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November 4, 2015 - 1:19pm

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Wilmot Cancer Institute Batavia will host a free community health talk titled “Advances in Lung Cancer.”

This free presentation is open to the public and will be held from 6-7 p.m. at the Terry Hills Restaurant, 5122 Clinton Street Road, Batavia. Refreshments will be served.

It will feature Wilmot Cancer Institute Batavia’s radiation oncologist Kevin J. Mudd, M.D., and medical oncologist Nayana R. Kamath, M.D., of Interlakes Oncology and Hematology. Mudd and Kamath will discuss how you can reduce your risk for lung cancer, options for screening, and advances in treatment. Their presentation will conclude with a question-and-answer session.

About 140 people in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Although incidence of lung cancer has been declining since the early 1990s, the disease remains the second most-common cancer in the United States.

To learn more about this presentation, please call (585) 276-5788.

October 30, 2015 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Wilmot Cancer Institute Batavia, batavia, health, business.


Photos provided by our news partner, WBTA.

Press release from UR Medicine:

Patients in Genesee and surrounding counties can now access a full range of cancer treatment services in one location at Wilmot Cancer Institute Batavia.

The office at 262 Bank St. is the former Batavia Radiation Oncology, which joined UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute in 2014. With renovated and expanded space, the office features larger clinical examination rooms, and it has added medical oncology, hematology, and an infusion center.

Kevin J. Mudd, M.D., who has been Batavia’s radiation oncologist for more than 14 years, continues to see patients at Wilmot Cancer Institute Batavia. He is joined by Nayana Kamath, M.D., of Interlakes Oncology and Hematology, who provides the medical oncology and hematology services at the office.

“It’s exciting to continue providing high-quality, comprehensive cancer care here in this community and to see our services growing with our integration with URMC and Wilmot Cancer Institute,” Mudd said.

Services for patients who need medical oncology, hematology and chemotherapy/infusion began in July. The office’s new infusion center was designed with patient comfort in mind.

“Our new infusion center is bright and open,” Kamath said. “While that might not sound significant, it can make a real difference for patients who need to be here for three or four hours at a time. ”

As part of Wilmot Cancer Institute, the Batavia office provides access to clinical trials, which are available for a variety of cancers at different stages and help lead to the next generation of therapies, and to advanced diagnostic testing for certain cancers, which helps physicians to tailor treatments more precisely to a patient’s needs.

“Cancer care is more complex than it has ever been before, and it requires a coordinated team with expertise in many disciplines to identify the best course of treatment for each individual patient,” said Jonathan W. Friedberg, M.D., M.M.Sc., director of Wilmot Cancer Institute. “Our office here in Batavia brings Wilmot Cancer Institute’s precision medicine approach closer to home for patients and families who might otherwise have to travel an hour or more for care.” 


October 21, 2015 - 4:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in health, UMMC.
Event Date and Time: 
October 27, 2015 -
4:00pm to 8:00pm

United Memorial Medical Center and the Cancer Services Partnership will provide free health screenings to Genesee County women between the ages of 40-64 with no insurance or high deductibles, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 4-8 p.m. at the Jerome Center, 16 Bank St., Batavia. Appointments are necessary for some of the screenings.

October 21, 2015 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in health, UMMC, Cancer Services Partnership.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center and the Cancer Services Partnership will provide free health screenings to Genesee County women between the ages of 40-64 with no insurance or high deductibles, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 4-8 p.m. at the Jerome Center, 16 Bank St., Batavia. Appointments are necessary for some of the screenings.

For women age 40-64, nurse midwife, Cecilia Stearns, MSN CNM will perform women’s health screenings, including pap smears, pelvic exams and clinical breast exams. Additional services available at the event include mammography, total cholesterol, blood pressure and take home colorectal cancer screening kits.

All screenings will be provided at no charge. Funds are available for follow-up care if necessary. Please call United Memorial’s Healthy Living Department to schedule an appointment at (585) 344-5331. Light refreshments, health information and free giveaways will also be available.

October 1, 2015 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, health, podiatry.

Batavia Foot Care Center, offering podiatric medicine and surgery, is celebrating its relocation to 3922 W. Main Street Road with a free, public open house featuring hors d'oeuvres and refreshments.

It will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The new location is across the road from Toyota of Batavia.

The staff is excited about the expansion into a warm, spacious modern podiatry office with services including a diabetic show program, digital X-ryas and up-to-date treatments and products.

Also, the center announces the retirement of Dr. Gina Teresi. She founded Batavia Foot Care Center 30 years ago with the motto "Always Put the Patient First!"

They are pleased to introduce Dr. Zerah Ali as a new provider on their team beginning Oct. 12. He is a graduate of Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. He did his residency at the Staten Island University Hospital and most recently practiced podiatry in Syracuse. He is accepting new patients.

Questions? Contact 344-1677.

Visit at

August 14, 2015 - 2:42pm

Independent Living of the Genesee Region will host a free six-session workshop on Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes on Mondays beginning Sept. 14 at the Mental Health Association at 25 Liberty St., Batavia.

The workshops will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 14, 21, 28 and Oct. 5, 14 and 19.

To register, call Pat at 815-8501, ext. 402.

The program will cover these topics:

  • Decision making & problem solving skills;
  • Developing & maintaining a safe, long-term physical activity program;
  • Preventing complications;
  • Dealing with anger, depression & difficult emotions;
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals;
  • Using prescribed medication appropriately;
  • Healthy eating;
  • Monitoring;
  • Skin & foot care;
  • Planning for future health care.
July 31, 2015 - 5:09pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, health, UMMC, Oak Orchard Health, breastfeeding.


Dozens of families attended the first local synchronized breastfeeding event at the Jerome Center this morning.

The Big Latch On was hosted by the United Memorial Medical Center and Oak Orchard Health WIC program to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7. The week is celebrated in 120 countries. The first Big Latch On took place in Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2005 and was held in Portland, Ore., in 2010.

Today's Big Latch On was the first local breastfeeding event in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Thirty-one nursing moms and a few dads with their children attended the event to show their support for breastfeeding. Families were entered into a raffle for a Vera Bradley diaper bag and other giveaways. The City of Batavia Fire Department also offered free car seat safety checks.

Maria Dentino, Oak Orchard Health WIC breastfeeding coordinator, gave out recognition awards to businesses that support breastfeeding families. The workplaces that received awards were Genesee County Court, Lucky Ducky Daycare, Lifetime Assistance, Wegmans in Brockport, Target in Greece, and the Greater Rochester International Airport. All of the recipients were nominated by local women.

"The goal is to celebrate Global Breast Feeding Week and raise awareness for the health benefits of breastfeeding," said Colleen Flynn, director of community relations at UMMC.

Breastfeeding has many health benefits some of which include reducing the risk of infant morbidity and mortality, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In addition to the event, UMMC's Baby Cafe is celebrating its one year anniversary. The educational support program for nursing moms and their children is held every Tuesday at 1 p.m. Moms can ask lactation counselors questions and socialize with other moms. So far, 80 moms and their children have attended the program.







July 31, 2015 - 5:07pm
posted by Traci Turner in Le Roy, health, 58 On Main.


A nutrition and wellness consultant from Le Roy offers advice on how to accomplish wellness goals and live healthier in her new book "90 Days to Holistic Wellness: Balancing Your Body, Mind, Heart and Soul."

Tracy Martorana, author and owner of Holisitc Wellness with Tracy, transformed her life by implementing a series of small changes into her daily routine and decided to write her first book to help people develop healthier and happier lifestyles in three months.

Martorana's book guides readers along a week-by-week program. Each week Matorana gives advice on a wellness topic and offers one small change readers can make to improve their lives. In order to be healthy, she believes people need to develop a balance in their lives so she focuses on a variety of topics including nutrition, meditation, exercising and journaling.

"I only ask my readers to make one change a week so it's not overwhelming," Martorana said. "For each small change, I offer several options so they can adjust the change to meet their daily lifestyles."

In addition to offering advice, she provides readers with tools for setting their own wellness goals and tracking their changes. The weekly sections also build upon the previous ones so the 12 small changes add up to a significant change.

"I chose 90 days because it's a long enough time for my readers to experience a decent return," Martorana said. "The goal is to have readers start to feel healthier and notice the benefits so they are inspired to continue practicing the changes after 90 days."

Martorana will be having her first book launch party from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 58 On Main in Le Roy on Wednesday, Aug. 19. She will be signing books in exchange for a small donation to Grace's Kitchen, an organization that offers a free dinner to the community every Tuesday. There will be books for sale, giveaways and refreshments.

July 24, 2015 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, health, breastfeeding.

Press release:

Local health care organizations United Memorial Medical Center and Oak Orchard Health will be hosting an event for breastfeeding mothers that will attempt to break international records as well as raise awareness on the important health benefits of breastfeeding.

Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and their babies are invited to attend the event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Jerome Center in Batavia on Friday, July 31.

It's part of the international "Global Big Latch On," a synchronized breastfeeding event that will include thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world.

In addition to the count, the Latch On event at the Jerome Center will also have refreshments, giveaways, face painting, car seat check, and drawing for a Vera Bradley diaper bag. Please arrive early to register!

The Global Big Latch On was organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action as part of World Breastfeeding Week to raise awareness on the important health benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies/children, and babies/children who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for two years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child. World Breastfeeding Week will take place Aug. 1-7.

July 23, 2015 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in diabetes, Independent Living, Announcements, health.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region will host a free six-session workshop on Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes on Mondays beginning Sept. 14 at the Mental Health Association at 25 Liberty St., Batavia.

The workshops will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 14, 21, 28 and Oct. 5, 14 and 19.

To register, call Pat at 815-8501, ext. 402.

The program will cover these topics:

  • Decision making & problem solving skills;
  • Developing & maintaining a safe, long-term physical activity program;
  • Preventing complications
  • Dealing with anger, depression & difficult emotions;
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals;
  • Using prescribed medication appropriately;
  • Healthy eating;
  • Monitoring;
  • Skin & foot care;
  • Planning for future health care.
March 25, 2015 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, county health.

Press release:

The 6th annual County Health Rankings have been released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. This allows each county to see how healthy their community is compared to other counties within their state based on 30 factors measured, including education, transportation, housing, violent crimes, jobs, diet and exercise.

The County Health Rankings are a snapshot of the impact that the measured factors have on the health of each county. The rankings for New York State are out of the 62 counties. There are five main categories and the factors that make up each category are measured and ranked.

• Health Outcomes (Today’s Health): which includes length of life, premature death, sickness, mental health and low birth weight;
• Health Factors (Tomorrow’s Health): including health behaviors: adult smoking, adult obesity, food environment index, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted disease and teen births;
• Clinical Care: including uninsured, primary care physicians, dentists, mental health providers, preventable hospital stays, diabetic screening, and mammography screening;
• Social and Economic Factors: including high school graduation, some college, unemployment, children in poverty, inadequate social support, children in single-parent households, violent crime and injury deaths; and
• Physical Environment: including air pollution, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, driving alone to work, and long commute – driving alone.

The County Health Rankings are compiled from many different types of national data sources. The county with the lowest score (best health) gets a rank of #1 for that state and the county with the highest score (worst health) is assigned a rank corresponding to the number of total counties ranked in each state.

Results for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties are as follows:

• Genesee County ranked 40th in overall Health Outcomes, 26th in overall Health Factors, 54th in Clinical Care, 11th in Social and Economic Factors, and 46th in Physical Environment.
• Orleans County ranked 47th in overall Health Outcomes, 59th in overall Health Factors, 62nd in Clinical Care, 50th in Social and Economic Factors, and 54th in Physical Environment.
• Wyoming County ranked 17th in overall Health Outcomes, 27th in overall Health Factors, 49th in Clinical Care, 19th in Social and Economic Factors, and 57th in Physical Environment.

Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments continue to implement their 2013-2017 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) developed to address some of the issues noted in the County Health Rankings, as well as community residents’ concerns noted in the Community Health Assessment Survey conducted in 2013.

With the assistance of our local health systems and community organizations, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties chose two priority areas from the New York State Department of Health Prevention Agenda to work toward improving. These priority areas are preventing chronic diseases and promoting mental health and preventing substance abuse.

“Staff from the departments are dedicated to implementing the Community Health Improvement Plan and these efforts will help to reflect improved standing in future County Health Rankings. This impact will take time to be seen as the data collection process and publishing takes time, on average three to five years,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans counties. "The Health Departments continue to partner with community organizations, faith-based organizations businesses and community members to work toward decreasing obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and nicotine-related illnesses, as well as developing and promoting a wide-ranging resource to help health care providers and community members have access to mental health services. 

"As you can see this is no small task that one organization can take on alone. We believe we can make an impact on the health of our communities if we work together. What are some things you can do to be healthier? How can you have an impact on the health of your neighborhood? Keep an eye out for some exciting opportunities as we move forward working together to become the healthiest region!"

To learn more about the NYS Prevention Agenda visit:

To get a detailed look at the 2015 County Health Rankings visit:

For information about health department services:• Genesee County Health Department call: 344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit the Web site at
• Orleans County Health Department call: 589-3278 or check out the Web site at:

You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Our user name for both is OrleansCoHealth. 
• Wyoming County Health Department call: 786-8890 or visit the Web site at:

February 18, 2015 - 3:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, health.

Press release:

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized today the City of Batavia’s Employee Wellness Program as part of the 2015 Bright Ideas program.

This year’s cohort includes 124 programs from all levels of government — school districts; county, city, state, and federal agencies; as well as public-private partnerships — that are at the forefront in innovative government action.

In 2009 Batavia made a complete shift in the way it looked at health insurance, and a wellness program was established to influence employee behavior and focus on preventative care. Employees and spouses who participate in the program and achieve or exceed identified results have the opportunity to earn credits to either reduce their health care contribution or lower their out of pocket deductible.

The employee and spouse, if both participate, can achieve a maximum of 25-percent discount on their health insurance premium, or pay as little as 5 percent for health insurance. The employee health care contribution is 30 percent of the plan's annual cost.

The following are the targeted goals for each factor based on standards established by the National Institute of Health and American Diabetes Association:

1. Health Risk Assessment – Need to complete (employee and spouse)

2. Fasting Glucose - <=99

3. LDL Cholesterol - <=99 mg/dL

4. Blood Pressure - <= 139/89

5. Nicotine Use – Non-use only

In addition, if a participant shows a 60-percent improvement in fasting glucose, LDL cholesterol or blood pressure over the prior year, he/she will receive credit for the category, as the improvement shows significant movement toward obtaining the category goal.

The City’s medical plan also has a case management program in place that works with members to help coordinate all necessary health resources to maintain a healthy quality of life. The overall goal of the City’s wellness program is to drive preventative utilization, reduce the number and severity of claims and reduce health care costs.

With respect to health care expenses, the City has seen impressive accomplishments in managing what are regularly considered “unmanageable costs." Since 2010, Batavia has enjoyed an annual increase in healthcare premiums of only about 4 percent -- compared to an average of double-digit increases nationally. Notably, the cost of the average family healthcare plan in 2014 was $15,927, this was a 5-percent decrease from 2013. Batavia’s health insurance premiums have experienced marginal annual increases in health care premiums when compared to most municipalities in New York State and across the nation, while premiums paid by employees have gone down.

Most importantly, Batavia employees, spouses and families have become more educated and participatory in their own health.

“The Bright Ideas program demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center.

“As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, making government work better doesn’t always require massive reforms and huge budgets. Indeed, we are seeing that, in many ways, an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability can have further-reaching effects than large-scale reforms.”

This is the fourth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources. They must be administered by one or more governmental entities. Nonprofit, private sector and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization.

Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation:

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit

February 18, 2015 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, health.

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments are encouraging residents to “Think Health.” Taking time to think about your health and taking positive health steps will lead to healthier outcomes. Learning something new every day is one way to “Think Health”…

New York State relies on local health departments to promote, protect, and improve the health of their residents. Currently the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments, in partnership with local stakeholders, are distributing a survey to assess the public’s knowledge on the existence of and accessibility (ease of access / use) of mental health and substance abuse services locally.

This effort is directly related to the 2013-2017 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and will serve as a baseline measurement of the area’s knowledge and/or use of these services. This priority was included in the Community Health Improvement Plan after it was found that the tri-county area has higher suicide (15.7 crude, 15.6 age adjusted) rates than the NYS average (9 crude, 8.6 age adjusted) and depression / mental health issues / and stress ranked as top concerns for the public in 2013 as well.

The survey is available online and paper. Paper surveys can be found at the health departments, as well as participating libraries, human service agencies and events throughout the tri-county area.

You can access the Community Health Survey online at:

“Later in the year, a user-friendly online-based informational database focused on these services will be created and promoted in the tri-county area in hopes to increase awareness of what is available and make efforts to fill gaps in services locally,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for the Genesee and Orleans Counties health departments.

The survey can be taken by individuals living and/or working in Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. The survey is anonymous and is only 10 questions. Your honest thoughts and opinions are appreciated. All ages are encouraged to take it for themselves. If you are under the age of 18 years old, be sure to receive permission to take the survey from your parent(s) or guardian(s).

“This project is made possible through grant funds obtained from the NYS Health Foundation,” said Laura Paolucci, Public Health administrator for the Wyoming County Health Department. “This is a new territory for the public health sector and the more input from the community, the stronger the ‘building block’ of this project and those related will be.”

If you have any questions, would like to comment on the survey, and/or review the 2013-2017 Community Health Improvement Plan contact your local Health Department:

Genesee County Health Department call: 585-344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit their Web site at

December 26, 2014 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, UMMC.

Press release:

With the continued increase in the number of influenza cases at the Hospital and in the community, United Memorial Medical Center will be strictly following established visitor guidelines and implementing restrictions in order to safeguard the health of our patients.

• Effective immediately, patients in our facility will be allowed only two (2) visitors at one time between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., except where more specific hours are posted for the care unit.

• No visitors under the age of 14 years will be allowed.

• Maternity patients may have visits from their spouse/birthing partner, grandparents of the baby, and others with no more than two visitors at a time. Siblings of the infant, under the age of 14 will not be allowed to visit.

• Individuals with a sore throat, runny nose, fever, or other influenza-type symptoms should NOT visit patients.

• A visitor, who is coughing persistently or showing signs of infectious disease such as influenza, will be given a mask and asked to leave the facility.

As an organization we understand the importance of loved ones and friends in the healing process. Exceptions to the visitor policy must be approved by the unit manager or nursing supervisor prior to the visitor’s arrival at the hospital. These restrictions have been put into place to protect those with weakened or fragile immune systems, and those who care for them, from harm during the influenza outbreak.

Everyone should remember to use appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to prevent the spread of influenza. Symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, cough or nasal congestion. Individuals with fever over 100˚F and any of the symptoms listed are urged to stay home, seek medical advice as necessary and limit the number of people exposed. Individuals with influenza are contagious for 24 hours prior to exhibiting symptoms.

December 23, 2014 - 5:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in health.

Press release:

Since the NYS Department of Health Commissioner declared influenza (flu) prevalent in NYS on Dec. 11th, the number of confirmed cases in Genesee and Orleans counties is rising quickly. It is important for your health to know how to prevent from contracting the flu, as well as what precautions you should take if symptoms begin. Getting vaccinated against the flu is the best method of protection.

While some strains of the virus spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, getting a flu shot/nasal spray can still provide protection. It might also lessen the risk of severe outcomes, such as hospitalization and death.

Most people who get sick with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Symptoms of the flu include fever or feverish chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults.

“It is important to contact your primary care physician if you are concerned about your or your child’s flu symptoms,” said Paul Pettit, director, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “Emergency Departments should be utilized for emergencies, and typically flu can be treated at home.”

If you have symptoms of flu and are very sick or worried about your illness, the health departments urge you to contact your health care provider (doctor, physician’s assistant, etc.) before you head to a hospital emergency room.

If you experience flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice. If you do not have a primary care provider and feel you need to seek a medical evaluation, you can seek care at an urgent care center.
Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions). If you are in a high risk group and develop flu symptoms, it is best for you to contact your doctor. Remind them about your high risk status for flu.

To care for yourself or another with the flu, stay at home and rest. Avoid close contact with well people in your house so you will not make them sick. Remember to drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent fluid loss (dehydration). Treat fever and cough with medicines available over the counter. Follow the label instructions and be careful about mixing over the counter medications. If you are pregnant, talk with your provider before taking any medications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the health departments recommend that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you. Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making them sick. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a facemask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your arm. Wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.

Both the Genesee and Orleans County health departments offer flu vaccine to individuals who qualify. For more information regarding flu vaccine qualification, clinic schedules, or additional services please contact your local department.

Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit their Web site at departments/health/index.html Visit Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter @GeneseeCoHealthDept.

October 28, 2014 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, health, Batavia Teachers' Association.

A couple dozen vendors participated today in a community health fair at the Batavia Middle School sponsored by Batavia Teachers' Association.

Above, Jen Housknecht gives a zumba demonstration class. Below, a visit with the booth for Genesee Dental.

October 21, 2014 - 1:50pm

Every fire department in Genesee County was represented at a mandatory briefing Monday evening by Dr. Sara Connolly, the incoming medical director for the county.

Connolly briefed the chiefs and department representatives on protocols for dealing with Ebola patients.

It's a long shot that there will ever be a person carrying the Ebola virus in Genesee County, but county and state officials agree it's better to be prepared, trained at thinking ahead than to be caught off guard.

Such briefings are mandated for all first responders by the NYS Department of Health.

Connolly said she addressed triage and isolation issues and answered questions. EMS responders are instructed to ask patients at emergency scenes if they've traveled to West Africa within the previous 30 days. 

If the answer is yes, then first responders need to find out if the patient has had any of the symptoms of Ebola, such as high fever, diarrhea or vomiting. If yes, then the patient needs to be isolated as quickly as possible and the first responders need to avoid further contact with the patient.

Some misunderstandings were cleared up during the Q&A session at the end of the talk, Connolly said. For example, not everybody who gets Ebola dies, and we don't even have any idea how lethal, or not, it would be in the U.S. since there's been only one case of a person in this country who has died from it.

"We don't know what it's mortality rate would be in this country, with a good sanitation system and developed healthcare system," Connolly said.

Connolly is not yet officially the new county health director. That appointment could be finalized as soon as today.  

She is a physician at UMMC and specializes in emergency department medicine. She's a graduate of Princeton University with a medical degree from the University at Buffalo.

Every county is required to have at least one medical director, accounting to Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger, who overseas emergency response medical personnel. The position is responsible for training and ensuring that policies and protocols from the Department of Health are implemented and properly followed.

The director works closely with the Emergency Management Office and the county's Department of Health.

The Ebola briefing was required by the state, but Yaeger said it is a wise thing to ensure all emergency responders are prepared to deal with an Ebola patient, no matter how remote the possibility.

"We want to be prepared," Yaeger said. "Hopefully, nothing occurs here, but if it does, we want the public to know that we are prepared and ready to respond, and primarily to make sure those first responders are safe."

October 15, 2014 - 11:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, Seniors, bergen, Hickory Park.

A bit of rain didn't dampen spirits in Bergen this morning where officials dedicated a new "life trail" system in Hickory Park.

The system, made up of seven, three-sided stations with a series of exercises people can perform, is designed to give seniors in particular a chance to be active and improve their physical health.

It was funded by a $50,000 state grant, secured with the help of Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and County Legislator Bob Bausch.

"We have put in place a parks master plan with a focus on fitness and wellness," said Mayor Anna Marie Barclay. "In particular, we want to give opportunities to seniors, which is our fastest growing population, an opportunity, because there are not as many opportunities for seniors as there are for other age groups. We want to encourage our seniors to come out, and not just our seniors. We invite seniors from all of the surrounding communities to come out to our park."

Ranzenhofer said he was proud to have helped bring about the project.

"I'm very excited to be here," Ranzenhofer said. "The comment about the weather, we were talking before about it being a rainy day, but it really is shining today, even though you may not see the sun. On a project like this, with your hard work, collectively, we were able to do a very good thing for the village residents, and thanks for including me."

October 14, 2014 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, health, medicine, UMMC, ebola.

It's been less than 10 days since new protocols related to Ebola were put in place at United Memorial Medical Center, but emergency room staff have already passed one key preparedness test.

In an unannounced drill, a man showed up claiming a fever and suffering from weakness and a headache, a staff member asked a newly implemented set of questions that included whether he had traveled recently from Western Africa.

He uttered, "yes," and within 60 seconds he was in an infectious disease isolation room.

"I was very encouraged by the outcome," said Dan Ireland, president of UMMC. "Any time we do an exercise, do a drill, we like to hear the positive feedback that things are working as they should be."

Following CDC guidelines, UMMC, the whole county's health and emergency response leadership, really, have been implementing Ebola protocols, even if it seems like a far-off, distant problem that may never reach Genesee County.

"We do a lot of things based on a long shot," Ireland said. "We prepare for the rare circumstances because those are the ones that can be really significant. Hopefully, it never happens, but we want to be prepared. I was here during the SARS era. We never had a SARS case in this facility, even while it was in Toronto, but we were ready. We have to be ready for those things or you're not doing the public the service that they need."

Ebola is a virus transmitted among mammals through contact with bodily fluid. Symptoms start with fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches, much like the flu. Death occurs in about 50 percent of the patients who contract it.  

The first known outbreak was in 1976 in South Sudan and there have been periodic outbreaks since. The latest outbreak started in March and currently about 10,000 people are believed to have the disease. But some scientists believe exponential growth (the number of people with the disease during an outbreak doubles about every 20 days) could mean as many as 500,000 in West Africa could be ill from Ebola (perhaps more than a million, if there is under reporting).

There is currently no Ebola-specific treatment or vaccine, though scientists are fast-tracking research.  

That's way isolation and quarantine are essential to controlling the disease.

Ireland said hospital officials are continuously communicating with staff about Ebola and CDC-recommended protocols.

It's a rapidly evolving situation, Ireland said, and directives and procedures sometimes change with little notice.

For example, today's identification protocol involves questions about travel. If the outbreak grows, that protocol could change.

"It could be very different story for you tomorrow," Ireland said. "That's health care and that's medicine. As new information comes out, health care evolves."

To help with the communication process, so essential to control of the disease should it ever reach Genesee County, the hospital hosted a meeting today of officials from UMMC, Genesee County Emergency Services and the County Health Department.

The word on how to deal with Ebola needs to get out to doctors and nurses throughout the local health community, including health workers at clinics and on ambulances, both paid and volunteer, as well as local law enforcement and fire chiefs.

Anybody who might come into first contact with an Ebola patient needs to know how to respond to the situation, since isolation and quarantine are so critical its control.

Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for the county, said communication is already starting with the agencies his department deals with, and Ebola will be on the agenda of upcoming fire chief and fire service meetings.

"Our job is to maintain awareness and communication," Yaeger said. "We discuss it with our 9-1-1 center, emergency responders and law enforcement officers need to be aware and not make assumptions about how to protect themselves from people who might be infected. The common theme every day is that we're getting new information regarding Ebola and we need to coordinate that with emergency responders."

The county health department hasn't fielded any calls from concerned citizens about Ebola (there's been more calls about enterovirus, which has been reported in Rochester and Buffalo, but not Genesee County), but that doesn't mean county health officials aren't staying on top of the latest information, said Director Paul Pettit. 

The first person to contract Ebola in the U.S. is a Dallas nurse. She appears have been infected while treating a Dallas resident who contracted the disease in Africa.

Another health care worker in Spain contracted the disease after caring for a patient in that country.

In the case in Spain, it's been determined that the health care worker likely did not follow proper protocol for removing protective gear.

It's still speculation, but that may also have been the situation in Dallas.

Typically, health care workers are covered from head to toe in protective garb while interacting with Ebola patients (only those who have actually become sick can transmit the disease).  

The probable cause of health care workers in Spain and Dallas getting sick certainly has local nurses paying close attention to the proper procedures, said Mary Beth Bowen, vice president of nursing for UMMC.

"For the nursing staff, we practice infection protection every day," Bowen said. "It's now part of our training to practice for Ebola. We've put in a buddy system to monitor each other; video so they visually learn the procedures for putting on and removing protective gear. We're doing everything according to proscribed protocol. It's important to this organization that we minimize the risk of transmission."

There's even a place for chocolate syrup in the training.  

You see, if there's chocolate syrup on your protective gear and then you take it off and find chocolate syrup on your skin, you've done something wrong.

One reason Ireland wanted to talk about this issue, and bring these local experts together, is that he doesn't want anybody in the community to panic about Ebola.

He's concerned there's a lot of hysteria and misinformation in the media about the disease, and if panic sets in, it may lead to somebody avoiding medical treatment for other conditions, a decision that could be even more dangerous.   

If people understand more about the disease and what the hospital is doing to minimize any risk of transmission, he hopes it will eliminate any such panic in the community.

"We want to avoid any misinformation in the community," Ireland said. "We are doing everything by what the CDC advises."

Photo: Gathered at an office in UMMC to discuss Ebola are Tim Yaeger and Jim Bouton, Office of Emergency Management, Mary Beth Bown, VP of nursing, Paul Pettit, county director of health, and Dan Ireland, president of UMMC.

On the Web:

October 8, 2014 - 11:40am
posted by Billie Owens in health, UMMC, Cancer Services Partnership.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center and the Cancer Services Partnership will provide free health screenings to Genesee County residents who meet specific age criteria residents of Genesee County -- women between the ages of 40-64 and men aged 50-64 with no insurance or high deductibles.

The screening will be available from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct.29, at the Jerome Center, 16 Bank St., Batavia. Appointments are necessary for some of the screenings.

For women age 40-64, nurse midwife Cecilia Stearns, MSN, will perform women’s health screenings, including pap smears, pelvic exams and clinical breast exams.

Urologist William Guthinger, MD, will provide prostate screenings to men age 50-64. Additional services available at the event include mammography, total cholesterol and take-home colorectal cancer screening kits.

All screenings will be provided at no charge. Funds are available for follow-up care, if necessary.

Please call United Memorial’s Healthy Living Department to schedule an appointment at (585)344-5331. Light refreshments, health information and free giveaways will also be available.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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