Topping Off Ceremony Held At SOMC Construction Site

A “topping off” ceremony was held at Southern Ohio Medical Center Nov. 16, when construction crew members placed the final steel beam on top of the new patient care addition in front of the existing hospital on the Main Campus, 1805 27th St.

This tradition at major construction sites includes organization members signing the beam before it is placed, and a flag and potted tree are secured to the beam until final construction requires their removal.

Throughout the prior week SOMC employees signed the beam, which was painted white, with permanent marker, and all were invited to the brief ceremony where refreshments were served. When the patient care addition is completed in 2009, the four floors will include 102 private patient rooms.

The expansion is part of overall changes at SOMC coming with the arrival open heart surgery in mid-2008.

SOMC’s Clark Appointed To OUCOM Faculty

Southern Ohio Medical Center Anesthesiologist Curtis R. Clark, MD has been appointed to the position of Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine for the triennium 2007 to the beginning of 2010.

Dr. Clark attended the Saba University School of Medicine in Saba, Netherlands Antilles, and completed his undergraduate studies at Elon College, Elon, NC. He completed his residency in Anesthesiology at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. He joined the SOMC staff in 2006.

SOMC Nurses Receive Oncology Certification

Kelly Lawson, Connie Wolf and Sheryl Grooms, registered nurses of the Cancer Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center (pictured above l to r), recently received Oncology certification (OCN) from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

Lawson is a graduate of Shawnee State University and has been part of the nursing staff at SOMC since 1990. She is currently Breast Health Navigator at the SOMC Cancer Center.

Wolf is a graduate of the Ashland Community College School of Nursing. She started working at SOMC in 1997 and has been a member of the SOMC Cancer Center staff since June 2005.

Grooms is a graduate of Shawnee State University and has been a part of the nursing staff at SOMC since 1978. She has worked in Medical Oncology at the SOMC Cancer Center for the last two years.

Other staff members at the SOMC Cancer Center who have received Oncology certification include Heather Ashley, RN, BSN; Debbie Bihl, RN, MSN, CNP; Rachelle Collins, RN; and Kristie Meeker, RN, BSN.

Local Breast Cancer Advocates Agree to ‘Be The Cure’


The SOMC Cancer Center welcomed a hundred breast cancer survivors and supporters to a celebration and call to action Thursday, Nov. 8 at the center.

The guests were treated to refreshments, enjoyed visiting with SOMC Cancer Services staff, were able to hang a celebratory ornament on the center’s Survivor Tree, and agreed to “Be The Cure,” and take the message of getting a mammogram to five of their friends.

SOMC Cancer Physician Liaison Dr. Thomas Khoury welcomed the first group of breast cancer awareness advocates who can be a vital link to reaching women who may be neglecting their own health for the sake of family and other obligations.

Wendi Waugh and Norma White of the Cancer Center, who have been breast cancer patients themselves, spoke to the group about the importance of regular screening. They shared personal stories and urged the attendees to reach out to at least five of their friends who need the message to get a checkup.

For more information on breast cancer screening, call the SOMC Cancer Center at 356-7490.

SOMC Cancer Services Receives Second ACR Radiation Oncology Accreditation

received the prestigious three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR) in Radiation Oncology.

The SOMC Cancer Center provides radiation oncology services including cancer consultation, radiation therapy treatments, follow-up care, 3D treatment planning and simulation, IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy), BAT (Bimodal Acquisition Targeting System), prostate permanent radioactive seed implantation, and education for cancer patients and their families.

The three-year renewed accreditation is the result of a recent survey by ACR reviewing the high practice standards of SOMC’s Radiation Oncology services. The evaluations are conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists.

“SOMC was the first hospital in the region to have ACR accreditation,” SOMC Cancer Services Director Wendi Waugh says. “Even before we opened the new cancer center on Kinneys Lane in late 2004, we were pursuing the highest national standards of cancer care, the use the latest effective technologies and implementing best practices in radiation oncology.”

“We are thrilled to again receive this important accreditation,” Li-fen L. Chang, MD, senior medical director of Radiation Oncology at SOMC, says. “Experts in the field have assessed the qualifications of our staff, the adequacy of our equipment and the quality of our practice. It is an honor to accept this acknowledgement.”

The ACR, headquartered in Reston, Va., awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of the practice. The surveyors report their findings to the ACR’s Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report.

For more information visit www.somccancer.org, and visit ACR at www.acr.org.

Thompson Receives State Home Care Honor

Karen Thompson, RN, director of SOMC Home Care, has received the Dorothy Royce Award from the Ohio Council for Home Care, for her work in promoting home care.

Thompson has been a home care professional since 1980 and has been director of SOMC’s program since 1989. She is a past president of the Ohio Council for Home Care and served 10 years on its board.

“Karen has been a strong advocate for home care in Ohio, donating time and money to support/advocate for home care reimbursement and quality improvement,” the council stated. “She is kind and caring in all her actions both professionally and personally, and is an outstanding representative for our industry.”

Thompson was presented the award at the council’s annual awards luncheon Sept. 19 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

In addition to serving on the council’s Political Action, Government Affairs, and Nominations committees, Thompson is a past member of the Compliance and Reimbursement Issues and the Continuing Education Review committees.

Over the past five years Thompson has visited every US senator and US representative from Ohio at their Washington offices to educate legislators about the home care industry. She has testified on behalf of the industry before the Ohio House and Ohio Senate and has been active in the political caucuses on behalf of home care.

Local Runner Thompson In New York Marathon With Armstrong Team

SOMC donation recipient Chad Thompson, right, stands beside world-famous cyclist and Livestrong founder Lance Armstrong, left, after attending a special dinner in New York City for members of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) Livestrong Army. Thompson, a Wheelersburg native, was chosen by the LAF in March as one of eight participants to run on behalf of the organization in the 26-mile ING New York City M

SOMC Doctor Finds Mission Work In Jamaica Rewarding

SOMC physician Dr. Cindy Hamm (left) and volunteer nurse Dawn Watson in a clinic in Jamaica, where they worked for a week in October helping the poor.

“I always swore I would never do mission work,” Dr. Cindy Hamm states, “because I don’t like to be uncomfortable! I hadn’t even lived without air conditioning since I was 23.”

And yet, for a week in October, Dr. Hamm and her husband, Bill, joined 16 others in the sweltering heat of St. Mary’s Parish, the most poverty-stricken district on the island of Jamaica, to help the poor and the sick.

“It was awesome,” she says of being able to help patients in one urban and two rural clinics, where individuals were so poor they were buying Tylenol pills one at a time instead of by the bottle.

“Our group brought seven suitcases of medicine and supplies donated by pharmacies and physicians from our area and it was wonderful to be able to give this free medicine to people who normally simply did not have anything.”

Once word spread that “the American doctors are here,” large groups of patients showed up, some waiting for hours outside the clinic in the sun.

For Dr. Hamm, the illnesses she saw were surprising, not because they were exotic but because they were so familiar. Most cases were not that different from what she has seen practicing family medicine in Minford with Southern Ohio Medical Center.

“Hypertension, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, tooth pain from poor dental care,” she says. “Some people, who had seen the blindness and loss of limbs that can result from these common conditions, showed up to be screened and proactive about their health.”

The Hamms went on the trip with Lucasville Center Street United Methodist Church Pastor Phil Howard and his wife, Wanda, and others from Kentucky, California, Missouri and Maryland. Dr. Hamm also brought along third-year medical student Mark Cheney and a local nurse.

SOMC medical student Mark Cheney with a young patient at one of the clinics in Jamaica where he and Dr. Cindy Hamm volunteered for a week.

“The goal was both medical mission and work mission,” she explains. “Several in the group worked at an orphanage where two buildings had burned, cleaning up debris and helping with repairs.”

She praised the work of student Cheney and the others on the team, who brought help, hope and touched countless lives during that week, though the conditions were sometimes challenging.

“I was in this box-like office just big enough for me to sit across from the patient, with a sheet pulled behind me to hide the exam table I was sharing with another physician at the clinic, and a plywood door held with a nail led out of this tiny room,” Dr. Hamm says.

During their trip members of the group visited an “infirmary,” a barrack-like nursing home lined with beds for the elderly and disabled.

“We gave all of the infirmary patients some candy, just some ordinary bulk candy we had brought,” she recalls, “and you know that expression you see in a baby’s face when he or she tastes something sweet for the first time? I saw that in their faces. It was very, very moving.”

Also during the trip, Dr. Hamm’s group visited Dunns River Falls in nearby Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and she was proud to be “the only person over age 29 who climbed all the way to the top” of the natural rock formation above the swirling waters in the national park “even if I did fall twice and lost my glasses there.”

Dr. Hamm and her group extended a tremendous thank you to the local pharmacies and physicians for their kind donations of medical supplies for the people who were served.

“I think everyone should have to go on a mission like this,” she concludes. “Especially teens and young people, so they can see how others live who have nothing, and understand how rewarding it can be to reach out and help others.”

Anyone who may be interested in the mission work or donating medical supplies for future trips can call Dr. Hamm at her Minford Family Practice office, 820-2141.

Local Pampered Chefs Support SOMC Guild


The SOMC Promise Guild, which supports patients of the SOMC Cancer Center, recently accepted $1,500 from local Pampered Chef consultants Lesley Book and Becky Davis, who held fundraising activities for the group’s cause. For more information on how an organization can raise charity support like that awarded to the Promise Guild, contact Book at 464-0911 or Davis at 574-1946. Shown (l-r) are guild members Joyce Payton, Anna Cardenas, Guild President Barb Hemming, Davis, Book, and guild members Sherrill Day and Marilyn Mercer.