Sara Helene P. Viernes, DDS
Dr. Sara is a general dentist who began practicing dentistry in 2002 in Indianapolis. She is a team member of the craniofacial team at Peyton Manning Childrens Hospital, an interdisciplinary specialty team treating children with craniofacial anomalies. She is in her 3rd year of the PhD program for Health Informatics in the SOIC at IUPUI.
I was born and grew up in South Carolina. After high school, I moved to Mountain Home, Idaho and eventually found my way to Indiana to finish my studies at Indiana University School of Dentistry.
I am a Dagny Taggart at heart. Da Vinci said, “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.” Dentistry works, it’s a top rated profession, but I see the daily connection to my patient’s overall health. Health Informatics helps me do “something else”. My goal is to continue to strengthen the oral systemic connection that informs healthcare decision making for providers and patients.
I like to ‘tinker’. My fascination started with Electronic Records and how to integrate them in my daily practice to improve my patient care. The challenges to adopting electronic health records has led me to research in the domains of Care Coordination in the Electronic Record, Health Information Exchange between healthcare providers, and summary reports for Craniofacial Patients. I like diversity, and began working on the Brainsafe project to change prescribing of anticholinergic drugs for patients at risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Translating anticholinergic research into provider and patient applications will be the focus of much of my future time in the program. “Shun those studies in which the work that results dies with the worker” Da Vinci.
I am tenacious, and work well at fast paces. As a business owner, dentist, mother, wife, and student coordination and timing are important parts of my research. I have an understanding of the realities for the provider and patient which assists in developing many health informatics solutions. Perpetual optimism is my mantra.
School has become my hobby! It helps in finding new or unique solutions in my everyday life, such as creating a family recipe database for my college age children. I also enjoy cooking, running, yoga, and getting outdoors. I have a greenhouse full of tropical plants and work to keep them alive in the frigid Indiana weather. My father is Hawaiian, so I love all things Polynesian, the culture, the music, the dance, the food, and of course frequently traveling to visit my Ohana in the land of rainbows and waterfalls.