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SCV Community Pride • HEALTH CARE


Health Care


Pride Health Care

SCV Community Pride • Health Care

Doctors Serving the Community They Treat

Dan Watson/The Signal

Robbie Bailey, RN, left, and Dr. Philip Ngo, M.D., back, with patient Tina Gonzales at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.


SCV Community Pride • HEALTH CARE

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Outpatient Surgery Center at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital By Maria Orem Operating for more than 25 years, the Joint Commission Accredited Outpatient Surgery Center at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia currently performs approximately 2,700 surgeries a year ranging from the simplest carpal tunnel repair to the most complex arthroscopic Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) repair utilizing human tissue bank tendons. With a winning combination of experience and innovation, Henry Mayo’s Outpatient Surgery Center is continuing to make bold strides in providing world-class healthcare to patients in the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond. In addition to its existing list of available procedures, two interventional pulmonology procedures have been added to the Outpatient Surgery Center’s long line of services: EBUS (endoscopic bronchoscopy under ultrasound) and Navigation Under Fluoroscopy. “Henry Mayo is the only facility in a 35mile radius to offer this new advanced diagnostic equipment,” said Donna Ferguson, Outpatient Center Director. “This procedure is crucial to en-

abling early detection, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.” Another fairly recent procedure being offered at the Center is bronchial thermoplasty, a groundbreaking procedure which can improve the quality of life for patients over the age of 18 with severe persistent asthma. As explained by Mike Collins, director of respiratory care services at Henry Mayo, each patient receives three treatments, spaced at least three weeks apart, from specially-trained pulmonologists. Each procedure lasts 60 to 90 minutes and is performed at the Outpatient Surgery Center. Breast cancer reconstructive surgeries are among the top procedures performed at the Center, which inspired the Pink Rose Program. Once breast cancer treatment is complete, the patient receives an uplifting card signed by staff and a longstemmed pink rose donated by Steve’s Florist. “It’s a way of celebrating the patient’s recovery, which we all feel we play a part in,” Ferguson said. The average time for each outpatient procedure is two to three hours, including pre-op assessment, surgery, and postop care to discharge. The

staff, which has an average of 12 to 15 years of experience, is attuned to each individual case. “Our RNs and techs know this can be a traumatic event, so they treat each patient as they would want their family or loved one to be treated,” Ferguson said. “It’s all reflected in the quality of the care they provide and level of respect they have for each other and the physicians.” A pre-assessment nurse was added to the Outpatient Surgery team in 2015. The RN makes phone calls three days in advance to each patient to review his or her history and answer any questions. “This paves the way for a smooth process once the patient is here. There are no surprises the morning of surgery,” Ferguson said. “It really allows us to step it up a notch when it comes to quality care.” Conveniently located in the Ambulatory Care Center on the hospital’s campus at 25751 McBean Parkway, the Outpatient Surgery Center features four operating rooms, plus recovery and special procedures rooms. The center is open Monday through Friday during standard business hours. For more information, please call 661-200-1322.

Dan Watson/The Signal

Donna Ferguson, Senior Director, Outpatient Services.

Dan Watson/The Signal

Surgery Tech Betty Hamill, left, and Donna Ferguson, Senior Director, Outpatient Services.


SCV Community Pride • HEALTH CARE

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Volunteers have been a critical part of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital for 40 years By Diane Krieger Spivak When Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital opened in Valencia 40 years ago, volunteers were there to help out. Today, they’re still there, more than 300 strong, greeting visitors, assisting at events, delivering magazines, driving a shuttle or bringing a visiting dog to the ER to ease a young patient’s fears. “Whether it’s just walking someone down to the lab, knowing they made an impact, no matter how small, on someone’s life, makes a difference,” said Volunteer Services Director Maria Strmsek, who has held her position for 24 years. Today’s volunteers bring with them more skill sets to share than ever before, including some who have started working with the arts in the hospital’s behavioral health units. “I have a couple going around playing music for the patients,” Strmsek said, sharing the story of a volunteer who was going through the hospital, playing her guitar when a father asked her to come in his daughter’s room and play. “He literally videotaped her experience.” New programs are being consistently added, “Because you want to make sure that patients think about more than just their pain level,” Strmsek explained.

“You don’t want them staring at the clock waiting for food or for their next medication. Some of those aspects of support take their mind away from that.” One very successful aspect of volunteer support is pet visitation (formerly called pet therapy), started in the mid-1990s. “The physical therapy director wanted to work with some dogs so their patients would be willing to throw a ball and be more active in their therapy,” Strmsek said. It worked, and personnel soon found that pets were therapeutic in other areas, as well. Now, said Strmsek, “We pretty much have visitations all the time. Dogs come here every week. We had a child in the emergency room who was really, really afraid when hospital personnel attempted to start an IV. All children know is they’re being poked and prodded and they don’t know why. A nurse knew there was a visitation dog down the hall and had it brought in the room. The child calmed down immediately.” Volunteers assist nurses setting up rooms for programs like Parent Preview which talks to new moms about the birthing experience, and with the Tyke Hike program where kids find out what it’s going to be like to be a big brother and big sister and how they can help out. “Volunteers greet people

with the employees at the front desk, they push magazine carts around to visit patients,” Strmsek said. “It’s so active, I can’t imagine a hospital not having that support. When they’re in a hospital people are vulnerable and in need of comfort.” The Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Auxiliary, a branch of Volunteer Services, actually preceded the volunteer services, starting in 1962, in several smaller hospitals preceding Henry Mayo. In addition to their regular services and running the hospital gift shop, auxiliary members also organize major fundraisers for the hospital’s foundation, pledging $250,000 just last year for a new tower. Volunteers come in all ages, from teens testing the waters for a possible future in medicine, to dedicated volunteers in their 90s. “I’ve had teens and college students volunteer, go on and come back and get hired here,” Strmsek said. “That shows a lot of loyalty to the organization; the commitment they started here as a volunteer, then pursued careers and returned to the community. It’s satisfying to know we offered that something they could grow on.” Strmsek has seen a common thread among volunteers throughout the years - their generosity and optimism. “Studies show that people who volunteer have a

tendency to live longer,” Strmsek said. Case in point: Rose Stoffer, who celebrated her 90th birthday in October, and, sadly, passed away in January. “Rose began volunteering in 1988,” Strmsek said. “She helped with the hospital’s golf tournament, with donations for Auxiliary luncheons, helped create the Flame of Life Volunteers whose funds were donated to Trauma Services, helped the Marketing Department and remained active in the Patient Experience Department, making calls to discharged patients. She was still active when she passed away,” Strmsek said. “The biggest thing about volunteering is you do it because you want to, not for a paycheck,” Strmsek said.

Dan Watson/The Signal

Volunteer Kathy Butler and therapy dog Annie at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

Dan Watson/The Signal

Maria Strmsek, Volunteer Services Director, center, chats with volunteers Vidya Ratan, left, – Art Therapy, and Kelsea Knight - Music Therapy

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$WWHQWLRQ6FLDWLFD$QG/RZ Health Care “Attention Sciatica And Low DFN3DLQ6XIIHUHUVÂŤÂŤÂľ Back Pain Sufferers...â€? H12 . SATURDAY, MARCH 26, 2016 . THE SIGNAL

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squashed or compressed, especially if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve sometimes more. The recovery time and your kids, enjoy time with friends, and family played certain sports when younger or have ,PDJLQHDFRRNLHZLWKFUHDPILOOLQJDQGWKH missed work can be anywhere from 3 to 6 and finally get a good nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rest.  ÂśVWKHELJJHVWSUREOHPÂŤWKHUHLVD a job that requires lots of sitting or standing FUHDPILOOLQJVWDUWVWRRR]HRXWIURPEHWZHHQ months, not to mention the obvious severe VLRQZLOOEH\RXUVFLDWLFDQGEDFNSDLQVROXWLRQ XUHUDWHRIEDFNVXUJHU\2QHPHGLFDO The Single Most Important Solution To in one place for long periods of time. Car risks associated with all surgery.WKHVLGHVRIWKHFRRNLHLISUHVVXUHLVDSSOLHGRQ Your Sciatica and Back Pain )RUGD\VRQO\,ÂśPUXQQLQJDYHU\VSHFLDORI XQGWKDWRQDYHUDJHRI/6EDFN accidents, lifting things, very physical jobs, WRSRIWKHFRRNLH OLNHJUDYLW\RQRXUVSLQHV  But hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the biggest problemâ&#x20AC;Ś there IDLOWRSURGXFHUHOLHIRIV\PSWRPV Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time for you to find out if spinal just to name a few, also contribute to disc is a high failure rate of back surgery. One IRUVSLQDOGHFRPSUHVVLRQ LRQDO2UWKRS

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x-ray findings so we can start mapping out if somebody could just pull me apartâ&#x20AC;ŚI would Do You Have A Disc Problem? +DYH$'LVF3UREOHP" your plan to being pain free. feel a whole lot better.â&#x20AC;? Yes, we know [UD\ILQGLQJVVRZHFDQVWDUWPDSSLQJRXW\RXU you have. 7KDWÂśVZK\DPHGLFDOPDQXIDFWXUHUEDFNSDLQ SODQWREHLQJSDLQIUHH If you experience any of the following in your And it makes sense. â&#x20AC;˘ An extensive review of your MRI back or neck, chances are your VSHFLDOLVWVQHXURVXUJHRQVDQGHQJLQHHUVKDYH pain is due to a SHULHQFHDQ\RIWKHIROORZLQJLQ\RXU Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why a medical manufacturer, back Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get to see everything first hand and FRPHXSZLWKMXVWWKDWÂąDPDFKLQHWKDWJHQWO\ Â&#x2021;$QH[WHQVLYHUHYLHZRI\RXU05, disc bulge, herniation or degeneration: QHFNFKDQFHVDUH\RXUSDLQLVGXHWRD pain specialists, neurosurgeons and engineers find out if this amazing treatment will be your HKHUQLDWLRQRUGHJHQHUDWLRQ Âť A vice-like squeezing feelingSXOOV\RXDSDUWDQGVWUHWFKHVWKHGLVFWRD in your back have come up with just that â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a machine that pain solution, like it has been for so many FHUWDLQSRLQWWKDWFDXVHVDGURSLQSUHVVXUH Âť Sitting causes back or leg pain gently pulls you apart and stretches the disc to other patients. RXWLIWKLVDPD]LQJWUHDWPHQWZLOOEH\RXUSDLQ Âť Stabbing pain at the belt lineLQVLGHWKHGLVF OLNHDOLWWOHYDFXXPLQWKH or in your neck a certain point that causes a drop in pressure FHOLNHVTXHH]LQJIHHOLQJLQ\RXUEDFN Until April 5th you can get everything Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve PLGGOHRIWKHFUHDPILOOLQJFDXVLQJWKHFUHDP Âť Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t turn over in bed without hurting inside the disc (like a little vacuum in VROXWLRQOLNHLWKDVEHHQIRUVRPDQ\ the QJFDXVHVEDFNRUOHJSDLQ listed here at no charge; however, we will be ILOOLQJWRVXFNEDFNLQ

Âť Numbness in your toes or fingers middle of the cream filling causing the cream RWKHUSDWLHQWV ELQJSDLQDWWKHEHOWOLQHRULQ accepting a $20 donation (cash or check) to Âť Fire down your legs filling to suck back in!) QHFN the ASPCA or Doctors Without Borders. Âť Searing pain radiates into your arm <RXÂśOOVLPSO\OLHFRPIRUWDEO\RQ\RXUVWRPDFK Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll simply lie comfortably on your ÂśWWXUQRYHULQEHGZLWKRXWKXUWLQJ The normal price for this type of evaluation is 8QWLO0DUFKVW\RXFDQJHWHYHU\WKLQJ,ÂśYH Âť Prickling in your leg or toes RUEDFNDQGWKHQDVSHFLDOL]HGEHOWLVJHQWO\ stomach or back and then a specialized belt $250, so youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re saving a considerable amount is gently put around your waist. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll OLVWHGKHUHDWQRFKDUJHKRZHYHUZHZLOOEH set the by taking me up on this offer. GRZQ\RXUOHJVFinally, Some Good News... SXWDURXQG\RXUZDLVW:HÂśOOVHWWKHPDFKLQH DFFHSWLQJDGRQDWLRQ FDVKRUFKHFN WRWKH machine to focus on your problem area â&#x20AC;&#x201C; then WRIRFXVRQ\RXUSUREOHPDUHDÂąWKHQWKH If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been suffering with back pain or arm/ LQJSDLQUDGLDWHVLQWR\RXUDUP Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what to do now: system leg pain caused by a disc bulge,DGYDQFHGGHFRPSUHVVLRQFRPSXWHUV\VWHPZLOO disc herniation the advanced decompression computer$63&$RU'RFWRUV:LWKRXW%RUGHUV7KH NOLQJLQ\RXUOHJRUWRHV will do the rest. Most patients feel better with Due to the expected demand for this QRUPDOSULFHIRUWKLVW\SHRIHYDOXDWLRQLV GRWKHUHVW0RVWSDWLHQWVIHHOEHWWHUZLWKMXVWD or squashed or compressed discs: just a few treatments, and best of all there will treatment, VR\RXÂśUHVDYLQJDFRQVLGHUDEOHDPRXQWE\ IHZWUHDWPHQWVDQGEHVWRIDOOWKHUHZLOOEHQR Until recently, the only advice for many of you be no dangerous drugs, no invasive procedures, 6RPH*RRG1HZV I suggest calling my office at once. WDNLQJPHXSRQWKLVRIIHU GDQJHURXVGUXJVQRLQYDVLYHSURFHGXUHVDQG suffering in pain was to try what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been and no painful exercises. QRSDLQIXOH[HUFLVHV told: HEHHQVXIIHULQJZLWKEDFNSDLQRUDUP +HUHÂśVZKDWWRGRQRZ ď ° Try exercising FDXVHGE\DGLVFEXOJHGLVFKHUQLDWLRQ The Research Behind This Treatment Call Our 24 Hour Help Line ď ° Try physical therapy 7KH5HVHDUFK%HKLQG7KLV7UHDWPHQW KHGRUFRPSUHVVHGGLVFV One clinical study has shown non-surgical ď ° Try pain medications 'XHWRWKHH[SHFWHGGHPDQGIRUWKLVWUHDWPHQW 661-388-8472 decompression to be extremely successful ď ° Try muscle relaxers 2QHFOLQLFDOVWXG\KDVVKRZQQRQVXUJLFDO HQWO\WKHRQO\DGYLFHIRUPDQ\RI\RX (good or excellent relief ) in 86% of patients ď ° Try pain shots 25060 W. Ave. Stanford, #290, GHFRPSUHVVLRQWREHH[WUHPHO\VXFFHVVIXO with herniated discs and degenerative joint LQSDLQZDVWRWU\ZKDW\RXÂśYH ď ° Try dangerous back surgery Valencia, CA 91355 JRRGRUH[FHOOHQWUHOLHI LQRISDWLHQWV disease â&#x20AC;&#x201C; without the side effects. G ď ° Just live with it Sincerely, ZLWKKHUQLDWHGGLVFVDQGGHJHQHUDWLYHMRLQW Another study presented at the American If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re like most, none of these have GLVHDVHÂąZLWKRXWWKHVLGHHIIHFWV H[HUFLVLQJ VALENCIA SPINE & NERVE worked for you or you are afraid of what could Academy of Pain Management in 2007 showedâ&#x20AC;Ś SK\VLFDOWKHUDS\ happen if you do try some of these. Exercising




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SCV Community Pride • HEALTH CARE

Health Care

Valencia Spine and Nerve Institute is committed to healthy living in the SCV By Laurel Davis


sk Dr. Linda Chenaur what she likes most about what she does and she will say, without hesitation, “I love improving people’s quality of life.” It’s that level of genuine interest in the overall wellbeing of patients that underpins her 24 years of success in the fields of chiropractic and alternative medicine. “I am empathetic to patients,” she says. “Each person who comes in for treatment is not just another patient, and I do not provide cookie cutter health care.” She adds, “I spend time with each patient and listen to their issues, giving them personalized attention so that I can then give them a personalized health program.” Dr. Chenaur considers herself and her team as Preventive Health Care Specialists. Her ultimate goal with all of the various services she provides is to not only relieve pain but also restore overall vitality and promote longevity. To that end, Dr. Chenaur specializes in Alternative Medicine. Notably, Valencia Spine and Nerve Institute may be the only health care clinic in the Santa Clarita Valley that integrates professional chiropractic therapies with a unique combination of certain highly specialized holistic treatments that require extra training and skill. Dr. Chenaur utiliz-

es these services and treatments to not only treat the whole body but says they are also effective in finding the source of underlying health problems. These specialized holistic treatments are: • Applied Kinesiology, which evaluates the nervous, vascular and lymphatic system, nutrition, acupuncture points and cerebrospinal fluid, and helps indicate the most effective treatment; • Total Body Modification, which analyzes the body’s structural, physical and nutritional needs to help correct existing and prevent future health problems; • Process Oriented Medicine, which utilizes recent advances in laboratory medicine to detect diseases early on in their progression; and • Clinical Homeopathy, which employs medicines that encourage the body’s natural healing capabilities. Dr. Chenaur has the credentials, extensive experience and progressive training in all of these areas. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in human biology as well as her doctorate in chiropractic from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, consistently placing on Dean’s List throughout her education. Her varied skills include musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment, radiology, and nutritional counseling on top of her professional training and

Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Dr. Linda Chenaur stands in the lobby of the Valencia Spine and Nerve Institute. expertise in advance alternative health care. Valencia Spine and Nerve Institute’s various therapies offer benefits for sports, work-related or personal injuries, back and neck pain, fatigue, and headaches. In addition, Dr. Chenaur says that patients have reported relief from allergies, fibromyalgia, hormonal imbalances in both men and women, sugar metabolism imbalances, and other physical complaints.

Dr. Chenaur notes that approximately 20 percent of her patients are children. She treats them primarily for allergies and sports injuries and also says, “I love teaching them how to make good health choices.” For all of her patients, she believes that, “The more you use your body, the more you need to keep it tuned up.” Notable among Dr. Chenaur’s list of specializations are two specific treatments she employs.

One is Spinal Decompression to address herniated disks. The other is Neuro-Analgesia Stimulation for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy, which is most often caused by diabetes or chemotherapy. Both treatments are non-surgical and drugless, Dr. Chenaur points out. Call Dr. Linda Chenaur today for more information, at 661-799-0644. Valencia Spine and Nerve Institute is located at 25060 West Avenue Stanford,

Suite 290, in Valencia. To learn more, visit their website at During her off hours, Dr. Chenaur researches on nutrition and enjoys swimming, fine art, and the art of food & wine. She donates to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and to Doctors Without Borders, and also does what she can to support sports, arts and other student programs at local schools.


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Action Family Counseling understands the origins of the ‘accidental addict’ By David Heitz


t used to be that kids would say, “When I grow up, I’m never smoking cigarettes.” Then it was “When I grow up, I’m never smoking weed.” And now it’s “I’m only smoking pot, that’s not really bad, it’s not even a drug.” Those “drugs of opportunity,” as Cary Quashen calls them, still land people in rehab. Someone tries a little booze or weed, falls in love, and eventually realizes “Bang, now I’m in trouble.” But now there’s also the “accidental addict,” as Quashen calls them. Quashen operates Action Family Counseling Drug & Alcohol Treatment. There are residential treatment centers, intensive outpatient programs and mental health treatment services in Santa Clarita, Piru, Bakersfield, Simi Valley, Ventura and Pasadena. “The face of an addict has changed dramatically,” he said, “and we’re treating a lot of them.” Many of these accidental addicts include heroin addicts who, after a routine surgery, may have developed a painkiller addiction. They ultimately progress to using heroin, and not to get high. They use it to keep from getting sick from opiate withdrawals,

and they don’t identify as the typical addicts. “These are people who may have had no track record of drug abuse period,” Quashen said. “They accidentally got addicted.” Quashen said his clients include everyone from kids smoking pot to moms who are prescription drug addicts. Quashen himself is 35 years sober from prescription drug abuse, he said, with more than three decades in the business of helping others get sober. “Drug abuse starts innocently almost always,” Quashen said. “If you think your kid has a problem, or if you have a problem, go with your gut – you have a problem.” All drug abuse starts innocently, said Quashen, who has appeared as an expert on several national television programs, including “The Doctors,” “Good Morning America” and others. “Nobody wakes up and says ‘I’ll be a drug addict.’ It usually turns out to be a contract people break with themselves.” Clients at Action Family Counseling Drug & Alcohol undergo a rigorous assessment to determine what type of treatment is needed. Sometimes intensive outpatient therapy can get a person back on the right path. This keeps people in their homes so they are able to go to work and to school. Other times a


Cary Quashen of Action Family Counseling works the intake room phone. short, 30-day residential stay in a treatment facility is needed, he said. Action Family Counseling encourages its clients to change their behaviors and works to reinforce those changes so they can remain abstinent and stable for life. Treatment may include individual counseling, group therapy, family counseling, toxicology screenings, pharmacotherapy, education about co-occurring mental health

issues, case management and more. “We treat the whole family,” Quashen said. “Sending someone back to the same old same old is setting them up for failure.” Quashen said he frequently explains to parents that the way to keep their kids off of drugs is to get them involved in other activities. With the advent of the SmartPhone, kids wake up with their friends, they go

to sleep with their friends, they even go to the bathroom with their friends. Some children only have actual face time with their parents, meanwhile, about 10 minutes per day, Quashen said. “Please spend time with your kids,” Quashen said. “We used to say please spend quality time with your kids. You want to talk about peer pressure today? These kids don’t have a chance.”

Quashen has worked with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Behavioral Health Unit as well as with behavioral health care programs at Loma Linda Hospital, Anacapa Hospital, Van Nuys Hospital, Ingleside Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital. Action Family Counseling accepts most major insurance programs.

Learning how to L.O.V.E. yourself By Rubén Porras


hroughout history hypnosis has been the subject of a long list of myths. Some worry about issues such as forgetting what occurred during their session, being controlled to do something they don’t want to do, revealing secret details about their lives or even getting stuck in a hypnotic state. One business in Santa Clarita is focused on dispelling the various myths surrounding hypnosis by showing their clients how hypnotherapy can promote weight loss, reduce anxiety and help them find potential within themselves that they didn’t know existed. The key, according to certified hypnotherapist and owner, Abi Caruthers of L.O.V.E. Weight Loss, is to develop a personalized program for each client. “I’ve noticed that usually programs are designed to be generic, kind of a one-sizefits-all type of thing, whereas L.O.V.E. acknowledges that because everyone has a different blood type and different ancestry, that we all process food differently, need to exercise differently, etc.…,” said Caruthers. “While high energy exercise is great for one set of people, it’s actually detrimental for another set and each of them has a different set of DNA codes which dictate what their body does with food.” L.O.V.E Weight Loss advises prospective clients to choose carefully when selecting a hypnotherapy program and to treat the decision the same way they would when selecting any other healthcare provider. Caruthers and the hypnotherapists she hires are trained at HMI College of Hypnotherapy in Tarzana. HMI — the only nationally accredited college of hypnotherapy — offers a one-year

Dan Watson/The SIgnal

Certified Hypnotherapist, Abi Caruthers, C.Ht., left, begins the hypnosis session with her class in Valencia. program that is known to attract students from all over the world. “When it comes to hypnotherapy, because there are no state regulations, you want to be very careful about where a hypnotherapist learned how to practice and who certified them,” said Caruthers. “That’s why L.O.V.E. Weight Loss only hires certified hypnotherapists who graduated from HMI. That way we know they are already trained by the best, and then they have to go through the rigorous L.O.V.E. Certification training to be a trained L.O.V.E. Weight Loss facilitator.”

L.O.V.E Weight Loss offers a six-month program designed to address the underlying root of a client’s weight gain. A personalized plan is developed for each client to learn and practice new behaviors to keep their weight off. The length of the program is meant to allow students to experience the ups and downs of life while being guided through dealing with the challenges and changes that inevitably come with it. Caruthers and her staff work with small classes of four clients at a time. The goal of small classes is to promote comfort, camarade-

rie, and motivation in an intimate setting without making anyone feel vulnerable or exposed. L.O.V.E. Weight Loss’ motto is “Love yourself, L.O.V.E. Weight Loss”. The slogan is based on the underlying concept of the program which is healing, growth, cultivating self-love and building self-esteem. “We are often taught as we grow up (by example) that to take care of yourself is selfish, and that you must first do for those around you,” explained Caruthers. “We are taught (again by example) that having a healthy appreciation for who you are

and what you are capable of is arrogant and greedy. We teach our students the exact opposite. Like the airplane metaphor, you first have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others. When you love yourself and your body so completely and respect yourself as if you were your most precious child or loved one, you naturally and unconsciously make better choices, do things that make you feel good physically, etc.…” Caruthers also pointed out that weight loss has become almost like a foe to some, putting a bad taste in people’s mouths because of the

disappointment that often comes with it. “People treat their bodies with disdain, being prepared to ‘win’ over it,” she said. “But it goes so much deeper than that. It begins with selflove, complete self-acceptance. L.O.V.E. Weight Loss believes in the possibility of loving the process of falling in love with yourself and losing weight at the same time.” To learn more about Caruthers and L.O.V.E. Weight Loss tune into her “Becoming Your Best Self” YouTube series or visit


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Valencia Pharmacy, serving the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 40 years By Alicia Doyle


alencia Pharmacy, serving the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 40 years, is considered the longest standing independent retail pharmacy, surviving two devastating fires and a major earthquake. Located in Plaza Posada on Peachland Avenue in Newhall (off Lyons Ave.), Valencia Pharmacy offers convenient access to both the 5 and 14 freeways, and has been serving the Santa Clarita Valley with pride since 1974. “We are unique in that we can meet the demands and needs of our customers through multiple services such as specialty pharmacy, compound prescriptions, medical supplies and equipment, wellness and homeopathic items, all conveniently located under one roof,” said Fred Elam, regional manager of Valencia Pharmacy. “We place a strong focus on ensuring that we continuously meet the needs of our customers and provide the best service possible.” At Valencia Pharmacy, “we think of our customers as family,” Elam continued. “Great, personal customer service has been our trademark for over four decades. We offer a full range of products and services to meet the needs of our customers, including home delivery.” Over the last few decades, Valencia Pharmacy has become the recognized one-stop source for the community’s healthcare needs.


(L - R)Tami Oddone, certified fitter mastectomy; Crystal Blair, wellness center manager; Stephen Hom, pharmacist in charge; Frank Autran, medical supply manager; and Karlet Vazquez, pharmacy manager, stand in the wellness center of Valencia Pharmacy. “As a full service pharmacy, we provide compounded medications, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, veterinary medications, injectable medications and more,” Elam said. The medical supply department has the most complete selection of medical supplies in the Santa Clarita Valley, including products to aid in mobility such as walkers, wheelchairs, power scooters and lift chairs, as well as bath-

room safety items, orthotics, compression stockings and post mastectomy. Bath safety is one of the fastest growing categories in medical equipment because this space is often one of the most dangerous areas in a home, Elam noted. “Bathroom safety products such as elevated toilet seats, grab bars, and bath seats can all minimize the risk of fall for patients,” Elam said. “Mobility products such as power chairs, scooters, canes and walk-

ers can help patients maintain their independence.” The medical supply department also has a knowledgeable repair department that is open six days a week. “The staff is extremely knowledgeable and can assist customers in finding the right solution for their medical needs,” Elam said. The Wellness Center offers a wide variety of holistic herbs, vitamins, homeopathies and aromatherapy, as well as expert advice on

supplement and medication interactions. “In addition, our Wellness Center often hosts educational seminars to help educate the public about ways to treat health related issues from a homeopathic/natural approach,” Elam said. Valencia Pharmacy’s healthcare boutique, staffed by certified orthopedic fitters, carries a full line of breast cancer supplies, diabetes supplies, wound care supplies, com-

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pression garments, nursing supplies, and other unique health care items. This is a very exciting year for Valencia Pharmacy, Elam added. “In February, our newest location, Valencia Pharmacy at Henry Mayo, will open, located right on the campus at Henry Mayo Hospital,” he said. “Our customers can expect the same great customer service and knowledge that they have always experienced, and we deliver.”


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UCLA to expand health care services in Santa Clarita By Marcie Geffner


CLA Health provides a full suite of medical services to patients throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. With five locations in Valencia, UCLA Health’s medical services include primary care, specialty care, cardiology, digestive diseases, pain management, colorectal surgery, hematology, oncology and many other areas. “We’re extraordinarily excited to be in the community,” says Dr. Matteo Dinolfo, medical director at the UCLA Department of Medicine’s Community Offices.

High quality local care

Accessing care through UCLA Health means patients can access the system’s high-quality care locally with no need to travel a long distance before or after a medical appointment or procedure. “All the care of UCLA Health is in their community,” Dinolfo says. “We’re using local hospitals and local services. They don’t have to travel outside of the community to have UCLA physicians and faculty care for them both in primary care and all the internal medicine specialties. It’s no different

than if they came to Westwood or Santa Monica.” All of the UCLA Health physicians are also faculty members at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “We deliver UCLA–quality care in their local community and the local hospitals,” Dinolfo explains. “If you’re a patient in our health system, you’ll be cared for by our specialists. You can be admitted to our hospitals if you need to be admitted, and you’ll be cared for by our primary care physicians and specialists as an outpatient as well.”

primary care, medicine and pediatric services and more. “The specialties that will be represented there are cardiology, rheumatology, pulmonary, endocrinology, allergy, infectious diseases and dermatology with dermatological surgery,” Dinolfo says.

Beyond Westwood

The UCLA campus and medical school are located in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. But UCLA Health

has expanded far beyond that home base and not just in Santa Clarita. Dinolfo says the expansion, which started in 2012, is “fairly large.” Altogether, the system has approximately 17 community sites with about 55 individual practices. “Our system has expanded as far north as Santa Clarita, as far south as Palos Verdes, as far east as Alhambra and as far west as Ventura. We’ve expanded pretty

rapidly to become this health system that serves patients in their local communities with our physicians,” Dinolfo explains. “It’s all part of the same system.” Why should patients make UCLA Health their top choice for medical services in the Santa Clarita Valley? “We have a national reputation,” Dinolfo says, “and we bring that reputation to all the local communities where we now have offices.”

Courtesy photo

Dr. Matteo Dinolfo, medical director at the UCLA Department of Medicine’s Community Offices.

Expansion plans

UCLA Health first opened in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2014. Now the system sees Santa Clarita as a place where it plans to expand over the next few years. “We intend to place a fairly robust number of physicians in that area to service that entire valley,” Dinolfo says. “Those services are accessible now—we’re simply expanding on our footprint there.” The new facilities planned to open in the area this year will give patients even more choices to receive UCLA Health care close to home. The new facilities will offer full radiological services,

Courtesy photo

Prominent cosmetic surgeon brings his ‘art’ to the SCV By Laurel Davis


r. Mark Youssef, medical director of YOUnique Cosmetic Surgery in Santa Monica, recently expanded his services to the Santa Clarita Valley. The prominent cosmetic surgeon, whose existing clientele includes celebrities, entertainers and business executives in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and who has been featured in several television shows and magazines, specifically chose the SCV for its strong sense of community and family values. “YOUnique is very family-oriented,” Dr. Youssef explains. “We treat our patients like family, and we’re welcoming and fun. We’re not so interested in making money as much as making people happy.” This is why he sees the SCV as a perfect fit for the type of experience he and his staff provide. Four of his 20 employees live here. The experience is what Dr. Youssef says makes YOUnique different from other cosmetic surgery providers. “It’s about the experience, not the Botox.” He adds that clients walk out feeling good, not just because of the aesthetic results but also because they were treated like family. YOUnique’s mission is “to provide cutting-edge, results-oriented cosmetic

procedures with the highest level of customer service,” Dr. Youssef says. To that end, he considers himself a surgical artist. “When I walk into the office every day, it’s not a job but another opportunity to use reshaping or re-sculpting as a way to bring out the best version of a person. That’s the reward.” A musician and true visual artist who draws and paints, Dr. Youssef says cosmetic surgery is where art and science meet for him. “I love making people feel better, which is why I went into medicine. Cosmetic surgery allows me to change a person’s outlook on life just by making a minor enhancement in the way they look.” That’s the experience Dr. Youssef desires to bring to SCV residents. He gives the example of how high schoolers often come in with low self-esteem due to being teased about a flaw they try to hide with excessive bangs and a downturned head, but they walk out with restored confidence, holding their heads up high. Another example is middle-aged men and women who want to look as young and attractive as they still feel on the inside. As Dr. Youssef points out, “Getting older is not optional, but looking older is.” That’s where YOUnique comes in, he says.

Courtesy photo

“We make the outside match the inside. Much of what we do is permanent, which is especially empowering. We help clients bring back their sexy.” That’s why he calls YOUnique the cosmetic surgery version of Disneyland. “It’s a happy and magical place,” he says. YOUnique’s medical spa in Santa Monica is where all cosmetic surgery procedures are performed, including laser liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, eyelid surgery and anti-aging treatments. Non-surgical procedures

include skin rejuvenation, Botox®, facial fillers, chemical peels and varicose vein treatments. Dr. Youssef is a pioneer of the “liquid facelift,” a non-surgical face contouring procedure requiring little if any down time. Every Thursday, Dr. Youssef comes to Priscilla’s Salon in Valencia to provide non-surgical treatments and surgical consultations to local residents. YOUnique Cosmetic Surgery was founded in 2004 and has a full staff of nurses, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists and administrative professionals. Dr. Youssef is a

Diplomat of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and is also Board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from UC Irvine, did his residency at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, and then at Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. A frequent guest speaker and clinical trainer, he has appeared on “Access Hollywood,” “Extra” and “The Doctors” TV programs, as well as InTouch, Us, Savoir, Indulge, GenLux and Star magazines, among others. YOUnique Cosmetic

Surgery is located at 1551 Ocean Ave., Suite 200, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Their hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment. Thursday consultations at Priscilla’s Salon, located at 27644 Newhall Ranch Road in Valencia, are by appointment only, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, call 310-4340044, or visit Dr. Youssef and the YOUnique family say they would love to hear from the SCV community.


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See UCLA doctors in your neighborhood Experience UCLA’s renowned primary and specialty care, located conveniently nearby. We offer a variety of specialties, all with one focus — U. • Family Medicine

• Digestive Diseases

• Nephrology

• Internal Medicine

• Endocrinology

• Pain Management

• Cardiology

• Hematology/Oncology

• Pulmonary Medicine

• Colorectal Surgery

• Infectious Diseases

• Rheumatology

1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631)


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