Healthcare Advancements Day

Austin Erwin, Nationwide InsuranceBy Austin Erwin
Nationwide Insurance

“It is for the younger people to meet the conditions of their generation in the way that appears to them to be wise and best.”   – William J. Mayo, 1929

Nearly a hundred years ago William J. Mayo said these words and today Scottsdale Leadership Class 33 were inspired by all we saw and learned during Healthcare Advancements Day.

A very appreciative thank you is extended from Class 33 to the leaders of Scottsdale HonorHealth and Mayo Clinic for hosting Class 33.  And special thanks to Todd Larson, Class 32 for his pivotal role with HonorHealth and making the day possible.

It was a full day. The mornings learning included training simulations, a tour of their trauma center and medical skills demonstration.  The afternoons learning included Mayo Clinic’s history and current focus, insight into the field of a Child Life Specialist and a talk on the use of Proton therapy in the treatment of cancer.

The day began with Gary Baker, Class 18 guiding our learning of HonorHealth’s commitment to the Scottsdale community as its largest employer and being a “Stand up to Cancer” champion with Major League Baseball.  We also learned that HonorHealth is known internationally for their pancreatic cancer research.

Our time with HonorHealth and Mayo Clinic staff provided a wealth of information and I will share a few notes that are only a fraction of the content that was covered but these elements impressed me most.


  1. Scottsdale HonorHealth’s Trauma Center Tour – Tina, HonorHealth

It was obvious to me that Tina loved her job. Her passion and humor elevated my experience beyond just the “facts” she was sharing. What also stood out is how fortunate the city of Scottsdale is to have HonorHealth’s Trauma center in the community. Some highlights of what I learned:

  • Only site in Arizona approved to be used by the POTUS should the need occur.
  • Is a Level 1 Trauma center – meaning the center can handle the worst of the worst scenarios
  • In the event of a code “Red” Trauma, 70 staffers are notified and are on call/notice
  • Center can treat 30 patients in 30 minutes
  • Center’s roof can accommodate three Apache helicopters


  1. Scottsdale Fire Department Training Simulation –  Rod & Steve, Scottsdale Fire Department

3.pngClass 33 was fortunate to hear from these two men from the Scottsdale Fire Department.  They conveyed real life scenarios in the field and demonstrated their knowledge. What was neat were the “life like” dummies that we got to practice on.  The 70’s TV show, Emergency came to mind. I’ve seen clearing an airway and inserting a breathing tube in the movies and on television, now I had the opportunity to practice on a simulated human.  Here were some highlights of what I learned:

  • Every fire truck has 2 EMT’s and 2 Paramedics on board
  • Protocol is for the SFD Paramedic and/or EMT to follow the injured through the whole event (from first encounter to hospital). The continuity of care minimizes errors in the transfer of vital information.
  • SFD is equipped to provide 30-45 minutes of the highest care possible (much like being in a hospital minus the large diagnostic equipment, e.g. MRI)
  • EMT training is a 7-hour course / Paramedic training requires 7 months or more and best do it while single!
  • New CPR best practices omits mouth to mouth. Chest compressions is paramount because if the blood isn’t circulating oxygenated blood is of no use.
  1. Simulation Lab – Scott, Lenore and Randy, HonorHealth

Wow. This was not what I expected.  The environment was made to simulate the elements of treating a soldier in battle conditions.  Everything from lighting and sound to the injuries the team were treating.  I’d compare it to a flight simulator where the Instructor throws curve balls at the pilot to hone their skill.  This was just like that, in this case Lenore was in the control booth adjusting the situation to test and train the team so when experienced for real they would be better equipped to handle the situation.  Here are some learnings:

  • HonorHealth has partnered with the US military and through the simulation lab environment has had positive and impactful consequences on the battlefield and they are receiving national attention for their approach
  • Simulation Lab started in 2010
  • Community reach has expanded greatly to Law Enforcement and other first responders
  • Lab hosts tours to many in the community. It was said last year there were over 3,000 encounters
  1. Mayo Clinic History & Future Plans –  Michelle Halvard, MD.

IMG_0366It was refreshing to hear from a medical professional when I wasn’t going through something with a friend or family member.  I appreciated Dr. Halyard’s candor as she shared some of the history of Mayo Clinic and their approach to medicine.  This was a great encounter and I came away with the following learnings:

  • The study and practice of medicine has changed remarkably in the last century with an increased use of technology and a team/collaborative approach
  • Mayo Clinic is committed to “patient care research” and the science of “health care delivery.’
  • Mayo Clinic received an $11 million grant for research in “patient care” and “health care delivery”
  • Approximately 100,000 patients are seen each year (close to 600 physicians employed) and Mayo Clinic is #11 in the nation and #1 in Arizona.
  • Medical School info as it pertains to Mayo Clinic
    • US News & World Reports ranks Mayo’s Medical School #6
    • Approximately 4,000 candidates apply to Mayo’s medical school and about 100 are accepted
    • Class size is kept small on purpose
    • Candidate credentials have never been more impressive – it is not like it used to be
  1. Mayo Partner Welcome – Rene Higgs, Class 31

Mayo Logo 2 (Color)Class 33 was given an overview of the Mayo Clinic and several fun facts about the organization from one of Scottsdale Leaderships own. A few takeaways I learned were:

  1. Child Life Specialist – Krystal Lamb, CCLS.

I had a lump in my throat as I listened to what Ms. Lamb had to share with the group. What she does for the children who are facing cancer treatment and their families is a blessing. If my child or friends’ child were facing cancer treatment, I would encourage them to seek the care of a Child Life Specialist.  This is not an easy job emotionally as you can imagine as outcomes are not always what we want. But if not for a Child Life Specialist to help, the experience a family who is facing these challenges would be much harder.  What I learned about the role is:

  • Role focuses on the Patient & Parent as each have different issues they face.
  • Adult needs: anxiety, retaining/understanding information, understanding side effects, past experiences, financial concerns, expected outcomes
  • Kiddo needs: acclimation of machines and tools, understanding information, identity, anxiety, past experiences, expectations.
  • Role is critical as they work to “normalize” the environment for kids who are encountering a very scary and uncertain series of events to bring about the best outcome of treatment (i.e. reduce a kiddos anxiety so they remain still and the treatment is successful)
  • Every kiddo receives a “Just Because Gift” on their last day of treatment
  • Lots of stifled tears in the room with this one
  1. Proton Therapy, Sameer Keole, MD.

Dr. Keole gets my vote for having a great bedside manner.  He had the class laughing and I do believe we learned something about the differences between a Proton and an X-ray. Read on if you forgot 🙂   Dr. Keole shared in a consumable way how cancer can be treated differently and how and why Proton therapy offers benefits that other forms of treatment do not have. Here is what I came away with:

  • Protons STOP, X-rays keep going (drop the mic . . .  the attendees will get this)
  • 1 in 3 will need radiation therapy
  • Linear accelerators deliver 99% of radiation whereas Proton therapy can focus doses thereby reducing collateral damage to healthy tissue and organs
  • Proton radiation approach reduces exposure 70% – 90%
  • Proton radiation therapy is useful 15% – 40% of the time
  • Oh, and Protons STOP, X-rays keep going… did I mention that?
  • Continued with good discussion on health care costs and contributing factors


  1. Project Lead it Forward – the “big reveal”

And before the day wrapped up there was the “big reveal.”  We all learned which PLIF team we were on.  And for the reminder of the day we performed a fun team building exercise and started thinking about what our teams wanted to do for their projects.  There was great energy in the room as we all started to gel and get to know one another better.

  1. Networking

And so, the day was nearly over. Deep breath.  It was after all a full day and thankfully it concluded with another form of team building at hotel Andaz.

I’ve lived in the area for nearly twenty-two years and never came across this resort in all my time.   Wow, it was a great setting for our 1st official networking event.

Kudos to Chad Arruda for finding this gem of a place, setting it up and treating to a glass.

It was a fantastic day and I am so appreciative of being in Scottsdale Leadership and having this experience/opportunity.

And once more, Class 33 thanks all who made the day possible!



1 Comment

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One response to “Healthcare Advancements Day

  1. Charles

    Great job Austin, that was fantastic and made me relive it all 🙂

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