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May 2018 Health e-Connection

By Griffin Hospital on 5/15/2018


Are You Getting a Good Night’s Sleep?

Did you get enough sleep last night? It's a question we ask and answer all the time, and often have a lot to say about. May is Better Sleep Month, so it's a good time to look at your sleep habits, and make simple changes in your lifestyle to help improve your sleep habits.

Sleep plays a bigger role in our daily lives than we think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. There are a variety of things that can contribute to disordered sleeping, and snoring or daytime sleepiness may indicate a serious medical disorder.

If you're struggling with sleep issues, The Sleep Wellness Center at Griffin Hospital may be able to help.

The Center's comprehensive program brings state-of-the-art sleep medicine to our community and is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) as a sleep disorders center. Under the direction of K. Marya Chaisson, MD, a board certified pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine physician, the center treats sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.

If you have concerns about your sleep habits or think you might have a sleep disorder, contact The Sleep Center at Griffin Hospital at 203-732-7571.


Griffin Leads the Way in Population Health Management

WTNH Channel 8 recently featured Griffin caregivers on its CT Style program, profiling how the hospital is leading the way in population health management and the delivery of high quality, consumer-focused care.

The week-long series began May 7 with Griffin CEO Patrick Charmel explaining how the hospital’s population health efforts focus greater attention and resources on keeping people well and preventing chronic disease, as opposed to simply waiting for people to get sick then treating them - which is the more traditional healthcare model. The series continued with interviews of Urologist Dr. Grace Biggs, Cardiologist Dr. Sayena Azarbar, Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Abe Fridman, and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Philip Minotti.

OB/GYN Dr. Michael Kessler will be featured on May 17, with other Griffin physicians to follow in the coming months. If you missed the interviews when they aired, don’t worry. They are all being archived on a special web page and will be posted to Griffin’s social media accounts as they become available.

WTNH and Griffin will also be partnering on a “Billion Step Challenge,” and effort to get our community – and all WTNH viewers – to introduce more walking into their daily routines to promote health. Be sure to check griffinhealth.org and wtnh.com for more information of this unique collaboration for good health!


86 Million Americans Have Pre-Diabetes... Do You?

Griffin Hospital will host a free pre-diabetes information session on Thurs., May 17 from 6-7 p.m. to help you find out how you can protect yourself and your loved ones. Lifestyle Medicine Specialist Dr. Victoria Costales, Diabetes Nurse Educator Mary Swansiger, and two graduates of Griffin’s free CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program will speak about pre-diabetes and how to prevent pre-diabetes.

Light refreshments will be served. Call Esther Jones at 203-732-1523 to RSVP.


Griffin Honors Its Nurses

Griffin Hospital recently held its 32nd Annual Nurse Day Celebration to honor its more than 350 staff nurses and present awards to those caregivers who delivered exceptional care during the year.

Tammy Brown, RNC, of Griffin’s Childbirth Center, Katy Christian, RN, BSN, of Griffin's Accountable Care Organization Department, and Kaila Parkins, RN, BSN, BC, of Griffin’s Inpatient units, were named 2018 Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing winners. Ms. Parkins, pictured about with her family, also received The Outstanding Nurse of the Year Award for her commitment to mentoring fellow nurses and providing safe and exceptional care to her patients.

Additional award winners included Elayne Guevara, RN, who won the Marie Santini Perioperative Nursing Excellence Award; Kathy Augustitus, RN, who won the Richard Stivala, M.D., Obstetric Nursing Excellence Award; Michele Derbyshire, RN, who won the Mary Schumacher Nursing Leadership Award; Christine Moon, MST, who won the Donald Torok Memorial Scholarship; and Susan Bouton, RN, Derek Pozzesere, RN, and Michael Montefusco, RN, BC, who were each awarded Shirley Yale Nursing Scholarships. Griffin’s nurses also voted Podiatrist Dr. Luke Jefferies Physician of the Year.


Learn about Protecting Your Loved Ones from Lyme Disease and Skin Cancer this Summer

Griffin Hospital and The Valley Senior Services Council invite caregivers – especially those caring for seniors - to talks on summer safety and caregiver resources. The talks are part of a four-part series to help provide education, information and support.

On Thurs., May 17, representatives from Voices Against Lyme Disease and health experts from Griffin will present “Summer Safety - Lyme Disease and Skin Cancer,” with information on how to help prevent and treat these diseases.

The series wraps up on Thurs., June 7 with “Caring for the Caregiver,” which will provide tips on how caregivers can take care of themselves so they can better care for others.

Both presentations will start at 5:15 p.m. at Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St., Derby. There will be a free light meal provided by Valley United Way and Griffin Hospital Lifeline at 4:30 p.m. before each talk.

Registration is required for each event. Click here or call 203-732-1511.


Griffin Hospital Tests 63 for Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer

The Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby recently gave free oral, head and neck cancer screenings to 63 individuals in recognition of the Annual Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week®.

This is the seventh year Griffin has offered these free screenings to the community.

Participating physicians included Joseph Cardinale, M.D., Joyce Chung, M.D., Khanh Nguyen, M.D., Ken Yanagisawa, M.D., Ronald Hirokawa, M.D., Ihor Ponomarenko, M.D., Michael Naso, M.D., Shaileja Pamnani, M.D., and Richie Li Hao Xu, M.D., as well as Heide Kalra, PA.

As a result of the screenings, 43 individuals were referred for routine follow-up screenings, and four were referred for further head and neck evaluation. In the past six years of this program, more than 400 free screenings have been conducted, with more than 45 instances of individuals being referred for follow-up screenings that could have saved their lives.


Discover Resources for Caregivers of Youth with Special Needs

The Community Health Resource Center at Griffin Hospital will host a free talk about resources for caregivers of children and youth with special needs on Thurs., May 24 at 10 a.m.

Carmina Cirioli and Nanfi Lubogo, co-executive directors of PATH Parent to Parent/Family Voices CT, will present their programs and provide resources and knowledge for families and caregivers of children and youth with special care needs.

PATH/FVCT is a statewide grassroots parent organization that has been around for more than 30 years. PATH/FVCT is dedicated to offering excellence in emotional and informational support to families, promoting partnerships with families of diverse backgrounds, and collaborating with healthcare providers and community organizations to improve services and policies that serve our children. PATH/FVCT has the support of two of the largest networks of families of children with unique abilities and special healthcare needs.

This program is part of a series of free, educational forums hosted by the Community Health Resource Center in an effort to help improve the health of the community. To register or for more information, call Kerry or Deborah at 203-732-7399.


Learn about Pain Management Methods at Griffin Hospital

Griffin Hospital will host a free talk on pain management on Thurs., May 24 at 6 p.m.

Pain medicine expert Dr. Sandeep Johar will lead “Managing Pain for a Better Quality of Life,” an open discussion about the methods to help restore and improve quality of life by decreasing pain and restoring the maximum level of function and independence. Dr. Johar has a multi-disciplinary medical background in interventional pain management, sports medicine and emergency medicine, enabling him to collaborate with our other specialists to ensure patients have a comprehensive treatment plan.

To reserve your spot or for more information, click here or call 203-732-1511.


Celebrate Better Health this Summer with Griffin’s Wellness for Life

Griffin Hospital is helping individuals make the change for a healthier life this summer with its Wellness for Life program.

Wellness for Life is a 12-week, evidence-based lifestyle change program that helps prevent and treat many chronic diseases. According to a report by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 80 percent of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, can be prevented with better lifestyle choices in nutrition, activity and emotional health.

Starting Tues., June 12 from 1-3:30 p.m., the program offers a custom fitness evaluation, individual nutritional guidance, one-on-one coaching, and small, interactive health seminars so participants can make a commitment to a healthier life. Each participant also receives a Fitbit, which helps track participants’ activity, sleep patterns and food intake.

Wellness for Life meets at The Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital. For more information about Wellness for Life, or to sign up call Program Director Eunice Lisk, MS, at 203-732-7107.


Fall Prevention Program June 8

The Valley Parish Nurse Program at Griffin Hospital and Griffin Hospital Lifeline will host a free Fall Prevention Program on Fri., June 8 from 9 a.m.-noon.

The program will discuss the dangers of falling, especially for seniors, and will help attendees prevent falls by: Assessing their fall risk; teaching them to assess their, or a loved one’s, risk of falling; teaching and practicing exercises to improve balance and leg strength; providing a medication review; encouraging annual eye exams; teaching ways to reduce tripping hazards at home and learning how to get up or to call for fast help if a fall occurs.

A light breakfast will be provided by Griffin Hospital Lifeline. To reserve a seat or for more information, contact Esther at 203-732-1523 or ejones@griffinhealth.org.


Griffin Hospital to Host AARP Driver Safety Program June 9

Griffin Hospital will host an AARP Driver Safety Program from 8:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. on Sat., June 9.

The AARP Driver Safety Program is the nation's first and largest refresher course for drivers. While the course is geared toward drivers age 50 and older, the course is open to everyone.

The training is designed to help you learn current rules of the road, how to operate your vehicle more safely in today's increasingly challenging driving environment, and make adjustments to common age-related changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time. As an added bonus, participants can check with their auto insurance company about discounts for completing the course.

The cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Make checks payable to “AARP.” To register, call Esther at 203-732-1523.


Volunteers Sought for MS, Insomnia Study

The Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center, both located at Griffin Hospital, are seeking volunteers for a study on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and insomnia.

This study will compare mindfulness meditation to sleep hygiene counseling in treating insomnia and improving quality of life in individuals with MS.

To participate, volunteers must be adults with a diagnosis of MS who are suffering from chronic insomnia. They must be willing to come to Griffin Hospital for three assessments throughout the study, and to attend a weekly, two-hour training session for eight weeks and one eight-hour weekend session, and wear a Fitbit activity monitor (provided to volunteers) for several weeks to record their sleep data.

Volunteers will be randomly assigned to training on either mindfulness or sleep hygiene, which will be offered at either Griffin Hospital or the Yale Stress Center.  They will receive $200 for their role in the training and assessment, which will be provided free of charge. This study is funded by a grant from the State of Connecticut’s Biomedical Research Trust Fund.

For information, call 203-732-1265, extension 220 for Sue, or extension 300 for Rockiy.


Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Honors Volunteers

Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Coalition recently marked its 5th anniversary and honored its dedicated volunteers.

Operating within Griffin Hospital’s Community Outreach Program, Safe Kids Naugatuck Valley is part of Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries. The local program was became a chapter 2004 and developed into a coalition under Safe Kids CT. In 2013, the program grew to include many Naugatuck Valley towns and became its own stand-alone coalition.

Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Coalition educates children and adults on variety of health and safety programs to reduce unintentional injuries among children. Program topics include anti-bullying, germ protection, teen distracted driving, bicycle and wheeled sport safety, anti-tobacco use, child passenger safety, exercise and sports safety, and internet safety.

Ansonia Police Officer Michael Barry, and Michele Holovach and Jamie Peterson, of TEAM, Inc., all received Volunteer Excellence Awards.

Officer Barry has volunteered with Safe Kids since 2006 and has been active in programs involving child passenger safety, teen driving, pedestrian safety, poison prevention, and anti-bullying. Holovach and Peterson have been essential in coordinating with Head Start classrooms in Ansonia, Derby, Shelton, Seymour, and Beacon Falls to bring Safe Kids’ health and safety programs to more than 250 students every month throughout the school year. Additionally, they support major grant projects to fit every child with a new car seat and bike helmet, provide concussion protocols and water safety programs, and educate parents and caregivers at regular dinners throughout the year.

For more information about Safe Kids Naugatuck Valley, visit griffinhealth.org/safe-kids or contact Cathi Kellett at 203-732-1337 or ckellett@griffinhealth.org.


Griffin Surgeon, QU Student Lauded for Lung Cancer Screening Project

Griffin Hospital Chairman of Surgery Richard Salzano, MD, FACS, and Quinnipiac University medical student Nathan Dembowski, MD, recently received awards for a project involving Griffin’s Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Program.

Dembroski received the Barbara Pober, MD, MPH, Clinical Science Scholarship Award for his project "Effects of a Community Hospital Lung Cancer Screening Program on Patient Wellness: Benefits Go Beyond Early Lung Cancer Detection."

Dr. Salzano was recognized as outstanding capstone mentor for guiding Dembroski’s project, which was presented at Griffin Hospital Grand Rounds, the 2015 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care, and the National 2016 CHEST Annual Meeting.

The Capstone Scholar program provides students with the fundamental tools to engage in self-reflection, scientific inquiry and analysis, and life-long learning over two years through course work and completion of a self-directed scholarly project in a selected area of concentration.

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