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Department of Medicine shares clinical updates

Karen Krok, MD, vice chair for clinical affairs for the Department of Medicine, recently shared updates on the department’s clinical efforts.

As part of the department’s December newsletter, Krok wrote:

The Department of Medicine is special because of the people – faculty, advanced practice providers, staff – who work in it. Every day we have exceptional moments caring for patients. With the excellent hospitalists, we have cared for patients with and without COVID-19 during this pandemic using evidence-based medicine and providing fantastic care for all patients. The COVID clinic was developed by members of the Division of General Internal Medicine and provides a very important service for all outpatients of Penn State Health. It is creative thinking and dedication to our patients that makes the Department of Medicine what it is and our patients benefit from our excellent team.

Aren’t you always looking for more efficiency? If so, then you must sign up for AnyConnect VPN. I learned about this in April 2020 but didn’t sign up until June 2020 and I wish in retrospect that I had done it the first day that I received the email.

A VPN gives you an experience similar to being at your desk at work. Using your work computer at home, you have access to applications, network folders, etc., just like you would at your desk. It saves you time when you are working from home and is a true game changer for efficiency.

If you are interested in using the AnyConnect VPN, first, work with your manager (Nevin Yost or Mark Spangler) to submit the Account Request Form. After your access is granted, you will be provided with the next steps on installing and using the AnyConnect VPN.

Here is a testimonial from a new user of AnyConnect VPN: “Also, I recently acquired a VPN to help me be more efficient at home. Is everyone aware of this? Up until a few weeks ago, I was wasting a lot of time using the remote access portal and had to login in very frequently during the day to get new programs and if I left my computer for lunch or coffee or something else.”

With questions, email or

Shining and Memorable Moments

Thank you for your excellent patient care and making the patient experience exceptional! Every day there are moments where we touch our patient’s lives. Here are some examples of what the patients had to say about our colleagues:

Gisoo Ghaffari, MD, professor, and Sebastian Sylvestre, MD, PGY-4 trainee in the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship, both from the Section of Allergy and Immunology: “I saw Dr. Sylvestre, and Dr. Gisoo Ghaffari, and they were both incredible providers, couldn’t have been nicer, more compassionate, spend more time, or have been more caring. Thank you.”

David Macaluso, MD, assistant professor, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes: “I have been working with Dr. Macaluso for over 15 years and a have a deep amount of respect that he is providing me with quality ongoing care and follow-up. Grateful.”

Sanam Razeghi, MD, assistant professor, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology: “I was scared and nervous coming to my visit. I came from a provider who belittled me and made me feel stupid for my questions and concerns. My provider really took time to listen to me, made me feel comfortable and explained that I’m not alone in my concerns.”

Tonya Crook, MS, MD, associate professor, Division of Infectious Diseases: “I was very pleased with the appointment and I am so grateful to Dr. Cook, because over the years, she’s managed to keep me out of the hospital. Before I met her, I was in the hospital every other month, and she’s always been very courteous and listened, and been very helpful and is willing to work with me, when if I need to call or because something has flared, and I appreciate that, too. Thank you and have a good day.”

Ashley Snyder, MD, assistant professor, Division of General Internal Medicine: “Dr. Ashley Snyder is the best PCP I have had. She is compassionate, a great listener and is well prepared when she comes in the examination room.”

Amanda Karasinski, MD, assistant professor, Division of Nephrology: “I was very impressed with Dr. Karasinski. This was my first visit with her and I am convinced that I chose the correct nephrologist.”

Robert “Bob” Vender, MD, professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine: “Dr. Vender is incredibly empathetic, as well as thorough. There should be more of him!”

Shirley Albano-Aluquin, MD, assistant professor, Division of Rheumatology: “My experience with the doctor was one of the best experiences that I had with a doctor. She spent plenty of time me with listening to my health history and concerns, and explaining her diagnosis to me.”

Odds and Ends

We have made tremendous strides on the seven-day delinquency list for note-signing thanks to all of you. We now average less than 120 notes per day. To clarify, the list is generated at midnight on Day 8 after the note was composed. Day 1 is considered the day that the note is written, so Day 7 is actually only six days later (similar to the way that we calculate how many days someone is on antibiotics). This is a health system goal to have all notes signed within seven days in order to improve our communication to referring doctors and to patients about their results, and to complete billing.

With any concerns or suggestions to improve the department, email

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