On Wellness in WV

Charleston, W Va. – New moms and moms-to-be are invited to UniCare’s 6th Annual Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Shower on Friday, August 23. The event will be held from 11:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center – doors will open at 10:30 a.m.

The baby shower is sponsored by UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc. (UniCare) and is free to new moms and moms-to-be. Door prizes including car seats and baby monitors will be provided by many of the participating organizations.

“We want to make local moms feel special, but we also want to make sure they leave with plenty of information they can use before their babies arrive and when they bring their babies home,” said Billie Moore, senior health promotion consultant for UniCare.  “We know that moms-to-be have many questions about their pregnancies and how they take care of themselves plays an important role in helping to ensure they have healthy babies.”

The event will feature more than ten community-based organizations that will provide educational exhibits and presentations including:

  • Our Babies: Safe & Sound
  • Valley Health – Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • WV Birth to Three
  • Project Linus

UniCare holds baby showers around the state as part of its statewide effort to educate families, and mothers in particular, about the important choices they make on a daily basis and how those choices impact the health of their families.

UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc. is a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. For more information, visit UniCare at www.unicare.com. ® Registered mark of WellPoint, Inc.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Gail VanVoorhis, M.S.N., has many years of experience with simulated healthcare education, whether using a potato to practice dressing a bloody wound or employing a manikin to simulate the birth process. Now, that knowledge has earned her a job training healthcare professionals in Rwanda.

VanVoorhis, a teaching assistant professor, clinical instructor and clinical practice lab director with the West Virginia University School of Nursing, will depart Thursday for the Republic of Rwanda, an African country still trying to rebuild after the 1994 genocide.

She will be working with the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program, an initiative launched in July 2012 by the government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Health. Committed to meeting the health needs of its citizens by 2020, the HRH Program aims to build Rwanda’s healthcare education infrastructure and workforce to create a high quality, sustainable healthcare system by addressing the country’s most challenging healthcare obstacles.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/JULY/WVU-School-of-Nursing-professor-to-train-healthcar

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Charles D. Ponte, Pharm.D., professor in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy Department of Clinical Pharmacy and the WVU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine, was recognized for his commitment to helping educate healthcare professionals and patients about diabetes and diabetes management by being selected as a fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).

The AADE Fellows Program recognizes “diabetes educator leaders who have made outstanding contributions to diabetes education and care through clinical practice, research, education or health policy, including the development and implementation of mentorship programs for diabetes educators.”

Dr. Ponte is one of nine pharmacists who have been selected to receive AADE fellow status since the program was established in 2008.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/Ponte-selected-as-American-Association-of-Diabetes

HSTA celebrates 20 years of success

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WVU education program helps nearly 2,000 high school students

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) at West Virginia University has wrapped up its 20th annual camp, a summer institution at WVU. HSTA serves high school students throughout the state by easing the transition into college and encouraging them to explore careers in science and health.

“Twenty summers is such an incredible achievement for this WVU community partnership,” Ann Chester, Ph.D., HSTA program director and vice-president for education partnerships at the WVU Health Sciences Center, said. “HSTA has helped nearly 2,000 of the best high school students in West Virginia be successful in college and their careers.”

HSTA encourages rural 9th through 12th graders to pursue higher education. The program not only helps educate underserved populations but also serves to recruit more scientists and healthcare providers in West Virginia’s medically underserved communities. HSTA students who complete the program earn tuition waivers for West Virginia state-run colleges. These waivers may be used from undergraduate work through professional school in certain majors. More than half the time, HSTA students choose to pursue health-related careers.

The camp offers participants a chance to learn the research process in a way that’s meaningful to them. Students choose a health or science research project they find interesting that is also relevant to their communities. After completing the project, HSTA students present their findings to their home communities, teaching as they learn.

“I keep hearing how these students surpass all expectations from academics to compassion and resilience and dedication to West Virginia,” Dr. Chester said.

Impressively, 92 percent of HSTA students go on to graduate from college, where one-third of non-HSTA students discontinue studies in their first year. While still in high school, HSTA students have been shown to have better grades overall and routinely score better on annual standardized tests.

“HSTA students are ‘knowledge brokers’ for better healthier lifestyles, taking what they learn in the program and acting as role models for their families and friends,” Chester said. “Their research projects on health issues help them make decisions about what they eat and drink, how they exercise, how much sleep they need and what behaviors will help them stay out of trouble.  As they grow through the HSTA program, these students become true leaders in their communities.”

Last year, HSTA received a renewed pledge of major funding made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year, $1.3 million NIH grant, “Teaching to Learn,” supports HSTA’s mission while encouraging health promotion in rural areas.

For more information about HSTA, visit www.wv-hsta.org.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/HSTA-celebrates-20-years-of-success

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Kimberly R. Becher, M.D., a family medicine resident in the Department of Family and Community Health at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, was recently elected to serve as the National Congress of Family Medicine Residents representative to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Becher was elected to the national post by her peers at the AAFP’S National Conference of Family Residents and Medical Students last month. She will serve as the sole resident member on the AAFP’s board of directors representing more than 3,000 family medicine residents nationwide.

“Dr. Becher is the quintessential family doctor.  She is engaged with her patients, cares about her community and is always looking for ways to improve medicine,” said Dr. John Walden, chair of the Department of Family and Community Health. “I cannot speak highly enough of her dedication to improve the health care outcomes of West Virginians and others in the Appalachian region.  She is an outstanding ambassador for our school and our state. ”

Becher, who grew up in West Virginia and graduated from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2011, is in her third and final year of residency and serves as one of the department’s chief residents.   Highly interested in health policy and reform advocacy, Becher also serves as one of Marshall’s Paul Ambrose Health Policy Fellows.

Following residency, Becher plans on working in Clay County for Community Care of West Virginia.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A woman with a migraine headache that lasted for more than a month came to see Kendra Unger, M.D., for medical acupuncture at the WVU Clark K. Sleeth Family Medicine Center after seeing several other doctors and being told there was nothing they could do except write her a prescription.

“I found the muscle spasm that was causing her pain, and two hours after a 15-minute acupuncture treatment, her headache broke. She’s now down to maintenance appointments every two months,” Dr. Unger said.

As a general practitioner, Unger often saw patients for chronic pain who were on three or four different medications. She was inspired to become a medical acupuncturist through the Helms Medical Institute in Berkeley, Calif., to try to help people feel holistically better without needing more medication. Board certified in medical acupuncture, Unger uses acupuncture in conjunction with her medical training from the WVU School of Medicine. She holds a weekly acupuncture clinic at the Sleeth Family Medicine Center.

For full WVU release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/JULY/Medical-acupuncture-at-WVU-Family-Medicine-Center

The CDC recently sent out some tips for back to school:

Heading back to school is an exciting time of year for students and families. As students go back to school, it is important that they eat healthy and stay active, are up to date on their immunizations, and know the signs of bullying for a healthier and safer school year.

  • Eat healthy and stay active- Our children spend the vast majority of their day at school, so it’s a place that can have a big impact in all aspects of their lives. Schools can help students learn about the importance of eating healthier and being more physically active, which can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. Prevention works. The health of students—what they eat and how much physical activity they get—is linked to their academic success.  Early research is also starting to show that healthy school lunches may help to lower obesity rates. Health and academics are linked – so time spent for health is also time spent for learning. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents limit their intake of solid fats, cholesterol, sodium, added sugars, and refined grains. Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function. Young people aged 6-17 should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Research shows that physical activity can help cognitive skills, attitudes, concentration, attention and improve classroom behavior – so students are ready to learn. 
  • Get vaccinated- Getting your children and teens ready to go back to school is the perfect time to make sure they are up-to-date with their immunizations. Vaccination protects students from diseases and keeps them healthy. The recommended immunizations for children birth through 6 years old can be found here Adobe PDF file, and the recommended immunizations for preteens and teens 7-18 years old can be found here Adobe PDF file.  If you don’t have health insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children program may be able to help.
  • Heads Up: Concussions- Each year, U.S. emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports– and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, including concussions, among children and teens, from birth to 19 years. (MMWR October 2011) A concussion is a type of TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults. Concussion symptoms may appear mild, but the injury can lead to problems affecting how a person thinks, learns, acts, and/or feels. Concussions can occur outside of sports or during any sport or recreation activity, so all parents need to learn the signs and know what to do if a concussion occurs with the ABC’s of concussions: Assess the situation, Be alert for signs and symptoms, and Contact a healthcare professional.
  • Bullying- Bullying Adobe PDF file is a form of youth violence and can result in physical injury and social and emotional distress. In 2011, 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property and 16% reported being bullied electronically through technology, also known as electronic aggression (bullying that occurs through e-mail, a chat room, instant messaging, a website, text messaging, or videos or pictures posted on websites or sent through cell phones) or cyberbullying. Victimized youth are at increased risk for mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, psychosomatic complaints such as headaches, and poor school adjustment. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood. The ultimate goal is to stop bullying before it starts. Some school-based prevention methods include a whole school anti-bullying policy, promoting cooperation, improving supervision of students, and using school rules and behavior management techniques in the classroom and throughout the school to detect and address bullying and providing consequences for bulling.

For more tips on heading back to school, please visit our CDC Features page.

Tri-County Health Clinic in Rock Cave from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 27 and 28. For an appointment, call 304-924-6262.

The mammograms are billed to private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) or through special grant funds from the West Virginia affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No woman over 40 is turned away due to lack of funding.  A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/JULY/Bonnie%E2%80%99s-Bus-to-offer-mammograms-in-Buckeye,-Mill

The newly remodeled Rite Aid will be offering free health screenings this weekend as part of its grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 17.

The store features increased staffing for customer service, an enhanced selection of wellness products and resources, and advanced clinical services including a private pharmacist consultation room at most locations. Wellness Stores are Rite Aid’s latest store design format and are part of the drugstore chain’s continued commitment to providing services, products, and resources to help customers and their families lead healthier lives.

To celebrate the grand opening, Rite Aid is offering free health screenings and product samples. Nurses and our licensed pharmacists will be on hand to provide free services designed to help local residents get and stay well including:

* Total cholesterol testing

* Blood pressure readings

* Memory impairment screenings

* COPD screenings

* Blood glucose testing

Visitors can also sample organic, gluten-free or natural food products and pick up other product samples and coupons.

WHEN:           Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon to 4 p.m.

WHERE:        6401 Sissonville Drive in Charleston, WV – (304) 984-9597

On Thursday at 1 p.m., WV FREE, a pro-choice org, created a “Twitter Storm” to address WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s proposed regulations on abortion providers, which they believe is politically motivated. WV FREE organized a flurry of tweets, demanding the AG remove his target from clinics