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in good

Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

June 2012 • Issue 76

Father’s Day Special time to reflect on dad and family

Cherries are the bomb Why you should eat more cherries See Page 11


Are you in a bad job? There is a link between having a terrible joband mental instability. See Page 7

Men’s Health Edition

Synthetic Drugs Story on Page 13

Kids set rules for dating mom Get ‘In Good Health’ at home. See coupon inside

Wheelchair Warrior Story on Page 8

June 2012 •

Guru of gluten-free food See Page 19

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315-749-7070 or email May 31

Cruise-In to benefit BOCES student organizations During the upcoming Cruise-In fundraiser at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, participants can show off their cars, listen to music and eat some barbecued food. The family event takes place from 5-8 p.m. May 31 at 352 Gros Blvd. in Herkimer. All funds raised from the Cruise-

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In will go to benefit BOCES student organizations. The Cruise-In features a car show that is open to all types of cars. Those entering a car in the show will be asked to donate $1. People’s Choice trophies will be awarded to the top three vote getters. Other activities at the event include a cookout, bake sale, silent auction, 50/50 raffle operated by the Sopranos Cruzers and music by Audio King. For more information, visit www. or call 315-8672000, extension 2043.

June 5

Hospice butterfly celebration at Utica College The Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. Development Council will be holding its annual butterfly release at 6 p.m. June 5 at Utica College. Rain date is June 6. The celebration is an opportunity to honor or memorialize loved ones by sponsoring a butterfly in their name.

Macular Degeneration Dr. George Kornfeld uses miniaturized binoculars or telescopes to help those with vision loss keep reading, writing and maintaining independence.

By Elana Lombardi, Freelance Writer Just because you have macular degeneration or other eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy doesn’t mean you must give up driving. “People don’t know that there are doctors who are very experienced in low vision care.” Dr. George Kornfeld, a low vision optometrist. “My new telescopic glasses make it much easier to read signs at a distance.” Says Bonnie, “Definitely worth the $1950 cost. I don’t know why I waited to do this. I should have come sooner. ”Low vision devices are not always expensive. Some reading glasses cost as little as $450 and some magnifiers under $100. Every case is different because people have different levels of vision and different desires. “Our job is to figure out everything and anything possible to keep a person functioning visually.” Says Dr. Kornfeld. Dr. Kornfeld sees patients in his five offices throughout upstate New York.

For more information and a FREE telephone consultation call: 585-271-7320 Toll-free 1-866-446-2050

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

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Their release signifies freedom and happiness. The highlight of the event will be the individual release and flight of hundreds of Monarch butterflies, accompanied by live music and followed by refreshments. Proceeds from the butterfly release in New Hartford will support hospice services and bereavement support to those who reside in Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. in the Strebel Student Center Lounge. Sponsorship is $25 per butterfly or five for $100. Butterflies must be reserved ahead so call for availability. If you are unable to attend the celebration, hospice will release butterflies for you. For more information, visit www. To sponsor butterflies, contact the hospice development office at 315-735-6484 ext. 249.

June 6

Sitrin to host open house for CNAs Sitrin will host an open house for certified nursing assistants to better acquaint them with its long-term model. This event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. June 6 in the community building on Sitrin Lane, located in the center of the long-term care complex. Reservations are preferred. Certified nursing assistants interested in attending can contact Andrea Fox at 315-737-2227. Sitrin, a nonprofit corporation located on Tilden Avenue in New Hartford, provides long-term care, comprehensive medical rehabilitation, independent living, assisted living, residences for adults with developmental disabilities, adult day health care, adaptive sports, child care, and a summer day camp for children.

June 7

Health Night focuses on advances in hernia repair Kevin Harrison, a surgeon who specializes in laparoscopic and general surgery, will speak about the advances in hernia repair at 7 p.m. June 7 in the hospital’s classroom. Health Night is sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital. Advance registration is not required. Refreshments will be served.

Continued on Page 14

Over one in every 10 babies born premature globally


ore than 10 percent of babies worldwide are born prematurely, according to a new report issued by Save the Children, WHO (The World Health Organization), The March of Dimes, and Newborn & Child Health. The report, called “Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth”, informs that over 1 million premature babies die soon after they are born, while several million more suffer from physical, neurological or educational disabilities. The economic burden of these disabilities to family members and society overall is considerable. The report also includes the first ever country ranking of preterm birth rates. “Being born too soon is an unrecognized killer,” said Joy Lawn, coeditor of the report. “Preterm births account for almost half of all newborn deaths worldwide and are now the second leading cause of death in children under 5, after pneumonia, and six times more than child deaths due to AIDS.” There are huge disparities between countries regarding preterm births and associated mortalities. All but two of the 11 countries with preterm birth rates over 15 percent are in sub-Saharan Africa. Sixty percent of all preterm births worldwide occur in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The authors emphasize, however, that preterm birth really is a worldwide problem. Brazil and USA are among the 10 countries with the highest number of preterm births. In the U.S., 12 percent of all babies are born premature, that is more than one in every nine births — twice as many in the majority of European countries (twice as many as in China). “The numbers of preterm births are increasing,” said Lawn. “Of the 65 countries with reliable trend data for preterm birth rates, all but three countries have shown increases in the last 20 years. Worldwide, 50 million births still happen at home and many babies die without birth or death certificates. These first ever country estimates give us a clear picture of how many babies are born too soon and how many die.” Why are preterm birth rates rising in rich countries? Several factors have contributed to a rising rate of preterm

The following nations have the highest number of preterm births: India ...........................................3,519,100 China .........................................1,172,300 Nigeria ..........................................773,600 Pakistan ........................................748,100 Indonesia ......................................675,700 United States ................................517,400 Bangladesh ..................................424,100 Philippines ....................................348,900 Demo. Republic of the Congo ......341,400 Brazil.............................................279,300

The following countries have the highest rates of preterm births: Malawi .................................. 18.1 per 100 Comoros and Congo ............ 16.7 per 100 Zimbabwe ............................. 16.6 per 100 Equatorial Guinea ................. 16.5 per 100 Mozambique ......................... 16.4 per 100 Gabon ................................... 16.3 per 100 Pakistan ................................ 15.8 per 100 Indonesia .............................. 15.5 per 100 Mauritania ............................. 15.4 per 100

The following countries have the lowest rates of preterm births: Belarus ................................................ 4.1 Ecuador ............................................... 5.1 Latvia ................................................... 5.3 Finland, Croatia, and Samoa ............... 5.5 Lithuania and Estonia .......................... 5.7 Antigua/Barbuda .................................. 5.8 Japan and Sweden .............................. 5.9

MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

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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: Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab, Malissa Allen Advertising: Jennifer Wise Layout & Design: Chris Crocker Office Manager: Laura Beckwith

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births in high-income nations, including: More older women are giving birth than before; more women are using fertility drugs to get pregnant, which increases the number of multiple pregnancies; more women of reproductive age have diabetes and more women of reproductive age are obese.

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June 2012 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Little Falls Hospital undergoes major renovations $12 million project will enhance outpatient and ambulatory care


ittle Falls Hospital, Herkimer County’s only hospital, is embarking on a major expansion and renovation project. LFH is upgrading its facility in order to accommodate a double-digit increase in the demand for outpatient services and continue to meet the needs of the region it serves. The $12.3 million project will improve access and the overall patient experience by enhancing the hospital’s surgical suite as well as radiology, cardiology, and rehabilitation services. “In just the last several years, demand for most services at the hospital has grown by double digits,” notes Little Falls Hospital CEO Michael Ogden. “Since 2006, when we became an affiliate of the Bassett Healthcare Network, we’ve invested nearly $8 million in improving the emergency department, establishing a dialysis center operated by Bassett, an adult day center operated by Valley Health Services, and making renovations to the inpatient unit,” he added. “Now, it’s clear we need to make a similar investment in improving the hospital’s outpatient facilities to keep up with the demands, needs and expectations of our patients.” Over the next two years, the following changes will occur: • The hospital’s 50-year-old surgical suite will be transformed into a modern facility and consolidated into one location with recovery and support services. • Physical and occupational therapy services will be consolidated and modernized into a more efficient space that will include private treatment rooms for a better patient experience. • Cardiology services will expand and serve as a diagnostic center for the Bassett Heart Care Institute, offering cardiology diagnostic testing and cardiology consults. • Radiology services will be consolidated into one location in the hospital to improve patient access, with an expanded area for women’s services. • A dedicated emergency entrance will be constructed for ambulances transporting patients to the emergency department, improving time to treatment. • Finally, the project will also replace an obsolete emergency back-up system to meet emergency preparedness standards. Little Falls Hospital handles 14,00015,000 emergency visits every year, performs over 80,000 lab tests, handles over 10,000 physical therapy sessions, and provides more than 1,000 outpatient surgeries. The hospital serves an estimated population of 54,000 people living in Herkimer County and parts of Fulton and Montgomery counties. Page 4


Your Doctor

By Patricia J. Malin

Dr. Stephen Wade Stephen Wade, a surgeon, joined Dr. Nameer Haider’s practice several years ago as an interventional pain management specialist at the Spinal and Skeletal Pain Medicine, a branch of the Minimally Invasive Institute, 220 Genesee St., Utica. He will soon be medical director of the new inpatient rehabilitation unit at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Q.: Why did you decide to practice in the Mohawk Valley? A.: A lot of factors. I was trained here. I came here in 1997 to accept a two-year fellowship in general surgery, then I agreed to stay on and accepted an internship at Faxton-St. Luke’s. In 2009, I got the opportunity to work with Dr. Nameer Haider (chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at FSLH). I had a private practice in skeletal pain management for three years. We’re very proud of our stroke center at Faxton and now we’re building a multi-million dollar rehabilitation wing. When the opportunity came to become director, I knew how good the nurses were and the staff is phenomenal. I knew the administration and they know me and how I work, too. I like the area and the patients and I had already built a practice here, so there was no need to start anew. This is a competitive area. There is a good demand for doctors. I also see patients in my office in Albany one day a week. Q.: What specific ailments or disorders do you treat? A.: The only surgery I do is for pain management. When I was in medical school, I became interested in physical therapy and rehabilitation. From there, I decided to focus on a sub-specialty, and pain management became my passion. It’s a lot more hands-on. I’m helping people right away with an injection to alleviate pain. It is very satisfying work. I also go to a lot of conferences and speak to pharmaceutical companies about pain medications. I educate other doctors about how to manage controlled substances. It’s a hot topic now. There are laws that the doctors and pharmacists have to follow. We need to ensure that patients are taking medications as prescribed, so we take urine screenings and if illegal substances are discovered, the doctors need to take quick action. We’re responsible for our patients and we have to be strict. It’s also a privilege to be a doctor and we have to follow the rules governing pain medication. Q.: What is the most challenging aspect of your job? A.: Patients getting reimbursement or disapproval for our procedures; for example, urine screenings or dorsal stimulators, from the insurance companies. We will fight for our patients and take the time to explain our procedures to the insurance companies. It’s our role to help our patients. Now worker’s compensation insurance pays for dorsal stimulators.

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

Q.: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job? A.: I’m happy with my profession. I feel fortunate to be practicing to relieve pain so people can get back to enjoying life, playing with their grandchildren, enjoying their vacations, sleeping without pain and improving their quality of life. Pain can affect their whole life. I work with patients of all ages. I once had a patient as young as 16, even though I don’t do pediatrics. I see a lot of older patients who have problems with arthritis. When I treat younger

people, it’s usually for dorsal stimulation surgery. Q.: What are the newest developments in your field? A.: Pain therapy treatment began in the late 1970s, but since then we’ve been finetuning it. It’s more high tech now. The newest development is minimally invasive spinal and disc surgeries through small incisions. We treat disorders of the spinal discs with minimal muscle-related injury and with rapid recovery. We also try to use laser procedures. We use dorsal column stimulators and implant pumps, particularly in back surgery. The implants are very small, only a couple of centimeters wide, and are connected to a wire that turns off the nerves connected to the pain track. They are not 100 percent effective, so we do a trial first and if it’s successful, then we do an implant. We’re doing DNA profiling research in our offices in both Utica and Albany, and are one of several doctors in New York state to do this. It’s very exciting. Through DNA profiling, we hope to determine why one patient is more susceptible than another to pain medication. We will then try to classify a patient according to their metabolism. If their metabolism is fast, it means they will be excreting a pain medication more quickly and that will affect their pain control.

Lifelines Age: 40 Birthplace: Albany; raised in New York, New Jersey Residence: Utica Education: Brick High School, Brick, N.J.; Bachelor of Arts, biology, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, N.J., 1993; Post-bachelor’s degree, nuclear medicine technology, Institute of Allied Medical Professions, New York City; rotations at Mount Sinai Hospital and Harvard University, 1995-96; Doctor of Medicine, Our Lady of Fatima, Valenzuela City, Philippines, 1997 Board certifications: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; fellow, American Board of Pain Medicine Affiliations: Physiatric Association of Spine, Sports and Occupational Rehabilitation; American Medical Association; treasurer of New York State Medical Society Family: Wife, Miranda (married May 19). Miranda, a native of Ilion, worked as a registered dietitian at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. She is now enrolled in a physician’s assistant program at Le Moyne College. Hobbies: Water sports, cycling, skydiving, traveling, dining, racquetball, snowboarding

Men’s Health

Prostate cancer Screening, early detection keys to thwarting deadly disease By Barbara Pierce


ne in six men will be diagnosed with cancer of the prostate gland during their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer of men, excluding skin cancer. Recently, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Regional Cancer Center in Utica and the American Cancer Society’s Man to Man support group hosted a forum: “Prostrate Cancer Update: What’s New in 2012?” The forum was well received by those who attended, said Jason Warchal, coordinator of the Man-to-Man support group. Participants learned about and discussed information about prostate cancer, treatment, side effects, and how to cope with prostate cancer and its treatment. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men, second to lung cancer. About one man in 36 will die of prostate cancer. The prostate, a gland found only in men, is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. Its function is to make some of the fluid in semen. The urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostrate. A young man’s prostate is about the size of a walnut. It slowly grows larger with age.

Risk factors

It is unknown exactly what causes prostate cancer, but researchers have found some risk factors. They caution that risk factors don’t tell us everything; many with risk factors never get cancer, others who get cancer have no risk factors. All men are at risk for prostate cancer. The risk increases with age. Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is very rare before the age of 40, but the chances of having it rise rapidly after 50. Two out of three of those diagnosed are over 65. Prostate cancer seems to run in families; there may be an inherited factor. However, inherited genes account for only a few cases overall. Genetic testing is not yet available. African American men are more likely to have prostate cancer than Caucasian men, and their mortality rate is twice as high. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer. These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Doctors are unsure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk. Most studies have not found that being obese increases the risk. Exercise has not been shown to reduce the risk. But some studies have

found that high levels of physical activity, particularly in older men, may lower the risk of advanced prostate cancer. More research in this area is needed. Researchers have not found a link between sexually transmitted infections and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Earlier studies suggested that men who had a vasectomy had an increased risk. Recent studies have not supported this; a vasectomy does not increase the risk.

Early detection?

Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing the amount of prostatespecific antigen in the blood. Another way to find prostate cancer is the digital rectal exam, in which your doctor puts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland. If either of these tests is abnormal, further testing is indicated. Neither test is 100 percent accurate. The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms and is most often found by a PSA test or rectal exam. Advanced prostate cancers can slow your urinary stream or make you need to urinate more often. However, these symptoms are usually caused by noncancerous diseases of the prostate. If prostate cancer is advanced, you might have blood in your urine or erectile dysfunction. Other diseases also

cause these symptoms. A biopsy is the main way prostate cancer is diagnosed.

never need treatment. Instead, their doctors may recommend “watchful waiting.”

Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed, graded, and staged, you have a lot to think about before you and your doctor choose a treatment plan. You may feel that you must make a decision quickly, but it is important to give yourself time to absorb the information you have just learned. You may want to get a second opinion. Prostate cancer is a complex disease, and doctors differ in their opinions regarding the best treatment options. Because prostate cancer often grows very slowly, some men may

“We help men who are newly diagnosed,” said Warchal about the Man-toMan support group. “We are a peer education group; we share stories; we have guest speakers. We help educate men and their families to understand and cope with all aspects of prostate cancer.” The group meets the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary throughout the Mohawk Valley. For information, contact Warchal at 315-433-5645 or by email at Jason.


June 2012 •


IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Men’s Health Father’s Day dance Daughter reflects on ultimate test for family, dad By Malissa Allen

hole. Timing can change the course of life in a split second. As I understand what happened after the fact, I was told that my cousin lost his balance and fell. He and the roof fell on top of my mother. The pitch of the roof hit her straight across her spine, causing severe damage. She spent many hours in surgery repairing the damage she had endured. It truly was a miracle that she was even alive. Not only did she live, but eventually with a lot of therapy, she learned to walk again and lived a good life for the next nine years.


ith June upon us, we know that means summer is almost here. June is loaded with stuff we look forward to, such as vacations, beaches, hiking, camping, just to name a few. This is also the month that we celebrate Father’s Day. This is the day everyone gets together to boost dad up for all the good deeds he has done over the years. Most dads, like mine, just kind of shake off all the praises received on this day, not really wanting to show that they are actually enjoying being pampered and bragged on. This year is very different for me. Two years ago this June, it was my dad that drove one of the two U-Hauls from Louisiana to my new life here in Rome. As a parent myself, I cannot imagine the fear he must have felt knowing he was going to have to pull out of my driveway, leaving me, his youngest child, and my two small children here, 1,571 miles away from him. My dad is a tall, big Southern man. He and my mom married when he was 17 and she was just 15 years old. Together they raised four children and they have five grandchildren. In the South, especially in the back woods where I was raised, many families had hunting camps together and the men would gather up and spend weeks at a time hunting. This is how my parents met one another. They had known one another their entire lives. My father was in construction and my mother was a waitress. My dad built the same house he is living in today by himself, along with a few paid teenagers here and there to do the odd jobs.

‘Mama’s baby’

They, as far as I knew, loved each other their entire lives. I always lived

Painful ending

Billy Joe and Melba Allen close to my parents, and was always a mama’s baby. The idea of being far from her terrified me even as an adult. She was my very best friend. One day, everything as I knew it changed and it changed drastically. My dad and my cousin were working on the old pump house in our front yard. The roof on the small building was a very heavy one that slid open at the top in order to pull the water pipe out of the ground into the air. On this particular day, my cousin was on top of the building, while my dad worked from the inside. My mother was out in the yard when my dad called for her to bring him a coffee can to put over a

What we didn’t see were the internal damages she had. For the last two years of her life, she suffered terribly. She had lost the entire use of her arms and her hands. I watched my father become her caregiver. He had never even paid the bills, but now he had to buy the groceries, pay the bills, clean the house, bathe her, cook and feed her. Everything she needed, we had to do for her. If her nose itched, someone had to scratch it. If she went to the bathroom, someone had to take her and clean her up. Over time, the nerves to her lungs and internal organs had suffered damage as well and they slowly stopped working. After two months in the hospital, things took a turn for the worse. The doctor told us her brain was gone and if they turned off the life support, she would die. We had to make this decision. With my dad right beside me, we chose to turn it off. But as usual, even

in her last breath, she was taking care of us, as we walked down the hall to tell them to turn it off, my mom, my best friend, my dad’s soul mate, beat us to it and died on her own, with her entire family beside her.

Life changer

This day forever changed my life. I never dreamed I would have to spend a day without her voice or without her to drink coffee with. But what I was not prepared for was what this did to my father. What is it about dads that lead us to assume they are mountains? I watched this man I had known my entire life dwindle to someone I didn’t recognize. While I was going through my own grieving process, it didn’t dawn on any of us what he must have felt. He lost more than any of us could imagine. She was ALL he knew. She took care of him, our entire household and family. At first, it was as if he was relieved. Granted he had spent so many years devoted to her every need, I am more than positive he had to feel some type of relief. As a mother of a child with autism, I more than understand how draining it is to have someone depend on you for every single thing. But this was my mother. I was torn apart, devastated, lost the desire to live and be happy. I expected him to be the same. I have watched people over the years when their spouses pass away. Seems like the men crumbled. They NEED companionship. Statistics show that men who lose their wives remarry within two years. The next several months were horrible. My dad started going dancing, he had dates, he went fishing, he did stuff I felt a grieving husband shouldn’t be doing,

Continued on Page 18

Father’s Day is June 17 • 176,000 J 34% une 17 is Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent. Here’s some stats about fathers in the United States:

• 70.1 million

Estimated number of fathers across the nation.

• 24.7 million

Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2011. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for upwards of 332,000 children.

• 17%

Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2011

In spring 2010, the percentage of preschoolers regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours.

• 1.7 million

• $1.9 billion

Number of single fathers in 2011; 15 percent of single parents were men.

Page 6

$31.7 billion in support that was due.

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

Amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2009; they were due $3.5 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $19.5 billion of the

Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2009, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers, 42 percent. Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009 <http://


Percentage of custodial fathers receiving noncash support, such as gifts or coverage of expenses, on behalf of their children. The corresponding proportion for mothers was 58 percent Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009

Men’s Health Is it better to be unemployed than to have a bad job? Work role, mental state are intertwined, experts say reer, he taught psychology at Mohawk Valley Community College. “I love psychology and I love teaching. Art is my third love,” he explained.

By Barbara Pierce


t is better to be unemployed than to have a bad job. Better for your mental health, that is. If you are unemployed, your mental health will be better than if you work at a bad job. A bad job—with high demands on you, the job is complex, you have little control, and you believe your pay is unfair—is bad for your mental health, even worse than unemployment. According to a study reported in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers from the Australian National University analyzed thousands of workers over several years to evaluate the link between their jobs and their mental health. The mental health of those who were unemployed was better than those who were in bad jobs, the authors reported. However, since most of us do not have the option to indulge our mental health by choosing to be unemployed, finding a reasonably good job where we can be reasonably content is the answer. Advice on what careers will make you happiest and what careers will make you prone to depression is abundant online. Ten jobs with the happiest workers from a University of Chicago study is reported on and Business Ten careers with the highest rates of depression can be found on identifies jobs and companies with the highest bliss ratings. George Strong, an artist with a studio in the Mohawk Valley, agrees with the data that found that artists are one of the top-10 happiest careers. Strong creates landscape sculptures, environmental sculptures for gardens and parks, where they are in harmony with the natural environment. “I’ve always believed that what I do should be something I love to do,”

The happiest jobs

he said. “Happiness is not something you strive for,” added Strong, who has a background in psychology. “Happiness is the byproduct of doing what you enjoy.” What Strong enjoys about being an artist is the fact that he answers only to himself. That he does not have to meet the standards or requirements of others. “If people don’t respond to my art,

that’s OK. It’s my expression. It only matters to me,” he said. He cautions that being in business as an artist is a double-edged sword. “Artists don’t make much money. You’re in it for the love of it, not to make money.” Prior to retiring and setting up his studio, Strong was a school psychologist, then a teacher. For most of his ca-

On the list of the top-10 happiest jobs, both teachers and psychologists make the cut. Teachers find their work gratifying, as they are challenged and motivated by their students. Perhaps psychologists report being happier because they know what to do to be happy at work. Others on the list of the top 10 include firefighters, physical therapists, authors, operating engineers, and financial services sales agents. Topping the list is a surprise: Members of the clergy. “The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all,” commented Steve Denning on However, a report from The New York Times states members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. There is no simple explanation as why the two studies find evidence that is at such complete odds with each other. In the end it comes down to the fact that we are all different, and what makes you happy in a job might make me miserable. We each need to find what works best for us, what job, what career is a good match for our personality and our ability. And we cannot expect that our job will be the main source for our happiness. We need a balance; we need things outside of our job that bring us contentment, that help us feel challenged and fulfilled. For good mental health, we all do need a work environment that gives us a good balance between work and our personal life, compatible co-workers, autonomy, pay we feel is fair, and a good relationship with our boss. Strong is right. It is most important to do what you love, what you enjoy. Strong invites readers to visit his website,, and his studio, where he creates environmental sculpture.

Young adults at higher risk of skin cancer


oung adults are increasing their risk for developing skin cancer, according to two studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. One study, of people aged 18-29, found that 50 percent reported at least one sunburn in the past year, despite an increase in protective behaviors such as sunscreen use, seeking shade, and wearing long clothing to the ankles.

Another report found that indoor tanning is common among young adults, with the highest rates of indoor tanning among white women aged 18-21 years (32 percent) and 22-25 years (30 percent). Both reports evaluated data from the National Health Interview Survey’s Cancer Control Supplement. They are published in today’s issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“More public health efforts, including providing shade and sunscreen in recreational settings, are needed to raise awareness of the importance of sun protection and sunburn prevention to reduce the burden of skin cancer,” said Marcus Plescia, director of CDC’s division of cancer prevention and control. “We must accelerate our efforts to educate young adults about the dangers of indoor tanning to prevent melanoma as this generation ages.” June 2012 •

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from indoor tanning equipment is the most important preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Indoor tanning before age 35 increases a person’s risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent. Sunburn indicates too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Men’s Health Wheelchair Warrior Despite tough physical odds, Utican to challenge distance race By Patricia J. Malin


s a youngster, Devon Henry used to live for basketball. When he was in eighth grade, though, his dream of playing ball for his school team was literally crushed underfoot by bad knees and Osgood-Schlatter disease. He underwent two operations that left him tied to a wheelchair. Overcoming a struggle with depression, he joined a group of wheelchair basketball athletes in Syracuse. After graduating from Chittenango High School in 2011, he moved to Utica to attend Mohawk Valley Community College. He was able to continue playing wheelchair basketball with the Sitrin STARS from the Sitrin Rehabilitation Center. Through endless trial and error and obvious frustration, the 5-foot, 180-pound guard eventually recovered his shooting touch from the seat of his wheelchair. Henry, 19, is now aiming at a new sport. With a little encouragement from Hermin Garic and fellow Sitrin Stars, he will participate in his first Boilermaker 15-kilometer race in Utica on July 8. Henry notes, “I’m more excited than worried,” about securing his spot in the 9.6-mile event with thousands of able-bodied runners and about 30 wheelchair racers, both professionals and amateurs. Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in adolescents who participate in sports and activities that involve running, jumping and swift changes of direction, such as soccer, basketball, skating and ballet, according to the Mayo Clinic website. It commonly affects children going through sudden growth spurts during puberty. The condition is marked by pain and inflammation in the knees, thighs and quadriceps. In a majority of cases, the disease goes away with proper treatment and long periods of rest.

Some professional athletes do compete successfully at the highest levels despite the diagnosis.

Against all odds

Henry also said he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after his birth and that he was often taunted by his classmates. Still, that didn’t deter him from playing basketball. Nor did the frequent bouts of pain radiating through his knees and hips, but he ignored it. “I didn’t know it would worsen,” he said. “I didn’t want to tell anybody that my joints hurt. I was more in denial.” Then he fell during Henry a game and had difficulty getting to his feet again. “I had to crawl around.” Finally when he was in eighth grade, he sought help. “My last day of walking was Nov. 8, 2007,” he said. That’s when he went to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for the operation that would change his life. “I had surgery on my birthday,” he said. Henry underwent a triple osteotomy (or bone cutting) on the femur in his right knee and pelvis. Osteotomy is a procedure in which a surgeon removes a wedge of bone near a damaged joint. “They (the surgeons) had to

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

break the knee because it was pulling out of the socket, and then they put it back in again.” Marc DePerno, an occupational therapist at Sitrin and the founder-director of the STARS adaptive sports program, said Henry’s tendons detached from the knee bone. “The condition has resulted in significant weakness and instability of his hips and knees,” he explained. “He has had past surgery on his hips and femurs, as well as tendonlengthening procedures to address the condition. However the symptoms remain. As a result, he requires a wheelchair for daily mobility. He can walk very short distances with a walker.” Henry was in a cast for six weeks, yet the pain persisted due to nerve damage. The forced idleness was agony for a young athlete. “I really hit bottom,” he admitted. He had to be home-schooled for two years. Then when he did return to the classroom, he needed an extra year to graduate. Meanwhile, he learned about Move Along Inc. in Syracuse. The organization was founded in 2005 by Greg Callen, a paraplegic, to provide recreational opportunities for

other paraplegics. Wheelchair basketball did not come easily to Henry, but he persevered. “I had a lot of frustration when I saw that I couldn’t do what the other kids were doing,” he said.

In training

He is showing the same determination as he trains for the Boilermaker. It’s due to the support he received after he signed up for WKTV’s “Go The Distance” program, which trains novices for the Boilermaker. The runners participate in a 12-week training regimen and their progress is charted for the TV audience each week. “I had never heard of the Boilermaker until I came to Utica,” Henry noted. After a few weeks in the program, Henry and the group have worked up to the 4.7-mile mark, “but no hills yet,” he said. It takes him an hour to cover half of the course, which leaves him far shy of his goal. “No, I’m not discouraged,” he said. “This is my own decision (to compete). I’m really excited.” DePerno said he’s proud of Henry for committing to the Go the Distance program for three months. In addition, Henry participates in Sitrin’s wellness program, where he is working with weights to increase his upper body strength. Henry will have to grind out the Boilermaker’s 9.6 miles while using a conventional, bulky wheelchair. If he finishes the Boilermaker in two hours or less, he will earn a racing wheelchair. Thanks to the Monroe Equipment Company of Syracuse, Henry has been given a titanium wheelchair for training that is lighter than his normal chair. His teammate Garic, who will be competing in his eighth Boilermaker, said there is about a 20-pound difference between a regular wheelchair and its lightweight counterpart. It’s almost the equivalent of trading in street shoes for running sneakers. The racing wheelchair has a one-piece, lowslung, aerodynamic frame and features wheels that slant out, making them easier to roll. Garic, 22, finished third in the wheelchair division in last year’s Boilermaker (38 minutes, 49 seconds). He is offering Henry a bit of advice. “Keep going at your own pace and give it your best,” he said. The other Sitrin STARS returning to the Boilermaker are Anthony Grieco (1:51:53) and Cody Arnold (1:15:59), both of whom won racing wheelchairs in 2011; Mike Olsen (1:04:13) and Ed Bradley (1:38:26). Tammy Delano did not race last year, but has competed in two previous Boilermakers. DePerno said Excellus Blue Cross/ Blue Shield donated racing wheelchairs each of the past two years and will also donate this year’s racing chair to Henry.

Rules set for dating mom Children have input regarding relationships with mother By Barbara Pierce


f you’re interested in dating someone who has children at home, there are some important things you need to know. Consider how her kids will feel about you coming into her life—and theirs. offers these suggestions from kids. The suggestions come from Mark Hughes, a life coach in San Diego, Calif., written by Nina Malkin. “Give it time,” says Moira, 17. “Kids really don’t want to see their parents with someone else. The more you force it, the more they’re going to run away.” “Gradually get to know the family and then do things as a group first,” suggests Zach, also 17. It makes sense; after all, it’s never wise to rush any relationship. Wait to meet her kids until you know you are serious. When you both are sure you are heading toward a committed relationship, then meet each other’s children. When you meet her children for the first time, don’t expect a warm welcome from them. They will probably be apprehensive and they might even feel threatened. Just play it cool and try to reinforce the feeling in them that you are not here to replace anyone. Do not feel offended if the child completely ignores you; this will change in time. “Don’t be a goober!” So says Mark, 12, who defines ‘gooberosity’ as acting goofy, laughing too much in a fake way, and basically showing off. “If you’re trying too hard to be liked, you’ll come across as an idiot,” says Moira. “Kids know when you’re being someone you’re not. Relax and be yourself.”

No fooling around

“Don’t kiss and do stuff in front of me.” This quote from Cameron, 15, is resoundingly confirmed by all the kids who wrote these rules. Any physical contact but a quick peck is both inap-

propriate and kind of gross, they say. “When they do more than that it’s weird for me,” says Alex, 10. “They can do that on their own time—I don’t want to see it on my couch,” says Beth, 18. Treat your date more like a friend around the kids, and you will be fine. “Give me my space.” These words from 15-year-old Steve are echoed by many children of single parents. “The kids are trying to get through a tough time, and they don’t need pressure from the new guy or woman,” Steve explains. As Steve sagely points out, children may be wary of liking you too much, because if you and their parent break up, you will vanish from their lives. “Develop the relationship with the kid only after you know the relationship with the parent is going somewhere,” Steve says.

“Don’t be indifferent,” says Mark. Ultimately, Alex would prefer “a person that doesn’t just like my mom and turns to the kids and says ‘yuck.’” Aim for a balance between crowding the kids and pretending they’re not in the picture. Find a way to interact with them. Alex says that a little gaming goes a long way. “Most kids want you to know how to play video games— that’s the key to getting into a kid. You don’t want the date coming over and just watching TV.”

Know your place

“Know that you’re not my dad,” said Moira. Perhaps you’re a parent yourself, but the rules of your household do not apply to others. If you’re privy to discussions about such issues

as curfew or clothing choices, stay silent. If the person you are dating tries to pull you in, be neutral. “You can make suggestions, but don’t tell us what we have to do,” Cameron said. You are there for the mother, not for the kids. And she usually does not want your parenting advice on what she should be doing differently with her kids. She definitely does not want to hear negative comments from you about her kids. If she makes a negative comment about her kid, do not agree with her. “Treat me the way you want to be treated,” said Mark. Don’t tease. Offer encouragement and sincere praise, not false flattery. You’ve got to love how Cameron puts it: “Act like we’re the host, and you are an exchange student.” “When my mom’s boyfriends put me down or get in my face,” says Mark, “I get back at them.” For support from others going down a similar path: “We put stress on support and new friendships for single parents and their children,” said Christine Ames, president, Chapter 796 of Parents Without Partners and organizer, Single Parents of the Capital District. “We are the largest PWP chapter in the northeast region with 170 members. We are the last remaining chapter in the Upstate New York area,” Ames said. “We use Meetup as a way for people to learn about us and see what events we provide to our members,” she continued. There are a variety of events throughout the Mohawk Valley. The group is evenly divided between parents with children at home and older singles, over 55. “We are truly fortunate to have such a wonderful, supportive group of friends,” Ames concluded. To learn more about the group, go to PWP796.

Older men’s hidden health concerns Independence, quality of life of primary concern


o men harbor concerns about aging in good health? Do they confide these concerns to their physicians? Are men’s concerns the same as women’s? The answers to these questions can be found in a large cross-sectional survey of 2,325 Canadian men, aged 55 to 97, led by Cara Tannenbaum, geriatrician, of the Université de Montréal. The results of a parallel survey querying the health concerns of older Canadian women was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2005. Health issues of greatest concern to men included ailments that risk compromising independence and quality of life. Mobility impairments (64 percent), memory loss (64 percent) and medication side effects (63 percent) ranked top among their list of concerns. Vision loss (61 percent), hearing loss (52 percent) and falls (51 percent) followed in second place.

Are concerns being addressed by physicians? Paradoxically, health practitioners appear not to be providing older men with adequate health information on the issues of greatest concern to them. With the exception of addressing medication side effects, men reported that only a minority of them had received counseling on strategies to prevent, screen, and treat health-related conditions that could threaten their physical and mental health. For example, respondents reported that risk factors and screening for mobility impairment and memory loss were only discussed with 13 percent and 9 percent of them respectively. The survey reveals important information gaps for depression (only 9.5 percent declared that their health care provider had discussed this with them), end-of-life care (12 percent), osteoporosis (13.5 percent), Alzheimer’s disease (16 percent), anxiety (17 percent) and

incontinence (18 percent). Additionally, because of stigma surrounding incontinence, patients are reluctant to bring up the issue on their own. The good news is that health problems such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and prostate disease appear to be well managed, since more than 80 percent of respondents said that they had been provided with information, screening or treatment for these conditions. The geriatrician in charge of the investigation was struck by the disparity between what older men want and what they seem to be receiving from health care professionals. “It is time for the health care system to invest in strategies for older adults to preserve their autonomy, mental health and well-being. As older men and women’s health priorities become better understood, a shift in the way health care is delivered and June 2012 •

reimbursed will be required. More time is needed during the patient’s health care encounter to provide individualized counseling about exercise, nutrition, bladder, and brain health in old age. Incontinence post-prostatectomy is becoming more frequent and has a devastating impact on a man’s self-esteem and sexual function. Depression and anxiety, resulting from sensory impairments or the loss of loved ones, and the resultant social isolation that can ensue, are also important issues for men that need to be addressed in order to promote continued independence and quality of life,” stated Tannenbaum. “Increased awareness of these issues through public health campaigns or accredited information on a website for seniors will have to be developed to inform the population of age-related health challenges and how they can be appropriately managed.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9

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


By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Three cheers for cherries


or decades, my late grandmother asserted that eating cherries soothed her aching joints and gave her a better night’s sleep. For nearly as long, I dismissed her claims as old wives’ tales. How could a fruit this gorgeous, this sumptuous, this sweet be anything but a nutritional lightweight? Well, it looks like ol’ granny knew what she was talking about. According to recent research, cherries possess some pretty remarkable health benefits or, as I like to call them, “cheers.” Cheer #1: Cherries contain a good amount of melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain that has been credited with fighting insomnia and reducing jet lag. A new study in the “European Journal of Nutrition” found that adults who had two daily glasses of tart cherry juice slept about 40 minutes longer on average. Whether drinking juice or eating them fresh (1 cup = 2 milligrams of melatonin), researchers advise consumption 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime for better zzzs. Cheer #2: Cherries act as a natural painkiller. Thanks to anti-inflammatory

and a moderate source of fiber, cherries are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Worried about the sugar content? Cherries’ glycemic index is lower than many fruits: bananas, grapes, strawberries, and oranges, to name a few. They say, “Life is a just a bowl of cherries.” I say, “Cherries are really a bowl of life!”

Helpful tips

compounds that nip the nasty enzymes responsible for inflammation in the bud, cherries’ effect on pain has been likened to that of aspirin or ibuprofen.What’s more, research has suggested that drinking cherry juice helps muscles recover better after a strenuous workout. Suffer from arthritis or gout? Cherries, which help to lower uric acid levels, may ease your symptoms. Cheer#3: Cherries are a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins. These powerful compounds (the same found in red wine) help keep the immune system strong and protect against cancer, heart disease, and other diseases associated with aging. Low in calories (about 90 per cup)

Choose plump, firm, brightly colored cherries. Look for cherries with stems intact, which increases shelf life. Loosely pack unwashed cherries in plastic bags or pour them into a shallow pan (single layer) and cover with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator for up to a week. Wash cherries well before consumption; buy organic when possible.

Grilled Chicken with Savory Cherry Sauce

1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed) 1 garlic clove, minced Salt and pepper, to taste 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese (optional) Marinade chicken breasts for 30 minutes to an hour. While chicken is marinating, make sauce. Chop fresh cherries in half. If using frozen cherries, follow thawing instructions, then chop in half. In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Heat outdoor grill to mediumhigh heat. Brush the grate of the grill with canola oil just before you grill the chicken. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Arrange the chicken on a platter, top with savory cherry sauce, and sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola cheese.

Serves 4

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

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 cup Spiedies marinade (or any vinaigrette marinade) 2 cups pitted fresh cherries (or frozen, unsweetened dark sweet cherries) 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 3/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11

The Social Ask Security Office Column provided by the local Social Security Office By Jim Miller

Make the most of your doctor’s visit Dear Savvy Senior, Can you write a column educating patients on how to prepare for doctors appointments? I manage a number of small health clinics, and have found that patients — especially seniors — who come prepared when they visit our doctors are much more satisfied with the care they receive. Thanks for your help. Patient Educator Dear Educator, You’re right. Studies have shown that patients who help their doctors by providing important health information and preparing themselves for appointments tend to get better care than patients who don’t. Here are some simple things we can all do to help maximize our next visit to the doctor. Before your appointment Gathering your health information and getting organized before your appointment are the key steps to ensuring a productive meeting with your doctor. This is especially important if you’re seeing multiple doctors or are meeting with a new physician for the first time. Specifically, you need to: • Get your test results Make sure the doctor you’re seeing has copies of your latest X-ray, MRI or any other test or lab results, including reports from other doctors that you’ve seen. In most cases, you’ll need to do the leg work yourself which may only require a phone call to your previous doctor asking them to send it, or you may need to go pick it up and take it yourself. • List your medications Make a list of all the medications you’re taking (prescription drugs, overthe-counter medications, vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements) along with the dosages and take it with you to your appointment. Or, just gather up all you pill bottles and put them in a bag and bring them with you. • Gather your health history Your doctor also needs to know about any previous hospitalizations, as well as any current or past medical problems, even if they are not the Page 12

reason you are going to the doctor this time. Genetics matter too, so having your family’s health history can be helpful. The U.S. Surgeon General offers a free Web-based tool called “My Family Health Portrait” (see that can help you put one together. • Prepare a list of questions Make a written list of the top three or four issues you want to discuss with your doctor. Since most appointments last between 10 and 15 minutes, this can help you stay on track and ensure you address your most pressing concerns first. If you’re in for a diagnostic visit, you should prepare a detailed description of your symptoms.

During your appointment The best advice when you meet with your doctor is to speak up. Don’t wait to be asked. Be direct, honest and as specific as possible when recounting your symptoms or expressing your concerns. Many patients are reluctant or embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, which makes the doctor’s job a lot harder to do. It’s also a good idea to bring along a family member or friend to your appointment. They can help you ask questions, listen to what the doctor is telling you and give you support. Also consider taking some notes or ask the doctor if you can record the session for later review. If you don’t understand what the doctor is telling you, ask him or her to explain it in simple terms so you can understand. And if you run out of time and don’t get your questions answered, ask if you can follow up by phone or email, make another appointment, or seek help from the doctor’s nurse.

Savvy tip The National Institute on Aging offers a booklet called “Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People” that provides great information including a variety of questions to ask that can help you be a more informed patient. To get a free copy mailed to you, call 800-2222225 or visit

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 • June 2012

This Father’s Day give dad some extra help Give him some ‘Extra Help’ worth up to $4,000


ou can probably think of a number of times when you asked your dad for a little extra help. Now, with Father’s Day right around the corner, is the perfect time to offer a little extra help for Dad. People across the nation are helping their dads save nearly $4,000 a year on the cost of Medicare prescription drugs. You can help your dad, too — and it won’t cost you a dime. The high cost of prescription medication can be a burden on fathers (or anyone) who have limited income and resources. But there is “Extra Help” — available through Social Security — that could pay part of his monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. That Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 a year. To figure out whether your father is eligible, Social Security needs to know his income and the value of his savings, investments, and real estate (other than the home he lives in). To qualify for the Extra Help, he must be enrolled in Medicare and have: • Income limited to $16,755 for an individual or $22,695 for a married couple living together. Even if his annual

Q&A Q: I’m getting married later this month and plan to change my name. What documents do I need to apply for a new Social Security card with my new name? A: To change your name for any reason in Social Security’s records, and on your Social Security card, you’ll need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship (if you have not previously established it with us) or immigration status. You’ll need to show us evidence of your legal name change by showing us documentation of your old and new names. Such documents could include a court order for a name change, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or certificate of naturalization. Finally, you’ll need to show us proof of identity. All documents submitted must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Visit our website about your Social Security card and number at where you can get more information and fill out your application. Or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Q: Recently, I was told I shouldn’t be carrying my Social Security card around. Is that true?

income is higher, he still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. Some examples where income may be higher include if he or his spouse: —Support other family members who live with them; —Have earnings from work; or —Live in Alaska or Hawaii. • Resources limited to $13,070 for an individual or $26,120 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. We do not count his house and a car (if he has one) as resources. Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete for your dad. You can find it at To apply by phone or have an application mailed to you, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office. To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit www.medicare. gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).

A: We encourage you to keep your Social Security card at home in a safe place. Do not carry it with you unless you are taking it to a job interview or to someone who requires it. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, and the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to safeguard your card and number. To learn more, visit our Social Security number and card page at http://www.socialsecurity. gov/ssnumber. Q: I just started my first job and my paycheck is less than I expected. Why am I paying for retirement benefits when I have a lifetime to live before retirement? A: Besides being required by law, you are securing your own financial future through the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The taxes you pay now translate to a lifetime of protection, whether you retire or become disabled. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well. Aside from all the benefits in your own future, your Social Security and Medicare payments also help today’s retirees. To learn more, visit our website at www.

Synthetic Drugs New drugs quickly growing in popularity putting drug enforcement and advocacy groups on notice By Kristen Raab


he dangers of using drugs such as marijuana and amphetamines are fairly well known. However, the risks of using bath salts and synthetic marijuana are less obvious because these drugs are somewhat new. The scary trend of teens and young adults engaging in the use of these readily available products is worth paying attention to because of the health effects. What exactly are bath salts? Dr. Adam M. Seigers describes them as a powder that can be snorted, ingested, or injected. There are many other names for these drugs, including “blizzard, blue silk, charge plus, ivory snow, ivory wave, ocean burst, pure ivory, purple wave, snow leopard, stardust, vanilla sky, white dove, white night and white lightning.” Synthetic marijuana, also called K2 and spice, is made by spraying artificial chemicals on herbs or some other plant materials. Synthetic cannabinoids are chemically engineered substances similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Locally, synthetic drug busts and the behavior of users has become a common news topic. A fact sheet available at discusses how

prevalent these drugs are today. There has been a steady increase in calls to poison control centers because of these drugs. In 2010, there were 2,906 calls regarding exposure to synthetic marijuana, but this number jumped to 6,259 in 2011. By January, there had already been 639 calls made. The numbers for bath salts are even more alarming. In 2010, poison control received 304 calls. The call volume jumped to 6,138 in 2011. Seigers, a primary care physician at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Adirondack Community Physicians Boonville medical office, explains that bath salts carry the risk of overdose, hallucinations and death. Clearly all drugs bring some risk, but these drugs are often made in an amateur laboratory so “their chemical content is never absolutely known,” he said.

Danger zone

As stated, the result of using these drugs could be death. Seigers says other effects include rapid heartbeat, agitation, extreme paranoia, and chest pain. adds the following symptoms: suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and violent confusion. “Intense cravings and emotional lability, similar to cocaine, have been observed resulting in cycles of crashing, cravings and highs,” Seigers said.

KIDS Corner In child sexual abuse, strangers aren’t the greatest danger


arents generally teach their children about “stranger danger” from an early age, telling them not to talk to, walk with or take gifts or candy from strangers. But statistics show danger often lurks closer to home. According to numbers provided by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, the vast majority of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know – most often a family member, an adult the family trusts or, in some instances, another child. Parents can help protect their children from sexual abuse by talking frankly to them about abuse, starting

at a young age with age-appropriate information. “It’s essential that parents have a continuing conversation with their children about sexual abuse,” said Kay Knaff, clinical services program manager for Youth Villages, a private nonprofit organization that helps children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues, as well as children who have been abused or neglected. “This may seem hard to do, but it’s the best way to protect your child. It’s best to start talking to your children about child abuse as early as age 3 or 4.” Parents should talk to their children about inappropriate touching and other forms of child abuse, and make

Because these drugs are starting to gain popularity the last few years, “The long term use of bath salts has not been well studied,” he said. In New York state, as well as other locations, lawmakers fought to get these drugs out of stores. Their accessibility was one reason that so many teenagers might be tempted to try them. While bans have been put into place, there is still an underground market for these substances. One local college student said, “I think kids use them first of all because they are acceptable. Secondly, (they use them because of) availability.” He went on to say that because they were once legal, youth saw them as acceptable. “When people see something in front of them, it’s almost like someone saying ‘try me’,” he explained.

Why teens do it says that teens use these drugs for the following reasons: • For energy and as an alternative to illegal stimulants • Perceived to be legal • Not picked up on standard drug tests • Availability The tip sheet for parents available at offers information on

sure their children know what behavior is right and what is wrong. In addition, Knaff said parents should teach children to say “no” to their abuser if they can, try to get away from the abuser and call for help so other people become aware of the situation. “Child abuse data shows that the majority of children keep abuse a secret,” Knaff said. “That means it is even more important that parents not only talk to their children about what child abuse is and emphasize that it is never the child’s fault. Abuse is always wrong, and children should report it to a trusted adult. Parents need to keep the lines of communication open and seek out their children whenever they feel like something is going on with their child or their child is behaving differently in some way from usual.” To encourage children to report any abuse, parents should let the child know about two or three people designated as safe adults the child can talk to if he or she suffers abuse or feels unsafe. “Children need to know who they can talk to,” Knaff said. “They also need to be encouraged to tell what happened to them to more than one person and keep telling until someone believes them and does something about it.” Knaff also recommends parents specifically teach their children to report any touching that feels uncomfortable or wrong, even if it is by a family member, teacher, coach, pastor or church official, youth group leader or another child. June 2012 •

recognizing packaging and also how to tell if someone is using these materials. With synthetic marijuana, parents should look for smoking materials. This drug has a strong clove smell and users may vomit, sweat profusely, seem agitated, and have spastic body movements. Seizures are possible when using synthetic marijuana. Finally, the website explains that drug and alcohol use often produces the following changes: • Declining schoolwork and grades • Abrupt changes in friends or behavior • Sleeping habits and abnormal health issues • Deteriorating relationships with family • Less openness and honesty

How to talk to your child about sexual abuse: • Tell your child about good touch — a hug or a pat on the back — and bad touch, when someone is touching your private areas. • Tell your child nobody — no family member, teacher, other child or adult — is allowed to touch him or her in the areas covered by a bathing suit because these are private areas. Exceptions are a parent bathing a young child or helping the child with using the bathroom, as well as a doctor or nurse when examining the child at a doctor’s office or healthcare facility. • Tell your child he or she has permission to tell any adult who touches them in their private areas, “No!” • Tell your child that if anyone ever touches him or her in any way in their private areas, he or she should tell mom, dad and or grandma/grandpa or another trusted person about it immediately. Other forms of child sexual abuse are exposure to sexual acts or sexually explicit materials not intended for minors, as well as indecent exposure. Children should be encouraged to talk to the designated safe adults any time they feel unsafe. Get help immediately If you suspect your child has been abused, act immediately. Either call your local police department, your local rape crisis center, child protective services or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800422-4453).

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

CALENDAR of To change your life, Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

HEALTH EVENTS change your story

Continued from Page 2

Rome Memorial Hospital’s classroom is located on the second floor of the hospital. Guests are asked to enter the North James Street entrance of the hospital. For more information, call 3387143.

June 16

Junior B Sharp benefit concert on agenda The Junior B Sharp Musical Club will present its 10th annual benefit concert at 3 p.m. June 16 at the Stone Presbyterian Church, 8 South Park Row, Clinton. Performing will be high school members of the club from Whitesboro, Deerfield, Utica, New Hartford, Clinton and Oneida. The Junior B Sharp Musical Club was established in 1916 to augment the musical offerings of the schools and private teachers by giving outstanding area music students opportunities for solo and ensemble performance. This year the membership has chosen to support the Parkinson’s unit of The Presbyterian Home. A $10 donation ($25 family) will be taken at the door. For more information, contact senior adviser Lauralyn Kolb at 853-8738.

June 18

FSLH Foundation’s golf open set to tee off The Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation will hold its 30th annual golf open on June 18 at Yahnundasis Golf Club, 8639 Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the renovation of the Regional Cancer Center’s Outpatient Infusion Treatment Unit at FSLH. The $250 per person donation includes 18 holes of golf, continental breakfast, lunch, dinner for the golfer and a guest, and a golfer gift. Registration and continental break-

fast will be at 6:30 a.m. with a shotgun tee time of 7:15 a.m. A lunch buffet will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. with a second shotgun tee time of 12:45 p.m. Following play, a dinner and awards banquet will be held from 6:309 p.m. For more information, contact Betsey Weaver in the foundation office at 315-624-5608 or bweaver@mvnhealth. com.

June 25

Rome Hospital Foundation to hold golf classic The 18th annual Rome Hospital Foundation Golf Classic will be held June 25 at Teugega Country Club. The presenting sponsor of this year’s event is NBT Bank, a longstanding partner of the Rome Hospital Foundation and the golf classic. All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Rome Hospital Foundation. For more information, contact the Rome Hospital Foundation at 315-3387181 or at

July 19-20

Little Falls Hospital hosting M.A.S.H. camp Little Falls Hospital will again be hosting students for the Medical Academy of Science and Health Camp. The goal of M.A.S.H. Camp is to promote the health professions to young people before they begin selecting high school course work and setting goals for their future careers. M.A.S.H. Camp is all about learning what health professionals do each day by participating in activities that highlight their job duties. Students who participate in camp enjoy several days of fun and interaction at their local hospital. M.A.S.H. Camp at Little Falls Hospital will be held July 19-20 at Little Falls Hospital, 140 Burwell St., Little Falls. For more information, visit www. or contact Linda Belden, education coordinator, at 823-5221.

Overcome your bladder control problems


our doctor may ask you to drink less coffee or perform exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to help you control your bladder control problems. The inability to hold in urine is a common problem among older adults. Many people have trouble controlling their bladder when they cough or sneeze or when they have sudden, uncontrollable urges to urinate. “Bladder control issues don’t usually cause major health problems, but the issue can embarrass individuals and cause them to avoid certain social Page 14

functions and physical activities,” said Jamie Kerr, a physician who serves as vice president and chief medical officer for utilization management, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Kerr advises anyone who answers “yes” to any of the following questions to talk to their doctor: • Do you have sudden urges to urinate that are difficult to control? • Do you ever have urinary leakage when laughing, coughing or lifting heavy objects? • Do you get up twice or more during the night to go to the bathroom?

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


e all have stories that play in our heads. Not fiction or fantasies, but stories of who we are, of what we are. Our versions of our life. How we explain ourselves. “I don’t do technology,” I quickly replied to a friend who suggested that I should get an IPod. “I don’t do technology” is the story I tell myself and others to explain why I don’t learn how to text, why I will not take pictures with my cell phone, why I don’t have a website. “My brain refuses to learn anymore than doing emails and attachments,” I say with an apologetic laugh. One of my stories is that I am not capable of doing complicated technological things. “I’m not that bright, but this is what I think,” I have often heard my friend Clarence say. After making that introduction to what he wants to say, he comes out with the most eloquent and beautifully articulated gems of wisdom. He is extremely bright. His story is that he’s not very bright. Our stories are crucial to us. We make sense of Pierce ourselves and our lives by the stories we tell ourselves and others about ourselves. Most of these stories have been with us a very long time. They often come from what our parents said to us or about us. Jeanne, a 53-year-old client, once said to me, “I can’t ever do anything right.” I asked why she said that. Her mother had told her she wasn’t able to do anything right. So, for all of her life, she believed the story that she couldn’t do anything right. We are what we believe ourselves to be. We are our stories. World-renowned physician Deepak Chopra focuses on mind-body connections. In his new book “Spiritual Solutions,” and on YouTube’s: “To Change your Life, Change Your Story,” he discusses the important of our stories. “All stories are fiction,” he says. “Your stories are fiction.” “When we create stories, we create beliefs,” he explains. “When we create beliefs, we live out these beliefs. And these beliefs limit our ability.” My belief that I can’t do technology certainly limits me. Clarence’s belief

that he’s not bright limits him. Jeanne’s belief that she can’t do anything right limits her.

Separating fact from fiction

Who decided that your stories are true? Who decides if they are still true? How did your stories develop? What if you reconsidered your stories and how they originated? I asked Jeanne to remember when she first heard her mother tell her that she couldn’t do anything right. She described the scene; it was still vivid in her mind. She was only 4 or 5 years old, trying to do the dishes. When she realized that no 4- or 5-year-old child is capable of doing the dishes right, she recognized that her mother was wrong. The story she had believed all her life was pure fiction. She had to revise the story that was so limiting. Clarence is an 88-yearold African American man. He grew up in the days when an African American man was not supposed to be bright. Though he has a college education and the ability to express himself articulately, he learned to protect himself by being self-effacing, by explaining that he isn’t very bright. So if you choose to discard what he says as worthless, he’s prepared for that to happen. His story protected him when he needed to be protected. His story is pure fiction. Chopra suggests that the next time you are suffering, you ask yourself: “What is the story that I have told myself?” “What is the story that I have told myself that is causing my suffering?” Then, ask yourself: “This belief that I hold to be true, is it really true?” “How did it originate?” “What are other versions of this story?” “What is this story doing to me?” “What would I be without it?” To change your life, change your story. • Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years’ experience helping people. If you have a concern or question that you would like Pierce to address, send your concerns to her at

UCP Tradewinds Tigers win gold


he Upstate Cerebral Palsy Special Olympics Basketball Team, the Tradewinds Tigers, recently won the gold medal at the 2012 Special Olympics games held in Rochester. The team is comprised of 17 student athletes from both the Utica and Rome Tradewinds Education Centers. The Tradewinds Education Center of Upstate Cerebral Palsy is a comprehensive educational and residential facility

with locations in both Rome and Utica. The center is committed to providing excellence in education to children between the ages of 5-21 who have been diagnosed with severe behavioral and developmental disabilities. The program is composed of students who attend school and return home at the end of the school day and students who attend the school and also reside in housing provided by the program.

A Conversation With ...

Raymond Garrett and Michael Sweeney Presbyterian Homes & Services By Patricia J. Malin


t’s difficult to say precisely what Raymond Garrett’s legacy should be as he closes out his 35-year career as executive director at Presbyterian Home & Services in New Hartford. For one thing, Garrett never shied away from embracing new ideas or implementing new methods and oversaw a vast expansion of services. In addition to the Presbyterian Home for Central New York, a longterm care facility, there is the Presbyterian Residential Community, the Presbyterian Homes Foundation, The Meadows at Middle Settlement (assisted living), plus the icing on the cake, Preswick Glen, which features upscale residences and independent living. With Garrett’s foresight, the Presbyterian Home created special units for Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s patients, with such care serving as a model for other institutions and gaining widespread prominence. Garrett stepped down from his post on May 1. He has turned over the reins to Michael Sweeney, who has 35 years of experience in the healthcare field, but is still awed by his former boss’s accomplishments. Sweeney is coming back to his roots since he was assistant administrator at Presbyterian Home under Garrett previously. Garrett and Sweeney came together recently at Presbyterian Home headquarters on Route 12B to discuss their mutual past history and the future. Q.: Mr. Garrett, when did you start your career in healthcare? A.: I started at the Masonic Home in 1970 following my graduation from Utica College. I was director of human resources for seven years. At that time, I began working on my certification in administration at Ithaca College. Q.: When did you come to the Presbyterian Home? What was it like at the time? A.: In 1977, as assistant administrator. It was interesting. I faced two big challenges at the start. We were about to open a new addition, going to 120 beds from 80. That was a huge leap because we needed a larger staff for the residential population. But the state objected to our expansion. It took us

two months to overcome their objections and we had to borrow money for the project. It was my first crisis. Later, we went up to 242 beds (the current size of the long-term care facility.) Q.: Did you have a particular goal Sweeney in mind for the Presbyterian Home? A.: My goals were to grow and meet the needs of the community. I think I always tried to be innovative in our way of doing things. In the 1980s, we identified a need to treat people with psychiatric problems. We put aside three rooms for mental health treatment. We needed the cooperation of the state Department of Mental Health and the state health department. They told us we needed screens on the windows, but it was difficult and we finally gave up. In 1986, we began discussing plans for a special needs unit to serve those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It opened in 1988 as part of the adult day health care program, which was conducive to use for mental health because it is a secure unit. Nobody else was specializing in Alzheimer’s. In 2001, we opened a residence for those with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. In the 1990s, we saw a need for a facility that was a level above the long-term care facility (the original Presbyterian Home). We set up eight apartments for independent living that were open to seniors regardless of income and eligible for federal subsidy (through Housing and Urban Development). That’s how The Meadows came into being. Later on, we started Preswick Glen. Q.: Preswick Glen is also an independent living facility. It has 40 cottages and 84 apartments. (It’s located on Route 12B, about a mile from the

Presbyterian Home campus on Middle Settlement Road.) Why was it so controversial? Was it because the Presbyterian Home, a religious and nonprofit institution, operates PreGarrett swick Glen for profit? A.: This type of retirement community was a well-known concept in Pennsylvania and we were one of the first to do it here. We started talking about it 10 years ago, but it has been open only five years. Whereas the Meadows was subsidized, Preswick Glen is for people with higher incomes (aged 60 and up). We required residents to put down a 65 percent deposit and we had to sell them on this new concept. We’re up to 75 percent occupancy rate now, but for a few years the recession hurt us. Originally, we were supposed to be exempt from property taxes, then the town of New Hartford changed its mind. We reached an agreement with the town to provide set payments in lieu of taxes. It’s in a good location, convenient to a lot of services (at Presbyterian Home), shopping malls and doctor’s offices. All the residents at Preswick Glen can avail themselves of services at Presbyterian Home, including long-term and short-term care. We are studying whether to have a group home at Preswick Glen for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. It would be more independent from the Presbyterian Home. It’s not unusual for one spouse to need greater support services while one spouse stays in their home. We need to raise the wellness model and not allow specialized (Alzheimer’s or dementia) care to drag down the caregiver, the other spouse. Nursing homes will still be needed, but

our biggest challenge is space. Q.: Mr. Garrett, what will you remember most about your 35 years? A.: I’m proud of our 500 employees and 642 residents, including the Presbyterian Residential Community, assisted living, the Meadows and Preswick Glen. On a daily basis, we cater to 100 people. I’m proud that we have a more active level of care now. I think we have done well to shift our services from a medical model to home-care model. I’m also proud of our telemedicine program that allows our patients access to specialized care out of the area, for example, the Joslin Center for Diabetes in Syracuse. We found that local family practice doctors embrace telemedicine and these doctors will also participate in conference calls with specialists. The local doctors can also join our staff. Q.: Mr. Sweeney, where are you from and what is your background? A.: Cortland is my hometown. I’ve spent my whole life in health care. It’s been very rewarding. I started as an orderly when I was 16 years old and I was once Ray’s assistant administrator. For the last 10 years, I was the executive director of Westminster Woods at Julington Creek in Jacksonville, Fal. (He is a past recipient of the National Administrator of the Year award from the American College of Health Care Administrators.) Q.: What are your plans now for Presbyterian Home? A.: Right now, I’m still learning and meeting the staff. Our employee loyalty is already well established. The turnover rate is much lower than it used to be. I’ll just continue the same services. I guarantee there will be more change based on community need, but our mission will always remain the same, to serve the elderly. We are aware of the demographics that show that young people are leaving the area and that Oneida County has one of the largest populations of seniors in the state. We are the first facility in Oneida County to use telemedicine; that’s very impressive. I think telemedicine will expand our staff and services.

Herkimer BOCES nursing job fair ‘excellent opportunity’ for students


erkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES full-time nursing student Ernest Sierant was happy to hear interest in the voices of potential employers at a recent job fair for adult nursing students. After spending about 18 years as a sales manager, Sierant lost his job, and he has been unemployed for the past two years. Sierant, however, is expecting to graduate this year from the Herkimer BOCES Adult Education licensed practical nurse program. The program hosted a job fair recently at the Herkimer BOCES LPN

facility in Ilion. Sierant, of Floyd, felt encouraged by the interest local employers showed, he said. “I’m really looking forward to working,” he said. The annual LPN job fair has been taking place each May for more than 10 years. About 15 local businesses and colleges participated such as Mohawk Valley Community College, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Herkimer Area Resource Center, nursing homes and others. “It’s an excellent opportunity for our students because they get to see what’s available throughout the entire

area,” said Sara Nicolette, BOCES adult vocational nursing programs coordinator. The Herkimer BOCES Adult Education LPN program is anticipating 63 graduates this year—including from the full-time day, part-time day and part-time evening classes. Jennifer Trevisani and Linda Thurston were two of the part-time evening students at the job fair. Both of them have children and jobs, so the availability of the part-time evening classes made a huge difference for them, Trevisani said. “It’s hard and stressful, but at least June 2012 •

it gives you the opportunity to go back to school,” she said. Thurston said the job fair helped them with the next step. “The job fair gave us contact with a variety of different employers that we didn’t know were out there,” Thurston said. Tammy Burdick, director of professional development at Sitrin, was one of the employers in attendance. “It’s a huge benefit to have the job fair,” Burdick said. “It helps the students see the opportunities they have for employment.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News St. E’s names director of surgical services Timothy W. Duffey has been appointed director of surgical services at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Duffey will be responsible for the general operating rooms, ambulatory surgery, pre-admission testing and post anesthesia care unit. Duffey received his Bachelor of Science degree in health services administration Duffey from SUNYIT. Prior to joining St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Duffey was affiliated with Albany Medical Center in various positions. He has 30 years of hospital administration experience, most recently as director of South Clinical Campus Surgery Center. His memberships and affiliations include the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Duffey resides in Utica and is the father of two adult daughters and has a granddaughter.

St. E’s CON announces top graduates The St. Elizabeth College of Nursing in Utica has announced that two students have tied for the highest GPA in the weekday program. The valedictorians are: • Heather Marusic of Herkimer—She is the daughter of Paul and Patricia Marusic (deceased). She is a graduate of Herkimer High School and of Madison, Herkimer and Oneida County BOCES to practice as a licensed practical nurse. Marusic Marusic plans to pursue a career in nursing following graduation. • Christopher Money of Utica—Originally from Phoenix, Ariz., he is married to Gina Money and is the son of David C. and Victoria H. Money. He is a graduate of The Orme School in Phoenix, Ariz., with a Bachelor’s of Arts Money Page 16

degree from the University of Oregon and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona. He is the father of two children, Donald, 4; and Charlotte, 2. He plans to pursue a career in nursing following graduation. • Weekend valedictorian—Leanna Sweet of Rome, originally from Ukiah, Calif., is the daughter of Deborah SweetRajchel. She is a graduate of Rome Free Academy Sweet and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University. She plans to pursue a career in nursing following graduation. • Weekday salutatorian—Marie Burr of Woodgate is married to Ron Burr. She is the daughter of Frank Austin (deceased) and Dorothy Richter. She Burr is a graduate of Remsen Central School. She is the mother of two children, Heather, 21; and Justin, 17. She plans to work for St. Elizabeth Medical Center in the special care unit following graduation. • Weekday salutatorian—Jennifer Curtis of Utica is originally from Chattanooga, Tenn. She is the daughter of Albert E. Curtis III and Cynthia A. Curtis (deceased). She Curtis is a graduate of Grace Academy in Chattanooga. She plans to work for St. Elizabeth Medical Center in the intensive care unit following graduation. • Weekend Salutatorian – Charles Oliver of Waterville is married to Michelle Oliver Oliver. He is the son of Val

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

FSLH’s new imaging center opens Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica held an open house and ribbon cutting for its new imaging center recently. The imaging center, located in the Utica Business Park in the MorganStanley/SmithBarney Building at 106 Business Park Drive, Utica, offers women’s services including digital mammography, bone densitometry, stereotactic and ultrasound breast biopsy and ultrasound. The new location employs 18 staff members and includes 6,194 square feet of space. The imaging center also features a breast patient navigator program. Specially trained nurses address the physical and psychological needs of patients and their families through education and support. Oliver and Vicki Johnson and a graduate of Brookfield Central School. He is the father of two children, Ryan, 11; and Haley, 8. He plans to work for Bassett Medical Center following graduation.

Sister joins St. Joseph Nursing Home staff Sister Robert Mullen, Order of Carmelites, recently joined the staff of St. Joseph Nursing Home in Utica as assistant administrator. Active in healthcare for the past 33 years, Mullen previously served as assistant administrator at the Teresian House in Albany. She was also director of nursing at Carmel Manor in Kentucky. Mullen received her RN and BSN degrees at Thomas More College in Kentucky. “My greatest reward in healthcare is being able to give the highest quality of care to our residents,” she said.

CCC nursing student earns memorial scholarship A 2003 graduate of Cayuga Community College’s nursing program, Katie M. Socci was thought by many to be a wonderful nurse, friend and mother. Her untimely death at age 29 last June inspired close friends and family to develop the Katie M. Socci Memorial

Scholarship in her memory. Attendees of the 2012 Nursing Moving Up Ceremony, held recently in the student lounge, shed many tears as professors, students, and Socci’s parents spoke fondly of her. “We’ve been told by so many staff, patients, and co-workers that what made Katie so loved was the way she treated her parents,” said John Socci, father of Katie. “She wasn’t the greatest student, but I believe that she was probably the greatest type of nurse.” The scholarship’s inaugural recipient, Sharon R. MacKay, demonstrated Katie’s compassion for patients and a wide-ranging interest in the multiple settings in which nurses practice their art. “Nursing is a noun and nursing is a verb, and Katie was both,” said professor Linda Alfieri, director of the nursing program. MacKay was one of several students to receive scholarships at the Moving Up Ceremony. In recent years, graduates from the program have had a nearly 100 percent placement rate.

FSLH restricts entrances at St. Luke’s Campus Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica is restricting the number of public entrances at the St. Luke’s Campus. The five restricted entrances that

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H ealth News Continued from Page 16 will be closed to the public will still be accessible by identification badges used by employees and medical staff. FSLH’s Safety Department proposed the decrease in the number of unattended entrances as a way to increase the safety and security of patients, visitors, employees and medical staff. Limiting public access to several entrances provides greater manageability of traffic in and out of the building. The public entrances are as follows: • Entrance 1—Main lobby entrance Entrance 3—OB Care Center entrance (Champlin Avenue entrance) Entrance 4—Professional Office Building east entrance Entrance 7—Allen-Calder main entrance Entrance 8—Emergency department All visitors will continue to use the emergency department entrance between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

FSLH makes staff announcement Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently made the following staff announcement. Richard Evans has been named nurse manager for 2 West for FSLH. Evans’ previous position with Evans FSLH was as assistant nurse manager of 2 West. He has been a staff nurse in the telemetry unit, emergency department and radiology department as well as an instructor at FSLH’s School of Radiology. Evans has been employed at FSLH for more than 19 years. Evans received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Utica College and Canyon College, and his Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Onondaga Community College.

FSLH receives United Way recognition


Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently received two awards from the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area at an awards and appreciation program. Home Care Services at FSLH won the 2011

Rome Memorial announces nurses of the year In celebration of National Nurses’ Week, Rome Memorial Hospital announced the winners of its “Nurse of the Year” awards. RMH recognized nurses in each clinical area for their caring attitude toward patients, superior clinical skills and critical thinking ability. Celebrating the occasion are, front row from left, Terri Bell, assistant vice president of nursing; Renee Pisaneschi, nurse of excellence and emergency services nurse of the year; and Terry Jones, behavioral services nurse of the year. Back row from left, Tammy French, geriatric services nurse of the year; Teresa Troia, critical care services nurse of the year; Karen Renwick, acute care services nurse of the year; Allison Taylor, maternal/child care services nurse of the year; Debby Kay, peri-operative services nurse of the year; Laura Southwick, Nightingale nurse of the year; and Linda Taylor, leadership nurse of the year. Most Improved Campaign award and Jerry Plows, relationship-based care coordinator and assistant director of volunteer services and guest relations, received the 2011 LIVE UNITED Campaign Coordinator Award. The LIVE UNITED Campaign Coordinator Award is given to a coordinator who best demonstrates to their co-workers how to LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating and volunteering within the community. Home Care Services received the most improved campaign award that is presented to an organization that shows an increase of 20 percent or more in campaign dollars raised. For more information, call 315-6245600.

FSLH makes staff announcement Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently made the following staff announcement. Molly Paul has been named nurse manager for Allen-Calder first floor at FSLH. Paul’s previous position with FSLH was as a staff nurse for perioperative

services. She has also held staff and relief charge nurse positions on AC 1. Prior to joining FSLH, Paul worked for AMN Healthcare’s Medical Express as a traveling nurse and for St. Elizabeth Paul Medical Center as a nursing assistant and registered nurse. Paul received her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Fla. Paul is a certified bariatric nurse and an ISO: 9001 certified internal auditor.

The Arc makes staff announcement

The ARC, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, June 2012 •

NYSARC, recently welcomed Julian Galimo as the development associate in community development. Galimo will coordinate, plan, promote and facilitate patron Galimo relations, fund raising and special events. She will also coordinate all details required in developing publications, annual reports and informational brochures. All activities are focused on the community and The Arc’s relationships with the patrons, sponsors and individuals. Galimo is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose, where she received her bachelor’s degree in public com-

Continued on Page 18

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News Continued from Page 17 munications. She resides in Utica. To contact Galimo, call 315272-1528 or email her at julian. The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC is a nonprofit human services agency which provides advocacy and services for 1,650 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oneida and Lewis counties.

Mohawk Valley companies excel in ‘Go Red’ event Over 500 local women and men, many of them professionals with area businesses, packed a room at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro recently to help raise more than $73,000 in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Among the faces in the crowd at the annual Go Red For Women Luncheon were five companies that entered teams of employees in the American Heart Association’s 2012 Go Red Corporate Challenge. The teams from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield; First Source Federal Credit Union; AmeriCU Credit Union, Revere Copper, Inc. and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare spent eight weeks engaging in a workplace wellness challenge that culminated with the announcement of the results at the luncheon. There were specific awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the battle against heart disease: • Company of the Year—Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield • Heart Survivor Award—Uli

Etheridge • Most Inspiring Individual—Lorie Nichols • Spirit Award—Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare • Most Improved Company— AmeriCU Credit Union • Company with the Highest Average Score—Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield • Company with the Most Participants—First Source Federal Credit Union Life Changing Commitment Awards went to Carrie Mineo, Dale McLean, Nicole Kneedham, Deb Lopata and Daniel Haggerty.

HealthNet’s Facebook page ranks third in state Herkimer County HealthNet’s Creating Healthy Places to Live Work, and Play Facebook page is ranked third among the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play contractors in New York state. Adam Hutchinson, executive director of Herkimer County HealthNet, said, “Besides our Twitter page @hchealthnet, we decided that investing more time and effort in social media would allow us to reach a new audience, but also stay cost conscious.” The Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play grant is funded by the New York State Department of Health and was granted to 38 of the 62 counties through 2015. Locally, the grant is administered by Herkimer County HealthNet. In an effort to save money in regard to health care costs and pro-

ductivity losses, Herkimer County HealthNet along with other organizations throughout New York state are working to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes by making it easier to be physically active and making healthier food choices. For more information about Herkimer County HealthNet, LIKE it on Facebook by linking to www., follow it on Twitter @hchealthnet, check out www. or call them at 315-867-1499. Herkimer County HealthNet’s mission is to improve the health and well being of individuals who live, work, play and learn in Herkimer County.

gency department; Isabel Carambia, residential health care facility; Roselle Chapman, building services; Michele Charbonneau, medical imaging; Tony Corigliano, plant operations; Patricia Eddy, residential health care facility; Karen Fleming, building services; Tara Maine, operating room. Chris Mautner, radiation oncology; Jill McConnell, Boonville Family Care; Greg Myers, emergency department; Jane Padron, patient registration; Shirley Perrigo, building services; Krystyna Piekielniak, maternity; Mike Plunkett, food and nutrition; Sandra Richards, education; Anita Robles, patient registration; Andrew Smith, Chestnut Commons Physical Therapy; Jim Traub, building services; Bryan Trophia, operating room and Audrey Wood, 2 North.

Hospital honors employees’ care, commitment RMH lab achieves During National Hospital Week, exceptional results Rome Memorial Hospital honored its employees of the year for demonstrating customer service characteristics that enhance patient satisfaction and promote positive peer relationships. At the recent awards presentation, president/chief executive officer Basil J. Ariglio praised the employees of the year for “going the extra mile to make miracles happen for our patients and co-workers each and every day.” Nominated by co-workers, patients, families or physicians, the employees of the year were honored for exemplary demonstration of the C.A.R.E. principles of courtesy, attitude, respect and enthusiasm. Those honorees included Kathy Birnie, maternity; Jeremy Bush, emer-

Rome Memorial Hospital Laboratory Department passed its biennial New York State Department of Health inspection with no deficiencies, according to director Donna Zito. Over the course of four days, the state surveyor conducted an extensive review of the lab’s compliance with more than 120 pages of standards. The surveyor inspected the hospital’s main laboratory, hospital collection center and bedside lab testing. The clean bill of health validates the lab’s comprehensive quality assurance program, documentation practices, staff competencies and comprehensive training program.

Special dads deserve recognition Continued from Page 6 especially my father. I was so angry at him. How dare he this soon act as though my mom was such a burden that he be relieved she was gone. He didn’t even want to talk about her.

Talk of town

Being from a very small town, people began to talk about him going out dancing with ladies, and it embarrassed me. He laughed it off. But, that too came to a stop. He was running from grief, running from an empty home, an empty rocking chair, his empty life. They say time heals all wounds, but I am really not sure that holds true. Today, my dad is a very lonesome man. He stopped “dating” and spends most of his time on the lake fishing. It took me awhile to understand that “phase” I selfishly stayed angry at my dad over his way of coping. His way of saying, “Hey look at me, I am just fine.” Men are very different than women when they lose spouses. People naturally gather around the women to hold them together when they lose their partner. Is it just dumb society rules that men never grieve? That they can’t cry? Are they the weaker sex when death occurs? Today, Page 18

I would give anything if my father could find someone to spend his days with. To listen to him tell his fishing stories, to be his friend. He had to take over a tough role, being our mother and our father. I can’t imagine the fear he had. It isn’t just my father that goes through this. I feel most men feel totally lost without their wives. I am a student here at Mohawk Valley Community College.

Hardened by life

I won’t go into details of him, but one of my instructors is a big, strapping, loud-voiced man, tough as nails. We are more like a waste of air to him than students, or this is how he likes to be seen. He is tough, he is bold, and he is human. He wouldn’t give a compliment if it would save his soul, whether he likes you or not. He wants you to think that he likes no one. He talks of how negative life is and when you first meet him, you totally fear him. This man could intimidate the best of the best. He lost his wife two years ago to cancer. He is a single dad raising a teenage daughter on his own. The minute this huge man speaks of even the smallest detail about his wife, it’s as though he changes right before your eyes. He suddenly looks sad and empty,

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

lost and lonely, small and vulnerable. He sometimes forgets he is the “big bad instructor” while he talks of her. It is very easy to see he was and still is crazy in love with his wife. He speaks of her and the husband, the father, the widow comes out. You see a man, once happy, and now he feels lost. He will never be the same. Both of these men have touched my life in such dramatic ways. They both have taught me lessons, not easy ones. They made me tough through humiliation to be the best. They both taught me gratitude. This year on Father’s Day, I want to shine the spotlight on the special dads. The ones that feel forgotten, those that are just mentioned but don’t get the real credit they deserve. Yes, all fathers are special, but some are so much more than just a card, or a gift certificate to the sporting goods store. They happily take the back burner and usually let others shine. These men are single dads, raising a family on his own, making a living while trying to raise his children as the mother and the father.

Beyond call of duty

Then there are the fathers of special needs children. As a parent with a child with special needs, I can freely say a marriage rarely survives when there

is a child with a disability. Somebody has to devote his or her entire days and nights to this one child. Usually it is the moms, but there are occasions where it’s the dads that are the heroes. He spends day and night trying to learn all about the disease that has affected his child. He is the one outside playing pitch to his son even if he has no arms, wrestling on the floor with his blind child, even though the child cannot see him. He is the daddy that carries his child up flights of stairs to doctor’s office or to the park, no matter how heavy the child is. He secretly weeps when he thinks no one is watching while he looks through pictures of his child with autism, just hoping someday his child that is unable to speak by miracle will say that one word, “daddy.” To the dads that have lost their wives, young and old: On this Father’s Day, I hope you will allow someone to hug you. I pray you find a reason to smile on this special day. I hope your empty heart somehow finds happiness and most of all, I hope you go and have fun with your life. Do not sit around and do nothing. Go fishing, go hunting, go to the park, and ask a friend out to dinner, but most of all, I hope you dance. To my father: Happy Father’s Day.

The Raging Cajun

By Malissa Allen

Taking gluten-free eating to new level Malissa Allen focuses on aiding autistic children, their families


f I had to name the one thing that I am asked the most here in New York, it is, “Where are you from down South?” I hear this just about every time a new person hears me speak. I am often told I have a deep Southern accent, along with the famous Louisiana Southern style. On campus, I am known as “The Raging Cajun” by instructors and fellow culinary students. To some, I am the lady that teaches gluten free cooking, or the lady with the autistic son. The one that makes me the proudest is “Mom”. My real name is Malissa or” Chef Malissa”. I am from Cajun country, Louisiana, home of the LSU Tigers, The New Orleans Saints, Bourbon Street, Hurricane Katrina, and even the famous “swamp people”. Although gators are popular, I have never seen one up close outside of a zoo. I have however, eaten my weight in crawfish. Cooking in the South has its own standards. It’s actually very simple. If we can get it in a frying pan, it’s edible. Which now leads up to the next question I am asked” “What in the world is a Louisiana gal like you doing way up here in Upstate New York?” That answer takes a little more time, but I assure you, once you understand, you will learn why I have grown to love this amazing little town of Rome. June will be two years ago that 13 people, two vehicles, two U-Hauls and everything I owned arrived at my home that I rented over the Internet. It took us four days to get me and my two children from my home in Louisiana, 1,571 miles away, to our new home in Lee Center. Of the 13 family members that came along to help, only three of us would be staying. It took a day or two to get everything off those trucks, and piled into a house twice as small as the one I had left behind.

Sad departure

I was not prepared for the feelings I felt when the day came for all of my family to load up and head back to the only place I had ever called home. As three of us stood side by side, they pulled out of the driveway. We waved goodbye to the only safe thing we had ever known, our family. No, we aren’t running from the law, nor have we totally lost our minds. We were however, here for a purpose, and that purpose was the small little boy that stood bravely beside me, holding his hand into mine, while the other waved bye to his buddy, his pawpaw. At this time my son Joseph was 6 years ago and his little sister was 4. They both are tall for their age. They have beautiful blonde hair and blues eyes. Some say they are so much alike, while others look for the signs, symptoms, maybe even the oddness that appears in some of the traits Joseph displays. Joseph is autistic. He was diagnosed with autism when he was just 2½ years old. If you watch Joseph for any amount of time, you will see the game character that he is acting out, word for word, action by action. He could be Mario at one moment then suddenly without warning you’ve be-

come an exploding square off the game Bejeweled Twist. He has the memory of someone way beyond what you and I could imagine. He sees something, whispers to himself a few times, and from that moment on, it will never leave his memory. To give you a look into his mind, I’ll share something with you. Remember how I said it is 1,571 miles from my home here to the one I left in Louisiana? It took one trip home last summer using a GPS for him to remember each step of the way. He sees the world in pictures. As he is watching the chaotic world we see and live in, his mind is constantly snapping photos of the world around him.

Photographic memory

at all. In my house, it did more than work; it brought about miracles. By removing gluten from Joseph’s diet, everyone witnessed drastic changes in his behavior, his moods and even his potty training abilities. I was shocked at the things he began doing. Reading about how to do successful gluten-free meals was the easy part; cooking gluten-free foods is an entirely different can of worms. Today, gluten-free foods, partly due to celiac disease, are becoming more common and are no longer hard to find. The local Price Chopper has a tag hanging in front of a product that is gluten free that displays a large GF on it. This is on every product that is gluten free in the entire store.

Beneficial labeling

Amazingly, his mind is This is amazing. What I like a photo album. Once he would have given to be able stores what he sees, it will to shop that easily when remain there forever. Amazing Allen I began my journey down to say the least, right? That’s right, I gluten-free lane. It is, however, quite moved my entire world here, simply expensive to buy pre-made packaged because I wanted the best for my son. I foods in the grocery and health food found this and more right here in Rome stores. and the surrounding areas. I started Joseph’s gluten-free diet From what I had read, New York four years ago and the changes in him has one of the top education programs are simply remarkable. As I began in the United States. It didn’t take me learning to cook food for him, the challong to make my mind up after doing lenge in the beginning was downright a site visit here that this would become depressing. My kitchen looked more our new home. like a science lab other than a place I am happy to report that both to prepare warm, delicious meals for Joseph and Michaelanne are excelmy children, and actually produced ling way beyond our expectations. food he wasn’t afraid of. I have thrown In school, Joseph won the honor of away enough food to feed an army, the “pillar although even of pride” for a starving army April. The trait would have he won for was turned it down. honesty. My On Joseph’s daughter won birthday, he the award her told me he first month wanted a after school monster truck started for cake for all showing the his friends to trait integrity. see. How hard What mother could this be, would not be right? Wrong! elated to watch Not only was her children it hard, it was walk up and impossible. I accept these called every honors from store within 100 the teachers miles to find and principal? someone that In today’s could make times, autism my little boy is no longer his dream cake taboo; you hear he was asking it mentioned me for. What every day in started out as some fashion— Malissa Allen creates a gluten-free birthday cake a panic attack from the news, for her son. turned out to the controversy be the reason over the imyou are readmunizations and even the treatments ing my article today. I refused to let my that are available. This is where I come little guy not have the cake he wanted in and explain how I am sitting here so badly, so it turned out to be me that writing this to you. made his monster of a cake 100 percent It’s been proven that the numbers gluten free. of children on the spectrum have stomIcing on the cake ach issues and putting them on a very Everyone was amazed at how strict gluten-free diet improves their well it turned out. To be honest, I was quality of life. This works for some and too. They just could not believe a cake then there are some that see no changes that good, that moist and that creative June 2012 •

was gluten free. This is where my life changes, a passion developed, and a new dream and mission was born that day. I not only felt headache and heartache for my son, but for the rest of the children that had to settle for not having really cool cakes because nowhere was there a place that made such. Things have changed dramatically since then. That was two years ago. Today, I am enrolled in the culinary arts program at MVCC to become a glutenfree bakery/pastry chef, with one year remaining. I have found my dream; I am living it. Along with being a student, I do consultation work with families, businesses and individuals on how to cook gluten free. I have started working with restaurants here in Rome, helping them with their menu and teaching their staff how to cook gluten free in order to guarantee it is indeed 100 percent with no cross contamination. In addition to the Mohawk Valley edition of In Good Health newspaper, I am the gluten-free chef on the popular parenting website,, found on Facebook.

Valuable resource

I post recipes, along with tips on gluten-free cooking, as well as find all the best deals and new products on the market. What I like to think of myself as is the momma that is going to make gluten-free families lives much easier. Feel free to write to me and ask me all your gluten-free questions. If I do not know the answer, I will find it for you. I thrive to be the best gluten-free chef locally and I am so happy that we made our home here in Rome. We have grown to love this amazing little town and I hope the citizens here realize how wonderful the public schools really are. You can contact me with your questions or your recipe request here, or look me up on Facebook or at My email is It is my honor to help those with gluten-free needs. On behalf of my two children and myself, thank you Rome for allowing us to make this city our new home, to be able to follow my dream. I look forward to writing gluten-free articles for you right here in In Good Health. Happy gluten-free eating from Chef Malissa’s kitchen, where it is always gluten-free for you and me.

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.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19

You have a choice where you receive your radiation treatment. When Dale was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he chose The Regional Cancer Center. As the Mohawk Valley’s only nationally accredited cancer center, we’re here for you every step of the way. We have the latest treatment technologies and a knowledgeable, compassionate team of board certified physicians and support staff. Cancer isn’t just a disease of the body, it affects your emotions, relationships and your ability to live and work. We treat all of you - body, mind and spirit. Just ask Dale.

� C A L L

6 2 4 - H O P E

The Regional Cancer Center is a program of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and 21st Century Oncology.


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



In Good Health  

The Healthcare Newspaper for Utica, Rome and the Mohawk Valley

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