Tart Cherries: Healthy, Local and Delicious

“Healthy food doesn’t taste good.” Is that what you think? As a registered dietitian at Ministry Door County Medical Center, I’d like to help change your mind. And Door County tart cherries might help!

Tart cherries are the smallest members of the stone fruit family. This “family” includes plums, apricots, nectarines, and peaches. Here in Door County, we grow two of the most popular varieties of tart cherries: Montmorency and Balaton. Cherries are a good source of vitamin A. They also contain anthocyanins, a compound found to block two enzymes which play a role in inflammation. Since inflammation has been linked to many chronic diseases, consuming cherries may play a role in prevention and treatment.

What we know for sure is that cherries are DELICIOUS. You can use them in all parts of a meal from appetizer to beverage, salad to bread, main dish to dessert. Dried, frozen or fresh, add cherries to your favorite recipes for an added boost of flavor and possible health benefits. The Wisconsin Cherry Growers website has many recipes using cherries in a variety of ways. This recipe combines two Door County favorites: Salmon and Tart Cherries. The salsa would also be great over poultry or pork.


Caramelized Salmon with Cherry Salsa   

Makes 4 servings

1-1/2 pounds fresh for frozen salmon fillet with skin

3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. grated orange peel

½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper

1 ripe mango or papaya (seeded, peeled, and chopped)

1 cup frozen tart cherries, thawed, drained and halved

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, basil, or cilantro

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper


Thaw fish, if frozen. Stir together brown sugar, orange peel and pepper. Place fish, skin side down, in a shallow pan. Rub sugar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 2-8 hours.

Remove fish from pan, draining off any juices. Place salmon, skin-side down, on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from medium-hot coals. Grill for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Do not turn fish.

Meanwhile, toss together mango or papaya, cherries, herb, vinegar and red pepper. Spoon fruit salsa over warm fish. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories 373, Carbohydrate 16 grams, Protein 34 grams, Fat 19 grams, Fiber 1 gram, Sodium 100 mg

-Judi Sowl, RD


Roasted Mexican Corn Salad

It’s high season for fresh corn, and Ministry’s cafeteria has been using a lot of it lately in this most-requested side dish from Chef Eric VanAlstine.

Says Chef Eric, “This is our version of a traditional Mexican method for serving corn.  Typically, you would see these ingredients applied to a freshly grilled ear of corn immediately after it is removed from the flame.  Our recipe can be made in summer with fresh corn, or year-round by substituting frozen, whole kernel corn. I make it at home and here in Ministry’s kitchen. It’s a great picnic dish, and complements just about any meal.”

corn salad

Roasted Mexican Corn Salad

·         2 pounds of frozen, whole kernel corn, or fresh corn off the cob

·         ½ cup mayonnaise

·         1 cup grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese

·         1-2 Tablespoons chili powder

·         Juice of one lime

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread corn evenly on a baking pan.  Toss corn once or twice while baking to help with even browning, roasting corn to desired doneness.  Remove from oven and let rest in pan until just warm.  (This will help loosen any brown “bits” stuck to the pan)

Move warm corn to a mixing bowl.  Add all ingredients and mix well.  Add mayo, and chili powder to taste.  Top wish chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

Reheat if needed to serve warm, but it is also good at room temperature.


Back on Track: Liz Junion and Dr. Steve Davis

Seven years ago, Liz Junion – busy mom, wife and teacher – wasn’t a runner. Then she broke her ankle.

“It was a bad break. I missed a stair, coming down,” she says. Fortunately, Liz had ankle repair surgery with with Dr. Steven Davis, orthopedic surgeon at Ministry Door County Medical Center, and now she’s better than ever.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 3.18.54 PM

Liz credits Dr. Davis with the fact that she is so active. “I had surgery the next day. He was so caring and I felt a great deal of trust.” Successful surgery was followed up with rehab at Ministry’s Rehabilitation Services Department. “The staff there was amazing. They made it clear that it was going to be a process, and not easy. They were so encouraging. I know my rehab helped a ton.”

“After my surgery and rehab, I was very motivated to get in shape. I started with the Door County Half Marathon and then did two more runs. This month I’ll be running in my fourth Half Marathon,’ she says. “The more I move, the better I feel.”

According to Dr. Davis, “It’s an honor to be part of people’s lives, to help them get back to doing the things they love.” He’s thrilled to have helped Liz get back to her active life. “To see her as a busy teacher, a busy mom, and be able to enjoy life to the fullest and enjoy running – there’s really no greater reward.”

“I feel fortunate to have such good care, close to home,” says Liz. “I’d recommend Dr. Davis to everyone.”


HealthEVisits Offer Quick Online Diagnosis for Common Conditions

Do you need a quick diagnosis but don’t have time to visit Urgent Care? Perhaps you have a sick child at home and you’re reluctant leave the house to see the doctor? Or would you just prefer to get a quick diagnosis from your couch, desk or even your bed?

Ministry’s new HealthEvisits service offers quick, convenient care for mild health conditions including pink eye, sinus infections, bladder infections (UTI), and acid reflux. All you need is an Internet connection and ten minutes to complete an online questionnaire about your health condition.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 4.48.28 PMThe service is easy to use: patients answer a short series of questions online that are reviewed by a Ministry clinician within an hour. The clinician then provides a diagnosis and treatment plan, with prescriptions called into the pharmacy of the patient’s choice as needed.

“As health care evolves, we are always looking for ways to make care more convenient and cost-effective,” says James Heise, MD, medical director at Ministry Door County Medical Center. “This program has been in use at other Ministry facilities since last year, and we believe it’s a great addition to what we offer our community.”

HealthEVisits are available from 7 a.m.- 10 p.m., seven days a week. A visit costs $35 out-of-pocket, a substantial savings compared with visiting an urgent care or retail clinic. The program is open to anyone in Wisconsin, resident or visitor, regardless of insurance status or primary care provider. Visit ministryhealth.org/healthevisits to begin.


Ministry Announces Free July Concert Series in Hospital Green Space

Ministry Door County Medical Center is pleased to announce its third annual free concert series “Celebrate Community,” beginning Tuesday, July 7. The first concert will feature Cavern Beat (music of The Beatles), with special guests Dorothy Scott and the young performers of LEAP (The Human Kindness Project). Concerts are free of charge and take place at 7 p.m. at the hospital’s green space on 16th Place, next to The Community’s Garden. Other featured acts for July include:

Cory ChiselTuesday July 14: American folk rock band Corey Chisel and the Wandering Sons. Cory and his band hail from Appleton, WI, but since have toured with Norah Jones and appeared on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, among others.

Tuesday, July 21: Acoustic duo Patchouli. Featuring award-winning songwriter Julie Patchouli and master guitarist Bruce Hecksel, this group will light up the night with elements of pop, folk, flamenco and jazz.

Tuesday, July 28: The Snowbirds. This group brings their storytelling and musical abilities to celebrate the fresh, laid back sound of alt-country.

“Music contributes to people’s emotional, physical and spiritual well-being,” says Kevin Grohskopf of Ministry. “We’re so pleased to help celebrate our community by offering these free concerts in a beautiful outdoor setting.”

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, and chairs or blankets. In case of rain, concerts will be moved to the Door County Fire Company, 38 S. Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. For more information on the series, call 920-493-5979.


Ministry Welcomes Orthopedic Physician Assistant

Ministry Door County Medical Center is pleased to announced that Philip Bryan, PA-C joined orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Davis and Dr. Dan Tomaszewski June 1 in Ministry’s orthopedic department.

PhilBryan_CoatwebPhilip is one of 46 surgical residency trained orthopedic physician assistants in the United States. He comes to Ministry from his practice at Tri-State Orthopedic Surgeons in Evansville, IN. Philip holds a Masters Degree in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies from the Arizona School of Health Sciences and completed his general surgery residency at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. He also served in the United States Coast Guard as an in-flight emergency medical technician.

“Phil is an outstanding addition to the orthopedic team,” says Dr. Steve Davis. ““We’ve seen increased demand for orthopedic services here at Ministry, and Phil comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and an ability to relate to and care for our orthopedic patients through diagnosis and treatment, pre and post surgery, and throughout the rehabilitation process. He’s an outstanding person and we’re looking forward to introducing him to our community.”

Philip Bryan is now seeing patients. To make an appointment with a provider in Ministry’s orthopedic services department, call (920) 743-5566.


Ministry Door County Physician Inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Radiology

Donald L. Renfrew, M.D., was recently inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Radiology during their meeting May 17–21 in Washington, D.C.


Renfrew is a partner at Radiology Associates of the Fox Valley and provides radiology services at Ministry Door County Medical Center. He is a member of the ACR, the Radiological Society of North American, the American Roentgen Ray Society and the Wisconsin Radiological Society. He received his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa and has authored numerous publications, including three books, in his area of specialty.

“Dr. Renfrew has been a trusted provider in our community for more than 20 years,” says Gerald Worrick, CEO of MDCMC. “He has led our organization in many ways including as Medical Director of the Radiology Department and Director of Grand Rounds for the hospital. This fellowship in an honor for him and for Ministry as we continue to provide expert, professional health care close to home.”

One of the highest honors the ACR can bestow on a radiologist, radiation oncologist or medical physicist is recognition as a fellow of the American College of Radiology. ACR Fellows demonstrate a history of service to the College, organized radiology, teaching or research, with only about 10 percent of ACR members achieving this distinction.


Ministry Door County Announces New Behavioral Health Services

Starting June 1, Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) will serve patients needing support with depression, risky alcohol or other drug use, and tobacco cessation through a new Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) program. BHI is an innovative new program designed to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of primary care patients and provide strategies and support for improving health. Services will be provided to patients of North Shore Medical Clinic by licensed clinical social workers or a nurse practitioner with a specialty in behavioral health.


“We know the health of the mind and the body are deeply connected,” says Barb Johnson-Giese, LCSW, Behavioral Health Coordinator at MDCMC. “At some time in their lives, almost everyone needs behavioral health services due to changes in their health, relationships or family dynamics. Our goal is to help our patients change behaviors that interfere with a healthy lifestyle.”

Ministry established the services in response to a recent Community Needs Assessment that identified mental and behavioral health services as an area of strong need for Door County. “Ministry continues to lead the health and wellness of Door County through innovative approaches like this one,” says Gerald Worrick, CEO of MDCMC. “We believe in treating the whole person, and this new service will help us do that in an effective, integrated way.”

All primary care patients at Ministry’s North Shore Medical Clinic will be asked to complete a brief screening tool during their annual visit that will help identify potential areas of behavioral health need. “By screening for these needs, we’re meeting the requirements of Medicaid/Medicare and other health insurance plans, and the results are enabling us to look at patients’ health in a holistic way,” explains Johnson-Giese. “Then, instead of traditional psychotherapy services, we can provide brief, focused sessions right in the patient’s doctor’s office.”


Door County Medical Center Auxiliary Provides Scholarships for Local Students

For nearly fifty years, the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary has been serving the needs of patients at the hospital through volunteer work, events, and scholarships. As June approaches and county schools celebrate graduation, the Auxiliary is once again helping young people who aspire to careers in health care finance their educations.

Algoma HIgh School recipient Kaitlyn Wahlers pictured with her mother, Rebecca Sickels-Wahlers, a former scholarship recipient.

“This year, the Auxiliary will give $21,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and other local students who are continuing their education in the health care field,” explains Deb Hogan, president-elect of the Auxiliary and chair of the scholarship committee. “We also give scholarships to Ministry Door County Medical Center staff who are continuing their professional development.”

This year, students from schools ranging from Gibraltar all the way to Algoma and Luxemburg-Casco will benefit from the scholarships. “We had more than 60 applicants this year,” says Hogan. “It was a wonderful process to sift through the applications and learn how many local youth are already dedicated to a life of service, providing health care for others.”

The Door County Medical Center Auxiliary boasts a membership roster of more than 250, and its members provide volunteer services in many of Ministry’s departments including Oncology, Outpatient Surgery and the Emergency Department lobby. Auxiliary members are especially known for their weekly “Beauty Shop” that provides hairstyling for residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility. And of course, they raise funds for the scholarship fund that has seen hundreds of local residents complete their health care educations.

“Every year, our Angel Ball committee puts together a wonderful event that raises funds for our scholarship program,” explains Deb Hogan. “We are grateful for that group, and for all the community members who attend the ball to support education for those entering the medical field. In this way, we are supporting Ministry’s goal of providing quality health care, close to home, with expert providers who are also friends and neighbors.”

As Hogan gives another scholarship to a deserving high school senior, she muses “It’s really inspiring to meet these ambitious young people and know that they’ll be the ones providing health care for us in a few years. I feel we are going to be in very good hands.”


Patriotic Employer Award Honors Commitment to Employees Who Serve Their Country

When Jason Staats, Registered Nurse and Sergeant in the National Guard, was hired as an inpatient nurse at Ministry Door County Medical Center, he didn’t know he would be called for military duty for a total of nine weeks out of his first nine months working with Ministry. “Fortunately, I had incredible support from day one,” he says. “I was lucky to have some amazing opportunities, like attending Army Pathfinder School at Camp Land in Florida, and serving in a Warrior Leadership Course, and through it all my supervisor made it easy for me to go.”

Jason’s supervisor, Melody Hargis, was familiar with Jason’s situation, having served in the military for 11 years herself. Recently, Jason showed his appreciation for Melody’s support by nominating her for the Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriotic Employer Award, given to supervisors who make special “efforts to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measure including flexible schedules, time off, and granting leaves of absence.”

Melody Hargis receiving the Patriotic Employer Award from Jason Staats

Melody Hargis receiving the Patriotic Employer Award from Jason Staats

“It meant a lot to me to have Melody and Ministry’s support when I was given the opportunity to serve,” says Jason. “It let me put all my focus on my job as a combat soldier, which is where it needed to be.”

“I was thrilled to give Jason the support he needed to fulfill his duties,” says Melody. “But it wasn’t just me. I have the unwavering support of the leadership at Ministry as well as my staff.” Jason agrees that his colleagues contributed to the seamless nature of his leave-taking. “No one ever had anything but kind and encouraging words for me,” he says. “It’s just like when I’m at work – we’re a team.”

For Jason, the combination of his medical skills, which include 15 years experience in Emergency Medical Services, and his military experience, helps him both in the field and in the Emergency Department, where he recently transferred. “In both settings, military and civilian, I’m making split-second decisions that affect people’s lives.”

As for Melody, receiving the Patriotic Employer Award had one result that doesn’t happen often – it rendered her temporarily speechless. “In the past I had given this award to employers of mine,” she explains. “To be on the receiving end was amazing.”