Divine Savior Healthcare Announces Board of Director Appointments

Divine Savior Healthcare is pleased to announce the addition of Robin Kvalo, Kristen Skolarz, and Chad Stevenson to its Board of Directors. The organization would like to also thank and acknowledge outgoing Board Members Rob Walz, Jack Harkins, Judy Collins, Don Schultz and Sr. Jeanette Clarke for their time and passion. 

Divine Savior Healthcare is so fortunate to have the continued support and incredible talent of our community members serving on the Board. While we will certainly miss our outgoing members, Robin, Kristen, and Chad also embody the spirt of the Divine Savior Mission and share the same desire to strengthen our community. Their expertise in business, education, and public service make them assets to our organization,” shares President and CEO Michael Decker.

Robin Kvalo is the current Principal of Portage High School, a role she has held since 2011.  Prior to this, Robin served as the Principal of Rusch Elementary for 13 years.  She has been an educator for the district since 1994.  In 2016, Robin received the Herb Kohl Leadership Award and the Wisconsin Secondary Principal of the Year award. She received her Bachelors of Elementary Education and Master of Science degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Robin has lived in Portage with her husband Mike since 1993, where they raised two boys. Robin is an active member of Rotary Club of Portage, her church, and the Badger Conference.  She enjoys spending time with her sons and grandchild, traveling, golfing, and antiquing.

Kristen Skolarz is a Lead Program Designer for GE Healthcare, where she has worked for 17 years in various capacities.  Kristen has been recognized for her work as Treasurer of the Marquette County Fair Board and as a member of the Portage School Board, where she served for 12 years. She is a past member of the Marquette County Board of Supervisors, having served five years. Kristen received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology from Marquette University. She resides in Adams County with her husband Gary and enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Chad Stevenson has co-owned the Portage Culver’s with his partner since 1999. Since that time, their business has grown to include 27 Culver’s restaurants in four states and has remained headquartered in Portage. 

His Culver’s restaurants often host “Share Nights” where local schools, groups, and organizations are given a portion of the profit of the day’s sales to support their cause.  Culver’s also hosts fundraisers through their “Thank Farmers” program, which benefit agriculture, FFA, and state 4-H clubs. Chad resides in Portage with his wife Ellen and their four children. In his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and participating in his children’s sporting events, whether coaching or spectating.

Divine Savior also congratulates newly elected officers of the Board, Travis Hamele, Judy Warmuth, Pete Welsh, and Dr. Louis Heitke  on their appointments. Travis Hamele will serve as Chairperson of the Board. Judy Warmuth will act as Vice Chairperson, and Pete Welsh and Dr. Louis Heitke will serve as the Treasurer and Secretary of the Board, respectively.

Divine Savior Healthcare is a non-profit organization, offering services to all regardless of age, background, or ability to pay. In the spirit of our mission, Divine Savior Healthcare is deeply committed to a process of continuously improving the quality of care and services provided in our community. Our hope is to continue to be a resource for improving the quality of life for our family, friends, and neighbors.

 For more information about Divine Savior Healthcare call 608-742-4131 or visit www.dshealthcare.com

2019 Board of Directors

Travis Hamele – Chairperson

Judy Warmuth – Vice Chairperson

Pete Welsh - Treasurer

Lou Heitke - Secretary

Robert Crawford

Mike Decker

Sr. Virginia Honish

Robin Kvalo

Pete Nelson

Frank Probst

Kristen Skolarz

Chad Stevenson

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Experiencing a dull pain in the pit of your stomach

Stomach PainGastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gallbladder disease are two very common disorders. Knowing which one you have may be trickier than you think. Symptoms may be vague, such as a “dull pain in the pit of your stomach”, making it hard for you to explain to your doctor what’s exactly going on.

At Divine Savior Healthcare, General Surgeons, Dr. Eric Anderson and Dr. Joshua Pogorelec, have seen many patients with these symptoms and after further examination are able to help  diagnose and treat both diseases.

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD refers to stomach contents moving into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms may occur as well, such as pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and an acid taste in your mouth.  If this continue, prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus.  This in turn can result in difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Although not all reflux results in symptoms or damage to the esophagus, common symptoms include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Belching
• Difficulty or pain when swallowing
• Waterbrash sudden excess of saliva
• Dysphagia the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
• Chronic sore throat
• Laryngitis
• Inflammation of the gums
• Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
• Chronic irritation in the throat
• Hoarseness in the morning
• A sour taste
• Bad breath
• Coughing at night

What is gallbladder disease?
The gallbladder is located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is made in the liver and allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Any condition that affects the gallbladder is considered a disease, and there are many different scenarios that fall under gallbladder disease:
• Inflammation
• Gallstones
• Common bile duct stones
• Biliary Dyskinesia
• Infection
• Perforated gallbladder
• Gallbladder polyps
• Porcelain gallbladders
• Gallbladder cancer

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec share "the most common disease of the gallbladder is gallstones. Most people with gallstones do not even know they have them.  Once they cause problems, the gallbladder may need to be removed. Symptoms include pain below the right rib cage or in the “pit” of the stomach. This pain may radiate to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms may include, bloating, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, chronic diarrhea, jaundice yellow-tinted skin, or unusual lighter-colored stools or dark urine.”

After taking a closer look at GERD and gallbladder disease, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec are able to provide helpful insight on common distinguishing factors between the two diseases.

Common distinguishing factors:
• Location: Although both may feel like a “pit in your stomach”, if you experience symptoms located closer to your throat or in your chest it is more likely to be GERD related. Symptoms located near your right lower rib radiating into your right upper back, chest and shoulder are more likely to be associated to your gallbladder.
• Pain: Unlike GERD, gallbladder pain usually begins suddenly, and changing positions, belching, passing gas or taking medications rarely helps pain symptoms go away.
• Timing: With heartburn being the most common symptom of GERD, symptoms of reflux are likely to occur shortly after eating, where symptoms of gallbladder disease usually occurs several hours after eating and have more consistent patterns of reoccurrence the same time each day.

What does treatment look like?
The symptoms of GERD are commonly and effectively treated with over-the-counter medications such as anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors. However, if relief does not go away from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by one of our surgeons at Divine Savior.

After a thorough history and physical, our surgeons may recommend further evaluation of the esophagus and stomach with endoscopy.  Similar to colonoscopy, but without the need for prep, upper endoscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate for damage to the esophagus, infection and a hiatal hernia.  Depending on the findings, further testing may be indicated to evaluate the function of the esophagus. 

Patients with severe GERD benefit from surgery to prevent reflux from occurring.  This procedure is commonly performed by both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec, is minimally invasive, and very effective at treating GERD.  In fact, most patients no longer require any antacid medications after the procedure.

If you are found to have stones in the gallbladder causing symptoms, the best course of action is to have the gallbladder removed.  Leaving the stones in place will continue to cause pain and may result in serious infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts, jaundice or pancreatitis. 

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec routinely perform minimally invasive removal of the gallbladder.  This is most often an outpatient procedure and very successful.  After a short recovery, most patients will find their symptoms are gone and they are able to live a normal life. 

If you experience symptoms related to GERD or gallbladder disease, or have concerns about either, it is best to consult your provider for further examination. Treatment for either disease varies person to person, but taking action immediately and being properly treated can help you prevent problems from worsening.

To schedule an appointment with Divine Savior Healthcare General Surgeons, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pogorelec, call 608-745-5176.

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