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Arkansas Methodist Medical Center


The Foundation at AMMC

In Memory

Remembering those we’ve lost

It’s a Wonderful Life The fall and rise of a hometown banker

Have a Fit

Are you ready for regular exercise?

Heather Breckenridge’s inspiring transformation

The ‘After’ Photo WINTER

2012 // Winter 2012 // The Beacon


Patients aren’t tHe only ones giving us HigH marks. AMMC RANKED IN THE TOP 18% NATIONWIDE AS A JOINT COMMISSION Top performer Arkansas Methodist Medical Center was named one of the nation’s Top performers on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in America. AMMC is the only hospital in the region to receive this honor and one of only 620 hospitals in the U.S. earning the Top performer distinction. The Joint Commission honored AMMC for exemplary performance in improving care for conditions including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.


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900 W. kingshighway· Paragould, ar · 870-239-7000 ·


THE   BEACON Winter 2012


Shay Willis

Director of Marketing & Public Relations 870.239.8031

Terry Austin

Director of The Foundation 870.239.7305


President/CEO.......................Barry Davis VP of Finance/CFO..........Brad Bloemer Chief Nursing Officer......Lana Williams Director of HR................ Dennis Cooper External Operations Mgr.... Gary Biggs Assistant........................Leigh Ann Jones Assistant................................. Teresa Ervin


Chairman.............. Dwight Williams, MD Vice Chairman................... Rhonda Davis Treasurer......................................Bill Fisher Secretary.........................................Paul Hill Past Chairman........................... Pat Quinn Members.............Albert Fonticiella, MD Darrell Bonner, MD George Cook Sherland Hamilton Jannie Distretti Tom Kirk Jon Collier, MD Mike Gaskill

We’re in this together appy Holidays! On behalf of everyone at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, I wish you the best this holiday season and in the new year as well. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of formally presenting Paragould’s mayor and city council with a “State of the Medical Center” address. I feel it’s important to communicate regularly and clearly with our stakeholders at every opportunity, and I appreciate the time and attention afforded me by our elected officials. That meeting served as a reminder that we’re all in this together. Key to the continued growth of our city, county and region is access to quality, affordable healthcare. Prospective and existing industries want to know that their employees have a local hospital and local physicians on whom they can depend. By the same token, we depend on you. We want to be your medical center of choice. Our goal and desire is to take good care of you and your loved ones, treating illness or injury, but also making sure you know we care about you, not just your ailment. As you’ll read in this issue, we’ve added new physicians and new services as AMMC grows with our region. I’m very proud of the fact that as we’ve grown, we’ve maintained the high level of quality care you expect from your medical center. Recently, the Joint Commission named AMMC one of its Top Performers on key quality measures. We were the only hospital in this region to be recognized, and one of only 620 hospitals nationwide. It’s not an easy standard to achieve, and we’re proud of the designation and recognition. But again, it all comes back to you. We don’t do what we do for the sake of gaining recognition. We do it because it’s our role in the community. Our job is to take care of you, and to do it as well as we possibly can. Thank you for your role in the community we all call home, and for your continued support of Arkansas Methodist Medical Center.

Barry Davis, President & CEO // Winter 2012 // The Beacon



She’s the inspiration. Heather Breckenridge helps a lot of people. She’s a nurse, so being helpful is her job, but she also volunteers at the Mission Outreach Charitable Clinic. And as you’ll read on page 12, Heather can help a lot of people – perhaps even someone you know – by her example. Since August 2011, she’s lost nearly 150 pounds through exercise and a disciplined approach to her meals. Thanks, Heather, for showing us it can be done! The Beacon gratefully acknowledges the support of Bill & Anne Fisher, who serve as personal underwriters. To learn more about underwriting or advertising opportunities, call 239-7077.

Oh sure, we’d love to fight with you s this is being typed, there’s a handwritten sticky note on the desk that reads: maplebacon long john. While we agree that would make a geat name for a band, it’s actually a shopping list for our next office run to a treasured local bakery. And so, with that confession, we hope you’ll overlook our caloric hypocrisy as we bring you this quarter’s magazine with the theme of making healthy choices. We’re painfully aware of how unfun it is to cast light on America’s terrible habits with regard to diet and exercise. Especially now, the holidays are upon us, and with them the accompanying holiday meals. Why couldn’t we save this topic for another time? Because, dear reader, failing to plan is planning to fail. And in that regard, we’re failing ourselves and our kids. If we don’t make a plan and make a change, today’s kids will likely be the first generation of Americans with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. And that’s mostly due to our collective laziness and poor diets. There’s plenty of valid concern about the Affordable Care Act’s financial impact on our healthcare systems, but another very real looming finan-


cial crisis is the healthcare dollars we’ll spend paying for diseases related to poor lifestyle choices. Read this next paragraph two or three times: Currently, the cost of caring for diabetes, pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes in the U.S. alone is $218 billion annually. There are 25.8 million U.S. adults and children living with diabetes, and an estimated 79 million have pre-diabetes. All of those numbers are expected to double by 2025.* The good news? We can do something about it. Exercise. Eat better. Consult with your doctor. Think it’s too much to take on? Check out Heather Breckenridge’s story on page 10. She’ll tell you it’s a one-day-at-a-time process. Or read about Chip Dortch’s wake-up call last January, when he learned he has diabetes (see page 16). Learn from Heather and Chip. Fight, dear reader, fight. Your life is a Shay Willis (right) Director of Marketing & PR Terry Austin (left) Director of The Foundation * – Source: 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, American Diabetes Association.

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gift, and it doesn’t come with a side of fries. (Or a maple-bacon long john.) More good news: Your local, independent medical center is here to help. Read on to learn how.



A CHANGED MAN. Earlier this year, Chip Dortch was diagnosed with diabetes, and for a while, it rocked his world. But once he got a handle on it, he discovered a new way of living and a renewed appreciation for his blessings.


MAKE A CHANGE. Pat Malone challenges us to fix the problems with the way we eat, exercise and live. – Page 18

CEO’s Note.......................................................................... 3

“Stop for a minute and focus on that one minute. You will never see it again. Life is that much of a gift. Do not waste it.”

140 characters to a better you.

LIVES WELL LIVED. We remember our dear friends, Dr. Tory Stallcup and Rev. Bill Leslie. – Page 6

– Gary Peeler Cancer Survivor; President, Global Buy Solutions

With acknowledgment (and apologies) to social media site Twitter, we present “Fitter” in this issue. We asked a few of our friends in and around Paragould to give us – in a maximum of 140 characters – one pointer that helps them focus on important stuff. You’ll find their responses popping up randomly throughout this edition of The Beacon. We hope Fitter motivates and inspires you to become “fitter” as well – whether it be physically, professionally, emotionally, fiscally, spiritually, or all of the above.

From the Editors.............................................................. 4 In Memory.......................................................................... 6 New Physicians................................................................ 8 Around AMMC..............................................................10 A Shadow of Her Former Self...............................12 Get Well. Soon. .............................................................14 It’s a Wonderful Life....................................................16 Fight!....................................................................................18 Holiday Events...............................................................20 Tribute Gift Listings....................................................22 COVER:.AMMC RN Heather Breckenridge. ©2012 by Arkansas Methodist Medical Center.

– Compiled by Chloe Joslin

Your homework: Watch ‘Weight of the Nation’ 

To get the full picture of the risks and dangers poised by America’s rapidly growing (no pun intended) obesity problem, go online and watch HBO’s documentary on the subject. “The Weight of the Nation” tackles the issue head-on, thoroughly covering the problem and the grim // Winter 2012 // The Beacon future we collectively face if we don’t change. Our suggestion: If you’ve got to have popcorn to watch a movie, skip the butter for this one.


In Loving Memory

Rev. Bill Leslie Rev. Bill Leslie – or “Brother Bill,” as he preferred to be called – was the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Paragould, served on the Executive Board of Directors at Arkansas Methodist, was a Rotary Club member and most of all, was a faithful, dedicated servant of the Lord. According to Dr. Dwight Williams, Chairman of the Arkansas Methodist Medical Center Executive Board of Directors, “The Reverend Bill Leslie was a valuable board member. He made numerous contributions to the work of the board via his work on different committees and during board deliberations. He often told me of dialog he had with his congregation about our community health issues and how it might affect them. We are going to miss him.”


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Arkansas Methodist Medical Center lost two very special men in August. Both played vital roles at AMMC and in their community and held a special place in the hearts of many.

Dr. Tory Stallcup Dr. Tory Stallcup, a very well-known and liked Family Practice physician who had recently turned to Hospital Medicine, was also a faithful servant to his patients, to numerous people in his community as well as our country. He gave, expecting nothing in return, to local agencies in need as well as to citizens of neighboring states and countries following natural disasters. According to Barry Davis, President and CEO of AMMC, “Dr. Stallcup was an exceptional physician, patient advocate, and an integral part of the AMMC family and medical community. We will greatly miss his passion for the care of his patients, his skills, and his contributions to improving the community through his charitable endeavors.” // Winter 2012 // The Beacon



Surgical Associates opens practice Seven surgeons have privileges at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center The Surgical Associates group opened their office located at 1000 West Kingshighway, Suite 10 in Paragould in September. They specialize in bariatric, general, laparoscopic, thoracic and vascular surgery. Surgeons include Dr. Jonathan Altomar, Dr. John Cook, Dr. Brinson Hargraves, Dr. William McAlexander, Dr. Bob Warner, Dr. Lynn Wiggins and Dr. Mark Wright. Dr. Altomar completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology at the University of California at Davis; his Master of Science Degree in Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University Dr. Altomar in Philadelphia; his Medical Degree from Jefferson Medical College and his internship and residency in General Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, a member of the Arkansas Medical Society and is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery. Dr. Cook completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology at Arkansas State University; his Medical Degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and his surgical internship and residency at LSU Hospital. He Dr. Cook is a member of the American Medical Association, the Arkansas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Hargraves completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology at Christian Brothers University; her


Medical Degree at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, and her internship and residency at the University of Dr. Hargraves Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Surgery. She is a member of the American College of Surgeons; the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons; the American Medical Association and the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Dr. McAlexander completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania; his Medical Degree at the University School of Medicine in New Orleans; his surgical internship and residency at the University of Tennessee and his Fellowship in Laparoscopic Surgery at Henrico Doctors Hospital. He is a member of the Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons; the American Medical Association; the Arkansas Medical Society; the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons; the Society of AmeriDr. McAlexander can Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Warner completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology and Chemistry and his Medical Degree at the University of Mississippi; his surgical internship and residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and his thoracic and cardiac surgery residencies at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He is a member of the

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American Medical Association, the Southeastern Surgical Congress, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the Arkansas Medical Society and is Dr. Warner also a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Wiggins completed his Bachelor of Science Medical Accelerated Degree at Louisiana State University and his Medical Degree at the LSU School of Medicine, and his internship and residency at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. He is a member of the American Medical Association; the Arkansas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons; the Arkansas Medical Society; is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomat on the Dr. Wiggins American Board of Surgery. Dr. Wright completed his undergraduate degree at Southeast Missouri State University and his medical degree, his general surgery residency and his vascular surgery fellowship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery; the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery; the AmeriDr. Wright can College of Surgeons, where he is a Candidate Member; and the Arkansas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons.

AMMC welcomes orthopedic groups


lso opening offices in Paragould at 1000 West Kingshighway, Suite 10 in Paragould this fall are members of two orthopedic groups, Arkansas Orthopedics and Jonesboro Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. AMMC is pleased to welcome Dr. John Ball and Dr. Claiborne Moseley from Arkansas Orthopedics and Dr. Jeffrey Hartzell and Dr. Jeremy Swymn from JOSM.

Dr. Ball is a board certified orthopedist who completed his residency at the University of Oklahoma in 1983. Dr. Ball practices general orthopedic surgery with an emphasis in total joint replacement, minimally invasive joint replacement, as well as fracture care in adults and children. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Southern Medical Association, the Southern Orthopedic Association, the Arkansas State Medical Society, the Craighead-Poinsett County Dr. Ball Medical Association and the Arkansas Orthopedic Society. Dr. Hartzell completed his Bachelor of Arts in Physics at DePauw University; his Graduate Degree in Biology at Indiana University-Purdue University; his Medical Degree at Indiana Dr. Hartzell University School of Medicine; his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Florida, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and his orthopaedic surgery sports medicine fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. He is a Candidate Member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine and the Arthroscopy Association of North America. He also serves as the team physician for Arkansas State University, Crowley’s Ridge College and Williams Baptist College.

“Spending time with my family and spending time in prayer. I find both to be great stress relief.” – Tammy Winn Director of Operations, SubTeach USA

140 characters to a better you.

Dr. Moseley completed his residency at the University of South Carolina in Columbia in 1990. He is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who practices general orthopedics with a special interest in hip and knee replacement, foot and ankle surgery, and knee arthroscopy. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Southern Orthopedic Association, the Arkansas Medical Society, the Craighead Poinsett Medical Association, the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, the Mid American Orthopedic Association and the Arkansas Dr. Moseley Orthopedic Society. Dr. Swymn completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Arkansas State University; his Medical Degree from the University for Arkansas for Medical Sciences; his transitional internship at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis; Dr. Swymn his orthopaedic surgery residency at Campbell Clinic in Memphis and his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. His special interests include sports medicine, thrower’s shoulder and elbow including shoulder reconstruction and Tommy John surgery, knee ligament reconstruction and cartilage surgery. He serves as a team physician for Arkansas State University, Crowley’s Ridge College and Williams Baptist College. // Winter 2012 // The Beacon


AMMC PEOPLE compiled & written by Chloe Joslin

New Faces & Places

Lana Williams, who has been with AMMC since 2001, has recently been promoted to Chief Nursing Officer. Formerly she was the Assistant Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Performance Improvement. Williams received her Bachelor’s in Nursing in 1987 from Arkansas State University and will graduate with her Master’s in Nursing in May 2013. She said her husband has always been supportive of her educational efforts and of her professional life as well. Between answering all the questions to being a guide and provider for the nursing staff, she said her most important task is keeping herself and the nursing staff educated. Williams said it is the most important thing anyone can do for themselves and their career, as she has learned firsthand. “Always be educated,” she said. “Getting as much education as possible is key. The more you get, the better you’ll be.” Williams said she was most thankful for the vision of AMMC the founders had in the 1940’s-1950’s and how it is important to her and the AMMC team to keep that vision alive.


Hires and promotions at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center

Debbie Vassar has been on the AMMC team 32 years and recently transitioned from Chief Nursing Officer, her position of 25 years, to Administrator of Chateau on the Ridge. Vassar graduated from Arkansas State University in 1975 with an Associate’s in Nursing and then earned her Bachelor’s at Southeast Missouri State. She said her husband has always been especially supportive of her education and career. Vassar said the change from her work at AMMC to working daily with residents at Chateau on the Ridge has been a nice change, with less stress and more time to focus on making the residents happy – which is her main objective every day. “We are providing wonderful care to our residents,” she said. “All of them seem very happy to be here and that is our number one goal every day.” Her top advice on becoming a successful person is to “treat others as you want to be treated” and “surround yourself with good people.” She indicated that this idea of treating others well has been reflected by the AMMC team throughout her 32 years and that she was most thankful for that.

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Kay H. Scott, originally from Brighton, Tenn., joined the AMMC team in August as Executive Director of Physician Services. Scott attended University of Memphis where she participated in the business program, and she is a registered medical assistant and certified x-ray technician. Scott’s typical day consists of arriving around 7:00 a.m. to make the first pot of coffee for herself and her staff, getting the physicians’ clinics open and functioning throughout the day, and providing whatever support is needed to maintain a team atmosphere. Scott said she believes success starts at home with your family. “My family is wonderful, they are the most supporting, caring and united group,” Scott said. “Most of the time [success] starts at home. My biggest fan is my husband and best friend. He’s helped me to be the person I am.” Scott explained she was thankful for the support and welcoming she received when joining the AMMC team. “I am truly thankful for the support received when I came. Everyone was supportive from the CEO, CFO to the administrative assistants in making sure I had all the tools I needed.”

“I start my day with a jog at the Paragould Country Club golf course. A morning run clears my head, wakes me up, and helps me sleep at night.” – Robert Thompson III Attorney & State Senator

Sydney Wallace, a Paragould native, began working at AMMC in 2003 as a Patient Care Tech. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Arkansas State University in 2007 and transitioned to being a Registered Nurse that year. Wallace was recently promoted to be Director of Quality & Patient Safety and is currently working on her graduate certificate in Disaster Health. Wallace’s new position brought a lot of change to her life. She had previously worked only weekends with more direct patient care and now works Monday through Friday with indirect patient care. Upon her arrival in the morning, Wallace checks her email and shortly begins rounds to ensure safety concerns and special needs are met. She said has been “blessed to work with some very interesting and amazing people” at AMMC from whom she learned “valuable lessons.” “The place doesn’t make the people,” she said. “The people make the place! AMMC feels like home!” Wallace said her 6-year-old daughter Kyleigh is her main focus and that she has been blessed with a loving and unique family.

Jason Masingale joined the AMMC team in 1997 after graduating from Arkansas State University with his Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. He is married to Heather Masingale and they have one “child,” a chocolate lab named Jade. Previously, he was the Director of Intensive Care/GI Lab/Cath Lab and was recently promoted to Assistant Chief Nursing Officer/Safety Officer/Risk Management. Masingale said his routine is different every day since his promotion. “I get here between 7-7:30 a.m., answer emails, do safety rounds and put out any fires that need addressing.” Masingale’s transition to his new position meant moving office locations and having less direct patient contact, but said he would assist if needed. Masingale’s advice for success involves being professional and respectful. “Always be respectful and never burn bridges,” he said. Masingale said he was most thankful for the team atmosphere at AMMC because it “helps us provide excellent patient care” and for the “opportunity to hopefully change patients’ lives for the better.”

140 characters to a better you.

Mardy Holmes has been a part of the AMMC team since 2005. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Academy. Holmes was recently promoted from the Director or Information Technology to Chief Information Officer. He said his routine changes daily with overseeing and supporting the projects going on within the Information Technology Department, and he’s “only as consistent as his morning up of coffee.” Holmes described his wife Julie and their two daughters as “very loving, supportive… and wonderful” who keep him “thinking positively.” “I know when I go home, all the work and things from the day disappear,” he said. “My time with them is their time. They keep me focused.” Holmes said the most important part of achieving overall success was to be open-minded because a person never knows when they will “close doors or find a diamond in the rough when talking to others.” // Winter 2012 // The Beacon


eather Breckenridge could

file a missing person report. On herself.

Since August 2011, Breckenridge, a registered nurse at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, has shed 145 pounds, the equivalent of an entire extra person, and she’s done it the right way: transforming her eating habits and making regular exercise a priority. “Everything’s different now,” Breckenridge says, smiling. “This is who I am, and it feels so much better.” Breckenridge, a self-described “smiley girl” with a genial personality and positive outlook, began to sense she needed to make some changes in August of last year. “I wasn’t happy,” she said. “I woke up one morning and I didn’t like who I was. I wanted to change that.” To her credit, Breckenridge didn’t wait for that feeling to ebb. At the end of her shift that day, she completed her first cardio workout at AMMC’s Wellness Center. “It felt really good,” she said. However, she quickly realized that


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the workouts weren’t enough. “I knew that I wasn’t going to lose any weight if I didn’t eat better,” Breckenridge said. So after consulting with her physician, she drastically cut back her intake of carbohydrate-rich foods. The results were encouraging. “By October, I was losing weight and things were changing,” she said. And by her birthday in late December, Breckenridge was 70 pounds lighter. People began to comment on the changes, a development for which she found herself unprepared.

“When people said, ‘You look good,’ I didn’t want to talk about it,” she said. “I had a hard time seeing what other people were seeing. I saw a goal further down the road.” With that goal in sight, Breckenridge supercharged her workouts. Up to that point, she had been content to use a treadmill or elliptical machine for cardio in the Wellness Center. But after consulting with Andre Watson, the director of the center, she took on the added challenge of a twice-weekly “Les Mills BodyPump” class. “Andre definitely kept me motivated in the gym,” Breckenridge said. “I wanted to change things up, and he made a lot of good suggestions.” Her friend and coworker, Stephanie Poteet, also kept Breckenridge on track and motivated by exercising with her. Often, they would walk laps around the medical center. By spring, it was evident that Breckenridge had gone beyond fads and fickleness -- she had rebuilt her habits from the ground up. She had learned how to plan her meals and monitor portions, and her discipline was showing results: she was still losing around 10 pounds per month. For a 24-year-old who had struggled with her weight since childhood, it was an eye-opening experience. “I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself,” she said of her old habits. “I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault, but I wasn’t educated enough on it.” Rather than buying whatever foods she wanted, Breckenridge began paying attention to labels and ingredients as she shopped. Her first foray into the grocery store lasted two hours. “It’s a little difficult and time-consuming at first,” she admitted. “But a month into it, there’s no problem.” She’s also learned to be selective at restaurants, a process that’s made more difficult by budget concerns. “At a fast-food place, a salad is five dollars, but a cheeseburger is just one

“I woke up one morning & didn’t like who I was. I wanted to change that.” dollar,” she said. “Eating healthy isn’t the cheapest option. But it’s the best. Now, I can eat at every restaurant by improvising. I’ve learned how to do it.” It’s important to note again that there are no shortcuts to Breckenridge’s success. Her commitment, discipline and willpower are constants in her life. They don’t take a day off. “It’s not easy,” she said. “After 15 months, it’s still not easy. But my will to want to change was greater than my will to want to eat everything I saw.” Her advice to anyone considering making a change in their lives? “Just wake up and do it that day. If you think about it, you’ll think yourself right out of doing it.” She takes her own advice every day. She’s now signed up to work with a personal trainer at the Wellness Center, and she’s working out an hour each day, five days a week: three on cardio, two on weight training.

Today, she’s no longer uncomfortable talking about the changes she’s making. And although she feels a little awkward about it, she’s happy when people tell “If we truly want to use our bodies in the way we desire, we have to recharge them to use them – just like our cell phones.” – Andre Watson Director, AMMC Wellness Center

140 characters to a better you.

her she motivates them to make their own changes. “Somebody told me, ‘You’re my inspiration,’” she said, blushing a bit. “I like that! But I’m just a regular ol’ person. That weight kept me closed off from people before, but now, I feel like it’s OK to be myself.”

now... what about you?  // Winter 2012 // The Beacon



Get well.

soon. Healthy habits don’t form by themselves. We have plenty of resources to help. “I begin my day with yoga. I also eat a lot of fruits, veggies and do not drink caffeine or eat chocolate. Also, I have routine checkups.”

140 characters to a better you.

– Charitti Sullinger Cash Management Specialist, Simmons First Bank

Are you ready to feel better? If that seems like a silly question, think again. Andre Watson, director of the Wellness Center at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, says your honest answer to it will likely determine whether you’ll stick to any new exercise regimen. Clearly, it’s not as simple as it sounds. And over the years, Watson has seen plenty of seemingly eager exercisers fall prey to excuses and apathy. As it turns out, he says, they weren’t as ready to feel better as they initially thought. They’re not alone. According to – the website of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition – less than 5% of U.S. adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. That inactivity can become a

generational issue, as well. reports that the average American kid now spends 7½ hours daily in front of a screen of some sort: TV, computer, or game system. Only one child in three is physically active every day. The frenetic pace of today’s culture may make it seem as if we don’t have the time to fit regular exercise into our overstuffed calendars. And, you might think that even if time allowed, we wouldn’t have the energy needed to get through the workout. The problem is that we’re not seeing the importance of daily exercise. Failing to make time for it today will take years off your life. Thirty minutes a day will keep you healther, stronger, and more (not less!) energized. The best time to begin working out was 10 years ago. The second-best time is today. So if you’re ready to feel better, check page 15 for some pointers on getting started (and sticking with it).

Have a little class! Make 2013 the year you join an exercise class at AMMC! Class







Les Mills’ Body Pump

A 60-minute workout that challenges all of your major muscle groups by using the best weight room exercises to shape and tone your muscles. Experience why Body Pump helps members burn over 600 calories every time!

AMMC Aerobics Center

5:30 pm

5:30 am

5:30 pm

5:30 am

Les Mills’ Body Flow

The Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates workout that builds flexibility and strength and leaves you feeling centered and calm. Controlled breathing, concentration and a carefully structured series of stretches, moves and poses to music bring the body into a state of harmony and balance.

AMMC Aerobics Center

7:30 pm

5:30 pm

5:30 pm

Step Plus

A high intensity, low impact combination of step aerobics, light weights and core work.

AMMC Aerobics Center

4:30 pm

4:30 pm


Zumba fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easyto-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program. Zumba fanatics achieve long-term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exciting hour of calorie-burning, body-energizing movements meant to engage and captivate for life!

AMMC Aerobics Center

A proven program that enables older adults to take charge of their health and maintain an active, Paragould Silver Sneakers* independent lifestyle. SSFP members receive a free Community Fitness Program Center Wellness Center membership and free access to any 14 The Beaconparticipating // Winterfacility 2012in// USA.

6:30 pm

10:30 am



Saturday classes are offered on a rotating basis. Call 239-7028 or visit the Wellness Center calendar on AMMC’s website for specific information.

6:30 pm

10:30 am

10:30 am

* – Your health insurance may pay for your enrollment in Silver Sneakers! Call the Wellness Center to learn more: (870) 239-7028

SEEK ADVICE. It’s always a good idea to consult a physician before undertaking any signifcant changes to your body’s exercise and diet habits. You’ll save yourself some frustration and potential injury by consulting with our Wellness Center staff, who can show you how workout equipment works and tailor a workout program that accomplishes your goals. START SLOWLY. Don’t expect to start on Monday and run a 5k on Saturday. Results are going to take time. Trying to do “too much, too soon” can lead to burnout or worse, injury. Strength and endurance build over time, not overnight. FIND MEASURABLES. Whether it’s the amount of weight you can lift or the distance you can run without stopping, write down those important numbers before your first workout and revisit them every few weeks. If you’re a smartphone user, you’ll find

lots of handy apps – many of them free – that will track your progress for you. BE CONSISTENT. Find a time and a plan that works, and stick with it. AMMC’s Wellness Center is accessible 24 hours a day, so find an hour in your day that isn’t already spoken for, and make it sacrosanct. Your health is too important! BUDDY UP. Accountability is a big part of staying faithful to an exercise regimen. If you need outside motivation, find a friend to work out with you. You can push and motivate each other. If you can’t find a buddy, consider joining an exercise class (see chart on Page 14). ENGAGE THE FAMILY. Changes are much more palatable when

they involve others, and everybody needs exercise, so pull the plug on that XBox and head outside for a brisk 30-minute family walk. Or begin a family push-up challenge. You’ll treasure the “together time,” and you’ll build memories and healthy habits that will stay with your kids for a lifetime. REWARD YOURSELF. Hey, you’re doing good things, right? A little indulgence now and then won’t set you back too far, as long as you remember the “now and then” part. It’s probably not a good idea to stop for ice cream after ever y workout, but build in an occasional reward for your continued good behavior. A movie, a massage, a new pair of socks – just make it something that keeps you motivated.

Spinal and orthopedic Surgery? he’S got your back. AMMC welCoMes TrAvis riChArdson, do, orThopediC surgery When it comes to performing the latest orthopedic spinal surgical techniques, dr. travis richardson has your back. dr. richardson comes to arkansas Methodist Medical center from oSF St. James John W. albrecht Medical center where he was an orthopedic Spinal Surgeon. richardson is a graduate of the university of central arkansas and the university of health Sciences college of osteopathic Medicine. aMMc is proud to have dr. richardson join our top quality staff. his addition to the aMMc team is just one more way we’re making healthcare all about you.

AMMC orthopedics · 1000 w. Kingshighway, suite 7 paragould, Ar · 870-239-8102 · // Winter 2012 // The Beacon


life it’s a

wonderful Unico Bank’s “Chip” Dortch sees the world differently after a diabetes diagnosis

If this story ran with the following lede, it might “ring a bell” with you: BEDFORD FALLS – After undergoing a life-altering experience, a banker with deep roots in the community says he is a different man and has a firmer grasp on what really matters in his life.

It took divine (if wingless) intervention by Clarence Odbody (AS2) to remind George Bailey just how wonderful his life really was. But H. R. “Chip” Dortch, Jr.’s epiphany arrived in a more temporal package: He was diagnosed with diabetes. And while the holiday season probably won’t find Dortch running down city streets, banging on Mr. Potter’s window and shouting, “Merry Christmas,” this local banker certainly realizes he has plenty to be thankful for. “I am thankful every single day,” Dortch says, pausing after each word for emphasis. “God has been so good to me.” Thankful might not have described Dortch in January 2012, when his physician first mentioned diabetes as a possible explanation for Dortch’s mysterious weight loss (25 pounds over an 8-month period). “I knew it wasn’t my milkshake-a-day diet,” Dortch said. He had put off seeing his doctor for a couple of reasons. One, he didn’t mind losing the weight. But second, and most importantly, Dortch thought he knew the likely causes: diabetes or cancer. And he really didn’t want to face either. After a battery of tests, his biggest fear – a cancer diagnosis – wasn’t realized. But his A1C level was 13.5, nearly double its level in recent years.


The Beacon // Winter 2012 //

“When Dr. (Samuel) Burchfield told me it was diabetes, I doubled over in the chair like I had been kicked in the gut,” Dortch said. As his world spun out of control, three questions formed in Dortch’s mind, and he posed them to Dr. Burchfield on the spot: • • •

Have I done any damage to myself that can’t be reversed? Will I ever be able to eat anything again? I’m a single father. What do I need to do to make sure I’m there for my son?

His physician’s answers – respectively, No, Yes, and Eat Healthier and Exercise – were ringing in Dortch’s ears as he completed his workday, grimly shared the news with his parents, and attended his son’s basketball game that night. In his hour of trial, George Bailey stumbled through the heart of Bedford Falls looking for answers. Dortch, however, took a more modern tack. In a daze, he wandered the aisles of Walmart for 2+ hours – first in the pharmacy, where he familiarized himself with the diabetic supplies that had suddenly become part of his everyday life, and then into the food section, where he studied nutrition labels and grieved over the goodbyes he had to say to some of his favorite groceries. “M&Ms,” he says, through clenched teeth. “I miss M&Ms. But I’ve learned I can have five or six every now and then, and it won’t kill me.” Another critical element of Dortch’s new life was the process of monitoring his levels and injecting himself with insulin. “I hate needles to begin with,” he said, “and the thought of giving myself a shot in the stomach? No way! But I prayed for God to give me the resolve to do what I had to do to beat this disease.” With his doctor’s assistance, Dortch learned to administer the tests and injections, and the next day he began his

MAN ABOUT TOWN. H.R. “Chip” Dortch, Jr. (far right) has been a fixture in the Paragould community for years. Here, he presents a “game ball” award to Paragould High School footballer Zach Hill. Also pictured is PHS coach Kevin Coleman and Unico Bank VP of Marketing Rusty McMillon.

new life as a diabetic, complete with a dietary intake limit of 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. The daily milkshake lifestyle gave way to baked chicken, green vegetables, and foods low in sugars and carbs. “I went back to my earlier thoughts about eating ‘rabbit food’ for the rest of my life,” Dortch said. “But then I thought of my son.” Dortch’s determination to remain actively engaged in the life of his son, Trey, is by far the greatest motivator for his continued changes. Understandably, it’s a theme he comes back to in conversation time and time again. When his resolve is tested, it’s the thought of his son that pushes him through moments of weakness. “Look around my office, you’ll see pictures of him,” Dortch said. “He’s my motivation. I’m going to do everything I can to be there for him.” Dortch saw results at his check-up just two weeks after the diagnosis. And within three months, his blood sugar levels had stabilized around 7.0 – still elevated, but much better. And in that time, his new reality gave rise to a new perspective. “Those foods I had to give up?” he says. “I got to eat them for 51 years. I try to be thankful for that, even though they’re off the table now.” And they may not be completely “off

the table” after all. Dortch has learned that moderation is key. He allows himself the occasional milkshake or hamburger, but “occasional” is a very significant modifier. What is not “occasional” is the exercise component of Dortch’s new reality. Here, there are no shortcuts. Exercise takes time, and time is in short supply for someone as engaged and active in the community as Dortch.

“You grow by giving and helping others. It can change you in ways you never expected.” ” – Sue McGowan CEO, Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce

140 characters to a better you.

“I try to walk or do at least 30 minutes of cardio at least five days a week,” he said. “And, actually, that’s been the most difficult part to keep up, because there’s so much going on.” While being careful to avoid coming across, as he puts it, as the “poster child for diabetes,” Dortch is happy to share his experiences with others. His wakeup call has changed his life, and  Continued on Page 23 // Winter 2012 // The Beacon



Obesity, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are creating a health crisis. There’s just one practical way to prevent it.

Fight. You’d never expect to see fire in Pat Malone’s eyes. The longtime nurse and certified diabetes educator at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center is a gentle, kind woman with as sweet a disposition as you could ever find. But when the subject of diabetes comes up, it brings out the fighter in Malone. And her goal in educating the community about diabetes is to get everyone “fighting mad” about the longterm effects of poor dietary choices, obesity, and lack of exercise. “It’s now estimated that we (Americans) will lose two years off our lives because of lifestyle choices alone,” Malone said. “And we’ll spend billions of healthcare dollars treating preventable chronic diseases.” If that doesn’t make you want to put up your dukes, Malone unloads another haymaker: “Kids at 8 or 10 years old are now getting diseases we typically expected

“You can’t spend more money than you make, and you can’t borrow your way out of debt.”

140 characters to a better you.


– Jamie DaVault Assistant VP – Lending First National Bank

to see in adults in their fifth or sixth decade of life,” she said. “If something doesn’t change, this generation of kids will be survived by their parents. Because of lifestyle choices, the parents will outlive their children.” That’s a sobering message. Kids need an hour of physical activity daily, but instead they’re logging an average of 7½ hours in front of a TV, game system or computer every day. And rather than eating fresh fruits and vegetables or other healthy foods, they’re taking cues – and forming habits – from their parents. “I’m amazed every day – every day – when people sit down with me and say, ‘I don’t know how to cook and don’t want to. We’ll just eat out every meal,” Malone said. “There’s going to be an entire generation that says, ‘Why do we need a kitchen, or a dining room table?’” For Malone, the looming crisis calls for a simple remedy: Get back to the basics. “Eat well and exercise,” she said. “This is beatable. We just have to get off our tail feathers and do it.” She is, however, under no illusion that it will be easy. Malone remembers well the day she purged her own family’s pantry of junk food and set out fruit and veggies instead. Her kids threatened a coup over their missing Twinkies.

The Beacon // Winter 2012 //

“They need nutrition, not empty calories,” Malone said. “With junk food, we’re not addressing their hunger – they’re hungry again 3040 minutes later.” Over time, Malone’s persistence paid off. When her kids balked at trying new foods, the rule was simple: Take one bite. She tried to couple the new foods with other healthy foods she knew they liked, and she would re-introduce the new items until the kids ate them without complaint. “If it’s introduced, they’ll keep coming back to it,” she said. “Their bodies will learn to crave the good stuff, not the garbage.” But the kids aren’t the only ones with veggie prejudice. Malone teaches a course on cooking healthy meals for diabetics, and the class is routinely “standing room only.” In that setting, she says, she introduces foods like kale, squashes, and eggplant, and often the majority of the adults in attendance have never tried the foods. “They make a face when I start,” she

“To spend time with God each day in prayer will enable us to have a positive attitude and be content.”

 EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. This “Portion Plate,” used by the AMMC Education Department, shows right-sized portions of healthy foods that should be part of your diet. (Don’t worry: This is not its actual size!)

said. “But when they try it, most of them say, ‘Hey, it’s pretty good.’” With many families working long hours and perhaps struggling to make ends meet, it’s a strain to plan, prepare and afford healthier meals at home. Healthy menus don’t put themselves together, and the prep time for a healthy meal can be a significant hurdle as well. Malone felt the same strain when she was working from 6:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. as a nurse, and she learned to prepare many dishes in the crock pot. “When we got home that afternoon, the meal was three-fourths done,” she said. “I got pretty good at adjusting meals to the crock pot.” The question that every adult needs to answer for themselves and their children, Malone said, is: What’s more important: my health or saving a little time? The time crunch is a big part of the problem, she said. When families are

stretched for time, the drive-through window becomes a convenient – and often more affordable – alternative to cooking a healthy meal. “Those meals are cheap and quick, but they’re usually very high in fat and sodium,” Malone said. “They’re very high in caloric content and very low in nutritional value.” Those meals are also typically very large. The “upsized” meal deals may be a lot of food for a little money, but that’s not really a good thing when the food is fatty and high in sodium. “Portion control is the number one problem with the American diet,” Malone said. If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, you haven’t necessarily been knocked out. Diabetes is a tough, chronic disease, but it can be managed. (See story on Chip Dortch, page 16.) “There is a world of difference between controlled diabetes and uncontrolled,” Malone said. “You can have the

– Bill Fisher CEO, Paragould Light Water & Cable 140 characters to a better you.

disease but not sit around and wait for trouble. That does not have to be your story.” With a doctor’s referral, Malone works with diabetic patients to teach them to self-manage the disease. From checking blood sugar to giving insulin, from shopping for healthy foods to showing how to prepare them, Malone is there to help with the formation of new, healthy habits. But despite her best efforts, Malone is critically aware that preventing or managing diabetes ultimately comes down to one person: You. “Fight,” she said, with fire flashing in her eyes. “Fight.”

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STAGES OF LIFE // Winter 2012 // The Beacon



It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Holiday Tour of Homes event slated for Dec. 9 “I stay fit, organize my day and take time to reflect on what really matters in life: faith, family and friendship.”

140 characters to a better you.

Celia Lindsey, right, won a Dell laptop at the cooking show. She’s pictured here with Women’s Council President Debbie Quinn.

– Owen Lusk Business Development Officer, BancorpSouth

Mark your calendar for Sunday afternoon, December 9. The Foundation and the AMMC Women’s Council will host the second annual Holiday Tour of Homes. This year’s event will feature homes in Paragould’s Club View Estates. Homeowners who have agreed to open their homes for the event include Mark Foster; Tim & Sue McGowan; Matt & Chandra McGowan; and David & Janie Stone.

Tickets for the tour are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling The Foundation at (870) 239-7077. Tour hours will be 2 to 4 p.m., and all tours will begin from the parking lot of Paragould Country Club. To minimize traffic and parking issues, all participants are asked to park at the country club, and shuttle service will be provided to and from the tour homes.

A recipe for success Thanks to the our celebrity participants – Libby & Robby Glasco of Kiss the Cook; Nancye Gage & Sierra Ring of Red Goose Deli; and Pat Malone of AMMC – the first-ever Home for the Holidays cooking event was a delicious success! Proceeds from the show will benefit Project Hope. Our thanks to all who particpated and attended this event!

Sierra Ring, left, and Nancye Gage of Red Goose Deli were a very entertaining part of the cooking show.

CRC athletes go extra innings for an extra-good cause

HOPE HITS A HOMER. CRC students and coaches present a check for $1,146 to The Foundation to benefit Project Hope. Pictured (from left): Carrie Rowland, AMMC mammographer; CRC softball player Hanna Burgess; CRC Softball Coach Cindy Henry; CRC baseball player Logan Buck; CRC Baseball Coach Paul McFadden; and Foundation Director Terry Austin. 20 The Beacon // Winter 2012 //

This year’s extra innings led to a double play. Athletes from Crowley’s Ridge College sponsored the school’s second annual “Strike Out Cancer 100-inning Game” in October, with proceeds benefitting AMMC’s Project Hope program. And in this year’s game, they doubled those proceeds, raising $1,146 which will be used to provide mammograms to women in this region who could not otherwise afford the screenings. Thanks to Paul McFadden, Cindy Henry, and everyone at CRC!


“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” – Amy Lucius Assistant Superintendent, Greene Co. Tech School Dist.

CHECK IT OUT. Representatives from event sponsor RehabCare present a check for $47,000 to Foundation Director Terry Austin (fourth from left) and AMMC President & CEO Barry Davis (far right). RehabCare representatives include (from left) Melanie Stacy, Regional Director of Operations; Kathy Lowery, Community Relations Coordinator; and Don Wilcox, Program Director.

140 characters to a better you.

Golf tournament raises $47,000

Mark Twain famously called golf “a good walk spoiled,” but he might’ve changed his mind if he knew the game could raise $47,000 toward the continuation of quality healthcare. That’s just what The Foundation’s 18th annual Golf Tournament did. “Our participants – players, sponsors, volunteers, and others – came together to make this a very special day,” said Foundation Director Terry Austin. “We thank each of them for their contribution to the greater good.” Mary Esther Herget, a founding member of The Foundation and longtime member of its Board of Directors, and AMMC Chief of Staff Dr. Frank Schefano enjoy each other’s company at the golf tournament.

Need a little something from the store? Cards, hygiene items, candy, refreshments? They’re just steps away at our General Store. And if you’re shopping for five-star dining, spacious floor plans, resident-friendly amenities and around-the-clock supervision, Chateau on the Ridge has all this and more in store for you. Call today to schedule your Chateau on the Ridge tour.

2308 Chateau Boulevard · Paragould, AR 870-215-6300 ·

Ask about our $500 referral program!


L I V I N G // Winter 2012 // The Beacon



hese Memorial Gifts to The Foundation were made between July and October 2012. Honor Gifts for the same time period are listed below. Tressie Mae Cleveland Robin Patten Tina McNeil AMMC Retirees Club Tom Marlar Bill and Anne Fisher Tom and Theresa Kirk Roger Vick AMMC Retirees Club Bonnie Hyde Larry and Cathy Hughes Lola Gray Tom and Theresa Kirk Dr. Tory Stallcup Pete and Linda Black Robin Patten Sally Martin Bill and Anne Fisher Dr. Len and Mrs. Denise Kemp Dr. Hap and Mrs. Barbara Hazzard Earl and Jean (Bennett) Batton Johnny and Jannie Distretti Rev. Bill Leslie Robin Patten Bill and Anne Fisher Neva Charlene Ford Johnny and Jannie Distretti Todd Dudley Bill and Anne Fisher Keith Willis Heather Morris

Jerry Frie Turner Holdings, LLC Dr. Omer Bradsher Dr. A.E. Andrews Cleo Wilcox Roy and Linda McSpadden Darrell Maxwell Dr. A.E. Andrews Jerry Sample Frank and Ann Marie Guinn Earl and Jean (Bennett) Batton Jerry Tripod AMMC Retirees Club Toby Block Bill and Anne Fisher Andy and Sonjia Fulkerson Dr. A.E. Andrews Carol Copeland Carol Roleson Frank and Ann Marie Guinn Lorene Straub Roy and Linda McSpadden James Danley Dr. Asa and Mrs. Wanda Crow Louise Evans Sally Martin John McKenzie Dr. A.E. Andrews Turner Holdings, LLC Ray Boggs Turner Holdings, LLC

HONOR GIFTS In honor of Phil and Mary Esther Herget’s Anniversary Don and Nancy (Herget) Wood In honor of Roy and Linda McSpadden Neva Charlene Ford


e started U.S. Renal Care in 2000, right here in Paragould, and have

grown to more than 125 locations across the country – with more growth planned for the future.

At U.S. Renal Care it is our continuing – and growing – commitment to provide the very best renal care services and facilities available in the communities we serve.

your gift saves lives. When you give to The Foundation, you’re giving in many ways. You’re supporting your local, independent medical center. You’re supporting the health and wellness of the people in your community. You’re supporting the economic development of the region. And most importantly, you’re helping save lives. Give today.


The Beacon // Winter 2012 //

901 W. Kingshighway Paragould, AR 72450 Phone: 870-215-0187 Fax: 870-215-5320

It’s a Wonderful Life it frustrates him that others with the same diagnosis might not act on it. “God gives you an opportunity, so what are you going to do with it?” he says, and it’s illustrative of his new perspective that he refers to diabetes management as an opportunity. “It bothers me to see people with

continued from Page 17

diabetes seemingly ignoring their condition. I feel like my priorities have always been in the right place for the most part, but for me, this was a reminder of what’s important. Each day is a blessing, and when a person knows they have a condition and the ability to control it, how can they just scoff at that?”

Like George Bailey, Dortch can attest that hardly any situation is as dire and daunting as it initially seems. Though diabetes is a life-changer, it does not have to be a life-ender. The key is control. And Dortch’s 2012 attests that a well-managed life with diabetes is still a wonderful one indeed. CR Doc - Page 1 - Composite

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870 - 236 - 8744 // Winter 2012 // The Beacon




new year SANTA













EVE celebrate SNOW



shopping HAPPY


This season, may your days be decorated with love and laughter. May your time be spent with those who mean the most. And may the wonder of the season live in your hearts long after the calendar says it has passed.

Wishing you the very merriest of holidays from your friends at Liberty Bank.


The Beacon // Winter 2012 //

Real Banking |870.236.7623

The Beacon: Winter 2012 Edition  
The Beacon: Winter 2012 Edition  

The quarterly magazine of Arkansas Methodist Medical Center and The Foundation at AMMC. This issue contains stories on health, diet & fitnes...