American Heart Association fundraising luncheon

Virgina Mason Franciscan
Andrea Engfer

The Westin was wrapped in red as Go Red for Women supporters from across the Puget Sound joined the American Heart Association for the annual fundraising luncheon. Over 150 guests attended the event which raised over $290,000 that day, bringing the campaign total to $1.1 million. The 2022 event chair was Claire Verity, President of Regence BlueShield.

Orting resident Andrea Engfer, a 2022 Go Red for Women Real Woman, shared her inspiring stroke recovery journey. Engfer suffered a stroke just five days after giving birth to her daughter, Emma. The event also shined a spotlight on the Association’s ongoing work to address nutrition security including its tie to mental well-being.

The funds raised from the annual luncheon support the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women movement which is dedicated to furthering our understanding of heart disease and stroke in women.

Evergreen Eye: Protect Your Eyes this Summer

Summer is here. It brings long days filled with sunshine, but that sunlight is packed with UV rays. Unfortunately, overexposure to UV rays can cause unsightly skin issues like wrinkles, leathery skin, and liver spots. But something more severe that many of us don’t think about from sun exposure are eye problems.

Ultraviolet rays absorbed during chronic exposure to the sun can cause the cornea of the eye to become inflamed or burned leading to cataracts and other eye issues.

According to Dr. J. Timothy Heffernan, an oculoplastic surgeon at Evergreen Eye Center, “When it comes to summer, most of us know what we should do to take care of our skin. Those same actions protect the most delicate skin on our body, the eyelids.”

Heffernan encourages everyone to implement three protective actions of wearing sunscreen, sunglasses that are highly rated for sun protection, and hats that shade the eyes. Sunscreens with mineral-based protection work the best and luckily many facial cream products that we use on a regular basis contain screens that are more than 99% effective at blocking UV rays.

With the addition of Heffernan last year, Evergreen Eye Center now offers complete care to treat damage caused by the sun. Wrinkles, bags, and fine lines around the eyes are handled using cosmetic treatments like Botox and fillers, while lasers that ablate the skin to its underlying layer are used for a deeper reaction. Heffernan treats more serious issues like cancer in and around the eye through surgery.

Working out of multiple offices, Heffernan travels so he is closer to where patients live, making it easier on them to seek out his help. “I work on everything about the eye, except the actual eyeball — the socket, the lid, tear ducts and the area around the eye.”

Dr. Heffernan is a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, board-certified ophthalmologists who have completed advanced training in eyelid, orbit, tear duct systems and related structures.

Evergreen Eye Center has locations in Tacoma, Auburn, Federal Way, Burien, and Seattle.

For Additional Information
Evergreen Eye Center


MultiCare names new president 

MultiCare Health System has named Mark Robinson the new president of MultiCare Tacoma General and MultiCare Allenmore hospitals. 

Robinson has more than 20 years of health care experience and will be responsible for the overall strategy and performance of the two hospitals. In addition, he will lead the hospitals’ clinical and administrative leadership teams and work closely with the regional and foundation boards to strengthen community partnerships and support.

“Mark has a proven record of expanding access to health care services and working with communities to deliver the highest levels of quality health care to each and every patient,” said Florence Chang, MultiCare president.

Robinson began his career as an administrative resident at HCA Healthcare’s Trident Medical Center in South Carolina. He then served as CEO or COO of five HCA hospitals in Utah, Florida and South Carolina. His latest role was regional chief operating officer for the western region of Steward Health Care, which includes five hospitals in Utah and four in Arizona. 

An Atlanta native, Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and an MBA and MHA from Georgia State University. He and his wife Emily have two children.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the teams at Allenmore and Tacoma General as we work together to provide vital health and healing in our communities,” Robinson said. “As the pandemic continues, it underlines how important our work in health care is.”

In his new position, Robinson will oversee both Tacoma General and Allenmore hospitals. Tacoma General has 437 beds, 24-hour emergency services, a Level II adult trauma center, 16 operating rooms, a 25-bed coronary care unit and several intensive care units by specialty. Allenmore Hospital has 130 beds, eight surgery suites, an adult intensive care unit and 24-hour emergency services.


Clarus Eye Centre Opens New Clinic in Yelm

Clarus Eye Centre is proud to announce the opening of a new satellite office serving the greater Yelm area this summer.  Clarus is an established multi-specialty ophthalmology practice that has been serving the South Puget Sound area for more than 50 years. Their main location is in Lacey, WA. 

Clarus Eye Centre at Yelm will offer routine and medical eye care, diabetic and glaucoma screenings/monitoring, and optical services.  

Plans to serve Yelm and its surrounding areas have been in the works for several years. The new clinic location (which will be on the second floor of the Yelm Medical Plaza at 201 Tahoma Blvd. SE, Suite 208) will allow Clarus to offer a growing area easier access to optometric and general ophthalmic care. ”We recognized the growing need for greater eye care services in the Yelm area and we’re grateful this opportunity to expand presented itself when it did. We’re looking forward to becoming part of the community and helping to meet its eye care needs.” – Dr. Stephen Reck, Ophthalmologist and Owner at Clarus Eye Centre 

Clarus Eye Centre at Yelm is currently accepting patients for appointments beginning in July. To schedule, call 360-456-3200 or visit to request an appointment

SPSCC Health & Wellness Center Now Open!

Back in 2015, a group of student leaders began a journey to explore financing, planning and construction of a student-funded wellness and health space at South Puget Sound Community College. The fruits of that labor were on full display when the official ribbon cutting of the Health & Wellness Center on the SPSCC Olympia campus was held on April 12, 2022.

As one of two student-funded buildings on campus, the 39,000 square-foot space now sits in the footprint of two former buildings. The renovation of the old gymnasium was enhanced by adding completely new activity spaces to make one large new Health & Wellness Center. It houses weight rooms, a fitness center, a café, an auxiliary gym, and various fitness classrooms that can be used for yoga, dance and a wide array of wellness activities. Building 31 is also the official location for the Clippers, the school’s indoor athletic programs.

According to Kelly Green, Executive Community Relations Officer at SPSCC, “The new building is a wonderful place for SPSCC students and staff to work out and stay healthy including through intramural

With two campuses in Thurston County, one in Olympia on Mottman Road SW and one in Lacey on 6th Avenue SE, SPSCC prides itself on their motto, Success Amplified. Through a combination of small class sizes, a strong staff, and modern facilities, nationally-recognized SPSCC has been living up to their theme for more than sixty years.

While the new Health & Wellness Center is currently only open to students and staff, this summer will mark the return of basketball, volleyball, and soccer skills camps for youth. It will also see the implementation of the all-new e-Sports program. With 13 new gaming PCs and two Nintendo Switches, Clipper eSports is working to field a team to compete in video gaming tournaments.

In addition to Clippers’ Men’s and Women’s Basketball, as well as Women’s Volleyball this fall, SPSCC hopes to host local high school and sports teams in need of prep space for upcoming competitions.

South Puget Sound Community College

10 Ways to Relax in Nature and Stress Less

Here are 10 relaxing nature activities that will rejuvenate your mind, from the simple to the life-changing.

  1. Savor the scenery.
    Movies beaming with CGI on 4K televisions dazzle our imaginations, but you won’t always find the most mind-blowing spectacles on a screen. When was the last time you got up early to watch the sunrise, or ventured to the nearest hilltop to watch it set? The scenery will mentally prepare you for a hectic morning, or help you de-stress after a busy day so you’re ready for the night.
  2. Wander the wilderness
    Walking is good for you, but not all walks are created equal. Cruising the urban streets doesn’t provide the same mental boost as hiking a local trail or feeling the sandy beach between your toes. You don’t have to have a specific destination in mind, either – your goal isn’t to hike a particular number of miles, but to aimlessly immerse yourself in the natural world around you. The Japanese call this “forest bathing” and it can rejuvenate a weary mind.
  3. Meditate on the music.
    And not the kind playing in your headphones. Leave your electronics behind and listen to the melodies nature has to offer: babbling brooks, bird songs, wind whistling through the trees and the scurrying of unseen animals through the canopy. It’s a lot more relaxing than the honking horns and text message alerts you’re used to, and it offers the opportunity to practice some meditative mindfulness in your tranquil surroundings.
  4. Get in shape.
    If you have fitness goals, there’s no better place to work on them than the great outdoors. Enjoy the fresh air while you go for a jog or walk, and reserve the treadmill for rainy days. (Although running on a misty day can feel great, and keep you cool.) Of course, you don’t have to cover a lot of ground to exercise. Many public parks have exercise stations where you can do stretches and calisthenics such as sit-ups or deep knee bends. Or consider tai chi, for exercise that benefits the mind and body.
  5. Pose in paradise.
    Yoga offers many physical benefits, like stretching the body and building core strength. It relaxes you, too. In fact, if you surround yourself with nature’s beauty, research shows you might up the flow of endorphins and take your yoga session to whole new levels. So try skipping the gym and make a park with a view your yoga studio.
  6. Study in the sunshine.
    If you have studying to do, or written material to digest, leave the fluorescent lights behind and read in the light of the blue sky overhead. Natural environments can enhance cognitive abilities, like memory and problem-solving. So if you want to retain more information for that big test at school or figure out how to win that important account at work, you might have a better shot surrounded by birds and trees, rather than fellow students and chatty coworkers.
  7. Pack a picnic.
    Load a basket with your favorite healthy goodies and have lunch among the flora and fauna. Bring some companions along – a picnic is the perfect way to spend quality time with friends and family without the distractions of the modern-day world. And nature makes socializing with other people easier, so it’s the perfect place to build stronger relationships with those you love.
  8. Go fish.
    Fishing puts you outside, near a body of water, and it rewards patience. All of those are good things. Better still, grab a young niece or nephew or grandchild, and teach them how to fish. Even if you don’t catch (and release) anything, you’ll both forge a treasured, lifelong memory. With a little luck, you reel in a perch that will grow into a marlin after multiple retellings of the story at family events.
  9. Look, up in the sky.
    Thousands of people who watch birds as a hobby are on to something: There’s a special thrill when you can recognize a bird by sight, or by its sound. Odds are, your local Audubon chapter offers free birding walks that are open to the public. Or, turn to the internet for free resources to help you identify the birds in your area. Either way, bird watching gives you the perfect excuse to relax in nature, with your head in the clouds. That’s a great way to fend off stress.
  10. Sleep beneath the stars.
    Now you’re getting serious. Why not disconnect entirely for a couple of days and make nature your home? Camping lets you get further away than a simple day trip allows. Or, if roughing it isn’t your style, consider glamping, where you can maintain some of the creature comforts you love, but still be away from it all. If you take your phone, use it for that cool star-gazing app (or emergencies, of course), but not for scrolling social media 24/7. Forget the Fear of Missing Out and try the Joy of Missing Out instead. #JOMO!

It’s great to get out and #movemore outside, but make sure you #relaxmore, too.

  • Start small by scheduling time with a friend to try one of the first three ideas. (They’re easy!)
  • Then, plan a bigger trip with your companions to go on a picnic or even a camping trip, as the outdoors become a bigger part of your life.

It’s time to stop reading and take a deep, calming breath in nature, so you can be Healthy for Good! Content provided by the American Heart Association

Bates Technical College celebrates grand opening of Allied Health Education Center 

Just in time to help fuel the local health care industry with much-needed skilled workers, last week Bates Technical College  opened the new Center for Allied Health Education building in Tacoma.  

Bates Technical College President Lin Zhou said, “The Center for Allied Health Education is more than just a new building. It represents a commitment to the South Sound health care community. With this leading-edge facility, we continue to offer practical, hands-on, and industry-specific education for high demand health care careers, and we now have space to partner with industry and provide professional development opportunities.” 

 “Our newly equipped community health clinics offer an affordable option for dental care. This addition to the Downtown Campus has nearly doubled student capacity for our allied health programs,” said Zhou.  

Event attendees heard from a variety of speakers, including Congressman Derek Kilmer and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier.  

 Students using this new 70,000 square foot facility include future administrative and certified medical assistants, dental assistants and denturists, dental laboratory technicians, occupational therapy assistants, phlebotomists, practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. The community health clinics serve as a hands-on learning experience for students, while providing the community with much-needed low-cost health services. 

“One of our points of pride is offering unparalleled allied health education, and we are thrilled to continue to transform the lives of our students and contribute to our health care industry,” said Zhou.  

ConeZone: Get updates on college construction projects – BatesTech – BatesTech

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Collaborates with Contessa to Care into Patients’ Homes

St. Joseph Medical Center – Tacoma, Washington

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Tacoma has announced a new collaboration with Contessa, an Amedisys company (NASDAQ: AMED), to operate Home Recovery Care. Home Recovery Care brings all the essential elements of hospital care into the comfort and convenience of patients’ homes, offering a safe and effective alternative to the traditional inpatient stay. The service will expand access to high-acuity care, increase crucial inpatient capacity and reduce the overall cost of care.

“Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is committed to finding innovative ways to expand access to care in the communities we serve while lowering the cost of care,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. “Our collaboration with Contessa allows us to deliver quality care, traditionally provided in a hospital setting, to our patients in their homes — increasing patient satisfaction and improving outcomes, while creating more inpatient capacity for those with the most critical needs.”

Patients who choose Home Recovery Care are transported home and begin receiving hospital-level care that same day. They are sent home with remote patient monitoring devices and have in-home nursing visits and telehealth consults from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health physicians. The program is ideal for patients with a variety of acute conditions including pneumonia, cellulitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, COVID-19 and urinary tract infections.

“Home Recovery Care empowers providers to deliver truly personalized, high-acuity care at home. We are thrilled to bring this care model to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health,” said Travis Messina, CEO of Contessa.

Contessa’s Home Recovery Care model has grown exponentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is proven to drive better patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. On average, the model historically reduces readmission rates by 44%, decreases the mean length of a hospital stay by 35% and has a patient satisfaction score of more than 90%. This collaboration is a key addition to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s efforts to manage capacity during the pandemic.

Home Recovery Care is slated to launch at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma later this year and will be available to Medicare fee-for-service patients initially. There are plans to expand to other Virginia Mason Franciscan Health locations and include patients with other health plans in the future.

Gentry’s Footwear: Stylish Footwear for Wellness

Owners Gabby and Levi Gentry opened their first shoe store in Covington. “Levi and I decided to open our first shoe store because there was a void in the marketplace for great shoes,” said Gabby. “It was hard to find a store that offered comfortable and fashionable footwear. Many ‘comfort footwear’ stores are avoided by younger adults. There is a stigma of comfortable orthopedic shoes being something that only our grandparents wore. As a young adult, I wanted to offer products that made my peers and future customers feel stylish while also reducing foot pain. A few of our top brands are HOKA, Birkenstock, ON
and Blundstone.”

The couple opened their Point Ruston location in the fall of 2020. When you step into Gentry’s Footwear, you feel important, appreciated, and are offered exceptional customer service. Not only is the selection of footwear superb, but you will walk out with a smile on your face and pep in your step.

Whether you are in need of a high performance athletic shoe or dress shoe, Gentry’s Footwear will help customers find the perfect fit. The sales team is trained in uniquely fitting each persons’ foot with the perfect shoe and insole. They have state-of-the-art fitting techniques for running shoes. They will measure your arch type and analyze your gait in order to find the appropriate style of athletic shoes for your feet.

Gentry’s Footwear is committed to foot health and partners with local podiatrists and doctor referrals.

As a small business in their community, the Gentry family strives to give back by donating large quantities of lightly used footwear and accessories to the Union Gospel Mission. Visit the Point Ruston or Kent Station stores or shop online.

For Additional Information
Gentry’s Footwear


Say Goodbye to Your Grandma’s Exercise Routine

We all know that basic movements like walking and stretching are important elements of a lifestyle at every age. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance.

You may be surprised to learn that the benefits of weight training are even more important when it comes to improving longevity and decreasing falls. Many people know weightlifting is hugely beneficial in younger adults but think light walking or recreational activity is “good enough” for seniors. There is a misconception that older-aged individuals should stay away from any strenuous activity that can build strength like weightlifting. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Zach Rynders, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and founder of Live To Ascend HeathCare Partners, points out that science has shown how we continue to build muscle mass well into our 80’s and even beyond. “A lot of people are intimidated by weight training. They think that they need to lift huge amounts of weight to see a benefit, and that simply isn’t true,” Zach explains.

Zach and his team say that, on average, participants in their strength training program, which includes adaptable programming for people at every fitness level, see a 30% increase in strength in less than six months of consistent training. This includes an increase in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness, key factors in injury prevention among older adults. This is especially important for seniors who hope to remain active in their favorite activities and sports.

Of course, the greater the weight the more dramatic the results; however, you can get great results using weights as light as 2.5 to 5 pounds. Resistance bands are another great and easy-to-use option. Safety is top priority with any fitness program. To keep it safe, carefully warm up and cool down, and focus on using the correct range of motion. You should always share new or current physical endeavors with your doctor and get the two thumbs up from them as well.