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Tunnell Cancer Center Annual Report 2009-2010

Tunnell Cancer Center Annual Report 2009-2010

News and Accomplishments

The mission of the Robert & Eolyne Tunnell Cancer Center at Beebe Medical Center is to provide hope and cure. From diagnosis through treatment and beyond, patients are never alone.

Tunnell Cancer Center has expanded its focus on outreach education and early diagnosis with the goal of improving outcomes through the treatment of cancer at an early stage. Outreach efforts are under the direction of Judith Ramirez, EdD, Manager of Psychosocial Services and Outreach. The focus over the past year has included several free health forums with information and screenings targeted on breast and prostate cancers.

The most significant single effort this past year has been the program Sharing Our Stories, Saving Our Sisters (SOS2), made possible by a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, Philadelphia Affiliate. It focuses on providing free breast cancer screening and education to women in minority and underserved populations in Sussex County who might otherwise not receive the healthcare that they need. Lay screening navigators tell their stories to encourage women to get screened for breast cancer.

Cancer Screening Nurse Navigator Kathy Cook, MSN, RN, encouraged people throughout the community to have cancer screenings for colon, breast, prostate, and cervical cancers in compliance with American Cancer Society guidelines. She helped people access financial, transportation, translation, and other related resources.

Mrs. Cook worked closely with Clare Wilson, RN, cancer care coordinator at Tunnell Cancer Center, and community organizations, schools, and churches. She initiated the “Early Detection Connection” campaign, which reaches out to physicians and offers case management services to their patients who are in need of screenings they cannot afford.

Photo of certified oncology nurses at Tunnell Cancer CenterCertified oncology nurses at Tunnell Cancer Center: (front left–right) Bevann Kubala, RN, BSN, OCN; Kathy Dillon, RN, OCN; Liz Wilson, RN, BSN, OCN; and Suzanne Vazzano, RN, OCN; (middle left–right) Lucy Ositko, RN, OCN; Isabel Benson, RN, NP-C, AOCNP; Brandi Carr, BSN, RN, OCN; and Allison Clobes, RN, OCN; (back left–right) Lori Koyanagi, RN, OCN; Deb Crowell, RN, OCN; and Janie Wells, RN, OCN. Missing from the photo: Nancy Burd, RN, OCN; Carolyn Merryman, RN, OCN; Kari Souder, RN, OCN; Kim Willoughby, RN, OCN
Nurses Earn Oncology Certification

Three nurses at Tunnell Cancer Center earned their Oncology Nursing Certification (OCN) during the past year, signifying their advanced education in cancers and cancer treatments. There are now a total of 15 OCNs at Tunnell Cancer Center. The nurses who gained their certifications this past year were Bevann Kubala, RN, BSN, OCN; Lucy Ositko, RN, OCN; and Kim Willoughby, RN, OCN.

Oncology Nursing Society Chapter Established

The Southern Delaware Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society was established at Tunnell Cancer Center. The Chapter, open to all oncology nurses in Sussex and Kent counties, allows nurses in the area an opportunity to take part in the Society’s educational support and other programs.

Staff Members Earn Healthcare Access Associate Certification

Seven patient care registrars at Tunnell Cancer Center have earned Healthcare Access Associate Certifications, representing their professionalism in providing such services as patient registration and patient relations. Staff members who now have the Certified Healthcare Access Associate (CHAA) designation are: Regina Batson, Gail Johnson, Marie Michael, Vicki Moore, Sandy Pappas, Pam Partsch, and Ruthanne Strickler.

“I am proud of these team members for going the extra mile in working for this certification,” says Patricia Holland, Tunnell Cancer Center Operations Manager. “They are the first point of contact at Tunnell Cancer Center for patients, family members, caregivers, and visitors, and it is important that they represent the compassion and quality of the healthcare that we provide.”

As registrars and access associates, the seven team members work directly with patients. They not only register them but also process their charts, schedule appointments, follow up with insurance authorizations, handle medical record requests, and answer the telephone. These team members must have at least two years experience before they can take the certification examination, which is given by the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM).

NAHAM is the only national professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the management of patient access services in all areas of the healthcare delivery system.

New Staff

Photo of Dr. Muhammad ArifMuhammad Arif, M.D., a medical oncologist/hematologist. Dr. Arif is Board Certified in Medical Oncology, Hematology, and Internal Medicine. He has more than 10 years of experience and has developed an interest in treating patients with multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and colon cancers. Dr. Arif earned his medical degree from Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University at Harlem Hospital Center in New York. Dr. Arif completed a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the Western Campus of Tufts University at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Photo of Dr. Nouman AsifNouman Asif, M.D., a medical oncologist/hematologist. Dr. Asif earned his medical degree from Rawalpindi Medical College in Pakistan in 1997, completed residencies and internships in internal medicine in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and served as a medical officer in Pakistan. Dr. Asif completed a residency in Internal Medicine at UPMC Presbyterian/Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a fellowship in Medical Oncology/Hematology at Washington Hospital Center/Georgetown.

Photo of Brandi L. CarrBrandi L. Carr, BSN, RN, OCN, Manager of Oncology Nursing and Research. She oversees a nursing staff of 27 who are assigned to radiation oncology, medical oncology, and to oncology research and performance improvement. Ms. Carr, a registered nurse and a certified oncology nurse, joined Tunnell Cancer Center in March 2010 as Lead Clinical Trials Coordinator. She previously served as Manager of Clinical Oncology at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland. Ms. Carr earned her bachelor’s of science degree in nursing at the University of Delaware.

Photo of Kathy CookKathy Cook, MSN, RN, Cancer Screening Nurse Navigator. Mrs. Cook’s primary focus is on improving survival through early diagnosis and treatment. Mrs. Cook earned her associate’s degree in nursing and her master’s degree in nursing with a focus on Health Promotion and Wellness from Wesley College in Dover. Before joining Beebe Medical Center, she worked as a nurse at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford and taught courses in nursing at Wesley College.