Vail Health, and I, as medical director and a breast radiologist, started the Sonnenalp Breast Center in Edwards in 2002. The equipment for the center was paid for by Rosana Faesler’s fundraising, through the Sonnenalp Foundation. Rosana has donated more than $2 million since 2002, ensuring that the equipment of the Breast Center is the best in the world.
As an example, I placed a new localization clip three months ago, (placed to aid the surgeon when doing breast surgery) and the technical representative said I was the first person in the world to place that particular clip.
At the beginning, a dedicated breast radiologist, usually me, staffed the Breast Center doing diagnostic breast imaging one day a week. I brought a breast imaging technologist with me for two years, traveling up and down from the Front Range in one day. In time, the technologists at Vail Valley Medical Center, (now Vail Health) became experts at doing mammography, breast ultrasound and core biopsies. A second diagnostic breast imaging day was added in the mid 2000s, and the Shaw breast tumor board was started, with the Breast Imager being a vital part. The Shaw Cancer Center and the Sonnenalp Breast Center have gone from strength to strength since then.
The Sonnenalp Breast Center is an accredited breast center of excellence, with the equipment being the best that can be purchased anywhere in the world. Its reputation in the Vail Valley and in places further afield is unparalleled.
I am sad to leave, but it is time for me to retire. Dr. Jinnah Phillips, who is the new medical director, and Dr. Jerome Schroeder will be the two dedicated breast imagers who will staff the Sonnenalp Breast Center. Both are very caring physicians and are extremely experienced in all areas of breast imaging. They will be a wonderful addition to the center. They will also staff the new breast imaging center which will open in Dillon later in the year.
My thanks go to Rosana Faesler, Vail Health, the Sonnenalp Breast Center staff and the Shaw Cancer Center team for creating such an amazing place for me to work. It has been wonderful to get to know so many great people in the Vail Valley.
I am so grateful to have been part of something so special.