The Infectious Return of Measles – A Previously ‘Eliminated Disease’ in the U.S.

by Anu Malani, MD, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control Services, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston and Chelsea

When I was a third-year medical student, measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000.

There has been a resurgence of measles, and there is significant concern that the disease can become widespread again. As of May 3, 2019, the U.S. has seen 764 cases of measles this year in 23 states, including 43 cases in Michigan. It’s only the beginning of May, and surveillance data shows that cases are well over 50% higher than numbers recorded last year. There will be many more cases of contracted measles in the upcoming months. There are several ongoing outbreaks across the U.S., including Michigan, New York, Washington, New Jersey, and California. The main reasons for the measles reemergence include more international travel – several countries have ongoing measles outbreaks – and low vaccination rates in several communities. Globally, the World Health Organization reports that measles cases in the first quarter of 2019 nearly quadrupled compared with what was reported at this time last year. 

Watch Dr. Malani and St. Joe’s Health Reporter Lila Lazarus discuss the measles outbreak on Facebook Live.

Continue reading “The Infectious Return of Measles – A Previously ‘Eliminated Disease’ in the U.S.”

Trust Your Intuition: Early Signs of Autism

By Dr. Erin Walton-Doyle, an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics physician with St. Joe’s Medical Group and St. Mary Mercy Livonia

Parents often tell me about a feeling or gut instinct they have about their child. Sometimes it’s a sense their child has an ear infection, other times it’s a premonition their child is in danger.

I tell parents to trust that intuition not only when it comes to a common cold but with concerns about developmental delays. Asking questions or sharing a concern about your child’s behavior is important in order to get a diagnosis and start treatment, if necessary, as soon as possible.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others. More than 200,000 cases of autism are diagnosed in the United States each year. While there is no cure, autism can be treated to help reduce symptoms and provide developmental support. The key is early diagnosis and intervention.

Continue reading “Trust Your Intuition: Early Signs of Autism”

Join us at our 2019 Healthy Kick-Off on May 18

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CANTON – Join us on Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. for our annual Healthy Kick-Off event at St. Joseph Mercy Canton Health Center.

This free, fun-filled afternoon will feature bike helmets and fittings, access to our Health Exploration Station, health screenings, a meet-and-greet with players from AFC Ann Arbor, a rock wall and teddy bear clinic. Enjoy family fun including:
  • Bike Helmets and Fittings – Limited Supply
  • Skin Cancer Screenings
  • Arctic Edge Street Hockey
  • KONA Ice Truck
  • Meet players from AFC Ann Arbor
  • Semi Pro Soccer Team
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Teddy Bear Clinic

Health Exploration Station Celebrates 20 Years! Explore Michigan’s first interactive education center with exhibits to engage all your senses – walk through a giant human body, listen to the rhythm of your own heart beat and test your skills as a surgeon in the brain operating game. A must-see for kids and kids at heart.

We look forward to seeing you there! For more information, visit our website.

What You’re NOT Eating Might Be Hurting You

If you’re like most Americans, you’re not getting enough of one vital nutrient.

by Debbie Koenig

This article was originally published in Sharecare.

What if a single nutrient could:

  • lower your risk of death over time by 15 to 30 percent
  • lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • help you maintain a healthy weight
  • reduce odds of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers

According to a new review, eating enough fiber—the humble roughage that passes through you undigested—may do all that and more.

The research, published in The Lancet, looked at data from 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials with over 4,600 participants. A clear link emerged between how much fiber participants ate and their health. Those who took in between 25 and 29 grams a day showed greater benefits, but it is suggested that even higher intakes of fiber could produce healthier outcomes.

Continue reading “What You’re NOT Eating Might Be Hurting You”

“Music Man” Chaplain Charles Heals Spirits

He who sings, prays twice.” The words of the ancient philosopher St. Augustine come to mind when Chaplain Charles Kibirige’s sings  to patients and visitors at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.

Although music was a constant in his life growing up with his now deceased musician dad Henry Kasule, Chaplain Charles said his love of music flourished while he was in seminary. He attended Katigondo National Seminary and Ggaba National Seminary in Uganda where he completed degrees in philosophy and theology respectively.

Between 2001 and 2013, Chaplain Charles served the community of Ann Arbor as an ordained priest. In 2003 he was hired as one of the Priest Chaplains at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor where served for 10 years and where he also started his career as a health care chaplain. After voluntarily leaving the active ministry, Chaplain Charles accepted his current role of full-time chaplain at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in 2014.

“I never saw myself as an entertainer but rather as someone who wanted to use my gift of music to bring comfort and healing to others,” said Chaplain Charles.  “I’ve always wanted to bring music into my healing ministry. In fact, I have been, for some time now, using music as therapy when working with patients on the Behavioral Health Unit here at SJMO and it has been well received by both the patients and the staff on the unit. However, I knew I needed to extend this further into my ministry on other units.”

Chaplain Charles started to bring his guitar to the 2 p.m. prayer service he holds in the ICU waiting room. Although he doesn’t play every time, he uses it as a way to be present with people as well as to start a deeper conversation on their presenting health issues.

Chaplain Charles recalls one of these conversations with a young mother and her 4-year-old son who were visiting a family member. He played one of the theme songs from Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. The little boy could not help but sing along with excitement. This moment opened the door to a deeper conversation with the boy’s mother and family. He prayed with the family. While walking back to his office, it struck Chaplain Charles deeply about how the Holy Spirit used a simple secular song to draw these people closer to God in a time they most needed it.

Chaplain Kibirige is known as the “music man” to patients.

Another striking example of the power of music happened this past July. A man he had never met before stopped Chaplain Charles during his rounds in the ICU.

“‘Are you Charles the music man,’ he asked me. ‘The nurse told us about you and how you play music for the patients. Would you be able to play a song for my wife?” Chaplain Charles recalled.

The man, Norm Kerr of Roseville, explained that his wife, Dianne, had suffered a stroke while at a family member’s high school graduation party in Waterford and was brought to St. Joe’s Oakland for treatment. Norm said Dianne loved the old country song from Charlie Pride, “There Goes My Everything” and asked Chaplain Charles if he could play it for his wife. Chaplain Charles agreed to look up the song and learn it.

“I went home that weekend, looked the song up, and put a little dose of my own creativity to the arrangement,” he said. “I went back the following Monday and played it for the patient. However, Norm was not present that day but his son made a recording of the presentation on his phone as I sang the song for Dianne. It was a day later that I got a call from Norm letting me know how beautiful it was and how meaningful it was to him and his wife and family.”

Chaplain Charles continued to see the family and play for them occasionally while they were in the hospital. Dianne’s condition improved from being unresponsive on their first encounter, to making nods and other nonverbal communications in the subsequent days and weeks. Eventually, Dianne was discharged and returned home to her family.

“I see in this whole experience, among other things, music’s ability to help inspire hope and healing in patients,”  he said.

Chaplain Charles and his guitar visit the ICU waiting room daily at 2 p.m. He also visits the Behavioral Medicine floor. 

Join St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Nov. 15 for the Great American Smokeout

2017-11-06 14_51_39-sjmhs_smokeout_2017_event_flyer_proof2.pdfANN ARBOR – Join St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Great American Smokeout, and take the pledge to quit tobacco use.

St. Joe’s colleagues, patients and visitors are invited to take a smoke-free pledge or support loved ones taking the pledge by visiting tables at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor’s Main Entrance and Reichert Health Center.

Enter for a chance to win free drawings for holiday turkeys, vegetable trays, Couch to 5K classes and a free pair of shoes!

St. Joe’s Livingston ICR Open House – Nov. 15

SJML_ICR_OpenHouse_Postcard_FRONTLIVINGSTON – Join us in celebrating the opening of our Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR) space at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston:

Thursday, November 15, 2018
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
St. Joseph Mercy Livingston
620 Byron Rd • Howell, MI 48843

Enjoy tours, refreshments, cooking demos and giveaways. The event is free but registration is requested: stjoeshealth.org/icropenhouse

6 Ways to Help Prevent Stomach Cancer

by Cheryl Alkon

This article was originally published on Sharecare.

Anthony DeBenedet MDBack in the 1930s, stomach (or gastric) cancer affected more people in the United States than any other type of cancer. Today, stomach cancer is way down the list of the country’s most common cancer diagnoses, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). What’s behind the decline?

Assorted lifestyle changes, says Anthony DeBenedet, MD, a gastroenterologist affiliated with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Currently, there are approximately 26,240 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year in the U.S. and about 10,800 people will die from it. Compared to other cancers, “stomach cancer isn’t common,” says Dr. DeBenedet. Indeed, the ACS reports that the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer has gone down about 1.5 percent each year in the past decade, which is good news.

Prevention is Key

Patients have the best chance of recovering from stomach cancer when it’s caught early. But according to the National Cancer Institute, the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when it still may be treated but is difficult to cure. That’s why it’s important to know what factors can help reduce the risk of a stomach cancer diagnosis in the first place.

Some factors associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer are outside your control, such as family history and genetics, as well as your ethnicity and sometimes where you live in the world. But there are other lifestyle factors that you can influence that are important to understand. Read on to learn more about what you can do to lower your risk.

Continue reading “6 Ways to Help Prevent Stomach Cancer”

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

by Abigail McCleery, Wellness Coordinator, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

Abby McCleeryChances are you have heard the term “plant-based diet,” but you may wonder what it means and if there are any real benefits. Contrary to many diets today that focus on what to avoid, a plant-based diet focuses on including more vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds. From our personal health to the health of the environment, there are lots of scientifically backed reasons to include more plants in our diet, including our top 5 reasons listed below: Continue reading “Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet”

Be Your Best Self

HMR program at St. Joe’s helped 62-year-old Ford retiree meet his weight-loss goal

Pat-Shifferd_After-1377059678-1536693750867.jpgPatrick Shifferd is enjoying retirement, feeling healthier than ever. He typically starts his mornings with a glass of water, vitamins and hot cereal before taking the dog out for a two-and-a-half mile walk.

It’s an active lifestyle Patrick says would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, when he was overweight and ailing from a host of issues.

Patrick, now retired from Ford Motor Company, said his doctor advised him since 2012 to join a weight-loss program. But it wasn’t until he weighed 375 pounds, and his doctor recommended gastric bypass surgery, that Patrick seriously considered making a change.

“I had never been on a formalized weight-loss program before, and I’m not one to get surgery just for the sake of having surgery,” Patrick said.

Determined to avoid surgery, Patrick researched weight-loss programs and came across the HMR program offered at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Continue reading “Be Your Best Self”