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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
Life & Health - March 2012 |
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Groundbreaking da Vinci Surgical System available at Mount Nittany
J. Frederick Doucette, MD, obstetrics/gynecology, Mount Nittany Physician Group, stands with the da Vinci Surgical System.

Mount Nittany is pleased to announce the newest addition to its expert surgical team: the groundbreaking, minimally invasive da Vinci® surgical system - available exclusively at Mount Nittany Medial Center as the only facility to offer this tool within an 80-mile radius.

Thanks to its state-of-the-art maneuvering and imaging, the da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to perform even the most complex procedures with unmatched precision, producing superior patient outcomes. With incisions smaller than the size of a dime and recovery times faster than traditional and even laparoscopic (i.e. non-robotic assisted) minimally invasive surgery, patients facing or considering surgery can take comfort in knowing the world-class da Vinci Surgical System is available close to home at Mount Nittany.

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AAUW partners with Mount Nittany Health System to present free women’s health education series

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Mount Nittany Health System are partnering to present a speaker's series this month that delivers important health information to women, with the added benefit of providing a forum to ask local healthcare providers questions.

Physicians from Mount Nittany Physician Group will be offering lectures on three different topics related specifically to women's health:

  • March 13 - Identifying and treating abnormal uterine bleeding, presented by Theodore Hovick, Jr, MD, FACOG, obstetrics/gynecology.
  • March 27 - Plastic surgery vs. reconstructive surgery - what's the difference? Presented by Emily Peterson, MD, plastic surgeon.
  • March 29 - Dealing with gestational diabetes, presented by Jan Ulbrecht, MD, endocrinologist.

All programs are free and open to the public, and will start at 7:00 pm in the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium, Entrance D, Mount Nittany Medical Center. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP by calling 814.234.6727.


Bellefonte woman expresses gratitude after thyroid surgery
  Monica Musser 2 
Monica Musser from Bellefonte.

Monica Musser of Bellefonte was a little nervous about the surgery she needed to remove a large nodule on her thyroid. The nodule had been detected during a preventative screening provided by her employer. After the screening, she followed up with her primary care doctor, who ran an ultrasound and biopsy and then referred her to James Freije, MD, an otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) doctor with Mount Nittany Physician Group.

"The ultrasound and other tests could not determine whether the nodule was cancerous or not," said Musser. "Dr. Freije was very thorough in explaining all the options to me about what could be done, from surgery to doing nothing and just waiting and watching. I was glad I went ahead with the surgery, which was really not that bad. I know I would have worried about this nodule constantly if I hadn't had the surgery," she concluded.

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New study suggests colon cancer deaths could be cut in half through screening
By Dustin G. Case, DO, gastroenterologist, Mount Nittany Physician Group
Dustin Case, DO, gastroenterologist, Mount Nittany Physician Group.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, and a landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the colonoscopy that you schedule this month could save your life. It has long been recognized that colon cancer could be found early with the use of colonoscopy; however, the study showed that removal of polyps, or pre-cancerous growths, may decrease the risk of dying from colon cancer in half.

Considering that colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, with as many as 52,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone, the fact that this number could be cut in half is very good news indeed.

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Could you be at risk for diabetes?
By Rose Villarreal, MS, PA-C, director of the Mount Nittany Diabetes Network

Learn your risk for developing type 2 diabetes today by taking the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) updated diabetes risk test. An online version of this updated risk test will be launched on the 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day® - March 27, 2012. By asking people to take the diabetes risk test to learn their chance of developing type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Alert Day acts as a wake-up call for all of society.

Are you one of the 79 million people - or one in three adults - in the United States with prediabetes? Likely, you do not even know. A large number of people with prediabetes do not realize they have the condition that puts them at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Other risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:

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Upcoming improvements at Mount Nittany Medical Center

Two renovations are occurring this spring at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The corridor leading from the Medical Center's Main Entrance to the visitor elevators, as well as to the Medical Center's Snack Bar, are scheduled for architectural improvements. As a result, portions of the corridor will be closed March 13 - April 17. Our Snack Bar will be closed April 17 - May 23. Throughout the renovations, signage will be provided for the convenience of our visitors and staff. We thank everyone in advance for their kind cooperation and understanding during this time.


Kate Geier, CRNP, joins Mount Nittany Physician Group’s Boalsburg practice
Kate Geier, CRNP, Mount Nittany Physician Group: Boalsburg.

Mount Nittany Physician Group is pleased to announce the addition of Kate Geier, CRNP, to its Boalsburg practice.

Geier is a graduate of Ohio University and received her Master of Science in nursing and professional nurse certificate while completing coursework in the doctorate of nursing program at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She previously worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa. and most recently at East Suburban Pediatrics in Murrysville, Pa.

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Pink Zone proceeds will bring breast specimen imager to Mount Nittany
The "sea of pink" at this year's Lady Lions Pink Zone game.

A record-breaking crowd of 13,849 fans, most of them dressed in bright pink t-shirts, were part of the "sea of pink" in the Bryce Jordan Center on Feb. 26 as the Big 10 Champion Lady Lions basketball team beat the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. As a special tribute, 500 breast cancer survivors were given recognition during the halftime show.

Although the total raised from the 2012 Pink Zone game has not been finalized, Mount Nittany's portion of the proceeds from this year's game will fund a breast specimen imager.

This device is dedicated to breast tissue imaging and will be located in the Medical Center's operating rooms. It will enable radiologists to read breast tissue images directly from the operating room, providing much more timely feedback to the surgeon while the patient is still in the OR. This in turn allows our healthcare team to achieve the most precise margins, especially important in lumpectomy procedures.

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64th Annual Charity Ball set record-breaking results
Jeffrey Pro, MD; Kim Frankenfield-Pro; Ellen Stein; Barry Stein, MD.

The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center held its 64th Annual Charity Ball on Saturday, February 11 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. The event featured a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing to the contemporary band, Paris, underwritten by Centre Emergency Medical Associates.

A record-breaking 488 guests attended the event, making it the largest crowd in Charity Ball history. The event also set new fundraising standards, raising $156,000 for Mount Nittany Medical Center's Emergency Department.


Mount Nittany Medical Center celebrates leap year baby

Alexander Giornesto, born on Feb. 29th, at 11:18 am, will not see another "birthday" until 2016. Born to Carrie and Michael Giornesto, of Zion, Alex is a "leapling," a baby born in leap year. The Centre Daily Times and the Daily Collegian took photos and featured the family in their newspapers.


Take action against healthcare cuts

As someone who values having high-quality healthcare available close to home, you should know that the proposed state budget could reduce hospital payments by nearly $146 million. Cuts this deep could have devastating consequences, including jeopardizing access to care and jobs in our region and our state. We urge you to take action now. Email your lawmakers to tell them to eliminate cost containment initiatives that will hurt healthcare delivery in Pennsylvania and threaten hospital jobs across the state. Please join us in taking action against healthcare cuts, and help us protect the physical and fiscal well-being of our communities.


Udon noodles with artisan lettuces and Thai peanut dressing
By Chef Gary B. Glenn, CEC, Mount Nittany Medical Center

Ingredients: Salad

  • 8 oz udon noodles, dry weight
  • 8 oz artisan lettuce, assorted blend
  • 1 cup peanuts, unsalted, roasted, reserve for garnish


  • 1 cup peanuts, unsalted, roasted
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tsp pure sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp natural tamarind concentrate or tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp Thai chili pepper, fresh, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • pinch cayenne pepper, ground


  1. Boil noodles until fully cooked (5-6 min), rinse cold, refrigerate.
  2. Wash lettuce mix, cut if necessary, refrigerate.
  3. Dressing - Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth consistency. Adjust desired
    consistency with a small amount of water or coconut milk if needed.
  4. Using a mixing bowl, drizzle a small amount of dressing over the artisan lettuces and toss. Divide lettuce onto 4
    dinner size plates or Asian style bowls.
  5. Using a mixing bowl, drizzle a small amount of dressing over udon noodles, and toss. Place noodles on top of lettuce
    mix, and garnish with whole roasted peanuts and lime wedge.

Upcoming events

Diabetes Support Group
Thursday, March 8

Meets on the second Thursday of each month from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Mount Nittany Medical Center, Conference Rooms 1 and 2, Entrance E. Friends and family members are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Certified Diabetes Educator Amy Leffard, RN, BSN, CDE, at 814.231.7095 or

Parent Support Group for Children with Eating Disorders
Tuesday, March 13

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Mount Nittany Medical Center, Conference Room 3. The goals of the class are to gain more understanding of a child with an eating disorder and share the experiences as a parent. For more information, contact Kristie Kaufman, MD, at 814.466.7921.

Family Medicine Seminar Series: A New Era of Primary Care for Back and Neck Pain
Thursday, March 15

Presented by Ronald Donelson, MD, MS, orthopedic surgeon, Hanover, NH, and held in the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium, Entrance D, Mount Nittany Medical Center. A buffet dinner is served at 6:00 pm for a nominal fee. The education event starts at 6:30 pm. To register, please contact Jessica Bird at 814.234.6738 or

Parents-to-Be: The HEIR & Parents Hospital Tour for Expectant Parents
Thursday, March 15

Expectant mothers and their coaches are invited to attend. Includes an overview of Medical Center maternity services, birthing room tour, rooming-in program, sibling visitation, insurance and more. No registration needed. Program is held from 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm and also 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm. For more information, contact Dianne Barben at 814.231.3132 or

Learn About Hip or Knee Replacement
Tuesday, March 20

A free informational session on join replacements called A Joint Venture is taught by Val Coakley, RN, orthopedic case manager at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Held from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm in Conference Rooms 1, 2, and 3, Mount Nittany Medical Center. For more information, contact Val Coakley at 814.278.4810 or

Life With Diabetes
Tuesday, April 3

Life with Diabetes is a self-management class taught by a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian from Mount Nittany. The four week series of classes teaches people with diabetes and their loved ones how to live with and manage diabetes. The class series dates are April 3, 10, 17, and 24 from 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm in the Galen & Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium, Entrance D, Mount Nittany Medical Center. To register, contact Amy Leffard at 814.231.7095 or

Visit for a list of all upcoming events.

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