MGH Neuropsychology team addresses conditions that impact thinking and daily life

The primary mission of Marquette General Neuropsychology is providing services to people with conditions that impact thinking and daily life. Many different conditions can impact thinking, such as brain injury, spinal cord injury, dementia, genetic conditions, strokes, seizures, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and psychological concerns like depression and anxiety.

Dr. Julianne Kirkham, PhD

Dr. Julianne Kirkham, PhD

Dr. Jessica Caldwell, PhD

Dr. Jessica Caldwell, PhD

Dr. Julianne Kirkham and Dr. Jessica Caldwell form the MGH Neuropsychology team. They offer comprehensive outpatient and inpatient neuropsychological and psychological assessment and treatment services for ages 6-90.

Results from an MGH Neuropsychology assessment can help people to understand the causes of problems or changes in thinking. Based on their assessment results, Dr. Kirkham and Dr. Caldwell also help people learn to function better at work, at school, or in daily life.

Dr. Kirkham and Dr. Caldwell are part of the MGH Memory Clinic and MGH Rehabilitation Team, and work closely with physicians, nurses, therapists (such as occupational, physical, and speech therapists), and other medical professionals to assist with diagnosis and treatment planning.

Patients with the following difficulties or conditions may benefit from working with a neuropsychologist:

  • Memory
  • Attention and concentration
  • Having words on the tip of the tongue
  • Speech
  • Spatial skills
  • Speed of thinking
  • Multitasking
  • Managing work, school, or daily tasks like paying bills and driving
  • Genetic, medical, or psychiatric conditions that interfere with thinking
  • Attention problems combined with other medical or psychological concerns

For information on how to schedule Neuropsychological evaluations, please call (906) 225-7116.

MGH, MSU celebrate medical education partnership

At a recent 50th anniversary celebration of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, MSU-CHM Dean Marsha Rappley, MD, (center) posed with medical students who are currently training at the Upper Peninsula campus based at Marquette General.

At a recent 50th anniversary celebration of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, MSU-CHM Dean Marsha Rappley, MD, (center) posed with medical students who are currently training at the Upper Peninsula campus based at Marquette General.

In recognition of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine 50th anniversary, Marquette General and MSU co-hosted a special Business After Hours recently at Northern Michigan University.

About 300 area health care professionals, physicians, MSU alumni, academics, business leaders and community members joined Michigan State University President Lou Ann Simon, PhD, MSU College of Human Medicine Dean Marsha Rappley, MD, and Marquette General CEO Ed Banos in the celebration.

Marquette General has a long, successful history of collaborating with the MSU College of Human Medicine to train future physicians. Marquette General hosts two medical education programs that fall under the MSU College of Human Medicine umbrella: MSU College of Human Medicine Upper Peninsula Region and the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program. These programs together have graduated more than 400 physicians, 125 of whom have returned to care for patients right here in the Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Upper Peninsula Region is one of six clinical campuses throughout the state where MSU-CHM students experience their clinical education. Upon completion of their two preclinical years at either the MSU campus in East Lansing or in Grand Rapids, up to 12 Rural Physician Program students head to the Upper Peninsula to experience two years of clinical education, completing many of their required clerkships at Marquette General.

The Marquette-based regional campus was established in 1974 in order to address the rural physician shortage in Michigan and specifically here in the remote Upper Peninsula.

The Rural Physician Program, developed by the Upper Peninsula Region campus, was designed to enhance the primary-care experience and focus on community integration for students.  The cornerstone of the program is eight weeks spent in a rural community at the end of the third year. The students live in their assigned community for the two months, usually splitting time between two family physicians.  Students work with the physicians in all patient care settings, including the office, the hospital, nursing homes, or doing home visits together.

Twelve students are selected for this program each year. Students are selected based on their interest in rural health, prior life-experience in rural areas, and personal fit with the program.

UP Region students also have the option to participate in the optional Compass Certificate Program, a northern wilderness emergency and sports medicine program.

The Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program was established in 1977 as a result of efforts led by local nephrologist Dr. Dan Mazzuchi. The program was founded to provide young doctors with medical experience in the rural setting, and like the medical school, helped to combat the shortage of physicians in the Upper Peninsula.

The Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program is a dually accredited three-year program that trains both allopathic and osteopathic physicians. Graduates of the program are qualified to manage the full spectrum of family medicine. The program’s intimate size allows for tailored training to meet the individual needs of each resident. Training takes place at Marquette General Hospital, within outpatient clinics as well as at rural sites throughout the Upper Peninsula. The program accepts six residents per year.

The most recent graduating class saw four physicians, all Michigan State University alumni, opting to remain in the UP to practice. Those graduates include:

  • Tim LaBonte, MD, a native of Laurium and MSU CHM graduate, joined the Portage Health team at the Lake Linden clinic.
  • Tom Massie, MD, of Ishpeming, spent the clinical portion of medical school training in the Upper Peninsula as part of the MSU CHM UP Region. Dr. Massie has joined Sound Physicians and is part of the Hospitalist team at Marquette General.
  • Michelle Seguin, MD, of Iron Mountain, also earned her medical degree from the MSU CHM UP Region. Dr. Seguin now provides outpatient family medicine at Portage Health’s clinic in Hancock.
  • Tara Varoni, DO, of Manistique, earned her medical degree from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Tara plans to join the Marquette General team at Doctors Park Family Physicians later this year.

As Marquette General celebrates this special 50th anniversary with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine we look forward to future collaborations that will help to enhance the quality of life in the UP by providing healthcare career opportunities for our young people and training physicians interested in serving rural and underserved communities.

Critical need for blood throughout Upper Peninsula

The U.P. Regional Blood Center, a service of Marquette General Hospital, is in critical need of O-positive, A-positive, O-negative, and A-negative blood throughout Upper Peninsula. The need is high in Marquette, Hancock and Sault Ste. Marie.

If you haven’t donated in the last 8 weeks, please take the time to give the “gift of life.” Did you know that just 1 pint of your blood can help save 3 lives? All blood donated at the UP Regional Blood Center stays in the UP.

Please donate at one of the following locations:

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Marquette

  • 427 West College Ave. – Adjacent to Marquette General Hospital
  • Walk-ins welcome!
  • For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (906) 225-4610
  • Hours:
    • Monday – 8am-5pm
    • Tuesday – 8am-5pm
    • Wednesday – 8am-6pm
    • Thursday – 8am-5pm
    • Friday – 7am-4pm

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Hancock

  • 787 Market St., Ste. #6, Quincy Center on Market Street, next to Pat’s Food
  • To schedule an appointment, please call (906) 483-1392.
  • Hours:
    • Monday – 9am-5pm
    • Tuesday – 9am-5pm
    • Wednesday – 8:30am – 4pm
    • Thursday – 8:30am-1pm
    • Friday – 8:30am – 1pm

U.P. Regional Blood Center – Sault Ste. Marie

  • 550 Osborn St.
  • Call for an Appointment (906) 632-1177
  • Hours:
    • Tuesday –  8am-5pm
    • Wednesday – 9am-6pm
    • Thursday – 7:30am – 1:30pm

MGH Neuropsychologist publishes research on brain activity

Dr. Jessica Caldwell, PhD

Dr. Jessica Caldwell, PhD

Marquette General Neuropsychologist, Dr. Jessica Caldwell, PhD, recently authored an article in the August issue of The Journal of NeuroVirology – a journal focused on viruses that impact brain function.

Dr. Caldwell and her colleagues looked at brain activity in people who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). They found that although people with HIV could perform a simple task just as well as non-infected people, their brains used more activity to do so.

“We found that individuals with HIV had to work harder, mentally, to reach the same performance as healthy people,” said Dr. Caldwell. “Healthy people had ‘reserve’ or extra mental power to use as the task got harder, but people infected with HIV had less reserve.”

The study also showed that having other health risks in addition to HIV related to further weaknesses in brain activity. For example, having Hepatitis C infection or more severe HIV over time (such as higher virus levels in the blood) related to inefficient patterns of mental activity.

Dr. Caldwell’s study shows that even with good medication treatments for HIV, people living with HIV may struggle with thinking due to HIV-related changes in the brain.

“Today, there are very good medication treatments for HIV,” said Dr. Caldwell. “These medicines allow people with HIV to live longer and healthier lives. Even with these medicines, many people with HIV have problems memory or attention.”

Dr. Caldwell said she hopes her research will lead to more programs that help people with HIV stay healthy and get help for thinking weaknesses.

MGH honors Carolyn Kovala with Heritage Award

Ed Banos, MGH CEO, presents Carolyn Kovala with a watercolor print by artist Bill Hamilton.

Ed Banos, MGH CEO, presents Carolyn Kovala with a watercolor print by artist Bill Hamilton.

Marquette General Hospital has provided care to the people of the Upper Peninsula for nearly four decades. More than one million patients cared for by thousands of staff members – some of whom can’t help but stand out among their peers. The Heritage Award is presented annually to a deserving MGH retiree who has demonstrated loyalty to the organization, as well as dedication, leadership and commitment in our community.

MGH is proud to name Carolyn Kovala as this year’s Heritage Award recipient.

Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Carolyn began her career at MGH in 1980, working in the Information Systems Department (now called Information Technology) as an IT Operator, in which she monitored all of the computer systems to ensure they were available to the end users. Later in her career, when the department name was changed to Information Technology, she performed duties as a Documentation Specialist, in which she maintained software licensing, changes to IT systems and the birthday calendar, so she would know when everyone’s birthday was in the department.

While at MGH, Carolyn was involved in the Employee Relations Committee, as well as the “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas program. After 28 years of service, Carolyn retired from MGH in 2008.

At present, Carolyn is an MGH Volunteer in the OR Lounge and Skywalk Information Desk. She also volunteers at Bell Hospital as a greeter, and takes a Finnish language class through NICE Community Schools.

Carolyn said she was definitely surprised to learn she was this year’s Heritage Award winner, and that she feels very special.

Carolyn resides in Ishpeming, with her husband, Jim. They have two children, and four grandchildren. Congratulations, Carolyn!

New screening service to detect lung cancer offered at Marquette General Hospital

The main test used to detect lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (CT). In this test, an x-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to make a series of detailed pictures of the lungs.

The main test used to detect lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (CT). In this test, an x-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to make a series of detailed pictures of the lungs.

If you are a current or former smoker, you may worry about getting lung cancer. A recent national study involving more than 50,000 smokers showed that lung CT scans using relatively low doses of radiation can effectively screen for lung cancer and most importantly, lower the risk of dying from lung cancer.

In an effort to increase the number of patients who survive a diagnosis of lung cancer, Marquette General Hospital now offers a low-dose chest CT Lung Cancer Screening Program.

“The new Screening Program helps individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer. The low dose scan can detect lung nodules and potential lung cancer at an early stage when the disease is more treatable and curable,” said Andy Koutouzos, Program Director of MGH Imaging Services.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. However, the most common type—non-small cell lung cancer—can sometimes be cured if it is found early enough.

Treatment involves surgery to remove the part of the lung that has cancer. Unfortunately, about 90 percent of the people who have lung cancer die from the disease, in part because it is often not found until the cancer is at an advanced stage.

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. About 85 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the amount a person smokes and the length of time a person smokes. The risk of lung cancer also increases as people get older. Most lung cancers occur in people 55 and older.

The most important way to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer is to not smoke or stop smoking, and to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke. People who quit smoking greatly reduce their risk of developing and dying from lung cancer. This risk continues to go down over time.

The goal of screening for lung cancer is to identify the cancer at an early stage so that it can be successfully treated. Most screening programs focus on detecting non-small cell lung cancer because it is the most common type of lung cancer and can sometimes be cured if it is found and treated early.

Should I Be Screened?

If you can answer YES to the following questions, you should talk to your doctor about whether Lung Cancer Screening is right for you.  Your doctor can help you schedule this procedure.

  • Are you between the ages of 55 to 74?
  • Have you smoked one or more packs per day for 15 or more years?
  • Do you currently smoke or have you quit within the last 15 years?

After your screening, a report will be sent to your ordering doctor as well as the Marquette General Patient Navigator. Your doctor will notify you and let you know if additional follow-up is needed. The Navigator can assist you with any additional studies or follow-up that might be needed.

MGH is offering this screening at the affordable rate of $200 – about the cost of smoking a pack a day for a month. Currently, this type of screening is not covered by health insurers – so no insurance will be filed. Payment will be due at the time of service.

For more information on the MGH Lung Cancer Screening Program, please speak with your doctor, or call MGH Imaging Services at (906) 225-3430.

If you do not have a primary care doctor, you can establish care with a doctor at one of MGH’s primary care clinics:

Carolyn Hietamaki named Marquette General Trillium Nurse of the Year

Pictured from left are: Robin Waters, RN, MGH Hospital Supervisor; Carolyn Hietamaki; and Dagmar Raica, RN, DNP, MGH Chief Nursing Officer.

Pictured from left are: Robin Waters, RN, MGH Hospital Supervisor; Carolyn Hietamaki; and Dagmar Raica, RN, DNP, MGH Chief Nursing Officer.

Congratulations to Carolyn Hietamaki for being voted Marquette General’s Trillium Nurse of the Year. Carolyn is a clinical expert in wound care. Staff nurses and physicians seek Carolyn’s opinion in caring for their patients for wound and ostomy care.  She has spoken at conferences about Vacuum-Assisted Closure wound care and has done education stations at Universal Skills Day regarding decubiti staging and care. Patients and families trust her and feel comfortable asking her questions. She is often a preceptor for nursing students and employees. She has consistently been a hard worker and always been positive in her work environment. Congrats Carolyn!

The Trillium award recognizes nurses who exemplify excellence in their profession. Areas in which they are reviewed include clinical expertise, teamwork, role model, innovator, mentor and patient advocate.