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Tyler, Texas (November 29, 2022) — Ollie Flores always had a calling for helping others, knowing he wanted to work in healthcare from a young age. But after a challenging few years working as a traveling nurse during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was facing burnout and had started to think about leaving the profession altogether.

But then his son, Teddy, was born requiring immediate care in the UT Health Tyler neonatal intensive care unit. Witnessing the NICU team’s skilled, compassionate care for his son and their enduring teamwork reignited his passion for the...

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By Marci Wright, diabetes educator with UT Health East Texas

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to learn more about diabetes risk factors, diabetes prevention and preventing diabetes-related complications. Here are a few fast facts to get you started. For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association website,

  1. About 37 million people in this country have diabetes – 13% of the population – according to the CDC.
  2. Diabetes can be prevented and treated. Making healthy...
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Doug Delano became an Olympic Center member in July 2017 after moving to the area from Bandera, Texas. Doug decided to make the Olympic Center his health and fitness home due to the convenient location, friendly and professional staff always attentive to member needs, and the facility equipment and indoor pool.

Doug had a knee replacement in January of 2019 and received his physical therapy at the Hideaway Lake Olympic Center through May of that year. Doug was able to observe the quality of the physical therapy firsthand for several years prior to his bi-lateral knee replacement...

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It took one person to offer Ruth Rendon a glimpse at her future, first by giving her a job and then opportunities to advance, offering support and mentorship along the way. Now Rendon is paying that forward in her position as a human resources executive assistant and certified interpreter for UT Health East Texas.

That boss and mentor gave Rendon a chance when she wasn’t sure where her path in life would lead. Rendon moved from Mexico City to Texas with her family when she was 8, struggling to learn English and sometimes bullied by others because of it. Rendon attended Angelina...

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Husband and wife work through their bariatric surgeries together!

Sometimes it is easier to do difficult things when you use the “buddy system.”

For the husband and wife team of Don and Lori Cupples, losing weight and recovering from gastric bypass surgery was much easier because they did it together at the same time.

The two live in Chandler and are patients of Dr. Charles Keith, a board-certified bariatric surgeon at the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center. Don is 49 and is an English teacher and coach at Jacksonville High School. Lori, 52, is a dental...

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Ivan Leon has always been a helper, someone who facilitates communication and bridges gaps. First it was through his job as an EMS dispatcher, then manager of the EMS dispatch center. More recently he moved into a human resources role and joined the UT Health East Texas Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, where he feels his work is only just beginning.

Leon started his healthcare career as a 911 dispatcher after seeing the position advertised in his local newspaper right after he graduated high school.

“I said, ‘Let’s see what that’s all about,’ and I loved it. I loved...

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Summer Patterson remembers all too well being a patient in the hospital, bored with nothing to do while she recovered from four eye surgeries before her 10th birthday.

The Whitehouse ISD sixth grader didn’t want other kids to face the same situation, so she used her Girl Scout service project to devise a solution. For her Bronze Award project, Summer created coloring books that she distributed to local hospitals, including UT Health Tyler, along with a set of crayons for each book.

“It was her idea, and she did all the work herself,” said Girl Scout Troop 6704...

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Mary Urieta, orthopedic clinic supervisor at UT Health Tyler, still remembers how being in the hospital made her feel when she was 8 years old. While many kids that age might feel scared, Urieta remembers the hospital as a place where she and her parents felt accepted and valued, like they belonged.

Urieta’s family emigrated from Mexico to Texas when she was just 7, and she remembers how different she felt because her family didn’t look or talk like everyone else. She vividly recalls the faces people would make at her mother in the grocery store when they heard her speaking with an...

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A distance of more than 300 miles didn’t stop a proud grandmother from spreading love to newborns at UT Health Tyler.

Nancy Savinelli said her own six grandchildren serve as her inspiration for making the crocheted baby blankets she donates to different baby organizations, including the UT Health Tyler Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“Children are such blessings,” Savinelli said. “I feel it is rewarding to give my blankets to others and it warms my heart.”

Savinelli, who with her husband of 38 years, Peter, retired from IBM to the Texas Hill Country and now lives in...

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As more than 50 resident physicians started their training throughout East Texas this month, Dr. Christian Ferrer, a board-certified family medicine physician practicing in Quitman, offers a unique perspective on the experience these residents are embarking on as part of the growing residency program partnership between The University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center and UT Health East Texas.

It wasn’t so long ago that Ferrer arrived in East Texas himself as one of the Health Science Center’s Family Medicine: Rural Medicine residents at UT Health Pittsburg. Remaining close...

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