Northwest Indiana health briefs: Griffith FD provides another crib - July 14, 2017

Courtesy of NWI Times

Griffith FD provides another crib

On July 8, the Griffith Fire Department was dispatched to a call involving a 1-month-old infant. It turned out to be a false alarm. While on scene, the first responders noticed the infant shared a bed her mother.

The next day, the firefighters provided a free Pack ‘n Play portable crib to Jessica Young and and her baby, Anylah. The department is a member of the Direct On-Scene Education, or DOSE, initiative, where first responders offer cribs and safe sleep education in an effort to reduce infant mortality.

For more information about DOSE, contact firefighter Tim Conners at

Teens learn about health career paths

Chiamara Anokwute, a 2017 Indiana University Northwest graduate currently applying to medical schools, told a group of 42 high school students Tuesday that no matter what medical specialty or health career they choose to pursue, if they are passionate and committed, they can achieve it.

Backing up Anokwute was a panel of undergraduate and medical students from IUN who talked about what it takes to succeed in college and get accepted into medical school. The discussion was part of the Health Professions Enrichment Program designed to introduce local, underserved high school students to careers in medicine, dentistry, advanced nursing and other health care careers.

Now in its third year, the program is an initiative of Project Outreach and Prevention on Teen Violence, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Michael McGee, an adjunct faculty member at IUN and medical director of the emergency department at Methodist Hospitals. POP aims to prevent and alleviate youth violence, while inspiring health lifestyles, positive behaviors, and accessible career opportunities.

Morgan Johnson, 17, of Thea Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary, said she appreciated hearing from college students about the differences between high school and college, and the information they provided about getting into medical school made her goal of becoming a trauma surgeon seem much more attainable.

“As long as you have the right mindset, you can be driven and do what you want to do,” she said.

St. Mary offers new cancer technology

St. Mary Medical Center Cancer Care Center in Hobart now offers one of the most advanced diagnostic tools available for cancer detection: the Siemens Biograph mCT 20 PET/CT imaging system. The device provides patients with a quicker, more comfortable imaging experience with access to two powerful diagnostic procedures that, when combined, can detect cancer in its earliest stages.

The hospital installed the new PET/CT scanner at St. Mary Medical Center’s Cancer Care Center, 300 W. 61st Ave. in Hobart, this spring.

Positron Emission Tomography, or PET scans, produce images of patients’ organs and tissues using low doses of radioactive material that are highlighted by the PET imaging. This process produces images that physicians can use to assess organ function and detect disease.

The PET/CT scanner is capable of performing both of these scans in one imaging procedure. This not only saves time and cost for the patient, but quickly provides physicians with highly defined images that can help them detect cancer and other diseases in very early stages.

PNW alum off to Johns Hopkins

Jessica Montgomery had never visited Purdue University Northwest before beginning her freshman year there in August 2013.

Having grown up in the small town of Gosport, Indiana — population 806 and located 195 miles south of Hammond — before moving to Freedom, Indiana, as a high schooler, she based her college choice on a combination of geography, opportunity and economics.

“I thought I wanted to live in Chicago after I graduated from college, and (PNW) was the closest in-state school to Chicago where I could receive in-state grants,” she said. “I’m kind of a go-with-the-flow person. I like to wing it and assume it’ll all work out.”

Indeed, it did. What’s more, the 24-year-old psychology student recently became the first member of her family to earn a baccalaureate degree. She now looks forward to starting a master’s degree program in clinical mental health counseling this fall at Johns Hopkins University.

She aspires eventually to become a psychiatrist, an interest triggered by an older sister who suffers from mental illness.

“I want to be able to understand better the struggles she and others have gone through and be able to help,” Montgomery said.

Family taking part in Tour de LaPorte

For Emily and Josh Kayser, the Tour de LaPorte is a family (and full weekend) affair. The two have signed up to complete the 5K Trail Run, Half Marathon Run, and 100 Mile Distance Cycling Event — all in the course of three days.

“When I asked my husband what he wanted to sign up for, I wasn’t quite expecting this,” Emily said. “I was an active runner on the cross-country team in high school, but I haven’t ‘ran’ since our oldest daughter was born four years ago. We have a lot of training to do before August!”

Even their oldest daughter is getting involved. Four-year-old Isabelle will be running in the Tour deLa Porte Mini Fun Run designed for children ages 4 to 8.

Tour de LaPorte is a bike riding, running and walking event presented by the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte to benefit cancer patients. This year’s tour will be Aug. 25, 26 and 27, and all events begin at Cummings Lodge, 350 Grangemouth Road in LaPorte. To see a full schedule or register, visit

NWI surgeon speaks at conference

Becker’s Spine brought leading experts from across the United States together last month in Chicago. The group represents both U.S. and international spine surgeons that are considered on the forefront of spine surgery.

“It (was) an honor to sit alongside my accomplished colleagues from across the United States and present on the future of spine surgery,” said presenter Dr. Nitin Khanna of Orthopaedic Specialists of Northwest Indiana in Munster. “We continue to pursue advances in the field of spine surgery and have brought many innovative and minimally invasive spine surgery procedures to the patients of Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area for the last 15 years. Our goal is to restore function for patients suffering from spine issues utilizing the most advanced minimally invasive and outpatient approaches. ”