Turnout up at second annual Tri For Your LIFE

SOMC Tri For Your LIFE TriathlonOne day after co-hosting the area’s first ever triathlon for children alongside Shawnee State University, Southern Ohio Medical Center saw 119 adults come out for its second annual Tri For Your LIFE Sprint Triathlon. Last year’s inaugural event drew 110.

“The community’s support for these events has been wonderful.  Many of the competitors from our community were first-time triathletes. We also had athletes come to Portsmouth from all over the country to compete,” Wendi Waugh, director of SOMC Community Health and Wellness, said.

SOMC Tri For Your LIFE TriathlonThe triathlon was made up of a 200-yard swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a 5-kilometer run.

Neil Ernst of Cincinnati finished with the fastest overall time, completing the entire triathlon in 51 minutes and two seconds. Out of the local participants, the best finish came from SOMC’s Dr. Thomas Carter who finished at 55 minutes and 45 seconds. He was fifth overall.

“We are looking forward to seeing this event continue to grow in the years to come,” Waugh said, “and we are so grateful for everyone who made it possible.”

Tri For Your LIFE TriathlonThe triathlons were sponsored by:

  • United Healthcare
  • Vicki Noel
  • Solid Rock Construction
  • Edward Jones
  • TB&A Hospital Television
  • USEC
  • Dr. Thomas Khoury
  • Garage Café
  • Ben and Toni Gill
  • Portsmouth Ambulance

For pictures from the SOMC Sprint Triathlon and the Kids Triathlon, like SOMC and the SOMC LIFE Center on Facebook.

SOMC providing free smoking cessation classes

Southern Ohio Medical Center is partnering with the American Lung Association to offer free smoking cessation classes on September 10.

The Freedom From Smoking Program is designed to help anyone wishing to kick the tobacco habit. The course takes place over a seven week period and includes eight classes. All classes are free and all materials are included. Medication support will also be available on a week-to-week attendance basis through the Scioto Foundation.

To register, or for more information, contact SOMC Community Health & Wellness at 740-356-2720.

SOMC breaks ground on West Union facility

SOMC West Union groundbreaking

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently broke ground on a new facility in Adams County known as SOMC West Union. The facility, which will house the practices of Drs. John and Angela Shupert, is slated for completion in 2014. Once finished, it will offer patients with primary care, x-ray, pharmacy and outpatient laboratory services.


CrossFit Alpha Pack is a life changer for local man

Michael Kitts

A before and after photo of Michael Kitts shows his results after just a few months of CrossFit.

Michael Kitts didn’t believe he could do CrossFit.

He had never done anything like it before, and doubted he’d be able to start at 42-years-old. Now, he does it three to five times a week.

“At first, I was intimidated,” he said. “But once I tried it, I knew I could do it and I haven’t stopped.”

Since Michael joined the CrossFit Alpha Pack in March, he has lost 18 pounds and – since April – he has shed 3% of his body fat. Total, he is down 25 pounds since January. But those aren’t the only changes he has seen.

“I have a lot more energy and I’m eating healthier,” Michael said. “My endurance has grown tremendously and I feel better. I never would have believed it, but at the age of 42 I am in the best shape of my life.”

Something that helped Michael was the camaraderie and team atmosphere that go along with CrossFit. Everyone encourages one another, he said, and no matter what physical condition you are in everybody is working towards the same goal.

Michael’s only been doing CrossFit for a few months, but it has already changed his life, and he has sage advice for anyone else that is struggling to lose weight.

“No matter what age you are, if you set goals and put your mind to it you can do anything you want,” he said.

For more information about the CrossFit Alpha Pack, visit www.CrossFitAlphaPack.com or like them on Facebook.

SOMC to host mental health in-service

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be hosting a mental health in-service entitled “Dementia: The Basics” on September 10 at 1pm. The in-service will take place in the East Campus Conference Room, located inside the Gibson Building.

The event will feature Melissa Dever of the Alzheimer’s Association. CEU’s are offered for social work and nursing in Ohio.

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Erica Kegley at 740-356-6845.

Breast Center receives PRC Five-Star Award

The Breast Center of Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received the Five-Star Award for Service Excellence, presented by Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC), the company that conducts a portion of the hospital’s patient satisfaction surveys.

This designation is given annually to healthcare facilities, providers, outpatient service lines, and inpatient units that score in the top 10 percent of the PRC national client database for the previous year. The award is based on the percentage of patients who rate the facility as “excellent” for their overall quality of care.

Shown above at the presentation are Claudia Burchett (center), chief nursing officer and vice president of SOMC Patient Services, with members of the SOMC Breast Center team.

SOMC wins breastfeeding awards

Southern Ohio Medical Center has received two awards highlighting its efforts to support breastfeeding. SOMC earned both the Ohio Department of Health’s Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award and the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award.

There are medical benefits associated with breastfeeding, as it reduces the risk of infections and provides optimal nutrition for the child.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, low rates of breastfeeding add $2.2 billion a year to medical costs. Babies who are formula-fed instead of breast-fed tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the country would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months.

Supporting breastfeeding makes good business sense, as well. Studies have found that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism rates on the part of new mothers and increases their productivity.

SOMC is one of 22 employers in Ohio to be honored by the Ohio Department of Health and one of 11 to receive the Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award.

Sports Motion provides concussion testing

With the full ramifications of concussions on local athletes being better understood every day, Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Sports Motion program is doing what it can to protect local athletes from the long-term dangers that go along with head injuries.

SOMC Sports Motion is now performing baseline testing on local athletes. This computerized cognitive test from Axon Sports provides a more complete picture of where an athlete’s cognitive ability is following a potential concussion. This prevents athletes from inadvertently being cleared to play, and possibly suffer additional injuries, before fully recovering from an initial head injury. It is part of Sports Motion’s current Concussion Management Protocol, which has oversight from numerous physicians and neurology staff.

“Statistically, one in ten athletes will suffer a concussion every year,” SOMC’s Dr. Leon Rosenberg said. “These are serious injuries with potentially long-term affects. These tests help us recognize when a concussion has occurred, and better gauge when it is safe for an athlete to return to play.”

Baseline testing provides an idea of what an athletes cognitive ability is before an injury. These results can then be compared to test results after an injury and used to gauge the recovery process. Allowing athletes to suffer additional head injuries before having a full recovery from an initial concussion can result in even greater damage.

“Things like coordination come back fairly quickly after a concussion,” Brian Tennant, an athletic trainer with SOMC Sports Motion, said. “Cognitive ability is the last thing to come back.”

Testing is completed for every school covered by SOMC Sports Motion, and will take place prior to the start of football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball seasons. It is considered a best practice in keeping athletes safe.

“Sometimes, the kids will get mad if I tell them they can’t practice or play,” Tennant said. “I tell them that I want them to be able to remember their child’s name when they’re 30.”

For more information, contact SOMC Sports Motion at 740-356-7438.

SOMC support group helps individuals through the grieving process

Mourning the loss of a loved one is a personal journey that can be unique to each individual. The journey can also be difficult and painful, however, which is why Southern Ohio Medical Center is offering a free support group called “Picking up the Pieces” this autumn.

“Everyone deals with grief differently,” Susan Goins, bereavement coordinator for SOMC Hospice, said. “We want to help those who are grieving the loss of a loved one understand that there is no wrong way to mourn, and help them better understand the process and emotions that go along with grief.”

The “Picking Up The Pieces” support group will run from September 3 to October 8. It will meet on September 3, September 10, September 17, September 24, October 1 and October 8. Each meeting will last from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will take place in the Gibson Building Conference Room, located on SOMC’s East Campus.

Meetings are free and open to the public. Space is limited, however, so registration is required. For more information, or to register for the group, contact Susan Goins at 740-356-2676.