Saluting BJC All-Stars

The 2017 BJC Health Hall of Fame honorees took center stage October 1 for pre-game ceremonies during the St. Louis Cardinals-Milwaukee Brewers series. The honorees and their guests enjoyed the Cardinals game, courtesy of BJC Help for Your Health, in recognition of their health achievements. Here are brief descriptions of their achievements.

Tina Broyles – Alton Memorial Hospital
Tina Broyles, RN, took her first step to better health seven years ago when she and her husband both stopped smoking. Earlier this year, Broyles continued her journey by taking advantage of BJC’s Weight Watchers partnership and discount, along with a co-worker. “Together, we held each other accountable for what we ate, shared recipes and helped each other stay strong,” she says.

By eating lots of fruits and vegetables and focusing on portion control, Broyles has lost 30 pounds — and kept it off for more than nine months. Her husband also lost 50 pounds.

Broyles also logs plenty of time walking. “My lunch hour at work is from 2-3 p.m., so I spend 30 minutes taking a walk,” says Broyles, who works in the transitional care unit at AMH. “And if it’s too hot or too cold to walk outside, I’ll find some stairs in the hospital and walk those.”

Walking is a big part of Broyles’ life away from work as well. She lives on 12 acres and enjoys spending time in her garden, where she and her husband grow much of their own food.

Diana Bail – Barnes-Jewish Hospital
In December 2015, respiratory therapist Diana Bail started a doctor-supervised, protein shake diet. The diet was extremely restrictive, allowing only the shakes and a few other fluids. Over 14 months, she lost more than 150 pounds. Today, she continues to participate in after-care and has been able to maintain the weight loss for almost a year.

While on the diet, she also began exercising regularly, using workout videos, joining a local fitness program and walking; recently, she began playing recreational volleyball.

Her health, energy and confidence level have greatly improved, and her success has inspired co-workers to focus on their own well-being, resulting in a snowball effect — as Bail lost weight, one co-worker joined the diet, which sparked another to start a similar diet, and so on.

“Diana provided support and motivation,” says one nominator. “I wouldn’t have been as successful with my personal weight loss if it weren’t for her company in the journey.”

Since losing the weight, Bail no longer needs blood pressure and cholesterol medications or her C-PAP machine.

Elena Vance – Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital
Elena Vance, RN, works in the cardio-rehab unit, where she helps patients with chronic conditions like congestive heart failure. She also has led the hospital’s “Biggest Winner” weight-loss challenge for St. Charles County.

Recognizing that losing weight alone isn’t a reflection of a complete healthy lifestyle, however, she worked hard this year to bring “Head to Toe” to St. Charles County. The St. Louis Children’s Hospital program is aimed at kids struggling with obesity, but it doesn’t just focus on losing weight and it doesn’t just focus on the kids. Instead, the classes help the whole family learn about portion sizes, exercise and building self-esteem.

Two groups have completed the program so far, graduating not just healthier kids, but healthier families. Aside from being one of the expert teachers in the class, Vance also did much of the work to get the program up and running. Her nominator says, “She’s an example of ‘practice what you preach.’ She maintains her own fitness level and strives to educate — both formally and informally — those around her about the importance of making health a priority.”

Terri Barr – Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital
Outpatient surgery nurse Terri Barr, RN, credits co-workers, family and Weight Watchers with helping her through 4 a.m. walks and achieving a 60-pound weight loss.

In January, Barr joined Weight Watchers and started walking before work, hiking and going to the gym. Since then, her doctor has cut her blood pressure and diabetes medications in half. “Weight Watchers is the way to go,” she says. “You meet people and get fresh ideas. It really does help.”

When Barr lost 50 pounds, she carried a 50-pound bag of dog food around a store to see how it felt. “No wonder I felt so bad, carrying around that extra weight,” she says. “I feel so much better.”

She now volunteers at Camp Jump Start, a health camp for kids that addresses physical, emotional and social health needs. Her healthy habits also have rubbed off on family members and co-workers, some of whom have joined Weight Watchers and are exercising more.

“I’ve had so much support from my family and co-workers,” Barr says. “They look out for me.”

Jeanette Korpecki – BHC HealthCare
BJC Behavioral Health pharmacy supervisor Jeanette Korpecki, RPh, was nominated by four co-workers. “Jeanette’s drive to become healthier has given me motivation to become healthier and remain healthier,” says one nominator.

Korpecki, who’s lost 200 pounds, has been successful in several BJC-sponsored programs, including Weight Watchers, MyWay to Health and Omada. “Jeanette has been wise to take what she was taught from each program and use it to fit her life,” a nominator says.

Korpecki makes healthy food choices and walks every day at lunchtime, after work and when running errands, working hard to get in 10,000 steps each day — no matter what. She also is a member of the BJC Behavioral Health group that helps patients quit smoking, as well as “WeCare,” which provides emotional support to employees dealing with difficult situations, creating an overall emphasis on the well-being of employees. “Jeanette is supportive of those around her and compliments others on their successes,” a nominator adds. “She is one of the most humble, encouraging and supportive people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing.”

Debbie Day – Boone Hospital Center
HR coordinator Debbie Day doesn’t allow long hours at work to deter her from fitting exercise into her schedule. “My fitness regimen mostly centers around the hospital, since I spend so much time here,” she says.

Day’s husband drops her off at work an hour before her shift every day. She used to spend that hour watching her favorite TV show on her phone. Now, she walks. She also walks laps in the hall during her morning and afternoon breaks. “I also stay after I clock out at night for about 30 minutes and walk — every single weekday, whether I feel like it or not,” Day adds. “During the week, I typically get about 17,000 steps a day, which averages out to about 7.2 miles per day. On the weekends, I get up at 5 a.m. and walk my 10,000 steps in nearby neighborhoods. Then, with weekend activities, I typically get another 6,000-10,000 steps.”

In addition to losing 90 pounds, Day has created a rewarding habit. “I’ve come to enjoy the walking,” she says. “And I miss it if something happens and I can’t do it.”

Janet Hinrichs – Christian Hospital
Surgical services administrative assistant Janet Hinrichs has lost 40 pounds in the past year through diet and exercise. But her nominator says Hinrichs didn’t just make a diet and exercise change — she made a lifestyle change, making it a habit to eat healthfully and exercise every day. “She has shared this change with her family, friends and co-workers and displays a healthy lifestyle through her lunch choices and even using some of her lunchtime to go for a walk around campus or work out in the hospital’s fitness center. She also works hard to make sure she gets at least 10,000 steps a day,” her nominator says.

Hinrichs also helps with CH’s community program “Just Lose It,” encouraging participants and joining them for exercise class and their 7 a.m. stroll. “That’s way too early for me,” says her nominator. “But Janet is always there with a smile on. Janet looks great, says she feels great and encourages others every day,” her nominator adds.

“I’m not losing weight,” Hinrichs says. “I’m getting rid of it — and I have no intention of finding it.”

Kara Wilson – Memorial Hospital East
Last summer, the diagnostic imaging staff at MHE started a weight loss challenge. Eleven team members participated, including X-ray tech Kara Wilson, who focused on eating well-balanced meals, walking during lunch and exercising at home with her young daughters.

“Even though some participants in the challenge went on strict diets and lost weight fast, Kara made it a point to say that this was a lifestyle change and she knew results would take time,” says one of three co-workers who nominated Wilson. “But she continued to say how much happier and more energized she was.”

At the end of the 12-week weight loss challenge, Wilson had lost 11.5 percent of her body weight and was crowned the winner. “After the challenge ended, many participants went right back to their unhealthy ways,” a co-worker says. “Kara decided to keep going.”

Wilson has now lost 21 percent of her body weight in less than a year. “All of us who work with Kara are so proud of her,” a co-worker says. “She has truly been an inspiration to us all.”

Sharon Pearson – Missouri Baptist Medical Center
“I have witnessed the metamorphosis of Sharon Pearson, ICU clinical assistant nurse manager, over the past year and a half to a renewed, healthier, happier and more active person,” says one of her nominators.

Pearson began her metamorphosis by making small changes — eating smaller portions, choosing more nutritious foods and exercising regularly. Soon, she made even bigger changes, adopting “clean eating,” focusing on whole foods, complex carbohydrates and protein, and eliminating fast food and alcohol from her diet. She also added a variety of exercises to her five-day-a-week routine, including running, cardio-kickboxing, Zumba, the elliptical machine, weights and boot camps, eventually participating in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons.

Pearson hit her weight loss goal of 50 pounds in June. When co-workers began noticing and asked her how she did it, she was happy to share her success story. “She never shamed or ‘guilted’ anyone else into following her path but, instead, encouraged others by sharing her journey,” a nominator says. “She has been a true inspiration.”

Natalie Counts – Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital
Community health educator Natalie Counts doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to health; she walks the walk — keeping herself healthy and helping others to become healthier as well. “Natalie is an amazing employee, person, role model and a standout for a healthy lifestyle,” says her nominator. “She is passionate about healthy eating and staying fit — in body, mind and soul. She also works hard to inspire others through education and support.”

“When I got my degree in food and nutrition, my mom thought I was nuts,” says Counts. “But I love it!” Counts’ role as a community health educator includes offering healthy lifestyle and fitness programs at several local schools. “She finds a way to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables that they’ve never tried before,” her nominator says. 

Counts starts that process from the ground up — by partnering with the schools and community through student greenhouses, veggie tasting classes for children and a farmer’s market. “I try to lead by example, and I try to bring health and wellness into our community,” Counts says.

Cathy Hochstatter – Parkland Health Center
Security call center representative Cathy Hochstatter has been an inspiration to her co-workers this year, losing more than 80 pounds since February. 

Her nominator says, “She has developed a new lifestyle for herself, which includes healthy eating and exercise. She has had to overcome several obstacles and has managed to stay on her path to be healthier. But she accepted all of this as a necessary lifestyle change to improve her overall health.”

Hochstatter maintains her weight loss by walking. “She is so dedicated to her exercise program that she has planned an alternate place to walk during inclement weather,” her nominator adds.

“Cat is an inspiration to those around her, as her transformation is so evident it leads people to ask if she’s had weight loss surgery,” her nominator says. “She made her weight loss look easy, and those of us who struggle with our weight know that it is far from an easy task.”

Cheryl Foster – Progress West Hospital
Cheryl Foster, food and nutrition supervisor, credits the dietitians who coached and supported her for helping her to lose 25 pounds. “I sincerely believe I wouldn’t have made it without their help,” she says.

Before her transformation, Foster was pre-diabetic and facing the possibility of a future liver transplant due to fatty liver disease. “Cheryl has been an inspiration to everyone,” her nominator says. “She has worked hard to provide motivation and support to others. She provides leadership by motivating her co-workers and employees to strive for improved health and wellness through physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. She shares the tools she’s learned, and her enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring. Cheryl says it’s a lifestyle change — through physical fitness, mental health and healthy food choices — that keeps her going on her path to improved health and well-being.”

Foster made her lifestyle change while working two jobs, caring for her aging parents, going back to school, and volunteering at her church. She also volunteered to be the Weight Watchers leader at PWH this year.

Ellen Brown – St. Louis Children’s Hospital
In July, food and nutrition cook Ellen Brown asked to see the food service management team. Everyone gathered and Brown took off her chef coat. “We were amazed at her weight loss and major change in physique,” says Brown’s nominator. “We also realized that her energy level and enthusiasm in the kitchen had changed. Ellen told us that since January she had been working on weight loss and an overall healthy lifestyle.”

Brown had adopted a healthier lifestyle to lower her blood pressure. She changed her eating habits by making better choices, minimizing high-carbohydrate foods and lowering her fat intake. She also started walking two hours a day. She’s lost 70 pounds since January.

Brown had originally kept her journey more private, but with her success she started helping others. She now encourages others to walk more and make better food choices.

“Ellen’s weight loss was through hard work, being consistent and making personal changes,” her nominator says. “She’s an inspiration.”

Nominees:

  • Alton Memorial Hospital: Barb Archambault
  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital: Cora Starks, Crystal Schmalz, Erica Smith, Jessica Varner, Sarah Lovegreen
  • Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital: Jayne Morton
  • Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital: Angela Wray, Doreen Holmes
  • BJC HealthCare: Amy Hill, Carol D’Agostino, Kathy O’Briant, Marissa Giuffre
  • Boone Hospital Center: Deb Blazis
  • Christian Hospital: Becky Simpson, Rebecca Niebruegge
  • Memorial Hospital Belleville: Christina Keller, Kate Gattuso, Kim Renth, Pam Holbrook
  • Memorial Hospital East: Dymphna D’Agostino
  • Memorial Medical Group: Jill Doss
  • Missouri Baptist Medical Center: Amy Eberhardt, Helen Demse, Deborah Engelhardt, Laura Feldhaus, Jane Koslowski, Hanna Rudolph, Jennifer Schook, Joseph Sullivan, Sara Vinson, Linda Zelenovich
  • Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital: Nicole Blas√©
  • Parkland Health Center: Christina Hampel
  • Progress West Hospital: Carla Sulzer, Dawn Kohrt, Jeanie Bomar, Kerrie Livers
  • St. Louis Children’s Hospital: Jodi Chambers, Kenna Echols, Bonita Leiber, Sharda Outlaw, Tanesha Sutherland
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