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New High-tech Scanner in GR Will Give Quick Diagnosis




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new state-of-the-art tool in Grand Rapids will soon be available to patients for the first time in the United States outside of research.

The total body PET and CT scanner has been delivered to BAMF Health at the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids.

The device allows patients to be scanned in a fraction of the time using less radiation and will create more detailed images.

Cheri Gottke, the vice president of molecular imaging and digital radiography with United Imaging, said the technology is revolutionary.

A world first in Grand Rapids: Inside BAMF Health

“The total scan time on this machine is between 30 seconds and, say, three minutes. A normal PET scanner and the normal patient point of view is between 20 minutes and 45, that’s game changing,” Gottke said.

BAMF’s new PET CT scanner on display outside the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids. (May 9, 2022) BAMF’s new PET CT scanner on display outside the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids. (May 9, 2022) BAMF’s new PET CT scanner on display outside the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids. (May 9, 2022) A rendering of BAMF’s new PET CT scanner. (May 9, 2022) BAMF’s new PET CT scanner on display outside the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids. (May 9, 2022)

Dr. Brandon Mancini is the medical director for the BAMF Health in Grand Rapids.

“This type of scanner allows us to see things in the greatest resolution possible so we can see things that are smaller, make better diagnostic decisions or therapeutic decisions from that information,” Mancini said.

The machines range from $10 million to $20 million depending on the configuration. BAMF Health said the machine it purchased cost around $18 million.

Doug Meijer, a BAMF Health board observer and backer, made the purchase possible.

“From what I’m told there’s only 15 in the world, 13 are in China and one is used in California for research so this is the only clinical scanner of this type in the United States,” Meijer said.

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He was inspired to help create the center after being treated for prostate cancer in Germany and wanted to make similar care available and accessible in the United States.

“If you can get a child in here with heart disease or cancer and do a full body scan in one minute, less radiation, less sedation and a clearer image and eventually the cost should be able to come down because we can do so many more per hour,” Meijer said.

Dr. Aron Sousa, the dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine, sees the device as another step in advancing medicine along the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids.

“It’s a great opportunity to help diagnose people and provide therapy and you don’t have to go anywhere to do that. It’s just right here in West Michigan,” Sousa said.

Crews will install and begin testing the machine in the next couple weeks. It will then undergo additional testing from BAMF Health and state regulators. 

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.

Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.

Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.


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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”

5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”


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