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Surprising Wonders of Watermelon Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

June 2013 • Issue 88

Doctor’s Orders? It’s time to ‘Meet Your Doctor!’ Page 4

Death a stinging reminder of need for vaccine. Page 13 Get ‘In Good Health’ at home. See coupon inside

Addiction to prescription medications spins out of control See story, Page 5

Gift of Life Deadly dangers of lighting up See Page 15

‘Golden Years’ Special Edition • Diet key to defy aging: Page 8 • MCC hosts Senior Games: Page 20 June 2013 •

Thousands die while awaiting needed organs See Page 17

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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CALENDAR of

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HEALTH EVENTS

Dr. Graber is pleased to welcome Gregory Dalencourt, MD to the practice

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

Dr. Dalencourt is now seeing new patients for surgical consultation for those considering weight loss surgery

May 28

Our program has successfully met the highest standards set forth by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and is recognized as an ASMBS Center of Excellence. Surgeries are performed at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica, and at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. Dr. Graber is the Director of Bariatric Surgery at both hospitals.

To find out more, visit DrGraberMD.com or call 877-269-0355 to discuss how we might help you in your search to find a healthier you!

Time to join ‘Women at the Well’ “Women at the Well” is presented from 6:30-8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The next session will be May 28. Sister Mary Ellen Schopfer serves as spiritual director. The event is free and open to all Christian women. For details and to register, call The Good News Center at 315-735-6210 or visit TheGoodNewsCenter.org—Events Calendar.

June 1

After Breast Cancer support group to meet The After Breast Cancer support group will meet at 11 a.m. June 1 in the Regional Cancer Center’s lobby-waiting area at the Faxton Campus of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, 807 Newell St., Utica. ABC meetings are free and open to the public. Women who have had breast cancer created the ABC support group. For 23 years, the group has been dedicated to providing education, information and emotional support to women and men who are facing biopsy, surgery or recovery from breast cancer. For more information, call 315-6245764 or email bfriend90@aol.com.

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The Third Option will meet at 6:30 p.m. June 2 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica.

Separated, divorced support group to meet The Separated & Divorced Support Group will meet from 5-6:30 p.m. June 2 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The group meets every other Sunday and is free and open to all. For more information, contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-7356210, andrea@thegoodnewscenter.org or visit www.thegoodnewscenter.org.

June 3

CNY Diabetes Education Program to host store tour People with diabetes, pre-diabetes and their family members are invited to grocery shop with a registered dietitian and learn more about their food choices at 6 p.m. June 3. The grocery store tour, hosted by Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Central New York Diabetes Education Program, will begin at Hannaford Supermarket, 4593 Commercial Drive in New Hartford. Those interested must call CNY Diabetes at 315-624-5620 to register. The Central New York Diabetes Education Program is a cooperative effort of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

Continued on Page 16

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The group meets every other Sunday. The Third Option is geared for married couples in distress. For more information, contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-735-6210 ext. 228, andrea@thegoodnewscenter.org or visit www.thegoodnewscenter.org.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

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Equine Therapy Challenged child shows improvement aboard special friend By Patricia J. Malin

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ove over dogs. Horses can be a man’s-- make that a boy’s-best friend. Seven-year-old Dean is dwarfed as he sits atop a big Morgan horse, but he’s enjoying the ride and learning new skills at the same time. These horses, despite their size, have a gentle spirit and an ability to connect intuitively with humans. Dean receives therapy once a week through Upstate Cerebral Palsy’s program of equine-assisted therapy for children and adults with special needs and disabilities. UCP is one of several local nonprofit agencies, such as the House of the Good Shepherd and the Kelberman Center, which has a working agreement with Reindance Stables on Graffenburg Road in Sauquoit. “Each week, 18 riders from Upstate Cerebral Palsy (participate) in the adaptive horseback riding program at Reindance,” said Paul Stern, director of community services at UCP. “Adaptive horseback riding is open to anyone with special needs, regardless of diagnosis, (from) ages 3 and up.” Dean has been riding for three years and during that time his mother, Mindy, has noticed significant improvement in his behavior, his speech and his manners. “It makes him better,” she said. Dean speaks very little. He is overly shy and afraid to interact with other children and adults. He avoids eye contact, except with the horses, and his mother describes him as hyperactive. During the 45-minute lessons in either the enclosed ring indoors or in the outdoor arena, he has learned to trust a new group of people--including Rodger Pape, certified recreational therapeutic specialist and manager of UCP’s recreational program; a UCP intern, Jeremy Clark, and Reindance staff and volunteers--as well as extend trust to an animal of hulking proportions.

well being as a result of programs such as adaptive equine therapy. Stern said UCP has participated in this program for 21 years in the Mohawk Valley, but the Reindance program began about a year ago. “The adaptive horseback riding program offered by Upstate Cerebral Palsy develops increased muscle tone, flexibility, confidence, self-esteem and socialization,” he pointed out. Students are given an assessment prior to starting the program and goals are established. “Their lessons are developed around the assessment and obtaining their goals,” Stern said. In Dean’s case, his goals are to improve his vocabulary, his socialization and physical skills. “He used to have a hard time leaving his parents,” said Pape. “One goal is to have him accept change.” Clark recently graduated from Utica College with a degree in recreation therapy and much like the UCP students, is developing real-life skills through the Seven-year-old Dean enjoys a ride at Reindance Stables in Sauquoit as part of his weekly equine- equine-assisted therapy program. Back home in New Jersey, assisted therapy program at Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Rodger Pape, left, recreation manager at he volunteered to help children UCP and UCP intern Jeremy Clark accompany Dean and his horse. with disabilities learn how to read. His internship with UCP began in bridle and the saddle on. He’s more Weaning process January and he hopes it leads to a partsociable and patient now.” “He never used to let go of my time job this summer. “This has had an Research has shown a correlation hand,” his mother noted. His speech impact on my life, too,” he said. between increased physical and mental and vocabulary have grown out of necessity, too. “He has to tell the horse to ‘go’ or ‘stop,’” she said. “He has learned how to wait; before he wouldn’t stop for anything, and when he first came here, he didn’t want to wear the helmet,” she added. “He would never feel outgoing enough to feed the horse, but now he can’t wait to come here. He also loves to watch TV shows [featuring] horses.” Mindy said her son’s physical conditioning and balance have improved. The lessons do not only involve riding, but manual dexterity. Toward the end of the class, Dean has to direct his horse to one corner of the ring where the volunteers set up a game. Dean brings the horse to a standstill and balances himself while he tosses beanbags at a target on the ground. Pape has witnessed Dean gradually forge a friendship with the horses at Reindance, most of whom were bred and trained for world-class equestrian competition. “The horse is now his best friend,” he observed. “He used to be ���������������� nervous, so we started him on miniature horses. He has increased his speed (trotting). He likes to feel the motion while riding. He has helped us put the

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

Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

Local News, Inc. Distribution: 20,000 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. © 2013 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email: lou@cnymail.com Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab, Malissa Allen, Mary Stevenson, Deb Dittner, Amylynn Pastorella Advertising: Jennifer Wise 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.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Cerebral Palsy Association has new leader

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athleen Hartnett of Whitesboro, vice president of community development at Upstate Cerebral Palsy, was recently also named the executive director of the Cerebral Palsy Association. Since 1989, the Cerebral Palsy Association of the Mohawk Valley, Inc. has been generating community resources to support the programs and services of Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Hartnett, an employee of the agency since 2000, will be responsible for working with board members to oversee agency fund-raising events such as the two agency golf tournaments, the Bowl for Kids’ Sake as well as the American Girl Hartnett Fashion Show, and to generate additional revenue for the agency. According to Hartnett, “the Cerebral Palsy Association plays a critical role in developing relationships throughout the community with people who share our vision of changing the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Our diverse giving opportunities make it possible for everyone in the community to support the agency at different levels, from event participation to multi-year pledges, to naming us in their wills.” Board leadership includes president Lenora Murad, vice president Joan Grande, treasurer Nancy Corelli and secretary Cathy Newell. Other board members include Sabrina Arcuri, Adrienne Carbone, Estelle Caruso, Dr. Valerie Garramone, David Hart, Carolyn Hund, Brad Kowalczyk, Cindy McLean, Donna Rocci, Cynthia Roefaro, Paul Totaro, Bonnie Woods and David Zumpano, Esq.

FSLH stroke support group to meet

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axton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica will host a stroke support group presentation at 6 p.m. June 5 on preventing the recurrence of stroke. It will occur in the Soggs Room at St. Luke’s Home in the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. The presentation will discuss strategies for healthy living that help reduce the risk of stroke. Richard White and Zachary Johnson, physical therapists at FSLH’s Regional Rehabilitation Center, will present and answer questions. For more information, call 315-624-8779. Page 4

Meet

Your Doctor

By Lou Sorendo

Dr. Thomas Socash

Thomas Socash recently joined the St. Elizabeth Medical Center staff and will continue to provide care at its Town of Webb Health Care Center in Old Forge. Socash had been affiliated with Central Adirondack Family Practice since 1990. Recently, Mohawk Valley In Good Health Associate Editor Lou Sorendo interviewed Socash regarding his career and outlook on healthcare. Q.: Why did you choose the West Indies to study for your medical degree? A.: One might say that U.S. medical schools and in particular New York state medical schools played a very prominent role in my “choosing” to pursue medical education outside the country. I chose to attend St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies because its graduates had the best pass rate on the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates exam; it afforded opportunity for my clinical training in New York City and Newark, and I was fluent in the English language. Q.: Why did you choose the Mohawk Valley as a place to practice? A.: Born and raised in the Johnson City-Binghamton area and having graduated from Hamilton College, I felt very fortunate to have been one of six residents selected by Dr. Reynold Golden into the St. Elizabeth Family Practice Residency Program in 1987. Golden and the residency’s attending physicians cared not where one got one’s medical degree, but cared more what one did with one’s degree at St. Elizabeth’s, and for that I will always be grateful and indebted. It had always been my dream to return back to the Triple Cities to practice medicine, and I had two offers to do so. However, I spent a four-week rotation in Old Forge with Dr. Mark Webster in July 1989. It was the best four weeks of my three-year residency, and solidified my plans for the next 23 years. Q.: What do you enjoy most about the Old Forge area? A.: Old Forge has simply been the best place for my wife, Pam, and I to raise our four children. For a family who loves the outdoors, Old Forge provided us with the unique opportunity to enjoy our kids growing up, despite the demands placed upon a two-physician rural medical practice. Old Forge allowed our kids to grow up in a manner similar to how we grew up, and with the way our world has changed, we will forever thank the town for providing this opportunity. Q.: What motivated you to choose family medicine as a specialty? A.: I have always been interested in surgery, but a surgical residency was not a realistic opportunity as a foreign medical graduate in the ‘80s. However, family medicine in a rural practice offered one the opportunity to do a lot of handson procedures, such as suturing. I also enjoyed obstetrics as a resident. Fortunately, I have only had one opportunity to deliver a baby in Old Forge!

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

Q.: Since graduation, you served as a preceptor for the St. Elizabeth Hospital Family Practice Residency Program until 2012. What was the most gratifying aspect of that role? A.: As a resident, one of my most gratifying moments was spending time

with Dr. Roger Moore at his home office in Clinton. As a preceptor, the most fulfilling role would be to influence a young physician’s eventual practice, as Moore did mine. Q.: As a family practitioner, do you see the full spectrum of illnesses and diseases at your Old Forge office? What are some of the more common illnesses you treat? A.: Yes, the same mundane elevated blood pressures, blood sugars, and cholesterol levels. What sets this practice apart from all others, however, are the uncertainties of what can “walk” through the doors without notice: embedded porcupine quills, chipmunk bites, chainsaw lacerations, fishhooks (almost anywhere), pneumaticdriven nails through one’s boot or hand, de-gloving injuries of fingers due to ski ropes, snow mobile accidents, jet ski injuries, campfire-woodstove burns, baby deliveries (almost in one’s driveway), and “lost” tampons, courtesy of the water slides at the local water theme park, just to name a few. Q.: Are there any sub-specialties of medicine that you enjoy the most or are particularly adept at?

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Lifelines Birth date: Jan. 21, 1958 Birthplace: Johnson City Current residence: Old Forge Education: Medical degree, St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies; Master of Science degree in biomedical sciences at Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla.; Bachelor of Arts degree in psychobiology from Hamilton College, Clinton. Affiliations: Diplomate, American Board of Family Medicine; American Academy of Family Physicians; New York State Academy of Family Physicians; The Medical Society of the State of New York-County of Oneida Personal: Wife Pamela and four adult children, Tyler, Nikki, Trey and Eric Hobbies: Hiking, hunting, fishing, golfing, skiing, boating and woodworking


Cover Story

Pill Poppers

Are you at risk for prescription drug addiction? of being safe by taking them only as prescribed and only for as long as absolutely necessary. High doses of some of these medications can cause irregular heartbeats, dangerously high body temperatures, cardiovascular failure and lethal seizures. Or, they can result in intense hostility and feelings of paranoia. ”You have to balance the risk and benefit,” advises Kipnis. “If used as prescribed and the prescriber is well informed, the risk is minimized.”

By Barbara Pierce

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aving trouble sleeping lately? Or maybe your anxiety is off the charts? Or your stress levels intolerably high? Your family doctor has prescribed medication to help you. Taking a few pills a day that are prescribed by your doctor. No problem with that, right? Wrong, says Marilyn Bryan, executive director, Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment, Inc. “People falsely believe that prescriptions are safe because a doctor prescribes them.” That kind of thinking led to the deaths of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and Brittany Murphy. Just because a doctor prescribed the medication doesn’t mean it isn’t addictive. Prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone. Evidence suggests that America may be fighting the wrong “War on Drugs.” According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdoses from prescription drug medication have tripled in the past decade, up to 15,000 and more than the toll from cocaine and heroin combined. The number of infants born addicted to prescription drugs every year has also tripled in the past 10 years. “We hear mostly about the misuse of opiates, though stimulants and sedative hypnotics are misused as well,” said Steven S. Kipnis, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse medical director. According to Ben Levenson, founder of Origins Recovery Center, a rehab center in Texas, it isn’t just corrupt Dr. Feelgoods who are over-prescribing drugs to addicts. “You have these well-intentioned physicians who don’t have a clue about the neurochemistry of addiction, who are literally causing a prescription pad relapse,” he said. “Opiate pain killers, such as hydrocodone, oxycontin, or oxycodone, are the most commonly abused prescription drugs,” said Bryan. Opiates, also known as narcotics, are used to treat acute or chronic pain, pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia or

Dangerous blend

cancer. They are found in cough syrups that contain codeine. They work by blocking pain messages sent to the brain. The second most commonly abused prescription drugs are probably benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax, according to Bryan. Benzodiazepines, or minor tranquilizers, are used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. In addition to Valium and Xanax, other commonly prescribed benzodiazepines are Klonopin, Ativan, and Halcion. “Essentially, any medication can be misused---as the definition of misuse is taking the medication in a different manner than how it was prescribed,” said Kipnis. “There is no way to answer that

question,” said Kipnis. “Opiates and sedatives can cause physical dependence, whereby after several days or weeks of use, withdrawal will occur if the medication is abruptly stopped. “Addiction is a multi-factorial disease with a behavioral, genetic, environmental component.” Some people are genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, said Bryan. People with a family history of substance abuse or a prior history of alcohol or drug abuse are most vulnerable to becoming addicted to prescription drugs. Any medication that has potential for addiction must be closely monitored and the quantity limited to avoid becoming dependent upon them, cautions Bryan. When taking these medications that have the potential for abuse, you can increase the likelihood

Brett’s Brackets back Mohawk Valley family

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or the fifth consecutive year, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica hosted Brett’s Brackets, a fundraiser tied to the NCAA college basketball tournament. The fundraiser is held in memory of former employee Brett Bigelow, a physical therapy assistant who was employed with FSLH from 1992 until his untimely death in 2009. Beth Trinkaus, a former colleague, shared Bigelow’s enjoyment of basketball, in particular the NCAA playoffs in

March. Beth coordinates the fundraiser for his family. Although she now works for a different facility, she still organizes the annual event at FSLH with the help of staff members at the Faxton and St. Luke’s campuses, St. Luke’s Home and the acute inpatient rehabilitation unit at the center for rehabilitation and continuing care services. All proceeds were recently presented to Bigelow’s wife, Jenny, and their daughters. The rehabilitation department at FSLH has supported the Bigelow fam-

ily for many years, beginning with the holiday season following Bigelow’s death. The department provided each family member with a winter coat, hat, boots and mittens. The kids also received toys, games and clothes. “This fundraiser truly honors Brett’s memory and demonstrates the love and commitment we have for our colleagues, even after they’re gone,” said Amanda Straney, physical therapy-occupational therapy acute care manager at FSLH. June 2013 •

Taking large amounts of one medication is bad enough, says Lifescript. com online. Even worse is mixing medications, or taking them with an alcoholic drink. Some warning signs of becoming addicted are preoccupation with the drug, cravings for the drug, or drugseeking behaviors, suggests Bryan. Adds Kipnis: “The warning signs of addiction or abuse are essentially loss of control over the behavior. In this case, using larger or more frequent doses.” If you are taking more than the prescribed dose, or if you are on a constant quest to obtain the drug through various means, borrowing from friends or doctor shopping, these are warning signs. Others include a change in your behavior, and if others tell you that you have become more secretive, argumentative and defensive. Another telltale sign is if you’ve tried to stop or reduce your usage, but can’t stop. If you are experiencing these signs, it’s time to get professional help. Quitting may require medical treatment to help ease the addiction and prevent the misery of withdrawal. “If you feel you are at risk and have concerns about what your medication is, talk to your physician,” Kipnis said. “For all New Yorkers struggling with an addiction—or whose loved ones are struggling—help and hope are available. The OASAS state’s toll-free HOPEline, 1-877-8-HOPENY, is staffed by trained clinicians who are ready to answer questions, offer treatment referrals and provide other vital resources to facilitate that first step into recovery.”

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Golden Years Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

Wisdom from ‘The Coach’ T

hey call him Coach. Just Coach. Coach is a title that John Wooden definitely earned after eight decades on the basketball court. Wooden led UCLA to record wins that are still unmatched in the world of men’s college basketball. I once met Wooden and have his autograph from that meeting. As I walked through a parking lot at UCLA, my alma mater, where Wooden coached a winning team, my bold husband walked up to him to ask for an autograph. Though I was embarrassed, it felt good to be in the presence of this much admired man. Just in that brief encounter, I felt his magnetism. As I considered what might be helpful in this column, this month when we celebrate Father’s Day, when we celebrate men as fathers and as leaders, “Life Wisdom from Coach Wooden,” a little book my husband picked up years ago, caught my attention. Wooden has many important things to say about Pierce being a father and a leader: • “The most important profession in the world is parenting. The second is teaching, and everyone is a teacher to someone,” he begins. • “A leader’s most powerful ally is his or her own example,” he suggests. • Here is a piece of wisdom with which I strongly agree: “Approval is a greater motivator than disapproval … Be slow to correct and quick to commend.” Give five compliments for every complaint, advises one relationship expert. The expert is right. In any relationship, the positive statements should far outweigh the negatives. We’re all suckers for praise. Letting others know what we appreciate about them is powerful reinforcement. You’ve been to SeaWorld, or some version of it, and seen the dolphins perform. You probably noticed trainers with huge buckets of fish, which they toss out liberally. This is how they get the dolphins to perform in ways that amaze us. They reward them for the slightest move they make in the right direction. We aren’t so different from those dolphins; we move in the direction of the reinforcement. As a successful coach, Wooden knew this. He knew how to motivate his players to do their best. But he cautions, “We do have to

disapprove on occasion. It is necessary. I make corrections only after I have proved to the individual that I highly value him. If he knows I care for him, my correction won’t be seen as judgmental. I also try to never make it personal.” Wooden has much to say about being a team player, a role which all men must know how to play. “We were created to be interdependent,” he says. “We were not designed to go through life alone. We become so much more when we come alongside others---and we make them better, too.” “Working with others makes us more than we could ever become alone,” says the expert on teamwork. He describes the sixth game of the 1998 NBA finals, when Michael Jordan had the flu, yet he played. During the time-outs, toward the end of the game, he would almost pass out, yet he continued. When he finally won the game, scoring 45th point of the game with 5.2 seconds to go, he could no longer stand. His teammates had to hug him while he was seated. He was completely spent---he had left it all on the floor---but he had willed his team to play their best. Wooden has much to say about giving it your best effort: “You can make mistakes and not be a failure if you give it your full effort. Effort includes both preparation and execution. You are never a failure if you give it your all, unless you blame others for your mistakes. When you place blame, you’re making excuses. When you’re making excuses, you can’t evaluate yourself. Without self-evaluation, failure is inevitable.” Well said, Coach; I agree. “Let’s face it, we’re all imperfect and we’re going to fall short on occasion, but we must learn from failure. That will enable us to avoid repeating our mistakes. Through adversity, we learn, grow stronger, and become better people,” Wooden said. • Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years’ experience in helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book “If I’m so Fantastic, Why am I Still Single?” contact her at BarbaraPierce06@yahoo.com, or contact her if you have any concerns you would like her to address.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

By Jim Miller

How to use herbal supplements safely Dear Savvy Senior Are herbal supplements safe for seniors who are taking other prescription medications? I have a friend who swears by them, but I want to be sure before I take anything new. Cautious Carol Dear Carol,

Herbal supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years as millions of Americans are looking for natural and more affordable ways to improve their health. But it’s important to know that many herbs can also cause side effects and can interact with prescription medications, especially if you have hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease or liver problems. While the Food and Drug Administration does regulate herbal supplements, they don’t get the same scientific scrutiny that medications do. Herbal supplement manufacturers do not have to get FDA approval, and they don’t have to prove a product’s safety and effectiveness before it’s marketed. So, before you start taking any new supplement, no matter how natural or harmless it may seem, you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it’s safe for you. In the meantime, here are a few popular herbs you should know about that can cause problems when taken with certain medications. Aloe vera: Used on your skin, aloe vera is perfectly safe. But taken orally as a laxative, it may interact with blood sugar-lowering medicines used to treat diabetes. Ginger: A gram or so of powdered ginger can help ease nausea, but it can also interfere with anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications like warfarin and even aspirin. And, if taken in large quantities could interfere with cardiac, diabetes and blood pressure meds. Garlic: Marketed as a pill, capsule or powder to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, garlic acts as a blood thinner. So, if you’re taking an anticoagulant, use with caution because garlic can make your blood too thin increasing the risk of excessive bleeding. Ginkgo: Taken to help boost memory and prevent dementia, as well as treat a variety of other ailments, this popular supplement can also raise your

risk of bleeding when combined with blood thinning medications. It can also counteract the blood pressure lowering effect of thiazide diuretic drugs and can interfere with anti-seizure medications and insulin used to treat diabetes. Ginseng: Taken primarily to improve overall health and boost the immune system, this herb can reduce concentrations of the anticoagulant drug warfarin and can interact with some antidepressant medications too. People with diabetes should also use extra caution with ginseng if they are taking medicine to lower blood sugar. Kava: Promoted as a treatment to curb anxiety and stress, kava has been reported to cause liver damage, including hepatitis and liver failure. It can also interfere with antipsychotic and Parkinson’s medications, can thin the blood and should not be taken with anticoagulants, and can cause drowsiness so it should not be taken in combination with any sedatives. Licorice root: Taken for ulcers, bronchitis and sore throat, licorice root can cause high blood pressure and salt and water retention, raising the risk of heart problems. It can also thin the blood and should not be used with blood thinning drugs. St. John’s wort: Marketed as an aid to treat depression, Saint John’s wort can reduce the effectiveness of a number of prescription medications, including anticoagulants, antidepressants, seizure-control drugs and certain cancer drugs. Zinc: Taken as a defense against colds, excess zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches. It can also interact with a variety of prescription drugs, including antibiotics and hypertension meds. To get more information on the safety, side effects and effectiveness of these and many other herbal remedies, visit the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center site on herbs, botanicals and supplements at mskcc-herbs. org, and see the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine “Herbs at a Glance” Web page at nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance. htm. 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.


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

The right kind of fishing (And how not to be the catch of the day)

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Aging with Grace Menopausal center shows women how to cope with change of life By Amy Pastorella

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or every woman, there comes a time in her life when her menstrual cycle ends. Menopause is an event that typically—but not always—occurs in women in midlife during their late 40s or early 50s and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life. However, rather than being defined by the state of the uterus and the absence of menstrual flow, menopause is more accurately defined as the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the ovaries. This transition from a potentially reproductive to a non-reproductive state is the result of a reduction in female hormonal production by the ovaries. This transition is normally not sudden or abrupt, but tends to occur over a period of years and is a consequence of biological aging. However, for some women, the accompanying signs and effects that can occur during the menopause transition years can significantly disrupt their daily activities and well-being. In addition, women who have some sort of functional disorder affecting the reproductive system can go into menopause at a younger age than the normal time frame. The functional disorders often significantly speed up the menopausal process and create more significant health problems, both physical and emotional, for the affected woman. To address the issues accompanied with menopause, a nurse practitioner at Mohawk Valley Endocrinology in Utica took action and opened the Grace Menopause Center last October.

High-profile topic

Family nurse practitioner Kelly Weaver decided to institute Grace Menopause Center because in helping women and studying women’s health, menopause always came up.

“In 1998, I joined the North American Menopause Society and later in 2010, I joined Mohawk Valley Endocrinology with Dr. Robert Cheron and Dr. Margarita Perez-Cheron. I could see there was a need for a focus on menopause being it is an endocrine issue,” said Weaver. In 2002, a major menopause study, “The Women’s Initiative,” was halted because of an increased risk of breast cancer with estrogen during the study. Providers and women were concerned this risk could highly affect the planned findings of the study. As time went on, the study provided 10-year data that showed there was no increased risk of breast cancer with estrogen, only a miniscule increased risk with estrogen plus progesterone. Hormone therapy continued to be prescribed to women for menopause symptoms and issues. To support women who are facing menopause or related symptoms, Grace Menopause Center offers complete care including Pap smears, pelvic exams, breast exams, screening for issues, hormone therapy, sexual issues and vulvovaginal health. The center also provides bone density testing and uses FDA-approved treatment options. In 2011, Weaver continued her studies and passion and became the only person board certified as a North American Menopause Society menopause practitioner. She is continuing her work with endocrinology, as well as diabetes, thyroid disorders and osteoporosis and adding to her knowledge, interest and practice of menopause health. “I love being a nurse practitioner. I enjoy helping women and showing them that menopause is something they do not have to just deal with,” said Weaver. For more information about menopause or endocrine health issues, contact Mohawk Valley Endocrinology at 797-3799.

his Father’s Day, you may be inclined to spend some quality time with Dad, maybe take him out camping or fishing. But try to make sure that nobody else tries to “phish” with you or your father. These days, all people (including fathers and sons) need to be cautious of scams — Internet, mail, and even phone scams — which can damage your credit score and wallet. Scam artists have become shrewd. Any time someone asks for your personal information, you should be wary. Particularly cruel are swindlers who target Social Security beneficiaries. As a rule of thumb, Social Security will not call or email you for your personal information such as your Social Security number or banking information. If someone contacts you and asks for this kind of information and claims to be from Social Security, do not give out your personal information without first contacting Social Security to verify the validity of the person contacting you. It could be an identity thief on the other end phishing for your personal information. Just call the local Social Security office, or Social Security’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you receive a suspicious call, please report it to the fraud hotline. Reports may be made online at www. socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig/ public_fraud_reporting/form.htm or by telephone at 1-800-269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Please include the following details: • The alleged suspect(s) and victim(s) names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers; • Description of the fraud and the location where the fraud took place; • When and how the fraud was committed; • Why the person committed the fraud (if known); and • Who else has knowledge of the potential violation. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you,

Q&A Q: How do I change my citizenship status on Social Security’s records? A: To change your citizenship status shown in Social Security records: • Complete an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5), which you can find online at www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.html; and • Provide documents proving your: • New or revised citizenship status (We can only accept certain documents as proof of citizenship. These include June 2013 •

your father, or anyone you know has been the victim of an identity thief, the place to contact is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.idtheft. gov. Or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-4384338); TTY 1-866-653-4261. Some people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are victimized by misleading advertisers. Such companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge. Especially upsetting are such ads that make it appear as though the ad has come directly from Social Security. By law, such advertisements must indicate that the company is not affiliated with Social Security. If you or your dad see what you believe is misleading advertising for Social Security services from a company that does not admit it is not affiliated with Social Security, send the complete mailing, including the envelope, to: Office of the Inspector General, Fraud Hotline, Social Security Administration, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235. Also, advise your state’s attorney general or consumer affairs office and the Better Business Bureau. You can visit the Office of the Inspector General online at oig.ssa.gov and select the “Fraud, Waste, or Abuse” link. Learn more about identity theft at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10064.html. Read about misleading advertising at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10005. html. And finally, while you’re enjoying the right kind of fishing with Dad this Father’s day, you may want to tell him about Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. If your father is covered by Medicare and has limited income and resources, he may be eligible for Extra Help — available through Social Security — to pay part of his monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. We estimate that the Extra Help is worth about $4,000 per year. That kind of savings buys a lot of bait and tackle. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

your U.S. passport, a certificate of naturalization, or a certificate of citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents); • Age; and • Identity. • Next, take (or mail) your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office. All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Golden Years

Defying age Diet is critical in maintaining that uselful appearance By Kristen Raab

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he search for eternal youth is not realistic, yet some people still spend their time and money devoted to the task. While we cannot stop the clock, we can take steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating certain foods can contribute to the prevention of diseases, and they may also be visible in our appearance. The simple addition of garlic to our list of regularly consumed foods has the potential to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. There are many ways to add more garlic to our diets. For example, making homemade dips, guacamole, salsa, and salad dressing are three easy ways to get more garlic into our meals. We shouldn’t let the smell scare us; chewing on parsley and other natural breath-savers can reduce garlic’s pungent odor. Omega 3 fatty acids should also be included in any discussion of anti-aging foods. Choose fish such as salmon, lake trout, and tuna. These “high fat seafood products” are good because they “protect heart and risk of stroke,” says Pat Salzer, Excellus registered dietitian and health and wellness consultant. It is also possible that they may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, she added. About two servings a week of fatty fish is sufficient.

Super foods to rescue

Berries and vegetables are com-

monly called “super foods,” and there is a good reason for the name. Colorful fruits and veggies are so important. Salzer explains, “They help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells.”

The Ragin’ Cajun

For people who do not love these beneficial foods, it is still possible to consume enough. Adding a few carrots or some kale to smoothies or topping cereal with fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries are healthy ways to start the day. An additional incentive to eat fruits and vegetables is that foods packed with vitamin C can help keep our skin looking youthful. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as oranges, vegetables including broccoli and bell peppers, and even in tomatoes. In addition to consciously choosing to eat these foods regularly, we can also add extra veggies to less healthy splurges such as pasta or pizza. This will help properly nourish our bodies and may also lead to consuming fewer calories as the vegetables are filling. After all of these healthy foods, something sweeter may be desired.

By Malissa Allen

The trouble with texting Driver distraction results in dangerous roadway conditions

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he video splashed all over Facebook shows a mock car wreck where four teenagers are seen at the scene of the accident with one laying on the hood of the car, dead, after being slung thru the windshield. The others gathered at the side of the scene hugging and consoling each other. At first I thought, “Wow, that’s a bit harsh for teenage kids to see,” until I starting looking at all Allen the statistics of deaths, accidents and the repercussions of texting while driving. New York has stepped up to the Page 8

plate to help put a stop to texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle. According to the website, HandsfreeInfo.com, the state of New York has upgraded its enforcement of the texting while driving law to primary status. At the same time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the Department of Motor Vehicles to add a third point against the licenses of distracted drivers. Prior to the get-tough moves in Albany, counties in New York state had been quite active in setting up regional laws outlawing texting while driving.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says it has so many complaints about distracted drivers that it has provided an online report form. No one actually gets a ticket, but the alleged offenders receive a “nice reminder” from the sheriff’s office that texting and using cell phones while driving are illegal. It asks for detailed information, so the hope is complaining drivers will pull over and write down the info. Suffolk County Police wrote 1,109 tickets for handheld cell phone use and texting between July 31 and Aug. 6, 2011. “While this weeklong (distracted driving) initiative has come to a conclusion, our officers

In small servings, dark chocolate is an excellent option to satisfy a craving and provide our bodies with flavonoids, which may protect your heart. It is best to find dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa or greater to reap the greatest benefits. As Salzer notes, “it tastes good,” so why not indulge a bit?

Lifestyle choices critical

Eating these essential foods is just a part of the anti-aging process, which also includes being active and reducing some of the products that negatively impact our health. First, it is important to limit the amount of sugar in our diets. There are many hidden sugars, so carefully reading the labels on our food can make a big difference. Another healthy step is to limit our sodium intake. Some products such as frozen dinners may contain more salt than we should have in an entire day. Lastly, it is fine to have alcohol, but it must be consumed in moderation to maintain health. Aging is not something we can avoid, but we can slow down the process. Salzer reminds us: “Age gracefully, and embrace aging.” She explains the real goal should be to reduce the “risk of chronic conditions like heart disease.” Prevention and management of disease can lead to a natural, healthy, and happy aging process.

will continue to aggressively enforce cell phone laws,” then-Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said. Syracuse’s federally funded crackdown on distracted drivers ended April 16, 2011, with about 1,550 tickets written in the fourth, concluding sweep. Overall, Syracuse-area police issued 9,587 citations for electronic distracted driving during the 2010-2011 sweeps. The federal Department of Transportation said the Syracuse crackdown resulted in a one-third reduction in drivers’ handheld cell phone use and text messaging. The $300,000 program began in April 2010 and ended in April 2011. Syracuse’s revenues from the distracted driving tickets issued in the four 2010-2011 sweeps totaled more than $400,000 as of August 2011, The Post-Standard reports. The majority of the funds came in surcharges attached to the tickets, which numbered 9,352. Money is still being collected as out-

Continued on Page 15


Mary in the Middle

By Mary Stevenson

Five Things

What’s really important to you?

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ack in college, I had taken an English class that should have been a basic 101-type class that I came away with a good grade and maybe some extra knowledge of the English language, grammar and writing. I had no idea I’d come away with a life lesson that I think about every day. The first day of class was a normal let’s-get-to-know-each-other session. We all gave our names, what our major was and about our home lives. Turned out, most of the majors revolved around healthcare. The professor then gave us five index cards each. On each card, we were to write something that was important to us or that we didn’t think we could live without. It could be anything— material things, people, anything. My choices were: family, friends, books, independence and sunshine. Then we were asked to take one away. That wasn’t so bad. The friend’s card Stevenson was the first of mine to fall. I love my friends dearly but in order of importance, there were a few that were higher up. We were given a few minutes to think about that choice. Then another choice had to be made. That was a little tougher. If I absolutely had to make that choice, independence was next on the chopping block. I would hate to think that I had to depend on someone else to live and get around but as long as I had the others, I was OK. Next to go were my books. How I love to read! I could survive without them but not without family and sunshine. The next choice was the hardest of all. The next thing I would have to give up would be my family. If I didn’t have them, life wasn’t worth living. But if I still could see the sunrise and set, I was still alive. Any day above ground is a good day. The last thing to go was sunshine. Could I live without the things that were most important to me? How does one define importance? How does it

feel when you don’t get to choose? It was a deep and eye-opening exercise of the aging process and our thought processes as well. We had a choice to take away one thing that was important to us. Growing old sometimes makes that choice for us. Our friends have their own lives and families; sometimes they pass away before we do. That isn’t our choice. Getting older, we have a harder time getting around and doing the things we used to do. Our bodies become fragile, our eyesight diminishes and we move a little slower. That isn’t a choice either. If our health fails before our minds, we might have to go from a larger home to a one-room home with access to a shared bathroom and a staff to provide for our needs. We are told what to do and how to do it. We eat on the facility’s schedule and what they serve is what’s on the menu. Our full- or queensized bed turns into a mechanical twin-size bed, add a roommate and a closet for our clothes and that’s the new living arrangements. If luck is on our side, we will get a nightstand and a dresser. What fits in that room is all we have left of the lives we led. Our families, as close as we may or may not be right now, can drift off into their own lives as we long for their company. We can’t choose when they visit us; we have our memories to comfort us until they do. Little by little, growing old takes away some of the things that are most important to us. How we react to that is what will be remembered. I do hope that everyone can take the lesson away from this exercise: If we get the opportunity to grow old, we will all go through these changes. It’s important for families and caregivers to keep this in mind when interacting with an elderly person. Not only is it difficult for the one aging, but caregivers will grow old too. • Mary Stevenson is a staff writer for Mohawk Valley In Good Health.

Statistics not so amusing

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ore than 4,000 American children are injured on amusement rides each year, according to a new study that calls for standardized safety regulations. Between 1990 and 2010, nearly 93,000 children under the age of 18 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for amusement-ride-related injuries, an average of nearly 4,500 injuries per year. More than 70 percent of the injuries occurred from May through September, which means that more than 20 injuries a day occurred during these warm-weather months, said researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The head and neck region was the most frequently injured (28 percent), followed by the arms (24 percent), face (18 percent) and legs (17 percent). The most common types of injuries were soft tissue (29 percent), strains and sprains (21 percent), cuts (20 percent) and broken bones (10 percent). The percentage of injuries that required hospitalization or observation was low, suggesting that serious injuries are rare. From May through September, however, an amusement-ride-related injury serious enough to require hospitalization occurs an average of once every three days, according to the study, which was published online May 1 and in the May print issue of the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

South not the fattest part of U.S. after all Researcher says West North Central part of the country is the country’s fattest area

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t goes against popular belief, but a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) shows that the southern region of the United States is not the fattest part of the country. “The obesity epidemic is overwhelming the U.S., and there’s this strong perception that Mississippi and Alabama are number one and number two in obesity — fighting for last place,” said George Howard, professor in the department of biostatistics in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Howard said that according to data from the long-running REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study, the West North Central part of the country, which includes North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, is the fattest area — with a 41 percent obese population. These findings were recently published online by the journal Obesity.

“We were thinking since people living in the South are generally more hypertensive and have higher rates of diabetes and stroke, it would be the fattest region,” Howard explained. “But when we looked at our data, people in the South were really not the fattest.” The study grouped states into regions used by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to compare data to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to confirm the findings from REGARDS. Mississippi and Alabama are part of the East South Central region of the U.S., which also includes Tennessee and Kentucky. REGARDS ranked the region fifth out of nine regions with 34 percent obese, and the NHANES showed that it was seventh out of eight regions with only 31 percent obese (NHANES ranks fewer regions than REGARDS because NHANES has fewer measurements collected for reporting the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut).

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9


SmartBites

Helpful tips By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Surprising wonders of watermelon

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love a good surprise, especially when it comes to food. I’m happy to report that watermelon, bless its sweet soul, is full of them. Long perceived as a nutritional lightweight, watermelon has become the go-to hot-weather snack among nutrition experts and here’s why: its good-for-you benefits are too good to ignore. Let’s take a look. • Thirst-quencher. Feeling parched? Reach for a succulent slice of watermelon. This refreshing fruit is 92 percent water, so it helps you stay hydrated in the heat. • Immune-booster. Each one-cup serving of watermelon delivers 20 percent of your daily vitamin C and 17 percent of your vitamin A, two nutrients needed for strong immunity. • Weight-watcher. Clocking in at just 46 calories per cup, watermelon won’t pack on the pounds. Hello, a couple of slices at one sitting; goodbye, tight waistbands. It’s filling, too, thanks to its high water content. • Disease-fighter. Watermelon is loaded with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that may help reduce the risk of certain can-

When shopping for a whole watermelon, look for symmetrical watermelons with a yellow spot. The spot means the fruit was allowed to fully ripen before being picked (translation: sweeter and higher in lycopene). Also, the heavier the fruit, the juicier the slices — so pick ones with some heft. Wash and slice within days of purchase; refrigerate leftovers.

Watermelon Mojito Salad Serves 4

3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cubed 2 tablespoons mint leaves, sliced thin ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

cers and other diseases. In fact, watermelon is the lycopene leader among fresh produce. • Blood pressure-maintainer. Watermelon also provides potassium, an essential mineral that helps control blood pressure. While it’s no banana in the potassium arena, it does have enough to give it a shout-out. • Energy-booster. Watermelon has about 2 ½ teaspoons of sugar per cup (as a comparison: one cup of cherries has 4 ½ teaspoons; one medium banana has 3 ½ teaspoons). But it’s fruit sugar, the kind that provides a steadier stream of energy because it takes longer to digest.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT Alpine Rehabilitation & Nursing Center promotes individualized resident/family-centered care whereby the resident and their families are our partners in providing quality health care through meaningful relationships.

A recent study found that each year there are hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits in upstate New York that could be avoided. Minor conditions like cold and flu symptoms, congestion, back pain, earaches and sports injuries are best treated by your doctor. If your doctor isn’t available, consider visiting an urgent care facility. And do your part to relieve ER crowding.

Page 10

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at avpalumbo@aol.com.

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Combine watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint in a large bowl. Gently toss, being careful not to crush watermelon. Whisk together the lime juice, zest, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with cayenne (if using). Gently toss again. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh mint sprigs.

The residents and staff at Alpine welcome you to visit OUR NEW HOME!

HELP REDUCE ER CROWDING.

Sponsored by the Medical Societies of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

¼ cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes) zest from 2 limes 1 ½ tablespoons virgin olive oil salt and pepper, to taste pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Meet

Your Doctor

By Lou Sorendo

Family medicine becoming lost art Continued from Page 4 A.: I love to suture, if I only had more time to do it. Q.: Are mid-level healthcare providers becoming more prevalent on the healthcare scene, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants? Do you any on your staff? A.: Presently no, but hopefully in the near future if another family physician can’t be found who likes the unexpected! Q.: Are medical students choosing family medicine as a specialty nowadays or is there a shortage of primary care doctors? Are medical students choosing more sub-specialties versus general practice? A.: Unfortunately, those going into primary care medicine, particularly in rural areas throughout the country, and especially here in the Adirondacks, are becoming a rare commodity. This is evidenced by the difficulty St. Elizabeth Medical Center is having trying to “find” a physician to practice here in Old Forge since Webster’s retirement. Undoubtedly, telemedicine will play a larger role in providing medical care in rural areas, but in this humble practitioner’s opinion, this “high-tech” medicine will never equate to good, old-fashioned “hands-on” medicine. In my recent four-month stint with telemedicine in the Veterans Administration system, one can see a patient thousands of miles away, but they have not solved the problem of only being able to do a rectal exam within an arm’s-length of the patient! Q.: What skill sets do you think are necessary in order to become an effective family practitioner? Are you treating entire families versus say one individual? A.: First and foremost, to be an effective family practitioner one must care about the care they deliver, not just to the patient but—as our specialty suggests—to the patient’s family as well. Secondly, the only thing a physician can ever promise to his or her patients is one’s best effort in the care they provide. Thirdly, a good physician knows when to be aggressive and when not to be; lastly, an effective physician knows when he doesn’t know

and is not afraid to admit it. Q.: What makes you an effective family practitioner? Do you take a holistic approach to health care? A.: Hopefully, I keep the aforementioned above four tenets close to heart. In addition, 10 years ago I experienced the “other side” of family medicine—as a patient’s father, when my youngest son was diagnosed with leukemia. I have kept those experiences close to heart, allowing me to see medicine from my patients’ points of view. Holistically, the human body is truly amazing: complex, yet resilient, rehabilitative, and curative—long before there were medicines. Sometimes the best medicine is no medicine; at other times, laughter may be the best medicine. As Jim Valvano said so eloquently in his 1993 ESPY speech, “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.” I believe this holds true whether one is a patient or a physician. Q.: What do you see as some of the more significant health threats facing Americans today? A.: The single-most significant health threat facing all Americans today is not a new, yet undiagnosed infectious disease, cancer, or lingering malady, but Obamacare. If it doesn’t implode upon itself first, Obamacare will result in lesser care to fewer instead of its promise of better care to more. It will increase the cost of healthcare and insurance, hasten provider shortages, and retard medical advancements. Q.: Do you ultimately foresee yourself teaching or getting into administration in the future or do you intend to stick with family practice? A.: I am a creature of habit and will stick with practicing family medicine for as long as the good Lord blesses me with good health.

Fatigue plays role in crashes

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et more sleep. Have another cup of coffee before you drive to school or work. It could save your life. A 100-car naturalistic driving study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has shown that fatigue is a cause of 20 percent of crashes, rather than the 2 or 3 percent previously estimated based on surveys, simulator studies, and test tracks. Page 12

And 18- to 20-year-olds account for significantly more fatigue-related crashes than any other age group. Adolescents’ sleep patterns shift to later hours; however, the school day still tends to start early, resulting in daytime sleepiness. Older drivers can face similar issues with late nights and early work times, but have more experience coping with moderate fatigue — although, not always.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Travel essentials Know what to pack when enjoying the travel season

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he school year is coming to a close and summer travel will begin. Everyone is in need of a vacation where we bond with family members and best friends, enjoy time away, find great get-a-ways, have some peace and quiet, read a book under the shade of a tree with a gentle warm breeze and cooling glass of water, eat great food … Eat great food? Well, when we travel that can sometimes be a difficult task. Many people have dietary restrictions from gluten sensitivities to lactose sensitivities, and vegetarian or vegan diets. And when restaurants are limited, the choice seems even more daunting. Most Dittner restaurants these days are very willing to prepare custom meals when asked. So don’t shy away just because you don’t see anything that you may be able to eat on a menu. Ask for specifics and you’ll be surprised at what great meals come your way. When in the car, travel with emergency foods by keeping a small cooler filled with a variety of snacks. Some of my favorites include apples, oranges, seasonal fruits, trail mix consisting of Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, gogi berries, mulberries and cacao, and foil packed wild salmon or canned sardines. Also bring along travel-size oatmeal packets and green juices where you just need to add water.

Tips for eating out

Eating out can be made easy. First, survey the menu for clean, lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, and gluten-free carbohydrates such as quinoa. Second, start with salad as you will feel fuller faster. Be sure to watch the dressing, dried fruit and glazed nuts as these add extra sugar and unnecessary calories. Lastly, save leftovers for the following day’s breakfast or lunch. When staying for any length of time, I will bring along a small blender so I can make morning smoothies. Pack ahead of time measured-out protein powder and any other additions such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Stop at a convenient mart for frozen fruits and frozen greens to add as well as coconut water-milk or your favorite liquid. Yum! Store cold items either in the hotel room’s refrigerator or bring a small cooler and add ice to keep items cold.

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Don’t forget fitness

Be sure to make fitness a part of your day. If staying in a hotel, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Wear a pedometer or other movement device to encourage you to move more. Remember to add some hot and sweaty intense exercise as well. The stairwell is great for a cardio-burst. Run up the stairs for 30-to-60 seconds followed by walking down the stairs in one or two minutes. Do these movements for a total of four to eight minutes. Bring along a thin yoga mat and a favorite yoga DVD. One of my favorites to bring traveling is “15-minute results: Yoga with Rodney Yee and Mariel Hemingway” and can be purchased through http://life.gaiam.com. Sleep is a very critical part of everyday life. I recommend seven to nine hours of quality sleep nightly. Sleep is important in burning fat, building muscle and overall energy. While traveling, remember to follow your normal sleep routine. Bring along an eye mask and ear plugs to darken the room and keep out unusual noises. Additionally, a white noise sound machine may also be beneficial. There are also apps for white noise as well. I don’t recommend taking the redeye or ultra-early flights as these throw off circadian rhythm. If you do find some difficulty with sleep or changing time zones, bring along melatonin to take 30 to 60 minutes before bed. A first aid kit consisting of therapeutic grade essential oils is also important to bring along for the trip. Lavender has calming effects and can be applied to insect bites and minor burns including sunburn. Peppermint helps to decrease pain, lower fever, and decrease nausea and vomiting. Thieves spray is useful for disinfecting. Purification helps to keep insects and ticks away and also disinfects. Planning ahead is key. If you follow these recommendations, you’ll be headed in the right direction for a fantastic get-away. Happy and safe travels. • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner specializing in reiki and holistic nutrition. Check out her website at www.The-Balanced-Body. com.

Health in good


Deadly Sting Fundraising foundation nurtures concern for mosquito-carrying disease By Avery Galek

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healthcare-related organization is raising public awareness and research funding for a rare and deadly virus. The Maggie Sue Glenister Wilcox Foundation officially began in December, honoring the sudden death of a New Haven child. She suffered from the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. This rare disease carried by mosquitoes took her life days before her fifth birthday in August. “Its purpose started when Maggie was in the hospital,” said Donna Wilcox, the child’s aunt and co-director of the foundation. “Once we found out what this was, we knew we were going to do something.” According to Wilcox, this is the only foundation of its kind that she knows of in this region. The only other one that she has heard or read about is known as Moms Against Triple-E in New Hampshire. That organization originally started when the founder lost her 5-year-old daughter to EEE. The MSGW Foundation is applying at the state and federal level to become a 501c(3) nonprofit organization. Wilcox said it is waiting for everything to be processed. “We needed to make sure people were aware of the down and dirty of [EEE] because it is horrible,” Wilcox said. “If you get this, you will die.” According to Wilcox, her family heard warnings in Oswego County for years. She said the studies that she read say one in three people who contract it will die. Surviving patients suffer severe brain damage.

Results in death

Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say EEE is a rare illness transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Only a few cases are reported a year. The time it takes for the onset of illness ranges from four to 10 days. Symptoms include headache, vomiting, convulsions and coma.

Death usually occurs two to 10 days after symptoms occur. The chances of death increase for young children and elderly. “There is no cure for this,” Wilcox said. “If you survive and you don’t have any long-lasting significant brain damage, you can be counted as one the very lucky ones.” Wilcox said it would be much easier if there were more organizations because they could band together with pharmaceutical companies to make the vaccine more commercially available. According to Wilcox, the U.S. Army developed a vaccine in the 1950s and it was given to 700 soldiers who were researching the disease or who were thought to be susceptible. She said during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Congressman James Walsh petitioned the Army to have its vaccine released so it could be further developed for commercial use. It needs approval from the Food and Drug Administration. No one other than the Army is working on it for clinical use, according to Wilcox. She spoke with Washington, D.C. correspondent for The Post-Standard, Mark Weiner, who reported the findings during this time. “I did find that the Army is currently conducting stage-two trials of the vaccine,” Wilcox said. “From what I understand it’s looking for side effects and things like that.”

Fundraisers featured

The Oswego County Comets motorcycle club is in the process of organizing an additional fundraiser planned for June 15. It is known as a “bug run.” By using an anti-mosquito graphic the MSGW Foundation initially used on an awareness flyer, the club was able to produce stickers. The idea is to gain support from the community by placing the stickers on their helmet or motorcycle and see who gets a bug to hit closest. If a bug hits the sticker it is a

bull’s-eye. This novel idea is geared toward creating a fun atmosphere as the club meets up with additional motorcycle clubs along various stops in Jefferson and Lewis counties. The day will end at the New Haven fire hall with a chicken barbeque and car wash. All proceeds will go to the fire department and MSGW Foundation. Recently, the MSGW Foundation held a fundraiser at The American Foundry in Oswego. All the money raised will go toward testing and research and for FDA approval of commercial distribution. Expected attendees of the event are Congressman Dan Maffei and Assemblyman William Barclay. “I’m hoping in addition to the support we have from Senator Patty Ritchie, they’re going to be able to guide us and [approve] us for funds

that we raise,” Wilcox said. “I’m going to rely on government officials to help us figure out where we need to put [the money].” Also attending the fundraiser will be members of three additional Syracuse-based families who experienced death from the virus. Wilcox said it is important to be aware of certain measures that may help prevent tragedies like this. She said families can help reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes by removing any standing or stagnant water from their property. Make sure children are using appropriate bug spray when they are outdoors, she added. “Hopefully, we’ll all work together and get this figured out,” Wilcox said. For more information on the MSGW Foundation, Inc., email: beaw arecauseitsrare@yahoo.com. Contributions can be sent to MSGW, Inc., P.O. Box 236 New Haven, 13121.

Fashion show raises funds to support women’s health

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he Rome Hospital Foundation Fashion Show, presented by Mohawk Valley Women’s Health Associates, was held recently and raised more than $29,000. Proceeds from the show are used to support women’s health initiatives at Rome Memorial Hospital such as lymphedema therapy, maternity, prenatal care services, the woman’s imaging center and the breast center at Rome Memorial Hospital. The event, held at the Beeches, was

attended by more than 225 guests who enjoyed 60 different fashions modeled on the runway from 12 area fashion retailers. The smart woman award was presented to this year’s recipient—Julie Grow Denton. She joins Mary Carmel Wolf, Gretchen Sprock, Mary Davis, Maureen Nash and Sally Hinman as recipients of the award. The smart woman award was developed to recognize outstanding women who give of themselves to help improve the community.

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Rome Memorial Hospital Nurse Navigator Linda Lyon and Chris Wickham walk the runway at the Rome Hospital Foundation Fashion Show recently. Wickham is a breast cancer survivor and RMH radiologic technologist. The event raised funds in support of women’s health initiatives at RMH. June 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Bridging the communication gap MAMI helps guide immigrants, healthcare workers through language barriers By Patricia J. Malin

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t’s 1 a.m. at a local hospital on a cold, wintry night. A pregnant woman arrives at the birthing center on the St. Luke’s campus of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in New Hartford. In addition to the pediatrician and the nursing staff, one other important person, Fu-Mei Tung, is called to the hospital to assist in the delivery. Though she is not a member of the medical staff or a family member, Tung’s presence is vital and reassuring to the patient. Tung is a medical interpreter who speaks Mandarin Chinese. The new mother is a Chinese immigrant living in Utica. Tung is one of the full-time staff members at MAMI Interpreters, the Multicultural Association of Medical Interpreters, which is headquartered at 287 Genesee St. in downtown Utica. MAMI also has offices in Syracuse and Albany. As a medical interpreter, she is not unlike the medical staff at a hospital and is thus available 24/7 for her clients. MAMI, which was founded in 1998 in Utica, provides accredited, professional translation services in 45 languages around the clock, including telephonic triage interpretation. Whether it’s a life-threatening emergency or a routine doctor’s appointment, medical interpreters can assist immigrants not only in coping with the challenges of the English language, but adjusting to American culture as well. “Most Chinese don’t like to take medicine,” Tung explained. “Sometimes they think it’s better to suffer and be in pain. I grew up with the same concept. I have to reassure them that it’s good to take medicine and it’s safe

Mary Stronach, outreach coordinator for MAMI, left, meets with Cornelia Brown, center, executive director and founder of MAMI, and Chinese interpreter Fu-Mei Tung in a classroom in Utica used for medical interpretation training. Medical interpreters must become familiar with medical terminology, which includes a study of heart disease. compared to Chinese medicine.” She was a middle school teacher in her native Taiwan. She relocated to Utica in 2000 after she married a local businessman, Glenn Hockenberger. MAMI hired her as a Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese interpreter in 2012. The couple now lives in Syracuse, but Tung still works at the MAMI office in Utica three days a week. She assists in the dispatch office, assigning and contacting other medical interpreters or going on duty herself when the need arises.

St. E’s to hold leadership, recognition event

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on and Al Carbone will receive the humanitarian of the year award from the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Foundation. Dr. Roger D. Moore is the 2013 Excelsior Award recipient. Award winners, along with the foundation’s most generous donors of the Franklin Club, Elizabethan Society, and St. Elizabeth Legacy Society will be recognized at this year’s anDon Carbone nual Leadership and Recognition event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 11 in the multipurpose room of St. Elizabeth College of Nursing. The awards ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. Guest tickets are $30 each, and can be purchased by calling the foundation office at 734-4287 or online at www. stemc.org/foundation. Page 14

Don and Al Carbone are being honored for their years of commitment to the medical center and its patients. “They have been an integral part of improving quality of care in our community by their involvement and support of the Mohawk Valley Heart Institute,” a St. E’s spokesperson said. “They are well respected within our community and demonstrate their philanthroAl Carbone py by supporting numerous organizations, and encourage their employees to do something that makes a difference for others.” Moore is being honored for his lifelong commitment to his patients, colleagues, and the medical center. He has served as president of the SEMC medical staff. For more information, call 734-4440.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

MAMI estimates there are 30,000 non-English or limited English proficient speakers living in Herkimer and Oneida counties, approximately 30,000 in Onondaga County, and 25,000 in Albany and the Capital District. Tung is one of MAMI’s four Chinese language speakers. Generally in the Mohawk Valley, the staff at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Rome Memorial Hospital, SlocumDickson Medical Group, and the Utica Community Health Center, doctors’ offices and clinics will call MAMI to help provide interpretation help for their patients. The Utica Community Health Center sees the bulk of newly arrived immigrants and refugees. The immigrants aren’t necessarily aware that translation and interpretation services are available to them. In fact, many Americans might not realize that under The Civil Rights Law (Title VI) of 1964, the U.S. government requires federally funded facilities to provide qualified oral interpretation and written translations to non-English speakers. In 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo bolstered the legislation, requiring New York state facilities to do likewise for an estimated 2.5 million state residents with limited English skills. Under Title VI, all parts of a recipient’s healthcare are covered.

Arduous process

The MAMI office is an educational center where interpreters can come for training, classes and seminars in outreach and provide assistance to those with limited English proficiency. Mary Stronach, the outreach coordinator in Utica, said applicants for interpreter positions must pass a series of challenging tests before they can start to receive training in medical interpreting. Though she has completed training, Tung is still considered an intern. After one year in service, she will take an oral exam. If she passes, she will receive MAMI’s certificate of

completion. Then she has to apply for federal certification in medical interpretation. “We screen them in their native language first and then train them, in English, in medical terminology,” said Stronach, an Italian speaker who started as a marketing consultant with MAMI in 2006. She is now co-manager of the Utica office with Su Lien Miller, who is a Chinese interpreter and director of training. “For example, a Karen candidate will be evaluated by a Karen coach,” said Stronach. “We provide as much support as possible and they have to meet certain benchmarks. We also evaluate their English communication skills.” Karen (pronounced kah-Ren), is an ethnic group living near the ThailandBurma border region in Southeast Asia and one of the refugee groups relocating in Utica. Other major languages spoken by the medical interpreters include Arabic, Bosnian, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese. Stronach said MAMI is always seeking additional Arabic, Nepali and Vietnamese speakers for Utica. In Syracuse, Italian and Arabic interpreters are in demand. For the Albany area, MAMI is seeking French Creole (Haiti), Russian and Italian speakers. Training takes a total of 85 hours over five weeks, which is allotted to studying medical terminology, diagnosis and testing. Additional training consists of courses in ethics, police, court and legal issues, and cultural awareness.

Stringent guidelines

Ethics is an especially critical part of training, Stronach explained. The professional interpreters have to treat all information as confidential while observing federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws and relevant requirements regarding disclosure. The interpreters need to render the message accurately while taking into consideration the cultural context. MAMI ensures its interpreters are also covered by malpractice insurance, which protects the interpreter, the doctors or healthcare center. In many instances in the immigrant and refugee community, a patient’s family member, spouse, children or friends are sometimes called upon to translate. Stronach points out, however, that these ad hoc translators are not trained in medical terminology or diagnosis and can easily misinterpret a doctor’s instructions. Also because of cultural upbringing, the family members might be too embarrassed, misinformed or unwilling to openly discuss the patient’s true medical condition, for example, in cases of alcoholism, gynecological problems, pregnancy, drug use or domestic abuse. MAMI founder and executive director Cornelia Brown cited an instance when a professional translator made a key difference in the treatment received by a Russian patient. In Russian, “angyena” refers to the throat, but it is pronounced like “angina,” which refers to a heart condition. With the help of a competent interpreter, the physician treated the patient for a sore throat


Where there’s smoke … Tobacco smoking ravages the human body By Amylynn Pastorella

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here is no doubt that smoking is a deadly, dangerous habit that affects practically ever part of the human body. While lawmakers are constantly asked and encouraged to create bans on smoking and the sale of tobacco products, it is a hard task when many adults in the Mohawk Valley are addicted to the habit. The numbers are frightening: • Madison County: 25 percent are smokers • Herkimer County: 22 percent are smokers • Oneida County: 20 percent are smokers The best way to put it is smoking harms every organ of the body. Smoking can cause lung cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, strokes and blood vessel disease. The smell and remnants of smoke also stick to clothes, hair, walls in the home, car interiors and can cause devastating health issues for loved ones through second-hand smoke. “Smoking causes early death of about 443,000 people in the United States and given the diseases that smoking can cause, it can steal your quality of life long before you die,” said Karin Vennero, a tobacco cessation specialist at the Tri-County Quits Tobacco Cessation Center located at the Faxton campus of Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. An estimated 8.6 million people live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Most smokers try their first cigarette before they are 18 years old. The teen years are when people start smoking, experts say. Along with disease, smoking causes bone-thinning, emphysema, raises blood pressure, is linked to reduced fertility, causes inflammation of the intestines, stomach and leads kidneys not to function properly.

Teeth become yellow and gums can get infected. An important risk to smoking is that smokers are bad influences on others. The list can go on.

Risks apparent

“The younger you are when you first start smoking, the greater your risk for developing nicotine dependence and cancer,” said Vennero. As every person is affected differently, there is no specific data that shows what can happen to the body after years of smoking. However, within 24 hours of quitting, carbon monoxide has been removed from the

body, and mucus and smoking debris will start to clear from the lungs, making it easier to breathe. Quitting smoking is difficult yet admirable. Tri-County Quits works in conjunction with other programs of the New York State Tobacco Control Program, including Reality Check, Community Coalitions and the New York State Quitline. In July 2003, smoking was banned statewide in all enclosed work places across New York, including all bars, restaurants and construction sites. In addition to these efforts, TriCounty Quits provides training and

technical assistance to healthcare institutions and providers. They provide counseling to tobacco users by using the five A’s: ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange. “When quitting smoking, we encourage the use of the patch, gum, lozenges, and medications prescribed by physicians and recommend speaking with primary care doctors before use of any of these products,” said Vennero. Smoking slows down the body system at an incredible rate. Smokers endure many health issues and concerns that can easily be prevented by quitting.

Texting and driving a lethal combination Continued from Page 8 A deal reportedly is near to make distracted driving fines more costly. The 2013-2014 New York state budget proposals would increase the current maximum fine of $100 to $150. The second offense (within a year and a half) would be $200, and the third, $400. The New York State Legislature will be among the first to consider a total ban on cell phone use while driving. Longtime distracted driving opponent Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) filing of a bill for the 2013-14 session for a total talking and driving ban is unusual, but one that’s in line with the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2011 recommendation of total cell phone bans. Noting that New York was the first state to ban use of handheld cellular telephones while driving, Oritz says the state “must continue to be a leader in implementing measures to ensure the utmost safety of its citizens—and that

is why New York must ban all use of cellular telephones while driving.” Ortiz also filed three other pieces of distracted driving legislation: One seeks to ban the dialing of handheld cell phones while driving; another seeks to apply criminal penalties to drivers who kill or cause serious injury while talking on a phone; and the third would require police to detail cell phone use while writing accident reports. Police wrote about 26,000 texting and driving violations in the first 11 months of 2012. New York County saw the most citations, followed by Monroe County. While the popularity of mobile phones has grown enormously in the past two decades, it’s still unclear how greatly cell phone calls and texting contribute to car crashes. What is clear is that talking on the phone and texting behind the wheel both lead to distraction, and driver inattention is

the leading cause of car accidents. Researchers from the University of Washington monitored 20 of Seattle’s busiest intersections and observed the following: Pedestrians who text are four times less likely to look before crossing the street, cross in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals. They also found that texting pedestrians take an average of two seconds longer to cross the street. About 6,000 deaths and a half million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year. While teenagers are texting, they spend about 10 percent of the time outside the driving lane they’re supposed to be in. Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old. Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field. Despite the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone driving June 2013 •

restrictions. In 2011, driver distractions, such as using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Over 60 percent of American teens admit to risky driving, and nearly half of those that admit to risky driving also admit to text messaging behind the wheel. Each year, 21 percent of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16-19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4 percent every year. Almost 50 percent of all drivers between the ages of 18-24 are texting while driving. Over one-third of all young drivers, aged 24 and under, are texting on the road. Teens say that texting is their No. 1 driver distraction. • Malissa Allen is a staff writer with Mohawk Valley In Good Health.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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CALENDAR of

KIDS Corner

HEALTH EVENTS

Continued from Page 2

June 6

New wound center to host Health Night Approximately 6 million Americans suffer from chronic, non-healing wounds caused by diabetes, circulatory problems and many other conditions. Learn about the advanced treatments for hard-to-heal wounds available at the Regional Center for Wound Care at Rome Memorial Hospital’s free Health Night lecture at 7 p.m. June 6. The program will be held at the Regional Center for Wound Care, 267 Hill Road, Rome. Health Night is sponsored by Rome Memorial Hospital. Advance registration is not required. For more information, call 338-7143.

June 7

CNY Diabetes Education Program offers free clinic Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Central New York Diabetes Education Program in Utica is offering a free “Knock Your Socks Off!” foot (podiatry) clinic at noon June 7 for people with diabetes. The event will take place at the CNY Diabetes Education Program office located on the fourth floor of the Faxton Campus of FSLH, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. An area podiatrist will conduct a brief educational seminar followed by a personal foot exam. For more information or to register, call 315-624-5620. The Central New York Diabetes Education Program is a cooperative effort of FSLH and St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

June 7

Area dentist to offer free dental care Bruce Stewart is providing free dental care to the first 70 people at his practice, 321 Main St., Oneida, on June 7. This is the third year that Stewart, his staff members, volunteers, and various sponsors have provided the first 70 people with a free extraction, filling, or cleaning. This annual event is always widely attended by individuals from all across Central New York. Last year, more than $9,000 in free dental care was donated to Central New York residents. “My hope is to see the community support this very special day for us by spreading the word to those in need,” said Stewart. “We want to show people how to take care of their teeth and better understand how good dental health is crucial to their overall well-being.” For more information, call 315-3634940 or visit www.oneidanydentist.com.

June 8

Kiwanis, Quest team up for health screening The Kiwanis Club of Utica and Quest Diagnostics are holding their annual blood screening wellness program that will take place June 8 at the Hotel Utica, 102 Lafayette St., Utica. Those wishing to attend can call 1-800-234-8888 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to schedule an appointment. Contact Diana or Pat at 732-4657 for more information.

June 11

Make transition from mourning to joy GriefShare will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. June 11 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The faith-based support group meets every other Tuesday. For more information, contact Andrea, program coordinator, at 315-7356210, andrea@thegoodnewscenter.org or visit www.thegoodnewscenter.org.

June 24

Sitrin’s traveling summer day camp being offered Summer is right around the corner and Sitrin Health Care Center in New Hartford is offering a summer day camp that fosters friendship and fun for children aged 6-14. Sitrin’s traveling summer day camp, which is accepting registrations, will run June 24-Aug. 16. The traveling camp is headquartered at the Sitrin Health Care Center, 2050 Tilden Ave., New Hartford, and campers will visit a different, fun destination each day. For more information or to obtain a registration packet, visit www.sitrin. com or contact camp director Cara Bulson Arcuri at 315-737-2255.

Aug. 4

Crafters wanted for summer bazaar St. Joseph Nursing Home, 2535 Genesee St., Utica, will celebrate its ninth annual summer bazaar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 4. The home has openings for vendors such as artists and crafters to participate in this event that includes a chicken barbecue, refreshments, and games for children. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the programs and activities for the residents of St. Joseph Nursing Home. For a registration form and more information, contact Kathy Poupart at 315-797-1230 or email at development@stjosephnh.org.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

40 percent of parents give young kids cough/cold medicine that they shouldn’t

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hildren can get five to 10 colds each year, so it’s not surprising that adults often turn to overthe-counter cough and cold medicines to relieve their little ones’ symptoms. But a new University of Michigan poll shows that many are giving young kids medicines that they should not use. More than 40 percent of parents reported giving their children under age 4 cough medicine or multisymptom cough and cold medicine, according to the latest University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Twenty-five percent gave those children decongestants. In 2008, the federal Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory that these over-the-counter medicines not be used in infants and children under age 2. They have not been proven effective for young children and may cause serious side effects, says Matthew M. Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. In response to the FDA, manufacturers of over-the-counter cough and cold products changed their labels

back in 2008, to state that the medicines should not be used for children under 4 years old. “These products don’t reduce the time the infection will lasts and misuse could lead to serious harm,” says Davis. “What can be confusing, however, is that often these products are labeled prominently as ‘children’s’ medications. The details are often on the back of the box, in small print. That’s where parents and caregivers can find instructions that they should not be used in children under 4 years old,” Davis says. The side effects from use of cough and cold medicines in young children may include allergic reactions, increased or uneven heart rate, drowsiness or sleeplessness, slow and shallow breathing, confusion or hallucinations, convulsions, nausea and constipation. The poll found that use of the cough and cold medicines in children age 4 and under did not differ by parent gender, race/ethnicity or by household income. “Products like these may work for adults, and parents think it could help their children as well. But what’s good for adults is not always good for children,” says Davis.

Kids and lawn mowers

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ips to help reduce the risk of a lawn mower injury among kids: • Children should not ride on lawn mowers as passengers. They can fall and be caught under the mower. • Clear the mowing area of objects including twigs, stones and toys that can be picked up and thrown by the lawn mower blades. • Wear closed-toed shoes with slip-proof soles while mowing. • Consider hearing protection for louder mowers. • Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is let go. • Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you do. • Make sure that all children are indoors or at a safe distance away from the area that you are mowing

before you turn on the mower. • Make sure your child is old enough to handle the responsibilities that are associated with using a lawn mower. Children younger than 16 should not be allowed to operate riding mowers, and those younger than 12 should not be allowed to use walk-behind mowers. • Before you allow your child to mow the lawn alone, spend time showing him or her how to do the job safely. Supervise your child’s work until you are sure that he or she can manage the task alone. • Store the fuel for the mower out of reach of children. Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or a shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool. Never let children refuel the engine. Source: Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

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The Gift of Life

Are you an organ donor? That decision could save many lives

By Barbara Pierce

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t. Elizabeth Medical Center Donation and Transplant Council is joining forces with the Center for Donation and Transplant to create awareness of the importance of registering to become an organ donor. “Only 20 percent of New Yorkers are registered to be organ donors,” said Andrew Sigond, hospital and community service specialist with CDT. “New York state ranks 47th out of the 50 states,” he added. “Other states have as many as 50 to 70 percent registered to donate. For a state that claims to be progressive and innovative in most areas, it is befuddling to me that we perform so poorly.” Over 10,000 New Yorkers are awaiting organ transplants. Many of this number die each day as they wait. “This is a health care crisis for New Yorkers,” claims Sigond. “People are dying each day because there are not enough donors.” Oneida County, the county in which St. Elizabeth Medical Center operates, had one of the lowest ratings in the state. Only 17 percent of Oneida County adults were registered to donate in January 2012 when the hospital’s collaborative efforts with CDT began. The purpose of the council is to create awareness throughout the medical center and the community of the importance of registering to be a donor. CDT is a nonprofit health care organization which coordinates the retrieval of donated organs and tissue at more than 43 hospitals throughout northeastern New York state and western Vermont. CDT ensures that the option of donation is offered to the family in an informative and compassionate manner, and provides longterm support and comfort to families and hospital personnel involved in the

donation process. An Organ Donor Awareness Day in April was highly successful as over 600 persons signed up to be donors throughout the community. Many of the CDT Council members participated at several events, such as the Boilermaker Expo and Relay for Life. This year was a smaller effort, gaining about 30 persons. “We’re very passionate about this,” said Sally Davidson, nurse manager of the intensive care unit and vascular access department at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.“It is important for people to understand how essential this effort is. We need to educate the public.”

Facing the factoids

Here are some factoids about organ donation, according to Sigond: • One donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people. • In 2012, the organ donors in CDT’s service area saved 112 lives. • Donors can range in age from newborns to over 80 years old. • Before becoming a donor, the patient must be declared brain dead. • All medical and surgical costs associated with organ donation are covered by the recipient’s insurance or by Medicare, never by the donor’s

family. • The most important step in deciding to be a donor is to share your wishes with your family. At the age of 55, John Weakley was dying. He was bedridden due to congestive heart failure and could barely breathe. His wife was told he would not survive the weekend. “He was a good guy, an average Joe, an iron worker, with a nice family. And he was dying at 55,” described Sigond. After a teenager died tragically in an auto accident, Weakley received his heart, thus saving his life. Twenty years later, he is celebrating his new life. He is a volunteer at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica, his way of giving back to the doctors and nurses that gave him life. And he focuses much effort of getting people to talk with their families and donate organs to save lives. “Talk about it with your family,” urged Davidson. It’s important for people to understand the issue, to have open and honest conversations about it. Although transplants are performed only at designated transplant centers, all hospitals are required by law to give families the choice of giving the gift of life after it is determined that the patient will not survive, added Davidson. “The medical center participates in the CDT Flag Campaign. We fly a flag for a week when we have a donor in the hospital to honor the donor and donor family. At the end of the week, the flag is returned to the CDT and it is presented to the donor family,” she added. To become a donor, check off the donor box on your driver’s license application or renewal form, or register online at http://www.dmv.ny.gov/ mydmv/organ-pop.htm.

Skin cancers of feet often go undiagnosed Podiatrist: Signs of foot cancer include non-healing sores, bumps that crack and bleed

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ew York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA), which represents more than 1,200 foot specialists across the Empire State, is urging New Yorkers to pay special attention to the skin on both the top and bottom of their feet. While harmful sunrays may be the primary cause of skin cancers on parts of the body that receive sun exposure, skin cancers of the feet are more often related to viruses. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are foot specialists, trained to recognize and treat conditions that present on the skin of the foot. Skin on the feet, especially on the bottom, is often overlooked during routine medical exams. According to Gary Stones, NYSPMA’s president and a practicing podiatrist, skin cancers of the feet have several features in common. “Most are painless, but often there’s a history of recurrent cracking, itching, bleeding or ulceration,” he cau-

tions. “These cancers often go undiagnosed until another issue presents itself near the affected site,” added Stones. Checking for warning signs is something anyone can do, paying particular attention to changes such as non-healing sores, bumps that crack and bleed, nodules with rolled edges or scaly areas. Examining the bottom of the foot is critical. Basal cell cancers may appear as pearly white bumps or oozy patches that can get crusty like other open sores. On the foot, basal cell cancers often look like non-cancerous skin tumors or benign ulcers. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer of the foot. They usually are confined to the skin and do not spread. However, when advanced, some can become more aggressive and spread throughout the body. This form of cancer can begin as a small scaly bump, which may ap-

pear inflamed. There can be cracking or bleeding. Sometimes it begins as a hard projecting, callous-like lesion. While painless, this type of skin cancer may be itchy. It can resemble a plantar wart, a fungal infection, eczema, an ulcer or other common dermatological conditions. Skin cancers on the lower extremity may have a different appearance that those arising on the rest of the body. So to test, the podiatrist will perform a skin biopsy. This is a simple procedure in which a small sample of the skin is obtained and sent to a lab where a skin pathologist examines the tissue in greater detail. If it turns out the lesion is skin cancer, the podiatrist will recommend the best course of treatment. Each year, approximately 2 million Americans are diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancers. June 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17


H ealth News Excellus medical director named fellow Dr. Frank J. Dubeck, chief medical officer and vice president for medical policy and clinical editing, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, was recently named a fellow by the American College of Physician Executives at the group’s annual meeting in New York City. Dubeck was one of only Dubeck 12 physicians in the country to receive this prestigious honor this year. ACPE is the nation’s oldest and largest medical management educational association for physicians. The organization represents nearly 11,000 high-level physician leaders from health care organizations across the U.S. and throughout the world. A nationally recognized expert on clinical coding and editing, Dubeck has been chief medical officer for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Utica region since 1998.

St. E’s College of Nursing features top grads The St. Elizabeth College of Nursing recently announced the 2013 weekday and weekend valedictorian and salutatorian: • Weekday valedictorian: Emma Wagner Originally from St. Louis, Mo., she resides in Whitesboro. She is married to Dr. Corey Wagner. She is the daughter of Marsha Ray and the late Ricky Wagner Manwaring. She is a graduate of Mascoutah Community High School in Missouri, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Illinois State University. She is the mother of two children, Annalee, 7, and Genavieve, 4. • Weekend valedictorian: Kelly Osborn Osborn of New Hartford is married to Darryl Osborn. She is the daughter of Steven and Sheryl Stressel. A graduate of New Hartford High School, she holds a Bachelor of Science Osborn degree in biolPage 18

Freiberger

ogy from SUNY Geneseo. She is the mother of three children: Derek, 10, Shawn, 8, and Brandon, 6. • Weekday salutatorian: Sherri Freiberger Freiberger of Whitesboro is married to Dr. Eric Freiberger. She is the daughter of John

and Ann Yost. She attended school in the Carey, Ohio school district. Freiberger is the mother of two children: Sarah, 11, and Katie, 9. • Weekend salutatorian: Stephanie Mazloom Mazloo, of Utica, is the daughter of Paul Sr. and Gina Mazloom. She is a graduate of Thomas R. Proctor High School and Mazloom holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Utica College of Syracuse University.

SEMC creates video on hand washing St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, is participating in a unique patient-safety initiative called “Bordering on Zero.” The program empowers front-line staff by letting them identify a goal and work together on planning and implementing their own strategies to reach the target. SEMC’s medical surgical unit on 3A was chosen to lead this effort and chose to decrease the rate of hospitalacquired infections. One strategy of the staff focus was improving its hand-hygiene compliance rate. Nurses came together and decided to produce a music video to encourage hand washing and soon the hallways were filled with three germfighting country girls known as the “Flu Fighters.” Participation became contagious and soon staff from administration to dietary, respiratory and more began making cameo appearances. The goal is to see SEMC’s hand-hygiene compliance rates increase hospital wide. Rates are monitored throughout the medical center by the infection prevention department and results are conveyed back to nurses of each unit on a monthly basis. Staff encourages the public to view the video and share it with friends and colleagues to help reduce the spread of germs and the flu through proper hand washing. View on the St. Elizabeth YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/ user/StElizabethsUticaNY.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

Sitrin Health Care Center CEO steps down

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fter 27 years of service, Richard A. Wilson is stepping down as president and CEO of the Sitrin Health Care Center in New Hartford. He won’t be leaving the facility entirely, but will maintain a presence as vice president of strategic development. “I’m looking forward to staying on in a different capacity, which will allow me Serafin the opportunity to oversee existing and new construction projects and continue to develop unique programs,” said Wilson. Christa L. Serafin, chief financial officer at Sitrin, will take over as president and CEO on June 1. Since 1999, Serafin has been responsible for all financial aspects of Sitrin and its seven corporations. She works closely with Wilson on all matters related to the health care center and its affiliates, including finances and operations. A resident of New Hartford, Serafin is a New York state Certified Public Accountant. Wilson has spearheaded more than 12 key expansions at Sitrin dur-

ing his tenure, most notably the creation of a residential model of longterm care, and Cedarbrook Assisted Living and Enriched Housing Facility. In addition, he implemented the innovative STARS adaptive sports program, which resulted in Sitrin becoming a Paralympic sport club, and instituted its new military rehabilitation program. As a result of Sitrin’s advancement, Wilson Wilson created new jobs in the community and grew Sitrin’s employee base from 100 to nearly 650. Finding a successor for Wilson wasn’t going to be an easy task; however, once Serafin expressed interest in the position, the board overwhelmingly supported her. “As chief financial officer, Christa has the unique advantage of knowing the operational intricacies of all business lines, as well as strong working relationships with department heads and employees,” said Sitrin Board Chairman Edward Kowalsky. “These attributes, combined with her vast work experience, will ensure a seamless transition for Sitrin, those it serves, and its employees.”

St. Johnsville Rehab names there with his family. new administrator New graduate nurse at St. David Wallace is the new adminisJohnsville Rehab trator-CEO at St. Johnsville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Wallace holds a master’s degree in health administrationeducation and a Bachelor of Science degree in health administration-longterm care from the University of Phoenix in Arizona. He is a New York state-licensed nursing home Wallace administrator and a member of the American College of Health Care Administrators. Wallace joins St. Johnsville with over 15 years of healthcare experience starting as a transportation aide, certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse and now administrator of the 120-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. He is a Remsen native and resides

Travis Dygert has been selected as the newest graduate nurse at St. Johnsville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Dygert holds an Associate of Applied Science degree from Albany Memorial School of Nursing. He is working as a graduate nurse while waiting to take his New York state-registered nurse boards. Dygert joined St. Johnsville seven years ago when he started working in the maintenance department, followed by activities and then as a certified nurse’s aide while he attended college. Dygert is a native of St. Johnsville and continues to reside there. He plans to pursue his Bachelor of Science in nursing degree.

Pair joins Boilermaker Road Race board Randall J. VanWagoner, president of Mohawk Valley Community College, and Anita Moller, staff nurse at Faxton-

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H ealth News Continued from Page 18 St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica, were recently approved as members of the board of directors of the Boilermaker Road Race. “Together, with our more than 6,500 volunteers, the board of directors allows the community to be a part of an event that everybody feels good about,” said Timothy R. Reed, president of the Boilermaker Road Race and Distance Running Hall of Fame. VanWagoner is a graduate of University of Michigan, Oakland University and Mott College Community College. He has served as president of MVCC since 2007, and prior to that worked as vice president for VanWagoner learning and academic affairs at Metropolitan Community College in Nebraska. Since joining the Mohawk Valley community, VanWagoner has been awarded the community visionary award and educator of the year award. Moller is a graduate of Utica College, Morrisville State College and SUNY Geneseo. She has worked at FSLH as a registered nurse providing direct patient care through the perioperative period. Prior to her nursing career, she worked as the director of community impact and community Moller building coordinator for the United Way of Greater Utica and program director at The Neighborhood Center. For more information about the board of directors of the Boilermaker Road Race, visit www.boilermaker.com or call 315-724-4525.

FSLH receives re-accreditation from DNV

Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica has achieved national re-accreditation from DNV Healthcare, the only hospital accreditation program approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that integrates the ISO 9001 quality management system with Medicare conditions of participation. DNV’s NIAHO® accreditation program requires hospitals to evaluate the continuum of patient care throughout its facilities and take measured steps to improve when it is warranted. “Receiving re-accreditation by the DNV program validates that we are taking the appropriate measures to achieve our commitment to patient safety and quality care,” said Scott H.

Perra, president-CEO of FSLH. “ISO 9001 standards continue to help us improve our care processes. By consistently following the processes we have in place, we are able to provide the best possible care and realize positive outcomes for our patients.”

Herkimer BOCES, VHS join forces Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES recently presented Valley Health Services with the BOCES’ annual Community Partnership Award. The award is given out each year at the Herkimer BOCES annual meeting to a local business or organization which partners with Herkimer BOCES to increase opportunities for local students. “We’re thrilled to be honored, and we’re very happy to be partnered with this wonderful program,” Valley Health Services Chief Executive Officer Lisa Betrus said. “We look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come.” Valley Health Services is a 160-bed, long-term care and short-term rehabilitation facility in Herkimer. Students in the Herkimer BOCES health science careers program have the opportunity to gain valuable clinical experience at Valley Health Services. Health science careers instructor Brenda Bouchard said she has been collaborating with Valley Health Services for more than 20 years to provide Herkimer BOCES students with a supervised clinical training program. “The students are warmly welcomed every year and made to feel important and respected members of the health care community,” Bouchard said. Students in Herkimer BOCES career and technical education programs learn “real life” lessons, and the clinical experience with Valley Health Services allows students to decide whether or not to pursue a career in health care based on their own knowledge and experience, Bouchard said.

Presbyterian Homes’ employee wins award Presbyterian Homes & Services, Inc. of New Hartford is celebrating an award for one of its own. Corina Stevener, assistant director of human resources, graduated from SUNY IT recently and received the outstanding graduate student in human resources management award. Stevener Stevener graduated with a Master of Business Administration in technology management with a concentration in human resource management.

The award is given annually to a student who is nominated by a faculty member and has reached high academic achievement. Stevener earned the highest GPA in the human resources management program. Stevener worked as a dietary aide for the Presbyterian Homes & Services for almost two years during high school, and returned when she was hired as assistant director of human resources in May of 2009. She has worked in that role since, applying a first-hand knowledge of the issues faced by many in her employer’s workforce.

‘Best Buddies’ reception held at Proctor

The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, through its school-to-work program at Proctor High School in Utica, has forged a collaborative relationship with students and teachers in special education at the school. Arc staff became involved with the Best Buddies Club, supervised by Caren Price, at the school through school-to-work student participants. Best Buddies held their annual “Ban the R Word Day” reception recently at the high school. The slogan was “Spread the Word to End the R Word” and Proctor students wore “Changing Lives One Friendship at a Time!” T-shirts. Visitors signed a petition and a large poster in support of banning the R word. Guests included Michael Pearson of Best Buddies International and Megan Kelly, program manager at the regional office in Albany, along with students, teachers and family members. Kelly said there are 24 Best Buddies chapters in Central New York-area schools. “Offense Taken,” a powerful video about how the R word affects people with disabilities, was shown. “Offense Taken” may be viewed at http://www.selfadvocacy.org/offensetaken.

Sitrin’s wheelchair hoop game raises funds The 11th annual Sitrin Celebrity Classic Wheelchair Basketball Game held recently was the most successful yet, according to organizers. The event attracted more than 1,200 attendees and raised more than $10,000 for the Sitrin Success Through Adaptive Recreation and Sports program. For two 20-minute halves, the crowd watched local celebrities struggle to keep up with athletes from Sitrin’s STARS Program. This year, Syracuse University basketball stars James Southerland and Brandon Triche joined the celebrity team as well as Ultimate Fighter Matt “The Hammer” Hamill. STARS provide people with physical disabilities a number of athletic opportunities that enable them to compete throughout the country and around the world. In addition to basketball, the STARS program includes June 2013 •

golf, paddling, curling, road racing, shooting, cross-country skiing, and biathlon.

Insight House names employee of quarter Bill Robertson was recently selected as Insight House employee of the quarter. Supervisors nominate employees of the quarter for their reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism and uniqueness of contribution. RobertRobertson son, of Utica, is a maintenance worker and joined the agency in 2011. His duties include building cleaning, painting, landscaping, snow removal, and repair and maintenance of equipment.

Businesses get healthy, recognized More than 500 local women and men, many of them professionals with area businesses, packed a room at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro recently to help raise more than $80,322 in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Among the faces in the crowd at the annual Go Red For Women Luncheon were five companies that entered teams of employees in the American Heart Association’s 2013 Go Red Corporate Challenge. The teams from First Source Federal Credit Union; AmeriCU Credit Union, Revere Copper, Inc.; The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter; and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare spent eight weeks engaging in a workplace wellness challenge that culminated with the announcement of the results at the luncheon.

Award winners

While all the teams saw improvements in their overall wellness, there were specific awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the battle against heart disease: • Company of the year: AmeriCU Credit Union • Heart survivor award: Mary Jane Tottey, The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter • Most inspiring individual: Cindy Griswold, The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter • Spirit Award: Peter Berowski, First Source Federal Credit Union • Most improved company: Revere Copper Products, Inc. • Company with the highest average score: First Source Federal Credit Union For more information about Go Red For Women, call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278) or visit www.GoRedForWomen.org. Macy’s and Merck & Co., Inc. provide national sponsorship.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Golden Years Sporty Seniors Masonic Care Community participants competitive at Senior Games By Patricia J. Malin

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hen he arrived at the Masonic Care Community in Utica in February 2010, John Shaul recalls going for a checkup with the campus physician, Guy Wilcox. Wilcox determined that Shaul had a heart condition. “My heart was beating too fast,” Shaul recalled. Following the doctor’s advice, he received a pacemaker and maintained a lifestyle that includes some physical activity. Shaul is now 96 years old and lives in Riley Hall, an independent living facility. He recently displayed his robust skill by winning a gold medal in bumper bowling at the annual Senior Olympics at the Masonic Care Community gymnasium. The Senior Olympics is organized by District 5 of the Activities Association, a group of 17 senior nursing and independent living communities from Herkimer and Oneida counties. Those skilled and long-term nursing centers sent about 100 athletes to Mohawk Community College to compete for individual and team honors in a variety of senior sports such as bowling, golf, ring toss and even in Wii interactive video games. U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) delivered the opening address to inspire the athletes. MCC’s oldest resident, 101-year-old Marjorie Sornborger, had the honor of lighting the Olympic torch and also competed in bean bag lotto. Perhaps it’s home court advantage, but Team Masonic has won the overall team title for three consecutive years. This time, the athletes from Masonic Care Community earned 30 points total, swamping the runners-up from Betsy Ross Rehabilitation Center in Rome, who were held to just 11 points.

friends and healthcare professionals, Shaul said they decided to take up residence at the Masonic Care Community. Another secret to longevity is, naturally, good family genes. “Both

Do the bump

Just like traditional bowling, bumper bowling takes skilled hand-eye coordination, though the athlete gets to sit at a table and roll the ball toward plastic pins. Shaul beat his lone competitor, Dorothea Link, also of MCC, who took home the silver medal. While Shaul still follows Wilcox’s advice faithfully, his wife, Barb, is unknowingly responsible for keeping Shaul in good condition. Barb is 90 but has Parkinson’s disease and lives in the skilled nursing unit at MCC. So when Shaul takes his daily constitutional around the landscaped Masonic campus, he is on a mission to visit Barb. “I see her everyday to keep her spirits up. In July, we will have been married 65 years,” he noted with pride. The couple lived in DeWitt for 44 years. Shaul worked as a field supervisor for the Federation of Dairy Farmers Cooperative prior to his retirement in 1982. By 2010, it became apparent that Barb needed extensive care. “I couldn’t take care of her at home,” he said. “She’s in a wheelchair.” After consulting with family, Page 20

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • June 2013

of our mothers lived to be 102,” Shaul added. He’s also an avid reader and enjoys keeping up with the latest medical

research. Shaul said he is confident modern science will eventually find a way to use stem cell technology to eliminate Parkinson’s.

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