Ryan Gaalswyk, MD, is finishing up his Obstetrics Fellowship Program through the Essentia Health Institute of Rural Health. Essentia Health established the fellowship program to allow Family Medicine physicians who plan to practice in rural areas get additional training in obstetrics.
"This one-year fellowship experience has given me new skills in areas such as Caesarean sections and managing high-risk obstetrical patients, as well as caring for patients requiring intensive care interventions," Dr. Gaalswyk says. "These new skill sets are helping equip me for doing international and rural primary care."
|Dr. Ryan Gaalswyk
Following nine months of training at Essentia Health in Duluth, Dr. Gaalswyk began seeing Family Medicine patients in May at Essentia Health's Ashland Clinic.
"The last three months are spent in a rural clinic to experience what it's going to be like," says Christina Marshall, the Obstetrics Fellowship's coordinator. "At a rural clinic, you're it. You have to be able to manage all different types of patients."
Dr. Gaalswyk earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 2010 and completed a residency at the Swedish First Hill Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., in 2013. He graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
"It was such a blessing to return to my hometown after four years in Seattle for my Family Practice training and start of my career. It was great being close to my parents, siblings, nephews, nieces and friends," Dr. Gaalswyk says. "The faculty throughout the Essentia Health departments I worked with were great teachers and gracious in affording me the skills that they have learned."
Dr. Gaalswyk had the chance to get additional training in cardiology, emergency medicine, intensive care, sports medicine and dermatology.
"Dr. Gaalswyk was a great fellow. He was very outgoing. He always looked for opportunities," Marshall says. "He did a great job and got a lot of positive feedback."
After Dr. Gaalswyk finishes his Essentia fellowship on July 27, the student will become the teacher. Dr. Gaalswyk and his wife, Christina, will travel to Kenya to volunteer at AIC Kijabe Hospital in the foothills of Kenya's famed Rift Valley. He'll teach Kenyan medical residents in a one-year internship in obstetrics and gynecology. His wife, a pediatric occupational therapist at Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center, will assist with pediatric therapy needs at a Kenyan school.
To learn more about Essentia's Obstetrics Fellowship Program, contact Marshall at (218) 786-8256.
You shouldn’t leave a hospital feeling worse than when you walked in and you certainly shouldn’t have a new, dangerous infection.
That’s one of the messages in the new book, "The Truth About Big Medicine: Righting the Wrongs for Better Health Care." The recently published hardcover book includes a chapter on hospital-acquired infectious diseases written by Dr. Daniel Saman
, an associate research scientist for the Essentia Institute of Rural Health (EIRH), based in Duluth.
Dr. Daniel Saman
Dr. Saman’s chapter is intended to let the public know the latest news in the world of hospital-acquired infectious diseases -- as well as laying out a path of the best protocols that hospitals can follow to reduce their infectious disease rates. Those protocols include simple things, like healthcare workers routinely washing their hands, to comprehensive tasks, like hospital administration making patient safety a true priority, Dr. Saman says.
“Hospitals have to take the lead in following best practices, from the CEO to the janitors,” Dr. Saman says. “The least hospitals can do is ensure their patients leave without having an unintended infection.”
Dr. Saman is interested in studying healthcare-associated infections, and the problem of over-prescribing antibiotics. The field of epidemiology lets Dr. Saman bring together his love of science, his sense of adventure and his concern for population health, he says.
“I thought this would be the field where I could have an impact,” he explained. And he’s hoping this new book will illuminate some of the ills in the healthcare field.
One of the co-editors of “The Truth About Big Medicine” approached Dr. Saman several years ago, asking if he was interested in contributing to the book. Dr. Saman employed a number of real-life patient stories to illustrate his topic. The stories highlight how “these infectious diseases can affect anybody,” Dr. Saman says.
When he’s not writing editorial columns about various aspects of epidemiology, Dr. Saman pursues grants for EIRH. He recently applied for a grant to study what factors predict which patients are at risk for a late-stage oral cancer diagnosis.
The institute works closely with Essentia Health physicians, nurses and other staff to develop education and research programs aimed at improving both the health of our patients and their healthcare services.
Dr. Saman is also working on a study that examines why some patients over-use emergency department services, and if those patients – and the healthcare system – could be better served by providing non-emergency care in the emergency department. “We’re looking at what factors predict severe use of the emergency room,” Dr. Saman says....
Registered Nurse Collette Christoffers, who works in the
Birthing Center at Essentia Health-Fargo, recently completed a project on
breastfeeding for her master’s degree in nursing education at North Dakota State
University. Christoffers worked with Senior Research Scientist Pat
Conway at the Essentia Institute of Rural Health.
The project looked at the breastfeeding support offered to new mothers after
they leave Essentia Health. Christoffers interviewed mothers regarding their
experience with Tender Transitions, a breastfeeding support group that is
offered at Essentia Health-Fargo and other nearby hospitals.
“While more research is needed, trends can be seen on how Tender Transitions
benefits mothers who breastfeed, especially first-time mothers,” Christoffers
says. “Mothers in the study reported higher satisfaction with breastfeeding as a
result of their participation in the support group. One said, ‘I would not have
been able to breastfeed successfully without Tender Transitions.’ ”
Support is especially critical for new mothers who are recovering from
delivery, learning to breastfeed and balancing hospital visitors with infant
care and sleep deprivation. New parents can be easily overwhelmed in the first
few days of their baby’s life, Christoffers says. Sixty percent of the mothers
looked to lactation nurses as their primary education source for breastfeeding
information, she added.
Christoffers says the benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented. Breast
milk contains hormones and enzymes that work in harmony to aid in a baby’s
digestion and support an infant’s immunity and growth.
“It’s inspiring. Colette did all the work, while being a mom and also working
for Essentia Health,” Conway says.
The Essentia Institute of Rural Health and its Continuing Medical Education
team present a four-part series on “The Art & Practice of Medicine.”
|Dr. Daniel Nikcevich
The series launches Friday with a presentation by East Region President and
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Daniel Nikcevich. He’ll speak from
7-8 a.m. in the Auditorium at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center.
The series, open to all staff across our health system, is available by
videoconference and MOVI. It also can be livestreamed. Click on the PDF below
for complete details.
All sessions are scheduled from 7-8 a.m. Fridays in the Auditorium at St.
Mary’s Medical Center.
The other presenters include:
- Feb. 6: Mary Koloroutis, chief executive officer of Creative HealthCare
Management of Minnesota. Her topic is “Therapeutic Practices to Strengthen
Quality, Safety and the Patient Experience.”
- Feb. 13: Dr. Marc Myer, director of the Health Care Professionals Program at
the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. His topic is “Physician Resiliency:
Addiction and Recovery.”
- Feb. 27: Dr. Howard Epstein, chief medical officer of Preferred One. His
topic is “Choosing Wisely: Making Smart and Effective Care Choices.”
Download File (pdf)
Kayla Keigley, MPH, has joined the Essentia Institute of
Rural Health as a Community Health Program Manager.
Keigley has ties to the Northland. She was born in Virginia, Minn., lived in
Eveleth until sixth grade and attended high school in Grand Rapids. Keigley even
has a previous tie to Essentia. After college, she worked briefly as a Certified
Nursing Assistant in the Medical ICU at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
“I’ve received a very warm welcome. I’m eager to meet people and get out to
all of the hospitals in our health system,” Keigley says. “I’m very passionate
about this work. I’m optimistic we can better community health and wellness
before people are admitted to the hospital.”
Keigley will play a crucial role in Essentia’s community health assessments,
which the government requires non-profit hospitals to conduct every three years.
The assessments are used to create plans for addressing priority health needs in
Previously, Keigley worked as a senior adviser for the
MESH Coalition, an Indianapolis-based healthcare nonprofit. Before that, she was
the project manager for the Community Health Information Collaborative in
Keigley has a master’s degree in public health from the University of
Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota.
Keigley’s family includes her husband, Brent, an airline pilot; and their
daughters, Audrey, 5, and Mari, 3.
When she’s not working, Keigley enjoys travel, hiking and exploring Duluth.
One of her passions is being a running ambassador for Every Mother Counts, a
nonprofit organization that raises awareness about maternal health.
“We run marathons, half marathons and other races to raise awareness about
preventable deaths in childbirth and pregnancy,” she says. “Many women around
the world live from five kilometers to 26 miles, by foot, to an actual hospital.
That is why we run to raise awareness.”
Last summer, Christie Erickson – a nurse practitioner at
Essentia Health’s Hermantown Clinic – saw that the Journal for Nurse
Practitioners was seeking articles looking at innovative technologies for
providing patient care and improving nursing education. Erickson, who is
preparing to complete her doctorate in nursing practice at the College of St.
Scholastica, had just finished her 100-page thesis. The topic was integrating
telehealth into graduate level nursing curriculums.
“I had never intended to get my thesis published, but when I read that the
journal was seeking articles, I thought ‘I kind of have to do this,’ ” Erickson
says. “They accepted my paper in June and I spent the summer fine-tuning the
article and boiling it down to 5,000 words.”
|Hermantown Clinic Nurse Practitioner Christie Erickson (left) works
with Clinical Assistant Holli DeRosia. Erickson had her research on telehealth
published in the Journal for Nurse
The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, with a circulation of 90,000 readers
nationwide, is a prestigious journal that features original research and serves
as a venue for discussion and feedback on issues affecting nurse
Kate Dean, director of Health Science and Medical Education
at the Essentia Institute of Rural Health, says Erickson’s publication is a
major achievement. “Getting published in a journal like this is not easy.
Christie’s work, conducted in collaboration with Essentia Director of Telehealth
Maureen Ideker, is of high quality and very
relevant as we look toward the future of healthcare delivery. The article also
highlights Essentia’s forward-thinking approach to telehealth,” Dean says.
Telehealth uses video technology to connect patients and medical
professionals. It allows patients to interact in real time with a long-distance
physician, specialist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dietitian or
pharmacist from the convenience of patients' local hospitals or clinics,
avoiding long trips to out-of-town specialists. Essentia currently has
telehealth in more than 20 different specialties at 25 sites.
While researching her thesis, Erickson noted only one medical school in the
country offered telehealth as an elective. Many used telehealth capabilities for
lectures and videoconferences, but none used it for direct patient care.
“Because telehealth is a means for providing services to underserved, rural
populations, it’s vital to incorporate such education in technology into
graduate nursing curriculums,” explains Erickson, who began her career 22 years
ago as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Expanding telehealth
services are a reality. It’s a way for a new graduates to collaborate with other
medical professionals and allows the rural nurse practitioner to feel less
isolated and more supported.”
Erickson became deeply involved in telehealth about six years ago when the
College of St. Scholastica in Duluth received a grant to purchase several
telehealth carts. The college donated the carts to Essentia Health on the
condition that Essentia would provide services and teach Scholastica students by
offering clinical opportunities. That’s when Erickson got involved.
“Credit goes to those who initially started to do telehealth in Essentia –
dietitians and nurse practitioners in the congestive heart failure clinic at St.
Mary’s Heart & Vascular Center and the Diabetes Center at the Duluth Clinic.
Those individuals were teaching students while learning the new technology
themselves,” Erickson says.
Dean notes that the Education Department at EIRH works with many graduate
students on quality improvement and other projects. “While Essentia provides the
resources and location for learning, the findings from these studies often
influence our practice and procedures, helping us to enhance and improve patient
care,” she explains.
We’ve attached Erickson’s journal article below.
Download File (pdf)
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