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in good

Meet Your Doctor

January 2018 • Issue 143

Jonathan Blancaflor Blancaflor recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System as medical director for robotic surgery. Page 4


Mohawk Valley’s Health Care Newspaper

Embrace Winter Warm up to benefits of cold weather! See Page 5

Electronics, sleep don’t mix for kids

Women’s Health Special Edition

Study shows use of electronic gadgets in bed disrupts children’s sleep. See Kids’ Korner, Page 14

See Kids’ Korner, Page 13

Be practical! Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unreasonable New Year’s resolutions!

Money Matters


Patricia Laino offers tips to refine your money habits to get on a prosperous financial path. Page 10

In Good Health columnist and fitness expert Pauline DiGiorgio explores cupping in her ‘Ways to Wellness’ series. Page 8

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Keep smiling!

This mouth-watering tart fruit is highly regarded for a host of health benefits. See three reasons you should enjoy more of it.

Dr. Salina Suy kicks off her new column, ‘Smile With Dr. Suy,’ which will delve into proper dental health.

See SmartBites, Page 14

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Drug epidemic grips Mohawk Valley Page 3

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Food Addicts in Recovery to meet

Overeaters Anonymous plans meetings

Food Addicts in Recovery holds an anonymous meeting from 6:308 p.m. Mondays at Trinity United Methodist Church, 8595 Westmoreland Road, Whitesboro. For more information, call Helen at 315-794-2314.


Insight House offers family support group Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. is offering a family support group meeting from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Insight House, 500 Whitesboro St., Utica. The group is free and open to anyone who is concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol, opiates/heroin, or other substances. For more information about the group, call 724-5168, ext. 265, from 8:30-4 p.m. weekdays.

Overeaters Anonymous meets from 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in Room 101 (first floor) at Rome Memorial Hospital, 1500 James St., Rome. It also meets from 7-8 p.m. every Thursday at Oneida Baptist Church, 242 Main St., Oneida. Participants are asked to use the rear door. There are no dues, fees, weigh-ins or diets. For more information, call OA at 315-468-1588 or visit

Jan. 4

LFH cancels Lunch & Learn session The Lunch & Learn session scheduled for Jan. 4 at Little Falls Hospital, “Know Your Numbers,” has been postponed until a date to be announced.

Continued on Page 19

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018


Pit of Despair

Drug addiction’s painful ending: death By Patricia J. Malin


ent Hogeboom threw convention out the window when he had the unfortunate duty of writing an obituary on his son, Joshua. He told the plain, very painful, truth. “Joshua Wayne Hogeboom, age 34, who fought a long battle with addiction, passed away on Saturday evening, February 25, 2017, after succumbing to the powerful hold of his disease,” he wrote. In more ways than one, the elder Hogeboom is making sure his son will not be forgotten. Joshua was among several Mohawk Valley individuals who were memorialized during a candlelight vigil recently at Hanna Park in Utica. On a chilly, starlit night, there was nothing cold about the emotion expressed by Kent Hogeboom and other speakers. Hogeboom has become a spokesman trying to warn parents, teens and anyone he meets about opioid abuse. Although a legally prescribed painkiller, opioids are actually more powerful drugs than morphine, and truly a silent killer. He addresses such diverse groups as students in school and Alcoholic Anonymous meetings about his son’s death. Hogeboom wanted the audience to know that Josh was a good son, husband, father, and a veteran. Josh was smart enough to seek help, and at times he succeeded in rising above his struggle. Josh was a graduate of Owen D. Young Central School in Van Hornesville and attended Hudson Valley Community College. He later enlisted with the United States Coast Guard “and proudly served his country as a seaman and gunner’s mate,” his obit stated. The obit listed Josh’s hobbies, then added, “Nothing, however, brought him more joy than his chil-

dren, and being a father was truly the high point of his life.” Shantel (Dillingham) Hogeboom of Fulton; two daughters, Vaida and Kaileeanna; a stepson, Raiden, and his parents, Kent and Deborah of Mohawk survived him.

Gaps in care

The elder Hogeboom had battled his own demons and was a self-confessed alcoholic. He said he understood his son’s addiction and was sympathetic to Josh’s efforts to lick his habit for the sake of his children. He was living alone in an apartment in Utica and had limited custody of his children. Josh was sober for eight months prior to his death and seemed headed for recovery. Hogeboom credited the Parker House Residential Center at the Rescue Mission Of Utica for “an amazing job helping Joshua get back on his feet.” One night last winter, Josh had a relapse and it proved to be the last time. He was admitted to the St. Elizabeth campus of Mohawk Valley Health System. “After three days of detox, he was released, heavily medicated,” said Hogeboom. He said his son “could barely walk or talk” and had no transportation to his apartment. Two friends stopped to visit him at the hospital, and happened to find him trying to make his way home. The elder Hogeboom was contacted and went to Josh’s apartment. “A few moments later, the hospital called him on his cell phone and told him that they had forgotten to give him his prescriptions and he needed to come back and get them. He had no car and was heavily drugged. Imagine what would have happened if I was not there. “I drove back to the hospital and spoke to the people who discharged (him),” Hogeboom added. “No explanations were offered. I told them my son was very depressed and was a danger to himself and others. They

suggested I call mental health or take him to my house. He was dead within 24 hours.” Hogeboom sees a troubling gap between long-term rehab and shortterm medical care for addicts. The rehabilitation center, such as Parker House, “gave him a safe place to stay when nothing else was available. (It) gave him proper mental and spiritual counseling and cared for him for six months. The love they showed my son was incredible.”

Quick in and out

The hospitals, however, are not prepared to give extended care to addicts nor do they offer any post-recovery plan after their release. “My issue is the treatment that I have witnessed in many Upstate New York hospitals’ detox centers,” Hogeboom said. “Patients are admitted, treated and (observed) while they go through the (withdrawal) process, and then in many cases they are released, heavily medicated, and sent on their way with no treatment plan. Many of these people are homeless” and left alone to fend for themselves and trying to find shelter. To an addict’s troubled mind, suicide might seem an alternative to a lonely struggle, he added. As a result of his work with other addicts, Hogeboom admits Josh’s accidental death “is not an isolated story. Every day, I hear or witness patients being released from detox

with no admission directly into a treatment facility lined up.” Hogeboom does not see any complete solutions to addiction, although several organizations do exist to help the victims. “None of the existing treatment plans have as much as a double-digit success rate,” he said as he acknowledged the complexity of the disease, the gaps in treatment and even the freedom of addicts to come and go as they please or whether to even seek rehab. “By its own definition, addiction means that the choice of whether or not to use (drugs) has been taken away,” Hogeboom explained. “Addiction has various levels of intensity. The disease is generally thought of as having a physical, mental and spiritual aspect. All three areas need to be treated, and even then the patient has to be highly motivated.” Josh was motivated, yet he didn’t succeed. “Many patients are in treatment to avoid homelessness, jail, or to appease a loved one,” Hogeboom said. “If they are not in treatment because they desperately want to live, their chance of recovery diminishes greatly.” “I do not want you to get the impression that I think rehabs fail,” he said. “In most cases, I believe the patient fails. The staff at many rehabs is largely made up of people who are recovering addicts, and highly trained professionals who do the best they can under very difficult circumstances.”

Opioid epidemic runs rampant in Mohawk Valley By Patricia J. Malin


hatever the cause, whatever the excuse, whatever the outcome, the opioid drug addiction is certainly one of the worst health care crises in United States history. It strikes more than 60,000 individuals a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number is rising alarmingly — seemingly out of control. The federal government reports that 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, reflecting a dramatic 22 percent increase over 2015. In comparison, there were 28,000 deaths nationwide in 2014.

Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have more than quadrupled since 1999, the CDC reported. It’s estimated that nearly 100 people die from an opioid overdose every day in this country. The stunning news is more than half of those deaths were from prescription and legal opioids, drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone, the CDC stated. Many of these accidental deaths were the result of mixing prescription pills with alcohol, heroin, or other drugs. Among the deaths in 2017 were adults living in the Mohawk Valley. There was Josh Hogeboom, 34 years

old, Ashley Mary Collins and others, though an exact number is unavailable. According to the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office, which handles the caseload for Oneida County, there were 166 drug/toxin-related deaths in Oneida County from 2013-2016. Survivors mourned those who lost their lives due to overdosing on drugs during a candlelight vigil sponsored by ACR Health at Hanna Park in Utica recently. “We love you Josh. Forever in our hearts” was inscribed on a large poster, which served as a sympathy card at the annual event. Here,

January 2018 •

families and friends of the deceased were able to write public tributes, share their grief, shed tears and give hugs to others mourning the sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one. The Utica vigil was one of hundreds being held across the country with the assistance of the national NOPE task force, or Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education. Opioids are substances that work on the nervous system in the body or specific receptors in the brain to reduce pain. Some of these opioids — such as methadone and fentanyl — are legally prescribed to treat pain.

Continued on Page 15

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Health Briefs Richfield Springs resident wins $100K Sharon Shoemaker of Richfield Springs recently became the winner of the 21st annual $100,000 Miracle Drawing. Proceeds of the fundraiser benefit the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Shoemaker The project, which benefits maternal child services at FSLH, has raised more than $4.5 million over the past 21 years. For more information on the FSLH Foundation, call 315-6245600 or visit foundation.

Valley Health Services accepts syringes Valley Health Services is accepting the community’s medical waste of needles, syringes and lancets from noon until 2 p.m. on Jan. 17. The service is available on the third Wednesday of every month. The waste must be in approved puncture-resistant containers available at local pharmacies and properly marked “biohazard.” The containers may be brought to the outpatient receptionist on the ground floor at VHS, who will contact the personnel responsible for medical waste disposal. VHS is located at 690 W. German St., Herkimer. Questions may be directed to Tammi King, infection control nurse, at 866-3330, ext. 2308.

MVHS relocates pulmonary testing lab Mohawk Valley Health System recently relocated its pulmonary function-testing lab from the St. Elizabeth Campus to the Medical Arts Campus, 4401 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford. Patients should park in Lot B, located in the back of the building, and take the elevator to the second floor. The lab is located in Suite 210. The lab will schedule outpatient PFT appointments at the new location and inpatient testing will be done on a limited basis at the hospital.

LFH gives gift of warmth Little Falls Hospital’s Support Services Unit Practice Council gave the gift of warmth this holiday season to Dolgeville and Benton Hall elementary schools. LFH’s UPC started the collection of new gloves, mittens and hats in late November. A total of 82 hats, 127 mittens and gloves, 14 sets of hats with mittens and nine head bands. The collection was divided between the two elementary schools. Page 4


Your Doctor

By Barbara Pierce

Jonathan Blancaflor

Jonathan Blancaflor recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System as medical director for robotic surgery. Blancaflor is part of the Advanced Endoscopy and Surgical Group-St. Luke’s Campus. Q.: We understand that you have been appointed medical director for robotic surgery at the Mohawk Valley Health System and will be developing the new robotic surgery program for MVHS. A.: Yes, it’s exciting to develop this new program and I’m very happy to have this great opportunity. The da Vinci robotic surgical system was delivered to MVHS just the day before I came for my interview. I was recruited to do general surgery, but when I heard about the robot, I asked to be involved with it. Q.: Robotic surgery is relatively new. Tell us more about it and how it differs from laparoscopic and traditional surgery. A.: In traditional surgery, we make an incision and get in to fix the problem. A big incision does cause pain. We can mitigate the pain, but it’s still a big incision that causes much stress to the patient. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive. Small incisions are made, the abdomen is inflated, and a camera put in. There is much less stress to the patient — less pain and faster healing than traditional surgery. Robotic surgery takes it a step further— it’s groundbreaking! It’s like laparoscopic surgery on steroids. There is a lot less trauma to the tissue as the incision is small. I control the robot with my voice. Folks recover faster, and some don’t even need pain medication. After his robotic surgery, one of my patients asked me, “Where’s the pain, doc?” Robotic surgery is beautiful! I can achieve angles with the camera that I can’t achieve with my wrists. Another important difference is that in laparoscopic surgery, the camera is two- dimensional; with the da Vinci robot, it’s three- dimensional. It’s exciting because it’s a much more precise way to do minimally invasive surgery. Editor’s note: The Food and Drug Administration approved robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System in 2000. The technique has been rapidly adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions. Tiny incisions are made and a camera and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them are inserted. The surgeon views a high-definition, highly magnified, three-dimensional image of the surgical site. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer console near the operating table. All of the movements of the camera and robotic instruments are precisely performed

MVHS Medical Director for Robotic Surgery Jonathan Blancaflor, MD, FACS, stands beside the da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System at the St. Elizabeth Campus. in real time by the surgeon. The tips of these instruments can make any wrist-like turn that the surgeon so desires. Q.: For what types of surgeries and procedures will you use robotic surgery? A.: I do a lot of colon surgeries and surgery for diverticulitis. We can remove part of the colon, reconnect, and the patient is home in a few days following robotic surgery. Also, I do a lot of hernia repairs, which involve one day in and out or just a one-night stay. Q.: You have many years of experience doing traditional surgery. Will you continue to do any traditional surgery? A.: Yes, I will also do standard surgery and surgeries involving the chest, tumors and hemorrhoids. Q.: How did you gain expertise in robotic surgery? A.: I’ve been a laparoscopic sur-

geon since the 1990s when I finished my residency. Then I had a fellowship at Yale University, where we acquired a da Vinci robot five years ago. At first, I was skeptical about it and I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. But after about a year, I was sold on it. It’s such a better way to do surgery. Folks recover so much faster. Q.: At Yale University, you won an award for advanced laparoscopy surgery. How did you decide on this and robotic surgery as a specialty? A.: I have a passion for technology and a career in which I help people heal. This lets me marry my passions. Q.: Why did you choose to relocate to the Mohawk Valley for your practice? A.: It’s a great opportunity to get the robotic surgery program going. It’s so nice to be in a situation where everyone is on board. I’m very happy to be here.

Lifelines Current residence: Whitesboro Education and qualifications: University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Conn.; residency in general surgery, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; board-certified in general surgery Affiliations: Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center Personal: Married, with four grown children

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

Winter Care Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

It’s snow good!

The magical health benefits of getting cold


es, that’s right. Jumping into the snow is good for you, especially if you’re naked. So is taking a cold shower, a cold-water plunge, or running shirtless through the cold. Most of us spend the winter trying to stay warm, but a little bit of exposure to cold may not be such a bad thing. Exposure to cold kicks our metabolism into high gear, helps reconfigure the cardiovascular system, combats autoimmune malfunction, and is a pretty good way to lose weight. Investigative journalist Scott Carney was in his mid-30s, overweight, and suffering many body aches and pains from spendPierce ing long hours over his computer. As he hunched over his computer “the internet coughed up a picture of a nearly naked man sitting on a glacier somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. Whatever this guy was into, it wasn’t comfort. And yet I couldn’t deny that he projected something vital that I’d recently noticed was missing from my own life,” Carney says. Carney’s curiosity was sparked. The result is his book “What Doesn’t Kill Us.” His findings: It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside. We can wake up in a home the temperature of our choosing, take a hot shower, eat a breakfast of fruits flown in from halfway around the globe, head to work in a heated car, spend the day in an office and come home without feeling the outside temperature. Our technological prowess has become so powerful that it broke our fundamental biological link to the world around us. Indoor plumbing,

Oneida, Herkimer in good

and have normal blood sugar levels. Brown fat controls weight. White fat is the one we have most of. Exercise in the cold and you’ll generate the growth of brown fat and burn white fat. Each of us has vast wells of inner strength. The secret to cracking it is leave our comfort zone and seek out just enough environmental stress to make us stronger. Make yourself a little uncomfortable, and you might not just reap the benefits, but discover that it isn’t nearly as bad as you imagined it might be. You don’t have to roll around in the snow naked to reap the benefits of cold. All you need to do is get a bit outside your comfort zone and try something new. Start by setting your thermostat to 62 or less. Don’t wear layers to insulate yourself. Get used to being cold and suppress the urge to shiver. The body shivers to warm up, but relaxing and taking calm breaths will quell this impulse, forcing your body

to burn white fat to get energy. Try taking 30-second cold showers — turn the knob low and let cold water cascade over you. The immediate sensations are rarely pleasant. You’ll start breathing fast, your pupils will dilate, and you’ll want to start moving to keep yourself warm. While you’re in this moment of shock and pain, control your breathing and keep calm. The burning sensations will dissipate if you focus your mind on the pain and relax, instead of tightly clenching up every muscle. Then suppress your impulse to shiver so your body generates brown fat. Try it; you have nothing to lose and much to gain. • Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book, “When You Come to the Edge: Aging” or if you have questions for her, contact her at

Link to weight loss

There is a growing consensus among many scientists that humans were not built for eternal, effortless homeostasis. Human biology needs stress — the sort of stress that invigorates our nervous systems. No environmental extreme causes as many changes in the human body as the cold. A plunge into icy temperatures triggers a number of processes to warm the body, and also heightens mental awareness, tweaks insulin production and tightens the circulatory system. Exposure to cold has been proven to cause weight loss. This is because there are two types of fat in the human body: white fat and brown fat. Brown fat is the good, calorie-burning fat; adults who have more brown fat tend to be slender


Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

heating, grocery stores, cars, and lighting let us control and fine-tune our environment so thoroughly that many of us can live in a perpetual state of homeostasis. Yet comfort’s golden age has a hidden darkness. With no challenges to overcome, no frontier to gain, no threat to flee from, we are overstuffed, overheated, and under stimulated. Sure we can build skyscrapers, fly airplanes and run up the thermostat to combat the cold, but it turns out the technologies that we believe are our greatest strengths are also our crutches. The things we have made to keep us comfortable are making us weak. If we came up against one of our prehistoric ancestors, we would undoubtedly be fatter, lazier, and in worse health. The developed world no longer suffers from diseases of deficiency, but diseases of excess. There is an explosion of obesity, diabetes, chronic pain, and hypertension. Millions suffer from autoimmune ailments where the body literally attacks itself.


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A monthly newspaper published by Local News, Inc. 20,000 copies distributed. To request home delivery ($15 per year), call 315-749-7070.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2018 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, Deb Dittner, Pauline DiGiorgio Advertising: Amy Gagliano Layout & Design: Dylon Clew-Thomas Office Assistant: Kimberley Tyler No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement — not to take the place of — the recommendations of your health provider.

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January 2018 •


IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Women’s HEALTH

Don’t Worry, Be Happy Simple things that will turn your mood right around version of their perfect life.

By Barbara Pierce


e might dream of a vacation in the Caribbean, winning the lottery, or buying a Ferrari, but there’s good news for those of us who aren’t likely to fulfill those dreams anytime soon. We actually don’t need any of that fancy stuff to feel happy. Because it’s the simple things — like the sensation of the warm sun on our faces, the smell of fresh-baked bread, or the sight of a fresh coat of snow — that give us a boost. They bring us a feeling of well-being, deep satisfaction, pleasure and endorphins flowing through our brains. In a work, they make us happy. Here are some of the simple things that will make you happy: • Stop and see the roses: If you have time to stop and smell the roses, great! But if you find yourself in a hurry (and who doesn’t these days?) simply seeing beautiful blooms can lift your spirits, according to a study done by Harvard. The happiness boost is greatest for night owls who have a hard time getting going in the morning, they

Happiness is contagious

found. So buy yourself some flowers and put them on a vase near your bed. Or take the scenic route for your morning commute and make sure to actually enjoy the scenery. “Just look at the beauty of nature and you’ll feel good,” said Lynn

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Scarfuto of Herkimer, who regularly enjoys the beauty of the area as she photographs the Mohawk Valley as a member of Mohawk Valley Through the Lens. • Get some fresh air: Learn to love the outdoors! When you go outside, you will feel so good. Studies show that nature lowers depression and anxiety. Nature is the brain’s miracle medicine. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of being out in nature,” Scarfuto said. If you do something active while you’re outside, like walking or riding your bike, it gives you even more of that happy feeling. • Take a social media break: The more time you spend on social media, the less happy you are, says a study. The reason? Looking at pictures and reading updates from friends leads you to compare your worst self to their best selves, leaving you feeling sad and left out. But the solution is simple: Spend more time in real life with people you care about and save social media for specific updates rather than aimlessly scrolling through everyone else’s


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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018




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• Hang out with happy friends: Happiness is infectious; you can catch a good mood from your friends, say researchers. It’s so contagious, in fact, that one happy person can infect people three degrees removed from them with their joy. • Learn about your roots: Connecting to your heritage helps you feel happier by giving you a better sense of your own identity, helping you feel linked to your relatives, and finding value in shared experiences. Call your grandma and ask her about her childhood. Who knows? Maybe you’ll finally get an explanation for Uncle Bill. • Exercise: Exercising is a natural way to boost your mood. “I go five days a week, and I have noticed a drastic increase in my level of happiness!” said one person online. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that are associated with a feeling of euphoria. • Hop in the sack: The fact that sex can make you happy won’t surprise you. Couples who had sex once a week reported being happier than couples that had less sex. And couples that had sex more frequently weren’t any happier than those hopping into bed together once a week. • Swap jeans for nicer clothes: For depressed people, jeans are the clothing of choice, say researchers. That may be harsh, but it is true that how you dress can play a role in how you feel. Women in the study said wearing a dress made them happy. Other simple things that bring happiness include: sleeping in clean sheets, the clean feeling after a shower, laughing so hard it hurts, snuggling on the sofa with a loved one, doing something for others, waking up before the alarm and realizing there’s more time to sleep, and popping bubble wrap. The No. 1 thing that will bring you happiness: • Get together with someone or call someone: The No. 1 thing guaranteed to bring the most happiness isn’t actually a thing — it’s a person. “It’s relationships that are most important, not material things,” said one researcher. Our relationships are actually necessary for our own personal happiness, found the study. The number of interactions people had with others predicted day-to-day differences in happiness, found another study. Our close relationships keep us grounded and influence both happiness and the sense that we are part of a larger community. Interestingly, even our interactions with people we don’t know that well increase our happiness. That’s significant! Well, now you know! Now go call someone!

Women’s HEALTH The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Detoxify, hydrate and eat right Make 2018 a happy and healthy year


s you begin a New Year (where did 2017 go?), you may be setting your mind on some much needed resolutions. Often wondering where to begin, you may need to begin with little steps that, in time, turn into big payoff results. Start now to produce the quality of life you want and do it regularly. There is no magic pill, no magic bullet, and no magic in general. You have to take the bull by Dittner the horns and do it every day for the rest of your life. And what is “that” you may ask? Lifestyle changes that you and only you can do for yourself. But, you have to want it and you have to do it. No excuses. Minimizing toxins in our everyday life is important. You need clean air. You can’t totally control the air that you breathe, but you can take steps to improve the quality, especially in your home. When your home is sealed shut in winter months, toxins can build up. The toxins from your bedding and furniture, your rugs and heating sources stay trapped inside your home. Yes, it’s cold outside but opening your windows on a daily basis and letting fresh air in will improve the overall quality. You may also want to consider an air purifier. And, what I do daily is diffuse therapeutic grade essential oils to help clean the air and boost immunity. You also need clean water. Dehydration can occur when you do not drink enough pure, filtered water. Consider having your water tested

to make sure you are not ingesting chemicals that can damage and cause significant illness. Drinking half your weight in ounces of water daily will be beneficial for overall hydration, flushing your kidneys and hydrating your skin that often becomes dry due to overheated homes. Taking proper care of our bodies also consists of the many things you can do to reduce your risks such as using non-toxic products on your skin, in cleaning your home and consuming clean food. I recommend going to http:// for information on clean products and the Clean15/ Dirty Dozen for clean food purchases. Eating a plant-based diet full of nutrient-dense whole foods consisting of 6-to-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily and clean sources of protein is a must.

Enjoy those winter veggies

Winter vegetables that I recommend are: — Beets (and beet greens) are anti-inflammatory, high in folate, potassium, manganese and vitamin C. Beet juice is also found to aid in reducing high blood pressure and is an excellent pre- and post-workout for athletes. A favorite way of enjoying beets is diced and roasted in olive oil with thyme and sea salt. So sweet and tender! — Kale is high in vitamins C, A, B6 and K, manganese and copper. Baby kale is tender and can be sautéed in olive oil with onion and garlic, and added to soups and salads. — Brussels sprouts are high in vitamins K, B6, B1 and C, folate, manganese, choline, potassium, and fiber (which everyone needs more of). This cruciferous vegetable can be roasted individually or added in with

the above-mentioned beets. — Turnips are high in vitamins C, B6, manganese, potassium and copper. Turnips have been found to aid in lowering blood pressure, enhancing eye health, weight loss, and prevents diverticulosis. Turnips can be steamed and mashed (just like mashed potatoes) with a little bit of olive oil and almond milk or added to soups. — Broccoli, another cruciferous vegetable, is high in vitamins A, B2, B6, C and K, folate, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Broccoli is a well-known cancer fighter as it contains compounds known as sulfurophane and indoles. Enjoy steamed or sautéed in olive oil, sea salt, and garlic then topped with a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. — Cauliflower is high in vitamin

C, potassium, and fiber. It is also a cruciferous vegetable that contains anti-cancer properties, making it an excellent choice against disease. It can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, and even made into “rice” or a “pizza” crust. Disease is preventable through lifestyle changes also consisting of physical movement daily, adequate sleep and self-care. We can live longer and healthier lives through regular preventive care. You just need to remember to do it regularly! • Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner. com or contact her at 518-596-8565.

I lost 135 lbs. and found my inner athlete. Bruce played high school and college sports. Yet as the years passed, he moved less and gained more. Overweight with heart disease and diabetes, he knew — at 60 — that he had to get healthier to reach his golden years. Since having weight-loss surgery at Crouse, Bruce has found his love of physical activities. He’s also found a caring and compassionate team, including trusted surgeons, nutritional experts and an active support group, to help him every step of the way. Come to our next weight-loss surgery seminar and discover what you can find.

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Register at or 315-470-8974 IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Women’s HEALTH Pauline’s Pieces

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Ways to Wellness: Cupping

Innovative technique improves circulation, loosens up muscles and joints Editor’s note: This is the final segment in our “Ways to Wellness” series.


upping therapy confused me. I started seeing all the painful looking circular bruises on many Olympians, athletes and celebrities, but read all the great reviews gushing about the detoxification effects. I decided this would be a fantastic way to end my “Ways To Wellness” series since this topic has been topping the wellness “must DiGiorgio do” treatments. Cupping therapy requires glass or silicone cups being suctioned onto major muscle groups to increase blood flow to the area. The therapist can continuously move the cups, which promotes organs and tissues to rid the body’s natural waste. You’re creating space to drain toxin, all while manually moving things around and pushing cells into the lymphatic system, also known as your body’s filtration system. This will provide a catalyst to boost a natural detoxification process. But with all that said, the most

common reasons to get “cupped” are to offset pain and inflammation and enhance relaxation, much like that of a deep-tissue massage. It improves circulation by pulling stagnant blood from the tissue being worked on and allows for fresh blood to flow in. This will release any tension, which is responsible for sore-

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Page 8

ness in muscles. Also, by pulling the stagnant blood out, it also helps with lymph/lactic acid drainage. My treatment was done in a spalike setting, so I was in a Zen state of mind. I was met with warm lighting, heated bed, soft music, and a very welcoming environment at MV Massage Therapy, 3985 Oneida St., Suite 104, New Hartford. Pete Schachtler, my cupping massage therapist, explained it is completely painless, and he would start by warming up my body with a massage. After I was truly at ease, he then took out the plastic silicone cups and suctioned those on with light pressure. It sounds like someone sipping a thick milkshake out of an almost

empty cup. The vacuum that’s created pulls the skin and blood vessels in toward the cup, which is why they can leave marks on the skin. It feels a bit uncomfortable at first, but then once you settle in, mentally quiet your mind, your muscles will signal to relax, making the entire experience very similar to a full-body massage. My upper and lower back was definitely needing some “righting” and afterwards, it released knots that I know no amount of foam rolling or stretching could cure. It lasted 60 minutes, but I added a 30-minute extra massage session since I was giving myself a “self care” day as well. Let’s talk about the aftermath as I walked around with my body marked with “souvenirs,” or red circles varying in different shades of maroon. They last about 3 to 5 days, but thankfully they are mostly on my back, covered by a shirt. The darker marks identify relatively poor areas of circulation and higher levels of toxicity being brought up to the surface of your skin versus faint marks. I have a mixture of both, which means I’m fairly balanced, and that makes sense! So as this last segment of my “Ways to Wellness” series comes to a close, a shout out of thanks goes out the studios, spas and venues that welcomed me into their space to explore various treatments. We’ll close this chapter and let you the reader find your special way to wellness! • Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at

Women still want annual mammograms


ost American women would prefer to get a mammogram to screen for breast cancer every year rather than every two years, a new study finds. Currently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women at average risk for breast cancer be screened every two years, beginning at age 50. The recommendation is based in part on potential harms associated with screening mammography. Those include diagnosis and treatment of noninvasive and invasive breast cancers that would not have posed a threat to a woman’s health, as well as unneeded biopsies and the anxiety caused by false-positive

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

results. However, other experts believe that the benefits of early breast cancer detection far outweigh the potential harms. To get women’s views, the researchers surveyed 731 women, 59 years old on average, who had screening and diagnostic mammograms done at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia between December 2016 and February 2017. The investigators found that 71 percent of the women said they’d prefer a screening mammogram every year. Those with a family history of breast cancer and a prior breast biopsy were more likely to be in favor of yearly screening.

Who’s most distracted behind the wheel?

What if you could choose?

Study: Young men the culprits


exting, talking on cellphones, eating, drinking — distractions such as these are a driving hazard, and are more likely to occur among young men, new research shows. People most prone to distracted driving also often tend to think it’s “no big deal” and it’s socially acceptable, the Norwegian study found. These drivers often also felt that they had little control over being distracted. On the other hand, older women, and people who felt they could control their distracted behaviors, were most able to keep their focus where it belongs — on the road ahead. “I found that young men were among the most likely to report distraction,” said study lead author Ole Johansson of Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics. “Others more prone to distraction include those who drive often, and those with neurotic and extroverted personalities.” According to the study authors, the World Health Organization estimates that more than a million

lives are lost on roadways each year due to distracted driving. And it only takes two seconds of looking away from the road for risks of an accident to rise significantly, the researchers noted. There was good news, however, from the survey of Norwegian high school students and adults: Overall rates of distracted driving were low, and “fiddling with the radio” was the most common source of distraction. The study was published Nov. 17 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. One way to reduce distracted driving may be to have drivers devise their own prevention plans, Johansson said. For example, simply presenting people with information about distracted driving made people aware of the problem. Interventions like those “could focus on at-risk groups, such as young males with bad attitudes to distracted driving and a low belief that they can control their distraction,” Johansson said.


5 Days or 45 Days


From 2012-2016, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s annual operating margin has averaged 0.3 percent, considerably lower than the average of the four major for-profit health plans. Based on a comparison of earnings before interest and taxes, we would have needed to collect $1.6 billion more in premium revenue to achieve the same level of earnings as the major carriers over that period. Because we’re a business, not a charity, we need to earn a margin. But we do not pay dividends to shareholders. That works in your favor. We’re a nonprofit health plan, so we deliberately budget for low margins to keep coverage more affordable. We know you have other important things that matter. We’re neighbors helping neighbors build healthier communities.

A nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

January 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9

New Year’s Resolutions

Budget Banter

Tweak your money habits for a financially healthy new year By Barbara Pierce


new year means the opportunity to get your finances healthy. Patricia Laino offers tips to tweak your money habits to get on a great financial path. Laino is executive director of the Women’s Business Center of New York State in Utica. WBC assists women at every stage of business development. “I’ve been teaching people how to start businesses for 20 years,” said Laino, recognized throughout the Laino state as an expert in finances. “I learn many of their financial problems and help them with these problems.” Pay cash is Laino’s first tip. “Pay cash, don’t use credit. Minimize your expenses. The best way to do this is by paying cash,” she said. The benefits of using a credit card are obvious. Cash is frowned on, it slows things down and it’s outdated. Stores encourage us to brandish our credit cards. But are there downsides to using a credit card instead of cash? Does it really matter how you pay for your purchases? Turns out that, yes, there are serious downsides and it does matter, in important ways. Paying with a credit card is less painful than paying with cash. Using credit cards dulls the “pain of paying,” say researchers. Shoppers who use a credit card do spend more. In one study, the authors found that participants were willing to spend $175 to throw a Thanksgiving party when using a credit card to buy the food, but only $145 when using cash. The pain of paying is not the same for cash as it is for credit cards.

“The more transparent the payment outflow, the greater the aversion to spending, or higher the ‘pain of paying.’ Credit cards are more easily spent,’” according to the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. Another weird thing they found: Those who pay with cash enjoy a better relationship with their purchased products. Shoppers who paid cash increased their emotional attachment to the purchase as compared to credit card users. Pay off your debt is Laino’s second tip. “Nothing will drag you down faster than a pile of debt,” Laino said. “Make this the year that you finally get all of those credit cards and loans paid off.” “Credit card debt is the black hole of personal finance,” financial planner Robert Reed concurred online. “It’s miserable to try to get out of; you want to avoid it at all costs.”

Tinnitus Do you suffer from constant “ringing in the ears”? Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ear, though the sounds resulting from tinnitus could also be described as a hissing, clicking, whistling or whirring.

“You don’t need all those credit cards,” suggests Laino. “I only have one.” Keeping too many cards in your wallet can lead to trouble if you’re not organized. For one thing, managing lots of cards makes it easy to forget a payment.

Urge to overspend

Also, having all those cards makes it tempting to use all that credit and overspend. To pay off your credit card debt, make more than the minimum payment. Credit card companies love it when you pay the minimum every month. At that rate, you’re mostly paying off interest, barely scratching the surface of your actual debt. Pay off the cards with the highest interest rate first. If one credit line is charging you 11 percent annual percentage rate, while another is charging 9 percent, focus on paying

1 2 3

off the debt with 11 percent. Pay it off before touching the other. Sure, it will accumulate interest in the meantime, but since you’re paying interest anyway, do it at the lower rate. Talk to your credit card companies. Explain your situation and ask if they can help. Many will lower your interest rate for a period of time or waive late fees so you can catch up. If you’ve been their customer for a long time, mention that. Some care about that. If you can’t make headway with the first person you speak with, ask for a supervisor. Pay your bills on time or you’ll spend money needlessly on late fees. Use your credit card to buy things only if you can pay it off in full at the end of each month. “And stay away from the mall!” added Laino. “If you must go, pay cash!” Don’t retire is Laino’s third tip. As attractive as quitting your job might be, there are many reasons to think about waiting. Far too few people are really prepared to retire in their mid-60s. Between retirement savings balances, rising mortgage debt levels and Social Security benefits that pay more by working longer, the financial incentive to keep working is significant. For every year you delay in collecting Social Security benefits, they increase by about 8 percent. By waiting from age 67 to 70, you’ll make your benefits about 24 percent bigger. Staying on the job longer not only benefits your wallet, but it’s also good for your overall health. A study showed that retirement has a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental health. WBC provides tools to help women launch and expand successful companies. They assist through one-on-one counseling, training events, networking, and mentoring. For more information, visit https:// or call 315-733-9848.

Call one of our clinics and make an appointment for your FREE tinnitus assessment. Receive a custom-built sound therapy package that is unique to YOUR tinnitus. Begin using your sound therapy and effectively manage your tinnitus.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

Rome • New Hartford


New Year’s Resolutions

Resolution Pollution Why you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions By Barbara Pierce

Ask yourself: What’s missing?

meet a friend at the gym.” So stop putting pressure on yourself to carry out resolutions. Just think of goals for yourself. Don’t make these long-term goals your New Year’s resolutions. You’re doomed once you put a yearlong time stamp on it. The New Year should bring a

feeling of newness. So this year, it’s time to make a real change. It’s time to take stock of where you are and what you want out of life, not to continue doing what others expect you to do or what you should do. For more information, call 315853-2125 or visit

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Think about what you feel is missing from your life, said Brady. Then look at the steps you will need to take to get there. Break it down into baby steps — manageable baby steps that you can achieve in a day or so. Achieving each step and celebrating each achievement gives you motivation to go on to the next. If you focus on the big picture, you can get overwhelmed because it appears so hard to accomplish. It’s easy to get discouraged and demoralized. Just keep your focus on achieving that next step. For example, if your goal is to organize your house, your first step could be organizing one dresser, or closet, or small room. Don’t get sidetracked; stick with your goal of that one area. Then celebrate when you get that one area done. Or you want to get a degree and you can do it online on your own schedule. Start by biting off chunks of 30 minutes a day. Complete one course. Celebrate your achievement. Then complete the next. Sometimes it helps to write down the goal and the steps you will need to get there. “Set yourself up for success,” added Brady. “There’s no worse feeling than setting your goal to something unachievable. Make sure that the steps are achievable without a lot of difficulty.” “And remember that goals are not set in stone. They are movable, fluid and changeable,” said Brady. “If your goal is to work out five days a week, great, but don’t put restrictions on it. Maybe on two of those days, you walk your dog, do yard work or


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t’s New Year’s, which means it’s time to make a resolution or two. So what will they be this year? Lose weight (again)? Get another job? Work out every day? Drink less? See more (or less) of the family? The truth is, most of us will do the same thing we always do: set some goals that we’ll forget about or give up on by about by the 7th of January, or thereabouts. Only 10 percent of people who set resolutions actually achieve them. For most of us, what happens in January stays in January. So this year, we’re proposing something different, with the help of Deanna Brady, psychiatric nurse practitioner and owner of Present Tense Psychiatry in Clinton, a practice that provides comprehensive psychiatric care. Rather than rushing forward in a panic to set resolutions or a list of goals you can start on New Year’s Day, forget all that. Stop the thoughts of “I should do this” and “I must change this.” Begin the New Year being absolutely positive about how great this year is going to be for you. Know you will succeed at whatever you choose to succeed at. Of course you should have goals for yourself, no matter what time of year. However, you shouldn’t force your goals when the time isn’t right. New Year’s might feel like a great time to take a stand, but you’re better served waiting until you’re more fully committed — mentally, physically, and spiritually. “I challenge you to think about what you really want,” suggests Brady. “What do you feel is missing from your life?” Take stock of where you are and what might be missing from your life instead of continuing doing what others expect you to do or what you think might make you seem more successful or appealing. Goals are all about improving

yourself, about making your life better. This should be something that comes from basic motivation and something that you want to do for yourself. If the motivation comes from yourself, then you will stick with your goal because you don’t need anyone else to notice. You will notice, and that’s all that matters.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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By Jim Miller

Recognizing, treating depression in retirement Dear Savvy Senior, Since retiring a few years ago, my husband has become increasingly irritable and apathetic. I’m concerned that he’s depressed, even though he may not admit it. Where can we turn to get help with this, and what, if anything, does Medicare pay for?

Concerned Spouse Dear Concerned, Depression is unfortunately a widespread problem among older Americans, affecting approximately 15 percent of the 65-and-older population. Here’s what you should know, along with some tips and resources for screening and treatments, and how Medicare covers it.

Identifying depression

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Everyone feels sad or gets the blues now and then, but when these feelings linger more than a few weeks, it may be depression. Depression is a real illness that affects mood, feelings, behavior and physical health, and contrary to what many people believe, it’s not a normal part of aging or a personal weakness, but it is very treatable. It’s also important to know that depression is not just sadness. In many seniors it can manifest as apathy, irritability or problems with memory or concentration without the depressed mood. To help you get a handle on the seriousness of your husband’s problem, a good first step is for him to take an online depression-screening test. He can do this for free at Mental Health America, a national nonprofit organization that offers a variety of online mental health screening tools at — click on “Take a Screen” in the menu bar. Or at, which is offered by Screening for Mental Health, Inc. Both of these tests are anonymous and confidential, they take less that 10 minutes to complete, and they can help you determine the severity of your husband’s problem.

Get help

If you find that he is suffering from depressive symptoms, he needs to see his doctor for a medi-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

cal evaluation to rule out possible medical causes. Some medications, for example, can produce side effects that mimic depressive symptoms — pain and sleeping meds are common culprits. It’s also important to distinguish between depression and dementia, which can share some of the same symptoms. If he’s diagnosed with depression, there are a variety of treatment options including talk therapy, antidepressant medications or a combination of both. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective type of talk therapy, which helps patients recognize and change destructive thinking patterns that leads to negative feelings. For help finding a therapist who’s trained in CBT, ask your doctor for a referral, check your local yellow pages under “counseling” or “psychologists,” or check with the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (, or the Academy of Cognitive Therapy ( And to search for therapists that accept Medicare, use Medicare’s Physician Compare tool. Go to Medicare. gov/physiciancompare and type in your zip code, or city and state, then type in the type of profession you want locate, like “psychiatry” or “clinical psychologist” in the “What are you searching for?” box.

Medicare coverage

You’ll be happy to know that original Medicare currently covers 100 percent for annual depression screenings that are done in a doctor’s office or other primary care clinic. They also pay 80 percent of its approved amount for outpatient mental health services like counseling and therapy services, and will cover almost all medications used to treat depression under the Part D prescription drug benefit. If you and your husband get your Medicare benefits through a private Medicare Advantage plan, they too must cover the same services as original Medicare but they will likely require him to see an in-network provider. You’ll need to contact your plan directly for the details. 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.

Smile with Dr. Suy

The Social Ask Security Office

New column focuses on dental health

From the Social Security District Office

Rosie the Riveter: Working Women’s Icon

Nearly 60 percent of people receiving benefits are female

Rosie the Riveter” is an American icon representing women working in factories during World War II. These women learned new jobs and filled in for the men who were away at war. They produced much of the armaments and ammunition to supply the war effort. They also paid FICA on their wages, contributing to the Social Security program. These “Rosies” embodied the “can-do” spirit immortalized in a poster by J. Howard Miller. Both the image and the spirit live on today. If you asked Rosie about Social Security, she would use her rivet gun to drive home the value of Social Security for women. More Rosies work today, and nearly 60 percent of people receiving benefits are women. Women tend to live longer than men, so Social Security’s inflation-adjusted benefits help protect women. You can outlive your savings and investments, but Social Security is for life. Women provide their own basic level of protection when they work and pay taxes into the Social Security system. Women who have been married and had low earnings or who didn’t work may be covered through their spouses’ work. Today’s Rosie will turn her “cando” spirit to learning more about

By Dr. Salina Suy

Social Security and what role it will play in her financial plan for the future. She focuses on our pamphlet called “What Every Woman Should Know.” available at for a game plan. She rolls up her sleeves and sets up her “my Social Security” account ( to review her earnings and estimates. If she finds an incorrect posting, she’ll locate her W-2 form and quickly contact Social Security to correct it because she understands these are the earnings used to figure her benefits. She dives into understanding benefits at our planner pages at She examines how marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, work, and other issues might affect her benefits. She studies our fact sheet “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” at to help her decide when it’s time to lay down the rivet gun. And when the time is right, she will file for retirement benefits online at www. Whether it was keeping the war effort production lines humming or discovering what is available to her from Social Security, Rosie symbolizes the motto: “We Can Do It.”

Introducing: Dr. Salina Suy


o the wonderful people of the Mohawk Valley: Welcome to your new source of oral health care education straight from one of your local dentists — me! This is an introductory article explaining what the column will entail for the future and I hope you enjoy its concept and reap the benefits from the information provided here in the future. For those who Suy do not know me, please let me introduce myself. My name is Salina Suy and I am a general dentist in the Mohawk Valley practicing in Utica. Before, I was in private practice. I was a hospital dentist at Faxton St. Luke and received my Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. I also proudly have a Bachelors of Science degree in exercise science from the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions. Along with being a dentist, I am also an advocate for general

health and wellness and l love fitness! I was fortunate enough to be featured in this newspaper previously and even more fortunate now to contribute with this new column. I look forward to providing basic knowledge of the many mysteries of oral health care so that you can have a better understanding of the dental sciences. My goals are to increase awareness of the importance of oral health and its link to systemic health, help explain different procedures, types of specialties and I will be taking direct questions straight from the readers as well. That’s right: Ask me something you have always wanted to ask — no question is silly! Questions should be submitted to smilewithdrsuy@yahoo. com. Please join me for next month’s column where the first topic will be “Oral Hygiene 101: The basic recommendations for a brighter, healthier you.” • Salina Suy is a health and wellness advocate and general dentist in the Utica Business Park. Want to learn more? Visit Facebook or Instagram: @smilewithdrsuy or

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Page 13


The skinny on healthy eating

What’s So Great About Grapefruit? E ver since the infamous Grapefruit Diet made its debut — back in the l930s to help starlets lose weight — grapefruits have been associated with weight loss. Fans claim it contains enzymes that help burn off fat. Some studies have shown that people who eat half a fresh grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice before each meal lose more weight than people who do not. But not all studies have shown the same weight-loss benefit; and scientists can’t say if the weight loss was specifically due to the grapefruit or to filling up on a low-calorie food in general. Final word from nutritionists: Don’t look to the grapefruit to melt fat, but do look to this mouth-wateringly tart fruit for a host of other health benefits.

Great factor No. 1: All grapefruits pack a hefty dose of vitamin C, with the red and pink ones providing a good dose of vitamin A, too. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, may speed wound healing, and has even been linked with wrinkle reduction. An equally essential nutrient, vitamin A promotes good vision, normal bone growth, and all-around good health. Both vitamins work hard to keep our immune systems humming, which is especially important during flu season. Great factor No. 2:

Grapefruit can help lower “bad” cholesterol. Numerous studies have shown that grapefruit eaters, particularly those eating red, had a notable drop in LDL cholesterol. While researchers can’t pinpoint why grapefruits have this affect on cholesterol, they do suggest its cholesterol-clearing fiber, high concentration of antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients may all contribute to this hearthealthy benefit. More good news for your heart: Grapefruit appears to lower levels of triglycerides, another type

of “bad” fat that can clog up arteries.

Great factor No. 3:

Grapefruit may lower blood pressure. Grapefruit, especially grapefruit juice, provides enough potassium to be included in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet, a healthy diet plan that was developed by the National Institutes of Health to lower blood pressure without mediation. Numerous studies suggest that boosting your potassium intake, while curbing salt and sodium, can significantly reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. A grapefruit’s high vitamin C content may also reduce blood pressure, according to research that links vitamin C with this positive effect.

Not-so-great factor:

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can seriously interfere with some prescription medications. Because these interactions can cause potentially dangerous health problems, experts recommend you ask your pharmacist whether your medication interacts with grapefruit.

Helpful Tips

Select grapefruits that are firm, smooth, heavy for their size and yield to light pressure. The thinner the rind, the sweeter the grapefruit. Go for the imperfect-looking grapefruit with a discolored rind: they’ll be sweeter than those with uniform color. Store grapefruits at room temperature for up to a week or refrigerate for up to three weeks. Bring refrigerated grapefruits to room temperature for maximum flavor. Rinse grapefruits under cool water before you dig in.

Grapefruit, Kale and Toasted Walnut Salad

Adapted from

1 bunch kale, rinsed 2 pink grapefruit 1 shallot 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2cup plain yogurt 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Remove the tough ribs from the kale; discard. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces and transfer to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the kale with a dash of salt and use your hands to massage the kale by scrunching up the leaves. Peel and segment grapefruit, reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice for the dressing. Cut shallot in half, horizontally: mince half; slice other half into thin rings. In small bowl, whisk together minced shallot, reserved grapefruit juice, lemon juice, yogurt, oil, salt and pepper. Add more oil if dressing tastes too tart. Toss dressing with kale. Top with shallot rings, grapefruit, and toasted walnuts.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle colum-

nist, 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

s d i K Corner

Tech at bedtime may mean heavier kids Study shows use of electronic gadgets in bed disrupts children’s sleep


ids and their smartphones aren’t easily parted, but if you want your children to get a good night’s sleep and to stay at a healthy weight, limiting bedtime screen time appears key, new research suggests. Parent surveys revealed that using a smartphone or watching TV at bedtime was tied to a greater body mass index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. And using any technology at bedtime — cellphones, TVs, laptops, Page 14

iPads and video games — was linked to getting about an hour less sleep, poorer sleep and, not surprisingly, morning fatigue. The one bit of good news from the study was that technology use didn’t seem to increase the risk of attention problems. “Parents should have a conversation with their child’s pediatrician about age-appropriate use of technology,” recommended the study’s lead author, Caitlyn Fuller. “You want kids to be getting a good amount of sleep, so ask kids to

shut off their technology before bed. And don’t let the cellphone be next to them while they sleep,” advised Fuller. She is a medical student at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine. It’s important to note, however, that while the study found associations between technology use at bedtime and some negative outcomes, the study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. About 40 percent of youngsters have their own cellphone by fifth grade, according to background notes in the study. And there are now electronic and tablet-based children’s toys for even younger kids, the study authors noted. Children who watched TV or

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

used their cellphones at bedtime were more than twice as likely to be overweight or obese, the study findings showed. Unsurprisingly, kids who played more sports or played outside more often were less likely to be overweight. Also, kids who watched TV or played video games at bedtime got about 30 minutes less sleep nightly than those who didn’t watch TV, according to the study. The video gamers also had more trouble staying asleep. In general, kids who used their phones or computers at bedtime lost about an hour of sleep each night compared to those who put their technology away earlier.

Addiction Opioids explode on area drug scene Continued from Page 3

But fentanyl is mixed with other drugs, such as heroin, to intensify the “high.” Of the 166 deaths in Oneida County in the last four years, 56 were heroin-related, 26 were fentanyl-related, 24 were heroin and fentanyl related and 30 were attributed to other opioids.

Friendship survives death

Dawn Schneider of Utica signed the giant poster at Hanna Park in memory of her friend, Ashley Mary Collins, who died on Feb. 9, 2017. Even now, Schneider can’t bear to erase Ashley’s name from her cell phone’s address book. “We were very close friends,” said Schneider 45, who has had her share of problems with drug addiction. “I was in a halfway house with her. I spent 28 days at McPike (Addiction Treatment Center in Utica). I then went to Catholic Charities Halfway House and there I met Ashley. She had relapsed. I struggled, but I succeeded.” “Ashley and I went to meetings together, but then we drifted apart,” she said. McPike Addiction Treatment Center is a 68-bed inpatient facility on Court Street operated by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center. McPike provides a proven individualized program of recovery for adults who have a chemical addiction and can provide assistance to anyone living in 16 Upstate counties. Schneider said her own addiction was the result of an on-the-job accident 12 years ago. She was prescribed painkillers, but became dependent on the drugs. Schneider said her recovery is due to strong motivation to turn her life around. “I hang out with sober people and try to keep busy,” she said. Addiction can affect one’s family, neighbors in big cities and tiny communities, professional people and the homeless alike. Its impact is not readily apparent either. A third-grade student in a rural school district confided to her teacher that her homework assignment would be late. That evening, she explained, she was going to visit her father in a rehab facility in Syracuse. “Kind of hard on the 8 year olds,” the teacher acknowledged. The girl’s father has already spent six months in rehab and is expected to remain much longer. “Two other kids I know have had their fathers die from overdoses,” he added. “You might say it is a crisis. And this is a little community.”

Access to drugs monitored

The CDC says overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. “The amount of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’

offices nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, yet there had not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans reported,” its website noted. Locally, the Regional Primary Care Network, which is based in Rochester and operates health care centers in Utica and Ilion, is taking additional steps to make patients aware of the dangers of prescription medicine and controlling access to these drugs. George Markwardt, family nurse practitioner in Ilion and clinical director for RPCN, said RPCN is developing an opioid action plan that will help guide staff and patients with getting the appropriate help they need. In New York state, any provider who holds a Drug Enforcement Administration registration is required to complete additional training on opioids and preventing drug diversion. He took the training last summer. Prescribers are required to consult the prescription monitoring program registry when writing prescriptions for Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, he pointed out. The PMP registry provides practitioners with direct, secure access to view dispensed controlled substance prescription histories for their patients. According to Markwardt, in addition to the serious risks of addiction, abuse, and overdose, the use of prescription opioids can have a number of side effects, even when taken as directed. Markwardt stresses the importance of patients having an open dialogue with their health care providers and support system. “The first step, of course, and often the hardest part for many patients dependent or addicted to pain medications, is admitting there is a problem,” he said. Certain RPCN patients are asked to sign a lengthy statement acknowledging their medications for chronic pain will be strictly controlled; that it is illegal to obtain a prescription for controlled substances and over-thecounter drugs from more than one health-care provider, including dentists, or from more than one pharmacy at the same time; that the patient will submit to a drug test if suspected and will lose their health coverage. The patient promises not to mix alcohol with controlled substances; not to obtain any illegal drugs, including marijuana and cocaine; that written prescriptions for controlled substances may not be replaced if they are lost, stolen, get wet, are destroyed, or otherwise misplaced unless explicit written proof is provided with direct evidence from legal authorities, and their abuse of these drugs will be reported to local, state and federal authorities. “Substance abuse doesn’t affect just those who are addicts; it affects their families and communities,” Markwardt added. “Addiction has so many socio- and economic impacts on communities. To combat addiction

Drug problem? Get help today


n addition to McPike Addiction Treatment Center, other treatment facilities for Mohawk Valley residents who need help with addictions are ACR Health, the Center For Family Life and Recovery Inc., Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc., and the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy. — Although better known for its HIV/AIDS services, ACR Health also provides substance abuse and mental health treatment. ACR Health’s care managers will work with members to provide primary medical care, financial benefits, housing, legal assistance, nutrition, treatment adherence and medical transportation. ACR Health provides services in nine counties: Cayuga, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and St. Lawrence. It is located at 287 Genesee St., #3, Utica. For more information, call 315-

and substance abuse, it take communities coming together to acknowledge and develop action plans with law enforcement, health care providers and citizens working together to help fight this tragic disease that has already taken so many of our young people.”

Considering legal options

Recently, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said the county has hired several law firms to explore potential litigation in recovering the expenses incurred fighting the opioid epidemic. Picente said the county has enlisted the Cherundolo Law Firm, PLLC; Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi &

793-0661. After hours, call 888-4752437. Its website is — The Center for Family Life and Recovery said its vision is to create a community mindset where individuals and families embrace sustained recovery from mental health, substance use and behavioral issues. CFLR has locations at 502 Court St., Suite 401, Utica; 205 N. Washington St., Herkimer, and 414 N. James St., Rome. For more information on an employee assistance program offered by local employers, call 315-733-1709 or 315-7331726. — Insight House was founded in 1971 and provides professional, confidential chemical dependency treatment to individuals and their families striving to achieve and maintain a sober lifestyle. It is located at 500 Whitesboro St., Utica behind the Utica Memorial Auditorium. For more information, call 315-724-5168 or 1-800-5302741. Pearlman, LLP and Robert F. Julian, PC to investigate its legal options and determine if pursuing litigation against pharmaceutical companies and other parties would be beneficial. “The opioid crisis has hit Oneida County extremely hard,” Picente said. “We have spent millions of dollars to combat the problem through law enforcement, treatment and prevention, and if those efforts have been unfairly impacted by the improper practices of pharmaceutical companies and others, we owe it to the tax payers to leave no stone unturned in recovering any unjustified costs.” A few months earlier, Village of Herkimer Mayor Anthony Brindisi announced a similar plan.

Oneida Healthcare’s hospital continues to score among best in NYS


or a third consecutive time, Oneida Healthcare’s hospital received an “A” from the Leapfrog Group for its commitment to keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards in the United States. It is the only area hospital to receive an “A” for patient safety throughout Onondaga, Madison, Oneida, Oswego, Cayuga and Herkimer counties, according to the hospital. “Our commitment to exceptional care continues to be evident with yet another outstanding result that recognizes our staff’s continued focus on patient care,” said Gene Morreale, president and CEO of Oneida Healthcare. “Earning a third consecutive “A” grade for hospital safety is an impressive achievement and a reflection of the exceptional

January 2018 •

outcomes our patients are receiving every day from OHC medical staff members and employees.” Morreale said Oneida Healthcare represents just one of only seven hospitals to receive an “A” throughout the state. Only 19 percent of hospitals in New York state earned an “A” while 17 percent nationwide were presented the top grade three times in a row. Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Health News oversight of SEMC facilities plant operations. Furner has been a SEMC employee since 1999, serving as an electrician. Since 2000, he has served as maintenance supervisor and was assigned to construction management, overseeing the renovations of the emergency department and cafeteria at the St. Furner Elizabeth Campus in 2006. Furner received his Associate of Science degree in electrical service technology from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica. In 1998, he became a journeyman electrician and received a master electrician license in 2008.

MVHS Surgical Group gains surgeon Joseph Hedrick, a specialist in general and trauma surgery, has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Surgical Group-Faxton Campus and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Hedrick reHedrick ceived his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated cum laude from Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa., earning both a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. Hedrick began his residency in general surgery at the University of Rochester, where he also completed a research program in vascular surgery and surgical education. He subsequently traveled to Queens Hospital Center in New York City for a special fellowship in general surgery before finishing his surgical residency at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.

FNP joins Herkimer Medical Office Catherine Wintle has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group as a family nurse practitioner at the Herkimer Medical Office and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, Wintle was employed at Planned Parenthood MoWintle hawk-Hudson at its sites in Utica and Herkimer as an advanced practice clinician. She was also employed at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown as an FNP and as a registered nurse in its emergency services/Level II trauma center. Wintle earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in nursing at St. Elizabeth College of Nursing in Utica, completed the nurse practitioner program at Community General Hospital in Syracuse, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Utica College of Syracuse University in Utica and a Master of Science degree in family nurse practitioner at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica. She is a member of the New York State Nurse Practitioner Association.

MV IGH - Your health news now! Page 16

Thomas C. Curnow, executive director of Herkimer HealthNet, presents a check for $3,000 to Rae Raffle-Maxson, health insurance information, counseling and assistance program adviser at Catholic Charities of Herkimer County.

Herkimer HealthNet supports Catholic Charities RIDE program


erkimer HealthNet Executive Director Dr. Thomas Curnow presented a $3,000 check recently to the RIDE Program in support of health care transportation in rural communities. “One of the primary barriers in access to health care in rural communities is transportation,” Curnow said. “The RIDE program is a critical service for older individuals who may not have other alternatives for transportation. “RIDE supports transportation for seniors to their medical appointments. The financial support provided by HealthNet will assist in maintaining this important service to the community.” The RIDE program of Catholic Charities of Herkimer County provides medical transportation both in and out of the county to Herkimer County residents aged 55 and over.

Residency program gains new faculty member Jatin Patel recently joined the St. Elizabeth family medicine residency program as a faculty member and has privileges at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. The residency program is an affiliate of SEMC and the Mohawk Valley Health System. Prior to joining the St. Elizabeth Patel family medicine residency, Patel was employed as assistant professor in the department of family medicine at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Ill.

“The program is essential in helping our seniors maintain and improve their overall health,” said Rae Raffle-Maxson, health insurance information, counseling and assistance adviser at Catholic Charities of Herkimer County. Volunteers run the RIDE program. Last year, the program reimbursed its drivers for over 62,000 miles. Herkimer HeathNet’s donation will assist the program in reimbursing volunteer drivers. Currently, the RIDE program is in need of volunteer drivers. If anyone is interested, contact Raffle-Maxson at Catholic Charities of Herkimer County at 315-894-9917. The mission of Herkimer County HealthNet is to improve the health and well being of individuals who live, work, play and learn in Herkimer County. Patel earned his medical degree from Ross University in Dominica, West Indies, and New Brunswick, N.J. He completed his family medicine residency at Southern Illinois University in Springfield and his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, with minors in biology and chemistry, from the University of Illinois in Chicago, Ill. He is board-certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine.

New plant operations manager on board John Furner has been named facilities plant operations manager at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Campus of the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this position, Furner will provide leadership and day-to-day

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

MVHS names talent acquisition manager Ashitkumar Vyas has been named talent acquisition manager for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this position, Vyas will apply professional talent planning, sourcing, recruitment and onboard methods in the development, implementation and adminisVyas tration of MVHS talent management goals, systems, processes, policies and procedures. He will also assist hiring managers with the hiring process and define their strategic workforce needs as a foundation for understanding recruitment objectives. Prior to joining MVHS, Vyas served as the senior manager of talent acquisition at Webxl-Collabera Inc. in Basking Ridge, N.J. Vyas earned duel bachelor’s degrees in law and commerce at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in Vadodara, India.

MVHS names director for robotic surgery Jonathan Blancaflor, a specialist in general, colorectal and thoracic surgery, has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System’s Advanced Endoscopy and Surgical Group-St. Luke’s Campus, Professional Office Building and has admitting privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. He has been named medical director for robotic surgery at MVHS. Prior to joining the MVHS Medical Group, Blancaflor was in general surgical practice for 25 years at Shoreline Surgical Associates, P.C., in Middletown, Conn. His particular

Continued on Page 17

Health News Continued from Page 16 interests include minimally invasive procedures and robotic surgery. He has served as senior attending in general surgery; director of the advanced telemedicine and videoscopic surgery center; director of robotics; and surgeon champion of the American College of Surgeons National Quality Blancaflor Patient Safety Initiative, all at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn. Blancaflor received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, with honors in surgery, in Farmington, Conn. He completed a residency in general surgery and served as chief resident in general surgery at Yale University/Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Conn., and a residency in general surgery at the University of Connecticut Surgical Residency at New Britain General Hospital in New Britain, Conn. He received his Bachelor of Science in biology, magna cum laude, from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., was designated a scholar of the college and was named to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.

New visiting guidelines for nursery In order to protect patients from the flu and other illnesses, new visiting guidelines have been put in place for the Level II special care nursery at the St. Luke’s Campus of the Mohawk Valley Health System. Babies in the SCN are at greater risk of complications from the flu. Therefore, only visitors 12 years old and older may visit at this time. The hospitals are asking members of the public to not visit if they are feeling ill or suffering with any type of upper respiratory problem. The best protection against contracting influenza includes: — Frequent and thorough hand washing — Covering all coughs and sneezes: If you don’t have a handkerchief or a tissue, use the crook of your arm, not your hand. — Staying home from work, school, or social events if you have a fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and pains or other symptoms like nausea or vomiting sometimes associated with influenza — Avoiding people exhibiting symptoms of a flu-like illness — Getting the flu vaccine: It is recommended that anyone over 6 months old receive the flu vaccine. If you have flu-like symptoms and they are severe and persistent, a health care provider should be sought out. The hospitals practice “respirato-

their Marcy location to benefit Mohawk Valley Health System cancer patients and their families. The fundraiser brought together more than 80 CrossFit athletes who raised nearly $2,000 through member donations, T-shirt sales and donations from three small, local businesses: A&P Master Images, The Balanced Chef and NutriShop New Hartford. In past years, funds raised were donated to a national charity. This year, CrossFit Mohawk Valley wanted to give back to the local community. With the donations, they purchased gas cards to be distributed to patients and families who commute to the MVHS Cancer Center, located at the Faxton Campus, for multiple treatment sessions.

Insight House receives grant Key Bank Foundation supports local chapter of Arc Representatives from Key Bank visited The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, to present a grant in the amount of $5,000 recently to support The Friends of The Arc Foundation. Celebrating the occasion are, from left, Beth Luvera, vice president, branch manager, Key Bank; Adrienne Carbone, Friends of The Arc Foundation board president; Karen Korotzer, Arc Oneida-Lewis CEO; and Michael Madigan, Key Bank area retail leader. “We’re forever grateful to Key Bank for this generous grant which impacts people and families living right here in our community,” Carbone said. “This money will help The Arc continue to fund programs that receive little or no financial support, including early intervention, pre-k screening, summer camp and more.” ry etiquette” in their emergency departments, urgent cares and primary care medical offices. Each waiting area has masks for patients to wear to cover their cough, tissues and hand sanitizer for good hand hygiene. “If you seeking treatment and have any flu-like symptoms with upper respiratory problems, you will be asked to wear a mask and may be isolated from other patients,” an MVHS spokesperson said.

MVHS Wellness Center offers specials The Mohawk Valley Health System Wellness Center is offering discounts for January. Specials include: — A free two weeks with the purchase of a three-month gold, silver or bronze membership in January — A gold membership is $45 per month and includes use of the fitness center, open swim and water aerobic classes. — A silver membership is $30 per month and includes open swim and use of the fitness center. — A bronze membership is $20 per month and includes the use of the fitness center. Visit for more information. To join the wellness center, call 315-624-5484 or email

MVHS language assistance program hiring The Mohawk Valley Health System offers free interpretation services for patients who are unable to speak, write and/or understand the English language at a level sufficient enough to permit effective communication with health care professionals. MVHS is seeking qualified language professionals to join the MVHS Language Assistance Department. Those who are fluent in Arabic, Burmese, Karen, Nepali, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese are needed. Experience and certification is preferred, but not required. “The language assistance program at MVHS is available to all MVHS patients, free of charge,” said Sulien Miller, program director. “It enhances the quality of health care services provided to all our patients and is truly a vital component.” MVHS employs 27 in-house interpreters who cover seven languages. These positions allow for a flexible schedule at a per-diem rate. Those who are interested can apply online at or call 315-624-6566.

CrossFit raises funds for cancer patients Members of CrossFit Mohawk Valley hosted a fundraiser recently at

January 2018 •

The Sears Family Foundation of Rome has awarded $1,700 to Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, Inc. in Utica to purchase equipment for the agency’s kitchen. Insight House prepares meals for patients in its 44-bed residential and day treatment programs. Since 1971, Insight House has provided professional and confidential drug and alcohol treatment services to individuals and their families. The agency offers a comprehensive range of outpatient, day treatment, and residential programs.

Valley Health Services welcomes new CFO Kristen Lenig recently joined the staff at Valley Health Services in Herkimer as the chief financial officer. Lenig said, “I was ready to work for an organization that gives back to the community; to be part of something bigger than myself.” Lenig is a graduate of Union College, Schenectady, having Lenig earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus in finance. Additionally, Lenig’s undergraduate work was at Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Conn., where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. Her professional career background includes an internship and controller position with Artco Chemicals; senior associate at KPMG where she performed audits; and previous to accepting the VHS CFO position, Lenig worked at Keymark Corporation as a corporate controller. Lenig lives with husband Charles and two children, Jasper, 8, and Zander, 2, in Amsterdam.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Health News Continued from Page 17

UCP benefits administrator promoted Monica Stowell, of Holland Patent, has been promoted to senior vice president of human resources at Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Stowell has been with the agency for the past two years as the associate vice president of benefits, where she and her team were responsible for administering health insurance, Stowell retirement, worker’s compensation, disability and leave management. Prior to her role at UCP, Stowell spent several years at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino as a benefits manager and 11 years at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Utica as a benefits manager. She has spent more than half of her career in the nonprofit industry. Stowell has a Bachelor of Science degree in business with a concentration in human resources and is president-elect of the local chapter for the Society for Human Resource Management, the largest professional society of HR professionals worldwide.

Ribbon cutting held for health facilities A joint ribbon cutting for the Upstate Family Health Center, Inc., a primary care medical office located on West Dominick Street in Rome, and for the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Community Health and Behavioral Services’ new behavioral health clinic located right next door on West Dominick Street recently took place. The shared missions of the organizations will position them to work together to provide primary care and behavioral health care services to the children and adults of the Rome community. The UFHC offers primary care services to people of all ages. Services include well childcare and immunizations, treatment of chronic medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, physical exams, gynecological care and preventive services. CHBS services include individual counseling, psychiatric services, play therapy, family therapy, health home care management, and mental illness/chemical addiction services. This is also an opportunity to meet the new Minhaj Siddiqi, the new CHBS medical director. For more information, call the UFHC at 315-624-9470 or CHBS at 315-337-0773.

Story idea? Call 749-7070 today! Page 18

Regional center for wound care opens Interventional radiologist Ken Murphy was the guest speaker at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care’s open house for physicians and clinicians recently. His presentation emphasized the importance of a collaborative team approach when treating problem wounds. “Chronic foot and leg wounds are often caused by underlying conditions, including peripheral arterial disease,” said Jennifer Fields, nurse practitioner at the regional center for wound care. “When we determine the root cause of a non-healing wound is PAD, we reach out to Dr. Murphy.” Murphy is an interventional radiologist with Radiology Associates of New Hartford. In addition to Murphy’s presentation, area health care providers learned about the wound center’s leading-edge treatments including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, total contact casting, compression therapy, advanced tissue products and negative pressure wound therapy. The center is located at 267 Hill Road in the Griffiss Professional Complex, Griffiss Business and Technology Park, Utica.

RMH names new ED director Kelly West has been appointed director of the emergency department at Rome Memorial Hospital. West has served as nurse manager of the ED for five years. She joined RMH in 2007, upon graduation from West the Mohawk Valley Community College nursing program. In 2016, nearly 30,700 patients, or about 3,000 per month, were seen in the ED at RMH. In her new position, West will be responsible for a staff of 62 clinical care providers. West and her husband, Michael, reside in McConnellsville with their three sons, Gage, Dakota and Ryeland.

VRS expanding, constructing new wing A groundbreaking expansion ceremony at Valley Residential Services was held recently. In attendance were Valley Health Services and Valley Residential Services President Lisa M. Betrus and Valley Residential Services Administrator Jennifer Miller. Dr. Vance Brown, CEO of the Bassett Healthcare Network, members of Bassett leadership team and the VRS

Board of Trustees also joined in the celebration. Valley Residential Services’ expansion will help to address the need for senior housing with support services for those aged 62 years of age or older, offering senior living to allow residents to retain independence, within their community, without the hassles of home ownership. Recognizing the importance for providing older adults with the level of individual care they need while maintaining an independent lifestyle, VRS became a reality in 2014. The expansion project will add 14 one-bedroom apartments, large enough for couples, and also a fully staffed wellness and fitness center for use by all residents of VRS.

LFH welcomes new administrator Pat Zawko has been selected as the director of quality and risk management for Little Falls Hospital, a part of Bassett Healthcare Network. Zawko brings with her 25 years of leadership and clinical experience in both health care and education. Zawko She most recently served as the director of patient logistics at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown and prior to that served as the director of the College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. As the director of quality and risk management at LFH, Zawko will lead organizational efforts to deliver quality and safety for patients, visitors and staff. “Pat’s experience and education more than fulfilled the technical requirements for this important position, but it is her capacity and passion toward patient-centered care and her commitment to excellence that makes her uniquely qualified to become part of the culture that is Little Falls Hospital,” said Michael Ogden, president of Little Falls Hospital. Zawko lives in Westmoreland with her husband of 26 years, Peter. They have three children, Aaron, Skyler and Damion. In her spare time, Zawko raises chickens, loves camping with her family and volunteering for humanitarian missions to the Amazon region of Brazil.

Physician joins forces with SDMG Kenneth J. Visalli Jr. has joined the internal medicine department at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford. Visalli is board-certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. He specializes in the total health care of adults and children off all ages, providing continuing compre-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

hensive health maintenance as well as disease prevention and treatment. He serves as the patient’s advocate in all health-related matters and makes recommendations for specialty care when appropriate. Visalli is trained to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of illnesses. Visalli was born and raised in Visalli Utica. He is a graduate of Notre Dame High School and Utica College. Visalli completed a combined internal medicine and pediatric residency at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, Fla., serving as chief resident from 2015-2016. Visalli earned his Doctor of Osteopathic medicine degree and his Master of Public Health degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine.

Kelberman Center expands services The Kelberman Center, long known in Central New York for supporting individuals with autism and their families, has expanded services in the Kelberman Center Clinic. Many families that suspect or receive a diagnosis struggle to find comprehensive supports locally and help planning for the long term. “A key element of a proactive life plan is supporting the whole person,” said Jean Jacobson, managing director of clinic and education, “and this can include counseling and therapy for the individual as well as their family support network.” A 2017 special report on autism and health by Autism Speaks highlighted the frequency of a number of co-occurring physical and mental health conditions in people with autism, including: — Autism and anxiety, 11 to 42 percent — Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, 30 to 61 percent — Autism and depression, 7 percent of children and 26 percent of adults The licensed psychologists and clinical social workers at the Kelberman Clinic provide evaluation and diagnoses for autism and related developmental disabilities, as well as individualized therapies and counseling for emotion regulation, coping skills, behavior and exposure therapy. Additionally, family counseling for coping, support and parenting is offered through the Kelberman Clinic. Referrals and inquiries can be directed to the clinic by calling 315797-6241 or emailing

Health CALENDAR of in good


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If you have questions, call the community relations department at 315-823-5326.

Jan. 4

Parents bond to battle addiction A support group — Parents of Addicted Loved Ones — meets from 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at the Canajoharie Fire House, 75 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie. The next meetings are Jan. 4 and Jan. 18. The support group is for parents with a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. PAL is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer board of parents. For more information, visit www. or call PAL at 480-3004712.

Jan. 8

Support forum for patients, cancer survivors The Mohawk Valley Health System’s Cancer Center’s monthly support forum for patients and cancer survivors will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 8. The cancer support forum meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month in the Cancer Center’s fireplace lounge on the main floor of Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. The forum, led by the Cancer Center’s social worker, offers support to anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Light refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call 315-624-5241.

Jan. 8

Support group to meet at Rome Memorial The brain aneurysm, AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and stroke support group will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Rome Memorial Hospital’s second-floor classroom. The group meets on the second Monday of every month. RMH is located at 1500 N. James St., Rome. For more information, call Deb Dunn at 315-533-6467 or email

Jan. 11

Laryngectomy support group to meet The Laryngectomy Support Group will hold its monthly meeting at noon Jan. 11 in the Sister Regina Conference Room on the first floor of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center hospital building, 2209 Genesee St.,

Utica. The support group is sponsored by SEMC. Laryngectomy support group meetings are held at noon on the second Thursday of each month. A laryngectomy is the procedure to remove a person’s larynx and separates the airway from the mouth, nose and esophagus. The laryngectomee breathes through an opening in the neck, called a stoma. The public is welcome to attend. Those with questions can call the speech therapy department at 315801-4475.


EMPLOYMENT Advertise your health-related services or products and reach your potential customers throughout the Mohawk Valley for as little as $90 a month. Call 749-7070 for more info.

MVHS IS NOW HIRING Become part of a team that prides itself on outstanding customer service and strives to provide the best patient care experience.

Jan. 11

HealthNet to feature health and wellness series Herkimer County HealthNet is sponsoring a free health and wellness series open to anyone interested in living a healthier and balanced life. Crystal Hein, registered dietitian, will lead the series. The series will feature different topics from 5-6:30 p.m. each month at Herkimer Community College, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, room 295. Class topics will be: — Basics to weight loss, Jan. 11 — Inflammation and diet, Feb. 6 The seminars are open to all, but reservations are required. For more information or to register, call HCHN at 867-1552 or email Elyse Enea at eenea@herkimercounty. org.

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) offers the industry’s best compensation and benefits packages. We are actively seeking applications for following positions: • Audiologist • Care Manager (must be a registered nurse) • Licensed Practical Nurses (evening shift) • Nurse Managers • Patient Care Tech

Jan. 15

• Plumber

Family support group focuses on addiction

• Polysomnographic Tech (Sleep Tech)

Families who are dealing with the problems of addiction can find help and information at a support group meeting from 6-7 p.m. Jan. 15 in the second floor classroom at Rome Memorial Hospital. The group meets the third Monday of each month and is free and open to everyone. Offered by the hospital’s Community Recovery Center, the support group provides an opportunity to discuss issues with others who are in the same situation. Certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Community Recovery Center, 264 W. Dominick St., Rome, offers alcohol and substance abuse treatment for adolescents and adults. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, the center participates with most major insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. A sliding scale fee is available for self-pay clients. For more information about the support group or the Community Recovery Center, call 334-4701.

Story idea? Call 749-7070 today!

• Quality Professional (must be a registered nurse) • Registered nurses for the Emergency Department, Psychiatric Services and float positions • Various positions within the Visiting Nurse Association of Utica and Oneida County • Ward Clerk.

Join the MVHS team in building a new future for healthcare!

To apply and for additional job openings, please visit EOE

Kelberman Center launches WiN program


he launch of the collaborative Kelberman Center and Utica College Work Internship Network program recently took place during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October at Utica College. The WiN program is a vocational experience in a professional work environment. Supported by Kelberman behavior specialists with expertise in autism, WiN provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills to help youth with autism and other disabilities make successful transitions from school to productive adult life. The WiN program provides ongoing support for 10 months in order to transform lives through meaningful work.

January 2018 •

“The ultimate goal for each WiN participant is to develop work readiness skills to attain paid employment,” said Robert Myers, Kelberman Center executive director. “At the completion of the internship program, students with autism and related intellectual disabilities are positioned to enjoy rewarding jobs in our community.” Several months into the program, two participants have been offered paid positions — a success rate far exceeding the typical employment rate of people with developmental disabilities, which is historically below 20 percent employed. For more information on the WiN program, contact Crystal Hilts at the Kelberman Center at 315-7976241 ext. 330.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper • January 2018

MV IGH #143 January 2018  
MV IGH #143 January 2018