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in good Dental hygiene Dental assistant Kayla Almond and Dr. Salina Suy make bright smiles their goal. Page 14

February 2018 • Issue 144


Mohawk Valley’s Health Care Newspaper

‘Cry of the Child’

Child sexual abuse leaves lifetime scars Dr. Salina Suy kicks off her new column, ‘Smile With Dr. Suy,’ which will delve into proper dental health. Page 4

Get on Your Feet!

See Page 3

Golden Years Special Edition

Get off that couch and start to make things happen! Page 7

Feet first

See Dangers of wind


This news is not music Korner, to one’s ears! Page 13

Page 9


Dark Chocolate Don’t feel guilty about eating dark chocolate. There are tons of good things going for it.

Unlock the keys to the fountain of youth by adhering to expert advice Page 5

Help with ED Two generic versions of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra hit the market recently. Page 4

See SmartBites, Page 12 February 2018 •

Kevin Crable, podiatrist at Oneida Health Podiatry Care, addresses importance of taking care of feet. Page 11

Spiritual Health Columnist Brooke Stacia Demott makes her debut with ‘Milk & Honey’ Page 15

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 1



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

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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

315-798-1617 Andrew Wickline, MD Genesee Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery Associates 315-738-5069

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Feb. 1

HealthNet to launch diabetes program Herkimer HealthNet is offering the diabetes self-management pro-

Continued on Page 19

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

‘Cry of the Child’

Ice cream, Santa Claus and summer swims: One woman’s nightmarish memoir of childhood sexual assault and her long road to recovery By Marie Kouthoofd


ne in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual assault, according to the Children’s Bureau, an office of the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Barbara J. Hansen, author of the 2004 book titled “Hear the Cry of the Child: The Deafening Silence of Sexual Abuse” and Beauty Out of Ashes support group facilitator, is getting her message out. “I’ll speak to anyone who wants to listen,” Hansen she said. Whether locally, nationally or globally, this 73-year-old mother of three continues to speak out, teach, advocate and has found her voice — a voice that she asserts will never be silenced again. As a toddler and until the age of 8, Hansen endured repeated sexual abuse at the hands of her maternal grandfather. “You can’t tell and no one is talking about it,” said Hansen, expressing the ambivalence commonly felt in the underdeveloped mind of a child when the perpetrator is a beloved family member. “Grandpa was funny. He made jokes and made everyone laugh,” said Hansen. “He used to dress up as Santa, but while I sat on his lap in front of the entire family, he would privately touch me.” She said he would also take her in his car and “go for ice cream” with the real intent to abuse her. In an attempt to escape her molester’s grasp, the 8-year-old Hansen made a brave and bold move. “I decided I would never hug my grandfather again.” Hansen said. Her apparent revolt worked as the abuse ultimately ended for the young Hansen. It ended, that is, until she was 11 and 12 when she was once again faced with the horrors of a sexual predator’s appetite. “I was an introverted kid and a pastor’s daughter,” said Hansen. “I came from a good Christian family, but they could not protect me.” While ages 7-13 are reported to be the most vulnerable, 28 percent of youth aged 14-17 have been a victim of sexual assault. According to the 2003 (is this latest data?) National Institute of Justice report, 75 percent of adolescents were sexually assaulted by someone with whom they were well acquainted.

Summer camp

“I think the pastor did more damage to me than my grandfather,” Hansen recalled. Her pastor and abuser were one in the same. For two consecutive summers, the more cognizant adoles-

“Looking at me, you see, no one would ever know … sexual abuse doesn’t always show on the outside of a person, but it’s always at the ‘edge’ of my awareness and the wounds, deep inside, have affected me forever …” — Barbara J. Hansen in her letter of confrontation and closure to her childhood sex offender cent Hansen was taken to the watering hole or the missionary cabin where she was repeatedly violated. “He did things to himself and to me,” Hansen said. Coming full circle in 1998, Hansen returned to her summer camp only to discover another childhood friend and past camp-goer who had also fallen prey to the abusive pastor’s whims. “For years I pushed it down, denied the truth and blocked it out,” said Hansen, but she refused to be silent any longer. Hansen began attending international violence abuse and trauma conferences, immersing herself in research and absorbing all she could. Her path of recovery was soon to follow. “I devoured articles that addressed sexual abuse,” Hansen said. “But didn’t really address it until I faced the sex-offending pastor.” In 2000, after 43 years of suffering in silence, four women including Hansen, came forward to press charges and confront their childhood sex offender. As with many survivors of child sex abuse, Hansen’s life was, in her words, “shattered,” and she alone was left to pick up the pieces. The trauma from child sex abuse cannot always be seen — it can be lifelong, pervasive and invade all aspects of the survivor’s life. What is more, sufferers of such trauma have an increased likelihood of developing a clinical disorder, such as, but not limited to, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociation. “I’m no longer where I was, nor am I where I probably should be, but I need to continue this recovery process and help not only myself but others. Child sex abuse needs to be addressed from someone who has healed from it,” Hansen said. “Not just your story, but how did you get from A to Z? How did you heal?” “I faced the clergy, I started teaching a support group, I devoured my recovery and devotional Bible and went from victim to victorious survivor,” Hansen said. Since her 2004 publication, Hansen continues to champion her cause through book signings, interviews, and speaking engagements. Selected as a guest panelist on the “Dr. Oz Show” in late 2016, she was able to share her story as one of 19 sexual assault survivors. Kicking off 2017, Hansen, husband Wayne and book promoter Bernice McNeaney embarked on a

Barbara Joy Hansen displays her award-winning poster recognized during an Institute on Violence, Abuse & Trauma conference in San Diego, Calif. in 2012. two-month mission in the Philippines. Visiting prisons, orphanages, hospitals and over 23 churches, the trio shared a message of hope and restoration for survivors of domestic violence. Early 2018, Hansen’s live inter-

view with The 700 Club is scheduled to air in Asia. “It’s been a long journey out, 40 years of not talking and not telling and now I’m telling all, all over the world, everywhere,” she said.

Predators on the Prowl Child sexual offenders leave long lasting scars By Marie Kouthoofd


uantifying the hard, cold facts of child sexual assault is problematic at best. For one, collecting true-life data is virtually impossible, as most incidences will never be brought into the light. Sexual predators can be cunning and manipulative, grooming their victims to secure their prey. A sexual predator uses a great deal of their mental resources in the hunt — sometimes gaining the trust of both their victim(s) and the victim’s loved ones. “Shh … this is our little secret” [or] “if you tell, no one will believe you” are phrases commonly used and well documented in the memoirs of sexual assault survivors. The second factor in data collection involves uniformity. Although there are a myriad of organizations across the nation assisting child sexual assault survivors, how the data is grouped and organized may vary. Every agency collects and defines its data differently, making the numbers sometimes unmanageable. With that being said, work is continually being done to help federal, state and local agencies provide more uniform reporting techniques. Still, many cases of CSA go unchecked and the numbers reported reflect only a fraction of the problem. According to the National Health and Human Services Child

February 2018 •

Maltreatment report in 2015: — An estimated 683,487 or 9.2 per 1,000 children were victims of child abuse — 8.4 percent of those victimized were victims of CSA — 1.3 percent suffered from a combination of neglect and CSA

Danger of numbers

It’s easy to forget the flesh and blood behind the statistic; a number is objective, void of emotion and pain. Sexual childhood trauma can be far-reaching. The undeserved cruelty dealt to the child by his or her abuser(s) can impact all areas of functioning, including their physical state, thought processes, behaviors, and emotional well-being. A child is not, as historically believed, a miniature adult. Although resilient in their ability to thrive, barring physical trauma, their little minds can fracture, self-esteem shatter and the ramifications of such trauma can be carried well into adulthood. While it is true, pedophilia is a psychological disorder in and of itself. This fact unfortunately does not negate the damage done to the child.

Hope in your back yard

There are several agencies in

Continued on Page 15

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 3


Your Doctor

By Barbara Pierce

Good News, Guys: Viagra Prices Start to Tumble


n news that will delight men who’ve had difficulties in the bedroom, two generic versions of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra hit the market in December. One of the new generics is made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, and the other by Greenstone, a subsidiary of Pfizer, the company that manufactures Viagra. The generic versions of the little blue pill (sildenafil) are cheaper than brand-name Viagra for most men. And more generic versions are expected this year, which could drive prices even lower. Viagra came on the market in 1998 as the first drug to treat impotence. Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) are two other erectile dysfunction medications. They work by relaxing muscle cells in the penis, which allows for greater blood flow, according to the Urology Care Foundation. Pfizer says the current wholesale cost for a 50 milligram or 100 milligram Viagra is $61.54 a pill. Greenstone will sell the generic version for between $30 and $35 a pill. However, both of those figures represent the price the drug maker charges. A number of variables affect the final cost a consumer pays, such as mark-ups from pharmacy benefit managers or pharmacies, and insurance coverage and copays. “Cost has been a tremendous issue for patients. Many patients have been unable to obtain the medication since insurance companies don’t pay for it and outof-pocket costs are astronomical,” said physician Aaron Katz, chairman of urology at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. “The hope is that [the introduction of generics] will reduce the cost, and patients will have greater access to Viagra, which has been an important medication for healthy men with erectile dysfunction,” Katz added. Generic versions “will be of real benefit to the majority of men,” he said. “The brand erectile dysfunction drugs are often not covered by commercial payers [insurance companies], or are covered but with substantial co-pays and restrictions on the number of pills covered per month,” he said. For older men on Medicare, he said the brand-name drugs can cost as much as $50 for one pill. The doctor said this has led many men in the United States to buy erectile dysfunction drugs online or in Canada.

Page 4

Dr. Joe Martin Dr. Joe Martin is the founder and CEO of Function Better Physical Therapy, with locations in Clinton, Herkimer, New Hartford, Oneida, Rome, Utica and Yorkville. Martin earned a doctorate in physical therapy and is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist. Recently, In Good Health staff correspondent Barbara Pierce interviewed Martin regarding his treatment approach. and at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where I earned my doctorate. For me, in a very moving way, becoming a physical therapist has allowed me to satisfy something deep inside me.

Q.: Tell us more about yourself and your mission for Function Better. A.: I have a deep love for people and an interest in helping them. I have a desire to serve people with love, kindness, and compassion. My mission is to provide exemplary physical therapy services, and also to inspire people, lift people, and lead people. The good we’re able to do, the lives we’re able to touch — that’s why we opened Function Better in 2002. I have a responsibility to put people on the right path. Q.: How does Function Better help? A.: Function Better Physical Therapy is an outpatient orthopedic practice with a mission to provide the most skilled and compassionate care for our patients. Our clinicians utilize a hands-on, evidence-based treatment approach that focuses on helping you as a whole person, not just your condition. When someone comes to Function Better, he or she may be there for a knee condition, an injury, to reduce pain, or to improve strength and motion. What’s refreshing about what we do is that we see an entire individual, a valuable life, and a person in need. For example, an elderly woman came to me to get strength and motion back in her fractured wrist. My 60-minute examination was so comprehensive that she and her daughter wondered why. Well, she was a woman with a full life of experiences, including the recent death of her husband. Recovery of her strength and motion was a piece of cake. It was her depression, her balance deficits, her frailty, and her severe risk of future falls that set big alarms off in my head. Her real goal was to stay independent at home and we’ve helped her reach this goal. Q.: Can you give us a sense of what your staff is about? A.: I carry out my vision by hiring the most caring, compassionate, and genuine people on earth. I hire special people to carry out a special service, a deep and caring service that human beings deserve and need. High performance and credentials are important, but behind all of those credentials are exceptionally good human beings.

Q.: How did you choose this career? A.: I’ve always been fascinated by the human body and that hasn’t changed. Growing up in Whitesboro, I struggled as a young boy. At the age of 18, I enlisted in the Army, and that was a turning point in my life. I served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the Gulf War. After being honorably discharged, I talked to a counselor at Herkimer Community College about becoming a physical therapist. Based on my grades, he said I wouldn’t make it. I showed him when I became an honor graduate at Utica College

Q.: What do you enjoy most about your profession? A.: I have a deep love and compassion for people. I get significant pleasure from serving others, from giving people hope and inspiration, taking away their pain, helping them progress, and assisting them to reach their fullest potential. At age 46, I can say that being a physical therapist has allowed me to serve people on a very personal, life-impacting level. There are examinations, treatments, techniques, and exercises, all of which help an individual regain his ability to function. But what I have enjoyed more than all that is my opportunity to listen and care about a fellow human being. My greatest fortune has been my ability to form a deep connection with my patients. I believe with all my heart that true service to another human being cannot be achieved without love, compassion, and ingenuity.

Lifelines Age: 46 Birthplace: New Hartford Current residence: Marcy Education: Associate of Applied Science degree, Herkimer County Community College; Bachelor of Science degree, Utica College of Syracuse University; Doctor of Physical Therapy, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse Personal: Married, four adult children Hobbies: Exercise, travel, creating new business opportunities, reading medical journals, mixology

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

Golden Years

Golden Fears

Normal and not-so-normal signs of aging By Barbara Pierce


ou might be familiar with the subtle physical changes that come with aging. Maybe your hearing isn’t what it used to be, you have more aches and pains, your body isn’t as flexible as it was, or you don’t have as much energy. Many think that the older you get, the more goes wrong, so all you can do is just bite the bullet and accept it. But getting older doesn’t mean that you should just accept declining health and abilities. Don’t accept a decline in your functioning, said Joe Martin, founder and CEO of Function Better Physical Therapy in the Mohawk Valley. You are as capable of improving your strength, endurance, energy, mobility, flexibility, and balance as you were in your 30s and 40s. You can age successfully, he noted. You have great influence on how you are able to function for the rest of your life. But it doesn’t just happen. The way we live our lives influences how we age: — the things we’re exposed to, the things we eat and how much we exercise. “Exercise is the miracle drug that people need to open their eyes to,” Martin said. “Exercise is the fountain of youth!” “Avoid the ‘cycle of demise,’” Martin recommends. When one thing goes, other things are sure to follow. For example, you have a bad knee and it hurts to walk or climb stairs. So you walk a lot less and avoid stairs. Moving less causes your joints to stiffen and your muscles to shorten. So when you do have to walk, you walk with joints that don’t move correctly and inflexible muscles. You limp around. That causes diminished balance, which might cause you to fall and end up in the hospital. There, you lie in a bed, everything becomes stiff and less mobile, your bones weaken and you might even get pneumonia from not moving. You get the picture. Identify anything that goes

Oneida, Herkimer in good

people over 65. In general, see your doctor if you’re feeling worn out and sleep just isn’t cutting it. — Loss of bladder control: As you get older, your bladder becomes less elastic, meaning it can’t stretch to hold urine as easily. Bladder muscles may weaken, and some medical conditions can cause short-term incontinence. Tell your doctor if symptoms last. Kegel exercises, medical devices, medication, and cutting tobacco, alcohol and caffeine all may help. Electrical stimulation of bladder nerves or surgery may be appropriate.

— You’re having less sex: Many older adults don’t speak up about loss of libido or decreased sexual function. Often, health care providers don’t ask. But your sex life offers important clues about your overall health. For one, erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of heart problems. Speak up if you have a hard time getting or keeping an erection. Function Better operates in seven locations including Clinton, Herkimer, New Hartford, Oneida, Rome, Utica, and Yorkville. For more information, see www.functionbetter. com/.

Recoup your energy

— Loss of energy: You might associate growing old with slowing down, but you shouldn’t expect to always feel tired. Fatigue can signal many conditions; in older adults, it’s often a sign of undiagnosed anemia. You might associate growing old with slowing down, but you shouldn’t expect to always feel tired. Fatigue can signal many conditions. In older adults, it’s often a sign of undiagnosed anemia, or a low red blood cell count. Anemia of chronic disease is especially common among


Health MV’s Healthcare Newspaper

wrong early and correct it right away. Never wait or hesitate, cautions Martin. “Even people in their early 20s decline when they are less active,” he said. Here are some not-normal changes for which you should see your doctor: — Joint pain related to osteoarthritis) is highly common. If your joints hurt, don’t brush it off as an inevitable part of getting older. Make an appointment with your doctor because it can come from many conditions, or you could have injured something. For most arthritis types, there are lifestyle changes, medications and procedures that can help. — Pain is not a normal sign of aging. While pain is common among older folks, it’s not inevitable. Many grow old with little or no pain. If you’re hurting, see your doctor. Many older people avoid pain medication and stoically tolerate their pain. With the crisis in opioid addiction, their caution is not unwarranted. Don’t avoid using pain-killers when you need them to remain comfortable and active, but it is important to use them as directed. After surgery, pain can interfere with your ability to do things to prevent complications, such as coughing, deep breathing and walking, so treating pain is important for successful recovery.



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

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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.

February 2018 •

Call (888) 65-65-65-


IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 5

By Jim Miller

What to do when a loved one dies

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What if you could choose?

5 Days or 45 Days

Page 6

Dear Savvy Senior, This may seem like a strange question, but can you tell me what steps need to be taken after a loved one dies? My 80-year-old father has a terminal illness, and I would like to find out what I will need to do when he passes.

Only Daughter Dear Only, I’m sorry about your father’s situation but this is a great question many families inquire about when a loved one’s death becomes imminent. Here’s a run-down of some things you can do now, and after his death, that can help keep a sad event from becoming even more painful.

Before death occurs

There are several tasks you can do now while your father is still living, that will make things a lot easier and less hectic for you after he dies. For starters, find out where your dad keeps all his important papers like his will (also make sure it’s updated), birth certificate, marriage and divorce certificates, Social Security information, life-insurance policies, military discharge papers, financial documents, and keys to a safe deposit box or home safe. Also, if your dad doesn’t have an advanced directive, help him make one (see for free state-specific forms and instructions). An advanced directive includes a living will that specifies his end-oflife medical treatments, and appoints a health-care proxy to make medical decisions if he becomes incapacitated. In addition, you may also want to get a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, which will tell health care professionals not to perform CPR when your dad’s heart or breathing stops. Your dad’s doctor can help you with this. You should also pre-arrange his funeral and burial or cremation.

Immediately after death

Once your father dies, you’ll need to get a legal pronouncement of death. If no doctor is present, you’ll need to contact someone to do this. So, if your dad dies at home under hospice care, call the hospice nurse, who can declare his death and help

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

facilitate the transport of the body. If he dies at home without hospice care, call 911, and have in hand his DNR document. Without one, paramedics will generally start emergency procedures and, except where permitted to pronounce death, take the person to an emergency room for a doctor to make the declaration. If no autopsy is needed, you will need to call the funeral home, mortuary or crematorium to pick up the body. If your dad is an organ or tissue donor, contact the funeral home or the county coroner immediately.

Within a few days

If funeral plans were not pre-arranged, you’ll need to make arrangements and prepare an obituary. If your dad was in the military or belonged to a fraternal or religious group, you should contact those organizations too, because they may have burial benefits or conduct funeral services.

Up to 10 days after death

To wind down your dad’s financial affairs, you’ll need to get multiple copies of his death certificate. These are typically provided by the funeral home. If you’re the executor of your dad’s estate, take his will to the appropriate county or city office to have it accepted for probate. And open a bank account for your dad’s estate to pay bills, including taxes, funeral costs, etc. You also need to contact your dad’s estate attorney if he has one; tax preparer to see if estate or final income taxes should be filed; financial adviser for information on financial holdings; life insurance agent to get claim forms; his bank to locate and close accounts; and Social Security (800-772-1213) and other agencies that provided benefits to stop payments and, if applicable, ask about survivor benefits. You should also cancel his credit cards and, if relevant, stop household services like utilities, mail, etc. For more information on the duties of an executor, a great resource is “The Executor’s Guide: Settling A Loved One’s Estate or Trust” available at for $32. 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.

Golden Years The Balanced Body

By Deb Dittner

Get on your feet!

Let’s stand up and take some action! “Get on your feet Get up and make it happen Get on your feet Stand up and take some action”


— Gloria Estefan (1989, from the album “Cuts Both Ways”)

love these words and rhythm from the song by Gloria Estefan! Only you can make it happen to physically move, be active, play and exercise. Get on your feet and dance. Sure, there are some days when it’s bitter cold out and you don’t want to get out from under the warm covers. I get it. But I also know how much better I do Dittner feel once I have taken action by going to my favorite gym for an hour class of cardio, high-intensity interval training, strengthening, yoga — you name it. For me, this is an important part of my health and wellness and it can — and should — be for you too. By taking those first steps, you can look toward your next class with more energy, motivation, and confidence. So why do you need to get off the couch, stand up and move? Your overall health counts on it. Living a sedentary lifestyle ages you more quickly, decreases mobility, and increases your risk for many health conditions. You can prevent so many health problems through consistent daily

action. Need help in getting off the couch? Here are some tips to help motivate you on your journey: — Think of this time as self-care or ”me time.” You need to look at exercise as an important lifestyle change necessary in taking care of you in the best way possible. — Set an achievable goal and be realistic. A fitness assessment can help determine your goals after examining the results. Speak with your health care provider or physical therapist to point you in the direction of a good assessment tool, and follow through with the results and necessary changes. — Set specific milestones along the way toward your goal. By taking steps in increments, it makes the task more manageable and motivational. — Lifestyle changes are necessary along with exercise. When attending birthday parties, holiday meals, or a family night out, don’t deprive yourself but do take responsibility for your actions. Being held accountable by a friend or family member will help you to attain your goals.

Make it a routine

— Create a doable plan and workout schedule. If you go to a gym, set your schedule weekly or monthly and make sure it’s in your planner. If you work out at home, set a specific time of day and stick to it. — Patience is a virtue, so they say, and this is an excellent time to be patient with yourself and your goals. Nothing happens overnight and it does take work, especially if you’re

Once you begin to look and feel better, have more energy, and begin to see changes in your body, you will know you are gaining improved health for a better tomorrow. So, without further ado, get on your feet! • 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.


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starting out from scratch. It takes approximately three months to develop a habit, so take one day at a time and don’t give up. — You need a cheerleader. Whether it be a family member or dear friend to support your efforts, it is necessary in achieving your goals. Ideally, encourage a family member or friend to join in your efforts and train with you. Working out with others gives you that added push, and it’s always more fun. A group setting will also decrease stress levels, and increases improvements in your mental, physical and emotional quality of life. If a gym membership is too costly, there is low-cost fitness. This consists of videos, apps, and wearable computers. For seniors, exercise is anti-aging. Exercise will help lubricate joints, increase mobility, and decrease overall inflammation. — Stay focused on the goal. Surround yourself with fitness by reading fitness blogs and magazines. Keep company with like-minded fitness friends who are supportive. — Create a vision board. Cut out pictures of a special outfit you’d like to see yourself in or a location to where you want to travel. — Have fun! Exercise should not be pure drudgery. If you enjoy dancing, take salsa lessons. If you enjoy team sports, join a basketball, ice hockey or soccer team. There are many age groups to choose from.

Getting you better, sooner. It’s why more patients are choosing Crouse Health — and why our minimally invasive robotic surgery program continues to grow. In fact, Crouse operates the largest robotic surgery program in the area. We have the most surgeons performing a wide variety of robotic procedures. The result? The most experienced team using the latest innovative techniques to get you back to health faster. To learn more about our program and our robotic surgeons, visit


GENERAL SURGERY Brian Anderson, MD Kenneth Cooper, DO Jeffrey DeSimone, MD Ben Sadowitz, MD

COLORECTAL David Nesbitt, MD John Nicholson, MD GYN ONCOLOGY Rinki Agarwal, MD Douglas Bunn, MD Mary Cunningham, MD

GYNECOLOGY Stephen Brown, MD Carla Liberatore, MD Myron Luthringer, MD Navpriya Oberoi, MD

UROLOGY David Albala, MD Po Lam, MD Andres Madissoo, MD Nedim Ruhotina, MD Harvey Sauer, MD Jeffrey Sekula, MD Daniel Welchons, MD

February 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7

Golden Years

Fountain of Youth Adopting these habits can make you look younger By Barbara Pierce


ging is a fact of life. This is the message from Joe Martin, doctor of physical therapy and founder and CEO of Function Better Physical Therapy in the Mohawk Valley. “As you age, your spine and joints become less mobile,” he said. “Your muscles shorten, your strength fades, and your balance declines. Your bones can weaken and arthritis can set in, making getting out of bed in the morning a stiff and arduous task. Body fat increases and lean youthful muscles can shrink. Getting in and out of the car and up and down from your soft cushy couch can become difficult.” Pretty dismal picture — a picture none of us would choose for ourselves. All of this can change. All of this can be improved, Martin said. Forget aging gracefully. Here’s how to age youthfully, how to avoid being that decrepit, pitiful old man or woman stuck in a low chair or car. — Exercise four or more times per week. “Exercise is the miracle drug that people need to open their eyes to,” said Martin. “The reason people look old and decrepit is because they sit more. Our body is designed to move.” “You don’t age if you exercise. Exercise is the fountain of youth,” Martin said. — Get strong with protein is a recommendation from an article on, “Adopting these 50 every-

day habits can make you look way younger.” Getting enough protein can help to build and maintain your muscles to keep fit. Loss of muscle can lead to loss of strength and balance, accelerating the aging process. Other suggestions from to maintain a more youthful appearance: — Eat more greens and reds. Vitamin K helps your blood coagulate, reducing the possibility of bruising. Fruit and vegetable consumption result in a better complexion.

Accepting New Patients Cathryn J. Barns

— Drink more water. Water keeps your skin hydrated to avoid it looking dull and dry and creating wrinkles. The more hydrated you are, the more plump and youthful your skin will appear. In addition, staying hydrated can improve energy levels and fight against cravings.

Shelve the booze

— Drink less alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the skin and increases inflammation, both of which give the skin a dry, wrinkled appearance. It’s best to drink in moderation, along with a lot of water. — Smile wide. In a study, people were asked to guess the age of people in photographs, with various facial expressions. Happy faces were rated as younger than they really were. — Get your beauty rest. Your body needs seven to nine hours sleep to rest and repair your body’s cells. You know lack of sleep causes puffy eyes and dark circles, but it also dries


out your skin, making wrinkles deeper and more visible. — Wear the right bra. Gravity affects us all, but wearing the right bra can shape your figure into a more youthful silhouette. Over 50 percent of women wear the wrong size. Get fitted at a lingerie store. — Avoid ugly shoes. Try on different brands to find shoes that are the most stylish and comfortable for your feet. Yes, you can wear high heels and still feel comfortable. — Wear less make up. Heavy makeup ages your face. — Give yourself a hand. A study showed people could accurately guess the age of women by looking at their hands. Use a good hand cream frequently. — Cleanse and moisturize regularly. This helps protect skin and keeps it healthy. Banish regular soap that can be drying for older skin. Avoid skin toners, especially those with an alcohol or astringent base. Follow with a good moisturizer, morning and night. — Have fun with nails. Nail polish makes hands appear younger. Nails are the new accessory, so try a fun color like blue or purple. — You need the right haircut. Long, heavy hair pulls down the face. Lifting layers and adding texture to frame the face will take years off. If you opt for shorter hair, don’t cut it too short on top. Leaving more length at the crown gives a more feminine, youthful profile that can be more forgiving. — Dress smart, not shapeless. Dress for the size you are, not the size you were. Hiding in big, baggy clothes isn’t flattering. — Lighten up your liner. Avoid the black color you may have been using for years. Try chocolate brown or blue. Function Better operates in Clinton, Herkimer, New Hartford, Oneida, Rome, Utica and Yorkville. For more information, visit www.

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

The Social Ask Security Office

From the Social Security District Office


Dangers of wind instruments Musical devices may be contaminated By Kristen Raab


eing part of a band is a common school activity for many area children. With so much talk of the danger of sports such as football, most of us do not consider the risks of playing wind instruments. Considering that there are millions of used instruments in the United States, it is important to know how to protect children using them. Internationalmusician. org recommends instruments get swabbed after every use. MouthLepore pieces should be washed in warm water and dish soap, and brass instruments should be taken apart and cleaned based on manufacturers’ suggestions. Based on multiple studies, this is not always happening as bacteria have been found on instruments that had not been used in a couple of days to a week. Lorenzo Lepore, a Boston-based dentist, said there are multiple wind instruments that are breeding grounds for bacteria, including bagpipes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets and even harmonicas. As a musician who plays the clarinet and saxophone, Lepore started thinking about the health issues surrounding such instruments. He is the founder of Encore Etc. Inc., a start-up company that sterilizes contaminated musical wind instruments. According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, both the instrument midpoints and bells retained microorganisms in sufficient quantities to affect transmission, expose the musicians to toxins, and produce disease. In 2011, the International Journal of Environmental Health Research found living bacteria, mold and yeast on wind instruments, with wooden reeds and mouthpieces containing the greatest risk. A statement from the American College of Chest Physicians noted

that one saxophonist inhaled molds and found that musicians may be a population at risk for immunologically induced lung disease. It is important for parents to inform their children’s pediatricians that their child plays an instrument and of any symptoms he or she experiences. The National Institute of Health recommends dentists ask if their patients play these instruments as well to be aware of the possible impact of this activity on the oral cavity and the entire body.

Dangerous consequences

Schools should make parents aware of the potential risks for instrument players. Some of the bacteria that may contaminate the instruments include brevibacterium spp., cellulomonas spp., and staphylococcus spp. The risk includes corneal infections, sepsis, arthritis, and urinary tract infections among other health problems. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis may also occur, which is an inflammation of the alveoli within the lung caused by hypersensitivity to inhaled organic dusts. Early detection as well as avoidance of the cause can reverse HP, but if it’s not detected or exposure continues, lung scarring may occur. Parents then must make the choice if they want to proceed with the sterilization procedure offered by Lepore. He explains the procedure as follows: — Sterilization is completed by ethylene oxide, which is a proven technique to sterilize devices that cannot be steam sterilized. An EO abator system can be used to effectively sterilize and is also cost effective. “In addition to being effective, this procedure also nearly eliminates emissions of EO into the environment,” Lepore said. “It also extends the life of instruments.” Perhaps the first step is educating school officials who can then share information with parents. “The decision is ultimately up to parents, but if the facts are presented and the danger is seen as real, parents will be more willing to pay an extra fee to get it sterilized,” Lepore said.

What day do I get my SS check?

iming is everything, and the arrival time of your monthly payment from Social Security can be key to keeping your financial house in order. As you budget to pay your bills and save for future needs, keep in mind that your monthly retirement or disability benefit will be paid at the same time each month. To see your next payment date, create or log on to your my Social Security online account at myaccount and go to the “Benefits & Payments” section. In general, here’s how we assign payment dates: • If you were born on the first through the tenth of the month, you’ll be paid on the second Wednesday of the month; • If you were born on the 11th through the 20th of the month, you’ll be paid on the third Wednesday of the month; and • If you were born after the 20th of the month, you’ll be paid on the fourth Wednesday of the month. There are exceptions. For ex-

ample, children and spouses who receive benefits based on someone else’s work record will be paid on the same day as the primary beneficiary. For others, we may issue your payments on the third of each month. Among other reasons, we do this if: • You filed for benefits before May 1, 1997; • You also receive a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment; • Your Medicare premiums are paid for by the state where you live; or • You live in a foreign country. Individuals who receive SSI payments due to disability, age, or blindness receive those payments on the first of each month. If your payment date falls on a federal holiday or weekend, you can expect to receive that month’s payment on the weekday immediately prior. You can see a current schedule for Social Security and SSI benefit payments at EN-05-10031-2018.pdf.

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Visitor restrictions intact at MVHS, RMH


A community healthcare system built with exceptional people. Nascentia Health is a shared commitment to providing exceptional care. VNA Homecare, Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York, VNA Homecare Options, LLC, Home Aides of Central New York Inc., and their respective affiliated organizations and foundations are now unified as one new healthcare system – Nascentia Health. This new system reflects our continued commitment to providing the best possible care to those we serve. In-Home Nursing & Medical Services Home Health Aides & Elder Care

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RMH restricts visitors

are now 1050 West Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13204 Call 888.477.HOME

Rome Memorial Hospital focus on infection prevention


or the fourth consecutive year, Rome Memorial Hospital has been recognized as a regional leader among hospitals for avoiding hospital-acquired infections and other preventable complications. This reflects RMH’s commitment to patient safety and the highest level of quality care. Page 10

“Rome Memorial Hospital is a recognized leader in protecting patients from avoidable hospital-acquired infections and other complications,” said vice president clinical services/chief nursing officer Durinda Durr. “As an organization, we’ve adopted proven evidence-based strategies that have been ingrained

o better protect patients from the flu and other illnesses, visitor restrictions have been put in place for the inpatient units at the Mohawk Valley Health System. A maximum of two visitors per patient will be permitted at any one time and children aged 14 and under are prohibited from visiting all inpatient areas, as they are more likely to have and transmit respiratory infections. This will not apply to the siblings of newborns visiting the maternity department, unless they are showing symptoms of an illness. The hospitals ask that you not visit if you feel ill with any type of upper respiratory problem. “Stay home and delay your visit to keep yourself, patients and residents safe,” an MVHS spokesperson said. 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 such as nausea or vomiting sometimes associated with influenza — Avoiding people exhibiting symptoms of a flu-like illness If you have flu-like symptoms that are severe and persistent, you should contact your health care provider. The hospitals practice “respiratory 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 as well as tissues and hand sanitizer for proper hand hygiene. Those seeking treatment and have any flu-like symptoms with upper respiratory problems will be asked to wear a mask and may be isolated from other patients.

into our every-day practices through ongoing education and surveillance.” Nationally, 751 hospitals that rank in the worst performing quartile will be penalized with a 1 percent reduction in their Medicare reimbursements under the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program.

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

Rome Memorial Hospital has also issued temporary age restrictions on visitors. Effective immediately, only healthy adults, 18 years and older, will be allowed to visit patients in the hospital and the residential health care facility. Hospital administrators also ask that anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms or gastrointestinal illness to not visit patients or residents. In addition, everyone entering the hospital is being asked to use hand sanitizer upon arrival and as they leave the building. Masks will be available at all entrances to the hospital for visitors who would like to use them as an extra precaution. The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice, according to Amy Carissimo-Harris, director of infection prevention and control.

Golden Years

Sole Searching Get a leg up on foot problems as you age

And we don’t mean in that in a sexy, between-the-sheets kind of way. Years of stuffing your toes into high heels puts you at risk for hammertoes. What can start as mild discomfort turns more painful over time, and corns and calluses can also crop up as your crooked toes rub against your shoes. To prevent and ease hammertoes, cover corns and calluses with padding and trade in your pointy-toed heels for shoes with wider toes. Good news, though — You don’t have to ditch your stilettos completely. If you want to wear them for a night out, wear well-fitting flats or walking or running shoes, if you can, during the day. The more support you can give your feet, the less inflammation you’ll incur throughout the day, and the better you’ll be able to tolerate a dressier shoe at night, experts say. Over time, the connective tissue known as ligaments can stretch out, leaving your arch aching and your foot flatter. What’s more, the sensors that typically alert your brain that your ligaments are overstretching —think of them like backup sensors for your joints — start to go on the fritz. This throws you off balance and leaves you prone to a recurring cycle of ankle sprains. Your skin dries out as you age, leaving your feet prone to cracking. Fight back by making sure you drink plenty of water and use a moisturizer on your legs and feet.

By Barbara Pierce


need to care about their feet, cautioned Crable. One consequence of diabetes is decreased blood flow to the feet. This makes any minor foot problem, like a new shoe blister or stepping on a sharp object, slower to heal. Combine that with the nerve damage that diabetes often causes and you might not even notice a worsening infection, which can result in an ulcer that won’t heal. If you have diabetes, see your podiatrist regularly to keep your feet in good shape, just like you see your ophthalmologist for your eyes.


Another common thing that happens to our feet as we age is we lose the fat on the bottoms of our feet. By the end of the day, we can have pain because we’re walking on bones. The only solution is to wear cushioned, comfortable shoes. The majority of us will get some arthritis in our feet. There are more than 30 joints in our feet, all of which can degenerate with age. Besides pain, you might feel stiffness in the morning that improves

once you get moving then worsens again at night. Shoe inserts, exercises to increase range of motion, and losing weight if you’re heavy may help, say podiatric experts. Hip and knee arthritis also have trickle-down effects, altering your alignment in ways that can cause pain on the insides or outsides of your feet. If any of your joints ache, see your doctor. Treating hip and knee arthritis often lightens the load on your feet as well. Another way aging shows up in our feet is that our toes curl up.

Valley Health Services accepts syringes


alley Health Services is accepting the community’s medical waste of needles, syringes and lancets from noon until 2 p.m. on Feb. 21. 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.


ur feet are the most important part of our body, said Kevin Crable, podiatrist at Oneida Health Podiatry Care. They’ve carried you everywhere from your first day of school through this morning’s walk. Pretty much everything else about your body has changed, so it’s not surprising that your feet change as you age. Yes, our feet may be the most important part of our body. If we have a problem, it Crable can change our life. It’s estimated that 90 percent of those over the age of 65 will have some kind of foot problem. These foot problems can have a serious impact. Because when you can’t walk or can’t walk without pain, it’s difficult to do the activities of daily living. You lose your independence and must depend on others for help. Also, there could be a significant impact on all other areas of your life — your ability to work or volunteer is limited, your social activities become restricted, and your economic status can be affected. It’s essential to care about your feet as you age, said Crable. One thing that happens as we age is the blood flow to our feet slows. “As people age, the blood flow to your lower extremities is compromised,” said Crable. “Peripheral vascular disease and peripheral arterial disease are prevalent among older adults,” he noted. These diseases cause foot pain, cramping, and many other foot and ankle problems. When blood flow is lessened, wounds don’t heal. Small foot problems develop into major problems. People with diabetes especially

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357 Genesee Street, Oneida, NY | (315) 363-2123 February 2018 •

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Golden Years

Taking Edge off Death Abraham House defines comfort care By Patricia J. Malin


he Abraham House is going into 2018 with plans for an expansion while at the same time providing greater sustainability for its current base in Utica. Abraham House, a nonprofit hospice facility at 1203 Kemble St., Utica, offers the terminally ill a home free of charge, but has just two beds. Last June, Abraham House opened its Bird’s Nest Boutique to the public at 102 Eagle St. in a vacant building it owns next to the home. The boutique is a thrift store that sells new clothing and gently used merchandise, such as jewelry and household items, while creating a revenue stream for Abraham House. Abraham House Executive Director Gina Ciaccia said she came across the idea for the boutique while

attending a national conference. The concept was well received and approved by the board of directors. Abraham House has been serving the needs of the terminally ill free of charge since 1998 and is the only comfort care home within Oneida, Madison and Herkimer counties in partnership with Hospice and Palliative Care Inc., of New Hartford. The house and the adjacent boutique were the former family home and office of Dr. A.L. (Abraham) Shaheen. Abraham House offers 24-hour comfort care. While 91 percent of its guests came from three counties, Abraham House does not turn anyone away. In 2017, it also accommodated guests from Onondaga, Otsego and Delaware counties. To date in 2017, Abraham House

Continued on Page 18


The skinny on healthy eating

Lots to Love about Dark Chocolate B efore I became aware of dark chocolate’s nutritious ways, I used to feel a tad guilty whenever I indulged, fearing that I was consuming empty calories (and a lot of them). But I haven’t felt that way in years and here’s why: Dark chocolate is chock-full of health benefits. Let’s start with dark chocolate’s most noteworthy health perk: Its super-high concentration of antioxidants. We want to include antioxidants in our diets because they gobble up cell-damaging free radicals (present in all of us), which are unstable molecules that may contribute to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases that shorten lives. What’s more, the particular kinds of antioxidants found in chocolate — flavonoids and polyphenols — may boost heart health, by improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure and reducing bad cholesterol. Another health perk to behold? Dark chocolate is surprisingly full of nutrients. A 1-ounce portion serves up 3 grams of fiber (as much as a banana!) and is rich in iron, copper and manganese. Current research shows that fiber may lower blood pressure, improve blood cholesterol levels Page 12

and reduce the “inflammation” now attributed to cardiovascular disease. Iron, copper and manganese all play a role in energy production and overall good health. Dark chocolate is a bona fide brain booster and mood elevator, as it triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin — neurotransmitters that make us feel up and good. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that participants over age 70 who reported regularly consuming chocolate scored higher on cognitive performance tests. Fortunately — because dark chocolate runs high in fat and calories — only 1 ounce (about 150 calories; 10 grams of fat) is needed to achieve health benefits. On average, a few truffles or 3 squares of a 3.5-ounce bar are equal to about 1 ounce. More sweet news: Chocolate, like nuts, induces satiety, so a little goes a long way in helping us feel fuller longer. Not all chocolate is created equal, so choose your chocolate wisely. Most nutritionists recommend minimally processed dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content or higher to reap the aforementioned benefits. While milk and white choc-

Celebrating the opening of the Bird’s Nest Boutique are, from left, Gina Ciaccia, Abraham House executive director; and Judy Galimo and Joyce Rossi, board members.

olate are delicious, they have fewer antioxidants and nutrients, scant fiber and nearly twice as much sugar.

pan and sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons more of the chips you are using. Bake 28 to 30 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan.

Helpful Tips Double-Chocolate Black Bean Brownies 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained 3 eggs 3 tablespoons vegetable oil ½ cup unsweetened 100% cocoa powder ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2/3 cup white sugar (or less, if prefer) ½ cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate morsels ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or coat an 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, and sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Gently stir in chocolate morsels. Add ½ cup of chopped nuts if you like. Pour the batter into the prepared

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

Store chocolate in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Ideally, it shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator, as chocolate is a magnet for odors and more likely to discolor (or “bloom” with a whitish coating) from the fridge’s moisture. Bloom doesn’t affect flavor, but it does affect how appealing chocolate looks. If refrigeration is a must, however, first wrap your chocolate tightly, then seal it in an airtight container. When stored properly, solid dark chocolate keeps for two years; filled chocolates, such as truffles, keep for three to four months, sometimes longer.

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

Between You and Me

By Barbara Pierce

So Happy Together Surprising secrets of the happiest couples


iving with another person is tough, even when you’re really in love with him or her. I lived on a boat for 15 years with my partner. I can talk about tough. Living on a 40-foot sailboat, I learned much about how to have a happy relationship with another person — a happy relationship in a tiny area, surrounded by ocean, being with one another 24/7. That puts a relationship sorely to the test. The relaPierce tionships of most couples that live on their boats don’t survive. At least that was my experience. We became friends with nine other couples, cruisers from the States living on our boats in Mexico. We were close, and kept in touch after we got back to the States. A few years later, only two of the nine couples were still together. My partner and I were one of the two couples that beat the odds. Here are some of the things I learned about how happy couples are different: — Happy couples appreciate the strengths of their partner and accept the weaknesses. Happy couples keep score — keep score of the good stuff. While tallying up everything your significant other does wrong is a harmful habit, noticing the good things starts a cycle of nice gestures from both. Take note of your partner’s strengths and tell him or her over and over. Praise them in front of others.

Accepting the weaknesses of your partner doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to their faults. It just means you stop fighting it. You work around it. For me, a big weakness was I couldn’t tie a bowline knot. Now, if you’re on a boat, that’s one important thing to know. I did other knots really well; I just had a blind spot for bowlines. My husband would say that was a major weakness. But he didn’t fight it; he just worked around it. He frequently told me how happy he was that I did so well in the details of living on a boat. I could prepare dinner using a tiny counter that doubled as a refrigerator and a gimbaled stove that sometimes swung wildly as I cooked. And I could wash the sheets in salt water on the bow of the boat. — When happy couples must bring to their partner’s attention something that has to change — something unpleasant — they’re not brutally honest. Telling the truth is important in a relationship but make sure to use a kind tone and not be too blunt.

Be considerate!

Happiest couples are considerate of each other’s feelings when expressing something that might be hard to hear. Talk to your partner like you would a close friend. “Try to state what you would like, rather than giving a criticism. Focus on what you want to achieve rather than what your partner does wrong,” advises psychiatrist Aaron Beck in his book, “Love is Never Enough.” I’ve always found this effective. — Happy couples each have a

strong squad. Regular guys’ or girls’ nights out make your relationship stronger. People with large friendship networks are happier than those who focus all their energy on their relationship. It doesn’t take away from the relationship, but enriches it. I found I was always happier when I could get together with other women cruisers frequently. I came back to our boat in a happy frame of mind. — Breaking up is not an option for couples that are happy together. They make themselves emotionally vulnerable, and never bring up divorce. Doing so makes couples more likely to work through problems instead of contemplating ending their relationship. All the things you do to protect yourself just built a wall. The happiest couples jumped in completely with no escape hatch. An article, “Surprising Marriage Advice From Happy Couples,” adds a few other things: — Happy couples fall asleep at the same time. Wives who are happier with their marriage overlapped with their husband’s sleep schedule about 90 percent of the time, according to a study. If your schedule

doesn’t let you go to bed the same time, try to find other times to connect. We all have a need for closeness and security. — And they don’t always put their kids first. Focusing all your attention on your kids leaves little time to give your significant other any attention. Make your time together matter by staying off your phone and not wordlessly zoning out in front of the TV after the kids go to bed. If you do want to catch up on your favorite show, cuddle up with your partner. — Happy couples compromise, not sacrifice. Relationships should be about mutual happiness, which means you should be flexible when disagreements arise. Instead of automatically giving in to your partner’s demands, find a middle ground you can both agree on. Sacrifice leads to resentment. Compromising means sometimes we do things my way, sometimes your way. • 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

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505 Roberts Street, Utica NY 13502 | 315-790-5392 | February 2018 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13

Dental Health Smile with Dr. Suy

By Dr. Salina Suy

Oral Hygiene 101 Got a question in regard to oral health? Here are some answers!

Can I ask you a silly dental question?” This is the question I hear the most from many of my patients and the truth is, no question you ask is silly! Part of my job is patient education and oral hygiene instructions. It is something I pride myself in as I provide an honest and straightforward approach. Learning why and how things Suy happen is essential to what motivates us to stay healthy. Here is a quick overview for common questions I am asked:

‘How do cavities happen?’

Cavities are also known as dental caries and/or tooth decay — the “holes” in your teeth. So what causes cavities? Cavities are caused by the breakdown of the teeth’s hard tissue, enamel, due to acid production by the mouth’s bacteria. The bacteria eat the sugars that are found in our food that we leave on our teeth after we eat. Basically, bacteria on your teeth eat the sugar in the mouth. They produce acid from digesting the sugars and the acid dissolves your teeth — that is the cavity process.

‘What does gum disease mean?’

Gum disease is formally known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is

barrier between the teeth and gums, pushing away the attachments of the teeth to the bone. A dental professional — a dental hygienist or dentist — can only remove tartar. Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. When the disease is untreated, the gums and bone resorb around teeth, causing teeth to lose their bond to bone and resulting in possible loss.

‘What should I use and how?’

Kayla Almond, dental assistant at Dr. Salina Suy’s practice in Utica, displays the proper technique for brushing teeth. the first stage in gum disease; it is gum inflammation and reversible. Gingivitis precedes true gum disease, periodontitis, which is not reversible. The cause of periodontal disease is the interaction between bacteria found in plaque — the sticky film that collects on your teeth — and the body reacting to the plaque. When plaque is not removed, the toxins from it irritate the gums and cause inflammation. The inflammation in the gums causes them to grow away from the teeth, separating teeth, creeping downward from teeth and destroying the bone that holds the teeth. When the plaque is not removed, it will turn hard into what is known as tartar. This tartar becomes a

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What can you do to prevent this? The good news is cavities and periodontal disease are very preventable. Along with making good diet choices, a good oral hygiene regimen is key for keeping your teeth healthy. Patients with a diet higher in sugar are at a greater risk of developing cavities. Along with how much sugar is consumed, snacking leads to an increased chance of developing cavities as well. Patients who snack less have less risk of getting cavities. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day — once when we wake up and once before bed. Flossing daily will help remove food and plaque from in between the teeth that the brush cannot reach. For those who want more protection, a daily antiseptic and fluoride rinse may be beneficial as well. Regular check-ups are important, not only because we check for tooth decay and gum disease, but also to see signs of systemic diseases since your mouth is a good indicator of your overall health. Regarding products to recommend, although there are a lot of companies out there, only a few earn

the American Dental Association seal of approval. The ADA seal is awarded only to products that it has reviewed extensively, tested clinically and supported by scientific evidence. That being said, many products cannot afford the seal of the ADA and may be of great value but still need time to prove their performance through testing. A few things I would steer away from: — Charcoal-based products: Things that are abrasive should not be used on tooth structure — Whitening with a light: Scientifically unnecessary and there are easier ways to whiten — Straightening your own teeth: Not the greatest idea because you don’t know if you are doing harm to yourself if you are not properly being monitored. — Snap-on smiles: These faddy gimmicks will be a waste of your money. — Drug store mouth guards: The truth is, they are OK but there is nothing more comfortable than mouth guards that are custom fitted to your mouth that you will actually use. Guards are great for grinding, sports and protecting your dental work. Remember to brush your teeth and use your smile to change the world! • 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

Nursing program ranked high in state


s a testament to the quality educational opportunities offered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute, has ranked SUNY Poly No. 7 among “The 10 Best Colleges for Nursing Majors in New York.” This ranking puts SUNY Poly in the company of such institutions as New York University (No. 19), Stony Brook University (No. 2), and Binghamton University (No. 1). “We are honored by this recognition for our nursing programs, which reinforces SUNY Poly’s commitment to providing the best education at an affordable price,” said Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, interim president of SUNY Poly. According to Zippia, a platform that aims to help users find

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

the career that is right for them, the rankings were tabulated based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics, as well as College Scorecard data from, including career results, percentage of graduating class that are nursing majors, selective admissions rates, cost of attendance, graduation rate, and median amount of debt. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 2.9 million registered nursing jobs in the United States in 2016, offering a median pay of $68,450 a year. The profession, according to the bureau, is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016-2026, much faster than the average of other professions.

Spiritual Health Milk & Honey

By Brooke Stacia Demott

Spiritual health focus of new column ‘Milk & Honey’ to delve into the many layers of spirituality


y name is Brooke Stacia Demott. I am 34, and was born and raised in the arctic tundra known as Oswego, where I now reside with my husband and six children. Our lifestyle may seem like a throwback to the 17th century— my husband and I operate a family based business together, a small farm, and in addition, we home school our children. Demott The kids spend their days collecting eggs, milking goats, chopping wood, and studying together in our kitchen. We don’t have mobile technology — save my husband’s work phone — and more than one person has asked me if I was Amish, which I am not. Of course, we didn’t always live like this. I was notoriously rebellious as a kid. A teenage runaway, I was often homeless and under the influence of some mind-altering substance. At 18, I joined the military during wartime, and spent nearly my entire tour of duty in Kuwait and Iraq standing security with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 for the U.S. Navy. But, rebellion won out, and I was invited to leave the military prematurely. I spent years living aimlessly,

me plenty of that — but it felt flat and pointless. Maybe I needed praise. So, I worked hard in college and ended up at the top of my business accounting class at SUNY Oswego. That stifled the feelings of purposelessness for a time, but still somehow I felt superficial. Fairytale love was a marketing gimmick that I had given up on as a kid and money held no appeal for me. I was lost.

Rebuilding process

At 23, I found myself yet again homeless, jobless, and this time with a 2-year old daughter to drag down with me. A pastor named Bill King from Oswego had once told me about God and his son Jesus — that they cared for me. He said feeling lost was normal, Brooke Stacia Demott, right, is shown with a fellow because we are all lost until soldier with the United States Naval Construction we find God. I decided that it couldn’t Battalions, otherwise known as the Seabees, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was stationed at the hurt to learn more about that and find out if God was real, Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003. and if He could help me. sometimes in relative quiet, someWell, it turns out that guy was times in desperate noise, never right. I started reading the Bible certain of how to find what I didn’t — learning who God was; who I realize I was looking for — peace. I was; how I should live, and everythought what I needed was adventhing changed. I changed. I found ture. Traveling all over the world what I had always been lacking — during my tour of duty and later hope. living in busy, dangerous cities like I developed cohesive thought Houston, Chicago, and Buffalo gave patterns and a sense of purpose.

So, I quit my vices and addictions and began walking in step with what the Bible told me would make my life feel real. That’s where the story really began for me. Since I was very young, I have always been a writer. I’ve had articles published in The Palladium-Times, Oswego’s daily hometown newspaper, as well as The Reformed Presbyterian Witness. I have also written dozens of essays to encourage people on social media forums. This column will be about spiritual health. I’d like to discuss things like stress, anxiety, depression, hope, perseverance, and love. I also want to tackle issues of the day like immigration, refugees, abortion, government and technology — anything that is relevant to the spiritual condition of the individual and social dynamic. I very much want to hear and respond to reader’s questions and comments. Contrary to modern thought, we are not just biological machines, pre-programmed to live and die by random chance. We are purposefully created, fearfully and wonderfully made to live a life of honesty, discovery, and peace with God. Our souls echo to us the truths that things are not as they ought to be; and if we are listening carefully, we will also find that the echo comes from a loving voice that whispers, “You are not alone.” • Brooke Stacia Demott is a columnist with In Good Health newspaper. Got a question for Demott? Feel free to email her at

Uncovering child molestation Continued from Page 3

Barbara Joy Hansen, left, shown at age 12, shares time with her best friend, Judi Gage, in a sandbox.

the area serving children and their families. The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, 163 S. First St., Fulton, features specialized child advocates. Serving nearly 500 children and their families in 2016, the CAC more than doubled its 2010 client intake of 243. Moreover, its 2016 annual report revealed a two-fold increase in drug endangerment cases from 2015-2016. Overall, 373 of the total cases observed in 2016 involved CSA. Falling in line with national statistics, girls were consistently reported as a higher risk for abuse than boys (more than 60 percent). More often than not, the perpetrator was a parent and/or family member. Providing nearly 3,000 counseling sessions in 2016, referrals for counseling hit an all-time high of 282, uncovering 172 new cases.

February 2018 •

How to help

Better safe than sorry. If you suspect a child is being abused, don’t stay silent. Be prepared and know resources are available. If in doubt, speak out. If you fear a child is in immediate danger, promptly call 911 or your local police department. — Local • Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, 315-592-4453 — State • New York State Child Protective Agency, toll-free at 1-800-3423720 — For the deaf or hearing impaired, call 1-800-638-5163 (text telephone) — National • The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1- 800-4-A-CHILD or 1-800-422-4453

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Health News MVHS makes key personnel moves Jolene Day has been named strategic financial manager for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this role, Day is responsible for identifying, analyzing and monitoring productivity throughout MVHS. She will also coordinate and oversee system-wide complex financial activities, including the new hospital project and the consolidation of the two Day acute care facilities. Day has been an employee of MVHS since 2010, most recently as the accounting manager for MVHS. Before joining MVHS, she was employed at Fust Charles Chambers, LLP, in Syracuse as a financial auditor, specializing in the health care industry. Day earned her Master of Business Administration as well as her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the SUNY Oswego. She is a member of the Central New York Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. Christian Leogrande has been named accounting manager for MVHS. In this role, Leogrande will provide overall planning, direction, coordination, management and supervision for the MVHS finance deLeogrande partment accounting staff. Before joining MVHS, Leogrande served as a dealership controller at Lithia Motors in Yorkville. Prior to that, he was employed at D’Arcangelo & Co., in Rome. Leogrande is an adjunct professor of accounting at Utica College. He is a licensed certified public accountant in New York state. Leogrande earned his Master of Business Administration in professional accountancy as well as his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Utica College.

MVHS Barneveld office gains FNP Bikash Regmi recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group as a family nurse practitioner at the Barneveld Medical Office and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, Regmi was employed as a registered nurse at the St. Luke’s Campus of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. Page 16

Officers of The Caring Communicators Club are, from left, Nicole Kneedham, sergeant at arms; Paul Marshall, vice president of public relations; Karen Acee, vice president of membership; Tom Norton, president; Ed Dlugolecki, vice president of education; Joan Smith, secretary; and Wendy Eden, treasurer.

Master art of communication skills with support group


or those who get nervous at the idea of making a public presentation, there is help in the form of confidence building that meets at the Mohawk Valley Health System. A group called The Caring Communicators meets the second and fourth Thursday each month for educational programs on leadership skills and public speaking. The next meetings are at noon on Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 in the second floor conference room at the St. Luke’s Campus, 1656 Champlin Ave., Utica, and participants may bring lunch. “We meet for an hour and not only practice giving short speeches, but learn how to conduct a meeting,” said Tom Norton, president who is also director of cardiac and cardiothoracic services at the MVHS. “It has helped me a lot with

public speaking.” The sessions are open to the public, not just to MVHS employees. It is part of Toastmasters International. “I found it helps me with confidence and to feel more in control,” said Wendy Eden, who is the group’s treasurer and self-employed as owner of Harmonizing Your Home, which provides professional organizing and senior move management. “The practice can be instrumental to people in their careers; it can help you with impromptu speaking, for instance. And by coming to these meetings, you practice continually.” Information on membership and cost of dues are provided in a welcome package when newcomers attend their first meeting. Those who would like to visit without commitment may go as guests as often as they like. Toastmasters International is a

nonprofit, educational organization that operates clubs worldwide to help people improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. With headquarters in the United States, it has more than 16,000 clubs and emphasizes leadership through communication. “The Caring Communicators Club does that well,” says Nicole Kneedham, its sergeant-at-arms. “By giving speeches regularly and hearing feedback in a supportive atmosphere, we all reach our goals more quickly and have fun in the process.” For more information on the groups, visit, or The Caring Communicators Club Facebook page, or contact Norton at 315-8013330 or tnorton@mvhealthsystem. org.

He has also worked as an interpreter at Catholic Charities in Syracuse and served as English as a Second Language coordinator at the Bhutanese Community in Syracuse. Regmi earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing at St. Elizabeth College of Nursing in Utica. He earned a bachRegmi elor’s degree in nursing with a minor in biology, summa cum laude, and a master’s degree in nursing, family nurse practitioner, both at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica. He also received the SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowship and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Regmi has organized charitable

events, such as a blood drive and a cancer awareness program, specifically oriented to the refugee community. He received The American Red Cross 2017 Real Hero Award recently along with his wife, Kumari Regmi, and he is also a TEDx speaker.

maintaining MVHS mission objectives related to the care and treatment of patients. White began his career at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica as an intern in June 2012 and was hired in December 2012 as a revenue cycle specialist. Prior to joining SEMC, White was employed at Utica College. White earned both his Master of Business Administration degree in economic crime and fraud management and Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Utica College. Meanwhile, Phelan Sean Phelan has been named manager of revenue cycle for MVHS. In

MVHS adds to management team Cody White has been named executive director of revenue cycle for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this position, White is responsible for the oversight of revenue cycle operations and the design, implementation and maintenance of White initiatives and work plans to enhance net revenue while

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

Continued on Page 17

Health News MVHS medical office gains PA

Continued from Page 16 this position, Phelan will work with revenue cycle management to assist in developing and reinforcing effective business practices within patient access services, health information management, patient financial services and the MVHS Medical Group. Phelan began his career at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica in 2008, working in hospitality services and most recently as a revenue cycle specialist. From 2014-2015, Phelan was employed at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Phelan earned both his Master of Business Administration degree in economic crime and fraud management and Bachelor of Science degree in business economics with a concentration in finance from Utica College.

MVHS names corporate director of total rewards Denise C. Milde has been named corporate director of total rewards for the Mohawk Valley Health System. In this position, Milde will ensure the total rewards programs, including benefits, compensation, retirement and wellness offerings, are competitive, sustainable, Milde scalable and are appropriately reflected in operations and policy materials. Milde earned her Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University in Ithaca and her Master of Business Administration degree from Fordham University in New York City. She is also a certified executive compensation professional, a professional in human resources certified by the HR Certification Institute and a Society for Human Resource Management-certified professional.

MVHS makes staff announcements Sharon Palmer has been named vice president of support services for the Mohawk Valley Health System. Prior to this position, Palmer was assistant vice president of facilities services for MVHS, director of facilities planning and support services and director of project management and support services at Faxton Palmer St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. In her new role, Palmer oversees facilities, construction, environmental services, clinical engineering, safety and security, parking, laundry, call center, patient transport, nutritional

Utica mayor: Luncheon raises $15,000 for local breast cancer patients Utica Mayor Palmieri recently announced his annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon, which took place at Daniele’s at Valley View, raised over $15,000 for The Breast Care Center of Mohawk Health System, an organization that serves breast cancer patients in the community. The $15,000 is the highest amount the luncheon has ever raised. Celebrating the occasion are, from left, Nancy Butcher, executive director of cancer services at MVHS; Palmieri and his wife Susan Palmieri, and Ashley Bizzari, administrative assistant to the mayor. Excellus, PJ Green and the Louis and Linda Leogrande Charitable Foundation sponsored the luncheon. Nearly 300 people attended the luncheon and individuals, businesses and organizations donated more than 60 raffle baskets. services and mail courier. Palmer received a Master of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in health services administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in health services management from SUNY-IT in Utica. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Central New York Society for Healthcare Engineering. Kristin Brown has been named human resource operations-compliance manager for MVHS. In this position, Brown is responsible for leadership and execution of all Brown aspects of the HR systems, process-outcome metrics, HR information system reporting and assigned HR compliance and auditing activities. Prior to joining MVHS, Brown worked for ConMed in Utica. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Le Moyne College in Syracuse and her Master of Business Administration from the University at Albany.

Certified family nurse practitioner joins MVHS Christina Fearon recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Vascular Surgery Group and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining the vascular surgery group, Fearon was employed as a registered nurse in the special care and intensive care units at the St. Elizabeth campus of MVHS. Fearon earned a Master Fearon of Science degree in family health at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Utica College of Syracuse University in Utica. She is certified in basic life support, advanced coronary life support, pediatric advanced life support and the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale. She is also a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

February 2018 •

Marjorie Grace David has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group at the New Hartford Medical Office-Crossroads Plaza and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, David was employed as a physician assistant in pediatric and adult neurology at Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, PLLC in New Hartford. She also served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and lead medical instructor at the rank of sergeant and staff sergeant while deployed in Iraq and in the United David States. David earned a Bachelor of Science degree in clinical health from the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. She earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in registered nursing and an Associate in Science degree in pre-health sciences, both from Pierce College in Lakewood, Wash. She is completing a Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies with an advanced certificate in nutrition from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook. David is a certified physician assistant and a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Society of Army Physician Assistants and the Veteran’s Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. She is the founder of Veterans in Medicine, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring veterans with an interest in a medical career.

Nurse practitioner joins MVHS in New Hartford Kristy Russ has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group as a nurse practitioner at the New Hartford Medical Office-Crossroads Plaza and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in Utica. Prior to joining MVHS, Russ was employed at Russ Oneida Healthcare in Oneida as a surgical services nurse manager. She has also worked as a surgical services nurse at Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton. Russ earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Science degree in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner at

Continued on Page 18

IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 17

Health News Continued from Page 17 Keuka College in Keuka Park. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.

MVHS gains hospitalist, residency faculty member Vishal Vakani has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group as a hospitalist and as a faculty member at the St. Elizabeth Family Medicine residency program. He has privileges at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Vakani earned his medical degree at the American University of Antigua in Antigua. He completed his residency in Vakani family medicine at the St. Elizabeth Family Medicine residency program in Utica. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biological science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. Vakani is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Board of Family Medicine and the Medical Society of the State of New York. He is fluent in both English and Gujarati and speaks conversational Hindi.

JETNET employees make donation The Mohawk Valley Health System Cancer Center recently received a donation from the employees of JETNET in Utica for the purchase of camisoles to be used by breast cancer patients prior to having surgery. JETNET employees took the opportunity to donate to the cancer center in memory of Carmelita Esposito, a former patient, and to benefit the members of the community who are treated kindly and compassionately by the staff throughout their treatment process. “I truly appreciate the kindness and generosity of the employees at JETNET,” said Nancy Butcher, executive director of cancer services at MVHS. “Prior to breast cancer surgery, the patients receive an undergarment that they will need following the procedure. The donation of the camisoles for these women is greatly valued and will benefit many women in our community.” JETNET is a source of information and intelligence on business and commercial aircraft, as well as premium yachts, worldwide. It assists with buying, selling or researching aircraft and provide the most comprehensive

Story idea? Call 749-7070 today! Page 18

and current information available.

MVHS gains obstetriciangynecologist Alsia Kabari recently joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group as an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Women’s Health Center. She has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Kabari earned Kabari her Doctor of Osteopathy from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She completed her residency at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa., and SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Kabari earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Florida International University in Miami, Fla. Kabari is board-eligible in obstetrics-gynecology.

Excellus BCBS makes awards available Nonprofit organizations in Upstate New York can apply for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award grants that add up to a total of $95,000, which the company is offering to help fund health and wellness programs in Upstate New York. Nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations in Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s 31-county Upstate New York region are invited to apply for an award of up to $4,000 each. The award can be used for programs that have clear goals to improve the health or health care of a specific population. Programs that improve the health status of the community, reduce the incidence of specific diseases, promote health education and further overall wellness will be considered. The deadline to submit an application to be considered for an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award is Feb. 19. To access additional information and the online application, go to https:// Awards will be announced in March. Last fall, 12 organizations were selected as Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award winners from more than 40 submitted applications in the 14-county Utica-North Country region.

Advocates Incorporated, UCP affiliate Advocates Incorporated, a nonprofit organization located in Syracuse, recently completed an affiliation with Upstate Caring Partners,


UCP is a Utica-based organization that also governs Upstate Cerebral Palsy, an organization founded over 65 years ago serving children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Advocated Incorporated is a pioneer in developing community-based, self-directed services supporting people in living fully inclusive lives. Advocates Incorporated was founded over 20 years ago by a group of parents seeking community-based supports and services for their children with complex medical, intellectual and developmental disabilities. Led by executive director Nicholas Cappoletti, Advocates has grown over the years to provide person-centered supports and services for over 900 people spanning all phases of life from birth through adulthood, promoting choice and making full community participation possible. Louis Tehan, Upstate Caring Partners president and CEO, said,

“As the world around us continues to dramatically change in the way services are offered to people and families, an appropriate level of funding becomes more the exception rather than the rule. It is the optimal time for our organizations to join together.”

LFH president earns top credential Michael L. Ogden, president of Little Falls Hospital, recently became a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, the nation’s leading professional society for health care leaders. “The health care management field plays a vital role in providing high-quality care to the people in our communities, which makes having a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization critically important,” says Deborah J. Bowen, president and chief executive officer of ACHE. Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development.

Abraham House embraces the dying Continued from Page 12 had an occupancy rate of nearly 70 percent or 42 guests, who stayed a total of 372 days. The average stay was 10 days, according to statistics provided by Ciaccia. The guests ranged in age from 42-97.

Final journey

Candidates for Abraham House are individuals with a terminal diagnosis and a prognosis of living three months or less that need round-theclock loving care (provided by volunteers) in a home-like environment. The proposed Rome Community Care Shelter will be located at 417 N. Washington St., the site of the former Rome Home for the elderly, which closed last spring after 108 years in the community. With the need for exterior and interior renovations, furnishings and new staff, and pending applications for grant funding, Ciaccia said the new home is not projected to be open for guests until spring 2019. The Abraham House hopes to obtain nearly $300,000 in funds and matching grants from the city of Rome, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties Inc., the Rome Community Foundation, The Good News Center, and New York state. Sustainability is a concern since Abraham House admission is not based on income level or ability to pay. The home estimates it spends $394 per day to host each guest. Nei-

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

ther guests nor families are billed for any services provided, nor does the home collect insurance reimbursements. “It is hoped that guests and family members will provide Abraham House with reasonable financial compensation dependent upon their individual ability to pay,” its website states. Abraham House holds two major fundraising events a year which account for 25 percent of the facility’s operating budget, Ciaccia said. Its 10th annual “View of Hope” formal gala was held recently at Historic Union Station in downtown Utica. The 2016 event netted $36,000. Every year in March, it organizes a “meatball madness” contest at Utica College, a fun event that attracts attention and participation from the public at large. Abraham House and Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. are separate nonprofit organizations, but team up to provide quality end-of-life care. Between Abraham House and Hospice’s Siegenthaler Center on Middle Settlement Road in New Hartford, there are just six beds for hospice patients; thus, the facility in Rome will help meet increased demand. All potential Abraham House guests must be patients of hospice. Hospice also provides the medical care plan and oversight for guests, social workers, and bereavement services at the Abraham House. Family members, hospitals, physicians, and home care agencies can make referrals to Abraham House.



Continued from Page 2 gram to Herkimer County. The program has proven to help those with Type 2 diabetes ease pain, fatigue and depression through self-management techniques and physical activity. The diabetes epidemic is on the rise, with an estimated 1.6 million adult New Yorkers, or 10 percent, afflicted with the condition. Older adults, adults with disability, and those with lower household incomes are more likely to have diabetes. Through small group classes, participants learn how to manage diabetes better, eat healthier, and become more knowledgeable about reading food labels along with learning how to become more physically active in ways that work with their bodies. The program will begin Feb. 1 and continue to meet from 1-3:30 p.m. every Thursday for six weeks at Herkimer College, Room 295, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer. To register, for questions or more information, call Elyse Enea at 315-867-1552 or email her at eenea@

Feb. 1

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 Feb. 1 and Feb. 15. The support group is for parents with a son or daughter who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. PAL is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board of parents. For more information, visit www. or call PAL at 480-3004712.

Feb. 1

LFH presents weight-loss program Have you struggled for some time with your weight and want a better quality of life? Ever considered weight loss surgery? Bassett Healthcare Network’s Jesse Hollis, a bariatric surgeon, will discuss treatment options at the next “Lunch & Learn” session from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 1. Lunch is free. “Weight loss surgery can be a game changer if you are committed to making a change in your life for the better,” an LFH spokesperson said. To learn more about Bassett Healthcare Network’s weight loss surgery program and see stories of other patients who have benefited from treatment, visit www.bassett. org. Seats are limited. RSVP to the

community relation department at 315-823-5326.

topics from 5-6:30 p.m. each month at Herkimer Community College, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, room 295. Class topics will be: — 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.

Feb. 8

Laryngectomy support group to meet

Feb. 5

‘Biggest Loser’ competition begins The Mohawk Valley Health System Wellness Center’s eight-week “Biggest Loser” competition begins Feb. 5 and runs until March 30. The cost is $20 to register with an additional $1 for each week that participants gain over their original weight. “I look forward to this event every year,” said Bethany Kleist, MVHS Wellness Center coordinator. “The participants are all so motivated and the transformations throughout the competition are remarkable, both with weight-loss and overall health.” Participants will have access to personalized wellness coaches to provide guidance on fitness, nutrition and other topics. Weigh-ins occur each week at the MVHS Wellness Center, which is open from 3-6 p.m. weekdays. The wellness center is located at the Faxton Campus, 1676 Sunset Ave., Utica. Prizes will be awarded to the top-three participants who lose the largest percentage of their original weight. To enter the contest, call Bethany Kleist at 315-624-5484 or email More information is available online at

The Laryngectomy Support Group will hold its monthly meeting at noon Feb. 8 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.

Story idea? Call 749-7070 today!

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Feb. 6

MVHS schedules blood drive The Mohawk Valley Health System will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Soggs Room at the Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services at 1650 Champlin Ave., Utica. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed each day in the United States, but only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. Just one donor can help save or sustain up to three lives. Participants will receive a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts card when they present to donate, while supplies last. For more information or to make an appointment, call 315-624-8259. You can also register online prior to the event at www.redcrossblood. org or the day of the event at www.

Feb. 6

HealthNet continues 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 February 2018 •


Upstate’s radiation oncologists: Paul Aridgides, MD, Seung Shin Hahn, MD, Anna Shapiro, MD, Alexander Banashevich, MD, Jeffrey Bogart, MD, Michael LaCombe, MD, and Michael Mix, MD

The expansion of cancer services in Oneida includes the TrueBeam Radiotherapy System, providing the same advanced image-guided radiation oncology technology used at the Upstate Cancer Center in Syracuse. Fast and powerful, TrueBeam provides highly precise three-dimensional, IMRT and SBRT treatment for tumors in critical locations such as prostate, head and neck and CNS cancer as well as tumors affected by breathing motion, including lung, breast, liver and pancreatic cancer. When faced with a diagnosis of cancer, turn to the Upstate Cancer Center. With a comprehensive team-based approach, an individualized treatment plan is created for each patient. Upstate cancer physicians offer the latest technology and state-of-the-art treatments including access to national clinical trials. If you’re facing a diagnosis of cancer, explore your treatment options — close to home.

Upstate Medical Oncology 603 Seneca St., Oneida 315-361-1041

Upstate Radiation Oncology 605 Seneca St., Oneida 315-606-5045

Cancer Center at oneida

Expertise Compassion Hope l


IN GOOD HEALTH – Mohawk Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Mental Health

Stressed Out? Here’s Help! Unrelenting stress can wear you down mentally, physically By Barbara Pierce


e all know that stress isn’t good for us. But many of us are so used to being stressed out that it seems normal. So we don’t do anything about it. We’ve given up. We ignore the signs we’re overstressed. We’ve accepted that stress is the new normal. But high stress levels do take a big toll on you — not only on your body, but your brain and mood, in ways you may not be aware Brady of. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away; those stress hormones just simmer and cause damage to your body, brain, mood and relationships. “Stress causes not only emotional distress but physical distress and ailments,” said Deanna Brady, psychiatric nurse practitioner and owner of Present Tense Psychiatry in Clinton. Her practice provides comprehensive psychiatric care. “Prolonged stress

can lead to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, to name just a few,” she said. You’ve probably heard those things, but you may not know about the toll it takes on you in other ways that Brady described. If you’re feeling tired, fatigued and sluggish, those could be signs of stress. Days filled with stress keep your stress response system turned on almost nonstop. This dumps stress hormones into your body, which increases your heart rate. That takes a lot of energy and makes you exhausted by the end of the day. Aches and pains in your body, or frequent headaches, could be caused by stress. Gastrointestinal disorders like stomach pains, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and acid reflux can be caused by stress. Frequent colds can be another sign you’re overly stressed. If you’re a poor sleeper — you either can’t get to sleep or don’t want to get out of bed — you may have high levels of stress hormones. This not only decreases the total amount of sleep you get, but compromises the quality of whatever sleep you are getting.


Other signs you may be overstressed: You’ve started using alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances more; you’re irritable, feel more impatient and on edge; you have trouble making decisions; your memory has fizzled; you’ve become less social and enjoy things less.

End of rope

Here’s how one anonymous person describes it, online: “I’m always so stressed out and I feel trapped. I am exhausted, always in pain, and always feeling tightness in my chest, which is causing problems in my job, love life, and where I live. What can I do to slow things down so I can get some breathing room when I feel like I am at the end of my life?” “It can feel overwhelming when you’re busy and under a lot of stress,” said Brady. “People usually try to push through it to get to the end of the stress. That’s the exact opposite of what we should do,” she recommended. “First, STOP. Just stop whatever you’re doing. Just sit, for five to 10 minutes. Stop and clear your brain,” she advises.

Many recommend breathing to help you stop and clear your brain. “If I feel myself getting stressed, I simply stop for a moment and use one of my breathing techniques. This instantly calms me down and has an immediate effect on my state of mind, allowing me to think clearly and rationally,” said Ben Knights online. “It’s such a powerful tool.” “After you’ve cleared your brain, then you can prioritize what needs to be done and figure out how to continue,” Brady said. Brady’s tips to prevent a buildup of stress: — Exercise is a great way to keep the stress hormones away. “My favorite is yoga,” she said. “It allows for breathing and relaxing while giving you a great workout. Even 10 minutes a day is better than none.” “There are a lot of resources online, especially on YouTube, that allow you to do shorter yoga routines at home as time is an issue for most people. But everybody has 10 minutes a day for themselves; we just don’t always like to take it.” Also, try to get more regular sleep, she recommended. A sleep schedule helps— same time to bed, same time up every day. Also eat healthy and regularly. Working with a therapist to sort things out can be very beneficial. “I think people wait too long to seek professional help,” said Brady. When you recognize that you’re stressed out, it usually means that your level of stress has already escalated. That would be the time to seek help from a professional before your stress gets worse and causes emotional and physical symptoms. For more information, visit www.


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.

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

Profile for In Good Health: MV's Healthcare Newspaper

MV IGH #144 February 2018  

MV IGH #144 February 2018  


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