Employee Spotlight: Whitney Venegoni, Nurse Practitioner

Employee Spotlight

 

Whitney VenegoniWe are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Name: Whitney Venegoni, APRN, FNP-BC

Department: Medical

Title: Nurse Practitioner

Primary work location: Olathe Fire Department/Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

Two years.

How did you get into your field of work?

My grandma was ill when I was young. The way the nurses made us feel stuck with me. I knew I wanted to be one!

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

I speak English and Spanish and started learning ASL recently.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

Whitney Venegoni and family“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”

What values are important to you?

Values that are important to me are compassion, respect and positivity.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I’m training jiu-jitsu!

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would like to get my black belt and enjoy lots of travel and adventure with my family and friends.

What is your favorite food?

Depends on the day! Cheeseburgers, tamales, pizza…

What is your favorite movie?

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Anything with Audrey Hepburn.

What is your favorite hobby?

I like to do anything outdoors and baking.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes!  I have a 150-pound Newfoundland named Sarge and a 13-pound mini dachshund named Ellie. Ellie is 100 percent in charge.

Employee Spotlight: Christina Cook, Dental Hygienist

Employee Spotlight

Christina CookName: Christina Cook

Department: Dental

Title: Dental Hygienist

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?
It will be two years in October.

How did you get into your field of work?
I always wanted to go into health care. What made me decide on dentistry is the positive work environment.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?
No, I wish!

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?
“You are the architect of your own life. Create a life that you enjoy so much you don’t need a vacation from it!”

What values are important to you?
Values that are important to me, one word: kindness.

Christina Cook EngagementWhat is something about you that would surprise people?
I have lived all over the country traveling with my dad when he was in the military. Also, I was recently engaged!

What is on your “bucket” list?
I would like to go skydiving.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is avocado.

What is your favorite movie?
“Bridesmaids”

What is your favorite hobby?
I like yoga and to try new recipes.

Are you an animal lover? If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?
Yes! We have two fur babies named Bella and Drake, and I think the only reason we work so hard is so they can have a better life!

Chrstina Cook's Fur Babies

HPC welcomes board-certified pediatrician Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FAAP

Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FFAPHealth Partnership Clinic (HPC) welcomes Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatrician, to its team of talented medical professionals. Beginning Tuesday, August 17, she will see patients through age 21 at HPC’s Shawnee Mission office, 9119 W. 74th Street. She speaks English, Spanish and Arabic.

Dr. El-Halawany joins HPC following nine years of clinical and instructional work at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where she was recognized for both teaching excellence and her impact on graduating students. She earlier practiced in both Colorado and Southern California, where she completed her pediatric residency.

No stranger to the KC area, she completed in 2007 the combined six-year program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School, where she also earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. She earlier graduated from Notre Dame de Sion High School, Kansas City, Mo.

Working in underserved areas and participating in a 2010 ARPAN Global Charities Mission trip to Egypt – her family’s country of origin – have inspired Dr. El-Halawany. An avid traveler, reader and classical pianist, she is excited to again focus on clinical work that allows her to care for children of all ages, regardless of insurance, and to benefit the community.

Asked about her care style, she commented, “It’s simply to care, to listen to parents’ and patients’ concerns, and make sure to explain things clearly before they leave.”

Dr. El-Halawany is passionate about patient comfort. “I use patience and play, especially for the younger kids who are scared to see a doctor,” she says. “For teens, I think it is important to take an interest in their affairs and ask the right questions. Kids are smart, they can tell if you care.”

Please join us in welcoming Dr. El-Halawany to the HPC team!

Employee Spotlight: Sharon Trongaard, Clinic Director and Risk and Compliance Officer

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Sharon TrongaardName: Sharon Trongaard

Department: Medical

Title: Clinic Director and Risk and Compliance Officer

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I’ve been with HPC for four months.

How did you get into your field of work?

My mom went to Respiratory Therapy School and her work sounded exciting and a great way to help others.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

No, but I am working on learning Spanish.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“Let food by thy Medicine and Medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates

What values are important to you?

Values that are important to me are kindness, encouraging others and being present in the moment.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I am a Certified Sleep Health Educator, so I might be able to help you get a good night’s sleep.

What is on your “bucket” list?

Sharon TrongaardI would like to travel to Europe on a cooking tour.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is a perfectly cooked steak which means medium rare, of course.

What is your favorite movie?

“Pride and Prejudice”

What is your favorite hobby?

Crocheting is my favorite hobby.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?  

I am not really an animal lover, but I’ve done a good job convincing my kids that I am!

Employee Spotlight: Caronline Barraza, Medical Assistant

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Carolina BarrazaName:  Carolina Barraza

Department: Medical

Title: Medical Assistant

Primary work location: Shawnee Mission

How long have you worked at HPC?  

It will be two years in July.

How did you get into your field of work?

Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to take care of people.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

I speak Spanish and English.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”

What values are important to you?

Values that are important to me are honesty, loyalty and caring.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I’m an artist. I love to draw.

What is on your “bucket” list?

Employee Spotlight: Caronline Barraza, Medical AssistantI would like to travel the world and see new places.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is Mexican and Italian.

What is your favorite movie?

I don’t have a favorite movie, I like them all.

What is your favorite hobby?

I like to read and spend time with my family.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

I love dogs! I have a dog named Gizmo who is a Rottweiler mixed with Golden Retriever.

Employee Spotlight: Karina Diaz, Dental Coordinator

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Karina DiazName: Karina Diaz

Department: Dental

Title: Dental Coordinator

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC? Five years

How did you get into your field of work?

I am very passionate about helping others, and my job at HPC allows me to connect with and help our patients and partners.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

Yes, I speak Spanish.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”

What values are important to you?

Karina Diaz with her familyValues that are important to me are honesty, loyalty and respect.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I played soccer, ran track and was a cheerleader in high school.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I want to go skydiving.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite foods are Mexican and Chinese.

What is your favorite movie?

“The Notebook”

What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby is reading.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

I’m not really an animal lover. I don’t have any animals, only kids!

Employee Spotlight: Daraya (Dara) Wilson, Medical Assistant

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Dara WilsonName:  Daraya (Dara) Wilson

Department: Medical

Title: Medical Assistant

Primary work locationOlathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I have worked at HPC since July 2020.

How did you get into your field of work?

I interned at a KU research lab looking at HIV and monkeys. The virus and scientific process captivated me. At the same time, each night I looked forward to waitressing because I got to work with people. Working in a clinical setting brings the best of these two worlds.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

Yes, I am fluent in Indonesian. I would like to improve my Spanish, and I know some basics of my husband’s languages (Tajik and Russian).

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

Yes, it is “Ad astra per aspera.”
Translation: “To the stars through difficulties.”

What values are important to you?

Dara Wilson PersonalValues that are important to me include family, religion and education.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I was raised to be proud of my Indonesian heritage. One way to demonstrate this is through dance. I began performing traditional Indonesian dances when I was six years old. Since then, I have performed across the United States and taught others along the way. Through teaching I learned more about my culture and values.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would like to eat the lamb that was baked in the ground in Turkey, I believe it is known as tandir kebab.

What is your favorite food?

Anything homemade! They have the flavor of love, especially family recipes.

What is your favorite movie?

Dara Wilson PersonalI am a bit of an oddball in this matter because I do not like movies.

What is your favorite hobby?

I enjoy cooking! It’s my form of self-expression and creativity. Plus, preparing and sharing a meal with others is my favorite way to bond with family and friends.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

I’m a huge dog person! I was volunteering at local rescues, taking dogs out on walks or playing with them. In January, my family fell in love with a newly arrived dog and we gave her a forever home. She is probably an Australian Kelpie mixed with a shepherd. One thing we know for sure is that she is super smart and sweet.

Employee Spotlight: Billie Reese-Turner, Director of Billing and Patient Services

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Name: Billie Reese-Turner

Department: Billing

Title: Director of Billing and Patient Services

Primary work locationOlathe

How long have you worked at HPC?
I originally consulted in March of 2017 until hired full time in July 2017.

How did you get into your field of work?
I have been in health care insurance and provider billing since I was a senior in high school. I took my best friend to a job interview for a billing position and she wasn’t willing to work Saturdays, so they asked me if I was interested in the job. I said yes! I worked nights until I graduated and was offered full time employment. I have been working in the field since then.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?
Yes! I speak Pig Latin fluently with my sisters. (ha ha)

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.” -Saint Francis de Sales

What values are important to you?
Values that are important to me are God first, family, loyalty, humility, mindfulness and making a difference.

What is something about you that would surprise people?
At eight years old I began playing the tenor saxophone. Later I moved on to flute and piccolo. I can play every woodwind instrument. I placed first in district and state competition playing the flute.

What is on your “bucket” list?
I want to stay healthy and here long enough to enjoy having grand-babies someday and watching them have babies. And I’d like to go to Ireland and Tuscany.

What is your favorite food?
Billie Reece-Turner with DaughtersMy favorite foods are Mexican and Italian… it’s the cheese!

What is your favorite movie?
“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” and “Singing in the Rain”

What is your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobbies include playing games with my family and reading.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?
YES! I currently only have two dogs and two cats. I have a Yorkie named Daisy and a Chihuahua named Luciana. Grace and Tigger are my cats. At one point I had six cats and four dogs, my two girls and six other family members living with me for a few years – I know family are not “animals” but it felt like a zoo sometimes.

During the month of March, we have much to celebrate at HPC!

By Debbie Sparks, Development and Marketing Manager

HPC: So much to celebrate in March!

National Social Work Month

March 2021 marks national Social Work Month. This year the National Association of Social Workers have adopted the theme “Social Workers are Essential”.

Social Work is the only profession that requires social justice advocacy. This means Social Workers are called to action to serve as a catalyst in social change. Throughout the COVID 19 Pandemic, Social Workers across the country gained access to care, resources, support, comforted survivors and helped manage grief. Many Social Workers quickly regrouped and revamped services tailored toward virtual and online access.

Social Workers also advocated for individuals and families struggling financially during the pandemic and the economic downturn that followed.

There are more than 700, 000 professional Social Workers employed in the United States and more than 3,000,000 worldwide. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Social Work continues to be one of the fastest growing professions. We are seeing more clinically trained Social Workers than ever before, and this makes sense as they tend to help their clients through difficult situations and are required to build upon their competency and continue their education.

Take a moment this March to Thank a Social Worker.

We salute our social workers, Cecilia Ponce, LSCSW and Amy Gray, LSCSW!


National Dental Assistant Week, March 7-13

“Dental Assistants – Our Heart Goes into Every Smile” is the theme for 2021 and acknowledges the growing importance of dentistry’s role in health care and the responsibilities of dental assistants.

There are more than 300,000 dental assistants in the United States. In Kansas, there are approximately 2,600 dental assistants.

Dental assistants wear many hats in a dental clinic! They greet patients, review medical histories, take X-rays, perform dental charting during the dentist exam, assist the dentist chairside during procedures, polish teeth, review post-operative instructions and schedule patients.

In Kansas, dental assistants are not required to be certified. However, The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) is the nationally recognized certification organization for dental assistants. Certification is a source of pride for dental assistants and provides professional advantage and potentially greater earning power.

Thank you to our HPC dental assistants Katie Hickman, Stephanie Rojas and Diana Ortiz Vargas!


National Dentist Day, March 6

CelebrateNational Dentist Day was created as a day to say thank you and show your appreciation for your dentist. It is celebrated annually on March 6.

Do you know?

  • There are approximately 180,000 dentists who are professionally active in the United States. There are 1,300 active dentists in Kansas, of which more than 200 are specialists.
  • The education and training of dentists typically includes four years of college, four years of dental school and two to three years of residency training if a specialty is chosen.
  • There are two different but equivalent degrees dentists may earn: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
  • Dentists ranked number two out of the 100 best jobs according to the U.S. News & World Report. Two dental specialties also placed in the top 10: number four, orthodontist and number nine oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
  • In the United States, nine specialties are recognized by the American Dental Association.
    • Orthodontics
    • Dentofacial orthopedics
    • Pediatric dentistry
    • Periodontics
    • Prosthodontics
    • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
    • Oral and maxillofacial pathology
    • Endodontics
    • Public health dentistry
    • Oral and maxillofacial radiology

Special thanks to our dentists, Emily Day, DDS and Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, for providing top notch patient care!


National Doctor’s Day, March 30

National Doctor’s Day is celebrated on March 30 each year in the United States to honor physicians for the work they do for their patients, in their communities and for society.

  • There are over a million physicians in the United States.
  • The education and training of physicians typically includes four years of college, four years of medical school, three to five years of residency training in the chosen specialty and one to three years of additional training for sub-specialists.
  • There are two different but equivalent degrees doctors can earn: Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).
  • The training years are difficult with long work hours of often 80 hours per week, low pay and many overnight shifts in the hospital. In addition, the highest levels of professionalism, conduct and ethics are expected of doctors.
  • Areas of practice include the primary care specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. Other specialties include surgery, obstetrics and gynecology and psychiatry. There are well over 100 specialties and sub-specialties in the United States.
  • The specialty that sees the most patients during office visits is family medicine.

Thank you to our HPC physicians, Emily M. Bush, MD, Hibba A. Haider, MD, Kare Lyche, MD, Ahmed Maher, MD, Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, and Noriko Okahara, DO, MPH, for their hard work and dedication to the clinic. We appreciate all that you do to support and serve our patients.

Employee Spotlight: Alicia Jiminez, Medical Assistant

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Employee Spotlight: Alicia JiminezName: Alicia Jimenez

Department: Medical

Title: Medical Assistant

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

It will be a year in February.

How did you get into your field of work?

I wanted to help guide people to better their health.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

Yes, Spanish.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

What values are important to you?

Alicia Jiminez with FamilyValues that are important to me are being considerate and trustworthy.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I really dislike speaking in big groups of people. I did not like public speaking in college.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would like to travel to Wales, United Kingdom.

What is your favorite food?

I like anything and everything. I’m always willing to try something new.

What is your favorite movie?

I don’t really have a favorite movie. I like comedies and action.

What is your favorite hobby?

I love to play soccer and do arts and crafts. I also love to spend time with my little family.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes, I am an animal lover. I have a six-year-old Pit named Cleo!