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Queen’s Comprehensive Weight Management TeamOne satisfied patient of The Queen’s Medical Center’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program (CWMP) lost 75 pounds, and more importantly, is no longer on any medication for his numerous previous health issues, including diabetes. He was taking up to eight pills a day, and his job as a bus driver was in jeopardy. He now looks great and feels even better.

The CWMP was recently awarded the Blue Distinction® designation by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “It’s a validation that we’re giving quality care,” CWMP coordinator Valerie Kauhane, RN, explained. The designation is given to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality health care, and is based on rigorous, evidence-based, objective selection criteria established in collaboration with expert physician’s and medical organization’s recommendations. The goal of the Blue Distinction is to help consumers find quality specialty care on a consistent basis, while enabling and encouraging health care professionals to improve the overall quality and delivery of care nationwide.

Since the CWMP began at Queen’s in 2004, over 600 bariatric surgeries have been performed. Eighty five per cent of patients with diabetes see a resolution to their illness. Its multidisciplinary staff—comprised of a bariatric certified RN, registered dietitians, physical therapists, clinical psychologists, bariatricians, and fellowship-trained bariatric surgeons—provide patients with one-stop convenience for appointments and allows for immediate interdisciplinary collaboration and consultation. The CWMP also hosts an annual minimally invasive surgery conference and is a teaching resource for Queen’s and the State of Hawai‘i.

The CWMP is currently recruiting participants for a Native Hawaiian health study that will look at outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes who undertake bariatric surgery. This will be done in collaboration with the The Queen’s Health Systems’s Native Hawaiian Health Program and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. If you are interested in participating, call Valerie Kauhane at 808.537.7546.

Queen's Wahine

The Queen's Health Systems (QHS) boasts 3,770 employees, making it one of Hawaii's biggest employers. But did you know that 74% of those employees are women? This month, QHS will be the presenting sponsor of Hawai’i Business magazine's Wahine Forum, to be held on Tuesday, October 19, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Sheraton Waikiki, Maui Ballroom.

The Wahine Forum is Hawaii's leading women's conference for women in business and civic leaders. This year's keynote address will be given by Pam Omidyar, co-founder of the Omidyar Network, and Pat Christen, president and CEO of the HopeLab. Both will share insights on how to create a values-driven organization. Over a dozen prominent Hawai’i women leaders will present sessions on pioneering, negotiation, career reinvention, new media security issues, office makeover strategies and executive advancement. Workshops, offered in two sessions, will give attendees the opportunity to tailor their selections to their own interests.

Women who seek greater influence and authority in their field, the business community, and in civic service will benefit from the event. These include everyone from sole proprietors to nonprofit leaders to managers and executives from organizations of all sizes. Attendees can expect to learn about business trends, innovation, and growth strategies; sharpen business and negotiation skills; gain insight about business cultures; acquire skills to advance leadership potential and business success; and more. For more information, visit www.hawaiibusiness.com and click on the Wahine Forum logo at the top left of the page.

Photo caption:
Queen's wahine came out for a photo which is published in an ad in the October issue of Hawai’i Business magazine.

The Queen’s cancer team provides patients with multidiscipinary care.

When cancer care becomes necessary, Hawai’i residents don't have to look any further than the Queen's Cancer Center, which has become one of 14 new sites chosen by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—a part of the National Institutes of Health—to join a network of community cancer centers that offer expanded research and leading edge cancer care at community hospitals. There are now just 30 such community hospitals out of 6,000 nationwide. The program is called the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP). “Patients don't need to travel elsewhere to get great cancer care,” asserted Paul Morris, MD, FACS, Chair of the Queen's Cancer Committee. “We've taken the good work we're doing here and measured ourselves against national standards. There is no greater honor…than to be chosen by the NCI to bring the newest research and best care to its community.”

Established in 2007, the NCCCP used $40 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand its number of community hospital-based sites from 16 to 30. “NCI's mission is to reduce the burden of cancer for all,” said Art Ushijima, QHS/QMC President. “The NCI estimates that 85 percent of cancer patients are diagnosed and treated within community hospitals, close to a patient's home. The NCCCP extends the NCI cancer program into local communities like ours, giving patients easier access to state-of-the-art cancer care and clinical trial opportunities.”

Patients at NCCCP hospitals have more opportunities to participate in clinical trials and access to enhanced screening, palliative care and other services. Many cancer patients cannot commute to major academic medical centers. “The NCCCP was founded on the principle that patients should not have to travel far for state-of-the-art cancer care,” said Debbie Ishihara-Wong, Director of Oncology Services.” The NCCCP is designed to create new research opportunities across the cancer continuum, from screening and treatment to follow-up care, with an emphasis on minority and underserved populations. Queen's has partnered with the Native Hawaiian Cancer Network and ‘Imi Hale to better serve the native Hawaiian community.

"The end result of the truly multidisciplinary cancer care at Queen's," said Dr. Morris, "continues to rank us above national benchmarks for quality and survival according to the National Cancer Database, which tracks cancer care data…." The Queen's Cancer Center is Hawaii's most comprehensive, up-to-date cancer facility, offering patients leading edge technologies and treatments. It is also Hawaii's largest and most comprehensive survivorship and navigation program, helping patients through diagnosis, treatment and long-term follow-up. Other services include nutrition counseling, genetic counseling and testing, support groups, social work, pain and palliative care, rehabilitation therapies, behavioral health, financial counseling, complementary and integrated medicine (e.g., acupuncture and massage) and spiritual counseling.

Sekon Wong, MD, and Kahealani Rivera, MDHawai’i has a shortage of cardiologists at a time when demand is expected to grow due to its aging population. A cardiac fellowship program begun this summer through a partnership between the University of Hawai’i at Manoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and The Queen's Medical Center (QMC) will help address the shortage.

The rigorous cardiology fellowship curriculum is designed to develop "outstanding clinical cardiologists" who are competent practitioners capable of managing the health care of adults "using the full range of medical technological advances while maintaining unwavering professional standards, humanism and compassion." Fellows are licensed medical doctors who have completed medical school and post-graduate residency training in internal medicine. The program is Hawaii's first Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved cardiology fellowship training program.

The three-year program's goal is to recruit, train, and keep future cardiologists in Hawai‘i, since 80 percent of doctors practice where they trained. "We know from an ongoing workforce study that…Hawai‘i already is short more than 68 cardiologists," said Jerris Hedges, MD, Dean of JABSOM. "Cardiology demand is expected to grow at a greater rate than many other specialties because of our aging citizens. This training opportunity demonstrates the commitment of our academic training partner, The Queen's Medical Center, to improve health care in Hawai’i."

JABSOM will serve as the sponsor of the new Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program and will provide faculty support. Queen's will also provide faculty and serve as the training site. The Program Director is Robert Hong, MD, (Medical Director of Queen's Heart Physician Practice) who also serves as Chief of the Division of Cardiology for JABSOM. Key clinical faculty include Drs. Todd Seto, Ralph Shohet, Chari Hart, Irving Schatz, David Fergusson, Christian Spies (also Assistant Program Director) and Joon Choi. Support from QHS/QMC President Art Ushijima and the QMC Board of Trustees allowed the launch of the effort, which has been six years in the making. Queen's will underwrite the full cost of the startup and ongoing expenses, which are projected to be over $2.3 million over three years. Cathy Young, RN, Vice President of Patient Care, provided considerable administrative support, while Queen's MDs Edward Shen, John Cogan, Joana Magno, and Erlaine Bello joined in the effort to make the fellowship a reality.

The fellowship will accept two fellows per year. This year's fellows are Kahealani Rivera, MD, and Sekon Won, MD. Dr. Rivera earned her Doctor of Medicine at Stanford School of Medicine in California. The Kamehameha Schools valedictorian completed her Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Hawai’i Residency Program and has been chief medical resident at Queen's. Dr. Won earned his Doctor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts. He received his post-doctoral training in Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Center and at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Won has served as a hospitalist in Internal Medicine at Queen's since 2005.

"Governor John A. Burns believed in developing education as a means to improve health care," noted Dr. Hong. "We are trying to take it to the next level. The program is not just about training fellows, but changing the system by integrating education, research, and clinical care."

Photo caption:
Sekon Wong, MD, and Kahealani Rivera, MD, the first two fellows of the new UH/QMC Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program.

altThe Queen's Medical Center's Employee of the Year represents just one example of excellence among many. Supporting each honoree is a team of 3,700 dedicated professionals. Thus, it is with pride that Queen's honored Pearl Whittaker, Senior Cardiovascular Sonographer of Queen's Heart, as Employee of the Year for 2009. Whittaker was named Employee of the Month in January 2009. The Employee of the Year is chosen from among 12 monthly honorees.

Whittaker was inspired to seek a career in health care because of her sister, who was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at age 2. What is routine now was traumatic in the early 1960s. Queen's had performed the first adult open heart surgery in Hawai’i in 1959, but it was not yet available for children. Whittaker's sister and one parent would have had to travel to San Francisco and stay for a long time, which was then out of reach for the family. They were able to wait until Children's Hospital began to perform open heart surgeries, and Whittaker's sister became the fifth child patient in Hawai’i in 1964. She remembers that her sister had to have invasive cardiac catheter exams; each required a one week stay in the hospital. Now, same day noninvasive echocardiograms are given to patients instead. Echocardiograms evaluate the anatomy and blood flow of the heart, its valves and related blood vessels using ultrasound technology.

After graduating from Waipahu High School, Whittaker worked as a unit secretary at St. Francis Medical Center through college. After earning a bachelor's degree in biology, she was hired at the cardiopulmonary department at St. Francis, then went to Queen's as an anesthesia tech. When there was an opening in the echo lab, Whittaker transferred and began learning how to do echocardiograms. She soon became senior sonographer, and the department began to grow.

Whittaker had felt that ultrasound was the wave of the future in medicine. "Ultrasound technology is cost-effective and its scope is widespread" she stated. "We can see the motion of the heart and blood flow in real time, and we can calculate the pressures within the heart without breaking the skin." Today, ultrasound technology is used in a wide range of medical specialties. Fascinated by medical technology, Whittaker related that the first ultrasound machines were as big as a room. Transistors cut the size in half, and chip technology made then portable. Now, there are faster processors and some machines are the size of a piece of folder paper or smaller.

Whittaker was also instrumental in the accreditation of the Queen's Cardiac Noninvasive Laboratory, an effort that required physicians and staff to meet rigorous standards in complex imaging. She also worked with Todd Seto, MD, on ways to increase health care access to Native Hawaiians and other under-served groups at community clinics. Additionally, Whittaker has been the logistician for the American Heart Association's local Heart Walk for the past 15 years, served as the AHA Hawai’i/Pacific Mountain affiliate and sat on the board for nine years. She has also helped establish an affiliation with Seattle University, allowing students to do part of their clinical rotation in echo and vascular sonography at Queen's. "This job allows me to blend things I'm passionate about" said Whittaker of Queen's. Summing up all of her time at Queen's, Whittaker concluded, "I truly feel that I've been given a great opportunity."

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