Heart Matters – June 2023

Cardiovascular Division Celebrates Nurses Week 2023

May 6th – May 12 is recognized as National Nurses Week. “To our nurses: you play a vital role in our clinical care, at the forefront of management of our patients’ overall health and well-being.  Thank you for your compassion, dedication, and empathy with our cardiology clinical and research patients. Your commitment to taking care of our community in the face of ever-present challenges in healthcare is greatly appreciated, and noticed daily,” said Division Chief Dr. Prabhu in an email to staff.

Here are some photos of the fun Nurses Week celebrations at the West County office!

Faculty Publish Study on Inequities in Treatment for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Patients

Washington University cardiovascular division faculty Drs. Sharon Cresci, Gmerice Hammond, and Karen Joynt Maddox as well as cardiovascular research fellow Dr. Daniel Fox, published “Inequities in Treatments and Outcomes Among Patients Hospitalized With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in the United States” in the Journal of the American Heart Association May 26th.

The study found that “Among 53,117 patients hospitalized with HCM, race, sex, social, and geographic risk factors were associated with disparities in HCM outcomes and treatment.” The study took hospital data of patients hospitalized with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy between the years 2012 and 2018, and is the largest of its kind to date studying hospital outcomes for HCM patients.

The team writes, “the disparities we observed in treatment patterns may be due to modifiable factors, including structural and interpersonal racism, differences in access to specialized care, and differences in prior treatments.”

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes thickened, impeding blood flow. It effects an estimated 1 in 500 Americans, and is the most common genetically inherited form of heart disease. You can read more about Wash U’s patient care for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy here.

Dr. Mark Huffman Collaborates With University & Nigerian Partners to Curb Hypertension

One of the largest health burdens in Nigeria is hypertension. According to the Global Burden of Disease, hypertension combined with other cardiovascular disease, affects more than 70 million people in Nigeria. Co-Director of the Global Health Center, Mark Huffman, MD, MPH, and a research team at Washington University in St. Louis, are collaborating with University of Abuja in Nigeria, Northwestern University in Chicago, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria, and other key stakeholders on two projects on hypertension prevention and treatment in Nigeria. Huffman, a co-principal investigator on both studies along with Dike Ojji, MBBS, from University of Abuja, recently met with collaborators and stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss to-date findings, best practice approaches, and study implications, including national scale up of hypertension care. Their research program, which began in 2019, involves more than 20,000 adults enrolled in 60 primary health care centers around the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funds both studies.

“Most people with high blood pressure in Nigeria have historically been referred to secondary and tertiary care for their care, which may be far away from where they live. Our study integrates diagnosis and management in primary care led by trained community health workers,” Huffman said. “We also evaluate implementation of Nigeria’s food policies, which have an important influence on the development of high blood pressure.”

At recent stakeholder meetings, Huffman, Ojji, and others spoke with Nigerian media outlets about the project’s importance. Read some of the articles and radio interviews below:

Radio Nigeria: https://radionigeria.gov.ng/2023/05/24/preventing-hypertension-in-nigeria/

New Telegraphhttps://newtelegraphng.com/uniabuja-foreign-varsities-others-research-on-hypertension-treatment/

Leadership Nigeriahttps://leadership.ng/uniabuja-researchers-team-up-against-hypertension/

Program researchers, including Huffman and Ojji, agree that translating research into policies is critical to improving public health in Nigeria and subsequently lowering the growing number of cardiovascular disease cases.

“Nigeria is the most populous Black country in the world,” said Huffman. “We are eager to both contribute to research there, and learn from Nigeria to bring research lessons back home to St. Louis, where we also have a high burden of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. These meetings are essential for developing, implementing, and evaluating new policies to improve cardiovascular health and health care in Nigeria, which can serve as a model for other countries. I am so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Ojji and his outstanding team at the University of Abuja.”

Dr. Justin Sadhu Receives Distinguished Service Teaching Awards

The Academy of Educators at the Washington University School of Medicine Office of Education recently held their annual Distinguished Service Teaching Awards Ceremony. Cardiovascular Division faculty member Justin Sadhu, MD, MPHS received two awards for his outstanding contributions to education at Washington University.

Every year since 1991, students completing their first, second and third year of studies select the course directors, lecturers, clerkship directors, attendings and residents who have made significant contributions to the training of future physicians.

The Glenn Conroy Module Leader of the Year Award honors Glenn Conroy, PhD, a professor emeritus of neuroscience and of anthropology who retired in 2017. Dr. Sadhu also received the Humanism in Medicine award.

Congratulations to Dr. Sadhu and all the other recipients!

In Memory of Janet Schwaninger

by Nikki Madigan

It is with heavy, heavy heart that we inform you that Janet Schwaninger, Dr. Alan Weiss nurse of 40 years, passed away on Saturday from her long battle with cancer.

Those who knew Janet personally and professionally would be hard pressed to describe her in any other way than a kind and positive soul.  Janet had the biggest heart of anyone most have ever met.  She was an amazing woman, friend, nurse, mother, and grandmother.  She left a lasting impression on many she interacted with over the years. 

Janet began her healthcare career as a straight “A” pre-med student at St. Louis University.  She left that path after 3 years for family reasons and returned for a nursing career.  Janet worked at Jewish Hospital before joining Dr. Weiss’ team as his nurse coordinator in 1981.  Janet single handedly conducted a 10 year study on Near Death Experiences at Barnes Hospital.  The prospective study was published in June 2002 (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1015258818660) .  Janet received the Division STAR Award in 2018 for her outstanding contributions to our Division and retired in 2020. 

St. Louis Soccer Hall of Famer and Transplant Recipient Inspires Daughter To Become a Nurse

The strongest people aren’t always the ones with the biggest muscles. Jim Tietjens does work out every day.

“I always felt a need to really train my body,” he said. But his power is his perseverance. Tietjens, a St. Louis Soccer Hall of Famer, was a pugnacious goalkeeper out of Oakville High School, who played for the US Under-19 national team.

“I think back in those years, I probably played in about 40, maybe 50 international games,” Tietjens said, recalling.

But at 32 years old, after a stellar career at St. Louis University and then the pros, he had to trade in his soccer shorts for a hospital gown.

“The diagnosis,” he said, “was Idiopathic Cardiomyopathy.” Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. Both his dad and sister died from the condition in their 30s. To save his life, Tietjens needed a heart transplant.

“Nationally, we lose about three in five people waiting for a transplant,” said Cindy Pasque, BJC’s heart transplant coordinator. “There’s just not enough organs to go around and there’s not enough organs available to people when they get critically ill.”

Tietjens was one of the lucky ones, but it was only the first step on a lengthy staircase to survive. “Growing up, I got very used to the fact that my dad was kind of always sick but able to live his life at the same time,”  said Jim’s daughter, Annie Tietjens.

Over the past three decades, Tietjens has undergone a kidney transplant, beaten Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as tongue and throat cancer. It seemed his daughter Annie was spending as much time visiting hospitals as playgrounds.

“I got so interested and I wanted to go and I wanted to learn and understand like everything that was happening to him,” Annie said. In 2018, after her dad got his second heart transplant, Annie found her work of heart.

Inspired by her dad’s caregivers, she recently graduated, and is now working as a nurse in BJC’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. “She truly is excited about her job,” said Pasque. “She’s a great individual. She’s a great nurse already.”

“I heard her make a comment the other day,” said Jim, “That she can’t believe that the people she works with now were the same people that had their hands inside my body. “

April is National Donate Life Month. Donate Life Month is dedicated to raising awareness about organ donation, and encourages Americans to register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, according to the Donate Life America website. Organ donation changed the end to the Tietjens family’s story.

“I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for my dad’s first donor,” Annie said. ” And now I have a life and one day I’ll get married, hopefully, and have kids. And that creates more lives. So you’re not just saving one.”

Jim Tietjens said he thinks about and is grateful every day to his donors and their families, who helped all of us to see there truly is life after death.

For more information on organ donation, click here to visit Donate Life America’s website

To register to be an organ, eye or tissue donor in your state, click here

Way to Shine!

“I couldn’t care for the patients that come through the Center for Noninvasive Cardiac Radiotherapy without the help of the EP nurses and staff.  Monica Sanchez, Kathy Cross, Tonya Becker, and all of the EP nurses and admins, have been so helpful to me.  I don’t think I could have gotten our RADIATE-VT trial up and running without them.  Their feedback, guidance, and effort to answer questions and explain things to me is deeply appreciated.”

Other Way to Shine’s for this month were Kaitlin Moore, Jon Murphy, Amanda Geisler, Ashley Edwards, Abby McBee-Kemper, Nikki Depew, Dana Gima, Barb Stehman, Krystal Chamberlain, Victoria Menning, Katherine Ramsay, and Megan Watters.

If you catch someone in the act of shining, contact or send an email to bolhafner@wustl.edu.

CCR Spotlight: Stitziel Lab

Each month, Heart Matters will highlight a research lab or clinical program. We want everyone in the division to be proud of the work we do across all of our locations and disciplines.

The Stitziel Lab in the Center for Cardiovascular research focuses on studying the human genetics of cardiovascular disease. They seek to develop new therapies for disease by discovering and targeting novel genes underlying coronary artery disease and other inherited cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Nathan Stitziel has been with the division for over ten years and has spent his career studying the genetic basis of cardiovascular disease in humans, an approach which has been shown to be vital in developing relevant and effective treatments for these diseases. The lab uses a highly multi-disciplinary research approach, blending discovery work in a “dry” lab using computational analyses with functional validation in a “wet” lab using cellular and animal models of human disease.

Dr. Arturo Aliso and Dr. In-Hyuk Jung, both Instructors in Medicine, have been working with Dr. Stitziel since the “wet” side of the lab opened in 2015. Dr. Jung primarily focuses on studying animal models of human disease while Dr. Aliso primary focuses on applying molecular biology techniques to functionally validate the new targets which the lab has discovered. Dr. Erica Young is an Instructor in Medicine and former Wash U cardiovascular fellow who also does clinical work in the division. She focuses on computational research, working with data generated by the Stitziel Lab in the McDonnel Genome Institute to identify differences in the human genetic code that alter cardiovascular disease risk and which might represent new drug targets.

The lab has recently published several impactful papers, including one in Nature Communications from February of this year. In it, Dr. Stitziel and lab members identified a novel interaction between SVEP1, a protein that is associated with many aging-related conditions in humans, and an orphan receptor (“orphan” meaning the protein engaging with the receptor was previously unknown) named PEAR1. Their work highlighted the potential benefit of targeting this interaction and they are now following up on this work to develop a new therapeutic agent which could help people suffering from cardiovascular disease. The Stitziel Lab has also found SVEP1 is linked with several diseases, including hypertension and heart failure, and a hardening of coronary arteries called atherosclerosis, suggesting that therapies targeting the SVEP1/PEAR1 interaction might be beneficial to many patients.

Graduate students Kendall Burks and Paul Lee find working in the Stitziel lab rewarding and exciting. “Everyone is helpful and collaborative”, says Burks, and adds that the clinical relevance of choosing targets in human disease based on genetic data makes her work feel impactful. Lee notes that the large size of genetic data the lab has generated and routinely works with enables powerful studies for discovering new genetic targets.

For Dr. Alisio, working with the lab’s grad students is a highlight of his job. “We have extremely smart students who are very easy to work with”, he says. Their enthusiasm and fresh perspective pushes him to be up-to-date. He also notes that Dr. Stitziel is an approachable boss, who will always make time to talk and collaborate.

“It is a relatively young lab,” Dr. Aliso says of the Stitziel Lab, “but we have made substantial progress. We tackle some very serious diseases and are in a good position to find new treatment options. I’m very proud of the work we are doing here.”

Meet The Team: Purchasing

L to R: Jenny Weimer, Lisa Fields, Nikki Depew, Joe Gavin

About the purchasing team

How long have you been in the division?

Lisa: 6 months and counting!

Joe: 11 months

Jenny: 6 years

Nikki: 1 year

What is the best thing about your job?

Lisa: The best aspect of my job is the variety of work which affords me to take on different challenges day to day. It’s never a dull moment. To add to that, I have an amazing team…we are striving, learning, and thriving.

Joe: My Team.

Jenny: I love my team, we work together really well and are crossed trained so we can assist each other and cover when someone is off


  • The greatest part of my job is performance, which might include professionalism, teamwork, team building, coordination, work ethics, humanity, etc.
  • I really enjoy interacting with the different customers and knowing I’m having a positive impact.
  • Contributing to a larger purpose.
  • Having a great boss.
  • Flexibility

 What do you like doing outside of work?

Lisa: Outside of work, you can catch me listening to live music, enjoying wineries, dancing the night away and enjoying every minute of LIFE!

Joe: Music and baseball.

Jenny: Gardening, traveling with my husband and spending time with my daughters.

Nikki: In my spare time, I really enjoy spending time with my kids and other local families. With two young ones at home, I feel it’s important to nurture them and experience the world through their eyes. We like to visit local playgrounds and parks with other families and build friendships within our community on weekends and during the long summer days.

I also love travelling, it taught me to connect with people and provides opportunities to learn about new and different cultures, which can help increase my empathy towards others. It also improve my overall tolerance, reduces biases and even decrease frustration.

What is your favorite place in St. Louis?

Lisa: My favorite place is Creve Coeur Park, sitting watching the sunset or walking/jogging while soaked in Skin-So-Soft; the bugs love me.

Joe: Forest Park/The Zoo.  It’s free!

Jenny: I love visiting the Botanical Gardens.

Nikki: Forest Park, STL Art Museum, STL Science Center, The Hill, Delmar Loop, Soulard Farmers Market

School of Medicine Celebrates Length of Service Awards

WashU returned to an in-person length of service award event this week!  Leadership honored our 2023 service award recipients and recognized all of our staff for their dedication to our missions of research, teaching, and patient care.

The 2023 milestone recipients with 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years of service are highlighted in ways that embrace a spirit of recognition and appreciation.

Below are the Cardiovascular Division recipients, and some words from their supervisors. Congratulations! 

40 years

Linda Gallo – Linda is an integral part of our Heart Failure team and does a wonderful job supporting several physicians and nurses.  Her loyalty to Cardiology is deeply appreciated, and does exceptional work.  She is patient and kind when dealing with patients. 

25 years

Georgia Lee Stobbs-Cucchi – Georgia was highly recruited by our team for several years and was finally persuaded to leave Memory and Aging Research 3 years ago.  Prior to that she spent many years in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.  She sets a wonderful example of Nurse Research Coordination, being a seasoned research coordinator, with a wealth of nursing knowledge and a true love and commitment for her patient/subject population.

Mary Uhrich – Mary has been an incredible asset at WUSM, contributing her vast expertise on translational research- especially exercise interventions -, skills, knowledge, wisdom, dedication, and passion to numerous research projects, teaching, and mentoring activities. Her creativity, resourcefulness, optimism, and always pleasant demeaner are additional attributes that have made working with Mary a pleasure and a privilege.

20 years

Grace Hufang Cui– Grace has been an exemplary member of our team, having been central in the synthesis/development of many novel technologies, e.g., prodrugs, homing ligands, nuclear probes, and more); some have been patented and licensed from WUMS for commercialization. Trained originally as an inorganic chemist, she received her MS from the Univ. of Missouri in Columbia, working at the MURR nuclear reactor. She brought those worldclass skills in radiochemistry to our group. Further, self-taught in organic synthesis, Grace has made invaluable programmatic contributions that will impact biomedicine in general. Grace is a pillar of strength and expertise in our advanced technologies program.

Rebecca Mellor – Rebecca Mellor is an exceptionally talented individual and an outstanding experimentalist. She is naturally curious and creative, and she is thoughtful and meticulous in her approach! The lab would be lost without her!!

15 years

Stephanie Hicks – Stephanie Hicks has been an invaluable member of our team in cardiology since 2012. She functions as our lab manager, though that job description is just the tip of the iceberg for all that she does! Stephanie is top notch and irreplaceable, we are so very fortunate to have her.

Christine Rolley – This employee always goes above and beyond to assist her fellow co-workers.  Not only is she a dedicated, hard-working employee, but she is genuine, and well-liked by all!  Chrissy is knowledgeable, highly respected, loyal, and a superb team lead for the group and much appreciated by her management team. We are fortunate to have her as part of the Cardiology Coding and Billing Team. Thank you for the opportunity to congratulate Chrissy on 15 years of dedicated service.

Jenny York – Over the last 15 years, Jenny has grown from working in our main Cardiology operations to managing the Heart Care Institute while adding responsibility for our South and West County operations to the Director of Clinical Services.  Jenny holds many qualities that make her very successful.  She has the ability to objectively evaluate problems, operationalize change, and build a strong team focused on clinical excellence.  We are thankful to have Jenny on our team for the past 15 years.  Thank you for your years of service!

Jenny York (L) and Stephanie Hicks (R)

10 years

Malinda Allen – Malinda Allen is a wonderful leader within our Cardiovascular Division.  She supports and advocates for her secretarial and patient access teams.  She is kind and compassionate when interacting with our patients and loves to visit her daughters in Chicago!

Lisa Brinkmann – Lisa started in Cardiology at West County in September 2012 as a scheduler.  She quickly moved to lead scheduler and recently into the Administrative Coordinator position for HCI.  Lisa is a delight to work with her positive and engaging attitude.  She is very creative and is the key “holiday decorator” for the west county office.  She also wins the Halloween chili cook-off almost every year!

Casey Hays – Casey is a delight to work with and greets everyone with a smile.  She has a wonderfully positive attitude and is thorough and organized in her role with the interventional team.      

Craig William Hunt– Craig celebrated his 10th year with the division this year. Craig is very dependable, dedicated to his work. He takes pride in his work and his patients are complimentary of him for this. He works with a very busy physician and handles it with ease. 

Angie Smith– Angie celebrated her 10th year with the division this year. Angie has participated in many roles within the department. She is a nurse coordinator who has also very knowledgeable in the computer technology aspect of the job as well. She has made transitions to advanced technology smooth for the department. 

Michelle Stout – Michelle is a very important part of the overall workflow within Cardiology.  Her attention to detail, thoroughness, and excellent communication makes a positive impact with patient care. 

Lisa Brinkmann (L) and Angie Smith (R)

5 years

Brenda Davis – Brenda Davis is an amazing Scheduler she is truly someone that our Cardiology office relies on daily.  She is a wonderful mom and an active mom taking her children to their activities.  Brenda’s laughter and smile is something the patients enjoy.

Sharon Decker – Sharon is always here, rarely taking time off, always being reliable. She comes in every day and does exactly what is needed of her.

Suzi Donovan – Suzi Donovan is the most empathic person I have met, she is extremely patient and kind with the patients and is fabulous at multitasking.  Suzi enjoys time at the beach, color green and college football.

Sandy Hutton – Sandy is closing in on 2 yrs of Cardio-Oncology Research and brought with her expertise from her 3+ year stint at Siteman as an Infusion Therapist.  Her knowledge of the oncology patient population has greatly enhanced the service we are able to give to our research subjects. As this sub-specialty continues to grow Sandy is an integral part of the research team.

Demetres Jones – Demetres works extremely efficiently and independently. Demetres is always willing to take on more work to help the team.

Caroline Kempter – Caroline is our Cardio-Oncology pioneer and came to us 5 years ago as an experienced bedside nurse but novice nurse research coordinator.  Not only has she built the specialty area of cardio-oncology research coordination specializing in Amyloidosis, but has also instituted and runs a phlebotomy training program for our new research assistants which greatly benefits our entire team

Jess Nigro – Jessica joined the Cardiology division in early 2018 as a member of the Mouse Cardiovascular Phenotyping Core. Her role as a Staff Scientist in the core is crucial to the research faculty in areas of imaging, rodent surgery, and data presentation. Jessica is a team player in every sense of the word.  She recently won the Star Award for her outstanding work and strong commitment to the Division of Cardiology. She always mentions that she looks forward to many more years of service to this division.

Sharon Roane – Sharon always has a positive demeanor with patients. She is always willing to go above and beyond to ensure patients are taken care of.

Emma Stewart – Emma also works very well with the team. She is very pragmatic and thoughtful in all her interactions.  She is an integral part of our team.

Luann Wierzchucki– Luann is a very dedicated employee. If there is a project to be done, Luann will have it completed before asked. She is also a nurse coordinator who receives many compliments from her patients for excellent care. Her efforts are much appreciated. 

Danielle Woods – Danielle, congratulations on five years of service.   I am grateful that you are a part of the team and this organization.

Division Staffing Updates

Positions open for hiring:

JR70488 – Research Nurse Coordinator II

JR72592 – Research Cardiac Sonographer

JR73575 – Billing Scheduling Associate I

JR73431 – Postdoc Research Associate

JR74210 – Ultrasound Sonographer

JR74941– Clinical Research Coordinator I

JR73467 – Clinical Research Coordinator II

JR74120 – Clinical Research Financial Coordinator II

JR73579 – Research Specialist

JR74164 – Research Coordinator

JR70126 – Research Technician II

JR74113 – Research Assistant

JR74136 – Research Opportunity

JR74188 – Research Opportunity

Welcome to the Cardiovascular Division:

5/4/2023 – Kelsey Gentry, Research Nurse Coordinator l

5/22/2023 – Gina Bliss-Braymer, Vascular Lab Technician

5/30/2023 – Jaylyn Grant, Research Technician I


Nate McDonald – Exercise Physiologist Supervisor in Cardiac Rehab effective 5/2/2023.

Austin Pruiett – Cardiac Rehab Navigator LEAD at Missouri Baptist effective 5/22/2023.

Tyler Broom – Full Time Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehab effective 5/22/2023.

Brooks Leming – PRN Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehab effective 5/22/2023.

Assia Yezza – MA III in the West County Cardiology Clinic effective 5/30/2023.

Katie Fenwick – LEAD Patient Access Registrar at CDL effective 6/4/2023. 


Farewell to these Cardiovascular Division employees. Thank you for your service, you will be missed!

Ahmed Diab, last day 5/8/2023

Laura Ewald, last day 5/19/2023

Alana Yokley, last day 5/26/2023

Health & Wellness

Choosing Lean Proteins

Emma Greenhill, MS, RD, LDN

Many of us may have heard that cutting back on red and processed meats can help reduce our risk of heart disease. Choosing leaner meats can help reduce the amount of saturated fat we are eating. The American Heart Association recommends that less than 6% of our daily calories come from saturated fats. In a 2,000-calorie diet that is just 120 calories or 13 grams of saturated fat. Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat is a helpful strategy when trying to limit saturated fat intake. Below are some suggestions on which proteins are leaner choices to help us meet our health goals.


Eating more seafood is one of the best options in terms of replacing saturated fats. Fish/seafood is a great source of healthy unsaturated fats called omega-3s. Some examples of fish to try would be salmon, trout, or tuna. If you prefer seafood, then you’ll still be eating healthy omega-3 fats!


Leaner meats will have less saturated fat. Chicken or turkey are leanest when skinless and when we choose the white meat. Most ground poultry is available in 90% lean. You may even find 93 – 97% lean ground chicken or ground turkey that’s 100% breast meat.

Beef and pork

With beef and pork always try to choose the leanest option. Cuts of beef or pork that say loin or round typically have the least amount of fat. Look for cuts that have less marbling and the fat has been trimmed off the side. Look for “choice ” or “select” grades of beef, as they have less fat than “prime”. Ground beef comes in 90-95% lean.


Egg yolks contain saturated fats and cholesterol. But egg whites do not. Both contain protein. By eating only egg whites we can reduce our intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. Try using only egg whites in a baked good recipe. Use 2 egg whites for every 1 egg the recipe calls for.

Low Fat / Nonfat Dairy

Fat free dairy products obviously contain no saturated fat, but they do give us protein. In addition, they provide a readily absorbable source of calcium and vitamin D. This food group is a key to balanced nutrition. Be sure to include nonfat Greek yogurt, fat free milk, and/or low fat cottage cheese. Sadly, most cheeses are not low fat; therefore, cheese provides unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol.

Alternate Protein Sources

Additionally, remember beans, edamame, lentils, nuts, peas, quinoa, seeds, seitan, tofu or tempeh. Plant sources of protein do not contain cholesterol, but instead they contain fiber! This makes them an excellent option for protein in our meals. Plant-based proteins can be very cost effective compared to meat. Explore your options and see what will work best for you and your health goals.

Lean Meat Recipe Ideas

  • Black Bean Burger
  • Turkey Meatloaf
  • Shrimp Tacos
  • Bean and Rice Taco Bowl
  • BBQ Grilled Chicken
  • Overnight Oats with Milk, Nuts, and Seeds
  • Lentil Soup with whole grain noodles
  • Chicken Meatballs 
  • Mediterranean Salad with Tzatziki, Quinoa and Chickpeas
  • Salmon Sheet Pan Recipes
  • Vegetarian Chili
  • Greek Yogurt Bark

Banana Berry Parfaits

Serves: 4     •    Prep Time: 10 minutes     •     Total Time: 10 minutes

Created by the American Heart Association, this tasty treat makes a great snack or dessert. Change up the fruit to explore fun flavor combinations.


  • 12 ounces fat-free, plain yogurt
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits, in juice, drained
  • 1 cup fresh mixed berries or 1 cup frozen unsweetened mixed berries, thawed
  • 1 large banana, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds, chopped
  • Optional, whole-grain cereal, no added sugar
    • Shredded Wheat
    • Grape-Nuts


  1. To assemble, layer as follows in four small bowls or glasses: 1/3 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup pineapple tidbits, 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, and 1/4 cup sliced bananas. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon nuts.
  2. If desired top each parfait with a wholegrain cereal without added sugar, such as shredded wheat or grape-nuts.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 157 cal | Carbohydrates: 34 g | Protein: 6 g | Fat: 1g

More information at: https://www.heart.org/en/recipes/banana-split-berry-yogurt-parfaits

Do you have BJC Cigna? Remember that you have annual coverage to meet with me, Emma Greenhill, a Heart Care Institute dietitian. Call 314-996-8165 for more insurance information or to schedule an appointment.

Update to Bright Horizons Backup Care Benefit

Benefit overview: Benefits-eligible WashU employees and full-time graduate students may utilize backup care in case of emergency, such as a sick caregiver, help after a medical procedure, shift change, or if your school or daycare is closed. It is not intended to be used as regular, ongoing care.   

Key information about this benefit:

  • Eligible participants have 20 days of backup care available each calendar year. Unused days do not roll over.
  • You can request center-based or in-home care for your child, and in-home care for an adult family member. You can request same-day or next-day emergency care, or care up to 60 days in advance.
  • Co-pays for center-based care are $20/child/day ($30 max per family); in-home care is $7/hour with a four-hour minimum.
  • Book online from the Bright Horizons website or call 1-877-242-2737  

Additions to Bright Horizons backup care benefit in 2023 

In addition to the current network of Bright Horizons providers, two full-time caregivers will be dedicated to WashU families to allow for greater coverage of requests for in-home care.

As part of your 20 days of backup care, eligible participants may request reimbursement for backup care obtained outside of the Bright Horizons network. This reimbursement may be requested at a flat rate of $150 for each day of care. The caregiver could be a friend or neighbor; immediate family members are not eligible for reimbursement.

Additional family support from Bright Horizons includes:

  • Discounted tuition at select partner centers in Bright Horizons childcare network
  • Free access to Sittercity, an online marketplace of sitters, pet care and housekeepers
  • Personalized nanny placement through Jovie, with discounted placement fees
  • Discounts on tutoring and test prep through Revolution Prep
  • Elder caregiving planning resources through Years Ahead  

Tax implications update

Any taxable wages attributable to the utilization of backup care will be reported on your W-2 for the year. The fair market value for child or adult backup care services is $150 per day, minus any copays. This is relevant to those who meet any of the following conditions:

  • You are employed by Washington University and receiving pay.
  • If the value of your child’s backup care utilization between January 1 and November 30, 2023, PLUS any contributions you made to the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is greater than $5,000, the amount over $5,000 will be reported as taxable wages.
  • If you are a highly compensated employee (view IRS pre-tax limits, which are adjusted annually), the amount by which the value of your child care backup utilization between January 1 and November 30, 2023, PLUS any contributions you made to the Dependent Care FSA exceeds $2,850 will be reported as taxable wages.
  • If you used backup care for an adult, the entire fair market value of your backup care utilization will be reported as taxable wages. 

Please consult your tax advisor for additional guidance.  

If you have questions regarding backup care services, please contact Bright Horizons customer service at 877-242-2737. For other questions related to child or adult care, please email FamilyCare@wustl.edu.    

MyWay to Health: Health Coaching, Weight Management Program, and Presentations

MyWay to Health at Washington University is an on-site wellness program available to benefits-eligible employees. Deeply rooted in scientific evidence, expert opinion, and 25 years of research, MyWay to Health provides sound advice, as well as guidance and tips to help you take charge of your well-being.

1) Meet with a MyWay to Health Wellness Consultant

Meet with a MyWay to Health Wellness Consultant to create an individualized plan for adopting the 8ight Ways to Wellness. Our experts provide holistic advice and accountability to help you take charge of your well-being.

Common session topics include nutrition, physical activity, weight management, condition management, sleep, and stress. Sessions are free of charge and available by phone, Zoom, or in-person on the Medical Campus. If needed, language translation services are available.

Our goal is to continue to offer evidence-based wellness support from WashU experts for all of our benefits-eligible employees at a time when our health and well-being is even more critical.

2) Enroll in the MyWay to a Healthy Weight Program

The MyWay to a Healthy Weight Program is a free year-long weight management program featuring weekly support from a dedicated Registered Dietitian. This is a behavior-based individualized program to help participants achieve healthy eating and physical activity goals.

Orientation for new enrollments take place in April, July, and December with sessions beginning the following month. Capacity is limited, participation is subject to availability. Participation criteria: benefits-eligible WashU employee or immediate family member with a BMI of 25.0 or greater.

Interested individuals must attend an orientation prior to enrolling in the program.  Please register for one of the orientation options below. A video recording is available upon request for individuals unable to attend a live orientation session. Please email MyWayToHealth@wustl.edu with any questions.

To find out more and sign up, click here.

Pediatric Drowning and Prevention

By Washington University Physicians

If you are a parent, you might feel a stab of fear when thinking about the dangers posed when your child is around water. No one wants to be afraid to take their child swimming, which is why it is better to be prepared than to be scared. Jamie L. Kondis, MD, Washington University pediatric emergency medicine specialist, provides information that could play a big part in preventing pediatric drowning.

What is drowning and who is most at-risk?

“Drowning occurs when the mouth and nose are under water (or other liquid), preventing breathing. It is the single leading cause of injury-related death in children ages 1-4 years and kills nearly 1,000 children each year,” Dr. Kondis says. Although unsupervised swimming can be dangerous for toddlers, teenagers are also at risk. “The second age group at highest risk for drowning or near-drowning is teenagers ages 13-19. This age group often overestimates their swimming ability, especially in large bodies of water, and also will mix alcohol with swimming, which can lead to drowning.”

What about “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning”?

Dry drowning and secondary drowning are not official medical terms; however, they describe near-drowning events. With dry drowning, water is inhaled, but never actually reaches the lungs. Instead, it causes spasms of the vocal cords and difficulty breathing. With secondary drowning, a small amount of water does reach the lungs, but the effects such as inflammation, shortness of breath and chest pain may be delayed up to 24 hours.

What should someone do if a child or other person experiences such an event?

Dr. Kondis emphasizes that drowning and near-drowning events are emergencies: “If a child or other person experiences any symptoms afterward, such as vomiting, coughing, fast breathing or fatigue, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible and be evaluated in an emergency department. The type of care they will receive will depend on if they have any lung damage or any other issues.”

How can pediatric drowning be prevented?

 “We can prevent drowning by keeping children safe around water. Very young children should be supervised around any type of water, such as bathtubs, buckets of water or toilets, and pools should have a locked fence. Drowning can be prevented by a combination of barriers to water, adult supervision, swim lessons, life jackets and CPR training.”

Dr. Kondis works in the emergency room at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. If you are looking for a Washington University specialist, please visit our website.

IT Spotlight: Business Associate Agreement (BAA) Explained

If you work with Protected Health Information (PHI), you have probably heard mention of a business associate agreement. At WashU, it is essentially a contract between WashU and a business associate concerning the handling of PHI.

Who is a Business Associate?

It is a person or entity outside of WashU who creates, receives, maintains, or transmits protected health information on WashU’s behalf. Some examples of WashU’s current business associates are BJC Health System, BOX Incorporated, and Zoom Video Communications Incorporated.

When would I need a BAA?

In order for WashU to comply with HIPAA regulations, there must be a business associate agreement in place with all trading partners and vendors where protected health information is shared. The business associate agreement ensures that business associates appropriately safeguard protected health information, and it clarifies and limits the permissible uses and disclosures of PHI by the BA.

How can I check if WashU has a BAA with someone?

WashU Purchasing Services maintains a list of all current business associate agreements. You can find the list on their webpage: HIPAA Business Associate Agreements. Refer to the “Status” column for details on each supplier, and please keep in mind that this list is subject to change. If you are unsure whether your project needs a BAA, you can reach out to the HIPAA Privacy Office for guidance.

How can I obtain a BAA?

The WashU employee who has a relationship with the vendor should forward a copy of the WU BAA template to their contact for review and consideration. Any proposed revisions to the template should be forwarded to the HIPAA Privacy Office for approval and signature.

BAA Resources:

HIPAA Business Associate Agreements | Resource Management | Washington University in St. Louis (wustl.edu)

Business Associate Agreement (BAA) | HIPAA Privacy Office | Washington University in St. Louis (wustl.edu)

Keep up to date with IT news at the Office of Information Security blog

Follow the Cardiovascular Division on Twitter!

Check out our division account, @WashUCardiology! We will be sharing division accomplishments, announcements, news, events, and more. If you have a story about the cardiovascular division that you think deserves a social media spotlight, email bolhafner@wustl.edu.

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