Colleen Little, DO

Art and Science Combine for This Family Medicine Physician

“I give my patients detailed options for their health, and then empower them to take the lead.”

As a family physician and an artist, Dr. Colleen Little brings more than the usual range of talent to primary care medicine. Initially on the track for a career in art therapy, Colleen was drawn to family medicine while working in healthcare administration. In taking care of credentialing for doctors, she realized that primary care was a path she’d like to follow. Now her years of art training bring a detailed eye to dermatology procedures, and her studies in psychology bring additional insight into her patients’ perspective.

Colleen’s interest in dermatology is more than artistic. A bout of melanoma as a teenager made her passionate about educating others on prevention and early detection. She worked for the Colorado Melanoma Foundation and also did academic research for a pigmentation genetics project. She completed her dermatology fellowship to bring this additional expertise to her work in family medicine.

She also is working toward a certification in integrative medicine, which blends physical, mental and social well-being with conventional medical treatment. In integrative medicine, patients and practitioners are partners in the healing process.

“I take a holistic approach to health,” said Colleen. “I like to offer all of the options to patients and discuss them in detail. Patients tell me that I explain things very well, in a way they can understand, and that I empower them to take the lead with their health.

“If someone has diabetes, and they’re diagnosed for the first time, I’ll give them a chance to try lifestyle changes before we start medication. I’ll do the same thing for patients with high cholesterol before I prescribe a statin. There are so many gray areas in medicine, where lifestyle changes could be just as beneficial as pharmacologic treatment.”

When she’s not working, Colleen enjoys art, including pottery and watercolors. (See a sample of her artwork in this bio.) She also likes to hike and bike with her boyfriend, and enjoys baking.

Danielle Westenberger, MSN, APN

“If we give patients the tools and the power to be their own advocates, the results can be life-changing.”

Danielle Westenberger always knew she’d choose a career helping others. But it wasn’t until she worked alongside the nurses in a hospital emergency room that she realized her true calling. “They were the ones helping to make the critical decisions on the front line,” she said. “I saw the incredible impact that they could have, which is what inspired me to become a nurse practitioner. I wanted to be an advocate for my patients.”

Nursing is the ideal career for Danielle, who enjoys giving back and making a difference. During high school, she was a volunteer EMT and a volunteer firefighter. At age 18, she got a job at Saint Clare’s Hospital as an emergency room technician, the job that led to her future career. She went on to become a registered nurse and advanced practice nurse (APN).

In addition to her years at the hospital, Danielle brings experience in an infertility practice and at a lung transplant center. She is known for her personable and friendly bedside manner, which comes from doing a job that she loves.

“I know well the deer-in-the-headlights feeling that you can have when you have to process a lot of information while you’re not feeling well,” she said. “I go out of my way to make sure that I sit with my patients and explain everything. I want to make sure that they understand their medications, how exactly to take them, and what they’re for. I encourage my patients to be advocates for their health so that they may break the cycle of returning to the hospital ER for treatment.”

Then, when patients see results, Danielle celebrates with them. “It’s the best feeling ever, knowing that what you did could help change someone’s life for the better.”

When she’s not working, Danielle enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. She and her husband have an English bulldog named Penny.

Rose, Sue, APN

Sue Rose Finds Success Using a ‘Down to Earth’ Approach

“The best way to care for a patient is to know the whole family.”

Sue Rose had decided on her future career by the age of 10. She enjoyed caring for others, and health care seemed a natural fit.

She began her career in a hospital pediatric unit. “I very much enjoyed pediatrics, but in a hospital setting there is no continuity,” she says. “You don’t get to see the patients after they’re released, or follow their progress.” Her transition to a doctor’s office provided the continuity that she was seeking. “As a nurse practitioner, my major focus is on wellness and keeping a patient healthy,” she says. “Moving to a medical practice setting allowed me to experience continuity as I began to increasingly treat multiple members of a family.”

Family history tells a health care provider a lot, but there is still more to the story, according to Sue. “As a health care provider, I am interested in both a personal history and a family history, but that’s just the beginning. There is a personal side – a relationship – that develops between the health care provider and the family, at which point you begin to understand their unique dynamic. I personally feel I can take care of individual members more completely when I know them on a number of levels.”

This is a two-way relationship for Sue. Her patients know that she is a mother, wife and daughter. “Just the fact that my patients know a little about me makes them feel comfortable talking with me about many things besides their health, such as social life, anxieties, school, time management, etc. I also try to talk to them at their level in terms they understand. When speaking with teens, I am pretty blunt about possible consequences of their actions – smoking, drugs, relationships, and unhealthy habits.” Sue also utilizes the resources of a clinical care coordinator to help her patients – from school-aged children to senior adults – who may need counseling, nutrition advice, home care or other social services.

As a family nurse practitioner, Sue provides her patients with all aspects of general and preventive care, including diagnoses, treatments, consultations, checkups, ordering lab tests and prescribing medication. She is also certified by the state of New Jersey to perform student-athlete cardiac assessments for pre-participation sports physicals.

During her off hours, Sue enjoys spending time with her husband, four children and three grandchildren. She also keeps busy assisting her aging parents and being involved in her church. She loves to create, and in her spare time she is a seamstress who unwinds at her sewing machine or by doing crochet projects.

Carrazzone, Peter, MD

Dr. Peter Carrazzone Blends Data with Experience for Diagnosis and Treatment

“Evidence-based medicine – the conscientious use of clinical information to direct a plan of care – makes a difference in helping a patient achieve longevity and quality of life.”

When Dr. Peter Carrazzone injured his eye in the fifth grade, he discovered his future career. “I was hospitalized, and the doctor who treated me – the ophthalmologist – really inspired me. I knew then that I was going to be a doctor.” He chose family medicine because he enjoyed most every medical rotation. “Family medicine gave me the most robust ability to see everything.”

A large focus of his practice is preventive care. “We strongly monitor our patients to identify problems,” he says. “We offer annual physicals and important screening tests. We talk to them about diet and exercise. If they’re doing something harmful, such as smoking, we want to motivate them to change behaviors so they have a greater chance of a healthier and longer life.”

Wellness is a term that is used a lot, according to Dr. Carrazzone. He cautions patients to be aware of so-called lifeline screenings. “Sometimes, companies offer screenings that don’t give you any information that pertains to your health. That’s why we practice evidence-based medicine. We do screenings that either rule out a potential problem or result in a need for monitoring or treatment.”

He treats babies to seniors, and enjoys getting to know the families at Vanguard. “Knowing the family history and dynamics plays a large role in being a good diagnostician,” he says. “It provides that additional information that is helpful in treating the whole patient.” Importantly, he takes the time to listen, and he sees the patient throughout the whole medical experience, from office to hospital. “Every morning, I do rounds at three hospitals,” he says. “It’s part of our continuity of care.”

When he’s not working, Dr. Carrazzone enjoys hiking, kayaking and spending time with family, including his six children. Visit Dr. Carrazzone’s leadership biography to learn more about his responsibilities as a part of Vanguard’s Executive Team.