practice plans to embark on 10-15 additional clinical trials in the coming year. Texas Oncology is a member of Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas’ (CPRIT) Clinical Trials Network (CTNeT), which will establish a research platform where trials from community and academic institutions can be accessed across the state. By their nature, clinical trials have a specific set of parameters, and patients must meet those parameters to qualify. There are many reasons why patients choose to make a difference

by participating in a research study. Some seek a longer or better quality of life. Others find that current treatments are not ideal for their particular cancer and request to be among the first to participate in a research study. Others participate to feel that they are part of the solution for future patients. Participating in a clinical trial is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a physician to discuss the associated benefits and risks. Clinical trials allow patients to be actively involved in their healthcare; to gain early access to new treatments and expert medical care, since investigators are often specialists in the disease area being studied; and to help others by contributing to medical research. Advances in Treatment Options A cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering, daunting experience. It doesn’t have to be a helpless, hopeless moment. With innovations in cancer treatment and promising new research developments, many more patients are cured of their disease. The search for new, more effective treatment options is a primary concern for oncologists who strive to identify new treatments to improve cancer care. For example, our researchers are involved in an exciting and distinctly different way to fight metastatic triple negative cancer, a resistant type of breast cancer. Drugs called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, or PARP inhibitors, disrupt a cancer cell’s ability to repair itself and reproduce by producing a chemical called PARP. As the PARP chemical is disrupted, cancer cells remain damaged and die, limiting the spread and ultimately killing the cancer. The new treatment greatly reduced tumor size in a significant number of patients. Research breakthroughs like these give patients more victories in their fight against cancer. Beth Hellerstedt, MD is a medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central. 81

Thomas B. Coopwood MD, FACS “It is our duty as physicians, individually and collectively, to continue to work for the welfare of our patients, both sick and well, and prevent the erosion of quality compassionate care.”


homas B. Coopwood, MD, FACS is a retired surgeon with a distinguished career spanning more than thirty years. Dr. Coopwood graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and then from Baylor Medical School in Houston. He served as chief resident under Michael DeBakey, MD during his residency training in Houston. Dr. Coopwood served as Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff at Brackenridge Hospital (now known as the University Medical Center Brackenridge), and Chief of Surgery at St. David’s Hospital. In 1995, he served as President of the Travis County Medical Society (TCMS) and was honored as Physician of the Year by Brackenridge Hospital in 1988 and by TCMS in 2004.


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Since retiring, he hasn’t slowed down and is still busy serving the Austin Community. He was appointed to the Central Health (formerly the Travis County Healthcare District) Board in 2004; he is now in his second term and serving as Chairperson of the Board of Managers.he coordinates the multi-discipline sports health services for over 600 University of Texas student athletes and serves as medical director of the training room clinics, supervising UT team physicians and trainers. Describe your practice and your philosophy of medicine. I was a general and trauma surgeon in Austin for 33 years before retiring in 2003. My philosophy of medicine is always doing what is best for the patient. Be available. Be compassionate. Work hard. Why did you become a physician? My grandfather and father were both physicians and after my father was killed in WWII, my vocation and life’s work was set. How or why did you choose your specialty? I worked as a Junior Medical Student with E. Stanley Crawford, MD at Baylor. His talent, demeanor and caring turned me from family practice to surgery. What did you find most rewarding about practicing medicine? Making sick people well – with or without surgery. What did you find most challenging about practicing medicine? Not always being able to help the patient to recover. Please describe your relationship with your patients. I felt that I had a good rapport for the most part and felt my patients knew I had their best interest at heart. What set your practice apart? What special or unique services did you provide? Availability, hard work and compassion. Describe your commitment to, and involvement in, the community. Since August 2004, I have served on the Board of Managers for Central Health. Our mission is to provide access to health care to those who need it most. I’m also on the board for Art Alliance Austin. I am still active in TCMS as a member of the Retired Physicians’ Organization, the ED/EMS Advisory Committee, and as Chair of the Disaster Planning Committee. What is something you would like people to know about you that they may not know? That my wife is an RN; I have two sons who are surgeons, a daughter who was an RN, and a son who is an orthopedic representative. We are a medical family. What is something you would like your patients to know that they may not know about practicing medicine or about a general medical fact or perception? That it is a good life – hard at times – but with many rewards. I’m proud to say I’m a doctor! 83

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When A Salad Can Be Bad For Your Health


or many of us, choosing to eat a salad is an expression. We are saying to ourselves, “I am doing something good for myself by eating a salad.” However, in some cases the salad you are eating may not be as healthy as you think. In fact, there are some popular salads that are less healthy than other items on the menu, including burgers. The good news is that if you spend just a little time reading about what is in the food you are ordering, you can make easy choices to order healthier meals. For example, at Chili’s, the Quesadilla Explosion Salad comes with 1400 calories, 88 g fat, 26 g saturated fat, and 2360 mg sodium. By comparison, the Old-timer burger has 1260 calories, 62 g fat, and 16 g saturated fat, all lower than the Quesadilla Explosion. Unfortunately, the burger does come with an unhealthy 3140 mg of sodium. A healthier choice would be the smaller Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken, which has 560 calories, 24 g fat, 4 g fat, and 470 mg sodium. The point is not to compare the restaurants to each other, because each offers different tastes. Rather, note that at each of these establishments, simply choosing a different item on the menu can save you a massive amount of calories, fat, and sodium, without having to go to a different restaurant. Salad choices are important at fast food restaurants as well. At Wendy’s, the Chicken BLT Salad with croutons and dressing weighs in at 790 calories, 53.5 g fat, 13.5 g saturated fat, and 1665 mg sodium. But the Mandarin Chicken salad is only 180 calories, 2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, and 630 mg sodium. Even if you add in the dressing, almonds, and noodles, you would still be better off at 550 calories, 25.5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, and 1250 mg sodium.


The numbers in these examples were all taken from the nutritional documents provided by the restaurants themselves and are available on their websites. I discussed more examples on TV recently ( Unfortunately, not all restaurants post their nutrition information online, but in some cases such information may be available upon request. For those who are on weight loss diets, choosing a lower calorie salad over a higher calorie salad can save well over 1000 calories. For those following low sodium diets, choosing the wrong salad can put you well over your recommended daily allowance in a single sitting. The American Heart Association now recommends that most Americans limit their daily sodium intake to less than 1500 mg. Reducing salt intake can lower blood pressure by at least 2-8 mm Hg and reducing Americans’ blood pressure by even just 2 mm Hg can lower our rates of fatal heart attacks by four percent! Considering the fact that heart disease remains this nation’s #1 cause of death in both men and women, with over one million heart attacks contributing to over four hundred thousand deaths in the United States annually, such a small improvement in blood pressure could save thousands of American lives every single year. The take-home message is not that salads are unhealthy, but rather that there are clear differences between “good” and “bad” salads. Whether you are following a low calorie diet for weight loss or a low sodium diet for heart health (or both), simply educating yourself about the nutritional content of your meal options can help you stay on your diet…and maybe even save your life or the life of someone you love. Stanley Wang, MD | Austin Heart | 85

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keep au s tin well

Central Health Board Chairperson Thomas Coopwood, MD and President & CEO Patricia Young Brown attend University Medical Center Brackenridge’s (UMCB) 125th Anniversary celebration

Saving Money And Lives: Five Years Of Progress At Central Health


n  2004, Travis County voters rallied behind a simple but effective message – “Save Money. Save Lives.” – and approved the creation of a healthcare district. When Central Health, formerly Travis County Healthcare District, officially began work the following year, it focused funds and strategies on ways to deliver on that promise. Today, looking back on the organization’s first five years, Central Health has helped Travis County make significant strides toward becoming a model of a healthy community.

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The Travis County medical community was instrumental in defining the need, building the support, and securing the creation of Central Health. “Physicians know all too well the challenges the healthcare system faces in ensuring access to care,” says Thomas Coopwood,

MD, FACS, chairperson of the Central Health Board of Managers, past chief of staff at University Medical Center Brackenridge, and former president of Travis County Medical Society. “A healthcare district serving Travis County was urgently needed not just to sustain but also to enhance the network that meets the primary health care needs of so many in this community.” Since beginning operation in 2005, Central Health’s efforts have helped more people receive the care they need, when and where they need it — which has, in fact, saved money and saved lives. These accomplishments, improving the quality of life of thousands in Travis County, are evidenced by the service expansions that Central Health has been able to achieve while having the lowest tax rate of all urban 87

hospital districts. Central Health’s success also demonstrates sound management and wise stewardship of limited public dollars available to support community health care.

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In addition to owning University Medical Center Brackenridge (operated by the Seton Family of Hospitals), Central Health administers the Medical Assistance Program that provides access to care for Travis County’s uninsured and underserved. Central Health works in partnership with CommUnityCare, its non-profit affiliate of federally qualified community health centers, and also contracts for care with a network of additional primary and specialty providers. The creation of the district integrated programs formerly housed within the City of Austin and Travis County, both of which transferred portions of their property tax rate to the new district. This spring, Central Health released several of the milestones from the organization’s first five fiscal years and set the stage for more progress to come. Highlights from the five-year report card include:

Enhanced Emergency Care After nearly $6.5 million in new investments from Central Health and additional support from its partner, Seton Family of Hospitals, University Medical Center Brackenridge earned Level 1 Trauma Center status. This means Brackenridge is providing the widest range of emergency care services possible to the people of Central Texas.

More People Covered More than six thousand people in our community now have access to the care they need, as enrollment in the Central Health Medical Assistance Program has expanded by nearly eighty percent since 2004. Central Health has also supported other solutions to connect people to care. One example is TexHealth Central Texas, a non-profit corporation that offers low-cost health benefits programs to small businesses that otherwise can’t afford coverage for their employees.

More Providers and Better Access Central Health has expanded the network of primary, specialty and urgent care providers. These new providers, together with additional locations and expanded hours, have helped more people access the care they need when they need it. Total primary care visits in the Central Health network have increased by 25 percent since 2005.

Expanded Mental Health Care Our community faced a crisis in 2004, as people in need of emergency mental health services were turned away from the overcrowded Austin State Hospital. Central Health led a collaborative effort that created more inpatient beds, intensive outpatient care, crisis respite care, mobile crisis outreach and expanded emergency services. As part of that collaborative, Central Health now invests more than five million dollars per year for mental health services.

Simpler, Easier Enrollment Central Health has streamlined screening services so people can get to care quickly and easily. These services include “virtual enrollment,”


financial screening at provider locations, re-enrollment by mail, and a new customer service call center that streamlines application appointment scheduling. This call center – launched last year – processed nearly thirty thousand calls in its first six months. These achievements set the stage for continued advances and better responses to the challenges we face – as individuals, as a community and region, and as a nation – to provide accessible health care for those who need it. “We will continue to need to innovate as our community grows and as medicine and our healthcare system grow more complex,” says Dr. Donald Patrick, retired executive director of the Texas Medical Board and past chief of staff at University Medical Center Brackenridge, who along with Dr. Coopwood has served on the Central Health Board of Managers since its inception. “The impact of federal healthcare reform and other initiatives that affect the delivery and funding of care will be of great importance to us going forward.” The community’s ability to meet these challenges will depend on sound and effective management of the healthcare system’s resources and of the taxes paid by businesses and individuals. The track record so far is a sign that Travis County residents and its medical community can have confidence in Central Health’s ability to help meet the community’s health care needs. Central Health exists to respond to the needs of the people of Travis County. The organization has launched a new community planning initiative, Central Health Connection, to engage Central Texans in talking, imagining and acting to create a model healthy community. The support of residents, businesses, health care professionals and community leaders working together has played a major role in creating Central Health and making these successes possible. As national health system reform rolls out, continued support of Central Health as a local resource to meet health care needs will continue to assure future success. Christie Garbe, Chief Communications and Planning Officer for Central Health. Please join in the healthy conversation at

Keep Austin Well September/October  

This is the new issue of Keep Austin Well, a medical element of Austin Lifestyle Magazine.

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