Exceptional Care Award
During our 2020 Moments of Hope party, we asked patients to submit the names of care providers that gave them a Moment of Hope during their disease journey. Pancreatitis is a commonly misunderstood disease, even in the medical community. New science has revealed that chronic pancreatitis is not caused by alcoholism, but rather a combination of environmental and genetic factors— yet the stigma still persists. The lack of understanding of the disease often hinders pancreatitis patients from receiving the best care.
With this in mind, we wanted to give pancreatitis patients an opportunity to share the names of exceptional care providers. These are providers who treated them with compassion, empathy, and understanding. Many of these care providers are pancreatitis experts who have a deep, keen understanding of the disease and thus are able to provide outstanding care. Some of these care providers are professionals who went above and beyond to make patients feel heard and understood.
Dr. Greg Beilman
Dr. Beilman is a critical care and transplant surgeon at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Melena Bellin
Melena Bellin is a doctor at the University of Minnesota with a research focus on islet transplantation.
About Dr. Bellin, her nominator says: “I was facing a lifetime of diabetes starting with my surgery and she helped me know I could manage it. She understands CP completely.”
Louise Berry, RN
Louise Berry is a Registered Nurse and transplant coordinator at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Jeffrey Easler
Dr. Easler is a gastroenterologist at University of Indiana Health.
About Dr. Easler, his nominator says: “[They are] an amazing team that strives to bring paramount patient care in combination with cutting edge research.”
Dr. Melissa Gibson
Dr. Gibson is a pain specialist and the Associate Medical Director at Avow Hospice.
Her nominator says: “When I was in constant horrid pain and I could not find anyone to help me, I reached out to Avow Hospice Services. Though I was an unconventional patient for them to take on, Dr. Gibson happily took on my case and treated me with respect, compassion, and care. This was not my normal experience with doctors and I will forever be grateful that she took my case and helped me when I needed it most.”
Dr. Daniel Eli Pen
Dr. Penn is a partner at Navicent Gastroenterology Center in Macon, GA, and Associate Professor at Mercer University School of Medicine.
His nominator says: “Dr Penn has been an absolute godsend. I met him at a time where many doctors were telling me my CP was all in my head. Dr Penn was the first doctor to believe me and provide help.”
“I cannot express in words just how much Dr Penn has done to not only help me, but save my life. Without his care, I don’t know that any doctor would have ever believed me as my amylase and lipase would not always rise and doctors thought I was nothing more than a drug seeker. I owe Dr Penn my life and he is the biggest advocate for CP patients that I’ve ever come across.”
Dr. Varvara Kirchner
Dr. Kirchner is a general organ surgeon at the University of Minnesota.
Her nominator says: “I had struggled with CP for years and dealt with many doctors and Dr. Kirchner was the first doctor who I knew understood CP and what I was going through. She gave me hope, and then saved my life.”
Dr. Attila Nakeeb
Dr. Nakeeb is a general surgeon at Indiana University Health.
His nominator says: “[He was] so reassuring before and after the Frey procedure he performed on my 19 year old daughter, on 9 / 21 / 20.”
Dr. Stephen Pandol
Dr. Pandol is a gastroenterologist and pancreas specialist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
His nominator says: “[He] helped me deal with my pancreatitis for the last 25 years.”
Dr. Sandeep Patel
Dr. Patel is a gastroenterologist at University of Texas Health.
His nominator says: “Dr. Sandeep Patel has been with me from the beginning of my pancreatitis journey. He is absolutely the most compassionate doctor I have ever met, and he is very skilled in pancreas diagnosis and treatment.”
“He truly cares about his patients and it shows. He actually cried with me once when we found that my pseudocyst was finally resolved after months of hospital stays.”
Dr. John Poneros
Dr. Poneros is a gastroenterologist at Columbia University Medical Center.
His nominator says: “Dr Poneros has exemplified what it means to be a an excellent doctor. Dr Poneros has initiated the first pancreas monthly support group in New York. This shows how he cares not only about his patients physical health but also their emotional well-being.”
Sally Hooks, NP
Ms. Hooks is a Nurse Practitioner in the gastroenterology department at Indiana University Health.
Dr. Beth Schrope
Dr. Schrope is a doctor at Columbia University Medical Center.
Her nominator says: “Dr Schrope has made the entire scary and overwhelming process of a [TPIAT] as easy and stress free as possible. Dr Schrope is extremely approachable and easy to talk to. What I really appreciated and still do is the efficiency and responsiveness to any concerns and questions pre op and post op.”