Throughout Arizona, Many Thanks in 2019

Yikes! Here we are again, heading into the holidays, that time of year when we rush to the store for the perfect turkey, knowing we’ll spend the next several weeks shopping for gifts, baking cookies, writing cards, and making sure we get to the post office on time.

And then we sit down and stop to think of all the people and things we are thankful for. And we are thankful to our friends and colleagues, who are willing to share their thanks with us.

“I am thankful for telehealth for a very personal reason.  My mother was able to receive consistent mental health care with provider continuity only after telehealth was offered by her clinic.  Before, it would be weeks or months before she was able to see anyone, which led to crises and inpatient stays. Telehealth gave her access to care and stability that she so desperately needed.”

Jennifer Pierce
Telemedicine Manager
Steward Health Choice


“Having to limit all that I am thankful for in a few short sentences is nearly impossible! I am so grateful to be able to play a part in connecting patients, their loved ones, and their care providers in a unique way, through telemedicine applications. Having had the hundreds of opportunities to assist in connecting people and providing care in a comfortable and safe setting is so rewarding.  And finally, being part of a community of caring professionals in the telemedicine world has blessed me beyond words.”

Gigi Sorenson, RN, MSN
Chief Clinical Officer/VP of Operations


“I’m thankful for telemedicine because the availability of a cardiologist via telemedicine saved the life of our board president.  That surgeon, in Seoul, South Korea, knew how to repair the heart damage our president suffered, and oversaw the surgery.”

Sanja S. Long
Chief Executive Officer
MHA Foundation


“In this season of gratitude, I am thankful to be part of a statewide coalition of organizations and people focused on furthering our collective vision of expanding telehealth.  The work of this coalition is best reflected in the famous quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” I am particularly appreciative of the focus on legislation and policy development.  If this year is a harbinger of the coming year, then 2020 will be a big one for telehealth!”

Sean Clendaniel
Quality & Clinical Manager
Healthy Arizona Network


“I'm thankful to be able to connect our families with talented professionals across the country to provide service in a seamless, easy technology-assisted environment.”

Jared Palmer
Director of Information Technology
Child & Family Support Services


“I am thankful for telemedicine, helping us to deliver emergency stroke care to patients in remote rural community hospitals around the state and nation, increasing access to stroke treatments by 10-fold, reducing unnecessary air and ground ambulance facility to facility transportation by 60 percent, reducing door to needle time by an average of four minutes per year, every year for the past 10 years, and achieving outcomes identical to that achieved at academic stroke centers.”

Bart Demaerschalk MD, MSc, FATA, FRCPC
Professor of Neurology
Center for Connected Care
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science 


“There is so much to be thankful for, and I could write a multi-chapter book on all the many blessings in my life that I am thankful for. I am thankful for being in America and working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, so that I can give back to the heroes that have fought to make this country what it is. I am thankful for the many colleagues and collaborators that I work with in Phoenix, Arizona, and nationally to be able to provide Veterans quality healthcare when they are separated by distance from their healthcare team. I am thankful for my supportive Rivish Family, VA Family, and Telehealth Family, which includes the Arizona Telemedicine Program.

Valentin O. Rivish, DNP, RN, NE-BC
Director of Telehealth
Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System


“At Arizona Complete Health, we are thankful that the use of telemedicine supports our providers in delivering much needed care to our members no matter where they live.   We are also thankful for our partnership with the Arizona Telemedicine Program that contributed to the success of the Project ECHO Program on Integrated Care.   Project ECHO has allowed experts in the field of Medication Assisted Treatment, Opioid Dependence, Children’s behavioral diagnoses and more to support provider practices across Arizona, including rural areas, in meeting the needs of their community.”

Scott Van Valkenburg, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Arizona Complete Health


“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
Chief Executive Officer
Benson Hospital


“I am grateful to work at a hospital that is driven by a mission to serve their community, rather than by quarterly profits.  Unfortunately, in 2019, this is a rarity.  I am grateful that I've been given the privilege of working with an amazing group at TMC that is developing a telehealth program that will provide care to those in need who may otherwise not have access to the lifesaving resources at TMC and the excellent physicians that make up the medical staff.”

Matt Weiner, MD
Director of Telemedicine
TMC HealthCare


“We, at T-MedRobotics, are thankful to pioneer with Melody, our Robotized Telemedicine System, Ultrasonography without Borders to the rural community, as well as the correctional population, giving access to Radiologists and Sonographers to people who deserve it the most, fulfilling a need that those communities have been waiting for, for so long”

Claude Bobin


“I am grateful for the ability to bring health education to the rural areas of Arizona through the advancements of telehealth and the Arizona Telemedicine Program. This has allowed medical professionals to continue to keep abreast on the latest technologies and practices, and still being able to provide access to patient care in the process.”

Beth Robinson R.T. (R), MHA
Continuing Education/Health Education Coordinator
Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center


 “I am thankful for Zoom being so easy to work with, and our staff like how easy it is too. Thank ful for our great telehealth providers being able to give services that we do not have enough staff for. And Thankful for NATA trying to keep us all informed”

Kim Thursby 
MIS Department
Spectrum Health Care Group


“I'm thankful to Dr Weinstein and the ATP and SWTRC teams for their career long commitment providing enriched common good healthcare experiences through telehealth for all Arizonans, especially those living in rural and healthcare shortage areas”

Don Graf, FATA, FFB
Donald A Graf and Associates, LLC

About the Author

Jane Erikson's picture

Jane Erikson joined the staff of the Arizona Telemedicine Program in April 2013. She was already familiar with the program, as she previously wrote about the program during her nearly 20 years of covering health care for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. Jane has lived in Arizona most of her life and is a graduate of the University of Arizona.

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