Stop! Breathe! Give Thanks!

Have you taken a moment recently to “Stop and Smell the Roses”?   This simple but powerful saying reminds us to make time in our busy schedules to enjoy life and give thanks.  Over the past 25 years, the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) has had the privilege of serving Arizona by providing telemedicine education, training, and technology services.  I’ve had the honor of being part of the ATP’s team for 23 of those years.   ATP is thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with innovative, compassionate, dedicated healthcare professionals and organizations throughout Arizona.  Below are some thoughts our colleagues have shared about what they are thankful for.  We do hope you find these reflections uplifting and inspiring and that you too can take the time to stop, breathe and give thanks.  From all of us at ATP, Happy Thanksgiving!

“My thanks to all the ATP employees for their outstanding teamwork and efforts in continuing to keep ATP at the front of the pack!  My thanks to all the members of the ATP Council (I like to refer to it as the John Lee ATP Council) past & present for their expertise and invaluable input in the Council’s governing process.  I am very thankful to have been and continue to be a part of this outstanding program. GO ATP!!!”
Robert L Burns | Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Retired - John Lee ATP Council Chairman

“During COVID-19 pandemic, we at RCBH/SLWIC are thankful for telehealth for being the best tool our rural health clinic could have to continuing the care of our patients in need of chronic care management and mental health issues and to be able to respond to emergency calls and triage therefore, preventing sending patients to an already saturated and overwhelmed ER.“
Amanda Aguirre | Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. - San Luis Walk In Clinic, Inc.

“I am thankful for the many ways that telehealth services can benefit patients, from enabling life-saving golden hour stroke diagnosis and treatment, to enabling families to virtually be with a hospitalized loved one when visiting in-person is not possible, to improving the overall efficiency of patients’ healthcare visits.  Telehealth technology equips healthcare providers with real-life superhero powers.  Via telehealth, providers can instantly activate their telepresence virtually anywhere to engage with patients and their local care teams; and providers can see medical images, vital signs, and remote patient monitoring data on mobile handheld devices transmitted in mere moments from wherever patients may be located.”  
Michael Holcomb | Arizona Telemedicine Program | University of Arizona Health Sciences

“With COVID-19 still prevalent throughout Arizona and the country, we at The Arizona Center for Rural Health (AzCRH) are grateful for the strong partnership we have with the Arizona Telemedicine Program which provides us with the resources to connect with our stakeholders throughout Arizona.”  
Jill Bullock | Arizona Center for Rural Health

“I am thankful for telehealth for a very rewarding reason – being able to work with a group of the most caring professionals! Having started with Arizona Telemedicine Program two years ago, I have been able to learn so much and meet so many great tele-practitioners. It is super easy to be enthusiastic about my work every day, and I look forward to continuing my part in sharing the advances in telehealth to healthcare professionals across the virtual world.”
Melanie Esher-Blair, MAdm | Arizona Telemedicine Program

“At Northern Cochise Community Hospital, we are thankful that our patients can access care close to home with advanced telehealth technology.  This last year has illuminated the expanding role that telehealth serves in the rural medical community.  I am grateful that we are part of a USDA grant-funded initiative, Southern Arizona Telehealth Network, that provides access to state-of-the-art telehealth equipment for our patients, staff, and providers.”
Mo Sheldon | Northern Cochise Community Hospital

“I am grateful for the village that drives forward our vision – “a world without disparity of care” – the selfless caregivers, tireless team members, the brilliant minds of the many thought leaders working hard to transform healthcare, and our family members that support us through the tough times. We are also grateful for expanded access to virtual health care, most notably this year through being granted the U.S. Defense Health Agency Authority to Operate. This means that more providers are now enabled to deliver telehealth consultations to all U.S. active-duty military members and their families, wherever they are.”
Joel Barthelemy | GlobalMed

“At Benson Hospital, we are grateful to be part of the role telehealth is playing in the evolution of how care is provided in Cochise County. It enables patients to receive quality, specialty care where they are – in their community. We are grateful to the Arizona Telemedicine Program for providing the resources and tools to help us establish our telehealth programs.”
Julia Strange | Benson Hospital

“I am thankful for the fact that our entire world now realizes that if you have access to telecommunications AND technology – you have access to HEALTHCARE!  ATP has been singing this song for 25 years – and I honestly have the best job on the planet.”
Janet Major | Arizona Telemedicine Program

“I am Thankful for Telehealth because it played a key role in reducing the spread of COVID, connecting patients at home taking the pressure off of our critical frontline healthcare workers.   Creating one less case of unnecessary exposure.”
Kent Dicks | Life 365, Inc.

“Every year I remind myself that no matter one’s political or religious beliefs the vast majority of us feel there are countless things to be thankful for in this great nation.  I am thankful for wonderful family and friends and for the great Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).  Locally, I am also very thankful for Tucson being the astronomy capital of the world and for our relatively dark city skies compared to most urban areas.  I am thankful for the University of Arizona’s world leading astronomy program, for the superb professional observatories in Arizona, and for the wonderful Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, Inc (TAAA) our local amateur astronomy club.  I am also most thankful the city and county leaders recognize the importance of astronomy to our community and work hard to keep our skies astronomy friendly.”  
Tim Hunter MD | Teleradiology (retired)

“I am grateful that telehealth has allowed me to continue practicing safely and efficiently through the Covid pandemic and look forward to many years of delivering care throughout Southern Arizona, well after the pandemic has quieted.”
Matt Weiner, MD | TMC HealthCare

“I am grateful for Telemedicine because it is transforming the way underserved areas are provided care. It is laying the foundation for bridging the gap between urban/rural healthcare accessibility. I am fortunate enough to have observed this change as I worked within the Arizona Telemedicine Program.”
Nandini Sodhi | UA Cancer Center North

“During the height of COVID when I needed advice from my private practice physician, I depended on telehealth systems for care.  The experience reminded me of how privileged I was to have been part of the early start-up of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).  Today, the ATP team continues to provide the best of technologies to advance healthcare services and education in collaboration with local, state and national organizations.  The leadership, expertise, and commitment you continue to contribute to health care services and education is deeply appreciated.  I salute you!”
Alison Hughes | Retired. Arizona Rural Health Association Board Member

“I am thankful for the 25 years of experience and expertise that the Arizona Telemedicine Program brings to contemporary opportunities related to telehealth service delivery. Arizona is fortunate to build our future on such an impressive foundation of excellence!”
Mark F. Carroll, MD | Health Choice Arizona

“I am thankful for telehealth for a very personal reason. I myself am immunocompromised and due to telehealth, I have been able to continue my health care and continue working virtually. This means survival to my spouse and me.”
Mary DuCharme, OTR, ATP, BSE | Natural Transitions Consulting, LLC

“I am grateful for the options that Telehealth offers, for patients, providers, and caregivers. We all want the best care for ourselves, and our loved ones. Telehealth provides a way for that to happen.”
Tara Sklar, JD, MPH | The University of Arizona James E Rogers College of Law

About the Author

kerps's picture

Kristine Stewart, was the interim director and associate director for administration at Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and administrator director for Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) until June, 2023 when she retired.  She provided administrative oversight for both the ATP and SWTRC. Ms. Erps represented the program at regional and national meetings and was responsible for creation and content of public relations materials.  Kris assisted with reporting requirements and coordinating activities for the ATP and the numerous partnering organizations of the SWTRC. She managed and was the editor of both the ATP and SWTRC Blogs.  Kris served on the advisory board for the National Frontier & Rural Addiction Technology Transfer Center, on the executive committee of the American Telemedicine Association's (ATA) Business & Finance Special Interest Group, past chair for the ATA’s Interstate Telehealth Special Interest Group and was the communication and member chair of the Arizona Rural Health Association.  She had been with the ATP since 2000 and SWTRC since 2009.

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