Luke Spude: Homegrown Talent

Luke Spude, Door County native and Southern Door alumnae, is happy to be putting his new degree to work at Door County Medical Center. The 2016 Marian University graduate was administrative intern at the hospital last summer, an experience he says taught him many sides of the health care business. “I was able to work on special projects in the finance, marketing and accounting departments,” he says. Through the internship, he had a chance to see the many areas of the community DCMC supports, from outdoor sporting events to school initiatives.

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Growing up in Southern Door, Luke experienced DCMC community support through his active role in the arts. A talented singer, he appeared on stage at the Southern Door Auditorium in several events supported by the hospital, including Door County Idol. He also received a scholarship from DCMC designed to support local high school graduates entering the health care field. “It’s amazing to see all the places Door County Medical Center gives back to the community,” he says.

Now Spude has landed a full-time job working in the accounts payable department. He sees fellow Southern Door graduates throughout the day, who hold jobs in everything from nursing to facilities management. “This place really is a center of the community, providing great care for patients and jobs for the community,” he says.



Tried and True: New Year’s Health Tips

Improving or maintaining good health is a resolution on most of our lists for 2017.  “There are many things we can all do to improve our health that do not require spending a lot of money or having extensive testing,” says Paula Hobart, family medicine nurse practitioner at Door County Medical Clinic.

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Here are a few tips:

  • Drink up. Make staying hydrated part of your daily routine. Even mild dehydration can contribute to fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Try for eight glasses of water a day.
  • Plan Meals. Healthy eating doesn’t just happen. Make fruits and vegetables a part of every meal, and choose whole grains over white bread or sweetened cereals. Cut down on prepackaged and deep-fried food, and minimize sugary drinks and alcohol.
  • Get moving. Regular exercise can help improve sleep quality, reduce stress, help with weight loss and keep blood pressure and cholesterol down. Aim for 30 minutes, five times a week for starters.
  • Get your Z’s. Allowing adequate time for sleep can improve your sense of well-being. Sleep deprivation can contribute to depression, weight gain, difficulty concentrating at work, and inattentive driving.
  • Vaccinate. Receiving an annual seasonal flu vaccine is a simple way to reduce risk of serious viral illness during flu season. In addition to protecting yourself, it helps to protect others in the community who may not be well equipped to fight off a viral illness.

“In addition to these lifestyle choices, it is also important to have regular screening exams with your provider, so any little problems can be detected and treated early,” says Hobart.


Ask the Expert: Avoiding Colds and Flu

By Patti Balestrieri, APNP, Door County Medical Center


Q:  I’m a busy working mom, and I can’t afford to get sick! How can I avoid colds and flu this winter?

A: Proper handwashing is the first line of defense against cold and flu season. What’s more, encouraging good hand hygiene for the whole family can decrease illness in the household.

  • Sing the ABCs. It takes at least 20 seconds to kill germs. Have children sing the alphabet song while lathering, then rinse.
  • Soap and water. Washing with soap and water is more effective than hand sanitizer, and less drying to the skin.
  • Germ control. When in public restrooms, use a paper towel to turn off the sink and open the restroom door when exiting.
  • Cough smart. Teach children to cough into the crook of their arm, rather than their hands.


DCMC’s Urgent Care Department, located within the Sturgeon Bay facility, is open every day of the year from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Diana Wallace: A Warm Welcome

Diana Wallace knows the first interaction a patient experiences at a provider’s office is critical. As Rehab Assistant at Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Rehab Services Clinic in Sister Bay at Scandia Village, Wallace’s job includes scheduling appointments, handling billing and answering the phones. “But,” she says, “the most important thing I do is invite patients into the clinic and make them as comfortable as possible.”

Many patients coming to Rehab Services are recovering from recent joint replacement or other surgery. “It’s an intense time,” she says. “They are in pain, and it’s our job to help them understand we are here to help them feel better, better than they felt before surgery.”

wallace_2407Working in a clinic was a sea change for Wallace, who had a long career as a corporate marketing executive before moving to Door County ten years ago. After starting her own interior design business in Sister Bay, she realized she needed a job that would offer health benefits, and was hired part-time at the Sister Bay Clinic. “It has been ten years. I wasn’t planning to be here this long,” she laughs.

Wallace looks forward to coming to work and likes the fact that the patients she serves are also her friends and neighbors. “We recently moved into a new state of the art space in Scandia Village’s new addition.  It’s such a pleasant and comfortable space for patients. My colleagues are great people who enjoy learning and growing.”

Since moving to the county 15 years ago, Wallace has noticed a shift in the way people regard Door County Medical Center. “People know they can get virtually every kind of care at DCMC,” she says, “including joint replacement and cancer care close to home.” When Wallace first arrived in the county, she too wondered if she would need to move away from Door County as she grew older, to access high quality care. She doesn’t think that way anymore. “I know I’ll stay here, and I’m absolutely confident I’ll get excellent care from the doctors and therapists at DCMC.”

Being part of the local health care team means a lot to Wallace. “I always get stopped in the grocery store by someone telling me they’ll see me soon at the clinic or asking about available appointments. It’s a good feeling to be connected to this community.”

For more general information about DCMC Rehab Services please call 920-746-0410.


2017 Winter Concert Series

The Celebrate Community Winter Concert Series for 2017 begins Friday, January 6. Join us for heartwarming music in an intimate space!



Employee Art Warms New Clinic Space

When Door County Medical Center announced plans to renovate its main clinic in Sturgeon Bay, president and CEO Jerry Worrick knew he wanted something special to adorn the walls. “We have such a depth of talent among our staff, including many fine amateur photographers,” he said. The hospital put out a call to DCMC staff members to submit photographs of Door County scenes for consideration.

"The Fence" by Corinne Schaefer

“The Fence” by Corinne Schaefer

“The response was overwhelming,” said Jodi Hibbard, director of clinic operations who helped organize the project. “We had more than 70 photography submissions from a wide range of staff and providers.” Through an inclusive voting process, all those employed by DCMC selected the top 10 photographs. “There was a tie for tenth place, so we ended up selecting 13 photographs to be printed and mounted.”


"Summer Field" by Heather Khan

“Summer Field” by Heather Khan


The result is a beautiful and tranquil gallery, featuring subject matter ranging from iconic Door County scenes like Cave Point, to pictures of children and animals. “We wanted to pay homage to the fact that our employees have rich lives and talents outside of work. We could have purchased stock photos, but it’s more meaningful to have this gallery created by our own team,” said Hibbard.

The gallery is in the rear hallway of the main clinic in Sturgeon Bay, open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Wendy Ulrikson: Getting People What They Need

Wendy Ulrikson likes playing a supporting role. As department assistant for Cardiopulmonary Services, she works every day to communicate with patients and support staff members. “My role includes scheduling respiratory tests, calling patients to set up sleep lab appointments, and supporting the sleep lab and respiratory technicians,” she says.

Ulrikson joined DCMC in 2011, at a time when the Sleep Facility was expanding. “As an American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep lab, there’s a lot that needs to be done to stay current and make sure we are providing best practices for our patients.”


Her background in business administration in shipbuilding and manufacturing and as a pharmacy tech prepared her for the varied demands of health care work. She even worked in the IT department of a nuclear plant. “I love being in this supporting role. Helping people achieve their goals and get the resources they need to accomplish their jobs is really fulfilling for me.”

Ulrikson has referred many friends, family and acquaintances to the DCMC Sleep Lab. “I’ve learned a lot about sleep issues, and when I hear people talk about certain symptoms, I’m able to share my knowledge about how sleep problems can have a serious effect on health.”

She also enjoys talking with patients and helping them understand the “why” of their respiratory care. “Patients really appreciate when we take the time to explain the process of testing,” she says. Recently, a patient thanked Ulrikson and told her of the difference she made in his care by encouraging him to get to all of his appointments. “That made me feel really good.”

Outside of work, Ulrikson enjoys spending time with her two young grandchildren. “We always look forward to doing things in the community, including activities sponsored by the hospital.” She has taken her grandchildren to the Southern Door Eagle Trail Run, and hopes to enroll them in next summer’s Art on the Wild Side classes.

When she’s out and about, she isn’t shy about telling her own DCMC story. “I’m not just an employee – this is where I get my own health care, including surgeries. I will come back in a heartbeat, because the care here is such high quality.”


Brussels Sprout Slaw with Cranberries and Walnuts

by Judi Sowl, Registered Dietitian, DCMC

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, green cabbage and cauliflower are excellent sources of vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber and magnesium. The four-petal flowers from these veggies resemble a cross or “crucifer,” hence their name. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, adding cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts to your diet can help lower risk for certain cancers, including colon, mouth, esophagus and stomach.

Raw Brussels sprouts on a cutting board with a knifeBut these vegetables are also delicious! This colorful, fresh side dish will make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table, or any festive gathering. Or, take a serving for lunch along with a piece of whole grain bread and some low-fat cheese.

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Cranberries and Walnuts

  • 3/4 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (or 1/4 cup regular lemon juice)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Trim bottoms from sprouts and remove any loose or bruised leaves. Place shredding disk or fine slicing disk in food processor, and using feeding tube, gradually shred Brussels spouts: makes about 4 1/2 img_5888cups. Transfer shredded sprouts to mixing bowl.

Add apple, cranberries, walnuts, salt, pepper and lemon juice and stir with a fork for one minute to combine well. Add oil and stir. Cover and refrigerate slaw for 3 hours or overnight. Re-stir before serving. Best served within 24 hours.

Makes 8 1/2 cup servings.

Per serving: 141 calories, 7 g fat, 20 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 4g fiber, 13 mg sodium.




Kelli Clark: Patient Care is Her Bottom Line

Kelli Clark knows that long after patients’ health problems are resolved, financial challenges can persist. As manager of patient financial services, she and her team support patients’ financial well-being, alleviating stress so patients can focus on their health and healing. “Just as our excellent clinicians care for people’s bodies, minds and spirits, we are here to care for their financial health.”

“We’re so much more than just the billing department,” she says. Clark’s team of financial counselors, claims specialists and customer service representatives help people understand their bills and insurance coverage, as well as setting up payment plans to help those who can’t pay all at once. But the team also helps patients be proactive about their own financial well-being, offering community workshops and one-on-one sessions to enroll in the Health Care Marketplace or BadgerCare.

“10 years ago, health coverage was so much simpler. You paid your deductible, and that was that,” she says. Now, a constantly changing health insurance landscape and the prevalence of high-deductible plans make paying for health care more complex.

Clark sees many local families who are caught in the middle. “These are working people who are doing everything they can, but then a health issue sets them back financially in a big way.” That’s where Community Care, DCMC’s charitable program, makes a difference. Patients in need who provide their financial information are eligible to have a percentage of their health care costs covered by DCMC. “This is a service we perform as an organization because we believe so strongly in caring for all people,” says Clark. “It feels really good to be part of an organization that values people and believes in providing health care for all. That’s our bottom line.”

Hospital finance is a second career for Clark, who also worked in the juvenile criminal system. “That experience gave me a unique perspective on the many struggles people have that often go unnoticed,” she says. Clark’s compassion is shared by her team, from financial counselors who go the extra mile to accommodate patients to customer service representatives who reassure callers who are worried or confused about their medical bills.

She shares the story of an unnamed patient who needed a joint replacement. “It wasn’t a life and death situation,” she says, “but his quality of life just wasn’t there. He was really suffering.” The man lacked insurance, so DCMC’s financial counselors worked with him to find an affordable insurance plan through the Marketplace. Once he was insured, he went forward with the surgery at DCMC’s Bone and Joint Center, and the Community Care program helped with his deductibles. “Now he’s healed and doing very well,” says Clark. “Helping people like him is why I love this job.”


Prevention and Screening are Keys to Breast Health

The staff of The Women’s Center at Door County Medical Center encourage women to take steps to prevent breast cancer, as well as being proactive in early detection. “Breast Cancer will affect one in eight women in their lifetimes,” says Ann Bretl, RN, Nursing Supervisor at the Women’s Center, “and early detection is key to providing the best chances for treatment.”

Pink Ribbon Charity for Womens Health Awareness Tee Shirt.Some factors in breast cancer, such as family history, can’t be changed. But there are lifestyle changes you can make at any age that may lower your risk.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to one drink a day. Moderate, heavy and binge drinking are linked to a greater risk of breast cancer.
  • Quit smoking. Evidence shows a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, especially in younger women.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer, especially if it occurs later in life.
  • Keep on moving. Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk.
  • Breast Feed. Breast-feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect may be.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Other than lifestyle changes, the most important action a woman can take is to follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection, which improves the chances that cancer can be diagnosed and treated successfully at an early stage.

  • See your doctor. Women age 40 and older should talk to their doctor about how often to have a mammogram. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of their regular health exam.
  • Consider BSE’s (Breast Self Exams). Report any breast changes to your health care provider right away.
  • Recognize your risk. Women of any age at high risk based on certain factors should get a mammogram every year. Talk with your doctor about what screening plan is right for you.