UM Shore Regional Health Publishes 2018 Community Benefits Report Online

UM Shore Regional Health’s 2018 Community Health Improvement Report has been published online and is available for viewing at https://www.umms.org/shore/news/2018/um-shore-regional-healths-2018-community-health-improvement-2018.

UM Shore Regional Health’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), conducted in 2016, identified top health concerns in the region: chronic disease management (obesity, hypertension, diabetes, tobacco use), behavioral health, access to care, cancer, outreach and education (preventive care, screenings, health literacy).These are the same top health concerns and health barriers indicated by the overall Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene State Health Improvement Process (DHMH SHIP) county data.

UM SRH determined that the greatest transformation in population health in the five-county region would be achieved by focusing on chronic disease management, behavioral health and cancer screenings. An implementation plan was developed for each priority, with key activities to improve care coordination and health education in community settings.

As detailed in the new report, the total value of UM Shore Regional Health’s community health improvement initiatives during 2018 exceeds $40 million. According to Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, and Kathleen McGrath, regional director, Outreach and Community Health, the document “reflects UM Shore Regional Health’s commitment to building community partnerships that help foster better health outside the walls of our hospitals and outpatient facilities, while enhancing access to care and the overall quality of life in the five counties we serve.”

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Death with Dignity: DC Residents Learning about New End-of-Life Law

More than a year after a controversial end-of-life law went into effect in the District of Columbia, advocacy groups say they are now seeing a higher public response to its efforts to ensure city residents know the law exists.

How many people have used the law will become clearer in an upcoming February report. As of last April, no patient had yet used the law, according news accounts.

The Death with Dignity Act allows mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months to live to request lethal doses of prescription medication so they can die peacefully and comfortably in their homes or any place where they have been granted permission to do so.

One of the law’s main proponents, Compassion & Choices, has helped the District of Columbia Council advocate for the legislation and educate Washington residents about the new option for patients with terminal illnesses.

The administrative side of the end-of-life process apparently has dissuaded physicians, pharmacists and patients from using the law, but local public service announcements have helped spike interest and attention, Sean Crowley, spokesman for Compassion & Choices, told Capital News Service in an interview.

His group declined to say how many doctors in the District registered to use the law, as it did not have access to such records. But as of last April, only two doctors among the roughly 11,000 doctors in the city had registered to use the law and just one hospital had approved doctors for the practice, according to The Washington Post.

The District of Columbia Department of Health is set to release a detailed report in February on how many patients have utilized lethal drugs and how many physicians have administered them. But to date, no patients have volunteered to go public with their stories.

During September, Compassion & Choices distributed television public service announcements promoting the end-of-life law, featuring prominent Washingtonians Diane Rehm, a former WAMU radio show host, and Dr. Omega Silva, a retired physician.

The announcements, which began Labor Day weekend, aired on various Comcast stations. Compassion & Choices reported that there were 229 visits to the group’s page during September, compared to only 56 for the same month a year ago – a 400 percent increase.

In addition to the District, six states have end-of-life, or physician-assisted dying laws: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, according to the nonprofit Death with Dignity National Center, based in Portland, Oregon.

Efforts to pass a similar law in Maryland have been unsuccessful.

Since the District’s end-of-life bill was introduced in 2015, organizations such as Right to Life and conservatives in Congress have opposed it and tried to defund it.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Cockeysville, introduced an amendment in 2017 to defund and repeal the law. The amendment failed to pass the House Appropriations Committee.

Harris, a physician, criticized what he called “the so-called Death With Dignity Act,” saying “most people don’t associate suicide with dignity in any way shape or form.”

“It sends a strong message that regardless of the many types of disease you might have and the many types of treatment that may be available, there is one common pathway that in this case the District would say is perfectly acceptable, it is legal,” he said. “It’s actually to go to a physician and ask if they can participate in your suicide. That doesn’t lead to more choice – that leads to one choice.”

The House will be controlled by the Democrats next month, making the prospects for repealing the District bill more remote.

In any case, Crowley said that “lawmakers from outside the District should not dictate to district lawmakers what laws they should pass for their local constituents.”

“Other states would never allow lawmakers from outside their state dictate what their states can do,” he said. “Why should they be allowed to dictate in D.C.?”

Since its founding as the seat of the federal government, the District of Columbia has not had voting representation in Congress, although it has some limited autonomy. Even so, Congress has the power to review and repeal District laws.

“That Congress thinks it should substitute its judgment for the judgment of the residents of the District of Columbia is odious enough,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh, who sponsored the end-of-life bill. “That it would presume to substitute its judgment for the judgment of people who are dying is unconscionable. Such an action is fundamentally undemocratic and it should not stand.”

By Morgan Caplan

Suicidal Behavior In Children And Adolescents: Focus on Awareness and Prevention by Dr. Laurence Pezor

As we complete a week dedicated to the awareness of suicide, it is important to review this manifestation of mental illness and what the community and we, family, friends and mental health professionals, can do to address this crisis.

Statistically, it is staggering that suicide is the 3rd Leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year-olds and the 6th leading cause of death in 5 to 14 year-olds according to data from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP, Facts for Families, 2013). Center for Disease Control data from 2005 indicated that among 15 – 24 year-olds, suicide accounts for 12.9% of all deaths annually.

This is particularly a concern for high school students who, in a study by Eaton et al in 2006, indicated at 16.9% of all high school students seriously considered suicide in the previous twelve months before the study. Additionally, there are significant cultural differences. The same study documented that Hispanic female high school students reported a higher percentage of suicide attempts than their non-Hispanic peers.

These statistics, however overwhelming, are only overshadowed by the unrelenting pain suicide inflicts on surviving family and friends. Some professionals contend that suicide cannot be prevented but mitigated by focusing on providing alternative choices to desperate situations. That providing those in emotional distress with more appropriate choices to manage their feelings and instead of self harm, utilize different coping skills when overwhelmed.

To that end, open discussion about suicidal behavior and feelings as well as providing alternatives to self harm, are the goal of therapy and community support.
Providing tools to children and their families including crisis lines, access to mental health services and other professional support is key.

Recognition of potential risk factors that indicate emotional distress and could lead to suicidal thoughts or behavior is everyone’s responsibility.
Potential risk factors, described by AACAP (2004), include:

Prior suicide attempts
Substance Abuse
Change in sleeping/eating habits
Withdrawal from family and friends
Unusual neglect of personal appearance
Violent, rebellious behavior
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
More severe psychiatric symptoms (psychosis)
Complain of feeling “bad” or “rotten” inside
Put his or her “affairs in order”
Verbalize suicidal thoughts or feelings

Underlying mental illness, lack of family and social support as well as limited coping skills also play a pivotal role in suicidal behavior.

How can we, as family, friends and community, help?
Some basic interventions include:
Take threats seriously; notify police or mental health professionals
Be suspicious when there are serious psychiatric symptoms or substance abuse issues
Keep lines of communication open
Seek professional support

Eastern Shore Psychological Services (ESPS) has therapists in all the Talbot County schools working hand in hand with the school guidance counselors ready to help.
ESPS offers mental health, substance abuse and wellness services for all ages. For those seeking mental health services, ESPS offers “same day access” appointments Monday – Thursday at 8 AM at their office at 29520 Canvasback Drive.  For more information, please contact the Clinic at 410-822-5007.

Laurence Pezor, MD is the Chief Medical Officer at Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with Eastern Shore Psychological Services.

 

Talbot Hospice Fetes Guthrie Members

Gigi and Steve Hershey, Jim Farrell, and Judy Gieske

More than 140 Talbot Hospice Guthrie Society members were honored at a donor appreciation party in September hosted by Jim and Maxine Farrell at their home, Canterbury Manor. The Guthrie Society is a giving society for top donors that give at a designated level each year to the Annual Campaign. Named after one of Talbot Hospice’s founders, Dr. Eugene “Buck” Guthrie, this group of dedicated donors exemplifies and honors Dr. Guthrie’s vision and commitment to the Talbot Hospice mission and his passion for making a difference in the end-of-life experience for patients and families served by hospice.

Guthrie Party Hosts Jim and Max Farrell, TH Executive Director Vivian Dodge, and Board President Steve Slack.

Canterbury Manor is a colonial revival mansion on Bailey’s Neck built in 1906 featuring sweeping views of Trippe Creek and award winning gardens. “We want to share Canterbury Manor with our community,” said Maxine Farrell.  “It brings us great pleasure to entertain this important group of Talbot Hospice supporters.”

Mary Choksi and Debbie Willse

Executive Director Vivian Dodge took the opportunity to express her appreciation for Guthrie Society members and their support for the hospice mission. “Our donors are an inspiration. They have given their time, efforts, resources, commitment, and love to Talbot Hospice. Their gifts and support make it possible for Talbot Hospice to exist and to close the gap of nearly $485,000 in care and services that is uncompensated.”

Talbot Hospice has been providing hospice and grief support services in Talbot County since 1981. For questions about our services or for more information visit TalbotHospice.org or call 410-822-6681.

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

  1. Talbot Hospice Guthrie Society party hosts Jim and Maxine Farrell, Talbot Hospice Executive Director Vivian Dodge and Board President Steve Slack, September 14, 2018 at Canterbury Manor
  2. Mary Choksi and Debbie Willse attended the Talbot Hospice Guthrie Society Party September 14, 2018
  3. Gigi and Steve Hershey, Guthrie Society Party Host Jim Farrell, and Judi Gieske enjoyed the evening at Canterbury Manor

 

Maryland Democrats: Trump Health Care curbs could Affect 260,000 in State

As many as 260,000 Maryland residents could see higher premiums or lose their health care coverage altogether because of pre-existing medical conditions, age or gender under a new Trump administration legal strategy, state Democrats warned on Tuesday.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, along with other Democratic members of the Maryland congressional delegation and state Attorney General Brian Frosh attacked the Trump administration for refusing to protect Americans guaranteed the right to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The protections, the Democrats argued, are of the utmost importance and won’t be invalidated without a legal fight.

“We’re better than that,” Cummings said. “We’re a better country than that.”

In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., that the Justice Department would not defend key provisions of the health care law, a regular target of attacks by President Donald Trump and repeal efforts by congressional Republicans.

Cummings released a report by the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that detailed potential impacts of such a policy on Marylanders. Frosh is among more than a dozen attorneys general challenging Sessions’s decision in federal court.

“Even more troubling, they did not offer any alternative,” Cummings said at a press conference.

He was flanked by Frosh, Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger of Timonium and John Sarbanes of Towson. All are Democrats.

Trump has largely moved to defund the ACA since taking office, scaling back federal funding from $62.5 million in 2016 to just $10 million this year.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has challenged attacks on Trump’s handling of the health care law.

“The president trying to sabotage the (Affordable Care Act) is proving better at managing it than the president who wrote the law,” Azar said during a Sept. 27 speech in Nashville, The Washington Examiner reported.

Under the new Trump policy, 167,000 Marylanders with pre-existing conditions could lose coverage or face hikes in premiums, the Democrats’ study estimated. Of those, 79,000 have such severe pre-existing conditions that insurance carriers could deny them any coverage.

Up to 160,000 Maryland women could be charged more than men for the same health care coverage, the report said. Such discrimination was barred by the health care law.

In addition, up to 108,000 older Maryland residents could be charged more, according to the report.

Maryland workers in higher-risk occupations also could lose protections: 19,000 construction workers, 9,700 shipping clerks and 4,800 emergency medical technicians.

“Defending the Affordable Care Act will affect the lives of Marylanders and people all over this country,” Cardin said. “It’s critically important that the American people understand what’s at stake when the president does not defend the Affordable Care Act.”

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in September showed that 50 percent of adults held a favorable view of the ACA. Forty percent held an unfavorable view. Another Kaiser poll found that 75 percent of people polled said it was “very important” that the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions ensuring guaranteed coverage remains law.

“When the Trump Administration decided not to defend the law … they’ve given a green light to all those who want to undo that protection through the courts,” Van Hollen said.

Trump, who said during his campaign that he wanted to put somebody on the Supreme Court who would help overturn the ACA, has done just that in nominating Brett Kavanaugh. In 2011, Kavanaugh was the dissenter in a 2-1 federal appeals court ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate provision.

Cummings said the administration’s hostility to the health care law has caused unease even among government attorneys.

“Their actions are so indefensible,” Cummings said, “that three of four career attorneys representing the government withdrew from the case rather than sign their names on the brief. One attorney even resigned.”

Joel McElvain and two other lawyers withdrew from the case this summer; he later resigned. All three worked on a lawsuit brought by Texas and other Republican-led states that challenges the constitutionality of the ACA and is likely to find its way to the Supreme Court.

by Jared Goldstein

Shore Medical Center at Easton Recognized by US News & World Report

University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton is featured among the Maryland hospitals recently ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s annual report on best hospitals nationwide. The Easton hospital was ranked second among the best hospitals on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and among the top 15 hospitals in the State of Maryland. The U.S. News ranking also gave special recognition to UM Shore Medical Center at Easton’s programs for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and hip replacement received special recognition for high quality care.

“There are so many people who deserve credit for this excellent recognition – our team members, our physicians and advanced practice providers, our volunteers and our devoted community supporters,” says Ken Kozel, president and CEO of UM Shore Regional Health. “On behalf of the Board of UM Shore Regional Health and our senior leadership, I’m very pleased to express our appreciation for the outstanding teamwork that is helping us achieve our Vision, to Be The Region’s Leader in Patient Centered Health Care.”

Issued annually during the month of August, the U.S. News Best Hospitals nationwide analysis reviews 5,000 hospitals’ performance in both adult and pediatric clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on several factors, including survival, patient safety, nurse staffing and more. Hospitals are ranked nationally in specialties from cancer to urology and rated in common procedures and conditions, such as heart bypass surgery, hip and knee replacement and COPD. Hospitals are also ranked regionally within states and major metro areas.

UM SRH Submits State Applications to Transform Health Care in Dorchester County

Public Information Session July 31 to Share Proposed New State-of-the-Art Medical Campus in Cambridge, Offering 24/7 Emergency Care, Surgery Center, and Comprehensive Outpatient Services to Meet Dorchester Health Needs

Representing a significant step in a process that began more than two years ago, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health (UM SRH) has filed applications with the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) seeking approval to transform and enhance the health care services offered in Dorchester County.

The filing, called a Request for Certificate of Need Exemption, describes plans to replace UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester with a new state-of-the-art health care campus offering services including 24/7 emergency care and short-stay observation care, with proposed outpatient surgery center, diagnostic services, outpatient specialty medical care, chronic disease management services, telemedicine and enhanced outpatient behavioral health programs and services.

A free public information session is scheduled Tuesday, July 31, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, to share the proposed plans for this new medical campus with a Freestanding Medical Facility (FMF), to be known as University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Cambridge.

Aerial view of the proposed UM Shore Regional Health medical campus in Dorchester (design may be subject to change.)

The proposed medical campus is planned to be located approximately one mile from the current hospital, in Cambridge Marketplace, at Ocean Gateway (Route 50) and Woods Road. This location provides enhanced access to public transportation and ambulances and provides for an adjacent helipad for air transports.

Over the past two years, UM SRH discussed the changing health care environment with Dorchester County physicians, elected officials, Emergency Medical Services, public health and other health care partners, and community business leaders.  With their support for the possible conversion of the aged hospital in Dorchester to an FMF, and the  relocation of inpatient medical-surgical and behavioral health beds to nearby University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton,  the discussions expanded to the wider Dorchester community through a series of community listening sessions around the County in 2017.  With positive feedback from these conversations, the Boards of University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and UM SRH moved forward with more detailed plans, leading to this month’s applications.

The proposed timeline for the opening of the new UM Shore Medical Center at Cambridge and the relocation of acute care inpatient beds to Easton is mid-2021, depending upon both State approval and funding.

With regulatory approvals, this new model of care will enhance the hospital’s ability to ensure services are available, keeping residents healthy in their community and reducing unnecessary inpatient admissions and emergency room visits.  This model also allows for the potential to provide ambulatory surgical care and intensive outpatient behavioral health treatment.

Plans for the sale and ultimate redevelopment of the existing hospital site, located on approximately 14 acres of Choptank River waterfront, took a step forward in May when the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County created a Memorandum of Understanding creating an entity, Cambridge Waterfront Development, Inc. (CWDI), designed to purchase the property, prepare it for development and negotiate its sale by 2021. A second step occurred in early June, as UM SRH CEO Ken Kozel, Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, and Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers signed a Letter of Intent for continued negotiations leading to the future sale of the hospital property to CWDI when health care services transfer to Cambridge Marketplace.

SUMMARY: Proposed UM Shore Medical Center at Cambridge

Approximately 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art Freestanding Medical Facility (FMF), open 24/7/365, to include:

• 18 private emergency treatment rooms serving all ages
• 2 bed resuscitation/critical care suite, serving all ages
• 3 behavioral health rooms
• 10 private short stay observation beds
• Telemedicine capabilities for Emergency Department patient specialist consultation
• State-of-the-art diagnostic/treatment equipment and technology
• Diagnostic services to support emergency care, including CT, MRI, ultrasound and X-ray
• Laboratory services, 24/7
• Helipad for air transport

SUMMARY: Proposed Services- UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Cambridge

Approximately 50,000 square foot, two story facility housing diagnostic, treatment, community education and support services, including:

• Outpatient services/providers in specialties such as cardiology, diabetes/endocrinology, ENT (ear, nose, throat, allergy), gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, obstetrics (prenatal care), orthopedics, outpatient behavioral health, outpatient medical oncology, pediatrics and urology
• Ambulatory Surgery Center (1 OR and 1 procedure room)
• Outpatient rehabilitation services, including The Balance Center
• Cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation
• Fully integrated telemedicine services for specialist access
• Community health education hub

About University of Maryland Shore Regional Health

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together. For more information, visit www.UMShoreRegional.org.

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery and research to the care we provide and educating the state’s future physician and health care professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the UM Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry in Baltimore.  As one of the largest private employers in the State, the health system’s 25,000 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations and at 14 hospitals.  UMMS’ flagship academic campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialized care.  Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the State. In addition, UMMS operates health insurance plans serving Medicare and Medicaid members. For more information, visit www.umms.org.

Evergreen Lifestyle: Everything Under the Sun with Healthy Sun Exposure by Freya Farley

Summer, a time when longer sun-filled and warm days invite you to enjoy all the fun and activities offered by the Eastern Shore. Whether on the boat, beach, in a backyard, or at a local park, soaking up the sun has many benefits. However, it’s important to also remember that frequent overexposure to UV radiation can damage your skin.

Benefits of Sun Exposure

Spending moderate time in the sun plays a vital role in:

  • Boosting hormones, such as vitamin D
  • Reducing blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health
  • Improving mood by releasing endorphins
  • Contributing to pain relief in people with fibromyalgia

Vitamin D Production & Deficiency

The most commonly known benefit of sun exposure is how it induces the production of vitamin D, a critical steroid hormone that acts on receptors throughout the body, influencing bone health, heart function, and inflammation. When UVB rays from the sun strike exposed skin, the body can synthesize vitamin D3, which is transformed by the liver and kidneys into the biologically active hormone.

Due to a variety of factors including lifestyle and environment, vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. In our practice, we often run across people with symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, which include:

  • Excessive Sweating
  • Fatigue & Muscle Weakness
  • Chronic Pain
  • Broken Bones
  • Depressed Mood

Your doctor can run a simple blood test to measure your Vitamin D levels if a deficiency is suspect.

While there are different ways you can increase your Vitamin D levels, emerging research suggests that natural sun exposure may regulate vitamin D in a way that supplements cannot mimic. For example, vitamin D produced in the skin may last at least twice as long in the blood compared with ingested vitamin D.

Risks of Sun Overexposure

Just as there are multiple benefits to sun exposure, there are also risks. Sunlight includes rays of invisible ultraviolet light of varying wavelengths (UVB and UVA), which can contribute to:

  • Sunburn
  • Damage to collagen leading to accelerated skin aging
  • Skin cancer
  • Cataracts

The majority of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is UVA, which penetrates more deeply into the skin (compared to UVB rays) where it can indirectly damage DNA via the generation of free radicals.

Like most things related to health, bio-individuality and lifestyle habits are important when it comes to sun exposure. Certain groups of people are more susceptible to the negative impacts of UV sun exposure and may require different strategies to avoid harm. For example, those with certain autoimmune conditions such as lupus can be exceptionally sun sensitive. Further, medications such as tetracycline antibiotics, used to treat various infections, can increase sun sensitivity.

People with a personal or family history of skin cancer or other genetic susceptibilities, which can make it more challenging to repair UV-induced DNA damage, need to be more vigilant to avoid too much sun exposure.

Limit Your Sun Exposure

According to studies done at NIH the best time for sun exposure is around noon, when UVB rays are most likely to reach your skin and boost vitamin D production, and when UVA rays, which increase the risk of skin cancer and photodamage, are minimized. For maximum benefit, expose unprotected skin (backs of hands or face) to the sun for 10 to 20 minutes daily. 

Incorporate Natural Dietary Skin Support

There are a variety of foods that can reduce your skin’s susceptibility to ultraviolet damage. Aim for a mix of carotenoids including lycopene (found in tomatoes and watermelon), lutein (found in spinach and other dark-green veggies), and beta-carotene (found in orange, red, and yellow produce). Astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found in microalgae and seafood like salmon, shellfish, and krill, also contributes to skin health. Our area is fortunate to have access to not only fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables at various roadside stands but also plenty of seaside fare.

Find Stress-Reduction Practices

Studies have led researchers to believe that chronic stress can increase the susceptibility of your skin to UV damage. Stress weakens the immune system and makes you more susceptible to the effects of free radicals, which can lead to skin damage and cancer.  In fact stress alone, without sun exposure, has been shown to damage DNA and increase signs of early aging. Adopting regular stress management practices, such as those offered by our center, which includes meditation, yoga, and mind-body practices, can make you more resilient to resist the damaging impacts of chronic stress.

Throw Some Shade

One of the best ways to enjoy a sunny day without suffering damage is to minimize your time spent in the strongest rays. Stay in the shade when possible and wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats that are specifically designed to block UV rays.

Choose a Safer Sunscreen

Sunscreen provides either a chemical or physical barrier against the sun’s rays. Look for ingredients that don’t contain toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals that potentially affect reproduction and development hormones and/or cause skin irritation. Avoid oxybenzone, octinoxate, retinyl palmitate, and homosalate.

Synthetic fragrances should also be avoided in all personal care products, including sunscreens. These chemicals, such as parabens, phthalates, and synthetic musks, are linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive impacts, and even cancer. Instead, look for non-nano  (meaning the particles are less likely to be absorbed by your skin) physical or mineral-based sunscreens like zinc oxide.

Some of our favorites include

Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion

 

Sun Bum Signature Mineral-Based Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

 

Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 30 Mineral Lotion

 

Brush on Block Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen

 

All Good Lips Tinted – SPF 18 Lip Balm- Alpine Pink

Freya Farley is Evergreen’s Executive Director and an Acupuncturist at the Wellness Center at Evergreen. Her practice focuses on Women’s Health and Fertility. Along with acupuncture, and herbal medicine, Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach. She offers Open Studio morning yoga sessions, private consultations & treatments, as well as a weekly Community Acupuncture Clinic.

*The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

Talbot Declares Independence from Substance Abuse

The towns of Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels are again supporting Talbot Goes Purple with purple fireworks displays at Independence Day celebrations this year.

The purple fireworks are part of Talbot Goes Purple, an initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary that empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. Anyone who wishes to support the project can wear purple at the Independence Day celebrations.

“We’d like to give a thank-you to Al Bond at the Avalon Foundation; Ted Doyle, chairman of the St. Michael’s Fireworks Committee and Debbie Collison from Rotary Club of St. Michaels; and Vicky Van Loo and the board at Tred Avon Yacht Club for supporting our project,” said Lucie Hughes, of Tidewater Rotary. “Their generosity helps kick-off this project again this year and shows the towns continuing to support our communities by taking a stand against substance abuse.”

Talbot Goes Purple promotes education and awareness, including the creation of purple clubs in our middle and high schools, through which students learn that they do not need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The project also encourages the ‘new conversation’ between teens and parents, one that includes messages that prescription painkillers aren’t safe to use recreationally.

“With your help we did a great job educating our communities last year on the importance of having the ‘new conversation,’ – the one that includes the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. “We need to continue the conversation if we’re going to turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.”

Talbot Goes Purple is based upon THP Project Purple, an initiative of the Herren Project that helps people struggling with drug dependencies. Former NBA player Chris Herren founded both projects after speaking to a high school about his struggles with drug dependency.

Herren visited Talbot County last year with his inspirational message. This year, Talbot Goes Purple will screen ‘If Only,’ a film from the Wahlberg Youth Foundation and Millennium Health created to increase awareness of youth prescription drug abuse and opioid use disorder.

Leading up to the film and starting Sept. 1, local businesses and communities can again ‘Go Purple’ as a show of support and solidarity in addressing our substance abuse program.

Talbot Goes Purple is in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools and Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

More information is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.  Anyone wearing purple is encouraged to post pictures and tag us on Facebook.

All support is tax-deductible and made through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Fireworks this year are scheduled as follows: Easton – Wednesday, July 4; St. Michaels – Saturday June 30; Oxford – Tuesday, July 3. Please check with each respective town for additional information on scheduled activities and rain dates.

Evergreen Lifestyle: Seven Tips to Help Kick the Sugar Habit by Freya Farley

Spring and summer are often times that inspire us to make healthier choices. Whether the goal is to lose weight, gain more energy, sleep better, or make a change, reducing sugar intake is often a top priority. The benefits of diminishing its consumption are plenty, as 80% of processed American food is laced with some form of sugar. Frequently, they masquerade under a variety of names including anhydrous dextrose, crystalline fructose, and evaporated cane juice, to name just a few.

High sugar content in processed food has been shown to contribute to common diseases such as high cholesterol, heart disease, fatty liver disease or cirrhosis, hypertension, hepatic insulin resistance, slower metabolism, and obesity. Increased appetite, insomnia, brain fog, mental chatter, depression, and various other symptoms have been shown to generate from excessive sugar consumption.

Sugar itself is a refined carbohydrate and a source of calories that our bodies either use as energy or store as fat. Keep in mind that not all sugar is bad; it naturally occurs in fruits and other foods that, along with their healthy fiber content, provide our body with necessary nourishment. The problem is that sugar is addictive and alters biochemical pathways in our brain by tampering with our dopamine receptors; the same ones that make us feel good. To get the next dopamine spike, we need a higher dose of sugar.

That’s why it’s essential that when contemplating a sugar cleanse psychological preparedness and a plan that you can stick to is important. Here are some useful tips I use to help clients kick the sugar habit:

1. Find the sweetness in your life

It is vitally important to invest in our well-being through self-nurturing. Creating space for ourselves, and finding time to do things that bring joy are necessary to our health and wellness. Often, the people who are most susceptible to sugar cravings are working stressful jobs, living stressful lives, and feel out of balance. In these cases, we may disconnect from what our passions are in life, to the point where life has become a series of obligations rather than enjoyment. Taking the time to invest in ourselves is a great long-term strategy to give up habits that do not serve us. Try mindfulness-based exercises like yoga, tai chi, and meditation. When we are at ease and feel satisfied with life, the impulse to reach for sweets when stressed is significantly reduced.

2. Drink apple cider vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar helps to destroy candida yeast overgrowth in the body, which is often a contributing factor in sugar addiction. The body needs sugar to feed this yeast, which continues to grow and cause more cravings (as well as a host of other unpleasant symptoms). I have found people have fewer cravings when they sip apple cider vinegar throughout the day. Apple cider vinegar also helps to change taste buds, and after a while of supplementing with it, sugary foods often end up tasting too sweet. Use this vinegar to make a healthy salad dressing or in cooking. Be sure to buy only raw vinegar (apple cider or otherwise), as regular pasteurized vinegar can feed candida overgrowth and cause more sugar cravings. Try: Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

3. Properly fuel your body

In general, you want to get your calories from a balanced diet of the protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Protein helps your body feel full longer, so increasing it in your diet will help to curb sweet cravings, especially at that midday snack time. Try snacking on nuts, yogurt, or a hardboiled egg instead of processed and packaged snacks. Your body will thank you for it.

Carbs fall into three categories—sugars, starches, and fibers—but the body breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Find yourself drawn to French fries, bread, and pasta? Your sugar fix originates in excess carbs. Avoid white and refined flour, rice, pasta, bread. Substitute nuts, seeds, and whole grains instead. If the carb is in its natural, unadulterated form, then it’s a good choice. When your cravings hit, try high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, to fill your belly and keep your digestive system moving. And don’t get stuck in the meal-label game—switch it up! Have eggs for dinner, avocado for breakfast, or oatmeal for lunch.

4. Stay hydrated

Cravings, particularly for sweet foods are common when the body is dehydrated because it interferes with brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness. Dehydration also makes it more difficult for the body to produce glycogen, a significant source of fuel for our cells. A lack of fluids can cause difficulty in the production of energy output and can trigger sugar cravings. It’s also not uncommon for the body to confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger, meaning that you may feel hungry when what you need is water.

5. Train your taste buds to like bitter

Train your taste buds to like the taste of bitter—it really does a lot to suppress the cravings for sugar. Try plain unflavored yogurt and bitter greens like watercress, arugula, chicory, endive, and kale are a couple of tasty ways. Within 30 days, your taste buds will reset, and you’ll crave less sugar.

6. Take the “sugar destroyer” herb

Gymnema sylvestre, an herb in the milkweed family, is known as a “sugar destroyer” in Ayurvedic medicine since it desensitizes our taste buds to sweet items and helps deal with the cravings. We think we need sweets when: we’re low on energy (not enough insulin or cells are resistant), stressed (increased cortisol causes the body to use sugar, so we need to replenish), are eating poorly (causing spikes in blood sugar, or have trouble sleeping (also increases cortisol).

Gymnema promotes healthy blood sugar levels, reduces cholesterol, regenerates beta cells in the pancreas, and helps make cells more sensitive to receiving insulin. A few drops on your tongue before a meal can offset desiring sugar and last for about three hours, especially in conjunction with a nutritious diet and the desire to quit sugar. However, use caution if taking oral medication or insulin, as it can alter prescription dosages. Try: Himalayan Herbals Gymnema

7. Use peppermint essential oil

Many studies have shown that you can retrain your brain, curb the sugar cravings, and revitalize your life by using high-quality essential oils. A leading research by Dr. Alan Hirsch found that INHALING peppermint oil is amazingly effective at curbing cravings, while also awakening the senses and enabling the brain to focus. Other essential oils that may help to curb cravings include black pepper, bergamot, cassia, cinnamon, clove, fennel, grapefruit, lemon, marjoram, and wild orange.

8. Try amrita therapeutic essential oils

We all have things we can change in our diets, our lives, and our mindsets. Reducing sugar intake can be just the start of rebalancing your life. Don’t drastically cut out sugar from your diet and cause uncomfortable detox. Take it slow, let your body adjust, and use some of the tips discussed. Starting today become aware of labels, of what you put in your mouth, of your triggers, and of your wellness. You can make this change in your life by replacing sugar with a positive lifestyle that fuels your mind, body, and spirit!

Freya Farley is Evergreen’s Executive Director and an Acupuncturist at the Wellness Center at Evergreen. Her practice focuses on Women’s Health and Fertility. Along with acupuncture, and herbal medicine, Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach. She offers Open Studio morning yoga sessions, private consultations & treatments, as well as a weekly Community Acupuncture Clinic.

*The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.