Find us on Facebook

health & wellness

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.

Return to top

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.

Return to top

Medina hospital, Rosenkrans Pharmacy add drug take-back boxes

Staff Reports Posted 7 May 2018 at 4:31 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: A new drug take-box box was added to the lobby of Medina Memorial Hospital last Friday. Mark Cye, chief executive officer for Orleans Community Health and the hospital, is pictured with Kate Brauen, the hospital’s director of pharmacy.

MEDINA – Two new pharmaceutical take-back boxes have been added in Medina with new boxes at Medina Memorial Hospital, 200 Ohio St., and Rosenkrans Pharmacy, 526 Main St.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation in February announced the collection boxes were approved for Median Memorial and Rosenkrans, which are now among 246 sites to be funded by the DEC for the take-back effort.

“We’re very excited about it,” said Kate Brauen, director of pharmacy for Medina Memorial Hospital. “We think it’s a great community service.”

The DEC paid for the box and packaging materials to send the medication to a service where the pharmaceuticals will be incinerated.

Mark Cye, CEO of the hospital, said the box will help eliminate unneeded prescription drugs from the community.

Rosenkrans received its collection box about two weeks ago. Both Rosenkrans and Medina Memorial have the boxes available while they are open. For the hospital that is all the time, 24-7, because the box is in the lobby for the emergency department.

“Installing medication drop boxes in community pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities, increases opportunities for New Yorkers to properly and easily dispose of unwanted medications,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in February. “The hundreds of pharmacies and facilities participating in New York’s free drug take-back program are protecting their communities and the environment.”

Under the drug take-back program, DEC will purchase medication collection boxes and pay for the disposal of waste pharmaceuticals collected by participating facilities for two years. Implementation of this pilot program will help improve water quality, protect public health by removing medications from home medicine cabinets, and reduce potential adverse impacts to fish and aquatic organisms, Seggos said.

The statewide Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program is funded with $2 million from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

With technological advances in analytical techniques, it is now possible to detect low levels of drugs in surface water and groundwater. Some drugs pass largely unaltered through wastewater treatment plants and enter rivers and other waterways, the DEC said.

Flushed medications have been found in New York lakes, rivers, and streams and can negatively affect the waterways. A national study conducted in 1999 and 2000, by the U.S. Geological Survey found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives, and steroids in 80 percent of rivers and streams tested. Medications adversely affect fish and other aquatic wildlife and increase the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

In addition, there are concerns about unused pharmaceuticals getting into the wrong hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one U.S. citizen dies every 16 minutes from a drug overdose and has declared this public health threat an epidemic.

This shows what is accepted and what isn’t at the collection boxes.

Return to top

Orleans Community Health CEO no longer interim

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2018 at 1:47 pm

Photo  by Tom Rivers: Mark Cye, chief executive officer for Orleans Community Health, is pictured by Medina Memorial Hospital, which is part of OCH.

MEDINA – Mark Cye is now officially the chief executive officer of Orleans Community Health. He has been serving as the interim leader since Jan. 1.

The OCH board of directors on April 24 voted to make him the CEO.

“It was a unanimous decision by the board of directors,” said Dawn Meland, president of the board. “He demonstrates professionalism and vision for OCH and was instrumental in developing the affiliation with Rochester Regional Health. Mark understands the need for our community to continue to offer quality services close to home. He is an excellent manager with a strong financial background and is highly respected by our employees as well as the medical staff.”

Last month OCH entered into an affiliation with Rochester Regional Health. Through the agreement, Orleans Community Health will contract select health care services from Rochester Regional Health and its hospital in Batavia, United Memorial Medical Center.

Orleans Community Health remains its own independent organization under the terms of this agreement.

Cye has worked 20 years in healthcare, including an earlier stint as controller for OCH from 2006 to 2008.

Return to top

Local health departments urge parents to get children vaccinated

Posted 25 April 2018 at 12:32 pm

Genesee, Orleans & Wyoming Public Health Column

Parents agree that feeding and sleep schedules are important to help keep their children healthy. The same goes for childhood immunizations. Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday. National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28, is an opportunity to spread awareness and education on how important it is to vaccinate children against vaccine preventable diseases.

Before a vaccine is approved for use in the U.S., it goes through years of careful testing to make sure it is safe and effective. Highly trained scientists and doctors at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluate the results of these clinical studies. Vaccines are only given to children after they have been approved by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals.

Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

It is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they encounter potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccine preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can still be common in many parts of the world and unvaccinated individuals can bring them to the U.S., putting unvaccinated people at risk.

Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, states that, “Vaccinating your baby according to the recommended immunization schedule gives your child the best protection against 14 serious childhood illnesses like measles and whooping cough before they are 2 years old. The recommended schedule is designed to protect infants and children early in life, when they are most vulnerable and before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.”

Although the number of vaccines a child needs in the first two years may seem like a lot, doctors know a great deal about the human immune system, and they know that a healthy baby’s immune system can handle getting all vaccines when they are recommended. Bedard cautions against parents delaying vaccination.

“There is no known benefit to delaying vaccination,” he said. “In fact, it puts babies at risk of getting sick because they are left vulnerable to catch serious diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines.”

If you have questions about the childhood immunization schedule, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. For more information about vaccines, please visit

Return to top

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day

Posted 16 April 2018 at 11:16 am

Hospice of Orleans will have staff at Walmart today

Press Release, Hospice of Orleans, Inc.

ALBION – Hospice of Orleans, Inc., along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making, an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

As a participating organization, Hospice of Orleans is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with New York state laws. These resources are available by clicking here.

Specifically, Hospice of Orleans staff is welcoming the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Walmart in Albion with free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Kellie Spychalski, CEO of Hospice of Orleans. “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

Return to top

Medina Memorial Hospital has new affiliation with Rochester Regional Health

Posted 11 April 2018 at 1:33 pm

Press Release, Orleans Community Health and Rochester Regional Health

File photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Memorial Hospital will stay independent but will also be part of a new affiliation with Rochester Regional Health.

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health, the parent organization of Medina Memorial Hospital, is entering into an affiliation with Rochester Regional Health. Through the agreement, Orleans Community Health will contract select health care services from Rochester Regional Health and its hospital in Batavia, United Memorial Medical Center.

“We’re excited about this new affiliation,” remarked Dawn Meland, board chair of Orleans Community Health. “It gives us more attractive options when we decide how to bring new services to the area, which is a great thing for our patients. Additionally, as we identify opportunities to reduce costs, improve efficiency and make health care more sustainable in this part of the region, we now have a partner ready to help us better take advantage of those opportunities.”

Shortly after the start of the new year, Rochester Regional Health began to expand its primary care offerings through this agreement. Market research has identified a shortage of primary care providers in Medina and Orleans County. In January, a full-time primary care office began to operate at the United Memorial Medical Center’s Medina location on Maple Ridge Road. Orleans Community Health is also looking to expand this office space to support future growth. UMMC joined the RRH system in 2015.

Orleans Community Health will remain its own independent organization under the terms of this agreement.

“Orleans Community Health is a critical asset to our community and they share our commitment to delivering great care close to where people live and work,” said Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center. “It’s a natural partnership. It’s also an important partnership for the future. Together, we’re making care more accessible in a model that can adapt as the needs of patients continue to evolve.”

(Update at 2:51 p.m.) Medina Mayor Mike Sidari posted this statement on Facebook this afternoon:

“With a working relationship between these three hospitals I feel it will benefit all of Orleans and Eastern Niagara Counties,” Sidari said. “We should be seeing more specialized services here in Medina so area residents will not have to travel to Rochester. I encourage residents to be in touch with the hospital and take advantage of the services they will be able to provide.”

Return to top

National Health Week puts focus on healthier living

Posted 3 April 2018 at 9:55 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Health Educator and Public Information Officer for Orleans County Health Department

The first week of April is National Public Health Week (NPHW), a week set aside encouraging us to choose healthier living.

National Public Health Week started in April of 1995 by the American Public Health Association (APHA) with a focus on Public Health prevention topics. This year’s theme is, “Healthiest Nation 2030 Changing Our Future Together.” This year the focus is on working together to make changes in our health and the health of our communities.

“As we look at overall health we know there are many components that can affect our wellness and participation in activities such as work, school and recreation,” said Paul Pettit, Director of both Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “Taking positive steps in our personal lives by choosing to make healthier food choices, become more active, limit or stop the use of nicotine/tobacco products and alcohol and seeking help when we are experiencing depression and anxiety will have an impact on our lives and our communities. Taking small steps can make a difference in the long run.”

Review the following daily themes and see what you can do to work toward becoming the Healthiest You 2018!

The focus areas chosen this year are:

• Monday – Behavioral Health: Advocate for and promote well-being

• Tuesday – Communicable Diseases: Learn about ways to prevent disease transmission

• Wednesday – Environmental Health: Help to protect and maintain a healthy planet

• Thursday – Injury and Violence Prevention: Learn about the effects of injury and violence on health

• Friday – Ensuring the Right to Health: Advocate for everyone’s right to a healthy life

This article only touches on a couple of the focus areas listed above. To learn more about National Public Health Week and the movement for change, visit their website at

Behavioral Health: Advocate for and promote well-being. Being aware that mental health and wellness plays a major part in our overall health. This is an opportunity to de-stigmatize mental health diagnoses and encourage people who are experiencing mental unwellness to seek treatment. There are several trainings to teach about the services available in our respective communities. Mental Health First Aid, SafeTALK are two trainings that help increase awareness of mental unwellness and where to seek help.

Communicable Diseases: Learn about ways to prevent disease transmission. “Washing your hands often is the single most effective way to limit the spread of many diseases,” said Brenden Bedard, Director of Community Health Services for both Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “As we have seen in this year’s flu season it is important so make sure you and your family are up to date on immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

One of the easiest ways to strive toward a healthier nation is to take care of you. Make sure you eat well, engage in physical activity often, spend less time in front of a screen, and get plenty of rest.  Treat yourself and others with care and respect. And finally, remember to have fun and laugh … after all, laughter is the best medicine.

Return to top

More community members learning to ‘Stop the Bleed’

Staff Reports Posted 29 March 2018 at 10:47 am

Provided photos: Howard Watts, a Shelby volunteer firefighter, was among the participants in a “Stop the Bleed” training session on Wednesday at GCASA.

ALBION – The Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition sponsored a “Stop the Bleed” training on Wednesday at the GCASA offices in Albion.  Mackenzie Smith, Emergency Department nurse manager for Orleans Community Health, shared her expertise with 18 community members who attended the one-hour training.

“Stop the Bleed” trainings were motivated by the 2012  school shooting in Sandy Hook and the multiple tragedies that have occurred in the ensuing years. The resulting injuries from manmade or natural mass casualty events generally present with severe bleeding which, if left unattended, can result in death.

“The skills and basic tools to stop uncontrolled bleeding are able to provide immediate frontline aid until first responders are able to take care of an injured person,” Smith said.

Mackenzie Smith, Emergency Department nurse manager for Orleans Community Health, leads the training on Wednesday.

Due to many situations, there may be a delay between the time of injury and the time a first responder is on the scene. Smith shared the ABC’s of Bleeding: A – Alert – call 911; B – Bleeding – find the bleeding injury; and C – Compress – apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Smith also shared how to apply tourniquets to stop the blood flow and the basics of wound packing.

Three actions that could save a life include:

• Apply pressure with hands.

• Apply dressing and press.

• Apply tourniquets if the bleeding doesn’t stop. The tourniquet may be applied and secured over clothing. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, place a second tourniquet closer to the torso from the first tourniquet. (A belt could be used as a tourniquet.)

Smith also recently offered a Stop the Bleed training for Lyndonville Central School staff. Aaron Slack, principal of the LCS Secondary School, coordinated the training through his role on the Board of Directors for Medina Memorial Hospital and Orleans Community Health.

Smith offers training to Lyndonville physical education teacher Laura Valley and health teacher Shane Phillips.

COVA will offer class this Saturday

This Saturday is “National Stop the Bleed Day” and COVA will be teaming with the Orleans County Health Department to offer a free training from 9 a.m to 12:30 at the Carlton Rec Hall on Route 98.

The program is designed to encourage bystanders to get involved and help until local emergency response personnel can arrive on scene. It promotes an all-hazards approach to this issue. It does not matter if the injury is accidental in nature, or the result of an act of violence. Giving people the confidence to act can save lives.

Barb Morlino, the training coordinator for COVA, will lead the class with help from Justin Niederhofer, Carlton’s assistant fire chief.

The program on Saturday is free. Click here for more information or to register.

Return to top

More than 100 participate in colon cancer awareness run and walk

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2018 at 6:22 pm

The event, in its fourth year, honors the memory of Wayne Burlison

Photos by Marsha Rivers

ALBION – Lisa Burlison welcomes the runners and walkers to fourth annual Run for Wayne, which honors the memory of her husband Wayne Burlison. This year the event became the Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk.

Burlison, an Albion elementary music teacher, was 36 when he died from colon cancer on March 26,2014. He was active in several musical groups in the community and also helped start the Albion Running Club. He lost more than 150 pounds through better nutrition and exercise.

The race started on Clarendon Road near the elementary school. The course headed to Mount Albion Cemetery and then back to the school.

There were 110 runners and walkers in today’s event.

Lisa Burlison and her son Adam greeted the runners, and released the balloons the start the race. Brian Krieger, left, and Mark Moore, right, of the Running Club helped organize the event. Randy LeBaron, pastor of the Albion Free Methodist Church, also shared a short message and prayer for the runners and walkers.

“As you run today, I encourage you to think about those seemingly small things in your life that are precious to you,” Mrs. Burlison told the group. “Notice the people around you, and extend a smile. Notice the scenery, and be thankful for what is there. While the things of this world may be temporary – they are gifts and blessings. It is my hope that you see them today and in the days to come.”

The race gets started as the balloons are released. Reuben Rivers, 13, of Albion was the overall winner in a time of 19:38. Sabrina Quiros, 14, of Medina was the fastest female at 23:47.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lisa Franclemont, coordinator of Cancer Services of Genesee and Orleans, urged people to get screened for colorectal cancer. She also said working to reduce stress can help fight the disease.

The Running Club teamed with Oak Orchard Health in organizing the Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk. Both groups want to raise awareness about colon cancer as the third-leading cause of death by cancer for men and women. Colon cancer is preventable or treatable with the proper knowledge, resources, and early detection.

Some of the proceeds from today’s event also go towards developing a walking trail at Bullard Park.

Return to top