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Nine with connections to Via Christi named Health Care Heroes

Sister Marie Veronica Janousek

Nine clinicians and others with connections to Via Christi will be honored Thursday as Health Care Heroes by the Wichita Business Journal.

The annual awards recognize “companies, individuals, and organizations for their contributions to improving health care in Wichita and the surrounding area.

“At Via Christi, we are blessed with an amazing team that comprises truly talented professionals who give their all for the patients we serve,” says Mike Mullins, CEO of Via Christi and Kansas Ministry Market Leader for Ascension Health. “It’s great to see so many of our team members recognized for the great care and service they provide to our patients and their families.”

Winners connected to Via Christi and their categories include:

Bradley R. Dart, MD (Physicians). Dr. Dart, an orthopedic surgeon for Advanced Orthopaedic Associates and medical director of Orthopedic Trauma at Via Christi, was a pioneer in hip replacement, as the first physician in Kansas to perform the anterior hip replacement. The procedure allowed him to replace the hip joint without cutting or detaching muscles from the pelvis or femur. He continues to work collaboratively to provide the best possible outcomes today.

As medical director for Orthopedic Trauma, Dr. Dart works with a multi-disciplinary team to improve fracture care. He has participated in outreach efforts to other communities to improve collaboration around caring for patients from outlying areas.

Charity Clark (Community Outreach). Charity is both a clinician and community outreach leader. She serves as the clinical leader for two programs that fall under Via Christi’s new model of care focused on helping patients better manage chronic diseases so they can remain at home and avoid expensive emergency hospitalizations.

The Community Cares program focuses on high-risk patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who have frequent readmissions to hospitals and are homebound or nearly homebound. Nurse practitioners make in-person and virtual home visits as well as provide 24/7 on-call support for patients and their families.

The Transitions Clinic focuses on bridging patients from an acute care stay back into the community. Patients who do not have a primary care provider, cannot get in to be seen by their provider within seven days or are awaiting transition to a safety net clinic are offered appointments at the Transitions Clinic, where a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and a social worker see them.

Dave Gambino (Administrative Excellence). Dave has served as Via Christi’s chief strategy officer for more than a decade, building high-performing teams that have pioneered innovative new services for patients and their families throughout Kansas. He oversees strategy, strategic planning, business development, new models of care and population health improvement strategies.

He led the decisions to build Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa to serve Wichita’s medically underserved west side, to acquire Wichita Clinic (now Ascension Medical Group), to implement a nurse navigator program to help patients achieve optimal health, to become a full owner of Mercy Regional Health Center (now Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan), and to create a primary care clinic in Pittsburg, among others.

Jean Eustache, RN (International Outreach). For more than 20 years, Jean Eustache has been continuing his mother’s mission in life: Helping improve the lives of the people in their native Haiti. Jean, who works in the Emergency Department at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, served as volunteer project coordinator for the Wichita-based mission group Hospitals of Hope, which converts semi trailers into self-contained clinics with medical and dental exam areas, a lab and education room.

About four years ago, he began volunteering his time working at a school in Haiti operated by Sonrise Christian Academy. Children are fed and taught reading, writing, arithmetic and basic computer skills. Adults learn skills to help them make a living, such as sewing.

Keisha Humphries, RN, BSN, MHCL, OCN (Nurses). Keisha is Oncology Service Line Administrator for Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals and administrator of the Wichita National Oncology Research Program. Her scope of leadership include the Via Christi Cancer Institute, oncology nurse navigation, bone marrow transplants and more.

She currently is in the process of developing a palliative care pilot clinic/study to provide resources for oncology patients’ psychosocial and pain management needs. 

Mary Ann Lickteig (Health Care Volunteers). Mary Ann has volunteered at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph since 1987 and to date has given more than 19,500 hours to the hospital and the patients and families it serves. She serves at the hospital’s gift shop, creating floral designs, and at the hospital’s information desk.

Mary Ann is a past president of the St. Joseph Auxiliary, now known as Via Christi Volunteers, Partners in Caring, and also served as the organization’s treasurer.

Sister Marie Veronica Janousek (pictured) (Lifetime Achievement). Sister Marie Veronica, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, is a longtime leader within Via Christi. She has served as a frontline nurse, a nursing school instructor, a nurse manager, an EAP counselor, as a leader of surgical services, as a pastor minister and as Vice President of Mission Integration for Via Christi’s St. Joseph and Behavioral Health hospitals.

She served as a chaplain at Via Christi until earlier this year, when she was forced by her battle with cancer to step down. She won the battle with cancer and now is focusing on work as a member of Via Christi’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

Bassam Mattar, MD (Physicians). Dr. Mattar is a hematologist and oncologist who serves at the Cancer Center of Kansas. He is director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas, a cooperative effort of Via Christi, CCK and the American Red Cross. The center has performed more than 800 transplants since its inception in 2005.

Dr. Mattar is extremely active in clinical trials and takes the time to understand what new treatment options are available and what the best options are for his patients.

Michael Wolfe, MD (Physicians). Dr. Wolfe is an OB/GYN and maternal-fetal medicine specialist. He is chair of Via Christi’s Family and Maternal Child department.

As part of the Pioneer Baby program, Dr. Wolfe makes monthly trips to western Kansas to provide high-risk maternity care to expectant mothers. It’s believed to be the only access to maternal-fetal medicine offered between Wichita and Colorado Springs. 

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