Volume 13 - October 20, 2020
Friends & Colleagues,

Nurse Practitioners are a growing part of our UNLV Medicine healthcare team. In today’s newsletter, we introduce you to Dianne Galgana, who recently received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Now a nurse practitioner and lactation counselor with UNLV Medicine Pediatrics, Dr. Galgana is passionate about the care of the medically underserved and maternal lactation support. In her more than 10 years of nursing practice, she has worked in public health and cared in hospitals and clinics for both children and adults. Why did she join UNLV Medicine? “Being in an academic environment,” she says, “promises that modern, high-quality evidence-based practices are consistently utilized everyday for the wellbeing of our local communities.”

Michael Gardner, MD, MPH, MMM
President & CEO, UNLV Medicine
Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs
UNLV School of Medicine

Clark County Medical Society To Install SOM's Dr. Deborah Kuhls
As President Oct 24th

UNLV School of Medicine Interim Assistant Dean of Research and Professor of Surgery Dr. Deborah Kuhls will be installed as President of the CCMS during a virtual ceremony Saturday, October 24th, at 6pm.

The event will feature a large SOM contingent with Associate Dean Dr. John Fildes receiving the Presidents Award and Dean Marc J. Kahn serving as an ex-officio member of the board. 

Dr. Elissa Palmer will be installed as a member of the Board of Trustees and Regent Mark W. Doubrava will receive the Harold Lee Feikes, MD Memorial Award.

UNLV medical student Michael Zeng will receive a Rising Star Award and students Ryan Francis and Pedro Gonzalez will be honored as scholarship recipients from the Clark County Medical Society Scholarship Fund.

To register:

Nurse Practitioner With Doctorate
Added to Formidable Pediatric Team
Dianne Galgana with daughter Penelope shortly after receiving her Doctor in Nursing Practice degree from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Galgana's parents stressed the importance of education, and now she is following suit while raising her daughter.
You look at a photograph of UNLV Medicine Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Dianne Galgana and her daughter Penelope -- they’re dressed in red graduation regalia -- and you can’t help but be reminded that a single image can carry a lot of power.

There’s pure joy in the photos. Pride of accomplishment. Love for each other. Love for life.

It doesn’t even seem too much of a stretch to suggest that the captured smiles of both mother and daughter display an awareness of a simple fact: Education can make dreams a reality. 

As wonderful as the pictures are -- they were taken by a Galgana family cousin in Las Vegas -- keep in mind they were an improvisation, one that made sense when COVID-19 wiped out Dr. Galgana’s spring graduation at the University of Cincinnati (UC).

After receiving permission from UC administrators -- she had done her studies largely online , Dr. Galgana had been planning to walk down the aisle to receive her Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with Penelope walking alongside her in a robe she received when graduating from kindergarten. Yes, there undoubtedly would have been memorable candid photos had it not been for the novel coronavirus.

“I’ve wanted to make the point to my daughter that education is a key to life no matter what stage of life you’re in,” said Dr. Galgana, who asked her cousin to take the pictures.” I think I’ve still been able to do that. We’ve talked a lot about it.”

Well-aware, of course, of how COVID-19 has upended and taken lives, Dr. Galgana is by no means equating the cancellation of a graduation to the human tragedies unfolding everyday in the U.S. She’s just reflecting on what we all know -- in so many different ways, COVID is changing lives, forcing us, among other things, to forge new types of positive memories for long-held traditions.

Positivity, competence, caring, learning, teaching and hope, she says, are important parts of both her life and work. Don’t whine. If a detour is necessary, take it. But remember your mission: A purposeful happy life and providing the best available healthcare for people. “I never forget that I have the privilege to help the underprivileged...My parents taught me that.”

Dr. Galgana grew up in San Diego, the daughter of a Filipino military family that emigrated from the Philippines. A first child whose father often would be at sea for six months at a time, Dr. Galgana found herself regularly taken to the naval base urgent care by her mother. “If I had a runny nose, my mother would take me -- she wanted to do the right thing…As far as I can remember, I recall my paper medical record compilation comparable to the size of an encyclopedia…”

It was because of the medical professionals at the San Diego naval base that she knew she wanted to go into nursing.

They made her feel as though she was family. They could communicate with both parents and children. “They made people feel better by the way they talked with them, by removing anxiety with their empathy and care.” While she heard from other children they feared going to the doctor, she didn’t. “My ambition was to acclimate comfort and positiveness for children and their parents when setting foot into a healthcare setting…” 

After her father retired from the Navy, Dr. Galgana, her sister and parents moved to Las Vegas. In 2009 she received a bachelor's degree in nursing from UNLV. For a couple years, she worked with the Southern Nevada Health District as lead registered nurse medical screener and vaccinator for the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic. During the next 10 years, she either worked with cardiovascular patients and infants at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center/Sunrise Children’s Hospital or with children at Sunrise Pediatrics. 
“We need to really communicate with mothers, and not lecture or be judgemental. Just let them come to realize themselves that the evidence is clear -- breastfeeding is good for the baby AND the mother.”
-- Dr. Dianne Galgana
She loves to see a child overcome a health challenge. “It is super satisfying...it is a feeling I cannot describe completely when I see them at their followup visit...however, it is even more satisfying to have the parents see their child overcome a health challenge. Their anxiety level goes way down.” 

Dr. Galgana did graduate work in nursing to stay abreast of modern evidence-based developments in healthcare and to develop a leadership influence among other providers and patients. "It wasn’t easy to do -- being a single parent working full time and attending graduate school really tests you. But I really felt it was important for me to be at the forefront of the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry.” 

Currently, Dr. Galgana is focusing on well-child care, prevention and/or management of common pediatric acute illnesses and also educating parents on plans of care. She applies evidence-based practices, such as breastfeeding interventions, to promote healthier lives.

A certified lactation consultant who emphasizes that awareness and implementation of lactation programs in Las Vegas can mean happier, healthier children in Southern Nevada, Dr. Galgana can recite chapter and verse the benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers. Infants have less illness overall as they develop stronger immune systems from mother’s milk. What breast milk provides includes abundant and easily absorbed nutritional components, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties and live antibodies that can carry on into adulthood.

Studies also show, she points out, that breastfeeding is healthier for moms physically. It promotes faster weight loss, stimulates the uterus to contract and return to normal size, and means less postpartum bleeding, fewer urinary tract infections, and less chance of anemia. Many feel affectionate bonding during the first years of life reduce social and behavioral problems in both children and adults. Most importantly, breastfeeding promotes a significant decrease in risk of postpartum depression, and breast and ovarian cancers for these mothers, and Dr. Galgana wants to emphasize that not too many mothers know that.

“We need to get more advertising out, more public health messages out for breastfeeding,” Dr. Galgana says. “We need to really communicate with mothers, and not lecture or be judgemental. Just let them come to realize themselves that the evidence is clear -- breastfeeding is good for the baby AND the mother.” 

Dr. Galgana says non-judgemental communication is also helpful in overcoming some parents’ positions against vaccinations.

“You have to really listen to their concerns and provide them with material in such a way that they'll understand vaccinations are good for their babies. People want to do the right thing for their babies. How you talk with people is really important.” 

In the end, caring, Dr. Galgana says, is the most important tool a nurse has. “A great nurse is caring,” she says. “Caring makes all the difference to patients...it significantly impacts positive health outcomes. A great nurse is also understanding, non judgemental, empathetic and committed to patient advocacy.” 
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call (702) 660-UNLV (8658)