Page 1

in good

Happy Holidays! Don’t stress out during Yuletide season! See Page 3

Can’t find your comfort zone at holiday parties? See Page 9

Violence against nurses

Get ‘In Good Health’ at home. See coupon inside

Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

December 2011 • Issue 70

Time of Cheer

Enjoy the holidays in moderation. See Page 6.

FDA approves new drugs Report shows quick approvals of medicines happening in the U.S.


RD: Eat smart during holidays


ver the past 12 months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved 35 new medicines. This is among the highest number of approvals in the past decade, surpassed only by 2009 (37). Many of the drugs are important advances for patients, including two new treatments for hepatitis C; a drug for late-stage prostate cancer; the first new drug for Hodgkin lymphoma in 30 years; and the first new drug for lupus in 50 years. In a report released in November, “FY 2011 Innovative Drug Approvals,” the FDA provided details of how it used expedited approval authorities, flexibility in clinical trial requirements and resources collected under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) to boost the number of innovative drug approvals to 35 for the fiscal year (FY) ending Sept. 30, 2011. The approvals come while drug safety standards have been maintained. The report shows faster approval times in the United States when compared to the FDA’s counterparts around the globe. Twenty-four of the 35 approvals occurred in the United States before any other country in the world and also before the European Union, continuing a trend of the United States leading the world in first approval of new medicines. “Thirty-five major drug approvals

in one year represents a very strong performance, both by industry and by the FDA, and we continue to use every resource possible to get new treatments to patients,” said Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of food and drugs. “We are committed to working with industry to promote the science and innovation it takes to produce breakthrough treatments and to ensure that our nation is fully equipped to address the public health challenges of the 21st century.”

New drugs listed

Among the new drugs approved in FY 2011, a number are notable for their advances in patient care and for the efficiency with which they were approved: • Two of the drugs — one for melanoma and one for lung cancer — are breakthroughs in personalized medicine. Each was approved with a diagnostic test that helps identify patients for whom the drug is most likely to bring benefits; • Seven of the new medicines provide major advances in cancer treatment; • Almost half of the drugs were judged to be significant therapeutic advances over existing therapies for heart attack, stroke and kidney transplant rejection; • Ten are for rare or “orphan” diseases, which frequently lack any

December 2011 •

therapy because of the small number of patients with the condition, such as a treatment for hereditary angioedema; • Almost half (16) were approved under “priority review,” in which the FDA has a six month goal to complete its review for safety and effectiveness; • Two-thirds of the new approvals were completed in a single review cycle, meaning sufficient evidence was provided by the manufacturer so that the FDA could move the application through the review process without requesting major new information; • Three were approved using “accelerated approval,” a program under which the FDA approves safe and effective medically important new drugs quickly, and relies on subsequent post-market studies to confirm clinical benefit. For example, Corifact, the first treatment approved for a rare blood clotting disorder, was approved under this program; and • Thirty-four of 35 were approved on or before the review time targets agreed to with industry under PDUFA, including three cancer drugs that FDA approved in less than six months. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act was established by Congress in 1992 to ensure that the FDA had the necessary resources for the safe and timely review of new drugs and for increased drug safety efforts. The current legislative authority for PDUFA expires on Sept. 30, 2012.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 1

FSLH campaign marks milestone


axton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Campaign For Quality recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with more than 460 physicians, healthcare workers, students and community members from across New York state. This popular program held at Hamilton College in Clinton featured national and local experts who presented on current trends in healthcare, quality improvement topics and patient safety initiatives. This year’s Campaign For Quality gave participants an understanding of how we can all work together for the benefit of a healthy community and provided information about what other

organizations and communities are doing to improve patient care and safety. “This was our most successful Campaign For Quality to date,” said Dr. Daniel Kopp, chief medical officer for FSLH. “First-rate speakers from national and regional speaking circuits shared up-to-date information that will directly impact the quality of health care in our community. Through programs like this one, we are able to support a future where lifelong education, excellence in healthcare and maintaining good health endures.” For more information about the event and speaker presentations, visit



Got a health-related activity or event that you would like publicized? Call Lou Sorendo at 315.749.7070 or email Sundays

Separated, divorced support group to meet

St. Elizabeth College of Nursing

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

A Reputation of Excellence, A Tradition of Caring, A Future of Opportunity!


Nov. 29

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 • 6 PM

ACR, MVCC join forces on World AIDS Day

Multi Purpose Room 2215 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501 Open House Registration 315-798-8347

Subscribe to In Good Health

AIDS Community Resources is partnering with If Club, a student group at Mohawk Valley Community College, to acknowledge World AIDS Day with four events over four days. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 30, students and ACR will staff an information table with prevention materials at the academic building. From 6-8 p.m. Nov. 29, “AIDS & HIV—An Evening of Information & Inspiration” will be presented, featuring “Sweet Tears of Joy” by Beverley Holmes Performing Ministries at Payne Hall. World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 will be commemorated with a candlelight

Get Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper at home for only $15 a year.

Reduced Pain: the best Christmas present ever!

FREE with your paid subscription: the 2011 CNY Healthcare Guide.

Fluid Moves Massage

Helping your body heal itself.

Name __________________________________________ Address ________________________________________ City / Town _________________State ____ Zip ________ Your occupation: _________________________________ Where did you pick up In Good Health? _______________ _______________________________________________ Clip and Mail to:

In Good Health

$15 payment enclosed

4 Riverside Dr., Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 Page 2

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

Alice Kenly. LMT, LLCC


vigil and a balloon release at Payne Hall. Featured speaker will be Shannon Brown, who is living with HIV. The public is invited to attend all events. AIDS Community Resources is a nonprofit, community-based organization, supported by both public and private funds, bringing information and education, direct services, referrals, and advocacy to everyone in the Mohawk Valley who needs help with HIV/AIDS.

Nov. 30

Lights of Love remembrance service set The St. Elizabeth Medical Center Foundation will hold its 11th annual Lights of Love Candle Lighting and Remembrance Service at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at the medical center chapel. Co-chairs Susan Cooper and Bunny Gottuso invite the public to share in this special event that remembers loved ones, honors individuals, says “thank you” to someone who has brightened a life through special care or service, or may be given as a holiday gift. The medical center will be illuminated by holiday lights, each representing the special people acknowledged through this year’s campaign. Proceeds from Lights of Love will benefit the purchase of digital mammography equipment for imaging at St. Elizabeth Medical Arts. For more information, call the foundation office at (315) 734-4440, email alagatta@stemc. org or you may also contribute online by visiting

Nov. 30

Hip, knee replacements focus of session On Nov. 30, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica will host a presentation for those considering hip or knee replacements. The free session will begin at 6 p.m. and take place in the Boyle Board Room at the St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., New Hartford. Kenneth Ortega, chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at FSLH, and John Sullivan, orthopedic surgeon for Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, will present. They will discuss what total joint replacement is, why it is necessary, the surgical process and what to expect during recovery. The community is invited to attend this free session to have their questions about total joint replacement answered. For more information on the presentation, call (315) 624-6354.

Continued on Page 15

Happy Holidays Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

How to squash holiday stress J

oanne Frighetti knows about holiday stress. She absolutely loves the holidays: decorating the tree, shopping, buying cards, enjoying the first snow. Most of all, she loves the looks of delight on her children’s faces on Christmas morning. But as Christmas gets closer, Frighetti gets more and more stressed. She gets so stressed that, when the big day rolls around, she’s totally exhausted and not able to enjoy it. Some years, she even becomes physically ill from stress and exhaustion. She’s got a lot of company. Many of us become severely stressed during the holidays. Each year, we face the holidays with a combination of anticipation and dread. Part of us says it’s the happiest time of the year; part of us knows it’s a huge, huge headache. People use more tranquilizers in December Pierce than any other month of the year. Visits to psychotherapists significantly increase in January. And, most significantly, the rate of suicide is the highest of any time of the year. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your stress.

Change your expectations

To reduce your stress, it is important to look at the expectations you have. Paging through magazines, we see beautifully decorated homes, delicious looking food on special table settings, exquisite Christmas trees, well dressed, well-behaved children. This is not real life. These are staged settings created to sell magazines and goods. No matter how hard we try, you and I will never have a home that looks as beautiful. So quit comparing, quit trying to do it. Quit thinking your home should look like that. When you expect something to happen, and it doesn’t, then you feel lousy. So get rid of thinking of what you “should” do, or not do. Stop thinking about what the holidays “should” be like for your family. Or what “should” not happen. Instead, get real. Change your expectations about what will happen. Find simple ways to create a holiday feeling, like the smell of fresh baked cookies, the sound of cheerful music, or a vase of red flowers. Find simple ways to entertain, for example, have everyone bring something to contribute to what you’re serving.

Take care of yourself

Next, take care of yourself physically. Get enough sleep and eat well. Don’t skip meals. Slow down, pace yourself. Give yourself “comfort breaks,” take a walk in the new snow, go to your favorite cafe to sip your favorite beverage, indulge in a long bubble bath, take the afternoon off and snuggle in bed with a good book. Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol and festive occasions are a natural combination, but slow doses are best. And don’t drink if you are depressed or stressed. Alcohol is a depressant, and it will make you even more depressed.

Slow down

“Slow down; you move too fast; got to make the morning last.” Simon and Garfunkel are right. Make the mornings last, make the moments last. You will never have these moments back. The moments of your children decorating the tree, falling in the snow to make snow angels, opening their presents under the tree. By Christmas next year, they will have changed so much. Consider each thing you do to get ready for the holidays as a choice. If you are in the mall, frustrated by trudging around trying to find the perfect gift for Grandma Flo or Aunt Elsie, you made a choice to be there. You can choose to trudge around the mall, or you can give them a loaf of your homemade banana bread, or the latest pictures of your children in a recycled frame, or the gift they might prefer above all, sharing your time with them.

Make a realistic budget

With your family, decide what your priorities are this holiday season. It’s OK to scale back. It’s probably a good choice. Then make a realistic budget to cover the things that you agree are priorities and stick to it. You’ll be happy when the January bills start rolling in. As for Joanne, she’s paring down her holiday expectations. And she’s planning to take a day off work, and do nothing except pamper herself. The holidays are a time for enjoying family and friends. Here’s wishing a joyous holiday season to you. • Barbara Pierce, a published writer and a retired psychotherapist, writes memoirs for others, and helps people write their stories. Contact her at

‘Give your word-of-mouth advertising a big boost’ In 2012, choose to advertise with

In Good Health,

Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper.

Reaching health consumers, health professionals. 20,000 copies distributed each month

For advertising, 315-749-7070 December 2011 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 3

Unplug indoor pollutants Allergists say home fragrance products may cause respiratory problems


ales of home air fresheners and scented candles are on the rise and so are respiratory problems in homes where these products are used, according to allergists at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Boston, Nov 3 – 8. “This is a much bigger problem than people realize,” said Stanley Fineman, president-elect. “About 20 percent of the population and 34 percent of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners. We know air freshener fragrances can trigger allergy symptoms, aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma.” Home fragrance products may smell “fresh,” but Fineman warns many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are merely “covering up” — not eliminating — odors in the home. VOCs commonly found in air fresheners include formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene, esters and alcohols. Studies show that even VOC exposure levels below currently accepted recommendations increase risk of asthma in children. High concentrations of VOCs can trigger eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, and even memory impairment. In his presentation, Fineman discussed a study of plug-in deodorizers that included more than 20 different VOCs with more than one third of those classified as toxic or hazardous. Despite research showing some air fresheners contain VOCs at toxic or hazardous levels based on federal guidelines, the home fragrance industry is expected to see continued growth, reaching $8.3 billion in global sales by 2015. Why the fondness for air fresheners? “There has been a shift among home fragrance consumers that pleasant smelling homes are not just for the holidays,” Fineman said. “We also are seeing a trend by manufacturers to market these products as aromatherapy which implies health and moodboosting benefits although there are no scientific studies to support these claims.” For consumers who desire a fresh scent without the associated health risks, Fineman recommends opening windows to let in Mother Nature rather than selecting products labeled “organic” or “green.”

Advertise with In Good Health

Call 315-749-7070 Page 4


Your Doctor

By Patricia J. Malin

Gayle D. Jones Gayle D. Jones is the director of public health for Oneida County. This is the first executive job for the 33-year-old Georgia native, who oversees eight divisions in five locations and 90 employees. She discusses her goals for her department with In Good Health Senior Correspondent Patricia J. Malin. Q.: Why did you decide to come to the Mohawk Valley? A.: I was looking for a career change and wanted to further my career in health administration. I was interviewed in March (2010), but didn’t come here until May. I was working on my PhD., and looking nationally, so it took me awhile to get here. The Mohawk Valley has a very diverse population and this was an opportunity to do something I had never done in my career. Q.: Where are you from originally? A.: I was born in Savannah, Ga., but raised mostly in Charleston, S.C. I spent a lot of time working in South Carolina and Virginia. Q.: What prompted you to get into health care? Did you consider becoming a doctor? A.: I am the youngest of four children and there are a lot of nurses in my family. My mother is a nurse (specializing in geriatrics) and my eldest sister is a nurse. After my daughter was born, she developed a lot of medical issues. I was interested in health care, but I was also concerned about how people get accessibility to health care services. It sparked my interest because of the experiences and dealings with the complexity of the healthcare system. I found the system frustrating. I was living in South Carolina at the time (2000) and going to medical school. But I switched my major from pre-med to biology and then I got my master’s in health care administration. I realized that once you get into administration, you have the potential to change public policy and to make sure you bring quality services to people. Q.: Is there a difference in health care services provided by individual states? A.: The quality depends on where you live. There is a lack of healthcare coverage and the services that are offered in rural areas. Transportation issues are also a concern. Q.: What has been your specialty in public health? A.: My PhD. focused on maternal and childcare, but I haven’t had as much time for research since I came here and that’s something I would like to add. Q.: What have been your most significant impressions since coming here in 2010? A.: There’s definitely a difference in the culture (between North and South) and the weather. There’s a lot of

hospitality here. I adapt well, but I don’t care for snow at all. I lived previously in Charleston, S.C., and Richmond, Va., both capital cities and bigger places, so I’m trying to get used to a smaller, more rural place. I had also worked in Abington, Va., a rural area, and it was a whole different ballgame. So it’s not a complete culture shock to come here, although it’s more ethnically diverse and has a large immigrant population. Q.: What is your most positive experience?

A.: My staff! They keep me afloat and informed. They were open to my arrival and accepting of me as an outsider. They have worked with me to address issues. They have really been great at helping me to adapt, letting me know who’s who, and what our role is in the community. Q.: What is your greatest challenge as director of the Oneida County Health Department? A.: Learning the laws and regulations of New York state versus Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, and how things work around here. It’s not just differences in healthcare, but in politics. (It’s) evaluating programs, dealing with reductions in grant money, determining how much to give programs (based on the) fiscal environment and state and federal funding. It means more financial accountability. We need to be aware of different funding sources. The county’s annual budget for the health department is between $24 million and $26 million, but the budget is always changing. The staffing has been consistent, about 90 fulltime employees who work in the clinic and in various locations, including in early intervention, maternal and child care, environmental health, education of handi-

Continued on Page 15

Lifelines Age: 33 Hometown: Savannah, Ga. Residence: New Hartford Education: University of South Carolina (Aiken), BS, biology, 2000-02; University of South Carolina (Columbia), Master of Public Health-Health Administration, 2003-05; Walden University, Minneapolis, Minn., Doctor of Philosophy—Public Health: Community Health, 2005-09 (online) Family: Daughter, Daija, 14

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

Happy Holidays Healthy eating for the holidays Don’t deprive yourself, but eat smart By Barbara Pierce


t this time of year, tips on how to eat during the holidays are more popular than Christmas cookies. But these tips from Priya Mathew, registered dietitian in Rome, are all you need to know to survive the holidays without gaining weight. “Many people gain five to seven pounds with all the holidays,” said Mathew. “Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day. Suddenly it’s spring and you wonder how to get rid of the weight you’ve gained.” Maintaining your weight might be a better goal. If you can maintain your current weight through the holidays, you’ll be doing better than most. “Planning is the key,” said Mathew. “Plan what you will eat for the big festive meals. Tables will be laden with many, many dishes for the family feast, with plenty of food for the family, and plenty for leftovers. Instead, just make enough for the one dinner, Mathew advises. Make smaller portions of each dish. Don’t make enough for leftovers so that you can continue to feast for days after the big day. When you continue to eat these high fat, high calorie foods, your body gets into the mode of wanting that kind of food. Family traditions are important

at the holidays. Special dishes are an important part of the family tradition. Continue these traditions for your one special meal. And as you prepare your dinner, drink a V8 juice or eat carrot sticks or nuts instead of nibbling on the food you are preparing.

Boost metabolism

Take a walk before the meal, Mathew recommends, to boost your metabolism. It will stay boosted through the meal and after. And watch your intake of alcohol, as alcohol is directly absorbed into your body. It helps your body create insulin, and insulin makes you crave foods with higher carbohydrates. Stay away from the high calorie beverages like eggnog, party punch, mochas, and hot chocolate. Create your own special good tasting concoction to drink. Something festive, like sparkling water with a little fruit juice. Watch your intake of appetizers. Avoid the high fat appetizers like cheese. You will be hungry, and your tendency will be to overeat appetizers. Serve yourself, and leave the area of the food. When you stand by the table of food, and the food is visible and within reach, most of us graze mindlessly. Another thing that Mathew recommends for eating during a big festive meal: As you serve yourself, divide

your plate into four quarters. Then place a serving of meat in one quarter, a starch such as potato or stuffing in another, a serving of vegetable, and a serving of fruit. By doing this, you are better able to balance what you eat.

Smaller the better

Using smaller plates will help you eat less. The larger the plate, the more food we will serve ourselves, and the more we will eat. The reverse is also true. You don’t have to avoid the food that is loaded with fat, like gravy, or cream or cheese-based foods. Take a bite or two and eat it slowly. Then move on to other healthier choices. Eating high fat food keeps you from feeling deprived; just don’t go overboard. And drink plenty of water. If you get dehydrated, you will feel hungry. Don’t starve yourself all day so you can eat a big dinner. Eating small balanced meals for breakfast and lunch will keep your metabolism going strong.

Reduced Pain: the best Christmas present ever!

Fluid Moves Massage

Helping your body heal itself. Alice Kenly. LMT, LLCC


MAKE YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS GOALS A REALITY! Once you make the decision to lose weight and improve your health, this program is fast, easy and nutritious. Best of all, we offer FREE personal support without program fees. “I will be with you every step of the way!” To Learn More: Jennifer Kelberman, RN,MS Certified Health Coach 315-723-5582

A Health Coach is not a substitute for a physician or qualified medical practitioner. Consult a physician before starting a weight-loss program.

Safe and effective • Clinically proven No counting calories, carbs or points Fast results!!!

Heart disease, cancer, trauma most costly conditions for men


he cost of treating men for heart disease topped $47 billion in 2008, leading a list of the 10 most expensive conditions for men aged 18 and older, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The federal agency also found that

Cancer was the second most costly disease to treat ($34 billion), followed by trauma-related disorders ($33 billion) and osteoarthritis ($23 billion). On a per-patient basis, the average annual treatment cost ranged from $4,873 for cancer to $838 for high blood pressure.

ONEIDA, HERKIMER, MADISON AND OTSEGO COUNTIES in good A monthly newspaper published by

Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

Local News, Inc. Distribution: 35,000 copies. To request home delivery ($15 per year), call (315) 749.7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2011 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: (315) 749.7070 E-mail: Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Amylynn Pastorella, Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab Advertising: Donna Kimbrell, Marsha Preston Layout & Design: Chris Crocker Office Manager: Laura Beckwith

No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider.

December 2011 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 5

Happy Holidays The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Holiday survival kit Control your urge to over-indulge By Deb Dittner


nly a few days left to hurry and finish your Christmas shopping, wrap gifts, prepare food, baking projects, attend parties, family gatherings ... Sound stressful? For many of us, Christmas is filled with hustle and bustle creating stress, decreasing our energy levels, and possibly leaving us feeling a bit under the weather. And by the beginning of the New Year, an additional 10 pounds are added to the scale. Trying to lose this weight over the holidays can be stressful and very frustrating. So how do we focus on maintaining our weight but still enjoy the season? For the most part, we know what we should be doing to take care of ourselves: Get plenty of rest, exercise, eat our vegetables and fruits, and drink plenty of water. Are you following these recommendations this time of year? Empower yourself to continue with your health and wellness steps so that the next couple weeks can be enjoyed to the utmost. Here are 10 secrets to help keep you on track for a healthy holiday season: • Get plenty of rest! Don’t stay up too late wrapping presents or decorating your home. A change in sleep patterns can alter your moods and decrease your immune system. Make seven to eight hours of sleep nightly a priority so that you can enjoy all of the festivities. • Eat mindfully. Don’t deprive yourself of traditional holiday goodies or plan on avoiding holiday parties but do be mindful that moderation is key. The occasional cookie or piece of pumpkin pie is OK. Treats should be a

favorite to eat slowly and savor every bite. As you are probably aware, diets don’t work. This creates more confusion and disappointment. Balancing out the unhealthy foods with the good foods will make all the difference in weight gain. • Get out and move. Enjoy winter activities such as skiing, sledding, snowshoeing or skating. Building the traditional snowman as the first snow is falling with the children Dittner is always fun and creates family traditions. Don’t forget the snowball fight too. Plus, a hike through snow-covered trails is the best not only for movement but also for stress reduction and relaxation. If you are away from home and your usual routine, you still need to incorporate physical activity into your day. Consider taking a walk with a family member or friend either before or after dinner. Ask if anyone belongs to a gym and would like to do a workout together. • Eat sensibly throughout the day. By eating regular balanced meals, your body will be satisfied and will not feel the need to binge. Skipping meals to try to save calories for the office party or family gathering will only leave your body in a state of starvation causing you to be more likely to eat everything in sight. • Eat with intention. Be aware of your food choices and enjoy every

mouthful by utilizing your senses. Inhale the scent of the food. Does this scent appeal to your liking? What are the colors? Does it look appealing? After placing a small amount into your mouth, describe the texture. Is it crunchy or creamy? How does it taste? Is it sweet, sour, salty or spicy? By thoroughly enjoying your food the first time around, there may not be a need for a second or third helping. • Portion size matters. Often during the holidays, we tend to be tempted by many delectable and rich foods causing us to overfill our plate. Manage your holiday meal as you would any other meal. Eat a small amount of everything, and remember to chew each bite with intention. • Incorporate healthy ingredients into your traditional holiday baking. Instead of white flour, try almond flour, rice flour or spelt flour. Instead of white sugar, try local honey, brown rice syrup or molasses. • Eat a snack before heading out to holiday parties. Have a small healthy meal or snack and it will help you to avoid over eating. Saving your appetite for holiday goodies will only cause you

to eat more on your arrival. • Drink plenty of water. Avoid soft drinks with sugar also. When at a party or gathering, have a glass of water between cocktails or wine. You will be less likely to dehydrate and may even reduce the likelihood of a hangover. • Remember the true meaning of the holiday season. As we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, remember to give thanks for the little things that bring happiness to each and every one of us. Take delight in all it has to offer. This is the season to show gratitude and appreciate the positives in our lives. Daily gratitude creates optimism, satisfaction, and overall enthusiasm, creating a greater sense of connection to each other. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season! • Deb Dittner is a family nurse practitioner, Reiki master teacher and a holistic health counselor who works with men and women struggling with weight, hormones, and energy issues. For more information, call 518-596-8565 or visit www. to receive your free health report.

Knee replacements up dramatically


omen and men aged 45 to 64 were 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for knee replacement surgery in 2009 than in 1997, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ’s analysis of hospital stays for knee replacement surgery from 1997 to 2009 found that: • The rate for women aged 45 to 64 jumped from 16 to 42 stays per 10,000 people, while for men the same age, Page 6

the rate climbed from 11 to 28 stays per 10,000 people. • The rates for women and men 65 to 84 rose by 69 percent and 55 percent, respectively — from 72 to 122 stays and from 58 to 90 stays per 10,000 people. • Among those aged 85 years and older, rates increased by 23 percent for women (from about 27 to 33 stays per 10,000 people) and 36 percent for men (from about 27 to 36 stays per 10,000 people).

Deck the walls with boughs of holly Travis Smith, an employee of Rome Memorial Hospital’s Plant Operations department, hangs the traditional “happy holidays” lights in front of the hospital recently. The lights will be illuminated at the annual Rome Twigs’ Tree of Lights ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the hospital. This year’s fundraising campaign is dedicated to Dr. James DiCastro and Dr. George Lim for their many years of devoted service to the hospital. There will be a gathering in the lobby before the ceremony for refreshments and entertainment by the Firestorm’s Barbershop Quartet.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

Happy Holidays Gift-giving with a health focus Think nutrition, exercise during the holiday By Kristen Raab


ift giving during the holiday season often includes tasty treats that tend to be unhealthy. This year, consider gifts that are delicious and nutritious, or gifts that allow the recipient to try new activities that can boost his or her health. Registered dietitian Pat Palmisano is regional health promoPalmisano tion supervisor at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. She said the gift of health is priceless. Palmisano said one way to decide on a great gift is to give something that is ongoing. She suggests a magazine subscription to a publication such as Cooking Light. She said the magazine “shows you can eat foods that taste good, and

that are good for you.” Another food-related gift idea is a basket full of the nutritious ingredients to make a homemade meal. For example, Palmisano suggests giving whole wheat pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and pesto with a recipe card. For sweets lovers, you can give dark chocolate with nuts and dried fruits or make a gourmet coffee and tea basket. People sometimes forget that “health and taste can happily coexist,” said Palmisano. Other gift ideas include tools for preparing healthy meals at home. A recipe organizer provides storage for someone who has a lot of recipes. For the person who is just learning to cook, a cookbook is a great way to start. Other helpful items are knives, cutting boards or a nonstick skillet.

Get out there!

In addition to food or cooking equipment, giving the gift of activity is a wonderful way to treat someone. If the gift is social, such as a cooking class, a certificate for yoga instruction or a couple’s massage, the benefits are endless. Palmisano said, “People often like to have a gift that gives time with a

lenge, you can set up a bet on who can achieve a fitness goal first. The winner can then be treated to a sensible lunch at a restaurant or a healthy homemade meal. Palmisano said this is motivating and fun, while also allowing more bonding time for friends.

Get creative!

loved one.” A new skill is often learned while spending quality time with a person who brings joy to the gift recipient’s life. If you are worried about offending someone with a gift that promotes health, there are a few ways to reduce your concern. One way is to give the gift of an activity that you can join as well. This system of pertnering benefits both people, and as Palmisano suggests, “it doesn’t point out the other person” in a negative way. For the friend who loves a chal-

Deciding which person on your list will receive which gift can be a challenge. One strategy is to give a gift that matches the recipient’s personality. Another option is to pick something that is “out of their comfort zone,” Palmisano recommends. This can be a great way for someone to become exposed to new activities that might become lifelong joys. This “opens up a person’s world” and can leave the individual feeling “pleasantly surprised.” Be careful that you are not unintentionally sabotaging your coworkers by bringing in unhealthy treats that you do not want.

Hospital names new residential health care facility administrator


ara Corcoran has been named the new administrator at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Residential Health Care Facility, announced president/CEO Basil Ariglio. “We are delighted to welcome Tara into our Rome Memorial Hospital family,” he said. “Her experience and commitment to quality patient Corcoran care will make her a valuable leader for our residential health care facility. She has consistently improved quality indicators and resident services across the board and I know she will do the same for our residents.” “I chose healthcare because I love caring for people and I found that it was a very challenging and diverse career,” she said. “My grandparents are very important to me, so I have always been attracted to geriatric care and

know that providing excellent care for the older population is vitally important.” Raised in nearby Blossvale, Corcoran joined the RHCF as interim director in July to help the facility during the search for a permanent director. Going forward, Corcoran has several short- and long-term goals for the RHCF. Corcoran wants to improve the quality of life and the quality of care for her residents, while providing a pleasant working place for staff by introducing the concept of person-centered care. Corcoran also encourages her staff to act as owners of the facility, allowing them the freedom to make decisions on everyday issues that may arise. Corcoran said she plans to continue ongoing efforts to make the facility more comfortable and home-like for the residents. Corcoran graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College with an Associate of Science degree in liberal arts and sciences before graduating from SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica, with a Bachelor of Science degree in health services management.

Walk raises Down syndrome awareness Upstate Cerebral Palsy celebrated its 16th annual Buddy Walk recently at Hanna Park in Utica. Despite a rainy start to the morning, hundreds came out to walk, listen to music, enjoy cotton candy and face painting, while most importantly celebrate uniqueness and strength. Above, Alexis Padula of Frankfort enjoys the Buddy Walk with family and friends. The Buddy Walk, held in October to honor National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, raised awareness among people throughout the community while promoting the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

December 2011 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Happy Holidays Holidays on a budget Remember the true meaning By Barbara Pierce


he holidays are coming, and the economy is struggling. You’d like to give nice, big expensive gifts to everyone on your list, but it’s not going to happen this year. You really would like to make your house look like Good Housekeeping, but there’s no way. If you’re planning to cut back on holiday spending this year, you have lots of company. Nearly half of the people asked said they will spend less on gifts than they did last year. “Christmas is the perfect recession holiday,” said Kevin Rooney, vice president of marketing at RedEnvelope. com. “It’s really about family and friends celebrating and creating memories. That does not require spending a lot of money.” Think about what the holidays mean to you and your family. As a family, consider your holiday traditions. Which ones do you all really enjoy? Which bring your family closer? Eliminate those you can, and focus on the traditions that you all enjoy, and those that bring you closer. Sometimes the most meaningful traditions are the simplest and they don’t have to cost a lot of money. Create new traditions that demonstrate the true meaning of the holidays. Decorating your home does not have to be expensive.

Patti Delano of Patti’s Paper Crafts help customers create a special album. You want to stir people’s memories and emotions. Scent the air with cinnamon and spices to make people feel good and recall past memories. It’s as easy as simmering cinnamon sticks in water. Have your children or grandchildren decorate the tree with things you make together. String popcorn, cranberries, or spray-painted pasta for garlands. has a long list of ornaments that are easy for kids to make. Gather boughs of any kind of

greenery from outside; add a “Christmasy look” and scent by placing them on table tops, in vases, or on the fireplace mantel. Make a grouping with colorful ornaments, candles, berries, ribbons, and pine cones. Run small Christmas lights through them. Consider using a tabletop decoration instead of a tree. Fill a glass container with cranberries, peppermint mints, apples, ornaments, or whatever colorful things you have around the house. Make a grouping of several containers. Put an old sled or wagon by the door and fill it with wrapped gifts. Add a few old toys or stuffed animals. The key to a beautiful home for the holidays is not the decorations and how they are arranged, but the warmth and welcome that comes when you step inside. With your family, make gifts for people. Gifts that will bring joy, both in the making and the giving, like a drawing, a piece of needlework, a poem, or a photograph. Bake a batch of chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies; put them in a cute tin and you’ve got a welcome gift. Or bake loaves of pumpkin bread or cranberry bread, and wrap in aluminum foil with bright ribbons. Turn your gift into an experience for the recipient. Share time with him or her; go to a place that is meaningful. The Nature Sanctuary, a 250-acre

Legislation offers coverage for autism By Patricia J. Malin


ould you afford to spend $20,000 every year on health care for your child? How about $50,000 or more? Yes, it is steep and necessary, of course. Despite such eye-popping amounts, these are realistic examples of how much families with autistic children in New York state spend on health care because their insurance carriers do not cover autism. “In fact, families in New York state with autistic children spend twice as much on out-of-pocket expenses for vital therapies and services than the national average,” said Fred Arcuri of Utica, whose 6-year-old son, Antonio, was diagnosed with autism in 2009. Finally, after several years of battles in courts and in the state legislature, this scenario will be changing for the better. Earlier this year, the state Assembly amended the insurance laws to provide coverage for individuals with autism. The New York State Senate passed a bill “to amend the insurance law, in relation to coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of Page 8

autism spectrum disorder.” The amendment was passed by a majority vote from at least three-fifths of the Senate. The bill then became a law with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature on Nov. 1, 2011. It could take at least a year, though, before the law takes effect. Arcuri, an attorney, had spent about four years campaigning with other Mohawk Valley and Upstate families to gather support for such legislation, while simultaneously battling insurance companies. The new legislation requires insurance companies to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, including behavioral health treatments, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Insurance companies would be prohibited from terminating coverage or refusing to renew, adjust, amend, issue or execute a policy solely because the individual has been diagnosed with or received treatment for autism spectrum disorders.

Legislative push

Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome) was an

original co-sponsor of the legislation in 2009. Arcuri and other parents frequently discussed the issue with Griffo, Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida) and legislative leaders in Albany. “(The) Senate bill would save tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses spent by families caring for individuals with autism and address insurance companies’ refusal to cover costs for autism treatments and therapies,” Griffo said in June when he informed Arcuri that the Senate gave final legislative approval to the legislation. New York now joins 25 other states that have already enacted similar autism insurance reform laws. After his son was diagnosed, Arcuri said he and wife, Amy, “felt comfortable that the services and therapies that our son required to live a normal life would be fully covered by our insurance carrier, which in our case is Blue Cross Blue Shield.” Instead, most insurers in New York state “turned their back on autistic children,” he said, and the families were forced to pay for treatment out of pocket.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

animal sanctuary with five miles of trails just outside of Clinton on Route 12, will create wonderful memories. Bonnie Reynolds, co-founder and president of Spring Farms CARES, a nonprofit animal sanctuary which contains The Nature Sanctuary, invites people to go on a tour with their conservation director, Matt Perry. “He knows every tree, every plant, every animal, every butterfly in the sanctuary,” she says. There is no charge for a tour; donations are accepted. For more information, check out Something terrific for that person on your list could be your time: Give a few hours to the person who never has time to clean his garage, or basement, or attic; clean house for a new mom or a grandmother. A mini scrapbook would make a perfect and inexpensive gift, recommends Patti Delano of Patti’s Paper Crafts in Old Forge. Creating a small album, like those she has, requires some photos and not much else in the way of supplies, and takes only a few hours. Delano would be happy to help you create something that is tailored for the person for whom you wish make a special, unique gift. For more information, visit And keep in mind that the most important thing about the holidays is to share love with family and friends.

“Parents like me living in New York state, we pay the second or third largest amount in the nation of outof-pocket expenses,” Arcuri added. “And for working class families, too, the school districts have not covered (autistic children) in the past, or only at the minimum.” The law, Arcuri explained, will require insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, clinically proven autism therapies for children living with autism. Rob Meyers, executive director of the Kelberman Center Autism Institute at Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica, said some local families caring for an autistic child or for an autistic adult have spent close to $80,000 a year out of pocket for treatment. The law said insurance companies may limit coverage for autism treatment up to $45,000 a year. Even at that level, Meyers said families have a lot of options to provide intervention and treatment, such as speech, occupational and physical therapy, special education services and psychological evaluations. He called the legislation “really positive.” That’s because the parents of children with autism should be able to obtain “early intervention,” meaning sustained treatment and education, guaranteed over a lifetime, he noted.

Happy Holidays Uncomfortable at parties? Don’t despair! Try these tips By Barbara Pierce


t’s the holiday season. Many of us face the holidays with dread because of the get-togethers we will have to attend. Office parties, or worse yet, a partner’s office party, groups of friends, of neighbors—thoughts of these events send shivers of terror up and down our spines. As adults, you would think that we would all have this thing down by now. But large numbers of us have this huge problem: We are uncomfortable around people we don’t know well because we don’t know what to say. About half of us want to avoid trying to talk to someone we don’t know well. All those people walking around with cell phones stuck to their ears— according to Pew Research Center, many are just pretending. There is no one on the other end of the phone; they are pretending so that they can avoid talking to others. For the half of us that are uncomfortable at parties, and may even go so far as to hide behind a cell phone, here are some things to try:

Get the other person to talk

Maria Tucci, owner/operator of Maria Tucci’s Hair Design in Utica, has much experience in talking with strangers and in making others feel comfortable. She describes an experience she had at a recent party: “I met a woman I didn’t know. I asked her where she was born. She began talking about her childhood in Portugal. Then I asked her if she had children, and she talked about them. I asked how she

met her husband. My first question led to a great conversation with her.” People like to talk about themselves. Arm yourself with some simple questions that apply to anyone. People who are uncomfortable talking with others are usually good listeners. Capitalize on this. Tucci sums it up this way: “I asked more about her than I talked about myself. I don’t need to talk about myself. I was interested in her. Each question led me to another question, and it kept the conversation going.” Tucci said another question she often asks people is what kind of work they do. This can lead to more questions, like “How did you get into that kind of work?” and “What’s best about it?” Open-ended questions, questions that the other person must say more than “yes” or “no”, are best. Listen to their reply and find things to ask more questions about. For example, instead of asking, “Did you have a good vacation?” as it is a question to which he can say “yes” or “no”, ending the conversation, ask, “What was the best thing about your vacation?” Then he can mention cross-country skiing, which may be his passion, and it will lead to a good conversation. Or, she can say she got to sit around and read a book she has wanted to read, and you can ask more about the book and what she likes to read.

Prepare yourself

When you will be going to a gathering of people, prepare yourself. The famous “Dr. Phil” McGraw ad-

are far more important than the words you say. You give out signals by the way you stand or sit. Check your body posture to make sure you appear approachable. Make those signals work for you; have “open body” language. Make eye contact, smile. (There are many good books on body language in any library.) Tucci emphasizes the importance of a smile: “It helps me connect with people,” she said. And it goes a long way to help others feel comfortable.”

An important thing to remember

mits to being shy. “Here’s my secret,” he said in O Magazine. “Before you head to a party, script out a conversational plan. Come up with five topics from pop culture, politics, news, sports—whatever interests you—so you’ll have talking points to help you break the ice.” Make sure your body language sends the right clues. Experts have said at least 80 percent of our communication is nonverbal: the way you look, how you are dressed, your posture, your facial expression, your voice. All of those

People who have difficulty at social gatherings are generally self-conscious. We feel like everyone is paying attention to us, watching us, ready to judge us. That’s why it’s hard to talk to people we don’t know well. We might say the wrong thing and we’ll be judged harshly. Here’s the thing: The No. 1 thing that everybody there is concerned about is himself or herself. They are not paying any attention at all to us; they’re too busy worrying about themselves. We are totally insignificant, like an ant crawling on the floor. We aren’t even on their radar. Try this: The next time you walk into a roomful of people you don’t know, look around and see how many people are actually watching you. How many are actually noticing you. And remember the outcome of this experiment. Happy holidays, and may you enjoy instead of dread those holiday parties.

Don’t let allergies, asthma ruin holidays


oliday gatherings are festive fun, but it’s not easy to be the life of the party when you’re sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. From the host’s overpowering perfume to the nuts in the snack bowl, holiday parties can be a challenge for people with allergies and asthma. “During the holiday season you’re going to be exposed to allergens,” said allergist Myron Zitt, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Be aware of where the problems lie so you can deal with them. And then, have a good time!” Let your host know you’ll be at the party with bells on after following these suggestions from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and its allergist members.


Medicate before you go: There’s almost no avoiding the dusty decorations, the holiday candles, the potpourri or the perfume-doused reveler, and any of them may cause an allergic reaction. Your best bet is to take your antihistamine before you go. Find an allergist who can prescribe appropriate medication. Be the designated driver: Toast your host with sparkling water. In addition to being more clear-headed and safer on the road, you’ll avoid a possible reaction to ingredients, including preservatives in beer or wine. If you think you’ve had a reaction, it’s a good idea to see an allergist to determine the cause your misery. Eat smart: From the creamy dip to the gooey chocolate dessert, holiday goodies can be tempting, but may contain many common allergens,

2 3

including dairy, nuts, soy and wheat. Ask your host if the munchies contain anything you’re allergic to. And if you suffer from severe food allergies, always carry your injectable epinephrine. Steer clear of smoke: The cozy fire in the hearth can warm your cockles but make your lungs wheeze — smoke is a common asthma trigger. Go mingle in another room. Don’t let the greens make you blue: Christmas trees and other holiday greenery that deck the halls look pretty, but are associated with several possible allergens. You may be allergic to the mold commonly found on the trunk or the terpene in the tree sap of a natural tree. And the artificial kind can be covered with dust — a common allergen — after

4 5

December 2011 •

spending the year in the attic. Be sure to thoroughly clean your tree before putting it up. Poinsettias, a member of the rubber tree family, are everywhere this time of year. Stay away if you have a latex allergy Go on the defense: You could exchange more than conversation during cocktail party banter. Flu germs are everywhere and the illness can worsen asthma. Play it safe by getting a seasonal flu shot.


If you find you are sniffling and sneezing year round, allergy shots may be the treatment that can help you put your symptoms behind you for good. To learn more about allergies, asthma and allergy shots, take a self-relief test and find an allergist near you, visit

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9

HIGH CHOLESTEROL? Brand-name drugs are just

generics in disguise. If you take a brand-name prescription drug, you should know that there are new generic and over-the-counter options that can save you money. Not every brandname drug has a generic equivalent, but there are generic and over-the-counter alternatives for treating many conditions, including high cholesterol. Generic drugs are real medicine. They are approved by the FDA as safe and effective, but they cost less. A lot less. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if generic drugs are right for you.

Generics are

A nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association

Some feature stories in this issue:


• On the Cover: Dr. Robert Kiltz, the man who founded CNY Fertility Center, is a man wearing diffrent hats. He discusses turning 55 and his work with in vitro fertilization • SUNY Upstate pediatrician Frederick Roberts retires. At 92 • For gold medal winner in Cazenovia, snow is just the stuff we need. “Bring it On,” she says • This is the high season for mall walkers in CNY. Meet some of them • Hobbies: Meet some 46ers—those who have gone to all or most of the Adirondacks 46 high peaks • Computing: Seniors getting used to online shopping; Identity theft: Boomers are often the target • It’s a Wonderful Word — Is Seneca Falls the real Bedford Falls? Locals have no question about it • Tom Slater, executive director of Food Bank of Central New York, talks about helping the needy • Richard Ford, a musician shaping new generations

Celebrating life after 55. Page 10

Subscribe today and get 55 PLUS magazine mailed to your home! Name ____________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________ City / Town ________________________State ________Zip ________

Clip and Mail to:


4 Riverside Drive, Ste 251, Utica, NY 13502

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

Only $ a Year



Winter is coming... Enjoy the Warmth!!! Come to The Terrace at Woodland. Enjoy the warmth of new friends and comfortable home-like surroundings.

Just a few of our many services:

■ Memory Care Neighborhood-providing increased supervision ■ Nutritious, delicious meals that are served restaurant style ■ Modern, furnished private and semi-private apartments with kitchenette ■ A well developed Activity program encouraging residents to stay active and engaged ■ Ongoing case management and monitoring of health needs ■ Housekeeping. Laundry and Linens provided daily 8299 Turin Road, Rome NY. 13440 315-336-0307

Violence against nurses Number of violent incidents against health care workers on the rise By Aaron Gifford


n the past year alone, there were three attacks against workers at Rome Memorial Hospital. All three victims required medical attention, and criminal charges were filed in two of the incidents, hospital officials said. Violence against nurses and other health care employees in the work place occur more than most people think. And in the case of Rome Hospital, these attacks took place after a new law went into effect last year that made it a felony to attack a nurse on the job. Rome Memorial officials, citing privacy regulations, would not provide details on the incidents. But they did say that the new law highlights the potential risks that potential health care providers face when caring for patients. Basil J. Arigilo, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, said “the law makes it clear that it’s a crime to take anger and frustration out on our nurses.” “Nurses and other healthcare providers are on the frontlines in some very difficult situations,” he said, adding that nurses and other employees have been trained to keep situations from escalating. “Some of our patients are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or have behavioral health issues. Other patients have been injured while committing a crime. These types of patients can come in angry and combative.” At Oneida Healthcare Center, a relatively small hospital that serves a rural community with low crime rates, the emergency room staff report six or seven attacks annually, with injuries ranging from bruises, to black eyes, to knocked out front teeth. A typical year also includes at least one attack against an intensive care unit nurse.

Occupational hazard

“People don’t realize that it’s an occupational hazard,” said John Margo, head of Oneida Healthcare Center’s personnel department. “It’s a myth that sick people can’t hurt you.”

Nationally, there were a total of 2,050 assaults or violent attacks against registered nurses in the workplace in 2009, according to the American Nurses Association. The vast majority of those attacks was committed by patients, though 80 of them were committed by visitors. Between 2003 and 2009, eight nurses were killed on the job. The ANA also found that the health care industry leads all other industries in the nation in number of non-fatal assaults against its employees. The Emergency Nurses Association, meanwhile, found that 8-to-13 percent of emergency department nurses nationwide are attacked verbally or physically by patients in the work place every week. That finding was the result of a survey of 3,200 nurses. A 2009 article in the Journal of Nursing Administration cited a separate survey of nurses who were attacked in hospitals. It found that the most common factors related to the attacks included use of alcohol or drugs, psychiatric problems, dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, prolonged wait times, high patient volumes, perceptions that the staff is uncaring, staff shortage and poorly enforced visitor policy. The trend was noticeable enough to prompt nursing organizations to successfully lobby state government to make it a felony to attack nurses, as it is with firefighters and police officers. The law took effect in November 2010. Two months later, the New York State Nurses Association launched a public awareness campaign and began distributing posters that said: “Assaulting a nurse is a shame. And it’s a crime. It’s a felony in New York state to assault a nurse on duty.” “Every nurse deserves to be safe at work, but a safe work environment not only benefits nurses, it is also good for patients,” said Claire Murray, executive director of New York Organization of Nurse Executives.

NEED HELP? Leslie K. DeWolfe

• Senior Health Insurance Representative • Senior Health Insurance Supplements. • Life, Hospital, Indemnity, and Cancer Plans. • Special Needs Insurance Call Toll Free 877-549-3921 or 315-225-4899. FREE QUOTES AND INFORMATION!

New law on the books

Local hospital officials could not

Continued on Page 15 December 2011 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11

Skin Care Foods for healthy skin You are what you eat By Barbara Pierce


hat you put on your plate is far more important than what you put on your skin. “What you eat definitely does affect your skin,” said Jonelle E. Ritchie of A Personal Touch Beauty Spa, New Hartford. The healthier the foods that you eat and drink, the better your skin will look. “We begin our beauty consults with looking at a healthy diet,” said Christie Shahin, licensed cosmetologist and owner and operator of Faces of Astarte/Expressions Eco Salon in Little Falls. “When Shahin we are healthy inside it is reflected in our appearance.” “Your skin is built from the inside out,” said Joy Bauer on the “Today Show.” Bauer is the “Today Show’s” nutrition and diet expert. “Skin draws its healthy glow from good nutrition.” Good nutrition can minimize both acne and wrinkles. To have great skin, vibrant, younger looking, glowing skin, what you eat and drink does matter. The reverse is true as well. The less attention we pay to what goes in our mouth, the more problems we may see cropping up on our skin.

What to drink; what not to drink

“We all know, and have heard from multiple sources, that water is essential,” Ritchie said. “It helps flush away toxins and impurities.” Just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin. It can be especially beneficial to those with acne. A study showed that drinking about two cups of water increased blood flow to the skin. You may have noticed how great your skin looks after a workout. That is because of increased blood flow. Increased blood flow is what flushes away the toxins; flushing away the toxins contributes to glowing skin. Skin care experts say that green tea has many beneficial effects on skin, overall. And it has been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Some experts say green tea is “your skin’s best bet.” Alcohol is harmful to your skin. It dehydrates your skin, makes it dry. Too much alcohol can result in the loss of Vitamin A, which is important to skin health. Excess alcohol can even cause swollen blood vessels. Red wine is an exception, up to a limit. One glass a day is good for your skin, as red wine has anti-aging properties. More than that causes dehydration.

Caffeine is also a diuretic; it dehydrates your skin. It’s not necessary to skip your morning cup of coffee, but stay away from large quantities of caffeine.

Foods with simple carbs

Bauer advises us to stay away from foods that contain simple carbohydrates, such as white rice, white bread, breakfast pastries, bagels, etc. This involves foods that are made of all white flour and sugar and foods that have a high glycemic index. The glycemic index indicates the effect a food has on our blood sugar; the higher the glycemic index, the faster the food is converted to sugar and the faster it raises our blood glucose and insulin levels, not a good thing for anyone. High levels of glucose can trigger acne, as well as contribute to collagen depletion. Collagen depletion is what ages your skin. Instead, eat whole grain bread and cereals. And fruits and vegetables. And nuts. These all contribute to healthy skin. The key to healthy skin is a wellbalanced diet.

Fats weigh in

“Healthy fats are vital for clear skin, strong nails, and healthy hair,” Shahin explained. Bad fats increase your cholesterol and your risk of

certain diseases, while healthy fats support overall health. Healthy fats—such as omega-3 fats and polyunsaturated fats—are absolutely essential. Vitamin A is important to skin health. One of the best places to get it is from low-fat dairy products. Low fat yogurt is not only high in vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the “live” bacteria that is good for intestinal health and the skin. Other things you may not know are good for your skin. “Foods rich in antioxidants are essential for cellular repair, including those on the superficial layer of our skin,” said Ritchie. Antioxidants help keep our cells alive and healthy. Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry and fish. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums are the best of any food, containing many benefits for skin. Dark chocolate is rich in things that are good for your skin. But it’s got to be dark chocolate.

Skin care

Some makeup products do irritate the skin and cause acne. Both Faces of Astarte Eco Salon and A Personal Touch Beauty Spa use all natural ingredients. “Keeping a healthy balance of both what you eat and what you put on your skin will help develop that natural glow that we all desire,” Ritchie concluded.

TRANSPLANTS Recipients at increased risk of 32 types of cancer


eople who receive an organ transplant have an increased risk of developing 32 types of cancer, a new study finds. Some of the most common cancers in transplant recipients include kidney, liver and lung cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the results show. Transplant recipients have double the risk of developing any cancer, compared with people who have not had a transplant, the researchers said. The increased risk of cancer comes, in part, from the medications transplant recipients must take to avoid rejecting the transplanted organ. These medications suppress the immune system, and may elevate the risk for infection-related cancers, said study researcher Dr. Eric Engels, of the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute. In some cases, immune-suppressing medications may act as carcinogens and directly contribute to cancer’s development, Page 12

the researchers suggest. “Clearer understanding of the pattern of cancer risk associated with solid organ transplantation may help future patients have better, healthier outcomes,” Engels said.

Meds reduce risk of organ rejection

In 2010, a total of 28,664 organ transplants were performed in the U.S., including 16,899 kidney, 6,291 liver, 2,333 heart and 1,770 lung transplants. Previous studies have suggested that transplant recipients are at a higher risk for cancer than the general population. However, these studies focused mainly on those who received kidney transplants, and some studies were too small to accurately estimate risk for all but the most common cancer types. In the new study, Engels and colleagues evaluated medical data from more than 175,700 U.S. transplant recipients, accounting for about 40

percent of all people who received transplanted organs from 1987 through 2008. The data came from the U.S. registry of transplant recipients and 13 state or regional cancer registries. About 14 percent of transplant recipients developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. The risk of this cancer was seven times higher in transplant recipients than in the general population, and was highest for lung recipients. NonHodgkin lymphoma is known to be related to immune suppression and infection with Epstein-Barr virus, the researchers said.

Lung, liver and kidney cancers

Lung cancer was the second most common cancer, found in 12.6 percent of recipients. This may be because the patients already had smoking-related diseases, the researchers said. In cases involving a single lung transplant, lung

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

cancer typically arises in the recipient’s remaining diseased lung rather than the transplanted one. Liver cancer occurred in 8.7 percent of recipients. The increased risk for liver cancer may be due to recurrent hepatitis B or C infection in the transplanted liver. And 7.1 percent of recipients had kidney cancer. Recipients of kidney transplants have damaged kidneys, frequently including multiple kidney cysts, which can become cancerous. “We wish to understand how medical conditions, and individual immunosuppressive medications, may contribute to cancer risk. In addition, we hope our findings will stimulate other research into the carcinogenic mechanisms associated with organ transplantation,” Engels said. The study was published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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

By Jim Miller

Funeral planning on a budget With the average cost of a ‘full-service’ funeral running around $10,000, it’s worth shopping around Dear Savvy Senior, I just turned 75, and have been thinking about getting my funeral and burial arrangements taken care of so my kids won’t have to. What funeral preplanning tips can you offer a senior with little money? Not Dead Yet Dear Not, Planning your funeral in advance is a wise move. Not only does it give you time to make a thoughtful decision on the type of service you want, it also allows you to shop around to find a good funeral provider, and it will spare your kids the stress of making these decisions at an emotional time. Here are some tips to help you find affordable services. Compare providers

Choosing a quality funeral home is your first step and most important decision in preplanning your funeral. No matter what type of funeral or memorial service you envision for yourself, it’s wise to talk with several funeral homes because prices and services can vary. Websites like and can help you compare. When comparing, be sure you take advantage of the “funeral rule.” This is a federal law that requires funeral home directors to provide you with an itemized price list of their products and services so you can choose exactly what you want. Be sure to ask for it.

Money savers

With the average cost of a “fullservice” funeral running around $10,000, there are ways to save that few people know about. For example, if a traditional funeral and burial is what you’re interested in, you can save big — at least 50 percent — by purchasing your casket from a store vs. the funeral home, and your funeral provider must accept it. Two good casket shopping resources that may surprise you are Walmart (visit and type in “casket” in their search engine) and Costco ( who offers its members a large variety of caskets and urns at discounted prices.

Another way to cut your funeral bill is to request a “direct burial” or “direct cremation.” With these options your body would be buried or cremated shortly after death, which skips the embalming and viewing. If your family wants a memorial service they can have it at the graveside or at later without the body. These services usually cost between $1,000 and $2,000, not counting cemetery charges.

Should you prepay?

Be aware that preplanning your funeral doesn’t mean you have to prepay too. But if you are considering paying in advance, be cautious. Prepaid plans are not regulated by federal law and state regulation is uneven. Before you sign anything, here are some areas you need to be very clear on: • Be sure you know exactly what you’re paying for before committing. • Are the prices locked in or will an additional payment be required at the time of death? • What happens if you move to a different area or die while away from home? Some prepaid funeral plans can be transferred, but often at an added cost. • Are you protected if the funeral home goes out of business or if it’s bought out by another company? • Can you cancel the contract and get a full refund if you change your mind? • If you do decide to prepay, get all the details of the agreement in writing, have the funeral director sign it, and give copies to your family so they know what’s expected.

Other payment option

There are other ways to set aside money for your funeral, rather than giving it to a funeral home. You can set up a payable-on-death, or POD account at your bank, naming the person you want to handle your arrangements as the beneficiary. With this type of account, you maintain control of your money, so if you need funds for medical expenses or something else, you can withdraw it at any time. This type of fund is also available immediately at the time of your death without the delay of probate.

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.


Save some time during the holidays—online

he holidays are here and that means busy days ahead for families across the nation: gift shopping, preparing for guests, sending out holiday greetings, looking up recipes for favorite traditional dishes, checking those credit card and bank account balances. Many people have found an easier way to manage many of their activities of the holiday season by going online. Some shoppers have eliminated the need to go to crowded shopping malls for holiday gifts by taking care of it over the Internet. Some even look up recipes on the Internet and send holiday greetings by email. You’ll find that these types of convenient, secure transactions can also be found in places you may not ordinarily think to look — for example, at www. You can apply online for benefits, obtain information, plan for retirement, and request a replacement Medicare card, even apply for extra help with your prescription drug costs all at You can handle much of your Social Security business quickly and securely from your home or office computer. If you visit our website at you will find that you can:

• get an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits; • apply for retirement, disability, and spouse’s benefits; • check the status of your benefit application; • change your address and phone number, if you receive monthly benefits; • sign-up for direct deposit of Social Security benefits; • use our benefit planners to help you better understand your Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future; • find the nearest Social Security office; and • request a replacement Medicare card.

Q: When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, are benefits payable on that person’s record?

Should I get a new one? A: You may not need to get a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important. However, you can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. Remember, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Learn more at


A: Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to: • A widow or widower — unreduced benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60; • A disabled widow or widower — as early as age 50; • A widow or widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits; • Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending high school full time. Under certain circumstances, benefits can be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children; • Children at any age who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled; and • Dependent parents age 62 or older. Even if you are divorced, you still may qualify for survivors benefits. For more information, go to Q: I lost my Social Security card.

December 2011 •

Looking for more Social Security information? You can go online to find out almost anything you need to know about the Social Security program. Information is available on subjects ranging from how to get a Social Security number for a newborn to how to go back to work while receiving disability benefits. This holiday season, do you want to have more time to visit with friends and family? If so, take care of your Social Security business at

Q: If both my spouse and I are entitled to Social Security benefits, is there any reduction in our payments because we are married? A: No. We calculate lifetime earnings independently to determine each spouse’s Social Security benefit amount. When each member of a married couple meets all other eligibility requirements to receive Social Security retirement benefits, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. Couples are not penalized simply because they are married. If one member of the couple earned low wages or failed to earn enough Social Security credits (40) to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse. Learn more about Social Security at

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

Teen Health Talk to your teen Plot a careful strategy when approaching your offspring By Barbara Pierce


he most difficult time of a person’s life is being a teenager. The second most difficult time is being the parent of a teenager. “She’s changed overnight,” said Cheryl about her 14-year-old daughter, Crystal. “Last year, she talked to me about everything that was going on in her life. Now when I try to talk to her, she gives me vague answers, and I never feel like I know what she’s up to. It’s really frustrating. When I ask her, she gets mad at me. I’m worried about the things she isn’t saying.” Crystal is right on target. When kids are between the ages of 12 to 15, they begin to separate from their parents; they are becoming their own person. They rely on their friends for emotional support and turn away from their parents. They become concerned about their privacy. At a time in their life when they most need the guidance of a caring adult, when they most need to talk about what is going on in their life, it is this time when they pull away from their parents.

Words to the wise

Here are some tips from experts on how to tap into teen communication lines and keep a conversation going. • “Don’t judge what they say. Don’t get defensive. And don’t criti-

cize,” urged Kathryn Moss, family advocate of the Center for Family Life and Advocacy in Utica. They will shut down communicating with you the minute you begin judging or criticizing. “Be open to your kids, and listen.” It is hard to hold back on giving advice. It is hard to just listen. But that is what they need the most. What they don’t need, and won’t listen to, is a lecture. Don’t lecture or preach at them. They will tune you out, and you will cut down on your chances of having a good conversation with them in the future. • Listening is a skill that a parent of a teen must have. The more you talk, the less they will listen. The more you listen, the more they will talk. You will get better results if you use a stealth approach—initiate a conversation with seemingly harmless questions. Because if you ask straightforward questions, he or she will deflect

KIDS Corner Children’s use of asthma controller drugs doubles


he proportion of children who used a prescribed controller drug to treat their asthma doubled from 29 percent in 1997–1998 to 58 percent in 2007–2008, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Asthma controller drugs such as cortisteroids, control inflammation thereby reducing the likelihood of airway spasms; asthma reliever drugs, such as short-acting beta-2-agonists, make breathing easier; and leukotrienes help prevent asthma symptoms from occurring. Page 14

AHRQ also found that during the 1997–1998 and 2007–2008 timeframes: • Use of inhaled corticosteroids, a type of controller drug increased from 15.5 percent to 40 percent. Use of other controller drugs also increased: beta agonists (from 3 percent to 13 percent); and leukotriene (from 3 percent to 34 percent). • Use of reliever and oral corticosteroid drugs declined from 44 percent to 30 percent and from 17 percent to 9 percent, respectively. • Average annual total spending for all asthma drugs more than quadrupled from $527 million to $2.5 billion.

the question and the communication will stop. Ask harmless questions, like “What video game are you playing?” or “What do you think about Lady Gaga’s latest look?” And bring up your harmless questions in a casual way, like when you’re in the car together, or making a meal together. Don’t try to have a discussion when you’re mad at them for something they did, or didn’t. Wait until you calm down. • With teens, information comes to you in bits and pieces. Gather those bits and pieces to fill in the big picture. “Teenagers do not want instant understanding,” said child psychologist Haim Ginott. “They feel unique. Their emotions seem new, personal, and private. No one else ever felt just so. They are insulted when you say, ‘I know exactly how you feel. At your age I felt the same.’ The sad truth is that no matter how wise we are, we cannot know fully how they feel. And we cannot be right for any length of time in our teenager’s eyes.”

Be sensitive to feelings

And don’t take away the feelings they have. If your daughter says, “I’m so upset; I can’t go out of the house today because of this big pimple,” squelch

Specifically, spending for controller drugs grew from $280 million to $2.1 billion and for reliever drugs, the increase was $222 million to $352 million (all in 2008 dollars). • Spending for oral corticosteroids fell from $25 million to $8 million (2008 dollars).

Low birthweight infants have five times rate of autism Autism researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have found a link between low birthweight and children diagnosed with autism, reporting premature infants are five times more likely to have autism than children born at normal weights. The children, some born as small as about a pound, were followed for 21 years making this study, published in the journal Pediatrics, one of the most remarkable of its kind. The infants were born between September 1984 through July 1987 in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in New Jersey at birthweights from 500 to 2000 grams or a maximum of about 4.4 pounds. “As survival of the smallest and most immature babies improves, impaired survivors represent an increas-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

the urge to say, “That’s ridiculous! That’s nothing to be upset about.” If your son says, “I’m so mad at Brian because of what he said about me to Savannah,” do not say, “He’s your best friend; how can you be mad at him?” Instead validate their feelings, and perhaps they will say more about the situation, and you can help them talk themselves into seeing it from a different perspective. “Don’t hurry to correct facts,” advises Ginott. “Teenagers often respond to corrections with obstinacy. They become unreachable and unteachable, determined not to be influenced by anyone or forced into anything.” When you turn out to be right about something you predicted, don’t rub their nose in it. Forget you are right. As the parent, you do have the right to set the limits. You must set limits. They must understand the limits of acceptable behavior. Even better, enlist them in setting the limits, and the punishment for violating the limits. If they have had a say about the limits and the consequences, they are more likely to not test the limits. Communication with a teen takes practice. And even the best techniques don’t always work. Keep trying. Good communication is our best hope for letting teenagers know we are available to help them to make good choices. ing public health challenge,” wrote lead author Jennifer Pinto-Martin, director of the Center Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) at Penn Nursing. “Emerging studies suggest that low birthweight may be a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders.” Links between low birthweight and a range of motor and cognitive problems have been well established for some time, but this is the first study that establishes that these children are also at increased risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). “Cognitive problems in these children may mask underlying autism,” said Pinto-Martin. “If there is suspicion of autism or a positive screening test for ASD, parents should seek an evaluation for an ASD. Early intervention improves long-term outcome and can help these children both at school and at home.” The researchers, including a team at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, followed 862 children from birth to young adulthood finding that five percent of the children were diagnosed with autism, compared to one percent of the general population in what researchers called “the first study to have estimated the prevalence of ASD using research validated diagnostic instruments.”



Your Doctor


By Patricia J. Malin

Health director aims for efficiency Continued from Page 4 capped children, tuberculosis detection, lead prevention, WIC, immunizations, emergency preparedness, etc. Q.: What are your goals for the department? A.: My first goal is to make us more efficient by providing services that people need, and to reduce duplication. We’re responsible for everyone in Oneida County. That’s 235,000 people we’re reaching with our services. Another goal is to achieve accreditation for our health department, finding grants to supplement (programs) or attract other funds. To my dismay, we don’t have a grant writer in our department. Q.: What have you accomplished since coming to the Oneida County Health Department? A.: We have redirected our com-

Continued from Page 2

Dec. 1

munications and website to focus on writing in plain language. We’re getting the message out to people. We’re redesigning our education, promotion, intervention (programs/brochures) to be simple. If it’s simple, people are more apt to use it. I’m also making sure our staff is pleasant to everyone; we are in the customer service business. We’re listening to people, and making the health department user-friendly. We’re reaching out to certain populations, for example, our diabetes education program is new. We’re focusing more on diabetes prevention. We started a program for county employees called “Get Moving.” Our employees are our best assets, so we want them to understand the importance of being well. When I look back on the past year, it’s been the shortest but busiest time of my life.

Regional nurses face job hazard Healthcare workers exposed to violence Continued from Page 11 recall any cases where any patients in the past year have been charged with a felony, but they believe the new law does serve as a deterrent. It also gives nurses peace of mind. Margo said hospitals should not be too quick to press felony charges in every case. Patients with dementia or those who become confused after waking up in a hospital or while medicated “might not rise to the occasion where they should be charged with that kind of penalty,” he said. “There are cases where people wake up and they’re not always in the right frame of mind,” he said. “You can’t restrain people.” Oneida Healthcare Center regularly treats inmates from the Madison County Jail and the state prison in Rome. There have not been any incidents with inmates yet, Margo recalled, and hopefully this law will further decrease the likelihood of any attacks. In addition, Oneida Healthcare Center has paid security employees as well as a system for quickly dispatching them to a location in the hospital. “We have a show of force so hopefully the patient doesn’t strike out, and I think this new law will also make them (patients) think twice about it,” Margo said. “You’ve got to plan ahead for the worst-case scenario.”

FSLH is ready

Likewise, Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare in New Hartford has several security measures in place to protect nurses

and other workers, including behavior management technique training, a 24-hour security team that includes parking patrols, a swipe-card system, emergency call buttons throughout the facility, and restricted access into the hospital after 9 p.m. In addition, all visitors are monitored after 9 p.m. The New Hartford police patrol the facility 21 hours per week even though the hospital has security workers. The hospital also has a safety and emergency management committee that monitors workplace violence incidents. “The staff at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare provides exceptional care for patients, and our job is to make sure they are able to provide care without the fear of being injured by a patient,” said Stephanie R. Nesbitt, the hospital’s risk manager and associate counsel. “We have seen an increase of violence in the workplace. We continue to review and enact procedures that help reduce violence and aggression toward health care workers with the support of our security team and local police departments. Our goal is to always keep our patients, visitors, employees and medical staff safe,” she said. St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica has several policies and procedures in place to protect all employees, but nothing has been added or changed as a result of the violence against nurses’ law, said Patrick Buckley, vice president for human resources. He said the medical center maintains a 24-hour security force, and access to the facility is limited between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Health Night explores bone health and osteoporosis “Osteoporosis—A Silent Disease” will be the topic of Rome Memorial Hospital’s Health Night Lecture at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in the hospital’s classroom. The speaker will be Cindy Webb, a licensed radiologic technologist in the hospital’s medical imaging department. Webb Webb will discuss bone health basics, osteoporosis detection and prevention and tips for healthy living. Health Night is a monthly lecture series, sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital. Advance registration is not required. Refreshments will be served. Rome Memorial Hospital’s classroom is located on the second floor of the hospital. Participants are asked to enter the North James Street entrance of the hospital. For more information, call 3387143.

Dec. 3

Endoscopy Center plans open house The new Mohawk Valley Endoscopy Center, 116 Business Park Drive, Utica, will be holding a community open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3. The public is invited.

Dec. 11

RMH presents Senior Live & Learn program Everyone wants to feel better, have a good night’s sleep and be happy. Recreational activities can help us do just that, explained Christina Dulan, quality of life coordinator for Rome Memorial Hospital’s Residential Health Care Facility. “Keeping Active: Let’s Have Fun”

December 2011 •

will be the December topic of Rome Memorial Hospital’s monthly Senior Live & Learn program, a free educational outreach program designed for seniors. Dulan will present the program at 1 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Ava Dorfman Senior Citizens Civic Center, 305 E. Locust St., Rome. Live and Learn is open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.

Dec. 11

Compassionate Friends to host candle lighting In remembrance of all children who have died, the Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley will host a candle lighting as part of the Compassionate Friends worldwide candle lighting event. The Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley is an organization dedicated to providing a safe environment to actively help families work toward the positive resolution of their grief following the death of a child. The event will take place from 7-8 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Stittville United Methodist Church, 9066 Main St., Stittville. There will be a “sharing” session after the ceremony for those interested from approximately 8-9 p.m. Those planning to attend are asked to bring a picture of their child to display. Also, attendees are invited to bring a favorite dish of their child’s to share. The event is free and refreshments and snacks will be served. Registration will take place on the evening of the event from 6-6:45 p.m. RSVP by email at or by phone at 315-736-8684.

Dec. 27

‘Women At The Well’ session scheduled “Women at the Well” meets at 6:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The “Women at the Well” program nurtures every woman of any age in her spiritual growth. It is designed to fill her “well” spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The program is free and open to women of all faiths. For details or to register, call The Good News Center at (315)735-6210 or visit—Events Calendar.

Advertise with In Good Health

Call 315-749-7070 IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

Milestones Insight House celebrates 40 years Utica-based agency creates tradition of substance abuse treatment


nsight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. celebrated its 40th anniversary and 8th annual Recovery Month Recognition recently at the Radisson Hotel in Utica. This year, the agency honored Deputy Sheriff Neil Larrivey with the Prevention Youth Award; Colleen Callaghan-Kirkland with the Recovery Community Award; and Scott A. George with the Paul F. Vitagliano, Sr. “President’s Award.” Susan McGuiggan and Amira Stranjac were named employees of the year. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente was on hand to offer his congratulations to the honorees. Opened in January 1971, the agency’s arrival was a reflection of a cultural change that increasingly saw a need to treat a growing number of people for their drug use. Insight House was created just three months after Oneida County Executive Harry S. Daniels established a drug task force to study local drug problems. Paul F. Vitagliano, Sr., a former Oneida County probation officer, was appointed as the agency’s first director. Insight House began operations in a large, Victorian style house at 400 Rutger St., with donated furniture and a host of volunteers to paint the inside of the building. The Oneida County Narcotics Guidance Council issued a news release on Jan. 15, 1971 stating that “Insight House

will render confidential treatment and counseling for young people with a drug abuse problem who need and desire help.” The vision that Vitagliano had for a substance abuse treatment facility was rather unique at the time. As long-time employee Sharon Cooper noted, “Paul was extremely determined, and he had a real passion for seeking out better methods to use to treat people for their alcohol or drug problem. There wasn’t much to refer to back then on how to run a program. We had to develop things around his vision. If we needed space or furniture or supplies, Paul found a way to get them.”

Stressing prevention

Insight House has always felt that the prevention of an addiction disorder is equally as important as its treatment. The agency’s school-based student assistance program has been providing services to schools since the agency’s start, and was formally certified as a prevention services provider by New York state in 1981. Insight House continues to offer school-based drug and alcohol prevention services, including counseling and assembly/classroom presentations, as well as educational programming for the community. The prevention services unit now reaches out each year to over 10,000 students, teachers and parents in 10 school districts across three counties. From its start as a small drug treatment facility on Rutger Steet, Insight House has grown and expanded its service offerings substantially over the past four decades. In 1988, the agency commenced its first residential program at a second location on Rutger Street, with a total of 16 beds. Insight House’s two facilities on Rutger Street were consolidated in 1993, as the agency moved into the renovated former Potter Street School at 500 Whitesboro St. Expanded outpatient services and a 44-bed residential program became available at that site, which continues to be the agency’s main office. The agency is governed by an 11-member board of directors and some individuals have been active board members for over 30 years, providing guidance as the agency Above is the original Insight House brochure. expanded.

Page 16

From left, Insight House Prevention and Training Director Paul Vitagliano Jr. and president and CEO Donna M. Vitagliano join Insight House honorees Deputy Sheriff Neil Larrivey, Colleen Callaghan-Kirkland, and Scott A. George during the agency’s 40th anniversary celebration and 8th annual Recovery Recognition Dinner held recently at the Radisson Hotel in Utica. Insight House now has a staff of over 100 and treats up to several hundred people each day.

Milestones achieved

Other milestones followed: • In 1997, Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. was incorporated as a not-for-profit agency. • In 2001, the agency’s Family & Education Center opened at 2512 Genesee St. in South Utica. • In 2008, Insight House introduced the Women’s Day Treatment Program, a unique and intensive outpatient program with all-female clients, counselors and staff. Donna Vitagliano has been the agency’s president and chief executive officer since 1998. “While proud of our four decades of service, we are always seeking to better serve our clients. We recently strengthened our staff by adding both a psychiatrist and a mental health counselor to accommodate those individuals diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and a substance or alcohol problem,” she said. The Women’s Day Treatment Program has now completed its third full year of operation, and it continues to have a waiting list for those wishing to participate. Also, the range of adolescent groups and individual sessions has expanded recently to accommodate a growing youth population now engaged in treatment.” As Vitagliano reflected back on the past four decades, she is thankful for the assistance the agency has received over the years. “Insight House is privileged to be a part of such a caring and wonderful community. What hasn’t changed in

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

the last 40 years is this community’s compassion and ability to care for others. We have been fortunate to have developed strong working relationships with many other central New York agencies and organizations, allowing us to work together to assist individuals on a path to recovery,” she said. “I believe that the people in this area are truly unique in their kindness and desire to come together to assist those who are struggling in one way or another. I hope that attitude can prevail for at least another 40 years.”

Paul F. Vitagliano Sr., circa 1971


Your Administrator

By Patricia J. Malin

Leslie Green

Leslie Green was recently promoted to director of adult day care services at Presbyterian Homes & Services in New Hartford. Since spending her entire 34-year career at the Presbyterian Home, Green told Mohawk Valley In Good Health correspondent Patricia J. Malin it has become her second home. Q.: How does it feel to be named director? A.: The 34 years have gone by so fast that it still feels like my first day here. Q.: What was your first day like? A.: It was 1977 and I was a senior in high school, getting ready to go on to nursing school. I didn’t know anybody. I started here as an aide and then I got my license. Since then, I’ve worked every shift and every unit in the building. But I can’t say I planned to stay here! My mother told me to give it two weeks and I ended up staying. I started full-time as a nurse’s aide on May 1, 1978. Q.: How have things changed here since 1978? A.: There used to be only 80 beds. Now there are 242 beds, plus outpatient therapy. There used to be long waiting lists. We have a lot more services now, including breakfast and a hairdresser on the premises, and many daytime activities. We are now a medical model, as well as a social model. We can administer medications, check their blood pressure, weight, consult with their doctors and get them to walk as much as possible. Because therapy is included, it’s a win-win for the participants and their families. About six or seven years ago, we added a dementia and Parkinson’s unit. Years ago, when I was a medication administrator, we would give out four separate doses a day. The medications have changed a lot. Now we have a lot more security in the medication unit. We started with 82 beds in the skilled nursing unit and now we have 92, but they’ve been moved to a separate residential unit next door. We also have The Meadows, an independent living facility on our campus, plus Preswick Glen (on Route 12B in New Hartford), which is totally independent living for seniors (opened in November 2007.) We have also built a pool for aquatic therapy and residents have access to a gym and exercise equipment. Q.: Why did you choose a career in health? A.: I always wanted to be a nurse. In high school, I began taking nursing courses at BOCES. I like to make a fuss about (the participants.) When I was a nurse’s aide, I used to bathe them, dress them, feed them, and transport them. Back then, we didn’t have any lift equipment. The young kids don’t know what it’s like to work without lift equipment.

Q.: What other positions have you held here? A.: I started as a part-time nurse in September 1977 and became full-time in December 1977 while continuing my education. Just a few years later, I joined the employee council and I’ve been on it for 30 years. In 1982, I became a charge nurse. Green That was also the year the Maple Unit opened and I requested a change of schedule to work 11 to 7. We added 40 beds in the skilled nursing unit for long-term care. In 1989, I went to the health-related units (assisted living) known as Aspen and Birch. Q.: What are your goals now that you are the daycare director? A.: Primarily, I will continue the status quo. However, I would like to see more participation and more registrants come in from the outside community. People need these services, but they don’t realize what we have here. We have 25 activities they can register for. We can provide door-to-door transportation, but the families have the option of bringing in a participant. We have people coming from as far as Oneida and Clayville and have had some from Rome in the past. Some come five and six days a week. We also take them on day trips; for example, to the zoo or the casino and out to restaurants. We also have representatives come in from the Stevens-Swan Humane Society, or pharmacists and others who give healthcare lectures. Years ago, there were no classes, no teaching of residents. Now we let them use computers and keep them more active. We have a gym. We also have residents councils so they can make suggestions on what they want. But not everyone has to participate in a group activity. The individuals have a choice. Q.: What changes would you like to implement? A.: Besides an increased enrollment, I would like to develop other ideas as our population changes. I

Leslie Green, right, director of adult day care services at Presbyterian Homes & Services in New Hartford, and activity aide Cynthia Vanderwalker introduce Mia, a Labrador retriever, to daycare resident Jean Tomaino. know people have different interests. There will be changes day-to-day. I will be preparing the budget for the first time. I know the money is there. I would like to have a room with a bed where residents can be examined by a nurse if they’re sick or can have their dressings changed. We don’t have a place like that yet. Q.: Is the day care program limited to seniors? A.: No, there is no age discrimination. We have one woman who is 40 and has Down syndrome. Her sister is on the staff and she comes five days a week. Our oldest participant is 93. We

have had some who were 100 years old and had been coming here for a long time. Q.: In 2010, you received an award as healthcare professional of the year, outstanding direct care provider from the Genesis Group of Utica/ Medical Societies. Have you received other awards? A.: I have received a lot of recognition from my residents and their families during my career here at Presbyterian Home. I have taken care of three generations of one family. I have wonderful co-workers and some of us consider each other our Presbyterian Home family.

Lifelines Age: 51 Hometown: Westmoreland Residence: Westmoreland Education: Westmoreland Central School, graduated 1978; Oneida County BOCES, LPN program, 1977-78 Family: Single; 11 brothers and sisters Hobbies: Family, horses, casino, and camping

December 2011 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

H ealth News Community impact grants available Dr. Frank Dubeck, president of the American Heart Association Greater Utica Area Advisory Board, along with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, are requesting applications for the 2011-2012 Greater Utica Area Community Impact Grant. It was recognized that there was a need to support community-based activities that address the AHA mission to fight heart disease and stroke. Many local community groups and organizations are working, or would like to work, on projects that would result in improvements in the cardiovascular health of their communities. AHA in Utica will receive $25,000 next year, which will provide funding for community-based organizations in the Greater Utica area. Dubeck said as the AHA focuses its attention on systems change, it often lacks local staff presence to directly participate and support many of these community initiatives. This funding will help to ensure that activities continue and new, creative projects are developed. Grant applications are requested that support projects aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease, stroke and their risk factors. For more information about each cause, visit To request a community impact grant application, call the AHA at 315266-5403 or email heartofutica@heart. org. The deadline to submit grant applications is Dec. 31.

AHA names ‘fit-friendly’ companies in Utica The American Heart Association recognized 11 Utica-area organizations as Start! Fit-Friendly Companies for promoting physical activity and health in the workplace. The Fit-Friendly Company initiative recognizes businesses that encourage employees to eat better and move more. The AHA congratulates Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, Inc. on the renewal of its platinum status. Platinum-level employers offer employees physical activity options in the workplace; increase healthy eating options at the worksite; promote a wellness culture in the workplace; implement at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture; and demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness. Additional companies that received gold-level status are: ECR International, Inc., Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, Fiber Instrument Sales, Inc., First Source Federal Credit Union, The House of the Good Shepherd, Mele Companies, NYCM Insurance, Rome Memorial Hospital, St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Utica College. These 11 companies join more than 1,000 companies that have been recognized nationally. The American Heart Association Fit-Friendly recognition helps change Page 18

corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

Presbyterian Homes & Services honors employees Presbyterian Homes & Services in New Hartford held its 33rd annual employee recognition dinner at Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel recently. The night’s events included company board members, executives and administrators welcoming employees and expressing their appreciation followed by an awards ceremony. This year’s recipient of the Dr. Anna Gosline Award was Susan Antalek for demonstrating exemplary qualities in her work with residents. Other awards were handed out to employees for their years of service and dedication.

Excellus moves program back in house Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has created 26 new jobs and six temporary positions in Upstate New York as it brings its disease management program back in-house. The health insurer and its affiliates now employ more than 6,500 people, primarily in Upstate New York. “We are doing this because our own employees are able to deliver comprehensive, high-quality health care management at a lower cost than the outside vendor we have been using for a number of years,” said Christopher Booth, president and chief operating officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “The new jobs are spread across our Utica, Buffalo and Rochester offices.” The company’s new in-house disease management program is being offered to most employer groups at no additional cost. Any self-funded employer that wants to buy a higher level of enhanced services continues to be able to do so. “The disease management program offers the full continuum of care—from preventive services and management of chronic conditions to acute care and end-of-life support,” Booth said. The service is available for Excellus BCBS’ commercial, Medicare and federal employee program members, including employers who have its HealthyBlue coverage. The disease management program for safety net products such as Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and ValuMed Plus was already administered in-house.

FSLH makes staff announcements Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently made the following medical staff announcements: • Madana Mohana Reddy Vallem has joined Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare as an orthopedic surgeon. Vallem earned his medical degree from Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad, India, where he also completed his residency in orthopedics at Gandhi Medical College. He com-

pleted a fellowship in orthopedic hand surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, an adult joint reconstruction fellowship (primary and revision total hip and knee replacement surgeries) at University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va., and an orthopedic trauma fellowship at Virginia ComVallem monwealth University in Richmond, Va. • John Vakios, radiation oncologist with 21st Century Oncology, has joined the radiation oncology department FSLH. Vakios completed his undergraduate education at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and received his medical degree from the UniVakios versity of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He completed an internship in surgery at Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., a neurosurgery residency at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pa., and an internal medicine internship at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J. Vakios is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Staff announcements at FSLH Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently made the following staff announcements: • Mary Beth Dowling has been named nurse manager for the ICU, CCU and 2 West for FSLH. Prior to this position, she was the nurse manager for the ICU and CCU and also served as the relationshipbased care coordinator, where she was responsible for overseeing the RBC program throughout the organization. She has also Dowling held registered nurse and clinician positions at FSLH. Dowling received her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from SUNYIT UticaRome and her associate’s degree in nursing and business from Mohawk Valley Community College. • Richard Evans has been named the assistant nurse manager of 2 West FSLH. He has been employed at FSLH since 1993, most recently as a nurse clinician in the education department.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

Prior to this, he was a staff nurse in the telemetry unit, emergency department and radiology department as well as an instructor in the school of radiology. Evans received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Utica College and Canyon College Evans and his associate’s degree in nursing from Onondaga Community College. • Karen Nesci is the assistant nurse manager of the ICU and CCU for FSLH. She began working at FSLH in 1999 as a staff RN in the ICU and also supported the organization as a hospital supervisor. Nesci received her nursing degree from St. Elizabeth’s College of NursNesci ing, her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SUNYIT Utica-Rome and her master’s degree in healthcare policy and management from The New School for Social Research in New York City.

Consultant joins The Regional Cancer Center Randolph Landgrave Snow has joined Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica as a consultant in the palliative care program at The Regional Cancer Center. He is a 2011 graduate of the St. Elizabeth Family Medicine Residency Program. Snow received his bachelor’s degree from Utica College, his doctorate at SUNY-Health Science Center in Syracuse, MBA at Pennsylvania State University, and doctor of osteopathy degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Snow serves as a medical director for Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc. and is a primary care physician at the Utica Community Health Clinic on Oneida Street, Utica. Snow has earned honors and awards for his teaching, scientific and clinical work from 1989 through 2011 and has lectured widely in the areas of neuroscience, gross anatomy, histology and public health. The palliative care program is part of The Regional Cancer Center, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica.

FSLH, St. E’s receive consumer choice award Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica have been recognized as two of the nation’s top hospitals by National Re-

Continued on Page 19

Health in good

H ealth News Continued from Page 18 search Corporation. Both earned the 2011/12 Consumer Choice Award for the eighth consecutive year. Winners were announced in Modern Healthcare magazine in October. The award identifies hospitals in 300 markets throughout the United States. This is the 16th year NRC has conducted the research. Several cooperative initiatives by the hospitals have helped raise the level of care for the region’s communities. Those collaborations include the Mohawk Valley Heart Institute, the Regional Cancer Center and The Central New York Diabetes Education Program.

Herkimer County HealthNet awards grants to schools Herkimer County HealthNet recently announced two trail mini-grant awards for two area school districts as part of the “Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play” initiative in Herkimer County. One of the many strategies that Herkimer County HealthNet is working on is enhancing and creating places to be physically active in Herkimer County. The projects and awards are as follows: • Owen D. Young School—Robert B. Woodruff Outdoor Learning Center & Trail: $7,073 • Town of Webb School—Healthy Kids & Community: Education & Recreation Trail—$5,350 The Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play grant is funded by the New York State Department of Health and is administered locally by Herkimer County HealthNet. In an effort to save money in regard to health care costs and productivity 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 to eat healthy foods. For more information about Herkimer County HealthNet, call 315-8671499 or visit County.

Kelberman Center holds pivotal response training The Kelberman Center in Utica recently held a two-day workshop, an introduction to pivotal response training, facilitated by The Koegel Autism Research & Training Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara ( PRT is a behavioral intervention model based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. Of the many treatment programs for autism spectrum disorders, The Koegel Center developed a training and certification program as a mechanism for effectively teaching parents, professionals, and the research community how to accurately implement PRT methodology for children with ASD in each procedural area of intervention. According to Robert Myers, Kelberman Center Executive Director, “The Kelberman Center is continually providing opportunities to train staff

and the community on proven, evidenced-based methods of intervention for children and adults on the autism spectrum.” The Kelberman Center is a regional center for excellence for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and related learning challenges.

Nurse navigator earns certification Linda Lyon, nurse navigator for The Breast Center at Rome Memorial Hospital, has received the designation of certified breast cancer navigator for imaging and cancer through the completion of the National Consortium of Breast Centers’ Breast Patient Navigator Certification Program. As one of only 28 certified breast cancer navigators in New York state, and the only one Lyon in Oneida County, Lyon is a patient advocate, helping to advise and ease the anxiety of patients who are facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis. Lyon’s certification demonstrates her expertise in navigating a patient through the breast imaging and breast cancer stages with assistance from the hospital’s integrated team members.

Rome Surgical Specialists welcomes new surgeon General surgeon Kevin Harrison has joined Beth Bulawa and David Kulick at Rome Surgical Specialists, 1617 N. James St., in Suite 700A, announced practice administrator Tracey Hamilton. As a general surgeon, Harrison will perform a broad range of procedures at Rome Memorial Hospital, including general surgery for breast, skin and colon cancers, gall bladder and thyroid disease, venous access procedures, appendicitis and hernia repair. Board certiHarrison fied by the American Board of Surgery, Harrison also performs laparoscopic surgery, which allows surgeons to target diseased organs with minimal trauma to the patient. Harrison combines evidence-based medicine with an understanding of the patient’s health history, as well as lifestyle and expectations, when determining the best course of action to improve a patient’s quality of life. Harrison comes to Rome after spending 25 years in private practice in Long Island, where he and his wife of 22 years Patty, raised their two children, Brent, 17, and Kelly, 20. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, Harrison earned his medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine.


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

Step Up to the Challenge!

Join Upstate’s Nursing Teams!

As the region’s only Level-One Trauma Center, we are a fastpaced academic medical center with modern technology and up-to-date interventions in caring for the critically ill or injured. Serving 17 counties, we support a population transported by ground or air from throughout the central New York region. We currently have part-time, full-time and per diem positions available in our Operating Room and Emergency Department for: RNs and Nursing Assistants. Shadowing opportunities are available. • Tuition Assistance • Membership in the NYS Employees' Retirement System • Excellent Wages and Benefits

For professional nursing opportunities, call (315) 464-4810 or 1-800-274-4810 or apply on-line Upstate Medical University/Upstate University Hospital is an AA/EEO/ADA employer engaging excellence through diversity. Smoke-free campus since 2005

Upstate University Hospital Upstate University Hospital at Community General Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital I Syracuse I State University of New York

December 2011 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19

Page 20

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • December 2011

In Good Health  
In Good Health  

Healthcare newspaper for Utica, Rome and NY's Mohwak Valley