Health Fair serves over 939 community members!

June 15, 2018
The annual Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) Health Fair spanned three days in early June, providing access to both the upper and midvalley communities. Thursday, June 7, and Sunday, June 10, served the Aspen area at Aspen Valley Hospital, while Saturday, June 9, brought together the midvalley community at the El Jebel Community Center.

A highlight of the Health Fair, blood draws were offered at greatly discounted prices, and 939 community members took advantage of this opportunity to care for their health. Throughout the three-day affair, nearly 100 volunteers pitched in by drawing blood and helping with the flow of the event from start to finish. Because of their hard work, we were able to open the doors early and keep appointments running on time or ahead of schedule each day! Thank you, volunteers! Since those getting their blood drawn had to fast 12 hours prior to their blood draw, it was extremely impactful to have such a productive process.

On Sunday, June 10, our biggest day of the fair, nine free health screenings Quick read more or view full article and 11 information stations were set up throughout the hospital. AVH physicians, skilled staff members, community physicians and community groups screened eager participants in a variety of different areas. In addition, local organizations connected with community members on a number of health and wellness topics. Many happy faces were seen throughout the hospital on Sunday.

With another successful Health Fair in the books, AVH is grateful to the community for making the fair a part of your lives. We certainly appreciate the opportunity to care for you!

SAVE THE DATES: If you weren’t able to join us this June, please make plans to join us at the Midvalley Health Fair on Saturday, October 13, in El Jebel or at the Senior Health Fair on Friday, November 2, at Aspen Valley Hospital (must be age 60+).

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Aspen Bariloche Medical Exchange Program

March 18, 2018
Aspen Valley Hospital is proud to participate in one of the few medical exchanges organized through the International Sister Cities Program. This exchange program was formed shortly after San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, was named one of Aspen’s Sister Cities on November 1, 2002, following one of Argentina’s worst economic disasters.

During this economic tragedy, the value of the Argentine peso declined to less than one quarter of its value, and funding for the only public hospital in Bariloche, Hospital Zonal Ramón Carrillo, outdated and already facing minimal government financial support, was faced with the daunting task of being the only public medical provider to more than 300,000 indigent people in the Bariloche community and surrounding region.

Through this new Sister Cities relationship, the medical professionals at the Ramón Carrillo Hospital were able to contact Aspen Valley Hospital to make a desperate plea for help. From that request, the Aspen Bariloche Medical Exchange Program was born.

In early 2003 Mark Purnell, Quick read more or view full article MD visited Bariloche to explore the possibility of creating a medical exchange program. At the Hospital Zonal Ramón Carrillo, he found a government-supported hospital that had very little improvement since its creation in 1938; equipped with only the minimal medical equipment and not enough staff for the growing number of patients. Fortunately, he also discovered a very dedicated and well-trained team of medical professionals who were interested in participating in an exchange of ideas and medical technology. Shortly thereafter, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen Sports Medicine Foundation and Aspen Sister Cities teamed up to send the first of several shipments of medical supplies to the Hospital Zonal Ramón Carrillo.

Since the first visit to Bariloche, the Aspen Bariloche Medical Exchange Program has annually exchanged delegations of medical professionals to Aspen and Bariloche. February 25 - March 8, 2018, we welcomed the following delegation to the Roaring Fork Valley:
German Guaresti, MD - Pediatrics & Hospital Director
Enrique Santillan, DPT - Director of Physical Therapy & Hospital Administration
Jesica Vasquez, PT - Physical Therapist
Juan Licari, DDS - Dentist
Noelí Tinti, MD - Anesthesiologist
Tomas Trapani, MD & Ernesto Barbeito, MD - Orthopedic Surgeons

On behalf of Aspen Sister Cities and the Aspen Sports Medicine Foundation, we would like to thank the many volunteers who worked so hard to make the 2018 Aspen Bariloche Medical Exchange Program such a success! These exchanges are possible because our volunteers donate their time, expertise and provide financial/in-kind contributions.

We especially thank…
Mark & Kelley Purnell, MD
Griff Smith & Lala Caffarone of Aspen Sister Cities
Aspen Chamber Resort Association
David Ressler and Staff at Aspen Valley Hospital
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation
Tito Liotta, MD and Staff at Valley View Hospital
Jim Coombs and Staff at Grand River Hospital
Brian Davidson, MD and Staff at St. Mary’s Hospital
Robert & Candice Christensen, DDS
Leelee von Stade, MD
Krista Fox, OTR/L & Tom Hughes
Kimber Kurr, PT, DPT, PCS
Alyssa Franklin, PharmD, MBA, BCPS & James Ibbotson
Chris Beck, MD
Vincent Franze, MD
Mary Harris, MD and Staff at Aspen Medical Care
Brandan Isley of Acumed
Aspen Skiing Company
Stapleton Sports
Craig Melville and the Mountain Chalet
Rotary Clubs of Aspen & Bariloche
The Red Onion
Sarah and Matt Gallagher of University of Colorado
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AVH Spotlight: Diagnostic Imaging

February 16, 2018
Walk into the Diagnostic Imaging Center at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) and you may wonder if you're inside a medical facility at all. The walls are papered with photos, cartoons, inspirational quotes and thank you notes from patients. The lighting and the chairs are soft. And the staff is likely to greet you with a hug and a cup of herbal tea.

Along with the cozy atmosphere, however, is a steely determination to provide great breast health services.

"We're serious about providing great care in an atmosphere that is positive, encouraging and supportive," said Debbie Demeulenaere, the center's Lead Mammography Technologist. "Everyone who comes to us is in a unique situation, but they all need help - that's why we're here."

Breast screenings save lives

Women with average risk of breast cancer should have a comprehensive breast screening, including a mammogram and clinical breast exam, every year starting at age 40. Women with increased risk should speak with their physician about starting Quick read more or view full article screenings earlier or having them more often. May experts also encourage women to perform breast self-exams and report any changes to their physician. 

Promoting awareness and testing

Most of us know the importance of breast health screenings. Yet only about 65% of all U.S. women age 40 or older had a mammogram in 2013-14, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. 

Busy lifestyles, perceptions about discomfort during screening, and the fear of "finding something" are common reasons women don't stay current with screenings. While those are understandable concerns, they should not stop any woman from potentially lifesaving screenings. 

"A mammogram takes only 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and the discomfort is short and very tolerable," said Lora Barke, DO, Section Chief for Breast Imaging for Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA), which provides diagnostic imaging services for AVH. "Even more important, aVH's 3D digital mammography provides unprecedented image quality for more accurate results."

In most cases, the patient's referring physician has the results in a few days. If th escreening reveals an area of concern, AVH staff will work with the patient and her physician to schedule further testing.

"The vast majority of patients don't need additional screenings, so annual screenings simply offer peace of mind," said Louie Enriquez, MD, Medical Director of Breast Imaging at AVH. "For the small percentage of women who do need additional treatment, the 3D technology helps us find areas of concern early, when they are more treatable." 

When a patient needs additional care, AVH contracts with physicians in Denver who visit Aspen two days per week to help with next steps in the patient's care plan. AVH also offers the services of a nurse navigator, Healther Milne, who defines her role as "guiding patients through the cancer process, whatever thaty may be."

FACT: The Breast Health Center at AVH offers a free screening mammogram to any woman during the year of her 40th birthday.

Among their other efforts, Milne and Demeulenaere create opportunities for peer support, such as inviting current and former patients to social gatherings. "For many women," Milne said, "it's important to have that camaraderie, to share experiences, and to network so they don't feel alone after a cancer diagnosis. Read Less
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On the front lines of patient care

January 8, 2018

Paramedics do a lot more than just get you to the hospital

Many people think paramedics just come to your home, put you in the ambulance and take you to the hospital. In fact, though, today's paramedic is a true medical practitioner with a broad scope of top-level skills, from treating traumatic injuries to administering medications to delivering babies. 

And that's not the only surprising fact about the unpredictable, dangerous, demanding, stressful and ultimately rewarding lives of the men and women who provide prehospital care in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Years of training

Becoming a paramedic takes years of schooling. After completing an emergency medical technician (EMT) course, it can take more than two additional years to earn paramedic certification. From there, one can go even further to become a critical care paramedic with expertise in medical specialties such as pharmacology, pain management and cardiology.

According to Gabe Muething, paramedic and director of the Aspen Ambulance District, a community-wide ambulance service managed and administered by Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), the Quick read more or view full article Aspen Ambulance District's staff includes 12 critical care paramedics, an unusually high number for an area like ours. The extra training comes in handy. Generally, paramedics work from care protocols that guide diagnosis and treatment of patients. If a paramedic needs to go beyond the protocol, he or she will contact AVH's emergency department and speak directly with a physician.

"At that point we are the eyes, ears and hands of the physician, and we can follow through with the doctor's order," Gabe said. "However, there are places where cell phones and radios don't work, and our staff has to be independent practitioners in case we can't consult a physician."

A community of cooperation

Before moving here eight years ago, Gabe worked in inner-city Indianapolis. One of the major differences he has observed in the change of setting is the level of cooperation among various public-safety organizations.

As a prime example, he named the Pitkin County Incident Management Team, an inter-agency group that plans for a coordinated response to large-scale emergencies, such as a bus crash or wildfire.

"I can honestly tell you that I have never seen a community that has such strong relationships between all of its public-safety agencies as Aspen has," Gabe said. "The fire department, EMS, law enforcement, mountain rescue, ski patrol — how they all come together to deal with an emergency is amazing. You don't see that kind of cooperation everywhere."

Making good use of downtime

You wouldn't know it from watching popular medical shows on TV, but the life of a paramedic can also be...well, a little boring at times.
"Believe it or not, even paramedics have downtime now and then," explained Gabe. "We use that time to conduct ongoing training, maintain our equipment, check our supplies — they don't show you that part of it on TV, but it's also very important."

No two days alike

Whether treating a heart attack patient en route to AVH, transferring a skier with head trauma to Denver, taking part in ongoing training or working with peers on disaster planning, paramedics have to be quick to respond to whatever need is at hand. They are the ultimate generalist. "There's no such thing as a specialist in our field," Gabe explained. "It requires a jack-of-all-trades, prepared to deal with all types of medical conditions."

"The thing I've always loved about being a paramedic is that every day is different and unpredictable," Gabe said. "No matter what you're doing — sleeping, eating, watching a training video — when a call comes in, you have only seconds to respond. Then you head out down the road, not knowing what you're going to find."


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A Healthier Holiday Season: Part 5 with AVH Dietitians

December 30, 2017
With the holidays upon us, we turned to our very own Aspen Valley Hospital Dietitians—Kristy, Sandy and Laurie—to answer some common questions about eating healthier during the holidays. Plus, we have included some tasty recipes to try! This is the final part — thank you for reading and have a happy, healthy new year!.

Our Wonderful Dietitians:

   Sandra Holmes                                      Kristy Bates                                             Laureen Osier

I want to buy some healthy alternatives to use for my appetizers and desserts, but the ingredients are always really expensive. What are some ideas for alternatives to dairy and gluten that won't break the bank?

Unless you have Celiac, avoid products labeled Quick read more or view full article "gluten-free" as they are usually more costly and sometimes worse for you health wise. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are naturally healthy and always gluten- and dairy-free. Homemade hummus spreads with canned beans are inexpensive and naturally gluten free. For example, make your own corn chips using corn tortillas! They will be healthier and will save you a bundle. Everybody loves guacamole — it is easy to just mash and add a small amount of hot sauce or commercial salsa.

Recipe Ideas!

DIY Tortilla Chips:


Some Plant-based Appetizers:

Roasted Eggplant Hummus

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Cakes with Dairy-Free Cashew Sour Cream

Spicy Chocolate Cherry Bites

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