Team Trinity Rides 300 Miles of Michigan Roads for One of their Own

Members of Team Trinity endured 300 miles of Michigan roads and raised $144,000 for wish heroes.

After three grueling days of riding into the wind, more than 40 Team Trinity cyclists crossed the finish line of the 2019 Wish-A-Mile® where they were greeted by the young wish heroes.

Colleagues from St. Joe’s, IHA, Probility, Mercy Health and Trinity Health rode 300 miles over three days for children battling life-threatening illnesses. They dedicated their ride to the 7-year-old daughter of Mercy Health colleague Ashlee Senn.

Brynlee Senn has a disease known as “Mito,” when the mitochondria of cells fail to produce energy for organ function. Her younger brother, who passed away at four years old, also had the disease.

“I can’t speak enough about how proud I am to work for this organization,” Ashlee said. “They truly care about us as colleagues and especially for the communities we serve.”

Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan Region, led Team Trinity to raise more than $144,000 – the highest total among large teams. The event raised $2.3 million overall.

An avid cyclist, Casalou first rode the course solo in 2011 when he was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.  Over the years, more colleagues joined him on “Team Joe’s” to raise support and awareness for children with serious illnesses.

As CEO of the Michigan Region, Casalou changed the group’s name in hopes more colleagues join Team Trinity for future WAMs.

“Team Trinity is more representative of the health ministries that together comprise Trinity Health Michigan,” he said. “We are all proud to display our Trinity colors in an event that embraces our mission to serve the most vulnerable people of our communities.”

Brynlee greeted the cyclists at the finish line and presented them with medals for completing the ride. The Make a Wish Foundation made Brynlee’s wish come true a few years ago, when they sent her and the family to Disney World to meet Jesse from Toy Story, enjoy the water park and go to McDonald’s.

Brynlee awaits Team Trinity at the finish line of the WAM 300.

Ashlee knows firsthand the positive impact Make a Wish has on children. She treasures the memories of her son’s wish trip just a few months before he passed.

“Those memories will never go away,” she said. “It’s one of the few times he got to be a kid without doctors and nurses surrounding him. The pictures, videos… We will treasure everything that encompassed that trip.”

Brynlee is “the spunkiest little girl” looking forward to starting second grade this fall as a mainstreamed student in elementary school.  Ashlee said she’s excited to be part of the next Wish a Mile ride benefitting wish heroes. “To know these riders are willing to take on this long-distance ride to ensure other kids like Brynlee have opportunities… is huge for us.”

St. Joe’s Mourns the Loss of Garry C. Faja

Garry Faja

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Garry Faja, the longtime president and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor who served as the first regional CEO of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. Garry passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, July 21, in his home in Traverse City.

His extraordinary leadership and vision united the southeast Michigan Trinity Health hospitals into one large regional health delivery system, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

In addition to this major achievement, Garry made many significant contributions over his 32-year career with St. Joe’s.  Some of the major revitalization and expansion projects he led include the creation of a 15-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 2001 and the new patient towers and surgery pavilion at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor; a two-story addition with 54 private rooms and new Emergency Department at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea; a new eight-story tower with 136 acute care private beds at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and a 154,000 square foot addition at St. Mary Mercy Livonia.

With a background in engineering, Garry’s indelible handprint is evident in details throughout the patient tower at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, from the position of the patient bed to the automatic night light that illuminates the floor for patients.

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His touch can be seen throughout St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor in other ways, such as the Century of Caring exhibit in the hospital lobby which features a large image of the hospital made up entirely of photos of individuals who have served in the ministry of St. Joe’s.   This display reflects Garry’s deep commitment to patients as well his dedication to both employees and medical staff.

“Regardless of how health care has changed over the past 30 years, Garry has always said it’s about people caring for people,” said Sister Yvonne Gellise, Senior Advisor for Governance at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, who added that Faja has valued the legacy of this hospital started by the Sisters of Mercy.

“Garry has always appreciated the presence of the Sisters, and he felt fortunate that we were still serving in the hospital. He would periodically stop by the Sisters’ house in the late afternoon to give us an update and ask about our concerns or ideas.”

Garry was very active in the community,  including serving as a key voice in Medicaid expansion, a founding member of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, and a founder of the Mercy Cancer Network.  He was instrumental in the establishment of The Quality Institute at St. Joe’s as well as Michigan’s first Senior ER program and supported the major expansion of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea making them the newest member of our health system.

A leader in the health care industry, Garry served as chair of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association Board—receiving its notable Meritorious Service Award in 2014—and was also a delegate for the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board.

Garry is survived by his wife Barbara, who has dedicated countless hours to fundraising and other philanthropic efforts for the health system, and daughter Christine.

Please see the obituary for more information. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Is Noise Destroying Your Hearing?

The modern world is a noisy place: the shriek of ambulance sirens, the blare of the television, the jackhammer of construction—the list goes on. Yet as loud or irritating as they may be, noises like these are often so prevalent they seem to fade into the background.

Joseph Seymour, MD

The problem is that loud sounds can have a serious—and permanent—effect on hearing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 17 percent of Americans aged 20 to 69—or roughly 26 million people—have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

“NIHL is the second most common cause of hearing loss, right behind age-related hearing loss,” says Joseph Seymour, MD, an otolaryngologist with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “It’s a very frequently encountered problem.”

How does noise-induced hearing loss occur?
NIHL can be the result of long-term exposure to loud sounds, such as a daily ride on a tractor or headphones worn with the volume cranked up for hours on end. Your hearing can also be damaged by what’s known as an “impulse” noise—an extremely loud, one-time sound, such as an explosion or a gunshot.

The good news: Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, as long as you follow some strategies to safeguard your ears.

Why are loud noises problematic?
Hearing is not only an extremely complicated function, it’s also surprisingly fragile.

Thousands of tiny hair cells inside your ears perform the vital role of translating sound waves into electrical signals and relaying them to your brain, where they are perceived as sound. Very loud noises can harm, or even destroy, those cells.

“Noise-induced hearing loss is a cellular injury within your inner ear from increased volume and pressure,” explains Dr. Seymour. “The cells within the inner ear are different from skin cells. They do not re-grow. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.”

And it’s not just those tiny yet essential cells that can be damaged by loud noises. The auditory nerve, responsible for moving electrical signals to the brain, can also be harmed.

What factors contribute to NIHL?
When it comes to understanding your risk levels for NIHL, there are three key factors to keep in mind:

  1. How loud is the sound?
    You may be surprised by what qualifies as “loud.” Noise levels are measured in decibels (dBA). For context, a personal listening device, like a smartphone with earphones, can crank as high as 100 dBA—well past safe listening levels. The higher the decibel level, the less time you can safely listen to a sound at that volume.

If you’re not accustomed to thinking of sounds in terms of decibels (and most of us non-audiologists are not), here are the levels of some everyday sounds, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):

  • Conversation with friends, a dish washing machine: These noises are around 60 dBA and are safe for your hearing for any amount of time. So, go ahead and gab (or wash dishes) all day.
  • Subways or motorcycles: Measured at 91 dBA, this level of noise presents risk to your hearing. The ASHA advises wearing hearing protection.
  • Headphones at maximum volume, a food processor, a snow blower: At 94 to 112 dBA, these noises are “extremely loud” and dangerous to your hearing.
  • Sirens, a plane taking off, jackhammering: These noises—ranging from 120 to 130 dBA—typically last for more than a few seconds but are considered unsafe for any amount of time.
  • Firearms, firecrackers: These are “impulse” noises, measured in decibel peak pressure (dBP). At levels of 140 to 150 dBP, any period of exposure to these sounds can cause instant, irreparable damage to hearing.
  • 2. What’s your proximity?
  • A siren that’s half a mile away is not as problematic as one blaring on your street corner. How close you are to a loud noise will determine how harmful it is to your hearing.
  • What’s the duration?
  • As the decibels climb, the amount of time you can safely listen to the sound falls dramatically. At 85 dBA, you can listen for eight hours. At 88 dBA, that safe listening span shrinks to four hours, while at 91 dBA, it drops to two hours. (The rule of thumb is that safe exposure time is halved with every 3 dBA increase in volume over 85 dBA.) A single second of an impulse noise, meanwhile, can result in permanent hearing loss.

A simpler rule, according to Seymour: “Less noise equals better hearing.”

Know the signs of NIHL
The two most common symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss are the inability to hear and tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears, says Seymour. Some other tip-offs include:

Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
Difficulty hearing when there is background noise
Needing to steadily increase the volume on your television or headphones
Sounds being distorted or seeming muffled
NIHL is completely preventable
Avoiding all loud noises is easier said than done, but it’s worth reducing your exposure as much as possible. If you work in a loud environment, such as a manufacturing plant, your employer must follow certain guidelines, says Seymour. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide hearing protection when decibels exceed 85.

You can also follow these general strategies to reduce your exposure to loud noises and protect your hearing:

Measure it: Download the NIOSH Sound Level Meter App to track the decibels of noise around you. It’s available for free from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Inform yourself: Get a sense of what types and levels of noise can cause damage to your hearing. If you’re in a place where people are conversing in shouts to be heard, the noise level is probably posing a threat to your ears.

Avoid noise when possible: If you can, stay away from situations where loud noises occur. If you can’t avoid them completely, take breaks. Remember, the duration of your exposure is a factor, as well as the noise’s volume. If possible, position yourself at loud events as far from the source as possible.

“Every time you go to a concert and leave with a little ringing in the ears or muffled hearing, you’ve experienced what we call a ‘temporary threshold shift,'” says Seymour. “That means that your hearing levels have actually changed.”

While this change is apparent for only a few hours, there’s evidence suggesting that people who have many temporary threshold shifts experience worsening hearing over time, Seymour explains. In other words, your hearing may seem to go back to normal the day after the concert, but it’s possible that permanent damage has occurred.

Use protection: Stuffing cotton balls in your years won’t get the job done. Instead, use earplugs that fit into your ear canal or snugly-fitting earmuffs that cover your ears completely. For the loudest noises—such as those higher than 105 dBA lasting eight or more hours, or impulse sounds higher than 140 dBP—use earplugs and earmuffs together.

“Even if you’re using the lawnmower for an hour or two, it gets loud enough that you can cause an injury,” says Seymour.

Turn it down: Resist the urge to pump up the volume and go easier on your living room television, headphones and any other controllable audio outputs in your life.

Be smart with headphones: Seymour recommends patients follow what he calls “the rule of 60”: Cap your headphone use at 60 percent of the device’s volume capacity for no more than 60 minutes. When you do listen alone, use over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds, which can be up to 9 dBA louder. And consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones, which may help you resist the temptation to crank up the juice to compensate for other sounds in your environment.

If you are routinely exposed to loud noise, it’s wise to get your hearing checked regularly, particularly if you suspect hearing loss. Early detection can help you pinpoint a situation that’s causing damage and avoid it in the future. A consultation with a trained professional like an audiologist or otolaryngologist can also determine whether you may need to wear hearing aids.

Wanted: A Primary Care Doctor

by Lila Lazarus

Adventurous, fun-loving, healthy, 50-something woman seeks intelligent, compassionate, patient, trustworthy and attentive primary care physician for a long-term relationship.

Hard to admit, but I don’t have a doctor. Last year, my general practitioner went “concierge,” meaning his services now cost an extra $3,000 a year— a retainer fee paid by some patients to avoid crowded waiting rooms and get more personalized service.

While that may appeal to me someday, for now, the extra price tag seems exorbitant for someone I see maybe twice a year. So now I’m in search of. And I’m not alone. One out of eight people are looking for a new doctor, either because their doctor retired or changed plans or because of the quality of care from the doctor or staff.

Continue reading “Wanted: A Primary Care Doctor”

Be Resolute: Crossing the Finish Line Twice

Facing cancer again, marie is determined to cross the finish line with her oncology nurse navigator, for a second Time

Marie Candiotti has her eyes set on Orlando 2020. Her mission – to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in full princess costume.

She’s also fighting cancer for the second time around.

“She is the embodiment of courage,” described Marie’s husband, Lou. Self-dubbed Captain of Team Candiotti, Lou has watched his wife face cancer fearlessly since receiving the first diagnosis in 2017.

It was stage 3 ovarian cancer, Marie and Lou were told on Feb. 15, 2017. Marie had been having trouble emptying her bladder, and went to the ER after she couldn’t complete a set of jumping jacks. A lifelong fitness instructor, she otherwise looked and felt healthy. She was working for St. Joe’s ShapeDown program at the time.

This diagnosis was shocking and disorienting.

Continue reading “Be Resolute: Crossing the Finish Line Twice”

Yes, I did that.

St. Joe’s Health Reporter Lila Lazarus broadcast her routine colonoscopy on Facebook Live to raise awareness about the importance of screening and prevention.

“You did what!?”

That’s the usual reaction when people hear I had my colonoscopy on Facebook Live.

Why on Earth would you do that?” is usually the follow-up question.

In case you don’t know what a colonoscopy is – it’s when a trained specialist, in this case, St. Joe’s colorectal surgeon Dr. Amanda McClure, takes a probe with a tiny HD camera and goes six feet in through the patient’s rectum and colon. She examines the lining of the colon – which is where colon cancer starts – and searches for pre-cancerous polyps.

Only this colonoscopy was a little more…public. My colonoscopy was broadcast live on social media. Thousands have now seen the inside of my colon and rectum on Facebook. They watched as Dr. McClure narrated a journey through my large intestine looking for growths on the lining— precancerous polyps. 

Continue reading “Yes, I did that.”

What May Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Body Clock

by Emily Willingham

This article was originally published on Sharecare.

If you find yourself nodding off at 10 p.m. despite your best efforts to stay awake, or routinely opening your eyes at 7 a.m.—even on mornings when you could sleep in—you have your circadian rhythm to thank. This self-sustaining 24-hour internal body clock responds to daylight and darkness to tell us when it’s time to be sleepy and when we should be fully awake. Fending off these messages is tough. Your rhythm is based on a roughly 24-hour day, and once it’s there, it can be hard to shift.

Circadian rhythms are determined mainly by genetics, but they’re also influenced by external factors, such as exercise, meal times, sleep deprivation and exposure to artificial light, particularly the glow emitted by smartphones, tablets and computer screens. Your environment or lifestyle can derail your internal clockwork, which, in addition to sleep, helps regulate your metabolism, blood pressure, body temperature, and hormone levels.

Continue reading “What May Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Body Clock”

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.

Probility Now Offering Comprehensive Pediatric Therapy

ANN ARBOR – Probility Physical Therapy now offers comprehensive pediatric services, including PT, OT and speech.

Led by Dan Santioni, PT, Katherine McKimmy, OT, and Erin Saotome, MA, CCC-SLP, Probility’s pediatric program is geared toward children 0 to 12 years old, and offers a full array of services that address developmental delays or disabilities, neurological disability, sensory integration disability, fine motor impairment, speech and feeding concerns, torticollis to toe-walking and post-surgical rehabilitation needs.

Services are provided at the Clark Road location Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.*:

PT , OT and SLP
Probility Pediatric Therapy
3145 W. Clark Road
Ypsilanti, MI  48197
Phone:  734-712-0566
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*SLP services can be arranged at the Howell Probility office for patients who do not need the entire pediatric team approach.

Be a Blessing for Others

(Pictured left to right) Connie Schuby and Amanda Saracino (Greenbrook Recovery Center behavioral health therapists), Evan Koorhan, and Suzie Antonow (manager of Outpatient Behavioral Services)

Evan Koorhan completed the intensive outpatient program at Greenbrook Recovery Center and now volunteers to help others fighting addiction.

Between managing a local eatery and volunteering with substance abuse programs several times a week, Evan Koorhan lives a busy life. He recently bought a house with his girlfriend and values fellowship with his friends – two gifts he says wouldn’t have been imaginable a few years ago, when he was stuck in the cycle of addiction.

For years Evan used drugs and alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety.

“The only joy I was deriving out of life was using drugs and alcohol and partying with my friends,” he said.

While he was able to hold a job as head coach of a varsity water polo team, and even graduate in 2014 from Eastern Michigan University, Evan kept reverting back to alcohol and marijuana, despite how hard he tried to stop. He even dabbled in therapy, to little avail.

“It was the same thing over and over again, and I couldn’t break the cycle. I would try,” he said.

Continue reading “Be a Blessing for Others”