Stay Safe in the Water

Warmer days are on the way, and many families will be headed to the lake to enjoy fresh air, sun and fun. Sadly, it’s also the time when many people die in open water.

Last year, 109 people drowned in the Great Lakes, with 56 of those drownings occurring in Lake Michigan. While pool safety is more frequently discussed, most drownings occur in lakes, rivers, ponds and other open water. Young children are three times more likely to drown in open water, and teens are eight times more likely to die in open water drownings.

The following tips will help you stay safe in and around water this summer.  

Keep Kids Safe in and Around Water

  1. Constant Supervision. Watch kids when they are in or around water. Ensure that you are not distracted. Keep young children and inexperienced swimmers within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time
  1. Make sure children learn how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development, and how often they are around water when deciding if they are ready.
  1. Make sure kids learn these five water survival skills and can independently:
  1. Step or jump into water over their head and return to the surface;
  2. Turn around and orient to safety;
  3. Float or tread water;
  4. Combine breathing with forward movement in the water, and
  5. Exit the water.
  1. Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool. Be aware of unique situations in open water, such as limited visibility, depth, uneven surfaces and currents. These potential hazards can make swimming in open water more challenging than swimming in a pool.
  1. Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or participating in other recreational activities in or around water. Be sure to select a life jacket appropriate for age, weight and the water activity. Some communities, including Muskegon, offer life jacket loaner programs at public beaches and marinas. 
  1. Use designated swimming areas whenever possible. Professionals have assessed the area, and there are usually signs posted regarding hazards and lifeguard schedules. 

Know the Hidden Hazards

Swimming in lakes, rivers, ponds and other open water poses hazards you won’t find in a swimming pool. Staying aware of such risks as uneven surfaces, dangerous currents, cold temperatures and more will keep you and your family enjoying beach days safely.

You can learn more about water safety at the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium

Regular Health Screenings Can Help Keep Men Well

Balancing a busy career, family and personal life can leave men with little time to even think about their health, let alone schedule (and keep) an appointment for their annual health screenings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular exams and screenings can help save lives. They can help find problems early, when the chances for treatment, and perhaps even a cure, are better.

That’s why, during Men’s Health Month, St. Joe’s would like to encourage you to care for yourself — and the men in your life — by reminding you of the importance of regular health screenings.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) and prostate problems are unique to men. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 30 million American men have ED, and benign prostatic hyperplasia is the most common prostate problem for men older than age 50.

Some health issues occur more commonly in men than in women, such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer, HIV infection, and Parkinson’s disease.

The National Institutes of Health lists the tests and screenings that experts recommend for men at various stages of their lives:

Common Health Screenings and Physical Exams for Men Ages 18-39

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Dental Exam
  • Eye Exam
  • Vaccines
  • Infectious Disease Screenings
  • Testicular
  • Skin self-exam

Common Health Screenings and Physical Exams for Men Ages 40-64

In addition to those above, this age group should have the following:

  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Skin

Common Health Screenings and Physical Exams for Men Ages 65 and Older

In addition to those above, this age group should have the following:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (especially for patients who have been smokers)
  • Hearing

Federal law requires that all health insurance plans cover specific preventive care services, including vaccinations, some disease screenings and certain types of counseling. In addition to participating in annual screenings, having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health.

A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice. If you don’t have a PCP, it’s easy to find one. Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

St. Joe’s is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.

Find a St. Joe’s Doctor

St. Joe’s Oakland Partners with Community Organizations to Provide Vaccine Access to Vulnerable Populations

OAKLAND – A key challenge in distributing COVID-19 vaccines is ensuring that the most vulnerable in our community have adequate access. Some may be interested in the vaccine, but do not have transportation to a clinic. Others simply do not know how to sign up for the vaccine, or do not have a computer to search for appointments.

To help reach these vulnerable populations, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has partnered with several community organizations, including Lighthouse Oakland County, Forgotten Harvest, Freedom Road Transportation, and Faith Community Nursing.

On April 5, 2021, St. Joe’s Oakland hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for vulnerable populations, and distributed nonperishable food from Forgotten Harvest to participants. SJMO’s Community Health and Wellbeing team was able to pre-register 95 individuals. SJMO also partnered with Freedom Road Transportation to provide transportation at no cost to attendees.

“We serve seniors, people with disabilities, and low income populations,” said Karen Boice, Executive Director of Freedom Road Transportation.  “These are people that have no access to public transportation or are unable to use it.  Our program is provided at no cost.  It’s important because people who are isolated, disabled or senior need access to transportation so that they can be social, access basic needs and stay healthy.”

SJMO held a second vaccine clinic on May 3 at Mercy Place.  Again, participants received a free box of non-perishable food and transportation assistance as needed.  Roughly 55 individuals were served at this clinic with a high turnout from the local Hispanic community.  Second dose vaccines of Moderna were distributed June 2 at Mercy Place Clinic.  St. Joe’s Oakland is now also accepting walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccines from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on days the clinic is open.

Helping vulnerable populations get access to vaccines is crucial, as these groups face higher risks of complications or death if they contract COVID-19.  St. Joe’s Oakland is proud to work with local partners to help address the needs of the most vulnerable in our community, and is excited to continue these efforts.

As summer heats up, St. Joe’s trauma expert weighs in on the importance of bicycle safety

Alicia Kieninger, MD

Did you know that May is National Trauma Awareness Month?  Alicia Kieninger, MD, Medical Director of Trauma Services at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, used the occasion to help inform and educate the public by answering a few common questions children and their parents have regarding bicycle safety, a common cause of traumatic injury amongst pediatric patients.

Q: What are common injuries you see among children in bicycle accidents?

A: While bicycles are a common part of outdoor fun during the summer months, it is important to be aware of common bicycle related injuries in order to protect children.  In addition to head injuries and broken bones, bicycles can also be associated with more subtle intra-abdominal injuries in children.  Handle bar injures can occur when a child rapidly decelerates and is thrown forward over the bicycle handle bars.  This situation can lead to subtle injuries to organs such as the small intestine or pancreas, which do not demonstrate significant signs of injury right away.  If your child suffers this type of bicycle injury, it is important to have them evaluated right away to rule out more serious injuries.

Q: What protections do helmets provide children?

A: Helmets go a long way to protect your child’s skull and brain from potential life threatening injuries.  However, in addition to protecting your child from the impact of a collision, bike helmets actually make the rider more visible to vehicles, which may help prevent accidents form occurring.

Q: Other than a helmet, what other precautions should parents or a child consider to ensure a fun, safe ride?

A: Make sure your child is properly supervised when riding their bike.  In particular, be aware that newer bike riders may be more prone to accidents.  It is important that their bicycle be appropriately sized for the child, and the seat be adjusted to the proper height.  Wear sturdy closed toed shoes with backs on them that are not likely to fall off or become encumbered, and avoid long or loose fitting clothing.  Make sure their helmet fits correctly and that they know how to put it on properly.  Encourage them to ride on the sidewalk if possible.  Wear bright, visible clothing that will make them more visible to motorists, and make sure to have lights available when riding at dusk.

Q: Is there anything else about bike helmets or bike safety that is important for parents and their children to know?

A: Your children learn from your actions.  If you model the safety behaviors you want your child to use, they will be more likely to follow them.  Most of all have fun!

For additional information, please visit: Bike | Safe Kids Worldwide

Sesame Garlic Tofu

Serves 4


  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To drain extra water out of the tofu, wrap it in a cloth or paper towel and place on a cutting board. Put a plate on top of the tofu and weigh it down with a can. Press down on the plate for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the weight and cloth/paper towel. Slice the tofu into 2 inch cubes.
  4. In a bowl, add the soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, maple syrup, and sesame seeds. Mix together to make the marinade.
  5. Submerge the tofu cubes in the marinade and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  6. Place cubes on skewers and lay on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Thai Coconut Curry

Serves 4


  • 1.5 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped egg plant
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 – 16 ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 – 13 ounce can lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro (optional)
  • 1 lime (optional)


  1. Wash and lay out all ingredients.
  2. Dice the garlic and set on the cutting board for 10 minutes.
  3. Dice the bell pepper and eggplant into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Slice the cabbage into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Add all the vegetables to the pot and sauté in a bit of broth.
  6. Add the chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  7. Finally, add the coconut milk and broth with the curry paste.
  8. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. Serve over brown rice or soba noodles.

Chef’s Tip: Add a lime wedge and cilantro as a garnish when serving to help brighten the dish. Other garnish options include ginger and lemongrass.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Buffalo Cauliflower

Serves 4


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup plant milk
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Wash and lay out all ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite sized florets.
  3. Make batter by adding flour, spices, milk, and hot sauce into a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
  4. Using a fork, dip the florets into the bowl and place on greased cookie tray.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fork soft.
  6. Finish by adding more spices or hot sauce to taste.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Veggie Pinwheels with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Serves 4


Veggie Pinwheel

  • 4 Collard Leaves
  • 4 Carrots
  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 – 16 ounce can of Chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger Powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha Sauce (optional)
  • ½ tablespoon Cilantro (optional)


  1. Blanch** and drain the collard leaves and set to the side.
  2. Cut the carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers into thin strips and set to the side.
  3. Rough chop the cilantro for dipping sauce and set to the side.
  4. Dipping Sauce: Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, ginger powder, and sriracha into a small bowl and whisk well until you have a smooth consistency. Add cilantro, if desired.
  5. Chickpea Spread: In a blender, rough blend the chickpeas, olive oil, salt, and garlic powder.
  6. Pinwheel Assembly: Spread a collard leaf onto a flat surface and begin by layering in the precut vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers) followed by the chickpea spread. Roll the collard leaf keeping all ingredients tucked inside and slice the sandwich into 2 inch portions.
  7. Serve the pinwheels with the peanut dipping sauce – enjoy!

** Blanching is the process of submerging the food into boiling water for a short period of time and immediately transferring the food from the boiling hot water into a bowl with ice water.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Fall Spice Breakfast Cookies


  • 1 ripe to over-ripe banana
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • ½ cup walnuts or selected nuts
  • ½ cup chopped fruit of choice (pear, apple, berries)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease cookie tray.
  3. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of ground flax and 6 tablespoons of water. Stir and let the mixture rest for 2-3 minutes until it combines and begins to gel and form a flax egg.
  4. Chop the fruit into small ½ inch pieces or likely mash.
  5. Chop the walnuts or nuts into crushed pieces.
  6. In a mixing bowl mash the peeled banana. Add in the “flax egg” mixture and the rolls oats.
  7. Add in spices, walnuts, and chopped fruit. Sir until combined. Add water as needed to form a sticky mixture.
  8. Spoon out 2 tablespoon sized dollops onto cookie tray.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Egg Muffins


  • 1 Bell pepper, diced
  • 1 White onion, diced
  • 4-5 Kale leaves, chopped
  • One dozen eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic Powder or other desired seasonings


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash all vegetables and lay out ingredients.
  2. Grease the muffin tin.
  3. Begin by dicing bell peppers and onions and adding 2 teaspoons of the mixture to each muffin tin.
  4. Chop the kale by removing the stem with the sharp edge of the knife. Then stack the leaves and roll to make it easier to slice through in to rings. Place the chopped kale into the muffin tin to fill ¾ the way full.
  5. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add spices and beat together.
  6. Spoon egg mixture evenly over the vegetables into each muffin cup.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.