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Police chief from ‘safest village’ in NY will speak at local Opioid Task Force

Staff Reports Posted 3 July 2018 at 4:02 pm

BATAVIA – The police chief who has developed an outreach program for people fighting opioid addictions will be the featured speaker on July 18 during the next Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force.

Peter Volkmann is the police chief for the Village of Chatham in Columbia, County. He developed “Chatham Cares 4 U” initiative in which any person can request help for opioid addiction and a treatment bed will be arranged with transportation guaranteed.

The Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force meets from 10 a.m. to noon on July 18 at GCC, One College Road in Batavia.

Chatham has been recognized as “the safest village” in New York State. But that hasn’t spared the community from the opioid epidemic.

Volkmann is also a faculty member for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Ellicott City, MD and has been featured as an expert on stress for Dateline (NBC), Discovery Channel, MSNBC, and Law Enforcement Television Network (LETN). He will share how one small rural community has been an agent of change when addressing the opioid crisis.

Chief Volkmann will be available after the presentation to answer individual questions.

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2 local Public Health officials part of ‘emerging leaders’ initiative

Posted 29 June 2018 at 5:44 pm

Pettit and Bedard look to further transform Orleans and Genesee health departments

Press Release, Orleans and Genesee County Health Departments

Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, will work to transform the role of public health in Genesee and Orleans Counties as part of the third cohort of The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative.

Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health was designed to provide public health leaders of county and local health departments to build additional knowledge and skills the challenges public health professionals face in their communities. The initiative is designed to develop local public health leaders in pairs and each pair includes the health officer and a future leader from the public health agency.

As a team, Paul Pettit and Brenden Bedard, Deputy Director / Director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, will be asked to challenge and support each other while building skills and competencies together.

“Public health leaders are valuable assets to our communities,” said Dr. Phyllis Meadows, senior advisor to The Kresge Foundation’s Health Program and the Emerging Leaders in Public Health lead. “Leaders in this program will have the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting change in their agencies that will positively impact those they serve.”

During the program, Pettit and Bedard will participate in an action-oriented program focused on the design and implementation of a transformative concept that shifts or expands the capacity of their local department.

They will also receive a grant up to $125,000 as well as coaching and technical assistance to evolve their ideas into action.

“We are excited to be a part of this national program,” stated Pettit. “Our project will be based on the development of a comprehensive telehealth program in Genesee and Orleans Counties to address our provider capacity and access issues.”

Pettit and Bedard join 19 other teams from across the country selected to participate in the third cohort of Emerging Leaders in Public Health. Collectively, the 20 health departments represented by cohort leaders serve nearly 10 million community members in communities across the country.

“This is a unique opportunity for our two rural counties to be on a national platform,” stated Bedard. “Not only will we be working on our project but have the opportunity to share strengths and challenges with other local health departments across the nation.”

The team will also join a growing community of public health leaders supported by The Kresge Foundation. Since 2015, 64 public health leaders have been trained through Emerging Leaders in Public Health. With the addition of Cohort III, Kresge meets its goal of providing leadership development and resources to more than 100 local, public health leaders across the country so that they can approach public health in a new way.

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit kresge.org.

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Community members welcome new Oak Orchard Health leader

Staff Reports Posted 26 June 2018 at 9:37 am

Provided photos: Mary Ann Pettibon, Oak Orchard Health chief executive officer, is pictured with Mike Andriatch, Vice President for Advancement for The College at Brockport during a reception for Pettibon on June 19 at the college.

BROCKPORT – The Board of Directors of Oak Orchard Health hosted the community at a welcome reception last week in honor of its new CEO, Mary Ann Pettibon. The event took place at the College at Brockport.

The reception allowed members of local, state and federal government, as well as business owners, other health care professionals, representatives from the college and Brockport Central School, and other community members to meet Ms. Pettibon and learn more about her and about Oak Orchard Health.

Karen Watt of Albion, chairwoman of the board, delivered opening remarks and educated the guests on the complex process of finding and hiring the right person to be the CEO of a Federally Qualified Health Center like Oak Orchard. Besides the standard hiring process, CEO candidates must pass federal requirements as well. Ms. Pettibon comes to Oak Orchard with outstanding qualifications, and the Board of Directors is delighted to have her as the new CEO.

Retiring CEO Jim Cummings introduced Ms. Pettibon to the guests, mentioning what a wonderful transition period they have had working together the last month and a half.  He officially retires at the end of June.

Pettibon kept her remarks brief but expressed her delight at being chosen to lead the organization.  “I am energized by Oak Orchard’s passionate Board of Directors and their experienced staff, and I look forward to moving the organization ahead to the next level.”

Oak Orchard Board Chair Karen Watt with guest, Lisa Franclemont, who is coordinator of Cancer Services of Genesee and Orleans.

Pettibon comes to Oak Orchard with an Executive MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz School of Business, and almost 20 years of health care administration experience in Ohio and Pennsylvania – including roles as a CEO and COO in Federally Qualified Health Centers in Ohio.

Not only well versed in the management and operations of a multi-million dollar health care facility, Pettibon has also authored grants in which she secured almost $2 million in funding for her organization. Her experience includes primary medical care, dental care, and behavioral health care along with substance abuse and pharmacy operations.

Pettibon is drawn to health care in the rural setting because she knows how patients in the rural areas struggle with access to quality medical care.

“Caring for the whole person is critical,” she said. “We have to offer integrated, coordinated care, including transportation, assistance with housing, health education … and continue to work toward breaking down barriers to quality health care that our rural population faces.”

Oak Orchard Health is one of 1,250 Federally Qualified Health Centers in the country. These centers provide primary health care to over 30 million people.

At Oak Orchard Health, the organization saw more than 21,000 people with just under 66,000 total visits in 2017 to the Oak Orchard sites in Warsaw, Hornell, Albion, Lyndonville and Brockport, as well as the mobile dental unit that sees children in Orleans County schools. Oak Orchard staff also go to farm worker living sites for important screenings and inoculations, Watt said.

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Orleans Community Health Foundation seeks new members

Provided photo – This group includes, from left: Angela DiRosa, Orleans Community Health Foundation executive director; Anthony Wynn, OCHF board member; Jeanne Crane, OCHF board member; and Alix Gilman, host of Shirt Factory Café.

Posted 23 May 2018 at 7:48 am

Press Release, Orleans Community Health Foundation

MEDINA – The Orleans Community Health Foundation is seeking individuals who live or work in Orleans County to serve on the Board of Directors. In order to share more information about the Foundation and the Board’s responsibilities, we are holding a meet and greet for candidates on June 6.

The OCHF Board is looking for eager and committed community members to serve as directors. The meet and greet starts at 6:30 p.m. at The Shirt Factory Café. The event offers an opportunity for folks to learn more about OCHF and how they can serve the organization and Orleans Community Health, said Angela DiRosa, OCHF executive director.

“We’re excited for new healthcare services and opportunities through our partnership with Rochester Regional Health,” DiRosa said. “These opportunities will most likely come with the need for facility renovations and technology upgrades so we need the community’s support more than ever. We are looking for neighbors who can bring a fresh perspective and energy to drive our mission to raise funds to support the quality healthcare services provided by Orleans Community Health to the communities it serves.”

If you’re interested in attending the meet and greet, or if you cannot attend and would like more information about the OCHF Board of Directors, please call the office at (585) 798-8061.

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NY has expanded control plan for Lyme, tick-borne diseases

Posted 21 May 2018 at 2:29 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced an aggressive Lyme and tick-borne disease control plan to control tick populations on public lands, increase public awareness and access to available data, and create a working group to participate in a Lyme disease summit this summer.

To implement this plan, the Governor has directed the Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to collaborate in order to target priority counties and public lands with the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease. Tick season has started in many areas of the state and will continue through November.

“Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are a major threat to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers, and we are taking aggressive actions to help stop the spread of these disease,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this control plan, New York is making a major commitment to research, awareness, and prevention of this public health crisis to keep New Yorkers safe and free of these preventable diseases.”

Tick Control Methods

Tick control methods will include strategic application of eco-friendly tick control treatments on parkland in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Southern Tier where the public is at the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease. Additionally, the state will expand the use of 4-Poster “tickicide” deer treatment feeding stations that help to control ticks spread by white-tailed deer. While the deer feed on corn at the station, treated rollers brush insecticide against the animal’s neck, head, and ears where many adult ticks tend to feed. The stations are already successfully in use in certain areas on Long Island, including Robert Moses State Park and Connetquot River State Park.

Due to rodents also being largely responsible for infecting ticks with Lyme disease, the state will expand use of commercial products to combat the spread of illness by rodents. This includes the deployment of tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls which mice use for nesting material, which kills the ticks in their early larval stage when they attach to mice. The state will also expand its usage of the Tick Control System, a small box that attracts rodents. When an animal enters the box, it receives a low dose of fipronil, which is the active ingredient in many treatments used to eliminate ticks on dogs and cats. The state will also conduct aggressive routine maintenance of vegetation areas at these parks to minimize potential exposure of visitors to ticks.

Expanded Education and Outreach

Beginning immediately, participating agencies will develop a campaign focused on deploying information about tick-borne disease and prevention, specifically targeting high-risk groups such as hunters and hikers. DEC will expand its website to include a tick-borne disease page featuring information relevant to anglers, hunters, trappers, hikers, and those who enjoy outdoor recreation in New York. This page will also be linked with DOH’s website.

In addition, DEC will coordinate with 1,600 sporting license issuing agents across the state to distribute information and material on ticks and tick-borne diseases, and will utilize agencies’ mailing lists and electronic newsletters to keep thousands of outdoor enthusiasts informed. OPRHP will also distribute information and materials to hunters through their hunting permit program and make information available to visitors, and will continue to post metal tick warning signs on state lands and parks.

Expanded Data Access

DOH will post current and retrospective tick collection and testing results to Health Data NY, opening up the data to the public. This information was previously only shared with local health departments and state park managers to aid in their education and prevention campaigns. Given the considerable interest in this information from providers, researchers and advocates, the Department will now make this information more readily available to the general public.

Research and Evaluation

Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, are among the fastest growing infectious diseases in the United States. However, diagnosing Lyme disease can be particularly difficult. Patients with Lyme disease can present a number of possible symptoms, which can wane over time, and be easily confused with hundreds of other diseases. The Governor has directed the Department of Health to pursue private research partnerships to develop a better diagnostic test, which can ultimately lead to more effective treatments.

Working Group and Summit

Governor Cuomo has directed the Department of Health to establish a new working group on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases comprised of representatives from professional organizations, academic institutions, and local health departments. The working group will join participating state agencies at a one-day summit, to be held this summer, to review New York State’s current initiatives and make policy recommendations on actions that New York State can take in the next one to three years to advance prevention, diagnostics, and other best practices.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “These new initiatives complement the Department’s renowned research efforts and aggressive actions to better inform and better protect New Yorkers from tick-borne illnesses. I commend Governor Cuomo for this commitment and for instituting bold new control measures to help limit the spread of these diseases and protect public health.”

Tick Prevention Tips

• While hiking, working, or spending time in wooded areas: Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks other biting insects

• Check for ticks every two to three hours while outdoors and brush off any ticks before they attach.

• Perform a full body check multiple times during the day, as well as at the end of the day to ensure that no ticks are attached.

• Consider use of repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, following label instructions

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Orleans, Genesee each awarded $30,500 grants for health initiatives

Posted 21 May 2018 at 11:22 am

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments were recently notified each county would receive $30,500 in New York State Department of Health’s ongoing Local Health Department Performance Incentive Initiative.

This is the fourth year of the program which NYSDOH chose to focus on improving performance in chronic disease prevention for the fall 2016 to June 2017 timeframe.

Although chronic disease has surpassed communicable disease as the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, public health activities to prevent chronic disease may be less established for some local health departments.

The 2016 Performance Incentive initiative encouraged LHDs to strengthen those efforts and meet related standards established by the Public Health Accreditation Board. In addition to improving chronic disease prevention activities, this year’s Incentive Program exposed LHDs to the process of submitting documentation for full PHAB accreditation.

This incentive program is voluntary and 41 local health departments participated, completing the initiative by submitting all the required documentation during the performance period.

All participating counties received a $5,000 base award and a total of 20 LHDs received a base award and additional incentive award based on the scoring of their submission. The incentive awards ranged from $25,500 to $60,500 based on county population size. Of the 17 small counties that participated, eight were awarded the full incentive funding which included Genesee and Orleans counties.

“I am pleased with the efforts the staff in both counties put forth while participating in the Incentive Program and to be recognized by receiving the maximum award,” said Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “It also gave our staff an opportunity to see the process used to eventually apply for national accreditation in the future.

Pettit said the health departments in Genesee and Orleans are looking at options for spending the grant.

“All funds are to be spent to support costs associated with Article 6 eligible services / state aid-eligible,” he said.  “These funds will help support several different public health projects over the next year.”

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Albion native who has alopecia featured in SELF magazine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2018 at 9:59 am

Joyce LaLonde has autoimmune condition that made her hair fall out

Photos courtesy of Joyce LaLonde: Joyce LaLonde hasn’t shied away from going bald. When she started to lose her hair, some people encouraged her to get a wig. “Societal standards of beauty are incredibly off base in many ways, and the significance of hair is one of those ways,” she writes in SELF magazine.

Joyce LaLonde has been Rapunzel during Halloween, with her flowing mane of red hair a highlight of the costume. For much of her childhood and in college, LaLonde’s red hair was a big part of her identity.

Now the Albion native, 22, is bald after losing her hair. She has alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair to fall out. She started to notice the hair loss a year ago.

LaLonde graduated from Syracuse University in May 2017. She and her friends celebrated that milestone by going on a trip to Central America. On that trip she noticed a bald spot on her head. In the next three months, more bald spots appeared as her hair became thin. Finally, in August she shaved her head.

LaLonde posted a selfie on social media, letting people know she had alopecia. She said she was determined to rock the bald look. More than 1,000 people liked her post and gave her strong affirmation.

She had a hashtag about alopecia on her post, and that is how SELF found her and reached out to her.

Almost a year after her hair started to fall out, LaLonde isn’t optimistic it will come back. She has changed her diet, exercised more and made other changes for her health. In some cases, those changes have made a difference for people with alopecia.

Many people who see her assume she has cancer or some other disease. In reality, LaLonde said she may be the healthiest she’s ever been, she just doesn’t have any hair.

Joyce’s long strawberry blonde hair was a big part of her identity growing up.

This week she is one of seven women with alopecia featured by SELF magazine. Lalonde is the first of seven women profiled in the magazine.

She says society is very beauty focused and attaches too much significance to hair. She acknowledges going bald is difficult.

“I cried in the process of losing my hair,” she said.

However, when she shaved her head, “it was liberating.”

For some people with alopecia, going bald is like grieving the loss of a limb, she said.

LaLonde works at Syracuse University as a student communications specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree there in public relations and policy studies.

Doctors don’t know why she developed alopecia. Not knowing the cause makes it difficult to treat.

LaLonde is the daughter of Steve and the late Dr. Kathy LaLonde. Dr. LaLonde also went bald, and would succumb to cancer at age 54. Joyce said she is grateful her baldness isn’t from a serious disease.

“I feel very fortunate,” she said.

And her friends and family “have all been incredible.”

LaLonde had never heard of alopecia until a year ago. Some kids get it in elementary and middle school.

“I have it easy, really,” she writes in SELF. “I made it to 22 with a head full of Rapunzel hair. I had hair through middle school.”

To see the article in SELF, click here.

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For Women Only offers inspiration, highlighted by cancer survivors

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Sarah Climer, left, shines light from her cell phone on her aunt Marie Preston after power in the entire Lyndonville area went out Tuesday night. Preston is a cancer survivor, who shared her story during For Women Only at White Birch Golf Club.

Posted 16 May 2018 at 12:50 pm

Cindy Perry, right, director of education, wellness and marketing for Orleans Community Health’s Community Partners, introduces cancer survivor Carol D’Agostino of Kendall in the dark at For Women Only after power in the Lyndonville area went out Tuesday night.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – The 22nd annual For Women Only was a night to celebrate and educate women, said Cindy Perry, director of education, wellness and marketing at Orleans Community Health’s Community Partners.

It also presented a bit of a challenge when half way through the evening, the power in the Lyndonville area went out, and the only light available was from the ladies’ cell phones.

The event not only celebrates cancer survivors, but provides an evening of entertainment while stressing the importance of early detection. Perry said that money donated to the event stays right in Orleans County to help underinsured, those with no insurance or those who just fall through the cracks.

Many of the nearly 200 women in the room have attended every one, while for others, like Kellie Hurrell of Medina, it was the first one.

Hurrell is only two years from breast cancer detection. After moving to Massachusetts for 10 years, she moved back to Medina in 2013 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.

“I’m so blessed it happened while I lived here,” she said.

She said she thought For Women Only was a wonderful event for women.

Lisa Franclemont, coordinator of Cancer Services Program of Genesee and Orleans counties, said she just loves the concept of For Women Only.

“It’s not just for survivors, but all women,” Franclemont said. “We are all touched by cancer. Nearly everyone is either currently in the fight or a survivor, or we know someone who is.”

Women had an opportunity to visit several vendors’ booths, including wine tasting.

Artist Carol Culhane of Gaines designed this Tree of Life, which was displayed at For Women Only Tuesday night at White Birch Country Club. Culhane placed a dot on the tree for any woman who wanted to honor or memorialize a loved one affected by cancer.

Local artist Carol Culhane designed a Tree of Life, on which she painted a dot for any woman who wanted to honor or memorialize anyone affected with cancer. The painting will be donated to Medina Memorial Hospital.

Guest speaker was Chelsea Young, who talked about “Simple Steps to a Healthier Home,” and the positive impact on one’s health by changing to essential oils and natural products. Nearly all cleaning and beauty products contain toxic chemicals, many of which are not regulated or tested long term, she said.

Chelsea Young, guest speaker at Orleans Community Health’s For Women Only, talked about “Simple Steps to a Healthier Home,” urging women to read the labels on products they buy and consider changing to natural ones.

She urged women to read the labels when purchasing any of these products. She said the American Lung Association lists cleaning supplies and household chemicals among the top indoor air pollutants. Young said 133 different carcinogens have been detected in products we use every day, and candles and air fresheners are on the top 10 list.

She grew up in what she called an “unhealthy home,” where everyone had health problems. Her father was diabetic, her mother had chronic infections and she had to have regular allergy shots.

“The day we made the decision to try essential oils and natural products was the day we began to take our lives back,” Young said.

Two cancer survivors shared the story of their journey from being diagnosed with breast cancer to their successful surgeries.

Carol D’Agostino, principal of Kendall High School, said she doesn’t like to talk about herself, but felt it was important to step outside her comfort zone to help others going through the same thing. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer 25 years ago when she was only 32 years old.

As in many cases, cancer doesn’t strike when it is convenient. D’Agostino was an adult in college, trying to finish her degree. She found the lump when her arms were aching after a day of Christmas shopping.

She met with doctors and settled on a course of action. She was scheduled to start teaching in September and she was determined to meet that goal.

“The hardest part was that nagging queasiness in my head – would I ever see my grandchildren,” she said.

The surgery was successful, but then on January 2, 2017, her cancer journey began anew when she was again diagnosed with breast cancer.

“That’s the reason to have a mammogram every year, so you can catch the cancer early,” D’Agostino said.

This second diagnosis came as she and her husband, with their family, were preparing to go on a cruise in April to celebrate her 40th anniversary.

“I didn’t want to give cancer control over my life,” she said, determined not to cancel their cruise.

Her surgery was scheduled Feb. 14 and she opted to have a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at the same time – a procedure which took eight hours.

“My outcome was positive because I had regular mammograms and they found the cancer early,” D’Agostino said.

A group of women called the Lawn Chair Ladies from Kendall entertained at the 22nd annual For Women Only Tuesday night at White Birch Golf Club in Lyndonville.

Marie Preston of Kent shared a much different journey, being a cancer survivor for two years.

Her story began with her adoption by foster parents and growing up in the town of Greece. She married her husband Jim and in 2011 had a job as manager for an RV park at a country club.

They had started a landscaping business and planned to move to Myrtle Beach, when in September he was not feeling well. He went to work, but collapsed at his desk. He was diagnosed with colitis and died in the night.

“My dreams, my plans, my financial support were all gone,” Preston said. “I was too young to get Social Security. I didn’t know what to do.”

A friend in Florida sent her a ticket to come down for a visit, and she was all packed to go when she discovered a lump on the right side of her breast. At 7:30 a.m. the next day, she was at the Wendy Logan Clinic, as she had to be at the airport at 3:30 p.m. After her mammogram, she was told she needed to stay for an ultrasound as they had found something in her left breast. Then she needed a biopsy.

“They told me I had better not go on this trip,” Preston said.

Then came the call nobody wants to hear, she said.

Surgery was scheduled for January 26 and she underwent a lumpectomy.

In April, she started radiation.

“While I was still recuperating, I learned I would not have a job in the spring,” Preston said. “I now had no job and was not up to par to look for a new one.”

Fortunately, a campground owner she had come in contact with at her previous job heard about her situation and offered her a job at his campground on Conesus Lake. It was a good hour’s drive, but it was a job.

“I finished radiation, started my new job and made new friends,” she said. “But I still started and ended my days crying.”

This went on for a year, and then her son James got her interested in the landscaping business.

“He told me I was not alone in my grief,” she said. “He said he had lost his dad and his business partner, also. He told me to pick myself up and dust myself off.”

She did – she decided to open a gift shop and country market to complement the landscaping business.

On Saturday, Preston’s Country Market at 14877 Ridge Rd., Kent, will celebrate its grand opening.

Dr. Mary Rykert-Wolf with Orleans Community Health in Albion, added her message about the importance of early detection.

She had two women in her life – one is her mom and the other her aunt.

“My mom had early detection and is here with me,” Wolf said. “My aunt smoked and should have had a CAT scan of her lungs, but didn’t. She collapsed in December and was dead by January. You have to take care of yourself. If you find it early, you’re good. You have to do it for your family, because when you’re dead, they’re the ones suffering.”

The evening concluded with a basket raffle.

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Oak Orchard Health welcomes new CEO, Mary Ann Pettibon

Posted 9 May 2018 at 4:09 pm

Press Release, Oak Orchard Health

ALBION/BROCKPORT – The Board of Directors of Oak Orchard Health is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Ann Pettibon as Chief Executive Officer, effective May 7.

She succeeds Jim Cummings, who retired after serving about five years as Oak Orchard’s CEO.

Ms. Pettibon comes to Oak Orchard with outstanding qualifications. With an Executive MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz School of Business, and almost 20 years of health care administration experience in Ohio and Pennsylvania – including roles as a CEO and COO in Federally Qualified Health Centers in Ohio – Ms. Pettibon has a wealth of experience on which to draw as she takes the reins of Oak Orchard Health.

Not only well versed in the management and operations of a multi-million dollar health care facility, Ms. Pettibon has also authored grants in which she secured almost $2 million in funding for her organization. Her experience includes primary medical care, dental care, and behavioral health care along with substance abuse and pharmacy operations.

Ms. Pettibon is drawn to health care in the rural setting because she knows how patients in the rural areas struggle with access to quality medical care.

“Caring for the whole person,” says Ms. Pettibon, “is critical. We have to offer integrated, coordinated care, including transportation, assistance with housing, health education … and continue to work toward breaking down barriers to quality health care that our rural population faces.”

In her spare time, Ms. Pettibon is an avid runner who also enjoys biking and hiking. An accomplished half-marathoner, she is looking forward to exploring our region’s hiking and biking trails, Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes Wine Trail.

Oak Orchard Health is a recognized patient-centered medical home and Federally Qualified Health Center located in Brockport, Albion, Lyndonville, Hornell and Warsaw.

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Community urged to take precautions from disease-carrying ticks

Posted 9 May 2018 at 7:15 am

Press Release, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Public Health Departments

Ticks can spread disease.  Not all ticks can cause disease and not all bites will make you sick, but as these diseases become more common it’s important to learn how to prevent a bite, how to remove a tick and what to do if you think you could have a tick-borne disease.

“Springtime sets the stage for a flourishing tick population, learning how to recognize ticks and know how to remove them on yourself, family and pets can help prevent illness,” said Brenden Bedard, Director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in New York but there are other serious diseases ticks spread including Anaplasmosis, Erhichioisis, Babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

There are many different species of ticks but locally the most common is the Deer Tick. The Deer Tick is a carrier for several diseases (Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis) and received the name because of its habit of living and feeding on white-tailed deer, however ticks get Lyme disease by feeding on infected mice and other small rodents.

“It is important to note that ticks are here locally and you can’t tell which are infected by disease or not,” said Paul Pettit, Genesee and Orleans Public Health Director.

According to the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Communicable Disease Control data Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties have had 35 reported cases of Lyme disease between 2014- 2016, he said.

Ticks may be found in many types of settings such as woodlands, tree stumps, lawns and gardens, around stone walls, nature trails, outdoor summer camps, and playing fields. Ticks do not jump or fly, they attach to their host when a human or animal makes contact with something that a tick is on, like tall grass, shrubs, or an animal.

The risk of human infection with Lyme is greatest in late spring and summer, but ticks can be active any time the temperature is above freezing.

“The high concentration of ticks in NYS counties including Long Island, Mid-Hudson and Capital Regions leads me to believe the threat of tick-borne diseases will continue and likely increase locally in the future, this is why it is important to become aware and prepare now,” Pettit said.

Lyme can only be transmitted after being bit by an infected tick- seeing an attached tick or a tick bite does not necessarily mean Lyme has been transmitted. It generally takes between three days to one month after a tick bite for Lyme disease symptoms to develop. In 60-80 percent of Lyme cases a “bulls-eye” circular rash or solid red patch develops at or near the site of the tick bite first and steadily gets larger or spreads out. You can also get several patches of rash on your body. Early on in the disease (days to weeks post-tick bite) you may develop symptoms such as fever, chills, headaches, joint pain and/or swelling, fatigue, or facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), sometimes these can be very mild.

As Lyme disease progresses more severe symptoms like arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling may develop months-to-years post tick bite in 60 percent of persons who are not given antibiotic treatment. It is important to keep in mind that getting Lyme disease once does not provide protection against getting Lyme in the future, if you are bitten again at a different time you can get Lyme disease again. If you develop any of these symptoms you should call your doctor right away to inquire about getting tested and treated.

To prevent tick-borne illness exposure while outdoors you and your family can do the following:

• Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.

• Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.  Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.

• Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently while outdoors.

• Use insect repellent with 20-30% DEET.

• Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Avoid dense woods and busy areas.

• Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.

• Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.

• Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.

• Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.

• Check your pets thoroughly before bringing them back in the house. Comb through their fur with your fingers to see if you feel any bumps on the skin.  Ticks can be as small as a pinhead or as big as a grape. Check your pet’s paws and between all the toes, inside and behind ear flaps, around the face / neck / shoulders, around eyelids, under the tail, around groin

Additional prevention tips for homeowners to create a tick-free zone in your backyard to keep you, your family and pets safe from tick exposure:

• Keep grass mowed, along with clearing tall grasses and brush.

• Remove brush and leave around stonewalls and wood piles.

• Keep wood piles and bird feeders away from your home.

• Keep family dogs and cats out of wooded areas to reduce ticks brought into your home.

• Place swing sets, sand boxes, decks and patios in a sunny spot away from yard edges and trees.

• Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment.

What you can do if you find a tick attached to you, a family member, or a pet:

• You should use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the ticks by its mouth parts, as close to the surface of the skin as you can. Carefully pull the tick straight up without twisting. Do not touch the tick. Do not squeeze the body of the tick (may increase your risk of infection). Clean your hands and the areas on your skin where the tick was. Watch the site of the bite for rash (3-30 days after bite). Removing a tick within 36 hours of attachment to the skin may lower the risk of contracting Lyme disease.

To learn more about ticks, Lyme disease and other diseases ticks can spread visit the New York State Department of Health, click here.

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