Raising Children in Peace Forum Offers Tools to Parents

On Thursday, November 3, Door County Medical Center will present a forum designed for parents, guardians and caregivers entitled “Raising Children in Peace: A Parent’s Toolkit for Today’s Turbulent World.” Dr. DyAnn Buechler, a clinical therapist, educator and writer, will present the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion with local child advocacy leaders.

Tumultuous current events, bullying, and a heightened level of verbal violence in the media and our public spaces can all contribute to a child’s sense of anxiety. In today’s increasingly turbulent world, parents often ask “What can I do to help my child feel secure?” Dr. Buechler’s presentation will address the issue of fear in children’s lives and offer effective, practical tools to help parents create a positive environment, boosting children’s confidence and sense of security. The importance of safe spaces and community resources will also be explored, and attendees will be provided with a list of resources to support their efforts as parents and caregivers.


Four panelists will comment on the topic from their own professional perspectives, including Mark Hill, social worker at Door County Department of Human Services, Barb Johnson-Giese, licensed clinical social worker and Behavioral Health coordinator at Door County Medical Center, Shirley Senarighi, retired principal and educator at Sturgeon Bay Schools, and Patti Vickman, superintendent of Southern Door Schools. An open discussion with the audience will follow.

The forum takes place at Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center from 6:00-7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided. For more information, call 920.493.5979.


Sharon Haines: Back in the Swim

Sharon Haines has been retired from her career as a banking professional for three years, but she keeps up a pace that rivals most working folks. Thanks to two knee replacements, performed by Door County Medical Center (DCMC) surgeon Dr. Dan Tomaszewski, Sharon is setting the bar high for her friends, family and fellow swim class members.

Four or five times a week, Sharon heads to the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay early in the morning, reporting for group exercise classes in the pool. The classes keep her limber and active, and provide a wonderful social group as well. “When I was recovering from surgery, my physical therapist, Bill Herbst, asked me what my goal was,” says Sharon. “I said I want to get back to the pool! I miss my friends.” Bill and Sharon worked hard to bring function and strength back to her joints, and she was in the water again within six weeks.


Before her two surgeries Sharon felt stiff and tired much of the time. Though she is an avid golfer, it got to the point that she couldn’t even bend over to pick her ball out of the cup. Now, she golfs several times a week with friends and with her grandchildren. “Now I can pick their balls up for them,” she says. “The pain is gone and I can move and enjoy life again.”

She credits Dr. Tomaszewski and the staff at the Bone and Joint Center of Door County at DCMC for her outcomes. “The care was incredible – from the pre-operative class and handbook I was given, to the surgery, to my post-surgical care and rehabilitation. I’m grateful to have this outstanding care right here at our local hospital.”

Orthopedic Care Coordinator Veronica Behme guides patients through the entire process, helping them understand what to expect and following up when they are home recovering. “It was great to have Veronica just a phone call away at any time,” says Sharon.

But Sharon also had her own personal coach by her side – her husband, Dick.  As Sharon’s coach, Dick attended pre-operative meetings, appointments and the inpatient group rehab class the day after surgery. “The coaching component is so valuable, because it meant another person had the information I needed and could support me during my surgery and recovery. It was wonderful to have him included in the whole process.”

Sharon is proud to have encouraged several of her swim class friends to have joint replacement surgeries at DCMC as well. “Everyone just thinks so highly of Dr. Dan (Tomaszewski) and Dr. Davis,” she says. Now, you’ll find Sharon walking her dog Zoey, spending time in the kitchen with her grandchildren or out and about Sturgeon Bay with friends. “It just feels so good to be back to an active life,” she says. “Enjoy every single day – that’s the key.”


School Nursing Keeps Kids Healthy and Ready to Learn

School nursing has come a long way since nurses waited in infirmaries with bandages, ice packs and thermometers. Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) school nursing program provides comprehensive care at three local school districts, Southern Door, Gibraltar and Sturgeon Bay Schools. “Our goal is to promote health and safety, and keep kids learning,” says Jenn Olsen, RN, coordinator of the program.

Olsen coordinates care that includes creating health care plans for students with special health needs, training teachers on emergency medical procedures, and working with support staff like playground monitors, kitchen staff and bus drivers to cover all the bases of kids’ health. “Having emergency protocols for everything from diabetic emergencies to seizures to allergic reactions is a key part of our work,” Olsen says. “Properly trained staff can make the difference between a minor incident and a major health problem for kids with these issues.”

42809964 - female doctor checking blood pressure of girl sitting on bed in hospital

School nursing staff also monitor for immunization compliance, ensuring that a school population is adequately protected from communicable disease. “There’s lots of communication involved – letting parents, teachers and students know when there is a health issue, and how to take steps to protect themselves.” As with all health care, prevention is key:  training staff and students in health procedures like proper handwashing goes a long way in making schools healthy environments.

In addition to Olsen, two Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) work onsite at schools, providing face-to-face care that comforts students and gets them back to class quickly. “We certainly still use a lot of band-aids and ice packs,” says Olsen. “But we also administer medication and work with students who may be transitioning back to school after an injury or illness. We hear a lot of students, staff and parents tell us ‘We’re glad you’re here.’”

Behind the scenes, Olsen help districts develop policies and procedures to comply with federal and state health regulations, as well as promoting employee health through blood pressure checks, weight loss challenges and education. “We are there to care for the students, but staff see us as a resource, too. We’ve created trusting relationships in our schools.”

“We appreciate the expertise of DCMC in providing medical support and school nursing services for our students,” says Sturgeon Bay Schools Superintendent Dan Tjernagel.  “The school nursing program allows our staff to implement best practices from the nursing field, and keeps their focus on what matters most: teaching and learning.”


Door County Medical Center Now Offering Psychotherapy Services

Mental health issues touch the lives of many in our community. But as in other rural areas, those who struggle with mental illness have not always had adequate access to care. To help bridge this gap, Door County Medical Center recently expanded its behavioral health services by offering psychotherapy and psychiatric care.

“As the leaders of health and wellness in our community, we saw a need for more access to psychotherapeutic services, and decided we were the ones to help meet that need,” says Barb Johnson-Giese, LCSW, DCMC’s behavioral health coordinator.  Psychotherapy and psychiatric services serve patients with moderate to severe mental health needs who require longer term care and may benefit from medication in addition to therapy. These programs are open to all community members, and patients can self-refer for the service. Care is provided by a team of licensed therapists, including licensed clinical social workers and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

teenmentalhealthSince 2015, DCMC has offered Behavioral Health Integration services, offered in conjunction with primary care providers at North Shore Medical Clinic. The program serves adults and adolescents needing help with anxiety, depression, risky alcohol or other drug use and tobacco cessation.

A recent Community Health Needs Assessment, conducted by DCMC in collaboration with Door County Public Health and other human service organizations, indicated a continued need for more care. “The data showed mental health care continues to be a strong need in our community – just as it is in the nation as a whole,” says Johnson-Giese. Instances of suicide, bullying and child abuse are all higher in Door County than the state average.

DCMC was recently named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in the nation for the fifth year in a row. President and CEO Jerry Worrick credits the collaborative culture of the hospital for the honor. “We’re always looking to the community to learn how we can make life better for people,” he says. “Our emphasis on mental health is just another example of how we are being proactive to keep our community the healthiest it can be.”

To learn more about mental health services at DCMC, call 920.746.0510.


Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup

The cafeteria at Door County Medical Center is known for their delicious soups, made from scratch daily using with homemade vegetable or chicken stock. Chef John Vreeke shares this recipe just in time for cool fall weather. Try it yourself, or stop in for lunch (served 11:30-1:30) or dinner (served 5:30-6:30) for a cup or bowl. 

Vegetable soup, slow-cooked in a crock pot, ready to serve.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup

Serves 6-8

  •  4 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup Sliced Zucchini Squash
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp each dried basil, thyme, and oregano
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1.5 Tsp black pepper
  • 1 – 46  oz. can tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Heat butter or olive oil in stockpot.  Add vegetables, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add tomato juice, honey, water or stock, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.  Add cheese and adjust seasonings to taste.  Enjoy!


Healthy, Active Kids: Habits for a Lifetime

With one in three children in the United States overweight or obese, childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news is childhood obesity can be prevented.

Helping kids establish habits for a lifetime of good health starts at home, says pediatrician Amy Fogarty of Door County Medical Center. “That means a combination of healthy eating habits and activity, including 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.”

Here are small steps families can take to help, recommended by DCMC pediatricians Fogarty and John Arnold.

  • Keep healthy foods within reach. Place a bowl of fruit on the counter within easy reach, and put healthy high protein snacks like string cheese and low-fat yogurt at eye level in the fridge. Save high calorie snacks like chips and cookies for special occasions.
  • Play together. Whether it’s washing the car together on a Saturday morning, going for an after-dinner walk, or playing ball in the backyard, physical activity outdoors is a benefit for body and spirit. On cold or rainy days, cleaning the house to fun music or having a dance party can substitute.
  • Reduce screen time. “In general, one hour of screen time is the ideal limit. More than two hours a day isn’t good for kids,” says Fogarty. Keeping a log of screen time, even for a few weeks, can help families understand how much time kids are actually spending in from of TVs, phones and other devices.
  • Ditch the car keys. When possible, encourage children to ride a bike or walk to the YMCA, school, the library or friends’ homes, rather than going by car. Be sure kids understand rules of the road and wear bike helmets.
  • Get cooking. Involve kids in planning and cooking meals. To keep it simple, have each child help with one meal per week. Kids are more likely to try new healthy foods when they help pick them.

Shop and Dine Day Supports The Healing Project

Saturday, October 8 is Shop and Dine Day throughout Sturgeon Bay. Local storefront and virtual businesses will donate a portion of their profits to The Healing Project to benefit individuals living with cancer.

The Healing Project, now under the auspices of Door County Medical Center (DCMC), provides free integrative health care services to those living with cancer. Services include acupuncture, energy therapy, massage therapy, nutrition counseling and behavioral health counseling. Integrative therapies have been shown to benefit the physical, mental and spiritual health of those living with cancer at any stage.

healing project_brochure“We are grateful for the participation of a variety of businesses whose support will help local patients receive integrative health care,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer at DCMC. Healing Project participants receive services from DCMC staff, and the program is overseen by Healing Project Medical Director Dr. Chona Antonio, a primary care physician who also provides acupuncture services. DCMC also partners with HSHS St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center to provide a full range of oncology services through the Door County Cancer Center.

Shop and Dine Day is presented by DCMC and the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center. Participating businesses include: Alley Katz Boutique, Bliss, Cornucopia Kitchen Shop, Door County Eye Associates (shop Friday 10/7), Door County Habitat for Humanity – Restore, Madison Avenue Wine Shop, Monticello on Jefferson, Rogue Theater, Scaturo’s Baking Co. and Cafe, Sherry’s Hallmark, Sunflour Artisan Bakery, T. Simon Jewelers, Wilkins and Olander, Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort, Zoerb’s Paint Store, and online businesses Door County Lavender and Lemon, and Delphinus Naturals.

For more information on The Healing Project, call 920.746.0726.



Sandi Smith: Serving up Hospitality

When checking out at the hospital cafeteria register, chances are you’ll be greeted by Sandi Smith. Sandi celebrates 10 years as a nutrition technician at DCMC this year. She came to the hospital from her job as a baker at The Inn at Cedar Crossing, hired the same day as Doug Meyer, also an accomplished chef. “That started the trend of hiring top people from local restaurants,” she says.

But you won’t find any temperamental chefs here. The Nutrition Services Team works together to provide patient care in the form of personalized, nutritious meals. “We’re proud to offer room service to all our inpatients,” says Sandi. “We have nearly a dozen specialty menus, designed for different health needs, that patients choose from.” And because patients decide what and when they want to eat, the department has dramatically reduced food waste and costs. “That means more money can go towards patient care, medical equipment…the things that really matter,” says Smith. The team takes patient feedback seriously, and it shows; nutritional services is consistently rated at a 99% satisfaction rate.

Sandi Smith, nutrition technician

Sandi Smith, nutrition technician

In addition to providing patient nutrition, the cafeteria serves three meals a day to staff and guests. “We’re the best kept secret in town,” says Sandi. “Our food is delicious and reasonably priced. We’ve got regulars who eat here daily, just like any other restaurant.” All the cafeteria’s food is made from scratch, including soups which start with homemade stock, fresh produce and meats. DCMC’s CEO Jerry Worrick is a regular who never misses the Thursday breakfast special, grits with cheese. Another local couple comes in for the salmon, and many employees never miss the Thursday fresh salad bar. “We always have a healthy choice item on the menu,” says Sandi, “and we work closely with our in-house dietitians to design our menus.”

Sandi’s role as the “front of house” manager, to use restaurant lingo, keeps her in touch with the community. “I grew up here, so the people I see in the cafeteria every day were my classmates, neighbors and friends. There are so many reasons someone might be here – an illness, a sick child, or a family member in the Skilled Nursing Facility. We don’t know why they’re here, but being the friendly face who asks after them and their family provides comfort.” For Sandi, just connecting with the community through her daily work is a privilege. “I find myself praying a lot behind the counter,” she adds.

Sandi plans to work at DCMC until she retires. “The culture here is so strong,” she says. “All of us – from our staff to medical staff to senior leaders – take pride in what we are trying to accomplish: excellent patient care.”

Although Sandi worked in food preparation for many years, she has embraced her new hospitality role, into which she transitioned a year ago. “I’m kind of like the bartender,” she says. “People tell me how their day is going, what’s on their mind. People coming to the cafeteria need a break, whether it’s from their work day or from being at an appointment or visiting a family member. It’s nice to be able to be here for them – hopefully we make everybody’s day just a little better.”


HSHS St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center Receives National Recognition

Hospital Sisters Health Systems (HSHS) St. Vincent Hospital Regional Cancer Center was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the 100 hospital and health systems with great oncology programs in 2016. The Door County Cancer Center, located on campus at Door County Medical Center (DCMC) in Sturgeon Bay, is part of the St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center. The Door County Cancer Center has provided state-of-the-art radiation and chemotherapy oncology care to local patients since 2005.

oncology-programs-2016Since 2002, the Cancer Center at HSHS St. Vincent has collaborated with the National Cancer Institute to deliver access to cutting edge clinical trials, drugs and prevention studies to local residents. The center received an outstanding achievement award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (Coc) for 2015, and is currently recognized by the CoC as an Integrated Network Cancer Program, the highest level of accreditation for non-teaching hospitals.

“We congratulate our health care partners, HSHS St. Vincent, for this honor,” says Jerry Worrick, President/CEO of DCMC. “We are pleased to provide state-of-the-art cancer care close to home because of the relationship we have built with the HSHS St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center and Green Bay Oncology.” DCMC is in the process of forming a partnership with HSHS that will permit the two organizations to continue to deliver high quality health care to Door County and northeast Wisconsin.


September 15 Silent Auction Benefits Ministry Fund

Since its founding 16 years ago, Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Ministry Fund has given more than $500,000 to local individuals struggling to meet their basic needs. Funds are given to patients in need of everything from durable medical equipment to prescription medications. The fund also provides help in paying utility bills or getting transportation to receive medical care, or finding temporary shelter while receiving medical treatment.

Little girl holding a red heartThe 2016 auction raised nearly $9,000, a significant part of the annual budget of the fund. On Thursday, September 15, DCMC will hold its annual Silent Auction to benefit the Ministry Fund. “Last year we had more than 65 local businesses who made donations,” says Katie Graf, social worker at DCMC who helped establish the fund. “In addition, every department in the hospital donates a gift basket of some kind. It is a team effort.The 2016 auction raised nearly $9,000, a significant part of the annual budget of the fund.

The Ministry Fund also receives assistance from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Fred Marcon Foundation, as well as numerous private donations and memorial gifts. Within the Ministry Fund are two additional areas, the Life Direct Fund, which helps the elderly and disabled with the cost of a personal emergency response service to ensure their safety, and the Brighter Day Fund, used for community members struggling with mental illness.

“The Ministry Fund reflects our mission as a hospital,” says Graf. “We aim to further the healing ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of all, especially the poor.”  She says that the many handwritten thank you notes she receives each year are a testament to the impact the fund makes on individuals and families:

I am writing to thank you for the work you do helping others. I recently had an emergency situation and needed to be in Green Bay to have my eye checked for a possible retina detachment. Your program helped me pay for what I could not. Thank you for going above and beyond for helping me with that unexpected doctor’s appointment.

-Ministry Fund recipient

The auction is open to the public, and runs from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in all three conference rooms on the lower level of the hospital. For more information, or to make a donation to the auction or the Ministry Fund, call Katie Graf at (920) 746-3622.