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Posts made in July, 2010

Patients, Doctors Run Race – Overcome Obstacles

When PAMF rheumatologist Brent Culver, M.D., heard about the annual six-mile Wharf-to-Wharf run in Santa Cruz, he saw it as a great opportunity to encourage some of his patients to overcome their health obstacles to participate in the annual fun run.

Dr. Culver worked to get the word out about the race among his patients, other doctors and staff.  As a result, several patients, doctors and Palo Alto Medical Foundation staff were among the 15,000 runners taking on the challenge of the Wharf-to-Wharf Race this past weekend. 

Overcoming all obstacles

“Seven of our patients participated in the run, ranging from patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis to one patient on dialysis,” Dr. Culver said. “Some of them never thought they would be able to do it. It was a very motivating experience for everyone.”

Everyone on the team ran, or walked, at their own pace. The group gathered at the finish line to encourage and congratulate each other as they finished.

“One of the patients I was most proud of is a young woman who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 14,” Dr. Culver said. “She hasn’t let that health obstacle get in her way at all. In fact, she was recently accepted at a Division I university in their track and field program.”

Douglas Hetzler, M.D. , of the PAMF Santa Cruz Department of Otolaryngology, presented the awards to the race winners. Belainesh Gebre was the top woman finisher, completing the race in 30 minutes and 45 seconds, and Shadrack Kosgei was the first man across the finish line at a time of 27 minutes and one second.

New Construction Begins at PAMF Santa Cruz

For everyone at PAMF Santa Cruz, the noise of a busy construction site in the neighborhood is music to their ears. The sight and sound of workers in hard hats and enormous cranes lowering concrete walls into place means that the much-anticipated new medical building on Chanticleer Avenue is now under construction.

“All the doctors and staff at PAMF Santa Cruz are very excited that the new medical building is finally becoming a reality,” says Tom Hart, PAMF Santa Cruz’s VP of strategy and financial planning. “The new facility will enable us to combine two Orthopedics Departments that are currently housed in separate buildings in one convenient location for our patients.”

The new almost 20,000 square foot, two story facility will house Orthopedics and Podiatric Medicine on the first floor and Obstetrics and Gynecology on the second floor and plans to open its doors to patients in summer 2011. The building is located at 2907 Chanticleer Avenue across the street from Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC).

250-ton crane lowers concrete wall weighing 45 tons into place

PAMF designs its medical centers to improve patient experience and care. “Many months of careful planning have gone into this project,” says Hart. “A project advisory team of doctors and support staff provided valuable input to make sure that the building is designed with all our patients’ needs in mind.”

In early 2009, the state of the economy necessitated that Sutter Health, with which the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) is affiliated, freeze virtually all new capital spending within the organization. As the economic climate has begun to improve, Sutter Health approved the construction of this clinic which will serve the Santa Cruz community.

“It’s nice to have it cut loose in this economy,” said Jared Bogaard of Bogard Construction, estimating there will be 200 to 300 workers on site at the peak of the project.

The facility is being designed with a Lean approach that involves using the most efficient and cost-effective ways to get the job done, explains Hart. The building has also been reviewed under PG&E’s “Savings by Design” program for new energy-efficient facilities and is projected to use 25 percent less energy than a facility built using traditional methods.

PAMF CEO Dr. David Druker Passes Away

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. David Druker, chief executive officer of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Druker, passed away on July 23, 2010, after a long battle with cancer. He was 68. Dr. Druker was a beloved colleague, friend, husband, father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed.

Throughout his almost three-year battle with lung cancer, he demonstrated great personal strength, perseverance, courage and selflessness. His influence was felt far outside the sphere of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.  Through his intelligence and passion, he improved the way that care was delivered throughout our region and country, through many national leadership roles.  He nurtured open and productive relationships in the communities served by PAMF. He had a particular passion for children and education, and fostered longstanding partnerships with schools.

“David was a healer, a teacher, a visionary, and a mentor to all of us,” said Jeff Gerard, president of the Sutter Health Peninsula Coastal Region, of which PAMF is a part. “He had an ability to engage the people’s hearts and minds around a singular purpose of creating the very best medical care possible for the community. From the beginning, he promoted a culture of innovation, often being an early adopter of new technologies or creating new ways of delivering patient-centered care.”

Biographical Information

Prior to becoming CEO of PAMF in 1999, Dr. Druker served as chief operating officer of the PAMF from 1994 to 1999, and served as the regional executive officer of the Sutter Health Peninsula Coastal Region, which includes all of the Sutter Health hospitals and physician groups in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County. He was a member of the Sutter System Management Team, which sets overall policy for Sutter Health. Dr. Druker served as the Executive Director of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic from 1989 to 1995 and was a member of the Executive Board of the Clinic from 1979 to 1995.

Dr. Druker was a board-certified dermatologist, having completed his residency at the University of Oregon School of Medicine in 1975. He received his undergraduate degree in economics at Harvard College, his M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, and completed an internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, followed by his dermatology residency. Following a year of private practice in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Druker and his family moved to Palo Alto, California, where he assumed a position in the Department of Dermatology at the Palo Alto Medical Clinic. He also served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Druker served as Chairman of the American Medical Group Association and prior to that was a Trustee of the American Group Practice Association and a member of the Board of the Unified Medical Group Association. He served as Chairman of the California Medical Group Association, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG). He served as a Trustee of the California Medical Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a member of the American College of Physician Executives.  He was a member of the Santa Clara County Medical Society, the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He also authored numerous papers both on subjects related to dermatology and subjects related to physician leadership.

In an interview shortly after he was named executive director of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic in 1989, he described his life as “one big accident. So much of what happens to us is the result of good luck and timing. I’ve been blessed with a lot of both.”

Dr. Druker lived in Los Altos Hills, California. He is survived by his wife Karen, two grown children, Daniel and Ellie, five grandchildren, and two sisters, Hannah and Leah.

Dr. Druker’s family has requested that philanthropic donations in his memory be made to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 795 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301.

Doctor Races Across America

For most of us bike riding means great outdoor exercise, for David Quincy, M.D., a family medicine doctor and Regional Medical Director at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, it means riding all the way across the United States. Together with three team mates (two of his patients and his triathalon coach), he recently rode from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland in six days and 16 hours to complete this year’s Race Across America.

“Before the race I was wondering if I’d met my match with this one,” says Dr. Quincy who is no stranger to endurance events and has participated in many biathlons and triathlons for the last 25 years. “But it was a really exhilarating experience. This type of event certainly gives you a whole new level of confidence.”

Unlike the Tour de France, the Race Across America is not ridden in stages. Instead teams use a relay format and race 24 hours a day, averaging 350 to 500 miles each day. The route is over 3,000 miles long, goes through 14 states and climbs over 100,000 feet. Read More

Employee Wellness Works

What happens when a workforce collaborates with a team of doctors to focus on preventive health and weight loss? Workers lose weight, improve their cholesterol and blood pressure levels and workplace injuries decrease.  This was the outcome of an innovative workplace wellness program created by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) for Graniterock, a Watsonville-based construction materials and services company.

When Henry Thai, M.D., an internal medicine doctor at PAMF’s Palo Alto Center, first met Bruce Woolpert, CEO of the Graniterock construction supply company in Watsonville, Woolpert was overweight and faced hypertension. By working with Dr. Thai and making small tweaks to his diet and lifestyle, Woolpert lost 40 pounds and normalized his blood pressure. Woolpert was so inspired that he decided he wanted all of his team members to have access to the same care.

“For companies like Graniterock, investing in preventive medicine, such as a weight loss and exercise program, is both socially responsible and important in reducing health care and workers compensation costs,” says Dr. Thai.

To replicate Woolpert’s experience, PAMF launched the “(Healthy)me: Healthy to the Power of Me” employee wellness program. Dr. Thai created an educational booklet for Graniterock about weight management, exercise and a healthy diet. He also recruited six doctors from PAMF to provide on-site care at Graniterock locations in the Bay Area. The pilot program began in June 2008 and ran for six months.  Due to the great success of the program, Graniterock committed to extending the program in 2009.  Today, PAMF remains involved with Graniterock employee wellness and provides weekly health tips to the employee newsletter to help employees stay on track with their wellness goals. Read More