Santa Brings Christmas Joy to Infusion Clinic

ANN ARBOR – Patients at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s cancer infusion clinic received a very special visit just in time for Christmas.

Santa Claus made his rounds Tuesday morning, greeting staff, patients and family members, handing out candy canes and even sitting with patients and holding their hands while he shared a few words of encouragement.

“This time last year, I was sitting right where you are,” he told patients sitting in infusion bays.

Santa – a.k.a. William Coleman – was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and completed chemotherapy in December 2016. Having enjoyed work as Santa in Christmases past, Coleman wanted to spread some holiday cheer for others facing their own battles with cancer this season.

Thank you, Santa, for brightening our day!

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Discharge with Dignity: How a Hospital Clothes Closet Became a Labor of Love

Discharge planning assistant Jennifer Pickel sorts donated coats.

On a Tuesday afternoon Darlene Sierak and Jennifer Pickel sort through a black cardboard donation bin full of plastic bags of gently used clothing. Men’s sweatshirts, women’s blouses, jeans and khakis – each article is neatly folded and placed on a shelf labeled by gender and size.

The room in which they work is a small space – a former copy room too snug for an office – tucked away in the Patient Support Services suite at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, but impressively organized. A row of winter coats hangs on the rack against the back wall. Built-in shelves house men’s and women’s shoes, and drawers contain personal hygiene kits complete with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, tissue, body lotion and razors.

Continue reading “Discharge with Dignity: How a Hospital Clothes Closet Became a Labor of Love”

Join St. Joe’s at Third Annual Luminary Walk – Jan. 27

Luminary WalkAre you looking for a fun outdoor activity to shake off the winter blues? Join us for St. Joe’s Luminary Walk held at The Farm on the campus of St. Joe’s Ann Arbor. This magical evening features two miles of candle-lit trails, family friendly activities, wellness goal-setting and live music. Invite your friends and family, and celebrate winter with us!

2018 Winter Luminary Walk
Saturday, Jan. 27 | 4 – 7 p.m.
The Farm at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
5557 McAuley Drive
Ypsilanti, MI 48197 

Presented in partnership with Eisenhower Center and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

SJMHS Oncologists Recognized for Excellence in Clinical Trial Participation

Ten physicians from Saint Joseph Mercy Health System were recognized for excellence in clinical trial participation in 2017 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

This year the NCORP program awarded 358, of the 3500, NCORP physician investigators with awards recognizing excellence in clinical trial participation.  Clinical trials are essential for moving new methods of preventing, diagnosing , and treating cancer from the laboratory to physicians’ offices and other clinical settings and, ultimately, to improve care and quality of life for people with cancer.

Congratulations to the following Saint Joseph Mercy Health System physicians who were recipients of these prestigious awards. They include:

2017 Gold Award Recipients

Phil Stella, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Livingston
Tareq Al Baghdadi, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Livingston

2017 Silver Award Recipients
Christopher Reynolds, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Livingston
Elie Dib, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Chelsea/Livingston
Judie Goodman, DO – Newland Medical Associates – St. Joseph Mercy Oakland

2017 Appreciation Award Recipients
Li Ding, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Livingston
Katie Beekman, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Chelsea/Livingston
Niklas Mackler, MD –IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Chelsea/Livingston
Jerome Winegarden III, MD – IHA Hematology Oncology Consultants – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor/Livingston
Amit Mohindra, MD – St. Mary Mercy Oncology Practice – St. Mary Mercy Livonia

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is a national NCI-supported network that brings cancer treatment and prevention clinical trials to people in their communities.  There are 34 funded NCORP programs and St. Joe’s is proud to be the lead institution for one of the largest and most successful programs, the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium NCORP  (

For more information about our oncology clinical research trials, visit

Signs of Aging

by Lila Lazarus

There are certain signs you want to ignore but you can’t. I was visiting my Mom and thought I smelled something burning. Rushing to the kitchen, I noticed a scorched pot on the stove. “Oh that?” Mom said calmly. “I forgot about the oatmeal.”

It wasn’t just the oatmeal. She was becoming more and more forgetful, confused…foggy.  I didn’t care about the oatmeal or the pot. I was hurting for my Mom. This beautiful woman who has always been so vibrant, energetic, creative and upbeat was changing so rapidly. Or maybe I just had been ignoring the scorched pots and pans, the messy – actually dirty – countertops, the overgrown garden, the piles that seemed to be growing in every corner of the house, a mountain of bills, papers and unopened mail on her desk. The home she had lived in for so many years was in rapid decline. It’s one of nearly a dozen things people should take note of when they’re visiting parents and grandparents—especially those living alone.

So this holiday season, when spending time with aging loved ones, here’s a list of things to notice beyond burnt oatmeal: Continue reading “Signs of Aging”

How to Tell the Difference Between Grief and Depression

by Olivia DeLong

This article was originally published in Sharecare.

Grief and depression have similar symptoms, but they are two totally distinct health events.

Understanding the differences and similarities is crucial in getting the treatment you need. Seeking treatment for depression can literally save your life, and learning how to cope with natural grieving can help you heal.

But because some of the symptoms overlap, differentiating between the two can be challenging. Here are 7 facts about depression and grief, including how to tell which is which, where to get treatment and what can happen if either condition is left untreated.

Grief is triggered by loss; depression isn’t
Grief is caused by the loss of something or a loss that is going to happen but has not yet occurred—a loved one, a pet, a job, divorce or children moving away. Grief is a natural part of life, says psychiatrist Dwarakanath Rao, MD, of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Continue reading “How to Tell the Difference Between Grief and Depression”

The Long Hike to Conquering Cessation

Last January, Alisa Soos enjoyed a sunrise atop Mt. Haleakalā on the Hawaiian island of Maui.  She and her husband carried their two sons on the hike and managed to snap a picture as proof they made it. As the sun inched above the horizon, it dawned on Alisa how easily she could breathe in the thin, crisp air.

Alisa has been tobacco-free since 2007, and not a day goes by without a reminder of what that choice has granted her. Ten years ago, she admits, it would have been hard to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded. But today, 39-year-old Alisa is healthy, and she wants to encourage others that it’s never too late to quit smoking.

In fact, Alisa has made it her job. She transitioned two years ago from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s surgical intensive care unit as a nurse coordinator, to the oncology program, where she now works as a lung nodule nurse navigator. Every day Alisa encounters patients at risk for lung cancer – many of them lifelong smokers – and she uses her own personal journey to encourage them to start their own toward a tobacco-free life.

A Moment of Truth
Alisa grew up in a smoking household, where both her mother and father were regular smokers. She and her two brothers had second-hand smoke exposure throughout their childhood, before becoming smokers themselves. It was never a big deal, Alisa said. Until it was. Continue reading “The Long Hike to Conquering Cessation”