If you or a loved one suffers from a cardiac disease or complication, there’s a high chance you’ll visit the Cardiovascular Center at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. This facility is comprised of both the Electrophysiology Lab and the Cardiac Catheterization Lab – both integral facilities that diagnose and treat those suffering from cardiovascular complications.

The current equipment in the Electrophysiology Lab is dated and will need to be replaced with newer models. Photo credit: Jennifer Fix.

But what happens when those systems get a little dated? How can the facility best ensure that your health and the health of those you love is secure?

Thanks to a generous $100,000 donation from the First Federal Community Foundation, in addition to funding from other like-minded donors, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Center will receive necessary updates to their advanced diagnostic imaging.

“Right now we are in the midst of a $1 million campaign targeted to improve our cardiovascular health facilities,” says Anne Rasmussen, Chief Development Officer for PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation. “We were fortunate the mission of the Electrophysiology Lab resonated with the First Federal Community Foundation and the types of things they were interested in funding.”

Jennifer Fix, Gift Officer for PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation, orchestrated the process of receiving the grant from the First Federal Community Foundation. She says the impetus for the gift stems from First Federal’s Eastern Regional Manager Troy Wills’ reaction to touring St. Joseph’s Cardiovascular Center.

“After I spoke with Troy to start the formal grant process, I told him we would be happy to give a tour of our cardiovascular labs,” Fix says. “I could immediately see the tour was something that really resonated with him; he was able to see our caregivers in action, performing procedures and giving attentive care to patients in need.”

This is an example of the new system that will be installed at the Electrophysiology Lab after funding is complete. Photo credit: Jennifer Fix.

Wills says witnessing daily tasks at the Cardiovascular Center was an eye-opening experience. He was overcome by a desire to help in some way as he viewed the amount of care and love Cardiovascular Center staff gave to their patients. At that moment, Wills said, he knew he wanted First Federal’s Foundation team to experience what he had. He realized they needed to do their part in helping patients receive even better cardiovascular care.

“That day touched my heart and I was excited the hospital was going to apply for a grant,” Wills says. “It was a ‘do good, feel good’ moment that day.”

Rasmussen says the First Federal Community Foundation, although young (having only formed in 2015), is known for their generous philanthropic spirit and willingness to contribute to the local community.

“I remember every week reading that First Federal gave money here or First Federal gave money there,” Rasmussen says. “I said to Jennifer, ‘These guys have a philanthropic spirit like nothing I have seen for a long time in this community.’ They want to do good and are pushing it hard.”

For Wills, the mission to improve the Cardiovascular Center was easy to align with. He says the First Federal Community Foundation is about giving back and partnering with organizations that have the same vision and mission. The hospital’s desire to improve their technology and provide better imaging systems resonated with the foundation, and they wanted to help in any way they could.

“First Federal places a strong value on the communities we are in,” Wills says. “When we went public in 2015, monies were set aside for giving back to our communities. It felt like the right thing for us to do. Since then, we have awarded over $1.2 million to all sorts of recipients, from homeless shelters to colleges, to food banks in our communities.”

Members of the First Federal Community Foundation and PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation meet to receive the $100,000 donation to the Cardiovascular Center. Photo credit: Jennifer Fix.

The money First Federal Community Foundation donates will specifically go to the Electrophysiology Lab. The $100,000 will go far in meeting the $631,000 needed to complete the Electrophysiology Lab portion of the Cardiovascular Center’s $1 million dollar campaign.

This grant will have a significant impact on patient care and the Electrophysiology Lab’s new equipment will reduce wait times by up to 25 percent. The new imaging systems will ensure that procedures take anywhere from 12 to 18 percent less time than before. In addition, the new system will provide caregivers with more precise images, helping with the diagnostic and treatment elements of cardiovascular disease.

Currently, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation has raised $851,000 of their million dollar goal for the Cardiovascular Center. Rasmussen says they are trying to secure full funding by June 30, 2018 and she’s grateful to work with organizations like the First Federal Community Foundation and others who just want to give for the greater good.

“They want to give money – it’s just part of their DNA,” Rasmussen says of the foundation. “It feels amazing when I watch them get excited when they see where their money is going and what it has done; to see how it has helped and impacted so many people’s lives.”

The First Federal Community Foundation is looking forward to partnering with PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation more in the future, so they can continue to make a difference in the lives of many.


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