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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist David Jones, Ph.D.

When Dr. David Jones packed his bags for this year’s OK Freewheel event, he included supplies that you might expect for someone going on a week-long bicycle ride: water bottles, helmet and extra tire tubes for those inevitable flats.
But he also added a few other items that you probably won’t find in his fellow riders’ luggage: a tie, a freshly pressed pair of khakis and a presentation about cancer research.
This week, Jones is joining approximately 1,000 other riders as they cycle across the state on a route that stretches more than 400 miles from Hollis to Fort Smith, Ark. But on three of the seven days of the ride (which began June 7 and will end June 13), when he’s finished cycling, Jones is heading to nearby communities to deliver talks about the cancer research he’s performing at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
“I can’t think of a better way to learn about my new home state than by riding from one end of it to the other,” said Jones, who moved to Oklahoma City from Utah last summer. “But at the same time, it also gives me a chance to tell people who might not be able to visit OMRF about the exciting things we’re doing.”
At OMRF, Jones and his research team are developing new methods to treat and prevent colon cancer. “We focus on the idea that these cancer cells are confused about their identity,” said Jones, who holds the Jeannine Tuttle Rainbolt Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at OMRF. “So we’re working to develop new ways to restore what I’d call their ‘normal thinking.’”
In Altus on Saturday evening, he told a group about this research and other initiatives at OMRF, where scientists are also exploring new approaches for treating breast and ovarian cancers. Much of that work, said Jones, is being done in partnership with the University of Oklahoma’s Stephenson Cancer Center, where Jones also serves as deputy director for translational research.
“The best part of this collaboration is that it enables us to bring experimental therapies to Oklahoma cancer patients,” said Jones.
By Wednesday, Jones, an avid cyclist who typically trains by riding 100 to 200 miles per week, will reach Ada. There, he’ll speak to another audience about his work, and he’ll do the same the following evening in McAlester.
With temperatures expected to reach the high 80s or low 90s each day, Jones knows that the hours of cycling each day—followed by nights spent camping in a tent—will leave him spent. Still, his biggest concern is not running out of energy before his talks.
“The hardest part will be finding a shower and getting cleaned up for an audience,” he said. “Otherwise, who’s going to believe that a sweaty guy in bike shorts can help find new ways to treat cancer?

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Join INTEGRIS Men’s Health University and the East Zion District Men’s Association for the sixth annual African American Men’s Health Summit from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 20, at Metro Technology Center Springlake Campus Business Conference Center ,1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City.
Free men’s health screenings will be held from 9 a.m. to noon including cancer screenings for *prostate PSA, *skin, *oral and colorectal (*by appointment only) glucose, cholesterol, stroke, blood pressure and lung function,. Other activities include health and wellness information and resources, giveaways and door prizes. Join us for refreshments after the screenings.
Metro Technology Center will kick-off the events with three sessions of Metabolic Fitness, Functional Exercise instructed by Bilal Konte, including cardio calisthenics, core stability training, resistance training and a cool down. For more information or reservations, please call the INTEGRIS HealthLine at 405-951-2277.

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The first cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in Oklahoma have been confirmed in Okfuskee and McIntosh counties. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages residents to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV, a mosquito-borne illness. WNV is spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and some other mammals. This type of mosquito increases in numbers during mid to late summer when the temperatures climb and the weather pattern is drier. Floodwater mosquito populations created by recent rain in Oklahoma do not increase the risk of WNV. The type of mosquitoes that hatch after severe flooding are primarily the species of mosquitoes classified as “nuisance mosquitoes”. They bite aggressively and cause lots of itchy bites, but they are not typically involved with transmission of diseases.
Floodwater mosquito populations tend to die out three weeks after the rains stop and the sun dries out affected low lying areas.
Summertime typically marks the beginning of the WNV season in Oklahoma, with outdoor activities providing opportunities for encountering infected mosquitoes. Although the severity of this year’s WNV season cannot be predicted, it is important to know the highest risk months in Oklahoma for WNV exposure occur from July through October. Since WNV was introduced into Oklahoma, there have been 3 outbreak years – 2003, 2007 and 2012. All three of these seasons were characterized by higher than normal summer temperatures and drought.
Symptoms of WNV include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb. If one or more of these symptoms develop, especially after suffering mosquito bites within the previous two weeks, a health care provider should be contacted. Persons over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV. Some of the neurological effects of WNV may be permanent.
Among the precautions to take against mosquito bites are the following:
Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.
Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
Empty your pet’s outdoor water bowl and refill daily.
Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.
For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health home page at

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Celebrity Trainer Explains 3 Reasons Why It Can


From an early age, women have foisted on them images of the “ideal” female body, and self-esteem can plummet when they fail to measure up.
But celebrity trainer Holly Perkins says it’s time women stop buying into those societal pressures.
“There’s this perception that all women need to look like perfect runway models,” says Perkins. “They can feel the anxiety building when they are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. That’s when the effort to lose weight or get fit can add to the stresses of life instead of relieving them.”
Certainly, women should want to improve their health, get fit and look gorgeous all at the same time, says Perkins, who recently released a home-exercise system designed specifically for women called baladea (, with regimens she developed to fuse fitness and wellness exercises.
But getting in shape needs to be something women want for themselves, and not an effort to mimic some airbrushed image on a magazine cover at the supermarket, she says.
Perkins realized several years ago that her clients met their weight-loss goals faster when she created programs that addressed both their fitness and wellness needs at the same time.
They also felt happier about themselves. So she incorporated yoga and other stress-relieving and relaxation techniques into the baladea program.
Perkins offers three reasons why the right fitness and wellness regimen can empower women and emancipate them from society’s image pressures:
• Because looking good makes you feel good. That’s especially true when you’re trying to look good to please yourself and not others, Perkins says. “There’s this sense of empowerment when you exercise, eat a healthier diet and lose weight because it’s what you want and not because of peer pressure or societal pressures,” she says.
Self-esteem rises when you improve your image on your terms, she says, and as a result “looking gorgeous never felt better.”
• Because the science says so. Research shows that stress can keep you from losing weight and might even cause you to add pounds. Even if you eat well and exercise, an excessive amount of stress can counteract all your efforts. That’s why meshing fitness and wellness works so well, Perkins says.
“Stress reduction and relaxation can significantly improve weight loss,” she says. “That allows you to look and feel your absolute best.”
• Because while improving your look, you also become healthier. You will feel amazing not just because of elevated self-esteem, but because your body really is functioning better because of the diet and exercise, Perkins says. Your energy level will rise and “you will feel ready for anything,” she says.
“You can look awesome and you can feel happy at the same time,” Perkins says. “It’s all about letting your true self shine.”
Holly Perkins is a national fitness expert and developer of baladea (, a customizable fitness and wellness system for women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), one of the most prestigious certifications in the industry. She believes that making fitness a fun lifestyle is the best way to achieve true change. As one of the nation’s leading weight-loss experts and a highly sought-after celebrity trainer, she has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and on national TV shows.

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Thirty-year-old Tamara Schmid, RN, BSN, RN-BC has her sights set on finishing her advanced practice degree.

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Tamara Schmid, RN, BSN, RN-BC remembers dialing in a desire to pursue an advanced practice degree at the age of 21 while she was still in nursing school.
“I had shadowed a nurse practitioner and I had studied very hard in school,” Schmid said. “I decided that she had a lot of autonomy, was very experienced and that’s something I wanted to aspire to be for myself.
Schmid has spent the last five years with Integris Southwest Medical. After four years as a staff nurse she accepted a promotion in 2014 to become the team manager of radiology.
“It’s been great,” she said. “Being promoted amongst my peers I’ve had some great support from Integris helping me orient to the role through leadership classes. I’ve had support from other managers and my director and human resources.
“I’m learning all kinds of new things about doing budget and handling policies and employee relations. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
Schmid went from one day being a co-worker to the next day being the boss.
That’s not always an easy thing to do and some nurses can’t – or won’t consider the notion. For some, it’s a little too weird.
“It’s always strange,” Schmid admitted. “I’ve been in a position where I’ve been promoted amongst my peers before. Luckily, I have such a great team. My team has been supportive of it and they’ve been wonderful the whole way.”
Her days consist of coming in at 8 a.m. and prepping outpatient radiology procedures. While those patients are in recovery, Schmid and her staff do pre-calls to schedule more patients for the next couple of weeks.
When they aren’t busy with procedures they travel to the bedside throughout the hospital to insert PICC lines.
“The days I leave work when I’m the most proud is when I’ve felt like we’ve all worked really hard, helped a lot of patients and we’ve done a lot of teamwork and astounded the staff around us by helping as many people as we can,” Schmid said. “All those things together, that’s what makes me happy in my job.”
Five years from now, Schmid sees herself still with Integris. She continually works with nursing education to coordinate where she will go after she earns her degree.
“I’m very happy here and I’d like to to stay with Integris,” Schmid said.
The goal is to begin her advanced practice career in family practice.
“I wanted to get more experience with various diseases and clinical presentations,” Schmid said. “I wanted to deal with more patients. I really just want to do the family practice for the most experience that I can and then I have a great knowledge base to do whatever I’ve decided my fancy is,” she said.
The Putnam City High graduate has stayed close to the metro her entire life.
“At Southwest I love the community hospital feel,” Schmid said. “I used to work at Baptist on night shift and I didn’t get to know a lot of staff. Here, the community feel is so much better. We know the volunteers on a first-name basis. It’s not so much about rank here it’s more about people.”
Seven-year-old and five-year-old daughters wait for Schmid at home. Both think that what their mother does is super cool.
“Last weekend Integris had a hispanic health fair and I asked my seven-year-old to come volunteer,” Schmid said. “She went with me and was so excited about it and had a great time. I think it’s important to teach the children the importance of volunteering but it also gives them the chance to see what mommy gets to do every day.”

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Story provided


Newly graduated nurses at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City now have a way to ease into the profession before they begin working with patients.
Mercy on Monday opened a nurse-resident Learning Center. The first cohort will complete a seven-week orientation at the center before moving up to the hospital units where they will work.
The Learning Center’s goal is to fill the gap between nursing school and professional practice. While there, new nurses, called nurse residents, will learn how to properly document patients’ charts and conduct assessments of commonly seen symptoms and disorders, as well as practice patient care fundamentals such as safe lifting techniques and code responses.
“It just felt like there really is a big gap between being a student nurse and being confident on the units,” said Mary Lawrence, who worked as a health educator before switching to nursing. “We get to really learn things before being thrown out there.”
Starting nursing can be intimidating for new graduates, Learning Center Manager Hope Knight said, but the hardest part is walking into a patient’s room and identifying oneself as a nurse.
“Hopefully, when they’re finished with this they can walk into any room and know, ‘What do I need to do?’” Knight said.
To complement the new approach, Mercy has changed its hiring process for newly graduated nurses. Instead of hiring nurses for specific units and sending them there, all newly graduated nurses will go through the Learning Center and be placed upon completion.
“I hire for Mercy and then we find that good fit,” Knight said.
Nurse-resident Indira Rai-Chaundhury, a former attorney and Air Force officer, found the approach particularly appealing.
“It shows from the very beginning that they’re interested in you staying here,” she said.
Nurse-resident Kristyn Noland stressed Mercy’s commitment to fitting people with the right jobs through the Learning Center orientation.
“I think this is really interesting because it gives you a broader overview of the mission of Mercy, but also gives you an idea of who you are as a nurse,” she said.
Chief Nursing Officer Karyl James worked to implement the Learning Center after researchers found such programs create more competent nurses and reduce turnover.
“Mercy is focused on taking care of the whole person – whether it’s patients or co-workers,” James said. “The Learning Center helps ease new nurses’ anxiety while improving their clinical skills. A confident, well-trained nurse is a great asset to a patient.”

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Coleen Valderrama, RN, Nurse Manager of Inpatient Rehab at Deaconess Hospital inspires others as they inspire her.

by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer


Have you ever met someone for the first time and suddenly, you can tell they are a pleasure to be around? That they have an interesting story to share? This is how I felt when I met Coleen Valderrama for the first time. Valderrama is the Nurse Manager of Inpatient Rehab at Deaconess hospital.
While going to school in 1974, Valderrama worked as a Nursing Assistant at Deaconess Hospital. She graduated from OSU in 1976. Even though she wanted to work at Deaconess, no positions were available. She went to University Hospital where she was hired on the spot. Over the years, she worked at University Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, and spent several years in the Peace Corps, living in Brazil. She came to Deaconess in 2003 and got her Bachelor’s Degree from OCU in 2008. Today, she is happy working at the place where it all began for her, Deaconess Hospital.
“Why did you become a nurse?” I ask. “Several family members were nurses including my mom. They all enjoyed the medical field. At age 14, I developed bone cancer in my shoulder and arm. At that time, there wasn’t any chemo or radiation so I had to have my arm amputated. I got such excellent care from the nurses, I decided that I wanted to be a nurse and help others. It left such an impact on my life. Even with the loss of an arm, I didn’t let that stop me. I was surrounded by supportive people. I am proud to say that I am a long time cancer survivor of 46 years. I have always tried to stay positive and have a bright outlook on the future. I know my life would have been different if I would have let my cancer stop me from being a nurse. I think Winston Churchill said it best, ‘Never give up, never give up, never give up.’ We don’t know the reason some things happen to us, and we may never know why but we need to believe in ourselves. Many have touched my life and I have touched many lives due to the cancer. All the encouragement I received over the years, I give to everyone in hopes that I might make a difference for them in a special way.”
“What is your biggest asset as a nurse?” I ask. “I think it is always staying positive and solving problems. I am always upbeat around the people I work with and sometimes, that can be hard to do when there are health issues, family crisis, financial worries, yet, we can’t worry. My role as a nurse manager is making sure the staff has everything they need as far as their patients go. I make sure the team depends on each other for team work. Reinforcing the patients that they will be taken care of and we will do the best we can.”
Asking Valderrama what keeps her motivated, she replies, “It’s each individual working as a team. We, as a team, care about our patients, and share a common goal of helping the patients help themselves, getting them back to a level of dependence. We focus on our care of the patients as a team. That keeps me motivated, knowing that we work with each other and we care about each other.”
“If someone was going into the medical field, what advice would you give them?” I ask. “I would tell them not to be overwhelmed. Find a mentor that you can look up to and never be afraid to ask questions. Know that you can do anything if you believe in yourself,” she replied.
Valderrama is an advocate on walking. She enjoys the great outdoors and nature. She likes to sew but most of all, loves spending time with her family. She has 3 sons, 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. I ask Valderrama how she inspires others? “I do the best job I can being kind, respectful and a great listener. Sharing my story with others gives hope to them.”
“What is your greatest blessing?” “I feel God is working in my life and through me. I believe in prayer and the presence of God.” “Any words of wisdom you would like to share?” I ask Valderrama. “Have the courage to step out and do things. Don’t put limitations on yourself. Don’t be afraid to live your dream…like flamingo dancing which is a precious memory of a dear friend and a true blessing for me.”

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Cindy Carmichael, chief operating officer of Mercy Hospital Ardmore.

Cindy Carmichael Appointed Chair of Healthcare Executive Magazine Editorial Board


Cindy Carmichael, chief operating officer of Mercy Hospital Ardmore, has been selected to chair the Healthcare Executive Magazine editorial board.
Healthcare Executive is the official, bimonthly magazine of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), a 45,000-member group of healthcare managers.
Carmichael is a fellow of ACHE.
“ACHE has been extremely important in my professional development, and Healthcare Executive Magazine is how I keep up with other members and health care management news throughout the country,” Carmichael said. “I have enjoyed my three years on the editorial board and look forward to continuing the magazine’s success.”
Carmichael’s appointment as chair will last one year.
Carmichael previously was vice president of strategic development for Mercy in Oklahoma. During her six-year tenure, Mercy added hospitals in Ada, El Reno, Tishomingo, Logan County, Watonga and Kingfisher, as well as managing Seiling Municipal Hospital and OSU Medical Center in Tulsa.
Carmichael began her career with Mercy eight years ago in Ardmore as vice president of ambulatory services, where she more than doubled the number of Mercy physicians and spearheaded the transition to electronic health records.
Prior to joining Mercy, Carmichael was CEO of Moore Medical Center and Seminole Medical Center.

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Q. I recently attended a Codependency 12 step support group but thought I was at the wrong meeting. There were addicts there and I am not an addict. My therapist thought it would be a good idea for me to go. Guess what I learned. I am an addict!!! I am nothing without a man!!

A. People can most definitely become addicted to relationships. And this addiction can be just as deadly as alcohol, food, drugs, etc. But because we are becoming more and more desensitized to crazy, unhealthy relationships we somehow accept it as the normal.
How many people really think about going to a Codependency (CoDA) 12 step support group to learn more about themselves so they can have healthier relationships? It is almost the norm for people to end one relationship and jump into another one.
How many people end one relationship and find someone almost identical to the one they left? I had a male client who came in with his wife for marital counseling. He later divorced her for the woman he was having an affair with. He then brought this “new” woman to his counseling session and she even looked like his wife. That relationship ended and he went back to his wife.
At what point do we get tired of the merry go round of repeat performances? Isn’t it tiring to have a new relationship with the same old problems?
Wouldn’t some education at this point be helpful? Why is learning about ourselves so scary? It is interesting what can be learned if we slow it down, don’t have a relationship for awhile and realize some of us are “people addicts.” If you identify yourself as someone who NEEDS someone and is willing to overlook some major red flags…..stop and go to CoDA……now!!!!
Men who need women, women who need men. If you need someone to fulfill your life you will not make healthy decisions. I see this all the time. That is why I encourage so many people to go to CoDA and get educated. Learn about yourself. Don’t leave a relationship and start another one before you have learned something from the first one. The issues in the next relationship will still be there.
A friend of mine who has been in recovery for a long time leads a CoDA meeting on a weekly basis. She has learned so much about herself and her relationships and passes that spiritual awakening on to others. One of the things I learned from her, “Our relationships will get sicker until we stop and do our work.”
So lets get ourselves healthier and recover from our relationship addictions before it is too late.

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“I’d go back to Alaska. The sheer beauty and the ability to go fishing and hunting and actually see some family that’s still up there.” Karan West, RN

“I think it would be great to visit all of my relatives in the U.S. and spend a little bit of time with each one of them for a few days. So the U.S. in 80 days.” Sherry Stephens Wood, RN

“I would go to Italy and just travel to different places. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do for no specific reason. It’s the sites and everything.” Shannon Nivens, RN

“I would probably go to South America and  I would learn the language, learn the culture and serve them in whatever way I could.” Heather Squires, PT