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August 2012 VSTH Meeting Speakers

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Speakers' Biographies

	Photo of Amy ValderramaAmy Valderrama, PhD, RN

Epidemiologist, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Amy Valderrama, PhD, RN, is an epidemiologist in the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Valderrama joined CDC in 2006 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. She serves as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. Her work at CDC has included various topics related to heart disease and stroke, hypertension, rehabilitation, cardiac arrest, and emergency medical services.

Dr. Valderrama graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She obtained her master’s degree in nursing from Emory University and is a licensed acute care nurse practitioner. She graduated from Emory University in 2006 with a doctor of philosophy degree in nursing.

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	Photo of Christopher TashjianChristopher Tashjian, MD, FAAFP

President, River Falls, Ellsworth, and Spring Valley medical clinics

Christopher Tashjian, MD, FAAFP, has a passion for practicing quality care at an affordable price. Recently Dr. Tashjian’s clinic was recognized for outstanding care by the Buyer Healthcare Action Group. In 2009, his clinic improved its “ideally controlled” diabetic population from 27% to 47%, ranking this practice in the top 5% of all clinics in America; and one year after implementing an electronic medical record (EMR) system, the clinic’s ideally controlled diabetic population rose to 53%. The national average is less than 15%. These outcomes are extraordinary for a family practice clinic in rural western Wisconsin. Dr. Tashjian feels implementing a fully functioning EMR in 2010 (i.e., Cerner Ambulatory Application Service Provider) provides the information necessary to provide the best quality care to the patients he serves.

Dr. Tashjian is board certified by the American Academy of Family Practice and is currently chief of medicine for the River Falls Area Hospital, a regional facility of Allina Hospitals. Special medical interests include EMR, public health, emergency medicine, quality care and measurement, and physician leadership.

Dr. Tashjian is thought of as a leader and is extremely active in setting policy for the medical community. He serves on the Board of Directors of HealthPartners, Inc. where he is co-chair of the Medical Board of Governors and chair of the Health Transformation Committee. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Midwest Medical Insurance Company, Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services Physician Advisory Committee, and Western Wisconsin Medical Associates.

He earned his doctor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, while simultaneously attending the business school working toward a master of business administration degree. He most recently graduated from the Physician Leadership College at St. Thomas University.

Dr. Tashjian and his family reside in River Falls, Wisconsin. His hobbies include computers, kayaking, and bicycling, as well as volunteering for Boy Scouts of America and Rotary Club.

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	Photo of Joy BrooksJoy Brooks, MHA

Director, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division, Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Joy Brooks, MHA, is the director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division, Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention. Brooks provides leadership for statewide initiatives to address the burden of cardiovascular disease in South Carolina. Initiatives within the pre-hospital/emergency medical services, primary care settings, hospitals, worksites, and targeted community settings are strategically focused on strengthening the chain of survival for heart disease and stroke. Initiatives are specifically aimed at addressing the ABCS of heart disease and stroke prevention: aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol control, and smoking cessation.

Prior to this position, she served as the health systems coordinator for DHEC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division for three years. Brooks formerly served as the patient relations manager for Palmetto Health Richland for over 10 years where she managed various accreditation processes and quality improvement initiatives, as well as complaint and risk management.

Brooks holds a master of health administration degree received from Adams and Washington University and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Columbia College.

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