May, 2014

Cancer Center earns ACR accreditation

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Cancer Center has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in radiation oncology as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Radiation oncology (radiation therapy) is the careful use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer. A radiation oncologist may use radiation to cure cancer or to relieve a cancer patient’s pain.

“We’re honored to have received re-accreditation from the ACR,” Dr. Johnny Bernard Jr., Senior Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at SOMC, said. “It shows our commitment to improve the quality of care in our practice.”

The ACR seal of accreditation represents the highest level of quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting specific practice guidelines and technical standards developed by ACR after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Patient care and treatment, patient safety, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed.

“The Radiation Oncology Department has been accredited since 2003 and is the only center in the area that is accredited,” Wendi Waugh, Administrative Director of SOMC Cancer Services said. “We are proud to be able to provide quality and safe care to patients at SOMC and to have this affirmed by the ACR.”

For more information about SOMC’s Cancer Center, call 740-356-7490 or visit


Organic foods may be right for you

Eating healthy is always a good choice, but are some healthy options better than others? That’s a question that has led some to replace traditional fruits and vegetables with those that are grown organically.

It is not clear if organic food is more nutritious than conventionally produced food. A recent study suggests that the nutrient content is comparable between the two, though research is ongoing. However, there remain many other benefits to eating organically.

Many people choose to eat organic food to avoid pesticides that are used by conventional growers. Farmers spray pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases, but the process can leave a residue on produce. According to the USDA, organic food carries significantly fewer pesticides than conventional produce.

Another factor to consider is that regulations governing organic foods severely restrict the use of food additives, processing aids and fortifying agents that are commonly found in nonorganic foods. These can include preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings.

Organic food also has an environmental impact, as organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving both water and soil quality.

If you do choose to make the switch the organic foods, however, it is important to keep in mind that organic foods do tend to cost a little more and – because they aren’t treated with waxes or preservatives – may spoil faster. They can also look less uniform and can come in odd shapes, colors and sizes. No matter what form they come in, however, all organic foods pass the same quality and safety standards of conventional foods.

Additional information about organic foods can be found by visiting

SOMC Pediatric Associates accepting book donations

The office of SOMC Pediatric Associates is on its way to becoming a “Reach Out and Read” site.

“Reach Out and Read” is a nationwide program that promotes early literacy and school readiness in children ages 6-months to 5-years by giving books to patients who come in for “well” check-up visits. The program builds on the unique relationship between pediatric parents and medical providers and serves more than 4 million children and their families annually.

To become a “Reach Out and Read” site, SOMC Pediatric Associates must collect 1,000 books. To meet this goal, the office hosted a book drive during the month of May and is still accepting new and gently-used donations. Community members who would like to make a donation can drop off their books at the SOMC Pediatric Associates office, located on the First Floor of the Fulton Building on the SOMC Main Campus.

Community members are also invited to support SOMC Pediatric Associates by eating at the River House from 5 to 9 p.m. June 2. Ten-percent of all dine-in and carry-out orders made that evening at the restaurant will go toward the purchase of books for the Pediatric Associates office.


The River House is located at 711 Second Street, Portsmouth. To learn more, please visit or call 740-354-7788. For more information about the Reach Out and Read program, please visit

Community invited to SOMC’s Healthy Exchange

Southern Ohio Medical Center is offering a way to help community members learn more about asthma treatment with an event called SOMC’s Healthy Exchange.

SOMC’s Healthy Exchange will feature Dr. Nadia Chammas, M.D., and SOMC President and CEO, Randy Arnett.

Dr. Chammas, a physician at SOMC Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates, will be speaking about asthma and focusing on the symptoms, triggers and treatments. Following Dr. Chammas’ presentation, Arnett will be discussing the benefits of corporate wellness programs.

SOMC’s Healthy Exchange will be held at the Scioto County Welcome Center on May 21 from 7:30am-8:30am. The event will be free and open to the public.

For more information, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

Gardening makes for great exercise

Getting exercise does not have to be a complicated or difficult activity. It doesn’t have to involve gym memberships, expensive equipment or lengthy routines. In fact, you can exercise and eat healthier with one simple step: Gardening.

Gardening lends itself to a healthier diet because it can provide an abundance of fruits and vegetables, but it is also an excellent form of exercise. That’s because it combines three important types of physical activity: strength, endurance and flexibility.

When gardening, work at a steady, constant speed, but change positions every ten minutes or so to avoid overusing any particular muscle group. If you start by bending down to pull weeds, stand to prune the hedges next. Here are some other tips to get the most out of your experience:

  • Before starting, warm up by taking a short walk around the yard or down the block. This will get the blood flowing to your muscles.
  • Rake in front of your body to target your shoulders. Make sure you rake both left and right to use your arms evenly – it will also help you prevent blisters by avoiding repetitive motions!
  • If you’re using a wheelbarrow to haul yard waste, soil or mulch, take an extra loop or two around the garden before setting it down.
  • Instead of using a small watering can, take the heavy hose with you.
  • When lifting, bend your knees and keep your back straight!
  • When digging, switch back and forth between hands so that you utilize both arms.
  • To protect your skin, wear plenty of sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt and pants and a wide-brimmed hat.

You can reap the maximum health benefit from gardening by doing things the old fashioned way. Turn off the leaf blower and pick up a rake, or use manual clippers, trippers and lawnmowers. You should also space your activity out. Rather than having one long day of gardening on the weekend, plan to work it for at least 30-60 minutes two or three times a week.

The benefits of gardening are tremendous. Beyond facilitating a healthy life, it also has the added benefit of saving you money at the grocery store and letting you enjoy the beautiful weather of spring!

Amazing Race draws 45 teams

SOMC’s first ever Amazing Race drew 45 teams, each competing for the chance to win $2,500.

They faced challenges that ranged from completing a fast food order and changing a tire to solving cryptograms and guessing calorie content. Local sponsors included YEI, Shawnee State University, American Savings Bank, Glockner and Schmidt Family Restaurants.

“The team at SOMC put together another community-wide event that really showcased what Portsmouth has to offer,” Tim Glockner of Glockner Enterprises said. “We were excited to co-sponsor alongside the very best in healthcare, education, banking, dining and cutting-edge technology; all for a great cause.

“I truly see the Amazing Race evolving into a much larger event while raising awareness for the SOMC Development Foundation and its mission to satisfy our community’s health and wellness needs.”

The first-place team was the Super Troopers, who finished with a total time of one hour and three minutes. They were followed by the GOAL Diggers in second and RCC in third. The SOMC Development Foundation developed the event and all proceeds went towards its Health and Wellness Fund, which supports health and wellness opportunities in the community.

“Our sponsors did a great job of coming up with a series of creative, challenging tasks,” Wendi Waugh, director of SOMC Community Health and Wellness, said. “They made this event unique, and those that competed made it a success.”

A total of $5,000 in prizes – donated by the event’s sponsors – were distributed. For more information, visit