Meet the Staff
The IHTC is Indiana’s only federally recognized hemophilia treatment center (HTC). HTCs are specialized healthcare centers that provide comprehensive care to persons with bleeding and clotting disorders. This means that each center provides a team of healthcare professionals who are expert in a diverse range of fields, such as hematology, nursing services, physical therapy, pharmacy services, and social work. The IHTC exceeds national staffing standards and offers additional services, such as career counseling, nutritional counseling, clinical research opportunities, pharmacy services, and outreach programs. For our outreach programs, the IHTC’s multispecialty medical team travels throughout Indiana to bring comprehensive healthcare services to patients living in different parts of the state. The IHTC is also a leader in providing basic and advanced training programs for healthcare professionals at other HTCs. For a list of presentations and publications by nonphysician IHTC staff members, click here.
We invite you to meet the IHTC staff and learn about how they can help you and your family.
- Adult and Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
- Physician Assistants
- Risk Reduction Specialist
- Triage Nurse
- Physical Therapist
- Social Worker
- Dental Hygienist
- Genetic Counselor
- Research Coordinators
- Career Counselor
- Registered Dietitian
Hematologists are physicians who have subspecialty training in the area of blood disorders and diseases. The hematologists at the IHTC have broad–based hematology knowledge, but have special expertise in blood coagulation (the process by which blood forms clots). The IHTC hematologists have a wide range of experience in managing all facets of patient care with both bleeding and clotting disorders, congenital and acquired. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide optimal patient care. The IHTC’s hematologists serve the largest population of patients with bleeding disorders in the United States. This vast experience in the field of coagulation assures patients that they are receiving the best care available. The IHTC hematologists provide the following services:
- Inpatient consultations
- Inpatient primary care management
- Surgical and procedural planning
- Long–term follow–up and ongoing care for patients with bleeding and thrombotic disorders and their complications
- Long–term or intermittent anticoagulation management
- Care coordination and referral as needed
Adult and Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
The IHTC nurse practitioners (NPs) work under the direction of the IHTC physicians. The NPs are responsible for taking patients’ medical histories, performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting laboratory tests, and designing and implementing treatment interventions. The NPs are also involved in inpatient care at St. Vincent Hospital and assist physicians with on-call duties. IHTC NPs perform telephone follow-up and consultation with other providers. They also serve as staff and community educators.
A physician assistant is a licensed medical practitioner, who may provide healthcare services delegated by a supervising physician. A physician assistant must complete an accredited physician assistant program, and obtain certification by passing a national board examination. IHTC’s physician assistants are a talented group of individuals who collaborate with IHTC’s physicians closely and play an integral role in patient assessment, diagnosis, treatment and communication.
Risk Reduction Specialist
The IHTC risk reduction specialist is a physician assistant specially focused on educating patients about potential risks for infection (hepatitis, HIV) and how to avoid these risks. Since many adults with hemophilia have also been diagnosed with hepatitis C and/or HIV, the risk reduction specialist plays a key role in helping these patients manage their chronic, infectious conditions.
At least two triage (phone) nurses are on duty daily during IHTC business hours. The triage nurses are often specialized in handling pediatric patients or adults. These nurses answer patients’ questions concerning immediate healthcare problems and / or prescription refills. When needed, they also refer a patient for further evaluation and care to the IHTC clinic, emergency room or the hospital.
The IHTC pharmacist is responsible for dispensing factor products for bleeding disorders patients enrolled in the IHTC homecare program. The pharmacist oversees factor inventory and provides pharmacological information to patients and physicians. Because the IHTC pharmacy participates in the federal government-sponsored PHS pharmacy program, the IHTC pharmacist has regular contact with insurance companies to answer questions about this program. The PHS program allows the center to dispense clotting factor at discounted prices, providing significant cost savings for patients and insurers. This program also helps keep patients connected with their comprehensive hemophilia treatment center, which has been shown by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality among people with bleeding disorders.
The IHTC physical therapist (PT) helps patients achieve their highest levels of physical functioning. Because hemophilia affects muscles and joints and can severely affect quality of life, the PT works closely with hemophilia patients. The PT helps patients recover from injuries, surgeries and bleeding episodes and advises them about changes they can make in their daily lives. The PT also provides counseling on recreational and athletic activities to allow patients to participate with the least amount of difficulty and risk of injury.
The IHTC social worker evaluates the needs of patients and their families and provides information and referrals to local, state and federal programs such as Children with Special Health Care Needs, ICHIA (Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association), Medicare and Medicaid. The social worker provides guidance on insurance issues, family functioning and child behavioral issues, and assists school-age patients with scholarship programs. The IHTC social worker also acts as a liaison with the local chapter of National Hemophilia Foundation, Hemophilia of Indiana Inc.
The IHTC’s dental hygienist provides dental hygiene information to patients, encouraging them to be proactive in maintaining dental health. The hygienist participates regularly in outreach clinics and comprehensive clinics; and works with HIV–infected patients to help them understand the importance of proper dental hygiene to guard against infections. The dental hygienist triages patient phone calls regarding dental issues and provides dental education to patients, their families and dental and medical facilities throughout Indiana.
Some hematologic disorders such as hemophilia, Von Willebrand disease, sickle cell disease and some forms of thrombophilia are inherited. For this reason, the IHTC has a genetic counselor who works with patients and their families regarding the genetic aspects of their disorders. This may include review of genetic test results, inheritance patterns, and chances of the condition occurring in other family members. The availability, benefits and limitations of genetic testing for the patient and the patient’s family members are discussed. The genetic counselor maintains a database of family trees and identified genetic alterations within patients/families in Indiana. This enables the IHTC to provide improved care for entire families. The IHTC is also involved in multiple research studies analyzing the genes that cause some genetic hematologic conditions and/or play a role in the severity of an individual’s symptoms. The genetic counselor discusses the option of enrollment in these studies with patients and works with researchers at IHTC and at other institutions.
The IHTC research coordinator is responsible for conducting research studies at the center. These studies often benefit the bleeding and clotting disorders communities. After initiating these studies, the research coordinator will invite participation from IHTC patients and perform necessary follow-up for the duration of each study. The IHTC has been involved in investigational drug studies, alternative treatment method studies and quality-of-life analyses. Some of the studies involve international pharmaceutical firms that are in the process of developing more advanced clotting factor replacement products.
The IHTC career counselor plays a critical role in helping patients with bleeding and clotting disorders accomplish goals and have success throughout the lifespan. Bleeding and clotting disorders can impact all areas of a patient’s life, including the patient’s ability to attend school or work. The career counselor ensures that schools provide kids with bleeding and clotting disorders the services they need, such as individualized educational plans and individual tutoring. The career counselor helps high school juniors and seniors in the college search and application process. The career counselor also helps college juniors and seniors in the job search, with a particular focus on jobs where group health insurance policies and other benefits are available. The career counselor is also available to any IHTC patient who is looking for guidance in setting and achieving life goals, regardless of education or occupation.
The IHTC nutritionist/dietitian provides nutritional information and weight management assistance for patients with bleeding and clotting disorders. This involves assessing nutritional needs, making recommendations and providing counseling. The nutritionist/dietitian evaluates patients during comprehensive and outreach clinics and on an as-needed basis in HIV, sickle cell and coagulation clinics. The nutritionist/dietitian also provides information on potentially dangerous interactions between food/herbal remedies and medications.