When we think of February, most of us think of hearts. So it only seemed appropriate to feature our associates who care for the hearts of our patients during American Heart Month. Cardiovascular Rehabilitation is our Department Spotlight.



Cardiovascular Rehabilitation works with patients to get their stamina back after having had a cardiac procedure such as open heart surgery, a coronary intervention including stents, CABG, TAVR, or underlying heart disease, CHF and other heart-related issues.

“The staff in cardiac rehab puts their heart and soul into their patients,” said Jessica Gingerich, Critical Care and Cardiovascular Clinical Services director at Elkhart General Hospital.

When it comes to matters of the heart, the care and education each patient receives is individualized, which makes it possible for our associates to build a strong rapport and relationship with them over time. In traditional cardiac rehab, associates typically spend three hours a week for 12 weeks with patients.

“They build relationships and are invested in the patients and helping them adopt a healthier lifestyle,” Gingerich said. “The staff is always going above and beyond to get their patients what they need.  They truly embrace relationship-based care with their patients and it shows.”

The Ornish Program is a 9-week intense cardiac rehab program covered by most insurance companies that teaches participants how to adhere to a low-fat, plant-based diet that has been shown to reverse heart disease. Patients attend the program twice a week for four hours each day, participating in exercise, group support, stress management and nutrition sessions.

Here are our amazing Elkhart General and Memorial Hospital associates who work in Cardiovascular Rehab who are “all heart” every day of the year.

Elkhart General Hospital
Jessica Gingerich, Director Critical Care and Cardiovascular Clinical Services
Jo Ann Hughes, RN
Erica Garver, RN
Linda Gonzalez, RN
Marcia Koelendorfer, Ornish Program Group Support Facilitator
Becky Lange, RN
Skyler Mitchell, Exercise Physiologist
Kevin Moore, Ornish Program Group Support Facilitator
Peggy Prieshoff, RN, Ornish Program Stress Management Instructor
Trisha Rouch, RN
Karen Sommers, Ornish Program Coordinator
Jocelyn Thompson, Ornish Program Registered Dietitian

Memorial Hospital
Catherine Bringedahl, MS, RCIS, Executive Director, Cardiovascular Services
Carolyn Friesen, RN, Ornish RN Case Manager
Celeste Hale, RN, Cardiac Rehab Coordinator
Regina Heverlky, unit assistant
Kevin Moore, Ornish Program Group Support Faciliator
Corey O’Neil, Exercise Physiologist
Karen Sommers, Ornish Program Coordinator
Jo Ulrich, Ornish Program Stress Management and Yoga Instructor
Erica Weinandy, Ornish Program Registered Dietitian