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Age of autism Spectrum disorders wreak havoc on children, families

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APRIL 2018 • ISSUE 146

Smart Phone Addiction

Cell phones post serious health threats

Season of renewal is upon us Page 7

Internationally renown reproductive specialist Jane Frederick discusses prevalence of freezing eggs.

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See Page 3

Women’s Health Special Edition

Meet Your Administrator

Heart to heart Debbie O’Neill, center, and daughters Kathryn, left, and Peggy are shown in front of the St. Luke’s campus of the Mohawk Valley Health System in Utica on July 8, 2017. Deb’s son Sean O’Neill died from sudden death cardiac arrest on that date 10 years earlier. Page 5

Eat Brown Rice While white rice certainly has some nutritional merit — as it’s enriched with some of the nutrients it loses in the milling process — it pales in comparison to its tawny cousin. See SmartBites. Page 10

Meet Your Doctor Orthopedic surgeon Elaine Mau recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Orthopedic Group. Page 4 April 2018 •

Dr. James L. Knoll IV is the new clinical director of the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy. Page 11

Health Careers Roberto Gonzalez is the syringe exchange program coordinator at ACR Health in Utica. Page 12

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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New Masthead


e’re excited with the new masthead of In Good Health. This is the first change we’ve made since the inception of the paper in Mohawk Valley in March 2006. Newspapers don’t change mastheads frequently but we thought this was a great time to introduce something new, fresh, more contemporary, something that better reflects the paper’s mission of disseminating news related to health, the healthcare industry and wellness. We believe the new masthead has the power to generate some new interest for In Good Health. It is cleaner than the one it replaces, more visually appealing and we hope will help draw more readers who see the paper at hundreds of high-traffic locations, including all Wegmans’ locations. We’re pleased that Melanie Watson accepted our invitation to come up with new ideas for the masthead. Watson has been a professional graphic designer for more than 25 years and has extensive experience in designing publications, logos, marketing collateral and a number of other products. In nearly two decades on the design team at Rochester Business Journal, Watson received nearly 20 awards from the New York Press Association and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Watson submitted not one or two ideas. In a matter of a day — we thought it would take at least a week — she was able to come up with seven designs for the masthead. Even better, all seven were outstanding. It was tough to pick the winner from among her ideas. “When designing the logo for In Good Health, I was focused on what the paper’s demographic might be attracted to,” she explains. “I was showing health as a lifestyle instead of a medical only issue. And the bold font simplifies the message,” We highly recommend Watson for any design work readers might need. Some of her work can be viewed at Please drop me a note, let me know what you think. If you have any story ideas, please feel free to drop me an email. And, please, consider In Good Health for advertising. We reach tons of people in the community. Wagner Dotto is In Good Health’s publisher and editor. To contact him, send an email to wagnerdotto@

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Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email


Food Addicts in Recovery to meet Food Addicts in Recovery holds an anonymous meeting from 6:308 p.m. Mondays at Trinity United Methodist Church, 8595 Westmoreland Road, Whitesboro. For more information, call Helen at 315-794-2314.


The support group is for parents with a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. PAL is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board of parents. For more information, visit www. or call PAL at 480-3004712.

April 9

Support forum for patients, cancer survivors

Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. is offering a family support group meeting from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Insight House, 500 Whitesboro St., Utica. The group is free and open to anyone who is concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol, opiates/heroin, or other substances. For more information about the group, call 724-5168, ext. 265, from 8:30-4 p.m. weekdays. All calls are strictly confidential.

The Mohawk Valley Health System’s Cancer Center’s monthly support forum for patients and cancer survivors will be held at 6 p.m. April 9. The cancer support forum meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month in the Cancer Center’s fireplace lounge on the main floor of Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The forum, led by the Cancer Center’s social worker, offers support to anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Light refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5241.

April 3

April 9

Insight House offers family support group

Center for Family Life and Recovery sets date Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc. will celebrate the message and power of recovery at the 20th annual April Awareness Breakfast. It takes place April 3 at Daniele’s Banquet Specialists, New Hartford. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. with coffee, breakfast and exhibitor booths, followed by a formal program at 9 a.m. This special event, coinciding with Alcohol Awareness Month, recognizes the contributions of the community in helping support CFLR, Inc.’s vision of creating a community mindset where people embrace sustained recovery from mental health and substance use disorders. The cost to attend is $25 per person. To purchase a ticket or to find out more information, contact Bianca Bussey, marketing and development coordinator, at 315-733-1709 or visit www.whenthereshelpthereshope. com.

April 5

Parents bond to battle addiction A support group — Parents of Addicted Loved Ones — meets from 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at the Canajoharie Fire House, 75 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie. The next meetings are April 5 and April 19.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

Support group to meet at Rome Memorial Hospital The brain aneurysm, AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and stroke support group will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. April 9 at Rome Memorial Hospital’s second-floor classroom. The group meets on the second Monday of every month. RMH is located at 1500 N. James St., Rome. For more information, call Deb Dunn at 315-533-6467 or email

April 9

MVHS to provide free oral cancer screenings The Mohawk Valley Health System Dental Health Center will provide free oral cancer screenings each Monday throughout April. The screenings will be given at the Dental Health Center, 1714 Burrstone Road, New Hartford. More than 48,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, which will lead to more than 8,000 deaths. Some risk factors that can lead to oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol use, and the HPV16 virus. The quickest growing segments of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to the HPV16 virus. Anyone 16 years of age and older is encouraged to get screened. Call Tracy Roth at 315-624-6225 to schedule a free appointment.

April 9

‘Give it a Whirl’ for Wellness to meet The drop-in support group, “Give it a Whirl” for Wellness, has moved to Mondays for April. The free group is for anyone coping with health and wellness challenges through the collaboration of the Center for Family Life and Recovery and Rome Memorial Hospital’s Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine. “Give it a Whirl” for Wellness is a creative way to socialize, help and be helped by others with similar conditions or circumstances, whether it is quitting smoking for good, overcoming illness or treatments, or facing life changes, to meet with others in similar situations. The April meetings, led by the Center for Family Life and Recovery, will be held each Monday at Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine, 107 E. Chestnut St., Rome: April 9, 6-7 p.m.: Tie-dye April 16, 2-3 p.m.: Abstract painting April 23, 6-7 p.m.: Dish gardening April 30, 2-3 p.m.: Polymer clay The public is encouraged to attend any or all of the meetings. No registration is necessary. There is access and parking on the east side of the building. For more information, call Kathy Peters, advocacy coordinator, at the Center for Family Life and Recovery at 315-768-2650.

April 10

CNY Diabetes to host grocery store tour People with diabetes, pre-diabetes and their family members are invited to grocery shop with a registered dietitian and learn more about their food choices. The grocery store tour, hosted by the Mohawk Valley Health System’s Central New York Diabetes Education Program, will run from 10 a.m. to noon April 10 at Hannaford Supermarket, 4593 Commercial Drive, New Hartford. Call CNY Diabetes at 315-6245623 to register, which is required.

April 10

Donors needed for MVHS blood drive The Mohawk Valley Health System will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10 in Allen-Calder Conference Rooms 3, 4 and 5 at the St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., Utica. Donors are asked to enter through Allen-Calder Entrance 7 at the back of the campus. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed each day in the United States, but only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. One donor can help save or sustain up to three lives. For more information or to make an appointment, call 315-624-8259. You can also register online prior to the event at www.redcrossblood. org, or the day of the event at www.

Continued on Page 19

Slaves to cell phones

Medicare HMO’s $0 PPO’s

Could you have nomophobia? By Barbara Pierce


he evidence is overwhelming. Smartphones have become an extension of our hand. Three hours a day is the average time people spend on mobile devices. You’re chatting with someone and they glance to check their phone. Distracted by their phone, your friend stops engaging with you, the real person with them. You’re stuck, waiting to feel as important as a Facebook feed. “Given the widespread adoption and rapid proliferation of smartphones, people are becoming more and more dependent on their smartphones,” said Yildirim Caglar Yildirim of SUNY Oswego. Yildirim is internationally known for his research on the connection people have with their phones. “I realized there wasn’t a single moment that I didn’t find a way to fill. My main accomplice was my phone,” said Manoush Zomorodi in her book, “Bored and Brilliant.” For many of us, it’s become second nature to whip out our phones any time there’s a lull. There’s no arguing that social media is a great way to share. But does the endless thumb scrolling have negative effects?

The bad news

“The problem arises when it starts interfering with one’s mental health and well-being,” said Yildirim. Social media isn’t good for your mental health; no surprise there. With just a week off Facebook, people report significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life. There’s a slew of health damages caused by overuse. Nearsightedness has soared among young people. Loss of sleep is another outcome: the caffeine in a double espresso interferes less with your sleep than the light from your phone. While most of us wouldn’t bring a double espresso

to bed, we happily bring our phones. Symptoms of text claw: cramped fingers, wrist pain and muscle pain. The number of young people with back problems has risen dramatically. And there’s a condition where nerves become compressed or inflamed, causing symptoms similar to those of a severe migraine. What’s the takeaway? Everything in moderation. “We don’t need to let go of our smartphones, nor can we afford to. We cannot go cold turkey and abandon our smartphones,” said Yildirium. “All we need to do is to stop for a moment and reflect on our smartphone use.”

call toll free


(888) 65-65-65-

Could you be addicted?

Are you unable to turn off your phone, obsessively check it, constantly top up the battery, even bring it in the bathroom? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back on your use? Restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems? If so, think seriously about your use. The first thing you might want to do is track your use; there are apps for this purpose. The more you understand your use, the easier it will be to curb your habits. In fact, nomophobia (as in “no mobile”) is now recognized as a serious issue. Yildirim created a short nomophobia questionnaire at www. Yildirim advises: “If you score high on the questionnaire, you may want to reflect on your smartphone use, asking yourself how your overdependence on your smartphone interferes with your life. If it seems to be having a huge adverse effect, you may try the following:” — “Have ‘no smartphones’ zones in situations such as at a dinner table or during face-to-face interactions.” — “Put it aside for a while. This may be especially useful when studying or working on something. Try to increase this duration gradually.” — “Turn Wi-Fi off regularly. It is likely that notifications from social media, emails, etc. contribute to nomophobia. During this time, try

Continued on Page 18 April 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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More U.S. kids landing in ICU from opioids ‘Second wave’ of victims admitted to pediatric ICUs


growing number of U.S. kids are ending up in the intensive care unit after overdosing on prescription painkillers or other opioids, a new study finds. Researchers found that between 2004 and 2015, the number of children and teens admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit for an opioid overdose nearly doubled. That included teenagers who’d abused the drugs, and young children who’d accidentally gotten hold of them. “These admissions are entirely preventable,” said lead researcher Dr. Jason Kane, of the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. “These kids shouldn’t be there.” The findings, reported online recently in the journal Pediatrics, offer the latest look at the U.S. opioid epidemic. An estimated 2.4 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, according to federal estimates. That includes abuse of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin, as well as illegal drugs like heroin. But while the focus is usually on adults, children have become “the second wave of victims,” Kane said. One recent study found that a growing number of children and teenagers are showing up in emergency rooms dependent on opioids. In 2013, roughly 135 kids per day were testing positive for opioid dependence in the nation’s ERs, according to the study. The new study looked at pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, which would capture the most serious overdose cases. Some kids landed there in respiratory distress, in need of a ventilator, Kane said. Others needed medications to raise their blood pressure from dangerously low levels. The findings are based on records from 31 U.S. children’s hospitals. Between 2004 and 2015, there were more than 3,600 children and teenagers admitted to the hospital for an opioid overdose and 43 percent of them had to be taken the ICU. In contrast, the study found, only 12 percent of children hospitalized for any reason had to be admitted to the ICU. Over time, ICU admissions for opioids rose: from 367 kids for the years 2004-2007, to 643 between 2012 and 2015. Most were teenagers, but about one-third were children younger than 6 who would have accidentally gotten their hands on someone’s medication, Kane said. Close to 2 percent of children who overdosed ultimately died.

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Your Doctor

By Barbara Pierce

Dr. Elaine Mau Elaine Mau, orthopedic surgeon and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Orthopedic Group. Mau has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Staff writer Barbara Pierce had the opportunity to interview her regarding her profession.

Q.: Becoming an orthopedic surgeon takes a great deal of skill and expertise. How did you gain your skills and what is your experience? A.: I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to train in Toronto and New York under very experienced and knowledgeable mentors. These mentors had expertise in their respective subspecialties. I trained at the University of Toronto and completed a fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery at New York University in New York City. Also, my patients have taught me a great deal. After my education, when it came time for me to care for my own patients in Maine, even though I was helping them through their treatments and options, these patients in turn have also taught me a lot. I look forward to continuing my learning with each patient encounter I have here in the Mohawk Valley. I am also a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. To achieve this status, it is necessary to meet the highest standards for medical specialty training and complete rigorous examinations in one’s surgical specialty. Q.: Do you have any specialty areas? A.: I have a particular interest in shoulder replacements and shoulder arthroscopy but I also work on some fractures affecting areas outside of the shoulder, such as fractures of the wrists, elbows, leg, ankles and hips. I’d like to build my practice around the shoulder.

Q.: How did you become interested in the shoulder? A.: It’s a new area. When I was training, focus on hips and knees was most common; focus on shoulders is new and that appealed to me. And it was interesting from a mechanical, anatomical point of view. Also, there are a number of interesting procedures that can be used, such as shoulder arthroscopy. py?

Q.: What is shoulder arthrosco-

A.: Arthroscopy for the shoulder is one of my favorite procedures. It involves the use of small incisions — about one centimeter long — to introduce a small camera and other instruments to perform the procedures. We use these for procedures such as rotator cuff repairs, labral repairs or other pathologies we address around the shoulder.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

allow me to help people with my work. Medicine seemed like a way to combine these goals. I then discovered an interest in surgery, partly because I liked the concept of being able to “fix” something in a human being, but also because I liked the idea of being able to make a difference on an individual basis. Q.: What is most challenging about being an orthopedic surgeon? A.: I think there are many challenges. For me, I think the hardest part is when an outcome isn’t as ideal as the patient and I would like it to be. Also, it is challenging when there is a situation where I do not have any good options to offer the patient — even though I wish I could.

Also, arthroscopy is especially nice for patients, as it is a day procedure and they can go home afterwards. Q.: How did you decide to become a surgeon as your chosen profession? A.: I had an interest in science and biology when I was growing up. I wanted to find a career that would

Q.: What is most rewarding about your profession? A.: The most rewarding part of my work is being given an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of people in the community. Q.: Why did you choose to relocate to the Mohawk Valley? A.: It brings me closer to my home, which is Toronto. And there was an opportunity to develop a shoulder program, which is the practice I’d like to build.

Lifelines Education: Doctor of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Conn.; Master of Science degree at the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto; residency in orthopedic surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Toronto; fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery, New York University, New York City; fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Canada Work highlights: Prior to joining the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group, Mau was affiliated with Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, Maine, specializing in shoulder and elbow reconstruction and arthroscopy. She also practiced at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center/Franklin Memorial Hospital in Lewiston, Maine, and Auburn, Maine.

Heart of the matter

Team O’Neill, rocked by heart disease, keeps running while inspired by hope By Patricia J. Malin

Falling Leaves 5K (in Utica) several times. He was a snowboarder and skateboarder. There were no signs (of heart disease),” she said. Just a month later, on Aug. 9, O’Neill was further stunned when her husband, Kevin O’Neill, died in his sleep. “As much as I loved my husband, losing a child is very difficult,” she said, “and my daughters still miss their brother.” O’Neill said the two events were a distinct wakeup call. Her immediate family realized they faced danger from undetected heart disease. They felt an urgency to get tested, to become aware of heart disease and take precautions to reduce the odds of an early or sudden death.


very year when she lines up for America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk on Champlin Avenue, opposite Utica College and in front of Mohawk Valley Health System’s St. Luke’s Hospital campus, Debbie O’Neill invariably remembers her late son. “It’s ironic that he died here and that’s where I start the Heart Walk,” she explained following the recent AGHRW event in Utica. Debbie O’Neill O’Neill’s family has been plagued by heart disease for at least three generations that she’s aware of. It’s added a strong impetus to her work as a volunteer and “passion speaker” for the Utica chapter of the American Heart Association, the organizer of the local heart expo on Friday and the runs/walks on the Saturday of AGHRW weekend. As of March 22, a total of $859,204 has been contributed toward the event’s $1,114,690 goal, according to the AHA website. The Utica event drew several thousand participants, including members of Team O’Neill who braved cold temperatures, snow-covered streets, high snow banks and downed trees due to the previous day’s storm that dumped 18 to 20 inches of heavy snow on the area. Deb O’Neill started participating in the event in the early 1990s because she knew “it was a good cause,” she said. “I’ve been involved a long time. It’s a good organization and a lot of people there, many of them volunteers, know someone who has been affected by heart disease.” The AHA’s educational messages have given O’Neill an awareness of how hereditary plays a strong role in cardiovascular health. High blood pressure has long been a problem in her family, mainly from her father’s side. It wasn’t until 1995 when her father, Gerald Schue, died suddenly that the impact of AGHRW’s mission started to hit home. “He died of a massive heart attack,” she said. “He had just turned

Oneida, Herkimer in good

The late Sean O'Neill is shown at the Mother’s Day Marathon in New York City in 2006. He dedicated the race to his mother, Debbie. 70. Then I started walking and raising funds in memory of him.” Her mother, Ruth Schue, survived “minor health issues,” and congestive heart disease, O’Neill added. Her mother passed away at the age of 74 in 2005. Major tragedy struck the O’Neill family in 2007 when Deb lost her son and her husband from heart disease within weeks of each other. An accomplished runner and athlete, 24-year-old Sean O’Neill collapsed while running the Boilermaker 15K race on July 8, 2007. He had reached the 6-mile point and the most difficult part of the course, the hills at Valley View golf course, were well behind him. The remaining three miles featured a fairly level section culminating with an easy downhill to the finish line. Sean’s death was a big shock. “It was horrible,” O’Neill pointed out. The Oneida County coroner determined that he died from cardiac arrhythmia. “He was the picture of health. He had run a marathon in New York City on Mother’s Day that year and dedicated it to me. He had run the


Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

Defibrillators necessary


“My two daughters have been diagnosed,” she said. “I took a stress test, but I’m fine and I’m active (physically). I take care of myself.” Kathryn O’Neill, 31, and Peggy O’Neill, 37, have both been diagnosed with Brugada syndrome, also known as ventricular arrhythmia. It is very rare, but it can be hereditary. There is too much electricity in their hearts and it causes disruptions to their heartbeats, Deb O’Neill explained, and both of them have had defibrillators implanted. Although she had been involved

in the heart run and walk for many years, it wasn’t until 2008 that she officially started Team O’Neill. “We’ve raised an amazing amount of money,” she said. “In the beginning, we had 140 walkers. We’ve had a lot of fundraisers in Sean’s memory. Friends remember Sean every year and I get great support from my family,” she added. Deb O’Neill alone has gotten 28 contributions and so far has raised $2,789. “Team O’Neill will be over their goal with a current total of $6,704 with pledges still coming in on-line at www.uticaheartrunwalk. org,” she said. “It’s not too late to pledge.” She also announced the Kevin and Sean Memorial Golf Tournament to be held in early summer. The money raised will go to Team O’Neill for AGHRW 2019. Deb O’Neill, who keeps a close watch on her own health, also contributes to the American Heart Association as a volunteer. This year she was invited to become a “passion speaker” and said she was honored to share her story with the community at special events. “I love being involved,” she said. “I’m fortunate and I’ll continue to fight and to help the American

Continued on Page 18

Dr. Salina S. Suy

Doctor of Dental Surgery Redefining the Dental Experience Now Accepting New Patients


A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. 20,000 copies distributed. To request home delivery ($15 per year), call 315-749-7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2018 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email:

Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab, Deb Dittner, Pauline DiGiorgio, Brooke Stacia Demott Advertising: Amy Gagliano Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas Office Assistant: Kimberley Tyler No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement — not to take the place of — the recommendations of your health provider.

Camesano Dentistry Zalatan Dental 8 Business Park Court 2607 Genesee Street Utica, NY 13502 Utica, NY 13502 315-732-6719 315-724-3197 Please like us on Facebook!

April 2018 •


IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Women’s HEALTH

Painful prognosis Often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, this devastating condition can have dire consequences By Barbara Pierce


ibromyalgia can make even the simplest experiences excruciating painful — from being touched gently on the arm to even just rolling over in bed, said rheumatologist Martin Morell of Arthritis Specialists in New Hartford. Morell specializes in the treatment of rheumatology-related diseases. Fibromyalgia is the second-most common of at least 169 rheumatologic conditions. Fibromyalgia — a condition devastating to its Morell victims, is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. “The pain was unbelievable, but I thought it would go away, or that it was all in my head,” says Debbie on “It got to the point that I became depressed. I couldn’t sleep or do the things I enjoyed, like hiking and walking. It took over five years and many doctors to pinpoint exactly what it was.” “At first, I thought I was coming down with the flu. I ached all over. I would wake up in the middle of the night from the pain,” says Cathie. “I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was so tired most days that I would be in bed by 6 p.m. but I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t even have the

strength to open my eyes and watch TV.” Those with fibromyalgia ache all over. It can feel similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, but it’s over your entire body. It is pain in every muscle. Though the muscles hurt everywhere, they are not the only cause of the pain. The pain comes more from the brain and spinal cord, explained Morell. There is a change in the firing patterns of the nerves that amplifies electrical signals to the brain, a glitch in the way your brain and spinal cord handle pain signals. Profound exhaustion is another symptom — exhaustion to the degree that the person is unable to do their normal activities. Incapacitating fatigue. Patients feel as though con-

Accepting New Patients Cathryn J. Barns

crete blocks are weighing down their arms and legs and their bodies are so drained of energy that every task is an effort.

Range of symptoms

Also, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, memory problems, headaches and anxiety are common. Some also report restless leg syndrome, bowel or bladder problems, numbness and tingling, and sensitivity to noise, lights, or temperature. The disease varies in intensity from day to day, said Morell. A change in the weather, stress, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), and over-exertion all can contribute to the flare up of symptoms. The symptoms are not something that people can see, but they are real and may be devastating for the person with fibromyalgia. About one quarter of those with the disease are unable to work. The condition is poorly understood, though more people are suffering with it. “It’s becoming very common,” said Morell. “Five to 6 percent of

people have it. It’s more common in women than in men.” Morell described the causes: — Genetic: It seems to run in families. — Trauma, like experiencing a terrible event, such as war, a car crash, or rape. An injury to the back can be the cause of fibromyalgia. Also, children who are abused are more likely to have the condition when they grow up. This may happen because abuse changes the way your brain handles pain and stress. Also, a painful disease like arthritis raises your chances of getting fibromyalgia. In addition, the condition is much more common in people who aren’t physically active. “There is no cure,” Morell said. “But there are three things you can do to improve it. First, get better sleep, then, day-to-day pain control, and enhance your energy and your ability to concentrate.” Morell works with his patients to improve the quality of their lives. “I wanted to figure out what fibromyalgia is,” Morell said. “I was able to put the puzzle pieces together and I wrote a book.” His book, “Fibromyalgia — Unification Theory; Connecting the Dots,” is a concise, comprehensive guide to fibromyalgia. He describes research that has been done, as well as evidence from his own clinic. The book offers patients and family members a readable guide to diagnosis, causes, symptoms and treatment. Helpful suggestions from — “Everyone with fibromyalgia is different. You may find that some of the tips about living with fibromyalgia will work better for you than others. So keep an open mind. — “Education is critical. You can reduce your symptoms. Try to learn more about fibromyalgia, how to reduce your symptoms, and what works for you. It’s not in your mind. You’re not crazy.


Specializing in diseases of the skin, including acne, warts, moles, skin cancer, rashes, psoriasis, eczema, skin infections, sun damages, hair and nail disease

1 Notre Dame Lane Utica, NY 13502


We continue to be located next to Notre Dame High School Provider Cathryn J. Barns, ANP-C, FNP

Fibromyalgia – Unification Theory; Connecting the Dots. New book release from Rheumatologist

Martin Morell, MD Find an up to date guide to this misunderstood, difficult to diagnose disease Books

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

Women’s HEALTH

Beating the biological clock Egg freezing gives women versatility when it comes to having children By Barbara Pierce

At 37, I was left with a broken heart and an awakened urge to spawn. I can’t believe I forgot to have children,” says an anonymous woman on line. “I ultimately froze my eggs to buy myself time. So, when and if I do meet someone and we want to procreate, my chances of being able to have a baby the old-fashioned way are increased. Because, as much as I hate to admit it, eggs get old!” “This isn’t where I had Frederick planned to be in my late 30s,” says MeiMei Fox online. “I longed to find true love and have a partner to share the parenting journey but I was confronting the end of my fertile years. I took control of the one aspect of my journey to having a family that I could — I preserved my fertility. I froze my eggs.” “Egg freezing is becoming more popular,” said Jane Frederick, internationally noted reproductive specialist and medical director of

HRC Fertility in Orange County, Calif. “More and more career women are freezing their eggs.” “It’s very successful. It’s not a guarantee, but an insurance back-up. I can go back and fertilize the eggs that were frozen and give a couple more opportunities to have a genetic child,” Frederick said. “The typical woman I see is 37 years old, focused on her career, hasn’t found a partner and doesn’t want to be pressured into a relationship just to have a child,” she said. The technology was initially developed for women with cancer, explained Frederick, as some chemotherapy drugs damage eggs. “When a woman was diagnosed with cancer, I was able to harvest her eggs before she became sterile.” Egg preservation has advanced greatly over the past few years, with improved overall success of eggs surviving the freezing process. “Freezing eggs does not guarantee a baby, but offers a reliable insurance plan,” said Frederick. It provides a swing at the bat. When you’re ready to use your frozen eggs to have a family, several steps are necessary. The eggs are warmed and assessed for genetic abnormalities. Surviving eggs are


fertilized with a sperm injection. The fertilized eggs will grow in culture until the embryo(s) are ready to be transferred into the uterus to achieve pregnancy, a few days after fertilization. Eggs must survive the freeze, thaw, fertilize, implant and hopefully result in a baby. Along the way, any of these steps may not happen. Until the eggs are used, physicians can’t know the outcome.

Age is critical factor

The two most important factors in determining a successful pregnancy are the woman’s age at the time of egg freezing and the number of available eggs. Ten to 15 eggs per cycle are harvested. “Success depends on age,” Frederick added. “If the eggs are frozen before age 30, there is a 50 percent rate of successful pregnancy. When the eggs are frozen at between 30-to40, there is a 25 percent chance. It’s not recommended for those over 40.” “Age is critical,” stressed Frederick. As we get older, our eggs get fewer and of poorer quality. The magic window for baby making: The average woman’s fertility peaks at the age of 24. Women

under 25 have a 96 percent chance of conceiving in a year if trying each month. From age 25 to 34, chances are 86 percent after trying for a year. At 35, it goes down to a 78 percent chance. Age 35 seems to be the point where fertility declines, mostly due to reduced egg quality. You’re also at a greater risk of miscarriage or fetus with an abnormality. Before 40 years of age is your last chance to freeze viable eggs for use at a later date, should you prefer not to get pregnant now. “A woman can freeze her eggs up until age 40; then she can come back years later and have a good chance of pregnancy even into her mid-40s,” said one fertility expert online. Frederick said she is able to gauge how many eggs you may have left — a low, average or high number — and can determine whether those eggs are good or “we have to work quickly.” “Cost is a negative,” added Frederick. “From $15,000 to $40,000 per cycle. More and more companies are providing this. Goggle, Apple, and Facebook offer this opportunity to their employees.” “There is hope out there,” Frederick said. “My feeling is we need to empower women to take charge of their reproduction. We can prevent a birth. Women should be able to say ‘I froze my eggs, now I’m ready to have a child.’”


From 2012-2016, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s annual operating margin has averaged 0.3 percent, considerably lower than the average of the four major for-profit health plans. Based on a comparison of earnings before interest and taxes, we would have needed to collect $1.6 billion more in premium revenue to achieve the same level of earnings as the major carriers over that period. Because we’re a business, not a charity, we need to earn a margin. But we do not pay dividends to shareholders. That works in your favor. We’re a nonprofit health plan, so we deliberately budget for low margins to keep coverage more affordable. We know you have other important things that matter. We’re neighbors helping neighbors build healthier communities.

A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

April 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

Spring clean your mind First rule: Shed yourself of expectations!


pring is my favorite time of year. The trees begin to blossom, the bird are chirping, and the sun feels wonderful on my face. Doesn’t that instantly put you in a better mood? Spring is a time of renewal and awakening. There’s a sense of hopefulness in the air, more lighthearted energy. Spring is the perfect time not just for cleaning out closets, but to de-clutter our mental space. It’s a time to get rid of the dirt and clutter Pierce that may be dragging us down, throw out the garbage we’re lugging, and re-energize ourselves with a fresh point of view. Here are some things I’ve found helpful: — Don’t have expectations. I believe that one of the biggest ways we make ourselves miserable is by having expectations of others — because others rarely behave the way we expect them to. My sister-in-law Gayle is carrying a load of garbage because she expects her young adult son to care more about her. She raised him as a single parent, protected him like a

mother hen, and fought his battles for him. And now he rarely calls or drops by to see her, only when he needs money. “I gave him everything all his life,” she wails. “And now I don’t even get a phone call, not even on my birthday!” She’s so bitter because her expectations are not being met. I remember the pain I suffered when a boyfriend refused to live with me. We seemed so perfect together. I expected we would move in together and live happily ever after. He wisely recognized that this would never work as his need for perfection was not a good match for me, mucking along at the bottom end of the perfectionist scale. We might have lived happily together for a day or two or even a week or two, but then it would have become ugly, really ugly. But it took me months to get over the loss of my expectation of being with him forever. If you’re saying “should” (as in “he should be there for me,” or “people should do this”) you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Ease up on yourself!

And expectations of ourselves are equally bad — if we don’t live up to our own expectations for ourselves, we beat ourselves up mentally, feel guilty and feel badly.

Get out of the habit of expecting things of others or yourself. If you don’t have expectations of yourself, or of others, you’ll free yourself of much suffering. A good habit to get into when you’re faced with a challenge or going through a difficult time is this quote from Eckhart Tolle: “There are three solutions to every problem: Accept it, change it, or leave it. If you can’t accept it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave it.” When I’m in a situation that’s tough, I try to remember to say to myself: “What can I do about this? How can I change this to make it better for me?” If there is absolutely nothing I can do, I just have to say, “That’s the way it is. I better just chill and be OK with it.” When the problem is another person, we can’t change them. Our options are limited to accepting them as they are or leaving them. When a relationship is toxic and brings us turmoil, the only thing we can do is change the way we are relating to the situation, and walk away. Sometimes we stress out about something that’s not even our concern or our business. Stressing out about others or about situations that are out of our control is self-defeating. Another thing that is freeing is to let go of the need to be right. Is it

more important to you to be right about something than to preserve your relationships with others? Decide if you’d rather be right or be close to people. Sometimes you just have to say to yourself: “I know that I’m right, but I’m just going to drop it.” Making assumptions is something I tend to do. I interpret things negatively based on my assumptions rather than reality. Then I act, based on my assumptions instead of what really is. And I’m the one who loses. I did this not long ago. There was a woman I liked and wanted to know better. But I said something stupid to her and I thought what I said upset her. I assumed that she was mad at me. So I avoided her. I assumed she was avoiding me. I finally figured out the only way I’ll know if she’s mad and avoiding me is to approach her and see what happens. She wasn’t mad at me at all. We’ve become good friends and I’m glad I decided to check out my assumptions, which I shouldn’t make. • Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book, “When You Come to the Edge: Aging” or if you have questions for her, contact her at

World-Class Orthopedic Care at the Mohawk Valley Health System From feet and ankles to partial and total joint replacements, spinal problems and sports medicine for kids and adults, our surgeons work with talented teams at both our St. Luke’s and St. Elizabeth Campuses. We are with you from diagnosis through surgery, going home and physical therapy. Great care, talented teams and state of the art technology are close to your home and family right here in the Mohawk Valley. For more information, please call 315-624-6530. Experience world-class orthopedic care with the Mohawk Valley Health System.

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Page 8

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Sensational Spring! Period of renewal begins as gardening, farmers’ markets flourish


t’s that time of year when the sun starts setting later, the sun feels warmer as it shines down on your face, and you start itching to get your hands dirty exploring the soil for this year’s garden. You may not believe it right now as there are probably remnants of snow outside your door, but it will melt sooner than later. In the meantime, preparation is key. If you have a porch with a numDittner ber of planters, a small plot outside the back door, or a 20-by-4-foot raised bed, you need to start dreaming of what will be when it comes to vegetables and fruits. So get your hands dirty and get ready for growing some of your own whole nutrient-dense foods. Some of you may not even have the opportunity of growing your own outside of a pot or two of herbs by the kitchen door. This is where farmers’ markets come into play.

Local growers are able to remain on their land providing you the best produce, and allowing them to maintain a lifestyle to help the economy in the community. Talk with your farmers. Ask them questions about their growing practices. I have always found they are more than ready to discuss how they farm their land, why they grow certain vegetables over others, and what it takes to get the produce from seed to you. When you buy your food at farmers’ markets, you are speaking and voting with your dollar for locally and often organically grown foods. By being proactive, you are helping to sustain agricultural practices such as erosion control, cover crops, and habitats for natural pollinators. The seeds used by the farmers are often from numerous varieties that have been passed down over the generations as compared to genetically modified, patented, limited variety of seeds grown by commercial agribusiness. And then there is the taste. Oh my, you can so taste the difference in locally grown produce. And the color! A locally grown tomato, for example, is a beautiful red, yellow,

orange, green and even black.

Community feel

Community-supported agriculture is a wonderful way to support a specific farmer (or two). You usually sign up in early spring, which provides them the finances to start the spring gardening essentials. They begin working in the greenhouses, pressing seeds into the soil that soon sprouts and grows in a heated environment until ready for transplant outside when weather permits. Some CSA’s can also have just fruit, or added eggs, or breads. There are so many options for you to choose. If you can’t find an option that works for you, talk with the farmer. If you are growing your food or purchasing it at farmers’ markets, you can be guaranteed top-notch flavor. Your vegetables or fruits are picked at peak ripeness and delivered to you within a couple hours or so. Far-away growers pick produce long before natural ripening, place in cold storage, and ship in a truck for thousands of miles. As a result, there is more often than not no flavor, poor coloration, and overall poor quality. Buying your

produce that was sun-kissed also provides you with peak nutritional values. Locally and organically grown foods contain higher levels of cancer-fighting and heart-healthy antioxidants. If you are new to farmers’ markets or CSA’s, start with one product at a time. For example, if you buy eggs at the grocery store, start buying eggs locally at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. The next week, make another change and so on until it becomes second nature. I always tell clients to try a new vegetable each week. Experiment by adding different seasonings such as curry. At season’s end, there can be an abundance of certain vegetables. It is so worth preserving the crop by freezing, canning, or dehydrating. Come winter, you’ll be happy you did. • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner. com or contact her at 518-596-8565.

The Center for Heartburn & Digestive Disorders is the only center of its kind in the Mohawk Valley. Our fellowship-trained surgeon, Dennis Blom, MD, specializes in foregut and urges patients to schedule a visit if they have the following signs and symptoms: A burning sensation in your chest/heartburn Chest pain | Difficulty swallowing | Dry cough Hoarseness or sore throat | Regurgitation/acid reflux Sensation of a lump in your throat All services are directly connected to and supported by Community Memorial Specialties and Hospital Services, and accessible to the Crouse Health network of services. Be sure to follow and like us for the latest news and updates!

April 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9

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The skinny on healthy eating

Brown rice bursts with health benefits


ike many baby boomers, I grew up on white rice — at home, in restaurants, at the school cafeteria. And since I saw it as a backdrop to whatever was ladled on top, I never thought twice about its nutritional value, besides being starchy and filling. These days, I always consider what I consume, which is why, when it comes to rice, I only eat the wholegrain version: brown rice. While white rice certainly has some nutritional merit — as it’s enriched with some of the nutrients it loses in the milling process, like thiamine, folate, and iron — it pales in comparison to its tawny cousin. Brown rice, which hasn’t been stripped of its husk, bran and germ, is a good source of fiber, providing about 3.5 grams of fiber per cup (comparable to oatmeal). Current research shows fewer incidents of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in people who eat diets high in fiber. What’s more, people who eat more high-fiber foods tend to be thinner than those who don’t and also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol counts. Health-promoting antioxidants, which abound in the bran portion of a whole grain and help thwart the damage caused by free radicals, reign supreme in brown rice. According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, abundant evidence suggests that eating whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — all rich in antioxidants — provides protection against cell-damaging free radicals that contribute to many chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and vision loss. Brown rice is an outstanding source of manganese, an essential mineral that plays an important role in bone health, energy production, nutrient absorption and blood-sugar regulation. A powerhouse antioxidant with anti-inflammatory proper-

ties, manganese is a widely known remedy for the treatment of sprains and arthritic symptoms, despite no reliable evidence as yet to indicate that it actually helps. Can you eat rice if you’re watching your carbs or have diabetes? Although no rice can really be considered a low-carb food (one cup of cooked brown rice has about 45 grams), whole-grain brown rice is healthier than refined white rice. Thanks to its fiber and protein, which both slow the absorption of glucose into the blood, brown rice contributes to more stable blood sugar levels. Switching to brown rice may also lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. All rice is contaminated with inorganic arsenic (a carcinogen), whether brown, white, organic or conventional. Brown rice has the most, however, which is something to consider if arsenic concerns you. While the Food and Drug Administration has set a limit on the amount of inorganic arsenic allowed in infant rice cereal, they have not set a limit on the amount of rice adults should eat, recommending instead that adults maintain a diet that includes a variety of whole grains to minimize any health risk. Many experts agree that the levels of arsenic in rice are only a concern if you’re eating multiple servings of rice every day.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

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By Patricia J. Malin

Your Administrator

Dr. James L. Knoll IV Dr. James L. Knoll IV, the new clinical director of the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy, is a renowned forensic psychiatrist with expertise in criminal evaluations, threat assessments and treatment in correctional settings. He recently spoke with In Good Health senior writer Patricia J. Malin about his career. Q.: Please tell us about your duties as clinical director at CNY Psychiatric Center. A.: I provide clinical leadership and supervision to CNYPC psychiatric prescribers and mental health staff. Recruitment of quality psychiatric prescribers is high on my to-do list, as is continuing to develop CNYPC into a center of forensic psychiatric excellence. I am also involved in teaching and supervising trainees who are in our forensic psychiatry fellowship-training program. We have an excellent, accredited training program for those who wish to devote their careers to either forensic or correctional psychiatry. Q.: Describe the patient population there. Are most patients confined for life or can they be released in the future and treated successfully with drugs? A.: CNYPC provides a full range of inpatient psychiatric services — not only for prison inmates, but also for pre-trial detainees from 25 Upstate county jails. Services include comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and treatment, evaluations for competency to stand trial, treatment capacity and insanity. Most of the patients we treat are not confined for life, but will someday return to the community. Although our patient population can sometimes present challenges, we see a great deal of treatment success stories. The success stories most often involve collaborative treatment consisting of psychiatric medications, various psychotherapy modalities and sound aftercare plans. CNYPC also provides specialized sexual offender treatment in a secure treatment facility for nearly 300 men who are civilly confined pursuant to the state’s sex offender management and treatment act. Q.: What prompted you to become a doctor and to specialize in psychiatry? A.: I come from a medical family. When your father is named James Knoll, III, M.D. and your grandfather is named James Knoll, II, MD, there is a little pressure to carry on the tradition. My father is a semi-retired psychiatrist who had a long, successful career as a clinical professor and medical director. My grandfather was a general practitioner (psychiatry was not yet a widely practiced specialty at the time in the United States) whose accomplishments included being the

first physician to bring the medical technology of electrocardiography to his rural Louisiana hometown. Coincidentally, he ended up practicing general medicine at a state psychiatric facility in Louisiana. After deciding to specialize in psychiatry, I went to an American Psychiatric Association meeting where I saw a lecture on violence risk assessment. The lecture was so fascinating and well done that I resolved to seek out and learn from the psychiatrist who gave it. It turned out to be Phillip J. Resnick, one of the nation’s foremost forensic psychiatry experts. I ended up doing my forensic fellowship with him at Case Western Reserve University and it was one of the best learning experiences of my entire medical career. Resnick’s list of expert witness cases reads like a highlight reel of the American criminal justice system. He has been retained on cases such as Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber), Jeffrey Dahmer, John du Pont, Andrea Yates, Timothy McVeigh and more recently, James Holmes. I have always been fascinated by the intersection of mental health and the law, and forensic psychiatry allows me the opportunity to pursue this interest while also trying to affect some positive change in the way persons with serious mental illness are treated in correctional settings. Q.: You mentioned the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. We understand that you ended up becoming friends with his brother, David Kaczynski, and even helped write a book with him? A.: I met David about four years ago when I invited him to give a lecture at a forensic conference. I was very impressed with his kind and compassionate nature. We connected over our mutual interest in writing and Eastern philosophy. We ended up working together to present some trauma and healing conferences, one of which was in Newtown, Conn. as a part of the Sandy Hook Promise. This was shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting tragedy. I was honored when David asked me to write the afterword for his book titled “Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unabomber and His Family.” Q.: In 2017, we saw numerous high-profile cases of individuals attempting and committing mass murder, for example, the shooting at the casino in Las Vegas; the incident

in Central Park in New York City where pedestrians and cyclists were run down by a motorist, and the shooting in a rural church in Texas. The media devotes an extraordinary amount of attention to these tragedies. Do you think that encourages more copycat crimes? A.: There is now a small body of growing research which suggests that media coverage does play a role in encouraging future similar crimes. Most concerning are individual case studies showing that some mass shooters were “inspired” by previous ones. Guidelines and limitations to media coverage of such events have been proposed, and one of the most important recommendations is to avoid glorifying the perpetrator in any way. When individual cases are studied in detail, particularly the writings left behind by the perpetrator, the motives of revenge and obtaining infamy become clear. One also sees other common themes, such as toxic envy and profound resentment. When such individuals perceive themselves as having been dealt a grave injustice and cannot extricate themselves from their own persecutory mindset, obliteration of their reality becomes a consideration. An analogy would be the child who is unable to tolerate the feeling of losing a game of checkers, and so upends the game board in an explo-

sive rage. The research suggests most mass shooters do plan to die during the offense, either by their own hand or by the police, and this is planned well in advance. Mass shooters do not “snap” — they carry out a planned, targeted offense that they have been ruminating about for a substantial period. Q.: Why do we see more of these mass murders happening in the U.S. versus Canada or Europe? Do you believe gun control or restriction of weapons make a difference? A.: It is hard to argue against the prevalence and availability of guns as possibly contributory. That said, the question of “why” cannot, in my opinion, be explained merely by firearm availability. Why do we see this phenomenon happening now? This is the question that interests me. Looking at the extant research, we find this became a socio-cultural phenomenon beginning in approximately the late 1990s after the Columbine tragedy. It has become part of a socio-cultural Western script that is being played out and perpetuated by the media, including social media. Each new perpetrator is often found to have referenced and even idolized past shooters. This is why I believe the phenomenon is a socio-cultural

Continued on Page 18

Lifelines Age: 50 Birthplace: New Orleans, La. Residence: Marcy Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology (with special honors), University of Texas, 1990; medical degree, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas, 1990-94; psychiatric residency, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, 1994-98; forensic psychiatry fellowship, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1998-99 Board certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; sub-specialty certification in forensic psychiatry Hobbies: Brazilian jiu-jitsu, guitar

April 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11

Health Care Careers

Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator

Roberto Gonzalez is the syringe exchange program coordinator at ACR Health in Utica, a job that he is passionate about. Most notable about Gonzalez is his commitment to the people he serves and the zeal that he has for his mission. By Barbara Pierce Q.: You have an unusual career. What is it that you do? A.: I’m in charge of the syringe exchange program at ARC Health in Utica. ARC Health is a nonprofit organization providing support to those in the Mohawk Valley with chronic diseases, including HIV/ AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, substance use disorders, and serious Gonzalez mental illnesses. Q.: What is the syringe exchange program? A.: The goal of the program is to eliminate the spread of HIV, hepatitis, and other opportunist infections. What we do is provide new sterile syringes and safe sex supplies while

educating people to make them aware that their high-risk behaviors can cause overdose, even death. The program, which began in 2014, has been proven to work. We’re ending the HIV epidemic in New York state. The AIDS Institute of the State Department of Health estimates that syringe exchange programs may be responsible for possibly as much as a 75 percent decline in rates of new HIV infection. While the majority of the people we serve do inject illegal drugs, anyone who uses a syringe for any reason is eligible — whether they have diabetes, need injections of B12, whatever. Anyone who has a need to use a syringe — whether for legally prescribed medication or not — is eligible. Our services are free. Q.: How did you get involved in this unusual job? A.: When the program began, I was a peer educator. I was a volunteer doing community outreach, then

What if you could choose?

5 Days or 45 Days

got hired for the syringe exchange. Most of my life, I’ve been on a path of helping people. I think I’ve been a magnet for people to come to when they need help. My life took a turn that brought me here. My life was out of control. I made poor choices. I was there — addicted to drugs and alcohol. It consumed my life. I was there until my higher power spoke to me, saying there are people who need you — very hopeless, lost people need you. That was when things started to change for me. I turned my life around. Q.: What are the major challenges of your position? A.: Those who are homeless are my major challenge. They are at risk of dying. I wrote a proposal for the state that addressed housing. If we address housing, we help people become somewhat stable. Then we can address their mental health and drug issues. If they’re not homeless, they’ll have a better chance. Also, what I see is there are more people in need than there are people to serve them. We don’t have a waiting list, but many organizations do. We need more providers. Q.: What kind of training did you have for this position? A.: The majority of training I had was through life experiences. Living the life I led was a huge asset to qualify me for this job. I observed other’s experiences and applied them to my life. ARC trained me to integrate and use my life experiences. ARC Health trained me in the knowledge of HIV and hepatitis. Q.: What qualities do you need to have the career you have? A.: You need to cast no judgment; being non-judgmental is a key. And make no assumptions. Also, you need to have confidence in yourself — the confidence that anyone can

come up to you with a challenge and you’ll help and you’ll keep it confidential. And it’s important to meet people where they’re at. We might see a need we think they should focus on, but it might not be their priority. And knowing when to intervene, when not to intervene is important. Q.: What’s rewarding about your position? A.: People are dying around me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to say, “You don’t have to die. I’m here to tell you there’s hope.” Keeping people alive, that’s my goal. Things have changed a lot. People know they can come down here and reverse an overdose with Narcan, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. People can get help instead of running away. And the Good Samaritan law is a big improvement. These are huge! People learn about this when they come here, and they spread the word. There is hope; there is life. The key is to educate people. This prevents the spread of HIV. Q.: Is there anything else you would like people to know? A.: We’re here. We offer free life-saving help, life-saving assistance, life-saving information. Anyone who needs us is welcome to come down. Our services are free. ARC Health provides services to nine counties in Central New York. For more information, see or call 793-0661. After hours, call 888-475-2437.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

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What is autism? Common misconceptions surround disorder By Barbara Pierce

Watch for signs

Eryn Balch is joined by her son, 11-year-old Levi, who was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at age 3. such as valporic acid (to control seizures), chemicals such as pesticides and plastics, and some antipsychotic and mood stabilizer medications. Another common misconception is that the number of children diagnosed with ASD is growing at epidemic proportions. Most experts believe that more children are diagnosed who would not have been diagnosed previously because there is increased awareness of the diagnosis on the part of parents, physicians, and schools. Also, the criterion for who is diagnosed has been widened, so that children who did not meet the earlier criteria now are included.


Another misconception is that nothing really helps. However, it has been shown that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism. “With such a big range of challenges, the level of support services that families need varies greatly,” said Balch. The team of specialists of the Kelberman Center serves about 500 local families, providing evaluation, individualized education, social and life skills enhancement. For more information on the walk or the Kelberman Center, see or call 315797-6241.

Annual Walks for Autism set for April

he Kelberman Center in Utica is gearing up for its 11th annual Walk for Autism during Autism Awareness month in April. The Walk for Autism has expanded from a single location in Boonville in 2008 to multiple locations around Central New York today. More than 3,000 individuals come together throughout walk season to generate awareness and raise funds which all stay in the local community. 2018 walk dates and locations include: — April 14: Mohawk Valley Walk (SUNY Polytechnic Institute); Boonville Walk/5K Run (Boonville V.F.W.) Hamilton College Walk (Sadove Terrace); Oneida Walk (Oneida High School) — April 28: Cooperstown Walk/5K Run (Glimmerglass State Park) Registration for all events begins at 9 a.m. with walks at 10:30 a,m. All walks will feature music, refreshments, activities, and raffles. Details, pledge forms, and links to team fundraising pages can be found online, by calling 315-797-6241 or emailing


The most obvious signs appear between two and three years of age. Warning signs include: — Distant or disconnected from family; doesn’t socialize — No big smiles or joyful expressions — No babbling by 12 months — No words by 16 months — No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months — Lacks understanding of facial expressions and body language — Repetitive behaviors — Hypersensitive to noises, bright lights, or smells, tastes, or textures “Many children with autism are challenged by sensory issues,” said Balch. “Sounds, smells, noises that most of us can filter out can overwhelm and be very disturbing to the person with autism.” Kayci Visalii of Utica, raising her grandson Isaiah who has autism, shared her frustration on trying to connect with him. “I couldn’t break through to him, couldn’t get a hold of him, and couldn’t reach him. It’s been quite challenging,” she said. “And He Sneezed Again!” is the fun book she wrote as a way to connect with him and is available on There is a spectrum of causes of autism. A common misconception is that vaccines cause it. This has been repeatedly investigated and no evidence has been found to suggest that vaccines cause autism. It has been determined that the research that declared there was a link was completely fraudulent and has been retracted. In most cases, autism results from multiple factors in addition to genetic predisposition. One possible cause is advanced paternal age at conception. Another possible cause is exposure to certain toxic substances during pregnancy,


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eventeen children and teachers killed in one of the world’s deadliest school massacres — the recent news flash from a high school in Florida stunned us. News reports stated the shooter had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. But the diagnosis has nothing to do with this horrific act of violence. There is absolutely no link between violence and autism. This is a misconception. People on the autism spectrum do not have higher rates of criminal behavior than the general public. Most persons with ASD are peaceful members of society, far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators. “Autism affects each person differently,” said Eryn Balch, managing director of business operations for the Kelberman Center in Utica. The Kelberman Center provides stateof-the-art programs and services for children and adults with ASD and their families. “There is much misunderstanding about autism,” continued Balch. It’s not a single condition, it’s a spectrum of disorders — a wide range — from some who can’t communicate at all, to those who are so functional you may not know they have autism. It’s a devastating disorder with a serious impact on the child and his family throughout life. “There are so many nuances, but autism mostly affects communication and social skills,” Balch added. “Persons with autism aren’t able to distinguish subtle clues in communication; they aren’t good at reading body language; they’re very literal.” Think of Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.” The range varies from 13-yearold Brandon who is nonverbal; he can’t speak so uses an iPad to communicate, to Gabriel, also 13, remarkably gifted in math, can easily multiply three numbers by three numbers, yet has difficulty making eye contact and carrying on a conversation. Until a few years ago, persons were diagnosed having autism, Asperger syndrome, or a related developmental delay. In 2013, these diagnoses were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum

disorder or ASD. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism. Each individual has unique strengths and differences. About one in 68 children today are diagnosed with ASD. Males have a higher rate.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

Dental Health Smile with Dr. Suy

By Dr. Salina Suy

Cosmetic dentistry 101: Veneers Dental procedures can add zest to your smile


osmetic dentistry is by far one of my favorite cases to do in dentistry — it combines the art and science of the smile! The smile is such a beautiful creation and there are many methods to create the smile you have always dreamed of. What exactly is cosmetic dentistry? Cosmetic denSuy tistry is generally referred to dental work that creates positive changes in your overall

smile appearance and includes alterations in shade, shape, size and positioning of the teeth. Common procedures done are whitening, veneers and alignment of the teeth, while many of these procedures may be combined. In this part of cosmetic dentistry 101, we will talk about one of the most desired procedures in dentistry: the veneer. You may have heard about the veneer before — its reputation is associated with the perfect smiles — from celebrities to your next-door



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neighbor, veneers are a hot topic in dentistry.

So what is a veneer?

Veneers in dentistry are a layer of material placed over a tooth. Veneers improve the aesthetics of a smile and can protect the tooth’s surface from damage. There are two different ways to fabricate a veneer: composite (direct) and dental porcelain (indirect). A composite veneer is a veneer that the dentists place themselves with white filling material directly on the tooth. Composite veneers are dependent on the dentist’s aesthetics skills and are very noninvasive — sometimes very little or no tooth structure needs to be removed. Composite veneers will need to be redone throughout the lifetime of the tooth since the material is not as strong. Composite veneers, if taken care of properly, can last up to five years. Proper oral hygiene will reduce the chance of dulling, staining or breakage over time. This material will not bleach, so stains and dulling cannot be removed. Composite veneers will range in price but are around $250$400 depending on your dentist. A porcelain veneer is a veneer made out of a wafer-thin glass material that is bonded onto your tooth. This type of veneer is created in the lab. The process of the porcelain veneer may or may not need removal of tooth structure (veneer preparation), and requires an impression of the teeth to be sent to the lab for evaluation. From the impression, the lab will create your porcelain veneers into a beautiful shell of glass ceramic material. These veneers can be customized completely according to the smile design prescribed by your dentist

Composite veneers Before (top): The patient disliked the rotation of her teeth and the discrepancy in size and shape. Dentist evaluation: #7 rotated outward to the right, #8 rotated toward middle, #9 rotated toward middle, #10 rotated outward to the left. After (bottom): Composite veneers placed on four front teeth make them look straight, aesthetic and more evenly shaped.

and are then bonded onto the tooth structure. Porcelain veneers if taken care of properly can last up to 20 years and can be as strong as the natural tooth, sometimes even stronger. Porcelain veneers will range in price but are around $900-$1,500 depending on your dentist. Veneers are a great service for patients and may be what you were looking for. The porcelain veneer procedure is much more invasive and complex than the composite veneer procedure, I would advise speaking with your dentist thoroughly about which option is best for you! • Salina Suy is a health and wellness advocate and general dentist in Utica. Want to learn more? Visit Facebook @smilewithdrsuy or

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

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Spiritual Health Milk & Honey

By Brooke Stacia Demott

More than a feelin’ The fruit of the spirit is love


nrealistic ideas of love have been spoon-fed to us from childhood. It’s easy to believe that love exists within the feverish intensity of an explicitly sexual hour of prime-time television, because that’s what we see. These false realities are dangerously implausible, setting us up to expect our own experiences with love to be a frenzy of whirlwind emotion. Demott Even though we know it isn’t real, we can’t get enough. We learn to believe a lot of lies about love, and to crave this false reality. Hollywood is a lousy tutor, but a skilled drug dealer. Sexually charged, dramatic love affairs gradually become the expectation until the lines between love and fantasy are blurred. Love is reduced to an event, or series of encounters, instead of a lifetime of sacrificial giving. Worse, we find that our drive for sensual experiences begins to supersede our enthusiasm for true connection. Movies, books, music and pornography lure us with promises of satisfaction, and pry away any desire for commitment. Instead of pursuing deep intimacy, we exchange it for base sensuality, and wonder why we aren’t happy. As C.S. Lewis puts it, we settle for mud pies in an alley in lieu of a holiday by the sea. Consequently, most of us approach love more like parasites than philanthropists. We try to get as much as we can, instead of giving as much as we should. When we see people as a means to an end and as mere vessels to deliver our happiness, we are not loving them and we aren’t happy. Eleven years ago, I met my husband Brian. His steady, intentional pursuit of me didn’t fit my picture of

“love” — the fast-paced, keep-youguessing, jealousy-infused sort that breaks your heart a thousand times. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to think. I was selfish and demanding; but the more I asked for, the more he gave. He seemed to have an endless reserve to draw from. Brian knew God, and God poured His love out through Brian so liberally that it overflowed into my life and began to drown my selfishness. I realized the riches buried in his heart — a deep understanding of sacrificial love. God used Brian to teach me how to love; and in real love, there is real happiness. Love is essential to our spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Love brings peace of mind, reduces stress, and gives us hope for the future. Studies demonstrate that kids with loving parents are far healthier and more successful adults. People in loving marriages live longer, happier, and more productive lives. Love must be defined in a way that applies to everyone in our lives — spouses, yes, but also children, employers, neighbors, even our enemies.

needs. When you love someone, you’ll give them what they need and not be envious of what they have. — Humble, not prideful: Love looks to benefit others, and elevates the accomplishments and character of someone else. Love is their biggest fan. — Uses words to encourage, not injure. — Keeping a level head: Losing your temper is a sign of selfishness. Exploding on someone else says, “How dare you interrupt my happiness!” Love doesn’t think it’s the

most important person in the room. — Keeps no record of wrongs: Love is nothing if not forgiving. A willingness to forgive, a desire to restore, is a true indication that love reigns in your heart. Love seeks the truth and rejects anything less. Love withstands any trial, believes for the best, hopes in the future, and endures until the end. Love does not “run out of steam.” • Brooke Stacia Demott is a columnist with In Good Health newspaper. Got a question for Demott? Feel free to email her at

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“Love is patient and kind. It doesn’t envy, or boast; it isn’t proud. It doesn’t dishonor others, it isn’t self-seeking or easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.“ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Love isn’t a feeling marked by Hollywood flair. Love is an action that heads in another person’s direction. Love is: — Patient: Giving people the opportunity to learn, grow and make mistakes, with gentleness and encouragement. Love is willing to help someone to their feet again and again. — Kind, not jealous: Kindness means providing for someone’s

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

Health News Rome Memorial names chief medical officer Andrew Bushnell has been named chief medical officer at Rome Memorial Hospital. Bushnell had served as interim CMO since April of 2017 following the departure of Frank Ehrlich. “Dr. Bushnell possesses the leadership skills that are essential to facilitate change through the collaboration of diverse teams to advance


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quality and foster strategic growth for our hospital,” said president/ CEO David Lundquist. Bushnell, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, completed his residency at SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. The CMO is a key member of the hospital’s senior executive team and helps to deterBushness mine the overall clinical vision and business strategy of the organization. In addition to his role as CMO, Bushnell will continue as medical director of the hospital’s emergency department. Bushnell will also serve as a liaison between the medical staff and the hospital’s administration and staff. “I will provide medical oversight and leadership to ensure that our patients receive affordable, compassionate, quality health care,” Bushnell said. Bushnell also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Vermont.

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RMH names director of hospitalists

FNP returns to Boonville Family Care

Rome Memorial Hospital recently welcomed Mark Emerick as medical director of the hospital’s permanent hospitalist team. Emerick is a member of St. Joseph’s Healthcare hospitalist team, and will be responsible for administration of hospitalists in Rome as well as providing direct patient care. Emerick A graduate of the Ross University School of Medicine, Portsmouth, Dominica, Emerick served his residency in internal medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. He is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Emerick comes to Rome with more than 12 years of experience in hospital-based medicine. Hospitalists are available to patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which relieves the burden of primary care physicians having to be called into the hospital in the middle of the night.

Family nurse practitioner Diana Carpenter has returned to Boonville Family Care, 13407 state Route 12, where she previously was on staff from 2001 to 2007. She joins Corrine E. Reed in caring for patients of all ages. “As residents of Boonville, they understand the community’s need for access to primary care and share Rome Memorial Hospital’s commitment to provide the highest level of care for our patients in the North Carpenter Country,” said Rosemel Atkinson, vice president of physician practices for Rome Memorial Hospital. Carpenter received her Associate in Applied Science degree from Jefferson Community College, Watertown. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing were earned at SUNY Health Sciences Center, Syracuse, where she also completed her training as an FNP. Reed, a native of Boonville, has been involved in caring for her community since her teen years. She became a volunteer firefighter at the age of 14, following in a family tradition. Her grandfather, Reed David Pritchard, is the chief of the Boonville Fire Department. After graduating from Adirondack High School, Reed received her Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing from St. Elizabeth College of Nursing, Utica. She later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing and certification as an FNP through the family nurse practitioner program at SUNY IT, Marcy.

Geriatric pharmacist receives certification Rome Memorial Hospital pharmacist Laura Lonergan has earned board certification as a geriatric pharmacist from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. “The exam is rigorous and few pharmacists pursue this level of expertise,” said Scott Burns, director of pharmacy at the hospital. “Certification is evidence of her advanced Lonergan knowledge and experience in meeting the unique needs of older patients.” With 32 years of experience, Lonergan oversees the pharmaceutical care for the residents of Rome Memorial Hospital’s Residential Health Care Facility, which has earned the highest five-star ratings for quality. In her role, she reviews each resident’s medication regimen and champions initiatives for patient safety and appropriate medication utilization. A graduate of the Albany College of Pharmacy, Lonergan joined Rome Memorial Hospital in 2005.

4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 Page 16

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

Subscription? Call 749-7070 today!

MVHS offers sharps disposal program Mohawk Valley Health System offers a household sharps disposal program for community members to properly dispose of their medical waste. Items such as syringes and lancets may be dropped off from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at the Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare Energy Center located on the St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., New Hartford, or at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services, also on the St. Luke’s campus at 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. Items dropped off at CRCCS may be given to the receptionist.

Continued on Page 17

Health News Continued from Page 16 In addition, sharp instruments may also be taken to the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Hospital Services Department, located in the SEMC basement, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (excluding holidays). Only items from private residences in clearly marked “sharps” puncture-proof containers will be accepted. For more information, call the FSLH Energy Center at 315-624-6186 or SEMC Hospital Services at 315801-8249.

Express services manager named Chanel Mitchell has been named express services manager of the service response center and patient transport services for Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. The SRC and patient transport are two of several hospitality services provided by Sodexo at the Mohawk Valley Mitchell Health System. In this role, she directs daily operations, ensures compliance with regulations and conducts staff analysis, recruitment and retention. Although new to MVHS campuses, Mitchell has been employed as a Sodexo manager since 2008, previously overseeing multi-service departments at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. Mitchell completed her Associate of Science degree in business administration at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

Breast care center names nurse navigator Holly Burline has been named nurse navigator for the Mohawk Valley Health System Breast Care Center located at the Faxton campus, Utica. In this position, Burline will offer individualized assistance to patients, families, and caregivers Burline to help overcome health care system barriers and focus on the clinical aspects of care. Burline has been an employee of Faxton St. Luke’s since 2001 and worked as a staff RN in telemetry and pediatrics. She most recently served as a case manager at the St. Luke’s campus, Utica. Burline received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Utica College.

MVHS names new director MVHS names marketing, communications manager of CDI Elizabeth Kosakowski has been named director of clinical documentation improvement and coding for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this position, Kosakowski is responsible for providing direction and oversight in planning and implementing systems, processes and activities to ensure data quality and consistency. She also oversees direction of activiKosakowski ties of clinical documentation, coding and patient health information for accurate and complete documentation of all relevant diagnoses, procedures and ancillary treatments. Kosakowski began her career at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica as director of health information management in 2002. Prior to joining SEMC, Kosakowski held several positions in the health information management field. Kosakowski earned a bachelor’s degree in health information management from SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga, and an associate’s degree in medical records technology from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica. She is a registered health information technician, certified coding specialist, certified tumor registrar, American Health Information Management Association-certified International Classification of Diseases-10 trainer and certified clinical documentation specialist.

MVHS Breast Care Center gains PA Chelsea Hammont recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Breast Care Center at the Faxton campus and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, Hammont was employed as a physician assistant in cardiology at the Bassett Medical Center Heart Hammont Care Institute in Cooperstown. Hammont earned her Associate of Applied Science degree from SUNY Delhi and her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Ithaca. She received her Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies from the West Liberty University College of Health Sciences in West Liberty, W.V. Hammont is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Caitlin McCann has been named marketing and communications manager for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this role, McCann provides development and refinement of marketing goals, pricing strategies, promotional activities and branding in consultation with marketing staff and MVHS departments. McCann Prior to her role as manager, McCann was a communications specialist for MVHS where she was responsible for developing and implementing marketing for the organization, designing various media outlets and maintaining positive relationships while managing public events and social media. Before joining MVHS, McCann was general manager for her family business, Piggy Pats BBQ in Washington Mills, and she worked as a content media coordinator at CreateSpace in North Charleston, S.C. McCann earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and management, with a minor in economics, from Siena College in Loudonville.

MVHS names behavioral medicine director Katherine Warden has been named director of behavioral medicine for the Mohawk Valley Health System and has privileges at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, Warden worked as a licensed psycholWarden ogist at Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracuse and at the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy. She has experience conducting psychological assessments, providing supervision and training to pre-doctoral internship students, providing general consultation for a treatment team and developing behavioral management plans. Warden earned her doctorate in clinical forensic psychology and her Master of Arts in forensic psychology at Alliant International University, California School of Forensic Studies in Fresno, Calif. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at SUNY Cortland. Warden is a licensed psychologist and a batterer’s intervention program facilitator, having completed BIP facilitator training and domestic violence training. Warden has made numerous

April 2018 •

presentations, performed research and served as an adjunct professor at SUNY Oswego. She is affiliated with the Central New York Psychological Association.

MVHS names VP of philanthropy John M. Forbes has been named vice president of philanthropy for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this role, Forbes provides leadership to support and sustain philanthropic efforts by MVHS within the community, medical staff and health care family. Along with additional senior team members, MVHS and MVHS Foundation Board Forbes of Directors and team members, Forbes will develop a vision and strategic plan for the upcoming campaign for the new, regional health system. Prior to joining MVHS, Forbes was most recently a major gift officer for Hamilton College in Clinton, where he was responsible for leading everything that involved major giving for nonprofits and fundraising organizations. He was responsible for building relationships with prospects that had the capacity and affinity to donate a major gift to the college. Forbes earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in government, with a minor in theater, from Hamilton College.

Sleep center gains physician assistant Angelica Pascone has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Sleep Disorders Center as a physician assistant. In this position, Pascone will diagnose and treat a number of sleep-related conditions, including excessive snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and circadian rhythm disorders. Prior to joining the Sleep Disorders Center, Pascone worked as a physician assistant at the MVHS Pascone Washington Mills medical office. Pascone earned a Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies from Le Moyne College in Syracuse and a Master of Science degree in liberal studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Utica College. She is a certified physician assistant and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the New York State Society of Physician Assistants.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

‘Biggest losers’ featured New clinical director at AGHRW event at the CNY Psychiatric Continued from Page 5 Heart Association. I think I can help someone else by raising money for research and save a life.” The AHA Utica chapter’s website is reminding local runners and walkers that even if they didn’t participate in this year’s event, it’s not too late to turn in their pledge money. Fundraising will continue through April 15 and will count toward a team or individual totals and prizes. Albert Pylinski Jr., the chairman-elect of AHA Utica, was the top individual fundraiser again this year with $85,000 from 161 donors. His team from NYCM (New York Central Mutual Insurance of Edmeston) took top honors again in the team division with $$98,915 in donations as of March 21.

Life-changing efforts

America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk in Utica is capped off every year by the announcement of the total raised on heart weekend, plus the Olivari Lifestyle Change winners. Rod Wilson and Terri Abdallah, who could be described as the “biggest losers,” were the finalists for the lifestyle change award sponsored

by Olivari Olive Oil Co., which has a bottling plant in nearby Rome. Both of them were former smokers and overly obese. However, they each embarked on a campaign to lose significant amounts of weight while enlisting in a physical fitness campaign. At one time, Wilson carried 275 pounds. He has lost 100 pounds since September 2015. He works out six days a week and turned to running, and successfully lowered his cholesterol and blood pressure. He said he was motivated by his wife, a breast cancer survivor, and has tried to set an example of healthy living for his kids. Abdallah quit smoking in April 2013, but it backfired, at first. A year later, she had gained 50 pounds. Determined to change her lifestyle, she began by changing her diet. By giving up soda and reducing her portion sizes, she has lost 100 pounds. She took up walking and later started running. “She never imagined herself being able to finish a 5K race, but now she has finished several half-marathons and has her sights set on a full marathon,” the AHA website noted.

Rod Wilson was a finalist for the lifestyle change award sponsored by Olivari Olive Oil Co. Wilson is shown at 275 pounds in photo at left, while top photo shows him competing in the 2017 Boilermaker in Utica, sans 100 pounds.

Center in Marcy Continued from Page 11 one — not a simple matter of gun control or “mental illness” per se. Socio-cultural problems require social and cultural solutions. Q.: In 2009, while teaching at SUNY Upstate Medical University, you received a $50,000 research grant for a “custodial suicide prevention device.” In 2016, you received a U.S. patent (No. 9,460,262) on it. Please describe this device and how it is used. A.: A colleague and I were motivated by the fact that the clear majority of suicides in custodial settings (e.g., jail, prison, inpatient units, juvenile detention) used the method of hanging or asphyxiation. The problem comes from the human element. Even with constant observation — which is costly and difficult — suicides may occur due to lapses of attention. Our idea is to use wireless technology to monitor patients’ pulse and blood oxygen levels, because these will change rapidly when patients attempt to asphyxiate themselves. Patients would wear a small adhesive patch in an unobtrusive way behind their ear. This sensor would immediately send an alarm to staff if it was removed or if it detected a significant change in pulse or oxygen levels. We are still in the prototype-testing phase and are looking for interested investors. Q.: Of all the hats you wear, which includes teaching, writing, psychiatric research and mental health trial consulting, which one do you enjoy most? A.: Probably consulting on patient care issues, teaching and writing. All three of these complement each other. Keeping in touch with clinical evaluation and patient care teaches me so much and is very rewarding. In addition, it gives me so much to explore, which then stimulates teaching and writing. Teaching and writing allow me to interact with and reach a broad array

of people that I can connect with and learn from. Both activities help me become a better teacher, doctor and communicator. Another “hat” I enjoy wearing is that of forensic-legal consultant in interesting cases. I learn a tremendous amount from these cases and they are generally very gratifying because one has a sense of not only serving the justice system, but also solving a puzzle like a detective. I enjoy working on all types of cases, but have begun to narrow my focus on cases involving criminal mental health defenses, different types of threat assessment and some psychiatric malpractice cases. Q.: What are some of the most interesting cases you have worked on? A.: There have been too many to count. Beginning in my fellowship, Resnick was finishing up the Unabomber case. I also had a chance to assist him in the case of Russell Weston, who was the perpetrator of the U.S. Capitol shooting incident. I testified in the case of Anthony Sowell, who was a serial murderer of at least 11 women. I was later interviewed for the true crime book about the case — “House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler.” Another very interesting case I testified in was the so-called “137 shots” case. This was a 2012 police shooting case in which one of the officers involved was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter after he jumped on the hood of the two victims’ car and fired multiple rounds. Police believed the two victims had fired a gun, but no gun was ever found. As no firearm was found, the sound police thought was a gunshot was most likely caused by the victims’ car backfiring. I became very interested in the research on stalking, and have consulted in over 40 cases of stalking threat assessment and management. These are always fascinating cases that require collaboration with law enforcement and sometimes private investigators.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

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Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email Continued from Page 2

April 12

Laryngectomy support group to meet The Laryngectomy Support Group will hold its monthly meeting at noon April 12 in the Sister Regina Conference Room on the first floor of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center hospital building, 2209 Genesee St., Utica. The support group is sponsored by SEMC. Laryngectomy support group meetings are held at noon on the second Thursday of each month. A laryngectomy is the procedure to remove a person’s larynx and separates the airway from the mouth, nose and esophagus. The laryngectomee breathes through an opening in the neck, called a stoma. The public is welcome to attend. Those with questions can call the speech therapy department at 315801-4475.

April 14

After Breast Cancer Support Group to meet The After Breast Cancer Support Group will meet at 11 a.m. April 14 in the community room at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services on the St. Luke’s campus, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. Support group meetings are free and open to the public and were created by women who have survived breast cancer. The group is dedicated to providing education, information and emotional support to women and men who are facing biopsy, surgery or recovery from breast cancer. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5764 or email

April 15

Get ready for Epicurean Delight Tickets are on sale for the Hospice & Palliative Care’s 31st annual Epicurean Delight. This annual food tasting will be held at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro from 5-8 p.m. April 15. Epicurean Delight is Hospice and Palliative Care’s most delicious fundraiser featuring area restaurants, entertainment, a raffle and a live auction. Honorary restaurants are Hart’s Hill Inn, Minar Fine Indian Cuisine and The Phoenician. Guests will able to vote for the People’s Choice Restaurant. The Savoy of Rome, the 2017 People’s Choice Restaurant, will be back this

year to defend its title. Tickets for the event are $40 per person. To make a reservation or to learn more, go to To donate a raffle basket or prize for the live auction, call 315-735-6487 ext. 1004. Hospice provides quality, compassionate care to those suffering an end-stage illness and their families. It serves residents of Oneida, Herkimer and eastern Madison counties regardless of ability to pay.

April 16

Family support group focuses on addiction Families who are dealing with the problems of addiction can find help and information at a support group meeting from 6-7 p.m. April 16 in the second floor classroom at Rome Memorial Hospital. The group meets the third Monday of each month and is free and open to everyone. Offered by the hospital’s Community Recovery Center, the support group provides an opportunity to discuss issues with others who are in the same situation. Certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, offers alcohol and substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, the center participates with most major insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. A sliding scale fee is available for self-pay clients. For more information about the support group or the Community Recovery Center, call 334-4701.

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• Director Patient Services, Home Care Division • Medical Technologist • Peri-operative Educator • Surgical Technologist • Physical Therapist – Home Care • Registered Nurse: Telemetry – Med/Surg Emergency Dept Ambulatory Surgery Case Manager Evening Supervisor Long Term Care

April 13

Prohibition Party to support St. E’s campus The Mohawk Valley Health System Foundations and F.X. Matt Brewery will hold the 10th annual Prohibition Party from 6-9 p.m. April 13 at the historic F.X. Matt Brewing Co., 830 Varick St., Utica. Theresa Flemma, senior vice president of Flemma-Gornick Financial Group and M. Griffith Investment Services, Inc., is sponsoring the event. Tickets cost $50 per person. Admission includes Saranac beverages, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, a 1930s costume contest and a

Continued from Page 3

Valley Health Services is accepting the community’s medical waste of needles, syringes and lancets from noon until 2 p.m. on April 18. The service is available on the third Wednesday of every month. The waste must be in approved puncture-resistant containers available at local pharmacies and properly marked “biohazard.” The containers may be brought to the outpatient receptionist on the ground floor at VHS, who will contact the personnel responsible for medical waste disposal. VHS is located at 690 W. German St., Herkimer. Questions may be directed to Tammi King, infection control nurse, at 866-3330, ext. 2308.

Check out our website for a full list of current openings or to learn more about our Facility and community by Visiting silent auction. Participants must be 21 years of age and over. Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and technology to improve patient care at the St. Elizabeth campus of MVHS. A limited number of tickets are available and the foundations anticipate selling out early for the event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit mvhealthsystem. org/foundation, call 315-624-5718 or email Tickets may also be purchased at the MVHS Foundations Office at 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica, or the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. Gift Shop/Tour Center at 830 Varick St., Utica.

Shackled to cell phones

April 18

Valley Health Services accepts syringes


to focus on the moment and not be preoccupied with your smartphone.” — Limit checks. Wean yourself off by limiting your checks to once every 15 minutes. Then gradually increase the time. If you need help, there are apps that limit you. — Consider uninstalling social media on your smartphone so you aren’t tempted to open it; instead, schedule screen time on a PC. — Don’t bring your phone to bed. — Surround yourself with offline people. If you’re on a break from social media, the last thing you want to see is everyone on their devices. It’s like trying to quit smoking in a room full of smokers.

April 2018 •

— Recognize triggers that make you reach for your phone. Plan ahead for what to do instead. The key is to replace your smartphone use with something new, like working out, reading a book, journaling, playing a musical instrument, meditating, doing volunteer work, or experiencing nature. “There are tricks for dealing with your Internet-use triggers,” said Joel Stein in Men’s Health. “Exercise! Keep your phone away from your bed. But the main thing we’re learning is boredom.” Boredom has a bad rap. But studies suggest that we get our most original ideas when we stop the constant stimulation and let ourselves get bored, Zomorodi says in “Bored and Brilliant.” The book details how to step down your social media use in steps.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19

For me it’s personal! Upstate legacies: lifesaving and life-changing In 1993, my son David was on top of the world! He had graduated from a prestigious culinary institution and was building his reputation as an executive chef. Then David suffered a career-ending and life-altering spinal injury in a skiing accident. After months of outstanding care and physical therapy David is able to live an independent and productive life, BUT that’s not all! today, groundbreaking research is taking place at Upstate Medical University that we hope will one day restore all of David’s functions and reverse spinal cord injuries for thousands of others in Central New York and beyond. Through The Upstate Foundation, I have established A New Beginning Fund for spinal cord research, and I have remembered Upstate with an estate gift to fund this research and benefit many in our community for years to come.

I invite you to join me in creating a legacy gift through your will or financial plans. Together we can do great things for Central New York. Ruth Schwartz Charitable Giving Planner, The Upstate Foundation

it’s also personal for you since every Upstate legacy dollar stays right here in Central New York to help assure happy, healthy and longer lives for your loved ones, friends and neighbors.

For free and confidential information on how to make a low cost, high impact legacy gift contact, or have your professional advisor contact, John Gleason at 315-464-4416 or email us today at Our legal name is THE UPSTATE FOUNDATION INC. Page 20

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2018

Profile for In Good Health: MV's Healthcare Newspaper

IGH MV #146 April 18  

IGH MV #146 April 18  


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