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in good April 2014 • Issue 98

Meet CNY Cardiology’s Mark Blaker Page 4

Pass More Peas, Please!


Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Stress in Children Youngsters also suffer from stress disorder. See Page 3

Special Food/Nutrition Edition

Elise: 2014 Miracle Child! Page 17

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

Sugar cravings? Stop right now! See Page 11

Seeking Happiness? Ditch that iPhone! See Page 6

STIs What are the most commonly asked questions to physicians? Page 8




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Women’s support therapy group to meet A women’s support therapy group meets from 5:30-7 p.m. Mondays at 1 Ellinwood Court, New Hartford. Topics of discussion include family issues, stress, depression, anger, relationships and grief. Cynthia Davis, who has 20 years of experience leading groups, will facilitate the meetings. Group size will be limited to protect anonymity. To register, call 7361231 or email There will be a small fee to register for these groups.

April 1

Grief Survivors group to meet Grief Survivors will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. April 1, 15 and 29 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. Drop-ins are welcome. This is a faith-based support group for those suffering the loss of a loved one. For more information contact Tanya at 315-735-6210, or visit

April 2

FSLH stroke support group to meet Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare will host a free stroke support group presentation at 6 p.m. April 2 in the Soggs Room at St. Luke’s Home in the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. FSLH is the area’s only designated primary stroke center and is a recipient of the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s 2013 Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award for excellence in the care of stroke patients. For more information, call Laura Love at 315-624-6847. Page 2

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

April 3

Learn about health insurance options If you need health insurance, it’s never too late to explore your options. Rome Memorial Hospital’s certified application counselors can help. Free counseling can help you find the right health insurance plan for your budget and needs. Options will be explored at the RMH Health Night lecture at 7 p.m. April 3 in the hospital’s classroom. Counselors Nicholeen Shoemaker and Kaylie Wylubski will discuss Wylubski several health plan options. “We are here to provide community members and our patients who are uninsured or underinsured with ‘one-stop shopping’,” said Shoemaker, RMH’s director of patient registration. “We offer flexible hours for private, one-on-one appointments,” noted Wylubski. In addition to Health Night, counselors are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. To schedule an appointment, call 315-356-7723 or 315-356-7724. Health Night is a monthly lecture series, sponsored by RMH. Advance registration is not required.

April 5

After Breast Cancer Support Group to meet The After Breast Cancer Support Group will meet at 11 a.m. April 5 in the community room at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services on the St. Luke’s Campus,

Continued on Page 14

Kids/Teens Health

Stressed-out youngsters

Letting children act like children essential for balancing school day By Mary Christopher


arents of children who are feeling the pressures of school and social demands can take comfort in knowing there is a fairly simple remedy to help ease their stress — allowing them more time for play. Today’s elementary school students are expected to perform at higher standards and deal with nagging media and technology that often sends negative messages. Offering them time to play, imagine and decompress after school is important to maintain balance after a demanding day. “We see children needing to unwind,” said Susan Everett, registered licensed clinical social worker in the New Hartford Central School District. “Letting children be children is the best thing you can do for a young person. In school, we are asking children to do more than they are capable of at any given time. Some children thrive on that pressure and other children feel the pressure.” Decreasing the amount of academic pressure and letting kids decompress at home is an important component of a healthy childhood that often is neglected when dealing with school stresses, extra activities and technology distractions. “The more balanced your life is, the happier you will be,” Everett said. The overall push for students to be college and career ready combined with media and technology saturation can confuse children and it is important for parents to “know their child, focus on their strengths and know their limitations,” she said. Expectations and demands are different in every parent. Some parents are hesitant to advocate for a child who might be struggling while others are comfortable with

letting their children know a C grade is not the end of the world. Everett said new standards and curriculums adopted in many schools enforce essential skills such as critical thinking and analyzing. If parents can build on that at home and help children form opinions about themselves it will help decrease stress and make them feel better about who they are. “If parents can empower their children with a sense that they fit in and can make decisions, then the stress of school decreases,” Everett said. When kids Mazza Jones are experiencing heightened levels of stress or anxiety “their basic needs are not being met and they won’t learn properly,” said Jennie Mazza Jones, a licensed clinical social worker in Clinton.

Keeping calm

Taking a few minutes to calm as a collective unit at home and in school can be beneficial in clearing the mind and releasing stress. This can be achieved by taking a couple of minutes as a group in class or together as a family by doing some deep breathing exercises, Mazza Jones said. Unplugging from technological devices and social media interactions is also crucial in taking a mental break. “Our kids our constantly bombarded with stimuli and keeping them as unplugged as possible is a

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Fourth-grade students at New Hartford Elementary School set up a toy play set after school. Experts say giving children time to decompress after a school day is important in keeping their day balanced and to alleviate stress. good idea,” Mazza Jones said. Parents should be role models demonstrating the importance of taking the time to have meaningful conversations and creating quiet time and down time for play or reflection by “unplugging” as well. Social media can open a flood of other issues, including bullying and distraction from more important activities. While parents cannot control what happens on those sites, they can control how their children may react to what happens on them. “Having open communication with kids is so important because there are so many influences out there that you cannot save them from every thing, but they should know they can come and talk to you,” Mazza Jones said. According to the American Psychological Association (, young people — like adults — experience stress. It can come from a variety of sources including school, friend-


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In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2014 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 4 Riverside Drive, Suite 251, Utica, NY 13502 • Phone: 315-749-7070 Email: Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Patricia Malin, Barbara Pierce, Kristen Raab, Malissa Allen, Mary Stevenson, Deb Dittner, Amylynn Pastorella, Mary Christopher Advertising: Donna Kimbrell, Jasmine Maldonado 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.

ships, or managing perceived expectations from their parents, teachers or coaches. Some stress can be positive in that it provides the energy to tackle a big test, presentation or sports event. Too much stress, however, can create unnecessary hardship and challenge. Adults can sometimes be unaware when their children are experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress. Tuning into emotional or behavioral cues is important in identifying potential problems and working with your child to provide guidance and support to successfully work through difficult times. Here are some tips from the APA on ways to recognize possible signs of stress: • Watch for negative changes in behavior • Understand that feeling “sick” may be caused by stress • Listen and translate • Seek support

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Herkimer County HealthNet confronts diabetes


erkimer County HealthNet has been awarded funding from two different sources to support the National Diabetes Prevention Program in both Herkimer and Madison counties. Funding will come from the New York State Health Foundation’s “Laying the Groundwork to Scale Up the National Diabetes Prevention Program in New York” grant initiative and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s “Community and Member Health Improvement” grant. The awards total approximately $135,000 over the next three years. HCHN will act as the coordinating agency for National Diabetes Prevention activities at the two sites and is partnering with both the Madison County Rural Health Council and the Herkimer County Public Health Department. The National Diabetes Prevention Program will address adults in Herkimer and Madison counties who are at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes. A major risk factor for developing diabetes is age and both counties have a higher percentage of citizens over the age of 65 (17.9 percent in Herkimer and 15 percent in Madison) than either New York state (14.1 percent) or the country (13.7 percent). Obesity and lack of physical activity are also major risk factors for developing diabetes. Herkimer County’s percent of adults who are obese is 29.8 percent and Madison County’s is 26.7 percent, according to the New York State Department of Health. These are above the state percentage of 23.2 percent. The main focus of the grants is to establish a sustainable capacity to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program to the rural residents of Central New York by developing a corps of trained lifestyle coaches to offer NDPP. The grants will allow for three new coaches to be trained to deliver the National Diabetes Prevention Program and for multiple sessions of the class to be offered in each county over the next three years. “Adults in our community can significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating a healthier diet and becoming active,” said Eve Van de Wal, regional president for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “But making those changes can be daunting. That’s why this program is so important — it provides participants with tools and support to help them take charge of their own health.” The Centers for Disease Control’s Diabetes Prevention Program research study showed that making modest behavior changes helped participants in the program lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. These lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with pre-diabetes.

Page 4


Your Doctor

By Patricia J. Malin

Mark Blaker

Mark Blaker has been practicing in Utica for 30 years and is a familiar face in the Mohawk Valley, only now he has a new address. Last September, he joined CNY Cardiology, which is located at 2211 Genesee St., Utica, next to St. Elizabeth Medical Center. He recently spoke with In Good Health senior writer Patricia J. Malin about his career. Q.: What made you decide to join CNY Cardiology? What do you enjoy most about the Mohawk Valley? A.: I’ve been in Utica practicing cardiology since 1982 and joined CNY Cardiology in 2013. Cardiology has progressed so much in the last 32 years that cardiologists can now specialize in interventions (like a plumber), irregular heart rhythms (like an electrician) and imaging (ultrasounds and scans). Joining a large group such as CNY Cardiology encourages a team approach to cardiac care, which is increasingly needed given the advances in cardiology. Q.: What prompted you to specialize in cardiology? What were some of your major influences that steered you in that direction? A.: Cardiology first attracted me in medical school while learning the basics of EKG (electrocardiogram) reading. Also, I found exciting the care of different heart issues and conditions, such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure since these can be life threatening and require emergency care. Q.: What are some of the common illnesses or conditions you treat? A.: The most common heart condition is atherosclerotic disease (often referred to as hardening of the arteries), such as angina. Other common problems are congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Q.: What aspect of your profession gives you the most gratification? A.: The improvement in a person’s lifespan and improved quality of life over the last several decades is gratifying to see. In the years I have been practicing, cardiology has made massive advances. When I started my practice, heart attacks were treated with rest and morphine. Now patients are rapidly taken from the ER to the catheter lab where their blood vessels are opened up with balloons and stents. Implantable defibrillators to prevent sudden death are in common use now. The management of a patient’s blood pressure, congestive heart failure and irregular heart rhythms are completely different than when I began practicing. Q.: What is the most challenging or negative aspect of your job? A.: There is an increasing review of care by organizations, insurance companies and people who do not have medical knowledge. Q.: What are some of the recent technological advances that have made diagnosis and treatment more effective

Continued on Page 19

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

Lifelines Age: 60 Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pa. Current Residence: New Hartford Education: Bachelor of Science, Penn State University (1974); Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pa. (1976); Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa., internal medicine (1979); Northeast Deaconess Hospital, Boston, Mass., cardiology training (1982) Affiliations: Fellow of the American College of Cardiology Family: Wife, Nancy, and children Jeffrey, 30; Stephen, 28; Alyssa, 24 Hobbies: Golf, skiing, reading and traveling

Women’s Health ‘I touch people’s lives’ FSLH nurse has the right stuff to be stellar healthcare pro By Barbara Pierce

I can say I touch people’s lives,” said Gayle Bankert, an emergency department nurse at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Bankert knows she makes a difference to patients. “I’m not a doctor; I don’t know how to make people better, but I do know how to make people feel better. And it’s a great feeling,” she said. A medical doctor makes a diagnosis and prescribes medication, but it is the nurse who spends time caring for and communicating with the patient. The nurses are the link between the doctor and patient. They monitor the patient, attend to his or her needs, and act as the patient’s advocate and support system. Bankert’s role as a nurse is critically important. She helps people recover; she helps them feel better; she improves their sense of well being, which is essential to one’s health. Registered nurses, like Bankert, are the largest health care occupation. Even in today’s tough economy, the nursing profession has thrived compared to other occupations. With an increasing aging population, the employment growth for RNs is expected to grow faster than average for all other occupations. Nursing is a blend of science and technology with the art of caring and compassion. Bankert’s caring and compassion are obvious to all those who encounter her.

True calling

They say one doesn’t choose nursing; it chooses you. Bankert would agree. As she considered possible careers, she was torn between becoming an elementary school teacher and a nurse. “My mother always said she had wanted to be a nurse. That’s what pushed me in that direction,” she said.

Gayle Bankert, left, a nurse in Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Emergency Department, displays her Spirit of Caring award with her ED co-workers. She attended the Mohawk Valley Community College nursing program, earned an associate’s degree and became an RN. She has been an RN for 28 years. “It’s a great career because of the flexibility you have to work in a variety of settings,” added Bankert. “I’ve always worked in hospitals, but nurses also work in doctor’s offices, for corporations, doing research.” Her hospital career began in the nursery, where she cared for newborns for 3 years. Next, she worked for 15 years in the intensive care unit, and is in her third year in the emergency room. “You can go wherever you wish,” she said. Though the majority of RNs do work in hospitals, they can be found in schools, community clinics, mental

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health clinics, psychiatric facilities, drug rehabilitation facilities, forensic nursing, public health nursing, prisons, and even at sporting events and in tourist destinations. “I love nursing,” Bankert said. “We have a motto at our hospital that I really like: ‘Treat the patients like they’re your own family.’ That old man lying there with cancer could be my dad. I treat him like he is my dad. It makes it worthwhile.” “It’s hard work; I’ve never worked as hard as I do in the ER,” she added. “I work 12-hour shifts. Some days it’s so busy, there is no time to even stop and eat anything. I just live on saltine crackers all day on those days. “But, when I’ve had a really bad day, and someone says ‘Thank you,’ or ‘You’re so nice.’ Where else can you get this?” “It’s a great job if you want to feel needed,” Bankert said. “The hardest things were to leave my kids when they were sick and to miss holidays. Some people don’t understand why I want to work in a job when can’t be there on holidays. But it’s worth it. I love nursing.” Bankert’s coworkers said she is an outstanding nurse. She recently received a Spirit of Caring award. FSLH gives this award twice a year to employees who are nominated by their peers for doing an outstanding job and providing compassionate, quality care to patients. “She’s a wonderful person and a wonderful nurse,” added Erin Gigliotti, communications specialist for FSLH.

can be especially difficult to deal with. And a nurse needs emotional stability to cope with the human suffering he or she will deal with regularly. “There was a huge nursing shortage several years ago, and many people got into the field at that time,” added Bankert. “Most of them didn’t last because they didn’t have what it takes.” In addition to being caring, sympathetic and patient, nurses must be responsible and detail oriented. They must follow orders precisely, and determine when consultation is necessary. Accuracy and attention to details is critically important as they administer medications, monitor all aspects of patients’ care, and keep records of patients’ progress. “It’s hard work. I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” Bankert said. “But I love it. I touch people’s lives.”

Is this career for you?

Is nursing is a career for you? Nurses should be caring, sympathetic, and patient. People can be difficult to deal with. Ill or hurting people

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 5

Women’s Health

Secrets to Good Health Ditch your iPhone and other ways to enhance a healthy lifestyle By Barbara Pierce


xperts at Harvard Medical School have compiled the secrets to healthy living. Here’s what several docs at Harvard Medical School suggest: • Ditch your iPhone: “I refuse to use a smart phone,” said Dr. Tony Komaroff. “I don’t want to be interrupted every few minutes by a signal that says there’s a message for me. I’ll go crazy. And crazy is not good for your health.” Are you and your iPhone inseparable? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us are afraid to be separated from our cell phones, even for brief moments. This can mess with your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s as harmful to your health as being overweight or smoking cigarettes, say the experts. Why? For one, if you crank the volume all the way up, you can lose some of your hearing. And in doing repetitive fine motor activities like texting or playing “Candy Crush,” you can develop “text claw” or “text neck,’ which is soreness, aching, and tendinitis in your hand or neck. And, your cell phone is a source of germs you would expect only to find in a bathroom. Also, it’s very addictive. People suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to those drug addicts suffer. There are even inpatient programs to treat this addiction. • Forget the supplements: “I tell all my patients to throw away essentially every supplement they swear by,” said Dr. Marc Garnick. “It is amazing to me that incredibly intelligent individuals flock to supplements. I think some folks believe that they can make up for a poor diet by taking vitamins. But studies have generally shown this is not so.” Overall, if you eat a healthy diet, you do not need supplements, say the experts. It’s always better to get your nutrients from food. Though they are labeled “natural,”

over 90 percent of vitamin supplements on sale are synthetic. New evidence is emerging that these synthetic pills can do more harm than good. • Learn to cook: “I feel pretty strongly that weight problems that many folks have are related to lots of carry-out food or eating out,” said Dr. Nancy Keating. “Now that I have a family, I focus on good, fresh food that can be cooked quickly.” Though cooking is intimidating for many of us, if you start with simple recipes and discover recipes in magazines that are fast and easy, it’s not so hard. And home cooked food generally tastes a lot better, even if you’re not an experienced cook.

• Trick yourself into exercising: “I have to have something to distract me from how boring it is on the treadmill, or I would quit,” said Dr. Thomas Lee. “I can run on a treadmill a full 90 minutes when the Patriots or the Red Sox are playing.” Good movies also distract Lee. Though we know we should exercise, most of us have trouble motivating ourselves to do it. Here’s what one exercise guru says when asked what exercise is best: ““Do whatever activity you like best! Seriously. Just pick the exercise you like best and you’ll be most likely to do it on a consistent basis.” • Seek and share joy:

“We, and our doctors, tend to overlook the impact of joy on health. It’s hard to know why, perhaps because there is no number to follow. Our doctors and us focus instead on the numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, A1C, prostate-specific antigen, etc. These are important, but so are relationships, personal fulfillment, and optimism,” said Harvey Simon in the article by Harvard physicians. “Being married not only elongates your life but also keeps you in general better health,” said Deanna Brady, family nurse practitioner in Utica and board member of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State. “Couples in long-term relationships usually have healthier and more stable lifestyle habits.” There are plenty of studies that link optimism, happiness, and joy with good health. Your mind has a powerful effect on your body. Experts suggest you think positively by focusing on such things as a belief in your abilities, take a positive approach to challenges, and try to make the most of bad situations. Bad things will happen. Look at the situation realistically, search for ways you can improve the situation, and try to learn from your experiences. • Make mental health a priority: “I try not to read work emails on the weekend. I love weekend naps. I aim for downtime with my husband and daughter,” said Dr. Lori Tishler. For better mental health, develop and maintain strong relationships with people around you who will support and enrich your life. The quality of our personal relationships has a great effect on our well being. Putting time and effort into building strong relationships can bring great rewards. And take time to enjoy life. Set aside time for activities, hobbies and projects you enjoy. Let yourself be spontaneous and creative.

FDA approves first device to prevent migraines


he U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March approved the first device aimed at preventing migraines. The device, called Cefaly, is a headband-like device that runs on a battery and sits across the forehead and over the ears, the FDA said in a statement. “The user positions the device in the center of the forehead, just above the eyes, using a self-adhesive electrode,” the agency explained. “The device applies an electric current to the skin and underlying body tissues to stimulate branches of the trigeminal nerve, which has been associated with migraine headaches.” Cefaly is made by Belgium-based Cefaly Technology and is available by Page 6

prescription only. The device is only indicated for use by adults and should only be used for 20 minutes per day, the FDA said. The agency also noted that “the user may feel a tingling or massaging sensation where the electrode is applied.” One migraine expert welcomed news of the device’s approval. “This device is a promising step forward in treating migraine headaches, as it addresses an important part of what we believe triggers and maintains a migraine attack,” said physician Myrna Cardiel, a clinical associate professor of neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center and NYU School of Medicine in New York City. She added that the rate of positive

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

response to the Cefaly device “appear to be comparable to what we see with most oral migraine preventive medications.” Millions of Americans are afflicted by migraines, which typically involve intense, throbbing pain in one side of the head, along with nausea, vomiting and a sensitivity to light and sound. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, about 10 percent of people worldwide complain of migraines, with women affected three times more often than men. The FDA said Cefaly’s approval was based on the results of a clinical trial in Belgium involving 67 people who had more than two migraine attacks per month and who had avoided

medications in the three months prior to trying the device. Compared to people using an inactive placebo device, people who used Cefaly had “significantly fewer” days spent battling migraines compared to nonusers. They also had less need for migraine medications, the FDA said. Approval was also based on a “patient satisfaction study” of more than 2,300 Cefaly users in Belgium and France. That study found that 53 percent of people who tried the device said they were satisfied with it and would buy one for continued use. By HealthDay News

Women’s Health Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

Rejection It’s a bitter pill to swallow for many


ejection. We’re all sensitive to it. Thoughts of rejection plague our relationships. If we’re happy in a relationship, we are filled with fear that it may end, fear that we will be rejected. If we’re unhappy, we are filled with thoughts of how we can end it and reject him or her in the most caring way. We are hurt if we are rejected. We hurt when we must end a relationship and reject the other. In fact, my friend Debbie refuses to even meet men, because she doesn’t know how to gracefully turn down a date if she doesn’t like him and she fears hurting him. Like her, I hesitate to get into a relationship because I don’t know how to nicely give him the heave-ho when I sense there is no Pierce future in our relationship (and I am looking for a future). There is no painless way to do it. Not long ago, I had to do this. I had dated John only about three weeks when he asked me to move in with him. He was a widower and eager to have someone in his life full time. After just a short time, he believed I was the one who would make him whole and alive again. I knew he was not the one for me; I would not be happy with him as a partner. The scene in the park when I told him ‘No, I can’t move in with you’ was hard, very hard for both of us. He cried real tears. He pleaded. He begged. I felt so guilty because I was deeply hurting him. I was twisting a knife in his wound. I hated it. I wished I had never met him, never gone on that first date, or the second. Never again, I thought. I told him it wasn’t him; it was me. And it was me. I didn’t feel a spark of interest in him. In his book “Emotional First Aid,” psychologist Guy Winch dedicates the first chapter to rejection. That’s how important he considers the subject. I like what he has to say.

How about me?

He gives an example of an experiment: Three strangers are sitting in a waiting room. One guy begins to toss a ball to another guy. The two toss it back and forth. Once, they toss it to the third guy and he tosses it back. Then they ignore him and the two just keep tossing it between them. The third guy is very hurt by the fact that two strangers won’t toss him a ball. He feels very hurt by their rejection. If we can be deeply hurt from rejection from a total stranger who won’t toss us a ball, how much more hurtful is rejection from someone we care about?

It’s probably the biggest in terms of the hurts we give one another. “People reject romantic partners and prospects for many different reasons, most of which have nothing to do with anyone’s shortcomings,” says Winch. “Most often it is a simple matter of chemistry — either there’s a spark or there isn’t.” Winch suggests when we have been rejected, we consider alternative explanations. Perhaps you don’t look the way the other person dreams of his ideal mate looking, perhaps you’re the wrong height, or weight, or even the wrong sex. Or the person might be going back to his or her ex, or going through a crisis and just can’t date at this time. Timing can be an issue as well. You might be ready to settle down and the other person isn’t. Or one of you wants an intense relationship and the other is more cautious, maybe has been recently burned in another relationship. “The bottom line is, if people give you the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ speech, believe them. And even if they don’t give you that, assume it’s them anyway. The rejection will still hurt, but much less so than if you insist on spreading the salt of self-blame on an already painful wound,” says Winch. I’ve been rejected. I wrote bad poetry, I ran miles, I ate gallons of ice cream, I struck out at him over and over in my mind, I caricatured him in my mind; I listened to sappy love songs. Nothing helped. When a relationship ends, it’s natural to lament, but it’s easy to become morbidly self-indulgent, stewing in the

predicament. I probably was stewing. Time did help. In time, I could see his perspective; I could stop being angry at him and empathize with his perspective. Yogis intercede in their responses to emotions. They don’t put a plug in their emotion — they “sit with it.” They change what they can change, then accept what is. Remember that both people hurt when a relationship ends. And consider

that you are stronger, wiser, and more compassionate from your experiences. • 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, 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

Page 7

Women’s Health

STIs Here are some of the most commonly asked questions posed to health practitioners By Mary Christopher


aintaining regular check-ups and appointments is crucial in women’s health especially when treating possible sexually transmitted infections that have not yet presented symptoms. There are many questions they may have that are commonly asked which can be easily answered if they take the Burns time to meet with a health care provider. “Most women don’t come in until

they have a problem,” said Lisa Burns, a family nurse practitioner at the Planned Parenthood Utica Center. “Having a yearly appointment is so important because it is just good health. People tend to wait because they are embarrassed, but they shouldn’t be.” Here are some commonly asked STI questions that health providers say have important, often lifesaving, answers: Q.: What is the difference between a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis? A.: Bacterial vaginosis is much more common than a yeast infection and neither of them are STIs. In fact, BV is the most common vaginal infection among childbearing-aged women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection. With bacterial vaginosis, the vagina’s balance is out of whack with an overgrowth of bacteria. Pregnancy, hormonal changes, stress, douching or having

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

semen in the system can cause this. Symptoms include redness, itching and pain and discharge tends to be thin, white or yellowish and more uniform in appearance. It must be treated with a prescription medication. Yeast infections are caused by an excess of candida fungus and can be treated with over the counter medications. Symptoms include redness, itching and burning around the vulva, foul smelling, thick white discharge and pain during sexual intercourse or urination. Q.: How does emergency contraception (the morning-after pill) work and is it safe? A.: Emergency contraception, known as the morning-after pill, is birth control medication that helps prevent pregnancy. It is an overthe-counter medication if you are 17 or older because progestin is the only hormone ingredient, whereas true birth control pills also contain estrogen and can interact with other drugs, Burns said. “It prevents ovulation or fertilization and possibly blocks implantation of the embryo in the womb because it would not be in the right environment,” Burns said. If you are already pregnant, then emergency contraception will not work, said Linda Scharf, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson. If taken within 12 hours of intercourse it may reduce the risk of pregnancy by nearly 90 percent. The sooner it is taken the more effective it is and works up to five days after unprotected sex, Scharf said. Q.: How accurate are herpes tests? A.: A herpes test is done by

drawing blood and only shows if a person has been exposed to the virus. It does not tell where on the body it is when the virus is laying dormant and does present any symptoms. Often leery because of the stigma involved with an STI, people tend not to come forward and get tested right away. “The best time to do a culture is when there is a sore present,” Burns said. “Once it goes back down into the nerve it may be harder to detect.” Q.: Should I get the HPV vaccine? A.: The human papillomavirus is the most common STI in the U.S. and some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented with vaccines, according to the CDC website. There are more than 100 kinds of HPV, about 40 affect the genital tissues and are sexually transmitted. The most common cause skin warts. Vaccines for HPV are safe and effective. They can protect men and women against diseases caused by HPV. Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, protects against certain strains that cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Boys and girls aged 11 and 12 are the recommended target to get vaccinated, according to the CDC. Q.: Can chlamydia and gonorrhea cause infertility? A.: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are STIs that can cause infertility if left untreated. Often scar tissue builds up in areas of the upper genital track that may cause damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus and surrounding tissues, which can lead to infertility, Burns said. It is important to note that chlamydia and gonorrhea are preventable causes of infertility. The CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active females 25 and under and for women older than 25 with risk factors such as a new sexual partner or multiple partners.

FSLH hosts Dr. Michelle E. Haddad Memorial Seminar


he James M. Rozanski General Practice Residency Program at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare recently hosted the 18th annual Dr. Michelle E. Haddad Memorial Seminar at Utica College. For the 11th consecutive year, the seminar sold out with more than 270 people in attendance. Of those in attendance, 43 were past or current dental residents of FSLH’s general practice residency program. The general practice residency

program is a one-year post-doctoral professional education program. The seminar is held annually in honor of Dr. Michelle E. Haddad. Haddad graduated from Utica College in 1981 and attended the SUNY Buffalo School of Dentistry in Buffalo. She completed the general practice residency program at FSLH and entered private practice locally. She remained involved with the FSLH residency program as a volunteer attending until her untimely death in 1996.

Food & Nutrition SmartBites

By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Pass More Peas, Please!


h, spring. Nothing heralds this wondrous season quite like daffodils, bird songs and sweet, chubby peas. I’ve adored peas since I was a child, when I used to pluck them, fresh, from grandpa’s garden. These days, I’m an even bigger fan, because peas are loaded with the kinds of health-promoting nutrients that many of us care about: protein, fiber and several essential vitamins. Like other legumes, peas serve up a decent amount of protein per cup: 9 grams or about a fourth of our average daily needs. Although a pea’s protein is not complete (meaning it does not have all nine essential amino acids), it can easily be combined with, say, a whole grain to make it complete. Proteins build and maintain all the cells and tissues in the body and, in fact, are responsible for almost all of the body’s processes. Most of the protein I now consume is from plants. I prefer plant proteins over animal for three main reasons: they’re healthier for hearts (no saturated fats to elevate cholesterol), they’re typically lower in calories, and they’re

which helps blood clot properly, is a key ingredient in maintaining strong, healthy bones. Not everyone loves peas — point taken. But when you consider all the nutritious benefits, combined with how wonderfully low they are in fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium, well, all we are saying is…give peas a chance.


If buying fresh peas, look for firm, plump pods that are a vibrant medium green. Use as soon as possible for best taste. Unwashed, unshelled peas will last several days in the refrigerator. Shell just before use. If using processed peas, choose frozen over canned: the texture, flavor and color are better. Steaming peas in as little water as possible helps to preserve the vitamin C.

Pea Guacamole better for the environment (plant-based foods take less water, energy and fuel to produce than animal products). Peas also pack a terrific fiber punch, delivering about a third of our average daily needs in one cup. Not bad for such a dainty thing. Fiber contributes to good health by stabilizing blood-sugar levels, promoting regularity and ferrying bad cholesterol out. What’s more, some studies suggest that increasing fiber reduces our susceptibility to diseases such as heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes. Looking to make a dent in your daily dose of vitamins? Great news: Peas are a vitamin powerhouse, delivering admirable amounts of A, C, several Bs, and K (nearly 50 percent of our daily K needs in one small cup!). Vitamin K,

2 cloves garlic ¼ cup fresh cilantro (or 1 tablespoon dried) 1 medium shallot or small onion 1 red jalapeno chile juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

to mince. Add cilantro, pulse several times; then add shallot and jalapeno and pulse until the mixture looks finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until the peas are crushed but not completely pureed. 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

Place peas in medium saucepan with ½ cup water; cover. Bring quickly to boil. Reduce heat, stir and cook gently 4-6 minutes or just until tender. Drain and allow to cool slightly. While peas are cooling, place garlic in food processor and pulse

Putting the Fire Out Congressman backs bill to protect volunteer fire departments from Obamacare costs By Patricia J. Malin


cott Nicotera has been a volunteer with the New Hartford Fire Department for 25 years. “I wanted to be able to serve the community I live in,” said Nicotera, who became the assistant chief five years ago. Nearly every community in New York state — 95 percent — depends to some extent on volunteer firefighters. Nationwide, 87 percent of fire departments are exclusively or largely volunteer, according to the 2012 National Fire Department Census conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Volunteer or not, fire departments were considered a business and were ordered to comply with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, companies with 50 or more employees needed to provide health insurance or pay penalties. If volunteers were considered employees, fire companies could exceed the 50-employee threshold based on its size or by being part of a combined, paid-volunteer firefighter department.

If the fire department is part of a municipality with a total of 50 or more public employees, it would also be forced to comply with the ACA. U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-22) visited the New Hartford Fire Department recently to discuss his support of a pending bill in the U.S. Senate to protect volunteer firefighters and emergency responders from the consequences of the ACA. Obamacare’s employer mandate has raised concerns with thousands of small businesses nationwide. In response, the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act. It passed by a unanimous vote. There is now bipartisan companion legislation, S. 1798, pending in the Senate. It ensures that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees under the mandate.

Dousing the idea

The village of New Hartford’s fire department consists of 100 men and women. “Most of them have full-time jobs outside the department,” added Nicotera, although every employer does not necessarily provide health insurance. “I don’t know who has insurance and who doesn’t. We require volunteers to put time in training, but we’re not required to give them health insurance. The village of New Hartford is responsible for worker’s compensation costs but the majority of firefighters are covered by other forms of insurance. I’m sure insurance is unaffordable for some people.” Nicotera admits he is fortunate. He has a fulltime job as director of surgical services with St. Elizabeth April 2014 •

Medical Center in Utica. “Although my benefits come from the St. Elizabeth program, an increasing burden is taken out of my salary every year,” he said. “What healthcare does provide you continues to dwindle.” Hanna said Obamacare’s original provision lacked “common sense” and could potentially “cripple” volunteer departments and reduce services in the community. “Most of our local volunteer fire departments operate on very tight budgets and are in no position to pick up a costly new tab from Washington and provide health insurance that many volunteers do not want or need,” he said. Lieutenant Sean Luley added, “If this provision went through, it would be disastrous for our department.” The House and Senate bill is supported by organizations such as the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Towns and Townships, the National Association of EMTs, and the National Association of State EMS Officials.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Food & Nutrition

Abuzz about Beer Despite alcohol content, beer has nutritional value By Malissa Stinger


e all know the potential downsides beer has, and that includes overindulging and developing beer bellies. But are there any good points to drinking one of America’s favorite alcoholic beverages? Well, if you believe what research has found, then yes, there is. Beer actually has a number of natural antioxidants and vitamins that can help prevent heart disease and even rebuild muscle. It also has one of the highest energy contents of any food or drink. Of course, this means you need to set limits — one beer gets you going, four makes you fat. Also, did you know that beer is 93 percent water that can help with hydration while out in the sun? If you are a beer drinker, then you have noticed the shelves are filled up with beer made from all over the world: dark, light, and even gluten-free beer can be found today. Those that suffer from Celiac disease I am sure are happy to find this out. So, just what is the difference in all these types of beer? According to Fox News Health Watch, the color and way that it is made makes loads of difference. Manny Alvarez, Fox News Channel’s Senior Managing Editor for Health News, has this to say about dark beer: “Dark beers tend to have the most antioxidants, which help reverse cellular damage that occurs naturally in the body, and has higher iron content compared to lighter beers.”

Remember, iron is an essential mineral that our bodies need. Iron is a part of all cells and does many jobs including carrying oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies.

Bone health connection

How about our bones? Beer contains high levels of silicon, which is linked to bone health. However, downing more than two drinks was linked to

increased risk for fractures. Reach for pale ale for the best bone-building benefits. Beer specialists from around the world identified these brews as richest in silicon, while light lagers and non-alcoholic beers contained the least. Worried about the effects on your heart? According to Yahoo Health, More than 100 studies also show that

moderate drinking trims risk of heart attacks and dying from cardiovascular disease by 25 to 40 percent. A beer or two a day can help raise levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol that helps keep arteries from clogging. A study in Finland singled out beer among other alcoholic drinks, finding that each bottle of beer men drank daily lowered their risk of developing kidney stones by 40 percent. One theory is that beer’s high water content helps keep kidneys working, since dehydration increases kidney stone risk. It’s also possible that the hops in beer help curb leeching of calcium from bones; that “lost” calcium also could end up in the kidneys as stones. Being 93 percent water is obviously the reason behind the kidneys staying active which in return helps keep them active and healthy. With all this said, we can’t leave out the most important part of the body, the brain. There are healthy benefits to the brain as well. One beer a day may help keep Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at bay. A Dutch study, performed at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, found beer-drinking participants had 30 percent higher levels of vitamin B6 levels in their blood than their non-drinking counterparts, and twice as much as wine drinkers. Beer also contains vitamin B12 and folic acid. With all the nutrients and vitamins found in the brew, it’s no wonder it does have a positive side to it. The most important thing to remember is anything can be great in moderation.

New physician at SDMG


Little Falls Hospital Employees ‘Go Red for Women’ The staff at Little Falls Hospital recently participated in the national Go Red for Women event, sponsored annually by the American Heart Association. Employees wore red to show their support and help raise awareness of heart disease and its impact on women. Little Falls Hospital-Bassett Healthcare Network also participated in the recently 2014 America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. Page 10

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

ay M. Daly will be joining Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford April 1 in the specialty of radiology. Daly is board certified in radiology by the American Board of Radiology and board certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed his fellowship in abdominal imaging Daly including magnetic resonance imaging, computer tomography and ultrasound at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. Daly completed his residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn., and an internal medicine internship at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass.

Food & Nutrition

Sweet! Control sugar intake and live a healthier life By Barbara Pierce


or those of us who crave sugar— probably most of us — the newest research carries some bitter news: Americans eat way too much sugar, and it’s killing us. In one of the biggest studies to examine the issue, researchers found a link between high sugar consumption and fatal heart disease. And too much sugar is also linked to many kinds of cancers, including breast and colon cancer. The culprit they believe is the sugar that is added to a wide range of beverages and foods — soda and desserts, obviously, but also less obvious foods such as yogurt, peanut butter, bread, soup, pasta sauce and salad dressing. And it’s not just because sugar makes us fat. In the study, even normal-weight adults had a higher risk for death if they ate a lot of sugar. And it didn’t take much — even two sodas a day — substantially increased the risk. For those who ate the most sugar, their risk of dying prematurely from heart disease tripled over those who ate the least. It’s tough to fight that craving for something sweet. And there is a reason it’s so tough. Sugar is addictive. Scientists who study the way food influences our brains, like endocrinologist Robert Lustig, think we need to go to rehab for sugar addiction. According to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine, said Lustig on “60 Minutes.” Sugar triggers dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure in the brain. More and more experts believe breaking an addiction to sugar is more challenging than getting off of nicotine or even heroin. As going into rehab for sugar addiction isn’t going to happen, what can we do? “It’s important to understand what craving for sugar is really saying in the body,” said Kim Ross, clinical nutritionist and owner/operator of Healthy Transformations in Utica. “Sugar cravings can be the result of a couple things: Dehydration is a common cause of cravings,” she said. Whenever you feel the urge to grab a sweet snack, drink a glass of water instead. “Next, sugar cravings could come from an imbalance in the gut flora, meaning you may not consume enough probiotics,” said Ross.

Probiotics draw attention

We’ve been hearing more and more about probiotics lately. These ‘good bacteria’ are considered to be live microorganisms that confer a health benefit on the host, according to the World Health Organization. Probiotics are normally consumed in fermented foods with active live cultures such as yogurt, though one may not get a sufficient amount in yogurt. Probiotics are also available as supplements. According to several experts, probiotics reduce cravings for sugar and sweets. Also craving for sugar can be a stress response. “Sugar provides a quick response to help calm the brain,” said Ross. “So when you find yourself reaching for the sugary foods, first ask yourself if you are really hungry. Or is there something going on that is causing you stress?” “I suggest that if you think you really need sugar, have a piece of dark

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chocolate, 60 percent or greater. Allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth so your brain will get the quick response to create a sense of calm,” recommends Ross. Suggestions from other experts to fend off the lure of sugar: • “Eat five mini meals a day to keep the blood sugar level steady,” recommends holistic health counselor Cassandra Green. Try almonds and fruit as mini meals, or nuts and cheese. • Avoid skipping meals. “Once your blood sugar is stabilized, your body is less likely to crave sugar,” Ross said. • Be wary of coffee, Green adds. Caffeine can trigger sugar cravings.

• Stick with it. You’ll have withdrawal symptoms, but by the fifth day, your cravings will diminish. You won’t miss sugar. Like other addictions, don’t take that first bite. • “Cook it yourself” is another recommendation. Most processed foods and restaurant fare are loaded with sugar, even the salads. When you prepare your own food at home, you decide exactly what goes into it. Substitute herbs and other sugar-free foods to kick up the flavor. The sweetest whole food is fresh, ripe fruit. Eat lots of fruit and naturally sweet vegetables, like yams and carrots. Their mellow sweet flavor can help to curb sugar cravings.

SNAP. It’s Accessible

Call your Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) Coordinator today to find out if you or someone you know may be eligible for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s free and confidential.

In Herkimer County Call Catholic Charities of Herkimer County (315) 894-9917 ext. 235 This institution is an equal opportunity provider. Prepared by a project of Hunger Solutions New York, USDA/FNS, and NYSOTDA. April 2014 •

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Food & Nutrition The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Pitfall of Pesticides Chemical pesticides: Is there a tie to ADHD, autism?


ooking to take the best care of your family? If you have read any of my previous articles, you will see that I often refer to organic, seasonal and locally grown food sources as the best in feeding your family. Organic and locally grown vegetables and fruits, and farm animals such as cows, chickens, goats and pigs, to name a few, are gaining in consumption. Look at the increase in visits to local farmers’ markets. There is also an increase in the number of community supported agriculture groups that one can join. Why the increase, you might ask? Over the past decade, the Dittner use of chemical pesticides in farming has risen. Also, over the past decade, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism in children has also risen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of 22 percent of school-aged children had been diagnosed with ADHD between 2003-2007. Are the two of these related? I believe they are related and we as parents, teachers and care givers need to take a stand to protect our families. New research sited in the medical journal Pediatrics agrees. Experts at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City say pesticides found in foods are responsible for the increase of ADHD. Diet is the main source of pesticide consumption. In the research, it has been shown that those who change from the typical standard American diet to an organic diet decrease the levels of pesticide by-products in their urine by 85-90 percent.

Protect families now

Here are a few ways to help protect our families: • Women who are considering pregnancy should consume a strict organic diet at least six months before conception and continue throughout the pregnancy. Any pesticide ingested in mom’s diet is also consumed in the baby’s diet. • The Environmental Working Group has prepared a list of produce high in pesticide exposure. “The Dirty Dozen” includes celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, collard greens/kale, cherries, potatoes and grapes. These foods should be bought orPage 12

ganically. There are some non-organic produce items that are less affected by pesticides. These are called the “Clean Fifteen” and include onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangos, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes and honeydew melon. • Other products that are used in the home may also contain harmful pesticides, such as cleaning products, lawn and garden sprays, and body products like shampoo/conditioner, body wash, and toothpaste. Consider limiting usage of these products or changing all together to a cleaner, safer approach. Using vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are all fantastic options. Consider replacing plastic containers with glass, and if heating items in a microwave, never heat in plastic. • Therapeutic-grade essential oils have also been shown to improve scholastic performance and behavior patterns for all children and teens and those with ADD/ADHD. Oils that can be beneficial through inhalation are frankincense, cedar wood and lavender.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

Seasonal affective disorder can also lead to mineral deficiencies. Increasing nutrient intake and the absorption of magnesium, potassium, and other trace minerals can also be beneficial in resolving ADHD. • Reading labels on packages and understanding the ingredient list is important when buying products. Ideally, look for products with five or less ingredients. If there are words that you cannot pronounce or have not heard of, put the product back on the shelf as these may be chemicals not to be ingested. Dyes, red, yellow and blue, are commonly seen in the ingredient list of cereals and snack foods that can contribute to ADHD issues. There are also over 30 different words to describe “sugar,” again causing symptoms and inflammation. Here’s to happy and healthy families! • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner specializing in reiki and holistic nutrition. Check out her website at www.The-Balanced-Body. com.

CDC: U.S. home births steadily increase Midwifery on the rise


he percentage of U.S. women choosing to give birth at home or in a birthing center rather than a hospital has grown by 56 percent in less than a decade, according to a new government report. Although hardly the norm, out-of-hospital births accounted for 1.36 percent of U.S. births in 2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A year earlier, 1.26 percent of births occurred away from a hospital, while just 0.87 percent of such deliveries took place in 2004. “That’s a pretty good jump in a single year, and it’s been a continuing trend since 2004,” said T.J. Mathews, a demographer with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The new numbers reflect the ever-growing popularity of home births aided by midwives, said Lynn Johnson, midwife and administrator of Women’s and Children’s Services at Huntington Hospital in New York. “More people are talking about midwifery birth and having their experience as they would like to have it,” Johnson said, adding that some women worry about losing their autonomy and having a doctor call the shots during delivery. Two-thirds of the out-of-hospital births occurred at home, the CDC found, while another 29 percent occurred in a birthing center. Another 5 percent occurred in a clinic, doctor’s office or other location. The CDC also reports births outside the hospital carried a lower “risk profile” in 2012, with a smaller proportion of preterm and low birth weight babies than in hospital delivery rooms. Other highlights of the report: • White women chose out-of-home births about four times more often than other ethnic groups — about 2 percent of whites versus half a percent of blacks, Hispanics and Asians. “They’ve consistently had higher rates for a while now,” Mathews said of whites. “If they’re getting good results and they’re talking to each other, it becomes more of a normal option for that population.” • The six states leading the charge in out-of-hospital births are Alaska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, with 3 percent to 6 percent of births occurring at home or in a birthing center. • Women in Rhode Island, Mississippi and Alabama accounted for only 0.33 percent to 0.39 percent of home births. • About 4 percent of out-of-hospital births were preterm in 2012, compared with almost 12 percent of hospital births. Similarly, about 3 percent of out-of-hospital births were low birth weight vs. more than 8 percent in the hospital. • In the 36 states that have birth certificates that note whether the delivery took place as intended, 88 percent of home births took place as planned in 2012. This indicates these home births were not surprises, Mathews said.

The Social Ask Security Office

KIDS Corner Mouthguard Myths


fter every play, we all see the athletes adjusting their mouthguards, but what do they actually protect? Houston Methodist sports medicine experts discuss important facts about mouthguards. • Can wearing a mouthguard prevent a concussion? “No, mouthguards cannot prevent a concussion,” said Vijay Jotwani, a sports medicine-focused primary care physician. “Mouthguards do not affect the movement of the brain within the skull and cerebrospinal fluid, so they are ineffective at reducing the forces on the brain that cause concussions.” • Can wearing a mouthguard protect my teeth and jaw? While a mouthguard cannot protect the brain, it can dissipate the force of an impact over several teeth rather than just a few. “Several studies have confirmed that mouthguards help prevent dental trauma,” said oral and maxillofacial surgeon Jamie Gateno. “A mouthguard

should fit the teeth snugly and be made of a non-compressible material to help protect the teeth and jaw.” Gateno adds that dental trauma usually occurs along with other injuries, such as lacerations, contusions, and fractures. He recommends that a patient be transported to a hospital capable of treating all injuries. If a tooth is dislodged, it should be gently washed and placed back in its socket within 20 minutes. If the tooth cannot be implanted back in the socket, Gateno says the tooth should be placed in a cup of milk during transportation to a hospital or dentist’s office. If milk is not available, he recommends having the patient place the tooth between their gum and cheek to protect the tooth during transportation. • Which type of mouthguard — ready-made, boil-and-bite, or customized — provides the most protection? Jotwani and Gateno agree that a customized mouthguard is the best option for athletes in contact and collision sports, such as baseball, basketball, football, hockey and lacrosse.

Video games might help kids with dyslexia learn to read


ideo games might help people with dyslexia improve their ability to read, a new study suggests. Dyslexia, which affects between 5 percent and 10 percent of people, is a learning disorder that causes problems with reading and writing. Standard methods of reading instruction might be counterproductive for people with dyslexia, according to the study, which was published Feb. 13 in the journal Current Biology. The researchers tested people with dyslexia and discovered that they have difficulty managing competing sights and sounds. “Imagine you are having a conversation with someone when suddenly you hear your name uttered behind you,” study author Vanessa Harrar, of the University of Oxford, in England, said in a journal news release. “Your attention shifts from the person you are talking to — the visual — to the sound behind you,” she said. “This is an example of a cross-sensory shift of attention. We found that shifting attention from visual to auditory stimuli is particularly difficult for people who have dyslexia compared to

good readers.” Harrar and her colleagues said programs to help people with dyslexia might need to take these findings into account. In traditional approaches to reading, letters are first seen and then heard, they said. “We think that people with dyslexia might learn associations between letters and their sounds faster if they first hear the sound and then see the corresponding letter or word,” Harrar said. The researchers also suggested that video games might prove useful in helping people with dyslexia improve their reading and writing skills. “We propose that training people with dyslexia to shift attention quickly from visual to auditory stimuli and back — such as with a video game, where attention is constantly shifting focus — might also improve literacy,” Harrar said. “Action video games have been shown to improve multitasking skills and might also be beneficial in improving the speed with which people with dyslexia shift attention from one task, or sense, to another,” she said.

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Column provided by the local Social Security Office


Helping Americans With Disabilities

he World Health Organization held the first World Health Assembly in 1948, and, beginning in 1950, every year on April 7 the world comes together to observe World Health Day. Each year, World Health Day focuses on a particular subject of interest to global health. At Social Security, we focus on people’s health every day. Specifically, we provide benefits for people with disabilities. To help expedite the disability process, we recently announced the addition of 25 new “Compassionate Allowances” conditions. These new conditions include 12 cancers, such as prostate cancer, as well as disorders that affect the digestive, neurological, immune, and multiple body systems. The “Compassionate Allowances” program expedites disability decisions for Americans with the most serious disabilities to ensure that they receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the agency can identify potential “Compassionate Allowances” and quickly make decisions. To date, we have approved almost 200,000 people with severe dis-

Q&A Q: We adopted a baby girl overseas and brought her home with us to the United States. We need to get a Social Security number for her. What do we do? A: In general, to apply for a Social Security number for your child you must: • Complete an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5), which you can find online at; • Show us documents proving your child’s: – United States citizenship or immigration status; – Adoption; – Age; and – Identity. • Show us a document proving your identity; and • Show us evidence that establishes your relationship to the child if your name is not noted as the parent on the child’s evidence of age. The adoption decree or the amended U.S. birth certificate will suffice. In most cases, you can mail or take your application and original documents to your local Social Security office. Remember, all documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. You may not yet have April 2014 •

abilities through this fast-track disability process. “We are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our ‘Compassionate Allowances’ program,” Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said recently. “Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve.”  While Social Security joins individuals, groups and organizations around the globe to observe World Health Day on April 7, we work all year round to help Americans with health issues live a healthier life. In addition to cash benefits, beneficiaries obtain Medicare coverage after 24 months, a vital element in preserving an individual’s health and, in the long run, world health. Learn more about disability benefits at For more information on the “Compassionate Allowances” program, including a list of all qualifying conditions, please visit www.socialsecurity. gov/compassionateallowances.

proof of your child’s citizenship, but we can assign a Social Security number based on documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security upon the child’s arrival in the United States. When you do receive documentation of your child’s citizenship, you can bring it to us, and we will update your child’s record. We will mail your child’s number and card as soon as we have verified your documents with the issuing offices. Q: How long do I need to work to become eligible for retirement benefits? A: Everyone born in 1929 or later needs 40 Social Security credits to be eligible for retirement benefits. You can earn up to four credits per year, so you will need at least 10 years of work to become eligible for retirement benefits. During your working years, earnings covered by Social Security are posted to your Social Security record. You earn credits based on those earnings. If you become disabled or die before age 62, the number of credits needed to qualify for Social Security benefits depends on your age at the time you die or become disabled. A minimum of six credits is required to qualify for Social Security benefits regardless of your age. You can create a “my Social Security” account to check and periodically monitor how many credits you have. Just go to

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Continued from Page 2 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. ABC meetings are free and open to the public. The April meeting is titled “Attitude is Key” and inspirational speaker, Louise White, will lead the discussion. For more information, call 315-6245764 or email

April 5

Kelberman Center hosts annual Walk for Autism Autism affects one out of every 88 children in the United States. Autism Awareness Month is celebrated throughout April and the Kelberman Center will host its annual Walk for Autism April 5 in Oneida (Oneida High School), April 26 in Boonville (VFW), Cooperstown (Glimmerglass State Park) and the Mohawk Valley (SUNYIT Campus Center) and on May 18 in Syracuse (Long Branch Park in Liverpool). All walks begin at 10:30 a.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m. Visit the Kelberman Center’s website at to download pledge forms or to create an online fundraising page. For more information on the Walk for Autism, including pre-registration dates and locations, contact the Kelberman Center at 315-797-6241, visit online, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter or email at The Kelberman Center is a regional center for excellence for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and related learning challenges.

April 6

Separated & Divorced Support Group to meet The Separated & Divorced Support Group will meet from 5-6:30 p.m. April 6 and 20 at The Good News Center, 10475 Cosby Manor Road, Utica. The meetings are free and open to all. For more information, contact Judy at 315-735-6210, or visit

April 8

FSLH schedules blood drive Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica will host a blood drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 8 in the community room at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services, located on the St. Luke’s Campus, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed each day in the United States, but only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. Just one donor can help save or sustain up to three lives. For more information or to make an appointment, call 315-624-8259. To Page 14

register online, go to

April 8

Tri-County Quits Tobacco Cessation classes set The Tri-County Quits Tobacco Cessation Program is offering a three-part Fresh Start class to help participants stop smoking. The Fresh Start program is a groupbased tobacco cessation support program offered by the American Cancer Society. The classes will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 8, 15 and 22 at The Regional Cancer Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The Fresh Start program is designed to help individuals quit smoking by providing essential information, skills for coping with cravings and group support. For more information or to register, call the Tri-County Quits Tobacco Cessation Program at 315-624-5639.

April 9

Mental Health Awareness Fair set A Mental Health Awareness Fair will take place from 2-7 p.m. April 9 in the Sister Johanna and Sister Rose Vincent Conference Rooms on the first floor of St. Elizabeth Medical Center, 2209 Genesee St., Utica. The fair will provide information about mental health and substance abuse support services available in the community in a nonthreatening environment with the opportunity to speak with professionals or simply take a brochure. The fair is free, open to the public and light refreshments will be available. For more information, contact Brian Van Vechten, Master of Social Work intern, at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare are affiliates under the Mohawk Valley Health System.

April 9

MVHI event to address stroke prevention The Mohawk Valley Heart Institute will sponsor its third event in the Know Your Heart community education series from 6:307:30 p.m. April 9. In his talk titled “Novel Anticoagulants for Stroke Prevention in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation,” interventional carMathew diologist Thomas C. Mathew will describe new developments in cardiac care at this free, informational session. It will be held at the Faxton St.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

Luke’s Healthcare Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Community Room on the St. Luke’s campus, 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. Refreshments will be served. Call 734-3329 or 866-505-MVHI to register. Mohawk Valley Heart Institute is a collaborative effort between Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

April 18

AHA to present ‘Go Red Power of You’ award The American Heart Association is working to celebrate individuals who have made a positive impact on their health. Along with sponsor Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the AHA is accepting nominations for the 2014 Go Red Power of You Award. The Go Red Power of You Award honors someone who has made positive changes and significant steps toward living a healthier life. Friends, co-workers or relatives can submit nominations. Individuals can also choose to nominate themselves. A panel of judges from the AHA and Excellus BCBS will choose the finalists. The winner will be recognized at the Go Red For Women Luncheon on May 7 at Harts Hill Inn, Whitesboro. Email or call 315-266-5403 for nomination forms. Completed copies can be emailed to or printed versions may be mailed to: Attn: Go Red Power of You Award, American Heart Association, 120 Lomond Court, Utica, NY 13502. The deadline for submissions is April 18.

April 25

Prohibition party to support SEMC upgrades St. Elizabeth Medical Center Foundation and F.X. Matt Brewery will hold the sixth annual Prohibition Party,

sponsored by Theresa Flemma, vice president of M. Griffith Investment Services, Inc. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. April 25 at the historic F.X. Matt Brewing Co. Tickets cost $45 per person if purchased by April 11 and $50 per person if purchased after April 11. Admission includes Saranac beverages, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, a 1930s costume contest and a silent auction. Proceeds from this year’s event will support the upgrade of patient and employee security, as well as update patient care rooms at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. A limited number of tickets are available and the foundation anticipates selling out early for the event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit foundation, call 315-734-4287, or email Tickets may also be purchased at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Foundation Office, 2209 Genesee St., Utica, or the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. Gift Shop/Tour Center, 830 Varick St., Utica.

May 7

‘A Stroke of Knowledge’ to be presented Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica will host “A Stroke of Knowledge — Essentials of Stroke Care” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7 at Vernon Downs Casino and Hotel in Vernon. Physicians, nurses, therapists, students and anyone involved in the medical field are welcome to attend. The Stroke Center at FSLH is the only designated primary stroke center in the Mohawk Valley. Free admission for FSLH and St. Elizabeth Medical Center employees is on a first come, first served basis. For non-employees, tickets are $60 for students and $125 for all other attendees. Breakfast and lunch are included and reservations must be made by May 2. Contact Jennifer Hurd by email at or by phone at 315-624-6649 to make reservations.

U.S. could face shortage of cancer doctors


eople fighting cancer might have to wait longer to see a cancer specialist in the coming decades, as demand for treatment outpaces the number of oncologists entering the workforce, a new report released in March warns. Demand for cancer treatments is expected to grow by 42 percent or more by 2025, while the supply of oncologists will only increase by 28 percent, experts found. The mismatch between supply and demand could result in a shortage of nearly 1,500 oncologists by 2025, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) report. People living in rural areas will be hardest hit by the shortage, the report predicted. Currently, only 3 percent of oncologists are based in rural areas, even though that’s where 20 percent of Americans live. “We never want to have a cancer patient have to wait to get in to see a cancer physician,” said physician Richard Schilsky, ASCO’s chief medical

officer. “Since we’re aware of the issue, we are beginning to think about how to mitigate it.” Schilsky said he believes oncologists will need to rely on primary-care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to handle basic cancer treatment and follow-up care as demand for services grows. “That will leave the oncologists time to deal with the more complex cancer patients,” he explained. Certain factors will likely combine to increase the number of patients seeking cancer treatment in coming years, Schilsky said, including: • The aging of the baby boomer generation. “They are now all in their 60s, and that’s the age at the highest risk for getting cancer,” he said. • Improved cancer treatment. A record 13.7 million cancer survivors now live in the United States, Schilsky said, and many want to maintain a relationship with their oncologist even though they are cancer-free.

Patients First Bassett’s Herkimer Health Center expands, becomes more patient friendly By Mary Christopher


n influx of more patients needing primary and specialty health care in the Herkimer County area helped bring about an expansion project at Bassett Healthcare Network’s Herkimer Health Center that is now in full operation. Bassett’s Herkimer Health Center on East Albany Street is a 61,000-squarefoot facility designed to be more patient-centered by minimizing walking distances and providing easier communications between various health care providers and patients. The expanded facility took over space that was formerly occupied by Rite Aid Pharmacy. “A more efficient design has brought even more efficiencies to our practice,” said Brinck Kenneth Brinck, administrative director of regional operations. “It is more or less one-stop shopping here.” Known as Convenient Care, the newly expanded space is organized into five “pods” that include examining rooms and nurses’ stations. Each pod has three to five exam rooms where medical teams can easily communicate because they are in such close proximity to one another. Pods are becoming more complementary to the medical home model, which has as its center the patient and a health care team that includes a physician, an advanced practice clinician and a nurse. This configuration is becoming a common layout design that provides a balance of support space and travel distance to exam rooms. It has become common for healthcare facilities to look at ways to alleviate overcrowding, shorten the length of stay and achieve overall better patient care.

‘Rather remarkable’

William McCue, a family nurse practitioner at the Herkimer Health

Center, said the new layout is “rather remarkable” and providers are able to treat patients with better infrastructure. “As part of a team, I can go to a cardiologist if I have a question and the patient is right there,” McCue said. “That is really what the expansion was all about — to make it as easy as we can for the patient.” The Herkimer location has a lab on site that allows for quicker blood work results. Over the past five years, outpatient visits for the cancer treatment and oncology care have increased 86 percent at the Herkimer facility. Since 2005, there has been a 12 percent increase in general outpatient surgery visits, and other services have experienced simMcCue ilar growth. Some of the other services Bassett’s Herkimer Health Center offers are urgent care/convenient care, geriatrics, pediatrics, radiology, vascular testing, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology and rheumatology. Providers are finding that as more patients have health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, patients no longer have to “pick and choose” which treatment they can pay for at that given time and now they can address issues all at once, McCue said. Another new feature Bassett implemented is “My Bassett Health Connection,” a patient portal, which is an electronic summary of previous appointments and treatments. Patients can send messages to staff and providers through the portal and maintain organized records of their history within the Bassett network. Test results can also be received online and it is a way more than one family member can manage appointments and information for a loved one who needs assistance.

Bassett names new president, CEO


ance M. Brown has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the Bassett Healthcare Network and Bassett Medical Center, effective July 1. Brown comes to Bassett from MaineHealth in Portland, Maine, where he has been chief medical officer since 2008. MaineHealth is the largest integrated health system in the three northern New England states with Brown eight member hospitals, three affiliated hospitals and annual revenue of approximately $2 billion. Prior to returning to his native state

of Maine, Brown served as the chair of the department of family medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Brown received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. and then obtained his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. He completed his postgraduate residency training in Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina Hospitals where he was appointed chief resident his final year.

By Jim Miller

Strategies for Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any proven strategies to preventing dementia? My 80-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s which has me wondering if there is anything I can do to protect myself. Concerned at 53 Dear Concerned, While there’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, new research indicates that there are a number of healthy lifestyle strategies that can help most people reduce the risk of getting it. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the key factors that increase the risk of getting Alzheimer’s are advanced age, family history and heredity, but research shows that our general health plays a factor too. While we can’t do much about our age, family or genes, we do have control over how we treat our body and brain. Some medical experts even estimate that by following these healthy tips now in middle-age, you can actually reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 percent, or at least delay its onset by a few years. Here are the recommended strategies. Manage health problems: Studies have consistently shown that Alzheimer’s disease is closely related to conditions like diabetes and heart disease. So, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes you need to treat them with lifestyle changes and medication (if necessary) and get them under control. Left untreated, these diseases over time will cause damage to the vessels that feed blood to the brain making them more vulnerable to damage, and increasing your risk of dementia. Exercise: Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including your brain, to keep the brain cells well nourished. So choose an aerobic activity you enjoy like walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc., that elevates your heart rate and do it for at least 30 to 40 minutes three times a week. Eat healthy: A heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, will also help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, April 2014 •

fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats. Also keep processed foods and sweets to a minimum. Sleep well: Quality, restful sleep contributes to brain health too. Typically, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep daily. If you have persistent problems sleeping, you need to identify and address the problem. Medications, late-night exercise and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and length, as can arthritis pain, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. If you need help, make an appointment with a sleep specialist (see who will probably recommend an overnight diagnostic sleep test. Challenge your brain: Research shows that mind challenging activities can help improve memory, slow age-related mental decline and even build a stronger brain. But be aware that mind-challenging activities consist of things you aren’t accustomed to doing. In other words, crossword puzzles aren’t enough to challenge your brain, if you’re already a regular puzzle doer. Instead, you need to pick up a new skill like learning to dance, play a musical instrument, study a new language or do math problems — something that’s challenging and a little outside your comfort zone. Brain-training websites like and are excellent mind exercising tools because they continually adapt to your skill level to keep you challenged. Socializing and interacting with other people is another important way to stimulate the brain. So make a point to reach out and stay connected to friends, family and neighbors. Join a club, take a class or even volunteer — anything that enhances your social life. Reduce stress: Some stress is good for the brain, but too much can be toxic. There’s growing evidence that things like mindfulness meditation, yoga and tai chi are all good ways to help reduce stress. For more tips, call the National Institute on Aging at 800-222-2225 and order a free copy of their booklet “Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: What Do We Know?”

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

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15

H ealth News Director of health appointed to committee Phyllis D. Ellis, director of health for Oneida County, has been appointed to the New York State Trauma Advisory Committee. STAC advises the department and commissioner of health regarding trauma and disaster care within the state. Its purpose is to promote public health, safety and welfare providing for the development, coordination and maintenance of emergency medical, trauma and Ellis disaster care. Ellis’ appointment to STAC follows Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr.’s recent announcement that she had been appointed to the New York State Associations of Counties’ Public Health and Mental Health Standing Committee. Ellis’s term will expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

MVHS board announces officers Mohawk Valley Health System has announced the officers for its board of directors. They are the Hon. Norman Siegel, chairman; Gregory McLean, vice chairman; Gregory Evans, secretary; and Joan Compson, treasurer. Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica recently announced their affiliation as the MVHS. Other members of the MVHS board include Dr. Siegel Domenic Aiello; Barbara Brodock; Catherine Cominsky; Dr. Maria Gesualdo; Dr. Todd Hutton; Andrew Kowalczyk III, Esq.; Scott H. Perra, president/CEO; John Sperling, medical staff president (FSLH); Stephen Sweet; Richard Tantillo; Symeon Tsoupelis; Mark Warfel, medical staff president (SEMC); Bonnie Woods; Dr. Eric Yoss; and Richard Zweifel. MVHS is the parent organization. Its board is comprised of 18 members, with equal members from the FSLH board and the SEMC board. Scott H. Perra is president/CEO of MVHS and oversees the system’s management team. The two organizations employ more than 4,200 full-time equivalent employees and have a combined operating budget of $537 million.

Security call boxes installed at FSLH Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently installed emergency call boxes at both the Faxton and St. Luke’s Page 16

campuses as an additional security measure. Parking lots A, H, and U at the St. Luke’s Campus and the Murnane Field Lot at the Faxton Campus now have emergency call boxes. Call boxes are operational at all hours to employees and visitors to use in cases of emergency, providing additional security or aid in the parking lots. The call boxes are easy to operate. On the front of the call box is a red button that automatically dials FSLH Security when pushed and the person may state his or her emergency, as though on speaker phone. Security will immediately dispatch an officer to that location to assist the caller. After the call is completed, the call box automatically resets.

CNY Diabetes Education Program recognized The Central New York Diabetes Education Program at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica recently received the American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate for its diabetes self-management education program. The recognition indicates that CNY Diabetes offers high-quality education that is an essential component of effective diabetes treatment. “This process gives professionals a national standard by which to measure the quality of services provided to patients,” said Caroline Jacobus, director of CNY Diabetes. “It assures our patients that they will receive high-quality service.” Education recognition status is awarded for four years. According to the ADA, there are 26 million people in the United States who have diabetes. An estimated 19 million have been diagnosed; however, 7 million people are unaware that they have the disease. CNY Diabetes offers multiple classes and counseling for those with pre-diabetes and diabetes. For more information on the program, visit www. or call 315-624-5620.

FSLH recognized for patient safety services IPRO End-Stage Renal Disease Network of New York recently recognized Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica as a Five-Diamond Patient Safety Facility for dialysis treatment. This designation recognizes FSLH for exceptional patient safety services. To receive this honor, FSLH had to complete five different patient safety modules designed to measure how hospitals implement the patient safety concept. “Being designated a Five-Diamond Patient Safety Facility demonstrates our commitment to providing a safe environment for each patient,” said Lila Studnicka, executive director of The Regional Dialysis Center at FSLH. This program was designed to assist dialysis facilities in improving both staff and patient awareness of specific patient safety areas. FSLH is one of only 41 facilities in the state to be awarded this honor.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

Poland CSD students support American Heart Association

Poland Central School District first-graders sell treats at a bake sale to raise money for the American Heart Association. The first-graders would then participate in the association’s recent indoor walk event at Sangertown Square, New Hartford. Poland has been participating in the event for 16 years. Every year back to 2007, Poland has received the K-12 Highest Total Pledge Award for the school raising the most money. This year, the district raised about $800. The Regional Dialysis Center at FSLH is the sole provider of dialysis treatment within a 25-mile radius of Utica. As one of the largest hospital-based dialysis programs in the country, the center treats more than 450 patients and performs more than 70,000 dialysis treatments each year.

AHA names Fit-Friendly Worksites The American Heart Association is recognizing 15 Utica-area organizations as Fit-Friendly Worksites. Each company promotes physical activity and health in the workplace. Through the Fit-Friendly Worksite designation, the AHA works locally with area employers on their wellness and health programs. Fifteen companies are being recognized for efforts in the most recent application period. • The AHA would like to congratulate Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy Insurance for renewing its Platinum Fit-Friendly status. • One Utica-area organization achieved new Gold-level Fit-Friendly status: Oneonta Bagel Company • Thirteen Utica-area organizations renewed their Gold level Fit-Friendly status: AmeriCU Credit Union, Charles A. Gaetano Construction, ECR International, Inc., Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, Fiber

Instrument Sales, First Source Federal Credit Union, NBT Bancorp, NYCM Insurance, Rome Memorial Hospital, Sitrin Health Care Center, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, The House of the Good Shepherd and Utica College More than 16,500 Utica-area residents are working for companies who have received the AHA designation. The Fit-Friendly Worksite program helps companies make their employees’ health and wellness a top priority.

The Arc names top employees of first quarter Tara Ellsworth, day habilitation specialist II, is The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC’s employee of the first quarter in the south region. “Tara always uses her interactions with the people we support to connect and teach,” says Kim Sullivan, service liaison. “She shows respect, compassion and dignity while interacting with people we support and helps every person with self-direction and identity.” Misty Leffingwell, Medicaid service coordinator, is employee of the first quarter in The Arc’s north region. “Misty is an excellent advocate for the people we support and their families,” says Renee Rich, director of Medicaid service coordination. “She

Continued on Page 17

H ealth News Continued from Page 16 is creative in meeting their needs and will pursue fulfilling a person’s wishes until she finds appropriate service. The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC is a nonprofit human services agency accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership International, which provides advocacy and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oneida and Lewis counties.

For more information about The Arc, visit or call 315-272-1532.

Inpatient unit nurse recognized for achievement Little Falls Hospital recently celebrated the achievement of Tia Mosher, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Russell Sage College in Troy. Mosher attended Russell Sage for

four years to obtain her degree. She started at Little Falls Hospital as a nurse’s aide in June 2013 and is now working as a graduate nurse until she takes her boards. Mosher is from Dolgeville and decided to come back home Mosher after college to work at her hometown hospital.

LMT advances studies in craniosacral therapy

Linda Buschatzke, third-grade teacher at Oneida Elementary School responsible for organizing Jared Box donations for local children at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica, is shown with her daughter Stephanie dropping off boxes.

Students donate Jared Boxes to children at FSLH


hird graders at Oneida Elementary School recently donated Jared Boxes to children in the pediatric department at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Linda Buschatzke, the teacher of the third-grade classroom, was looking for a “random act of kindness” to do with her class and came across the idea of donating the boxes. A Jared Box is a shoebox-size plastic storage container filled with small gifts, toys, cards and games. Each individual care package contains items selected for a specific age and gender. The boxes are delivered to hospitals and distributed to ill children. FSLH is the only hospital in the area to participate in this program. “I wanted my class to participate in a project that would teach them about doing a nice deed for someone

they don’t know,” said Buschatzke. “I found out about Jared Boxes and thought it would be a perfect fit since some of the hospitalized children are around the same age as my students. I felt it would be nice for my students to help out their peers who aren’t as fortunate to be in good health.” Children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pa., created the original Jared Box in 2001 to honor their classmate, Jared, who fought cancer with courage and tenacity. The goal of their project is to lift the spirits of chronically ill children and provide a temporary distraction from their chemotherapy or other treatments. It is their hope that these boxes help keep Jared’s fighting spirit alive in each child that receives a Jared Box.

Licensed massage therapist Alice Kenly of Fluid Moves Massage recently completed the Somato Emotional Release course in Albany offered by Upledger Institute International, an organization that offers continuing education courses to healthcare professionals worldwide. Osteopathic physician John E. Upledger designed the course. He developed craKenly niosacral therapy and has taught the technique internationally. The Somato Emotional Release course is the third level of craniosacral therapy Kenly has accomplished. Craniosacral therapy is used to detect and correct imbalances in the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. As part of the healing process, at times memories stored in the body’s cells can be shared with a therapist and be released through dialogue and imagery.

Wound care director receives certification Nicholas Peters, medical director of Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care, has received specialized certification in wound care through the American Board of Wound Healing. This certification is granted to physicians who have demonstrated an advanced Peters knowledge in the field of wound care and have provided documentation of their excellence and leadership in this field of medicine. The ABWAH serves to maintain and improve the quality of wound management by evaluating professional, clinical and educational standards of practice by using an exam process. April 2014 •

2014 Miracle Child Elise Merena from Ilion is getting support from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ donors. Merena was born unexpectedly at 32 weeks and weighed just 3.9 pounds. She spent the first 21 days of her life in the area’s only level II special care nursery in The Birthplace at FSLH. She was cared for by neonatologists who are on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week at FSLH thanks to CMN.

Miracle Home Makeover kicks off


he Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation, in partnership with WKTV NewsChannel 2, Lite 98.7FM-WLZW, The Observer-Dispatch, Lewis Custom Homes and Home Builders and Remodelers Association of the Mohawk Valley, announce the start of the 18th annual $100,000 Miracle Home Makeover to benefit the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at FSLH. One lucky person will win a $100,000 Miracle Home Makeover or $100,000 in cash. Tickets are on sale now. Individuals who buy their ticket by April 9 will be added to a special early-bird drawing for two prize packages. The first prize package is a Weston Fire Pit valued at $1,000, donated and installed by Stone Age Landscaping, and a $250 gift certificate from Meyda Lighting. The second package is a $500 gift certificate from GreenScapes Garden Center and Landscape Company and a $250 gift certificate from Meyda Lighting. The special prize drawing will be held during the 5 p.m. news on WKTV NewsChannel 2 on April 9. For nearly two decades, the CMN Miracle Home project has built miracles for the children of the community. In 17 years, more than $3.4 million has been raised by the project to benefit women’s and children’s services at FSLH.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Mary in the Middle

By Mary Stevenson

90 Years Young Through thick and thin, Dad has seen it all

T Deerfield boy donates to Children’s Miracle Network Michael Di’Brango Jr., 7, celebrated his birthday recently by raising $130 for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. By request, Di’Brango’s friends who attended his party made donations to CMN instead of bringing gifts. This is his third year throwing a “Pay it Forward Party.” Each year he picks a different local organization. Di’Brango said he wanted to donate to CMN because he wanted to help the children in his community. “It is a tradition that we will do for as many years as my children would like,” said Michael’s mother, Jennifer Di’Brango.

RMH features health insurance navigators


ome Memorial Hospital has two certified application counselors trained to enroll individuals in the health plan of their choice through the NY State of Health, the state’s official online health plan marketplace. They will assist you in choosing the health insurance plan that is right for you. You don’t need a home computer or Internet access. “We are here to provide community members and our patients who are uninsured or underinsured with ‘one-stop shopping’,” said counselor Nicholeen Shoemaker, Rome Memorial Hospital’s director of patient registration. The counselors can determine your eligibility, and help you find a health insurance plan that fits your budget and needs, including Medicaid; Healthy NY; Child Health Plus; Family Health Plus; or a NY State of Health qualified health plan. Counselors are trained to determine if there are any subsidies available to you to help you pay for insurance. The NY State of Health 2014 open enrollment period for individuals enrolling in a qualified health plan runs through March 31. Financial assistance in the form of federal tax credits is available for eligible applicants to help reduce the monthly cost of coverage. In New York state, nearly 70 percent of those who have enrolled thus far have

Page 18

qualified for financial assistance to help pay for their coverage. Individuals faced with a life-changing event such as loss of job or a death in the family may apply for a NY State of Health qualified health plan after March 31 and receive insurance coverage for 2014. Individuals can enroll at any time for income-based health plans such as Medicaid, Healthy NY, Child Health Plus, or Family Health Plus. “We offer flexible hours for private, one-on-one appointments,” noted certified application counselor Kaylie Wylubski. “We want people to know that they have options and choices and we are here to help.” Shoemaker has worked in Rome Memorial Hospital’s patient registration department for over 25 years. Wylubski has seven years of experience in guiding patients through the often-confusing world of health insurance. Counselors are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. To schedule an appointment, call 315-356-7723 or 315356-7724. “If you need to call evenings or weekends, please leave a message and your call will be returned,” Shoemaker noted. “If you are a self-pay patient, or currently have high deductibles and co-pays, Rome Memorial Hospital also offers financial assistance and convenient payment plans,” Shoemaker added.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

trooper to serve his country, Dad’s he Great Depression and the Wall first jump was almost his last. After his Street crash. chute malfunctioned, he was given one Germany invading Poland from his superior to make the jump. leading to the outbreak of World War He wasn’t able to release it until about II. eight seconds before he hit the ground. Sitting around the radio on a SatHe was in a coma for three weeks but urday night to listen to favorite shows survived. and radio personalities. Music was important to Social reforms of the Dad. He was always listen1960s. ing to something, mostly Films from black and the old country classics but white to color to Pixar and the Big Band era as well. 3D. He even tolerated Elvis, as Fred Astaire, Ginger my mom was in love with Rogers, Bing Crosby, Elvis, him. He still has the radio the Beatles and then some. I on regularly. He has seen could go on and on. the changes from Saturday This is the kind of stuff nights listening to the radio I read about in text and hisprograms and stories to tory books, see in films and three-channel televisions to documentaries, and hear hundreds of cable channels about on the Internet. I often Stevenson to choose from. Just imagimagine what it must have ining that makes my head been like to live through any swim. number of decades and I let my imagiThink of the everyday things we nation wander to “what ifs.” But there take for granted — microwaves, cell is one person I can ask who has seen it phones, automatic washers and dryers, all. Dad turned 90 in March and he has HD TVs, computers some stories to tell. and Internet. We Dad was born often imagine what just before the Wall life was like before Street crash and the all that. Dad doesn’t beginning of the have to imagine; he Great Depression. just has to remember. He often told of Everything my hard times and of father lived through his mother, a young shaped what he was, widow at 36 strugwho he became and gling to provide for how he lived his six young children. life. There are many He told of moving more situations he from apartment to experienced that I apartment because don’t know how he they couldn’t afford made it through. I rent ($5 a month was guess the same could a lot) on a nurse’s be said for all of us. salary of 25 cents How weird will an hour. He told it be to look back of meals they used on today and think to make because that was the good they couldn’t afford John Prichard, circa 1960 life? It’s difficult to food — cabbage and imagine ahead but noodles, gravy and interesting to look behind. hamburger on toast or mashed pota• Mary Stevenson is a contributtoes, and a family favorite of tomato ing writer for Mohawk Valley In Good soup with elbow macaroni. Health. After joining the Army as a para-

Comets donate to Breast Care Center


he Utica Comets recently presented a check for more than $35,000 to Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s Breast Care Center in Utica. Funds were raised during “Pink the Rink” night held in January. The Comets collected money

through a 50/50 raffle and fans also rounded up their change to the next dollar to raise funds. After the game, the special pink uniforms were auctioned off to fans and some sold for as high as $4,500 each.

Subscription? Simply call 315-749-7070

IT’S ONLY SUPER IF YOU TAKE IT. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 20 percent of patients fail to fill new prescriptions, and 50 percent of people with chronic health conditions discontinue their medication within six months. If you have a chronic condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, taking your prescriptions as directed is essential to healthy living. So remember: If you’re not taking your prescriptions as directed, you’re taking a chance. To learn more, visit TakeAsDirected.

#TakeAsDirected A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association


Your Doctor


By Patricia J. Malin

Stem cell research next great frontier Continued from Page 4 in your field? What do you see in the future concerning the treatment of cardiac disease? A.: I think stem cell research will eventually lead to significant improvement of heart muscle function. Also, there will be better biotechnology in the future to improve the type of medications available for cholesterol management and other forms of heart disease. Q.: In your opinion, what are the most significant health issues that threaten Americans today? A.: I believe in the United States, we have to do a better job preventing disease. It will entail smoking cessation, greater exercise and better diets, in addition to better treatment of conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus. I feel that too much of our resources are now being utilized during the last several months of a patient’s life and there is too little

emphasis on preventive measures. Q.: What can an individual do to remain heart healthy on his or her own? A.: Adults should get an annual physical, quit smoking, reduce sodium (salt) in their diet, and maintain good blood pressure control and glucose control. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day is an ideal way to maintain normal body weight. Q.: What do you see in the future of cardiology as a profession? Are medical students choosing cardiology as a specialty nowadays or is there a shortage? A.: At CNY Cardiology, we accommodate students from medical schools, physician assistant programs, nurse practitioner programs and residency programs to “shadow” or intern in our office so they can get a first-hand look at the cardiology profession. Cardiology continues to be an interesting and challenging specialty that makes it appealing to students.

James L. Pfeiff, M.D.

Mehri L. Del Pino, M.D.

Krislyn L. Flint, M.D.

Hazem Qalla, M.D.





April 2014 •


(315) 363-9380 139 Fields Drive Oneida, NY 13421

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 19

Are your child's immunizations up to date?



Spots Call your child’s doctor today!

Fidelis Care is working to keep our members and the community healthy. Measles and Chickenpox are just two of the diseases that you can prevent by having your child immunized. Children under the age of 2 don't have all the defenses they need to fight off infection. Immunizations (shots) protect them from dangerous childhood diseases like: • Whooping Cough • Hepatitis • Rotavirus

• Mumps • Diphtheria • Flu

• Polio • Measles • Chickenpox

• Tetanus and more...

Is Your Child Covered? Fidelis Care offers New York State sponsored free or low-cost health insurance coverage for children under 19 through the Child Health Plus program.



(1-888-343-3547) |

Some children who had employer-based health insurance coverage within the past three months may be subject to a waiting period before they can enroll in Child Health Plus. This will depend on your household income and the reason your children lost employer-based coverage. Page 20

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • April 2014

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