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


Quilt for a Cause

For the better part of two years, Judy Tenen has been caring for and storing exquisite handmade quilts with one goal – to help the women of Southern Arizona.  Her guest room, the closets, even the dining room table have been requisitioned for this purpose. The quilts are not small pieces of craft, but large pieces of art that would cover a wall almost from floor to ceiling. But why quilts?

How does a quilt help women in Southern Arizona?

Tenen is a board member of Quilt for a Cause, a Tucson based non-profit that raises funds for local organizations focused on women’s health matters. Specifically,Quilt for a Cause raises funds for research, supports the continuing education of medical professionals, and helps clinical organizations that raise awareness, offer detection and provide treatment for all women with breast and/or gynecological cancers.

The funds are raised by Quilt for a Cause via auctions of handmade quilts and quilt patterns donated by quilters. And the donations come not only from Tucson and Southern Arizona, but from across the nation and in some cases internationally. The quilts vary in style from traditional to modern, from subtle shades to bright explosions of colors. Since 2003, Quilts for a Cause has raised over $750,000 to help women in our community.

Can I see the quilts?

This weekend, the quilts left Tenen’s house and were hung in the hallways of Tucson Medical Center where everyone can see them. They’ll be on display until the day of the live auction on October 15th  in the Marshall Conference Center. Take a moment to check out these works in the hallways or during the auction on October 15th. quilt cause

Women’s health screenings: A “date” with better health

MakeadatewithhealthKarenWomen’s health needs change with age.

The frequency of pelvic exams and mammograms, for example, changes throughout the life cycle. In one decade, you may find yourself wondering about folic acid, while in another, you’re concerned about osteoporosis.

When should you get a shingles vaccine?

What about a colon cancer screeing?

In short: How to keep track of the guidelines?

Karen Narum, nurse practitioner at the TMC for Women Breast Screening Clinic, will help break it down in a conversation on Thursday, May 28 to help women (and the men in their lives) navigate preventive health measures they should take through the decades. The 90-minute conversation starts at 1 p.m. at The Core at La Encantada.

“Sometimes you may hear you need a certain screening at a certain age, but there isn’t a lot of information about why you should,” Narum said. “These screenings are important for prevention. There are certain things we don’t have control over, but there are others that when caught early, can make a huge difference.”

“We’ve been given this awesome machine. We should take care of it – and that’s why ultimately, these screenings are about quality of life.”

Narum noted that these guidelines are just that: Your own healthcare provider will help provide important guidance, given your own health care history and needs. The good news is that most preventive screenings are now covered under your insurance plans.

Narum’s discussion is part of a series celebrating national Women’s Health Month at The Core, which included discussions on everything from hormone therapy to yoga, nutrition and financial fitness.

OhBabyBrookeHerStoryInstagramThe culminating conversation, “Oh baby! What you need to know to keep your new family healthy and well” will take place Friday, May 29 from 2 – 4 p.m., featuring Brooke Casebolt, a registered nurse who is the director of patient experience at TMC for Children.

Registration for all events, as well as information about ongoing fitness classes and other lecture series, can be found at The Core at La Encantada’s website. For more information, please call 324-CORE (2673).

Making HerStory – Whether a woman is having her first child or a life-saving surgery, she deserves a welcoming and safe environment with state-of-the-art services and a caring touch. Making HerStory is the campaign for the new Joel M. Childers, M.D., Women’s Center to make this environment a reality at TMC for Women and in our community. 

TMC is Make HerStory donation buttoncommitted to providing a lifetime of care For Women, About Women. Join us in Making HerStory

Going Gluten-Free Together -Letty’s Story

The prompt for many people to talk with their medical providers about whether they may have a problem with gluten is often digestive concerns. For Letty, it was ongoing chronic nasal allergies and fatigue. Letty shares with us that one of the biggest challenges in following gluten-free sometimes has nothing to do with gluten at all.

LettyGFHow long have you been gluten-free?

I have practiced gluten-free living for 2 years now, off and on.

What prompted the decision to become gluten-free?

I suffered from chronic nasal allergies and fatigue so I wanted to get to the bottom of my symptoms. After researching the issue, I saw a medical professional and they recommended I have blood tests to determine what I was allergic to. Sure enough, wheat, yeast, oats, etc.  After the initial food elimination experiments I saw the correlation.

I originally attempted being gluten-free because of my symptoms and now my husband and I are practicing gluten-free together. The benefit for him is amazing! He has lupus and now that we have worked to eliminate gluten his flare-ups have lessened, he has lost weight and his “foggy” mind has improved.

3. What have you found to be the greatest challenge associated with being gluten-free and why is it a challenge?

There is temptation at every corner! I admit there are days I live in denial. Especially with the holidays, I find myself “cheating” at times and paying the price. My initial struggle was getting my family on board with my decision to live a gluten-free lifestyle. I wasn’t asking them to change their habits entirely, but I still felt they didn’t truly see how it affected me and played my symptoms off as stress or weather-related.

4. What most surprised you to find out it had gluten in it?

Well after this foodie’s heart was broken in discovering many foods had gluten, I was amazed that drugstore items can also contain gluten  makeup, medication, shampoos, and lotions were an interesting find.

Letty, a self-confessed foodie, is also a mom, an ASL interpreter and a student. Letty doesn’t have a lot of spare time for time-intensive recipes. Below she shares a simple, no fuss recipe for a gluten-free meal that her family enjoys.

“Being Hispanic, tacos are my go-to-meal when in a hurry. I like to get creative, and I love to make calabacitas (Mexican squash) as a side.”



1 lb sliced chicken breast

1/2 yellow onion

1/2 red pepper

Seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry, paprika, chile powder

Corn tortillas (Mission brand) or  gluten-free tortillas (Rudi’s)


Grill or sauté chicken with the onion, peppers, & seasoning.



2 Mexican squash

1 Yellow squash

1/2 yellow onion

1 tomato

2 roasted green chiles

1 can of “mexi-corn’ (corn w/peppers)

1/2 cup cheese

Seasoning: salt, pepper, gluten-free chicken stock/bouillon cube (Massel)


Chop everything up into bite sized pieces, and throw it into a pot, cover the lid. When tender add the cheese then serve.

This Sunday Tucson Medical Center hosts the Gluten-Free Awareness Expo organized by the University of Arizona Gluten Free Club. The Gluten Free Awareness Expo will be held at TMC’s Lifegain Park, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.Sunday, Nov. 17 – no charge to attend.  Lifegain Park is on the north side of the TMC campus, a short distance behind the new Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower.

If you suspect that you have a gluten sensitivity please see your medical professional to assess your risk for celiac disease.

Why I’m Gluten-Free – Maggie’s Story

MaggieGFMaggie is at the start of her gluten-free journey. She shares in this post why her physician has recommended that she attempt a trial elimination of gluten from her diet. 

How long have you been gluten-free?
About six weeks
Why did you decide to go gluten-free?
Following an ER visit where my airway began to close off, I went to my doctor’s to figure out what was going on. They sent me for skin prick tests and among the positive responses, I showed allergies to wheat and to eggs. We don’t believe that is what caused my severe allergy response, but it fitted with what I noticed previous about my body’s reactions to changes in my diet. Now a wheat allergy isn’t the same as a gluten allergy. Gluten is a specific protein found in wheat and in other foods. I was just tested for the broader wheat category, but given symptoms including skin and digestive issues I’ve been experiencing for a long time, that correlate with gluten intolerance my doctor suggested I try an elimination trial, removing among other foods, gluten and egg from my diet.
Maggie is following this trial elimination under the guidance of her physician. It maybe that after this elimination period and a subsequent reintroduction of foods, an intestinal biopsy would be suggested to test for Celiac disease. For Maggie to be identified as having Celiac disease she would need to have an intestinal biopsy. 
 What are you finding the challenges associated with being gluten-free and why is it a challenge?
Since I got the results and I’ve gone gluten-free I get hungry all the time. I have to eat every 2-3 hours. I think it’ll even out, but in the meantime finding wheat free snacks that don’t contain eggs or nuts, which I also found I have issue with, is difficult. If I’m out and about and it’s hot, I can’t just take a piece of fruit. I’ve also been vegetarian for years, which adds another layer of complexity to it.
What item contains gluten that most surprised you?
Soy Sauce! Actually, right now it’s the eggs that keep surprising me, they’re everywhere!
What is a simple gluten-free meal that you like to prepare?
I’m keeping it simple right now. Humus and a veggie medley is an easy go-to-meal.
Maggie’s frightening experience and trip to the Emergency Room prompted this trial elimination, but for most people who suspect that they may have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, the Southern Arizona Celiac Support Group has the following suggestions:
1. Identify the symptoms that you experience. Take that list to your doctor to discuss your risk for celiac disease.
  • Abdominal bloating, pain and/or distention
  • Gas
  • Indigestion and/or reflux
  • Diarrhea or >3 loose stools daily
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Pale, ‘fatty’ or foul-smelling stools that float
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Failure to thrive
  • Easy bruising
  • Hair loss
  • Deficiencies in B-Vitamins
  • Dental enamel defects, cavities
  • Cracks in sides of mouth
  • Sensitivity to bright light or sunshine
  • Redness or swelling of the tongue
  • Nose bleeds
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty seeing at dusk or at night
  • Tingling numbness in the legs
  • Anxiety and/or depression
2. Don’t go gluten-free without being tested. The accuracy and reliability of blood tests and intestinal biopsy rely on gluten in the diet. If you are nit eating gluten, then these tests cannot reliably detect celiac disease.
Celiac was once considered a rare inherited disease, but we now know 1 in 133 in our population have celiac disease making it one of the most common inherited disorders. A vast majority of individuals with celiac are undiagnosed. This Sunday Tucson Medical Center hosts the Gluten Free Awareness Expo organized by the University of Arizona Gluten Free Club. The Gluten Free Awareness Expo will be held at TMC’s Lifegain Park, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.Sunday, Nov. 17 – no charge to attend.  Lifegain Park is on the north side of the TMC campus, a short distance behind the new Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower.

Close to Mothers – Peer Mentoring in Breastfeeding

“The first six weeks, I knew I just had to make it through the first six weeks and if I could do that I could breastfeed my kids long term.” For Patricia recognizing that it would get easier, drawing upon the experience and support of other nursing moms and lactation consultants made all the difference.

Patricia is not alone. Many women intend to breastfeed, but studies show that breastfeeding rates decline rapidly after they return home. Peer support groups, like TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Group and La Leche League, can provide mothers who feel isolated, or who may not have the benefit of extended family or peer support, with much needed moral support and with information about best practices that allow them to continue to breastfeed.

At TMC for Women,  we incorporate peer support into our larger breastfeeding support program. Every Monday morning nursing mothers come together to support one another through the trials, tribulations and celebrations of breastfeeding and with the support of a trained lactation consultant (check this link for information on place and time).  Any nursing mom looking for support can join the group, there is no charge and you do not have to have delivered your baby at Tucson Medical Center.

lactationconsultants1 lactationconsultants2

This year, during Breastfeeding Awareness Week, the focus is on the importance of peer support groups for nursing moms. We’re proud to have a stellar group of lactation consultants who provide programs such as the Breastfeeding Support Group and to have their work recognized by the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Care Award for another year. Tucson Medical Center is the only hospital in southern Arizona to be awarded the Care Award.

Check out these upcoming local breastfeeding awareness events:

Healthy from the Start

TMC’s certified lactation consultants will participate in Healthy from the Start – a community health fair to recognize World Breastfeeding Awareness Week. Check out all that is going on at Healthy from the Start:

  • Dental screenings
  • Early childhood development demos
  • Family planning information
  • Lactation consultants
  • Nutrition information
  • WIC/Food Plus enrollment (Baby health checks)
  • Mobile Farmer’s Market
  • Play Area for Children
  • Raffles and Giveaways
  • Pediatrician available to discuss breastfeeding and early childhood development

The Pima County Health Department will host the event Thursday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road. There will also be a Diaper Drive for the Diaper Bank.

LATCHAZ Breastfeeding Education Event
Looking to hear more in detail about the benefits and science behind breastfeeding? Dr. Stephen Buescher will be speaking  about the benefits of breastfeeding at the Arizona Health Sciences Center Duval Auditorium on Friday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Registration info here.

94.9 MIXfm Baby Fair

TMC is a long-time supporter of this free pregnancy/baby/family event, scheduled this year for Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tucson Convention Center. The fair showcases family products, educational materials, medical services and recreational activities. Activities include a puppet show, magic show and balloon artists as well as stage events like the popular Diaper Derby, Stay at Home Street and the ’Tween Zone gaming area. Register to win prizes from Baby Fair vendors!

Come Together – TMC Foundation Gala for Women

Our feet are tapping to the Beatles beat over here at TMC for Women in anticipation of the TMC Foundation’s Gala on Saturday, October 6th. They’re stepping back to the sixties, musically, and inviting you to join them, and come together to help TMC for Women help women within our community.

Take a walk down Abbey Road and step back into the Sixties as we COME TOGETHER to support TMC for Women. Enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by the chefs of The Westin La Paloma and find your groove on the dance floor with live music from our signature Beatles-inspired band ROCKOLA!

TMC for Women is committed to providing a lifetime of care. Whether a woman is having her first child or a life-saving surgery, she deserves a welcoming and safe environment with state-of-the-art services and a caring touch. Proceeds from the TMC Gala support women’s health in our community- supporting the purchase of life-saving medical equipment like the da Vinci Surgical System, funding outreach programs like TMC’s Breast Health Program which ensures underserved women get the mammograms they need and helping TMC for Women provide education and outreach to physicians, including the Joel M. Childers, M.D. Lecture Series.  The proceeds raised will make it possible to upgrade services and facilities that will improve the health of women in Southern Arizona.

Date: October 6, 2012
Time: 5:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception, 7:00 p.m. Dinner
Location: The Westin La Paloma
Tickets: $250
Beneficiary: TMC for Women
Dress: Cocktail attire
(Beatles era optional!)

Reserve your tickets and table sponsorships hereTable sponsors receive one table for 10, recognition in the event program, recognition on site at the event and recognition on the TMC website. More sponsorship opportunities available. Contact the TMC Foundation, (520) 324-3717.

Women’s Wellness Screenings Offer Peace of Mind

Tucson Medical Center is celebrating five years of giving women another way to gauge their health risk factors.

For $150, the Women’s Health and Resource Center offers a series of tests and screenings designed just for women and performed by a nurse practitioner.

The tests include:

  • Blood count, to determine risk of anemia
  • Blood sugar, as an initial screening for diabetes
  • Thyroid test, to check for any abnormalities
  • Cholesterol screening, to check for heart attack and stroke risks
  • EKG, which is screened by a cardiologist
  • Heel bone density screening, to gauge the risk of osteoporosis

Women have two one-on-one consultations last about an hour. The first happens prior to the series of tests, when the women have a discussion with a nurse about their diet, exercise and family history. The second is to go over the results and talk about ways to mitigate or respond to the findings.

Rosa Sanchez, a 50-year-old dental hygienist, said when she saw a flyer advertising the program, she decided to get the tests done, since she doesn’t have health insurance.

“It was nice because it was a comprehensive baseline, so I can see what happens with my health going forward,” she said. She said she was grateful to have an EKG, since women often overlook heart ailments, and for the bone density scan.

Turns out most of her indicators from her June tests were fine, although she did find out she was in early stages of getting osteoporosis. “I am now really conscious about getting more calcium and doing the right kind of exercise. It’s really helpful to know that, so I can do something about it.”

She said she also appreciated that the nurse, Karen Narum, spent so much time, walking her through each of the results and explaining the significance of the numbers. Doctors are often busy, she said, so it was nice to be able to have a conversation about her health without feeling rushed.

Narum said many of the patients who use the clinic actually do have insurance. Some decide to have the tests because they want the personal attention that she’s able to give, and sometimes it’s because their doctor or insurance policy won’t allow for the tests.

“This allows them the opportunity to take control of their health,” Narum said. “This is a way to help women have better insight into their own health. We can give them a pat on the back for what they’re doing well, and in areas where they could do some more work, it’s a way to help them design a map to make changes and get back on track.”

For more information about the program or to schedule an appointment, call 324-2075.

Who Regrets a Run? – No One, EVER! A Recap

Who Regrets a Run? – No One, EVER!!!

  • Who Regrets a Run? - No One, EVER! A Recap

Among the estimated 2000 runners at this year’s TMC Meet Me Downtown, several TMC staff completed the 1st Time 5k Club training, and made it to the finish line along with trainer Amy Mattox  and Nancy Curran (both Girls on the Run  coaches). Patty Ledbetter who we featured on this blog last month was among the runners.

Out on the Children’s Museum Tucson lawn families visited the TMC tents and received information on safety and health, learned new exercises and earned some very cool prizes as well.

Meet Me Downtown is part of the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown. Join us for the other two run/walks.

Next time you see TMC come spin our wheel! In the meantime we’ll see you out there on the trail and track.

Thanks to Sylvia O. Brown for the update and photos.

TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run/Walk

Join Team TMC along with honored guest, Runner’s World Executive Editor Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and author of The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life for TMC Meet Me Downtown 5K Night Run/Walk.

On June 2nd the streets of downtown will throb with steps of hundreds of runners and walkers of all abilities as they make their way around the new scenic course along Sixth Avenue and Stone Avenue  finishing down Convent and Church in La Placita!  This is a flat loop 3.1 mile certified course perfect for a nice saunter in the evening with some friends OR a dash around downtown.  It is also the first event in the 2012 Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown and it’s not too late to register! Register before May 15th before registration rates go up.

Meet Me Downtown isn’t just about pounding the streets, there will be events to engage the whole family too. As always

* Children’s Pavilion, courtesy of The Children’s Museum, Tucson and Tucson Medical Center
* A free family-friendly movie by Cinema La Placita
* Great snacks and post-race food courtesy of Downtown eateries, Sunflower Market, and BodyArmor drinks
* Discounts for a rockin’ night out at local restaurants and bars
* A special performance from long-time Tucson rock n’ roll icon LeeAnn Savage

We’ll be there. Hope to see you there too.

For registration information and other event details visit the website at

Celebrating 25 years of high-tech, yet gentle care for women

  • Celebrating 25 years of high-tech, yet gentle care for women

Photographs courtesy of Cindy Creed

Tracy is a surgical RN. She has a healthy respect for the operating room and doesn’t take lightly the idea of surgery. That sentiment was evident last Saturday when she spoke with a group of 50 women and surgical staff about how she felt when faced with her own surgery. Tracy talked of the fears she had when told of her need for surgery. She worried about the recovery, taking care of her family and the impact of a ‘woman’s surgery’ on her sense of womanhood. She also shared the relief when those fears were not realized – the swift recovery from surgery allowing her to get back to her regular routine, being able to maintain her sense of self, the importance of being in an environment dedicated to women’s surgery, and the relief of her symptoms thanks to the use of a robotic surgical system.

Tracy, other former patients, doctors and staff past and present, came together to celebrate 25 years of a dedicated women’s surgical space at TMC and to educate the public about a tool that is revolutionizing the recovery and pain management of major surgery ‑- the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Participants had an opportunity to operate the robotic system and to gain a doctor’s perspective. Drs. Gayle Dean, Jeffery Palen, Alton Hallum and Maryam Betheshti shared their experiences and insights, and responded enthusiastically to a barrage of questions from the audience that ranged from the specific to the larger potential of the da Vinci Surgical System.

As patients talked of their experiences, the conversation was often light and sometimes comedic. But the impact of having a dedicated space within the hospital with its own nurses and staff, each of whom can truly empathize with the emotional and physiological implications of their surgeries, was paramount. The importance of privacy, confidentiality and gentle care at this vulnerable juncture in a patient’s life is a focus for the Women’s Surgical Center staff as it has been for the past 25 years. Congratulations to the Joel M. Childers, M.D., Surgical Center staff on 25 years! Here’s to another 25 years, and more, of gentle care and education!