Lessons Learned from Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Throughout the month of October, you have likely encountered one or more of your daily routines or entertainment channels with an added touch of pink. The ever-present symbols of Breast Cancer Awareness are reminders for women to stay healthy, attentive, and active in the prevention and treatment of Breast Cancer.

Arnot Health is proud to have played a role this year in generating awareness of this terrible disease and kick-starting the road to detection and prevention for many women in our region. We were proud to sponsor “Pink in the Rink” at First Arena with the Elmira Jackals and offer support to the Twin Tiers Region Affiliate of Susan G. Komen on many of their October events.

One of the popular trends each year at Arnot Health is to give away a bracelet charm for those who come in for their annual mammogram. Anyone who comes in to one of our locations in Bath, Elmira, Corning, or Horseheads for the first time will receive a charm bracelet and the first charm. Those who received the bracelet last year will get a new charm this – and each subsequent year – when they come in again.

According to Deb Dininny, Breast Health Specialist at Arnot Health’s Health Center for Women, the general guideline for mammograms is to schedule an appointment at the age of 40 and each year after that. However, based on family history or increased risk, women may elect for a mammogram at a younger age.

As the month of October comes to a close, Deb reminds us that self-awareness and good health should be practiced all year. Women should be aware of changes in appearance and feel in addition to understanding their health history and choosing positive, healthy lifestyles. Those who may be nervous or anxious about screenings should know they are not alone; anxiety is normal and mammograms or other screenings are ways to provide reassurance.

All year, Arnot Health offers “Walk-In Wednesdays” for mammograms at any of our locations in Bath, Elmira, Corning, or Horseheads. If Wednesdays are not good, click here to find out how to contact the right person for Women’s Care at Arnot Health. Thank you to all of those who helped contribute and volunteer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we can’t wait to see those charm bracelets throughout the community!

Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Charm Bracelet

Each year, Arnot Health gives away a new charm for those who come in for their annual mammogram. This is the 2016 charm.

6 Steps to Safer Pumpkin Carving

Next weekend is Halloween, which means you’re probably in the candy-buying, costume-making, party-planning, pumpkin-carving mode! This time of year, we hope you have lots of fun and we want to share a few tips to make sure you stay safe throughout the season. At the Hand Management Center, it’s common to see cuts and burns from accidents that occur while carving pumpkins. The following 6 recommendations will help make sure you have more time for trick-or-treating and less time with our hand therapy specialists this year:

Carve Your Pumpkins in a Clean Setting
Pumpkins are slippery, especially once you cut them open and get into the seeds and flesh. It’s important to make sure you’re working in a clean, dry, well-lit area to minimize the chance of slipping while holding the carving tools.

Use the Correct Tools
Typically when using knives in the kitchen, you want to make sure they are sharp to reduce errant cuts. However, in this case, sharper is NOT better. The serrated knives that come in carving kits allow for more control, calling for a sawing action rather than slicing. Be sure to purchase the tools that are specifically made for pumpkin carving.

Pumpkin Carving Kit from PumpkinMasters.com

Carving kits, like this one from PumpkinMasters.com, provide the correct tools and instructions for the safest (and most desirable) results.

Follow Proper Carving Techniques
In addition to using the right tools, carving kits may also provide proper techniques for the safest results. In general, it’s best to leave the seeds and filling in place until all the carving is complete, and you should always try to stabilize the pumpkin with one hand while using slow, deliberate movements with the cutting hand.

Always Provide Adult Supervision
This one may sound obvious, but children and even teens should not be allowed to carve alone. For younger kids, give them the option to draw the face with a marker and then allow them to watch while you cut out their design.

Use Battery-Powered Candles
The Hand Management Center sees lots of burns this time of year because it’s generally difficult and awkward trying to light or place a lit candle into the small opening of a carved pumpkin. Open flames with baggy costumes may also cause accidents, all of which can be avoided with battery-operated lights that provide the same effect.

Be Prepared
As the Boy Scout motto suggests, it’s important to know first aid and have some bandages and general treatment options nearby in case of an accident. If someone is cut, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth and seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop on its own within 15 minutes.

If you have any additional questions or would like more information about the Hand Management Center at Arnot Health, check out our previous blog post with all the background and contact information. We hope to see some creative, fun, battery-lit pumpkins out there on Halloween!

Be Careful Carving Pumpkins This Halloween Season

Hand Management at Arnot Health: What You Need to Know

A recent visit to the Hand Management Center at Arnot Health served as a reminder that quality care can be found in every nook and cranny throughout the system. Located on the campus of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, the Hand Management Center has been in the community for over 30 years and is the first comprehensive hand therapy practice in the Southern Tier of New York. Still today, the Center is the only standing clinic in the region that exclusively treats hand patients with three certified hand therapists on staff.

A visit to the Hand Management Center reveals an open, inclusive atmosphere where patients are treated with individualized care in a more social setting. The latest in hand rehabilitation equipment allows for a variety of treatments, including ultrasounds, electrical stimulation, heat treatment, therapeutic exercises, and others that offer relief of pain and improved functionality. Custom orthotics are also fabricated on-site to address individual patient needs.

Hand Management at Arnot Health

Therapists at the Center work with patients from beginning to end, following them through their entire healing and rehabilitation process. They are trained on a wide range of accidents and trauma, from cuts, burns, and fractures to conditions like tendonitis, tennis elbow, and more. They work with all ages, from newborns with congenital problems to geriatric patients, to help improve hand functions in every stage of life.

The overall approach at the Hand Management Center at Arnot Health is progressive, comprehensive, and caring. For more information about referrals and services, contact the Hand Management Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital today: 607-737-7818.

Flu Immunization Clinics at Arnot Health

Arnot Health is holding flu immunization clinics for all members of the community who are 19 years or older. Arnot Health will bill Medicare for anyone enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. All others will be charged $43.00, cash or check only.

Flu immunizations are available as follows: 

Monday, October 5
10am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Elmira, NY
Cusick Meeting Room

Tuesday, October 6
10:30am – 12:30pm at
 the Dormann Library, Bath, NY              

Monday, October 12
10am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Elmira, NY
Petrie West Conference Room

Tuesday, October 13
10am – 1pm at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Elmira, NY
Cusick Meeting Room

Monday, October 26
10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm at 
Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Elmira, NY
Petrie West Conference Room

For more information, please call Health on Demand at 607-737-4499.

4 Potential Hazards for Child Athletes vs. Adult Athletes

For children and young adults, participating in sports is a great way to learn the values of exercise, teamwork, winning and losing, and working hard toward your goals. Athletics can enrich young lives and prepare kids for a lifetime of healthy living. As adults – coaches and parents alike – it’s important to remember the roles we play in developing young athletes and keeping them free from injury. Medically speaking, kids are not just “little adults,” they are built differently and transition physically through growth stages, making them more susceptible to injury. The following list identifies some potential hazards for child athletes and ways we can help kids enjoy the benefits of sports while minimizing the risks of injury:

Mixing Size and Strength

Children grow at all different rates, so one age does not necessarily mean one size. Some 7-year-olds may develop upper-body strength more quickly for example, while others may see faster growth in their legs and feet. This means that discrepancies in agility, speed, strength, and overall size can be fairly wide, creating a volatile situation for young athletes. As adults, we can identify these differences and do our best to create match-ups that are safer and more even.

Growth Plate Vulnerability

Growth plates are areas of cartilage located near the ends of bones and are particularly vulnerable to fractures. They typically close or harden by age 21, so adults do not have to worry about injury to these areas. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that 15% to 30% of all childhood fractures are growth plate fractures. For these reasons, it is especially important for children to wear all forms of proper protective gear to minimize the risk of growth plate fractures.

Overuse Injuries

Just because a child spends time in practice and games, it doesn’t mean he or she is going to want to play less at home or in school. Young muscles and bones can sometimes experience too much play time, resulting in potential overuse injuries. Coaches and parents should always stress the importance of warming up and training so that their young athletes’ bodies may be properly prepared for all activities.


Prevention measures are the best for avoiding injuries in children, and several factors can determine the right kind of preparation for each child. In general, young athletes should be in the right condition to participate in sports. A doctor can determine overall physical condition with a pre-sports physical, checking for flexibility, strength, and body capacity. It’s also important to know and abide by the safety rules and regulations of each individual sport, including all of the proper equipment and padding.

In general, exercise and training can be truly beneficial for children, but injuries at a young age can contribute to long-term problems. As long as parents and coaches understand the potential risks for injury and burnout, their little athletes will enjoy the positive growth and lifelong benefits of sports and competition.

For more information, contact Dr. Beth Dollinger, Orthopedic Surgeon at Arnot Health.

NICU Alum and Her Friends Raise Cash for Kids

Eleven years ago, Michelle and Josh Keeler held their breath while their newborn daughter, Emma, spent eight days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Last month, Emma and her friends – along with their younger sisters – decided to give back.

Michelle says she knew the kids were planning a series of yard games one day in late June, but was completely surprised at what came next. They emerged from their play area with a plan to host a neighborhood “Fun Fair,” complete with games, live entertainment, and a petting zoo featuring the family dog, Cooper. Their plan was to invite everyone in the neighborhood and raise money to support healthcare services for infants in the NICU – where Emma had been helped so many hears ago.

Once the games were set, they got right to work making flyers and going door-to-door to promote the event. Some neighbors who couldn’t make it donated cash instead.

In the end, Emma and her sister, Riley, as well as Kaitlyn and Jenna DiNardo and neighbor Whitney Smith raised a total of $115 for the NICU.

Arnot Health Foundation Annual Fund Manager Angela May accepted the gift last week from the girls. She talked with them at Arnot Ogden Medical Center about how much gifts like theirs mean to the organization. NICU Unit Director Kimberlee Bliek was also on hand to express thanks on behalf of the organization.

So, will there be a “Fun Fair” version 2.0? The girls say they’re already planning a bigger and better event that will raise even more money next year.

Thanks so much to Emma, Riley, Kaitlyn, Jenna, and Whitney for their selflessness and generosity!

Kids plan

BACK, L to R: Kimberlee Bliek, Arnot Ogden Medical Center NICU Unit Director, Emma Keeler (11), Kaitlyn DiNardo (12), Arnot Health Annual Fund Manager Angela May. FRONT, L to R: Riley Keeler (8) and Jenna DiNardo (9). NOT PICTURED: Whitney Smith (8).

Arnot Health Leads the Way in Creating Healthy Places

From promoting community gardens and installing better lighting in public parks, to working with local restaurants to offer healthier food options, an Arnot Health-led community collaboration is making a major impact on population health in Chemung County.

Chemung County received a “Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play” grant from the New York State Department of Health in 2010. The program is designed to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. Arnot Health applied for the grant as the lead agency for the County, and won an award of $850,000, which was implemented over five years. With the support of more than thirty community groups and partner agencies, the program has demonstrated impressive, impactful results and has laid the groundwork for long-term sustainability.

“From a population health perspective, this program helps prevent chronic disease, and has tied in very well with Arnot Health’s overall vision of improving the health of the community,” says Rosemary Anthony, BSN,MSE,RN, Arnot Health’s Senior Director of Population Health. “It has also been instrumental in helping us to build a collaborative partnership with the local community. The future of medicine is geared toward getting outside the walls of the hospital and building a health infrastructure within the larger community. It is a real paradigm shift.”

Arnot Health has devoted significant resources to this program, including hiring Constance Scudder as its first-ever Creating Healthy Places Grant Facilitator.

According to Ms. Scudder, “We had a set of goals to achieve. Our work plan and budget were met by what we agreed upon with our community partners and according to the requirements of the grant. We are proud to have worked with over 30 community partners on this grant— from the non-profit, education, private industry, public health, political, transportation and local government sectors. What is unique about this partnership is its diversity and the focus on policy, systems, and environmental changes.”

The mission of Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play is based upon four prongs: improving local parks and playgrounds, enabling easier and safer access, creating community gardens, and working with restaurants to offer healthier eating choices.

United Way Day of Action - Arnot Health

Volunteers paint a hopscotch court as part of the United Way Day of Action in 2015.

The goal of easier and safer access to parks and recreation areas was tackled through such initiatives as: a new crosswalk on Lake Street in Elmira to provide greater accessibility to McKinnon Park, six new crosswalks and tactile ramps at Grove Park, and new universal playground signs for all nine parks that received improvements. Also, through collaboration with the City of Elmira, bike racks were installed on all City busses, allowing children and adults greater door-to-door access to healthy, active recreational options throughout the City.

Another success story has been the creation and support of community gardens throughout the County.

Community gardens were established using mini grants at Quatrano Park, the Town of Erin Community Garden, Woodlawn Community Garden (shared with Tanglewood Nature Center and Frontline Ministries),  and the Near Westside Neighborhood Association. Additionally, a MEWU (Mobile, Edible Wall Unit) was purchased for Diven Elementary School but was moved to Hendy Elementary under the district reorganization plan. Two MUGS (Mobile Upright Gardens) were purchased for use at the Southside Community Center and another is currently in use at the Economic Opportunity Program of Chemung and Schuyler Counties.

Five “pizza gardens” were purchased with a grant from Pizza Hut through their “Raising Dough for Kids Program” for use at Head Start and at the Chemung County YWCA and YMCA. In addition, funding was provided to existing community gardens to refurbish them with additional amenities at the Equal Opportunity Program, Katy Leary Park, and at Pirozzolo Park.

The gardens have been immensely popular— the Southside Community Center garden can see up to four hundred students passing through each week. And whole neighborhoods have jumped in with enthusiasm. At the Quatrano Park community garden, which is overseen by ARC of Chemung, residents, ARC staff, and neighbors collaborated in the garden’s first year to donate 140 pounds of produce to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

Arnot Health also worked with five local restaurants to encourage their patrons to choose healthier dining choices by using a salt substitute, offering salad dressings served on the side, providing doggie bags earlier in the meal to encourage portion control, and promoting non-sweetened beverages rather than sugary soft drinks. The local Elmira-area restaurant partners are Classic Café, Hill Top Inn, the Starlite Room, Turtle Leaf Café, and Charlie’s Café.

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play has already made a statistical impact on population health in the local area. Chemung County, long mired near the bottom of the list of 62 counties in New York State in terms of overall health, rose one place to 59th in the most recent state rankings. Although factors like unemployment and poverty still plague the region, Chemung County showed a strong improvement in the area of “access to physical activity” from 2014 to 2015. There was a statistically significant improvement in this health indicator due to the work of the Creating Healthy Places initiative. 

The program has received numerous awards and accolades, including the inaugural Age-Friendly Community Award in May 2015 from the Chemung County Department of Aging and Long-term Care. Creating Healthy Places has also garnered recognition as a best practice from the New York State Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, and Arnot Health’s efforts were named an Outstanding Community Outreach Program by the New York Association of Rural Health.

Although the Creating Healthy Places grant expires this year, the success of the program has spurred Arnot Health to apply for a new five-year grant application through the New York State Department of Health. The $1.25 million “Creating Healthy Schools and Communities” grant was submitted by The Student Support Services Center of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership as the lead agency with Arnot Health as a co-collaborator.

But perhaps the best reward is in seeing the direct impact that Creating Healthy Places is having on health in our community.

“I am very, very proud that it has really provided a successful example of what can be done when people work together through a shared mission,” says Rosemary Anthony. “We are one of the few hospitals that has a Population Health Department and dedicated staff to work on community health initiatives. This program has widened the vision of what can be done outside of a hospital, to help people make the right decisions and enjoy better health for the rest of their lives.”

Blandford Park Elmira - Ribbon Cutting

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the opening of the playground at Blandford Park in Elmira.