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“Giving for Gifted Hands” Campaign Supports Surgical Expansion

New Additions Give Local Residents Access to More Advanced Options

“We’re committed to investing in the talent and technology to provide our patients and our community with access to advanced surgical options – including a new bariatrics program – close to home,” said CalvertHealth President & CEO Dean Teague, announcing the health system’s plan to spend $2.5 million on upgrading surgical equipment in the year ahead.

The investment is the latest step in the medical center’s multi-faceted strategy to grow its surgical program to better meet community needs. It comes on the heels of a significant push to “recruit surgical specialists who bring an outstanding skill set to be able to apply the new technology,” said Dr. Theodore Tsangaris, who is chief medical officer and cancer program director at CalvertHealth.

Dr. Tsangaris, a renowned breast surgical oncologist, has extensive experience at the region’s top hospitals and is bringing that expertise to the development of the surgical service line at CalvertHealth.

Skilled Specialists Enhance Surgical Capability

Other key additions to CalvertHealth Surgical Specialists have been vascular surgeon Dr. Joseph Wuamett, who came on board in 2020. He has broad-based experience in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of vascular issues.

Earlier this year, Dr. Ramzi Alami, who is a leading authority in weight loss surgery, joined the group. He will serve as medical director of the new Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program at CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC).

“Dr. Alami is one of those surgeons who enjoys and is skilled in doing other things like GI and colon surgery,” said Dr. Tsangaris. “This expands our cancer program because he will be doing some of our lower (colon and rectal) cancers, which are more complicated.”

More recently, the practice expanded to include Dr. Assaad Soweid, who is highly skilled in advanced therapeutic endoscopy and is regarded as a noted expert in endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS). (See article on page 13). The multidisciplinary surgical group also includes general surgeon Dr. Ervind Bhogte and plastic surgeon Dr. Wilfred Ehrmantraut, Jr.

Dr. Tsangaris also talked about the advantages of having a full-time vascular surgeon on staff. “Dr. Wuamett is a huge asset for us and our patients,” he said. “He oversees our wound center and has been doing carotid and peripheral vascular cases (to remove blockages caused by plaque buildup) that we haven’t done here in a long time.

“And he’s able to help us with other cases,” said Dr. Tsangaris. “I’ve used him for some challenging cases. OB/ GYN has used him to make what they do safer and better.”

Health Priorities Guide Program Growth

“At the core of what is happening is how these surgical programs will impact the lives of the people who rely on us for their care,” said Dr. Tsangaris.

“One of the largest healthcare issues we have in this county is obesity,” he said, “which in turn causes hypertension, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes and the list goes on and on.”

According to the 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment, obesity was listed as one of the top health concerns for Calvert County residents. The survey showed the percent of local adults who are obese is higher than state and national percentages and is rising.

Teague said, “the new dedicated metabolic and bariatric surgery program is part of CalvertHealth’s steadfast commitment to reduce the community’s obesity rate and strengthen the health of this community. We are pleased to be able to offer exceptional surgical care close to home for those needing weight-loss management.”

Foundation Launches the “Giving for Gifted Hands” Campaign

The CalvertHealth Foundation recently announced the “Giving for Gifted Hands” campaign to enhance the medical center’s surgical program. The theme of the campaign reminds us that without gifted hands, a surgeon’s work goes undone.

According to Foundation Board Chair Denise Bowman, the campaign hopes to raise $250,000 toward the $2.5-million project to provide our surgeons with the cutting-edge resources needed to bring advanced surgical options – like the new bariatrics program – close to home.

“This is a very exciting time for CalvertHealth Medical Center with the recent completion of our private room expansion,” said CalvertHealth President and CEO Dean Teague. “Having state-of-the-art technology will allow us to continue attracting the highest caliber surgeons and advancing the level of care and services we offer for our patients.”

CalvertHealth Medical Center provides a robust array of surgical procedures across a wide variety of surgical specialties from complex breast cancer procedures to the latest minimally invasive options for vascular issues.

“The support of the community is critical to making this vision a reality,” said Bowman. “As a cancer survivor treated by Dr. Tsangaris at CalvertHealth’s Surgery Center, it is reassuring to know you can receive expert surgical care close to home. This is important.”

The funds raised will go toward services, resources and specialized surgical equipment including a new neurological microscope and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) scopes along with instruments essential for bariatric surgery.

Bowman said the four-month campaign includes strategic events designed to engage major donors, a year-end appeal for prospective contributors and special outreach activities during Giving Tuesday (Nov. 30) to encourage community involvement.

Community members are invited to tune into the health system’s Facebook page on Giving Tuesday to see behind-the-scenes videos, enter drawings for raffles, prizes and more! There will also be several hour-long “Power Hours” where local businesses or organizations will match donations.

To learn more about how to support the campaign, contact the CalvertHealth philanthropy team at 410.414.4570 or via email to foundation@calverthealthmed.org.
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