St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Receives Gift of ‘Caring Cradle’ for Grieving Parents

DSC_2361The labor and delivery unit at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor received a Caring Cradle donation from a family hoping to bring comfort to others who experience pregnancy or newborn loss.

Jade and Gasper Rubino made the gift on Aug. 23 in memory of their daughter, Cecily Rosebriar Rubino.

IMG_20180823_105110A Caring Cradle is a bassinet with a cooling system to help preserve a baby’s body, allowing grieving families more time with their baby, and allowing hospital staff to focus on caring for the needs of the family.

The Rubino family worked with non-profit organizations Metro Detroit SHARE and SOBBS (Stories of Babies Born Still) to find placement for two caring cradles in local hospitals. They chose St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor as one of the recipients, stating, “We are beyond grateful to witness the supportive care they provide for their families that experience child loss.”

Chaplain Ruth Tapio gave a blessing during the dedication ceremony, and Jade Rubino shared a few words about loss.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Rubino Family for their very generous gift. This cradle will help support families during their difficult journeys, giving them more time together for creating memories,” Jennifer Schaible, director of women and children’s services at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, said.

Schaible was joined by Rebecca Kanak, perinatal palliative and loss coordinator, Rosemary Cicala, labor and delivery nurse manager, OB/GYN Dr. Bryan Popp and other senior leaders in accepting the Caring Cradle on behalf of the hospital.

Head & Neck Cancer Symposium: Oct. 26

2018-08-24 09_27_49-17080 Head Neck SymposiumCd2018-8.22.18-PRINT (2).pdf - Adobe Acrobat

Join us Oct. 26, 2018 for our annual Head & Neck Cancer Symposium for Professionals.

October 26, 2018 | 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Washtenaw Community College
Morris Lawrence Building
4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI
Registration Fee: $100
(continental breakfast, lunch provided)
4.50 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™
Register here

Be Empowered

St. Joe’s helped new mother Liz Davila-Ferrall meet her goal of having a natural childbirth

New mother Liz Davila-Ferrall marvels at how she and her husband, Mark, have adjusted to parenthood ever since they welcomed their son, Ezra, in April.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s one of the most challenging things both my husband and I have ever done in our lives, but it’s an amazing experience. Rewarding, beautiful, and challenging,” she described.

Liz delivered her baby at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, where she was determined to have a natural childbirth. Through the remarkable care of the doctors and nurses, Liz said, she was able to accomplish that goal.

After taking a prenatal class at St. Joe’s, Liz and Mark opted to use nitrous oxide – commonly referred to as “laughing gas” – to help ease the anxiety and pain during labor.

“I didn’t really want the epidural, I didn’t really want the extra meds, so this sounded like a good fit,” Liz said.
Continue reading “Be Empowered”

11 Questions for a Pediatric Physical Therapist

Santioni Daniel PT_SJA4974_resizedA pediatric physical therapist specializes in treating and caring for infants, toddlers, teenagers and young adults, and can treat conditions related to genetic, neurological and orthopedic disorders. In this Q&A, Daniel Santioni, Director of Pediatric Services, Probility Physical Therapy, answers some of the most common questions parents have about their child’s development.

    1. What kind of physical therapy does a young baby under 6 months need?
      Physical therapy (PT) can address several issues that are common under 6 months. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment is key to continued success in growth and development. Often PT at this age can address delay in motor skills, orthopedic concerns such as joint deformity or torticollis, feeding concerns and their inability to self-console.
    2. How do you know if a baby under 6 months is delayed?
      Often experienced mothers and fathers know that “this” baby is just not doing the same things their other babies did. First-time parents should pay attention to published milestones they may find at their doctor’s office. There are standardized tests to evaluate for delay, but generally, by 6 months your child should be rolling and working on maintaining sitting by themselves.
    3. I feel my child is impaired. I am an experienced parent and I know something is wrong. My child is only 8 months old, but what can I do?
      The first thing you should do is address  your concern with your doctor. Asking for a pediatric therapy referral would be a good start in trying to figure out if there is anything wrong. Your physical therapist can perform developmental , orthopedic and neurological testing to assist with any diagnosis your doctor may want to pursue. Physical therapy can often help prioritize what to focus on in terms of treatment, and help you stay focused on what you can do to help your child succeed.
    4. My baby is having a hard time feeding – they are biting instead of sucking. It takes them a long time to feed, and my baby seems exhausted after feeding. Can physical therapy can help me with this issue?
      Feeding issues and concerns are common with a young infant. Often biting or chomping instead of sucking may mean there is a physical restriction to the normal suck, swallow and breathe pattern. A physical therapist can address the physical restriction to mouth opening and closing, and can help steer you to other professionals, such as a speech or occupational therapist,  who can focus on teaching the normal feeding pattern.
    5. My baby just turned 12 months old and is not walking or even pulling up to stand. Should I be worried?
      Pulling up to stand at a surface is a 9-month skill and taking the first few wiggly steps is a 12-month skill. Having said that, you must remember there is a range in which development is “normal.” Not all children walk at 12 months. With walking there is a “normal” range of 11-14 months. Pulling to a stand also has a “normal” range of 8-11 months. If your 12-month-old child is not pulling to stand, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted. You may find, with the right intervention, your child may catch up very quickly.
    6. I have been told my child has Torticollis – is this permanent and how can physical therapy help?
      Torticollis is usually due to tight neck muscles which prevent the baby from turning their head in one particular direction. Physical therapy is a very successful tool in resolving torticollis through gentle stretching and developmental play. The sooner torticollis is addressed, the faster it is resolved. Torticollis, if caught in time, usually is not permanent.
    7. My child had torticollis and they look better. Now I notice their head is not round. Can therapy help this?
      If your child had torticollis, the resulting misshaped head is called plagiocephaly. Physical therapy can address this through positioning, developmental play and manual techniques. If the misshaped head is not corrected in 4 to 5 months, the recommendation is to get a helmet to assist in reshaping your child’s head. This would require you to meet with an orthotist to fabricate and do frequent fittings of the helmet.
    8. My child is 3 years old and has walked on their tip-toes since they started to walk. Everyone is telling me they will “outgrow” this. How long do I wait before I get help, and what kind of help can I get for this?
      Generally, as children learn to walk, for the first few months (12-18 months) they will “play” with coming up on their toes. This means they may walk flat-footed for a few steps then up on toes for a few and then back down. If your child is exclusively toe walking after the age of 18-24 months, I would recommend bringing this to the attention of your physician and get them into physical therapy.  A pediatric physical therapist can help figure out why the child is toe walking. Once the evaluation is completed,  the physical therapist  will  provide a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises to get your child walking in a normal heel-toe pattern.
    9. My child has been toe walking for years and is now “stuck” on their toes. They cannot at all get their heels on the floor. The doctors are looking at referring me to a surgeon. Can physical therapy help me now?
      Working with your doctor, a physical therapist may still be able to help in this situation. Being “stuck” on their toes may mean that their heel cord is contracted. A physical  therapist can provide a treatment called serial casting. This would involve casting the ankle and progressively lengthening the heel cord until they can move their ankle again in all directions. Once the ankle is loosened the physical therapist can then address strengthening and retraining your child how to walk with heels down.
    10. When observing other children on the playground, I am noticing my child is always falling. They are usually asking the other kids to wait for them, and at times just doesn’t want to participate. As a parent, I often wonder if there is anything I can do to help. Can physical therapy help?
      A pediatric physical therapist can perform standardized testing to see if your child is truly developmentally behind. If your child is delayed, the physical therapist will design a custom program to address the areas of development to help your child “catch up” with their peers.
    11. My 9-year-old son broke his leg. He was casted and is favoring that leg. Everyone said he would be fine, and told me to encourage him to just be himself. No matter what I try, he resists. Can physical therapy help with this?
      Yes, often after being casted, muscles  become weak, tight  and need  physical therapy to get strong again. Often children have a fear factor to overcome as well. The pain that they experienced at the time of the injury  can affect them for a long time. A physical therapist can help your child physically work out his fear while strengthening his leg. The goal of physical therapy would be to normalize his walking pattern and eliminate this “favoring” of one leg over the other.

Dan is accepting established and new patients at Probility Physical Therapy, 2058 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48104. Call 734-913-0300.

What’s good for your gut is good for your health

Your body contains a complex digestive system made up of the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine) as well as the liver, gallbladder, biliary tract and pancreas.

Naveen Reddy, MD

According to Naveen Reddy, MD, a St. Joseph Mercy Oakland gastroenterologist, “While these organs work in conjunction to metabolize, digest and absorb nutrients from our diet, they also have numerous other functions to maintain health. For example, the pancreas produces insulin to help control a person’s blood sugar. The liver is responsible for metabolizing toxins and numerous types of medications a patient may be taking. And the large intestine contains billions of healthy bacteria which help with digestion and help maintain normal, regular bowel movements.”

Any one of these organs failing to function properly can cause health concerns. According to Dr. Reddy, “Symptoms can range from a minor discomfort from acid reflux or mild constipation, to severe, life-threatening issues such as unintentional weight loss, vomiting blood or jaundice (which is a sign of severe liver disease). Some digestive symptoms can become life-threatening if not addressed early.”

If you notice a change in your bowel habits, bleeding or any other digestive issues, Dr. Reddy advises you to discuss your changes with your primary care physician and ask if a referral to a gastroenterologist is necessary.

According to Bashar Okka, MD, a St. Joe’s internal medicine physician, “A healthy digestive system begins with a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy and a well-balanced caloric intake that includes five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”

Dr. Okka says that most people who follow simple, healthy lifestyle choices can avoid disruptive digestion problems. If you do experience digestive issues due to a specific food, avoidance of digestivesystemthat food is a key, says Dr. Okka. He says that treatment for a simple upset stomach triggered by certain foods or alcohol can begin with an over-the-counter antacid. However, he warns that patients should not use an over-the-counter antacid for more than two weeks.

Any upset stomach or heartburn that lasts more than two weeks or does not respond to simple over-the-counter treatment should prompt a consultation with a physician.  Dr. Okka also recommends that any upset stomach with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or fever, should prompt a visit to your physician’s office as soon as possible.


What You Need to Know About the Ongoing Hepatitis A Outbreak in Michigan

MalaniAnuragHepatitis A virus (HAV) is a serious, highly contagious liver disease. Fortunately, it is vaccine-preventable, and the vaccine has been part of the routine childhood vaccinations since the late 1990s. But the U.S. population was ripe for a HAV outbreak, given the large number of unvaccinated adults, and Michigan is home to the largest ongoing outbreak. In this Q&A, Anurag Malani, MD, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control Services, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Livingston, addresses who is at the greatest risk for HAV, and the most effective means of prevention. Continue reading “What You Need to Know About the Ongoing Hepatitis A Outbreak in Michigan”

Fight Frailty with Bone Health

bone health

New program at St. Joe’s Oakland improves bone health and wellness

Osteoporosis is the condition where bones gradually become thin and weaker with age. This condition can lead to a fragility fracture—a broken bone caused by a low-trauma injury. Both men and women over the age of 50 may experience fragility fractures, making it the most common age-related health problem.

“Fragility fractures can cause great pain, deformity, disability and even death,” according to Bruce Henderson, MD, a St. Joseph Mercy Oakland orthopedic surgeon. “Fragility fractures pose a lifetime risk of death equal to breast cancer, yet less than 25 percent of these patients receive appropriate evaluation and treatment for their underlying disease.”

The St. Joe’s Bone Health and Lifetime Wellness Program offers a comprehensive program that works with patients to achieve optimal bone health while also lowering the chances of other illnesses, such as the cold and flu, and even more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Proper treatment for good bone health also leads to major improvements in a patient’s overall health and lifetime wellness.

Get help to age well

The program includes an in-depth health evaluation and assessment that will look at such things as health history, risk factors and family medical history.

Patients will undergo testing to determine their current bone strength and risk for fragility fractures, including:

  • A basic laboratory evaluation that will measure vitamins, minerals and hormone levels in their body—all important indicators of bone health and strength.
  • An in-depth bone density evaluation. A bone mineral density test can provide a snapshot of a patient’s bone health. The test can identify osteoporosis, determine a patient’s risk for fractures (broken bones), and measure their response to osteoporosis treatment.

St. Joe’s offers a personalized treatment program, including:

  • Lifestyle counseling on activity, exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation
  • Supplements, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin K2
  • If necessary, proper prescription medicines
  • Coordinated care with a patient’s primary care physician on their treatment plan

Robert Zalenski, MD, a physician and lifetime wellness advocate, emphasizes that many of the same steps taken to help treat osteoporosis are also part of a vital path to overall wellness. Strength training, moderately vigorous walking and good nutrition are important practices that can also treat the epidemic rates of obesity and frailty due to muscle loss.

Learn more about the new Bone Health and Lifetime Wellness Program by calling 248-858-6113 or visit

Daniel Santioni Named Director of Pediatric Services at Probility Physical Therapy

Santioni Daniel PT_SJA4974 (3)ANN ARBOR – Probility Physical Therapy is pleased to announce the addition of Pediatric Physical Therapist, Daniel (Dan) Santioni, as its Director of Pediatric Services, effective June 25, 2018.   Dan is immediately accepting established and new patients at: Probility Physical Therapy, 2058 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48104.  The phone number is 734-913-0300.

Dan comes to Probility Physical Therapy with more than 30 years of physical therapy experience.  For the past 20 years, he has served the pediatric population with 16 of those years serving at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Rehabilitation Center at the University of Michigan.  In that role, Dan treated children through adolescents with a full continuum of physical therapy needs with a concentration on the following programs:

  • Cerebral Palsy – Early Detection & Treatment
  • Child Passenger Safety
  • Clubfoot Taping & Casting
  • Gross Motor Delay
  • Myelomeningocele/Spina Bifida
  • Newborn Rehabilitation – General Movement Assessment
  • Neurological Conditions & Syndromes
  • Pediatric Orthotic Recommendations
  • Post-surgical – General, Orthopedic & Neuromuscular
  • Scoliosis
  • Serial Casting for Joint Contractures
  • Toe Walking
  • Torticollis

Due to a passion for the newborn population, Dan earned an Advance Certification in General Movement Assessment.  This neurological evaluation enables Dan to quickly identify infants at risk for neurological impairment thus providing early and appropriate intervention.

Probility has provided quality pediatric therapy in the past. Dan will be responsible for developing an even more comprehensive program by using his wealth of pediatric knowledge and experience.  This new program will provide a significant resource for the greater Washtenaw county region.


Let’s Play

by Lila Lazarus

“You’ll find more happiness growing down than up.” – Anonymous

Being an adult stinks. There’s pressure, stress, bills, constant obligations and a growing list of aches and pains. Going to work every day means putting on work clothes, sitting in the car, sitting in the office or cubicle, being serious, doing so many “important” things and then sitting in traffic on the way home again. So, I’ve made my decision. I’m going to be a kid for the rest of my life. Forget the fact that I’m more than a half-century old, I’m no longer going to act my age. (Actually, if I’m honest, I never have.) Continue reading “Let’s Play”

Happy Me Month

by Lila Lazarus

This is the season of holidays for other people. First, I was buying Mother’s Day gifts. Then I’m looking for Father’s Day gifts. There are several graduation days on the calendar and a few wedding days, too. So I’m throwing out an idea for a new holiday: Me Day. Or maybe even Me Month. Hear me out.

Unless we take care of ourselves, we’re no good to anyone.

This probably sounds so selfish or self-centered. And it’s supposed to. We’re so afraid to blatantly focus on No. 1. And when we do, we often feel guilty. But unless we take care of ourselves, we’re no good to anyone. We hear it so often in yoga: You can’t pour from an empty cup. We need to take care of ourselves first. Unless we really give ourselves some true TLC body, mind and spirit—we’re no good at work, at home or in the community. So here’s my suggestion: Take the next 30 days, (yes, a full month!) and focus on you. And in case your me-muscle is as out of shape as mine, here are some suggestions on how to do this:

Get a full night’s sleep every night for a month.  Can you even imagine that? I’d be happy to just get a full night’s sleep two or three days in a row. Your mood, productivity, relationships, waistline, EVERYTHING would improve. So many sleep studies have linked our bad sleeping habits to poor performance at work, car accidents, anger, depression, not to mention heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This one step could change the world.

That’s me meditating in the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas.
Meditate every morning.  It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes. Even five minutes can change the course of your day by putting things in perspective. I know when I really commit to a morning mediation on a daily basis my day starts off with more energy and balance. I just feel happier. And there are so many meditation apps now that can help you through the process. And you can meditate anywhere.

Move. If you want to transform your body, mind and spirit—go for a walk every day. Stretch, do yoga, go for a run. It will boost your energy and help relieve anxiety and stress.

Don’t move. Make sure you also carve out time in your day to relax and restore. It doesn’t have to be a nap. It’s just a conscious slowing down. This is the hardest one for me. I need to make a conscious commitment to doing less.

Say no. I don’t think I even know how to pronounce the word “no.” But saying yes all the time is killing me. Saying yes is a great excuse not to take care of yourself. So during Me-Month I’m simply not available unless the request aligns with my mission and values. Sure, I’ll still have to work and keep up with responsibilities, but during certain sacred hours: early in the morning, during my normal workout time, and in the evenings, sorry, the answer is no.

Get to the doctor. It’s the last thing we have time for. Too many of us wait until we’re sick to get the care we need. And if you’re like me, you’re overdue for everything. I’m overdue for the dentist, the gynecologist, I still haven’t scheduled my physical, my mammogram (which is months overdue) or a bone density test. Last year my doctor gave me the paperwork for a colonoscopy and I never followed up. It’s on my to-do list every single day and yet, I never make the call. One hour at the doctor could add years to my life and help relieve any worries. During Me-Month all appointments will hereby be scheduled.

If we all get better in touch with ourselves, we’ll be way better at getting in touch with each other. Let me know what you think of Me-Month. I can already envision the Hallmark cards we could send to ourselves:  “In a world of change…open the card…Thank you for being my only constant.” Or just “Thinking of You Me!

Lila Lazarus Photo_resizedLila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.