SOMC offering free breast cancer screenings

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be offering a series of free breast cancer screenings in the early months of 2015.

The screenings will take place at the SOMC Breast Center on January 15 from 9am until noon; February 19 from 1pm until 4pm; and on March 19 from 9am until noon.

Free clinical breast exams will be provided at the screening. Free mammograms will be provided for women who are uninsured or underinsured through the Hands of Hope program funded by the Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and in cooperation with SOMC. Screenings conducted at the SOMC Breast Center will include same-day mammography if needed.

Individuals who are 40 or older, or younger with a family history of breast cancer, or who have an abnormal finding on a self-breast exam can register by calling the volunteer office at 740-356-8234. To learn more, visit

SOMC wins Guardian of Excellence Award

SOMC is proud to announce it has been named a 2014 Guardian of Excellence Award winner by Press Ganey Associates, Inc.

The Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally recognized symbol of achievement in health care. The award honors the top 5 percent of facilities that consistently achieved and sustained the 95th percentile in employee satisfaction for each of Press Ganey’s reporting periods during the course of one year.

“This is a great distinction for our organization and recognizes our employees for their partnership and commitment to outstanding team-work and quality service,” Ken Applegate, director of SOMC Human Resources, said. “This award acknowledges that our employees love what they do and take pride in providing their talents right here at SOMC.”

Press Ganey is the nation’s leading health care performance improvement company, partnering with more than 11,000 health care facilities (and more than 50 percent of all U.S. hospitals) to reduce suffering and improve the patient experience.

“The award is a testament to Southern Ohio Medical Center’s commitment to deliver patient-centered care and we are proud to partner with them,” Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey, said. “By achieving and sustaining this level of excellence, SOMC is benefiting patients and helping advance the quality of health care.”

In addition to the Guardian of Excellence Award, SOMC has also earned recognition nationally and statewide for employee satisfaction by earning distinctions as one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work.

“Without the dedication and high-level of quality our staff provide every day, we would not be considered for these important designations,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “We are extremely proud of our team of experts at SOMC and our ability to offer the best quality care to the people of our community.”


STAND Energy donates to Development Foundation

STAND Energy has donated $1,000 to the SOMC Development Foundation, which seeks the bridge the gap between the community’s health and wellness needs and the cost of those solutions. Pictured here, from left to right, is SOMC Director of Plant Operations Justin Clark, SOMC Donor Relations Coordinator Beau Vastine, Reese Brown of STAND Energy and SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett.

For more information about STAND Energy, visit To learn more about the SOMC Development Foundation, visit

How many calories are in your holiday dinner?

When you think about the cost of a holiday meal, you probably imagine a grocery receipt. But that’s not the only price you pay for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner – you also charge your body an average of 1,360 calories. And that’s not counting dessert!

With a little planning, though, you can lighten the weight of the holidays.

If you’re cooking for a small crowd, serve a turkey breast with no skin. It has about 60 fewer calories per every 3.5-ounce portion than dark meat. It also cooks in less time than a whole bird.

Keep chestnuts on hand. They have less fat and about half the calories of regular nuts. Use them in stuffing, salads and as snacks.

Season strategically. Flavors such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg capture the essence of the season without adding many calories. Replace salt with savory basil, garlic, rosemary, sage, terragon, thyme or turmeric in casseroles, stuffings and dressings.

For appetizers, think fresh. Boiled shrimp with lemon or cocktail sauce is a smarter pick than fried hors d’oeuvres. Other helpful starters include stuffed mushrooms, sliced low-fat cheese and raw vegetables with hummus.

Avoid a deadly dinner. A study of heart-attack patients suggested that eating an unusually large meal packed with carbohydrates, fat and salt quadrupled the chance of having a heart attack within the next two hours.

Relearn buffet eating. If you were eating at a restaurant, you wouldn’t order one of everything on the menu. The same should hold true in a buffet-style meal. Scan the table and make your choices before loading everything onto your plate.

Skip the whip. Whipped cream can add 100 calories or more when used as a drink or dessert topper. Try going without it, or opting for a nonfat version.

Just say no! Peer pressure never gets easier to handle, but if you’re being urged by a host to keep eating once you’re full politely refuse with a firm statement like: “no thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious.”

Sip tea. You can cut about 3,500 calories – about the amount it takes to gain a pound – by choosing tea over soda throughout the holidays. Even more if you drink it without sugar or milk.


How to avoid overeating at a holiday meal

No matter what holidays you celebrate this season, there is one thing that’s almost always involved – food, and lots of it.

Family feasts are a holiday tradition, and they can make it difficult to maintain healthy eating habits. If you’re not careful, your efforts to shed unwanted weight – or at least avoid putting more on – during the winter months can be undone by a barrage of candy, eggnog and pumpkin pie.

In order to keep December celebrations from becoming January regrets, try to keep in mind what the holidays are really about – it’s about people, not food. Concentrate on socializing and having fun. Enjoy conversations with relatives or old friends and don’t feel like you need to eat until you burst.

You should also plan to focus on healthier holiday options. For example, you’ll be better off with chicken or turkey breast than you would be with beef prime rib. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to put a limit on desserts.

Here are some other tips to help you avoid over-indulgence:

  1. Don’t arrive to a holiday dinner on an empty stomach! You may think that skipping a meal prior to the feast will allow you to splurge, but it will actually just cause you to overeat and consume more calories than you would have if you’d eaten something beforehand.
  2. Offer to bring a healthy dish. Not only does it keep you from showing up empty-handed, but it makes sure there’s something on the menu you can eat without feeling guilty.
  3. Avoid excess alcohol, and don’t sit within arm’s length of the snacks. There are calories in every drink and every treat you consume. The more you take in before the meal, the less you can consume once the main course is ready.
  4. Select small portions. It’s all about moderations, so don’t feel like you need to load down your plate.
  5. Eat slowly! Take small bites, chew slowly and enjoy the meal. Not only will this help you savor the taste, but it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full. Taking your time is an easy way to avoid overeating.
  6. Leave the table when you’re finished. If you linger at the table, you’ll be tempted to continue eating even if you’re not hungry. A big part of winning is knowing when to quit.


Enjoying the holidays after losing a loved one

The holidays can be painful when there is somebody missing. Making it through the season after the loss of a loved one can be difficult, but there are ways you can make it a little bit easier.

First, you should know that whatever you happen to feel is the right thing to feel. Know that nobody else will feel the same thing, at the same time in the same way that you do, but that does not mean those feelings are inappropriate. In general, people dealing with the loss of a loved one tend to feel sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt and even apathy.

While it is important for you to move forward with your life, this is generally not the best time to make drastic changes. Starting a new life in a new town, or spending the holidays faraway among others who do not understand your situation, will not make things easier. You may decide to change specific routines, like where you eat your holiday meal or how you distribute gifts. If you do, consider designing your new rituals in such a way that allows you to remember the past while acknowledging that the present has changed.

In a time when you may be feeling as if you’ve lost control of your life, focus on ways you can take it back. You can exhibit control over your circumstances by choosing to take care of yourself, for example. Healthy eating, responsible drinking and even starting an exercise program are ways to remind yourself that – no matter what else has happened – you still can control the way your life plays out. These steps have the added bonus of making you feel better, both mentally and physically. A brisk walk each day is one of the best exercises you can perform, especially if you can do it outdoors.

Consider purchasing a special ornament or tree to commemorate your loved one. Doing so can make remembering them a special part of the season, and one that will help others who are grieving know that they are dealing with the loss together.

But most importantly, do not forget that you are not alone. Many people struggle with loss during the holidays. If you need it, they can offer you help and perspective to make this season a little brighter. To find out about support groups that may be able to offer assistance, contact SOMC Hospice at 740-356-2567.

Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution

For many people, the shift from December to January brings with it a significant change in priorities. Physical fitness and exercise often finds itself pushed aside during hectic holiday schedules and buried under plates of Christmas treats only to reemerge a month later as one of our most common and enduring New Year’s resolutions.

It is not necessary for the change to be that dramatic, however, because it may be easier than you think to build healthy habits even in the midst of the holiday traditions. Here are some tips to help you begin or maintain healthy habits throughout December:

Be flexible when your days get busy. If your typical time to exercise conflicts with a holiday party, for example, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one over the other. You can still exercise by waking up an hour earlier and taking a walk before work, or opting for a brisk walk during your lunch hour. No matter how busy you are, you always have time to move.

Figure out ways to combine exercising and family commitments. For example, haul the kids up a hill a few times so they can sled back down. You’ll build muscles and memories at the same time.

Book a long weekend getaway somewhere warm for January or February. Anytime you feel like slacking off, think about how you’ll want to look when you’re relaxing on the beach.

Create a workout routine that you can complete without going to the gym. Being stuck in the house doesn’t mean you can’t do crunches, pushups and many other exercises that don’t require any equipment.

Walk! Whether you’re taking the family on a hike through the woods or taking a stroll through the stores of a mall, walking is an exercise that you can do no matter where you are.

If the air feels too cold to breath, stay inside. Part of staying healthy is listening to your body’s cues. Cold air can trigger exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath.

And finally, try asking Santa for some weights, a treadmill, an elliptical machine or a stationary bike. Having your own equipment and knowing how to use it will keep you motivated and help you stay on track.

What could you afford if you quit smoking?

Given the choice, would you rather watch this year’s Super Bowl live as a VIP… or at home with a couple packs of cigarettes?

It’s a fair question, because anytime you buy cigarettes, you are turning down every other item that you could have bought with that money.

To put into perspective just how expensive smoking can be, consider this:

In New York, where high taxes affect the cost of a pack of cigarettes, low-income smokers spend as much as 25% of their money to support their habit. That is one out of every four dollars, literally up in smoke. Smoking just two packs-a-day comes out to approximately $7,400 a year.

Can you think of a better use for $7,400? In case you need some help, here are a few suggestions. Just by quitting smoking, and without earning a penny more, you could:

• Lease a 5-series BMW and have enough left over for gas

• Go on a sailing vacation in the Galapagos with your spouse… every year.

• Start a college fund for your 4-year old child – and have enough to completely cover their tuition at a private university by the time they turn 18

• Purchase VIP seats for you and a friend at every Super Bowl

Those are just a few of the luxuries that smokers could enjoy simply by quitting the habit. Plus, the tremendous health benefits of kicking the habit means a longer life to enjoy those luxuries.

Of course, quitting smoking is not easy no matter what the incentive. But it also isn’t something that you have to do alone. Southern Ohio Medical Center offers smoking cessation classes that are completely free of charge. To find out how you can sign up, contact SOMC Community Health and Wellness at 740-356-2552.

‘Burg Middle School samples fitness class

The Wheelersburg Middle School recently invited the SOMC LIFE Center to teach the students about fitness. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders participated in yoga, piloxing and Zumba. To find out how you can enjoy the fitness opportunities of the SOMC LIFE Center, call 740-356-7650.