Primary care providers to offer family medicine and urgent care services

SSM Health St. Anthony is pleased to welcome Robert DiCintio, PA-C, Alex Rasmussen, PA-C and Alina Quy, APRN-CNP to SSM Health Medical Group in El Reno. Already established for several years caring for patients in El Reno, Okla. and surrounding areas, DiCintio and Rasmussen will continue to serve as primary and urgent care providers in a new clinic location at 2315 Parkview Drive. Quy will join the existing practice at the same location.
DiCintio graduated from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center family medicine physician assistant program in 1990 and has served patients in the El Reno area for nearly three decades. In addition to primary and urgent care, he has an interest in pediatrics. It’s important to him to develop relationships with his patients, many of whom call him by his first name.
Rasmussen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2005, followed by his master of health sciences from the University of Oklahoma in 2008, the same year he completed his physician assistant education. Rasmussen speaks both English and Spanish.
Quy, a certified nurse practitioner, has more than a decade of experience in primary and urgent care, as well as a background in emergency care. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Kansas Wesleyan University in 2000, a bachelor of science in nursing from Oklahoma City University in 2009 and earned her master family nurse practitioner degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2011. In addition to comprehensive family medicine services, Quy also has a focus on well woman and well child exams.
DiCintio, Rasmussen and Quy will see patients in their new location next to the SSM Health St. Anthony El Reno Emergency Room while SSM Health constructs a new medical building that will be adjacent to the $9 million facility being built by the City of El Reno at I-40 and Highway 81.
For more information about SSM Health providers and urgent care service, please call 405-231-8866.

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Proving Age is Relative

Kenneth Wyatt just celebrated his 80th birthday on June 4. What makes this milestone even more special is knowing he underwent a lung transplant on
Jan. 10, 2019, at the age of 79.
The staff at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center held a surprise party for Wyatt and hope to have more of these celebrations in the future.
“People should not see age as a deterrent to seeking an organ transplant,” says Mark Rolfe, M.D., co-medical director of lung transplantation and advanced pulmonary disease management at the INTEGRIS Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute in Oklahoma City. “We look at physiologic age, not chronologic age. The old way of thinking was you can only transplant people 65 and younger, but there’s a lot of 75-year-olds who are otherwise healthy and still young at heart.”
About a year and a half ago, Wyatt suddenly started to experience shortness of breath. “It came on really quickly,” remembers Wyatt. “I just couldn’t get enough air. I felt claustrophobic, like I constantly needed more oxygen.”
He was diagnosed at another facility with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and was told his condition was terminal and he was simply too old for a transplant. Thankfully, Wyatt persisted and found another physician who immediately referred him to the INTEGRIS Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute.
“I was anxious to meet Mr. Wyatt,” says Alan Betensley, M.D., co-medical director of lung transplantation and advanced pulmonary disease management at INTEGRIS Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute. “We ran some tests and concluded he was healthy despite his pulmonary fibrosis, so we felt he would be an ideal candidate for transplant, regardless of his age.”
Wyatt was placed on the lung transplant list Nov. 15, 2018. “I hear some people wait years for a transplant, so I was surprised to get ‘the call’ less than two months later,” admits Wyatt. “I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit and everyone told me I did great. I was out of the hospital within a week.
“Kenneth did remarkably well through the entire process. His oxygen level is back up to 98 percent and he is currently undergoing rehabilitation to regain his strength and endurance,” Betensley says. “I have no doubt he will make a full recovery. He is proof positive that age is relative.”
Wyatt says the experience has given him a new outlook on life and a brand-new purpose for living. “The way I figure it, is God gave me this condition for a reason. And maybe that reason is to help raise the age limit for transplant consideration. INTEGRIS took a chance on me when most other institutions wouldn’t, and I will be forever grateful for that.”
“I could still have 20 years ahead of me,” Wyatt predicts. “My mom is still living at 104 and my grand-dad lived to be 101 … so there’s a lot of life left in me.”

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Patrick Gaffney, M.D.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Patrick Gaffney, M.D., has received a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to investigate the underlying mechanisms that lead to lupus onset.
Lupus occurs when the immune system becomes unbalanced, leading to the development of antibodies and chronic inflammation that damage the body’s organs and tissues. The disease primarily strikes women and disproportionately affects certain minority groups, including African Americans, American Indians and Latinos.
Risk for lupus is believed to come from changes in the genome, said Gaffney, but researchers don’t actually understand why or how they confer risk. The grant will expand upon information gathered currently through genome-wide association studies, or GWAS.
“In lupus, you have a disease with around 150 associated regions of the genome and maybe thousands of variants related to it,” said Gaffney, who holds the J.G. Puterbaugh Chair in Medical Research at the foundation and is the chair of OMRF’s Genes and Human Disease Research Program. “Each one makes a small contribution to the overall risk of disease, but when we look at them in entirety, the power to predict disease becomes significantly better. All we have now is statistical analysis we’ve gathered from the genome studies. This grant will help us also understand the biology involved in the process.”
GWAS data have been helpful but not particularly useful in getting research into clinics to help lupus patients, because they don’t convey enough about other possible contributing factors, Gaffney said.
To that end, Gaffney will look into the role of “epigenetic” factors, the chemical changes in the genome that affect how DNA is packaged and expressed but do not affect the underlying genetic sequence.
“This is the next step in helping us understand the biology of this data enough to actually generate a real impact for patients,” he said. “We are hopeful this work will lead us to alternative variants in the genome that may not necessarily be associated in a statistical way, but might prove important to the overall disease process.”
The grant, R01 AR073606, is from the NIAMS, a part of the NIH.
“Dr. Gaffney is a recognized expert in the genetics of autoimmune diseases,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “This novel approach to expanding upon genetic data holds promise for the development of new ways to treat or even prevent diseases like lupus and others.”

OSDH Receives Additional Funds from CDC to Continue Efforts Aimed at Reducing Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced an extension of a grant providing $2.19 million dollars in funding for the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to target people at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The funds provided will be available through June 29, 2020.
The grant will be used to continue the focus on areas of the state disproportionately affected by high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, or prediabetes due to socioeconomic factors such as inadequate access to care, poor quality of care, or low income. Caddo, Delaware, Hughes, Lincoln, McIntosh, Muskogee, Pittsburg, and Seminole counties have been identified as areas of concentration.
Partnerships with other organizations are a key component of the OSDH outreach efforts. Working with the Choctaw Nation Health Services (CNHS) has allowed tribal and non-tribal community members to participate in high blood pressure self-management education coupled with pharmacist-provided medication therapy management. Continued support allows CNHS to expand these initiatives into additional sites within Choctaw Nation’s boundaries.
The extension also allows continued collaboration with Federally Qualified Health Centers and Community Health Centers, and hospitals located in the prioritized counties. Other partnerships include those with Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma County Extension Services (OCES) to offer diabetes prevention and self-management programs in county extension offices across the state, and work with Southwestern Oklahoma State University College of Pharmacy Rural Health Center and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s College of Pharmacy.
“In order to improve Oklahoma’s health outcomes, it is going to require a coordinated effort by government and community organizations,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “The work of the OSDH to leverage these partnerships and resources is a step toward the goal of significantly raising the state’s health ranking.”
“Many Oklahomans suffer from diseases that are largely due to personal behaviors including sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, and smoking,” Interim OSDH Commissioner Tom Bates said. “By using these funds to provide not only care management but also programs that encourage lifestyle changes, we can continue to tackle the challenge of reducing the rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
Projects funded through the grant include tracking and monitoring clinical measures shown to improve healthcare quality and identify patients with hypertension; implementing team-based care for patients with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol; and linking community resources and clinical services to support referrals, self-management and lifestyle change for patients with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.