Health Care Professional Hero
Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Scott Broome, service line director for the Roper St. Francis Cancer Center, has had his share of helping cancer patients receive care. It got a lot more personal, though, about a year ago, when a tumor was found in his chest. He was 29.
Fortunately, 80% of patients with the type of cancer he had are cancer-free in five years, and, after undergoing 20 arduous chemotherapy treatments, Broome is doing well.
“The experience taught me a number of things about my role in the cancer center and life in general,” he said. “First, I have greater respect and admiration for the physicians, nurses and staff that minister to our patients’ needs every day. Second, our patients are the real heroes ... most face longer treatment regimens than I did yet persevere and spread hope and encouragement in the process.”
Cancer couldn’t override his devotion and passion for his work. After his diagnosis, he helped develop plans for the outpatient cancer center on Roper’s West Ashley campus and organized the search for a medical director.
He oversaw the installation of the Cyber Knife system, which delivers radiation therapy that shortens the number of radiation treatments cancer patients require.
And he counts as his proudest accomplishment being able to complete the 2008 Kiawah Island marathon a year after chemotherapy — and in less than four hours.
Growing up outside of Charlotte, Broome always knew he wanted to work in health and medicine, but he knew he wasn’t cut out for working in a lab all day or going on rotations as a doctor.
So he decided to pursue a career in health care administration, going on to earn a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina.
After working as a hospital business manager and a hospital administrator, he came to the Roper Cancer Center.
“My favorite area to focus on is early detection,” Broome said. During 2008, the cancer center increased community screening rates by nearly 70%.
Throughout his big projects and his personal struggle with cancer, Broome stayed focused on his higher mission.
He said his successes at work aren’t out of personal ambition or gain but rather as a result of a way to serve God.
“It’s not about me,” he said.
Health Care Professional Finalists
Dr. Andrew Kraft and Anita Harrison
Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center
Cancer rates paint a stark picture in South Carolina. In this state, one in two men, and one in three women, is expected to develop cancer in their lifetimes. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the South Carolina, with the state ranking second and third in the nation in mortality from certain cancers.
When the Hollings Cancer Center was dedicated in 1993, leaders at the Medical University of South Carolina saw it as a vehicle to start reversing many of those trends that plague rural underserved areas and black residents at dramatic rates.
MUSC officials also intended for the cancer center to obtain designation from the National Cancer Institute.
Achieving that distinction would allow the Hollings Cancer Center to join the ranks of nationally acclaimed cancer centers such as Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson and the Mayo Clinic.
Hollings is close to finding out if it will receive that honor. In 2008, the National Cancer Institute accepted the cancer center’s application and made a rigorous site visit. It is expected to make a decision in 2009.
The success is in large part credited to Andrew Craft, the center’s director, and Anita Harrison, the associate director for administration.
In 2004, MUSC recruited Kraft from the University of Colorado’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he held a leadership position and achieved national recognition for his research in prostate cancer.
A year later, Kraft recruited Harrison from the Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Together, the duo has overseen the establishment of a cancer prevention and control program, and has placed a premium on solving the mysteries of cancer disparities among ethnic minorities.
But the real story lies in what the cancer center means for South Carolina citizens.
“Because of the work of Dr. Kraft and Anita Harrison — and the stellar team of physicians, researchers and staff that work there — patients don’t need to leave the state to find first-rate care,” wrote communications director Vicky Agnew in making her nomination.
Pam Burke, Robert Kippes, James Clark
For many anxious parents with a critically ill child, the move from one hospital or clinic to another is a nerve-wracking trip. It was no different for Bobbi-Jo Burriss.
Burriss gave birth to her daughter at East Cooper Medical Center but, because of complications, was unable to see her for hours after the delivery. When a doctor said her daughter had to be taken to the Medical University of South Carolina’s intensive care unit, she still hadn’t seen her daughter, couldn’t go with her and didn’t know what was going on.
When the MUSC Pediatric Meducare unit came to transport the baby to MUSC, Pam Burke, Robert Kippes and James Clark (not pictured) brought the baby to Burriss so she could see her, and they talked Burriss though what was going on.
Then, once the team and the baby reached MUSC safely, someone from the team called her to let her know the baby was OK.
“That was the hardest and longest day of my life, but thanks to these three people, they helped me through the experience with a little less questions and a little less anxiety,” Burriss said.
The Meducare team helps transport hundreds of children every year, giving additional care and attention to not only the young patients but to their families, as well.
“Some people would think the most difficult part of my job would be working with the sick children, but I think the most difficult part of the job for me is seeing a stressed and upset parent who is relying on you to help their child,” Kippes said.
The team is made up of Burke, a pediatric flight nurse; Kippes, a respiratory therapist; and Clark, an emergency medical technician. They are specially trained in advanced procedures and travel either by ambulance, helicopter or airplane.
“We have to be prepared for just about anything, from keeping a patient alive in the back of a helicopter or ambulance to entertaining a scared 2-year-old in a noisy helicopter or for several hours in the back of an ambulance,” said Burke, who has been on the job for 16 years.
“I really enjoy the challenge of not knowing exactly what each transport will be,” Burke said.