RRH Newsletter Summer 2023

A Quarterly Publication from Ridgecrest Regional Hospital



Margie Hannon




Dear Friends,

Despite ongoing challenges in rural healthcare, we have many positive things to report from Ridgecrest Regional Hospital this summer. First and foremost, take a look at all of our new providers that will be bringing their expertise to patients in our region! In addition to the many new providers who will bring in-demand specialties to our community, we are also pleased to welcome back Dr. Andrew Modic – who returns to RRH in both adult and pediatric clinics. Sandra Brown will also be serving as our new oncology care coordinator, who will help patients navigate what services are available at RRH, as well as those requiring referrals. Tera Moorehead, Director of Community Outreach, has taken on the additional challenge of leading our hospital foundation. We are so fortunate to have such a passionate and experienced individual leading our efforts to promote partnerships and collaborations that improve health and wellness opportunities in our community. Although RRH continues to feel the pressures that have strained healthcare providers across the state and nation — particularly those in remote areas — we continue to find ways to adjust to the challenges of resource constraints in the face of increasing demand. Our leadership team is constantly examining operations to ensure that our most critical services remain available to our community, even while regions like ours are experiencing reductions and even closures. Our board and leadership are also continuing to advocate for reforms in healthcare funding that adequately reimburse the cost of service to ensure sustainability. Most importantly, our staff continue to weather the uncertainty of earthquakes, pandemics and historic financial crises to make sure that they serve their neighbors, friends and family with compassion and professionalism.

JAMES A. SUVER, FACHE President/Chief Executive Officer

2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS George Haslam

Judith Tharp Paige Sorbo Anita “Rita” Bell Read

James Rizzardini Lawrence Cosner Dana Lyons Martha Hoppus Margaret Hannon Chris Ellis Shrooq Abu-Issa



Thank you, Ridgecrest Branch Library, for having us recently. RRH Community Outreach and Liberty Ambulance were in attendance, sharing information about healthy food and activity options and teaching adults and children hands-only CPR, as well as providing free blood pressure checks. #RRH #communitysupport #cprtraining #libertyambulance

We are very excited to share pictures of our first Childbirth & Beyond class! This consisted of pregnant couples and families with children up to 1 year of age. We were also joined by special guest Marina from Music Together, Ridgecrest! This class is offered by our Patient & Lactation Support Educator, Breanna Rosoff, RN, BSN, PHN, as continued support for pregnant mothers after taking our RRH Childbirth classes and having their baby. For more information, please call (760) 499-3032 or email Breanna.rosoff@rrh.org. #RRHBaby #ChildbirthandBeyondClass #RRH #childbirthclass #parents #childcare

Happy Better Speech & Hearing Month from the RRH Speech- Language Pathologists! Our team specializes in management of speech, language, swallowing and feeding impairments for children, adults and the elderly. Talk to your doctor about a referral for speech therapy services, or call us with questions at (760) 499-3631. #betterspeechandhearingmonth #RRH #SLP

Every March, we celebrate Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second-deadliest cancer in the U.S., and we want to encourage more people to get checked starting at age 45. Finding warnings signs of colon and rectal cancer early will let doctors take actions to prevent the disease. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective. Please stop by SSMC, RHC and GI Specialty to see one of our tables that include pamphlets and a questionnaire for cancer screening. #RRH #WearBlue #ColorectalCancerAwarenessMonth

Happy Earth Day! To honor the 53rd Earth Day, our RRH Employee Engagement Committee organized a planting station where our staff could plant their own pots and decorate them with some awesome stickers. This day raises awareness of the need to protect earth’s natural resources for future generations.

#ThrowBackThursday Thank you to the Ridgecrest Chamber for organizing a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Suboxone Clinic. We also want to thank our community members for attending, and we appreciate the collaboration in helping address the addiction crisis in Ridgecrest. #SuboxoneClinic #RRH #Ribboncuttingceremony #ridgecrestchamber

In the spring, our medical staff department organized a luncheon for our providers and handed out carnations and awesome lunch bags to thank them for all of their hard work. We appreciate your dedication, compassion and for working tirelessly to take care of us and our loved ones. #RRH #DoctorsDay2023




Kia Barnett RN from our Emergency Department

Natalie Goeas RN, Med/Surg

Jacqueline Espindola RN from our Emergency Department

Lucy Griffith RN from Maternal Child

WATER SAFETY REMINDERS With the weather heating up, it’s the season for swimming and water play! People need to remember that water can be deadly, so staying safe and using caution are important.

Swimming pools are intriguing for children, and they can easily and quickly become immersed, which is why fencing around pools is important. Never leave children unattended near a swimming pool. Also, assign a person to be the water watcher when people are swimming. Open water like rivers, lakes and the ocean pose danger with strong currents, cold temperatures and rocks or trees in the water. Even strong swimmers can be quickly overcome, so wear a life vest, only wade in water below knee level and don’t climb by the edge of open water. Everyone can enjoy the summer with water play and sports while staying safe!



When it comes to safeguarding our skin from harmful UV rays, sunscreen often comes to mind as the first line of defense. While sunscreen is undoubtedly essential, there are additional measures we can take to effectively protect our skin. The Ridgecrest Regional Hospital team is here to explore other ways to shield your skin from UV rays. THE DANGERS OF UV RAYS Understanding the dangers of UV rays is crucial in emphasizing the importance of protecting our skin. Prolonged or excessive exposure to UV radiation can have severe consequences, including sunburn, premature skin aging, eye damage and an increased risk of skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the skin, causing DNA damage, suppressing the immune system and leading to the development of skin cancer over time. By being aware of these risks, we can take proactive steps to shield our skin and prioritize our long-term skin health. SUN-PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: COVERING UP FOR SAFETY Wearing sun-protective clothing is a highly effective way to shield your skin from UV rays. These garments are specifically designed to provide an extra layer of protection against the sun. Look for clothing labeled with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which indicates how effectively the fabric blocks UV radiation. Long-sleeved shirts, pants and skirts made from tightly woven fabrics offer even greater protection. DONNING A HAT: SHIELDING YOUR FACE AND SCALP Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is an excellent way to protect your face, ears and neck from the sun’s rays. Look for hats with brims that extend at least three inches, providing ample shade for these vulnerable areas. SUNGLASSES: GUARDING YOUR EYES AND SURROUNDING SKIN UV protection for your eyes is crucial, as long-term exposure to UV rays can contribute to cataracts and other eye conditions. Look for sunglasses labeled with UV protection information and choose larger frames or wraparound styles to provide better coverage for your eyes and the delicate skin around them. SEEKING SHADE: REDUCING DIRECT SUN EXPOSURE One simple yet effective way to protect your skin from UV rays is to seek shade, especially during peak sun hours. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try to plan your outdoor activities around these times. When shade is limited or not available, create your own shade with an umbrella, pop-up canopy or sunshade. PROTECTING CHILDREN Children’s skin is more sensitive and prone to damage from UV rays, making it even more crucial to protect their skin during the summer months. Dress them in sun-protective clothing and encourage them to wear a hat and sunglasses. Help them apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater, and reapply about every two hours or after they have been swimming or sweating. Limit their sun exposure and seek shade whenever possible. FAIR SKIN OR HISTORY OF SKIN CANCER Individuals with fair skin or a history of skin cancer should take extra precautions when spending time outdoors. We recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, wearing sun-protective clothing and avoiding peak sun hours. Additionally, we encourage regular examinations of your skin and consultations with a dermatologist for routine skin checks. Remember, protecting your skin from UV rays is a year-round responsibility, not just during summer. Make sun protection a daily habit, even on cloudy or cooler days, and encourage others around you to do the same. If you find yourself or a loved one in need of medical care this season, reach out to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital to schedule an appointment!



Marian Bridenstine is a board-certified nurse practitioner that specializes in dermatology at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. Marian attended Old Dominion University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2015, and in 2020, she obtained her Master of Science in Nursing. During her free time, she enjoys camping, hiking, playing tennis, traveling and spending time with her friends and family. DR. ANCA CHIRITESCU SPECIALTY: Telepsychiatry (Board Certified) Dr. Anca Chiritescu is a board-certified psychiatrist. She received her medical degree overseas at the Dr. Carol Davilla University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, Romania, and completed her residencies at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. While still in Romania, Chiritescu completed a residency in diagnostic radiology at the Municipal Hospital and was a research assosicate with the Nuclear Medicine Laboratory at the Institute of Atomic Physics. She holds a license in both in California and Romania and has provided psychiatric services for nearly 40 years. Throughout her career, she has also held memberships with various committees. Just to name a few, she was the Vice Chief of Staff at Patton State Hospital and part of the Department of Quality Assurance Committee at Loma Linda University. KAREN DAVIN SPECIALTY: Pediatrics Karen Davin is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. Karen attended Villanova University in 2002 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She then attended Fresno State University and received her Master of Science in Nursing in 2009. During her free time, Karen enjoys spending time with her three children and visiting Mammoth. ALAN HAUN SPECIALTIES: Urgent Care, Emergency Medicine Alan Haun has served the Ridgecrest community working in Urgent Care and Primary Care for five years and is now bringing his expertise to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. He received his undergraduate degree in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then attended University of Tennessee Health Science Center for his Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant Studies. He has enjoyed working in the Ridgecrest community and is excited for the opportunity to join the Emergency Department for some shifts while he works Urgent Ashley McQuade is a board-certified family nurse practitioner at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. In 2003, McQuade attended Cerro Coso Community College, where she earned her LVN. In 2015, she graduated from Unitek College and earned her RN/ADN and was selected as class valedictorian. She then attended the University of Southern New Hampshire and earned her BSN in 2017, graduating summa cum laude, and in 2019, she earned her MSN with a concentration in patient safety and quality. In 2022, she graduated from Duquesne University. McQuade took great pride in experiencing each level within the nursing profession, including LVN and RN roles, and eventually obtained her terminal degree in nursing and FNP certification. She is passionate about providing high-quality healthcare that supports the individual needs of patients and developing therapeutic relationships that cultivate trust and shared decision making in an effort to assist patients in reaching their healthcare goals. During her free time, McQuade enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her four children, as well as traveling abroad and experiencing different cultures. She also enjoys cooking and cake decorating. Care three days a week. ASHLEY MCQUADE SPECIALTIES: Hospitalist, TCRU


DR. ANDREW MODIC SPECIALTIES: Internal Medicine (Board Certified), Pediatrics (Board Certified)

Dr. Andrew Modic is board certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. He sees patients of all ages. He is proud to serve the city of Ridgecrest and is committed to providing primary care in areas with shortages of physicians. He previously served as the Co-Chief Resident of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at the University of South Alabama, where he was voted to receive the Les Sockwell Humanitarian Award by his colleagues. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and from the University of Virginia with a BS in Chemical Engineering with High Distinction. DR. KIRAN NARSINH SPECIALTY: Gastroenterology Dr. Kiran Narsinh is a gastroenterologist with an interest in all aspects of general gastroenterology and hepatology. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA and received her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Narsinh is a native Californian and returned to California to complete her internship and residency training in internal medicine at the University of Southern California (USC). She subsequently completed her gastroenterology fellowship at USC. She co-authored a number of publications in various areas of gastroenterology and hepatology. Among them were studies on patient characteristics contributing to the development of Barrett’s esophagus, as well as factors influencing survival in post-liver transplant patients. DR. KEN NGUYEN SPECIALTIES: Gastroenterology Dr. Ken D. Nguyen was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. with his family at a young age. A native of Los Angeles, he grew up in the San Gabriel Valley area and attended San Gabriel High School. He graduated cum laude from the University of California-San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. He went on to receive his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Nguyen then returned to Los Angeles, where he completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He subsequently completed his specialty fellowship training in gastroenterology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After completing his training, Dr. Nguyen once again returned to Los Angeles to open his practices in Chinatown (Los Angeles) and Temple City. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Ashlee. They enjoy cooking, watching movies and traveling together.


Our Oncology Care Coordinator, Sandra Brown, can assist and support patients after a diagnosis of cancer, including:

Services provided at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Outpatient Pavilion with an order from a provider that has RRH privileges: • Non-chemotherapy treatments (Lupron, Zometa, etc.) • Blood transfusions • Iron infusions • Hydration • Port flushes and port lab drabs For more information, please call (760) 499-3368, Monday-Friday 7:00 A.M.-3:30 P.M.

• Coordinate new referrals for oncology/hematology patients

• A ssist/Coordinate with oncology/hematology treatment orders that can be done at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Outpatient Pavilion • A ssist providers/staff with any help they need for oncology patients

Get to know our RRH Oncology/Cancer Coordinator. Listen to our latest podcast here: rrh.org/community-info/podcasts



2ND QUARTER Deneal Schiller, CNA at Bella Sera

In her nomination form, Deneal Schiller was commended for always going above and beyond the expectations of her job, always having a positive attitude, giving 100% all the time, being compassionate and encouraging with both staff and residents, and her can-do attitude. Deneal states, “Although the award is in my name, I want to recognize that each and every staff member here at Bella Sera is to be appreciated. We all work hard together as a team and contribute to the care and safety of our residents. Go team Bella Sera, and thank you.”

3RD QUARTER Holly Wilbur, RN from Maternal Child

In her nomination form, Holly Wilbur was commended for being a nurse that demonstrates excellence daily. Holly came as a travel nurse in 2018, and her service, compassion, hard work and dedication to this hospital have always been extraordinary! Holly ended up signing on as a staff member shortly after traveling to us. Not only do all her patients benefit from her daily, loving care, but the staff are also fortunate to work with her and learn new skills, teamwork and kindness. She has also been able to handle the toughest situations with the utmost grace and skill. We are beyond thankful for Holly and everything she has done for our RRH team.

4TH QUARTER Eddie Conde, LVN, Infection Prevention Nurse at Bella Sera

Eddie contributes astronomical amounts of time and energy to the care, safety and wellbeing of each and every resident and staff member at Bella Sera. He is constantly researching, educating, implementing policies, following protocols and testing for COVID-19 in hopes of providing as much protection as possible. In addition to his infection-prevention efforts, he spends countless hours educating and training future healthcare workers through the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. Because of his dedication and the help of his colleagues, so many CNAs have been able to succeed and begin their careers. By choosing to donate his time and energy to teach the skills necessary to provide excellent care to both residents and patients, he is an asset to not only Bella Sera and the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, but to the community as a whole.

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR & 4TH QUARTER RECIPIENT Kayla Swafford, Radiology Department

In her nomination form, Kayla was commended for being an amazing team player. She had recently transferred departments, and just like that, she was able to pick up and learn quickly. Kayla is very helpful to staff and is incredibly caring and attentive to patients’ needs. She does her job with professionalism and without hesitation. Kayla is an amazing employee and deserves to be recognized for her hard work.



TERA MOOREHEAD RRH Foundation Director

The start of 2023 has already been filled with many amazing events and celebrations. The RRH Foundation and Women in Philanthropy were excited to bring back the annual Women’s Health Expo on February 11. It was an elegant event focused on women’s health, and everyone left feeling encouraged, motivated and more connected. It’s wonderful to see women come alongside one another to help support each other in their well-being – an area I am very passionate about. It encompasses so many areas of our life, and gratitude is also a large part of our well-being. In fact, the RRH Foundation’s guiding principle for all its philanthropic efforts is “Gratitude Changes Everything.” I truly feel grateful to live in a community that sees the importance of giving back to each other and helping out when others are in need. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of all the Foundation events in order to help make our hospital and community even stronger! Another wonderful annual event – the 13th Annual Butterfly Release – was held on May 20, with the community coming out to remember their loved ones. The butterfly release has always been one of my favorite events because it truly is a unique and special time to come together as a community, as family and as friends to lift one another up and to celebrate the amazing people who have touched our lives. Many people, including myself, look forward to this event each year to pause and take the time to remember and honor our loved ones. Speaking of celebrating those in our lives, the RRH Foundation was so excited to celebrate Jessica Lowry, the first Fred Hawkins

Memorial EMT Scholarship recipient. Jessica passed her National Registry Exam, and we are so proud of her. The Foundation also awarded the second Fred Hawkins Memorial EMT Scholarship to Casyn Battleson, and we know she will do great things. The memorial scholarships are in honor of all the work Fred Hawkins did in support of EMT programs across our city, county, state, and beyond. One of the challenges facing EMTs today is recruitment and retention of EMT practitioners. In an effort to address this challenge, the Foundation began offering scholarship opportunities to individuals interested in pursuing a career in EMT in our community. The next scholarship application deadline is September 8. Anyone interested in applying can go to rrh.org/rrh-foundation/hawkins- memorial-emt-scholarship/ or scan the QR code below. Thank you again to each of you who have participated and contributed in one way or another to help the RRH Foundation continue to make a difference in our community.


our first Fred Hawkins Memorial EMT Scholarship recipient. Jessica passed her National Registry Exam, and we are so happy for her. The RRH Foundation and its board of directors presented the second Fred Hawkins Memorial EMT Scholarship to Casyn Battleson. Casyn is currently serving with the U.S. Navy as a medical

corpsman and is stationed at China Lake. She intends to continue her studies in the medical field to ultimately pursue a career as a physician assistant serving with a medical flight team. The RRH Foundation congratulates both recipients and wishes them both a fulfilling future! For more information concerning future scholarship opportunities, please contact the Foundation at (760) 499-3825.




2023 WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S Saturday, October 28, registration begins at 8:00 A.M. Contact Lori Blumenthal at (661) 289-3040 or lbblumenthal@alz.org for more information.

RRH Foundation and Women in Philanthropy held their annual Women’s Tea Health Expo in February. Dr. Hani Chaabo, Medical Director of Well-Being, and Tera Moorhead, Director of Community Outreach, presented on women’s emotional health and well-being. Those in attendance enjoyed a gourmet lunch with tea and an afternoon of connecting with other women. If you would like more information on the Women in Philanthropy, please contact the Foundation at (760) 499-3825.

6TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE VILLAGE Saturday, December 9, 9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. Contact (760) 499-3825 for more information.

The 13th Annual Butterfly Release was held on May 20, and once again, it was a beautiful, touching time to honor and remember loved ones. Over 100 attendees were able to celebrate their loved ones through this special event with the reading of their loved ones’ names and the releasing of their butterflies. Special music and refreshments provided a peaceful time for friends and family to gather and remember their loved ones. Proceeds from the event go to help support Hospice services.

10 | RRH.ORG

DIABETES EMPOWERMENT EDUCATION PROGRAM™ (DEEP™) This quarterly program is an evidence-based diabetes self-management education program for people with pre-diabetes or diabetes. The program covers what diabetes is, how it can affect your body and how you can make changes to prevent complications from diabetes. GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP 6-7 P.M., first Tuesday of the month This group will provide educational information about loss and grief, encourage healthy coping and adapting skills and offer emotional support through mutual sharing. ALZHEIMER’S CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP 1-2:30 P.M., first Wednesday of the month The Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group is conducted by trained facilitators and provides a safe place for caregivers, family and friends of persons with dementia to develop a support system, talk through issues and ways of coping and more. RRH CHILDBIRTH CLASSES Each session has seven classes instructed by Breanna Rosoff, RN, BSN, PHN, LEC trained and certified to teach childbirth classes. Sign up early! Limited space in each class. Pre-registration is required. Fee is $35 per Expert advice from our Patient & Lactation Support Educator, Breanna Rosoff, RN, BSN, PHN. Meet other moms, get educational material and use the baby scale available for weight. Reserve a spot today. Please call (760) 499-3831 for reservations. STOP THE BLEED Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign person ($70 a couple). Call (760) 499-3831. BREAST FRIENDS SUPPORT GROUP intended to encourage people to become trained to aid injured persons experiencing life-threatening bleeding. Contact Melissa Parkinson, RN, BSN, CEN, Trauma Coordinator, to request training at (760) 499-3396.

ONGOING GROUPS AND PROGRAMS All Wellness Programs are now being offered in person and online. CHF SUPPORT GROUP 6 P.M., third Tuesday of the month Learn more about congestive heart failure – education and tips, eating for a healthy heart, how to monitor signs and symptoms, stress reduction and more. For more information, contact Ravneet.Sohal@rrh.org or call (760) 499-3835. SILVERSNEAKERS AND GENTLE CHAIR YOGA 8 A.M.-12 P.M., Monday-Thursday ROCK STEADY BOXING Times vary depending on level, Monday-Thursday. This is a non-contact, boxing-inspired exercise program for those with Parkinson’s disease that focuses on balance, muscle power, hand-eye coordination and more. TYPE 2 DIABETES SUPPORT GROUP 5:30-6:30 P.M., fourth Thursday of the month This support group is for those with Type 2 diabetes or loved ones of those with Type 2 diabetes. Learn more about diabetes and how it affects your body, learn problem-solving techniques and share day-to-day struggles. STRESS REDUCTION CLINIC This program covers mindfulness-based behavioral change, self-reflection, finding purpose and lifestyle medicine. Visit rrh.org/stressreductionclinic for more info or to request an application. JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS SENIORS GROUP 10-11:30 A.M., every second and fourth Wednesday No-cost opportunity for seniors to come together on a journey of maintaining happiness, joy and quality of life.


RRH.ORG | 11


1081 N. China Lake Blvd. | Ridgecrest, CA 93555


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