Tag - Leah Hollenberger

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The Power of Positivity and Reflection
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Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday
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Family Health History
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The Acorn Philosophy
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It’s Creepy Crawlies Time
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What Will This Cost?  
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Care Coordination at Copley Hospital
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National Bow Tie Day is August 28th
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Vermont Farm Fresh at Copley
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Questions About Vaccines? Please Ask!

The Power of Positivity and Reflection

By: Leah Hollenberger

Northern Vermont University recently held its “Dinner with the Boss,” an event that welcomes students and alumni to give students experience in networking. Alumni were asked to share one “gem” they felt would be most helpful to students just beginning their journey in pursuing their chosen career. The advice was excellent, thought-provoking, and inspirational.

Common to each piece of advice was the importance of being authentic to yourself, using reflection to determine what is truly meaningful to you, and the strength of community. In short, embracing your heart as well as your mind and nurturing connectivity.

It reminded me of an exercise I did years ago as a participant in the ALIGN pilot program at Marlboro College. Through self-examination, careful observation, and reflection, I was able to develop a short specific list of what I need to have in my life on a monthly basis to stay healthy, positive, and engaged – what I would define as a successful life. I keep this list, typed out, in my desk drawer and I refer to it when I am frustrated, overwhelmed or stressed out. Typically, I quickly determine that I’ve neglected one of those items and refocus my actions. The exercise effectively improved my ability to reframe challenges in a positive, nurturing perspective instead of from an unhealthy, negative framework. Change is constant and I continue to use these tools that embrace heart and mind, my “attitude of gratitude,”  to guide me in meaningful action.

There are many programs, books, blogs, and Instagram accounts available today that embrace this authenticity and provide tools to individuals and communities.

  • Marlboro College continues to offer a similar leadership program to the pilot in which I participated.
  • The Positive Education movement, based on the work of Martin Seligman’s work in positive psychology, embraces heart and mind via curriculum and in-school programming.
  • Resiliency efforts, including the Resilience Beyond Incarceration program with the Lamoille Restorative Center and programs at the Lamoille Family Center that address Adverse Childhood Experiences, utilize this work.
  • Whole Heart, Inc. has a wellness model, similar to the exercise I did, that gives you a way to personally define your successful life.
  • Ted Talks has several presentations regarding positive psychology.   

My favorite piece of advice from “Dinner with the Boss” was a spur-of-the-moment adlib from an experienced educator. It demonstrated heart and mind by showing how a simple action can guarantee inclusivity without making a person declare a need while at the same time increasing the odds that her key message would be heard. What was the advice? “Always use the microphone.”

What tools do you use to encourage authenticity? What advice would you give a young person starting to pursue their career? 


Leah Hollenberger is the Development and External Relations Officer for Northern Vermont University. She helped create the Live Well Lamoille Blog while serving as Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and spends her free time volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday

By: Leah Hollenberger

Tips to reduce holiday stress

The holidays can be one of the most stressful and emotional times of the year.  The loss of loved ones is felt deeply, financial worries, and stress over trying to fit in holiday activities along with daily life all contribute. There are two steps to helping make the holidays easier and more enjoyable. The first step is being honest with how much you can afford to spend for the holiday and sticking to your budget. The second step is focusing on what is most meaningful to you and your family and letting go of all the other activities and events that we tell ourselves must be a part of the holidays. This can be hard given all of the commercials, movies, and others’ traditions and expectations that are shared this time of the year.  Here are some tips that may help:

Speak with your extended family or friends in advance and mutually agree to provide gifts only for anyone under the age of 18.

For the adults, hold a Yankee Swap. Set a reasonable price limit, which is fair to everyone. You’ll find people will get creative. It is fun watching everyone open the presents and you’ll have a lot of laughs with the trading and swapping that ensues!

If you enjoy making gifts, try making one gift your signature gift for the holiday season. Make multiples of the item and give it to every adult on your list. Think homemade cocoa mix, granola, canned or preserved items like jam or pickles, candles, and the like.

Realize that once you give a gift, you are not invested as to if the recipient likes the gift. Of course, you hope they love it, but if they don’t, it is not a reflection on you. Let it go. It is fine if they want to re-gift or donate the item so someone else can enjoy it.

Give experiences as gifts; tickets to a play, a museum pass, a restaurant gift card – something that encourages the recipient to spend time with someone they love.

Give your time: a coupon to babysit; a calendar with an offer to get together monthly for a “walk and talk;” a bag of your homemade cocoa mix with a note to get together to watch a favorite tv show; an offer to drive them to the library, grocery store or laundromat, etc.  You could even suggest volunteering at the food share, nursing home, or with a local non-profit together.

Have your children shop with you for each other, within the budget you set. Siblings typically do a great job picking out a gift for each other – and it means more knowing their brother or sister picked it out especially for them.

The 4-gift rule is popular: one gift is something they want, one gift is something they need, one gift is something they wear, and one gift is something they read. I’m not sure where this rule originated, but it works for everyone and helps you stay on budget.

Figure out the two or three things that you love the most about the holiday and focus on them. If you love the lights on the Christmas tree but dislike decorating it, why not go with just lights on the tree? Make just one or two kinds of Christmas cookies instead of four or five. Better yet, participate in a cookie-walk if you want a variety of cookies. Area churches often hold them and promote them via Front Porch Forum.

Instead of going out to dinner, or fixing a fancy meal, suggest a potluck instead or serve a simple meal with a fancy dessert. Meet after dinner and take a drive around town to see the Christmas lights. Or play a board game with Christmas music playing in the background.

Simplify the expectations you have for yourself and others and you’ll find your holiday is less stressful and filled with what truly matters: spending meaningful time with family and friends.

What tips do you have for making the holidays less stressful?


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Family Health History

By: Leah Hollenberger

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, is also Family Health History Day. As you gather with family this holiday, why not spend a few minutes with your loved ones exchanging medical histories?

There are several diseases that commonly run in families, including diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer osteoporosis, and sickle cell anemia.

Not many of us have detailed and precise information about other family members’ health histories. But any information can be helpful. Creating a Family Health History, and sharing it with your doctor and other healthcare practitioners, will help your provider recommend actions for reducing your personal risk of disease or help in looking for early warning signs of disease.

Reaching out to other family members to share your family health history, can help develop a more inclusive, larger family health history. And in doing so, talking about your family health history can help each of you stay healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an online tool,  “My Family Health Portrait,” that makes it easy to capture and save your family medical history. You can share the document with other family members and easily update it. The tool is available online at https://phgkb.cdc.gov/FHH/html/index.html.

Pen and paper works just fine as well. The March of Dimes also has downloadable PDF health history form you can use at marchofdimes.org/family-health-history-form.pdf.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a form too, at www.hhs.gov/programs/prevention-and-wellness/family-health-history/family-health-portrait-tool/printable/index.html.

However you decide to record your family health history, it should include:

  • Health history of your parents, your brothers, and sisters, and your children; next in importance are grandparents, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, and any half-brothers or half-sisters. Finally, it is helpful to include great aunts, great uncles, and cousins.
  • Age for all relatives, including age at time of death for the deceased and what caused their death.
  • Ethnicity/Ancestory, as some genetic diseases are more common in certain ethnic groups.
  • Presence of chronic diseases.

The HHS suggests these questions to help get the conversation going:

  • Do you have any chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes?
  • Have you had any other serious illnesses, such as cancer or stroke?
  • How old were you when you developed these illnesses?
  • Have you or your partner had any difficulties with pregnancies, such as miscarriages?
  • What medications are you currently taking?
  • Do you have, or have you had, any learning or developmental disabilities?

You should be prepared to ask some follow up questions. For example, if an uncle tells you he has heart disease you will want to ask:

  • How old were you when you developed the disease?
  • Did you have a heart attack?
  • Have you had any procedures done related to your heart? If so, what and when?
  • Do you have other medical problems, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure?
  • What medications are you taking to help with any of the above?

Please realize that this conversation could be difficult for some members of your family. Not everyone may want to share their personal health information or it could bring up some difficult emotions. Being respectful and sensitive to their feelings is important. It may help to share in advance why you are asking these questions and what you plan to do with the information.

So this Thanksgiving, in addition to asking for the recipe for that delicious side dish, ask them to also share their health history and anything they know about other family members’ past health.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

The Acorn Philosophy

By: Leah Hollenberger

A small dish of acorns sits on my kitchen windowsill. They are a symbol of hope and perseverance for me. Within each little acorn is a strong oak tree. For me, small step to improve healthacorns also represent a kernel of an idea that can grow into something meaningful; a kernel of truth that can bring about greater understanding.

“Self-care” is a big buzzword now, often used to promote pampering oneself or splurging on something. The acorn reminds me that self-care is necessary and basic: sunshine, water and the right soil is all the acorn needs to become a mighty oak. Self-care is getting enough sleep (7-8 hours a night), healthy eating (lots of vegetables, cooking at home, less processed food), exercising (preferably outside to get fresh air and sunshine), and spending time with people that make you happy.  Doing these things on a daily basis is the foundation of self-care. Just as the acorn needs sunshine, water, and nutrients in the soil to grow – self-care – so do we. Human beings do better when we take care of our basic needs first.

This acorn philosophy works on a bigger scale as well. It is why this blog exists. Why community members are helping others get the nutritious food they need, receive the preventative and emergent healthcare they need, why a grassroots church effort to run a warming shelter has evolved into the Lamoille Community House.  All of these initiatives were a small acorn, a kernel that grew into a community-wide effort to help meet people’s basic needs. Collectively these efforts can always use more help for the need is great, but not insurmountable.

I have a pair of acorn earrings and a necklace that were given to me by dear ones. I like to wear them because they make me happy. I also wear them when I am feeling down or facing what I think may be a difficult day or trying to shape an idea. They serve as a little talisman of hope and belief, as well as a reminder to nurture that soon-to-be oak tree, to nurture me, to nurture our community.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

It’s Creepy Crawlies Time

By: Leah Hollenberger

Creepy crawlies time is back and I don’t mean Halloween! Recently, local school boards and town health officers have had to discuss how to prevent the spread of bed bugs and lice.

The good news is that bed bugs and lice do not spread disease. They are annoying, but not dangerous. They’re also equal opportunists – found all over the world and in a variety of settings, from the chicest hotel to a neighbor’s home near you.

Head Lice

Lice is the easier bug to get rid of. Treatments for head lice are generally safe and effective when used correctly and available over the counter at any pharmacy. Most of these products are pesticides that can be absorbed through the skin, so use with care and only as directed.

As an alternative, some people recommend smothering head lice by covering the hair and scalp with mayonnaise or olive oil and leaving it on for eight hours. This should be followed by a vinegar rinse, which is thought to help weaken the “glue” that attaches lice eggs, called nits, to the hair next to the scalp. The Centers for Disease Control does not have clear scientific evidence that proves that the use of olive oil and/or vinegar is effective in killing lice.

With any treatment, you will need to carefully comb out hair with a fine tooth comb to capture lice and nits. You’ll need to check daily for two weeks or so to make sure the lice are gone. It is not uncommon to have to re-treat 5-10 days after the first treatment.

Head lice can’t live long if they fall off a person and can’t feed, which means you can focus on cleaning items used primarily by the infested person. Machine wash and dry any clothes, sheets, towels, hats, scarves, etc. that the person with head lice wore or used during the 2 days before the lice was discovered. Wash in a washing machine using the hot water (130 degrees) cycle and dry on the high heat seating. Clothing and other non-washable items (such as stuffed animals) can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks. This will suffocate the lice. The CDC recommends vacuuming the floor and furniture, especially areas used by the infested person. You should also soak combs and brushes in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

Lice is spread most often by direct head-to-head contact. To limit spreading, don’t share hats, scarves, brushes or combs. You don’t need to avoid someone with lice.

Bed Bugs

These little buggers are a bit tougher and they travel easily. They are very small and flat, so they can fit into really small spaces – something as thin as the edge of a credit card. They hide during the day, but you can look for signs of them near where people sleep. Although they can travel, they tend to stay within 8 feet of where people sleep. Check seams of mattresses, box springs, luggage, overnight bags, and the folds of bedding and clothes, etc. Bedframes, headboards, dresser tables, and clutter also provide hiding spaces. Anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping areas where other people have slept has a higher risk of spreading or being bitten by bed bugs. Some travelers store their luggage in closets away from their sleeping area to reduce the chance of an infestation once they return home.

Bedbugs also leave signs that they are around. In addition to bug bites, they can leave a musty smell, very small reddish brown or dark brown spots or streaks from their poop, and/or shed skin in their hiding areas.

So what can you do if you have bed bugs? The only sure-fire remedy is to use a professional exterminator with experience in using heat to kill bed bugs. Experts say the infested area needs to be heated to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours. This can be expensive, so other options include trying to remove the bugs and keeping them away. That means careful and repeated vacuuming of the seams of mattresses and box springs, along and under carpet edges and baseboards and in other crevices, cracks and around clutter near the sleeping area. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag outside of your home after each session. Washing clothing and bedding on the hot water setting and drying on the high heat setting for at least 10-15 minutes is effective. You should continue to monitor for bed bugs daily, and keep vacuuming regularly.

The Vermont Department of Health’s website has good clear directions on how to deal with a bedbug infestation. Their site also provides a good link to “Lice Lessons” on the National Association of School Nurses website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on both lice and bedbugs.

Anyone can have lice or bed bugs, through no fault of their own. There is nothing to fear as they don’t carry disease; usually, they cause itchiness and sleepless nights. Getting rid of them takes time and effort, so be kind to someone dealing with these creepy crawlies.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

What Will This Cost?  

By: Leah Hollenberger

Healthcare how much will it cost
Buying healthcare isn’t like shopping for clothes or groceries. The question ‘What will this cost?’ is not easily answered, particularly for inpatient stays and outpatient procedures. The answer can be difficult because charges vary by hospital. They vary due to the types of services each hospital provides and the mix of patients it sees. It is also complicated by how our healthcare reimbursement system operates.

So what can you do? The best way to find out what the hospital will charge for a proposed treatment or test is to contact the hospital’s Patient Financial Department or the Billing Department. They’ll ask for information about the proposed treatment or test and will be able to provide you with an estimate of what will be charged. They can also help you determine how much deductible, co-pay, and any amount not covered by insurance for which you may be responsible. It will be a range because every person responds differently to treatment and it is difficult to predict in advance all of the supplies and services you may end up receiving. The other thing to remember is that everyone is charged the same price but most people do not pay the full amount because they are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. Hospitals also offer financial assistance and the financial counselor/billing staff can help you apply for assistance and/or help you set up a payment plan. At Copley, you can reach our patient financial counselors at 888-8336.

Another tool is the Vermont Hospital Report Card on the Vermont Department of Health’s website: http://healthvermont.gov/health-statistics-vital-records/health-care-systems-reporting/hospital-report-cards. Here you can compare the average charge for inpatient stays, outpatient procedures, and charges for common outpatient services and visits. Be aware that the most current data is for Outpatient Services and Visits; it is from 2017. The data for Inpatient Stays and Outpatient Procedures is from 2015; it lags a few years because they are based on claims data and it takes time to aggregate the group of charges that make up the overall cost for a specific type of inpatient stay or outpatient procedure.

Hospital rates change each year, so if you are seeking an estimate for an inpatient stay or outpatient procedure, you may want to contact the hospital’s billing office to get a more up-to-date estimate.

Price is but one factor when considering where to go for your healthcare services. Other factors that people consider is the relationship they have with their doctor, quality measures such as rate of successful outcomes and infection control, transportation, and how easy it is for family and friends to visit or assist. All of these factors are important when considering healthcare. The best thing about considering all of these factors is that it means you are an informed patient taking an active part in making the right choice for you.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Care Coordination at Copley Hospital

By: Leah Hollenberger

Social Determinants of Health

The Social Determinants of Health (Image via American Public Health Association)

 

Many words have been written about care coordination and addressing the social determinants of health as a way to reduce healthcare costs. But what does that really look like?

Healthy People 2020 defines social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, live, work, and age that affect their health.” They include factors such as education, the safety of our homes and neighborhoods, financial security, the cleanliness of our water and air, access to good nutritional food, etc.

Care coordination is a collaboration between providers, social services and the patient themselves. It often sounds simpler than it actually is. Let’s be clear: one meeting doesn’t lead to change. Thoughtful, consistent care coordination involving the patient and all members of their care team is needed over the long term to help someone become healthier. That care team can include local health care providers, substance abuse counselors, mental health counselors, RN case managers, social workers and a variety of other case managers from across local agencies.

So how does it work? Let me share a few examples. (Note: We have changed names to protect privacy.)

The Right Care in the Right Place at the Right Time
Copley recently treated Joe in our ED and, due to the severity of his illness and the resources required to manage his care, transferred him a tertiary hospital. His health improved but he still needed weeks of inpatient skilled nursing and complex care coordination to ensure once he was home, he had a secure social support network to assist him. Joe wanted to be cared for at Copley as it was closer to home and easier for his family to participate in his care. The tertiary hospital was reaching capacity, and, coupled with the need for local care coordination and Joe’s preference, contacted Copley. There was no question that Copley could provide the medical care, but we weren’t sure if we would be able to meet his other needs to ensure a smooth transition. After three weeks of collaborative teamwork with nurses, providers, pharmacists, care managers, social workers, Chaplaincy, nurse leaders, and the patient himself, a plan was developed to address both Joe’s social and clinical issues so he could be admitted to Copley and provided with the appropriate continuation of care. Joe was able to receive the inpatient skilled nursing care and complex care coordination he needed in a more affordable setting, closer to home.

Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department (ED) Visits
John is a middle-aged man who has come to Copley Hospital’s Emergency Department nearly 40 times in the past two years.  In addition to his alcoholism, John struggles with mental health issues and has a long cardiac health history. He is considered a “super-utilizer” of medical services. Copley has a full-time social worker in our ED as part of an Emergency Department Care Coordination pilot with Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley. The social worker assesses the patient’s needs 1:1 either at the bedside or through a follow-up call. Copley’s social worker was able to connect with John 1:1 in the ED earlier this year.

Copley’s social worker subsequently met with John each time he presented to the emergency department and followed up each visit with a phone call to review discharge plans and follow-up appointments. With John’s permission, she kept each of his various providers informed after each visit. After several visits, John met with Copley’s ED social worker and his primary care RN care coordinator to talk about his goals and what he thought he needed to be successful. Two weeks later, he decided he was ready for treatment and came to the Emergency Department for help. Copley’s ED team, inpatient medical social worker, and ED social worker all worked throughout the day to help get him admitted into an appropriate facility for inpatient alcohol treatment.

The ED social worker continued to check in with the inpatient facility and advocate for John. He was able to remain in the program for a longer period of time and she coordinated transportation with Rural Community Transportation (RCT) in advance for his follow-care plan appointments. Forty-eight hours after discharge, John met with his primary care RN care coordinator to review his discharge plan and ensure he had what he needed to be successful. Copley’s ED social worker continued to contact John and his providers regularly, confirming he had attended appointments with his substance abuse counselor, psychiatrist, primary care provider, specialist appointments, and RN care coordinator. This plan was followed for four weeks, at which point, John’s ongoing case management was transferred to his primary care RN case coordinator.

The outcome? John has maintained his commitment to make healthier choices. The shared care plan continues, with the goal of eliminating future costs of avoidable visits to the ED, by keeping John and patients like him, feeling engaged, motivated, and supported to make healthy choices.

Reducing Costs
Copley Hospital recently participated in an initiative to reduce the percentage of ED visits of 29 identified “super-utilizers” by implementing a shared care plan. The 29 “super-utilizers” accounted for 4% of the total ED visits in the initial 90-day time period; they accounted for only 1% in the second 90-day time period. A potential $144,300 was saved by this decrease in ED visits. This collaborative initiative involved Blueprint for Health Medical Homes (Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley, Northern Counties Health Care, Family Practice Associates in Cambridge and other primary care practices), Vermont Chronic Care Initiative with the Vermont Department of Health, and other local health agencies along with Copley Hospital.

These are just three examples of care coordination at Copley. We plan to continue the ED Care Coordination pilot, with Copley helping to fund the social worker position in the ED. However, we know this will not be enough to meet the need.  We continue to strive to provide excellent patient care for needed services and invest in programs to help reduce the rising cost of health care. Copley will continue to advocate for and contribute to shared care plans to connect patients with needed health services and social determinants support, collaborating with existing organizations and resources, to help patients make healthy choices.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

National Bow Tie Day is August 28th

By: Leah Hollenberger

Here’s a fun fact. Copley Hospital General Surgeon Dr. Don Dupuis wears a bow tie every single day.

What better time to explore that a bit than on National Bow Tie Day, i.e. August 28th – today!

It seems Dr. Dupuis is one of many notable fashion rebels that choose to accessorize with this small piece of fabric. Along with our dashing Don, the list includes Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, retired US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens,  broadcaster Charles Osgood, sports figure Dhani Jones, science program host Bill Nye, and popular television characters Mr. Hooper of Sesame Street, NCIS’s Donald Mallard, two of the Doctors from Doctor Who and Mayberry’s Barney Fife.

So what is it that draws Dr. Dupuis to bow ties?

For those who are interested, Dr. Dupuis shared that he is wearing one of his favorite bow ties: the Winston Churchill Bow Tie.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Vermont Farm Fresh at Copley

By: Leah Hollenberger

Farmer Angus Baldwin of West Farm delivers produce to Copley Hospital Chef Robert Wescom.

 

Copley’s Food Services Team serves nearly 112,000 meals annually. We have an extraordinarily busy kitchen, preparing tasty, visually pleasing meals for delivery to hospitalized patients, along with managing a more mainstream café serving visitors and staff.

In 2015, we began to tweak our menus to incorporate more locally-sourced, sustainable fresh fruits and vegetables from Vermont farms. Locally-sourced is defined by the state as “Vermont plus 30 mile radius.”

Working closely with Green Mountain Farm Direct, we have been able to bring many local farmers’ products to our kitchen. It is a balancing act because we buy in great volume and must stay within our budget. Food Services Director David Vinick estimates about 5% of the food served is locally-sourced and that figure continues to grow.  David shares that year-round, Copley is able to serve locally grown root vegetables including carrots, potatoes and beets. He also strives to serve more locally grown fruits and vegetables seasonally. Right now, Copley is serving local greens, zucchinis, squash and cucumbers; in the fall, all of our apples will be from Vermont.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is also a valuable partner. With their help, we expanded what we are able to purchase right from Lamoille County and are purchasing produce directly from West Farm in Jeffersonville. Farmer Angus Baldwin is able to both grow the volume of produce we need and deliver it to us twice a week to supplement what we are buying from Green Mountain Farm Direct.

Copley’s Cassea Mercia works directly with NOFA-VT and Green Mountain Farm Direct to order produce based on Chef Robert Wescom’s menus. Cassea and Robert are shown with West Farm’s Angus Baldwin following a produce delivery.

 

We also pay attention to the other end of the food system. Once we’re finished preparing the meals, the kitchen and cafe composts food scraps and any recyclable material. In FY16, we composted more than 81,000 pounds of food scraps thanks to a program with Black Dirt Farm in Greensboro Bend. Our team is proud that we helped fertilize six acres of mixed vegetable crops at the farm!

Copley’s Food Services Team enjoys showcasing fresh Vermont grown food and our patients, visitors, and staff enjoy knowing we contribute to the local food system.

Here’s a recipe we’ve used this month to showcase cucumbers sourced from West Hill Farm in Jeffersonville. It’s a fresh and easy cucumber salad recipe with a sweet and tangy dressing. It makes a great side dish, or enjoy it as a snack.

Tangy Cucumber Salad

From Copley’s Nutritional Services Team

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to flavor
  • 2 pounds cucumbers (about 4 medium size cucumbers)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Instructions:

  1. Place the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Slice the cucumbers into 1/8” rounds.
  3. Place them in the bowl, add the chives and toss to combine.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight to allow the flavors to marry.
  5. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed before serving.

Nutritional Value (based on 4-6 servings in this recipe):

  • Calories, 105 per serving
  • Fat, 7 grams
  • Saturated Fat, 1 gram
  • Carbohydrate, 10.5 grams
  • Fiber, 1.2 grams
  • Sugar, 6 grams
  • Protein, 1.5 grams
  • Sodium, 482.6 mg

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Questions About Vaccines? Please Ask!

By: Leah Hollenberger

The topic of vaccines and immunizations can be an emotional one. Certainly, as a parent, we want to protect our community, but at the same time, we want to do what is best for our child and avoid any harm. I did some reading on my own and, I am sure many of you can agree, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information and opinion that is available today.

I spoke with pediatrician Adrienne Pahl, MD with Appleseed Pediatrics. Dr. Pahl encouraged me to talk with my doctor. “Share your concerns, share what you are worried about with your doctor,” Dr. Pahl said.  “We can talk about current studies and findings and talk through recommendations with you. The most important thing to remember is that it is ok to ask.”

Dr. Pahl believes that vaccines are safe and effective and should be administered unless the child is unable to be vaccinated due to other health reasons. She bases her belief on extensive scientific evidence demonstrating the safety of vaccines and having cared for thousands of children. She explains that while we may not see many of the diseases for which we vaccinate, the bacteria and viruses that cause them are still around – here and in other countries. Vaccinations, along with better nutrition, better living conditions, hand-washing, and appropriate use of antibiotics, has meant many of us have never had to deal with an outbreak of polio or mumps. Her goal is that we never have to.

Here are several resources Dr. Pahl recommends to parents interested in learning more about vaccines:

Healthychildren.org – The American Academy of Pediatricians has a website that covers a wide variety of information of interest to parents. They have a number of articles about vaccines and immunizations, including a good FAQ.

Oktoaskvt.org – The Vermont Department of Health’s website about vaccines. Look here for information about state vaccine requirements. Dr. Pahl especially likes this site because of the “Ask” section: you can submit your questions about vaccines and local medical professionals will answer them.

What We Know About Vaccines and Autism – A blog article from UVM about vaccines and autism

Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Comprehensive and reliable information about vaccines for patients and healthcare professionals.

A listing of community resources for a variety of issues and topics is available online at copleyvt.org/community-resources.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.