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Summer Harvest at Prescott Community Gardens
Along Granite Creek Trail, just a few blocks from Prescott’s Courthouse Square, gardeners are harvesting, watering, weeding, chatting and laughing among the plots of zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and other fresh-for-picking produce at Prescott Community Gardens. The beauty is, any member of our community can participate. Spring, summer and fall garden spaces are available to rent. Included in the $60 annual fee are a raised organic garden bed, water, tools, seeds, compost and free entry to various special events throughout the year. Each year, after the enjoyment of pulling fresh summer produce and herbs from her garden, board member Patti Indelicato prepares some favorite nutritious, tasty family recipes. “The biggest benefits of community gardening are the quality of the vegetables I grow and the interactions I enjoy with the other gardeners,” says Patti. Patti recently shared her mother’s recipe for Cool Cucumber Salad as well as a recipe for Baked Zucchini Rounds with Rita Carey Rubin, host of Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Your Healthy Kitchen. Prescott Community Gardens is the brainchild of Prescott resident Colleen Sorenson. In 2008, Colleen was considering a masters thesis project for college and discovered a similar garden in Seattle. In 2011, the gardens became a reality. Colleen’s goal is to teach the community about sustainability, how to grow food in the difficult high desert, and how to live more sustainability. A diverse group of people and organizations have enthusiastically joined the effort. “That’s the thing that has been the most beautiful about this garden; building relationships,” Colleen says. “Prescott College, Launch Pad with the teenagers, YRMC, Over the Hill Gang, Alta Vista Garden Club, Master Gardeners. It’s been a really intense relationship, which has been great.” The community of friends has flourished. “A garden is a safe place to share ideas no matter your background,” Colleen smiles. “What better place to share knowledge than with your hands in the dirt, together?” Those who join the group often volunteer by helping out with watering, weeding, maintenance, special events, advertising, and more. Special community events include a Soil Amendment Day, Basil Fest, and a Fall Harvest Festival with garden-fresh food, music, children’s activities and Master Gardeners on hand to answer your gardening questions. To learn more, or to rent a garden space, visit prescott community gardens. Click below to download and print Patti’s recipes: Cool Cucumber Salad Baked Zucchini Rounds YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen is one of the many ways that Yavapai Regional Medical Center provides health and wellness education to our community. For affordable, healthy meal ideas, downloadable recipes, tips, videos and more, visit yrmchealthconnect.org. You can also follow us on Facebook.
Meet Dr. Le: A Vascular Specialist on the Leading Edge
By day, Phung Le, DO, is a Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) Vascular Surgeon who performs complicated surgeries and minimally invasive endovascular procedures. At night, the vascular specialist spends time romping with his two young sons. At his medical office in Prescott, Dr. Le promotes the importance of healthy-living habits – not smoking, getting regular exercise, reducing stress and controlling blood pressure and more – with his patients. He follows his own advice with games of pickup basketball, lively sessions on his drum set and stress-relieving time restoring old motorcycles. Meet Dr. Le: family man, physician, athlete, musician and even the occasional sketch artist. “I’m a visual learner,” said Dr. Le, explaining the diagrams he draws for patients while describing medical conditions or explaining procedures. “It’s very important that patients understand their diagnosis and the plan to restore their health. Drawing a picture is a good way to do this.” An Exceptional Background Dr. Le emigrated from Vietnam with his family at age five, and grew up in the Maryvale area of Phoenix. Dr. Le graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Arizona State University in 2003. He earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale in 2010. Then came a five-year residency in general surgery at Memorial Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, where Dr. Le was trained in open, laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery. During a two-year fellowship at Tufts Medical Center – an internationally recognized teaching hospital – Dr. Le worked on complex cases with vascular surgeons as well as interventional radiologists, who use minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat vascular disease. It was training that later would prove valuable at YRMC. Arizona is Home With the fellowship completed in 2017, Dr. Le and his wife chose to return to Arizona so their children could be near family members who live in the Phoenix area. The couple liked Prescott for its friendly atmosphere as well as hiking and other activities. YRMC was a big draw, too. “It’s a community hospital system, but at the same time, it offers the full breadth of services, like open heart surgery and neurosurgery,” Dr. Le said. “That was a sign the hospital is forward-thinking, and is dedicated to investing in the latest technologies and advances in medicine and surgery.” Dr. Le’s Approach to Patient Care Dr. Le develops a complete medical history for every patient. He gathers information on the patient’s risk factors for vascular disease, ensures medications are correct, checks blood pressure levels and learns about the patient’s other conditions. “One of the most important conversations I have with my patients is about smoking,” he said. “Tobacco use is the biggest risk factor for peripheral artery disease. We discuss tobacco cessation and, for patients who are motivated, I may prescribe medication or a nicotine patch.” Dr. Le also applies his “visual learning” skills by observing the patient’s functional status, which doesn’t always relate to the person’s age. “Is the patient an 80-year-old who is healthy and functioning independently, still driving a car and working around the house? Or, at the other end of the spectrum, is the patient debilitated with numerous medical problems? It’s about having a global understanding of the patient’s health status.” With this information, Dr. Le creates a plan for each patient. His recommendations could include lifestyle changes, medications, minimally invasive procedures or complex “open” vascular surgeries. “The most fulfilling aspect of my work is improving the quality of life for my patients,” he said. “That’s always my goal.” Dr. Le may be reached at his office in Prescott at (928) 771-1011.
Our Memories of YRMC: The Olsen and Sischka Families, Part Two
The Olsen family grew up loving ranch life. But they also knew life on the JCJ Ranch in Big Chino, north of Paulden, had its hazards. Dan Olsen – one of John and Ann Olsen’s two sons – recalls a day on the ranch that began with two local kids on a go-cart ending up under the wheels of a tractor. “So they were hauled into YRMC (then Yavapai Community Hospital),” he said. Hours later that day, Dan crashed the same tractor into an irrigation ditch and broke his arm. “And now I’m going to YRMC,” he said. “YRMC was pretty important back when we were kids.” John Olsen: A Man of the Earth The Olsen siblings – three of whom with their spouses own Olsen’s for Healthy Animals – credit their father and mother for instilling in them respect for the land, hard work and commitment to community. “My father was a man of his word,” said Kathy Sischka, one of two Olsen daughters. “He was honest and people respected that about him. He was a man of the earth and he loved every bit of this county.” Click here to watch Our Memories of YRMC: The Olsen and Sischka Families, Part 2 on YouTube. Supporting Community-Based Healthcare John’s devotion to Yavapai County inspired him to get involved in community-based healthcare, county government, education, water conservation and more. In the 1960s, he was instrumental in bringing together leaders from the County Hospital and Yavapai Community Hospital for delicate discussions about joining forces to have one hospital that would serve the community. His efforts led to the formation of the Central Yavapai Hospital District in 1960 and the opening of YRMC at its current location in 1964. “Whenever John was involved in something, I always knew it was going to turn out right,” said son-in-law Steve Sischka, who serves on YRMC’s Board of Trustees. YRMC also cared for John, as son Mike remembered. “The only reason my Dad was able to come back home at the end of his life was because of YRMC’s Infusion Center,” he said. YRMC Provides Advanced Specialties The Olsen family agrees that their father was impressed by YRMC’s expansion and the addition of important advanced specialties to serve the community. Dan describes how his father enjoyed sharing the story of his involvement in YRMC with the providers who cared for him at YRMC. “He was proud,” said Dan, “but it was a humble proud.” Just as you would expect from a man of the earth.
Expert Advice for Keeping Young Athletes Hydrated and Healthy!
Kids are back in school, playing sports — and it’s hot out there! Playing hard in hot, humid weather can be dangerous for anyone, but kids are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and heat-related illnesses. Local experts agree that proper hydration, with water, begins hours, if not days before a hot-weather practice or event. Their message to young athletes: hydration keeps you healthy and competitive! Compared to adults, kids have higher water needs relative to their body size. Children are also less likely to recognize the early signs of thirst, especially when they are playing hard in the heat. Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, headache, muscle cramping, and lack of concentration, all of which can affect athletic (and academic) performance. If left untreated, mild dehydration might deteriorate into more serious heat related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which requires emergency treatment, and can even be fatal. Experts agree that water is the best primary beverage for healthy hydration. They also stress the importance of being well hydrated before arriving at an event. Sports medicine professionals recommend that kids drink about 20 ounces of water two hours before a practice or game and 48 – 64 ounces throughout the day. Jeanne Gibian, CPNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Ponderosa Pediatrics, encourages active kids to fill up on water throughout the day, long before an event begins. Darrin Blake, MS, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer and Sports Medicine and GeoScience Teacher at Bradshaw Mountain High School, offers some additional advice. Blake states, “First, I tell my kids that they cannot hydrate during practice; that they have to hydrate primarily at home. Drinking during a practice or game will keep hydration levels up a little, but the kids won’t gain anything if they are dehydrated from the start. Kids need to get a belly full of water during the day, not iced tea, milk or juice. Also, at least a few days before the start of the season, I want them to wake up every night at least once to use the bathroom. That means that they have excess water in their body: that’s a good sign of hydration”. Click here to watch Keeping Your Young Athlete Hydrated on YouTube. Replacing electrolytes (calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium) during intense, prolonged exercise in the heat is also important. Electrolytes maintain water balance in the body while also keeping the heart and other muscles working optimally. Opinions vary, however, regarding the best timing and use of electrolyte replacing sports drinks. Jeanne Gibian reminds parents that, “Sports drinks, like many Gatorade products, can contain more than half the sugar of soda, or about 7 teaspoons in a 16-ounce bottle”. Because of their high sugar content, Gibian does not recommend using sports drinks unless kids are participating in intense, sustained exercise of more than one hour, in high temperatures. Chloe Woodruff, local professional off-road cyclist, and Founder of the Stans-Pivot Pro Team Powered By Maxxis, agrees. “I think sugary drinks are overused and simply unnecessary most of the time. For kiddos with short practice sessions of an hour or less, I think water and a bar or a few pieces of fruit, will do the trick”. Sabrina Carlson, Northern Arizona Youth Outreach and Education Coordinator, and leader of Gear Girls, an all-girl mountain bike club sponsored by the Arizona Trails Association adds, “If an electrolyte drink is needed to keep kids hydrated after or during a hard ride of an hour or more, I prefer a lower sugar, higher salt product like Skratch or Drip Drop. These have a profile similar to hydration salts. In some cases, the high sugar content of some sports drinks can trigger an upset stomach and brightly colored vomit, especially if altitude is involved!” For long duration exercise in hot weather, Darrin Blake suggests replacing electrolytes during the day with fruit and Gatorade or another sports drink. He adds, “Drinking water is obviously essential, but replacing electrolytes is just as important. I tell my athletes to drink Gatorade at meals when they are working extra hard, taking water throughout the day, and water again before they go to bed. Kids should take short drinks of water during an event to maintain hydration. I’ve had kids drink too much water during play and feel just as bad as they would have if they were dehydrated”. Cooling off during a practice or event will also reduce the risk of heat related illnesses. To keep athletes at Bradshaw High School cool, Blake purchased a water horse, which emits a continuous supply of cold water through several nozzles. He encourages his kids to douse themselves with water to prevent overheating. Sabrina Carlson recommends riding with a lightweight, long sleeved cotton shirt. “These can be doused with water (or sweat), and will help pull heat away from the body”. For fuel, Blake recommends eating fruits like melons and berries throughout the day. “Fruit is high in water and some of those electrolytes, and it also contains healthy carbs that kids use for energy during sporting events”. Carlson encourages her team of girls to lightly snack on salty trail mix, with something sweet, like dried fruit, during long rides. Chloe Woodruff recommends a well-balanced breakfast before a practice, ride, or game, like some overnight oatmeal sweetened with dates and a banana. Her favorite recovery food after a hard ride is a simple smoothie blended with protein powder, almond milk, a banana, dates and a handful of spinach. Experts agree that kids need to fill up on water long before they play in the heat and use electrolyte replacement beverages only when they will be engaged in intense activity for an hour or more. Because opinions vary regarding the best electrolyte replacement products to use, be sure to ask your child’s pediatrician and coach about their recommendations. In addition, fueling up with healthy carbohydrates like fruit, whole grains, and nuts instead of sugary candies and snacks will keep kids energized, healthy, and competitive throughout a practice or game.
This Hometown Girl Has Many Talents: How Jennifer Harvey is Making a Difference
If you have ever had the privilege of hearing Jennifer Harvey sing with her Femme-Folk Pop-Rock band, The Gurley Girls, you will know instantly that this busy lady’s got skills. She is a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, friend and cake pop baker in addition to her role as the Patient Navigator for the Lung Cancer Screening and Care program at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). Her title is a mouthful and so is her job! YRMC started the Lung Cancer Screening and Care program in response to a national push to provide annual low dose CT scanning as a screening method for detecting lung cancer early. This program started as a result of a large-scale study known as the National Lung Screening Trial, which was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and conducted by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This study showed that “for the first time, we have a modality that’s proven by research to catch lung cancer early and it is effective and can save lives,” explained Jennifer. Early detection of lung cancer can increase the five-year survival rate. Jennifer added, “YRMC started this program to support our community because we have a high volume of smokers and we know that when people wait until they have symptoms of lung cancer, they are not likely to survive their diagnosis.” Jennifer’s role in the process is to help identify high risk groups and to inform practitioners as well as people in the community that this service is available; to act as a liaison between providers and specialists such as pulmonologists, radiologists, oncologists and surgeons; to connect patients to the screening program and treatments they may need after the screening; and to create educational materials and classes to help patients become healthier. “So, I act as a hub in this busy wheel,” said Jennifer. The day before a patient arrives for the first appointment, Jennifer calls them and explains how “the program is not a one and done type of thing. You come back annually for screening.” When they initially arrive at the clinic, Jennifer goes through a patient information folder she creates and develops a personal relationship with the patients. She wants them “to feel fully supported, to put a face with a name, and to really help them through the process.” There are some additional benefits of entering the program such as “smokers who enter the program often decide to quit smoking after realizing what smoking does to them,” Jennifer states. Another benefit of this program is that incidental findings may also be detected because of the screening. If someone has coronary artery disease, the calcifications can be spotted through CT screening and the patient can be referred to a cardiologist so that a heart attack may be prevented. A thyroid nodule may be discovered or another type of medical concern might also be noticed. “They might get help for something they didn’t even know they had,” explains Jennifer. If you think that lung cancer screening is something you should consider, please speak to your primary care physician or contact Jennifer at (928) 771-5454.
Our Memories of YRMC: Stephanie and Mark Fricke
Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story? And here’s one that includes an Easter-themed scavenger hunt, anonymous gifts left at the workplace – yes, it’s Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) – and (spoiler alert) a symphony of synchronized pagers on the couple’s wedding day. For longtime Prescott residents, there’s even a first date at the old Maude’s Restaurant on Montezuma Street. The story begins in 1987 when Stephanie – who was visiting from Washington, D.C. – fell in love with Prescott. “I know exactly where I was,” said Stephanie. “I was standing in front of Courthouse Plaza looking up and down Gurley Street and I said, ‘Yep, this is it.’” In just three months, Stephanie – who is now Director of Laboratory Services at YRMC – had relocated to Prescott and soon was working nights as a Medical Technologist in YRMC’s Clinical Laboratory. Mark, a police officer, had a similar experience when he first visited Prescott in his mid-twenties. “Prescott’s my home,” said the Midwest transplant. “It’s great to have spent your career in the community that you retire in.” It was 1992 when the couple met at YRMC. “The police used to cruise by just to make sure everybody was safe,” Stephanie said. “It was a place where they had somebody you could talk to who was actually awake,” Mark said with a smile. Stephanie and Mark had things in common – their favorite beverage was Diet Coke and each had visited Switzerland at the same time. It was a good opening, and Mark took it. Soon, Diet Cokes started showing up on Stephanie’s desk at work, and she knew exactly who was behind them. “There were ulterior motives,” Mark admitted. They became friends, hiking and backpacking together in Strawberry and Payson. Three years later, Mark finally got the nerve to invite Stephanie on a date. They had breakfast at Maude’s after their shifts ended. They clicked so well that their breakfast almost became lunch. The restaurant manager had to ask them to leave because other customers needed their table. A month later, Mark invited Stephanie to dinner, sending flowers to her door before he arrived. “I’m on the phone immediately to one of my nurse friends from YRMC,” said Stephanie. “‘He sent me flowers what am I gonna do?’ She assured me that it was okay.” And she was right. Mark was romantic, but also fun. He concocted an elaborate Easter Bunny scavenger hunt that took Stephanie all over Prescott and Prescott Valley – a grocery store, florist, YRMC – to ask for her next clue. “Every place I went, I had to ask, ‘Are you the Easter Bunny?’ and then the person would give me a plastic Easter egg with the next clue.” Mark got Stephanie into running, 10Ks, half and full marathons. YRMC sponsored the couple in a Ragnar 24-hour relay involving 12 people, 200 miles and no sleep. They camped in Bryce Canyon National Park and at Lake Powell, which became a favorite destination for the couple. It was so special, in fact, that the pair chose Lake Powell as the setting for their September 4, 1997 wedding. It was a beautifully simple ceremony, but comical, too, with the bride nearly wearing workout clothes and flip flops, because the maid of honor (who had the wedding gown) was late. The groom and best man were dressed in black pants, white shirts and Looney Tunes ties (because Mark’s a cartoon fan). Mark had vowed to his friends the 5 p.m. ceremony would last no longer than 20 minutes, and at 5:20 p.m. with the Justice of the Peace two minutes shy of pronouncing, “You may kiss the bride,” dozens of pagers buzzed. “We had a really good time; it was a really fun wedding,” Stephanie remembered. Stephanie and Mark Fricke have built a life of love, fun and mutual respect for their occupations. Now retired from the police department, Mark is a firearms instructor who travels the country to teach courses. “It was easy to be married to a police officer because I understood the shift work,” said Stephanie. “I understood his life was not his own sometimes because we both worked weird shifts. We worked on holidays, which to us is a day that you don’t happen to be working, but you could be.” These days, when Mark’s home, he’s Mr. Fix-It around the house and also cooks, cleans and does the grocery shopping. Mark grinned and said, “She keeps me in the lifestyle I’m accustomed to.” Now, pour yourself a Diet Coke and let’s toast the happy couple’s upcoming wedding anniversary.
Frank Colella, Family Nurse Practitioner, Joins the Team at YRMC PhysicianCare
Frank Colella, FNP, is a Family Nurse Practitioner and has joined the YRMC PhysicianCare Family Medicine team. He is now practicing at 1050 Gail Gardner Way, Suite 100 in Prescott. Mr. Colella is a Doctoral graduate of Philosophy in Biology from the University of Buffalo and Canisius College. He has also completed a Master’s Degree in Nursing at the University of Phoenix. Mr. Colella is currently accepting new patients. Please call (928) 777-0700 to schedule an appointment. YRMC PhysicianCare is pleased to accept most insurance plans including Medicare. For more information about YRMC PhysicianCare, please visit www.yrmcpc.org.
Dr. Pamela Lusk Joins the Ponderosa Pediatrics Team
Yavapai Regional Medical Center PhysicianCare is pleased to welcome Pamela Lusk, PMHNP-BC, FAANP, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Dr. Lusk has joined the Ponderosa Pediatrics team on Centerpointe West Drive in Prescott. She is a Doctoral graduate and has completed a Post Masters Nurse Practitioner Certificate in Psychiatric and Mental Health at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Lusk completed a Master of Science in Psychiatric Nursing for Child and Adolescents at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Dr. Lusk is currently accepting referrals from physicians in the community. Please speak to your family doctor if you feel that child or adolescent psychiatry should be considered as part of your child’s treatment plan. YRMC PhysicianCare is pleased to accept most insurance plans. Ponderosa Pediatrics is located at 2120 Centerpointe West Drive in Prescott. For more information, please call (928) 778-4581 or visit www.yrmcpc.org.