This week, many of the nation’s health care systems in communities across the U.S. began vaccinating physicians and health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19. Many of these health care heroes have been on the front-line of this pandemic and working around-the clock over the last ten months. Vaccinations signal hope for the future Here in Washoe County, today is the highly anticipated start date of what public health and medical experts hope is a nationwide wave of vaccinations that signal the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s good news from Renown coincided with a dark new milestone for Washoe County—384 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and over 13,579 active cases in our population of nearly 500,000. COVID-19 positivity test results and hospitalizations continue to be high across the country, our state and here in northern Nevada; straining hospital capacity, physicians and healthcare workers. Today we saw a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. Renown began vaccinating health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, and invited media to view the first vaccinations of those on the front-line of COVID-19. One vaccine, a Herculean effort of thousands “Although the vaccination process as you see it here looks relatively simple, it took a herculean logistical effort to implement the COVID-19 vaccination process that has begun today,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown Health. “Today, thanks to the synchronized efforts of thousands of people and organizations across the country, we give thanks for this vaccination provided to Luis Martinez, an excellent ambassador for the thousands of healthcare heroes caring for patients with COVID-19. The health and safety of our staff is our top priority, and we remain steadfast in our determination to fight the good fight for our community.” Luis, on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic, receives 1st vaccine from Renown Luis Martinez received the 1st of his Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration last week. He will receive the second and final vaccination in the series in 21 days. The first dose of vaccine was given to Luis outside of his vehicle so cameras could capture the experience. Renown’s COVID-19 Vaccination process includes pre-scheduling physicians and employees through the EPIC MyChart electronic medical record used by Renown. Employees are masked, and in their personal vehicles, as they drive through the vaccination site. Each physician and healthcare worker provides their verification, identification, documentation and consent. They then extend their upper arm to receive the Pfizer vaccination. Following the receipt of the vaccination they have a 15-minute observation period to assure they do not experience any immediate side effects. These Tier 1A healthcare employees were encouraged to schedule their vaccination after their completed work schedule to have time to rest. As with all vaccinations, there is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. Fever is not an infrequent side effect, especially on the 2nd dose, so these vaccinated employees will self-monitor their temperatures, as they cannot work at Renown with a fever. In addition to Luis, you’ll see, first in his truck- Dr. Bret Frey, representing the Medical Staff and Emergency Medicine physicians at Renown; Nurse Matt Polak, Supervisor of Clinical Nursing of Renown’s Respiratory Intensive Care Unit representing Renown nurses; Holly Irwin, a Clinical Respiratory Therapist in her vehicle; Alexis Bertauche, Respiratory Specialist in his vehicle; Eric Whitney, the supervisor representing the 168 members of Renown’s Environmental Services team who have performed extensive disinfecting measures throughout the pandemic, physician representatives from partners at UNR School of Medicine, Reno Orthopedic Clinic, the Surgery Center of Reno and across the community. Brighter days ahead for Luis Luis has been working in Renown’s Alternate Care Site in the Mill Street parking structure since it opened to patients in mid-November. He’s been at Renown since 2016, where he started as a phlebotomist and was encouraged to explore career advancement in the medical field. He applied to work as a technician on Renown’s Clinical Decision Unit- a short stay unit within the hospital for people who need clinical care, but do not need to be admitted to the hospital. Luis worked with patients and clinicians in the Clinical Decision Unit for a year before requesting to work in Renown’s innovative Alternate Care Site, built for patients recovering from COVID-19, for additional care before they returned home. Luis was scheduled to take the Medical College Admission Test® in April of this year to fulfill his dreams of becoming a doctor, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to change his plans. He plans to reschedule his medical school admission exam in February. He is excited to begin his training, possibly at UNR School of Medicine, and hopes one day to be a physician caring competently and compassionately for those in need. Luis has so much to look forward to, after such a difficult year. Luis turned 33 in October, and on his birthday, contracted COVID-19 after attending a family party. He experienced fever and noticed how dramatically the COVID-19 virus affected his breathing, his lungs, and his energy level. After spending time at home recovering, Luis recovered, tested negative, and returned to work. As a result of his experience and his interest in medicine, Luis has done a lot of research on the vaccine. Luis is bilingual and volunteers with CARE Chest of Sierra Nevada, a non-profit organization that provides free medical equipment, supplies, and prescription assistance to underserved populations when he is not working at Renown. Vaccine one more tool to help fight pandemic “The best protection from COVID-19 will be a combination of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often,” says Amy McCombs, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNML, vice president of Quality for Acute Services for Renown, and the champion of the vaccination effort for Renown. “No one tool alone will stop this pandemic, it will take a combination of all of us using all of these efforts to fight the spread of this virus. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.” “This vaccination is a game-changer in terms of improving the health of our community,” said Paul Sierzenski, MD, MSHQS, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Services, Renown Health. "Given the demands of this COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to be able to provide this vaccination to help in the fight. We will follow CDC recommendations for a tiered approach to vaccine distribution. Our goal is that by spring, all Renown physicians; employees and their family members; and all Hometown Health members and Renown patients interested in receiving the vaccine will have an opportunity to be vaccinated.” The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory for all Renown employees, but is strongly advised. Renown is covering all costs of the vaccine, and it is being offered free of charge to employees. Register for Renown EPIC MyChart now. To streamline the notification, consent, scheduling and reminder process for vaccine distribution, as well as to post to Web IZ Nevada’s Statewide Immunization Information System, all who are interested in receiving the vaccine through Renown will need to enroll and obtain an EPIC MyChart account. Stay Up-to-date on COVID-19 Renown Health is prepared to safely screen, diagnose and care for patients with respiratory illness, including COVID-19. To stay up-to-date on communications regarding Renown’s distribution of the COVID19 vaccine, FAQs and the scientific evidence behind the vaccine, visit https://covid.renown.org/ Join the Renown team Renown Health remains committed to hiring key roles in our organization to support the health and well-being of our community. To join the Renown family to Fight the Good Fight, apply on line at https://careers.renown.org/ Support the Renown team Renown Health, a charitable, not-for-profit organization, is so grateful for our community’s support during these unprecedented times. To donate to Renown patients or providers, visit https://www.renown.org/donations-covid-19/. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org. About the Washoe County Health District The Washoe County Health District has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.
Fianna's Legacy Grows On: Healing Garden At Renown Expands Over 14,000 Square Feet, Doubling In Size And Beauty
Expansion project celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Fianna’s Healing Garden; led by daughter Rebecca Dickson and brother Harvey Fennell. Renown Health Foundation announced today the re-opening of the newly renovated Fianna’s Healing Garden at Renown Regional Medical Center. Fianna Dickson Combs, a longtime Reno resident, business leader and master gardener, shared Renown’s belief in the healing power of nature. Fianna lost her battle to ovarian cancer in 2008 and her family and friends carried out her wishes after she passed away, opening the original healing garden in 2009 to benefit patients and caregivers. Today, the garden continues to grow – theexpansion includes connected walking paths, fountain, benches and seating areas, additional sculptures and a grass area with a covered pavilion. Fianna’s Healing Garden is open to patients, their supporters and employees. Members of the media are invited to tour the garden on Monday, June 22 from 10 am – noon. Please bring a face mask and be prepared to receive a health screening upon entering. Donors and individuals from Renown Health Foundation will be available for interviews. Please call 775-691-7308 or email email@example.com to RSVP by June 22 at 9:30 a.m. “For over a decade, our staff, patients and their loved ones have found peace and solace in spending time in Fianna’s Healing Garden,”said Tony Slonim, MD, D.Ph., president and CEO of Renown Health. “I’d like to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to all who played a role in the garden’s renovation, and those who bring such beauty to our campus. I hope everyone gets a chance to experience the garden’s healing effects, and with it, the beautifullegacy Fianna and her incredible family, continues today.” Key Features The expanded healing garden now spans 28,388 square feet and includes the following new features: More than 2,000 plants and trees Covered pavilion on the east side of the garden offers protection from the elements and can seat up to 75 people. Featured on the back wall of the pavilion is a stunning mural of Mt. Rose. Supported by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation 1,257 square feet of natural grass located in front of the pavilion, allowing garden guests a beautiful, relaxing spot to picnic. Supported by the Reno Aces Traditional rose garden featuring a variety of 20 different award-winning David Austin roses. Supported by the Fennell and Dickson families Weeping cherry tree dedicated to our healthcare heroes for their extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and to those in our community who lost their lives. Combs’ legacy is sustained through the work of her family, friends and community members. Fianna’s eldest daughter Rebecca Dickson and her brother, Harvey Fennell, played an important role in the expansion and helped lead the effort to generate over $800,000 in community support. Fianna’s other brother, Thomas M. Fennell, designed the garden’s new pavilion. Greg Walaitis, chief development officer of Renown Health Foundation said, “On behalf of Renown Health Foundation, we would like to thank Becca Dickson, Harvey and Nancy Fennell for all their hard work and leadership on this project. They knew Fianna’s vision and brought together the community support to make it a stunning reality. We thank them for their extraordinary gift of this Garden to help improve the health and wellness of patients, families and caregivers.” “It brings me great joy knowing my mother’s contribution to Renown has already made a difference in the lives of countless individuals in need of comfort and relief,” said Dickson. “The renovated garden has even more places to sit, reflect, walk, picnic, read or talk, all while embracing nature’s beauty.I can think of no better way to honor my mother’s legacy, and I’m incredibly grateful for the support of our friends and family to bring this project to life.” Ways to Support Fianna’s Healing Garden Make a gift at renown.org/give Call Renown Health Foundation at 775-982-5545 Mail a check to Renown Health Foundation, 1155 Mill St., O2, Reno, NV 89502 Venmo: @RenownFoundation Special Thanks Renown Health Foundation would like to thank the following organizations and individuals, for the garden expansion would be impossible without their support: E. L. Wiegand Foundation Reno Aces Harvey and Nancy Fennell Rebecca Dickson Thomas M. Fennell, Fennell-Purifoy Architects Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation Monroe/Schuler Foundation Thelma and Thomas Hart Foundation E.L. Cord Foundation Marie Crowley Foundation Jerry and Roxie Enneking Dr. David and Jennifer Smith David Geddes Victor Bucher Cary Lurie Renown Employees Architect: Dale Cox Architects Landscaping: Reno Green Landscaping Contractor & Builder: Clark/Sullivan Construction Sounds of Garden: Sierra Integrated Systems “My belief is that nature is the most healing element in our environment, it brings us to a more natural and comfortable place within ourselves” - Fianna Dickson Combs About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, Renown Children’s Hospital, Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.