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University of Arizona College of Nursing

RN Patient Advocates is the only nationally recognized Patient Advocacy education program created specifically for qualified RNs endorsed by a leading College of Nursing: The University of Arizona.



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“In a year’s time after taking the RNPA Learning Intensive, my career, my health, my family, my very life has been transformed. I am forever grateful” — Karen DiMarco, RN, iRNPA

“The way of the future of absolute must if you want to make and be the difference in righting the wrongs of healthcare. Kare is a wonderful mentor who has put her soul into this program. Passion, Vision, Perseverance.” — Lana Benton, RN, iRNPA

“The forethought, experience, openness, philosophy and preparation provides all the tools, thought process, and confidence to begin and succeed as an iRNPA.” — Leta Gill, RN, iRNPA

“My experience attending the iRNPA program was a refreshing one, to say the least. This program was packed with life changing information that is not readily taught or available to RN's. This program equipped me with the tools I need to be an iRNPA!  If you are ready for a change after working for many years in the clinical setting, and are driven to help patients and families, this is the program for you!  Karen is a wealth of knowledge that is unmatched in the advocacy process.” — Jamie Long

“Thank you so much for putting together such an incredible RN PA intensive course!  It is truly intensive but so worth it!  I learned a lot and will be using the Medical Time Line and lab spreadsheet with as many clients as i can.  All great information and can’t wait to get my speaking engagements lined up now that I have your fantastic power points!” —  Nan Wetherhorn, Health Care Advisor,

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Do you really need a multivitamin? The American Medical Association announced in 2002 that all adults should take a multivitamin to prevent chronic illness.


multivitaminDr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Oz also recommend taking a good multivitamin each day.  This, along with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, will help to maintain you optimal level of health.  Your diet should include at least 5-7 servings of vegetables and fruits each day – preferably fresh ones.  If not fresh, work with frozen rather than canned (lower in nutrients).

What if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables already?  Isn’t that enough? 
Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows.  Research from the Kushi Institute reveals that from 1975 to 1997 there were significant drops such as:

  • calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27%
  • iron levels down 37 %
  • vitamin A levels reduced by 21%
  • vitamin C levels down by 30%


Consider this: A woman in 1951 would have gotten the RDA (Required Daily Allowance) for Vitamin A from 2 peaches.  Today?  She would need to eat 53 to equal this!

A study led by Donald R. Davis, PhD, at the University of Texas in Austin, demonstrated that farming for a higher yield per acre almost always resulted in lower nutrient levels in the fruits and vegetables – vitamin, mineral and protein levels reduced from 5-40%.

What can we do?  Eating organic produce helps; soil is routinely supplemented at a higher level than in industrial farms. Studies indicate, for example, that organically raised tomatoes high significantly higher levels of lycopene and Vitamin C. 

Take a good multivitamin.  Good vitamins cost more than inferior ones so beware of the low discount brands.  Plant based multivitamins are more readily absorbed than synthetic-based vitamins, though they may cost more.

We will investigate how to pick the best multivitamin for you and your family in an upcoming article.

As always, read on to learn more. . .

GMO food – what is the controversy really about? Are genetically modified foods harmful to our health?

gen_mod_tomato The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. Animal studies indicate the potential for significant health damage from genetically modified foods, such as:
  • Organ damage – liver, kidney, spleen and GI tract especially
  • Accelerated aging
  • Infertility
  • Increasing levels of food allergies
  • Skin damage


What does genetically modified really mean?  Genetic fragments of DNA from one organism are inserted into the DNA of another organism, usually from a different species.  This is done to make the plant resistant to herbicides and pesticides so these chemicals can be freely sprayed on weeds to boost the crop production.  The immune system recognizes the altered genetic material as “foreign” and sets up an allergic response to it.  This can trigger inflammatory changes in many organ systems, leading to chronic conditions such as mentioned above.

top_ten_genetically_modified_foods What crops are affected?  Soybeans, corn, sugar beets (now allowed legally to be called “sugar” and put into foods), cotton, wheat, milk and dairy products from cows injected with growth hormones. 

What is the response?  GMO foods have been outlawed in most European countries as well as Australia and New Zealand.  Japan and Korea have outlawed the importation of genetically modified wheat.  There is a major effort in the US to require labeling of GMO foods so people have a choice.

Best way to protect ourselves?  Buy organic dairy and wheat products, decrease the use of processed/canned/packaged foods, and learn more here. . .

Click here for a GMO Shopping Guide


Melanoma – what do we really need to know? Is it curable? Is it always caused by overexposure to the sun?


abcd_melanomaMartha Grout, MD, reports that: “Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. If recognized and treated early, it is nearly 100 percent curable. When not caught early, a melanoma spot the size of a dime can spread to other parts of the body where it becomes hard to treat.”  Melanoma arises from a type of cell called melanocyte, present in the deep in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin.

Who is most vulnerable?  Half of all cases of melanoma occur under the age of 57 – in men more than women. Risk factors include family history of melanoma, history of multiple sunburns, age, light hair color, total number of moles present on the body, and location of the melanoma itself. 

What about indoor tanning? In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, reclassified tanning devices into the highest cancer risk category as "carcinogenic to humans." 

So, do we blame it all on the sun – the UVA and UVB rays?

Let’s consider the following:

  • In 1900, about 75% of the U.S. population worked outdoors. Melanoma was rare. Since then, the incidence of melanoma has been steadily rising and sun exposure is decreasing. Vitamin D deficiencies are becoming epidemic. 
  • Melanoma is more common in indoor workers than outdoor workers.
  • Diet plays a part.  Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council: 

 "Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 fats –protects your skin from burning. The people who get sunburned live and work indoors, go to the beach (or pools) two or three times in the summer to roast themselves.   Frequent sunburns, especially in childhood, are but one factor in melanoma – genetics and diet are more important.”

  • Can it being the thinning ozone layer – more sun rays getting through?  Research from the U CA – San Diego – reports that the thicker the ozone layer, the higher the rates of melanoma. Australia and New Zealand, for example, have a very thick ozone layer, and they have very high rates of melanoma.  The atmospheric condition acts as a sunscreen, blocking the body's ability to make vitamin D. No UVB reaching ground level means no protective vitamin D
  • The UCSD researchers also make a compelling argument that when sunscreens use rose, the rates of melanoma and other cancers went up. The ability to tan is a highly protective factor, and sunscreens inhibit this natural protection. “One thing we do know – there are no studies showing that sunscreens prevent melanoma.

How to protect ourselves?  Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and omega-3 fats (fish oil) and avoid getting sunburned (stay in the shade).  

protect_from_sunArthur Rhodes, MD, MPH, Dermatologist, counsels avoiding sun exposure during peak intensity times, cover up with clothing, use high SPF sunscreen (pick a safe one; see article on Sunscreen on this site).  “Sun protection during the first 15 years of life has been estimated to reduce the risk of epithelial skin cancer by 80%.

Maintain a good level of Vitamin D (cancer protective).  Ask your physician to test your level.  You may need to supplement.

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