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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
Life & Health - January 2013 |
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Last year, no flu—this year is a different story!

If you have forgotten what a real flu season is like, it is with good reason. “Last year we virtually had no flu; it was an amazing year,” according to Evan Bell, MD, infectious disease, Mount Nittany Physician Group. “This year we have flu, and it arrived a bit ahead of schedule.” 

There are a number of things to do to help prevent the flu, but getting a flu shot tops the list. Dr. Bell says, “It’s not too late. It does take several weeks to be really effective, so don’t delay,” he said.

Mount Nittany Medical Center first noted an abrupt increase in cases beginning the week of December 17, and that high level of activity has continued. " We had almost a 50 percent increase from Dec. 17 to Dec. 26,” according to Marlene Stetson, RN, CIC, infection control coordinator, Mount Nittany Medical Center.

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Local physician co-authors book for pre-hospital personnel that enhances mental toughness

Kerry Anne Whitelock, DO, a former emergency medical technician (EMT) who currently works for Mount Nittany Physician Group as an internist, is co-author of the book, Code Calm on the Streets: Mental Toughness Skills for Pre-Hospital Emergency Personnel, with Michael J. Asken, PhD.

“EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, police, everybody gets that call—the one that affects them forever. The one they wish that they had been better prepared for,” said Dr. Whitelock.

Code Calm on the Streets is a concise manual that is designed to provide practical knowledge and tips for improving mental toughness. Each chapter begins with a short section that introduces a new concept and ends with a “Take Action” section that lists ways to immediately start using that chapter’s information.

Current training for EMTs and other pre-hospital personnel does not include adequate training in developing mental toughness because such psychological skills to perform well in high stress situations are simply considered to be common sense. Either you have it, or you don’t. However, Drs. Whitelock and Asken disagree with this notion.

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Theodor Kaufman, MD, FACS, joins Mount Nittany Physician Group’s General Surgery practice
Theodor Kaufman, MD, FACS, general surgery, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Mount Nittany Health is pleased to announce the addition of Theodor Kaufman, MD, FACS, to Mount Nittany Physician Group General Surgery.

Dr. Kaufman completed his undergraduate training at the State University of New York, New Paltz campus and obtained his medical degree at the State University of New York-Health Science Center at Brooklyn. He completed both his internship and residency in general surgery at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y.

A diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, The National Board of Medical Examiners and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Kaufman previously offered general surgery services at Punxsutawney Area Hospital.

Mount Nittany Physician Group General Surgery is located at 905 University Drive, State College. To schedule an appointment, call 814.238.8418 or visit for more information on general surgery services offered at Mount Nittany Physician Group.




Take part in a community health needs assessment
From left to right: Rachel Fetzer, chair, CCPCH, with Central PA LIVE host Sarah Swistak

Mount Nittany Medical Center is currently conducting a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in part for Internal Revenue Service reporting purposes, but also to support Mount Nittany Health's strategic priority of localizing healthcare for our community - an essential part of our vision of becoming the most trusted healthcare provider in Central Pennsylvania.

An integral part of Mount Nittany Medical Center’s CHNA is a health needs survey, created to capture important information about needs and gaps and where they exist in our community.  Please take a few minutes to complete this important health needs survey and share it with anyone you know who lives in Central Pennsylvania. All responses are anonymous and the survey only takes a few minutes to complete.

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The Cancer Pavilion: Architecture and environment have an impact on care
The Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion

The east wing, the expanded emergency department and the new Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion have architectural and environmental elements that research shows makes a difference in patient healing and patient satisfaction. Important to note is that beginning in 2014 up to 30 percent of a hospital’s Medicare quality score, which influences a hospital’s payments, will be based on patient satisfaction.

An article in November’s Fast Company magazine, "The Best Medicine for Fixing the Modern Hospital," sites a number of large studies, one from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, that verifies that the hospital environment has a direct impact on care. According to the research, sunlight, nature and art, classical music, colored walls and the presence of family members have an impact on patient health that includes the positive benefits of reduction of pain and a more rapid recovery.

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Health providers seek better, more coordinated care with electronic health records
 Oct. 19, 2012, R. Brock Pronko, regional business analyst
Wayne Thompson, MS, senior vice president and chief information officer, Mount Nittany Health

Editor’s note: Excerpt reprinted with permission from Pennsylvania Business Central. 

“One of the reasons we launched our ‘One Record’ initiative this year was to make sure we have all the relevant information regarding a patient and his care at the point of care, which might be at a physician’s office or a hospital or an inpatient stay,” said Wayne Thompson, Mount Nittany [Health]’s chief information officer.

While paper records can be destroyed in a fire or flood, electronic records can be backed up on site and off site for when “hiccups” occur with computers, as happened recently when the computer system at Mount Nittany [Health] crashed.

“We have several layers of protection against loss, the first is that our data is mirrored, meaning a backup of all our electronic data is maintained at all times in the environment, so that if you do have an issue with your primary data, you can grab that information from a mirror image,” said Thompson.

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Hazelton and Miller join Mount Nittany Medical Center
From left to right: Dana Miller, administrative director, radiology; Rena Hazelton, RN, nurse manager, pre-admission testing and anesthesia support

Mount Nittany Health is pleased to announce the addition of Rena Hazelton, RN, nurse manager, pre-admission testing and anesthesia support, and Dana Miller, administrative director, radiology, to its staff at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Hazelton is a graduate of Lock Haven University with an associate degree in nursing, and has been an RN for more than 20 years.

Previously a nurse manager in the surgical service unit at Punxsutawney Area Hospital, Punxsutawney Pa., Hazelton brings to the Medical Center experience in endoscopy, same day care, pain clinic, post-anesthesia care, pre-anesthesia testing and front lobby reception.

Miller is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in health policy administration.

Previously a clinical/operations manager for Washington Radiology Associates in Chevy Chase, Md., Miller brings 20 years of diverse experience in the healthcare field, including 10 years in radiology management.

For more information on radiology and surgical services at Mount Nittany Medical Center, visit



Listening to your heart

Heart disease is the leading killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer. One woman dies of heart disease every minute, according to statistics from the American Heart Association.

Those are sobering numbers, indeed, but many women overlook the symptoms of heart disease thinking they are too young, that heart disease is a “man’s disease,” or that they don’t have the telltale signs.

The truth is that symptoms of heart disease and signs of a heart attack are different in women than in men. While men may have chest pain that radiates to the arm when experiencing a heart attack, women may get jaw pain, nausea, dizziness and fatigue when having a heart attack. Sadly, many women overlook these symptoms or mistake them for stress or a non-threatening condition.

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“Give My Regards to Broadway” theme of 65th Annual Mount Nittany Medical Center Charity Ball

The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center is hosting its 65th Annual Charity Ball on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. The Annual Charity Ball is one of the Medical Center’s signature fundraising events, contributing to causes ranging from program support to specialized equipment. The formal event will kick-off with a reception at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner and dancing to the contemporary band, Paris, from 8:00 pm to midnight. 

Co-chaired by Penn State Family Health, State College, physicians Michael Flanagan, MD and Kristen Grine, DO, this Broadway-themed event will feature a silent auction and gift box raffle, where guests will have the opportunity to choose a gift box for $50 with a chance to win a prize valued between $25 and $250. 

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Tips from an emergency department nurse about staying cool under pressure
Written by Julie Mayhew, RN
Julie Mayhew, RN

The recent media stories, both national and local, about various attacks and shootings, remind us that anyone could suddenly become part of a chaotic and life threatening scenario. Though it’s not something we want to dwell upon, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

In many ways, the characteristics and qualities that are needed to be an effective emergency department (ED) nurse can be applied to anyone who finds him or herself in a very serious and dangerous situation.

Life presents many opportunities for people to respond either with hope and help, or with despair and inertia. Here are a few pointers from the ED for your consideration:

  • Stay calm. Kerry Whitlock, DO, internal medicine, Mount Nittany Physician Group, has written a book on this subject. In Code Calm*, co-authored with Michael J. Askin, PhD, and released this fall, a study by Honig and Sultan is quoted that defines stress survival skills as: “Controlled breathing, positive self-talk, visualization or mental rehearsal trained to a level of confidence and competence. (These skills) may be critical to both improved performance and outcomes.” Anyone can practice these skills and they will always be useful.
    *See the story about Code Calm in this edition of Life & Health.
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New Health Career Exploration program accepting applications

High school juniors and seniors as well as college students are invited to "explore" the healthcare field with a new hands-on learning opportunity at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The Health Career Exploration program, which will be held Friday, March 22, 2013 from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm, will allow students to observe the pathway patients may follow based on their medical condition.

Healthcare personnel will be prepared to talk about their department and the healthcare patients receive within that particular department. In addition, health career options available in various departments along with career preparation and training (education) requirements will be discussed.

Anyone interested in the program should visit to apply online or call 814.231.7174 for more information. Applications are due by January 25, 2013.



You're Invited: 2013 Pink Out event

Mount Nittany Health Pink Out event
Mount Nittany Medical Center
Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium (near entrance D)
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Doors open at 11:30 am, pep rally starts at noon

Join us for a special pep rally in honor of the Pink Zone game, which will be held Sunday, February 24. Game day tickets and t-shirts will be available for sale. Pink Out Day attendees can also shine a light* in honor of themselves or a loved one during our pep rally for a $5 donation to the Pink Zone.

*If you would like to participate, please contact or call 814.234.6773 by February 18.



Penn State Hershey medical student profile - Sarah Shea
Written by Lauren Lubus, MHA, strategic services specialist, Penn State Hershey Medical Group - State College
Sarah Shea

Sarah Shea studied psychology at Amherst College in Massachusetts. During her time in college, Sarah studied abroad at New York University in Florence, Italy.

A native of West Hartford, Conn., Sarah was a faculty member at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., for close to three years before starting medical school in Hershey. She is currently doing research through the Psychiatry Sleep Lab at Hershey Medical Center, is certified in CPR and First Aid, and served on the Student Council for the Class of 2014 last year.

"My main reason for coming to the regional campus was the opportunity to receive one-on-one training with very good physicians," said Shea. "This experience is giving me a lot of responsibility and hands on training that I am not sure I could receive elsewhere."




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