Unpacking Inclusivity in Healthcare with Julie Liebo

By | HEALS Pod, News

HEALS had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Liebo, a skilled nursing administrator, who shared her experiences and insights on inclusivity in healthcare. Julie discussed the historical challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in healthcare settings, highlighting the lack of acceptance and discrimination in the past. She emphasized the importance of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all patients and staff members, sharing examples of how she has implemented changes in her facility to support diversity and equality.

Julie’s personal experiences, such as supporting a same-sex couple in her facility and advocating for their rights, showcased the progress that has been made in healthcare towards inclusivity. She also addressed the need for ongoing education and awareness among healthcare professionals to ensure that all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.

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Full Transcript

And welcome back to another episode of the HEALS Pod, where we unpack the different services, the different service lines, facilities, and the people that make up our community here in Las Vegas to be able to tell a story of the thriving healthcare community we have here. I’m very excited to have a special guest I’ve known for many years in the community of her. And this is the first time we’re going to get to know each other and kind of unpack what skilled nursing is, what it looks like, and how to build a culture that’s successful and really impact people’s lives. So without further ado, my guest today is Julie Liebo. How are you doing today, Julie? I’m fine, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be able to have you on. Thank you for having me. I remember your name came up when I was back. I was just becoming a chaplain since you were at Lakeview Terrace. So this was back before you moved into skilled nursing. Yeah, this is a while back. I know it feels like I’ve been in health care for like a year or three. Sometimes I’ll tell that story. I’ll tell people, oh yeah, we’ve known each other for three years. She’s like, yeah, I have a friend. She goes, you were at my daughter’s eighth birthday and she’s 18 now. I was like, oh. So yeah, time flies when you’re having fun. So how long have you been in health care?

JULIE LIEBO: I’ve actually was in healthcare prior to Lakewood Terrace. I was in skilled care as well and worked for the same company. Just took a little bit of a breather. I thought I was ready to go away. But once you’ve been in skilled care, you just you just can’t leave it. Yeah, you have a passion for skilled care. I had to go back and it’s a you know, it’s very different than it’s ever been and it changes every day.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: What would you say, because, so again, when I met you, you were in assisted living. Right. It would seem that it would be much more difficult, cumbersome, and I’m just shooting from the hip here, right? When it comes to skilled care, you’re dealing with a lot more regulations, patients that, you know, are a lot sicker, going through a lot harder of times. It would seem that some people would want to move easier in their career, but you have this passion for skilled care. What is the main difference? What do you think drives you to that?

JULIE LIEBO: You know, there’s so many different things. When I was in assisted living, but prior to that I had been in skilled care my entire career, whether I was a CNA, got my license, grew up in skilled care. And what I get out of skilled care every day I go in there is the dignity and the understanding that, you know, we’re there for more than just caring for the patients. For example, in my building, we have a vent unit. These people have gone through so much tragedy prior to even getting to College Park Rehab.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: That’s a really good point. I’d never even considered that.

JULIE LIEBO: Yeah, and so, you know, normally what happens is families are in that acute phase when they go to the hospital, and what we forget so much is that, you know, they have doctors, everybody around the clock, and when you get that day, kind of that one-on-one care and an acute care for a week or whatever, maybe with a vent a couple weeks, And then all of a sudden that family’s thrust upon the skilled world. And, you know, where they’re sharing a room now with somebody potentially. There’s lots of very, very sick people nowadays in a skilled care. Doctors aren’t there every day, the nurses, the eyes and ears. And so we have to be that person and those eyes and that person who understands that family and that family member.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: That’s a really interesting perspective when you mention that. And I’ll say this because, you know, people used to ask me, so I fell in love with hospice. I had never been exposed to healthcare. That’s how I kind of, my foray into healthcare was through hospice. And it wasn’t until like my second visit, I walked out of a patient’s home and I was just, you know, the sister was there and she was like, thank you so much. And I’m watching her tear up and just, That feeling of gratefulness, for me, it melted me. I was like, man, I could do this forever. And I realized, you know, when people would ask me later on, I was, you know, I eventually moved into marketing. And what I would tell them is, you know, for me, it’s not the marketing piece, because that could be a grind and you could sell anything. But the idea that someone’s just been given the worst news of their life, right? Your mother, you, you know, this is a disease process and there’s nothing else we can do. Typically, human beings, and I would explain this to people, tend to shy away from that. And for me, it was a privilege to be able to step in, to kind of help the family get control, ground themselves, and figure out what is our goals, what are our priorities, what are we here to do? And for me, there’s no words to describe that. It feels like every other problem you solve, I don’t know if you… I always do this every time I get very stressed out, is I’ll watch a Zoom out on YouTube of the universe. And it really puts in perspective how small you are, right? And you’re like, yeah, and you’re only here for 70, 80 years, right? It’s very humbling. But when you can impact people’s lives like that, it feels eternal. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and having the personality that was able to endure that. And it sounds like you’re very much the same way with skill. I’ve never heard anyone describe skill nursing like that.

JULIE LIEBO: Yeah, I feel like, you know, like even before COVID, we realized during COVID, well, I believe I realized a lot before COVID, but like, for example, during COVID, families couldn’t get in for the longest time. And I would read and read and read things on the news or read things in the paper, read things in the news, whatever. that families were not sure what was going on with their loved one, because they weren’t allowed to go into the front door of a skilled setting for the longest time. And then, this is so ironic, but I also heard many facilities decided at that point, well, now’s a good time. We’re going to become a non-smoking facility, and we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that. Now, I’m not a smoker, and I don’t advocate it, but when you just entered a nursing home, and your life is going to be there, really, the smoking is the least of our concerns. So I thought, even something as simple as that, no, we’re not taking that away and we’re gonna find the time to help them and assist them out the door. This is where we’re at right now. But during COVID, we took it a step further and I said, they have to see it’s our loved ones. So we set up around the facility, luckily I’m a one story, and we set up around the facility, FaceTime TVs and chairs and coffee and everything around the whole building so they could sit outside the window and look at their loved one. And if they were not in town, then we would set up FaceTime or Zooms and different things to be able for them to look at. So that’s how I utilized my activities and my social service department during the COVID four years that we were not able to have families in.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: That was a very difficult time, and I couldn’t even imagine what that process would have entailed. I mean, you tell it really briefly in 45 seconds, but implementing a plan like that cannot be easy. But I think you draw on a point, and it’s very easy for us to become… I had a boss one time, someone that mentored me. And I remember the company we worked at, she came in and she was very firm. And, you know, everyone started like throwing a fit and like having a problem. And I was like, well, I don’t know enough to know whether I like her or not. You know what I mean? She seems very strict. She seems very stern. And I’ll never forget one time she walked into the office. She called a meeting because she heard all the people had been, all the chatter. And, uh, and we all sit at this table. She pulls out a whiteboard and she, uh, this was back in hospice. And she starts saying, hey, you know, do you guys know the difference between patient-centered care is? And everyone just kind of sat quiet for a second. She goes, listen, at 7 p.m. on a Friday, nobody wants to run a referral. I know you guys are just like me, none of us want to go and be there. We try to push it off for Monday, we try to push it off for Saturday, on to the weekend nurse, you know, we’ll do whatever we can.” She goes, but because you don’t want to get up and take an hour or two of your day to go help these patients, she goes, you have to stop to consider that these people are now sitting there for 24 hours, if they’re lucky, if you’re going to come the next day, they’re now sitting there for 16, 20 hours wondering what is going to happen. They’re going to be in anguish. They’re going to be in agony. And then she finished it up. So just to be clear, we are not a family here. We are a group of professionals that are here to serve these people that are going through this moment. And it was really funny because afterwards people are still angry. And I was like, I’m fully on board with this, guys. I don’t know what you’re talking about. So maybe I lucked out and my very first administrator was kind of like that. But again, it’s what are you going to prioritize? Sometimes we don’t want to take the extra step. I mean, we’re human beings and we tend to go the path of least resistance. That’s just human nature, right? So no one says, hey, do you want to set up a bunch of chairs outside in the heat? No. But if you taking that extra step means so much for people, why not do it?

JULIE LIEBO: They need to see them. They needed to, you know, all of a sudden the door was slammed. So we had an obligation to come back. And we have very, nowadays in skilled care, they are very sick. Like I said, they would be in the hospital and then all of a sudden, wham, bam, they’re in another facility where they don’t know anybody or whatever. And some of these people are transferred late at night, different things, you know, unfortunately for the healthcare system that we’re in, those things happen. So we do have to jump to the music. And I know I’ve spent the last number of years at College Park making sure that that occurred, that people were on board and trained at every level. And, you know, when I think about this, Diego, I think the biggest issue that I see out there right now is, you know, whenever we advertise skilled care, it doesn’t matter who’s advertising it. It doesn’t matter if it’s CMS. It doesn’t matter if it’s an oxygen company, whoever. Whoever advertises skilled care, if you look at all of the advertisements, it shows people in a way that are probably photoshopped some ways and some places not, but it shows the people playing jumbo board, playing cards.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It’s like a resort.

JULIE LIEBO: Yeah. And the real issue in skilled care is just so far from that. And, you know, I think when families see that and then they get into a nursing home or skilled post acute setting and they see people, I mean, we have people in our facility that, literally were homeless prior to entering a hospital and come in to us, and we still find ways to discharge them appropriately for the first time ever into an apartment if they’re ready to go out of the skilled setting. We just had a thing that showed that our facility and most facilities around town right now, average age is more in the 50s and 60s, so we see a drastic change as well. They’re not all elderly anymore that are in the facilities. When you’re talking about the high-level care that the CNAs and the families give, my heart always goes out to that pulmonary care, that ventilator care, especially in a state like Nevada where there’s 120-degree weather. But we have, unfortunately, people do go through tragedies, from gunshot to botched surgeries to whatever. Those units are, we are it for those families. We’re the eyes, we’re the ears. They hug them, and you know what? We see no lack of care. We don’t see people being worse off. In fact, we actually win people to go home. The staff, what I tell them is we don’t even use the word can’t, because there just isn’t anymore. I don’t know what that referral is going to bring the next day, because everything is so different. But we have begun to educate ourselves to whatever we can expect. And it’s getting quicker and quicker from the hospital to a skilled setting. And what we need to do, not to mention all the different regulations and things today that we’re encountering with change. But I’ve been doing this, so my first lie My first license was back in 1991, so God knows I’ve seen everything over the years and the changes, but there’s still a surprise every day. What I tell my staff, and it never fails, after all of these years, when I walk in that door, I smile. I am happy to be there, and if my staff’s not happy to be there to support the families and the community, then we’re in the wrong place.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: I think that attitude, your point there, it’s very interesting you mention that. I moved over from my position right in marketing, and I took on the role of CEO. And it was very funny. It was very interesting to me the way that people would approach me. And even old friends would all make a joke and be like, oh, Mr. CEO. And they would crack jokes. And it really took me to reflect on why. Why is that joke so pervasive? And I really think that, fundamentally, it goes on the reason that you’re there. And I would tell them, I was like, look, I know you think that CEOs in modern culture are very much seen as people of privilege, people that get all of these benefits. And, that’s not been my experience. And even if it was, I very much feel that this role that I ended up here, and I find myself in a place where I can impact healthcare statewide and really make changes and really drive something in the community. And I feel like I have a duty, right? If I’ve been given this opportunity, that I have a responsibility to live up to that opportunity, not just name drop and, you know, and all of these things, I very much don’t view it as a position of privilege. It’s very much to me as a position of responsibility. What do I owe my community? And I know, I mean, you’re going back, right, you went to 1991. When I was back in the 2000, 1999-2000, I actually, my sister at that time was about 18, 19, and we were playing tackle football at the park. And I was playing with her. She had a three-month-old baby. She was newlywed. She had a three-month-old baby. And sure enough, her husband got tackled. Well, he rolled to the ground, kind of banged his head really quick, got up. We played a couple more. We did a couple more plays. And then he said, hey, my head feels really funny. And then he kind of rubbed it, went off to the side, and then dropped to the ground, started convulsing. Ambulance came. He died on the way to the hospital. I think I sat outside at UMC. It felt like four to six months. We were there for a while. And then back then, because they were young, it was Medicaid. And so it was just denial after denial. And we ended up at Horizon, right by Valley Hospital. And I remember going in there and the treatment. My sister still stays in contact. He was there for about two years and a half before he finally succumbed to pneumonia. But the entire time, I, the way the staff would bond, right? And you would, people are sometimes very quick. I would say this with Desert Springs Hospital back in the day when we’d take my father and be like, Desert Springs, you know, why not Summerlin and why not? I was like, you know, it’s an older building, but everyone’s been there a long time. Like their, their teams are teams. They understand because they’ve all worked alongside each other. And it always brings me back, like I mentioned, back to 1999, when we would walk in, there was nicknames, because she would always bring my niece in. She basically grew up in that rehab, just going on a daily basis. And you think back at those times, the people that took the time to smile, right? It’s misery in there. Nobody wants to go, because it, right, unlike the advertisements, it’s not a resort. If you’re there, it’s because something bad happened. It’s not anything you desire, right? It’s not like they installed a new limb or a robotic leg and you’re going to be faster. I mean, you’re there because something negative happened. And so I very much agree with you. It’s the attitude. And I believe it starts with the administration, right? One of the things I worked with looking at workforce development and workforce pipeline, right, is the difference of what a culture can mean. And the amount of administrators and HR directors that will be, well, people just jump for 50 cents an hour. While sometimes true, that’s not what the data reflects. And, you know, I will bring up studies and say, well, you know, well, no, but that’s what they’re telling me. No, I understand that’s what they’re telling you, that they’re paying them 50 cents, you know. And for me, I stuck with my company. Back then, I was at the same hospice for like six or seven years because of the leader that I had. It really is what kept me there. I got offered more money, but I just really appreciated that. I always felt like my leadership looked after me, not the company’s agenda only.

JULIE LIEBO: Right. And like at my last all-staff meeting, I do a monthly all-staff meeting to make sure that we’re up on all the different regulations and things. That’s the other point is, whether they’re doing the dishes or whether they’re the RN charge nurse, this is their career. They all need to understand what’s going on. So I do a lot of education that way while we do some quick stand-ups on a regular basis every day. I feel there’s a need to bring them real quick and do a 10-minute stand-up. or we do an all-staff, but you know… Like a restaurant, right?

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, exactly. We do a wine tasting. Not quite that way, but actually… Right, but it bonds the team. It brings people together. It makes us feel like we’re a team. Exactly. Not random individuals running around the hallway.

JULIE LIEBO: Exactly. And the last all-staff meeting, not this last one, but the one before, I gave away, talk about people having a culture I believe we have a wonderful culture. I gave over 15 certificates and boss certificates to my CNAs, my housekeepers, my nurses, everybody who had been there more than 15 years. And then there were an additional five or six that were there over 25 years and the longest serving was our charge has been 31 years. I’ve been at it about 20 years. So there’s a lot of longevity in my building and I do believe it’s because they have a tough job and because of my caring for them as well, and I will do anything to care for that staff, because that staff is the one who’s accepting that 8 p.m. Venn patient needs us at the last minute, like you were talking about earlier, and not saying, no, we can’t do it or wait till Monday. We don’t. We’re constantly moving people that we have to accommodate people and to work with the community, with the hospitals. But what works for me is, We do this a lot, like all of our meetings will be with managers, or all of our QAPIs, or quality improvement projects, all that. It’s like, for whatever reason, we seem to have managers. I absolutely make sure the line staff’s involved in every meeting so they can be consciously involved in what, why I’m making this decision, or why all of a sudden are we having to take these heavy care patients, and things like that.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It drops that us versus them mentality. Oh, totally, totally. And it helps them to understand. I mean, even for some that, you know, there may be people whose roles require them to look forward to earning calls and, you know, those kinds of things, that’s the job. But when everyone’s kind of involved in what that, of what that looks like, I think there seems to be a buy-in from people a lot more. And I mean, I don’t even have to say it seems, right? You just mentioned all the certificates you gave out for people that have been there a long time. It makes them feel valued, important, and you never know. It gives people an opportunity to give an idea that you may never have had.

JULIE LIEBO: Absolutely, and they do matter. They’re the ones doing the hands-on care. The other thing I did to make sure, speaking of hands-on and being out there, is about seven years ago or so, I walked out and I realized, wait a minute, my key managers, though, that can help communicate appropriately to the families and to the residents, you know, are scattered throughout the building. So I moved everybody. So when you walk in my building, I’m first, and the door’s open, and they see the administrator. Like, our eyes meet the minute they walk in the door. The next door is the director of nursing, who’s right there in the front. The next door is the social service director, who’s right there in the front. And so we, all of us are, and I tell them, absolutely without exception, our doors remain open. So many times you go into facilities and you know, you have to walk through a hallway to get to the administrator or, you know, another hallway to find the director of nursing. I think that’s exactly why it’s incredible where I work because people can, and they feel freedom enough because when we tour them or we say here’s where we are, this is where you find everybody. And then when you want to speak to the direct care nurse, here’s what the wings look like. Everybody is there for a reason. You know, we can get so caught up in paper pushing, and there are a lot of regulations, and certainly we have to do it.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, I mean, that’s the nature of it. That’s our punishment.

JULIE LIEBO: Right, but we’re really there to listen to them, and honestly, I believe it cuts down on so many concerns that if they know, you know, I put my email specifically and phone number, and it’s never been that abused over the years to families because, you know, we are in a different situation. They’re more long-term. They have, you know, they don’t, you just don’t have the closest and it’s understandable in an acute setting until they get to us where, you know, like what’s going on. I mean, I had a family conference last week with 14 people came, which is really unusual.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Wow, the whole family, yeah, right?

JULIE LIEBO: Yeah, well, they were Filipino. Okay. And they came in from the Philippines, they came in from Hawaii, whatever, and everybody’s like, I said, no, you know, first of all, that’s very cultural and it will be okay. And it was. But they were looking for so many answers, you know. And honestly, when they left, they left thank you notes for everybody and did fine. But just that few minutes of being able to sit down with everybody and let them know, you know, we can’t tell you yes or no, but what we can tell you is people in this condition have done this or, you know, whatever. So to give some hope as they leave long distance. I think the communication, and a lot of times, you know, I will always introduce the certified nursing assistant. I will introduce the nurse on the floor. This is the person you can go to. And the staff are not the same. The staff might be different on a weekend, but they’re not different. They’re our staff, but somebody works, because we have 12-hour shifts, they’ll work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or whatever. So they know that that’s staff that’s current and on board, and they will see all the time.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, it helps. I think it helps a couple ways, right, from the patient side. And I can relate to this, again, being in hospice. You know, sometimes it feels like you’re being told what’s going to be done. That’s typically, through medicine, it’s like that. One of my favorite selling points on hospice was letting families know, we meet as a team. On these days, our doors are open and you are more than welcome. Or, you know, you talk to a family member and they’d say, I just don’t want them to take this medication and blah, blah, blah. Because they’ve always felt that someone walks in the room and says, OK, you’re not doing this, this, this. You’re now doing this, this, this. So they don’t feel like they know who to listen to. And more importantly, they feel disempowered. Right. Disempowered? Unempowered? Right. It was the lunch, is what we’re going to blame. But they don’t feel empowered, is the point. And giving them the ability to say, hey, when you talk to your RN case manager, bring up what meds are important. Before you ever sign paperwork, make sure that you’re good with these medications and with the changes they’re suggesting. We typically don’t bully, and you’re involved in the plan of care. And that goes a very long way. I know for me, every time I worked with a Hispanic population, because I’m Colombian, that was one of the first things that would that I would bring up because they just felt, again, like they were always being told. Not like they were being interacted and they were working alongside them. And at the end of the day, it’s their life that we’re working with, right? Their loved one, etc. And then the second thing that I was going to bring up that, you know, listening to you discuss that, right, is it’s kind of the idea that the general is always in the front. It’s a very different feeling when the general is leading the army versus when the general is sending a letter saying, yeah, tell them to throw their bodies at it. You know what I mean? It’s a different type of commitment and showing your face and being up front and being there, right? I know I would always pride myself as a marketer because whenever I had someone call to complain, I would say, hey, I’m right near your building. Can we hang up? And I want you to say this to my face. I’m not going to run. If we made a mistake, if there was an accident, please let me know what we did wrong so it never happens again. And it was just always showing up and showing face. And that goes a long way for people. We’d all make mistakes. We’re human beings, and I mean, this is the nature of the world that we live in. And so, for me, it was very important that people felt heard, that they felt understood, and that I wasn’t running. Right? And I think your team sees that. Circling around, and I know we wanted to touch on this because we’re coming up on Pride Month, right? And we’ve, a couple of the things that you mentioned as you were speaking really kind of push towards inclusivity, right? Not pushing to put people outside of populations where you feel like you’re another, but you’re a part of that community. I’ve observed you over the years, right, on social media, and it’s always been very interesting because of your push for inclusivity. And so I wanted to delve a little bit into those topics, right? I would like to look at historically, because people that are never a part of a population typically go, well, why are they complaining? What’s the problem? I don’t see what the problem is. And like, well, really? You don’t see the problem as a, you know, as a person not from that community. Whereas when we’re from communities, right, we tend to notice certain things. For me, it was always like, yeah, if you get pulled over, son, roll down all the windows. It just makes the police more comfortable. And it wasn’t until a friend of mine that was American, he was just like, huh, that’s really interesting. I never thought about it. I was like, yeah, I thought that’s, I always did that. And honestly, it’s a smarter thing to do. They’re very on edge. So just roll your windows down and keep them calm. But I never realized where that comment came from, right? And so, I want to ask you, uh, things historically of how they may have been different and what you have pushed to change. I was thinking on how to unpack this, right? And we could sit here and say, what do you do now that is amazing? But I’m sure that this is something that not only has unfolded, but is continuing to unfold, right, as our, as our culture progresses forward, as we look for better, um, just merely for the, for the point of better outcomes. So can you tell me a little bit in the 90s what that may have looked like when we looked at, right, the inclusivity? I wanted to show a little bit of progress, hopefully, right? Hopefully. And I’m sure the world was very different then. And so, yeah, I’d like to figure out what were things like key things that you would see or you might notice or observe that were kind of irritating that you thought, you know, when I grab the helm, I’d like to see things differently.

JULIE LIEBO: Right, well, obviously it was virtually unknown in the 90s.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It wasn’t something you do. It was a don’t ask, don’t tell was the policy.

JULIE LIEBO: Yeah, you don’t come out and say whatever. But I’ve actually felt, even as an administrator, I felt that discrimination in a company early in the 90s where I have a wife of 30-some years, 35 years. You know, she ends up having a one-time bad illness and, you know, it comes into focus that, why are we paying for this woman? And, you know, it brings up this, oh, they’re gay. And all of a sudden, my numbers weren’t right. I’ve always been a very successful administrator and I lose my job. We all knew it because I’ve been there before and we all knew it was very subtle, but it was because, you know, something was influencing here and it wasn’t my performance. Whatever, you move on. But from the 90s, I would say it wasn’t in most of the handbooks even where we don’t discriminate on sexual preference or same gender, however you want to put it, wasn’t even there. And even in the company I work with, which is pretty progressive actually, and I’m very proud to say I work for Fundamental because they really did take a look at it early on with me. Like, what can we change? What can we do? And we did, we did some, you know, they added to the employee handbook, which was fantastic, you know, finally way back when. Now there’s a lot of programs and we see, you know, under CMS new rules that are acknowledging that there are same sex couples that are entering nursing homes, things like that. I did a subtle thing like just all of a sudden one day I took out the male and female bathrooms and made them gender free. And no one ever, ever said another word. They’re gender free. And also when you walk in the door, I put up a very unassuming equal rights sign on the door of the facility. And we have proudly given our brochures out with a pride flag on it at different things because the company has also supported that. But along with all of that comes, and so if I bring it internally into my building.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: If I may interrupt really quick, so what year, for example, the manual that you mentioned, at what year? Because I’m assuming in the 90s, coming out of the 80s, must have been a pretty difficult time. Yeah. Coming into the 90s, it was maybe a little easier, but it wasn’t that much easier, I’m assuming, right? Yeah, we’re talking 2000, probably, you know, 10 maybe. It took a while.

JULIE LIEBO: And then now we’re You can’t force that, and I think sometimes people, we look at our main tool, the MDS right now, now we have to all of a sudden say, what do they prefer to be called? Who are they? What are they doing? I remember years ago, this is a very interesting story. Years ago, I had a woman in my facility. This would have been a little bit later on. I had a woman in my facility that was very sick. And after going in, and it wasn’t, we didn’t even have to ask people that. We didn’t have to acknowledge it. Nobody cared whether somebody was gay or not. And in speaking with her, we found out she had a partner in a facility in town here in Nevada, one in Henderson, and she was in my building. Come to find out they had been together for 20 years and had not seen, they were in separate nursing homes. They’d never seen each other, and they were bedridden. So I worked with that administrator at that point. I mean, there’s a lot involved in it, but I worked with that administrator and brought that person to my facility. And I have to tell you, because back then, now they’ve both since passed away, but back then, even putting two women in the same room was… It was like a nightmare for everybody. I’m like, no, this is this is her because same-sex marriage was not legal either at the time Okay, this is their partnership of 20 years. And yeah, that’s very true.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Everybody If you had a dog if you had a friend for 20 years, they’re gonna be a pretty big part of your life Let alone if now dad Romantic relate, you know what? I mean pretty significant significant individual.

JULIE LIEBO: Exactly. And when we moved the beds together, oh God, that was really pushing. And I said, why? What’s the problem? Again, before they entered nursing homes, they had all these years together. So we’re going to give them those years before they die. And we did. But that was probably the most tragic thing I had seen. But I know some of that still goes on because people haven’t taken the time to ask or to get to know. But moving fast forward to more recently in the last few years, I did work with, at the time, Comagine, and I worked with CMS, and we worked together to put a pilot program together, and I helped consult on that. Unfortunately, COVID hit right about that time as well. designed pins that if they went through this whole training and they understood what to look for with both gay, trans, lesbians, whoever, that they would look and know what to ask. Example being, you can get, and I have this in my building, you can get a trans individual in your facility that has not completely transferred, or has not completely finished that transition. So instead of, you know, we realized in that video that the first time, it happened to be a physical therapist, helped to assist with removing their pants to help them. get cleaned up, and of course, seeing the fact that there was maybe a male autonomy and a female on this person still, they went, you know, like, oh my God, what do I do? And not to laugh, not to do anything, but to understand was very critical. And so, and everybody’s thinking it won’t happen. I have two people in my facility right now that have not finished transition because of illness. So we deal with that every day. And I know that there are other places in our community that that’s happening. I remember recently when I had two guys, they were married, and I had two guys, and I happened to go into the room to introduce myself because I hadn’t met the husband yet. Now picture this, Stigl, this is even more current, so we still have a little ways to go. So here’s the husband sitting in a chair in the room, talking to the patient in the bed, right? And the nurse is facing the patient in the bed, and I’m watching this whole conversation, and never once kind of turned over to bring the husband into the conversation. So when she walked out the door, I just followed her out. Great nurse. And I just said, I just want to point out one thing to you. I said, do you know who that man was in the chair next to him? Yeah, that’s his partner. I said, it’s his husband. I said, you never acknowledge the husband during the conversation. So this is what we’re going to be training. But if that was, think about this, if that was a heterosexual couple and the husband was sitting in a chair and the wife was in the bed, you automatically would be turning and bringing that husband into that conversation. So we have to learn to observe and to look. So now we try to find a little bit more of that up front so that people know. You gotta remember, the majority of us, myself included, after 35 years, I had said earlier, when my partner got sick years ago, I couldn’t get past the door of the ER. I could not get past that door. Like, are you family? Yes. But we weren’t legally married yet. We had documentation, but we weren’t legally married. And it wasn’t until I was, because she was very ill, and it wasn’t until I practically screamed at the top of my lung that a pastor came out of God knows where and helped me to get through the door and to see her. But we’ve certainly come a little bit further, but I can’t tell you how many times people will walk into a place and they’ll go, who’s the real mom? Who’s the real dad? We have two children that we adopted years ago. Who’s the real mom? Well, we’re both real moms. But, you know, we see that when they walk in the door. We try to find out, well, currently I have three gay couples in my facility and two trans, and they need that care. And they remain in that facility because they’re acknowledged for their relationship. And we actually offered to have, because my wife happens to be a pastor, we had even said we could marry them to help them financially, because they didn’t know. But even bigger than that, that’s why my staff stay. This is the other thing. I have several staff that have come out in the facility, just have never worked anywhere where I’m accepted, and I’m not going anywhere. I can provide this care for you, because you acknowledge who I am.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah. I mean, from the get-go. It’s unbelievable. Yeah. It’s unbelievable. We live in a world, and I’ll say this, because I am, and I tend to be a little bit more man’s man, and when I, I say that in a traditional sense, right? But at the same time, I was very close with my sister growing up. So people are like, well, how do you understand? I just know my sister, and I understood her and saw the struggles she would go through, and I tried to put myself in her shoes. And then, right, when I was a little bit, I want to say middle school homophobia was a little more popular. It started kind of phasing out. One time I was in high school, I was like, yeah, this is kind of terrible, right? to go to that extent. And it feels like we’re very much in a reactionary world. And it always reminds me, there’s an expression, right? Talking is the cost of being heard. And unfortunately, everyone’s been giving a microphone. So now nobody’s listening to each other whatsoever. And we’re all just trying to tell everyone, you know, they’re going on recently about this, this football player that made this speech, and I don’t want to get too political on this podcast, but But one thing that is blowing my mind is how it’s just, I’m watching these two sides form. And I was like, guys, first of all, right, because then you have the women that are like, oh, women shouldn’t just be. And I was like, if that’s what she wants to do, like, why are we telling other people what to be and what to do? If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, great. The football player’s mom’s a physicist. Great. I mean, everyone should be able to reach for whatever potential they want to aim for. And I would feel in a health care setting, and this came in mind, one of my, I want to say my fourth patient, was fascinating to me. This is back when I was a chaplain. He had no family. When his spouse died, he walked out of the front door and left everything there and went to Brazil. So he lost everything. Now, as I started unpacking, now he was living in a studio apartment by himself. He had been with his partner for about 60 years. And so I remember talking to him and being like, what is Like, I can’t imagine what being gay is in 1950 in Brazil, right? And for him, it was kind of funny because he was like, actually, it was a very pleasant experience. I did a really good job in the military. And I was like, wait, you were in the military too? So he had a good, uh, a good, uh, he had a, he would share a lot of insight on what his experience was. And he had a lot of video. They, they, they did very well. And he came from a very, very well-to-do family, which was the tragedy. When he walked out, there was paintings from the 1700s. from the 1800s. I mean, he really had, he was like, yeah, I left all of this. And so it was very interesting how it really hit me hard how badly hospice had let him down. Because his husband had died and he was in a different, anyone that would have spoken to this man could have seen, hey, he’s a very high risk, bereavement risk. Like we really need to stick with him. And they just kind of let him go. And I think this crosses over all bounds, right? Because we have this on the one push, the push for equality for women for all four. And then there’s now this push for like, yeah, men don’t have friends. And as I’ve grown older, I see this, that the loneliness that exists in men and I start Sometimes we try to outdo each other with what we’re going through. And I’m just sitting here thinking like, hey, do you guys not realize we’re all going through something? Like, this is precisely the point. And for me, what must have been really hard looking at the examples that you’re giving, I put myself in the world that I grew up in, which wasn’t as hostile. I couldn’t imagine growing up in the 50s and 60s where we had to lie about our relationship our entire lives, and now I’m bedridden. How much more vulnerable can you be as an individual? I’m dependent on these people. What a great opportunity to be able to give them a chance to be seen. probably for the first time in their life, at least very much in healthcare, if someone would have just asked, for 20 years they live separated, right? And I think it speaks more to the issue of not just how we’re treating a specific population, but really how we’re treating all patients from a point of understanding and comprehension, right? And just learning to listen. Which is a little hard, you know, again, we’re very busy. Like I always joke, right? I don’t see healthcare workers like bored sitting around. It’s like a social worker. They’re all very busy and they’re all going through things, etc. All these things are happening. And so to be able to take that time and to be able to guide your staff, do you ever have staff that are resentful when you say things like that? Is there a pushback?

JULIE LIEBO: I have not had any pushback to be quite honest, but I do go to orientation right away and I let them know what our goals are and what we do. I do place, there’s some signs throughout my building and the break room and other areas too that say we accept all. I have everything I can up there that says we celebrate our diversity. I make sure we do all kinds of parties for every potential person that comes into the door that’s an employee so that we recognize who they are. And so I think as we continue to do that kind of thing, they do stay because they do feel like people know who I am. And so I haven’t really felt resentment, but I do let them know in orientation. I said, I’m really sorry if this is a problem. We could talk about this, but this is who we accept, and these are the kinds of patients, and these are the staff that we accept when they come out. We have a staff person that transitioned completely in our facility, and she’s very, very happy. I believe in my heart and heart she couldn’t have done that anywhere else with the dignity that happened there. So I think we’ve still come a long way, or we’ve made a lot of good strides. We really have. The problem’s going to be, and like you say, it’s people in general, and the problem’s still going to be that health care, it’s about getting better, and it’s about accepting the family. So we have to, whether we want to hear the answer or not, we have to hear about it. We have to ask. We have to say what about them. And in a lot of cases, families are a little bit still embarrassed by what, you know, who this person is or how they live their lifestyle.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, because they still have that mindset. Again, just because we’re here now today doesn’t mean I was raised like that for 40, 50 years. I had the one, actually, this patient that I was telling you about, I remember one time I brought up and I was like, hey, look, they legalized gay marriage. And he goes, Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. That is unacceptable, unacceptable. I was like, you were with your partner for 60 years, right? And unfortunately, I mean, progress is slow, but we sometimes have this attitude that recognizing someone else means ignoring somebody. And I just, that’s where I get frustrated in today’s culture. I get very frustrated because it’s always a, well, you know, um, an either or. Right? It’s never the and. And like, oh, also there’s these people that need to be seen as well. And I don’t know if it’s just my life trajectory because I, again, going through the, on the issue with trans people, uh, as I was speaking with, I had a friend and, uh, and one time they sprung the news on me and I was like, huh. And so, and it really just led to me asking a tremendous amount of questions. And as I was learning, it would really help me, oh, okay, I see where you’re coming from. Do we agree on everything a hundred percent? No, not necessarily. And she would get sensitive. She’d be like, well, I just think, and I’d joke and pry and be like, oh, they’re definitely giving you too much estrogen, right? And we’d have fun with it. But it was always, again, going and circling back, hey, you know that I love you as a friend, that I care about you, and I want what’s best for you. And if you think this was what’s best, and sure enough, I mean, what she’s blossomed into versus who she was back before she transitioned, it was a night and day difference. And so I’m just like, yeah, if this is what has given you fulfillment, as opposed to being suicidal and wondering why you’re here all the time, I mean, what is the alternative, being forced into this mold. And so again, going back to that, just that approach of understanding and also the inclusivity, which for many people, again, if you grew up in San Francisco, you’re going to think, well, I don’t know, why is everyone complaining about discrimination? It may be a little different if you’re from Dayton, Ohio, right? It’s very different lives. And I would hear people sometimes I had a friend one time that said that, well, I just don’t understand what all the protests and the problems with race that’s going on. And I was like, really, as a blonde-haired white girl, you wouldn’t see what the problem with race is, even for me growing up in Las Vegas. It’s a lot more diversified. I went to seminary in Dallas, and it really put it into perspective. I was working alongside a food runner who was much older than I. And he told me I mean he made a comment I was like, huh and he goes yeah I remember when you know They would put the white people in the front and then us Mexicans would ride in the middle and the black people would go in the back and it was always history to me it always happened like so far back and I was like Wait, you saw that? I mean I which I should have known because I know the dates and I enjoy history But it really just brought that to like to life it added color to a painting and I realized wow This wasn’t that long ago Right? We might think that because we’re learning about it in a book, but this man is telling me, no, that’s how it was and this is how we treated each other. It’s just very interesting. Again, circling back to that, to the comprehension and understanding and listening and again, acknowledging populations. What areas do you think we could work on as a community in general? You’ve implemented some pretty great things. I know there’s people that may be listening. There may be even people rolling their eyes and being like, oh, here we go again. And I want to leave, Right? That’s why I wanted to focus on the history first to understand, you know, we’re coming from somewhere. It’s not like we just decided to complain all of a sudden. Right. What do you think we can, what small steps do you think that other administrators, buildings, health care workers, staff members, you know, offices, what small steps could we take to help to further that?

JULIE LIEBO: Yeah, I think, you know, it really helps probably to sit and talk with your staff first. I think you’ll find that a lot of staff in your building probably are gay or are, to be honest, are trans. We’re in every building. They’re in every building. And once they kind of understand what they go through, I think we can understand what the patient population will be going through. But it’s going to be very small steps. And this didn’t happen overnight. We’ve come a long way, like I say, from not acknowledging same-sex couples to today being open on a referral that says this person is trans or this person has a husband.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: You know that or a wife that yeah, you know is you brought up that acknowledgement piece I so honestly, I never even took that into account now that you bring that up I’m like combing through my history. This is my stories thinking, huh? Yeah, did I ever do that? Because it’s again we have this behavior that it’s just in us We’re not thinking about how we’re interacting with every person right each one of us is kind of the way we are Sometimes we have to take that step back and be a little more conscious about how we’re engaging, right? That was a very interesting poem, a very interesting story, because, yeah, I wonder if there were moments, right, where I just was going about the average? Because I know, for example, so my father died from kidney disease. He ended up having kidney failure. He had a rare disease that shut his kidney down. There came a point where we had to make a decision. Now, for a Hispanic to go on a hospice, you’re already fighting an uphill battle because they will tell you, I’m not giving up. I’m not giving up. That’s not what we do. And then number two is we’re not sending them to some place, right? And so I remember The first thing I’d always bring up, if I was dealing with a Hispanic family, I would say, okay, so hospice is not a place, it is a service where you are. It allows, you know, and then I would explain that to them. And if it ever turned into the, if I ever looked, right, and you looked at, it was kidney failure and they weren’t gonna do dialysis, I would walk in and say, hey guys, I can give you this big, long speech on what hospice is, and I feel like it’s very important. I’d like to give you literature, but just, you know, so we’re not here for one hour entertaining ideas. If you choose this service, he will have to stop dialysis.” And the family would be like, absolutely not. Okay, I wanted to save us. There will come a point where you have to make that decision. Let’s get that out of the way. I’m not here to sell you anymore because you already told me you will not, you’re not willing to discontinue dialysis. But here’s what the future may look like. There may come a point where he’s too tired, where it’s this, and I would kind of explain it. I would approach it completely different than I would, you know, people from other cultures because I had an understanding of what, right, I was raised Hispanic. So it’s very interesting, again, when we start thinking of different, of different people from different backgrounds and learning how to connect with them. which we see statistically the benefits, the outcomes that we have in patients’ lives when we do that. We just see better results in people. And at the very least, if you don’t care about any population and all you’re worried about is that, is those end of the quarter calls where you’re looking at your earnings, it very much will impact your bottom line. I mean, if you’re treating patients better, if they’re being seen, if they’re being heard, and again, this goes, I was sharing with you before we started the podcast, there was a new study that came out, that as a woman, if you have a female provider, you will have much better outcomes. So these things are not too distant. They’re not too far from home. We all have a sister, we all have a mom at the very least, right? So having an understanding, there is a lot of benefits to this. It’s not just simply a burden. It’s not simply that. But the outcome is a better world. And I don’t think a better world’s ever been forged easily, right? I don’t think the people that landed after crossing over the Atlantic was like, well, that was really simple. What if we just push west, right? It always required optimism that change could happen, that we could get somewhere better. And then it took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make that happen. And I feel like we’re still at the early ages. You know, it’s really funny you brought up gay marriage. Yeah, I saw that happen, and it still feels like it was a really long time ago, and it wasn’t even a problem. I always relate to a story. I remember a physician calling, and there was a couple inside of the ICU. He was yellow. He was jaundiced. She goes, he probably has a few days to live. I’ve called eight chaplains, and they all refuse to marry him. And I was like, but what do they need? Well, just someone to come fill out the paperwork and do the ceremony. I was like, wait, really? And everyone was worried about what their needs, wants, desires, everything. I was like, at the very least, just for the ease of the legal paperwork and everything that the partner is going to have to go through, I say partner because eventually they’re a spouse. So I went in there, and I got a little nothing but cake, because you couldn’t have a wedding without a cake, right? And I was just like, come on, man. It just seemed very heartless to me. Right? You’re already dying. And you really got to stick it to them one last time, huh? Just to prove your point. I mean, have some humanity. At the very least, it seems like, uh… When an eight-year-old is dying of leukemia, you’ve got to come and tell them, hey, Santa Claus is not real. You get what I’m saying? It just seems like cruelty to a certain point. You’ve got to set yourself aside and your own feelings aside to be able to serve. What else do you see towards the future? What are you excited about? What is your outlook? I mentioned that there’s one of my favorite expressions is, optimists build the future. So we have to remain optimistic. What are you optimistic about?

JULIE LIEBO: You know, I’m optimistic that, always optimistic and believe that we will be a world of peace. I really believe at some point we’re going to learn to respect each other, every culture, everything. I really do in my heart of hearts believe that. And as I see, like even something as simple as when we changed our mission packet to read you know, person one or person two, not husband and wife or child or whatever, you know what I mean? Son, daughter, whatever. I mean, little things like that matter 100% when you’re looking at, you know, paperwork and you’re looking, it gets people thinking a little bit of, you know, what are we doing? Who’s out there and who are we representing? So I’m very optimistic and at some point, we’ll have enough education behind us that people will understand the types of patients that they are taking. and who they’re bringing in and not do any laughter. I mean, I had a, this was a really interesting one, story. I had a trans individual who got shot here in Vegas in a bar, and she had, she was a dancer. In training the staff, which we do all the time about diversity and whatever, she and she gussied up every day. I mean, she and her friends would come in and it really, the facility was a blast. The therapy department was so great after education that they actually taught her to dance in heels. You know when she was getting her they were doing all the gait exercises and everything not just to you know be able to stand up and walk 10 feet down the hallway but no this person’s going to do some high kicks again or go into the bar and whatever and it was a it was so fun to this day she’s actually moved now to the Midwest but I I still stay in touch with her on Facebook all the time, you know, how she’s doing and whatever. But I think if we can get to that point where people have that kind of fun and acceptance of people’s lives and want an interest in learning who they are, obviously somebody saw that, like you said, women being cared by women might change the outcome. Well, the more staff that can relate to patients, too.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, I think in general, I mean, that study happened to study women, but it just feels, again, you’re being seen and heard.

JULIE LIEBO: Exactly. And so if they can walk in and even me, I mean, there’s been several times where, you know, we’ve been chosen as a facility because of who I am. It’s like, well, I’ll feel comfortable going into that facility because there’s going to be an understanding of who we are.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: I won’t be another one of those, right?

JULIE LIEBO: But it’s the same thing. You know, we take people of major size. And so I, when I started that years ago too, I said, look, We want to continue to take these people, and we can’t take one. I want to take, you know, three or four at any given time, because nobody wants to deal with people that kind of size. And we have now built that program within the facility as well. And so there’s a dignity behind that. There’s a dignity behind being trans and being in that facility, or gay in that facility. Very important. You know, that’s, in most cases, that becomes their home. We’ve got to understand who we’re caring for inside and out. Otherwise, they’re just laying away the way that they were before. If they’ve got nothing left but living in that type of facility, why should they go on more years to come without being able to come out and say who they are? I don’t know how to explain that, but it’s the saddest thing in the world when you’re closeted. Your life just goes by, and you want to share who you’re in love with, or you want to share who shares every moment with you like any other partnership, and you can’t. So we have to look. I tell all administrators, you have to look. You have to want to teach.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: I agree. I agree with you 100%. And I think that one of the major things, which it’s really funny now, I always show it to people when people are kind of When I see them as stubborn or where I see them as like really firm on their positions I’m like, hey, let me I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this video There’s a video from the 70s where they made it illegal to drink and drive And I and I always tell people I’m like if you don’t know right I saw this with like the mask Oh, you’re not gonna tell me and there is a video of a news station interviewing people And there is literally a woman with a beer in her hand and a baby in the front seat right in the in the strap And she’s saying well, you know now they want to come and tell us that we can’t drink and drive and but you know if a man is right somebody else like well You know if a man wants to put in a hard day’s work and have a beer on the way home What’s wrong with that? I’m like Yeah, that’s how people used to be. You’d sound pretty dumb if you said something like that, right? And so we have to hope that some of this will stick and slowly things will progress and things will change. So I very much admire your optimism in what you just said. It does sound I find it frustrating that it has to be a naive statement or come off that way, because I don’t think it is. We have to hope for something. But if not, what are we doing? Right? There has to be a better future. We need to pay for ourselves. And unfortunately, the tribalism that kind of comes in us, maybe it can go towards other things, like, you know, people on other planets. No, I’m kidding. We can get it against them. They’re, they’re, no. But that we can learn to kind of unite and bring those things together. For me, I always drive home the point to be just, just listen. Just listen to where they’re coming from. And if you ask the right questions, you know, typically you don’t have, now there are some people that are just, you know, they’re just trying to outrage and bait for those things. But if you really listen to where people are coming from, it seems to make sense. We’re all shaped differently. And so our experience are different and you’re always going to be better off. You’re never going to be worse off for having more knowledge on how people or how the world is. So at the very least, even if you disagree at the end of that, at least you can kind of come together on the fact that you have learned a little bit more and you know a little bit more, and you’re more educated on your position if you choose to, you know, continue to hold that. Maybe you’re going to tolerate now and accept later. Who knows? But just remember the 80-year, right, the 1980s alcohol video. You can YouTube it too. God, it’s so funny to go back. I still continue to go back and watch it. I’d be like, wow, people really used to argue that. They got upset about big government telling them that they couldn’t drink and drive. Yeah, exactly. We have come a long way. Well, thank you very much for coming on. I told you it would only be about 45 minutes and we went well well over that but this is a very interesting conversation and more importantly I think it’s a conversation that needs to be had on a more frequent basis. I really appreciate it. I always tell my guests it’s very interesting the way you kind of connect over a podcast with people. You wouldn’t think it because you’re like, well, what is he gonna ask, right? And I’m thinking what am I gonna ask? Yeah, exactly. But I like when the conversations come out natural like this and we just kind of find out a little bit. I didn’t dig into your past, but you mentioned something right as a CNA and working in skilled nursing. So I appreciate you being able to share a little bit about your experiences and what you’re doing to pave a better way in our community to be able to serve the people in our community. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you very much for coming in, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for tuning in for another episode of The Peels Pod. Have a wonderful day.

Revocation of Lifeguard Waivers for Las Vegas Athletic Club Pools Upheld

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After hearing an appeal by Las Vegas Athletic Clubs (LVAC), the Southern Nevada Health District issued an order today upholding its decision to revoke a variance that allowed LVAC to monitor pool users via video camera in lieu of an in-person lifeguard. An important factor in the Health District’s decision was video showing an incident in February 2024 in which an LVAC customer died in one of its indoor pool facilities. The Health District order provides a timeline for the incident showing a person in distress for approximately twenty minutes, without a response from LVAC.

LVAC received a variance in 2020, and several other gyms subsequently applied for and received similar waivers that allowed pool user monitoring through a video feed instead of a pool-side lifeguard. In subsequent inspections over the next four years, the Health District determined these waivers were not adequate to ensure the facilities were protecting the public after two serious incidents occurred, including the death, and repeated failures by facilities to meet the requirements of the variance. Since the lifeguard exemption for gyms was granted in 2020, there have been 29 pool closures at 21 locations due to failures to comply with requirements. Specific safety plan requirements that were not met included failing to provide active remote monitoring of the pool area and documented walk-throughs of the pool area by facility staff.

The Health District’s Aquatic Facility Regulations were enacted by the Southern Nevada District Board of Health in 2018 after four years of extensive public workshops to solicit input from stakeholders and the public. Following approval of the regulations, Health District staff provided training during a one-year implementation period at industry outreach meetings and made the training available online.

The regulations are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Model Pool Code and Nevada Administrative Code. The Health District’s regulations are posted on its website at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/permits-and-regulations/aquatic-health-program/regulations/, and the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code is available at www.cdc.gov/model-aquatic-health-code/php/about/index.html.

Following the Health District’s action, several gym pools affected by the revocation have resumed operations under a lifeguard plan approved by the Aquatic Health Program or have lifeguard plans under review, including the following locations:

EōS Fitness

3325 E. Russell Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89120

8125 W. Sahara Ave. Ste. 100, Las Vegas, NV 89117

4520 N. Scott Robinson Blvd., North Las Vegas, NV 89031

3511 St. Rose Pkwy., Henderson, NV 89052

UFC FIT (pending approval)

5651 Centennial Center Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89149

Select Health Strengthens Commitment to Nevadans with New Headquarters and Opening of Intermountain Health Clinic for Select Health Members

By | News

Select Health Strengthens Commitment to Nevadans with New Headquarters and Opening of Intermountain Health Clinic for Select Health Members

Select Health announces the grand opening of its new Nevada headquarters and Intermountain Health Maule Clinic for Select Health members.

The new Select Health headquarters serves as a hub for all members to access care, explore health insurance products and services, ask questions face-to-face, and receive immediate assistance. The building also features a dedicated event space for hosting information sessions during health insurance enrollment periods for both Medicare Advantage and commercial insurance plans.

The Intermountain Health Maule Clinic provides specialized primary care for Select Health Medicare members, ensuring Medicare beneficiaries receive high-quality preventive care. Additionally, the clinic offers traditional primary care services for commercial Select Health members, expanding healthcare options for the community. Providers Catherine Bautista, MD, and nurse practitioner Johanna Lim care for patients at the new clinic.

“This grand opening marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance healthcare access and quality for Nevadans,” said Jason Worthen, president of the Select Health Desert Region. “Our new headquarters and clinic are a one-stop shop for care, support and service to help simplify our members’ healthcare journey.”

News media are invited to attend the grand opening, which will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, speeches from key leaders, tours of the new facilities and opportunities to interview Select Health and Intermountain Health leaders following the event. 

10 a.m.-Noon, PT, Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Rob Hitchcock, president and CEO of Select Health
Jason Worthen, region president of Select Health
Catherine Bautista, MD of Intermountain Health Maule Clinic
Johanna Lin, nurse practitioner of Intermountain Maule Clinic

Select Health and Intermountain Health Maule Clinic
6795 Agilysys Way
Las Vegas, NV 89113

About Select Health
Select Health® is a nonprofit health plan dedicated to simplifying access to healthcare for its more than 1 million members across the Mountain West. Through a shared mission with Intermountain Health of Helping People Live the Healthiest Lives Possible®, Select Health is committed to making this possible through simple, sincere, and seamless experiences and products. Centered around member needs, Select Health offers commercial and government medical plans, as well as dental, wellness products, and pharmacy benefit management. For more information, visit selecthealth.org.

About Intermountain Health
Intermountain Health operates medical facilities in Nevada and in five other western states. Intermountain is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 4,600 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs.

June is 2024 Men’s Health Month

By | News

Health District urges men to take control of their health and wellness

 Observed each year during June, Men’s Health Month spotlights health and wellness issues faced by all men. Throughout the month, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) reminds men to take charge of their overall health by implementing health-centered decisions.

Men’s health issues will be front and center at an annual Shop Talk event later this month. “Shop Talk: Cut to the Chase” takes place Thursday, June 27, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Masterpiece Barber School, 3510 E. Bonanza, Las Vegas, NV 89110. Presented by the Barbershop Health Outreach Project in collaboration with the Men’s Room, the free event – for men only – will feature health care experts leading discussions on general men’s health, cardiovascular health, erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer. Registration is encouraged; go to Shop Talk Presents – Get Healthy Clark County.

An estimated 13.8% of men in the United States are in fair or poor health, and women outlive men by nearly six years. Diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes affect men to a greater extent than women. While these conditions can, in many cases, be prevented through regular check-ups and healthy choices, men are much less likely than women to see a doctor or report symptoms to a health care provider.

Early detection through cancer and other health screenings are essential for improving survival rates and maintaining good health. With services including annual physicals, chronic disease care, and sick visits for minor illnesses, SNHD operates the Southern Nevada Community Health Center at the following locations:

  • 280 S. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89107, open Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • 2830 E. Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89104, open Tuesday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

SNHD also urges men to check out the myriad prevention and self-management resources on the Get Healthy Clark County website. The site addresses many important health issues affecting men, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, smoking cessation and nutrition.

Tobacco use is just one health indicator where men fare worse than women. In Nevada and nationwide, more men than women smoke cigarettes and/or use electronic vapor products. Nationally, 13.1% of men currently smoke cigarettes and more than 250,000 men die every year from smoking. In Clark County, 15% of men smoked cigarettes in 2022. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Get Healthy Clark County offers significant free resources on quitting the habit, including theNevada Tobacco Quitline.

The CDC’s cheat sheet on men’s health cancer screenings is a valuable resource that offers crucial information regarding the optimal timing for colon and lung cancer testing. Additionally, it advises talking with a primary care physician about screening options for prostate and skin cancer.

To manage risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, visit the Manage Your Risk section of the Get Healthy website. Visit the Community Calendar for a schedule of free blood pressure checks at participating barbershops.

For people with diabetes or prediabetes, SNHD offers free diabetes classes virtually or in-person. Visit GetHealthyClarkCounty.org for classes in English and VivaSaludable.org for classes in Spanish. Those who register will be added to a waiting list and will be invited to the next class when scheduled. A downloadable resource of low-cost clinics is also available on the Get Health Clark County website.

Southern Nevada’s Frst NICU at Sunrise Children’s Hospital Celebrates 50 Years

By | Featured, News

Southern Nevada’s first neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, is celebrating 50 years of quality, compassionate care for the youngest and most vulnerable patients in our community. The NICU, which cares for more than a thousand babies every year, opened in 1974. Today, it is the most advanced and largest Level III NICU in Nevada.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see the passion and dedication of our NICU physician teams, neonatologists, and nurses as they tend to the tiny patients in our care,” said Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital Chief Executive Officer Todd P. Sklamberg. “Being the most advanced and comprehensive children’s hospital in the state is a source of great pride.”

Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers a full array of comprehensive care for the state’s smallest and sickest babies. For example, it is the only hospital in Nevada to perform neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) which takes over the functions of a baby’s heart and/or lungs to allow healing and recovery.

It is also the first hospital in the state to perform total body cooling on infants in distress. The procedure promotes healing after a traumatic birth by slowing the body’s functions through cooling. Additionally, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has an extensive neonatal surgical program.

In its 50-year history, the youngest baby cared for in the NICU was just 22 weeks old. The smallest was only 0.83 pounds, or 13 ounces, which is less than a bottle of water. A NICU stay can range from one day to more than a year. The average stay is 23 days. Each year the NICU admits more than 100 babies with very low birthweights consisting of less than 3.3 pounds, or 52.91 ounces.

Beyond the care delivered by exceptional physicians and nurses in the NICU, Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers many other critical and lifesaving services, including:

o   Nevada’s only Pediatric Heart Surgery Program;

o   Nevada’s only Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit; and

o   Nevada’s only Pediatric Inpatient Rehab.

In addition, the hospital’s congenital heart program has earned “best in class” rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for its comprehensive services including advanced technologies, advanced interventional techniques and expert cardiac care.

“It’s gratifying and deeply meaningful to think about the positive impact on families’ lives our hospital has made,” Sklamberg said.  “We look forward to caring for our smallest patients for another 50 years and beyond.”

About Sunrise Children’s Hospital
Sunrise Children’s Hospital is the largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital in Nevada that also serves the surrounding region and millions of visitors that come to Las Vegas.  Our hospital offers a full range of specialized services, including Nevada’s only pediatric heart surgery program and Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Department and the largest Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the Nevada. Sunrise Children’s Hospital is located on the same campus as Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center – Nevada’s largest acute care facility. Follow us on Instagram @SunriseChildrensHospitalLV and Facebook.com/SunriseChildrensHospital.

Move Your Way Summer Campaign Underway in Valley

By | News

Fun, Free and Healthy Activities Offered Through Early September

The Southern Nevada Health District’s (SNHD) Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion invites community members to participate in the 2024 Move Your Way® campaign this summer, with a series of activities scheduled throughout the Valley. The activities at public swimming pools are aimed at encouraging area residents to be more physically active.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a majority of adolescents and adults in Nevada do not meet physical activity guidelines, which contributes to physical activity related health disparities in the community. A CDC survey showed that 26% of the state’s population reported participating in physical activities. The SNHD Office of Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion is working with partners to ensure that everyone in our community has access to opportunities to be physically active.

During the campaign, which started in May, SNHD and its partners offer free events to encourage people to “move their way” and enjoy healthy, physical activities

Saturday, June 22, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Block party featuring Rad Tad
Wells Park Outdoor Pool, 1650 Price St., Henderson, NV 89011

Saturday, July 6, noon – 3 p.m.
Parks and Rec Month Celebration pool party

Silver Mesa Recreation Pool, 4025 Allen Lane, North Las Vegas, NV 89032

Saturday, August 10, noon – 3 p.m.
Back to school pool party presented by North Las Vegas Councilman Scott Black and Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick

Silver Mesa Recreation Pool, 4025 Allen Lane, North Las Vegas, NV 89032

Saturday, September 2, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Block party featuring Rad Tad
Whitney Ranch Activity Pool, 1575 W. Galleria Dr., Henderson, NV 89014

Move Your Way® is a physical activity campaign from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promote the recommendations from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and encourage people to incorporate them into everyday life. The campaign provides resources to help people stay on track in improving their fitness.

More information about the Move Your Way® Summer Challenge is available at Move Your Way Southern Nevada – Get Healthy Clark County and the Spanish-language Muévete a Tu Manera – Viva Saludable websites. Visit the Get Healthy Clark County calendar or Viva Saludable calendar for additional details.

The Get Healthy Clark County and Viva Saludable websites also offer free, online programs that can help increase physical activity. Online programs include Walk Around Nevada and Neon to Nature. Additional programs include tools and resources about healthy eating, nutritional information tips, smoking cessation, and resources to help maintain a healthier lifestyle.




The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info. Follow the Health District on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

More West Nile Virus Positive Mosquitoes Found in Southern Nevada

By | Featured, News

Two mosquito pools also test positive for St. Louis Encephalitis

 Southern Nevada Health District officials are reminding people to protect themselves from mosquitoes as they report the highest level of activity in the program’s history this early in a season. As of June 6, 2024, 91 mosquito pools, comprising 3,081 mosquitoes from 16 ZIP codes, have tested positive for West Nile virus. Two mosquito pools, comprising 46 mosquitoes from two ZIP codes, have tested positive for the virus that causes St. Louis encephalitis.

The Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program has also received an increased number of complaints from the public about mosquito activity. Increased awareness and reporting of mosquito activity are attributed to the expansion of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes throughout the region. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are known to be aggressive daytime biters that prefer feeding on people instead of birds and are not typical vectors for West Nile virus. A single Aedes aegypti tested positive in 2017, and a submission pool of 22 mosquitoes tested positive in 2023.

Mosquitoes testing positive for St. Louis encephalitis virus were last reported in Clark County in 2019 and the last reported cases in humans in 2016. St. Louis encephalitis virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with the virus will not develop symptoms. People who become ill may develop fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Some people may develop a neuroinvasive form of the disease that causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord).

There was minimal West Nile virus activity reported in 2020, 2021, and 2023. In 2019, 43 confirmed human cases were reported. Two human cases of West Nile Virus were reported in 2023. West Nile virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. About one in five people infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms that can include fever, headache, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. About one in 150 will develop more serious, sometimes fatal, illness. People who think they might have West Nile should talk with their health care provider.

The risk of mosquito-borne illnesses can be reduced through preventive measures. The Health District’s Fite the Bite campaign calls on people to:

  • Eliminate standing water and other breeding sources around their homes. Aedes aegypti breed in small containers that collect rain or irrigation water, such as children’s toys, wheelbarrows and plant saucers, and even bottle caps.
  • Prevent mosquito bites by using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Report mosquito activity to the Health District’s surveillance program at (702) 759-1633. To report a green pool, people should contact their local code enforcement agency.

More Fight the Bite tips and resources are available at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/programs/mosquito-surveillance/mosquito-bite-prevention/ and on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/prevention/index.html.

The Health District’s seasonal mosquito surveillance reports are available at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/programs/mosquito-surveillance/arbovirus-update/.

The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info. Follow the Health District on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Unpacking Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine with Dr. James Utley

By | HEALS Pod, News

In this episode of The HEALS Pod, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. James Utley, who joined us all the way from Panama City, Panama. Dr. Utley shared his journey of starting a stem cell regenerative medicine clinic called Origins in Panama City after conducting independent research in Las Vegas.

Dr. Utley discussed the process of using mesenchymal stem cells from donated umbilical cords at Origins, highlighting the ethical sourcing and transparency in their manufacturing process. He emphasized the importance of evidence-based treatments and the differences in regulations between Panama and the United States.

The conversation delved into Dr. Utley’s background in the United States Navy and his experience in blood banking and transfusion services, leading to his passion for life sciences and stem cell research. He also touched upon the potential of stem cell treatments in various medical conditions, including osteoarthritis, injury recovery, autoimmune diseases, and autism.

We explored the challenges and opportunities in bringing stem cell therapies to the United States, with Dr. Utley expressing optimism about the future of cellular therapy and genetic engineering. He highlighted the need for more research and evidence-based practices to ensure safe and effective treatments for patients.

Listen to the Podcast.

Subscribe to HEALS Pod on Spotify.

Full Transcript

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of The HEALS Pod. I am your host, Diego Trujillo, really excited about what’s going on in our city, all the innovation, all the change and everything that’s happening. And sometimes, you know, when we’re trying to innovate, when we’re trying to create new things, we can kind of run into some walls, some difficulties. sometimes were stifled by regulations and things like that. My guest today is very interesting because they started it based here in Las Vegas and they had to expand, right? To be able to push the type of research they were looking to do. And I really want to unpack a little bit about it because I know a lot of us have questions when it comes to stem cells and what stem cell treatments do, how they work and what the differences are. And with me today, I have a very special guest that is calling in all the way from Panama City, Panama, and I’m very excited to be able to interview Dr. James Utley that joins us today. How are you doing today? I’m doing well. Thanks for having me. Fantastic. Well, I would have loved to have gotten you out here to Las Vegas, but I know that your work has you down there in Panama City. But I think what you guys are doing is fascinating. I’ve been kind of keeping an eye ever since this was an idea. And eventually, me and you knew each other here in Las Vegas from different events and different processes. I’m sorry, different events and different organizations. And then all of a sudden, you kind of came up with, hey, yeah, I’m moving to Panama City. And I’ve been taking it back like, okay, what is it about Panama City? Why Panama City? And then kind of wanted to unpack that. So what are you doing down in Panama?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, so I guess that’s a good place to start. Yeah, I think when we first met, yeah, it was already seeded, the idea of what was happening down here. There was a there was actually research being done at the lab there, but it was independent research by myself, right? And it was really kind of looking at, you know, different cellular function, the way we could stain cells, culturing techniques, etc. And then it resulted in, you know, the movement to Panama here and opening Origins, which is really a stem cell regenerative medicine, you know, clinic and center that provides mesenchymal stem cells for clinical application for different, for broad use. And that’s what kind of makes Panama the ideal place for this type of one research into clinical application. But yeah, it started in Las Vegas. And now that was the whole, that was the whole thing. Of course, no, there’s no patients. It was all just independent research that happened, which was really taking the start of what we call the explant culture method. And then And then kind of refining it and just understanding and learning it, perfecting the craft, if you will. And then, you know, ready for bring it to prime time to, uh, down here in Panama.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So taking it, taking it a step back, right. Cause I wanted to unpack this and I was thinking on how we do this by stages. I’d love to kind of get into your background. What, what gave you this, uh, this passion for, for life sciences and what you started exploring and how you got to this, this place you are now.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it was actually kind of serendipitously that I arrived here. I had always been kind of fascinated with this specific cell line, and it was really kind of tipped off in the work that’s been done in graft-versus-host disease, right, and that type of research. So that’s kind of like the teaser of why I was like, oh, this is an interesting These cells are interesting, right? But, you know, long before that, I most certainly cut my teeth in the United States Navy, you know, and I worked in blood banking and transfusion service, you know, basically all through the Navy. And that’s where, you know, all the training and background comes from. Yeah, yeah, that’s where, that’s where it kind of all started. I, for nine years, I worked for Banner Health and then this group called Laboratory Sciences of Arizona. I don’t know if, so I was the technical director there for the last five, which was for all the blood banks and transfusion service, which really kind of broadened, you know, it’s, it’s Banner operated six, 30 hospitals over six states, etc. We just kind of hosted all the you know, procedures and protocols and everything for them. So that’s where a lot of the technical work came here.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: COVID happened. That was your foundation. Just out of curiosity, that was your foundation kind of getting you set up in the life sciences in the lab space. But up to that point, had you done any research? Did you look to innovate? Was there any innovation in your process?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, uh, let me see. I want to make sure I understand that question.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So, so currently you’re, you’re doing a lot of innovation, right? When it comes to stem cells and what you’re talking about, um, as we discuss these, these mesenchymal stem cells, you said there was an interest there, but when you were working in the lab technician, that was more, most in the blood banking, that was more in, in lab processes. There wasn’t innovation in that space or was there also?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, no, no. Yeah, no, there’s tons of innovation. I could think like even just right before, you know, right before I left that space, we were working on sorrel and treated platelets, which is a way to treat platelets for, you know, the mitigation of bacterial contamination. Then I think kind of like my one of this like prime project that I always hang my hat on. was this one with a vendor called Hemanetics. That’s when I was in the Navy. It’s a glycerolization, meaning providing the ability to freeze and unfreeze red blood cell units. So that’s a, which was, you know, this is like 2005, I believe. And that, so we ended up putting all these frozen units on all the naval ships and then four deployed during the, you know, the time of the war. But that was an innovative piece there. So there’s always been kind of like for me, I’ve always kind of been pushing the envelope in terms of innovation. And then, you know, I I kind of really got deep into some genetic engineering and some CRISPR technology. That’s kind of in the last four or five years or so, which is definitely surprisingly. So, yeah, it was just surprisingly easy, you know, and part of that really, I guess it was called a biohacker community there. So there’s a lot.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: I mean, there’s The first deployment of CRISPR actually. So my father had a very rare disease called amyloidosis and the very first deployment of CRISPR was against that disease. There was no cure. There was no really treatment. Even during our treatment, one of the oncologists looked and said, yeah, it looks like everyone else was just taking a shotgun approach to see what would work on this. Like, you know, they were doing chemo and, and different things, but nothing seemed to work. So I remember it was about a year after his passing that they deployed CRISPR and sure enough, they had very good outcomes with a patient with amyloidosis.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, for sure. There’s a whole frontier in front of us as well here. this technology relational to the computational improvements of AI. We have a crazy future of innovation in front of us.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It seems like a very exciting time when we hear a lot of the quotes.

JAMES UTLEY: I think it’s the most exciting time because this is the first time in human history that we have the ability to edit our own genetics here purposefully. So yeah, it’s crazy.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So what was it then that made the connection to Origins where you are now, right? So you mentioned that you were working with Banner after the Navy. Where did the connection to Las Vegas come from? Where did that hit?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I mean, at the time I was living in Phoenix, like the connection to Las Vegas is my family lives there. And then there was just like I said, it was kind of a happenstance event where there was an alignment of like minded people that, you know, I had met along the way. And this was an idea that hadn’t materialized. But it’s kind of one of those, if you’re you know, maybe, maybe you’re destined to walk this path. And that was the because, you know, I mean, I was a self therapy guy, you know, we’re, you know, I’m making, you know, developing and pushing self therapies, you know, and that’s essentially what what I do. And, and this having this opportunity, which was never apparent, you know, like it was never in the plan, right? It just, it was it was a series of folks with some ideas. And then input the right background and some good research that happened probably a year prior to this endeavor, you know, year, year and a half. You know, because, you know, other things is, you know, I completed the AABB cell therapy program, you know, these are all things are just manufacturing, like lots of different cells, right? Like, but, but that’s how it kind of arrived here where There’s this whole movement in regenerative medicine, and it was just kind of an alignment that is hard to explain, but it just happened.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: A little bit of luck, huh? Right place, right time, and you had the right skillset.

JAMES UTLEY: That’s about most things in life.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, you’re just prepared and something that you’re passionate about and it just turned out they need to do. So tell us a little bit about origins. What is origins? What do you guys look at? You know, I hear about stem cells all over the world and people, you know, a while ago were, oh yeah, I’m going to Tijuana. And I remember seeing stem cell billboards everywhere. And now I’m seeing them in the US, they’re advertising stem cell therapy. So I want to kind of explain to the people that are listening today, what is the difference? What was it about Origins? I’m sure you are aware of stem cells already, right? This is nothing new. Oh, yeah, for sure. So what was it about Origins that really caught your attention that you said, huh, this seems like something worth pursuing? What was the goal that was different here?

JAMES UTLEY: Okay. Yeah. I mean, so there’s a couple of ways to divide that question up. I think the first one is what, I mean, first is what is origins. Of course, we are, you know, a stem cell clinic here in regenerative medicine center, as I mentioned, um, we harvest our MSCs or mess. We’re going to, we’ll use that term, um, uh, from Wharton Shelly, right. From donated umbilical cord from Wharton Shelly. Now, in my opinion, that’s probably the most rich source of MSCs. And there’s no ethical concern because these are all donated, right? They’re donated under informed consent from a program that we have here at a local hospital that sits right next to our center. So it’s perfect. So you have, now, you have the ability, so these, so that’s one part of it. That’s what we do, right? And we operate here in Panama because, I mean, people believe that it’s kind of like the wild, wild west and there’s no laws or regulations, which is far from the truth. We have, they have, They actually have some pretty strict regulations. It’s just they have carved out this piece of the law here that you can use this cell therapy for, you know, a broader application, right? So it would be equivalent to using something in the U.S. as, you know, all based on all evidence-based, based on literature, etc. But it you can you can you can use it. So there’s no there’s no hiding or anything like that. What I fear, so now we’ll stop there. That’s just the beginning part of the amazing things that happen at Origins, right? But to transition to the next part of your question is, yes, you do see stem cell clinics that are all over the United States to include in Las Vegas, you know, for one is those are harvested from the person from self, their colitologous donation, right? So there’s different ways to do that from bone marrow or fat. Um, and so they’re, they’re harvesting the mesenchymals or the MSCs and those cells are as old as the patient, right? So, you know, there’s a kind of a common sense theory that, um, you know, if, if, if something is, is aged as, as old as you are, right. Um, then there’s a probably, you know, there’s, there’s less opportunity for function, even though the literature kind of argues that back and forth. Right. So there’s some opportunity there. Um, my biggest concern I think is, the FDA has some really strict verbiage around, you know, regenerative medicine clinics in the U.S. and the use of stem cells and or exosome products. And it’s all over there. It’s all over the website. It’s for consumer protection, et cetera. But still clinics are offering that, right? And so they Now, by doing so, I think it gives rise, and this is my own opinion, to kind of some black market behavior, if you will. Because if you’re a patient and you’re asking the next, like, okay, well, where did this come from? Because you do see, aside from the autologous cells, they used to have ones that are harvested from different tissue sources, right? amnio or placenta, etc. So, but you want to ask like, where did this, you know, and even in the exosome world, right, with exosomes, which are, you know, a secretum factor of an MSC, right? So it’s what, it’s what the cells secrete. You asked where do they come from and things like that? And I don’t think that the patients there in the US they don’t get really clear answers because there’s not a Really kind of a logistics train. That’s very clear, right? right, and so what what it does is it opens up the the window for What I’ve been coining as some black market behavior. Yeah now here in Panama completely different We have our laboratory is glass. It’s from floor to ceiling. It’s glass. We have every section of the process. It’s all mapped out. And when the patients come here, here to Origins here in Panama, they get to see everything that’s happening from a manufacturing standpoint. And it’s full transparency and audit. That’s everything with the Ministry of Health here and this organization, which is like an FDA like, um, so there’s all of that, you know, it’s complete, complete transparency where you get everything from raw source materials to the end product from, you know, we say from, from vein to vein, right. Which means from the donation to the infusion, it’s, you can look at every step and audit every step, which is, that’s what makes this place different. Now that’s from a, like a manufacturing or what they call continued good manufacturing practice. Now, then you move into this kind of this argument of whose cells are better, right? And that’s where there’s, of course, there’s a debate, but we know that the function of these, you know, cells that are donated from Wharton Shelly is pretty much evidenced in the literature that they are superior to any that would be in any cell, any other MSC that’s harvested from adipose, etc. So people might argue that we just, we know that from our patients as well as the research we do.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And I’m sure that, like you said, some of it’s anecdotal, right? A cell that has been around for 40 years collecting radiation from the sun and just the environment and contaminants and things like that. And correct me where I’m wrong, because I’m not studied in this, but it would seem that a brand new cell would probably have more potential to have a positive impact than one that’s already been affected throughout its life as it’s being created and as it’s being regenerated, no?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s like, that’s a, that’s a fair analogy. You know, there’s a couple of ways to look at it. You can look at some, the cytogenetic portion of like, so what’s the ability that way. And you can, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s all of those, but we do, we harvest from mortgage jelly. So we know that there, uh, those cells are optimal. Um, And I think that it’s, I mean, it’s evidence in the literature, but it’s also, we look at, you know, the patients that we track here, and I think… Right, you’re able to observe that.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, I mean, I always find it interesting, I think the gentleman’s name was Thomas Midgley, or Midgley, he invented leaded gasoline and ended up lying about inventing, they think he is probably responsible for more death on this planet than anybody else. because he invented leaded gasoline knowing that it would be putting lead into the air. So for about 30 years, people everywhere around the world were breathing in leaded gasoline. And it’s really interesting. You look at the data and the statistics on like violent crime during those years and how they went up, up, up, up, up until they cut the leaded gasoline. And obviously there was huge settlements and lawsuits around that because it wasn’t as inert as he had kind of exhibited. And they were able to test people that were alive during that period just by the level of contaminants within their body. So I mean, again, the assumption that that being in an environment and add to that, like atomic testing and things like that, that just contaminate our environment, I would assume that the cells would be affected by that as well. The things that we’re drinking and eating versus again, the brand new cells that are collected from the jelly, like you mentioned.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it’s an environment. So me personally, I know that I’ve, I’ve spent some time kind of like, uh, talking with folks and, you know, trying to be collegiate around this debate here. And what I have found is that some of the regenerative medicine like stem cell centers in the US, because they’re you know, it’s like, it’s, it’s like religion, you know, they, and which is really meaning that they don’t want to are they they have a belief system, which is, yeah, is great. So I haven’t, you’re gonna knock down their framework, and I’m gonna push you into picking a side here.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: All right. No, I’m just kidding. No, it’s, it’s very interesting to see that. I mean, and I think it’s, it’s reflective. Again, when you just look at the pricing on things, um, and, and the cost of what things are. I know there’s another manufacturer, a drug manufacturer here in the U.S., right, that makes, uh, semaglutide. And their biggest concern is they’re like, yeah, you know, typically this is the cost. And there’s people that are getting this from China for, you know, and administering it for $200 a shot. There’s no way they can know what the quality is, what they’re getting, right? And unfortunately, even though it’s not a legal generic, these doctors are able to obtain this, they’re able to give it to their patients, and it’s just a matter of time before a bad batch comes in, we see some negative effects, and it just kind of takes the entire thing. Whereas having the ability to say, yes, that hospital right there, is where we source our product, where we source the stem, the product, the stem cells, right? The umbilical cords, this room right here is where we extract. I mean, the entire process is overseen and like you mentioned is transparent.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s the most important part, I think there, because you, you know, and if there’s a, like a call to action for patients is that if you’re looking at these stem cell clinics or the regenerative medicine clinics that are using stem cells in the U.S. Just first do a quick Google search on the FDA website. You know, they have warning letters and these type of things. And there is a lot of them. So it’s, you look, it’s really easy. It’s like clinic and then write FDA warning and then it’ll provide, you know, either they’ve inspected them, they’ve warned them, you know, this is all public record. So I always just say like, Hey, you know, you don’t have to take my word for it. Just do a little googly and you might find it.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah. Okay. All right. That’s fair. So what is it about this process that you guys do there that you can’t do here in the United States out of curiosity?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I, the true essence of it is really kind of unknown, but we’re the, uh, now what we know is that it’s the culture expansion. So that’s made from taking one, making many, that is actually the part that’s in, uh, restricted in the US, because if you do that, then it falls in a category that’s called more than minimally manipulated. And if you do that, then you have to go down a regulatory pathway, which is an investigation of a new drug, et cetera. And so that’s the key. So there’s people that try to work around that so they’re not like technically, they’re not crossing that barrier of however that’s defined of more than minimally manipulated. then they can have some more laterality. But again, it’s like, it’s just loophole type stuff. Yeah, it’s great. And so that’s the, that’s the whole thing. That’s why they exist. I’m, I’m sure of it. Um, but having some real clear interpretation of what you can and cannot do, um, through that’s like from end to end from, through the whole process, um, kind of like, kind of like figured out, it’s like, it’s the culture expansion. They don’t lie. Maybe they, maybe, maybe it’s been termed in an FDA guidance as unnatural. Um, so therefore, you know, but, uh, it’s really, it’s one of those things where it’s like, there’s got to be more layers to the rationale, which probably has interest of, you know, not to be sound like a conspiracy theorist, but has the interest of, you know, big pharma or someone else that really kind of keeps everything in place. So that’s, that’s my that’s my best deception, my best description of Why, for sure.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So yeah, there’s not like an actual, here’s the science behind why we don’t do this. It’s just kind of been, well, this is the way we’ve always done it, and we will continue to until there’s enough pressure or people find out, or I’m assuming until enough success stories happen. And I’ve been hearing a lot of success stories coming out of Origins. There was a podcast Hughes actually sent me. It may have been you or another gentleman named Dan that had sent me the podcast to listen to, and I gave it the full listen to, and it’s pretty incredible to listen to the outcomes that these patients are having, which has got to be extremely motivating for you guys.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it’s very powerful. I mean, it’s the purpose. So I think if there’s like two really broad purposes for me, you know, is that one, to help people, that’s, you know, two right is that we can provide enough evidence that can be used to open window you know open access for everybody right because it’s not it’s not super complicated to be honest with you it’s it’s biology treating biology um and that’s really the the essence of it and so you know and the way I feel about it is if you’re if you want everybody should have the, you know, the information. So if you’re a patient that’s gone, you know, kind of thinking about like, should I get surgery or not? You know, and there’s this option here that could probably help you. You know, in some regard, right? Yeah, you should just be aware of it. You can so you can make that decision yourself. That’s just my thoughts on that.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And I know a lot of people sometimes are a little bit nervous when they hear, oh, South America and Central America. It’s funny, because I’ll talk. I recently was talking to somebody about plastic surgery. And as they were talking, I mentioned, yeah, in Colombia, it’s very common. A lot of the plastic surgery tourism is very big. And their face kind of said everything. Now, full disclosure, I am Colombian. So I remember seeing their face like, what? In Colombia? Going in to get surgery? And I was like, you know, it wasn’t until I shared with them, which is the fact that I was very surprised, they have five Jayco accredited hospitals in Colombia, which is the same accreditation body here in the United States. So these are not subpar hospitals. You’re not in an alleyway here. These hospitals are on par with what is being done in the United States.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s that’s that’s that’s very true. The health care delivery, I mean, here in Panama and in Latin America is it’s actually pretty good. You know, I would say that like even for us here, you know, we have a federal, that’s US federal, deemed status organization that we work with to help accredit the laboratory. And that’s the same steps you take in the US. And it’s actually written in the law that you have to seek these deemed status organizations, one or the other, you have to go. And so that’s why people think that it’s kind of like the wild, wild west. Well, okay, it’s the wild, wild west in terms of applying it, right? But when it comes to manufacturing the product and all the safety involved, You have to follow all the rules whether you’re here or you’re in Tennessee. It’s really the same. to do it right. Now that’s to do it right and that’s how we do it here. When we were building this place and all these ideas were coming, we brought folks to certify our clean rooms, we brought the folks from the U.S. here, we flew them here, they did all the certification, so there’s really no difference. There’s no difference of what happens here versus what happens in the United States.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: The quality is the same.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, I would say that because we have the support of, you know, being able to operate freely here, in terms of the way that we apply the cells that, you know, you just, like I said, you don’t, you don’t fall in that trap of, of regulatory worry, because you’re, and then that there are no, there’s no black market behavior.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And how do you feel your outcomes are? When you, when you weigh the outcomes, I’m kind of curious, right? Because we knew each other before you had gone and done this project. Was there any doubt in your mind? Like, huh, I wonder if this will work or it should work. Right. And then versus now you’ve been open for roughly about a year, year and a half. Yeah. And so as you go in the year, how have you felt with your expectations versus the outcomes that you’re seeing?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, no, there was for me, of course, as a scientist, I have, you know, I, I only look for evidence there, right? But, you know, this right here, believe it or not, this, this cell line or this, these MSCs, they have so much literature, right? So it’s, you know, it’s decades worth, you can just look back and you know of course if you’re you have to be wise in what you’re reading you know to make sure that it’s uh but you know all the theoretical makes sense and then you take that the theoretical and then you’re looking at okay what other people you know because we’re you know we’re not the first people to do this and when you look at some of the evidence that’s been promoted uh you know that’s uh in the body of knowledge. And so, you know, it’s just like, it’s just like anything. So, you know, going into it, it’s like, okay, well, you know, I, uh, I follow the protocol or the recipe here and we work on everything that’s already evidenced. You know, we’re not, there’s no, there’s not really, I mean, there’s no experimenting here. Right. And so we have a snapshot of what is an expected outcome and all of them are, you know, in, in the realm of positive. Now we, you know, of course we look at what, uh, thing, you know, all the risk, uh, you know, the risk assessment assessments were assessing the risk at appropriate levels to ensure that, you know, and that’s, I think that’s probably if there’s things, I mean, there’s two things that I know that we do better here at origins or what I feel. Um, and that’s what also translates to real, you know, positive outcomes is that of course we follow all the rules of, uh, you know, of, uh, of anything that, you know, for any high potency medication, you know, um, we of course do that. We also spend time and characterization to make sure that there is, that is the exact cell, you know, and there’s nothing different. So we do a lot of work there to make sure that it’s really a pure product. And when the doctors here, they evaluate all the patients, right? They look at, you know, the patient in terms of pathology or what they’re seeking. And then two, they kind of look at all the other risk factors of their, you know, immune system, immunogenicity or tumorigenicity. And then we, you know, really calculate in terms of how dosing these patients, you know, and that’s all based on evidence. And so all of those, I mean, it’s really static. It’s really controlled. And doing that, it’s easy to measure all the way around, all the way through the continuum, and then be able to assess.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So nothing’s really like trailblazing here. These are all practices that have been around and been observed and been recorded and, you know, okay.

JAMES UTLEY: It’s like a really novel, but you know, the reality of it is it’s, it’s not, uh, it’s, it’s just, I think what makes it novel is a supplied correctly here at this location, you know, at this institution. At other places, it’s not. There’s a lot wilder of an application that I’ve seen in this network, which then, you know, so who knows?

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So you really think it’s in the final delivery, the process that you guys are executing that you feel is novel and very different is the deployment of these cells within other people, within patients, correct?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s what happened. I mean, once you’re provided as a dose to a patient, you know, and then so you’re looking at you’re assessing therapeutic gain. So that therapeutic gain is contrasted with what your expectation is. And the expectation is what has been published in the literature. And that’s really it.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And what results have you been seeing in people’s lives as you work with patients?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I think that we’ve been seeing a lot of really positive feedback, you know, there has, we have a population of patients, we call them super responders, which we invest in trying to understand, you know, what what makes a super responder, meaning the phenotype of the patient, whether it’s age, whether it’s, you know, kind of the makeup, if you will, of their immune system, or, you know, what, what, what is it, whether it’s the, you know, the injury or pathology in which we’re seeking to treat. So it’s those, those type of things, right. So, and we get a lot of really great outcomes. Now, we have some, you know, the patients that they, while they’re here, you know, because they’re only here for a snapshot of time, they have, you know, they’ll, they’ll have kind of like an outcome. It’s like, okay, so it’s not as pronounced as we would say, as the patient class of super responder. But then it seems that some weeks to, you know, 90 days or so, they have, they have some, you know, really positive gains. So that’s it, you know, are there patients that are not responsive? Well, it’s hard to say if somebody is non responsive, because we look, we try to observe all these, you know, so we have some biomarkers, you know, all these objective signs. So It’s hard to say that now, when it kind of translates to the subjective or what they’re telling you, like they may not be aware, but the benefit is usually a matter of increments, right? So that’s why we have to be very careful when we measure these to make sure that we’re assessing the baseline and any shift in that baseline.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Okay, that’s perfect. That gives you some like objective results to be able to say, okay, these were the outcomes and there has been something. But everyone seems to respond at least a little bit,

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, because I mean, paramountly, the product, the product is safe. That’s, that’s what’s paramount, right? So, you know, it’s not meant in the application of like, say, like treating, like a disease for an end state, right? Like, if you’re thinking of it that way, right, because we have this, it’s more of a holistic treatments, biology, treating biology. So you never, I mean, what we don’t see, we don’t see is that, you know, that there’s like, like no gain right it’s just kind of a matter of increment we have to like measure it very closely and we do that for everyone um and some people just they they were in a worse state meaning let’s just give an example of pain they were in a worse state of pain and then they impeded their pain profile so therefore they’re very vocal like oh this is this is uh very beneficial to me um but we still we take that what they tell us and we put it contrast to kind of the objective evidence there to make sure that we have a you know real clear picture.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, and that leads me to my next question, which was what is the direction? What do you guys treat? What do you look to do? You know, you mentioned pain right there. Is pain one of the things that you specifically try to treat, like neuropathy? Or how do you guys go about this?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, the application, because there’s actually a really kind of a broad spectrum in terms of application, if we were to break it down into kind of our main one is osteoarthritis, I think that was kind of a point is the primary application is patients with osteoarthritis. Now, of course, the rejuvenation, you know, for in terms of injury, injury recovery, That meaning like helping an injury recover, right? Whichever. Um, that seems to be kind of, um, there’s a lot of athletes, uh, that come here for, for that, you know, kind of speed to recovery.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: What kind of athletes are you talking here?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, I mean, I think the majority of them, well, we have all sorts of athletes. But I’d say the majority of them are NFL players. We have kind of come here for some rehab, you know, they have a tough line of work. But we’ve had, you know, cricket players, we’ve had tennis players, you know, kind of the the broad, the gamut of athletes, which I think, if we’re talking in kind of two categories, which is performance, as well as injury recovery, right, you kind of, that’s, there’s a strong application for that, you know, just makes that just makes perfect sense for the, for a cellular therapy, for the cellular therapy. But, you know, autoimmune, there’s a big body of literature that supports the use of MSCs with autoimmune. And then there’s a body of evidence that supports the use of MSCs in autism. And, you know, we have my colleague here, Christian Diaz, Dr. Christian Diaz, He has a lot of experience in that. So you see that there’s kind of a broad application because they really, if we’re, we have to look at like, okay, what do the cells do? They do two things really well. They modulate your immune system or make your immune system do something that is beneficial to you. Um, or they work in, uh, uh, to reducing inflammatory response or the anti-inflammatory nature of it. So, uh, if you have, if you have a pathology or a disease state and, or injury that has those components, then the cells have the high probability of being very beneficial to you.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Okay. So that’s it. So there are certain diseases where you feel a little more confident in the results than others.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it’s all based on the literature, because it’s not, you know, for us, it says if somebody comes to us with a disease, like sub pathology, that is, I’ll say we’re it’s not so common, right? Then we dig, we do research here, all the physicians here, we do research to make sure that it’s been evidenced somewhere. And that can be globally, that can be, you know, China, you know, and then we kind of look at that, right? And then we bring it to this, we have a group that we bring it to, and we all kind of talk about it and say, hey, is this the right therapy for this patient, et cetera? And we do this on a weekly basis. And then we inform the patient, right? So say, Hey, this is what the literature supports. We have evidence doing this, maybe not exactly what you’re looking for. But we have evidence that, you know, whether it’s trial data, whether it’s some studies, et cetera, this is what now. So now here you go, patient, you can make, uh, uh, the most informed decision as you can. Yeah. But. There’s a lot of patients that we actually don’t treat. We just say, hey, listen, we don’t, either what we’ll do for you won’t, won’t really help where you’re at. So if you have an injury where you’re like, okay, surgery is destined for you, and we’ve evaluated that, then we, you know, we tell you, oh, sorry, we’re not the, we’re not the best place for you because, you know, surgery is the best place.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: What percentage of inquiries do you feel that you guys can’t serve or that you’re having these conversations with?

JAMES UTLEY: I think it kind of ebbs and flows, um, in terms of, um, I think earlier on, we had a lot more complicated cases that, um, that kind of needed some, uh, some guardrails, if you will. Um, but you know, I’d say it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a small, it’s a small percentage now, because I think most of the, most of the folks that, that actually make it, you know, through the, through the evaluation period, they’ve already been there. Uh, they’ve been screened.


JAMES UTLEY: They’ve been screened.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: They’ve been screened appropriately. Is there any that you’re looking forward to, or you’re looking towards kind of trying out new and maybe publishing your own data? Do you guys do any of that research?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah. So publishing our own data, of course we have, uh, we have the preclinical stuff or the in vitro lab stuff. Um, so we have some, we have some studies that are ongoing off in that. uh in that realm um and then of course the there different case studies have been broken up into different cohorts and those those will make it um you know those will be those will be reviewed and hopefully published here I would assume very shortly um I know that there’s uh one organization um they have an annual conference that is very interested in uh having us present so we’re trying to wrap that up but yeah so it’s kind of a a traditional type, I guess, laboratory, uh, research, if you will, there’s that avenue. And then there’s case studies, which is, um, which is a patient, patient centric there.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: How exciting to be a part of this. I can’t imagine the feeling, um, when, when you guys push forward and as you look to publish and kind of, is there ever hopes to bringing this to the United States?

JAMES UTLEY: I hope so. Like that’s the whole goal. I, um, I know that, All the preparation work that we’ve done this far thus far is really to meet that need. Um, which means that we just go through and, uh, all the design and studies and all the research is really based to, uh, build a, you know, build a body of knowledge to then, uh, bring it to the U S. Um, yeah, that’s, that’s the goal.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And if you had to guess how far away are we from that, from bringing that kind of stuff to the United States?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, I get this. But I get this question a lot. I used to be kind of like more definitive on the answer. I would be like, oh, five years, you know, but now I don’t. Now I’m not 100% sure that So I know the end point exists, like it will happen. It’s just how do we get there is a little fuzzy in my mind, which used to be more clear. Now, I think with the progress and to include the stuff that we, the research that we do here around an A, the A cellular product, which is the exosome product from mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs, I think they have probably a better shot of application in the US market, under some regulatory framework, then let’s say mesenchymal stem cells organically by themselves. So I know that’s kind of a, but I think technology is going to outpace. And so we’re just gonna have a different product, it’s going to be the same, it’s just gonna be a different iteration, provide the same benefit, just a little safer, meaning that Acellular products have zero chance of attenuating immune response versus a cellular product that has the has the probability, right? So yeah, I don’t know. It’s a it’s kind of a tough one to go.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: But very interesting. You’re pushing forward anyway.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, first of all, I think for the essence of this podcast, I’ll still say five years.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, right. Okay. Just give us a number. That’s all we wanted, right? You satiated our desire to know. No, it’s very interesting, especially when there’s not a clear marked area. And again, sometimes it’s frustrating to think, I believe it was the percentage, there is a conference that we had here regarding innovation and they were talking, right? When it comes to innovation, some places are really playing catch up, but when you’re that far behind, Um, the curve on innovation, sometimes you’re able to make a leap forward. And so it’s not, it’s not even catching up. You could just full on skip this step of catching up and get ahead of a lot of other people. And so, you know, that’s my hope that we can do that.

JAMES UTLEY: That might just happen. That might just happen. I, uh, I think that might happen. Now, if you were to ask me, kind of when we were a year ago, if you asked me a year ago, I would say that we were behind being like the U S was kind of behind on this. But now I don’t think so. Now I’m interested to see what the future brings.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: That’s fascinating. What do you think is the most exciting part about what the future may bring regarding this technology?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, I mean, of course, you know, I’m a cellular therapy guy, so I’m a cellular therapy nail, and I only see whatever that analogy is. Everything is self-therapy. Yeah, I’m a cellular therapy hammer, only seeing a cellular therapy now. Okay, but with that said, I think as these tools in genetic engineering, they advance me, meaning that in terms of computation and in the world of AI, as that matures, which it’s daily changing, it seems like, that we will have the ability to engineer the cells to provide a function, which in my mind would be secreting exosomes and then being able to harvest those. So I think that’s kind of the future. That’s an exciting future here that we’ll probably realize.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And so you’re hoping within five years to be able to bring this to the United States and ideally, hopefully Las Vegas. I would like to think that if groundbreaking research is being done out of town, you know, there’s a push here in Las Vegas for the life sciences. You know, there’s various collaboratives that are coming together. Um, to look at, you know, whether it’s workforce within the life sciences or just bringing life science companies in general, there’s definitely a focused effort. And so the opportunity to be able to interview you guys, not just for the podcast and not just in regards to life science, but really people that are pushing forward innovation and doing new things. Right. People that, that aren’t willing to just sit on their hands and wait for them to be given the opportunity, but finding a way to be able to execute on this. What percentage of your population would you say come from the United States?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, in the high 90s, or maybe 95% or so. Yeah, they’re all US.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Americans are interested in these types of treatments. It’s just the regulations that are holding back the delivery of these treatments over there in the United, or over here in the United States.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, maybe it’s, maybe I’ll ride at 90% of the folks that come here are US clients, or coming from the US, and or Canada. So, but yeah, no, the demand, the demand is, is great. It’s kind of like where, where, where would you like to go? And that’s where, cause you have these, you know, different centers that are located all over the world, whether it’s Dubai or Tijuana or, you know, or even Columbia. Right. So it’s kind of the, where, where, where do they land now? You can argue all day, which one, which one is better. Right. And I think that where I, where I sit, I viewed most of them, and of course, some Google Intel work. I say, okay, I know that what we’re doing is safe, and I know that the way that we characterize our product is unique, not done at other places. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I know that That’s, that is a testament of why the outcomes are, are good.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Right. So how can people find more information on Origins? If they’re interested, they’re listening to this podcast and they’re thinking, huh, can this therapy work for me or for my loved one? Where would they be able to go get more information?

JAMES UTLEY: The website is a great source of, uh, information. Yeah. So it’s like www.origins.com.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And that is spelled A-U-R-A-G-E-N-S.com, correct?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s the website. I’ve also published some books that you can find wherever books are sold, or I think the easiest way is on Amazon. Then, you know, we have that kind of the words in the name title there, but if you’re to Google, you know, if you put that in the Amazon search, you’d find a And we kind of go over the whole gambit of the different applications, which is, you know, autoimmune for athlete repair, excess home harvest, like kind of everything we talked about here today. Cellular Assurance, that’s my favorite one, but it’s a, that’s around the immunogenicity and tumorogenicity of the product, right? So we wrote those and they’re not, they’re not too super long. There’s parts where they’re pretty technical, but the goal was to make them kind of shorter and not just like this one long reference type book. so that people could use them as they’d like, you know, in the application which they see is fit, and be able to, you know, spread the knowledge all the way.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, to be able to share. Well, I want to thank you very much for coming on the podcast and sharing. I know you’re, uh, you’re very busy down there. Um, like you mentioned, the hospital’s right next door, so it’s, it must be a constant flow of, uh, extraction and processing. And then the patients that are coming in to get treated. Um, I want to thank you for your time and being able to share with us. Again, I’m very excited. This is technically born out of Las Vegas, even though you guys are not right now in Las Vegas, but I’d love to see you guys. Yeah. Pretty sure. I would love to see you guys be able to make a return and to make an impact and start putting Las Vegas as a city on the map for life sciences.

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I mean, everyone that, uh, you know, this, this endeavor was born, uh, out of Las Vegas. And so all the brain power is, uh, Las Vegas, uh, you know, Las Vegas fueled.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah. Well, it’s fantastic. Well, thank you very much for coming on. Is there anything else you’d like to leave with the listeners today?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, thanks for having me, for sure.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: All right. Well, excellent. Thank you very much for coming on. That’s Dr. James Udley coming and speaking to us from Origins down in Panama City, Panama. The website for that, if you’d like some more information, is A-U-R-A-G-E-N-S dot com. That is Origins dot com. And you can find out what treatments they offer, what are the different diseases that they are targeting currently and, you know, maybe even find out a little bit about your situation. It might not be on there, but to be able to find out if there is any possible benefits that you can receive from this treatment. Thanks again, Dr. Utley for joining us today in this conversation and sharing with the Las Vegas community a little bit about what you guys are doing down there.

JAMES UTLEY: Perfect. Thank you.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Fantastic. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is another episode of The HEALS Pod. We want to thank you for joining us. Stay tuned as we expose all the different and interesting companies, services that are happening here in Las Vegas, and now even abroad, um, as we look to expand into, into what sciences, sciences are being pushed forward here from the Valley. Thank you very much for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you again on The Heels Pod. Have a great day.



Valley Health System

School Sports Physicals Soon Available at Four Valley Health System Freestanding ERs

By | Featured, News

Four freestanding emergency departments are offering $50 school sports physicals beginning Monday, June 17 and ending Tuesday, September 3, 2024, seven days a week, 24 hours a day for student athletes ages 18 and under. Students under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Insurance will not be billed. Student athletes should bring their designated forms for the emergency medicine physicians to complete.

For greatest convenience and planning, parents may request a time online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using the links below.

Locations for sports physicals include:

ER at Blue Diamond, an extension of Spring Valley Hospital – 9217 S. Cimarron Road/cross street Blue Diamond in Southwest Las Vegas

ER at Blue Diamond | Spring Valley Hospital

ER at North Las Vegas, an extension of Valley Hospital – 6625 North 5th Street/cross street Rome in North Las Vegas.

ER at North Las Vegas: Now Open | Valley Hospital Medical Center

ER at Valley Vista, an extension of Centennial Hills Hospital – 7230 N. Decatur Blvd /cross street Elkhorn in North Las Vegas, across from the DMV

ER at Valley Vista | Centennial Hills Hospital

ER at West Craig, an extension of Centennial Hills Hospital – 7050 West Craig Road / cross street Tenaya. Use the entrance with the McDonalds and Big’s Furniture sign.

ER at West Craig | Centennial Hills Hospital

Emergency providers within The Valley Health System know it can be a challenge to fit in sports physicals into already busy weeks of summer. Families are welcome to request a time or walk in anytime, whether it’s 5 a.m. or midnight, the July 4 holiday or a weekend.

Please note this medical visit is for student physicals only. If a student comes in with additional medical illnesses or conditions, the student physical will convert to an ER visit. Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of the hospitals or freestanding ERs of The Valley Health System. The hospital, freestanding ED or The Valley Health System shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the nondiscrimination notice, visit www.valleyhealthsystemlv.com

About The Valley Health System
The Valley Health System is comprised of acute care and specialty hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, outpatient services and physician practices, caring for patients throughout Southern Nevada and surrounding communities. The Valley Health System offers a wide range of healthcare services including emergency care, surgical services, advanced cardiovascular and advanced neurological care, women’s health, maternity and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, and specialty programs in stroke, chest pain, orthopedics, pediatrics, weight loss surgery, acute rehabilitation, psychiatric services, wound care, and outpatient therapy.

HEALS June Magazine Theme is Men’s Health Month

By | Featured, News

The theme for June’s Las Vegas HEALS Healthcare magazine is Men’s Health Month. We invite anyone interested in having content featured to send materials to Adriana. Those interested in placing advertisements can also email Adriana to send in materials, or ask any questions you may have.

Ad Specs
1/2 page ads – 7.5″ w x 5.5″
1/4 page ads – 3.5″ w x 4.5″
8 ½ x 11 Full pages

Member Ad Costs
Quarter page $75
Half-page – $125
Full page – $250
Advertorial – $525
Front Cover – $650
Back Cover – $350

Non-Member Costs
Quarter page $150
Half-page – $250
Full page – $500
Advertorial – $1,050
Front Cover – $1,300
Back Cover – $700

NOTE: Content must be received by the 10th of each month