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As we celebrate Black History Month, we’re spotlighting our caregivers, the diversity they bring and the difference they make at UT Health East Texas.

(February 9, 2024) – DaVina Austin, a senior human resources business partner at UT Health East Texas, was drawn to human resources because it’s a career centered on using her communication skills to do what she loves the most — helping others succeed. 

DaVina, who grew up in Tyler and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School before attending Tyler Junior College and later UT Tyler, initially thought...

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As we celebrate Black History Month, we’re spotlighting our caregivers, the diversity they bring and the difference they make at UT Health East Texas.

(February 1, 2024) — Shoundala “Sam” Smith has spent the past 20 years at UT Health Pittsburg with the primary goal of helping patients through the different roles in which she has served.    

Sam started her career journey at the hospital in 2003 as a certified nursing assistant and later was promoted to activity coordinator. She also is a patient advocate for the hospital’s med-surg unit.

“...

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The UT Health Quitman nursing staff recently was honored with a DAISY Team Award, which recognizes that while an idea to achieve better patient and family outcomes may start with one individual, it often takes an entire team to implement successfully. 

The DAISY Team Award is designed to honor collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who identify and meet patient and/or patient family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of nursing. Patient care teams including ancillary staff involved with care were recognized with this nomination, which came from a...

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As document control administrator for UT Health East Texas, Steven Rhame’s interaction with the health system focuses largely on paperwork, trying to ensure the entire market — all 10 hospitals and 90-plus clinics — are adhering to the same policies.

When Rhame’s 10-year-old son, Ransom, recently landed in the hospital following a tonsillectomy, he saw a different side of the health system, one which touched his heart.

“It makes me proud to know that this is my hospital and my coworkers,” Rhame said. 

Rhame said after Ransom experienced some bleeding following a...

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Steven Hickman recently finished his shift excited about his birthday dinner with his mom that night, only to realize his moped had been stolen. What was supposed to be a great day soon turned into the beginning of a dark few weeks for Steven, who works in environmental services at UT Health Tyler. 

Despite the despair and anxiety he felt losing his only means of transportation, he found a way to make it to work, walking to and from work in the scorching heat, often refusing ride offers from coworkers and supervisors. 

 “I don’t like asking for help, so this has been the...

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As neurosurgeon Paul Detwiler, MD, stood behind the patient, having just inserted an electrode in his brain, neurologist George Plotkin, PhD, MD, told the patient he was going to hand him a cup of coffee to hold. 

The patient, who had suffered from essential tremors so intense he hadn’t been able to sign his name in years, objected. 

“He said, ‘I wouldn’t do that, I can’t hold a mug of coffee,’ but Plotkin handed it to him and there was no movement at all. I’m watching the patient and he can’t believe it,” Dr. Detwiler said. “He had a phenomenal response.”

The...

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Like many women, Laura Phillips tended to treat her own health needs as an afterthought, often ignoring her primary care physician’s recommendation to get an annual mammogram. 

“He’s been on me every year about it, and I usually blow it off, but this year I did it,” Phillips said. “I don’t know, this time to appease him I went on and did it.”

Phillips had her mammogram at UT Health Athens, near her home south of Malakoff. Initial results indicated there was a mass, so she went for further testing at UT Health Tyler. She was terrified, especially about the biopsy.

“...

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In honor of Black Nurses Week July 27 – 31, we are featuring team member stories to highlight the contributions of Black nurses in the communities we serve.

LaMetriss Dewberry knew from a young age she would end up in healthcare because of her love of helping people. 

Born and raised in Tyler, she attended Griffin Elementary School, Dogan Middle School and graduated from John Tyler High School before attending Tyler Junior College to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).

“When I started I was a nurse in the float pool, meaning I had the opportunity to...

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By Dr. Rebecca Peebles, UT Health East Texas

It doesn’t long take for toddlers to start running after they learn to walk. Watch a child run. For kids, there is something almost magical about the freedom and joy of running. As we get older, most of us lose sight of the joy of running. For many adults, whether through the forced drills of a rigid coach, the stringent fitness requirements of the military, or the transition to a sedentary lifestyle, somewhere along the line running becomes a chore. 

Unlike my husband, JT, who grew up watching his mom run professionally...

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In addition to her job as a patient service representative at UT Health East Texas Physicians Pediatric Clinic on Fifth Street in Tyler, Christie Henry is a busy mom of six, including two teen boys who love football. 

One of their favorite players is Patrick Mahomes, so Henry was thrilled when she learned she was getting tickets to see him speak recently at the UT Tyler Cowan Center. 

“When they told me they had chosen an employee to go see Patrick Mahomes and it was me, I was just shocked,” Henry said. “My boys love football, they breathe football, they live football, so...

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