ALAMOSA – The San Luis Valley Health Foundation awarded Dr. Jason Allen at the 2022 Bolos and Boots fundraising event for his service to the community in helping to grow the radiology department at San Luis Valley Health. The appreciation award is an expression of appreciation for contributions to the department and expansion of patient care and services that have occurred in the past few years as a medical director.
Dr. Jason Allen started serving the San Luis Valley in July of 2016. He works full-time with Radiology and Imaging Consultants located in Colorado Springs, allowing him to commute back and forth between there and Alamosa. Working within urban and rural communities pushed him to see technological advances in radiology that have the potential to progress Alamosa’s hospital. His experience with a 3D mammography unit in Colorado Springs showed him the need for one in Alamosa.
Because of the limits of the 2D mammography unit, such as not being able to see calcifications, many patients would be referred to a different clinic. Weather conditions and individuals’ financial situations can make travel difficult and sometimes impossible, limiting patients’ access to advanced health care. Dr. Allen pushed for this addition, and when the opportunity came, he and Janet McGinnis, department director, put their heads together and purchased a 3D mammography unit that could also add a stereotactic biopsy unit onto it.
SLV Health patients can now visit the Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center where they can be screened using Tomosynthesis (3D mammograms) and ultrasounds. Tomosynthesis can increase the ability to detect breast cancer by up to 40% AND can also help reduce unnecessary callbacks (extra pictures) by up to 40% compared to standard 2D digital mammography.
The addition of Tomosynthesis to SLVH’s breast imaging services has also made it possible for our breast radiologists to perform stereotactic (mammography-guided) biopsies. Onsite breast imaging specialists are available every Monday and Tuesday, as well as interventional specialists every Thursday and Friday.
Winning an award is honorable, but Dr. Allen would have done the same work regardless of an award. “It’s nice that people are paying attention and appreciating what we have done, but I want the best for my patients, and I would have continued to push for advancements without the recognition.
“I just want to make sure people are aware that we appreciate their confidence in us to provide services. We are always trying to work better and expand services that we currently offer to meet needs.” Dr. Allen hopes to continue contributing to the expansion of services offered here, specifically in breast imaging, with hopes of an addition of a breast MRI unit. “Having these advanced services at SLV Health will allow patients to reach out to their local hospital rather than spending time and money on unnecessary travel.”
With a growing hospital, Alamosa’s community spirit is something that is not overlooked. Some of Dr. Allen’s favorite memories working here are simply working with different patients and figuring out where they are from.
“Patients here are very kind; it is a bit of a different atmosphere than in a big city. People watch out for one another, and you really have a sense of community.”