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in good MAKING A DIFFERENCE Physician William Valenti has worked with those who live with HIV, AIDS for 27 years. He discusses the goal to end HIV by reducing numbers of new infections

February 2016 • Issue 126

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New Hope for Cancer Patients

At 91, former President Jimmy Carter is the most famous cancer patient to benefit from a groundbreaking new treatment — immunotherapy

Maple Syrup Season Coming

See story inside

First-Time Moms Are Getting Older in US Dental Care for People with Disabilities A $3.5 million grant to Eastman Institute to improve dental care provided to special needs people and other adults with special health care needs

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Telehealth Expected to Grow Exponentially

Beyond Genes–Keys to Healthful Aging

“Healthcare in a Minute” on p. 5

URMC prof says in many ways we’re not growing older healthfully

Oysters

Is there any truth to their libidoboosting power? Read “SmartBites” column inside

Half of Those with Glaucoma Don’t Know They Have it — Are You at Risk? February 2016 •

Special Olympics Project Unify has athletes who have disabilities competing alongside high school students who have no disabilities

New Guidelines New U.S. Dietary Guidelines: Boost Fruit and Veggie Intake, Limit Sugar and Salt

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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Rochester’s Only Freestanding Transitional Care Center. The Wegman Transitional Care Center brings a whole new kind of care to Rochester. It is the first and only freestanding transitional care center in the area. In other words, it is separate from St. Ann’s skilled nursing building and has an environment with a single focus: helping you gain the independence you need to return home. And the Wegman Transitional Care Center seems more like a hotel than a rehab center. With private spacious rooms, private baths with personal showers, and flat-screen TVs, you truly feel like one of The Most Important People on Earth.

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Enjoy our beautiful and comfortable rooms while you can. Because St. Ann’s has the latest technology and the most advanced accreditations to help accelerate your recovery. Have a surgery that’s already scheduled? Remember, where you go for rehab is completely up to you. So preplan your stay by reserving your room at St. Ann’s. Call 585-697-6311 for your free Transitional Care Planning Kit or visit www.StAnnsCommunity.com.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016


February 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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Feb. 2

Explores aspects of hearing loss, job help All community members interested in hearing loss are welcome at Hearing Loss Association of America Rochester Chapter's Feb. 2 programs to be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at the corner of East Avenue and Westminster Road in Rochester. "Aspects of Hearing Loss," with audiologist Stephen T. Hart, begins at noon. Hart will explore untreated hearing loss, which allegedly has strong links to individuals' risk of developing dementia; sudden hearing loss occurring with no previous history; and aural rehabilitation, easing the adjustment to hearing loss and hearing aids with multi-disciplined approaches. He has headed Hart Hearing Centers for over 35 years. At the 8 p.m. meeting workers can discover whether Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) could benefit their job situation. Christine Olivier will explain how the agency serves people with all types of disabilities who want to work. Among ACCES-VR services are career counseling, benefits advisement, rehabilitation and assistive technology, and training. They help people with disabilities get jobs, whether the person is born with the disability, develops a disability or acquires one while working. Olivier is a certified rehabilitation counselor for deaf and hardof-hearing adults with 25 years of counseling experience.

Feb. 11

Seminar: Sex after prostate cancer Us TOO Rochester, a nonprofit that offers support, education and advocacy for people who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, will sponsor a free seminar titled “Treating Sexual Dysfunction After Prostate Cancer.” The feature guest is Rochester Regional Health urologist Louis Eichel. The doctor will discuss sex after prostate cancer. The event will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11 in the Sengupta Conference Room, Rochester General Hospital, Polisseni Pavilion, ground floor. Spouses and significant others welcome. Registration not required. Arrive early for best seating. Use Portland Ave. garage. Parking passes to first 30 attendants. For more information, send an email to ustoorochesterny@gmail.com

Feb. 16

hoacny.com Page 4

The Labyrinth Society holds event The Labyrinth Society of Rochester is sponsoring its Community Labyrinth Walk from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Feb.16, at the First Unitari-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016

an Church of Rochester, 220 S. Winton Rd., Rochester. The event is free but organizers will accept donations. Organizers say the event will provide free energy work, chair massage and music. A 15-minute orientation from 7 to 7:15 p.m. will be available. For further details, contact Kay Whipple at 585-392-3601 or through email kwhipple@rochester.rr.com. Future events will be held Thursday, March 17; Thursday, April 14, and Monday, May 23.

Feb. 19, March 24

Lifespan looking for ‘Second Half Hero’ Each year five people aged 60 or older are honored at Lifespan's Celebration of Aging. They receive the Eli Rudin Second Half Hero Awards. The organization is now inviting the public to nominate someone who is embracing the opportunities of longer life or taking on the challenges of longer life with a positive attitude. Organizers are looking for people who are role models. Honorees are chosen by the staff and the member of the board of directors at Lifespan. Nominations are due Feb. 19. Go to www.lifespan-roch.org/ celebration-of-aging/ to complete a nomination form. If you have any questions, send an email to Mary Rose McBride at mrmcbride@lifespan-roch.org. The Lifespan's 20th Celebration of Aging will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 24, at the Riverside Convention Center. Guest speaker this year is actor, director, producer, author Henry Winkler.

Feb. 21

Vegan group to hold potluck dinner The Rochester Area Vegan Society is hosting a potluck dinner that will feature two experts who will talk about the value of organic farming to human health and health of the planet. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21 at Brighton Town Park Lodge, 777 Westfall Road. The vegan dinner starts at 7p.m. The speaker are: Elizabeth Henderson, who farmed at Peacework Farm in Newark, and is currently on the boards of NOFA-NY and the Agricultural Justice Project, and Erin Bullock, who founded Mud Creek Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Victor in 2009. Since then, she has started a therapeutic farming program at the EquiCenter in Mendon growing food organically with people with disabilities, at-risk youth, and veterans. Free to members of Rochester Area Vegan Society and $3 guest fee for non-members. Participants are encouraged to bring a vegan dish to share. To attend, call 234-8750 or visit rochesterveg.org


First-Time Moms Are Getting Older in US Average age of a mother’s first birth is now 26.3

T

he age at which U.S. women have their first baby is going up, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 2000 to 2014, the average age of a mother's first birth rose from 24.9 to 26.3, data from the CDC report found. In the report, published Jan. 14, the researchers attributed the shift to two main factors: a decrease in the percentage of women having their first birth before age 20, and an increase in the percentage having their first birth over age 30. The percentage of women having their first child under age 20 fell to

13.4 percent in 2014, down from 23.1 percent in 2000, according to the report. The percentage of women having their first child between ages 30 and 34 rose to 21 percent in 2014, up from 16.5 percent in 2000, according to the report. And 9.1 percent of women having their first child in 2014 were 35 or older, up from 7.4 percent in 2000. This is a trend that will likely continue as more women pursue professional goals, said Brooke Hodes-Wertz, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University Langone Medical Center.

Sugary Drinks Tied to Increase in Deep Belly Fat And that type of fat associated with risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, researchers report

P

eople who drink sugary beverages every day tend to accumulate more deep belly fat over time, new research suggests. The study, of over 1,000 adults, found that those who downed at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day had a bigger increase in deep abdominal fat over the next six years. Researchers said the results are concerning because that type of fat -— known as visceral fat — surrounds a number of vital organs and is particularly unhealthy. "Visceral fat is the kind that's closely associated with the risks of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease," said Alice Lichtenstein, a

spokeswomen for the American Heart Association (AHA), who was not involved in the study. The findings, published Jan. 11 in the journal Circulation, are far from the first to connect sugary drinks to health consequences. Past research has already found that people who consume a lot of sugary drinks tend to have higher rates of diabetes and heart disease.

Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman

T

Telehealth Growing Exponentially

here were just 250,000 telehealth “visits” in 2013. That number is expected to hit 7 million by 2018. Most plans are now paying for telehealth, which means more and more physicians will participate, if only to remain competitive. Telehealth allows physicians to remotely monitor diseases like diabetes and develop care coordination plans. This is a tremendous boon to homebound elderly or those living in predominantly rural areas. A major impediment to telehealth has been state borders. Getting licensed to practice in different states has been a hassle for physicians. The new Interstate Physician Licensure Compact is an agreement that makes it far easier for physicians to get credentialed in other states. Currently 12 states participate with most being clustered in Western/Central states with large rural populations like Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. So far, New York has not enacted. Contiguous states Vermont and Pennsylvania have introduced legislation. Some carriers are getting way ahead of the competition in order to attract and retain business. New York state- based Oscar Health offers telehealth through Teledoc to its 100,000 members for free. Members can call or use the Oscar Health website (www.hioscar.com) to relay their symptoms. A physician responds in less than 10 minutes.

Medical Bills

The No. 1 cause for bankrupt-

cy is still medical debt. 1.7 million Americans will file for bankruptcy this year because they can’t pay their medical bills. A study conducted by NerdWallet (yes, NerdWallet) considered data from the CDC, federal courts and the Commonwealth Fund. Most people max out credit cards, which carry high interest rates. The study also reveals 10 million people with insurance claim they can’t pay all their outstanding medical bills. While ObamaCare has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 15 million, it isn’t a panacea. The average US household income is about $50,000. The cost of a basic family plan is about $20,000.

Doula Care

Doula is from the Greek word for “a woman who serves.” As women choose alternatives to delivering their baby in a hospital, many are hiring doulas who are trained to provide non-clinical emotional, practical and informational support throughout pregnancy. Doula care is not covered by insurance. Advocates claim the use of doulas can reduce costs by lowering C-sections, the use of epidurals and preventable complications. The problem is there hasn’t been enough experience with doulas to confirm the claims. While research has shown that the cost of inpatient deliveries far exceeds the benefits, the mortality rates for “outside”-born babies was twice that for hospital-born babies.

Cost Containment

Most industry experts estimate 30 percent of healthcare is unnecessary. February 2016 •

But how much is attributable to overly demanding patients? According to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care, a lot. Fifty-two percent of primary care physicians admit to making unnecessary referrals to specialists to placate patients. Thirty-nine percent acquiesced to prescribing expensive drugs when equally effective generic drugs were available. It is totally understandable why physicians would want to avoid conflict with their patient customers. Many believe fee for service/volume is a major cause of unnecessary care since there is not a financial incentive for either party to keep costs down. Cost containment incentives are gradually being imposed on physicians and hospitals. Patients can do their part in cost containment by cooperating and becoming informed consumers.

Nurse Placement Reflects Change

In what should come as no surprise, a 10-year study that tracks nurse employment found nurses are increasingly employed outside of hospitals. In 2012, 76 percent of new nurses took jobs in hospitals compared to 87 percent in 2005. This reflects the shift about where care is being delivered. Hospital occupancy has been declining 5 percent a year while services provided to the community by home care agencies, case management companies, ambulatory care centers, urgent care centers and physician offices have seen marked increases.

Free Doctor Visit

In order to improve overall

health, some health plans in large markets like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Miami are offering a free primary care visit to their members. The physician still gets paid, but the patient does not have to pay down their deductible or the 20 percent co-pay. The hope is that the “free” visit will give the primary physician an opportunity to identify any health issues before they become serious and to reduce unnecessary trips to the emergency department. It also gives the physician chance to meet brand new patients and establish a baseline on them. Many consumers are deterred from getting necessary care because of high out-of-pocket expenses.

ACA Headed for Veto

While there have been over 50 attempts to repeal the ACA/ ObamaCare, the various bills never got past the Democratic-controlled senate. But now that the Republicans control the senate, a bill will finally reach the President’s desk. While it will definitely be vetoed by Obama, it is an indication of what might happen if a Republican wins the White House next year.

George W. Chapman is a health consultant who operates GW Chapman Consulting in Upstate New York. To reach him, email gwc@gwchapmanconsulting.com.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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New U.S. Dietary Guidelines: Boost Fruit and Veggie Intake, Limit Sugar and Salt Recommendations revised every five years

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mericans need to cut back on added sugars, saturated fats and salt if they want to eat a diet that can improve their health, according to the federal government's latest version of its dietary guidelines. The guidelines, released early in January, break new ground by specifically recommending that people limit added sugars to fewer than 10 percent of their daily calories. The last version of the guidelines, which came out in 2010, only said that people should reduce their intake of added sugars without setting a specific goal. The guidelines are updated every five years, so they keep up with current science. The new recommendations — called the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans — also ask that people limit saturated fats to fewer than 10 percent of their daily calories, and consume fewer than 2,300 milligrams per day of salt. That's a bit less than one teaspoon of salt. Overall, the guidelines emphasize the adoption of a healthy eating pattern that fits into a person's lifestyle, rather than recommending specific amounts of different foods, such as vegetables or meats. "These patterns can be tailored to an individual's personal preferences, enabling Americans to choose the diet that is right for them," the report states. The guidelines even provide three examples of a healthy eating plan that people can adopt: a healthy American diet; a Mediterranean-style diet; and a vegetarian diet. The emphasis on a healthy eating plan is meant to be more consumer-friendly, making it easier for people to use the guidelines, experts said. According to the new guidelines, a healthy eating pattern includes: ■ Any type of vegetables, especially if they're eaten in a wide variety. ■ Fruits, especially whole fruits. ■ Grains, at least half of which are whole grains. ■ Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/ or fortified soy beverages. ■ A variety of protein sources, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, and soy products. ■ Oils. ■ If alcohol is consumed, it should be done so in moderation — up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men, the guidelines say.

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Meet

medicine to reduce transmission. If you catch it early and take your medicine, you'll live almost as long as someone without the disease. The caveat is getting into care and staying there. That can be tricky for people.

Your Doctor

By Chris Motola

William M. Valenti, M.D. Making a difference in the lives of those who live with HIV, AIDS — for 27 years and counting. Discusses ending HIV by reducing numbers of new infections Q: Can you give me an overview of your position and specialty? A: I'm an infectious diseases physician and internist. I started my infectious diseases career as a faculty member in the infectious diseases unit the University of Rochester Medical Center. In 1989, when the HIV epidemic was at its height, left the university and opened what was then called Community Health Network. It was a community-based clinic for HIV care. Over the years we have expanded and morphed. We're now known as Trillium Health. Over half our patients are HIV-positive. We also do health care for the LGBT community. We also are a primary care health center. I do a fair amount of administrative work now, but I'm still practicing and seeing patients. So 27 years later we're still at it, but in a slightly different arrangement in terms of what we do and how we do it. Q: When I was growing up, HIV education was really popular. I remember thinking of it like a boogeyman who was going to get me if I got exposed to anyone else's fluids. In contrast, today you don't really hear about it that much. Is that frustrating as someone involved in treating the disease? Or are people's perceptions of it now more appropriate? A: It's a little of both, really. Being able to manage the disease as a chronic illness has become possible as our understanding of the disease has evolved, along with the drugs and technology. The frustrating part is that HIV is really preventable, and there are some people out there who miss that point. They end up taking more risks than they should. So yes, we can manage it as a chronic illness, but we could do a lot better in terms of prevention. Toward that end, based on the past 25 years of good public health policy in New York, we're starting to talk about ending HIV by reducing numbers of new infections. So there's a new push to reduce the rate of new infections. We're not trying to scare people as much as just make them better informed. Q: What can someone who is already infected do to reduce the chances of spreading the infection while still living the social life they want to live? A: A couple things. You need to be in medical care. Medical care with an experienced physician can make all the difference in terms of finding the right drugs, keeping your virus count low, which in turn reduces

Q: What other diseases does your work encompass? A: HIV is the big one, but we do hepatitis C, a very serious infectious disease. The good news is that we can cure it. If you were born between 1945 and 1965, a member of the baby boomer generation, you're at particular risk for hepatitis C and should get tested. There was a fair amount of injection drug use during that era, and the blood supply screening guidelines weren't in place prior to 1965. If we find out about it early enough, we can cure it over the course of 12 weeks. Most of the time it's asymptomatic until there's serious liver damage. It looks like a lot of other different diseases on top of that. So the big issue for this disease is getting tested. And get tested for HIV while you're at it. Q: In our country access is an ongoing issue. How does that complicate outcomes? A: For HIV, there are a number of programs available, especially in New York. People can usually get drugs if they're in care and need them. Some things have changed with the Affordable Care Act. Some of those policies have high deductibles. But for the most part we don't have much trouble getting people drugs. We're not quite there with hepatitis C. The drugs are expensive, but we work with insurance plans to get people treated.

your chances of spreading the disease to other people. We also have some modern era prevention that we can do for people who are HIV-negative, but who are at risk due to their sexual practices. They can take one pill a day that pretty much reduces the risk of getting HIV by about 95 percent. So drugs and technology can help, but people have to use them. Q: I actually only know about that pill through friends who are in the LGBT community. You'd think an HIV-prevention pill would be blockbuster news. Why isn't it more well known? A: Good question. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) hasn't been as well-promoted as it should. Part of the reason is that HIV is kind of off the radar now. We've had better luck in some circles than others, and we've had the most success in getting the message out to gay men. It's getting some traction. Two years ago it wasn't on the radar screen at all. We still have a lot of work to do in terms of reaching people we might ordinarily miss who are at high risk, for example, men of color who have sex with men. They're not well-represented in these prevention programs. Q: How close are we to a cure? A: As far as a preventive vaccination, we're learning a lot and getting closer, but we're not there yet. In terms of a cure, we're a long way off still. We can come close to that with where we are now, however, by getting people tested, getting them into care, encouraging them to take their

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016

Q: How did you become interested in infectious diseases? A: I was always interested in infectious diseases. As a child, I participated in the Salk polio vaccine trials. I saw polio disappear during my childhood, and it taught me a healthy respect for vaccines and medication. So when the HIV epidemic appeared in the early 80s, that early experience put things into motion for me. I like to solve puzzles.

Lifelines Name: William M. Valenti, M.D. Position: Senior VP for organizational development, co-founder, and staff physician at Trillium Health; clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Hometown: Rochester, NY Education: Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliations: Strong Memorial; Highland Hospital Career: Co-founded Community Health Network in Rochester 1989; has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and scientific abstracts on HIV medical care, infectious diseases and health care epidemiology and infection control; has recently served as chairman of the hepatitis-C guidelines committee for the New York State Department of Health Organizations: Infectious Diseases Society of America; Monroe County Medical Society; Medical Society of the State of New York Family: Partner of 16 years Hobbies: Reading, travel, gardening, drawing


E-cigs Not the Answer for Those Trying to Quit

S

mokers who have resolved to quit are cautioned to avoid using e-cigarettes to wean themselves off of tobacco products, according to research issued by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products that turn their contents into a vapor that is inhaled. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can contain liquid nicotine, flavoring and potentially harmful chemicals. “The risks associated with inhaling these vapors are largely unknown,” said physician Matthew Bartels, medical direcBartels tor of health care improvement at Excellus BCBS. “Because e-cigarettes aren’t held to the FDA's rigorous review standards, there’s no way to verify the safety of these devices." If you’re planning to quit smoking, Bartels recommends only FDA-approved smoking cessation methods: • Patches, gum and lozenges • Prescription medications, including nicotine inhalers prescribed

by a health care provider • Nasal sprays Smokers can receive free resources and assistance to help quit by calling the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866697-8487). In New York state, high school students and young adults aged 18 to 24 are almost twice as likely to use e-cigarettes than adults aged 25 and older, according to an Excellus BCBS infographic, “Smoldering Facts on E-Cigarettes.” According to the infographic, 8.7 percent of eighth graders, 16.2 percent of 10th graders and 17.1 percent of 12th graders nationally admitted using e-cigarettes in the past month. “Such flavors as bubble gum, cotton candy, and tutti-frutti could appeal to youths," said Bartels. "The pleasing flavors, coupled with the stimulating effect of liquid nicotine, make for a dangerous combination that could potentially lead to nicotine addiction.” “This should be enough to make us question the impact e-cigarettes can have on the health of our children and others who may believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to using tobacco products,” he added. • To view the infographic: http://tinyurl.com/juy9kvn • Mobile-friendly infographic: http://brand.excellusbcbs.com/infographics/

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SERVING MONROE AND ONTARIO COUNTIES in good A monthly newspaper published

Health Rochester–GV Healthcare Newspaper

by Local News, Inc. Distribution: 33,500 copies throughout more than 1,500 high traffic locations.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2016 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. 154 Cobblestone Court Dr., Suite 121 – P.O. Box 525, Victor NY 14564. • Phone: 585-421-8109 • Email: Editor@GVhealthnews.com Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Writers: Jim Miller, Deborah J. Sergeant, Gwenn Voelckers, Anne Palumbo, Ernst Lamothe Jr., Chris Motola, George W. Chapman, Jessica Gaspar, Lynette Loomis Advertising: Donna Kimbrell, Anne Westcott Layout & Design: Eric J. Stevens • Office Manager: Alice Davis 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. Consult your physician before making major changes in your lifestyle or health care regimen.

February 2016 •

BOARD CERTIFIED ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS Dr. Raymond Stefanich, M.D. Dr. John Klibanoff, M.D. Dr. Robert Little, M.D. Dr. Michael Colucci, M.D. Dr. Steven Posnick, M.D. We welcome Sam Bean, N.P. who comes with over 17 years of orthopaedic experience to Orthopaedic Associates of Rochester, P.C.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

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Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

Message For Those Who Live Alone

I

’m often asked by readers and those who attend my “Live Alone and Thrive” workshops whether I ever date or would consider getting married again. My answer is unequivocally “yes!” More often than not, people are surprised by my answer. I like the question, because it gives me a chance to remind everyone that being successful at living alone doesn’t mean abandoning the idea of building and sharing a life with someone special. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: Living alone doesn’t mean being alone. Many people satisfy their need and desire to be with people by developing a great group of friends, including family members. Others want more, and long for romance and the exclusive domain of a loving relationship. It is to this latter group that I dedicate this column. If the idea of dating in mid-life seems daunting, know that you are not alone. I’ve talked with many older women and men who have resigned themselves to “terminal single-hood,” after having tried unsuccessfully to enter the dating scene. It only takes a few disappointments

and rejections to send people running for cover. But like any challenge, if you approach dating with thoughtfulness and care, a satisfying and lasting relationship is possible at any age. Below are a few tips I’ve assembled from my own experience and the experiences of others that may help you jump-start your search for a loving companion: Define what dating means to you. If you haven’t dated in years (perhaps in decades), the term “dating” may suggest the first step in a predictable path to marriage. These days, dating is, well, dating. And you can define it any way you like. Maybe you just want a date for a work event. Perhaps you’d be happy with a number of companions with whom you could enjoy movies, dinner, intimacy, etc. Or, you may be on a serious quest to find a new life partner. Your definition — your dating goal — will shape the style and pace of your search. Know what you’re looking for. I remember reading an article recently in which the author details her experience of writing down the qualities she wanted in a man, and then — lo and behold — having the man of her

dreams stroll right into her life. Was it coincidence? Magic? Who knows, but the exercise has merit. Thinking about what you want as well as what’s unacceptable will help you refine your search and improve your chances of finding a compatible partner. Be yourself. This is no time to try and become the person you wish you were or you think others will find attractive. One of the advantages of being a little older is increased self-awareness and the confidence to be who you truly are. Accept and embrace yourself “as is.” Pretending to be otherwise will only compromise your chances of meeting someone who loves you just the way you are. Spread the word. If you want to meet someone, make your search a priority and let friends and family know you’re looking. Don’t be apologetic about expressing your desire to find a companion. It might sound like this: “You know, it’s been a while, and I’m feeling ready to meet someone. May I ask a favor? Would you keep me in mind if you run into someone you think might be a good fit for me?” Other ways to initiate your search include joining a matchmaking website or by subscribing to a dating service. Having had no experience with these avenues, I can only offer this bit of cautionary advice: It’s potentially risky, so take precautions.

There's a lot written on this subject, so look for books and articles, or conduct a Web search to learn how to best protect yourself. Put yourself with like-minded people. Do you like to dance? Are you an athlete? Is reading your passion? We all like being with people who share our interests; and one way to kick-start your dating adventure is to attend social functions that attract the kind of partner you are looking for. Now’s the time to join clubs and groups whose members include potential partners. It could be a book club, a hiking group just for singles, dance lessons that don’t require partners, or organizations that cater to divorced or widowed men and women. To be successful, you need to get out of the house. Have fun and keep your expectations in check. We’ve all suffered the occasional bad date or rejection. Try not to let that stop you from meeting new people and pursuing that special someone. Dating, just like networking for a new job, can put you in the company of interesting, stimulating people. Even if your heart doesn’t go pitter-patter, you’ll be out in the world and expanding your experiences and circle of friends. So give it a whirl. Muster your courage, pick up the phone, and enjoy the search for that special someone! Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive, empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, New York. For information about her upcoming workshops or to invite Gwenn to speak, call her at 585624-7887, email her at gvoelckers@ rochester.rr.com.

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

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

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016


Maple Syrup:

Nature's Nutrient-rich Sweetener High season for maple production approaching in the area By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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s frigid winter days give way to warmer daytime temperature, maple syrup producers will soon begin their annual season of transforming sap into syrup. To transform maple sap into syrup, producers heat it to evaporate excess water until the syrup reaches the correct temperature and consistency. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Nothing is added. Maple syrup offers nutrients not found in other sweeteners. Beyond its unique flavor as a pancake topper, maple syrup "is a healthier, natural sugar," said Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association based in Syracuse. "It is also vegan approved." Emily Cope, registered dietitian and owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition (www.emilykylenutrition.com) in Rochester serves as spokesperson for the Genesee Dietetic Association, said that maple syrup "holds more nutritional value than other types of sugars, especially refined sugars." She listed among the benefits of a one-quarter cup serving 95 percent of

the daily value of manganese, and 37 percent riboflavin. "Pure maple syrup contains many vitamins and minerals needed by the body for daily functions, including zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium," she said. "Another great benefit of maple syrup is that it contains high levels of antioxidants which can help to minimize free radicals in the body." The nutrients inherent to maple syrup helps the body resist many kinds of health problems, according to J. Elizabeth Smythe, registered dietitian in private practice and director community engagement for the American Diabetes Association Upstate region. "The darker the color, the more antioxidants — disease fighting properties — it contains," she said. "It has anti-aging, immune system- boosting properties. It prevents the inflammatory response and goes hand in hand for lowering risk of Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and coronary heart disease." She said that the key is that syrup contains polyphenals, which are plant-based compounds.

Where to Find It

Want to find a maple producer in your area? Visit www. nysmaple.com, the website of the New York State Maple Producers Association. Most producers sell syrup year-round. The site lists 160 maple weekend events throughout the state. Most are the third and fourth weekends of March. Call in advance to confirm information. Make sure you purchase 100-percent pure maple syrup to receive the health benefits of genuine maple syrup. Some manufacturers package syrup in jugs similar to the classic maple syrup container to associate their product with genuine maple syrup. Of course nearly all sweeteners contain carbohydrates. That's why Smythe advises clients to consume any sweetener in moderation. Janel Welch, registered dietitian with Crestwood Children's Center in Rochester, said that about 67 percent of maple syrup is naturally-occurring

sugar. "These nutrients are found in other foods with less sugar in much greater proportions such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread and cereals," she said. Compared with other sources, the amount of antioxidants that maple syrup contains is low. Welch said that a one-tablespoon serving contains only 0.8 milligrams of zinc (6 percent of the daily value), and around 1 percent of the daily value of calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. But maple syrup contains many more nutrients than nearly every other sweetener, so if you want a sweet topping for a dessert, sweet potato casserole, meat glaze or other dish, reach for your jug of maple syrup. Consider using maple sugar, a granulated form of maple syrup, suitable in many recipes calling for white granulated sugar. It's made by cooking the maple sap until it crystallizes. Most recipes require only half as much maple sugar because of its intense sweetness.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9


Improving Oral Health of People with Disabilities A $3.5 million grant to Eastman Institute to improve dental care provided to special needs people and other adults with special health care needs By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

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entists have long called oral health the window to overall health. There have been various studies connecting how someone treats their teeth can lead to more serious medical problems, including cardiac diseases. The problem becomes even more paramount for those with developmental disabilities who are typically underserved. UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health is looking to change that and has been awarded a $3.5 million grant for an innovative educational initiative — a major step in reducing the health disparities among people with special needs. “Oral care is one of the most unmet needs for the population we are trying to serve,” said Sean McLaren, Eastman Institute pediatric dentistry interim chairman and the principal investigator of the grant. “We were so excited to hear about the grant because this will really help people in need and give them a leg up in obtaining treatment.” McLaren Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the five-year program will train more than 100 pediatric and general dentists, plus numerous hygienists and dental assistants treating people with developmental disabilities. They will also train to treat those with Type 1 diabetes, congenital heart defects, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. Advances in medicine have led to increases in life expectancy for patients with childhood congenital or acquired diseases. The current system is unequipped to provide high quality dental care for this growing population of patients as they enter adulthood. The new program provides four different options for post-doctoral training. Similar to medical residents who can specialize in internal medicine and pediatrics, pediatric and advanced general dentistry residents can now achieve proficiency in treating patients with special health care needs from birth through advanced age. The first year will have between 25 to 27 students and will continue at that pace to provide more than 100 trained dentist in four years. “A lot of our residents at Eastman go to live and workout throughout the world. This program will be a great way to have them spread this training nationwide in whatever local community they land,” said McLaren. “Nobody should have to drive two to three hours to see a dentist.” McLaren believes the program Page 10

will give people the proper, formal training to treat people in need. Dentists will take specific courses that help them understand the medical background and issues patients deal with as well as behavior management strategies. The training will take place at UR Medicine’s new Center for Adults with Special Health Care Needs and Eastman Institute for Oral Health, beginning in July 2016. “Everyone deserves the ability to have a healthy body and a good state of health,” said Lisa DeLucia, assistant professor at Eastman. “Oral health is a huge part of that. We are finding that there are a large number of special needs individuals that are having a hard time connecting with dental providers in the area.” She has seen those with developmental disabilities fall through the healthcare cracks for various reasons. The main one is that dentists are not used to dealing with that segment of the population due to lack of training. “There are so many things jammed in the years of dental school that people come out without truly being trained properly and many don’t feel comfortable dealing with special needs patients,” added DeLucia. “Then you add the fact that many providers don’t take Medicaid patients and that makes it even worse.” Reading about those with special needs can’t simply be the main resource of dentist, she said. They have to interact and feel comfortable interacting with them For more than a decade, DeLucia has been involved with the Special Olympics Smiles program. Developed in 1993, and first implemented at Special Olympics Massachusetts Games that year, DeLucia the program provides comprehensive oral health care information, including offering free dental screenings and instructions on correct brushing and flossing techniques to participating Special Olympics athletes. When it’s Eastman Institute’s day to come out for Special Smiles, athletes received treatment for their most immediate dental needs including X-rays, exams, cleanings and fillings. More than 30 volunteers, including dentists, dental residents, dental assistants, faculty and staff, participate. The goal is to expose current and future dental professionals to individuals with developmental disabilities and initiate a follow-up

Dentist Lisa DeLucia talking to the patient about his X-ray. “We are finding that there are a large number of special needs individuals that are having a hard time connecting with dental providers in the area,” she says. DeLucia is assistant professor at UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health. Photo courtesy of Angela Huss Marvin. program from Special Olympics Special Smiles screening events. Having a dentist at the sport evening is akin to a hospital having an open house; it’s best to meet your clientele when they aren’t sick and not in a scary situation. “Certainly, there are challenges in providing treatment, but those challenges are far from impossible to overcome,” said Vineela Redla, who was trained as a clinical director for Special Smiles at the Special Olympics National Games in 2014 in New Jersey. “In fact, by making minor clinical modifications, dentists can deliver successful and cost-effective treatment. Treating patients with special needs effectively involves knowing how to interact with them and addressing them properly.” DeLucia agrees. “We can help treat people at the event that is away from an office setting with a far more comfortable environment,” said DeLucia. “We are in jeans and a T-shirt and there is no noisy equipment in the background so the experience is less scary. The

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016

connection made in that first meeting can make a big difference.” Redla said communication is the key. “Explaining what is going to happen can relieve tension and fear in these patients,” she added. “Individuals with special needs may benefit from methods that help desensitize them to dental treatment. Before the visit, family members or caregivers can familiarize the patient with oral care and a daily tooth brushing routine at home in familiar surroundings.” Dental officials hope the program resonates and spreads nationwide. They understand that the importance of oral health cannot be understated. “If you talk to anyone who has ever had a toothache, they know it is one of the most painful things someone can experience,” added DeLucia. “When your teeth are in bad shape, it is a whole nother level of pain and we want to make sure that people don’t have to experience that unnecessary pain that keeps them from eating, smiling and enjoying life.”


SmartBites

abundant zinc then for the excess cholesterol.

Helpful Tips

The skinny on healthy eating

Irresistible News About Oysters Is there any truth to their libido-boosting powers? Oh, oysters. Nothing says “aphrodisiac” more than this pearl of the sea. With its luxurious texture and arousing reputation, no wonder consumption soars during Cupid’s favorite month. But is there any truth to its libido-boosting powers? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: no; there is no such thing as an aphrodisiac. But current research tells a different story. According to a team of American and Italian scientists, oysters contain rare amino acids that may temporarily increase the production of hormones (testosterone in men; progesterone in women) that increase libido. While more research is clearly needed — the studies were done on rats, after all — the findings do show rousing promise. Provocative properties aside, there are oceans of other reasons why we should be consuming this luscious mollusk. To begin, oysters are an excellent source of lean protein that’s low in both calories and fat. Six medium oysters, for example, shell out between 6 to 8 grams of this essential nutrient at only 60 calories and

2 grams of fat. (Slurp a dozen and you’ve knocked off about a fourth of your daily protein needs.) We need protein because it has its hands in every critical function of the body, from tissue repair to energy production to immune function. Are you sitting down? Six little oysters deliver over 400 percent of our recommended daily allowance for zinc. Zinc, best known for its immune-boosting properties, also helps expedite wound healing and quell out-of-control inflammation. But it doesn’t end there. This little mineral may also play a role in testosterone production, further fanning the oyster’s amorous flame. Oysters are surprisingly rich in other nutrients, too — from bone-building vitamin D to energy-boosting iron and vitamin B12 to cell-protecting selenium. What’s more, oysters boast a decent amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Although Casanova, the Italian womanizer, was purported to eat 50 oysters a day, he clearly was not under the care of a good nutritionist! That many oysters could pose a potential health risk — if not for the

When buying fresh, look for oysters no more than five or six days out of the water (seafood markets must display the date when oysters are harvested). Shells should be closed (oysters with open shells are often dead) and the oysters should not smell fishy or rotten. Buy them either the day or the day before you plan to eat. To store oysters in the fridge, put them on a tray or plate with the round cup side of the oyster down and then cover them with a damp towel or cloth. Do not store oysters in a plastic bag, sealable container or tucked in ice.

Healthy Oyster Stew

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 bacon slice, finely chopped 3/4 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup finely diced celery 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/3 cup dry white wine 2 cups 1% low-fat milk 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional) 1 (16-ounce) container standard oysters, undrained 1 teaspoon dried parsley 2 teaspoons (or more) fresh lemon juice Cook bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving one teaspoon drippings in

pan; set bacon aside. Add onion, celery, and green onions to drippings in pan; cook over medium heat seven minutes or until celery is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in flour; cook one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in bacon, milk, thyme, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce (if using); bring to a simmer. Cook two minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in oysters; cook four minutes or until edges of oysters curl (do not boil). Stir in parsley and lemon juice. Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at avpalumbo@aol.com.

Meet Your Provider

Jewish Senior Life

Interview with Susan Bussey, Sr. Vice President at Jewish Senior Life

Q. What is Jewish Senior Life? A. Jewish Senior Life is guided by our values of honoring family and helping seniors age well in the place of their choice. We’re well-known for our dedication to improving the health, well-being, and quality of life of our elders — both on our campus and out in the community. Serving those of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds, we strive to provide the services you need, when, how and where you need them. We’re the only Rochester-area continuum of care retirement community (CCRC) and offer all services on one campus: • The Summit at Brighton for Independent Living; • Wolk Manor for Assisted Living; Susan Bussey • The Lodge at Wolk Manor for Assisted Living Memory Care; • The Jewish Home of Rochester for long-term and memory care; • The Weinberg Manson Transitional Care Program for short-term rehabilitation; and • The Atkin Center for Outpatient Rehabilitation. Plus, we have a wide variety of community programs and services, such as companion care for help

with daily living activities, physician house calls for the homebound, and even handyman services! Q. What makes your organization unique? A. In addition to being the only Rochester-area continuing care retirement community, we are also the only local senior care provider to offer Life Care, a program which eliminates worries about unforeseen medical expenses throughout the CCRC, from independent living to long-term care.

Jewish Senior Life is the only Rochester-area continuum of care retirement community and offer all services on one campus.

Q. What exciting things are happening at Jewish Senior Life? A. We are pleased to offer Living Well Companion Care, the perfect solution for seniors and others who aren’t ready to leave their home but need support to stay at home and be independent. Our companions help with a variety of daily activities such as meal preparation, transportation to doctor’s appointments, and much more.

Q. Anything new? A. We are about to embark on an endeavor to enhance the lives of our long-term care residents. Jewish Senior Life is partnering with the Green House® project to redefine “home” and revolutionize care. By creating real “small-house” homes with a household environment rather than an institutional one, caregivers will be empowered to deliver even more personal and effective care, so residents will enjoy even more meaningful lives. We’ll be Q. Tell us more about Living Well Companion Care. one of the largest green house communities in the A. Each senior is matched thoughtfully with a trust- nation. We’re very excited to take our commitment ed, compatible companion. Our clients have told us to person-centered care to the next level. that our companions are like family to them.

Jewish Senior Life • 585-427-7760 • www.jewishseniorlife.org. February 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11


Immunotherapy Breaking Ground in Cancer Battle President Carter at 91 is the most famous cancer patient to benefit from U

Vice President Biden Pushing for Cancer Cure

therapy

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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he news of former President Jimmy Carter's successful cancer treatment with pembrolizumab, used as an immunotherapy drug, drew attention to the cutting-edge, still-developing therapy. In essence, immunotherapy uses medication to stimulate the body's immune system to fight the multiplying cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. It works differently from chemotherapy drugs, which affect any healthy and diseased tissue that multiplies quickly. Immunotherapy cannot prevent cancer, but it otherwise works in a similar fashion to influenza vaccine by stimulating an immune response to fight the disease. "Immunotherapy is a very exciting field in cancer research that has been around for almost 40 years, but there have been fantastic advances over the past few years," said physician Jonathan W. Friedberg, director of Wilmot Cancer Institute. "For some cancers in some patients, it may represent 'the answer' as far as disease control." Friedberg said that immunotherapy may be used to refer to several types of therapies. One is antibody therapy, which has Friedberg been used for the past 15 years to treat cancers like lymphoma and breast cancer. Cellular therapy, including bone marrow transplantation, represents another

kind of immunotherapy. Newer drugs that help to stimulate the immune system, such as the kind of treatment Carter received, represents another kind of immunotherapy. The newest immunotherapy drugs may seem like a miracle cancer cure, but it's too soon to know its long-term effectiveness and for what types of cancer it is most useful. Carter's cancer, melanoma, "is Kohman one that we know is very involved with the immune system," said physician Leslie Kohman, medical director of SUNY Upstate’s Cancer Center. "Kidney cancer is another. They have a very intimate relationship with the immune system, and many others do." Kohman serves as the medical spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, Inc. in New York and New Jersey. She said that only a very small percentage of all cancer patients make good candidates for this kind of immunotherapy, but she hopes that in the next few years, additional clinical trials will help researchers understand what types of cancer the therapy can most benefit. "In the cancer community, people are really talking about immunotherapy," Kohman said. "We're going to be learning as we develop more drugs. There are only a few of these drugs and they're only applicable to

Cancer Death Rates Down 23 Percent Since 1991: Study Additional 1.7 million survivors, expert says

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eaths from cancer continue to decline in the United States, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society. Since peaking in 1991, cancer death rates have dropped by 23 percent, the ACS said in the report released in January. "Cancer death rates are continuing to decline by about 1.5 percent per year," said study author Rebecca Siegel, strategic director for surveillance information services for the American Cancer Society. The 23 percent drop in death rates occurred from 1991 through 2012, she said, Page 12

and that translates to more than 1.7 million cancer deaths averted. "We are doing very well, I would say, is the bottom line," she said. The findings are included in Cancer Statistics, 2016, the American Cancer Society's latest annual report on cancer incidence, mortality and survival. The report was published online Jan. 7 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The data was collected from the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program and other sources. Over the past decade, the

a few patients." Kohman said that since Carter's cancer had spread to his brain, immunotherapy made sense as a treatment since it passes through the blood/brain barrier, something that most chemotherapy drugs cannot do. The immunotherapy drugs followed Carter's radiation therapy that provided precise treatment in high doses to very small areas. "Every normal cell gets a very, very small dose but the tumor gets a very large dose," Kohman said. "It can be administered over a few treatments." Carter, 91, had four small lesions on his brain. Their size made the cancer easier to treat. "Immunotherapy is another tool which may turn out to have definite advantages over some of our more traditional chemotherapy regimens," Kohman said, "but it's not a magic bullet — that we can tell right now. "Cancer develops resistance to everything eventually. These newer drugs are much less toxic. But there hasn't been five-year follow-ups on these drugs." Kohman said that only about 5 percent of adult cancer patients are offered or participate in clinical trials, mostly because they're not aware of them, they don't qualify or their physicians do not mention them. "The way we get answers faster is we have more people participating in the trials," Kohman said. Wilmot Cancer Institute currently seeks clinical trial subjects. "Patients suffering from cancer should discuss all options, including immunotherapy, with their physicians," Friedberg said. "They should also ask about whether a clinical trial is available for them."

rate of cancer deaths has dropped by 1.8 percent a year in men and 1.4 percent in women, according to the report. The decline in the past 20 years has been driven by the continuous drop in deaths for four major cancer types: breast, colon, lung and prostate, the report noted. For 2016, the ACS estimates that there will be about 1.6 million new cancer cases and nearly 600,000 deaths in the United States. Despite the progress, death rates for certain cancers are increasing, Siegel and her colleagues found. These include cancers of the liver, pancreas and uterus. Thyroid cancers are the most rapidly rising, increasing more than 5 percent yearly in both men and women, the research revealed. However, some of that increase stems from overdiagnosis due to advanced imaging techniques, the experts said. The decline in cancer deaths is due to early detection and treatment advances, along with fewer people smoking, Siegel said.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016

.S. Vice President Joe Biden said recently that the United States would speed up the approval of promising new drug combinations in his government’s newly announced drive to cure cancer “once and for all.” So-called combination therapy is increasingly seen as central to fighting tumors, as scientists unlock the different genetic factors driving cancer cell growth, but bringing such cocktails to market can be a slow and costly. Biden said he had hosted a meeting at his home with three unnamed large drug companies and the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at which both sides had pledged to do more to get novel cancer drug cocktails to patients. “The head of the FDA made a commitment that everybody would move much more rapidly in approving combinations,” Biden said. At the same, the pharmaceutical industry executives had all said they were “open to different way of doing business” in order to ensure that promising drugs from different companies were tested together as early as possible, he added. Cancer experts are particularly excited by the promise of new immunotherapy medicines that help the body’s immune system fight tumors and which have been shown to work well when used alongside other drugs.

For Cancer Survivors, Expenses Keep Mounting

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cancer diagnosis is costly, and new research suggests that it remains costly even after the disease has been treated. "Cancer survivors are facing high costs even after years. The economic burden is substantial," said study author Zhiyuan Zheng, senior health services researcher at the American Cancer Society's Surveillance and Health Services Research program. For example, the study found that non-elderly survivors of colon cancer had extra expenses of about $20,000 annually. Those extra expenses included direct medical costs, as well as lost productivity. For survivors of breast cancer under 65, the economic burden totaled about $14,000, and for prostate cancer it was approximately $9,000, the research revealed. For elderly people, colon cancer survivors had extra costs of about $19,000 a year. Senior prostate cancer survivors faced about $17,000 in extra expenses, and older survivors of breast cancer had about $14,000 in extra medical costs and lost productivity, the study found. The findings are scheduled for publication in the May issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute


Parenting By Jessica Gaspar

Welcome to the world, Timothy Lawrence!

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o, my official due date was Jan. 2. Prior to my due date, my OB/ GYN told me if I didn't deliver by my due date then we would plan an induction for either Monday, Jan. 4 or Tuesday, Jan. 5. On the morning of Jan. 4, I called his office and they told me the induction was scheduled for the following day. I had to call the labor and delivery unit at Strong Memorial Hospital at 2 p.m. that day and they would tell me what time to arrive. On Tuesday, I called and the charge nurse instructed me to arrive at 3:45 p.m. I was not dilated at all, so they started me on a pill taken in three separate doses to help with dilation. The following morning around 7 a.m., my doctor started me on Pitocin to induce labor. Wow. I had no idea what to expect. My contractions started and were coming every two to three minutes apart. Then they started coming every minute and a half. The pain was really intense. The nurse told me to breathe and relax, so I did that as best as I could. About 11 a.m., I was only dilated 2 centimeters and the baby's heart rate was dropping with each contraction. His oxygen levels were also dropping. They hooked me to an oxygen mask and stopped the pitocin for a while. Around noon, they took me off the oxygen and slowly started the pitocin again. The same thing happened — baby's heart rate was dropping and he wasn't getting enough oxygen. At that point, around 12:45, my doctor came in and explained what was going on. The placenta was inadequately doing its job. Having only been 2 centimeters dilated, he strongly suggested delivering by an emergency cesarean section. At that point, I was OK with that. I just wanted a safe and healthy delivery. My sister went into the operating room with me. In the operating room, they

prepped me for the C-section. I was actually quite surprised. They had given me a type of spinal numbing injection (not an epidural — I'd had one of those earlier in the morning, and this procedure basically numbed me from the chest down). I couldn't feel anything. I felt some tugging when they were pulling the baby out, but other than that nothing. A little while later, I heard my baby crying. The love I felt was instantaneous. I loved him so much already. My sister went over to check on him and took some pictures to show me. When they delivered him, they noted he was somewhat tangled in the cord and his head was actually somewhat displaced when I was trying to naturally deliver. Timothy was also a big baby! My doctor initially estimated he would weight about 8 lbs., but I actually delivered him at 9 lbs. 10 oz. I couldn’t believe it! He was so soft and snuggly. My sister fed him his first bottle in the delivery room, and then I was taken to a recovery room for a few hours where the nurses monitored me and the baby. After that, I stayed in the hospital three days. His first night home was Saturday, and he slept like a gem. I actually had to wake him up to feed him! I, however, didn’t get any sleep at all. I was so worried about him, I practically laid next to his crib and stared at him all night. Timmy’s first pediatrician appointment was on Monday, Jan. 11 and he did so great! He gained about a half an ounce since his delivery. His doctor, Emilia Nymander at Genesis Pediatrics, said he’s doing great.

Excellus to Award $87,000 in Community Health Awards Nonprofits in the six-county Rochester region are invited to apply for the grants. Deadline: Feb. 5

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onprofit organizations can apply for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Awards that add up to a total of $87,000 to help fund health and wellness programs in Upstate New York.

 Nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations in Excellus BCBS’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 overall wellness will be considered.

 “The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan to improve the health of those in the communities we serve,” said Holly Snow, director, community health engagement, Excellus BCBS. The deadline to submit an application to be considered for an Excellus BCBS Community Health

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Award is Feb. 5. Applications can be obtained by emailing Community. Health.Awards.ROC@Excellus.com. Organizations in Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Livingston, Seneca or Yates counties are asked to email the completed application to Community. Health.Awards. ROC@Excellus. com. Applications received after Feb. 5 will not be considered. Last year, seven Rochester region organizations were selected from more than 242 submitted apSnow plications. The winning Rochester region organizations were Mary Cariola Children’s Center, Holy Childhood, Rochester School for the Deaf, Young & Gifted Global Ministries, Geneva General Hospital, Partnership for Ontario County, Inc. and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.

When you text a driver, you increase their risk of an accident by

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People born between 1945-1965 (baby boomer generation) are 5 times more likely to be infected with Hep C. February 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 13


Stress = Alzheimer's Disease By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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eed another reason to destress? Experts identify increased stress levels as a risk factor that could lead to Alzheimer's disease. Research has not yet established a direct causal relationship between chronic stress and the condition, but Cathy James, co-chairwoman of the New York State Alzheimer's Association Coalition, says that “prolonged, chronic stress has impact on our bodies." Adds James, "It elevates heart rate, blood pressure, and is linked to

depression. Because there's a strong heart and brain connection, scientists are focusing on the possible causal relationship on stress and Alzheimer's disease." When a person undergoes stress, the body releases stress hormones that kick in the "fight or flight" response. While this may prove useful in a physical confrontation, it's not helpful for the type of stress most people experience. Instead, it can elevate blood pressure, damage blood vessels, and affect the ability to accurately remember data. The latter effect represents one reason why researchers believe uncontrolled stress could influence the development Alzheimer's disease. The subject has proven difficult to research because of the subjective nature of stress. Not everyone experiences stress the same way. "The perception of how much stress I may be under is of interest to scientists as well," James said. Indirect factors may play a role. For example, people experiencing

Glaucoma: Are You at Risk? The American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing a list of risk factors that can lead to the disease. Family History: Individuals with a parent or sibling with glaucoma have a nine times higher risk of developing the disease, according to one study. Older Age: As people age, their risk for glaucoma increases. Because this is the case for several eye diseases, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults

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start getting regular comprehensive eye exams at age 40. This is the age when early signs of eye disease and changes in vision may first occur, even if you have seemingly perfect vision. It is important to get comprehensive eye exams from an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care. African, Hispanic or Asian Heritage: People of African and Hispanic heritage are three times more likely to have the most common form of

stress may not sleep well, suffer from depression or engage in unhealthful methods of attempting to cope with the stress that could in part or all together raise their risk for Alzheimer's disease. James, who also leads the Syracuse-area chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said that people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease experience disrupted sleep, but it's not certain whether the sleep disturbance causes the disease or the disease causes the sleep disturbance. Most physicians, like Susan Friedman, an associate professor of medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, agree that prolonged stress "is paired with a lot of bad outcomes," she said. Friedman has a master's in public health and is board-certified in geriatric and internal medicine. "Reducing stress is beneficial for multiple reasons," Friedman added. Many methods can help you deal with stress, such as avoiding situations that generate stress. For exam-

ple, instead of procrastinating, plan and complete tasks ahead of time. Or instead of accepting invitations from difficult people, politely decline. If you take on too many responsibilities, delegate to others. It's impossible to eliminate all stress. But part of coping is knowing what you can and can't avoid, and gracefully managing the stress you must carry. "Try to balance things out a little bit so if you have a lot of stresses that are unplanned, you won't take on stresses that are planned," Friedman said. "If you're taking care of an ill loved one, it may not be a good time to take a promotion. Getting support from friends and family when one has stress is helpful." As routine stress management, plan to decompress in ways that you enjoy, such as yoga, fun hobbies, and, especially, physical activity. "Do the things you enjoy doing and that relax you, whether listening to music, connecting with nature or reading," James said.

glaucoma than Caucasians. Glaucoma-related blindness is at least six times more prevalent in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans. Additionally, people of Asian heritage are at an increased risk of a sudden and acute form of glaucoma known as angle-closure glaucoma. Nearsightedness: People who are nearsighted are more likely to have glaucoma. One study even found that the more severe the nearsightedness, the higher the risk of glaucoma. Type 2 Diabetes: Having Type 2 diabetes increases risk of glaucoma. The longer a person has lived with

diabetes, the greater their risk for glaucoma becomes. Additionally, when the cornea — the clear, round dome on the front of the eye that covers the iris and pupil — is abnormally thin, IOP readings may be falsely low. This puts patients at increased risk for undiagnosed glaucoma. This is common among those who have had refractive surgery, such as LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy. Another risk factor associated with glaucoma is a history of eye trauma.

SEX AFTER PROSTATE CANCER?

Free Seminar Thursday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. “Treating Sexual Dysfunction After Prostate Cancer”, by Louis Eichel MD. Sengupta Conference Room, Rochester General Hospital, Polisseni Pavilion, Ground floor. Spouses and significant others welcome. Registration not required. Arrive early for best seating. Use Portland Ave. garage.  Parking passes to first 30.  Email:ustoorochesterny@gmail.com

Subscribe to In Good Health Name ____________________________________________ Address __________________________________________ City / Town __________________ State _____ Zip _________ Clip Clip and and Mail Mail to: to:

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IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016


Golden Years Beyond Genes Keys to Healthful Aging

URMC professor says in many ways we’re not growing older healthfully By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

E

veryone wants to live to old age, so long as they're healthy. But the Administration on Aging, part of the US Department of Health, states on its website that most older people have at least one chronic health condition and many have multiple conditions." According to the organization, from 2011 to 2013, the most common conditions among older people were: • arthritis (49 percent) • all types of heart disease (31 percent) • any cancer (25 percent) • diabetes (21 percent in 20092012) • hypertension (71 percent in 20092012). Physician Susan Friedman, who also holds a master's in public health and is board-certified in geriatric and internal medicine, said in many ways we’re not growing older healthfully. Friedman, who serves as a professor of medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, said that although more attention is being given to healthy aging, growing rates of obesity across many age groups are developing a greater number of problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Although genes play a role in aging, lifestyle choices — begun when young — represent the larger reason behind why people aren't as healthy as they could be. "Healthy aging really starts at birth and developing healthy lifestyle habits contributes to a healthy aging across the lifecycle," Friedman said. Avoiding tobacco can help prevent numerous types of cancer and lung issues because cigarettes expose the body to numerous toxic chemicals. Smoking negatively affects healthy longevity; however quitting at any age still offers benefits. Regular physical activity also helps people age well. "It's not necessarily going to the gym every day but avoiding sedentary behaviors and engaging in sustained activity," Friedman said. "That's part of what has to happen to increase poor health in the population." Especially if you work a sedentary job, try to include more movement into your day such as walking or biking to work, taking the stairs, walking in place or lifting light weights while on hold, walking during your lunch break, and getting active after work. Joining a club or activity that keeps you moving physically can help you

maintain a healthy weight. Find a hobby that you like, so you continue participating. If something in your life changes, find a different activity to regularly raise your heart rate and break a sweat. It's also important to retain flexibility, balance and strength. Activities such as yoga, Pilates, strength training and martial arts can help. You can also incorporate socializing into your fitness activity. "Social connectedness and social support from the community, family and friends also helps you stay mentally sharp," Friedman said. Eating right influences aging in incalculable ways. J. Elizabeth Smythe, registered dietitian, nutritionist in private practice and director of community engagement for the American Diabetes Association Upstate region, agrees that "you are what you eat." Many chronic conditions and diseases involve inflammation response, which begins at the cellular level. To combat this effect, Smythe advises Smythe clients to "eat a more colorful plate, and more plantbased foods." "Obesity causes more inflammation and more rapid aging," she said. "Calorie deficits may slow down the aging process." Emily Cope, registered dietitian, owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition, and spokesperson for the Genesee Dietetic Association, said that heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, both found more commonly among older people, "are majorly influenced by diet and lifestyle factors. By following a balanced diet with moderate activity you can ensure that your health is protected and decrease your chances of developing debilitating diseases later in life." She encourages eating a balanced, varied diet to ensure eating all the nutrients you need. Balanced eating includes whole grains, lean protein and dairy sources, plenty of whole fruits and vegetables and healthful fats in moderation. February 2016 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper

Page 15


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Preventing Debilitating Diseases Among Women

J

ust about every minute, a woman dies of heart disease. But the majority of these deaths are avoidable. That’s why Social Security encourages you to participate in National Wear Red Day on Feb. 5, which aims to raise awareness about preventing heart disease and stroke among women. Social Security plays an important role in many women’s lives — nearly 60 percent of people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Social Security provides important financial assistance to women in times of need, including a sudden illness or an injury leading to disability. According to the American Heart Association, “heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year.” But the American Heart Association reports that this is 80 percent preventable with education and lifestyle changes. Changes in diet and exercise can help prevent these events, along with obtaining preventive healthcare such as cholesterol checks. You can take part in raising awareness about this women’s health issue by wearing red on Feb. 5 to show your support. You can also learn more about heart disease and stroke prevention by visiting www.goredforwomen.org. Raising awareness about women’s health issues is important to improving quality of life for all women. Social Security is also committed to

addressing the unique concerns that women may face in obtaining Social Security benefits, whether they’re seeking benefits for health or other reasons. Women may face different situations than men throughout their lives that can affect their need for benefits. For instance, women are more likely than men to outlive their spouse. Working women earn less on average than men do. Women are more likely to be stay-at-home parents or spouses. All of these circumstances can cause women to have different Social Security needs than men have. In order to address these concerns in one place, we have a website designed for women that provides pertinent information to women regarding Social Security’s services. This website includes information that may be particularly useful to working women, women who receive Social Security benefits, brides, new mothers, wives, divorced women, caregivers and widows. Our website for women provides information on retirement, survivors, disability, and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Our website also contains links to Social Security publications relevant to women’s issues, such as our publications “What Every Woman Should Know and Understanding the Benefits.” You can visit our website for women at www. socialsecurity.gov/people/women.

Upcoming fall prevention and living healthy workshops for older adults. Take it on with Lifespan! Lifespan’s Matter of Balance Workshop An eight-week workshop designed to increase activity levels and decrease the fear of falling for older adults. WORKSHOPS START:

Friday, February 12, 1 – 3 pm at Episcopal SeniorLife, 535 Mt. Hope Ave. Tuesday, Feb 23, noon – 2 pm at Lifespan’s Lily Cafe at the Maplewood YMCA, 25 Driving Park.

Page 16

Lifespan’s Living Healthy Workshop A peer-led, six session health education program developed by Stanford University designed to complement and enhance medical treatment for people living with chronic diseases. WORKSHOPS START:

Thursday, February 25, 12:30 – 3 pm at the MVP Living Well Center at the Westside YMCA, 920 Elmgrove Rd.

Tuesday, March 15, 12:30 - 2:30 pm at Lifespan’s Resource Room at the Eastside YMCA,1835 Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd.

Tuesday, April 19, noon – 2:30 pm at Lifespan’s Lily Cafe at the Maplewood YMCA, 25 Driving Park.

Tuesday, March 15, 2:00 – 4 pm at Unity at Ridgeway, 2655 Ridgeway Ave.

Reservations are required for all workshops. Call Sara Otis at 585-287-6439 to learn more! Or go to our website at lifespanrochester.org to see all of our classes.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016


By Jim Miller

How to Find Discounts for People with Disabilities Dear Savvy Senior,

Are there any worthwhile discounts available to people with disabilities, and if so, how can I find them? My wife — who’s 48 — has multiple sclerosis that now requires her to use a wheelchair. Need to Save Dear Need, There are actually a wide variety of discounts and services available to people with disabilities and those living with a chronic illness that can literally save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars each year. Here are some tips to help you find them. Always Ask

The first thing to know is that most businesses that offer discounts to people with disabilities or their escorts don’t publicize them, so it’s important to always ask. Also note that most nonprofit organizations and government agencies that provide disabled services or benefits will require proof of disability through a letter from your doctor or some other form of verification before they will accommodate you.

Search Locally

The disabled discounts available to your wife will vary depending on where you live, so a good place to start is to contact the local chapter of the nonprofit organization that specializes in your particular disease or disability — in your wife’s case that would be the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (nationalmssociety. org, 800-344-4867). Local chapters often know where to find discounts on the medical supplies, mobility equipment and support services. Some organizations have even negotiated special discounted rates with suppliers, and a few even provide subsidized equipment directly. To search for other disability or disease specific organizations, use any Internet search engine, any type in your disease or disability followed by organizations — for example “Arthritis Organizations” or “Hearing Loss Organizations.”

Search Online

DisabledDiscounts.com is one of the best resources for finding disabled discounts online. This is a free website that lists thousands of discounts in all 50 states. You search by state and county in 30 different categories ranging from assistive technology to federal and state tax discounts, entertainment to educa-

tion and so much more. Also visit Benefits.gov and BenefitsCheckUp.org, two great sites that will help you look for financial assistance programs your wife and you may be eligible for, and will tell you how to apply. And see Disability. gov, a site that connects people with disabilities to helpful programs and services in your area.

Types of Discounts

Here are a few examples of the different types of disabled discounts and services that are out there. • Recreation: Most movie theaters, museums, zoos, theme parks and aquariums provide reduced admission to people with disabilities or their escort. And, the National Park Service offers the “America The Beautiful Access Pass” (see nps.gov/ findapark/passes.htm) to disabled residents, which provides a lifetime of free access into all national parks and federal recreational lands. • Taxes: There are numerous federal tax deductions and credits available to people with disabilities, and a number of states and counties also offer property tax deductions to disabled homeowners. • Utilities: Many utility companies, including electric, gas, phone, water and trash services offer discounts to customers who are disabled, elderly or low income. • Communication devices: Forty seven states have equipment distribution programs (see tedpa.org) that offer free amplified telephones to residents with hearing impairment. • Home modifications: There are a number of federal, state, local and nonprofit organizations that help pay for home accessibility improvements like wheelchair ramps, handrails and grab bars for elderly and disabled people in need. • Travel: Amtrak offers a 15 percent rail fare discount to adult passengers with a disability and up to one traveling companion. • Reading services: For those with vision or physical impairments that make it difficult for them to read, the Library of Congress (see loc.gov/ nls) offers a Talking Books program that provides free audiobooks, magazines and audio equipment. And the National Federation of the Blind offers a free newspaper and magazine reading service at nfbnewslineonline. org. 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. February 2016 •

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Page 17


Health News Construction starts for Patrick Place Scottsville The board of directors for Patrick Place, A Comfort Care Home, recently announced the start of construction of its facility at 2006 Scottsville Chili Road in Scottsville. The planned opening for Patrick Place is later this year. According to a news release, the home will feature two bedrooms large enough to accommodate residents and their visitors as well as common areas such as a living room, dining room and kitchen. The quiet setting overlooks farmland. The mission of Patrick Place is to provide love and support for the terminally ill. Patrick Place will allow residents to live out their lives in a homelike setting with the freedom to spend time with loved ones: to talk, to share, to grieve. Comfort Care homes have become popular in the Rochester area as an alternative for people who wish to spend their final days in a homelike setting, according to a company’s news release. A comfort care home provides a warm, caring environment where people may live out their lives in peace and comfort, surrounded by loved ones. Care will be provided by professional staff and volunteers. There will be no charge for this service. Patrick Place will operate through community donations as well as grants and fundraising efforts. Patrick Place originally began as a ministry of the “Five Saints West” Parishes of St. Mary in Scottsville, St. Columba in Caledonia, St. Vincent de Paul in Churchville, and St. Christopher in North Chili. Since its inception, the project has been embraced by many other organizations and the community as a whole. Patrick Place is now in the process of reaching out for donations and volunteer help. For more information about Patrick Place, as well

as to donate or volunteer, please visit the website: www.patrickplace.org

VNS, Visiting Nurse get top recognition Visiting Nurse Service and Finger Lakes Visiting Nurse Service, UR Medicine’s certified home care agencies, have been named to the 2015 HomeCare Elite, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. Now in its tenth year, the HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies. Out of 9,718 agencies considered, 2,431 are elite. Shukitis Winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, best practice (process measure) implementation, patient experience (Home Health CAHPS), quality improvement and consistency and financial performance. Jane Shukitis, Visiting Nurse Service’s and Finger Lakes Visiting Nurse Service’s president and CEO, credits employees’ dedication and compassion with the agencies’ ability to achieve recognition in the HomeCare Elite. "Our staff truly cares about patients and their families. They go the extra mile to make those in our care safe at home. Our staff don’t just see it as a job; it’s their passion,” she said. The entire list of 2015 HomeCare Elite agencies can be downloaded by visiting the National Research Corporation website at www.ocshomecare. com/HomeCare-Elite.aspx.

Alzheimer’s Association: New VP, promotions Toni Sexton has been appointed vice president of programs and services at the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Region. Sexton will provide strategic leadership and direction in all aspects of Alzheimer’s Association programs and services to deliver and enhance care and support for all affected, to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health, and to support the goal of eliminating Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research. Previously, Sexton was the director for the geriatric career development program at Jewish Home Lifecare, a nonprofit college and career readiness Sexton program supporting more than 700 disadvantaged young people in pursuit of becoming the next generation of higher quality, more culturally competent healthcare professionals. Under her direction, the program earned numerous awards including the program of distinction designation from Generations United and the James C. Hall Exemplary Organization Collaboration Award from the Continuing Education Association of New York. Prior to her work at Jewish Home Lifecare, Sexton was a career skills instructor at Excelsior Springs Area Career Center in Missouri. Sexton resides in Rochester. The Alzheimer’s Association also announced that Vanessa Pschirrer has been promoted to director of development, where she will manage the mass market events and cor-

Dirk Bohmann to lead basic science research at URMC Dirk Bohmann, Ph.D., an accomplished molecular biologist and scientific leader at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been appointed senior associate dean for basic research pending approval of the university’s board of trustees. Bohmann has already begun making plans to improve the links between the medical center’s vast research community and its leadership, and to strategically integrate the science and education missions. “I really consider this to be a service function for the scientific community,” said Bohmann, who holds the Donald M. Foster MD professorship in biomedical genetics. “I hope to receive input from my colleagues and I look forward to interacting Page 18

with them to come up with ways to improve our existing strengths and foster new ideas.” “Dirk is an outstanding scientist, who is deeply respected by his peers for the role he has played in enriching the research and educational programs of the school of medicine and dentistry. Dirk is therefore the perfect candidate for this position,” said physician Mark B. Taubman, dean of the medical school and CEO of URMC. “We are confident he will work with all researchers to evolve the scientific environment into one that is even more vibrant and impactful.” Bohmann graduated from the University of Tübingen, one of Germany’s most famous and oldest universities. He also earned a doc-

torate in biology from Tübingen for research conducted at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, in the laboratory of Robert Tjian, Ph.D., who is now the president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined the URMC faculty in 2001 after working 11 years as a group leader and senior scientist at the European Molecular Laboratory in Heidelberg. Bohmann will maintain his URMC laboratory, which uses fruit fly genetics to study the aging process and how environmental stressors promote age-related diseases such as cancer and degenerative conditions.

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016

porate relationships. Mary Walker has been promoted to director of programs and services. In this role she will provide leadership and oversight on programs and services delivered to the community and the developmental disabilities program. Nanette Friedman has also been promoted. She is now the director of educational services, where she will provide leadership and oversight of all educational programs and services.

Highland Family Medicine earns recognition The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced that Highland Family Medicine in Rochester has received NCQA recognition as a patient-centered specialty practice (PCSP) for its responsiveness to patients and medical colleagues, cooperation and integration with other health care groups, and dedication to continuous improvement. “Earning NCQA recognition shows that Highland Family Medicine has undergone a rigorous review of its capabilities and is committed to communication, coordination and providing access to care,” said Cindy Becker, vice president and chief operating officer of Highland Hospital. Recognition signals to primary care practices that Highland Family Medicine is ready to be an effective partner in caring for patients they have in common. “NCQA patient-centered specialty practice recognition distinguishes practices that communicate, collaborate and integrate care in ways that patients want and that improve quality,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “I commend the team at Highland Family Medicine for its achievement, and for its commitment to continuous improvement.”


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Page 19


Snowshoe racing stirs the competitive spirit among these participants in the Special Olympics. Courtesy Special Olympics, provided by Solas Studios Photography. Used with permission.

Special Olympics Rolls Out Integrated Sports Program Project Unify has athletes who have disabilities competing alongside high school students who have no disabilities By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

S

pecial Olympics' mission has always been about empowering athletes who have disabilities to succeed in sports and life. The organization's newest initiative, Project Unify, seeks to integrate participants with disabilities on teams with high school students who have no disabilities. Renee Snyder, vice president of development and public awareness for Special Olympics New York, said that the athletes with disabilities can earn varsity letters, travel and engage in "real competition" with the public high school students. "It means participants with and without disabilities are participating on the same field, court and track," Snyder added. So far, the organization has been working with high schools in Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Long Island, but its goal is to spread the program to every New York high school and integrate into every sport, beginning with a large roll-out this year. "The dynamics are amazing," Snyder said. She said that some athletes with disabilities who had exhibited behavioral issues work harder to control their behavior so they don't miss their chance to participate in their sports. Gaining respect from other students helps them feel better about going to school and desire to work harder at their academic pursuits, Page 20

•

too.

"They love getting those highfives in the hallway," Snyder said. "You can look at athletics for people without disabilities and it has the same effect. It breaks down social barriers." The students without disabilities find that they have more in common than not with their peers challenged by disabilities. "The program is so widely accepted in the school," Snyder said. "It brings out the best in the entire school." The purpose of Project Unify isn't to replace a school's current athletic program, but to work alongside it. Snyder said that the program helps introduce Special Olympics at a younger age, which she hopes will help increase the number of athletes participating in Special Olympics. About 65 schools and 700 total students statewide are slated as part of Project Unify for 2016. The organization's national program, Healthy Athletes, emphasizes fitness among its athletes by offering free health screening and education at competitive events. "It gives them the opportunity to be better athletes," Snyder said. Special Olympics New York is also building a statewide Athletes Leadership Congress "to offer leadership opportunities to give them a voice in Special Olympics and in

At the Special Olympics Winter Games Competition in 2014, this figure skater strikes a triumphant pose. their communities." Snyder believes that in general, Special Olympics provides a necessary service for people with intellectual disabilities. "Physical fitness is one of the reasons," she said. "There aren't a lot of opportunities to be part of a team and Special Olympics provides that." Volunteer coaches receive train-

IN GOOD HEALTH – Rochester / Genesee Valley Healthcare Newspaper • February 2016

ing from Special Olympics in working with athletes who have disabilities. They help the athletes learn the skills needed to excel at their chosen, competitive sport. The athletes "gain confidence, independence, respect in their communities," Snyder said. She believes these opportunities aren't otherwise available to participants and that they help them become more independent. "More than 50 percent of our athletes work in the community," Snyder said. "The national average is 4 percent. Many say Special Olympics gave them the confidence to work. That's what we pride ourselves in. Our athletes have developed skill sets that make them more employable, and through our programs they can network and make connections." About 65,655 participate in New York, the largest Special Olympics program in North America, and the sixth largest in world. More than 30,000 volunteers work for Special Olympics statewide, enabling 5,000 competitive experiences year round. The organization employs fewer than 50 fulltime staff. "Being a coach is a thankless job," Snyder said. "They put in practices; they travel. We don't pay them and many times, they spend out of their own pocket to do things, but at the end of the season, they thank us for the experience. It gives me goose bumps when I hear that."

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