Monthly Archives: August 2015

Bon Secours Community Hospital Annual Golf Classic Raises Over $44,000

If there is one message that Event Chair Dick McKeeby would like everyone to hear in anticipation of next year’s event, it is that the annual Golf Classic in support of Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, NY, is always lots of fun.

The recent fundraiser, held on August 10 at the High Point Golf Club, 342 Shore Drive in Montague, New Jersey, welcomed 117 golfers and raised over $44,000, a record to date, for the hospital’s Medical Equipment and Technology Fund.

The High Point Golf Club has 18 picturesque holes that are surrounded by crystal lakes and are a challenge to play for both professional and amateur golfers. And with its immaculate greens, lush landscaping and views of the High Point monument, the golf course is considered to be one of the finest courses in the area.

This year’s major hole-in-one prize, designated on the fifth hole, was a brand new car courtesy of Phil’s Ford in Port Jervis, NY.

Although no one scored the hole-in-one, all the golfers received a variety of amenities including lunch, refreshments served throughout the day, giveaways, awards and valuable prizes, including an Apple iPod and a set of PING golf clubs, followed by a dinner reception at the Erie Trackside Manor in Port Jervis.

Participants reported that the Bon Secours Community Hospital annual Golf Classic was not only the most fun but also the best-organized golf outing they had ever attended and all were looking forward to next year’s event.

“Bon Secours Community Hospital is one of the most important institutions in our community,” said Event Chair Dick McKeeby. “and this Golf Classic, always a fun event, is a great way to show our support. We thank everyone who contributed to its success.”

Bon Secours Community Hospital, a member of the Bon Secours Charity Health System, is located at 160 East Main Street in Port Jervis, NY. For additional information call (845) 858–7000 or visit:


Music Therapy Program Offered at Mount Alverno Center

According to the Institute for Music and Neuralgic Function, a leading authority in clinical music therapy, numerous studies demonstrate that familiar and likable music can reduce depression while increasing sociability, movement and cognitive ability and decreasing agitation and other behavior problems.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Warwick Lions Club and the efforts of Recreation Therapy Aide Jennifer Emm, each Wednesday Mount Alverno Center residents now have an opportunity to enjoy an evening of singing, laughing and playing instruments with Certified Music Therapist Melinda Burgard.

Mount Alverno Center is a New York State approved Adult Home with an Assisted Living Program on the Warwick Campus of the Bon Secours Charity Health System. Its goal is for each resident to maintain a maximum level of independence. Individualized care plans are designed to help residents reach their utmost daily potential. Services are based on a team approach and are provided by highly competent professionals dedicated to the comfort and safety of the residents.

Burgard, owner of Melinda’s Music Therapy, earned her Masters Degree in music from New York University and has been involved with music therapy for over 30 years. She is licensed to practice psychotherapy and is one of the State’s licensed mental health professionals.

Burgard explained that this type of therapy for older adults uses music as a vehicle to achieve nonmusical goals. There is no requirement that the participants have a music background or even know how to play any instruments.

“Most people,” she said, “remember the songs and even if they can’t remember all the words, enjoy singing them.”

High Blood Pressure and Physical Activity

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. About 1 in 3 U.S. adults—or about 70 million people—have high blood pressure. Only about half of those people have their high blood pressure under control. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms and many people do not know they have it.

Some risk factors, such as your age or family history, cannot be controlled but you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control. Risk factors include health conditions, your lifestyle, and your family history. Conditions include prehypertension and diabetes. Prehypertension is blood pressure that is slightly higher than normal and increases the risk that you will develop chronic, or long-lasting, high blood pressure in the future. Diabetes causes sugars to build up in the blood; about 60% of people who have diabetes also have high blood pressure. Your lifestyle choices (including an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, too much alcohol and tobacco use) can increase your risk for high blood pressure. Genetics and family history can also lead to an increased risk for high blood pressure.

You can make changes to your lifestyle that will help you control your blood pressure. Often, doctors will prescribe medication that can help you control your blood pressure. In terms of lifestyle changes, eat a diet that is low in salt, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and a diet that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also control your blood pressure by remaining active and not smoking.

If you don’t have high blood pressure, you can stay healthy by practicing healthy living habits and preventing or treating medical conditions. Healthy living habits include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, not smoking and limiting alcohol use. It is incredibly important to measure your blood pressure, manage diabetes if you have it, take medications and talk with a healthcare team.

Various facts and benefits of healthy living habits can be found below:

Physical Activity Facts

  • Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people aged 6-17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily
  • Schools can promote physical activity through comprehensive school activity programs (including recess, classroom-based physical activity, intramural physical activity clubs, interscholastic sports and physical education)
  • Schools can also work with community organizations to provide physical activity programs and share physical activity facilities

Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

  • Regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles
  • Regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and color cancer
  • Regular physical activity reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and promotes psychological well-being
  • Regular physical activities may help improve students’ academic performance, including:
    • Academic achievement and grades
    • Academic behavior
    • Facts that influence academic achievement, such as concentration and attentiveness in the classroom

Long-Term Consequences of Physical Inactivity

  • Overweight and obesity (which are influenced by physical inactivity and poor diet) can increase one’s risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and poor health status
  • Physical inactivity increases one’s risk for dying prematurely, dying of heart disease, and developing diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure

Facts and Figures of Childhood Obesity

In recent years, childhood obesity has become a very prevalent and serious matter. For that reason, today’s focus is on the facts and figures of childhood obesity and the positive factors that accompany healthy eating. Check out our numerous lists below.

Childhood Obesity Facts

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in the past 30 years
  • The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the U.S. who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012
  • The percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years who were obese increased from 5% in 1980 to nearly 21% in 2012
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese


  • Overweight: having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors
  • Obesity: having excess body fat
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance” (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors

Immediate Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure; in a population-based sample of 5-17 years, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem

Long-Term Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis
    • One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults
    • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma


  • Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases
  • The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, food and beverage industries and entertainment industries
  • Schools play a particular critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors
  • Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors

Benefits of Healthy Eating

  • Proper nutrition promotes the optimal growth and development of children
  • Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Healthy eating helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Healthy eating helps reduce one’s risk for developing obesity, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, and dental cavities

Consequences of a Poor Diet

  • A poor diet can lead to energy imbalance and can increase one’s risk for overweight and obesity
  • A poor diet can increase the risk for lung, esophageal, stomach, colorectal, and prostate cancers
  • Individuals who eat fast food one or more times per week are at increased risk for weight gain, overweight and obesity
  • Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can result in weight gain, overweight and obesity
  • Hunger and food insecurity might increase the risk for lower dietary quality and under-nutrition
    • Under-nutrition can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development and school performance

Eating Behaviors of Young People

  • Most U.S. youth do not meet the recommendations for eating 2 ½ cups to 6 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Most U.S. youth do not eat the minimum recommended amounts of whole grains (2-3 ounces each day)
  • Most U.S. youth do not eat more the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium (1500-2300 mg each day)
  • Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years, affecting the overall quality of their diets
    • Approximately half of these empty calories come from six sources—soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza and whole milk
    • Adolescents drink more full-calorie soda per day than milk



Grill Tips for National Filet Mignon Day

Today, August 13, is National Filet Mignon Day, a day dedicated to one of our favorite grilled meals. While we suggest eating filet mignon for dinner tonight, we also have a few grill safety suggestions, posted below.

General Grilling Tips

  • Propane and charcoal barbeque grills should only be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill and from any trays that may be below the grill
  • Never leave your grill unattended

Tips if you’re using a Propane Grill

  • Check the major connection points between the gas tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners; tighten if loose
  • Check the gas tank hose for potential gas leaks. To do that, apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle then turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose. If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
  • As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners. If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Tips if you’re using a Charcoal Grill

  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid
  • Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container

Health Benefits That Help You Relax

This Saturday is National Relaxation Day. Who doesn’t love a good day where there’s nothing that needs to be done? Well, did you know there are multiple health benefits of relaxation? Check some of them out below!

  • Relaxing lowers your risk of catching a cold. It has been shown that chronic stress lasting more than a month but less than six months doubled a person’s risk of catching a cold. It appears that stress hampers the body’s ability to fight inflammation by making immune cells less sensitive to the hormone that “turns off” inflammation.
  • Relaxing lowers your stroke risk. A 2007 University of Cambridge study found that people who coped best with stressful life events had a 24 percent lower risk of stroke. A 2011 study examined the specific effects of work-related stress and found that among middle- and upper-class men, psychological stress caused about 10 percent of strokes.
  • Relaxation can keep you safe from depression. In humans, the prolonged presence of stress hormone cortisol can reduce levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to depression. Stress is also likely to exacerbate mood problems in people with a history of depression or bipolar disorder and could trigger relapse.
  • Relaxation helps you make better decisions. A 2012 study found that stress seems to actually change how we weigh risks and rewards and can cloud our judgment when we are faced with important decisions.
  • Relaxation is also known to decrease heart rate, decrease respiration rate, decrease blood pressure, muscle tension, metabolic rate and oxygen consumption.
  • As a result of relaxation, many people experience more energy, better sleep, enhanced immunity, increased concentration, better problem-solving abilities, greater efficiency, smoother emotions, fewer headaches and less pain

Heading on Vacation Soon? We Have Your Healthy Travel Tips

As we continue to trudge through the summer months and temporarily trade our daily lives for some time in paradise, it’s important to keep a few healthy travel tips in the back of your mind.

Learn about your destination

  • Be sure to check for Travel Health Notices for your destination
  • Research whether the area you’re traveling to is at a higher risk for certain natural disasters, including (but not limited to) earthquakes, hurricanes and/or tsunamis
  • Learn about common travel safety concerns
  • Check any current travel warnings/long-term conditions that may make a country dangerous or unstable
  • Check any current travel alerts/short-term conditions that are risks to the security of U.S. citizens (natural disasters, terrorist attacks, violence, high-profile events, etc.)
  • Understand the laws and culture of the places you’ll be visiting

See a doctor before you travel

  • See a doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip
  • Give your doctor all the information needed to make recommendations, including where you’re traveling within a country, the length of your trip, any activities you may do and any personal matters/information
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date with all of your routine vaccinations, including a seasonal flu vaccine
  • Consider any recommended vaccines for your destination
  • Discuss any allergies, current medications or other health concerns

Pack smart

  • Pack a copy of your passport and travel documents in each piece of luggage, in case you lose the original document; leave a copy at home as well
  • Pack a travel health kit that includes: prescription medicines you usually take, EpiPen (if applicable), copies of all prescriptions (including the generic names for medications), supplies to prevent illness or injuries, first-aid supplies, health insurance card, water purification tablets, etc.

Plan ahead for any illnesses or injuries/know what to do if you become sick or injured on your trip

  • Check your health insurance plan to see if they will cover your health needs abroad; if it isn’t covered, think about purchasing additional health insurance for your trip
  • Consider purchasing medical evaluation insurance, this will cover the cost of transporting you to other parts of the country/outside the country if you are seriously ill or injured
  • Be prepared to pay out of pocked at the time you receive any medical services while traveling, even if you do have insurance

Know and share important information about your trip

  • Find the American Embassy or Consulate in your destination before traveling – consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens
  • Know where healthcare resources are located in your destination before you travel
  • Make arrangements to check in with a contact at home at regular intervals during your trip
  • Register with the U.S. Department of State – this allows you to record information about your trip so an American consular officer can contact and assit you in an emergency.

Pay attention to your health during your trip

  • Use sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection
  • Use insect repellent on uncovered skin when outdoors, especially during the day
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors at night in areas with malaria
  • Wash your hands often

Pay attention to your health when you come home

  • If you are not feeling well, you should see a doctor and mention that you have recently traveled

Safe travels!

Can You Beat Patrick Heffernan’s 15 Gallon Blood Donation?

When Patrick Heffernan donated blood for the first time in the 1980s, he didn’t think he’d still be donating on a regular basis thirty years later. The former Avon employee has donated at Good Samaritan Hospital 121 times, and once elsewhere, over the past thirty years; the 15 gallons of blood he has donated has the potential of saving 480 lives. Pat started a blood drive at Avon, donating once every few months during his lunch break and has continued donating past his retirement, marking a ‘donate date’ on his calendar every two months. As an avid pin collector, Heffernan has received a pin for every gallon of blood donated. Today, he owns an Avon hat decorated with fifteen pins, a collection he hopes to expand to sixteen gallons or beyond. When asked why he donates so often, Pat Heffernan said, “I enjoy it and enjoy being able to give back.” He also shared his feelings about donating blood while saying, “If you can, why not?”

Blood donations are a critical component to almost every hospital visit but the numbers of blood donations each year are not as high as they could be. An estimated 38% of the United States population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10% actually donate each year. About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital needs blood, averaging out to one person every two seconds. There are about 1 billion red blood cells in three drops of blood and each donation can save up to three lives.

By the numbers, the need for blood donations is evident. More than 4.5 million patients need blood transfusions in the United States and Canada each year; more than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year, many of them will need blood during chemotherapy, sometimes daily. To keep the numbers in perspective, a single car accident patient can require as many as 100 pints of blood. According to the American Red Cross, 15.7 million blood donations are collected annually in the United States by 9.2 million blood donors.

Blood cannot be manufactured, only donated. A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days or double red cells every 112 days; a healthy donor may also donate platelets as few as 7 days apart but a donor may only donate platelets 24 times per year. Four transfusable products can be derived from blood—red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate and donors can choose whether they would like to donate whole blood or a specific blood component. The body will replenish the elements given during a blood donation, some in a matter of hours and others in a matter of weeks.

Those interested in donating to the blood banks at Good Samaritan Hospital or St. Anthony Community Hospital and those interested in more information should contact the Donor Room at (845) 368-5178. To donate blood you must be between 17 years old and 76 years old (or 16 with a parental permission slip or note from your physician after your 76th birthday), weigh at least 110 pounds, have a photo ID and have your license number or Social Security Number.

St. Anthony Community Hospital Breastfeeding Support Group Participates In Global Big Latch On

Global Big Latch On 2Last year St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, NY, a member of the Bon Secours Charity Health System, formed a Breastfeeding Support Group open to all breastfeeding moms and their babies. The support group was created by Amy Fotino, RN, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

On Friday, July 31, members of that support group gathered with their babies and preschool age siblings under a tent on the lawn outside nearby Mount Alverno Center. They were there to participate in The Big Latch On, an International event where groups of breastfeeding women come together at registered locations throughout the world to latch on and breastfeed their babies at a set time. The number of women participating is then counted by witnesses at each location and that number is reported to The Global Big Latch On. 

The Big Latch On was created to encourage communities to make breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life. The goal of the event is to increase community awareness and support for women who breastfeed, their infants, partners and families.

Last year there were 14,000 moms and 15,000 babies counted worldwide. This year’s count for the St. Anthony Community Hospital support group was 21.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend breastfeeding. An initiative within one of the five Health Priorities for New York State, breastfeeding is also directly linked to a lower chance of obesity later in life.

Those who attended the event at Mount Alverno were treated to soft background music, served refreshments and eligible to participate in a raffle for 10 prizes donated by members of the Warwick business community.

Fotino is also the driving force behind the “Breast and Rest at Applefest,” tent, which she began in 2012.  Prior to that, there was no place for a nursing mom to comfortably feed her baby at the region’s largest festival.  Now, “Breast and Rest” is a feature at the annual event.

For additional information about the Breastfeeding Support Group, moms are invited to email Amy Fotino at or to call the St. Anthony Community Hospital Kennedy Birthing Center, (845) 987-5124.

Happy Belated National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

August 2nd was National Ice Cream Sandwich Day so we have decided to share two of our favorite healthy homemade ice cream sandwich recipes!

Healthy Strawberry Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches (Serves 11)


  • 5 ripe bananas
  • ¾ cup of sweet diced strawberries
  •  11 sheets of graham crackers


  1. Slice bananas into disk
  2. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. Freeze for two hours or until frozen
  4. Place bananas in a food processor and blend until creamy
  5. Scoop banana into a large bowl and fold in dice strawberries
  6. Line and 8×8 dish with parchment paper
  7. Spread banana mixture into the pan in an even layer
  8. Freeze
  9. Cut banana mixture into squares (use a graham cracker as a pattern)
  10. Assemble ice cream sandwiches
  11. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag to store

ice cream sandwich 1Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches (Makes 2)


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of rolled oats (dry)


  1. Dice one banana into coins and freeze for a few hours or overnight
  2. Place dried oats into a food processor and grind into oat flour
  3. Pour oat flour into a bowl and mash with other banana until a dough forms
  4. Make 4 cookies and place in oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F
  5. Cool cookies
  6. Take frozen banana coins and put them into the food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until it forms a cream
  7. Scoop ice cream onto a cookie and sandwich it
  8. Enjoy


As the days get hotter, we hope you enjoy these healthy and delicious ice cream sandwich recipes!