Waters Joins OCH Regional Medical Center as Guest Relations Representative

Patients and visitors at OCH Regional Medical Center are being greeted by a new face as Emily Waters has stepped into the role of guest relations representative.

In this position, Waters is responsible for visiting all inpatients daily and working in conjunction with all hospital departments, such as nursing staff, environmental services, food services, business office and transporters to ensure high-quality customer service and patient/guest satisfaction.  In addition, she analyzes all data and information collected through patient/guest interactions and submits a quarterly report to administration with recommendations to improve patient care and guest relations.  Waters also oversees the Medical Center’s employee recognition program, SHiNE, which stands for Selfless Hospitality In Everyway.

Waters comes to the Medical Center from Mississippi State Department of Health where she was the district IV coordinator and administrator of the WIC program.  A 2005 graduate from Mississippi State University, Waters holds a bachelor’s of science in food science and nutrition and is a registered dietitian.

“From my previous job, I was able to see the benefit of customer service and customer satisfaction. My new position as the guest relations representative allows me the opportunity to make connections with the patients and their families and help them feel as comfortable as possible during their hospital stay,” said Waters, adding that her favorite part of her new position is meeting new people each day.

“Emily brings a unique perspective to the guest relations position because of her registered dietitian credentials.  So many of our patients are on special diet restrictions, and Emily has the knowledge to work as a liaison between the patient and our dietary staff,” explained Water’s supervisor and director of marketing Mel Thurlow.  “Emily’s friendly personality and positive outlook, along with her background makes her an asset for our Medical Center,” continued Thurlow.

Waters is married to Michael Waters of Columbus and they have two children, Ray, (4) and Lennox, (1).  Waters teaches quarterly nutrition classes at Emerson Family School and is a member of the Northeast Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition, Mississippi Dietetic Association, First United Methodist Church of Starkville, and the Junior Auxiliary of Starkville.


Prayer Room

Peterson Joins OCH Medical Associates as Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

OCH Medical Associates is proud to announce the addition of certified family nurse practitioner Meg Peterson, FNP-C.

Peterson has special interests in managing chronic illnesses including hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Meg Peterson, FNP-C

Meg Peterson, FNP-C

After earning her bachelors of science in nursing from Mississippi University for Women in 2008, Peterson began working at OCH Regional Medical Center as a registered nurse in the medical unit.  She earned her masters of science in nursing from MUW in 2011 and has practiced at the OCH Regional Health Clinic and the OCH Center for Breast Health over the past four years.

“Meg’s experience makes her a perfect fit at OCH Medical Associates because she has first-hand knowledge treating patients in a hospital environment who have chronic diseases.  Her background, coupled with her compassion for the patients, makes her an excellent health care provider, and we’re so happy to have her on our team,” said OCH Medical Associates Internal Medicine Specialist Ramon Osorio, MD.

“I enjoy getting to know each of my patients and educating them on how they can manage their disease and prevent other illnesses.  My goal in earning my master’s degree was to learn more about the management of chronic diseases so that I could better treat my patients and help them live healthier, more fulfilling lives,” explained Peterson.

Peterson is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society and Mississippi Nurses Association.  She and her family attend Pinelake Church, and during her free time, she enjoys tennis, sewing and reading.

OCH Medical Associates is located at 107 Brandon Road in Starkville.  Clinic hours are Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. – Noon. For an appointment with Peterson, call 662-615-3771; however, walk-ins are welcome.  For more information about OCH Medical Associates, visit och.org/och-medical-associates.


OCH Pharmacy Director Named MPhA Member of the Year


OCH Regional Medical Center Pharmacy Director Andy Andrews has been named Mississippi Pharmacists Association’s Member of the Year at the organization’s recent awards banquet.

“The Member of the Year Award is presented to a member who has demonstrated impeccable commitment to the association, dedicated his personal time and energy to furthering the objectives of the association, and is active in all aspects of the association,” said Kathryn Ayers, MPhA Nominations and Awards Committee Chair.  “We are proud to have Andy as a member of our team and thankful for his service and commitment to the association,” she continued.

Andrews has been working at OCH for more than 25 years and has served as the pharmacy director for 21 of those years.  As an employee at OCH, Andrews serves on the pharmacy and infection control committee, forms committee, retirement committee and quality outcomes committee.

“Andy is an individual who is very well respected among his peers.  People seek him out for advice on how to improve operations within the hospital, and he’s always willing to help in any situation,” said OCH Administrator/CEO Richard Hilton, adding that Andrews is a team player.  “He’s a valuable asset that I am very proud of, and I know the people of this community are proud that he’s a part of the OCH healthcare system.”

Andrews has been a member of MPhA for 25 years and has served on the MPhA Executive Committee and the MS Pharmacy Foundation Board of Directors. He has served for 20 consecutive years on at least one MPhA Committee, including chairing the Education Committee.


OCH Employee Takes on New Role as Volunteer Services Coordinator

After working in OCH Regional Medical Center’s insurance department for three years, Lauren Gardner has stepped into a new role as volunteer services coordinator.

In this position, Gardner’s responsibilities include the recruitment, training and placement of all volunteers, as well as coordinating fundraisers, identifying volunteer needs for the Medical Center, and hosting a recognition program for auxiliary members.  In addition, Gardner oversees the Medical Center’s gift shop, which entails purchasing merchandise, maintaining accurate pricing, developing and implementing gift shop policies, staffing, and supervising the counting and reporting of cash revenues.

“The OCH Auxiliary is a great resource for the Medical Center, and I’m so proud to be a part of what they’re doing. I look forward to expanding our operations so that we can be even more beneficial to the hospital, as well as provide more scholarships for students pursuing a degree in the medical field,” stated Gardner.

“Lauren’s enthusiasm for this position has spawned great ideas and excitement among our auxiliary members.  Her energy coupled with her management and business skills makes her an asset to our team, and I look forward to seeing the growth of our auxiliary program,” said Gardner’s supervisor and marketing director Mel Thurlow.

Gardner was named OCH’s 4th quarter Employee of the Quarter of 2014 and reached the Medical Center’s top level of the employee recognition program, “SHiNE,” two years in a row.  Gardner is also a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Starkville.  She is married to J.B. Gardner, and they have two-year-old son, J.C.

The OCH Auxiliary will host its annual membership coffee on Thursday, September 10 at 9:30 a.m. in the OCH Educational Facility.  For more information about the auxiliary, visit och.org/volunteer-opportunities or call Gardner at 662-615-3065.


AHA and OCH Stress Importance of CPR Training During National CPR Week

            James Gregg says he’s alive today because his neighbor knew how to perform CPR. Gregg knows he’s one of the lucky ones to survive a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, 95% of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. These people are often surrounded by people who do not know the simple steps of CPR. June 1 – 7 is National CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) Awareness Week, an effort to decrease the number of people who don’t know how to act in a critical situation.

            Gregg’s neighbor and volunteer fireman in Sturgis, Jeff Walsh, came to his rescue when he went into cardiac arrest at home in December of last year.

            “I was at home with my son when I went into cardiac arrest. I’m thankful he was there to get our neighbor, Jeff, who started CPR within five minutes. That’s the reason I don’t have brain damage, and also the reason I’m alive today,” said Gregg.

            OCH Cardiac Rehab Director Liz Varco, RN, said it’s critical for CPR to be administered within four to six minutes after a person goes into cardiac arrest in order to minimize brain damage.

            “After that crucial time, patients begin to develop organ damage.   Performing CPR immediately allows patients who do survive a heart attack a much better quality of life,” Varco said, adding that it’s also important to dial 911 as soon as possible. “Defibrillation (an electric shock to the heart) can only be done by medical personnel, and that should be performed immediately, as well,” Varco added.

            This June, in honor of National CPR Week, the American Heart Association is calling on all Americans to learn how to give Hands-Only CPR. Performing Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps. The first step is to call 9-1-1, and then immediately push hard and fast to the center of the chest to the beat of disco-pop song “Stayin’ Alive.”

            “We’re pleased to support the American Heart Association and its important mission to increase survival from cardiac arrest. The most important part of CPR is providing the chest compressions to the patient, so the “Hands-Only” approach is a simple way for everyone to be prepared in an emergency,” said OCH Infection Control Director and Certified CPR Instructor Kim Roberts, RN, CHES. “Statistics show that most cardiac arrests happen at home, so being prepared to perform CPR could mean saving the life of someone you love,” Roberts added.

            Since his cardiac arrest, Gregg has had a triple bypass surgery and a single bypass surgery, as well as many months of cardiac rehab at OCH Regional Medical Center.

            “The cardiac rehab program at OCH has changed my life. They are serious about what they do, and they do it very well. More importantly, they’re like a support system, and I am so thankful for them,” Gregg said.

            During cardiac rehab, the status of the patient’s heart is constantly monitored by registered nurses while performing various exercises such as walking on a treadmill and lifting hand weights. In addition, program participants are educated about risk factors for cardiovascular disease and necessary lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, hypertension management, stress management, dietary guidelines and weight reduction.

            “I have been a registered nurse at OCH for 28 years and can personally tell you that not everyone has as positive of an outcome as Mr. Gregg did. He is living proof that performing CPR immediately after a cardiac arrest can save lives. CPR is so incredibly important, and it is 100% the reason that Mr. Gregg is alive and well today,” Varco says.

            To watch the Hands-Only CPR instructional video, visit heart.org/handsonlycpr. OCH Regional Medical Center is an authorized training center for the American Heart Association and offers classes in first aid and CPR/AED for healthcare providers, businesses, and the general public. Classes are offered on the first Monday of each month or by appointment. For more information, visit och.org and click on “Community Outreach,”, or call Roberts at 662-615-2820.

            For more information on the cardiac rehab program, visit och.org and look under “Our Services,” or call Varco at 662-615-2625.




OCH Regional Medical Center Provides Summer Volunteer Program for Students

             OCH Regional Medical Center will host a junior auxiliary interest meeting for students ages 13-18 who wish to volunteer at the Medical Center this summer. Junior volunteer opportunities include front desk receptionist, visiting patient rooms and helping in the gift shop.          

            “During the summer, our regular auxiliary members take a break from their volunteer duties while students in our community donate their time to serve the hospital and its patients. Volunteering also provides valuable work experience for these students. Many of our junior volunteers have an interest in working in the medical field one day, and this gives them a better understanding of what it’s like to work in a hospital-setting,” said OCH Volunteer Services Coordinator Lauren Gardner.

            The summer junior volunteer interest meeting will be held Thursday, May 28 at Noon in the OCH Community Room. New members must purchase an apron for $10. For more information, contact Gardner at 662-615-3065 or lgardner@och.org.


National Hospital Week Ideal Time to Spotlight “Behind the Scenes” Employees

When people think of a hospital, they usually think of nurses and doctors, but in reality, it takes so much more.   Whether you’re an inpatient at OCH Regional Medical Center or an outpatient getting bloodwork, x-rays or any number of medical tests or procedures, there’s a whole team of professionals who work behind the scenes every day to keep the hospital running on all cylinders.  

Before most people wake up in the morning, employees in the OCH Plant Operations Department are already at work to ensure the hospital is equipped to care for patients in both routine situations and during disasters.

“Once a month at 5 a.m. we simulate a power outage for one hour to make sure our generators are working properly so that if we lose power, they will kick in and provide emergency power. In the operating rooms, the generators start working in one point two seconds in case of a power outage, and that’s crucial to keeping the patient alive,” said Red Malone, a 27-year plant ops veteran. “I love what I do because it helps the patients. I enjoy working on things and always have,” Malone added.

Other plant ops employees such as Steve McClellan are responsible for making sure the medical air pumps in surgery and the boilers that are used to sterilize surgical equipment are working properly. And thanks to Jimmie Saulsberry, patient beds, nurse call buttons and televisions are checked daily to ensure everything works as it should.

Charles Evans has been the only biomedical engineer at OCH for the past ten years and can be credited for maintaining all of the medical equipment in the hospital, including surgery tables, patient monitors, defibrillators, infant warmers, IV pumps, blood pressure machines and more.

“It’s a balance between monthly scheduled preventative maintenance and repairing equipment as needed. No two days are ever alike, and it’s a rewarding job because what I’m doing keeps the hospital running so patients can receive the care they need,” said Evans.

Just as equipment is crucial to patient care so is a sterile environment. With more than 100 patient and procedure rooms, as well as the emergency department, operating rooms, outpatient unit, labor and delivery unit and other clinical areas, it takes a team of environmental service technicians to sterilize the hospital in order to prevent the spread of infections and viruses.

“I am ultimately responsible for rooms to stay disinfected, and I feel like it’s one of the most important jobs in the hospital,” said OCH Environmental Service Technician Yulonda Austin. “Monitoring and disinfecting the emergency, radiology and lab departments is what I’ve been doing for 13 years, and I love it!”

Hundreds of patients coming in and out of the hospital every week creates a need for people like James Harris—the assistant director of materials management. He is accountable for ordering all of the hospital’s day-to-day supplies such as IV starter kits and fluids, masks, gloves, garbage bags, patient gowns, toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer.

“We get our main supplies in on Tuesday and Friday, so first thing in the morning we’re unloading trucks and filling the supply rooms for each floor.   “I like that I’m able to be on my feet and hands-on part of the day, and the other half of the day I’m taking inventory and on the computer placing orders,” explained Harris.

During National Hospital Week, May 10-16, facilities across the country are recognizing the aspects of a hospital that often get overlooked. The week-long celebration, which dates back to 1921, is a time for all hospital employees to be shown appreciation for their various roles.

“Many patients and visitors don’t realize that the people who provide patient care are not always the ones in scrubs or white coats. From transporters to insurance and billing to admissions, all OCH employees play a vital role in providing excellent care to our patients, and that’s why during National Hospital Week we want to recognize all of our employees for a job well done,” said OCH Administrator/CEO Richard Hilton.

OCH will honor its employees on Friday with a picnic-themed luncheon. For more information about the Medical Center, visit www.och.org.



OCH Wellness Connection Personal Trainer Headed to Boston Marathon

OCH Wellness Connection Personal Trainer Corey Martin has competed in adventure races, triathlons, biathlons, 5k and 10k races, obstacle courses and half-marathons, but Monday, Martin will compete in the ultimate race—the Boston Marathon.

“I’ve been running for many years now and love every bit of it. I love the rush, maintaining my healthy lifestyle and setting a good example for all of my fitness clients at work,” said Martin.

Not just anyone can compete in the Boston Marathon. Runners must qualify to participate in the race and Martin has done that not once, but twice! After running the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in 2007, Martin qualified to run in Boston, but a life-changing event occurred that altered her priorities and put her goal of competing on the backburner.

“My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer three months after I qualified. I had two years to use my qualification time for Boston, but I chose to spend that time with my mom who lived 18 months after she was diagnosed,” explained Martin.

Martin continued to run after the death of her mother, but this time, running became a time to pray and a way to cope with the loss. However, one day while looking through her mom’s things, she found a copy of the book that she had published and given to her mom, Go Mommy Go!. With three children and a full time job, Martin wrote the book to inspire other mothers to be physically active.

“Inside the book that I gave her was a letter my mom had written about how proud she was of me writing a book, being a mother, having a career I love, and that she was thrilled I had qualified for the Boston Marathon,” said Martin. “My mom always loved to hear about my races and events. It was at this moment after finding the letter that I wanted to train hard and qualify for Boston again,” Martin recounted.

And maybe a sign that solidified her decision even more was an envelope she found in a safety deposit box after the death of her stepfather two years ago. On the envelope, Martin’s mother had written, “Corey’s money for Boston Marathon.”

“I never knew that she was saving money for me to go to Boston, and the amount was almost enough to cover my entry fee,” said Martin.

With encouragement from her mother, Martin competed in the Tupelo Marathon on August 31, 2014, and ran at an average 7:54 pace for 26 miles, qualifying her for the Boston Marathon.

“I am so proud of Corey and tickled she’s going to do this. I know her mom would be very proud of her,” said Martin’s husband Andrew Martin. “In a state that leads the country in obesity, it’s awesome she can set an example. Corey has a God-given ability to motivate people. It’s a neat gift she was given,” he continued.

Martin said it’s the support of her husband that has allowed her to get to this point.

“As I’ve become a mother of three wonderful children, I’ve realized that competing in races is not as easy as it used to be! Learning balance in life is a very hard task. My husband thinks I’m nuts at times for training for some of these races but he supports me every step of the way,” said Martin.

Martin will join more than 30,000 people Monday as she runs 26.2 miles, with her husband cheering her on from the sidelines and maybe a little help from her mom.

“After you lose someone, your perspective changes. You realize life is too short to just wait around and wish you could’ve reached one of your goals,” Martin said.

Take Time to Thank Your Doctor on National Doctor’s Day

                A construction worker. A shoe salesman. And an orderly. At first glance, you might not think they would make good doctors. In fact, they didn’t. They made great doctors. Perhaps it’s the desire to build and repair, or the ability to relate to others and convince people to do what’s best. Or maybe to serve a person’s most basic needs. Whatever the case, all of these jobs proved to form a strong foundation for three young men to grow into skilled and compassionate doctors.  

       If you’re a patient of Dr. Travis Methvin’s at OCH General Surgery Associates or OCH Center for Breast Health & Imaging, you can bet that you won’t leave the clinic until you fully understand your prognosis. You can thank his grandmother for that.  

       “My grandmother who raised me was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer when I was a junior in high school. I saw her go through that, and I wasn’t really impressed with the doctors. As a fairly bright 17-year-old, I didn’t really understand what was going on with her because the doctor didn’t explain her prognosis, and I remember the way that made me feel,” said Dr. Methvin.   “Now, my mantra is I don’t want to leave the room until the patient and anyone else in the room fully understands the situation,” he stated.  

                While studying medicine, Dr. Methvin wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. After all—with a background in construction work, orthopedic surgery seemed to be the right fit.  

       “Every summer during college, I worked in construction building houses and was really good with a drill and hammer. I also played a lot of sports, so I thought I would enjoy working with athletes,” explained Dr. Methvin.

       But ultimately he decided to pursue a wider range of surgical care and became a general surgeon.  

       “The main thing I love about surgery is that we actually fix things. It’s like construction work. It’s not like diabetes or high blood pressure where you’re trying to maintain it or keep it under control. As a surgeon, you have a problem in front of you, and you attack it and fix it,” said Dr. Methvin.

       As an internal medicine physician, Dr. Ramon Osorio must convince his patients to follow his plan of care just like he used to convince his customers to purchase shoes.  

       “I changed majors four times in college and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I went to work full time at Footlocker, and somewhere in the process I decided to give medicine a try,” explained Dr. Osorio.    

       A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Osorio left to study medicine at 23-years-old. He graduated from St. Matthews University School of Medicine in the Cayman Islands, where he and his wife, Yaraly Espinoza, married during their last year of medical school.  

       “During my first year of residency, we had our first son, Adrian. He is special needs, and so she does not practice medicine but has devoted all of her time to our family,” explained Dr. Osorio.

       Dr. Osorio said it was the family-oriented, small-town feel that solidified his and his wife’s decision to settle in Starkville to raise their family. Even as a father of three, Dr. Osorio confesses one reason why he chose the field of internal medicine was because he didn’t want to routinely provide medical care for children.

       “I wanted to do something that didn’t confine me, but kids and pregnant women make me nervous. And that’s what internal medicine is—taking care of everything but pediatrics and obstetrics. My kids get sick, and I have no clue what to do,” he says with a laugh.  

       That’s one reason Dr. Osorio’s patients at OCH Medical Associates love him so much. His sincerity, down-to-earth nature and good sense of humor allows him to form close bonds with patients from all walks of life. They readily trust him and follow his plan of care.

       “This sounds like a cliché but being a doctor is so rewarding. Nothing scares people more than being sick or having a loved one who’s sick, and we are there to help make them better. It doesn’t always end well, but when it does, it’s a pretty awesome feeling,” he said.  

       Dr. Chester Lott understands what it takes to care for his patients—from transporting them for tests to administering baths and changing bed pans, he’s done it all. Dr. Lott started as an orderly at OCH in 1976, just three years after the hospital opened.  

       “I always knew I was interested in medicine. My dad was in the military, and I was around large military hospitals in Germany as a kid. We came to Starkville in 1963 because my dad was stationed at the ROTC,” said Dr. Lott. “When I was in college at State, I was majoring in microbiology, and a professor told me that if I was going to stick with this major that I should make sure I like taking care of people. I took a job as an orderly making $2 per hour, and when I passed the test to become an EMT, I got a 20 cent raise,” he said laughing.    

       Dr. Lott went to UMMC in Jackson on a public health scholarship, with the agreement that for each year he received the scholarship, he would work a payback year in primary care in an area in need during his residency. He chose Obstectrics/Gynecology and chose to settle down in Starkville and practice at Starkville Clinic for Women after completing his residency.  

       “I don’t think people in Starkville realize how unusual the hospital is with the diverse physician and surgeon staff we have compared to hospitals this size in towns this size. It’s a real asset to this community,” said Dr. Lott.  

       “The thing I enjoy most about OB/GYN is that it’s almost family medicine, but you also get the challenges of surgery. We help our patients have babies, and when they don’t want to have any more babies, we help them plan for that. We try to help make life better for people in those ways,” he explained, also mentioning the major strides medicine has taken since he started as an orderly nearly 40 years ago.  

       “In my lifetime, we’ve gone from having cervical cancer being the leading cause of cancer death of women to where it’s not even in the top ten anymore.”

       Perhaps the advancements in medicine could have saved or at least prolonged Dr. Methvin’s grandmother’s life if she was battling the disease with today’s technology and medicine. She only lived 68 days after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. However, her role in his leadership position as the director of OCH Center for Breast Health & Imaging is far greater than she could’ve imagined.


       “It would’ve been nice for her to be there (to see me graduate). Something like that really affects a teenage boy. Her generation, they ignored health problems and didn’t get mammograms,” said Dr. Methvin, stressing that there’s a huge difference in stage one and stage four breast cancer.

       “Stage one cancer is almost always treatable. That’s why I stress to my patients and the community to receive their annual checkups,” said Dr. Methvin. “My favorite thing about being a doctor is the look on my patients’ faces when they’re better, and there’s no more cancer and no more pain.”  

       For these three physicians, their roles as a construction worker, shoe salesman and orderly were just a starting point until they found their true calling in life. A calling that brings healing and comfort to so many people every day. On March 30, National Doctor’s Day, take time to thank your physician for the road he or she has traveled– and continues to navigate– to provide you with extraordinary care.


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