Dr. Joseph Schniederjan and physician assistant Maria Ravanzo have been honored as the Texas Association of Physician Assistants PA-Doctor Partnership of the Year thanks to their work in the Interventional Radiology (IR) Department at JPS Health Network.
Schneiderjan also was named 2018 Doctor of the Year by Acclaim Physician Group.
Widely respected by their colleagues in the IR who nominated the duo for the honors, both were reluctant to take the credit for the success of the department.
“It’s something I never expected and it’s a true honor,” Schniederjan, head of Interventional Radiology at JPS, said of the recognition. “But it’s an honor for the whole team, not an individual honor. It takes the whole team to make us successful in what we do.”
Anne Goodrich, Executive Director of Cardiovascular Services, said IR team members are unsung heroes of the health network, handling thousands of cases a year. IR is a part of the Invasive Labs Department at JPS that includes the Cardiac Cath Lab and Electrophysiology Room. While the Cardiac Cath Lab and EP Room deal with issues concerning the heart, the IR staff deals with maladies of almost all other parts of the body. The people who work there have to be skilled at a wide variety of procedures and be prepared to quickly shift from one to another.
They treat cancer through chemoembolization, perform biopsies of the thyroid, lymph nodes, liver, lungs, kidney and other body parts, drain abscesses, and install central lines, ports and nephrostomy tubes. They can stabilize a fractured spinal column through vertebral augmentation, a process through which bone cement is injected through a small hole in the skin; reduce pain through a radiofrequency ablation; and stop bleeding in patients including stroke and trauma victims by performing an embolization. Those are just a few of the many types of cases they see on a daily basis.
By using imaging including X-Rays, MRI scans, fluoroscopy, computed tomography scans and ultrasounds to see inside the body, IR team members can do extremely precise procedures, placing tiny instruments or doing biopsies exactly where they’re needed, eliminating the need for an open surgery. The field is rapidly expanding and new procedures are regularly added to the list of procedures that can be done in the IR lab.
At JPS, Schniederjan and Ravanzo basically built the IR from the ground up three years ago. It was an attempt to perfect delivery of the rapidly-evolving healthcare field.
“Dr. Schniederjan had a vision to start this clinic and that’s why I came here,” Ravanzo said. “The key is coordination. Everyone works together very closely to coordinate the best care for each patient. Each person here plays an important part in our success.”
Between 15 and 30 people are treated in the IR Department every day, Schniederjan said. The staff’s experience is unsurpassed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Ravanzo has worked in an IR for a total of 10 years. That history allowed her to understand not only the clinical side of providing IR care, but also how to most efficiently and effectively serve patients, according to Schniederjan.
“A project of this magnitude takes great vision, incredible stamina and commitment, and very close communication and trust between parties,” according to the nomination of Schniederjan and Ravanzo for their joint award submitted by their IR peers. “It is without question that Dr. Schniederjan and PA Ravanzo truly represent a Physician-PA team that displays evidence of a collaboration that allows them to both provide much needed medical services to their patients and to our community, greater than either one could accomplish alone.”