About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. A defective gene causes the body to make thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and causes serious lung infections. CF also affects other organs of the body and can prevent the break down of food and absorption of important nutrients. About 30,000 children and adults in the United States are affected by CF.
Taking a Team Approach
It’s a team approach when it comes to treating adults and children with CF. Besides our pulmonologists, there are other healthcare professionals that are there for the patient’s journey. This care team may include a nutritionist, social worker, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, and/or physical therapist. The CF clinic at UT Health Northeast is unique because treatment for all ages is in one location and the same team cares for patients throughout the different stages of life – from childhood to adulthood. Read our latest newsletter to learn more about how our CF team helps patients.
Caring for Northeast Texas
Accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation®, we are the premiere Cystic Fibrosis Center serving Northeast Texas. Our center follows the stringent standards of the CF Foundation and uses approved guidelines for treatment.
The Cystic Fibrosis Center is also a member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation® Therapeutics Development Network – the largest CF clinical trials network in the world that brings together experts from across the country to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new CF therapies through clinical studies. Call (903) 877-5271 to make an appointment.
Our Pediatric and Adult Services
UT Health is the only referral site in Northeast Texas for a sweat test, the diagnostic test for CF. When results are positive, then patients are referred to our CF clinic for further testing, which includes a complete history check, physical exam, and diagnostic studies.
We follow up with every patient diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, monitoring their growth, response to treatment, and any complications that might occur. These follow-up appointments occur every three months and can include:
- Physician assessments
- Meeting with nutritionist and/or social worker
- Laboratory testing
- Annual blood work and chest x-rays
- Pulmonary function testing
Specialties:Sleep Medicine /Pediatric Pulmonology (Lung Disease in Children) /Cystic Fibrosis /Infectious Lung Diseases /
Pediatrics, Pediatric Pulmonology
Dr. Amaro specializes in pediatric pulmonology, the study and treatment of children’s lung diseases. He has two decades of experience treating children with cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, whooping cough, and other respiratory diseases. In addition, he is one of only a couple of board-certified specialists in pediatric sleep disorders in Northeast Texas.(903) 877-7916
Specialties:Pulmonology (Lung Disease) /Cystic Fibrosis /Infectious Lung Diseases /
Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease
Dr. Couch is a pulmonary expert who has treated patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases for more than 20 years. Her specialty is treating patients who have recurring infections that damage the airways to the lungs. To help treat this condition, Dr. Couch has conducted research to determine how effective inhaled antibiotics are in preventing infection.(903) 877-7916
Specialties:Pulmonology (Lung Disease) /Infectious Lung Diseases /Cystic Fibrosis /
Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine
Dr. Julie Philley studied medicine at The University of Texas in Houston, completed her Internal Medicine residency in Baltimore, MD at the Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital program, and did her fellowship at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She is board certified in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Dr. Philley sees patients in the Ralph and Mary Prince Pulmonary Center. She has special research interests and publications in bronchiectasis and mycobacterial lung infections. She also serves as the Chair of the Department of Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care.
Your CF Team
Cynthia Ackley, Registered Dietician
Cynthia is a Registered Dietitian (RD) who received her undergraduate degree from Idaho State University. She has been a part of the cystic fibrosis team since April 2013 and she also covers inpatient CF patients at UT Health. As your CF dietitian, Cynthia provides nutrition assessments that focus on growth and weight trends at each visit and will help guide your treatment plan to optimize your overall nutrition status.
Kristi Allen, RN
Kristi Allen is a registered nurse who received her associate degree from Excelsior College. Her experience in caring for patients includes working with pediatrics through private duty home health and with geriatrics in nursing homes, home health, and hospice. She has been a part of the CF team since April 2017.
Mona Crow, Physical Therapy Assistant
Mona received her physical therapy assistant associate degree from Oklahoma City Community College in 1984. She has worked at UT Health for 19 years in Rehabilitation Services. She sees patients in our three areas: adult outpatient, pediatric outpatient, and inpatients. Mona has worked with CF patients since she started working at UT Health and joined the CF team in 2011. She provides education and treatment exercises and activities with our CF patients in the outpatient and inpatient settings.
Melanie Dangerfield, LMSW and Mental Health Coordinator
Melanie is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She received her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees from Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas. Melanie has worked with the CF Team since January 2017. As your CF social worker, Melanie will help you and your family members cope effectively with the inevitable stress of having CF by offering emotional support, counseling, advocacy, education, and identification of resources in and out of your community. As the mental health coordinator, Melanie will administer depression and anxiety screenings yearly for all patients ages 12 years and older and caregivers of pediatric patients.
Elizabeth (Lilly) Garza, Clinical Research Coordinator
Lilly is a Clinical Research Coordinator. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Lilly joined the CF team in the spring of 2015. Although she has not been involved with CF long, she was doing clinical research for a couple years before becoming involved in CF. She is available to discuss potential interest in participating in a research study or to answer any questions regarding clinical research.
Christiana (Chris) Guthrie, Registered Respiratory Therapist
Chris is the CF Clinical Coordinator. She coordinates the care provided to you by the CF team during your clinic visits. She received her undergraduate degree from Angelina College in respiratory care and earned a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at Tyler. She joined the CF team in the fall of 2009. Chris is also a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). As the Respiratory Clinical Educator, Chris will provide education on proper respiratory treatments, airway clearance techniques and collection of sputum for cultures.
Rebekah Hibbard, Certified Clinical Research Coordinator
Rebekah is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC). She received her Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from the University of Texas at Tyler. Rebekah joined the CF team in the fall of 2010. She is available at any time to discuss potential interest in participating in a research study or to answer any questions regarding clinical research.
Ida (Sabina) Rodriguez, Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)/Medical Interpreter.
Sabina began working in the medical field in 2002 and started at UT Health in 2015 working with the adult pulmonary and sleep patients. Fluent in Spanish, she assists with Spanish speaking patients in the CF clinic and throughout the hospital. She is responsible for the administrative needs of the clinic as well as assisting physicians and nurses with clinical care as needed. Sabina has experience working in home health, mental health for acute, chronic and forensic patients. Most recently she worked with adults with dual diagnosis of intellectual disabilities and mental health.
Tara Sadler RN, BSN
Tara graduated from University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She has worked as a nurse in many specialties, including pediatrics, med/surgery, cardiac, geriatrics, and mental health.
Billy (Joe) Sartor, Pharmacist
Joe has been with UT Health Northeast since 2002. He graduated from UT Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Texas Tech with a Doctor of Pharmacy. Primary areas of practice include geriatrics, ambulatory care, infectious disease, and cystic fibrosis. Joe works with CF patients to help with the dosing of antibiotics during inpatient and home care, and he is glad to be a member of CF clinic team helping with all medication needs.
W. Dale Tallmadge, MSN, APRN, ACNP-BC
Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Mr. Tallmadge began his nursing career in 1987 after graduating from Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Florida and has worked in Medical ICU/CCU, Trauma/Surgical ICU, CVICU and PACU. He obtained his BSN from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee in 1996 and began to assist in management in these areas. In 2005 he graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with his Master’s degree, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Tract. As an NP he has worked in Neurosurgery, Pain Medicine, Cardiothoracic as well as Vascular Surgery prior to coming to Tyler. He also has been involved in the health ministry in his local church actively being involved in promoting a healthy lifestyle incorporated principles that include healthy eating, exercise, etc. He continues to have a great interest in this area, especially with the patient population that he serves.
Caryn Vorsas, Physical Therapist
Caryn received her Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Medicine (OT/PT) from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, in 1985 and her Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Tyler in 1993. She has worked in acute care for most of her career and took over the directorship of Rehabilitation Medicine at UT Health Northeast in 2006. As a retiree from UT Health, she has returned to work on the CF grant to provide exercise education to our patients. She has worked in Canada and the West Indies, and has worked with cystic fibrosis patients both in the hospital and the outpatient clinic. Caryn is a 28-year member of the American Physical Association, and she has held the position of education chair for the East Texas District of the TPTA.
Who do I call about my medical needs between appointments?Our clinic phone number is (903) 877-5271 or (866) 337-2899. Clinic personnel answer the telephones from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If your phone call is clerical, our office staff will assist you. If your call requires medical judgment, your call will be referred to your health care professional’s nurse who will return your call.
What hours can I call the clinic?Our clinic phone number is (903) 877-5271 or (866) 337-2899. Clinic personnel answer the telephones from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If your phone call is clerical, our office staff will assist you. If your call requires medical judgment, your call will be referred to your health care professional’s nurse who will return your call.
Can I call the clinic after 5 p.m.?You can call our regular clinic number (903) 877-5271 or (866) 337-2899 after 4:30 p.m. Your call will be automatically connected to our answering service. The answering service contacts the covering physician, and he or she will return your call. A physician is on call after hours, holidays, and weekends to handle your urgent medical needs.
When will I receive my test results?For any results needing immediate or urgent attention, you will be called as soon as your healthcare provider decides on your best plan of care. All other test results will be discussed at your next clinic visit.
Can I get my health information online?You can log in to myUTHealth, our secure online patient portal, to access your personal health and medical information, schedule appointments, and communicate with your provider. To enroll, you must have your email address and Medical Record Number. If you need assistance enrolling in the portal, obtaining health insurance, or other available benefits or resources, please contact our office at (903) 877-5271.
How do I get my prescriptions refilled?Please call your pharmacy 5 working days before you take your last dose of medication. Always call the pharmacy before picking up your medication to ensure your prescription has been filled. Federal law strictly controls narcotic medications. If your physician is unavailable to refill your narcotic prescription, another of our clinic physicians will review your request. Please be aware that this review may increase the time taken for the refill and lessen the quantity of medication refilled.
I use a mail-in pharmacy service for my prescription refills, what is the process for refills?Mail-in prescriptions require additional time to process. Some mail-in pharmacy services require up to 10 working days to process refills. Please call your pharmacy at least 7-10 days before your last dose to request refills.
Who do I contact when I need to re-schedule or cancel a clinic appointment?If you need to re-schedule or cancel a clinic appointment, please call (903) 877-5271 or (866) 337-2899 so we can reschedule a more convenient appointment time.
How long will it take my provider to complete medical forms?Please allow 10 working days for your provider to complete medical forms for such things as medical supplies and durable medical equipment. Provide the forms with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and we will mail the form to you when it is completed.
How do I get copies of records and tests?Please call (903) 877-5271 or (866) 337-2899. It typically takes about 10 working days to process your request.
Who do I inform if my address, phone number, or insurance changes?At the time of your appointment, you can notify the front desk personnel of any changes, or you can call (903) 877-5271 or (866) 337-2899, and we will update your information.
EMERGENCIESIf you have an emergency such as sudden onset of severe chest pain, shortness of breath, severe bleeding, or loss of use of any extremity, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
There is CF Caregivers Support Group that meets every other month on a Saturday at the Potpourri House (3320 Troup Hwy Ste. 300, Tyler, TX) from 11:30am-1:30pm. When dates are determined, notifications are sent by email, mail, or text message. Lunch is provided, so please come and fellowship with us and other caregivers.
We provide cystic fibrosis education and training that prepares patients and their families for self-care. Support services are available, and we will help identify these resources for you.
Tyler Great Strides CF Walk
September 23, 2017
Check-in: 8 a.m.
Walk: 9 a.m.
Chapter: Northeast Texas – Tyler
Event Location: TBA
Wellness Therapy for Pediatrics
Wellness Therapy for Adults
Current Enrolling Studies
Novartis CTBM100C2407: Observational study with Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Cystic Fibrosis Patient Registry: CF Foundation Registry for all CF Patients
Abbott CF-FC: Observational study for Fibrosing Colonopathy
Find more CF clinical trials or contact Lilly Garza, clinical research coordinator, by calling (903) 877-5435 or emailing.
The purpose of this study is to test an experimental drug in adults and children with CF to determine if the study drug helps lung function, reduces CF symptoms, decreases the number of hospitalizations, decreases the use of antibiotics, improver overall quality of life and safety.
The purpose of this research study is to learn more about the safety and effects of the combination of study drug in subjects with CF.
For more information, please contact:
Rebekah Hibbard, CCRC
This is a observational study over a 5-year period in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. The study will collect data over 1 year on respiratory function, antibacterial effectiveness, and clinical outcomes of treatment with inhaled antipseudomonal antibiotics and data over 5 years on microbiological and safety assessments.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of treatment with VX-371 in saline compared to saline alone in subjects with cystic fibrosis (CF) who are ≥12 years of age, homozygous for the F508del-CFTR mutation, and being treated with Orkambi.
For more information, please contact:
Lilly Garza, CCRC