Monthly Archives: May 2014

Ministry Door County Medical Center Named iVantage HEALTHSTRONG™ Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

Ministry Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay, WI was recently named one of the iVantage HEALTHSTRONG Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the United States.

“Ministry is proud of the efforts of its physicians and staff who have contributed to our hospital achieving this designation,” said Gerald Worrick, Ministry CEO. “This recognition is an excellent reminder of the trusted, expert care available right here in Door County, and of Ministry’s commitment to leading the health and wellness of our community.”

Ministry Door County Medical Center scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on the iVantage Hospital Strength INDEX™. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive rating of US acute care hospitals, and the only one to include the country’s 1,300 CAHs. The results recognize that the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals provide a safety net to communities across rural America – measuring them across 66 different performance metrics, including quality, outcomes, patient perspective, affordability, population risk and efficiency.

“Rural healthcare deserves the same performance analysis as all provider performance. It plays a vital role for communities across America, serving nearly 80 million people. These top 100 Critical Access Hospitals exhibit a focused concern for their community benefits and needs, regardless of scale, reimbursement and people’s ability to pay,” said John Morrow, executive vice president of iVantage Health Analytics.

The list of the top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and more information about the study can be found at For more information about Ministry Door County Medical Center, visit their new blog at

A Quality Life: One-on-One with Dr. Leslie Alzuhn-Hansen

Continuing this month’s focus on Women’s Health, we chatted with Dr. Alzuhn-Hansen, OB/Gyn at Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Women’s Center, to find out more about her practice, her passions and her prescription for wellness.

When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?

It was in middle school and high school that I decided to become a doctor. I knew I wanted to help people, and the profession and the learning were so exciting to me. Having gone through some issues of my own in my teen years around my own body’s changes and cycles, I had an interest in helping women navigate through their changes in a healthy way. It’s still something I really enjoy doing – helping young women understand the changes they are going through and encouraging them to take the best care of themselves.

Dr_Leslie_Hansen_0145What do you enjoy most about your job?

Since I started practicing in 2002, I have truly enjoyed working with women across the whole spectrum of age and experience. It’s wonderful to be able to offer a global approach to health, to work with the daily clinical practice, and when appropriate and necessary, to be able to offer surgical solutions to women.

What is the greatest challenge to women’s health?

As caregivers, we women are often so busy taking care of our families, our children and our partners that we put ourselves on the back burner. I often talk with my patients to find out specifically about what I call “the quality of their day.” I want to help them make some positive changes, and take good care of themselves, to make their day-to-day life comfortable, healthy and good.

How do you take care of yourself?

Like every woman, I’m trying to do better! The last few years I’ve really become committed to eating a clean, healthy diet, and I’m encouraging my family (husband and three children) to do the same. In turn, they’re encouraging me to do more exercise. After this long winter we’ve had, we’re really working on having less indoor/screen time and more time outdoors, going for walks and bike rides or just doing yard work together.

You’ve mentioned that you find Door County a good place for your family. Why is Ministry a good fit for you?

I value that as a doctor, I’m not seen as a number or someone who needs to move patients in and out of the office. Here at Ministry, we make the patient the center of our care – because that’s the right thing to do. I love when I can work with a patient and see her get better. Sometimes it’s almost like a new person comes into your office after she has made some changes in her health. It’s really amazing.

Caring for the Whole Woman: A Conversation with Dr. Charles Shutt

It’s National Women’s Health Week and we sat down with another one of Ministry Door County Medical Center’s OB/Gyns, Dr. Charles Shutt, to learn more about his commitment to women’s health.

How did you come to have a passion for women’s health?

I loved everything I did throughout my medical training, but when I encountered reproductive medicine, I knew that this is what I was supposed to be doing. 30 years later, I’m still doing it, and I still love my work. I enjoy working with women across the entire reproductive spectrum, from adolescent to the reproductive years, to peri and post menopausal. To have the opportunity to help women through those changes is very fulfilling to me.

charles shuttDo you have an area of particular interest?

I enjoy working with all ages and stages of women’s health. No matter what a woman’s needs are, when you inform women, you empower them. Fertility work is a great example. It’s wonderful to be able to help women who are trying to conceive to correct misperceptions they might have and give them the knowledge they need.

What is the biggest challenge to women’s health?

In my opinion, it’s not necessarily the physical challenges. It’s the emotional, psychological and spiritual health that can be the most challenging – and there’s a real connection between those areas and physical well-being. Women are caregivers, and they often put themselves last in the hierarchy of those they are caring for. It’s my job to help women admit that it’s okay for them to do things for themselves that bring them peace of mind, and peace of heart.

What is your advice to your patients?

I give my patients the same advice that I follow myself. Do some from of exercise – make it something you enjoy! – whether it’s walking, biking or an exercise class. Take some quiet time for yourself. My own practice is quiet meditation each morning. It’s nothing fancy, I just put myself in a quiet space without interruptions, for 10-30 minutes.  No work, no intrusions from the outside world. And, just as important – laugh! We can’t take ourselves too seriously all the time, we need to make time to be with the ones we love and enjoy. I like to use the quote “When Momma’s happy, everyone is happy.”

How do you approach patient care?

The reason I love working at Ministry is that I’m empowered to take ample time with each patient, get to know her needs, and answer her questions. I treat my patients the way that I want to be treated when I see a doctor: I want to be listened to. I have patients who are snowbirds who travel back to Door County for their care at Ministry. They tell me that they get a 10 minute visit with a provider elsewhere, but when they come here they truly feel cared for. Also, our team in the Women’s Center is really a family, and you can feel it when you walk in the door.

Taking Care of Ourselves: A Conversation with Dr. Dorene Dempster

Dr. Dorene Dempster is an OB/Gyn at the Women’s Center at Ministry Door County Medical Center, where she has practiced for 12 years. In honor of Women’s Health Week, we sat down with Dr. Dempster and got her insights on delivering babies, caring for ourselves, and getting motivated to make it to exercise class. Here are a few highlights.


How did you decide to pursue an OB/Gyn specialty?

Honestly, I didn’t always know that OB/Gyn was going to be my chosen field of medicine. But when I was doing my internal medicine rotation, I found myself wandering to labor and delivery at night, to see what was going on. Then I pursued an optional rotation with a great doctor, and I absolutely loved it.

What is the biggest challenge to women’s health?

As women, we tend to put ourselves last. We’re nurturers. We focus on others and many of us find ourselves in the “sandwich generation” where we are caring for children as well as our older parents. I encourage my patients to take the time to see us regularly and get those screenings that we know are so effective: cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, and, when appropriate, colonoscopy. I also encourage them to develop a relationship with their primary care doctor, to effectively monitor and manage a variety of health care needs, not just their women’s health issues. I even had to remind my mother of this recently!

How do you take care of yourself?

I have two children, and our family is busy. My husband is the cook of the family, and prepares great, health-conscious meals. As part of my employment at Ministry, we have access to the Y, but we have to use the facility a certain number of times per month to qualify for that benefit. At first, I’ll be honest, I kind of resented it. But now that requirement motivates me. Recently, it was a beautiful day out and I just went over to the Y and walked on the outdoor track – what a great way to get my exercise!

Do you see your provider regularly?

It certainly helps that I work right here in the clinic. I recently had a big decade birthday, and it was a good reminder to me that I need to be following all the advice I give my own patients. I schedule yearly mammograms for myself, and get my screenings done regularly.

What’s the best part of your job?

Hands down, delivering babies. There’s nothing like helping a new life into the world – it’s such a happy time. Many doctors at my career stage start moving away from this work, because sometimes it means two, three or four nights in a row of working through the night, but I don’t want to give it up. I also love the consistency of seeing women year after year, and getting to know them and their hopes and needs.

Celebrate Women’s Health Week with Free Classes

Ministry Door County Medical Center invites the community to celebrate Women’s Health Week with three free lunch and learn classes during the week of May 11-17.

“Women’s health week is a chance to recognize one of the greatest health challenges for women,” says Dr. Dorene Dempster, OB/Gyn at Ministry’s Women’s Center. “And that is that women often put themselves last.” Ministry is offering a chance for women to care for themselves through three free classes taught by local experts: aromatherapy, bellydancing and mindfulness/meditation.

Dr. Dempster also encourages women to make it a priority to schedule their yearly well woman exam with their provider. Monday, May 12 is National Women’s Checkup Day. Call the clinic at (920) 746-3666 to schedule an appointment. In addition to Ministry’s free classes, women visiting the clinic during Women’s Health Week will receive a special gift.

womens health month_flyerClasses are free but registration is required, and a light lunch will be provided. Please call (920) 493-5979 to register.


Ministry Sponsors Door County Half Marathon

This Saturday, 2,350 runners from around the state and the nation will participate in the seventh annual Door County Half Marathon and Nicolet Bay 5K at Peninsula State Park in Fish, Creek WI.  The event is presented by the Peninsula Pulse, with premier sponsorship from Ministry Door County Medical Center.

The official guide.

The official guide.

The race has been called one of the best in the Midwest by Runner’s World writer Jenny Hadfield, and writer Tom Held likened the course to “running in a wooded cathedral.” Such accolades, plus Door County’s reputation as one of the premier destinations in the country, has made the race a must-run on the nation’s half marathon circuit.

“The course and organization are integral to our success,” says race director Brian Fitzgerald, “but it’s the Door County community that puts this in a class with the great races. We have amazing volunteers and an extremely supportive, welcoming community that embraces the event.” Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Dr. Phil Arnold is Medical Director for the race, leading the medical team that will care for runners. And Ministry also sponsors the pace team, who help runners finish the event and reach their personal goals.

“We’re very proud to be such a big part of this event,” says Ministry health and wellness executive Matt Luders, also a runner in the half marathon. “Supporting silent sports activities such as this is in perfect keeping with Ministry’s mission to make our community healthier.”

Impeccable organization and course support, plus an atmosphere of camaraderie make it a favorite of first-time runners, while the unrivaled scenery and the notorious hills of Peninsula State Park offer an enticing challenge for experienced distance runners. Many runners have chosen to make their run more meaningful by participating in the Run for A Cause program. Runners raised more than $17,000 for charity through the race last year.

In addition to promoting health and wellness amongst locals and visitors, the DC Half Marathon will bring more than 10,000 additional visitors to the peninsula this weekend.

To download the official guide to the race, click here.