August, 2012

SOMC donates to Clay School Legacy Fund

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently donated $1,000 to the Clay School Legacy Fund scholarship, which was awarded to Katherine Gregory. Gregory, the daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Gregory, will be attending Shawnee State University where she will study to become a nurse.

Pictured, from left to right, are Clay Alumni Association Vice President Fred Reeder, Clay Alumni Association President Charles Leonard, SOMC Director of Financial Services and Business Development Craig Gilliland, scholarship recipient Katherine Gregory, Clay Alumni Association Secretary Michelle Ruby and Clay Alumni Association Treasurer Dave Richard.

Pettit helps deliver placental tumor in Rwanda

During his mission trip in Rwanda, Dr. George Pettit cared for a woman who believed she was 34 weeks pregnant. However, it turned out she actually had a tumor of the placenta.

While on medical missions, Dr. George Pettit has removed plenty of tumors. During a recent trip to Rwanda, he actually helped a woman give birth to one.

“I had a patient come in who thought she was pregnant, but had a complete hydatidiform mole, which is a tumor of the placenta,” Pettit explained. “She was laboring and passed the entire thing. It looked like a bunch of grapes. It was the largest tumor of this type that I have ever seen.”

The woman had been “pregnant” with the tumor for 34 weeks, or roughly eight and a half months.

That was just one of the experiences that Pettit, who is a physician at Southern Ohio Medical Center, had during his two weeks in Rwanda’s Butaro Hospital. He was there on his most recent medical mission. As was the case with previous trips, the mission served as a stark reminder of how different life can be in less developed parts of the globe.

Even simple acts, such as bathing, were more complicated in Rwanda.

“Every morning someone would bring us a bucket of hot water,” Pettit said. “We’d put some water in a cup and splash ourselves. Then, we’d soap up and splash ourselves again to rinse off.”

Dr. George Pettit and his wife, Carolyn, take some time to enjoy a safari during their recent mission trip to Rwanda.

In addition to assisting local doctors and providing much needed medical care, Pettit also went on an African safari with his wife and took in Rwanda’s beautiful countryside. Most of his time was spent within the walls of Butaro Hospital, though.

He wasn’t the only one that made the hospital a home away from home. Harvard Medical School and Partner’s In Health, an advocacy group that focuses on providing healthcare to the poor, also had a strong presence in the country.

“There were a lot of doctors there from Harvard and the Boston area,” Pettit said. “We were all helping to train the local doctors.”

The country also received a visit from NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and former president Bill Clinton. Gordon gave a $1.5 million donation to Butaro Hospital’s cancer center, which is the only such facility in the entire country. Pettit didn’t meet with Rwanda’s more high-profile visitors, however, in part because he maintained such a busy schedule.

Though he just recently returned to Portsmouth, Pettit has already put some thought into where he may go on his next mission. But at the moment, he’s more than happy to be back at SOMC and enjoying the comforts of home.

To set up an appointment with Dr. George Pettit, call 740-354-1434. For more information, visit or “like” SOMC on Facebook.

Run For Your LIFE set for September 1

Local runners and community members are invited to compete in Southern Ohio Medical Center’s 35th annual Run For Your LIFE competition. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 1 at the SOMC LIFE Center in Portsmouth.

Entrants may choose to participate in either a 5K or 10K event. Registration and packet pick-up will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31 and 7 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at the facility with all events beginning at 8 a.m. that day.

The competition route will take runners through the shady, tree-lined residential area that includes Kinney’s Lane, Grandview and Thomas avenues, Dorman, Sheridan and Orchard drives, Coles Boulevard, Shawnee and Micklethwaite roads and Greenlawn Cemetery.

Awards will be presented immediately after the race to the top three finishers of each age division in both the 5K and 10K. Awards also will be given to each male and female with the fastest times; however, male and female recipients will not receive duplicate awards. All participants are eligible for door prizes.

In addition to the 5K and 10K races, the LIFE Center will also host the third annual Pump and Run. A runner’s race time will be based on how many times he or she can bench press their body weight with 30 seconds per repetition deducted from their final 5K time. Time deductions will be taken for a maximum of 30 repetitions.

Registration for the Pump and Run will begin at 6:30 a.m. and is limited to 100 participants.

Cost of both the race, or the race and Pump and Run, is $15 per person before Aug. 30 or $20 the day of the event. T-shirts will be given to the first 300 participants who register.

For more information, or to register, please call 740-356-7566.

SOMC offering free fitness events in September

As part of a continuing effort to improve Scioto County’s health and fitness levels, Southern Ohio Medical Center is organizing Fitness in the Park events to take place throughout the month of September.

Each Fitness in the Park event is free, open to anyone in the community and designed to help generate increased interest in fitness and exercise. The programs will provide the community access to instructor-led exercises and activities, such as Yoga, cardio-dancing, toning, and lifting in a fun and accessible environment.

SOMC has arranged for Fitness in the Park events to be held on three separate dates and in different areas of the county.

“It was very important to us to make this convenient for as many people as possible,” Wendi Waugh, director of SOMC Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness, said.

The first event is on September 8 and will take place in Wheelersburg’s Porter Township Park from 9am to noon. Then, on September 22, there will be events in Portsmouth’s Tracy Park 11:30am to 1pm and in the parking lot of the Lucasville Life Center from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. On September 26, individuals will have an opportunity to participate in a Kettlebell class at the SOMC Friends Center at 6:30pm.  The Kettlebell class size is limited to approximately 20 individuals.

“There is no pre-registration and no cost involved,” Waugh said. “People can simply come to the park or venue and join in whenever and however they like.”

For more information, contact the SOMC Portsmouth LIFE Center 740-356-7650.

79-year-old woman proud to have completed SOMC triathlon


Jean Troike, a 79-year-old woman from Akron, approaches the finish line during Southern Ohio Medical Center's 'Tri For Your LIFE' Sprint Triathlon on August 12. She completed the event, which included a 200-meter swim, a 20k bike ride and a 5k run, in under two hours.

At 79 years old, one might assume that Jean Troike’s greatest obstacle when attempting a triathlon would be her age. That’s not what she was worried about, though.

“I don’t like to swim,” she said. “It’s really difficult for me.”

In the end, neither age nor water could keep Jean from crossing the finish line at Southern Ohio Medical Center’s ‘Tri For Your LIFE’ Sprint Triathlon on August 12. As part of the event, Jean conquered a 200-meter swim, a 20k bike ride and a 5k run.

The triathlon took her under two hours to complete, which is actually less time than it took her to get there.

“I live in Akron, so that’s quite a drive,” Jean said. “But, my son wanted to participate so we did that together. It was a lot of fun.”

Jean believes she was able to complete the event at her age because she has been blessed with “perfect health,” and understands that not many 79 year olds would be up to the task. She did, however, have some advice for anyone that wanted to give it a try: Don’t give up.

“I worked at it and I pushed myself,” Jean said. “My mind said, ‘I don’t want to do that’ but I said ‘Yes, you’re going to do it.’ You just have to push yourself. Start out with a little and just keep adding on, and you’ll be surprised by how much you can do.”

Jean was able to push herself to finish in part because of the support and encouragement she, and all of the participants, received during the event.

“The people at SOMC were so encouraging. They were always standing around and encouraging you to go on,” Jean said. “It’s just a great feeling to have people that are all for you, cheering you on.”

Including Jean, the SOMC ‘Tri For Your LIFE’ Sprint Triathlon brought in 110 competitors. To see photos from the event, “like” SOMC at Or, to learn more about how SOMC can help you improve your overall health, call the SOMC Life Center at 740-356-7650.

SOMC Welcomes Dr. Johnny Bernard

Southern Ohio Medical Center pleased to announce that Johnny Ray Bernard, Jr. M.D. has joined the SOMC Medical Staff and is now a practicing Radiation Oncologist at the SOMC Cancer Center.

Dr. Bernard, originally from Memphis Tennessee, is a board certified Radiation Oncologist. He recently served with the rank of Major in the United States Army. 

Dr. Bernard received his medical education from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and completed his residency training in radiation oncology at the world renowned Mayo Clinic, where he served as Chief Resident and attained the academic rank of Assistant Professor during residency.

Dr. Bernard is married and has two daughters ages 4 and 8. He and his family are excited to join our community. 

Dr. Bernard has a particular interest in bringing a new technology to our community called Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR). 

Stay tuned for more information about this exciting technology soon.

SOMC triathlon brings in more than 100 competitors

SOMC TriathlonSouthern Ohio Medical Center’s first ever Tri For Your LIFE Sprint Triathlon brought more than 110 participants into Portsmouth, some coming from as far away as Florida and Minnesota.

 “It was a fantastic, and tremendously successful, event,” Wendi Waugh, director of Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness, said. “We’re thrilled that our first triathlon was able to generate so much interest and support.”

 The event began with a 200-meter swim, followed by a 20k bike ride and a 5k run. Athletes were timed and, at the end of the event, awards were distributed to the individuals and teams that turned in the best performances.

 The fastest male performance came from Don Caine, who finished with a time of 52:57. Ann Marie Allen had the fastest female performance at 59:42.

 The SOMC Life Center can be reached at 740-356-7650. To view photos from the triathlon or other SOMC events, “like” SOMC on Facebook at

SOMC awarded Love Your Heart grant from Marting’s Foundation

Love your heartSouthern Ohio Medical Center has been awarded a $13,000 grant by the Richard D. Marting’s Foundation to continue the Love Your Heart program in 2013. Love Your Heart helps kindergarten-aged children learn the importance of proper nutrition and exercise during a fun, Wizard of Oz-themed event.  Julia Wisniewski of the Richard D. Marting’s Foundation presented Amy Fraulini, director of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services, with a check to support the program on August 3.

SOMC wins Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Awards

SOMC recently received the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Gold Employer and Business awards through the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

The Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award recognizes breastfeeding-friendly employers that support their employees by establishing and maintaining comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs.

The Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Business Award recognizes breastfeeding-friendly businesses that create a supportive environment for their clients or customers who wish to breastfeed onsite.

“SOMC is committed to promoting and protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed her child for as long as she chooses,” Robin Frantz, lactation consultant of Maternity Services, said. “We are proud to offer our employees the support and resources they need to continue caring for their children after returning to work and we are very honored to receive this recognition.”

“Children that are breastfed have a reduced risk of many health problems, including diabetes, asthma, childhood cancer and obesity,” ODH Director Ted Wymyslo, MD, said. “We are proud to honor employers who are working to improve the health of our community’s littlest members by supporting employees and customers who breastfeed.”

SOMC will be presented with the award during the Executive Healthy Ohio BusinessCouncil Meeting Sept. 18.

ODH, with the assistance of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association and other breastfeeding advocates around the state, developed the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award in 2011. To learn more about the award, or to view a complete list of the 2012 Breastfeeding Friendly Award winners, please visit