Inside Gillette Blog

Meet us Monday – Meet Matt Houle

Posted On: 06/30/2013


1. What is your position and role at Gillette? Do you have a favorite story or memory?

I am a Registered Nurse on the Neurosciences Unit. I have had the privilege of working along side some of the most inspiring and compassionate individuals providing care for a population that is incredibly unique and has impacted me as both an individual as well as a nurse.

As a great ice breaker I often like to show younger patients the illusion of taking off my thumb and there have been a few patients who have perceived it as real, naturally resulting in a pretty memorable patient interaction. (But don’t worry, I always end up showing them how it is done.)

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

My profession prior to nursing was as a cook/chef in a variety of culinary settings, so naturally food is still a passion of mine. I also really enjoy playing music with family and friends, biking, reading, hiking, and simply spending time with my family. I am currently in the process of completing my Bachelor of Science at Bethel University, and while I do find a lot of fulfillment in academic pursuits, it has definitely decreased my time for hobbies significantly.

3. Do you have any children or pets?

I have been married to my wonderful wife for almost eight years and I am a proud father of two. My daughter Ella is now five years old and definitely a little princess and a drama queen. My son Liam is three and has recently taken a new found interest in what he wears. He is extremely partial to hats and skinny jeans. We have had some unusual family pets in the past, including a St. Bernard and a hedgehog, but currently we just have an obese cat named Derp.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to travel to New Zealand or Iceland someday. Or any where with a new and exciting culture to experience and/or interesting landscapes to enjoy.

5. What is one fun fact about you? One  fun fact is that my wife and I love hunting for Morel Mushrooms in the north woods of MN where her family lives.

Regions and Gillette Launch Pediatric Trauma Radio Ad

Posted On: 06/27/2013

Did you know that Regions Hospital and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare partner to operate the first Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in Minnesota?  Now, Regions and Gillette have created a new radio ad highlighting the best-in-class care that these two organizations provide to critically injured children. You’ll hear the ad on radio stations throughout the Twin Cities – including KDWB-FM (101.3), KSTP-FM (94.5), KEEY-FM (102.1), KQQL-FM (107.9), KTCZ-FM (91.1), and KTMY-FM (107.1) – through July 3. Link

Click here to listen to the ad.

RE/MAX Fundraiser Benefits Gillette through Children’s Miracle Network

Posted On: 06/27/2013

Last Thursday, Montevideo, Minn. residents enjoyed gorgeous weather (and supported a great cause!) at a lunchtime picnic hosted by Montevideo-based RE/MAX Neighbors. The event raised funds for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Minnesota’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

In the weeks leading up to the event, local radio station KDMA – along with sister stations KMGM and KKRC – aired an interview highlighting RE/MAX’s longtime fundraising efforts on behalf of Gillette and Children’s Miracle Network.  Listen to it here:  KDMA Interview with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

A Gillette patient family from the Montevideo area shared their story as part of the fundraiser.

Water Safety Reminders for Parents

Posted On: 06/25/2013

By Mark Gormley, M.D.

The long-awaited onset of summer means time spent enjoying lakes, rivers, pools and water parks.  It’s also when, unfortunately, we see the most water-related accidents and injuries. By following some simple guidelines, parents can make sure their children have a fun and safe time in the water.

-          Teach children never to go near water without an adult present. Don’t rely on an inflatable tube, water wings, or a noodle to replace a properly fitted life jacket.

-          Observe children at all times. Never assume another adult or lifeguard is supervising your child.

-          Always have your child swim with a buddy. Whether they’re swimming in a pool or lake, children should not be in the water alone.

-          Make sure children know the water’s depth.  Never allow them to dive in shallow water, as this can result in permanent injury. Deep water can pose a drowning risk.

-          Keep your child close to the shore or pool’s edge. Kids of all ages are often overconfident about how far they can swim, and can quickly become exhausted.

-          Enroll children in swimming lessons. They’ll learn to tread water, float, and become comfortable in the water.

-          Learn CPR. In the event of an emergency, this is something all parents should know.


Some of these tips are taken from Safe Kids Worldwide. For more age-specific water and boating safety tips, visit their website.

What is Neuropalliative Care?

Posted On: 06/24/2013

By Scott Schwantes, M.D.

As a specialty-care pediatric hospital focused on treating children with disabilities, the patients we see at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare have conditions that are complex — and, in many cases, lifelong. That’s why, at Gillette, we focus on interventions that will not only improve our patients’ health, but maintain their enjoyment of life.  Our neuropalliative care team can help families plan and manage the serious symptoms of complex conditions. We’re here to support families as they define goals, and make treatment decisions, for their child.

Palliative care, by definition, describes medical care focused on providing relief from symptoms, discomfort, or stress caused by a serious illness. Traditionally, this has meant supporting patients who have childhood cancer.  But it’s also been estimated that, of the children who could benefit from palliative care services in the U.S., nearly half are living with neurological, degenerative, or genetic conditions — the exact type of patients we see at  Gillette.

At Gillette, we’ve developed our palliative care services to meet the ongoing needs of children who have long-term neurodevelopmental impairments — hence the term neuropalliative care.  Children with a wide variety of medical conditions can benefit. Just a few examples include patients with Rett syndrome and other genetic disorders, neuromuscular conditions, traumatic brain injuries, and cerebral palsy.

It’s important for families to know that neuropalliative care doesn’t mean end-of-life care — though we’re prepared to support families when difficult decisions arise.  It’s ultimately about maximizing our patients’ enjoyment of life and making the most of time spent with family. To learn more about Gillette’s neuropalliative care services, visit our website.

Scott Schwantes, M.D., is a pediatrician board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He leads the neuropalliative care consultative team at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

Meet us Monday – Richard DiPrima,Psy.D.

Posted On: 06/23/2013

Meet us Monday

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? Neuropsychologist and Supervisor of Psychology and Neuropsychology within the Department of Child and Family Services

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I love spending time with family and friends, especially outdoors. I enjoy interactive sports — watching, coaching, or playing — from soccer, softball, and baseball to golf, tennis, and biking. On the flip side, I like taking it easy with reading, camp fires, and relaxing in the hammock along with just being around water — camping, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

3. Do you have any children or pets? We have been blessed with four children, the light of our lives. The kids watch over a few fish and like to name some of the yard animals as pets too!

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Anywhere around the Mediterranean Sea — we absolutely love Mediterranean food, culture, and gelato.

5. What is one fun fact about you? I biked and camped through Italy and Sicily after graduating from college.

Gillette Named Top Workplace for Fourth Consecutive Year

Posted On: 06/17/2013

We’ve been keeping some exciting news a secret—until now. As announced in Sunday’s Star Tribune, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare has again been named among Minnesota’s Top 100 Workplaces!  We’re proud that Gillette has been part of this prestigious list for four straight years.

Earlier this month, the Star Tribune asked our president and CEO, Margaret Perryman, to share more about what Gillette has done to maintain such a satisfied workforce. Here’s what she highlighted:

Growth opportunities. Our employees have opportunities to progress in their professions. Current employees filled about one-third of open positions in 2012, most of which were promotions.

Appreciation. Employees say that they feel recognized for their work. For instance, we have a program that encourages staff to recognize their coworkers when they provide excellent service.

Empowerment. Employees feel that their opinions matter. Things that we’ve implemented based on employee feedback include diversity and wellness initiatives, education on different behavior and communication styles, and development of a new performance appraisal tool.

Compensation. We keep a close pulse on the market to ensure we provide competitive compensation and valuable benefits.

Equally important, though, is the way our employees feel about Gillette’s mission—helping children and adults with disabilities maximize their health and quality of life. Our engagement surveys consistently tell us that our employees understand and embrace their role in our mission.  So really, we have our fantastic patient families to thank, most of all, for our recognition among the state’s best workplaces.

Interested in joining the Gillette team?  Click here to find out about employment opportunities.

Crowns and Cookies – Miss Minnesota Candidates Visit Gillette!

Posted On: 06/16/2013

Last Monday was a dreary day in St. Paul, but inside Gillette Children’s Specialty Heathcare, the atmosphere was anything but. The sound of clicking heels, the sparkle of crowns, and the mesmerizing look on our patients’ faces meant one thing: the 2013 Miss Minnesota candidates were at Gillette for their annual visit.

Among the visitors were 22 Miss Minnesota contestants vying for the 2013 crown, along with the current Miss Minnesota, Siri Freeh, Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen, Corrina Swiggum, and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Rachel Wyatt. The women came to Gillette as part of their partnership with Children Miracle Network Hospitals. They spent the afternoon decorating cookies and taking tours to learn all about what Gillette has to offer.

As the contestants toured different parts of the hospital, murmurs of children could be heard saying “Look mommy, queens!” or “princesses!” Each woman was eager to chat, take a photo, or sign an autograph for everyone they met. They took the time to listen and learn from each patient and family they spoke with, and always showed kindness and compassion. After a countless number of hugs, photos, and smiles, the contestants proved to be just a little sweeter that day than the cookies they were decorating.

My Gillette Story by Kelly Holland

Posted On: 06/10/2013

Sam is seven years old. He enjoys Legos, video games, Cub Scouts and playing baseball with the South Metro Miracle League. In short, he is all boy with one speed: fast!  When he was three, he began to limp and take to the couch with headaches. That’s when I knew something was up. Before we could follow up with our family doctor, Sam broke his right tibia. We ended up at a local orthopedic clinic where we found out it was a cyst in his bone that broke. When Sam did not heal well and continued to limp, our family doctor referred us to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Center for Pediatric Orthopedics.

Sam and Dr. Healy

At our first appointment at Gillette, an x-ray of Sam standing showed many more cysts, or lesions in Sam’s legs. We were referred to other specialties within Gillette and had a lot of testing done. I appreciated how all the different doctors and therapists can all consult with each other for fantastic continuity of care. All the testing showed that Sam has a Chiari 1 Malformation which was causing the headaches and a fibrous dysplastic condition of bone, resulting in the formation of lesions from his head to his feet.

The Chiari happens when the lower portion of the brain, called the Cerebellum, slips into the spinal canal blocking the flow of cerebral spinal fluid and compressing many structures in the brain.  Sam’s headaches began to escalate and when he was five, he had surgery to increase the space in his skull for the Cerebellum.  His headaches are much better now. The bone lesions however are more problematic. Sam has broken his femurs three times because of them and has had 8 surgeries so far. Dr. Michael Healy is Sam’s favorite doctor. He has done so much to help us find out what is going on. Immediately, Dr. Healy was taking Sam’s case to other doctors at the University of Minnesota. After a couple years, I brought to Dr. Healy the name of a doctor at the National Institutes of Health who has researched Fribrous Dysplasia extensively. The same day Dr. Healy put in a call to him and now, he is currently working with this doctor to define what is going on and what Sam’s future could look like.

Through everything Sam has been so upbeat and curious! After fractures and the surgeries, he is up and going as soon as he can. Sam is always looking to see how things work and explain why things happen the way they do.

Meet us Monday – Dave Everson

Posted On: 06/09/2013

Meet us Monday - Dave Everson

  1. What are some of your hobbies outside work? Coaching baseball, football and basketball. I also enjoy fishing, hunting and any out door activity.
  2. How long have you worked at Gillette? Nearly 5 years
  3. Do you have any kids or pets? 4 children (Ben is 15, Tyler is 12, Makayla is 8 and Samantha is 5); 2 dogs (Brandy and Hunter) and 1 cat (Bailey)
  4. As a child, which superhero did you admire?  Superman: I would love to be able to fly.
  5. What is your favorite food? My mothers pizza hot dish (how Norwegian is that)!
  6. If you could travel anywhere where would you go? Australia or Norway
  7. What is your favorite band or type of music? I enjoy all types of music except hard rap.
  8. What drew you to Gillette? The opportunity to really influence outcomes of children and young adults in a holistic manner and have the chance to supervise amazing therapists in all disciplines.  The Gillette name is so well known and having the chance to be associated with all that stands for is outstanding.
  9. What do you enjoy most about your job at Gillette? Every day is so different and I love the chance to be able to work with some of the most talented providers, rehab therapists and support staff anywhere in the world who truly make a difference in the lives of the patients and families that we are so lucky to work with.

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