Life after Cardiomyopathy | David’s Altru Moment

Altru Moments - Published on June 23, 2016

David KaulDavid Kaul worked in maintenance management and as a plant engineer for years before starting his own construction and remodeling business. For a few decades, David suffered from pain in his neck and exhaustion, never knowing why, and continued to work through the pain to make a living. In 2013, David retired and began a new life, dedicating time and energy to serving others, volunteering and spending time with his grandchildren whenever possible.

One evening in March 2016, David was preparing the Lenten evening meal at the church he attends in Hallock. He was walking down the hallway in the church and collapsed without warning. The local ambulance transported him to Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center in Hallock, and from there he was taken to Altru Health System. Upon arrival, he was unconscious, recalling nothing happening to him. His heart ejection factor was in the 20s, and his blood pressure was initially low and then sky-rocketed to dangerous levels. David spent five days in the care of Altru’s Heart and Vascular team.

A Big Heart
After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Aboufakher reached a diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscle is abnormal and the heart is enlarged. Dr. Aboufakher, a cardiologist at Altru Health System, worked diligently to find the correct medications to stabilize David’s blood pressure, and to get his heart back to normal size.

“The nursing staff that included Sadie, Megan, Crystal, Laura, Tika, Cindi, Estelle and others helped me understand, ‘I’m worth it,’ and assisted with every struggle I had along the way to recovery,” explains David. “They were all friendly and courteous—every visit, every time.”

Since David’s extended stay at Altru to fix what he calls his “body’s flat tire,” he has been seeing Dr. Janet Lee, neurosurgery, to further understand the existing pain in his neck. The pain is a result of cervical stenosis, and solutions for relief are in process. David is thankful for Dr. Lee and her caring demeanor, ability to explain everything thoroughly, and the options for treatment for a condition he has lived with for decades.

“Altru is a special place,” says David. “It has taken me being sick to realize that. I guess it’s been the blessing of being sick.”

Every Day is a Gift
David’s experience with cardiomyopathy is a reminder to be aware of your heart health and get regular cardiac care if conditions exist and persist. “Life isn’t about me,” says David, “It’s about being a servant, volunteering and giving back.”

As David continues to recover from his extended stay he is getting back to planting flowers, mowing lawns, helping with the GIVE (God Is Victorious in Everything) program that serves a free meal each month in seven different locations in Kittson County, assisting at his church and attending his grandchildren’s events. And, living each day as if it is a gift.

Saving Patients Time, Money and Miles through Altru’s Telemedicine

It's Altru - Published on June 16, 2016

Kaitlin SiskKaitlin Sisk lives in Mohall, N.D., about four hours from Grand Forks, and still sees Dr. Eric Johnson regularly for her diabetes care.

“I started seeing him when I moved to Grand Forks for college,” explains Kaitlin. “I now only travel to Rugby, which is not quite two hours away, to meet with Dr. Johnson over telemedicine.”

Kaitlin was diagnosed with type one diabetes at 12 years old. “My blood sugar was over 600, and when I got to the ER, I was going in and out of consciousness.”

Now on an insulin pump, Kaitlin is a busy, young mom. Using Dr. Johnson’s telemedicine services, she was able to successfully manage her diabetes throughout pregnancy.

“During my pregnancy, I met with Dr. Johnson once a month. Telemedicine saved me a ton of miles and time and money—not to mention, uncomfortable hours in the car! Now, I ‘meet’ with him every three months.”

Kaitlin continues, “Dr. Johnson and my diabetes educator, Lisa Thorp, are always easy to get ahold of, and that makes managing changes much less stressful. I’m happy to say that I had a pregnancy with no complications and a healthy baby boy.”

Connecting with Other Specialists
Like Kaitlin, Tami and Chris VanCamp of Drayton, N.D., have been using telemedicine for several years. They started using telemedicine when their daughter, Alyson (age 11), started seeing Dr. Kondal Madaram for her ADHD.

“This has helped our family tremendously,” explains Tami. “We can schedule appointments around work and school schedules, simply using Altru Clinic in Drayton.”

Recently, Alyson was diagnosed with epilepsy. The VanCamps began doctoring with Gillette Children’s in St. Paul, and they were able to use Altru’s telemedicine services to connect with more specialists.

“It was a great, reliable option. It saved us several days of lost time at school and work. We hope we can do it again for future evaluations.”

Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine uses technology to present live, interactive video and audio between patient and specialist separated by distance. As the Sisks and VanCamps can attest, benefits of telemedicine consults include:

  • improved patient outcome and satisfaction,

  • reduced costs and time away,

  • expanding services and

  • greater access to specialized care, especially in rural areas.

Learn more about the growing telemedicine program at Altru in this infographic.


(Click to enlarge.)

Starting in July of 2016, Altru Health System will offer Altru's eVisits, a quick and easy way to get care for some of the most common illnesses. By accessing eVisits on Altru's online patient portal, MyHealth, you can connect with a provider to get a diagnosis, treatment and a prescription, if needed. You can initiate an eVisit 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. Altru's eVisits offer convenient, easy access to healthcare on your schedule.

For more information on telemedicine, call 701.780.2348 or message your provider's office through MyHealth.

See also:

Living Life to the Fullest | La Royce’s Altru Advanced Orthopedics Story

Altru Moments - Published on June 10, 2016

karateWhen asked what she’s looking forward to in the future, La Royce Bathelor states confidently she hopes to have the strength in her senior years as the karate sensei’s she looks up to. One is 90 and still trains two hours a day, even after a knee replacement. One is 66 and recently beat throat cancer, a feat he chalks up to the physical and mental toughness he gained through karate.

“In karate, it’s necessary to lose yourself in it. Your mind is quieted, your body is completely engaged,” shared La Royce. “It’s extremely physically demanding. If you look into calories burned, it’s one of the top activities. It also provides an excellent recipe for vitality. In the years I’ve been doing karate, I have strength and mental focus like I’ve never had before. It allows me to approach situations that may cause panic with a level head and even hand.”

La Royce has a vibrant approach to life. Beyond being a black belt in karate, she teaches at UND and recently earned her PhD. She runs the karate dōjō in Grand Forks. She has two sons. She is busy. She is active. She is not willing to simply survive; she lives life to the fullest.

graduationOver the past 30+ years, La Royce’s knee got in the way of her life. In high school, she hurt it during cross country and was told that she couldn’t run anymore. At the time, the doctors didn’t offer an alternative. She quit running and did activities that didn’t bother her knee so much. But, the nagging pain and fear of further injury remained. When she found karate in her 30s, the pain seemed to go away. Something about the practice of karate, possibly a combination of the mental strength and muscles built through the activity, made the pain move to the background of La Royce’s life. Then, three years ago, she landed funny after a jump, and the pain was back. She tried braces and basic care, but it wasn’t doing the trick. So, she made an appointment with Dr. William Haug Jr. at Altru Advanced Orthopedics.

“Dr. Haug did the full range of tests on my knee, including an MRI,” shared  La Royce. “Afterward, he explained all of the things that were wrong with my knee – two tears in my meniscus, causing my knee to catch and click, bone spurs that were essentially chewing away at meniscus and a cyst that had formed to try to protect my knee from all of the damage. I had no clue it was that bad.”

They tried injections and draining of the knee for a short time, but shortly after Dr. Haug told La Royce this wasn’t going to cut it – she needed to have her knee fixed, and soon.

“I told him I did not have time for surgery,” shared La Royce. “I was preparing for nationals and my third degree black belt; surgery didn’t fit in my plan. So, he sat me down and we worked out a plan together. One that would allow me to accomplish the tasks I had before me, without causing further damage, then scheduling surgery so that my knee could be properly repaired. Dr. Haug worked out a timeline that would fit my life. That meant a great deal to me.”

In January of 2016, La Royce underwent surgery. Her knee was repaired, and she started the healing process.

“With every step, there was a detailed plan,” shared La Royce. “From surgery to recovery and rehab, I was given tons of information and a time table of the process. I was provided exercises and resources to help me recover my way. I don’t take medication, so my caregivers recommended alternative ways to manage my pain. To my surprise, the pain was minimal. Now, five months later, I am essentially back to full activity. I biked to work today – 7 miles. I feel great about that.”

See La Royce and other real patients of Altru Advanced Orthopedics loving the way they move.

Ironman & Handyman | Joe’s Altru Advanced Orthopedics Story

Altru Moments - Published on June 10, 2016

Joe VBy nature, Joe Vacek is curious. He spends his days as a professor in aviation at UND and works on cutting-edge developments with unmanned aircraft. He’s also a commercial pilot, and a lawyer. He’s by no means a lazy guy. He’d always been active, but had never been an athlete. He had many students who were athletes, and the concept piqued his curiosity.

“I decided to investigate the athletic mindset,” shared Joe. “I wondered, could I be an athlete? Could I run fast? Could I bike long distances? I decided that I thought I could, so I started training. I applied what I know from teaching into my training and was able to improve my fitness level rapidly.”
His training led him to join adventure races, often with his wife. These day-long challenges incorporated mountain biking, running, orienteering, sometimes even white water rafting. It was about completing a challenge as a team, and pushing himself through various physical and mental tasks.

Joe shifted gears when his wife became pregnant with their first child, Jonathan, who is now two. Joe decided to give individual competition a try and signed up for an Ironman race. It was during training for this that Joe injured himself.

Injury before Ironman
“I was running in the late winter, trying to jump over a snow bank,” Joe explained. “I hit the ground wrong and injured my leg. At first I thought it was a bruise, but the pain wouldn’t go away. So, I made an appointment at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. Turns out, I had a fracture.”

Joe was evaluated by Dr. William Haug Jr., a medical orthopedist at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. An athlete himself, Dr. Haug understood Joe’s mentality.

Joe 2“He knew it was important for me to keep training and to complete the Ironman in a few months,” explained Joe. “So we worked through treatment options as well as training recommendations. He allowed me to do any training where I didn’t experience pain, so that I could keep up with it. He also sent me for physical therapy, knowing that I’d commit to that the same way I had to my race, and that it would keep me pain-free for the long run.”

Through evaluation, Dr. Haug found the fall that caused Joe’s fracture was likely related to asymmetrical use of his leg. This led him to look into an old hip injury as a root cause. To ensure that Joe could return to racing without worry of future injury, Dr. Haug and his team at Altru Advanced Orthopedics provided thorough treatment for Joe’s leg, and his hip.

“Dr. Haug and his team, from those who completed an MRI on my hip, to the physical therapists and everyone else I encountered – they were all so friendly. They were laid-back and professional, and it made the medical experience a positive one. They helped return me to a pain-free, active life.”

After an MRI, injections and the recommended physical therapy, Joe was able to complete the Ironman without pain. And, he won’t stop there. Joe has plans to complete the Tour Divide – a mountain biking race from Canada to Mexico, along the spine of Rocky Mountains. Obviously, that’s not a feat for someone with a nagging injury. For Joe, receiving proper and continued care is worth it. To him, being active is who he is.

Active for Life
“I must stay active, because it allows me to continue being active,” shared Joe. “Being active allows me to live life to the fullest. By being fit and healthy, I can do awesome things. I can bike from Canada to Mexico, or compete in intense competitions. But, a fit and active life also provides me the endurance to do the normal things in life, like house projects. My wife and I are expecting our second child, and therefore making room in our home. I’ve been installing drywall, painting, redoing a bathroom – and I can do that without getting tired. Because I’ve made an active life a priority.”

See Joe and other real patients of Altru Advanced Orthopedics loving the way they move.

A Passion to Be Fit | Jim's Altru Advanced Orthopedics Story

Altru Moments - Published on June 10, 2016

Jim FairclothJim Faircloth has lived a life chock-full of activity. He started disciplined activity to prepare for the military, and he never let off the gas. For 35 years, he ran every single day.

“I have a passion to be fit,” shared Jim. “Fitness has provided me with a way to maintain mental balance in my life. It’s a way for me to challenge myself and keep a sense of discipline. At this point, I’ve been active for so long I don’t even question it anymore. It’s a huge part of who I am.”

Jim’s activity level is not in the “light-to-moderate” range. Those around his age may consider a 20 minute walk as their daily activity, while Jim prefers to compete in intense biking races. Though many may have told him to slow down after dealing with a back condition that caused his disc to displace 50 percent of the time, that was not in the cards for Jim. But, after struggling through a cross country ski race in Wisconsin a few years ago, he decided he’d have to seek a medical solution.

“Going into it, I was skeptical that someone in the medical profession would understand the level of activity I hoped to maintain, and support it,” explained Jim. “I felt that I was more likely to be encouraged to reduce activity and prepare for a more sedate life.”

Luckily for Jim, that was not the case. He met with Dr. William Haug Jr. of Altru Advanced Orthopedics, who led the team approach to help deal with Jim’s condition and help him maintain the activities that are such an important piece of his life.

An athlete himself, Dr. Haug understood Jim’s mindset. He knew that he’d be willing to put in the work, through treatment and physical therapy, to improve his condition and allow him to be active.

“Dr. Haug’s past experience with the USA ski team helped me to develop a rapport with him,” shared Jim. “He was familiar with the athlete mindset so I could share my goals and wouldn’t be critiqued for pushing too hard. He wanted to do what was in my best interest, what I wanted  to do, not just what would keep me alive. I felt like he was on my team.”

With treatment and continued care, Jim is able to do the things he loves. He continues to bike and cross country ski, he enjoys spin classes and yoga at Choice Health & Fitness, and looks forward to trips to Colorado to ski and hike. Dr. Haug continues to check-in with Jim on a personal level.

“After a race in 2015, Dr. Haug asked me to call him and tell him how it went. He has a vested interest in my success. I can tell that for him, being a doctor is about building relationships, not simply completing transactions. He epitomizes what a doctor should be.”

See Jim and other real patients of Altru Advanced Orthopedics loving the way they move.

7 Ways to Use Your Lunch Break to Improve Your Health

Enrich - Published on June 1, 2016

LunchAre you stuck in a rut at work? Do you have low energy during the day? Would you like to lose some weight? Breaking up your day with some exercise will boost your metabolism and leave you re-energized for the rest of the afternoon. Incorporate these simple tips into your work week to improve your health.

1. Squeeze in a workout. If you have the time, use your lunch break to fit in a gym session. Walking on a treadmill, riding a recumbent bike or an elliptical, or completing a strength training circuit is a great way to relax and revitalize.

2. Take an exercise class. Group exercise classes are fun ways to add variety to your workout. The instructor will likely challenge you more than you may choose to do on your own, and the camaraderie of a group provides great accountability to help you remain consistent and follow through with your intention to exercise regularly.

3. Step it up a notch. Activity trackers are a fantastic incentive to get more exercise. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Choose a lunch destination that is a good 15 minute walk from your office and you are well on your way. Plus, the walk will break up your afternoon and give you a mental break from work.

Businesswoman climbing a stairway

4. Hit the stairs. Skip the elevator, and challenge yourself to walk a few flights of stairs. You'll get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, plus it's a quick way to burn calories when your time is limited or you cannot get outdoors.

5. Be a video star. Why let a rainy day get in the way of exercise? Bring an exercise or yoga video to play in a meeting or conference room. Ask a couple of work colleagues to join. There are almost an unlimited number of videos on YouTube that you can watch for free.

6. Pump it up. It is possible to exercise at the office without taking up a lot of space or calling a lot of attention to yourself. Body weight movements, exercise bands and exercise ball movements are space efficient ways to get a quick workout.


7. Stretch. Sitting in front of a computer all day means that certain parts of your body get extra tight over time. Your hip flexors, shoulders and neck are especially prone to injury and tightening. Take a few minutes to stretch out during lunch to ensure that your body stays in tip-top shape.

There are many ways to be active during your break. Not only is exercise good for your body, studies have shown that it helps you be more mentally aware, creative and productive throughout the day. If you don’t know where to start please talk to an exercise professional to help get you on the right track.

Adam SorumAdam Sorum is a Medical Fitness Specialist at Altru's Medical Fitness Center, an ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and group exercise instructor. He is the North Dakota State Captain of the Medical Fitness Association. He has over a decade of experience helping people with various health conditions exercise in a safe and comfortable manner. In his free time, Adam enjoys spending time with family and friends playing foosball, fishing, hunting and cooking.

Sleep: The Key to Better Performance and Overall Health

Enrich - Published on June 1, 2016

There is one simple thing that you can do every single day to perform better, stay healthy, reduce stress and enhance your life overall. This oh-so important tactic is – sleep. Proper sleep offers great health benefits far beyond reducing yawns during the day.

Many individuals, including students, athletes and busy adults, pride themselves on the ability to survive on limited sleep, or even brag about pulling an “all-nighter.” Unfortunately, for every group mentioned, poor sleep has a negative effect of their bodies. Students lose the ability to focus in class, athletes can’t perform at their peak performance, and adults start seeing the negative health effects that many years of inadequate sleep can cause.

The Magic of Sleep
Many things happen to the body during the sleep cycle. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is down regulated during the hours that we sleep. If an individual does not get enough sleep, they will have increased cortisol levels, which is associated with inability to manage weight, whether that be weight gain or weight loss. Conversely, HGH (human growth hormone) reaches its peak during the hours that we sleep. This hormone, which many associate with drugs that bodybuilders or professional athletes take, is key in muscle growth and recovery. It occurs naturally in the body during sleep and after exercise, which is why it is vital that athletes capitalize on the opportunity to build muscle, simply by sleeping. If an individual does not get enough sleep, it will stunt the release of HGH, which will decrease the body’s ability to recover from a training session and build muscle. 

How much sleep is optimal?
We think of eight hours as the ideal amount of sleep, and as a general rule, this is accurate. However, sleep needs are different for each person, with some groups needing more or less.

  • Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep.

  • After 26, some individuals may need less sleep than during their early adult years.

  • Teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep (sleep fuels growth during puberty).

  • Athletes of all ages need more sleep due to the physical demand on their bodies and the greater need for muscle recovery.

Personally, I require at least seven and a half hours of sleep. If I get less than that, I “hit a wall” during the day, with lagging performance, inability to focus and a general sense of fatigue. My requirements are heightened, as I am active in my role as a performance specialist at Sports Advantage powered by EXOS, and spend many hours training and preparing for the upcoming 2018 Olympics with USA Women's Hockey. I am up at 4:30 a.m. most mornings, so that means I am in bed by 9 p.m. I make my sleep a priority, as I know how important it is to help me be at my best. And, I encourage my clients and athletes to do the same.

At Sports Advantage powered by EXOS we have a four pillar approach to performance: Mindset, Nutrition, Movement and Recovery. We place focus on each of these pillars to help better the lives of our clients, but a lack of sleep can negate a lot of the progress made. Sleep is a major part of the recovery process, and that recovery is just as important as how we fuel our bodies, how we move and exercise, and our approach and mindset to everyday life.

If you are struggling to sleep well, you may benefit from a free sleep screening from Altru’s Sleep Center.

Monique Lamoureux-MorandoMonique is a performance specialist with Sports Advantage powered by EXOS. Monique is currently a member of the USA Women's Hockey team. She enjoys spending time with her dogs (Millie and George) and family when she is not training and skating.




See also:

Why the “Biggest Loser” Study Shouldn't Deter You from Your Weight Loss Plan

Enrich - Published on June 1, 2016

You may have heard about the recent “Biggest Loser” study that showed participants had regained much of their weight back six years after the show. If you're concerned about what you've read, keep in mind the following:

The fine print
The sample size of the study is extremely small (14 people) and very different from the average population. The contestants lost weight extremely rapidly (for some, more than one pound per day or more for 30 weeks) and then returned to their old environment, which likely include triggers for unhealthy habits, busy work and family schedules and a lot of adjusting to do from “the ranch.” And for most, they did not have continued professional support to maintain their new lifestyle at home.

Leptin levels
Leptin (one of the hormones responsible for controlling appetite) was measured in the subjects. Leptin values decreased after the contestants lost weight, which popular media has interpreted as a sign that they became deficient in leptin. However, the leptin levels measured did not indicate deficiency, but rather are consistent with leptin levels in studies of normal weight individuals. Leptin then increased over 6 years in the contestants, which correlates as expected to their weight regain.

The metabolism factor
The contestants' metabolisms were slower than expected at the six-year mark by about 500 calories. Again, consider the small and extremely different-than-average sample size. If anything, this calorie discrepancy  highlights the benefit of tracking calories to help maintain weight loss.

Obesity is a disease
This study raises a lot of questions: What is the best way to manage obesity? Does the rate of weight loss affect long-term success? Does leptin or some other chemical change in the body impact weight regain? We don't have solid answers to these questions yet, but we do know that managing obesity is a lifelong commitment. It’s important to continually seek the help of weight management professionals to safely and properly manage obesity.

Success Stories
We also know that there are over 10,000 individuals tracked by the National Weight Control Registry who have lost a substantial amount of weight and kept it off.  There are likely many more "big losers" out there who aren't in the registry, so rest assured that weight maintenance is by no means impossible!  To achieve success, meticulously maintain your healthy lifestyle, and surround yourself with positive and motivating people who accept the new you and your new priorities.

Maintaining weight loss isn’t easy
Though weight loss and management is attainable, it’s also tough. Know that if you start to slip, your best bet is to reach out to your healthcare team for support and guidance. If you feel like your results don’t reflect the choices you are making, talk with a dietitian, exercise specialist or your physician about tracking your food and exercise, and testing your metabolism and body composition.

The team at Altru’s Weight Management Program is dedicated to the successful weight loss and weight management of our patients. We use proven, science-based methods to guide you on your journey to your healthiest tomorrow. And, we are always here for you. If you’ve taken part in our program and feel that you need further support – never hesitate to reach out to us.

Learn to Love Running with These 8 Tips

Enrich - Published on June 1, 2016

I have been an athlete all of my life, and have enjoyed a healthy lifestyle, but I just wasn’t born with the running gene. In middle school, I dreaded the mile run and counted down every last lap. In high school I started running to get in shape for tennis season. I hated every minute of it. It wasn’t until recently, as a full-grown adult, that I truly started to appreciate the activity. What changed? My attitude. I changed my outlook on running in a way that made me feel like a champion simply for lacing up my running shoes. Here are 8 tips that can help you learn to like (maybe even love) running too.

Accept your “newbie” status.
Not being able to run a mile the first time you attempt it is perfectly normal. And, I promise no one is judging you for it. In fact, you should be proud of your effort. You’ve got to start somewhere, so accept your newbie status and plan to take walk breaks on your first few jogs. Give yourself time to build up your endurance and distances.

Slow down!
Unless you’ve got a sponsorship deal with a major sports brand, or you are trying to qualify for a marathon, running fast isn’t really necessary. In fact, it might be preventing you from actually enjoying your run. Try running slower, at a pace that allows you to speak in full sentences, and see how your body reacts. Your breathing should feel more natural, your joints won’t start aching as quickly, and you might even find yourself smiling out there.

Set small goals.
See that fire hydrant at the end of the sidewalk? Run to that, and then pick your next target. Creating small goals within your workout keeps it interesting, and reaching those achievements can help you to keep pushing yourself. Today the next mailbox, tomorrow the finish line of your first 10K!

Enjoy some “me” time.
The kids aren’t around, your boss isn’t hovering over you—it’s just you, your running shoes and the road. Thinking of your run as “me” time will help you see it as a special event, one you’ll start looking forward to.

Find a running buddy.
If “alone time” doesn’t do it for you, find a friend to run with. You can encourage each other to get going, be there for each other on the hills, and gossip your way to the finish. And, having a plan to meet someone for a run can give you extra motivation to get out the door.

Make the miles matter.
When the personal benefits of running (weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, reduced stress, etc.) aren’t enough to get you to pick up your feet, consider running for a cause. Sign up for a 5K (such as Run for Your Buns) that raises funds and awareness for a nonprofit organization, or download an app like Charity Miles, which lets you earn money for a charity of your choice with every step you take.


Turn that music up!
Studies show that upbeat tunes can distract you from physical exertion and even get you to push a little harder. Songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute have the biggest impact. But, remember to be smart about your headphones—only use them in safe, low-traffic areas and keep the volume at a level that allows you to hear what’s going on around you (and protects your eardrums).

Track your success.
Feel like you’re not getting anywhere? Try logging every run with an app like MapMyRun, RunKeeper or Runtastic. You’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve gone—and how much faster you’ve gotten along the way! Keep track of your routes and see if you can do the neighborhood loop faster next time, or increase your distance by tacking on an extra block or two.

At the end of the day, each of us is different and our motivators are, too. But, if you’d like to get out of your running funk, I encourage you to try a few of these tips and see what works for you. You might just find your running gene after all.

Emily SpicerEmily Spicer is a health and wellness specialist at Altru Health System. With a positive approach to overall wellness, she inspires people to take control of their lives through a focused commitment toward better health and to make that choice a habitual and natural one. In her free time, Emily enjoys a good workout, playing tennis and spending time with her family and friends.

Always Lending a Helping Hand | Brad Meland, MD

Faces of Altru - Published on June 1, 2016

Dr. Brad MelandBrad Meland, MD, a hand surgeon with Altru Advanced Orthopedics, has worked with Altru for the past seven years. He’s helped many patients get back to the lives they enjoy through his love for surgery and his passion for helping people improve their well-being. We sat down with Dr. Meland to get to know him a little better and understand his approach to medicine.

Q. What is your specific area of interest in your field? Do you have any procedures that you focus on or conditions you treat most often?
A. Though I have practiced both hand surgery and plastic surgery, I am currently solely focused on hand surgeries, including surgery for arthritis, hand traumas, tumor removal, nerve surgery and beyond. I see many patients with carpal tunnel and offer treatment with endoscopic surgery.

Q. Outside of the operating room, what are some of your professional achievements?
A. I am a member of ten different scientific societies. I am the past president of the American Association of Hand Surgery, and was previously the chief of hand and upper extremity surgery at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. In my 16 years with Mayo Clinic, I spent quite a bit of time teaching. I gave lectures and taught courses throughout the world. I have also published 75 articles and 11 chapters for medical books.

Q. Did you enjoy your time teaching and lecturing? Is that something that you are passionate about?
A. I did enjoy it, and continue to be interested in teaching. In fact, if I was not a surgeon, I would like to be a teacher or a coach.

Q. What is your personal philosophy of medicine?
A. I strongly believe that the patient comes first. I make it a priority to be honest with my patients and explain their options and what’s going to happen during surgery. I do all that I can to improve my patients’ well-being and help them to be productive in their lives.

Q. What motivates or inspires you to do what you do?
A. Simply put—I love surgery and the practice of medicine.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. I enjoy being at the lake and taking part in water sports like sailing and fishing. I also enjoy golf, traveling and being involved with my church.

Q. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go, and why?
A. China. I have always wanted to walk the Great Wall.

Q. Where are you from, and where have you lived?
A. I was born nearby in Northwood and went to school at UND, so I am a proud North Dakota native. Medical training brought me to Michigan and Florida, and I lived in Rochester, Minnesota, and Scottsdale, Arizona, during my time with the Mayo Clinic. I was happy to return to North Dakota in 2009 when I started working for Altru.

Hear what one of Dr. Meland's patients, Justin Kiesow, had to say about the care he received:

See also:

View More Posts from It’s Altru

Other Altru Blogs

Enrich  |  Altru Moments  |  Faces of Altru  |  It’s Altru  |  Modern Mom