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in good

Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

April 2012 • Issue 74

Meet Dr. Andrew Faber Medical director of hospitalist program at Faxton St. Luke’s


Fountain of Youth

Greatest Heart Run & Walk in Defy aging by adopting healthy lifestyle. See Page 5 Utica raises over $1 million 3.6 million U.S. kids


Report: Tobacco industry blamed for targeting youngsters


Community General hits milestone Get ‘In Good Health’ at home. See coupon inside

ore than 3.6 million children and teens in the United States smoke, according to a Surgeon General’s report released in March that calls on the nation to curb youth smoking. “Today, all over America, there are middle-schoolers developing deadly tobacco addictions before they can even drive a car,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), during a press conference. More than 600,000 middle school students and more than 3 million high school students smoke. And three out of four teen smokers will continue to smoke into adulthood, the surgeon general’s report warned. Regina Benjamin, the Surgeon General, said “the report challenges us to end the epidemic of smoking among young people. “Cigarettes are designed for addiction,” she explained at the press conference. Added ingredients such as sugar, flavoring and moisteners make them even more addictive because they remove the harshness of tobacco. In addition, additives like ammonia make it easier for nicotine to get into the brain, she said. The report — the first since 1994 to focus on young smokers — blames tobacco companies, specifically tobacco marketing, for the onset of adolescent smoking, noting that tobacco compa-

nies, despite claims to the contrary, continue to direct their ads at children. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at HHS, said it is no accident that “too many of our children are addicted and too many cannot quit and too many go on to die far too young.” Koh said tobacco companies spend more than $1 million an hour — some $27 million a day — on marketing and promoting their products in ways that make smoking look acceptable. These April 2012 •

messages are particularly prominent on the Internet, in movies and video games, he said. “The tobacco industry says its intent is only to promote brand choices among smokers, but there is a difference between stated intent and documented impact. Because regardless of intent the impact of tobacco marketing is to encourage underage youth,” he said. According to the report, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable and premature death in the country, killing more than 1,200 Americans every day. For everyone who dies from tobaccorelated causes, two new smokers under age 26 replace them, the report said. Almost 90 percent of these new smokers smoke their first cigarette by the time they are 18, the report noted. “From 1997 to 2003 youth smoking fell rapidly, but since that time the rate of decline has slowed,” Koh said. “In fact, there would be 3 million smokers today if we as a society had sustained the declines seen between 1997 and 2003.” Many teens are also using other tobacco products and using several tobacco products together, he said. The report also provides more data on the addictiveness of cigarettes. The younger people are when they start smoking, “the more likely they are to become addicted and the more heavily addicted they will become,” it said.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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GriefShare group meetings scheduled GriefShare meets from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. GriefShare is a faith-based support group that offers help to those in mourning. For more information, contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-735-

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

6210, or visit

April 1,15,29

Couples can consider The Third Option The Third Option will meet from 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 1, 15 and 29 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The Third Option is a support group for married couples who are trying to learn new ways to handle problems. For more information, contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-735-6210 ext. 228, or visit

April 5

Carpal tunnel syndrome focus of health night Mitchell Rubinovich, orthopedic surgeon, will discuss carpal tunnel syndrome at Rome Memorial Hospital’s free health night 7 p.m. April 5. The lecture will be presented in the hospital’s classroom. In his presentation, Rubinovich will explain carpal Rubinovich tunnel syndrome, risk factors, symptoms and the various treatment options that are available including surgical and non-surgical approaches. Health night is sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital. Advance registration is not required. Refreshments will

be served. Rome Memorial Hospital’s classroom is located on the second floor of the hospital. Participants are asked to enter the North James Street entrance of the hospital.

April 15

Separated & Divorced Support Group offered The Separated & Divorced Support Group meets at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The group is free and open to all. For more information, contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-7356210, or visit www.TheGoodNewsCenter. org.

April 21

Kelberman Center hosts annual walk for autism Autism affects one out of every 110 children in the United States. Autism Awareness Month is celebrated throughout April and the Kelberman Center will host its annual Walk for Autism April 21 in Oneida, Rome and Utica and also on April 28 in Boonville, Cooperstown and New Hartford. Registration will take place at each location at 9:30 a.m. and walks begin at 11 a.m. The walks take place at the following locations (some include runs as well): • April 21 locations include Oneida Walk (Oneida High School), Rome Walk (Rome Free Academy, Griffiss Business Park) and Utica Walk (Kelberman Center). • April 28 locations will include Boonville Walk (V.F.W.), Cooperstown Run/Walk (Glimmerglass State Park) and New Hartford Walk (Recreation Center). Each walk site features music, refreshments, activities, prizes, and the opportunity to socialize with those united by this common cause. Participants may also register at 9:30 a.m. on the date of the walk at their specific walk locations. Visit to download pledge forms or to create an online fundraising page. If not already preregistered (with full amount of pledges turned in), walkers should bring their pledge form and pledges on the morning of the walk. For more information on the Walk for Autism, contact the Kelberman Center at 315-797-6241.

U.S. sees suicide rate climb T he latest data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the rate of U.S. suicide has been increasing since 2000, with 2009 marking the highest number of suicides in 15 years. The CDC report showed that between 2008 and 2009, the suicide rate increased 2.4 percent, with 36,909 suicide deaths reported nationally. In August 2011, a report from the CDC showed that in 2008, 13.4 percent of people who committed suicide had experienced job and financial problems. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an emergency crisis hotline reported a 14 percent increase in call volume between 2010 and 2011. The CDC’s thus recommended increasing counseling, job placement and financial services that can help reduce the mental distress that can increase suicide risk. “The recent increase in suicide, whether heightened by economic strain or other social triggers, signifies the need for education and training on understanding and preventing suicide,” said Lisa Firestone, a physician who serves as director of research and education at The Glendon Association and Violence and Suicide Prevention Alliance. “The suicidal state is both

preventable and treatable. Services and education have been proven to save lives. Armed with the right tools to identify the warning signs and implement helper tasks, we can fight this crisis.” Between 2008 and 2009 an estimated 8.3 million adults (almost 4 percent of the U.S. adult population) reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, according to the CDC. More than 2.2 million adults reported making suicide plans in the past year, and more than 1 million adults reported attempting suicide in the past year. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 percent of American adults suffered from mental illness in 2010, but only 39.2 percent of that group said they received treatment. With this decrease in U.S. mental health services, the general public, schools, law enforcement, healthcare providers, and military personnel would all benefit from education on suicide prevention. The Glendon Association’s website,, provides suicide prevention advice that includes information on warning signs, risk factors, helper tasks and strategies for prevention.


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Firefighters’ donation benefits women’s imaging center Rome Hospital Foundation accepted a check for $1,000 from the Rome Firefighters Local 694 of the International Association of Fire Fighters to support of the hospital’s Women’s Imaging Center. The firefighters raised the money by selling pink T-shirts as part of a union-wide breast cancer awareness campaign, explained firefighter and union president Tim Ramos. Shown from left are Mark Kohlbrenner, Rome Fire Department deputy chief and Rome Hospital Foundation board member; Rome Hospital Foundation Executive Director Colleen Cianfrocco; Tim Ramos, Rome Fire Department firefighter and union president; and Rome Memorial Hospital Medical Imaging Director Sharon Carson. “The firefighters’ generosity will enhance the hospital’s ability to provide quality care for the women of Rome and surrounding areas, particularly in the prevention and diagnosis of breast cancer,” Carson said.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Report: 431,000 adults in Upstate NY have asthma


ne in nine adults in Upstate New York has asthma, which is a rate higher than the New York state average, according to a new report by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The Upstate New York asthma rate for adults aged 18-64 is 11.6 percent compared to 9.7 percent statewide. Asthma is a chronic condition that can be managed properly to avoid crippling health problems, hospitalizations and even death. On average, there were about 250 asthma-related deaths in New York state each year between 2005 and 2007. “It’s important that people with asthma work with their health care provider to develop a plan for managing their condition,” said Frank Dubeck, chief medical officer for medical policy, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “By taking the right medication, avoiding Dubeck triggers and being able to recognize the symptoms and know what to do in the event of a sudden attack, asthma patients can live a normal life and avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room.” The Excellus BCBS report, “The Facts About Adult Asthma in Upstate New York,” details which adults in Upstate New York have a greater chance of having asthma: women, blacks, 18to 24-year-olds and adults making less than $15,000 annually.

Statistics alarming


The report also shows the follow-

• In Upstate New York, older adults (aged 65+) were hospitalized due to asthma at more than twice the rate of adults aged 18-64, but this younger group made more frequent visits to the emergency room for treatment. • Incremental direct medical costs for Upstate New York adults with selfreported asthma was an estimated $793 million annually. • The asthma prevalence for adults aged 18-64 in the Utica/North Country/Rome Region is 11 percent, which is above the statewide average of 9.7 percent. Upstate New York’s highest rate of asthma for adults aged 18-64 is in the Finger Lakes Region (13.4 percent) and the lowest rate is in Central New York’s Southern Tier region (10.2 percent). To access the full report, go to

Advertise in In Good Health call 315 749-7070 today! Page 4


Your Doctor

By Patricia J. Malin

Dr. Andrew Faber Dr. Andrew Faber, medical director for the hospitalist program at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica, manages a team of eight hospitalists who advocate for improved patient care. Faber prefers to remain a ‘hands-on’ doctor who savors interaction with patients. He recently spoke with In Good Health senior writer Patricia J. Malin about his career. Q.: As a hospitalist, you recommend treatment, but do you actually practice medicine? Is your job more administrative in nature? Before becoming a hospitalist, did you have a conventional practice in the hospital or in a private setting? A.: Yes, I am an internist. I started out in private practice in 1986. I managed inpatient and outpatient medical care and was affiliated with SlocumDickson Medical Group. Then I only worked with outpatients at Faxton-St. Luke’s clinic in Boonville for seven years before I came to St. Luke’s in 2005. I still practice full time. About 80 percent of my job is clinical and the rest is administrative. In today’s climate, I have to know what my team of doctors is doing and I try to give them good direction. Q.: How does having a hospitalist improve the hospital experience for patients at St. Luke’s campus? A.: Basically, it’s our availability for primary care and family physicians and the nursing staff when issues with patients come up. We coordinate a patient’s care between different doctors. We are here 365 days a year. We work 12-hour days and 15 to 18 shifts a month. We dictate a summary of our findings of a patient’s condition and when people leave the hospital, we give pieces of evidence to their primary care physician in the hopes of preventing readmission. We want to get a patient home as soon as possible. For financial reasons alone, that’s a positive for the community. Hospitals can be dangerous places. Research shows that 100,000 people a year are killed in hospitals. Systems fail, often with the best of intentions. Let’s get that number down and eliminate the bad consequences. That’s one of the goals of hospitalists, who step back and observe the total picture of a hospital’s operations and strive for better efficiency and more coordination. There isn’t any department we do not interact with, be it pharmacy, maternity, cardiology or psychiatry. Q.: What types of patients do you deal with? Are they emergency cases only? A.: Ninety percent of the patients we see come to the emergency room. Under federal and state law, everyone who comes in for care has to be treated alike, regardless of whether they have insurance. We see two groups of patients: people without health insurance, who

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

do not have a primary care physician. They might just be getting by. They are what I call “lost souls.” Somebody has to be their case manager. The second group might have insurance, but their primary care doctor is so overwhelmed by the number of patients. The patient might have run out of medicine. They might have stopped going to the doctor or they’re scared to see a doctor, and they’ve borne the brunt of illness for two or

three weeks. The typical patient I see is elderly and has been admitted to the emergency room due to heart or lung disease or shortness of breath. The patient’s family might not know who the primary care physician is or the types of prescriptions they’re taking. The emergency department doctor will make the initial diagnosis and recommend treatment, then the patient gets turned over to a hospitalist who will coordinate the remainder of their care. That frees up the ED doctor to see more patients. The hospitalist will work with the patient’s pharmacy, their primary care doctor and their cardiologist (or other specialist) to ensure a continuity of care. These patients usually stay three or four days. When the patient leaves, he or she is given written instructions. Do they need to get insurance? Or if they need a primary care doctor, we will appoint someone from our staff. We help (the patients) get over those hurdles. When the patient leaves the hospital, that’s when our job ends. Q.: Why did you decide to practice in the Mohawk Valley? A.: I’m originally from New Jersey, but I went to school at Union College in Schenectady and I found that I liked

Continued on Page 14

Lifelines Age: 54 Birthplace: Elizabeth, N.J. Residence: Utica Education: Union College, Schenectady (BS math), summa cum laude, 1979; New York Medical College, Valhalla, doctor of medicine, 1983; internship and residency in internal medicine, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pa., 1983-86. Certifications: American Board of Internal Medicine, Diplomat, September 1986; permanent basic life support (BLS), 2010; advanced cardiac life support, 2009; fellow, Society of Hospital Medicine, May 2011 Family: Children, Peter, Linda, and Carol Hobbies: Cycling (participant in the Ride For Missing Children), hiking, and camping

Women’s Health The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Women’s guide to anti-aging Inflammation key reason why our body, mind age


iving in today’s high-paced world causes our body and mind to sometimes feel like aging is occurring at an even faster pace than we would like. Many come home from the office, from picking up and/or dropping the children off to and from school, soccer, dance, scouts, etc. feeling grungy from the inside out. Caught up in that fast pace, many stop to grab a quick bite to eat and it’s not always the best choice. The quick choices that are out there, for the most part, consist of sugar, caffeine, refined flours, dairy, chemical food additives, environmental pollutants and pesticides. These not-so-good choices and pace create inflammatory triggers placing stress on major organs of the body. Toxins build up stressing the kidneys, liver, colon, and lymphatic system. So what are we to do reduce the inflammation that is aging us? First, we need to understand what inflammation actually is and how we can take care of ourselves to prevent inflammation from taking over our bodies faster than we would like. There are two types of inflammation: • The first is acute inflammation, the kind everyone is very familiar with. This type of inflammation occurs as a local reaction to illness or injury characterized by swelling, warmth, pain, loss of function, and redness. These characteristics are a part of your body’s natural immune system protecting your body so that it will heal. • The second is chronic inflammation, the kind that appears to be linked to chronic disease such as heart disease, obesity, cancer, depression, autism, arthritis, gout, and dementia. Research has shown that inflammation plays a role in the growth of tumors, the advancement of hardening of the arteries

and insulin resistance. There is a correlation among nutrition, lifestyle and inflammation. Reversing chronic health problems can occur by eating the proper foods, avoiding toxins, incorporating proper nutrients needed by the body daily and adding beneficial physical movement.

Discover the secrets

To get you started, here are seven secrets to reduce inflammation: —Exercise regularly. Research shows this natural anti-inflammatory improves immune function and mood, builds Dittner your cardiovascular system, decreases stress by increasing endorphins, and corrects and prevents insulin resistance. Adequate amounts of movement should be incorporated into your daily routine. To achieve the most benefit, try to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week. Exercise can be in the form of walking, jogging/ running, yoga, Pilates, biking, dancing, hiking, skating and swimming. Finding the right form of movement just for you is important in keeping you active. —Getting enough sleep. Research has shown that most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, keeps you more alert, allows the body to make necessary repairs, and decreases

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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2012 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: Amylynn Pastorella, Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab Advertising: Richard Annal, Marsha Preston Layout & Design: Chris Crocker Office Manager: Laura Beckwith

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.

stress. Create a bedroom atmosphere that will enhance sleep—no computers, television, or iPhone/Blackberry. Develop a routine at bedtime approximately 30 minutes before you actually climb into bed. Take a warm bath to help induce sleep. A relaxing cup of tea may also help you drift off with more ease. You may want to incorporate breathing techniques into your presleep routine to quiet the mind. —Stop smoking. Smoking increases inflammation in the body, hardening the arteries and creating oxidative stress. What is oxidative stress, you ask? The smoke released from the burning (oxidized) tobacco puts out free radicals (reactive oxygen molecules) immediately into your circulation through the lungs. This not only damages lung tissue but also causes wrinkles, aging, cancer, heart attack and stroke. —Supplement. A number of supplements may help reduce inflammation in the body. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, mackerel, and sardines can dramatically reduce inflammation. Also enjoy healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocados. A multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement can also help to strengthen the immune response naturally. Vitamin D, another natural anti-inflammatory, is best obtained through natural sunlight. It is important to have your Vitamin D level tested through a simple blood test to know if you are deficient or not. If your value is not between 50 and 70, a supplement of Vitamin D3 is usually recommended. Discuss recommendations with your health care provider for optimal results. —Whole foods. By eating a diet April 2012 •

rich in whole foods, high fiber and plant-based, you will be avoiding or reversing chronic health conditions. Choosing foods that are unprocessed, unrefined, fresh, whole and full of phytonutrients will definitely lead you to real health. Avoid products full of sugar and trans-fats (synthetic or hydrogenated) as these increase inflammation in your body. Some anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet are berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens), nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, bok choy), papaya, sweet potatoes, and wild caught fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines). —Decrease stress. High levels of stress hormones in the body can release excess inflammatory chemicals. Stress reduction in the form of meditation, meridian tapping techniques, yoga or other forms or exercise, breathing techniques, biofeedback, massage, or even the simple pleasure of a warm bath can improve your state of body and mind and consequently improve your immune system. —Avoid allergens. If you seem to have a tendency toward food allergies, find out what you are allergic to and stop eating them. Food allergens can be determined with IgG food testing, ALCAT testing, or by simply eliminating foods from your diet that have bothered you in the past. Common food allergens are dairy (cow’s milk), nuts, gluten (in wheat), yeast products (beer, wine and baked goods), and eggs. Start the process of anti-aging by living a better life incorporating the anti-inflammatory recommendations

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Women’s Health Medicine on Trial Use of clinical trials under way at Faxton-St. Luke’s By Patricia J. Malin


family history of cancer has Amanda Cady concerned about the probability of leading a long, healthy life in the future. It was more than 10 years ago when her mother developed breast cancer when Cady began to consider how to help prevent the disease from claiming more lives. “I was in college, but I knew I wanted to do something,” she said. Three years ago, she landed a job in public relations at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Regional Cancer Center at Faxton, which brought her a step closer to her goal. She was the Advocacy in Action coordinator for the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program and managed the program in Oneida, Madison and Herkimer counties. Last December, she learned that the Faxton cancer center was conducting a clinical trial on the potential of vitamin D in preventing breast cancer from occurring in healthy individuals. Needless to say, Cady was an eager volunteer. “I have a strong family history of cancer,” said Cady, now 29. “I don’t have cancer, but I felt a need to take part. My mother’s sister died of cancer and my brother died, so I’ve always been aware. It became my priority. I’ve probably been a little crazy with worry at times.” Just a few weeks ago, she acquired a different job. She became the cancer center’s first-ever community liaison, which means keeping the public aware of cancer services and programs at Faxton. She is thrilled to be learning her new duties. The local clinical trial started last November by Marie Smith, an RN at Faxton. It is part of a nationwide trial that was begun in October 2010 by The Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a national clinical research group sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The NCI is headquartered at the University of Chicago and maintains a statistical center at Duke University. CALGB hopes to get a total of 250

participants nationwide. When Smith originally posted the notices in local newspapers and in the radiology and mammogram department at Faxton, she received 50 notices. “We currently have seven women in the (Faxton) trial and another 12 to 14 scheduled to join,” she said. “Their average age is in the 30s, but we have some in their 40s. Breast cancer seems to be appearing in younger women now. This program is looking for premenopausal women who are doing nothing now to prevent breast cancer.” The applicants have to meet only three criteria: simply to be under age 55 and with no cancer diagnosis themselves, although a family history of cancer is acceptable. The trial is not restricted to women, however. While no males in the Mohawk Valley have applied yet, men at other sites around the country have volunteered for this study, Smith noted. The third requirement is to have volunteers complete a mammography before starting the trial. They will also take a blood test to screen for cancer and then undergo routine mammograms every 12 months.

Response ‘amazing’

“I’m still getting calls,” said Smith. “The responses, particularly from employees at Faxton-St. Luke’s, has been amazing, and now I’m getting more calls from people who have seen the posters. Usually only 5 percent of patients are willing to participate in trials.” The doctors will then select volunteers whose mammograms reveal a high density in their breast tissue. While density or cloudiness does not indicate the prevalence or probability of cancer, density makes it difficult for radiologists to get a clear image of breast tissue, which is necessary to detect the growth of cancerous cells and tumors. Cady said she intended to get her first mammogram at age 30, a year from now, but she needed to take the exam last winter as part of the trial. “It was a little scary, but I’m glad I got it. I think the technology has changed so much since my mother’s diagnosis. They didn’t have cosmetic surgery back then and the mammograms are now

Amanda Cady, left, and Marie Smith discuss a clinical trial conducted by Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica on the prevention of breast cancer. more comfortable than they used to be.” Smith concurred with that observation. “There are so many survivors now that their numbers dictate the solutions,” she said. Participants also have to fill out a consent form and a questionnaire about their medical history, diet and lifestyle. The lifestyle questions concerns the amount of exercise and exposure to sunlight a person receives. Incidentally, Vitamin D is a common food additive, which could be a positive factor for most people. “I used to be heavier when I was in college,” Cady admitted. “But when my mother was diagnosed, I made a decision to become more active and watch my diet.”

Control group used

Cady is now taking a pill. Neither the participants nor even Smith know whether it actually contains Vitamin D or its a placebo. Participants are identified in the lab reports by a number to protect privacy. Regardless, even if she is in the control group, Cady feels she is an important part of the study. “We’re talking about Vitamin D, not some experimental drug,” she pointed out. “This is safe and it’s an easy study for women.” The key to the study is to determine if exposure to Vitamin D (or its equivalent, good old-fashioned sun-

shine) can reduce density in breast tissue. “We’re looking for conclusive evidence whether treatment by Vitamin D affects breast cancer survival rates,” Smith explained. Smith, whose brother died of thyroid cancer, has been anxious to get this trial under way. “It’s very exciting to do something for the greater good and to be able to make a difference,” she said. “My brother’s prognosis was so poor and his cancer so aggressive. I tried to get him into a trial, but he couldn’t get well enough.” Smith has been a registered nurse for 37 years and has been the clinical trials coordinator at Faxton for two years. She is also a certified medical investigator. After learning about the breast cancer trial last summer, she had to go through the proper channels at FaxtonSt. Luke’s in order to get it approved. “We start with the institutional review board and then a private healthcare investigator comes in,” she said. Faxton gave its approval in just six weeks. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has oversight of clinical trials. “This is a phase 3 trial,” said Smith. “All drugs are approved by the FDA, but we are not using any experimental drugs in this trial.” The Faxton trial will last 12 months until December. Results are expected in two or three years.

The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter’s Vincent Colgan recognized


incent Colgan, vice president of administration at The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter, was recently presented with a certificate of recognition from the state of New York by Charles “Sonny” Greco, regional representative for the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Greco said Colgan’s 36 years of work at The Arc and volunteerism in the community were admirable and set Page 6

an example to all individuals. Colgan suffered a life-changing stroke and was hospitalized for months as he recovered and went through rigorous rehabilitation at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. “For the first time in my own life, I was depending on people to care for me, clean me, feed me, help me walk, get out of bed and even speak again,” Colgan said. “I went from an independent person to someone who depended

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

on everyone for everything.” From what could have been a tragic experience, Colgan, a husband, father and grandfather, gained valuable insight into what he had worked so hard for many years to instill in those at The Arc. “Everyone, no matter what their ability or disability, needs to be treated with respect, compassion and made to feel that they have value,” he explained.

Since returning to work, Colgan has also received a Oneida County and city of Utica proclamation, and was awarded the first annual President’s Cup award by The Arc, and the Faxton Cup Award by Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare. “Vincent embodies the mission, vision and core values of the agency,” said The Arc Board President Joanna Greco.

Heart Run Walking Tall

Utica’s Heart Run and Walk raises $1.1 million to fight leading health threats By Patricia J. Malin


ne of the warmest winter days on record combined with bright sunshine to bring out 8,778 walkers and runners to the streets of recently for the 38th edition of America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk. Participants raised $1,102,201 to help the American Heart Association’s mission of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. It was the third-largest number of participants on record behind the 9,271 in 2011 and boosted the event’s string of $1 million in earnings to 13 consecutive years. The 2012 fundraising goal was $1.2 million. The final total could be higher than the $1,102,201 million announced after Heart Run/Walk weekend since the participants had until March 30 to turn in pledge money. While America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk is over for another year, there are more events to come. The 12th annual Kids Walk was held recently at Proctor High School in Utica as a means of bringing attention to childhood obesity and the risk of heart disease. According to the AHA, 12 million kids in the United States are overweight and another 12 million are at risk of becoming overweight. The Kids Walk itself is just one mile long, but the event also features plenty of games that encourage kids and their families to participate in physical activity together. Like its parent event, Kids Walk has a fitness expo. Participants take advantage of fitness screenings, get nutritional information, sample healthy food, watch jump-roping demonstrations and learn about child safety. With an interactive heart obstacle course, children do fun exercises that mimic how a drop of blood flows through the heart’s chambers. A new exhibit this year was “Garden Street,” which shows how families can grow their own healthy vegetables.

A young volunteer stands in front of her home on Heartbreak Hill in New York Mills and passes out orange slices to walkers and runners during America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.

There was also a display called Eat Street, an exhibit that teaches how to make healthy menu choices. Meanwhile, Otsego County held its annual Heart Run/Walk recently at Neawha Park in Oneonta. Among the award winners following America’s Greatest Heart Run/Walk weekend was Tory Hauk of Utica. She earned the Lifestyle Change Award, sponsored by Olivari Mediterranean Olive Oil, for making significant strides toward living a healthier life. The 2012 top individual fundraiser was Anthony Scott, who raised $22,500. The 2012 top team award went to Team Stasaitis, led by race director Jim Stasaitis. His group dedicated the event to Jim’s mother, Jean, who passed away in October 2011.


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Mary Parry, director of cardiopulmonary services at Oneida Healthcare, explains the workings of the new daVinci surgical robot during the fitness expo at Utica College recently. Oneida Healthcare purchased the robot last December and it is used to help doctors perform minimally invasive surgery. In the background, a passerby peers through a magnifier and tries his hand picking up and moving objects around on a daVinci demonstration model.


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April 2012 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Rare Diseases Vision of hope Young woman afflicted with rare vision disease By Patricia J. Malin


n case you didn’t notice, 2012 is a leap year, an event that comes around every four years. While Feb. 29 is usually heralded as a day to celebrate a birthday for some unique individuals, it has a more serious tone for those suffering from little-known diseases. Feb. 29, 2012 happened to be the fifth anniversary of International Rare Diseases Day. Although the day was commemorated in 64 countries this year, like the diseases themselves, it is easy to go unrecognized. International Rare Disease Day is coordinated by an organization named EURORDIS and was organized with rare disease national alliances in 25 European countries. Activities were planned in the United States and Canada, all of Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. Catherine Scharf of New Hartford had to admit she wasn’t even aware of Rare Diseases Day until recently. Her mother, Ellen Scharf, got the word out

by writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper and bringing attention to the date. “I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease when I was 9-years-old,” said Catherine, a 23-year-old graduate student at the University of Buffalo. “However, I was born with the disease.” The disease is characterized by central vision loss early in life and affects approximately one in 10,000 people, according to the website, All About Stargardt’s disease is also called juvenile macular degeneration. Generally, people with impaired vision from macular dgeneration are aged 60 or older. In Scharf’s case, however, her parents unknowingly passed the disease to her.

Genetic roots

“It is recessive form caused by mutations in the ABCA4 gene,” she explained. “I am the only member of my nuclear and extended family who has the visual impairment. I have an older sister and a twin brother who do not

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

Scharf have Stargardt’s Disease or any other form of a visual impairment.” With Stargardt’s disease, light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye (retina) deteriorate, the vision website said, particularly in the area of the macula where fine focusing occurs. Central vision loss also occurs, while peripheral vision is usually retained. Persons with this impairment are sensitive to bright light and glare and are legally blind. “Acuity in my left eye is 20/400 and my right 20/300,” she explained. “I try not to dwell on what I cannot see (but) focus on what I can. Those numbers do not depict what I see.” Scharf has learned to make accommodations in living with the disease, but insists, “I am able, not disabled.” Her educational goals reflect her determination to succeed despite the obstacles, while at the same time she is contributing to what she calls “the community’s understanding and knowledge of such afflictions.” A graduate of New Hartford Central School, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo with a dual major in health and human services/community mental health and sociology. She is now in her first year of graduate school at UB’s Online Graduate School and pursuing a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Her poor eyesight did affect her when she first got to Buffalo. However, she learned to navigate the campus, find her classrooms, obtain class notes and travel freely to and from campus. And yes, she admittedly took a few tumbles along the way before she learned “the hard way” how to get around.

Online assistance

She now lives in an apartment in New Hartford while taking online courses. “Being online for graduate school has made it much easier for me to complete my work without the other

limitations distracting me and taking up valuable time,” she said. Scharf’s vision cannot be corrected with either glasses or surgery. “Stargardt’s disease causes central vision loss and only the peripheral vision is intact,” she pointed out. “I do not wear glasses. There are no lenses that offer substantial correction and the frames obstruct the only vision that I have. I do not use a walking cane or a seeingeye dog, and I do not see myself ever using these tools. I adapted by learning alternative ways of seeing the world.” Her computer is hooked up to a magnification system called Acrobat, which has a separate 17-inch screen with a camera attached at the top. With this tool, she is able to scan textbooks, small print, checks and written material that passes below the camera. She also uses a program called Zoomtext. Even so, she has to limit reading because her eyes get tired and are subject to strain, so she takes frequent breaks. “Most of my friends and every teacher I have had knows about my visual impairment, though people I meet many times cannot tell I have such low vision because of how I adapted and learned how not to be noticed by it,” she added.

Route of advocacy

Scharf is clearly a role model who doesn’t hide her impairment, but uses it as an opportunity to educate others and advocate for individuals with disabilities. Last summer, she gave a presentation at the Association on Higher Education And Disability national conference in Seattle. She was invited to speak at a state conference on disability in Albany a couple months ago. In addition, she recently spoke to a group of 100 high school students with disabilities who are transitioning into college. “I speak of growing up with a visual impairment and offer advice in making schools and programs more accessible for individuals with disabilities and overcoming adversity,” she said. Scharf is confident of having a career in the rehabilitation field, although she has two more years to work on her master’s degree. “I do not predict any trouble with getting hired in a competitive career; in fact I look forward to it,” she said. “I will be a graduate with two bachelor’s degrees, one master’s, certification in rehab counseling, and will be licensed as a counselor. I have built my resume up and continue to acquire experience in my projected field of work.” There is no cure for Stargardt’s disease at present and Scharf is likely to experience greater vision loss in the future. But she insisted it will not hold her back. “If anything, this drives me to succeed even more because I am determined to break the stereotype of disabled individuals,” she said.

Milestones Community Memorial Turns 60 At a time many rural hospitals struggle, hospital in Hamilton continues to shine Oriskany Falls, Oneida County. He was inundated with walk-in patients at a time when “miracle drugs” for treating typhoid plague, whooping cough, diphtheria and polio were in their early stages. He was one of the first physicians on staff when Community Memorial opened in 1952, and served thousands of patients there until he died of a heart attack in 1984. His family later presented an endowment fund to the hospital.

By Aaron Gifford


here are still a few folks in Hamilton who can remember when local doctors made house calls or cared for pregnant women in their own homes. Over time, that small group of physicians built a place that would better serve their growing community’s needs. Sixty years later, Community Memorial in Hamilton is still going strong and has found a niche in a competitive health care market at a time when many rural hospitals are struggling. “It was that personal touch. That’s why we’ve survived,” said Dave Buran, Community Memorial Hospital’s director of development. “It’s not that far removed. They [founding physicians] would see patients at 9 or 10 at night. I can remember when Dr. Thro set up a maternity unit in his own house. They’d stay in his house. His wife would take care of them in a room, serve meals, and do their laundry.” This 60th anniversary follows a major highlight for the hospital: Community Memorial was recently recognized by VHA Inc. as the No. 4 facility in the nation for small hospitals of under 250 beds. VHA is a network of nonprofit health organizations that serves more than 1,400 hospitals across the country and recognizes facilities for quality in clinical excellence. Community Memorial employs about 300 people, and has an annual operating budget of about $42 million. It has 40 inpatient beds and 40 beds in a skilled nursing facility. The hospital’s services include anesthesiology, ambulatory surgery, cardiology, a 24-hour emergency room, neurology, pediatrics, general surgery and family practice centers in Cazenovia, Hamilton, Morrisville, Munnsville and Waterville.

Capital campaign successful

Recently, the hospital completed a three-year capital campaign, raising $1.76 million for new imaging equipment, new surgical equipment and an endowment fund that will support staff education and enrichment opportunities. Community Memorial officials say their hallmark is the hospital’s surgical and sports medicine program, which performs more than 2,300 surgeries a year and serves several Division I athletes at Colgate University. Many patients come from other states for those services. Its ophthalmology program has also enjoyed a great reputation throughout the Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions, Buran said. As part of the 60-year celebration, the hospital is publishing articles in its spring newsletter on its seven founding physicians—John H. Rathbone, Frank Mathias, Carl Ellsworth, Willis Hammond, Jack Thro, Armand Hoch and George Gillmore. Plaques honor-

The Crouse allegiance

John Costello performs cataract resection surgery at Community Memorial Hospital. The hospital is turning 60 this year. ing each doctor have been placed on the “Founders Wall” of the hospital. Gillmore, now 92, is the only surviving original member. According to hospital officials, Gillmore’s dedication to local patients was unprecedented. On more than one occasion, he returned home early from a planned Cape Cod vacation, catching a chartered flight on less than a day’s notice to deal with complications from surgery patients he previously treated.

He fell in love with Hamilton and decided early in his career that’s there where he and his family would settle. “The quality of life was there,” he said. The late Armand Hoch was born in Germany and moved to Utica as a child. He attended Hamilton College in Clinton and New York Medical College before serving in the U.S. Navy. He started a general practice in

As the hospital celebrates its anniversary, it also enters its seventh decade of service under a new arrangement with the much larger Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. Crouse serves as Community Memorial’s parent company and has a significant amount of control of the smaller hospital, though the Hamilton facility has some autonomy as it maintains its own chief executive officer and a local board of managers. A member of Crouse’s board also serves on Community Memorial’s board. Buran said this is a mutually beneficial relationship, as Crouse assures Hamilton’s financial stability and provides more local services like additional general surgery staff and women’s health care services to the local community. “The main benefit is we’ve added services,” Buran said. Community Memorial’s President and Chief Executive Officer David Felton has been at the helm for 31 years and will retire later this year after a suitable replacement is found. He called his time with the Hamilton institution a privilege.

Heavy workload

At times Gilmore performed up to eight surgeries a day and continued working into the night with house calls. He performed procedures on the head, neck, throat and abdomen, and even completed plastic surgery operations or treated patients with fractured limbs. Younger doctors were amazed at his ability to complete a gall bladder operation in 30 minutes. “We wanted to show them that we were as good as any surgeons around,” Gillmore said in a telephone interview from his Florida home, where he spends the winter months. “We had young doctors who came here right out of their internships. They weren’t well trained, but they assumed they could get right to work here because it was a smaller hospital. They were overanxious. We had to rein them in. It’s a good learning environment for young doctors, but we still have a level of quality to uphold.” Gillmore, who completed his residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and then at a Providence, R.I. hospital, selected Community Memorial over dozens of other hospitals because the facility was brand new at the time and he wanted to be part of a team that built something.

Community Memorial Hospital President and CEO David Felton shares a plaque that will be used to honor her husband, Dr. Armand Hoch. Hoch was one of the first physicians on staff when Community Memorial opened in 1952, and served thousands of patients there until he died of a heart attack in 1984. His family later presented an endowment fund to the hospital. April 2012 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

Nutrition SmartBites

By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

The lowdown on oatmeal

Your cholesterol is too high!” Ever since my doctor delivered those dreaded words, I have worked hard to lower my cholesterol through diet. In a word, I scale back on foods that raise it and devour those that don’t. I also make a conscientious effort to eat foods that actually lower blood cholesterol, like walnuts, salmon, and my all-time favorite and star of today’s column: oatmeal. Oatmeal in April? Yes! Odd as it may seem to feature such a cold-weather comfort food at the beginning of spring, I am purposely dishing on this nutritious grain to promote its yearround consumption. Unique among grains, oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing, which means you’re virtually guaranteed the whole grain and its many benefits. Current research indicates that eating whole grains helps reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Oatmeal is high in a specific kind

of soluble fiber that helps lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, while maintaining the good cholesterol that your body needs. Since high cholesterol levels correlate with the build-up of plaques in blood vessel walls, which can then lead to a heart attack or stroke, it makes sense to lower these levels whenever we can. Me? More oats, please! My mother, who suffers from high blood pressure, never goes a day without a bowl of oatmeal because it’s one of the eight foods on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan recommended by the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Both the fiber and magnesium found in oats have beneficial effects on blood pressure. Oatmeal is no lightweight when it comes to protein either, with one cup delivering about 11 grams (an egg has 6). Need one last reason to reach for

the oats? They’re super high in manganese, a mineral that’s essential for healthy digestion, brain function, and bone formation. So, how’s my cholesterol? Fortunately, for me, diet did the trick.

Helpful tips Since the nutritional differences are quite minor between the various kinds of oats – from steel-cut to instant – go with the oatmeal whose texture and method of preparation appeal to you most. I like a chewier texture and so eat regular rolled oats, while my mother prefers the softer texture of instant oats. Both are easily prepared in the microwave in under 3 minutes. Oatmeal, stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, lasts for about 2 months. Note: Be sure to check the nutrition fact panel on flavored instant oatmeal, especially its sugar and salt contents.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Adapted from Nick Malgieri’s dessert cookbook I cup flour (Recommend: ½ whole wheat; ½ unbleached all-purpose flour) 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature (Recommend: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter sticks) ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup brown sugar (or ¼ cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend) 1 large egg ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant) ½ cup raisins ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted Preheat oven to 375 degrees; line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the egg, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats, raisins, and nuts. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons or tablespoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough. Bake cookies about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheets during baking for even heating. Makes 18 large cookies, 24 medium. Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at

Top reasons why people don’t lose weight Dieters fall victim to common mistakes while trying to shed pounds


t’s been nearly four months since the new year, and swimsuit season is lurking on the horizon — how are those weight-loss resolutions working out? “Losing weight is one of the top resolutions made every year, yet only 20 percent of people achieve successful weight-loss and maintenance,” says Jessica Bartfield, an internal medicine physician who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Loyola University Health System’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Despite that fact that two-thirds of Americans say they are on a diet to improve their health, very few are actually decreasing in size. “Dieting is a skill, much like playing a musical instrument, and requires practice and good instruction, “ says Bartfield. “You’re going to hit some wrong notes and feel frustrated, but eventually you will succeed and it will get easier.” According to Bartfield, here are the top four reasons why many dieters fail to lose weight.

1. Underestimating calories consumed

“Most people, even experts, underestimate the number of calories they eat per day. Writing down everything that you eat — including drinks and

This is very difficult to achieve through exercise alone, and would require 60 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day. A more attainable goal would be to try to increase activity throughout the day and get a total of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week. Buy a pedometer and track your steps; try to increase to a goal of 10,000 steps per day. But be careful, exercise is not an excuse to eat more!”

3. Poor timing of meals

“You need a steady stream of glucose throughout the day to maintain optimal energy and to prevent metabolism from slowing down. Eat breakfast every day within one hour of waking up, then eat a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours. Try not to go longer than five hours without eating a healthy snack or meal to keep your metabolism steady.” “bites” or “tastes” of food — can help increase self-awareness. Pay attention to serving sizes and use measuring cups and spoons as serving utensils to keep portions reasonable. Food eaten outside of the home tends to be much larger portion sizes and much higher in calories. Try to look up nutrition infor-

mation of your favorite take-out meal or restaurant and select a healthy meal before picking up the phone or going out to eat.

2. Overestimating activity and calories burned

“Typically you need to cut 500 calories per day to lose 1 lb per week. April 2012 •

4. Inadequate sleep

“Studies have shown that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite, particularly for high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods. In addition, less sleep raises levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can lead to weight gain.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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By Jim Miller

How to save money on your Compeer advocates prescription drug costs for mentally ill Dear Savvy Senior What tips can you recommend to help me save on my drug costs? I’m 62 years old, and currently take six different prescription medications that I can barely afford. Poorly Insured Dear Poorly, There are actually a variety of ways you can reduce your medication costs without cutting quality, but you’ll need to take a proactive approach. The following tips can also help seniors with a Medicare prescription drug plan avoid the “donut hole” coverage gap, or reduce their costs once they reach it. Here are some cost-cutting strategies to try. Check your insurance

If you have drug coverage, your first step is to find out what your plan does and doesn’t cover. You can do this by visiting the insurer’s website or by calling their 800 number on the back of your insurance card. Once you have this information, share it with your doctor so (if possible) he or she can prescribe medications that are best covered by your plan. You also need to find out if your insurer has a mailorder service. This would help you to purchase your medications for 20 to 40 percent less.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist

Find out if the medications you’re taking are available in a generic form or a less expensive brand-name drug (you can also look this up online at sites like About 75 percent of all premiums drugs on the market today have a lower-cost alternative. Switching could save you between 20 and 90 percent. Many chains like Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Kmart, CVS and Walgreens sell hundreds of generics for as little as $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. Another cost cutter is to buy your medications in bulk. Many pharmacies give discounts if you buy a threemonth supply of drugs versus a 30-day supply. Also, find out if the pills you’re taking can be cut in half. Pill splitting allows you to get two months worth of medicine for the price of one.

Shop around

Drug prices can vary form drugstore to drugstore, so it’s definitely worth your time to compare prices at Page 12

the different pharmacies in your area. Using U.S.-based online pharmacies are another way to save 25 percent or more. and familymeds. com are two good sites that provide solid savings, but there are dozens to choose from. If you opt for an online pharmacy, be sure you purchase from ones that have the “VIPPS” seal of approval (see from the National Association of Board of Pharmacy. Seniors enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan also need to make sure the online pharmacy they’re buying from is included in their network. Otherwise, the purchase may not count toward their deductible.

Get a discount card

Many pharmacies have free or lowcost discount card programs that will let you buy generics for $4 or qualify for steeper discounts on other drugs. Other drug card programs worth a look include,,,, and familywize. com.

Search for drug assistance programs

If your income is limited, you can probably get help through drug assistance programs offered through pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charitable organizations. To find these types of programs use, a comprehensive website that lets you easily locate the programs you’re eligible for, and will show you how to apply.

Buy from Canada

This option offers savings between 50 and 80 percent on brand-name drugs, but it’s important to understand that it’s illegal to import drugs from Canada. The FDA, however, does not prosecute anyone who imports prescription drugs for personal use. If you’re interested in this option, see, an independent resource that finds the lowest prices from licensed and reputable Canadian pharmacies. (Note: This is not a good option for Medicare Part D beneficiaries because it will not count toward their deductible.)

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

Nonprofit reaches out to Mohawk Valley residents By Amylynn Pastorella


any years ago, Maria Zali was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had no friends. Though her family was supportive, she was teased for her illness. Zali turned to Compeer of the Mohawk Valley for help. Compeer is a nonprofit agency that provides trained, caring volunteers from the community to be mentors to local youth and supportive friends for adults who are coping with the loneliness and isolation of mental illness. Through its services, Compeer has given Zali the opportunity to regain her confidence in socializing with others. “Mental illness is the loneliest illness in the world,” said Zali. According to Zali, Compeer has many programs for people to get involved in, such as coffee hours, bowling, picnics and holiday parties. The programs Compeer offers are services that benefit those with mental illness. Funding and donations help the programs to remain active. Last November, Compeer found it would no longer receive funds from its major funding source, The Office of Mental Health, due to the poor economic climate in New York state. Because its services are not mandated by the state, funding ceased. “The funding we received was over 60 percent of our budget, which was a small and tightly managed budget to begin with. Though our staff, board, clients and other Compeer friends advocated on behalf of those we serve, the funding cuts remained in effect,” said Judith Reilly, executive director for Compeer.

Drawings key fundraising tool

Compeer recently ended its “Amazing” raffles campaign. Through

the generosity of businesses and friends of Compeer, several raffles took place to raise much-needed funds to provide programming services. Raffles are one of the many methods of raising funds that the organization is using. Its annual and signature event, “An Evening of Chocolate Infusion,” will be held on April 26. “The Amazing Raffles came out of a brainstorming session during a recent strategic planning meeting. This is the first time we held a fundraiser like this which people won tickets to various Syracuse University games,” Reilly said. “We build around our area’s love for the Syracuse Orangemen which helped ensure that we can continue to serve our clients,” said Reilly. Reilly said as soon as the idea for the raffles was established she hit the ground running for donations. “All in all, once there was a good plan in place, the pieces came together,” Reilly said. Compeer serves adults and children in Oneida and Herkimer counties. “Compeer enables adults, veterans and young people we serve to become more socially integrated into the community and to reach greater independence,” Reilly said. “The consistent, caring relationships formed between volunteers and their friends foster a sense of belonging, trust and self-esteem in the people referred to the program.” Volunteers are always needed. Anyone over the age of 18 who wants to make a difference in the life of another person, has four hours per month to contribute, and will take the time necessary to complete the application and training process is encouraged to apply. For more information, call 315-7351066 or

Breastfeeding café opens in Rome


he Mohawk Valley Breastfeeding Network is opening a new breastfeeding café in Rome to provide pregnant and breastfeeding moms a place to support one another, socialize and get breastfeeding clinical support if needed. The group will meet from noon to 2 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays

of the month at the Trinity Church, 215 W. Court St. A light meal will be served. There is no cost to participate and mothers can bring their babies to be weighed. The breastfeeding café posts meeting announcements and news items on its Facebook page.

Live Alone & Thrive

USA wheelchair curling team has local flavor

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

It all starts with you!


ast month, I had the pleasure of speaking to a local chapter of AARP. Its members, most of whom were divorced after long marriages, were eager to hear about my personal journey toward contentment and how I learned to love living alone. I began my talk, as I do in my Living Alone workshops, with a gentle word of caution: There is no magic pill. Getting good at living alone, like mastering any new skill, requires effort and lots of practice. A good place to begin is to determine who you really are and what you really want for your life. No “shoulds” or other people’s agendas. Sounds simple, but for those coming out of a long relationship, rediscovering “who you really are” can be daunting. After years of focusing on the needs and desires of a spouse and family, many discover that, somewhere along the way, they have disappeared around the edges and lost their own sense of self. Rediscovering yourself and identifying those things that bring joy and meaning into your life can turn living alone into an adventure of the spirit. Once you identify and begin pursuing your individual interests, you’ll find that time alone no longer feels empty and that the silent spaces between events becomes more bearable, even enjoyable. Below is an exercise to help you get back in touch with your true self.

Look back and reach in

Identify those things that fully engrossed you as a child or that today completely consume you — those things that make you feel complete, as though nothing is missing. These are your “loves.” These pursuits reveal your true self.

Spend time with these questions

1.) Search back. What were things you did or pursued as a child that gave you joy? The things you thought you did particularly well, that you perhaps secretly took pride in? What did you just love doing as a kid? 2.) More recently, when do you completely lose yourself in something? What are you doing when time flies? 3.) What are the kinds of things you do when you have time to yourself, perhaps on vacation? How do you spend your time, when no one’s watching, when you’re just being you? 4.) And finally, when you open a newspaper or magazine, what articles interest you most? This may help to define areas that pique your interest.

Then take action

Based on the answers above, identify one step (even a small step) you can take — now — to reconnect with a past pursuit or to delve more deeply into an existing interest. When I went through this exercise years ago, I rediscovered a part of me

KIDS Corner Study: Hospitalization of U.S. underage drinkers common, costs $755 million a year


ospitalization for underage drinking is common in the United States, and it comes with a price tag — the estimated total cost for these hospitalizations is about $755 million per year, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Researchers also found geographic and demographic differences in the incidence of alcohol-related hospital admissions. The findings were recently published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Of the roughly 40,000 youth aged 15-20 hospitalized

in 2008, the most recent data available, 79 percent were drunk when they arrived at the hospital, researchers say. Alcohol abuse and addiction and drinking-related emotional problems were among the diagnoses. Among all U.S. teens, roughly 18 of every 10,000 adolescent males and 12 of every 10,000 females were hospitalized after consuming alcohol in the year studied. In all, 700,000 young people in that age group were hospitalized for various reasons, including non-alcoholrelated conditions, in 2008.

that I had neglected — without realizing it — for years. That part was my creative side. While I was thinking back over my life and childhood, I remembered how much I enjoyed art classes as a kid and I recalled the hours I spent engaged in pencil drawing and other artistic endeavors. Then, when I looked at my life as an adult, I realized how very few creative outlets I had incorporated into my daily and weekly routines. So I set out to make a deliberate change in my life and to reincorporate creative expression into my world. The result? I now make jewelry, enjoy decorating my home, and, in the summer months, design and tend gardens that burst with color, texture, and fragrance. Those of us who live alone have the gift of abundant time to ourselves. Use it wisely. Use the time to get to know yourself all over again. When you identify the things you love to do, and do them, you will feel less lonely. Stated positively, you will feel more integrated and in touch with who you are. You’ll be spending your time pursuing activities that bring you personal satisfaction — activities that reinforce who you are and who you want to become. When that happens, living alone becomes secondary to living fully! Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive, empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, New York. For information about the workshops, call 585 624-7887, email gvoelckers@rochester., or visit

“When teenagers drink, they tend to drink excessively, leading to many destructive consequences including motor vehicle accidents, injuries, homicides and suicides,” says researcher Terry Schneekloth, a Mayo Clinic addiction expert and psychiatrist. Underage drinking is common in the United States: 36–71 percent of high-school students report having consumed alcohol at least once, although the prevalence of heavy drinking (more than five drinks in a row within the preceding two weeks) is lower (7–23 percent). “Alcohol use necessitating acutecare hospitalization represents one of the most serious consequences of underage drinking,” Schneekloth says. “Harmful alcohol use in adolescence is a harbinger of alcohol abuse in adulthood.” The average age of those with alcohol-related discharges was 18; 61 percent were male. Nearly a quarter of the alcohol-use disorder hospitalizations included an injury, most commonly traffic accidents, assaults and altercations. For adolescent males and females, hospitalization incidence was highest in the Northeast and Midwest, lowest in the South, and intermediate in the West. April 2012 •

Player, coach have Mohawk Valley ties By Patricia J. Malin


he USA wheelchair curling team, which is comprised of athletes from the Sitrin Rehabilitation Center in New Hartford, got off to a roaring start in the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Championships. But USA ran out of steam in the late rounds and finished fifth out of 10 teams. The tournament was held recently in Chuncheon, South Korea. USA won five of its first six games and was in a battle for first place up until the playoff round. On the last day of round robin play, defending champion Canada and Slovakia narrowly defeated the Americans in overtime. USA finished with a 6-4 record, but more importantly, it qualified for the 2013 World Championships in Sochi, Russia. USA also has 11 Paralympic qualification points and should secure a position for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Team USA consists of members of the Sitrin STARS (Success Through Adaptive Recreation & Sports) program. Implemented in 2001, this adaptive sports program began in 2002. The USA Curling National Champion Team was comprised of skip (captain) Patrick McDonald of Madison, Wis.; Jim Joseph of New Hartford; David Palmer of Mashpee, Mass; Penny Greely of Green Bay, Wis., and Tim Kelly of Rockford, Ill. Bill Brown of Wisconsin coaches the team with local support provided by Marc DePerno, director of the Sitrin STARS program, and the Utica Curling Club. The Sitrin STARS have achieved international success with the wheelchair-curling program, winning fourth place at the Paralympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a bronze medal in the 2008 World Wheelchair Curling competition in Switzerland.

Stewart’s aids St. E’s cause


t. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica has received a grant from the Stewart’s Holiday Match program in the amount of $1,250. Since 1986, Stewart’s has collected and matched donations from its shops from Thanksgiving until Christmas to benefit many organizations throughout its service area. This is the fifth consecutive year the medical center was awarded a grant from Stewart’s Holiday Match. The medical center will use the grant to purchase an incubator for the pediatric unit. Premature and ill newborn babies often have trouble maintaining an appropriate body temperature and need to be placed in incubators where the temperature of the air that surrounds them can be controlled and elevated as needed.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Your Doctor

By Patrician J. Malin

Hospitalists on front line of health care Continued from Page 4 being Upstate. When my workday is over, there’s no stress or strain of traffic jams. I enjoy the outdoors, the Adirondacks. Q.: What prompted you to become a physician? A.: I didn’t decide to become a doctor until I was a sophomore in college. I was a math major. But I felt there was a part of me that was interested in service. I remember that my aunt had been plagued by medical problems throughout her life. At that time, the system (doctors) looked only at her heart or her kidney and did not see her as a whole person. Q.: What is the most challenging aspect of your job? A.: The demand for our services is so high. We have eight hospitalists here working around the clock, but we could easily use 12 or 16 doctors. We work long, hard hours. It’s possible to see nine or 10 patients in a row and you’re tired. You’re working nights, weekends and holidays. It seems you’re a cog in a wheel in a large organization, so how do we balance our needs? We have to look at our job as an opportunity, a privilege. We see a lot of end-of-life cases and families are at a loss at to how to navigate the healthcare system. I worry about my team. Palliative care is not widely available, so there’s an emotional toll (on hospitalists), but it’s also rewarding. Our team has a goal to provide care with kindness, humility, dignity and respect. Q.: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job? A.: When you see people get well. (Dr. Faber shared a long thank-you letter from one patient’s family dated July 18, 2011, although the patient had died.

“You went above and beyond helping her, as well as us. You kept pushing and pulling her. Without you, we are not quite sure where we would have ended up in terms of her care. Thank you for being our friend through all of this.”) Another concern is how hospitals can keep their doors open in spite of so many financial challenges, but we’re helping patients by using less-costly medicines and procedures and having shorter stays. For example, the rates for (developing) blood clots have dropped drastically compared to five years ago. Countless lives have been saved. Q.: What are the newest developments in your field? Is there a demand for hospitalists? A.: The program will continue to grow. The hospitalist program here went from three fulltime physicians to 8.3 fulltime physicians with two highly integrated nurse practitioners. There are 20,000 hospitalists nationwide and the prediction is that we need 30,000. Many of us serve on quality improvement committees and we’re always looking at improving hospital efficiency. Who else has time for this? We have the perspective on how we can better manage patient care from outpatient to inpatient, and operating most efficiently while they’re here. And we also have to recognize when they don’t have to be here. We look at the big picture. Q.: What challenges do you foresee in the future regarding healthcare, in general? A.: How does society provide for humane medical needs in the context of current financial challenges? How do all patients receive the same care, those with insurance and those without insurance? How do we want our loved ones to be treated?

FSLH makes medical staff announcement


axton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently welcomed neurosurgeon Yannick Grenier. Grenier is a native of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in neurobiology from McGill University. She earned her medical degree from Pritzker School of Medicine Grenier in Chicago and Page 14

completed her residency at Northwestern Hospital, also in Chicago. She then went on to complete a fellowship in pain and movement disorders at Stanford University. Grenier practiced in the Midwest for several years, most recently at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse, Wis. Grenier is board certified in neurological surgery and on active staff at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Grenier works collaboratively with neurosurgeon Clifford B. Soults to provide community coverage of patients at both hospitals. Soults has an office located at 2206 Genesee St., Utica.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

Rules of engagement The last self-help advice you’ll need


elf-help advice is a huge industry. Every day, thousands of people visit websites that offer advice, and buy books, CDs and DVDs that will give them “the answer.” Search “self-help” on and you can choose from 238,142 books that will advise you how to live your life. “Life used to be so simple before we all started reading about how to live it.” So begins the book “The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need.” Paul Pearsall, who was a neuropsychologist and professor at the University of Hawaii prior to his death, presents alternatives to the facts of life as they are represented by the self-help industry. The appeal of selfhelp concepts is that they feel right to us, they make Pierce us feel good, at least for a while, and, like fast food, we can take them in quickly and easily. “But they are really a set of McMorals, tenets about life that go down easily but aren’t good for our long- term well being,” says Pearsall. No plan that is laid out in a book, a manual, a CD, or online can help us find a good life, says Pearsall. Rather, we should find our direction through lessons we learn from our personal experiences, rely on older and wiser friends and relatives, and trust our intuition.

Alternative advice

Some of Pearsall’s alternative facts of life that provide direction for a more creative self-helping: • Be a pessimist: A little defensive pessimism goes a long way to building a good life. You’ll seldom be disappointed, and sometimes pleasantly surprised. Thinking negatively comes naturally. Our natural propensity for pessimism is a built in evolutionary trait that keeps us vigilant for threats to our well being. The longest-living people were distinguishable by their pessimistic outlooks. • Don’t believe in yourself: No matter how much self-confidence you muster, you can’t do everything you put your mind to. Beware of the “Little Engine that Could” approach to health. (“I feel OK. I look OK. I am OK.”) • Settle for second (or third or sixth) best: In any endeavor, there can be only one number one. Relax, and enjoy being one of the thousands who fall short. • Stop expressing and asserting yourself: Shut up and listen. People who interrupt are three times more likely to die of a heart attack. Marital relationships usually fail because of too much communication, not too little. Couples who stay together spend a lot of quiet time together. • Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus: The problem isn’t that men and women think as if they

are from different planets; it’s that they are following the wrong advice about how to live together on this one. Most books on how to do relationships were written by divorced authors who have experienced many failed relationships. • Ditch your diet: Research shows that no diet works for long, and constantly trying and failing at dieting is depressing and makes you even fatter. Stop worrying, eat less, and move more. • Bottle up your anger: Letting it all out and venting is bad for you and those around you. Understanding your anger is helpful; hostile expression of it is bad for you and doesn’t solve the problem. • Don’t nurture your “inner child”—kick its ass: Our well-being depends more on finding our “inner elder” than yielding to a whining, narcissist inner infant. Look for your problems within your adult interactions. • Face it, your family is nuts: The only cure for dysfunctional families is to do away with all families. We all have at least one weird family member. A family is nothing more than a group of people committed to one another’s welfare. Being a good family member means being able to enjoy living each day with flakes and failures. A good family is willing to stick with you when most sane and discerning people would vote you out. • Stop looking for Mr./Mrs. Right: Loving for life is not a matter of finding the right someone; it’s a matter of being the right person. Stop looking for love and start showing it. Be more concerned with being love-worthy than being loved. Realize that it is as important to be in love with the concept of marriage as it is to try to find someone you would love to marry. • If you think you’ve fallen in love, get up: Romantic love is a temporary “mental illness,” a condition caused by hormones. It is nature’s way of seeing that we propagate. If we calm down and wait, romantic love always passes and true love can grow. • Delude yourself: Because we are all flawed and not easy to live with, every married person is married to a fool. Deluding oneself about one’s partner—believing that he or she is kinder, more caring, and helpful than he or she really is—is essential for a lasting relationship. You won’t need another self-help book if you consider these alternatives. Trust in your intuition, learn from your experiences, and listen to those who are older and wiser. • Barbara Pierce, a published writer and a retired psychotherapist, writes memoirs for others, and helps people write their stories. Contact her at

The Social Ask Security Office Column provided by the local Social Security Office

Our egg hunt for you

E Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Child Raymond Gallo and family enjoy the 2012 Bowl-A-Thon.

Annual Children’s Miracle Network Bowl-A-Thon raises nearly $13,000


he Children’s Miracle Network recently held its 21st annual Bowling for Miracles Bowl-AThon, raising nearly $13,000 for women’s and children’s services at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. The event was held at Pin-O-Rama Recreation Center in Utica, where 59 teams took to the lanes in support of CMN. In all, more than 240 bowlers participated in the event, which was organized by the FSLH Foundation in partnership with WKTV NewsChannel 2 and Lite 98.7. Proceeds from CMN events like the annual bowl-a-thon make it possible for children like Emily Davies of Forestport to receive specialized care close to home. When this CMN Miracle Child felt a severe, throbbing pain in

her leg in early 2011, she and her parents never expected to find out that the cause was osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone. In order to get better, Emily needed surgery and time to heal. She spent nearly two weeks on the pediatric floor at FSLH. She enjoyed time with the hospital’s child life specialist who built a one-on-one relationship with her to help her work through her fears of hospitalization. “Emily’s story is a wonderful example of how funds raised through CMN events like bowl-a-thon make a difference in the level of care we are able to provide,” said Michele Adams, CMN coordinator. “Whether you participate in the event or just make a donation, every gift helps to change lives.”

St. Luke’s Home donates furniture, medical equipment to Congo


t. Luke’s Home in Utica, a skilled residential health care facility of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, is in the process of a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project. Part of the project required the closure of a 40-bed residential unit, Clark East. With the closure there were used furniture items and medical equipment that could be donated. That’s when residents and staff members, coordinated by Ginger Oliver, physical and occupational therapy long-term care manager at FSLH, selected the Afya Foundation. The Afya Foundation is an organization that maintains a web-based inventory menu from which international health organizations and professionals can self-select medical supplies from the Afya warehouse to satisfy the needs of recipient health centers/patients in Africa.

Afya partners with a network of donor hospitals, health organizations, corporations and individual households for the collection of medical supplies. SLH’s partnership with Afya allowed for the much needed furniture and medical equipment to go to the Congo in Africa. The donation included 48 mattresses, 31 beds, 15 bedside chairs, 25 bedside tables, 17 wheelchairs, five office chairs, two walkers and eight pairs of crutches. Members of the Afya Foundation transported the donation from SLH and will deliver it to the Congo where it will be distributed. SLH also made a sizeable donation of medical equipment and furniture to Haiti through the Afya Foundation in April 2011. For more information on the Afya Foundation, visit

ggs have long been a symbol of new life in the spring. In America, the Easter egg hunt finds its roots in the 1700s when German immigrants brought the tradition to Pennsylvania. Today, the traditional egg hunt thrills children everywhere. We at Social Security would like to serve up our own Easter egg hunt. Instead of eggs, we challenge you to hunt for our most popular online services. Our online services are almost as easy to find as they are easy to use. Let us lead you in the right direction: begin your hunt at Here are some of the good eggs worth discovering. The Retirement Estimator provides an instant, personalized estimate of your future benefits. In just minutes, you can have a nice ballpark figure of what to expect in future benefits. The Online Retirement Application lets you complete your application for Social Security retirement benefits in as little as 15 minutes. Better yet, you can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you. There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative. It’s so easy.


Q: How many Social Security numbers have been issued since the program started? A: Since 1935, we have assigned more than 465 million Social Security numbers and each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. With approximately 1 billion combinations of the 9-digit Social Security number, the current system will provide us with enough new numbers for several generations into the future. To learn more about Social Security numbers and cards, visit www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/10002.html. Q: How do I change my citizenship status on my Social Security record? A: To change the citizenship shown on our records you need to: • Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5), available at; and • Show us documents proving your age, identity and new or revised citizenship status (We only accept certain documents as proof of citizenship. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization, or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.) • Take (or mail) your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office. All documents must be either originals or copies certiApril 2012 •

The Online Medicare Application allows you to apply for Medicare benefits if you’re age 65 but not yet ready to start receiving retirement benefits. It takes less than 10 minutes to sign up for Medicare. Apply for Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is worth about $4,000 a year. To qualify for the Extra Help, you must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. Get a Replacement Medicare Card if you already receive Medicare and you can’t find the card you were issued. Request a Proof of Income letter that verifies your Social Security benefit information, including Medicare and SSI benefits. Get Answers to Our FAQs. Getting an answer to our most frequently asked questions is as easy as finding the big question mark on our home page. Also on our website, you’ll find such treasures as links to publications, videos, and our Facebook and Twitter pages. The more you search the corners of the website, the more good eggs you’ll find. Start the egg hunt now! You’ll find all the eggs in one basket:

fied by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. For more information, visit Q: Why doesn’t my estimate using the Retirement Estimator take into account my work as a teacher? I’ve worked for 20 years for the state and thought it would count. A: If you work for a state or local government agency — including a school system, college, or university — your earnings may not be covered by Social Security. If you are covered only by your state or local pension plan and you don’t pay Social Security taxes, your earnings won’t be shown on your Social Security record. (Your record will show your Medicare wages if you pay into that program). For information on how your pension from noncovered state or local employment may affect the amount of your Social Security benefit, you can visit www.socialsecurity. gov/retire2/wep-chart.htm Q: I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my benefits be? A: As a spouse, you may be entitled to one-half of a retired worker’s benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. If you want to get a Social Security retirement benefit as early as age 62, the amount of your benefit is reduced. The amount of reduction depends on when you will reach full retirement age.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare makes staff announcements Perioperative services at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently made the following staff announcements. • Joan Cardarelli has been named nurse manager for pre-admission testing and ambulatory surgery at FSLH. Cardarelli’s previous position with FSLH was as nurse manager of the ambulatory surgery unit/ endoscopy/ pre-admission screening at the Faxton Campus. She has been a staff nurse for various departments including ASU, the operating room and the intensive care unit and also served as charge nurse for pre-admission testing. Cardarelli has been employed at FSLH for more than 30 years. • Diane Graniero has been named nurse manager of endoscopy services at FSLH. Graniero’s previous position with FSLH was as nurse manager of the ASU/endoscopy at the St. Luke’s Campus. Graniero has been employed at FSLH for more than 32 years and was the charge nurse Graniero in ASU, where she worked for more than 26 years. • Barbara Kantor has been named clinical nurse manager at FSLH. Kantor’s previous position with FSLH was as nurse manager of surgery and the recovery room at the Faxton Campus. Kantor was also a staff RN and the interim charge RN in the Kantor post-anesthesia care unit at the Faxton Campus. When she first joined FSLH, she was a staff RN. Kantor received her registered nurse degree from St. Elizabeth College of Nursing and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SUNYIT UticaRome. • Charles Williams has been named director of perioperative operations FSLH. Williams’ previous position with FSLH was as director of central sterile which he will continue to oversee in addition to his new role. Perioperative operations consist of a mulWilliams Page 16

tidisciplinary team that involves the surgery department, endoscopy, the PACU, pre-admission testing, ambulatory services and central sterile. Williams has been employed at FSLH for more than 24 years, beginning as a technician in central sterile.

FSLH enhances cancer care Cancer patients in the Mohawk Valley now have access to much improved cancer care at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s (FSLH) Regional Cancer Center in Utica, which has obtained RapidArc technology to provide radiation therapy. This breakthrough cancer treatment delivers precise tumor-destroying radiation, takes a matter of minutes and is pain-free. “Many patients who have radiation therapy come to the cancer center on a daily basis for treatment,” said John Vakios, a radiation oncologist at FSLH. “Our goal is to always provide our patients with state-of-the-art, personalized cancer care, close to home. RapidArc delivers a precise beam to the treatment area eight times faster than treatments used in the past. That’s important to our patients and to us, their cancer treatment team.” FSLH’s RapidArc technology delivers image-guided IMRT (intensitymodulated radiation therapy) quickly, oftentimes in a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. “This new technology allows for radiation to be delivered at virtually every angle with maximum precision, which improves our ability to eradicate tumors while sparing surrounding normal tissues,” noted Nancy Borden, director of radiation therapy. The Regional Cancer Center is nationally accredited by the Commission on Cancer and operates in partnership with 21st Century Oncology, a global leader in the field of radiation therapy, and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.

FSLH stroke program earns achievement award Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award. The award recognizes FSLH’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines. To receive the award, FSLH achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The GuidelinesStroke Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. In addition to the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke award, FSLH has also been recognized as a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for improving stroke care. Over

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

Pictured from left are Dr. Martin Morell, Eve Van de Wal, Peggy O’Shea and Richard Ketcham.

Sister Rose Vincent center features new digital radiology equipment


he Sister Rose Vincent Family Medicine Center in Utica held an open house recently to unveil its new, advanced digital mammography imaging equipment. This is the same model of equipment that was recently installed at St. Elizabeth Medical Arts in New Hartford. The addition of the digital imaging equipment was made possible by the generosity of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the Mele Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and Dr. Martin Morell. “It is through the support of these benefactors that St. Elizabeth Medical Center is able to enhance services provided by the family medicine center,” said Richard Ketcham, president/CEO of St. Elizabeth Medical Center. “The benefits to patients who receive care at this location are varied. Patients can have many of the tests needed at the same appointment when they see healthcare providers. They don’t have to travel and they receive results before they leave the center.” Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community and Member Health Improvement Council grant will help improve access to life-saving mammography screenings for uninsured and underserved women in the community. “Mammography is the best tool for

the early detection of breast cancer, yet studies show that the lower a woman’s income level, the less likely she is to receive regular screenings,” said Eve Van de Wal, regional president, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “The availability of this new equipment, coupled with increased education and outreach efforts, will save lives.” The Mele Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc., supports community projects that have the capacity to touch many lives and enhance the impact on individual lives. “We, the foundation and Mele Fund advisers Raymond Mele and Michael Valentine are truly honored to partner with St. Elizabeth Medical Center in bringing the most up-todate digital mammography equipment to the Sister Rose Vincent Family Medicine Center,” said Peggy O’Shea, president/CEO of The Community Foundation. Morell, owner of Arthritis Specialists, New Hartford, has donated a GE lunar prodigy bone density unit and a high-frequency Dell radiographic unit (X-ray machine) to the family medicine center, 120 Hobart St., Utica. This has allowed the radiology department at the family medicine center to enhance services for patients. It is newer technology with a higher frequency generator and uses less radiation while improving image quality.

the past quarter, at least 50 percent of eligible ischemic stroke patients have received IV rt-PA within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as “door-to-needle” time). “With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award demonstrates FSLH’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals

in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Angelina Roche, stroke program clinical coordinator at FSLH. For more information on Get With The Guidelines, visit

Continued on Page 17

H ealth News Continued from Page 16

Medical office, imaging center relocates The Adirondack Community Physicians New Hartford medical office has relocated from its location on Middle Settlement Road to the Crossroads Plaza at 8411 Seneca Turnpike in New Hartford. The plaza is located at the intersection of Seneca Turnpike and Middle Settlement Road. The providers who practice at the office include Drs. Christopher Clark, Marissa Kalil, William Krause, and Irena Kokot, and family nurse practitioners Kathleen Sanger, Marilyn Campola, and Tina Cuda. The office phone number will stay the same at 315-624-8500. The imaging center, formerly at the Faxton Campus, is moving to the MorganStanley/SmithBarney Building at 106 Business Park Drive in the Utica Business Park. Women’s services that are moving include digital mammography, bone densitometry, and stereotactic and ultrasound breast biopsy. Ultrasound will be offered at both locations. Imaging services will resume at the new location April 3. The office phone numbers will stay the same. To schedule an appointment, call 315-624-5374.

St. E’s trauma coordinator receives award Filomain Talerico, trauma and emergency preparedness coordinator at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, has been awarded the New York State Trauma Coordinator of Distinction Award by the New York State Division of the American Trauma Society in Troy. Each year, the American Trauma Society Talerico presents awards to a coordinator, registrar and physician of distinction. The first award was presented in 1997. These awards were developed to recognize trauma care excellence among the membership. The recipient is selected based on his or her significant contribution to trauma care over the past year. Talerico received her master’s degree in health services management from the New School For Social Research and a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica Rome. She is a graduate of the St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing. In her role as trauma coordinator, Talerico is responsible for coordination of care for the critically injured trauma patients in the community, in addition to the various injury prevention programs developed at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and now utilized statewide.

She and her husband, Joseph, reside in Utica.

St. E’s Medical Group New Hartford office moves The St. Elizabeth Medical Group New Hartford office at 86 Genesee Sr. relocated recently. Its new office is located at the St. Elizabeth Medical Arts building at 4401 Middle Settlement Road, Suite 201, New Hartford. Patients should use entrance A and go to the second floor. There is elevator access to the office. Medical group providers at this location are Dr. Mark Warfel, and family nurse practitioners Sandy Gaetano, Sally O’Callaghan and Danielle Swiderski. The office phone numbers will remain the same: 315 738-1835 and 315 797-2398.

From left, Kelly Scheinman, director of renal services at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica, joins Dr. Charles Eldredge, medical director of renal dialysis at FSLH, and Howard Sears.

Excellus BCBS awards hospitals for quality

Faxton St. Luke’s expands its Rome Dialysis Center

Fifty-three Upstate New York hospitals last year earned more than $21 million in quality improvement incentive payments from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as part of the health insurer’s hospital performance incentive program. In the past three years, quality performance incentives from Excellus BCBS have exceeded $61 million. “Collaborating with our hospital partners to link payments to improvements in health outcomes and patient safety has resulted in our members getting the best quality of care and the most value for their health care premiums,” said Carrie Frank, vice president of quality and health informatics at Excellus BCBS. Eleven hospitals in the Utica/ Rome/North Country Region participated in this program in 2011, including Adirondack Medical Center, a member of Adirondack Health, Alice Hyde Medical Center, Aurelia Osborn Fox Memorial Hospital, Bassett Medical Center, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare (two campuses), Oneida Healthcare Center, Rome Memorial Hospital and St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Launched in 2004, the HPIP program evaluates participating hospitals on over 300 performance measures.

Excellus CEO to retire at end of 2012 David Klein, chief executive officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and its parent corporation for the past nine years, recently announced he will retire at the end of 2012 after 40 years in the health insurance industry. “I’m proud to have helped build, and then to have had the privilege to lead, the largest and most successful nonprofit health plan in Upstate New York,” Klein said. As CEO of the health plan’s parent organization, The Lifetime Healthcare Companies, Klein oversees a $5.6 billion enterprise that provides health


I see one,” he said. “I was impressed with the quality and craftsmanship of the filtration system and because it was in a medical facility, it was even better.” Sears’ wife, Suzanne, received dialysis treatments at FSLH for eight years. They were thankful that she was able to receive treatment close to home at the Rome Dialysis Center and showed their appreciation by supporting the expansion. Suzanne passed away in 2010 before the expansion was complete, but Howard has witnessed the difference their contribution made in the care of other dialysis patients in their community. “It’s fitting that Howard chose such an instrumental piece of the project to support,” said Eileen M. Pronobis, executive director of the FSLH Foundation. “I’ve never supported something with so much significance as the dialysis expansion,” he said. “It gave me my wife for an extra eight years.”

insurance coverage to more than 1.8 million people, sells long-term care coverage in 50 states, and provides direct patient services through its home care business Lifetime Home Care and Hospice and through Lifetime Health Medical Group. The company’s board Klein of directors will announce his successor in April. “David was instrumental in leading this corporation for more than 25 years,” said Randall Clark, chairman of the board of directors. “During that time, it went from a single health plan in Rochester with revenues of less than

$400 million to a $5.6 billion entity that is the largest nonprofit financier of health care in Upstate New York.” Klein resides in Pittsford. He has two grown sons. His wife Linde died in July 2011 after a long battle with cancer.

hanks to gifts from donors, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Rome Dialysis Center has been expanded. A ribbon cutting held recently celebrated the donors whose gifts made the expansion possible and included Howard Sears, The Rome Community Foundation, Hannaford Charitable Foundation and the Dorothy G. Griffin Charitable Foundation. The facility now has 16 patient treatment stations, double the previous number, with radiant heating and heated chairs for patient comfort as well as a state-of-the-art water filtration system. As the president of H. P. Sears Oil Company, Sears had an immediate interest in the water filtration system. Water filtration is a critical necessity in dialysis units where large amounts of water are used during treatment. “I know tugboats and terminals so I appreciate a shipshape situation when

April 2012 •

Presbyterian Homes & Services names CEO Michael K. Sweeney will be joining Presbyterian Homes & Services in New Hartford May 1 as its new chief executive officer. Sweeney succeeds long-term CEO Raymond L. Garrett, who is retiring. Sweeney brings nearly 35 years of health care experience to the position. He will be returning to Presbyterian Home where he began his career as assistant administrator. Since that time, he has held top management positions

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H ealth News Continued from Page 17 in the healthcare field. He most recently served as executive director of Westminster Woods at Julington Creek in Jacksonville, Fla. He is a former recipient of the national administrator of the year award Sweeney from the American College of Health Care Administrators. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in health care administration from Ithaca College and a master’s of science degree in management science from SUNY Binghamton.

SDMG achieves AAAHC accreditation Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford has achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Accreditation distinguishes this multi-specialty group from many other outpatient facilities by providing the highest quality of care to its patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation. Status as an accredited organization means SDMG has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of quality health care set by AAAHC. More than 5,000 ambulatory health care organizations across the United States are accredited by AAAHC. Not all ambulatory health care organizations seek accreditation and not all that undergo the rigorous on-site survey process are granted accreditation. “We believe our patients deserve the best,” said Anne Falchi, chief operating officer at SDMG. “When you see our certificate of accreditation, you will know that AAAHC, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has closely examined our facility and procedures. It means we as an organization care enough about our patients to strive for the highest level of care possible.” SDMG is a physician-owned multispecialty group practice that has been providing quality healthcare since 1938.

Physician joins internal medicine department Petronela Antohi has joined the internal medicine department of Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford. Antohi specializes in the patient’s total healthcare and provides continuing comprehensive health maintenance. Anothi joins the group with over nine years of experience in healthcare. She completed her internal medicine internship and residency at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway. She earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Page 18


Pharmacy in Craiova, Romania. Antohi also attended a high school that was designed specifically for future medical students. She is trained to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions.

SDMG appoints clinical manager-educator Donna Lee Walters has been appointed clinical manager-educator at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford. Walters joins the group with over 26 years of nursing experience. Her nursing background is in a variety of areas, including critical care and surgical care. She has also functioned as a charge nurse. Walters has experience in the clinical training Walters of fellow employees and is a strong advocate of education as a way to improve patient care. Donna earned her associate’s degree from Herkimer County Community College. She received her degree in nursing from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing. She continued on to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica Rome. She is a New York state-licensed registered nurse. She is certified in CPR and advanced cardiac life support. Additionally, Walters is a certified EMT-paramedic and was a longtime volunteer fireman and EMT for the Boonville Fire and Ambulance Company.

SDMG names employee of quarter Christine Hoke, LPN, has been named employee of the quarter for the first quarter of 2012 at Slocum-She began employment at SDMG in 2001. Soon after joining the group, she began working in the office of internist Roger Breslow, where she has been for Hoke several years. She is responsible for providing nursing care and performing a variety of clinical duties. She is being honored

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

Local girl gives up gifts, donates to charity Eleven-year-old New Hartford resident Kiana Kennedy’s birthday is a few days following Christmas. Instead of gifts for her birthday, this year and last, Kennedy decided to donate to charity to help other children. She held an ice-skating party and all children in attendance were asked to bring donations to Upstate Cerebral Palsy, the charity of her choice this year. Through her generosity, Upstate Cerebral Palsy children’s programs received a total of $1,036. Celebrating the occasion are, from left, Louis Tehan, Upstate Cerebral Palsy president and CEO; Kennedy; and Lenora Murad, agency board member. for her reliability, positive relationship with patients, and excellent job performance, according to a SDMG spokesperson. Included among Hoke’s accomplishments is the Pride of Workmanship in Utica Award that was presented to her by Rotary International in 2006.

The Arc names employee of the quarter Michele White, director of day services at The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter, has been named employee of the first quarter in the Oneida County region. White began her career at The Arc in 2000 as a program director for day services. She served as a White project coordinator from 2002-2011 before assuming her current position. Residential program director Cheri Misiak, who nominated White, said, “Michele always encourages a ‘yes you can’ attitude. She mentors with grace and tact and instills a desire to excel. She is a role model for anyone who works with individuals with disabilities.” White resides in Clinton with her husband and daughter.

Area nonprofit leader receives award Cassandra Sheets, CEO of The Center for Family Life and Recovery in Utica, was recently an honoree in the nonprofit awards that took place recently at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center in Syracuse. Sheets was honored as an “executive of the year”—a nonprofit executive (president, CEO, executive director) who exhibits leadership, planSheets ning skills, strong staff growth, board development, solid fiscal management, and increased fund-raising. The Center for Family Life and Recovery is a private nonprofit agency and affiliate of the United Way’s National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

LFH receives monies from Samuel S. Dale Trust Fund Little Falls Hospital received $10,640 for the 4D PhotoStation Manager System to assist with wound care from the Samuel S. Dale Trust Fund. The 4D PhotoStation System visu-

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H ealth News Continued from Page 18 ally documents a wound healing over time and provides proof of stage and size of healing wounds. The system will allow Little Falls Hospital to incorporate high-end digital photography into the wound care workflow which will improve medical documentation by creating an efficient process for capturing, organizing and using the wound images. Data provided by the system will also be integrated into the electronic medical record system that is being implemented by the Bassett Healthcare Network. “The capabilities of the photostation manager gives us the ability to assist in outpatient wound care, improve inpatient wound care and decrease patient stays in the hospital,” said Kathleen Dibble, nurse manager of LFH’s in-patient unit. Additionally, Little Falls Hospital received $4,000 from the Samuel S. Dale Memorial Fund to help offset the cost of uncompensated care for patients younger than 14 years and over 65 years in age from the Little Falls area.

Insight House names employee of the quarter Candy Adams was recently selected as Insight House employee of the quarter. Employees of the quarter are nominated by their supervisors for their reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution. Adams, Adams of Utica, is a substance abuse counselor in the outpatient department, and specializes in group, individual and family clinical services. She joined Insight House in Utica in 2010.

Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network launches program Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network, Inc. announces the launch of the community health advocates program to help people with their questions about and issues involving health care and health insurance. The CHA program, an initiative of the Community Service Society of New York, is the designated health insurance consumer program for New York state created under federal health reform. CHA is a network of organizations from around New York state that helps New Yorkers get, use and keep their health insurance. Advocates at the perinatal network can provide information and individual assistance in many languages and keep personal information confidential. All services are free. Visit for more information or call 315-732-4657 and ask for Gerda.

Rome Hospital Foundation awarded grant The Rome Hospital Foundation has been awarded a $3,500 grant from Fidelis Care New York in support of Rome Memorial Hospital’s Boonville Family Care practice, announced hospital president/chief executive officer Basil J. Ariglio. In 2011, more than 5,200 patients were served at Boonville Family Care, which provides primary care and laboratory services to the residents of Boonville and surrounding areas. The grant was applied for through the Rome Hospital Foundation, which provides vital philanthropic support to Rome Memorial Hospital. For more information on how to support the Rome Hospital Foundation and the future of Rome Memorial Hospital, contact Colleen Cianfrocco, executive director, at Rome Hospital Foundation at 315-338-7654 or

Health in good


EMPLOYMENT Advertise your services or products and reach your potential customers throughout the Mohawk Valley for as little as $80 a month. Call 749-7070 for more information.

MMRL leader presents keynote address Dr. Charles Antzelevitch, executive director and director of research of the Cardiac Research Institute at Masonic Medical Research Laboratory, was honored with an invitation to present the Morton Mower Lecture at the biannual meeting of the International Dead Sea Symposium held in Jerusalem, Israel recently. IDSS celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, bringing Antzelevitch together cardiologists and investigators from throughout the world to discuss issues related to abnormal rhythms of the heart. Antzelevitch’s lecture, named after Dr. Morton Mower, co-inventor of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator, dealt with the mechanisms and treatments of several inherited cardiac arrhythmia syndromes that can result in sudden cardiac death if not properly diagnosed and treated. Antzelevitch’s team of investigators at CRI has served as pioneers in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying sudden death syndromes.

WRITERS WANTED Looking for writers to cover the Mohawk Valley health scene Call 749.7070 or send cover letter/resume to April 2012 •

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2012

In Good Health  
In Good Health  

The Healthcare - Wellness Newspaper for Utica and the Mohaawk Valley