Delivering caring, personalized, quality healthcare to women in an environment that is supportive, education-focused and compassionate.

Author: Tucson Medical Center

Holistic Heart – Your Health Coach Molly Griffis

If only you could have your own health coach! Someone who could cheer you on and support  you in achieving your healthy best…but that’s only for celebs and the fabulously rich, not mere mortals like you and me, right?

Not so! Tucson Medical Center’s satellite wellness center, The Core at La Encantada, offers individual health coaching with Molly Griffis RN.

As a holistic health coach trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a University of Arizona Nursing School graduate, Molly is a health care advocate and consummate cheerleader. She’s your wellness ally working with you to become the best, most healthy and happy versions of yourself.

Molly’s experience includes acute-care nursing and stroke program coordinator at Tucson Medical Center. Inspired by the amazing potential of disease prevention and health maintenance through lifestyle choices, Molly made the switch more than a year ago from hospital and sick care to wellness and preventive care.

Make an appointment with Molly – Call 520-324-2673

Why meet with a health coach?

“There are simple changes people can make toward health, but often these simple things are extraordinarily difficult to do on your own, without adequate information and consistent support. This is precisely where health coaches like myself come in! ”

Molly’s Healthy Dozen – to prevent stress, excess, inflammation and illness:

Recently Molly spoke with Gina Murphy-Darling of Mrs. Green’s World and shared her top 12 healthy living tips:

1. Let food be thy medicine!

Eat a RAINBOW of real whole foods including green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, fruits especially berries, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. On the other hand, reduce your consumption of conventionally raised animal meat and dairy products, commercial baked goods, fried foods, highly salted foods and white sugar.

2. Drink more water

Drink more water and less sugar-laden beverages, soda, caffeine and alcohol.

3. Just keep moving!

Participate in regular physical activity that you enjoy.

4. Get in those zzzzzz’s

Get consistent quality and quantity of sleep.

5. Plan and prioritize

At the beginning of the day create a list of things you need to do, set reasonable priorities, ask for help when necessary and, if possible, say “NO” to tasks that will overwhelm you.

6. Take time to slow down

Find your personal peace and calm. Lessen your stress by turning off large and small gadgets (TVs, computers, phones, etc..).

7. Just breathe!

Focus on your breath, and find your personal calm & relaxation through meditation, prayer, music, art, journaling, cooking, gardening, reading a good book, yoga or tai chi.

8. Nature

Go outside, enjoy a healthy dose of sunshine, savor the fresh air and touch the earth.

9. Dogs, cats and children

Dogs, cats and children are three of the BEST stress reducers. Connect with them as often as possible.

10. Channel your inner child

Smile, laugh, sing, dance & play more

11. LOVE!

Love yourself and others. Take time to connect with positive relationships on a daily basis. Share your achievements as well as your disappointments with your good family/friend. Minimize time spent with negative individuals.

12. Aromatherapy

Try stress reducing essential oils: lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, clary sage, bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, peppermint, rose, aroma life, patchouli, sandalwood, Roman chamomile, valor, spruce, palo santo, cedarwood and geranium.

Soothing complementary therapies made possible through TMC Mega Raffle

Meaningful and compassionate hospice care is more than meeting complex medical needs. 

Thanks to the support from the TMC Mega Raffle, Tucson Medical Center offers soothing therapies that provide comfort, joy and peace for hospice patients – from the calming melodies of a harp, to the therapeutic knead of massage, the ease of a paintbrush stroke, and  the warm friendliness of a pet. 

Music, massage, art and pet therapies are only a few of the meaningful complimentary services offered at Peppi’s House, TMC’s inpatient hospice program.  

“It made a noticeable difference,” said Krista Durocher, the volunteer services coordinator at Peppi’s House. Massage therapy made a significant difference for Durocher’s grandmother, a hospice patient who struggled with pain and discomfort. “She was so relaxed after her massage. It was so wonderful to see her more comfortable and calm.”

The complimentary services at Peppi’s are carefully and thoughtfully chosen, from reflexology and aromatherapy to reiki and craniosacral therapy. 

“Each service has supportive data and is evidence- based,” said Director of Hospice and Palliative Care Alicia Ferguson. “We care very deeply for the patients and we provide the most effective complimentary services, assured to make a positive difference in a patient’s comfort and quality of life.”

Peppi’s House is a special place for many reasons, and one of them is the pediatric inpatient program. The complimentary therapies have an even stronger impact on children and their families. 

“It is simply wonderful to see a child’s face light-up when a pony walks in; the child and their family are all smiles – forgetting the seriousness surrounding them,” said Ferguson. Plans are in the works to grow children’s hospice services, and the Mega Raffle will be an important part of making the expanded services a reality.

Each TMC Mega Raffle ticket sold is helping hospice patients when they need it most.



This is the last in our six-part series of blogs to show the meaningful impact the TMC Mega Raffle funding has for patients and the community.

Outpatient lactation services receiving support from TMC Mega Raffle

Little Kailey Nowak decided to enter the world five weeks ahead of her due date. Her mom, Kelly, experienced difficulties with breastfeeding almost immediately. “She wouldn’t latch on, or if she did, it would only be for a few seconds,” she said. “It was awful. I cried every single day for six weeks as I pumped and fed my baby through a bottle. My plan was to breastfeed, and when I couldn’t, it truly felt like I was failing as a mother. People were

The family lives in Sierra Vista and with few lactation support services available there, Nowak’s pediatrician suggested she seek expert advice from the lactation specialists at TMC, where she had previously rented her hospital-grade breast pump. “I didn’t know what to expect, but the lactation specialists solved my problems and had Kailey successfully breastfeeding just two minutes into my session. It was the most magical moment of being a mom. I finally felt like I was doing a good job for her, and I wish I would have pursued this help sooner.”

The Mega Raffle provides funding for new moms to visit the outpatient breastfeeding clinic even if the service is not covered by their insurance or if they cannot otherwise afford it.




This is the fifth of our six-part series of blogs that show how the TMC Mega Raffle is making a difference for patients and the community.


TMC receives $25,000 grant from Avon Breast Health Outreach Program

Avon Breast Health Outreach Program in Tucson

The Avon Breast Health Outreach Program has again awarded a $25,000 one-year grant to Tucson Medical Center to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States and early detection still provides the best opportunity for successful treatment .

Tucson Medical Center created the TMC Breast Health and Education Program to educate Tucson-area women and refer them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their own communities. The vital program provides services to women who would not otherwise seek a screening mammogram.

Avon Breast Health Outreach Program

Denise Navarrete, TMC breast health and education program coordinator


The fund’s national advisory board selected The TMC Breast Health and Education Program as one of 56 new grant recipients nationwide in the 2017 cycle of Avon Breast Health Outreach Program grants. Programs were selected based on their ability to effectively reach underserved women in the communities they serve.

It is the nineteenth year that TMC has received funding from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to support its work on this important health issue, and in recognition of the program’s excellence.

Since May of 1998, the TMC Breast Health and Education Program has reached more than 50,000 women with information about the importance of early detection and has referred almost 7,000 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

The TMC Breast Health and Education Program helps ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options.

“We are proud that the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade shares our mission and has chosen to support our program. With these funds we will be able to reach women with breast cancer information and resources to Early detection saves lives at TMC Breast Center Avon Breast Cancer Crusade help overcome factors that keep them from practicing good breast health,” said Denise Navarrete, TMC breast health and education program coordinator.

For more information on the TMC Breast Health and Education Program at Tucson Medical Center please call (520) 324-1286. To learn more about the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program, visit

Mushroom, Roasted Chile, Salsa Fresca Vegan Tacos

Why is it that the food tastes so much better when you eat at a restaurant? What is the special magic that chefs use to get the food to taste so wonderful? And can it really be healthy AND tasty?

Chef Janos Wilder, Tucson’s James Beard award-winning chef, reveals the secrets to one of his tasty and healthy dishes in this demonstration video. Chef Wilder and our Tucson Medical Center Wellness team have collaborated to create a program that helps even the most reluctant cook to create meals that are delightfully sumptuous and healthy to boot. From demonstration lunch and learn sessions with Chef Janos at The Carriage House, Chef Janos-inspired dishes on TMC patient and public menus, to easy to follow recipes and videos with Chef Janos we’ve got you covered. Today we share Mushroom, Chile and Salsa Fresca Tacos.
Recipe Card – Tacos with Mushroom, Roasted Chile, Salsa Fresca (1)

Mushroom, Chile, Salsa Fresca Vegan Tacos

Yield: 8 Tacos


1 Yellow onion, sliced into medium strips
¾ lb Portobello mushrooms, gills removed and sliced
2 Tsp Garlic finely chopped
2 Anaheim chiles, roasted seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4” wide strips 1 Tbsp Canola oil to coat bottom of sauté pan
1 Cup Salsa fresca
1 Cup Shredded cabbage
3 Radishes, sliced into small strips
1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
8 Corn tortillas

Salsa Fresca

1 ½ Cup Garden tomatoes, medium diced
½ Red onion, small diced
4 Scallions, small diced
1 Fresh Anaheim chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced small
1 Fresh Poblano chile, roasted, peeled and diced small
2 Tbsp Cilantro, washed and large stems removed, roughly chopped
2 Tsp Finely chopped fresh garlic
2 Tsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Tsp Red wine vinegar
3 Tsp Olive oil
Freshly ground Pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook about 7 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are quite soft but haven’t browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms and a little more oil if needed and sauté with the onions another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add the garlic and the Anaheim chiles, stirring occasionally for another 3-4 minutes
  4. Refrigerate for use later or hold warm

Prepare Salsa Fresca

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate and serve within 8 hours.

 To Assemble the Tacos:

  1. Warm the corn tortillas over a grill, in a pan, or in the microwave.
  2. Toss the cabbage and radishes in the lime juice.
  3. Divide the onion, chile mushroom mixture among the warm tortillas.
  4. Spoon 2 teaspoons of salsa fresca over the vegetable mixture.
  5. Top each taco with the cabbage radish slaw.

More healthy living tips and recipes.

New Year Resolutions – Making them Stick

by Mary Atkinson, RD. Director of Wellness at Tucson Medical Center

We pick something to change that we think is wrong with ourselves, and we expect that this is going to be something we want to do….really?! “I’m going to lose 20 pounds.” “I’m going to start exercising.” “I’m going to get organized.” Did you know that for 75 percent of us, we only stick with our resolutions for a week? One week!

So how do we break this pattern and actually come up with resolutions that are relevant, realistic and rewarding? First, think about what the word resolution means. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. Maybe rather than coming up with a resolution, perhaps we should first determine what problem needs to be solved and what we are willing to do to fix it.

1. Are you making a resolution for the right reason.

Maybe we shouldn’t be wanting to lose weight in order to fit into those skinny jeans, but because it will better for our health and quality of life.

2. Be the tortoise rather than the hare – small steps

Small changes in our daily habits is the best way to make lasting change.

3. Be kind and forgiving to yourself

It is important that we are kind to ourselves and forgive ourselves, if we misstep, tomorrow is a new day.

4. Be honest

Be honest with yourself and set resolutions that are meaningful and realistic. Don’t make a resolution just because it’s what you think you should do; resolutions should be things we value.

5. Put it on Paper

Write down your SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goal on paper and make a list of reasons why you want to accomplish your goal and place it in an area where you will see it every day.

6. Create a plan

Schedule certain days (or every day) at certain times where you will dedicate your energy to help achieve your goal.

7. Join forces with friends

You are not alone in achieving your goals! Invite friends or family members to join and help you achieve your goals. Make new friends who share the same goal or interests as you. Friends can keep you accountable for achieving your goal while making it fun.

8. Make it fun

You are more likely to maintain these life-enhancing modifications if you are laughing, smiling and having fun while doing it.

9. Switch it up

Keep your activities towards achieving your goal fresh, interesting and stimulating. Read current articles pertaining to your goals and become an advocate or expert on your new goal.

 This earlier post has some practical tools to use in successful goal setting.

Eat Well – Janos Wilder’s Lentil Rice Salad

Why is it that the food tastes so much better when you eat at a restaurant? What is the special magic that chefs use to get the food to taste so wonderful? And can it really be healthy AND tasty?

Chef Janos Wilder, Tucson’s James Beard award-winning chef, reveals the secrets to one of his tasty and healthy dishes in this demonstration video. Chef Wilder and our Tucson Medical Center Wellness team have collaborated to create a program that helps even the most reluctant cook to create meals that are delightfully sumptuous and healthy to boot. From demonstration lunch and learn sessions with Chef Janos at The Carriage House, Chef Janos-inspired dishes on TMC patient and public menus, to easy to follow recipes and videos with Chef Janos we’ve got you covered. Check out this tasty and easy to prepare Lentil Rice Salad.  Click here to download the Lentil Rice Salad Recipe Card

Lentil Rice Salad

Yield: 4 cups


¾ Cup Toasted blanched slivered almonds
1 Cup Green lentils, cooked, available at Trader Joe’s
½ Cup Uncle Ben’s long grain rice
1 Cup Chicken broth or substitute water if needed
1 Cup Grated, peeled carrots
¼ Cup Finely diced red onion
¼ Cup Finely chopped parsley
¼ Cup Crumbled feta cheese

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette


½ Cup Olive oil
5 Tbs Lemon juice
2 Tbs Whole-grain mustard
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook rice in chicken stock or water 20 minutes until rice tender and all liquid absorbed.
  2. While rice is cooking whisk Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette ingredients together.
  3. When rice is done cool it on a sheet pan.
  4. Toss cooled rice and lentils with toasted almonds, carrots, onions, parsley and enough dressing to liberally coat the ingredients. Reserve remaining dressing for a simple green salad or other use.
  5. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

For more recipes, videos and information about The Carriage House partnership check out the Tucson Medical Center website.

Find the support you need to achieve – Weight Loss Management

Some big projects are too difficult to tackle on your own. Hanging wallpaper and moving furniture come to mind. What if it’s yourself, rather than your home, you are remodeling? Making healthy lifestyle changes and weight loss are challenges that can be too big to face alone. Although you alone are responsible for your behaviors, and you will be the one who benefits from your healthier habits, there are good reasons to have a support network in place to help you reach your goals.

Why have a support network?

  • A support group provides a sense of community, reminding you that you are not alone in your struggle or on your journey.
  • Your supporters are your motivation. They can serve as your cheerleading squad or they can actually work with you and help you along.
  • Some support groups can be a valuable source of information, especially when they are led by wellness professionals (or have them as guest speakers).
  • The members of your support group probably share your point of view. Therefore, they can provide helpful tips that that work for them. It is likely that at least some of those strategies would work for you, too.
  • A support group makes you accountable to someone other than yourself.
  • Many studies have shown that people lose more weight when they join a weight-loss group than when they try to do it on their own.

Your support group can take on any form that helps you, even if the “group” consists of only one other person. You can meet online, by phone or face-to-face. Choose the form that fits your comfort level and your schedule. Family and friends can be valuable supporters, because you share many of the same everyday experiences. If those people are not willing to adopt the same values, however, it is best to find support in an outside group.

If you are nervous about joining a group – maybe you don’t feel comfortable sharing information about yourself – contact the group leader and ask if you can sit quietly, without being called on to speak. Be honest with the leader (and with other members) about what you need from the group. Remember, there are lots of people in our community who want to help others, and they won’t let you face your challenges alone.

If you’re looking for support, consider TMC’s monthly weight management support group at The Core in the La Encantada shopping center. It’s a friendly group led by one of TMC’s wellness professionals experienced in helping people realize their health goals. All are welcome, $5 per session..

Play it safe! 7 tips for exercising when it’s dark

After what seemed like an eternity of temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, cooler weather is finally here in Arizona. That’s good news for everyone who wants to get outside to be active. Unfortunately, this time of year also brings shorter days, so you may find that your only chance to exercise is before sunrise or after sunset. Our wellness team provides these tips to stay safe while exercising in the dark outside:

  1. There is safety in numbers, please don’t go out alone.

    Exercise with another person (or a dog) whenever you can. Always let someone else know where you plan to be and when you plan to return.

  2. Be visible.

    Wear reflective materials, bright colors and blinking lights if you have them, so drivers can see you easily.

  3. Walk or run safely.

    If you are walking on a street without a sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic. Pedestrians holding flashlights are more visible and can move out-of-the-way more easily when they see an oncoming vehicle.

  4. Avoid risky areas,

    Unpopulated areas, poorly lit or deserted streets or overgrown trails are all no-go zones if you’re out in the dark. Given the dark sky regulations here in Tucson, even midtown can have dark streets. Bring a flashlight!

  5. Stay alert.

    Look all around you as you move, and check behind once in a while. Be aware of any suspicious people or animals that may pose a threat.

  6. What to take:

    Be sure to carry a cell phone and identification with you, in case of emergency. Pepper spray might be a good idea, too.

  7. What to leave behind:

    Don’t wear ear buds or headphones. Your visibility is limited by the lack of light, so you don’t want your hearing to also be impaired.

Get out and be active and safe! The Core, our wellness facility at La Encantada often hosts safety classes throughout the year. Watch their event page and sign up for their newsletter to find out more about their classes. 

Think you’ve heard enough about mammograms? Think Pink!

October is Breast Health Awareness Month and an ideal time to reiterate the vital importance of mammograms. Wait! Don’t click to another page!

Yes, it’s been talked about – a lot. It’s been published here, there and everywhere, but its importance can’t be overstated and there are some really important things every woman should know about mammography.

thinkpink pink breast cancer mammogramBreast cancer is a deadly serious matter, and however the subject is approached the fact is that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.

Getting a mammogram is so important because it is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer early, and detecting breast cancer early can save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that getting mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

So, does that mean every woman should get a mammogram, at what age and how often?

Although there are many resources and lots of good information out there, the best answers will come from your doctor. Every woman is unique and should assess her breast cancer risk, and discuss preventative measures, with her doctor.

Ok, so does that mean every woman who needs a mammogram is getting one? Well, first let’s cover something everybody already knows – women are far better (than men) about seeing their doctor regularly. Here’s something you might not know, the five-year breast cancer survival rate in the U.S. is 90 percent. Take that, breast cancer!

Unfortunately, finances are a significant barrier for many women to get a recommended mammogram. Everyday economic challenges can result in this important screening taking a back seat, especially because women often put the needs of their family and others ahead of their own.

Tucson Medical Center’s Breast Health and Education Program was designed to promote awareness and increase accessibility to services. For more than 18 years, with the help of the TMC Foundation, this program has provided free mammograms to nearly 7,000 women in Southern Arizona.

“We get the opportunity to educate women on the importance of screenings and very often they ask other women’s health questions that they have,” said Karen Narum, nurse practitioner with the TMC Oncology Program. In addition to providing education and screening, women are able to receive additional assistance regarding women’s health needs. “We then have the ability to guide women to other resources as well.”

Just how important is this service? Since the program began, nearly 40 women who were asymptomatic, and came in for a routine screening, were diagnosed with breast cancer in early stages.

If you have been putting off a mammogram for any reason – see your doctor. Encourage your girlfriends and female family members to talk about mammograms with their doctors. Mammography services are available, don’t wait another moment – put your health first.


Additional resources:

Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen Arizona

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

American Breast Cancer Foundation

Foundation for Women’s Cancer

American Cancer Society

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact the TMC Breast Center at (520) 324-1286 or email

Medical insurance covers annual mammography screening as a preventative service, and grant funds allow TMC to offer mammograms for uninsured women age 40 and over. To make an appointment, call (520) 324-2075.