Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dr. Rory Johnson: Happy to be Back

For Rory Johnson, family medicine physician at North Shore Medical Clinic in Fish Creek, coming back to Door County after a five-year hiatus feels like coming home. Dr. Johnson recently returned to Door County Medical Center (DCMC) after several years serving patients in a clinic in Black River Falls. Prior to that, Dr. Johnson was a family medicine provider at North Shore Medical Clinic in Sturgeon Bay for six years.

“It’s wonderful to be back in the community, especially working alongside Dr. Joshua Rebhan and the other providers here in Fish Creek,” he says. “Josh and I trained together as residents, and we have similar backgrounds and interests. We’ve got a great team of nurses and specialists here at the Fish Creek clinic, and can we can refer our patients for a wide variety of services.”

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Dr. Johnson enjoys the daily challenges and variety that come with providing family medicine. He has a strong interest in sports medicine, and has cared for high school football and basketball teams. He now works with DCMC physical therapist Bill Herbst to provide care for local student athletes. “I also really enjoy pediatrics. I’m looking forward to continuing to develop my practice and serving local families – parents, grandparents, and children.”

You’ll see Dr. Johnson prescribing medication, but he’s just as likely to be writing prescriptions for exercise. “We know exercise is key to health and preventing so many conditions,” he says. Through a new program, Dr. Johnson and his colleagues prescribe physical activity, sending patients to the Door County Y to “fill” their prescription through a trial membership and free fitness consultation. “It’s a great community partnership,” he adds.

As medical director at Scandia Village, Dr. Johnson sees firsthand how many older Door County residents have chosen to retire here because of the quality of health care. “DCMC provides a level of care that is quite uncommon in a community of this size. Our medical community is a definite draw for folks who want to retire here.”

An avid runner, Dr. Johnson looks forward to participating in outdoor events such as the Door County Half Marathon. It’s a family affair, as his wife is also a runner and his three children participate in 5K runs, too.  He also enjoys golf and baseball. A baseball player from childhood through college, he now mentors young baseball players as assistant coach of a local 6th grade team.

Besides exercise, a healthy diet and regular checkups, Dr. Johnson gives his patients this important tip: drink more water. “Many people are dehydrated, and may not even know it. Drinking water can reduce problems with arthritis, the kidneys and blood pressure. Stay away from carbonated drinks, and drinks with added sugar. Adequate water intake every day can make a difference in your health.”

Nothing but the Best: Jim Sarkis and Dr. Kelton Reitz

Not much has slowed Jim Sarkis down in his 35 years as a successful real estate agent and businessman in Door County. He thrives on involvement and competition, and enjoys having a full plate. When it comes to business, he says “I always try to hire the best, because I want to be the best.” This philosophy extends throughout his life, and when he chose Door County Medical Center (DCMC) provider Kelton Reitz as his primary care physician 10 years ago, he knew he’d found the right fit. “If I demand excellence in my business, why wouldn’t I in my health care?” he says.

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“When it comes to a doctor, I need somebody I can trust. Someone who will listen to me.” Sarkis’ trusting relationship with Dr. Reitz was critical when he was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2014. “With something like cancer, care and compassion are unbelievably important, especially during the initial stages. Kelton provided that, along with excellent health care and professionalism.”

Jim’s wife Meg agrees that the care her husband received from Dr. Reitz was critical to his successful recovery. “At DCMC, we feel we’re among friends, because we are. These people know us. They love us,” she says. Adds Jim, “Kelton’s chairside manner is a great combination of warm and compassionate with professional and very steady. And he speaks my language – Kelton is an excellent communicator.”

Following his diagnosis, Jim received treatment at the Door County Cancer Center, and through participating in a clinical trial, his prognosis is excellent. He has remained busy and involved, maintaining his successful business as well as his roles as President of Door County Charities and Director of Sales and Marketing for the Green Bay Chapter of the NFL Alumni.  Recently, he joined the board of directors at MDCMC. “I got involved in the board because I felt the hospital had done so much for me. I wanted to give back.”

Both Jim and Meg are grateful for the care that Ministry provides. “Both our children were born here, and we feel so fortunate to have excellent care, close to home,” says Meg. “Why would we travel 40 miles or more for health care when we have this facility right here?” says Jim. “The care we get here is nothing but the best.”

Healthy Eating and Helping People: Gina Newton, RD

For Gina Newton, clinical dietitian at Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC), it’s all about the food. Healthy food, that is. “I love my work in the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), helping the residents achieve their goals, eating good food…food they enjoy.”

Gina works primarily in the SNF, an on-site facility that serves 25-30 residents. The staff work hard to provide a home-like environment, and that means food choices. “People really like having options for food. For lunch and dinner, we have a hot dish and a soup and sandwich choice. Residents have the choice of eating in their room or in the dining room. We even have a buffet style breakfast.”

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Gina has worked at MDCMC for nearly 12 years, and loves being part of an organization that values helping others. “It means a lot to me to work in a Christian atmosphere,” she says. “MDCMC really embodies the values of giving and caring. There is a bottom line here – and that’s helping people.’

As the mother of four children, Gina also values being part of an organization that is family-friendly. She works part time and was able to take time off when each of her children was born. Her part time status doesn’t stop her from being involved in many aspects of the organization, though, including community outreach.

“I really enjoy going into the schools and talking to kids about healthy eating,” she says. Gina has presented to classrooms of four-year-old kindergarteners, middle school and high school students. “Working with kids, I feel I can make an impact. Young people are open to new ideas. If we can encourage them to choose healthy foods right now, they’ll be healthier in the future.”

Gina also represents MDCMC on the Healthy Door County 2020 task force, helping the group work with public school food service directors to make meals more nutritious and appealing to children. “When the food guidelines became more stringent, we wanted to help schools make that change in a positive way. We’ve been able to support the schools and it has made an impact on a lot of kids.”

Southern Door Community Clinic Opens February 15

Holly Ullman Herlache, APNP, will be the lead provider at the new North Shore Medical Clinic – Southern Door, a partnership between the Southern Door School District and Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC).

A certified family nurse practitioner, Herlache has 10 years experience as a provider and 33 years experience nursing at MDCMC. “I enjoy family practice because I get to work with patients of all ages, and there’s a great deal of opportunity for teaching and education,” she says.

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Herlache’s passion for educating her patients to make informed health care decisions is a perfect fit for the clinic, as it is located on campus at Southern Door Schools. “Our goal is to improve the health of the whole community, so we will be seeing people for preventative care, common complaints such as cold and flu, and urgent care, as well as sports physicals and immunizations,” she says.

Herlache was a provider at MDCMC’s Washington Island Clinic for more than six years, where she served generations of families and provided health expertise for the community, recreation center and school. “I enjoy being part of a close-knit community,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to caring for the people of Southern Door.”

North Shore Medical Clinic – Southern Door opens February 15, and will serve patients Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Exams are available for a same-day cash payment of $65, or can be billed to insurance (deductibles apply). Lab work is also available. Call (920) 746-3664 for an appointment.

A Healthy Heart: Tips from Dr. Richard Hogan

February is American Heart Month. Richard Hogan, MD, doctor of internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine at Door County Medical Center, offers his tips for making choices that affect heart health and overall well-being.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, causing one in four deaths annually. “The good news is heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions,” says Dr. Hogan.

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Here are Dr. Hogan’s top six tips for heart health:

  • Get moving. “Regular exercise is a huge factor in preventing heart disease,” he says. “It’s important to exercise 25-30 minutes three times a week, at a level at which you can’t keep up a regular conversation. More is even better.” For elderly patients, Dr. Hogan still prescribes regular movement. “5-15 minutes of movement, three times a day is a good target.”
  • Healthy is as healthy eats. “The plain truth is, we live in a toxic food environment,” he says. “Temptations are always there, from fast food to the plate of treats in the break room at work.” Dr. Hogan advocates a high protein, high fiber diet that includes plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. “Our ancestors didn’t have the processed, high calorie foods available to us now, and we are paying the price with our health issues. Making lifestyle changes over time is the key to a healthier diet.”
  • Get your Z’s. As a sleep specialist and provider at DCMC’s Sleep Facility, Dr. Hogan knows that the risk of heart disease, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and stroke increase in patients suffering from sleep apnea. “Sleep apnea can be managed, and we achieve excellent results with patients in our sleep lab. Not only does treatment reduce cardiac risk, but the patient’s overall feelings of well-being are improved,” he says.
  • See your doctor. A yearly checkup is essential to monitoring and managing risk factors such as high blood pressure. “I also recommend a lipid panel (blood test) every five years to check cholesterol, or more often if there are problems with cholesterol levels.” “Some patients may benefit from a Coronary Calcium Scan, a heart scan that can indicate the early stages of heart disease.”
  • Check your family tree. Early heart disease in parents or siblings is a risk factor for heart disease, and it’s important to be aware of your family history in order to take appropriate preventative steps. “There’s interesting new research indicating that heredity may affect hormone levels of leptin and ghrelin, neurochemicals that make us feel satisfied or hungry. Since some individuals may be predisposed to consume more calories to feel satiated, it’s even more important for to manage their risk factors, such as weight and blood pressure.”
  • Take a minute. Stress is a fact of life, but Dr. Hogan recommends the technique of taking “one minute for yourself” several times a day. “This might mean stretching, stopping to do some deep breathing, preparing a cup of tea, or just making a plan to do something you enjoy,” he says.