Category Archives: Community

The Beaumont Blog Has Moved!


beaumont blog has moved

The Beaumont Health System blog has moved to a new address: We’ll continue to publish the articles you’ve come to enjoy, along with new and improved features and content throughout the months.

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Dancing to Make a Difference | Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan

by Lauren Sofen, PT,  pediatric physical therapist, Beaumont Children’s Hospital


Showcasing my dance moves at     DMUM 2013.

Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM) is the largest student organization on campus, raising funds and awareness for pediatric rehabilitation.

Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan improves the quality of life for children with disabilities by:

  • developing relationships between college students and participating families
  • raising funds in a creative and energetic manner to support pediatric rehabilitation programs
  • educating the campus and community about our cause

DMUM has been a staple funding source to the Center for Children’s Rehabilitation at Beaumont Children’s Hospital for the past 16 years and is in fact one of the reasons I work at Beaumont today. I joined the Beaumont team in September as a pediatric physical therapist, after a decade away from metro Detroit. During my time away I worked in some of the leading hospitals in the world, in a variety of settings including completing a pediatric residency in Philadelphia, but there was always something missing…

I was working with top physicians, the latest technology and an international population of patients, but I was missing the aspect of my job that got me passionate about PT in the first place – there were no programs to improve kids’ skills and well-being outside of the clinic atmosphere. DMUM provides funding for equipment and a wide variety of special therapeutic programs that go on throughout the year at a significantly discounted rate for families. This discounted rate is most notable because these programs are supplementary and not covered by insurance.

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Part Three | Beaumont urologists embark on medical mission to Africa

A team of Beaumont urologists flew to Zambia last month on their seventh annual medical mission trip to provide specialty surgical care to African patients. Kenneth Peters, M.D., and Larry Sirls, M.D., headed the Beaumont team, which included surgical residents and nursing staff. Read Part One and Part Two of this blog series.

by Larry Sirls, M.D., Beaumont urologist

Several times during our trip we have lost power. We know this is the rainy season, but over the last many years we have had very few storms, occasional rains, but no big, classic storms. This year, we have had big storms every day. Huge black fronts cover half of the sky with lightning sprinkled in, coming toward us from the horizon. It’s beautiful, really. However, when the storm hits it’s raining sideways, the wind howls and there is a good chance we lose power. We lost power at least once every day, most days several times, sometimes for an hour or more.


Losing power when you are operating ranges from bad to very, very bad. If we are doing surgery with a scope that needs a light source and electrocautery, the surgery just stops right there because you can no longer see, the operating field is black. If you are doing an open surgery, you can use a battery-powered headlight and can often continue on.

We are in the southern hemisphere, it is our winter at home and I ask a local doctor if this is considered their summer.  She says, “What is summer? I do not understand. We only have rain and no rain.” Well, we are in the rain, and it is hot. It is not steamy jungle hot (that you might think of as summertime Africa near the equator) because our location is on an elevated plateau, about 3,500 feet above sea level.  Yet it is hot enough that when we have our surgical gowns on we sweat a lot. A lot.

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Part Two | Beaumont urologists embark on medical mission to Africa

A team of Beaumont urologists flew to Zambia last month on their seventh annual medical mission trip to provide specialty surgical care to African patients. Kenneth Peters, M.D., and Larry Sirls, M.D., headed the Beaumont team, which included surgical residents and nursing staff. Read Part One of this blog series.

by Larry Sirls, M.D., Beaumont urologist

urology_missionDuring our trip, we evaluated approximately 50 patients and did surgery on 30. The unique thing about going to Africa is not knowing what kind of problems we will see. This year we did fewer surgeries, but the cases were more complex as patients traveled from distant areas of Zambia. We were faced with many interesting cases and were able to repair many of these complex issues and markedly improved their quality of life.

We brought more than $10,000 in donated supplies allowing us to do bipolar transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) in approximately 15 men who otherwise had to live with a chronic catheter (one was 99 years old!). We were the only place in the entire country who could provide this procedure. It was great seeing their joy when we were able to remove their catheter. Some of the prostates were so enlarged we needed to do open surgery to remove the gland.  These were very challenging, but all went well.

The residents on the trip had an incredible experience evaluating and operating on these patients. Our main frustration is that we were not able to get our medical supplies (500 pounds) from customs in Lusaka. It was a paperwork nightmare that will eventually get sorted out and the desperately needed supplies will arrive at the hospital to enhance the care of the patients.

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Can bicycles help revitalize Detroit?

by Tom Schuelke, Challenge Detroit fellow

Challenge Detroit ModeShift3Hello Beaumont Readers and Happy New Year! I hope that you had a refreshing holiday season and have a jumpstart on your New Year’s Resolution (for my take on Detroit’s New Year’s Resolution click here). As we strive to hit temperatures above zero outside it may seem like a strange time to talk about bicycling in Detroit. However, that is the challenge that the Challenge Detroit fellows took on and finished up in mid-December.

Why Bicycles Are Important to Detroit

Growth of the bicycling community in the city can help play a significant role in the revitalization of Detroit because bicycling can contribute solutions to some of the city’s greatest challenges. For example, I mentioned in my last post that Detroit has some troubling statistics surrounding the health of its population. Bicycling can help make our residents healthier. Studies have shown that riding a bicycle just 3 hours/week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. Additionally, adolescents who bicycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults. (Stats courtesy of People For Bikes.) Beaumont has also taken a leading role in bicycle advocacy in the metro Detroit area for these reasons. Check out their Oakland County bike map here.

Challenge Detroit ModeShift4Population decline is another well-known problem of the city. Since the height of its prosperity in 1950 when the population was over 1.8 million people, Detroit has consistently been shedding its population to where it now has only 700,000 people. In fact, the new mayor Mike Duggan has already stated that his entire tenure should be graded on if the population rises once again. Bicycling can again help here. 47% of Americans say that they want more bike paths, lanes and trails in their community. Continued growth in Detroit’s bicycling infrastructure could help the city stabilize its population; maybe even help to grow it.

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Beaumont Nurse is Rose Bowl Bound

Kevin and LisaLisa Muma, a Beaumont pediatric oncology nurse, hasn’t missed a Michigan State University football game in the past four years – including bowl games. It isn’t just because she’s a huge Spartans fan. Lisa’s son, Kevin, is Michigan State’s kickoff specialist.

As the perfect send-off to his football career at MSU, Kevin and his teammates will be competing in this year’s Rose Bowl (Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m.) in Pasadena, California against the Stanford University Cardinals. Lisa, of course, will be there to cheer the Spartans on.

“Our family will be flying in on Saturday the 28th and will be staying in LA. We have a very strong parent group and have planned a big tailgate for the prior to the game. We will be able to visit with our sons for short periods of time during the week prior to the game,” says Lisa. “The team will leave for Pasadena on Christmas day.”

With Kevin’s college football career coming to an end, Lisa says she’ll miss traveling to the games and meeting up with the families before and after the games. Kevin began playing football in 7th grade and played at Troy High School before attending Michigan State.

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NBA Alumni Visit Beaumont Children’s Hospital for a Day of Caring

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals on December 19 for a “Day of Caring.” Members of the newly-formed NBRPA Detroit Chapter spent time with patients, family and staff at Beaumont Children’s Hospital, wishing them happy holidays, sharing some shooting tips and signing autographs. Included in the visit were Willie Norwood (Detroit Pistons), Maceo Baston (Indiana Pacers/University of Michigan) and Earl Higgins (Indiana Pacers/Eastern Michigan University).

According to the NBRPA website, more than 40 former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters participated in the “Day of Caring,” visiting patients at children’s hospitals in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Phoenix.

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The Role of Health Care in the Revitalization of Detroit

(photo via

(photo via

by Tom Schuelke, Challenge Detroit fellow

Hello Beaumont readers! Since this is my first actual post on the blog, I’d like to start by expressing my appreciation to Beaumont and all of the readers for allowing me to share my Challenge Detroit experience with you. Over the course of the next year, I hope to connect all of you to what I am learning about Detroit, what the program is accomplishing in Detroit and whatever else you would like to know about. The topics will range from light-hearted to heavy and I hope we can learn from each other with open, respectful dialogue. So, without further ado…

The Role of Health Care in the Revitalization of Detroit

For my first post, I was asked to write about my thoughts on the role of health care in the revitalization of Detroit. Having no idea where to start with such a grand question, I turned to a MBA’s best friend – statistics. I specifically was interested in the current state of health of the residents of Detroit. As you may have guessed, the results of my search didn’t look very good. According to statistics pulled from the Michigan Department of Community Health, if you live in the city of Detroit you are almost twice as likely to be hospitalized for a preventable condition as compared to the state as a whole; almost four times more likely in the case of asthma. Information from the “Healthy Michigan 2010” report reveals that 28% of the population living in Detroit has a disability, compared with 19% in the state as a whole.  Clearly the statistics paint a bleak picture for health in the city.

The Problem with Bad Health

What does this have to do with the revitalization of the city you ask? Other than the argument of health being a good thing in general, there is a well-documented (try here, here, or more generally, here) correlation between health and economic development. Indeed, this relationship holds true for Detroit. We just discussed how Detroit is rather health-poor. Economic indicators for the city follow suit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment within the city is sitting at 18.8% – over double the statewide rate of 8.8%. Additionally, the US Census Bureau reports that the median household income of Detroit is $27,862, compared with $48,669 statewide.

As any statistician will tell you however, correlation does not imply causality. Even though health and economic development seem to go together, it is very hard to tell which comes first. In the case of Detroit, I decided to look up the availability of doctors with the thought that Detroiters were unhealthy due to a lack of access to health care. As it turns out, Detroit has a similar number of doctors per person (8.4 per 1000 people) and primary care physicians per person (1.85 per 1000 people) as Chicago (8.3 per 1000 people and 1.91 per 1000 people respectively). Additionally, there are 30 free/sliding scale clinics within five miles of the heart of the city. From this, it is reasonable to conclude that access to health care is not really the issue. It seems that economic stability is holding back health for the population of Detroit.

From the Motor City to the Medical City

If economic stability is what Detroit needs, why can’t that come from the health care industry? The medical industry is already the largest employer in the city according to The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. The DMC, Henry Ford and Blue Cross Blue Shield employ over 26,000 people within the city. In fact, a study performed by the Milken Institute revealed that Detroit had the 7th largest health care economy in the nation.

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Chair of Imaging makes tradition of clowning around on Thanksgiving

Dr. Meza (center) with his son-in-law and daughter in last year's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.

Dr. Mezwa (center) with his son-in-law and daughter in last year’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.

As you’re watching America’s Thanksgiving parade this year, keep an eye out for Duane Mezwa, M.D., Beaumont’s corporate chair of Imaging Services. He’ll be the one in make-up, a wig and a cape as a member of the Distinguished Clown Corps.

“I’ve been a member of the Distinguished Clown Corps for 18 years now,” he says. “You’re marching with the movers and shakers in Detroit but because we’re all in costume, you can’t tell who is who. It’s a fun way to start the holiday season.”

Dr. Mezwa “got hooked,” as he says, on being a clown when one of his colleagues, Greg Raiss, M.D., from Radiology at Beaumont Hospital, Troy nominated him to be in the corps. “You have to be nominated to join,” he says. “You then make a donation to The Parade Company and enjoy the experience. You work with some wonderful ladies in the costume department at The Parade
Company, so that’s all provided for you. For a while there, every year I would get a new nose, but I’ve changed direction so now I’m into wild glasses.”

At 5:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, Dr. Mezwa and his family report to the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit for costume and makeup. Professionals are on-hand to apply just the right amount of face paint to transform him from doctor to clown. The clowns load onto a bus in full costume to take their place in line in the parade.

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Beaumont salutes military members’ service to country

Today is Veterans Day. A day to reflect on the time, dedication and sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform who served and continue to serve our country. A very special thank you goes out to all Beaumont team members who served in the military and continue to serve our country. Your patriotism does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Nancy Susick, RN, president of Beaumont Hospital, Troy, recently retired from the service. “As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, the pride I feel and the comradery I share with other veterans is tremendous,” she says. “To be remembered and recognized by others means more than anyone could know. The observance of Veterans Day allows our nation to reflect and remember.”

Join us in saluting the Beaumont team members who shared their military photos and dates of service:



Barbara Gordon, RN, CICU, Beaumont, Troy, is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves. She served on active duty for three years. She spent seven months deployed in Afghanistan in 2012. A critical care nurse in her military career, she was also stationed at Walter Reed.



Joel Disberry, RN, External Quality Measures, Beaumont, Grosse Pointe, is shown being promoted to sergeant. He belonged to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and served in Kosovo/Afghanistan for seven months.



Mark Goldstein, RN, director, Emergency Services at Beaumont, Grosse Pointe, is a major in the U.S. Army Reserves. He has served in Central and South America as well as the Pentagon. He’ll retire in 2017 after his promotion to lieutenant colonel.



Sandy Shearer, Anatomic Pathology, Beaumont, Royal Oak, served in the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 1982. She was a Radioman, Second Class and spent four years stationed in Guam.

We would also like to thank our veterans at Beaumont One: Medical Director Patrick Pettengill (US Air Force), Lead Pilot Bill Grimley (U.S. Army), Pilot Karl Dornburg (U.S. Coast Guard), Pilot Shaun Bowling (U.S. Army), Pilot Garyl Graham (U.S. Army) and Flight Nurse Chris Mullen (U.S. Army)!

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