NEWS RELEASE-Immediate Release


TCRHCC General Surgery Obtains GI Simulator for Education

Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) Department of General/Trauma Surgery recently added a gastroenterology (GI) patient simulator. The GI Mentor simulator provides opportunity for training of gastrointestinal upper and lower endoscopic procedures, and offers over 30 tasks and virtual patient scenarios.

The Simulation Lab will provide the latest technology in medical simulation and surgical skills for students, residents, and physicians at TCRHCC, and in the region. The lab provides various training opportunities with true-to-life patient cases.

“The role of simulation is important in medical training and education,” said Vanessa Jensen, M.D., a General/Trauma Surgeon, Director of TCRHCC General Surgery Clerkships, and the Site Director for the TCRHCC/University of Arizona General Surgery Residency Rotations. “These progressive technologies allow for surgical residents to experience multiple situations in an environment that mimics a variety of surgical endoscopy scenarios.”

The TCRHCC Administration, along with the physicians in Tuba City, realize that the national shortage of physicians and other providers will eventually affect the services and care that is provided in the clinics and hospital in Tuba City and rural areas nationwide.  Planning for the future means recruiting and training younger providers, and helping to make sure they are well prepared for treating our patients. Lynette Bonar, CEO, FACHE, states, “TCRHCC is a quiet leader among quality physicians, and building programs that promote safety and quality are at the forefront of our surgical professional team.”

TCRHCC teaches medical students, certified nurse anesthetist students, midwifery students, dental students, pharmacy students and medical residents from many disciplines including internal and family medicine, general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology.  Some of these students and residents are from Arizona, and many of them come from across the United States to experience rural medicine on the Navajo Reservation.

Dr. Jensen and Dr. Harner, whose leadership at TCRHCC has been outstanding over the years, recognized the importance of a Simulation Lab to the residency program and worked with our hospital partners, the University of Arizona/Banner Department of General Surgery Residency, and others to make it happen.

Dr. Jensen, who was born and raised in Tuba City graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson and completed her residency at the University of Arizona General Surgery Residency Program. She rotated at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation as a medical student and as a surgical resident.  She began her surgical career in Tuba City in 2009.

“It takes a team effort to train the surgeons of tomorrow and I’m very grateful for Dr. Jensen to build and oversee the simulation lab for our residents and staff,” said Dr. Kathleen Harner, Academic Dean with Department of Academic Affairs and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at TCRHCC.  Harner said, “The goal of the simulation training is to ensure that patient safety is foremost important.”

Dr. Harner noted, “There are only 4 centers in our region that have the Simulator and only one that gives the Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES).  They are Banner Health, St Joseph’s Dignity and the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.  Now TCRHCC is part of the region.”

Dr. Jensen envisions TCRHCC will remain the premiere Endoscopic Center on the Navajo Nation. She says, these progressive technologies allow for TCRHCC to be the premier location to train and it keeps TCRHCC committed to providing a quality and safe healthcare.

Dr. Jensen said, “All five of us (the TCRHCC General/Trauma Surgeons) are Clinical Assistant Professors of Surgery with University of Arizona College of Medicine. As teachers of tomorrow’s surgeons we are honored to strive for excellence and remain dedicated to providing the best evidenced-based medicine to our patients and teaching those standards to future doctors. ” The TCRHCC Department of General/Trauma Surgery includes R. Zane Kelley, Dr. Joachim Chino, Dr. Algimantas Jecius, Dr. James Tseng and Dr. Vanessa Jensen.

Dr. Jensen added, “I commend Dr. Kathleen Harner and our Administration at TCRHCC for their efforts to advance our surgical training to the next level for the benefit of our patients and our future surgeons and doctors.”

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