A Note From Dennis Knox – December 2023
The following letter to the community was published in the Columbia Gorge News on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.
To Our Valued Community:
Last time I wrote to you, we had just recently reached a major milestone in the history of Mid-Columbia Medical Center: we joined the Adventist Health family and started a new chapter as Adventist Health Columbia Gorge. Over the course of the last six months, we have been working to thoughtfully integrate with Adventist Health, bringing the best of our organizations together to enhance the care we provide to this community.
Now, as we prepare to close out the year, I am excited to provide an update on the strides we have taken as well as where our organization is headed in 2024.
A Look Back at 2023
First, as you may recall, Adventist Health pledged to invest capital in the amount of $100 million in our organization over the next 10 years, with $6 million in the first two years for urgent capital needs. So far, this investment has enabled us to make several much-needed infrastructure improvements and updates, including EKG machines and surgical instrument washers. We have also been able to replace fourteen fire doors to keep our facility compliant and are currently upgrading our fluoroscopy/radiography unit, which will help us better meet inpatient, emergency department and outpatient diagnostic needs.
Second, we continue to enhance cancer care in the Gorge. We introduced the new Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator radiotherapy system in April, which has revolutionized our ability to help our patients fight cancer. Since this spring, we have been able to use this incredible technology to treat well over 100 patients.
Then, in September, we welcomed Winnie Wong, D.O., as our new medical director of radiation oncology at Celilo Cancer Center. Dr. Wong came to us from Travis Air Force Base in northern California after serving 16 years in the military. She spent her early years in the Pacific Northwest and completed her radiation oncology residency in Seattle, so she is excited to be back in the region. Though she has only been here a few short months, she has already begun to elevate the experience of our patients and staff alike. We are grateful to have her.
When I asked Dr. Wong how her move to The Dalles was going, her response was worth sharing: “I am so happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest and to work with such a skilled, positive, and proactive team to help the patients of the Gorge region. I have been welcomed to both the hospital and community in such an amazing way, and I am excited to build upon Celilo Cancer Center’s reputation of high-level cancer care and community engagement.”
The ongoing success of Celilo Cancer Center would not be possible without the efforts of Dr. Wong, our amazing team of caregivers and of course, the partners we have at Knight Cancer Institute. Our collaboration with Knight Cancer Institute, which began in April, has allowed us to continue to offer medical oncology services and meet the core needs for cancer coverage in the Gorge after we experienced a provider shortage last year. It has been a wonderfully successful partnership, and we are currently working with OHSU and Knight Cancer Institute to determine how we can continue to work together in the future to best serve our patients.
Where We Are Going in 2024
Building off the momentum of 2023, in 2024, we are continuing to focus on areas that can help us provide the best possible care to those we serve in The Dalles and connect with our communities. In fact, our key priorities are improving the accessibility of primary care services and connecting patients to the providers and care they need.
Right now, we are pleased to report that we have been accepting new patients for several months. We have a full team of primary care providers in internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics. Our experienced team of professionals is ready to serve you and your family with comprehensive and personalized care. We thank you for choosing Adventist Health Columbia Gorge for your primary care needs.
Booking an appointment is easy – simply call:
Family medicine: 541.296.9151
Internal medicine: 541.506.6920
We know the healthcare landscape is difficult and ever-changing, and we are thankful and proud to provide for all those who choose us for their care. In early 2024 our team will launch a community survey to gather your insights, opinions and feedback. This survey will be instrumental in shaping your future healthcare options.
At Adventist Health Columbia Gorge, we have great people doing hard work. As a team, we are working to create a comfortable and accessible patient experience for everyone who walks through our doors. Your continued trust and support empower us to achieve new heights. On behalf of all here at Adventist Columbia Gorge, I thank you.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
President, Adventist Health Columbia Gorge