Be Happy – Be Thankful


At this time of year, I feel it is important to take the time and reflect on what makes us happy, and what we are you thankful for.  I am truly thankful for my family and friends.  I am also thankful to be working in telehealth with the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center.  Through telehealth I’ve met some amazing people and I’ve reached out to some of them and asked them to help celebrate this season of Thanksgiving by sharing what they are thankful for. Hopefully their thoughts will inspire some of you and maybe even make you smile. All of us at SWTRC wish you and yours a wonderful thanksgiving holiday!

“I’m thankful we all made it through the past crazy year! It’s been wonderful to see telemedicine take off and be so well supported at so many levels - just hope it continues. I’m also thankful that HRSA funding SWTRC for 3 more years so I can keep working with my ATP family!”
Elizabeth A. Krupinski, PhD, FSPIE, FSIIM, FATA, FAIMBE | Southwest Telehealth Resource Center

"The past couple of years have been both challenging and confirming for those of us in the Telehealth field.  I am thankful that we have the capacity to help organizations, providers and patients seeking to improve access to health care services through the use of Telehealth, especially during the Pandemic where virtual care became a lifesaving option for health care services.  I am also thankful that there is a movement to improve access to remote patient monitoring through the focus on Telehealth platforms and broadband capacity, most specifically in areas where lack of internet services is creating a digital divide for accessing healthcare services.  I look forward to what the future brings as we continue to build virtual care opportunities through advancements in Telehealth Technology." 
Doris T. Barta, MHA | National Telehealth Technology Assessment Center (TTAC)

“I am thankful for all the front-line staff workers that have sacrificed for the good of our patients and communities during this challenging pandemic. The technology that has been used to assist these skilled clinicians to provide alternate ways to expedite high quality care and bring the care to the patients has been amazing! I am excited for the adoption and growth of technology and believe we are just scratching the surface of how technology can continue to improve medicine for all patients by address social determinants. I am thankful to have an opportunity to help shape this future with the support of my leadership team and telehealth supporters across the country (and world!)!”
Mitchell Fong | Renown Health

“I am so very thankful that one of the positives from the so very negative results of COVID-19 is that the world is looking differently at care that does not require the clinician and the patient to be in the room together.”
Jan Ground PT, MBA | Colorado Liaison

“I am grateful for the opportunity telehealth presented to solve a healthcare access problem in the short term. I am even more grateful for the long-term opportunity to create greater access where none existed before for the homebound and those in the rural areas of New Mexico. We can truly meet the patient where they are.”
Jen Gruger, PMI-PBA | Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center

“I’m thankful for the other TRCs and our continued collaboration with each other. While each TRC is unique, we all share in common our belief in telehealth and serving communities who may benefit from it, and we work together to try to achieve these goals.”
Mei Kwong | Center for Connected Health Policy

“Thankful for a successful first year with a new team at a new hospital system.  Change is scary sometimes however this has been a terrific change for me.”
Gerard Frunzi | Centura Health

“In a time when fear abuts every corner decision and action we make, it has been difficult to feel that I am fulfilling my role as a physician- a guide and care giver for my patients during such a challenging time.  Having a telehealth platform to connect with patients in the security of their own home, to see each other’s faces, and to have a genuine conversation restored faith integrity and indeed care of individual’s health when it was most needed.”
Neil Gokal, MD, FAAFP | Southwest Medical Part of OptumCare

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, I am thankful for the opportunity to provide telehealth education and resources to various healthcare organizations during my time with the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRC). I am grateful to work with individuals who are telehealth experts at improving health outcomes for rural communities. I look forward to more growth in the field of telehealth!”
Aria Javidan, MPH | National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers

“As the pandemic winds down, I find that more and more clinics are reverting to in-person visits and slowly going back to our “old ways”. While patients, families, clinicians, care teams and others express their preference for in-person visits, I beg us not to let telehealth dwindle away, especially in our rural areas. We have still not reached the full potential of telehealth to expand access, keep people safe, reduce health care cost, enhance peoples’ health care experience, and reduce health inequity. Even if more and more people want and can go back to in-person visits, there are many for whom telehealth has literally given them a new lease on life. Let’s not go back in time, and please, let’s keep telehealth as an option for those people whose health and well-being depend on it.”
Trudy Bearden | Comagine

“Pausing for a moment among the day’s busy-ness, I am aware that I am thankful for connection, renewal and insight. I am grateful for my connection to my wife, to my kids, family, friends, community, clients and also connection to the natural world. I appreciate all the new stuff and the parts of life that allow me to feel not-so-old. And connected to that, thankful for lovely new ideas, creativity, inspirations, possibility and the willingness to face our world’s challenges with an open and brave heart.”
Mark Simon | Storywalkers Consulting LLC

“I am thankful for the heartfelt assistance our caregivers and providers give and share everyday overcoming their stresses and going beyond the call of duty to help their patients and our family members with therapies, adherence, financial hardships and even technology education. Bless them all!  I am grateful for all the support and volunteerism our journal board members and ambassadors dedicate in the digital health and blockchain in healthcare fields as they continue to evolve and push healthcare into a new era and dimension. Lastly, I am thankful for those that continually push boundaries, borders and invite all to a table to share and collaborate making inroads to deepen understanding, challenges and opportunities around the globe to better outcomes and access that is affordable for all citizens around the globe.”
Tory Cenaj | Partners in Digital Health

"I am immensely grateful for having found the 'Love of my life' over 9 years ago - when previously I had not even believed such thing even existed. This certainly is the most significant event in my life, all the other things I am thankful for relate or stem from it, including having the 2 most beautiful children, happiness every day with ironclad immunity to every possible aversity that comes our way."
Zoltan Mari, MD, FAAN | Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

“COVID-19 brought much stress and many tears around the world; however, we are thankful for the huge advancements in technology and telemedicine that are bringing quality health care to those who live in remote areas or who are physically unable to access that care in person.  We have all stretched ourselves to adapt and learn how to live better in this new day and age.”
Marci L. White | Redbud Telecom Consulting

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About the Author

Picture of  Kristine Stewart

Kristine Stewart is the Project Administrator for the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) and the Associate Director for the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).  She has over 18 years of experience with telemedicine.  She currently serves as the Chair for the American Telemedicine Association’s Interstate Telehealth Special Interest Group (SIG) and is an Executive Member of the Business & Finance SIG.  Kris also is an active Board Member of the Arizona Rural Health Association.  Kris manages both the ATP and SWTRC Blogs.