Central Wisconsin

Breast care navigators help women through trying times

There are not many things that compare to sitting in the doctor’s office waiting to see if your mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy results were normal ... especially if you are alone.

Abnormal diagnostic test results, surgeries or cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience.

In talking with our patients and their families, we learned that while the diagnosis of breast cancer is personal, it is also far-reaching. Nearly everyone has been touched in some way by this disease, whether through family, friend or co-worker.

When faced with the stress caused by an abnormal mammogram, it sometimes seems that the process takes too long. Women want individualized, timely, compassionate and consistent care that meets their unique needs.

To provide timely care, Ministry Medical Group and Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital altered their follow-up scheduling practices. Now, follow-up appointments are made promptly after an abnormal test, sometimes on the same day. The implementation of this type of scheduling decreases anxiety that is caused by delays or lack of communication.

Recognizing the physical and emotional challenges women encounter during an abnormal diagnosis can be frightening, Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group have developed a breast care navigator program to provide support to women from the time of the abnormal mammography results through the biopsy process and treatment. Breast care navigators build a relationship with the patient and guide them through whatever procedures or treatments the patient may need.

Breast care navigators are registered nurses who act as advocates, educators and guides for patients who have abnormal breast findings or who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast care nurse navigators are available to:

  • Provide education to patients, families and caregivers about tests, treatments, outcomes and aftercare.
  • Helping patients schedule appointments and tests, sometimes on the same day. Breast care navigators also make sure that the patient receives tests results and other crucial communication in a timely fashion. Having this information helps decrease anxiety caused by delays and the fear of the unknown.
  • Breast care navigators are committed to help patients find their way through the health care system, arm-in-arm on each step of the breast cancer journey.

Breast care navigators also help patients find support. They identify resources and support groups that may:

  • assist in meeting financial concerns.
  • provide community resources such as support groups.
  • provide support to patients and families during hospitalizations.

As an added service, a Patient Advisory Council will ensure that programs developed by the Ministry Breast Care Center in Stevens Point will continue to meet the needs of women requiring care of breast disease or cancer. The formation of this council combined with Ministry’s Breast Care Center’s participation in the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers gives the Ministry Breast Care Center an opportunity to learn best practices from other programs and hear from the women that it serves.

Breast care nurse navigators Kerrie Treutel, RN, and Amanda Friese, RN, are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 715.342.7765.

Parisi Speed School is available in Merrill

Ministry Medical Group and Riverside Athletic Club are pleased to announce a unique partnership that will offer better access for families in Merrill and surrounding communities to the Parisi Speed School.

Developed by All-American track athlete Bill Parisi, Parisi Speed School has become nationally recognized as the leader in performance enhancement training.

Riverside Athletic Club has brought this prestigious athletic training program to Merrill and the partnership with Ministry Medical Group and it’s Merrill Clinic, located on the 4th floor of Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center will improve access to physical fitness facilities for families in need in the community and increase access to educational health care materials and information.

Specifically, Ministry Medical Group has established a scholarship fund to sponsor a portion of the costs for the participation of low income / underprivileged children or young adults in the Parisi Speed School. In addition, clinicians from Ministry Medical Group clinic in Merrill will provide educational information and guidance on physical fitness and health related issues to participants and their families.

“This partnership is a fine example of our mission-driven effort to improve the health and well-being of all people, especially the poor in our community,” said Stewart Watson, MD, president and chief executive officer of Ministry Medical Group. “We have a strong community partner in Riverside Athletic Club and look forward to making this resource available to all families who wish to participate.”

The Parisi Speed School is targeted for young athlete’s ages 7 and up with special focus on the proper fundamentals of accelerating, changing direction and stopping. Each athlete undergoes an evaluation before entering the program and gets a report card after each session for immediate feedback on their progress and some areas to work on. While Parisi has helped elite athletes, the program is also for the kids who are struggling as it heightens an athlete's self-confidence. Programs are provided at Riverside Athletic Club as well as sport specific training sessions and camps at area schools and with other organizations.

“This is truly a combined effort to improve the health and wellness of our community,” said Paul Kienitz, Owner of Riverside Athletic Club. “We are especially excited that this scholarship program will ease the burden of those less fortunate in our community and break down the barriers for participation.”

Ministry Medical Group scholarship funds for the Parisi Speed School are available by application for families of athletes who qualify for the Wisconsin Free and Reduced Meal Program or Ministry Health Care’s Community Care Financial Assistance Program.

For more information on the Parisi Speed School and Ministry Medical Group’s Scholarship opportunities, please call 715.536.2481 or visit riversideathletic.com

New Stevens Point providers can help you stay healthy

Ikenna Obasi, MD, joined Ministry Medical Group’s Department of Psychiatry and will be providing services to patients at 3398 E. Maria Drive in Stevens Point.

Dr. Obasi received his Medical Degree from Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and completed his Psychiatry Residency through Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons at Harlem Hospital Center in New York, New York.

He has extensive training in cognitive behavioral therapy, marital therapy and medication management of psychiatric disorders.

“I believe in caring for my patients as unique individuals,” shared Dr. Obasi. “People have unique concerns, values, expectations, and therefore, their treatment plans should be tailored specifically to them.”

Dr. Obasi enjoys exercising, music, traveling and spending time with his wife and children.

For more information, please call 715.341.7441.

Eric Grajkowski, DO, is a family care practitioner and Wisconsin native providing services at Ministry Medical Group's Department of Family Practice. He will be seeing patients at 900 Illinois Avenue in Stevens Point.

Dr. Grajkowski completed his residency at University of Nebraska Medical Center/55th Medical Group. He earned his Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences.

“I grew up on a dairy farm in Thorp, Wisconsin,” shared Dr. Grajkowski. “I believe this helped me learn the value of a hard day's work. I strive to get to know my patients in order to work together as a team.”

Dr. Grajkowski, enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, exploring the outdoors while bike riding, walking trails and gardening.

For more information, please call 715.342.7900.

Valerie Hay, MD, provides pediatric health care services at Ministry Medical Group (MMG) Pediatrics. She will be providing care to patients at 824 Illinois Avenue in Stevens Point.

Dr. Hay earned her Medical Degree at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois and is Board Certified in General Pediatrics.

“I believe in teaching families how to live a healthy and enjoyable life from the very beginning,” said Dr. Hay.

Dr. Hay enjoys walking, traveling and reading. For more information, please call 715.342.7655.

Joseph Kim, MD, specializes in all aspects of gastrointestinal endoscopy including upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, and therapeutic endoscopy. He will be seeing patients at 824 Illinois Avenue in Stevens Point.

He completed his medical degree and residency at Medical College of Wisconsin.

“I believe in an evidence-based approach to patient care,” shared Dr. Kim. “I also greatly value discussions with my patients about their health and care.”

Dr. Kim enjoys volunteering with charitable organizations that support underprivileged children and families. He also enjoys fishing, tennis and spending time with his wife and daughter.

For more information, please call 715.342.7725.

Angela Rhode, NP, is a certified wound specialist with extensive training with negative-pressure assistive devices. She will be providing wound care services to patients at 824 Illinois Avenue in Stevens Point.

Angela received her Master's of Science degree in Nursing from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and her Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.

She is a Certified Wound Specialist from the American Academy of Wound Management and has extensive training with negative pressure assistive devices.

"I believe in treating my patients as individuals rather than as a disease process," shared Angela. "The feeling I get from knowing I have helped make a difference in a patient's life is the utmost reward for me."

Angela enjoys biking, walking, sewing, and spending time with her husband and their three children.

For more information, please call 715.342.6609.

Amy Heikkinen, PA-C, provides services in the Internal Medicine Department at Ministry Medical Group. She will be providing services to patients at 824 Illinois Avenue in Stevens Point.

Amy Heikkinen, PA-C, completed her graduate studies with Augsburg College Physician Assistant Graduate Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received her undergraduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.

“I believe in creating a partnership with my patients to help them make important medical decisions and healthy lifestyle choices,” shared Amy.

She enjoys marathon/triathlon training, sports, music, traveling and spending time with her husband and family.

For more information, please call 715.342.7725.

Families can count on the care of Evangeline Ndigwe, MD, in Weston

Ministry Health Care is pleased to welcome Family Medicine Physician Evangeline Ndigwe, MD, to Ministry Medical Group’s Weston Clinic, located on the campus of the Weston Regional Medical Center at 3301 Cranberry Boulevard.

“As a caring and compassionate clinician, I work with my patients to determine their points of need and work with them to achieve better health,” said Dr. Ndigwe. “I empower my patients to take better control of the expected goals of management of their illness,”

After completing a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at Nigeria University of Technology, Dr. Ndigwe earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica, West Indies. She recently completed the Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Dr. Ndigwe has special interest in women’s health, prenatal care, sports medicine and physicals.

A native of Nnewi, Nigeria, Dr. Ndigwe is a member of the American Academy of Family Medicine, American Medical Association and Christian Medical and dental Association.

In her spare time, Dr. Ndigwe enjoys music, dancing, hiking and cooking.

Dr. Ndigwe joins family medicine specialists Steven M. Fontanini, DO, Janet Gilbert, MD, Robin Henley, DO, and Helen Luce, DO, in providing primary care services in Weston.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Ministry Medical Group in Weston at 715.393.3900 or visit ministryhealth.org.

New fund helps provide respite care for families of Alzheimer’s patients

Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are often so overwhelmed they neglect their own physical, mental and emotional well-being. The Vetter Family Alzheimer’s Fund at Saint Michael’s Foundation will try to help local caregivers by providing respite-specific funding to those who cannot afford specific adult day programs, in-home assistance, meal delivery and visiting nurse assistance.

The Vetter Family Alzheimer’s Fund was established by Hans and Sherri Vetter in memory of their sister, Mary Vetter Murphree and in honor of Ginger Vetter McDevitt.

In this one family, two vibrant, beautiful and smart sisters were afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Both of these sisters had loving companions and family members who cared for them during their journey with Alzheimer’s.

“We’ve seen first-hand how Alzheimer’s affects a family,” shared Sherri Vetter. “Not only did we want to honor Mary and Ginger, but we want to be able to offer caregivers a means of relief so they can stay healthy.”

Mary Vetter Murphree passed away in 2011 and left a loving husband and caretaker behind. Ginger’s husband of 50 years continues to provide care for her through the progression of her disease.

Saint Michael’s Foundation raises funds for programs and services geared to enhance the quality of health care services for patients and families served by Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group. Funds are used to establish new programs and initiatives, purchase clinical equipment and provide health-related educational support.

For more information, contact Saint Michael’s Foundation at 715.343.3259.

100 Years and still serving strong

One hundred years ago, Portage County was emerging from the lumberjack era. Bountiful pine forests were giving way to plows, harvests and emerging industry. The area was showing strong signs of growth, and there was an increasing need for health care, but two early attempts at operating privately-owned hospitals failed.

Determined citizens led by the Stevens Point Women’s Club and Dr. Carl Von Neupert, Sr., raised approximately $13,000 (a considerable sum at the time) to begin construction of Saint Michael’s Hospital on the present site on August 31, 1911. One acre was donated by V.P. Atwell and a second acre was donated by the Women’s Club.

As construction neared completion, questions of who would manage the hospital remained.

Then along came the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. In 1912, the Sisters agreed to assume ownership of the newly-built Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point.

The hospital admitted its first patient on January 28, 1913, at a time when the Sisters performed most of the duties in the hospital, with the exception of the physicians’ work. Sisters fulfilled the roles of nurses, housekeepers, technicians and cooks; who all worked tirelessly.

Fast-forward to 2012 – 99 years later. Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital continues to grow and expand to meet the needs of the community that helped its creation. Its employees have stepped into the roles of the original Sisters, serving patients in surrounding communities with care and compassion – communities they know very well, because it’s their home, too. It’s where they and their families work, live and grow.

Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital is a fully accredited, acute-care facility offering a comprehensive range of services. More than 300 credentialed providers on the hospital’s medical and allied health staff, along with 800 employees, serve patients on the campus it shares with the 110,000-square-foot Ministry Medical Group clinic, a multi-specialty practice. It offers primary care, obstetrics, pediatrics, ophthalmology, and orthopedics to meet the health care needs of greater Portage County and the surrounding communities.

As part of Ministry Health Care, Ministry Saint Michael’s offers advanced technology and skilled providers and currently meets more than 80 percent of the local community’s health care needs. Last year, the hospital admitted more than 5,000 patients, performed 6,200 ambulatory surgeries, and treated more than 18,000 people in the emergency room.

Other necessary services provided to the people of Portage County and surrounding areas include Ministry Medical Group Occupational Medicine, Ministry Behavioral Health, hospice care, home health care, Ministry Heart Care, Ministry Dental Center, various support groups, and numerous community education programs which provide free health information.

Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group doctors and medical professionals are not only highly qualified employees; they are also neighbors, friends and family. This family looks forward to serving area families for the next 100 years.

Watch for details of an upcoming celebration!

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