Trident Health

Trident Health is a 407-bed HCA hospital system comprised of two acute care hospitals- Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center- as well as two free standing emergency departments- Centre Pointe Emergency and Moncks Corner Medical Center. The Joint Commission recently named Trident Health to their list of the nation’s top hospitals for quality and safety for the fourth year in a row.

Celebrating Service and Excellence

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to cut loose and have a little fun with your co-workers! That’s exactly what we did earlier this month at our annual Employee Service Awards Banquet as we honored five employees for 40 years of continuous, full-time service and two others with the most prestigious awards of the evening. The reward and recognition event distinguishes employees celebrating milestone anniversaries and those with significant professional achievements.

During the event, Bonnie Johnson, Melody Pinckney, Barbara Righter, Linda Stone and Julia Wilson were each recognized for reaching the 40-year milestone.

Employees who’ve reached the 36 to 40 year milestone are pictured above with Trident Health CEO Todd Gallati, Summerville Medical Center CEO Lisa Valentine and Summerville Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Lynn Singleton.

Maria Teresa Alaisa, patient coordinator for Trident Medical Center’s Progressive Care Unit earned the Trident Award. “It is evident with every shift Maria Teresa works that her goals are to provide excellent care to our patients, educate and support the staff and make the Progressive Care Unit the best it can be,” said Elizabeth Ussery, manager of the Progressive Care Unit.


Trident Health CEO Todd Gallati (right) presents Maria Teresa Alasia (left) with the Trident Award.

Joan Funderburk, monitor technician for Summerville Medical Center’s Telemetry department earned the Summerville Award. “Joanie connects with people of all kinds and has the gift of giving comfort, kindness, empathy and most of all compassion,” said Carolyn Ogrodnik , director of the Medical-Surgical Unit at Summerville Medical Center. “Not a day goes by that she doesn’t demonstrate all of these qualities.”


Trident Health CEO Todd Gallati (left) and Summerville Medical Center CEO Lisa Valentine (right) congratulate Joan Funderburk (center) with the Summerville Award.

The Trident and Summerville Award nominees are designated by directors and collected quarterly from each department. Each year, the administrative team determines one winner to represent each facility. The award recipients each receive $1,000 and a bouquet of flowers. In addition, $1,000 is also sent to a charity of each recipient’s choice.


Co-workers Brittany Hyland, Rebekah Faulk and Catherine Holly have fun on the dance floor.

More than 300 additional employees were recognized for their years of service in categories ranging from five to 39 years. The health system celebrated a combined 4,165 total years of service to Trident Health.

“To have so many employees who have dedicated decades of service to Trident Health is a real testament to our organization and the character and commitment of our wonderful team,” said Trident Health CEO Todd Gallati. “We are so grateful and blessed to have these individuals as part of our staff.”

The Bottom Line: A Colonoscopy Could Save Your Life

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and if you’re age 50 or older, making an appointment with a gastroenterologist could help you live 50 more years.

Experts agree that you should have a colonoscopy done once you reach the half century mark, and while a checkup of your colon might not be at the top of your 50th birthday list, it may be a lot quicker and easier than you expect.

We caught up with Dr. Rya Kaplan with Coastal Carolina Gastroenterology & Hepatology Associates to get to the bottom line on just what happens during a colonoscopy exam.


Rya Kaplan, MD, Gastroenterologist

“People who come in nervous and anxious will say afterward that it wasn’t that bad,” says Dr. Rya Kaplan with Coastal Carolina Gastroenterology & Hepatology Associates.

The truth is that a colonoscopy can be a lifesaver when it catches colon cancer early, before it spreads to other parts of the body and becomes more serious and difficult to treat. The screening procedure is also a chance for doctors, like Dr. Kaplan, to spot and remove colon polyps, some of which could turn into cancer.

A colon scope is a long thin tube with a camera attached to the end. When used for cancer screenings, the doctor directs the scope through the large intestine to look for abnormal growths. Pre-cancerous polyps are removed with other tools, and if Dr. Kaplan sees anything that looks like a cancerous growth, a biopsy sample is taken for testing.

Most of the time, Dr. Kaplan says, a screening colonoscopy only takes around 30 minutes for the patient, including the time it takes for the anesthesia to take effect. “During the procedure itself, you are generally asleep and comfortable.”

What some people dread most is the beforehand prep. Patients are asked to have only a clear liquid diet, starting 24 hours before the colonoscopy. In addition, it’s standard for a patient to drink a special solution that helps clear out the digestive system.

The good news is this: Dr. Kaplan says there are new prep solutions that have been formulated so patients don’t have to drink as much as they did in the past and the newer solutions tend to taste a little better, too.

Talk with your doctor about having a colonoscopy done before age 50 if you have a history of colon cancer in your immediate family, or if you have digestive issues that need to be checked out, such as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding or abdominal pain. In addition, if you are an African American, some guidelines suggest that you should have a colonoscopy done before age 50 because you may be at greater risk of colon cancer.

If you are older than 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, don’t put it off any longer. It doesn’t have to be your birthday. In fact, there’s no better time to schedule the procedure than now!

Make your appointment by calling Coastal Carolina Gastroenterology & Hepatology Associates at 843-576-0700.

Take a Bite Towards Better Health - Brought to you by h2u

Today is the last Wednesday of National Nutrition Month. All month we’ve been feeding you tips related to the theme “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”. This is one of my favorite themes, because when I think bites I think small amounts. To live a healthy lifestyle it’s all about making small changes that you can maintain over the years. Moving forward, ask yourself: what small healthy changes can you make? Below are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Switching your afternoon sweet for a piece of fruit- it’s common to get the afternoon munchies at work. Instead of heading to the vending machines for cookies or chips, reach for an apple or even some celery and peanut butter. Both snacks provide crunch, but with a lot fewer calories. Subbing your typical snack for or fruit or vegetable also helps boost your daily produce intake!
  2. Downgrade your drink- Changing your milk from 2% to 1%, drinking one 8 oz. glass of water with each meal, or changing your soda from a 20 oz bottle to a 12 oz can. Changing your milk reduces saturated fat intake, shrinking your soda reduces sugar intake, and adding water ensures you stay hydrated. All good stuff.
  3. Step aside, fried food- In the South we fry a LOT of things: chicken, pickles, green beans, Oreos, etc! Fried foods are a significant source of calories and saturated fat in our diets. Evaluate how often you indulge in fried food and aim to cut that number in half. Select healthier sides such as a side salad, baked potato, or fruit salad.

After you master your first goal, select another one! While seemingly small, these changes can have a big impact on your health in the long run.

How To Help Combat Environmental Allergies This Spring

Spring has sprung! The weather has been beautiful in the Charleston area, which has many of us motivated to lace up and get outside. You may have noticed that spring also brings a higher pollen count. It’s not unusual to walk outside and see your vehicle coated with yellow dust! Don’t become a victim to environmental allergies this spring. Environmental allergies are allergies to pollen, grass, trees, etc. With proper planning you can reduce your impact from allergens. Dr. Sheela Bhattacharyya with Low country Primary Care shared some strategies on how to reduce exposure to allergens:

  • Keep windows closed to prevent pollen from getting in a house
  • Don't use window fans, which draw in pollen and dust
  • Instead use air conditioning and change A/C filters monthly
  • Vacuum once or twice a week to decrease pollen and dust within the home
  • Shower and change your clothes after being outside. Pollen gets deposited on your hair and clothes. Having pollen around your face and nose will worsen allergy symptoms.
  • Consider seeing your primary care provider to discuss medication options for seasonal allergy symptoms

It may be difficult to keep windows closed while the weather is so nice, but it’s worth it if it brings you allergy relief! Allergies can be aggravated by more than environmental triggers. As Dr. Bhattacharyya mentioned, if you follow the tips above and are still suffering from allergies, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor. If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Bhattacharyya, or another physician from Low country Primary Care, please call 843-797-1770.

Taste the Rainbow: Getting the Nutrients You Need from Colorful Foods - Brought to you by h2u

From a young age, we’ve heard that the more color on our plates, the better. Not only is a variety of color on our plates visually appealing, but it also has an abundance of health benefits! Imagine it: Grilled chicken, rice, corn and cauliflower can be a bit drab; but grilled chicken, rice with stewed tomatoes, and green beans provide much more excitement to your dinner plate!

Summerville Medical Center Registered Dietitian Lauri Watson says, “Taste the rainbow. Variety in the diet is a good rule of thumb. Dare to explore new fresh fruits and vegetables to get more fiber and antioxidants in your diet.”

Every day more and more health benefits are found in foods of all colors. The nutrients in foods or the components in foods that give it color are found to serve as antioxidants. What is an antioxidant? According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the term “antioxidant” refers to the ability of a food to reduce free radical damage. Free radicals are chemicals that harm our body. Examples could be cigarette smoke, fried foods, and strenuous physical activity. Don’t worry, our body is equipped to deal with free radical exposure to some extent. However, consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can help prevent chronic diseases and can prepare the body’s defense against cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) collects research on beneficial nutrients in foods. So, what are some antioxidant containing foods, and what do they look like? The foods below are from the AICR:

Tomatoes- contain lycopene, which has cancer fighting properties. Research suggests lycopene can be protective against prostate, breast, and lung cancer.

Apples- contain fiber, and quercetin. Fiber helps with regularity, with is good for heart health. Quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties.

Grapefruit- contains vitamin C and the phytochemicals naringenin and limonin. Vitamin C helps us maintain a healthy immune system, and also helps with dietary iron absorption.

Green leafy vegetables- contain carotenoids. The carotenoid group is comprised of many different phytochemicals. Carotenoids appear to act as antioxidants, repairing damaged cells. Green leafy veggies are also full of vitamin K, which helps us form blood clots. If you are taking a blood thinning medication, however, your doctor may restrict your vitamin K intake.

Blueberries- full of the phytochemicals resveratrol, ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and more! Anthocyanins are the pigment that make blueberries blue. Popular media holds that the antioxidants in this fruit can help maintain memory.

Walnuts- walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart healthy fats. They also contain vitamin E, which function as an antioxidant.

Garlic- although it’s usually considered a seasoning, garlic belongs to the allium family. Onions are also members of this family. Alliums contain the phytochemicals querceitn, allixin, and sulfur containing compounds. Research suggests that plants from the allium family can protect again skin, colon, and lung cancer.

A word about phytochemicals: Phytochemicals are found in plants, and are thought to have a health benefits. The topic of phytochemicals is extensive, and research is just beginning. Just know that if they are found in a plant, they are probably good for you!

All of these foods are plant based and not processed. They also are a rainbow of colors, and provide health benefits to the entire body. The takeaway: aim to eat foods from each color family every day! Each one provides a unique, good-for-you benefit.

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