Monthly Archives: January 2016

Rethink Your Snacking Strategy

To snack, or not to snack. Is that the question? “Snacking can be an important part of a healthy eating plan,” says Judi Sowl, registered dietitian at Ministry Door County Medical Center. “But it all depends on what you eat, and how much.”


Many of us think of snacks as unhealthy “convenience” foods like cookies and chips, making it important to redefine snacking. “A snack should really be a miniature meal that includes a variety of nutrient rich foods,” says Sowl.

Here are six tips for healthy snacking:

  • Plan ahead. In order to snack well, you need healthy foods on hand, otherwise you’ll be reaching for that bag of potato chips. Purchase fresh veggies, and wash and chop them as soon as you get home. Keep them in water at eye level in the fridge, making them them easy to grab and munch.
  • Appeal to the eye. A bowl of fresh fruit on the counter is pleasing to the eye, and may inspire you to make a healthy choice.
  • Variety rules. Include 2-3 food groups in your snack. Peanut butter on apple slices with a couple of whole grain crackers, or low-fat cottage cheese and avocado slices on a piece of whole grain toast are perfect examples.

Homemade baked granola with yogurt and blueberries in a glass and old wooden background, selective focus

  • Eat mindfully. Instead of mindless munching in front of the television or computer screen, take the time to sit and enjoy your snack. “If you’re hungry enough to need a snack, take the time to do that. If you’re not, skip it,” says Sowl.
  • Portion size matters. For adults, a 100-200 calorie snack is about right. Active teens and children need more calories. Be sure to portion snack foods that pack a caloric punch. “Nuts make a great snack, with their combination of protein and healthy fat, but it’s easy to overindulge,” says Sowl. “About two tablespoons of nuts is all you need.”
  • Think mini-meals. A cup of soup or a whole grain waffle with a dollop of yogurt and fresh berries make a satisfying snack. Or try a small whole wheat tortilla with black beans, low-fat cheese and salsa.

Would you like help developing a personal approach to healthy eating?  Learn more about Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching at MDCMC.

Click here for more healthy snack ideas, and happy snacking!

Mike Mullenberg: Asking the Questions

For Mike Mullenberg, LEAN Leader, it’s all about asking the right questions. As the primary coach and consultant in charge of the continuous improvement process at MDCMC, he knows that the best information to start a process of change comes from those working in the trenches. “I enjoy being part of a team,” says Mike. “I get to work with everybody in the organization, and learn from them. When I ask questions, it gets people thinking about how they might do things differently.”

Mike’s nearly 20 years of experience in the United States Air Force serves him well when it comes to focus and teamwork. Now, two years into his position at MDCMC (and still a member of the National Guard), he continues to relish the challenge of learning about the ever-evolving world of healthcare.


For Mike, a typical day involves working directly with teams to brainstorm and create process mapping that will make real, incremental changes to improve the patient experience. Projects range from the billing process to patient care, to setting up efficient work flow in the new clinic space.

“One recent success was our work with the lab. We recognized there were challenges, including low patient satisfaction scores and wait times that were frustrating to staff and patients.” Through a rigorous process that engaged the entire team, Mike helped the lab make key changes, including developing a new scheduling system for appointments. Since the change, patient satisfaction scores for the lab have soared above the 90th percentile and patient wait times have decreased to less than 5 minutes.

“The best thing is we accomplished this by engaging and empowering the staff and giving them the tools to make the changes,” says Mike. “We didn’t need to add positions or additional costs. We made the changes using the expertise we already had.”

Through his experience working with diverse departments, Mike sees firsthand the culture of trust at MDCMC. “We’ve got an innovative CEO, team members who trust their leaders and colleagues, and employees who are open minded and willing to learn and improve. That’s a powerful combination.”

Local Women Benefit from Ministry’s Integrative Medicine Offerings

For Sturgeon Bay residents and sisters Laurel Hauser and Tracy Vreeke, caring for their health means more than occasional visits to the doctor and taking medication. Both women embrace a holistic approach to health, including healthy eating and meditation. “The practices that once seemed ‘alternative’ are now in the mainstream,” says Hauser, who, with her sister, has been attending Ministry Door County Medical Center’s six-week integrative medicine workshops. The free workshops explore various health modalities including acupuncture, art therapy, healthy eating and aromatherapy, bringing in Ministry staff and local experts to provide information and hands-on experiences.

Participants in MDCMC's recent Integrative Medicine Workshop

Participants in MDCMC’s recent Integrative Medicine Workshop

Prior to attending the workshops, both Hauser and Vreeke had taken a Mindful Meditation class offered through Ministry and taught by Barbara Wulf and Dr. Chona Antonio, who is also their primary care doctor. “It’s fair to say that the class changed my life,” says Hauser. “Meditation has helped me sleep better and deal with stress better.” For her sister, mindful meditation is a way to deal with the stress of having family members with chronic health challenges. “Meditation gives you great tools for coping. It’s helped me feel more in control,” says Vreeke.

The workshops have been fun and informative for the sisters. “The session on acupressure was great,” says Vreeke. “I walked out knowing about some basic pressure points that can help with things like headaches.” But beyond the workshops, Vreeke appreciates Dr. Antonio’s holistic approach to health. “Just as there’s not just one aspect of being sick, there’s more than one aspect of being healthy. Health is an active process, and Chona supports me with that.”

Both women agree that Ministry’s offerings have enhanced their health and their lives. “Western medicine is a big part of my approach to health, but it’s not all of it,” says Vreeke. “There’s always something new to learn. And because I trust Ministry I trust the local providers they’ve brought in to teach these workshops. It’s just huge that Ministry is helping provide people with this connection.”

A Gift of Gratitude: Welter Family Gives to Ministry’s New Bone and Joint Center

For Pam and Bill Welter, retiring to Sturgeon Bay after a life spent in Chicago, Columbus, and Las Vegas was an easy choice. “We have family ties here and we love it. But one of the reasons we decided to make our home here was because of the excellent health care we get at Ministry Door County Medical Center.”

Pam and Bill both receive their primary care from Dr. Kelton Reitz. After a fall in the couple’s backyard three years ago, Bill underwent treatment and finally, knee-replacement surgery with Dr. Dan Tomaszewski. “I received a couple of second opinions from other surgeons,” says Bill, “but in the end, I decided to have my surgery here, close to home.” Bill and Pam participated in Ministry’s Joint Class that taught them what to expect during and after Bill’s surgery. “The class and Dr. Dan’s ongoing guidance were unique features of Ministry’s care. From then on, I knew I made the right decision.”

Pam and Bill Welter present gift to Mike Herlache, DCMC Foundation Executive Director

Pam and Bill Welter present gift to Mike Herlache, DCMC Foundation Executive Director

Just six weeks post-surgery, Bill is no longer in pain, moving well, and looking forward to being able to play 18 holes of golf once again. In gratitude for the care he received, Pam and Bill recently made a $10,000 donation to the new Bone and Joint Center of Door County at Ministry Door County Medical Center. The funds will help provide state-of-the-art equipment for the group therapy room, where Bone and Joint patients receive physical therapy to help them prepare for and recover from surgery.

A retired business owner, Welter believes strongly in supporting local resources, including retail, restaurants and health care. “But in the end, we chose Ministry because it was the best care, not just because it was our local care. We feel fortunate to have Dr. Reitz as our primary care doctor. The people who work at Ministry really care.”

“We are grateful for the Welters’ generous donation, and we’re proud to know that it was given in appreciation of the care received from our team,” says Dr. Tomaszewski.

Art for Health Workshops for Children Foster Creativity and Fun

Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Art for Health program is a series of FREE workshops for children, ages 4-7 & 8-12, that focuses on health, music and art, using popular regional and local visual and performing artists as facilitators.  Classes strengthen each participant’s relationship with art and emphasize how creativity in a child’s life contributes to their overall health.  Plus, they’re just plain fun!

“Participation in the performing and visual arts helps to build character in children, and enhances listening and focus skills,” says Terry Lundahl, Art for Health program director.  “It allows them to be naturally creative while teaching responsibility and team building, enhancing listening and focusing skills, and nurturing children’s self-esteem and overall health.”

Children participating in a Ministry Art for Health program.

Children participating in a Ministry Art for Health program.

Hands-on, interactive classes include: painting, jewelry making, songwriting, African drumming, drama, puppet making, and even a cooking class. Offering arts classes as part of health care is a innovative, but research-driven approach. “Research has shown art can be used to help relieve stress, provide comfort during times of illness and improve children’s brain development.  As our health care system demands that we refocus our resources on maintaining wellness, this program makes perfect sense,” says Kevin Grohskopf, Chief Business Development Officer at DCMC.

Registration is now open for the Art for Health classes starting in January, 2017. Each session runs for five consecutive weeks. Classes meet on Tuesdays (ages 4-7) and Wednesdays (ages 8-12) from 4-5 p.m. at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay, with sessions starting Tuesday, January 17 and Wednesday, January 18, respectively. An additional session for Northern Door participants will run on Thursdays beginning February 16. Northern Door Classes will be held at Gibraltar Schools in Fish Creek, starting at 3:30 p.m. Parents are encouraged to register their children up for all five sessions.

Please call 920-493-5979 to reserve a spot for your child. Class size is limited.








Ministry Presents Celebrate Community Winter Concert Series

Ministry Door County Medical Center’s “Celebrate Community” concert series opens Friday, January 15, 2016 at the Door County Fire Company in Sturgeon Bay, WI. The series features a broad range of musical guests, including some of the best in Blues, Jazz, Folk, and Alternative national touring artists.

“At Ministry, we believe that the health of body, mind and spirit are intertwined,” says Kevin Grohskopf, Chief Business Development Officer at Ministry. “That’s why we support arts events throughout the county such as this concert series. We know that going out and hearing wonderful music brings people together and has a positive effect on their well-being.”

music heals _poster_2015

Proceeds from the Celebrate Community series will support MDCMC’s Life Direct Program, an emergency alert system that helps hundreds of Door County residents achieve independent living in their own homes. “Life Direct is a way to give people more freedom in their lives,” says Sandy Sievert, director of the program. “It gives the client and their family a great deal of peace of mind, especially for families who might not live close to their loved ones.”

For tickets and table reservations for Celebrate Community concerts, please call (920) 493-5979.

Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching: Get your Healthy Eating on!

For many, the start of the new year brings a resolve to make positive changes in their health. Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is now offering Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching, a new one-on-one service that supports people in improving their health and well-being through dietary changes.

“Think of it as having a personal trainer to support healthy eating,” says Carmen Schroeder, Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist at DCMC who provides the service. “Our goal is to make healthy eating accessible to all by offering individualized assessment, recommendations and support.” The service includes a one-hour consultation, with half hour follow-up appointments also available.

Clock with healthy diet healthy food

“People are overwhelmed with a great deal of information about health and nutrition,” says Schroeder. “There’s so much information out there.” She says patients often come in seeking clarification on nutrition information gained through their own research. “That’s where we start,” she explains. But there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to nutrition. “We make sure patients have up-to-date, reliable information so they can make the most informed choices possible about their eating.”

Lifestyle Nutritional Counseling is for people at all ages and stages of life. That includes anyone seeking current, expert nutrition information including those with pre-diabetes or high cholesterol, athletes interested in sports nutrition, adults who want to lose weight, or college students looking to make healthy choices away from home.

Like personal training, Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching helps patients make gradual changes that can be incorporated into their lives. “We work with each patient individually to provide a lifestyle plan to help them reach their goals,” says Schroeder.

An initial one-hour assessment and consultation with a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist for Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching is available at a cost of $75. To make an appointment, call DCMC at (920) 746-0510.