Choptank Community Health Providers Tour UM Shore Regional Health Locations

Practitioners who recently joined Choptank Community Health System (CCHS) toured a number of outpatient facilities of UM Shore Regional Health earlier this month, including the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center, the Cancer Center, UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Easton, and the office of UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health (OBGYN). The group was escorted by Judy Thomas, regional manager, Provider Referral and Business Development for University of Maryland Medical System (for the Mid-Shore Region).

CCHS is a private, non-profit community health center providing primary health care services in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot Counties and the surrounding areas. CCHS health centers provide a range of primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services.

At Shore Medical Pavilion at Easton: front row, Phil, Regas, Victoria Billings, Ashley Taylor and Rachel Spellman; back row, Veronica Rigler, Judy Thomas, Katie Dadds, Peyman Otmishi, MD, Andrew Vranic, MD, and Greg Oliver, MD. Dadds, Regas, Dr. Otmishi, Dr. Vranic and Dr. Oliver are with University of Maryland Community Medical Group.

The tour, which included introductions to several UM SRH physicians, advanced practice providers, practice managers and other staff, was arranged as part of the developing partnership between UM SRH and CCHS in the interest of providing access to quality health care for all Mid Shore residents. With Victoria Billings, CCHS regional site director were new CCHS practitioners Veronica Rigler, Federalsburg Medical Center; Rachel M. Spellman, Fassett-Magee Health Center; and Ashley Taylor, Denton Medical Center.

“The goal of these tours is to enhance continuity of care for our shared patients by educating community providers about the health care services offered in the Mid Shore region and making personal introductions that will facilitate good communication between medical services, practices and providers,” Thomas says.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

McMullen Named Rehabilitation Clinical Specialist at UM Shore Rehabilitation at Denton

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services recently welcomed clinical specialist Deanna McMullen, DPT to the outpatient rehabilitation team at UM Shore Rehabilitation at Denton.

“We are excited about the addition of Deanna to our Shore Rehabilitation team,” says Frank Rath, manager of outpatient rehabilitation services for UM SRH. “Deanna is a talented therapist who brings a lot of enthusiasm, compassion, and clinical experience to benefit patients at Shore Rehab in Denton.”

A graduate of Easton High School, McMullen earned both a B.S. in Exercise Science and M.S. in Applied Health Physiology at Salisbury University before earning her doctorate in physical therapy at Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania. She has experience working in pediatric and early intervention, outpatient orthopedics and inpatient acute care. Most recently, McMullen worked as a physical therapist for ATI Physical Therapy in Dover, Delaware.

UM Shore Rehabilitation in Denton offers a variety of rehabilitative care including physical, occupational, manual and speech therapies. For more information about more services offered and other locations, contact Frank Rath, 410-822-1000, ext. 7641 or visit http://umshoreregional.org/rehabilitation.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Easton’s Primary Stroke Center Earns Gold Plus Status from American Stroke Association

Stroke, a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain, takes the lives of more than 130,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When in need of prompt care for stroke, residents of the five-county region served by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health have access to a designated Primary Stroke Center at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton.

A Primary Stroke Center designation is given by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) when standards are met to support better outcomes for stroke care. Certification standards include having a dedicated stroke-focused program, staffed by specially trained medical professionals – 24 hours a day, 7 days each week – who provide expedited diagnostic services and stroke care.

UM Shore Medical Center at Easton’s Stroke Center recently received the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association’s (ASA) Get With The Guidelines®– Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Photo: The Primary Stroke Center team, led by medical director, Dr. Terry Detrich, and neuroscience specialist and Stroke Center coordinator, Nicole Leonard, is a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, Emergency Department staff, diagnostic services such as imaging and lab, and pharmacy. Pictured are (back row) Gary Bigelow, director, Imaging Services; Diane Walbridge, director of Acute Care and Emergency Services; neurologists, Dr. Walid Kamsheh and Dr. Detrich; certified registered nurse practitioner, Rahel Alemu; Mary Collins, nurse leader, 2 East Multi-Specialty Care Unit at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; Ryan Foster, manager, Emergency Services at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; (front) Jennifer Miles, nurse manager of Easton’s Multi-Specialty Care and Neuroscience Units; Nicole Leonard; and Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Nursing Services, and chief nursing officer.

According to the ASA, hospitals earning the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award have reached an aggressive goal of treating patients with 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and have achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

In conjunction with its Gold Plus status, Easton’s Primary Stroke Center also achieved the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, demonstrating success in meeting quality measures to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), Alteplase, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given in the first three hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, Alteplase has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Administered intravenously through the arm, Alteplase works by dissolving the obstructive clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.

The quality measures established by the AHA/ASA are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“Members of the Primary Stroke Center team at Shore Medical Center at Easton are specially trained in diagnosing and treating all types of stroke,” comments Nicole Leonard, RN, BSN, neuroscience specialist and stroke coordinator.  Much like the objective of core quality measures set forth by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, our top priority is prompt, effective care and positive patient outcomes. We have been able to achieve these awards because of the collaborative effort of our entire Stroke Center team. ”

According to Leonard, the three types of stroke are ischemic stroke, caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain; a hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a blood vessel rupturing and causing bleeding inside the brain; and a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a temporary interruption of blood flow to an area of the brain.

“Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures,” she remarks. “When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs causing vital brain cells to die – 1.9 million neurons die each minute stroke treatment is delayed.”

“Our highly skilled medical providers and clinicians strive to make our organization the region’s leader in patient-centered care,” says Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health. “The Stroke Center’s recent recognition from the American Stroke Association demonstrates our team’s commitment to delivering innovative stroke treatments to patients as quickly and safely as possible when care is needed at the most critical time.”

Expanding upon the magnitude the Gold Plus designation, Terry Detrich, MD, local neurologist and medical director of the Stroke Center, remarks, “This is a fantastic achievement for a small hospital to be able to make the great advancements we have in complying with national stroke care guidelines.”

He continues, “It is also an incredible achievement for everyone on the team – the physicians, nurses, x-ray and lab personnel, the pharmacy team and the entire Emergency Department team. We all continue to work harder to update our capabilities, working with our partners at University of Maryland Medical System, to further enhance the care that we provide to our community members.”

Detrich also feels strongly about the key role that local emergency medical services play in the Stroke Center’s ability to treat patients appropriately and timely. “We would not be successful in our efforts to provide high-quality stroke care without the collaboration of our local Emergency Services teams,” he says.

The Stroke Center team at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton lives by the principle that time lost is brain lost, and because of that, clinicians feel it is imperative for patients to seek treatment for stroke at the first sign or symptom. To recognize signs and symptoms of stroke, it is recommended that people remember the word “FAST” – Facial drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; and if any of these symptoms are present, it’s Time to call 9-1-1 as immediate medical attention is necessary.

Additional information about the Primary Stroke Center at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton can be found at UMShoreRegional.org/stroke.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Shore Kids Camp for Children with Type 2 Diabetes

Enrollment is now open for Shore Kids Camp, a four-day camp experience for children (ages 8-13) with diabetes that takes place July 17-21, 2017 at MEBA Engineering School on Route 33 (the Oxford Road) in Easton.

Provided by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, Shore Kids Camp helps children with diabetes learn more about their disease and how to manage it in a safe and healthy environment while enjoying many activities, including bowling, boat rides, and visits to organic farms and area museums. The camp is managed by pediatric nurses with experience in diabetes who are assisted by high school and college students as volunteers. It also receives support from varied community groups, including local Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and the Talbot County Public Schools field hockey teams.

“There is no other activity like this on the Eastern Shore,” says Wynne Aroom, patient education specialist, UM Shore Regional Health. “The diabetes camps across the Bay Bridge are overnight camps — many parents are reluctant to send their young children that far away while others find the cost of ‘sleep-away’ camp prohibitive.

The educational aspect of the camp experience includes guest speakers from the hospital and community such as dietitians, other diabetes educators, nurses with diabetes, podiatrists, dental hygienists and ophthalmologists. The children also play various learning games. Says Aroom, “These activities help boost the children’s confidence that they can survive without their parents. In many cases, they are the only child in their school class with diabetes, which is very challenging for them. At Shore Kids Camp, there is a lot of sharing and learning from each other, so they feel less alone in the challenges they face daily,” she adds.

Aroom also notes that Shore Kids Camp helps parents by providing needed respite from round-the-clock vigilance and the confidence that their child is having fun in a safe environment, as well as the opportunity to meet and talk with other families coping with Type 2 diabetes.

The camp fee is $75 per child and the registration deadline is July 7, 2017. For further details, contact Wynne Aroom, 410-822-1000, ext. 5286, or waroom@umm.edu.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

New Physician Assistant Rotations in Progress at UM Shore Regional Health

UM Shore Regional Health has welcomed five physician assistant students for clinical rotations with UM SRH physician preceptors, William Huffner, MD, senior vice president, Medical Affairs and chief medical officer, has announced.

The students — Rhavi Dholokia, Emmy Estrada, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Kulvinder Singh and Emily Tull — began their first of eight, five-week rotations on May 22, 2017. The physician preceptors and their specialties are: Eric Anderson, MD, Psychiatry; Walter Atha, MD, Emergency Medicine; Kim Herman, MD, Family Medicine; Mark Langfitt, MD, Pediatrics; Andrew Pelczar, MD, Surgery; Aisha Siddiqui, MD, OB/GYN; Myron Szczukowski, Jr., MD, Orthopedics (offered as an elective); and Elena Tilly, MD, Internal Medicine.

UM SRH has welcomed five physician assistant students for nine-month clinical rotations. Shown are (back row, L-R): Emily Tull, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Ravi Dholokia, Kulvinder Singh and Emmy Estrada; and (front row, L-R) William Huffner, MD, UM SRH chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs, Kim Billingslea, regional director, Medical Staff Services, and Jennifer Kaminskas, executive assistant, Medical Affairs.

“We are delighted to host this second group of students from the Physician Assistant program offered jointly by Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland at Baltimore,” says Huffner. “According to reports from our physician preceptors and from the seven PA students who were with us during the past year, the first round of rotations was highly successful. In fact, a few of those students, who graduated in May, have indicated that UM Shore Regional Health is their first choice for employment once they pass their PA licensing exams. We could not have asked for a better outcome and we are hoping this new group will have an equally good experience with our physicians and their practices, and in our hospitals and outpatient services.”

Mary Jo Bondy, administrative program director of the M.S. in Health Science/Physician Assistant Porgram, shares Dr. Huffner’s enthusiasm. “We are so very grateful to the physicians and hospital leaders at Shore who have welcomed our PA students,” Bondy says. “The first group of students, who are now graduates studying for state licensure, greatly appreciated the opportunity to become embedded in the local community and to work with one physician practice at a time, which enabled them to really focus on their learning. I also was very glad to hear from some of the physician preceptors how much growth they observed in the students over the course of the rotations.”

According to Bondy, most of the students accepted into the AACC/UMB PA program have some work experience, very often in the field of health care. “We find that candidates with a bit of work history and life experience are most likely to succeed in the program, which is very demanding,” she says.

The demand for certified physician assistants continues to grow, especially in rural communities. PAs work in virtually every area of medicine and surgery in the full array of health care settings — hospitals, private and employed physician practices, outpatient services, and long-term care and rehabilitation facilities. PA duties include taking histories and conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing illnesses, developing and implementing treatment plans, and assisting in or even performing surgery.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Easton Auxiliary Hosts Annual Membership Luncheon, Announces New Officers

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton recently announced its officers for 2017-2018 at their annual membership luncheon held at the Milestone in Eaton.

Pictured are (from left to right).  The Auxiliary supports programs and services at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton and at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health offsite locations including the Cancer Center.  Funds are raised by the Auxiliary primarily through retail sales at Maggie’s Gift Shop, located at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, at The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street.  For additional Information about volunteer opportunities with the Auxiliary, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5839.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Local Neurosurgery Team Offers Presentation on Mission Trip to Jordan

“Neurosurgery and Hope – The Mission for Syrian Refugees” is the topic of a special, free presentation by local neurosurgeon Khalid Kurtom, MD, and his operating room team, set for Thursday, June 29 at 7 p.m. in the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College.

Khalid Kurtom, MD, third from left, is shown with members of his surgical team (l. to r.) Robert Brault, Suzette Jones, Wendy Towers and Steve Lykudis (in gray), and two members of the Istishari Hospital medical staff.

Kurtom, a neurosurgeon with University of Maryland Community Medical Group – Neurosurgery in Easton, and his four team members will discuss their recent trip to Amman, Jordan to perform complex, minimally invasive brain and spine surgeries on Syrian refugees who had fled war-torn Syria to live in refugee camps in Jordan. Organized by Kurtom and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), the mission was funded by SAMS, University of Maryland Medical System and many private donations. While at the Istishari Hospital in Amman, the team performed 22 life-changing surgeries on patients who were suffering from a range of debilitating conditions, including bullet wounds and other injuries related to the conflict in Syria, advanced and untreated spinal disease, and previous unsuccessful surgeries.

In addition to Kurtom, surgical nurses Wendy Towers and Suzette Jones, surgical technologist Robert Brault and surgical equipment specialist Steve Lykudis will be on hand to assist in the presentation and answer questions from those in attendance.

For more information or to RSVP for this event, contact Cindy Yost, 410-820-9117, ext. 4144 or cyost@umm.edu.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton Celebrates its 70th Anniversary

This May the Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The Auxiliary works to raise funds for equipment, programs, services and patient care at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, and various outpatient locations throughout UM Shore Regional Health, including the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center, the Cancer Center and various rehabilitation facilities.

Established in 1947, the Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton started as a suggestion of the Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and its staff resulting in 20 women forming the nucleus of the Junior Auxiliary. Currently the Auxiliary consists of 162 total members who volunteered over 37,000 hours last year, raising $150,000 in funds to benefit patient care.

“Over seven decades, thousands of auxiliary volunteers have made major contributions to our community’s health through both funds raised and time given,” says Art Cecil, Auxiliary president. “We have an outstanding team of volunteers and look forward to making additional contributions to the Medical Center at Easton and its facilities.”

The Auxiliary’s funds are primarily raised through sales at Maggie’s Gift Shop, located at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, and at the Bazaar at 121 Federal Street, which accepts donations of gently used clothing, accessories and small household items that are resold at reasonable prices.  Both retail establishments are staffed by Auxiliary volunteers.

In addition, Auxiliary volunteers are a resource in clinical areas both at the hospital and offsite, providing assistance to staff members, patients and visitors in multiple areas.  Free blood pressure screenings are also provided to the community by auxiliary volunteers at the Diagnostic and Imaging Center located at 10 Martin Court in Easton.

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton is currently seeking volunteers in all areas of service.  To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact 410-822-1000, extension 5839.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

National Cancer Survivors Day, Support Groups Offered by Cancer Program

The Cancer Program at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is gearing up for its annual event in observance of National Cancer Survivors Day, held the first Sunday in June, to celebrate those who have recovered from and survived a cancer diagnosis.

“A patient is considered a cancer survivor from the moment of initial diagnosis until the end of life,” comments Jeanie Scott, CTR, cancer registry coordinator. “National Cancer Survivors Day is an event where survivors feel supported and honored by their family members, their local communities and the health care professionals who helped them achieve their survivorship goals, whether they have been living with cancer for a day, a week, a month or years.”

The Cancer Survivors Day event, which will be held this year on Sunday, June 4, is just one of the opportunities for current and past cancer patients to support and celebrate one another.

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming,” says Patricia Plaskon, PhD, LCSW-C, OSW-C, coordinator of oncology social work at UM Shore Regional Health. “Aside from the medical and emotional challenges one faces when embarking on the cancer journey, dealing with inevitable changes in daily routines, relationships, work, and plans for the future, can leave a newly diagnosed cancer patient searching for assistance in navigating his or her way along the path to their ‘new normal.’”

UM Shore Regional Health’s Cancer Center and Clark Comprehensive Breast Center.

Cancer support comes in many different forms.  Just as cancer treatments are tailored to individual diagnoses and needs, the support services offered as part of the Cancer Program at UM Shore Regional Health can be personalized according to each individual patient’s medical and emotional needs, as well as his or her lifestyle and survivorship goals.

According to Plaskon, because cancer patients and their family members can experience different needs for guidance, information and support during the phases of diagnosis, active treatment and recovery, social workers and survivorship navigators are available to assist patients in finding the support services that best fit their situations.

“The menu of services available to patients of the Cancer Program is extensive and includes such key components as mentoring, educational programs and classes, traditional support groups, and online and phone support,” she adds.

The ultimate goal of providing support services is cancer recovery and support, which has been coined as CARES.  The CARES program is a multidisciplinary program coordinated by Margot Spies, BSN, RN, OCN, CARES oncology nurse navigator. “Because we operate under the philosophy that cancer survivorship begins the day of a person’s diagnosis, we have a process in place where patients are screened and referred to our social workers on admission or as early in their journey as possible,” says Spies.

When patients enter Shore Regional Health’s Cancer Program, they receive extensive instruction with an oncology nurse from radiation, chemotherapy or the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center. At this time they also meet with a social worker, nurse navigator and financial counselor. Through the CARES process, all patients receive education about the support available to them.  “Patients are bombarded with information when they enter our program, but the nurses and social workers are highly skilled at deciding the appropriate support services and timing that would be most meaningful to the patient,” Spies explains.

There are a number of support group opportunities available at UM Shore Regional Health where participants can share common concerns and find emotional support. Group leaders also assist in providing comfort, presenting information, teaching coping skills and helping to reduce anxiety surrounding diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.

According to Plaskon, “Our support group facilitators are clinical social workers, certified oncology social workers and oncology nurses, whose group training and experience ensure that we offer a quality service to our patients and our communities.  Patients participate in support groups for many reasons, but overwhelmingly, they agree that hearing other patients share their experiences and being able to communicate their own worries with others who share common concerns are vital aspects of each group.”

Sharon Loving, LCSW-C, facilitates the Cancer Patient Support Group, which is open to people with any form of cancer, at any stage of the cancer journey, including those people who have been cancer free for years. “The camaraderie and bonding that develops in the group is an amazing thing to witness and is almost instant,” comments Loving. “Not only do members focus on the stresses related to diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment, but also on life stresses like financial concerns, relationships, children or employment.”

According to Loving, everyone has something to offer the group because they come with different life experiences. “Many people have come to the group just to help others, even when they were going through rough times themselves,” Loving says. “Although members are diverse, differences evaporate and trust builds quickly. Even though they have different cancers, their fears and anxieties are often the same.”

The Breast Cancer Support Group, facilitated by Plaskon, helps breast cancer patients at all stages of the disease. Meetings are educational and interactive. Whether a patient is newly diagnosed, in treatment or in survivorship, the group listens and encourages him or her through the journey. Each meeting features a topic of interest or research about breast cancer; some meetings highlight quality of life issues that can present the patient with overwhelming emotional and physical challenges.

For those living with prostate cancer, the US TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group, led by Sharon Richter, BSN, RN, CCRC, OCN, is also available. The group includes men ages 40 to 80 who have undergone various treatments for prostate cancer. Urologists often refer patients that are early in their diagnosis to the group. Participants have the opportunity to share details about diagnosis, treatment and progress in coping with prostate cancer.  “This process is really helpful to someone who is deciding what treatment to have – and is worried about it,” comments Richter.

“Some men require more emotional support than others,” she says, in which case she may meet with those patients separately. Some participants may only attend support group meetings prior to and for a short time after their treatment; others may build strong relationships with other participants and may attend for many years, even if their cancer never returns.

Richter continues, “Our support group mostly is about providing information. We have speakers who address various aspects of prostate cancer treatment and recovery. At whatever stage a patient enters the group we try to answer questions and help.”

In addition to traditional support group opportunities, one-to-one mentoring is available for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through Survivors Offering Support (SOS). Based at the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at UM Shore Regional Health, SOS provides breast cancer patients with trained mentors – peer survivors who understand the experiences, emotions and challenges associated with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“Mentoring support reduces patient anxiety and lessens fear of the unknown,” comments Edla Coleman, SOS program coordinator at the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center. “In addition to the knowledge and comfort the program offers our patients, volunteer mentors themselves report that they benefit in ways far greater than they imagined. It brings the breast cancer experience full circle and turns a hard experience into something very positive.”

Besides mentoring, the SOS program offers Transition to Wellness workshops, which provide guidance and information for breast cancer patients who have completed treatment and are beginning life as breast cancer survivors.

“While cancer is something that we all hope to never face, residents of our five- county region, who are in need of cancer care, either for themselves or a loved one, have access to the full gamut of diagnostic, treatment and support services, all of which meet the highest standards of health care,” comments Brian Leutner, MBA, executive director, Oncology Services, UM Shore Regional Health. “The comprehensive support services available through the Cancer Program help patients keep their lives in balance as they navigate through diagnosis and treatment, all while helping them to achieve the ultimate goal of recovery and survivorship.”

Throughout the month of June, the Cancer Program will be hosting a number of events in addition to the National Cancer Survivors Day celebration, which is expected to celebrate 100 local cancer survivors. They include:

Sexual Health for Women after Cancer – Tuesday, June 6, 5pm, Cancer Center, 509 Idlewild Avenue, Easton. Guest speaker: Robin Ford, certified oncology nurse. Discussion: Changes in sexual function and lifestyle as a result of cancer and its related treatments.
The Cancer Moonshot: How to Follow Research and Clinical Trials – Tuesday, June 13, 5pm, Cancer Center, 509 Idlewild Avenue, Easton. Guest speakers: Nina Weisenborn, clinical trials nurse, and Bill Shrieves, pancreatic cancer survivor and member of the Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Network. Discussion: Types of cancer research and funding, how research results become standardized treatment and the benefits of clinical trials. Patients who have participated in clinical trials will be on hand to share their own experiences.
Chemo Brain: The Latest Science – Tuesday, June 20, 5pm, Cancer Center, 509 Idlewild Avenue, Easton. Guest speakers: Amy Beth Hellman, speech therapist, and Christine Allen, certified oncology dietician. Discussion: Signs of chemo brain, what to discuss with your provider, coping at work, the importance of lifestyle change, benefits of speech therapy and tips for cognition and recall, and nutritional tips to boost cognitive function.
Bras, Bathing Suits and Fashion for Women After Breast Surgery – Tuesday, June 27, 5pm, Clark Comprehensive Breast Center, 10 Martin Court, Easton.

To register for one of the June events or to obtain information about support services available throughout the region, call the Cancer Center at 410-820-6800, or visit UMShoreRegional.org/cancer_program for the latest issue of their monthly newsletter, Thriving and Surviving, containing a full listing of program offerings.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Cancer Program Volunteers Recognized

The Cancer Program at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health recently celebrated its volunteers at a luncheon held in their honor.

Volunteers support the Cancer Program by performing various tasks to assist patients at the Cancer Center and the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center, both located in Easton. Additionally, volunteers offer support through the Look Good Feel Better program – offered by the National Cosmetology Association and the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association in conjunction with the American Cancer Society to teach patients techniques that help them cope with hair loss and skin changes during cancer treatment – and the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, through which volunteer drivers provide transportation to patients having issues getting to and from cancer treatments.

Volunteers of the Cancer Program at UM SRH were celebrated at the recent recognition luncheon hosted by Cancer Program team members.

“The patients we care for at the Cancer Center and the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center often come to us during times of great distress,” remarks Brian Leutner, MBA, executive director, Oncology Services, UM Shore Regional Health. “Our volunteers – whether offering a ride to life-saving treatments, a word of support or an encouraging smile – are instrumental in our program’s ability to provide a quality health care experience, and above all, a caring and welcoming environment to the patients who entrust us with their cancer care.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities within the Cancer Program, call the Cancer Center at 410-820-6800.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.