Archive for the Our Staff Category

The force is strong with this one!

Sounds like r2 it does. This beautiful budgie does its best impression of its favorite Star Wars character.

Did you know that our favorite Avian and Exotics specialist, Dr. Olivia Petritz, sees birds just like this one?

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Good Luck Dr. Blackburn!

This week we said goodbye to Amanda Blackburn, DVM, DACVIM, one of our amazing internal medicine specialists at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles.

Dr. Blackburn is a California native who grew up in Leona Valley, California and has been with us for over four years. Those who know her have seen her dedication, compassion, and intelligence at work.

However, there’s another side to our beloved doctor… she’s also a triathlete! She loves cycling and even met her now fiancé in a bike race in Italy. We will miss this bicycle riding, jellybean loving, incredible doctor and friend, but we are so happy for the new practice she will work at in San Francisco, because we know Dr. Blackburn will be an amazing addition to their team!

GL-Dr.-Blackburn

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The Surgeon with the skull collection…

Jana-Norris-DVM-DACVS-ASFVJana Norris, DVM, DACVS joined our San Fernando Hospital in January 2013 to head up our new surgery department, though her road to veterinary surgery had quite a few twists and turns in it. Jana grew up as a child actor working in theater and received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from USC. After working as an actor for a few years, she literally “woke up one day and didn’t want to do it anymore”. We sat down with Jana to find out what led her to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals.

How did Dr. Norris decide she wanted to work with animals?
When she was acting, her dream was to land a sitcom and make enough money to move to the country and live around animals. Jana decided to cut out the middleman and go right into veterinary school.

What is her favorite animal?
The Octopus. Why? “They can change color depending on their mood, they are the smartest invertebrates, able to learn a task in a single trial and remember it for the rest of their lives, and they can fit through a hole the size of their own eyeball!”

Why surgery?
Jana has always been into fixing things and finding out how they work. As a child, she used to like playing with tools, and even took apart the TV and phone, much to her parents’ dismay. She really enjoys “the structural approach to disease”. The chronic, inevitable decline of patients is too emotionally taxing, whereas surgery is repairing the issue at hand. Jana sees surgeons as “the cowboys of the hospital”; they’re able to come in, take a patient, and fix the problem they’re presented with.

What are the most challenging procedures Dr. Norris has ever done?
“Any critical care patient is stressful, because you know that there is a risk that what you’re about to do to help them has the potential to be unsuccessful, but they will not survive without your treatment.”

What is her favorite procedure to do?
Dr. Norris is heavily influenced by her past, enjoying ‘putting things back together’. In her words, her favorite procedures have to be “fracture repair and skin grafting & reconstruction!” The procedures are the same as they are with humans, and Jana enjoys being able to be creative with both art and structure to reestablish form and function with the surgical procedure.

What is her “bread and butter”?
“Cruciates! They are so well researched and such a common injury. We have excellent outcomes with the right approach, and when done correctly, have a 100% success rate.”

Why California?
Jana lived in California for 17 years before moving to the East Coast. She eventually ended up in Philadelphia, where she worked at the University of Pennsylvania with her then future husband, ACCESS Cardiologist Dr. Steve Cole. She loved California and what it had to offer, so after marrying Dr. Cole in Switzerland and having their reception at the Mutter Museum(!), Jana and her new family moved back to the sunny scenery of California.

Wait… they had their reception at the Mutter Museum?!
They sure did! Dr. Norris has a fondness for things many people would consider…unusual. She has a collection of 40 skulls, both human and animal. The smallest skull she owns is that of a vampire bat, and the largest bone structure is the entire spine of a calf. She even has a fully articulated canine skeleton in her living room! When she was a pre-vet student at Santa Monica College, she supervised a dermestid beetle colony. The dermestid, or carrion, beetles are used to clean bones as they are the most effective tool to clean the bone while also preserving it.

So, she has a skull and bone collection. What else is she into?
Dr. Norris’ home is quite the showcase for out of the ordinary collectibles. In addition to animal and human bones, she also has an array of vintage medical equipment and posters. Her collection includes decades old handheld Oster clippers, speculums, and glass syringes that are seen as pieces of art in her house.

What is her most prized possession?
“My father’s medical kit from the 1940s.” Dr. Norris’ Dad, Dr. Norris, is a Rheumatologist and gave his black doctor’s bag to Jana. Inside you’ll find a stainless steel emergency tracheostomy kit. It’s basically a Swiss Army Knife with tools used to stab, cut, and intubate a choking patient.

What’s her favorite dish?
“Beef tenderloin, rare, with my mom’s white spaghetti”. Dr. Norris also loves to cook and her Rum Cake is her specialty. She makes a ton of them around the holidays, as her family and friends are constantly requesting her delicious dessert!

Dr. Norris is one of over a dozen skilled and interesting doctors at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals, and we are so grateful to have her on our team. She brings a fierce dedication, wealth of knowledge, and passionate enthusiasm to each day she works and is available Tuesday through Friday.

Jana-Norris-DVM-DACVS-at-work

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ACCESS scared up some fun this Halloween!

Over a dozen pumpkins, a few bales of hay, and a ton of candy helped make another memorable Halloween at our hospitals! We kicked off our Halloween celebrations with a party for our staff and their families at our San Fernando Valley hospital in our conference center. Here, we saw super heroes, witches, and… you guessed it…doctors!

Kids enjoyed painting pumpkins and watching Hocus Pocus, while everyone enjoyed our DIY photo booth, our pot-luck dinner, and of course, lots of candy! We had a ghoulishly good time and enjoyed spending time with one another.

The fun continued with our annual pumpkin carving contest at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles. Each department received one pumpkin to carve into a creepy creation and once it was finished, it was placed in the lobby for staff and clients to vote. Our team had an opportunity to showcase their creativity.

As a result ,we had some amazing entries for the pumpkin carving contest this year! The winner of the 2014 ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital Pumpkin Carve-Off was…Surgery with 24 votes! With the skilled hand of Dr. Annie Lo, surgery was sure to be fierce competition. We enjoy spending the holidays with fun activities as well as being here to serve our communities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

ACCESS-Pumpkin-Collage

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Congratulations are in order…STAT!

Having completed veterinary school, an internship, a residency in emergency and critical care, and a written examination with a required publication accepted by peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Lee has achieved board certification. All of this requires years of hard work, long, late hours, and an unyielding commitment to get the job done!

We want to offer hearty congratulations to Joyce Lee, MS, DVM, DACVECC who has been with us since the opening of our San Fernando Valley location. She will continue to be a source of knowledge, positivity, and compassion in our Emergency and Critical Care department.

Dr.-Joyce-Lee

 

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Thank you Greg…

This week is Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Assistant week, and we would like to highlight a few of our many inspiring Technicians and Assistants at ACCESS Speciality Animal Hospitals.

greg

Greg Zamora (pictured above with Dr. Rich Mills, Chief of Staff at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals) is the Technician Supervisor and Purchasing Manager for ACCESS Los Angeles. He grew up in Southern California, and followed his first dream of becoming a welder by completing his AWS with LA Certification. He shortly realized that his love for animals would be his passion and jumped all hands in to developing a career in animal care. Starting his new career as a Kennel Assistant, Greg focused on developing his skills and knowledge in the Emergency field.

Greg has been with the ACCESS family since 2003, first working in Tustin, California at ACCIM. He then helped establish the Los Angeles location, working here from day one in 2005. Bringing all that he has learned in the emergency field both as an animal care attendant and equipment/purchasing manager, Greg has continued to be a valued asset as we transitioned to ACCESS Specialty Hospital Group with the successful opening of our Woodland Hills facility. Maintaining strong ties to the veterinary community and dedication to animals, when not at ACCESS – Los Angeles, he can be found working with a mobile orthopedic veterinarian.

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Thank you Raul….

This week is Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Assistant week, and we would like to highlight a few of our many inspiring Technicians and Assistants at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals.

Raul

Raul Corral is the Technician Supervisor and Purchasing Manager at ACCESS San Fernando Valley. He was raised in Norwalk, California, starting his career as a veterinary assistant at the turn of the millennium in 2000. He attended Cal State Long Beach and majored in Biology. He has been with ACCESS-LA since it opened as ACCIM Los Angeles in 2005, being specially selected to join the team from the sister hospital ACCIM in Tustin.

Serving as an Emergency/Critical Care lead, Raul continued to be a valued member of the ACCESS family and transitioned to ACCESS – San Fernando Valley when it opened in 2012 as the Technician Supervisor and Purchasing Manager. Raul brought with him ACCESS’s commitment to care for our patients as if they were our own beloved pets and works to ensure this sentiment is represented in all actions taken by our animal care team. Raul has excelled from leading one team in Los Angeles to all the Veterinary Technicians and paraprofessionals in the six medical departments at ACCESS – San Fernando Valley.

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We have a new Medical Director…

Dr-Kathryn-Gates-ER

Kathryn Gates, BVSc, DACVECC, who has been with us since 2010, has been named Medical Director at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. She grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, and received her veterinary degree from Massey University in 2002. Dr. Gates became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2009 and has published articles in the fields of ventilation and plasmapheresis. She has special interests in trauma management, sepsis, and mechanical ventilation.

In addition to other duties, Kathryn will be charged with continuing to foster our positive culture and helping to maintain policies with all staff. She will continue to be a leader and role model for our hospital principles: Compassion, Integrity, Quality, and Service. Kathryn has been a positive, kindhearted, and crucial member of our team, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the position.

Dr-Kathryn-Gates-Medical-Director

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Very rare in dogs…

Dr-Branter-Blondie-3

Blondie is a two year old mixed breed dog who was rescued off of the streets by the Hope for Paws Rescue. Blondie had been surviving between two lanes of a main highway and it took hours to rescue her. Soon after, she was taken to a neighborhood veterinarian for an exam and to be spayed. During her spay, the doctor found something unusual. Blondie seemed to have two vaginal openings. Her veterinarian, Dr. Erin Wilson from the Veterinary Care Center referred her to Dr. Erinne Branter, (below) the head of our Interventional Radiology department, who performed a cystoscopy in our interventional radiology suite. A cystoscopy is a diagnostic tool used to see inside lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder). Unlike many other imaging tools, the cystoscope is placed directly inside the body, allowing the doctor to see inside the organ with a small camera.

Blondie was placed under anesthesia, with one technician assigned to monitor her vitals, and another to assist the doctor. Dr. Branter used the cystoscopy to examine and confirm that Blondie does in fact have dual vaginal openings. Blondie has one opening that is normal from the outside (vulva is normal) but houses a blind ended sac. She also has a second opening that is abnormal from the outside but once the scope evaluated the orifice the rest of the anatomy (urethra and vagina) was completely normal. She is urinating like a normal dog and does not seem to have any adverse consequences to her abnormal anatomy (given she is now spayed and will not be reproducing). Blondie is in good health, and does not need any medical intervention for her condition. This case was an interesting one for Dr. Branter, as dual vagina openings are very rare in dogs, and not previously documented in veterinary medicine.

Dr-Branter-Blondie

Dr-Branter-Blondie-2

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Well wishes for our Administrative Director, Amy Graham

Amy Graham is leaving ACCESS LA after nine wonderful years.

We wish Amy the best of luck in her future ventures, and would like to take this time to thank her for all of her passion, knowledge, expertise, and effort. She has been a vital member of our administrative team, and a huge part of our family for many years, and we will miss her.

Amy

Pictured below, left to right:
Rich Mills (Chief of Staff), Howard Liberson (CEO), Amy, Chris Barreda (Data Manager)

AMY-FAREWELL

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Locations

South Bay

2551 W. 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504

Tel: (310) 320-8300 - Fax: (424) 293-7254

Los Angeles

9599 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Tel: (310) 558-6100 - Fax: (310) 558-6199

San Fernando Valley

20051 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Tel: (818) 887-2262 - Fax: (818) 704-0323

Central Valley

4300 Easton Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93309

Tel: (661) 281-1320 - Fax: (661) 302-4193

Click here for maps (and to find directions)