Senior Nation Fitness: Staying Balanced in the New Year – Part Three


There are many systems in the body that work together to maintain balance. There are medical conditions and environmental conditions that challenge the body’s ability to maintain balance and increase the risk of falling. The good news is, there are simple things that can be done to improve balance and decrease the risk of falling:

Using night lights and eliminating trip hazards will reduce the risk of falling in the dark.

Being aware of obstacles and changes in surfaces inside and outside of the home, such as curbs, walking across grass or going from carpet to tile flooring. This is especially important when carrying grocery bags, laundry baskets or boxes.

Participate in vision screenings. Wearing proper glasses can improve vision and decrease the risk of falling. Bifocals can make it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces or climb stairs, remove glasses if possible.

Discuss all medical conditions and medications with physicians to determine if they increase the risk of falling. Also discuss symptoms that can increase risk of falling such as dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, fatigue, numbness in the feet, and joint or muscular pain.

There may be simple solutions that will improve functional mobility and decrease the risk of falling.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults 65 and over participate in an exercise program that includes balance exercises a minimum of twice a week. Balance exercises should challenge static (stationary) and dynamic (moving) balance. Standing on one foot for 10 to 30 sec will challenge static balance. Marching in place or alternating tapping your heel on a step for 20 or 30 sec will challenge dynamic balance.

Exercises that strengthen the legs and torso and stretching exercises will also improve posture, allow for more stable movements and reduce the risk of falling. A certified fitness professional will be able to provide specific recommendations to improve or maintain balance. A Physical Therapist could also provide recommendations to improve balance if medical conditions are increasing the risk of falling or if balance concerns are limiting mobility.


Kimberly Huff, MS
Fitness Director
Heron Point of Chestertown


Senior Nation: Stress and the Holidays


It’s officially the holiday season and, according to William C. Cox of the Baltimore Washington Disc Institute and Odenton Chiropractic Holistic Wellness Center, it also can be an extremely stressful and hectic time.

Making preparations for holiday meals, planning parties, coordinating schedule and shopping for gifts must be accomplished on top of everyday tasks.

All of these things add up and can really take a major toll on our minds and bodies.

These emotional stressors don’t just affect our heads, but also lead to physical tension, pain and a whole array of other health issues. When we experience stress, our bodies react by releasing the stress hormone Cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone related to our fight or flight response. Although this response is our body’s way of protecting us in potentially dangerous situations, when activated repeatedly over a period of time, a vicious cycle in thrown into motion. When we experience repetitive stress, the protective responses in our body actually become harmful.

When cortisol levels in the blood are chronically high, inflammation in your body skyrockets. This causes all sorts of pain and muscle tension throughout the body.

One example of this that you may be familiar with is tension you might experience in your neck, shoulder and upper back when you are stressed or tense. Many people “hold their stress” in these or other areas. Then, to make matters worse, these aches and pains create even more emotional stress. Not only are you stressed out mentally, but now
are in pain. The vicious cycle begins.

Chiropractic can be a very effective means to relieve chronic pain, muscle tension, aching joints, headaches and other related problems. During this stressful time, Chiropractic care treatment can break this cycle, ensure your body is working properly and get you back on track of feeling healthy and less stressed.

Your Chiropractor may not be able to do your shopping, planning, cooking or thousand other things on your to-do list, but at least you can feel better and healthier so you can survive the holidays.

UM Shore Regional Health Sponsors Largest Health Event in Kent County


University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is a leading sponsor of the upcoming HomePorts Health & Wellness Expo set for Thursday, October 20, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Kent County High School.


UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown team members Sherrie Hill, left, and Kelly Bottomley.

UM SRH has been actively involved with the HomePorts Expo since its inception in 2011. As a lead sponsor, UM SRH contributed $5,000 to this year’s event, which HomePorts staff have predicted will be the largest health event ever held in Kent County.

In addition to its lead sponsorship, UM SRH will be well represented at the event by expert treatment providers and health educators offering presentations on a variety of key health issues. These experts include: Bobbi Atkinson, CRNP, UM Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology; Stephanie Blades, a nurse and licensed massage therapist, UM SRH Center for Integrative Medicine; Katie Davis, clinical supervisor, UM Chester River Home; Sharon Dundon, outpatient addictions program specialist, Shore Behavioral Health Substance Disorders Program; Mary King, nutrition services coordinator, UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown; and Stewart Seitz, director, UM Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

In addition to these expert presentations, UM Shore Regional Health staff from diverse departments will be on hand at the Expo to share information with visitors about prevention strategies and access to care related to breast cancer, diabetes and wound care, fall prevention, heart health, home care, medication safety, men’s health, neurosurgery, palliative care, rehabilitation and long-term care, respiratory and sleep, stroke, and women’s health and ob-gyn.

“We at UM Shore Regional Health are committed to supporting HomePorts in its efforts to expand access to important health and wellness information for all citizens,” says Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM SRH. “We have been strong supporters of HomePorts for several years and look forward to working with this key Kent County organization on more initiatives that support our mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.”

About UM 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.

Christine Clarke Named to New Position at UM Shore Regional Health


clarkeChristine Clarke, who previously worked at UM Shore Regional Health for 15 years, has returned health care network in the new, regional position of service excellence coach-trainer. Clarke, who resides in Easton, was director of Leadership and Workforce Development at Shore Regional Health in 2015 when she became director of Leadership and Organization Development/Consulting Services for the University of Maryland Medical System.

“Christine’s return is an exciting development for everyone at UM Shore Regional Health,” says Susan Coe, senior vice president, Human Resources and chief experience officer. “Our organization knows firsthand how effective she is in motivating people and teams to achieve higher goals, and in providing the tools to make their success possible. In her new role, she will educate leaders, team members, volunteers, and other stakeholders in the tools and tactics of our Patient, Family, Team Member, and Physician Engagement programs.”

“I’m thrilled and honored to be back on the Shore full-time and in this new role as service excellence coach–trainer,” says Clarke, who began her new position on October 3. “I am looking forward to working with everyone at UM Shore Regional Health to achieve positive changes in the culture of our organization that will improve the care of our patients and the environment in which we provide that care.”

Clarke’s professional credentials include: certification from the University of Maryland/University College as a Training and Development Specialist; a Human Performance Improvement Specialist Certificate (HPI) from the American Society for Training and Development (ATD); and completion of the Leadership Development Institute offered through the University of Maryland/ University College and Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina; and the ACTP certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. ACTP is one of the few coaching programs accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the largest worldwide resource for business and personal coaches. In addition, she completed the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) designation with the ICF.

October 20 Health Expo Becomes Mega Event


The free Health and Wellness Expo being held Thursday, October 20, 2016, from 8am to 1:30pm at Kent County High School in Worton, features an unsurpassed number of health screenings, exhibits, and expert talks— a one-stop, one day opportunity geared to all ages.

HomePorts, Inc. and Kent County Public Schools, in partnership with the Kent County Health Department, the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, and Anne Arundel Medical Center, have enlisted over 80 exhibitors and arranged for ten expert talks. In addition, hospitals will have free screenings for lung function, pulmonary health, stroke risk, balance and fall risks, and pre-diabetes checks. Local dentists will conduct free oral health screenings, and local vision specialists will check eye health.

Free flu shots are available to those without insurance, compliments of Walgreen’s. Attendees can experience the results of distracted driving using the Texting While Driving Virtual Reality Simulator, a collaboration between the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and AT&T. In addition to over 50 health and wellness exhibits, exhibitors include legal and financial services, food vendors, safety advocates, and home modification companies—a plethora of information about local resources.

Ten “Ask the Expert” talks will be held throughout the morning on topics ranging from new cancer findings to weight management and vitamin needs. Local health care practitioners are featured who are donating their time to answer questions and offer free guidance and information.

Topping off the day at 1pm will be a presentation by Deborah Mizeur, Co-Chair of the Rural Health Care Workgroup formed by the 2016 Maryland General Assembly to study and make recommendations on rural hospitals in the state. She will discuss “Designing an Integrated Health System for the Eastern Shore.”

“I encourage everybody to plan their time so they can come out to this. We’re doing this to help Kent County stay healthy. It’s an unprecedented opportunity,” said Wayne Benjamin, MD, local primary care physician and Chair of the Planning Committee.

As a local nonprofit organization serving the aging population in Kent County, HomePorts understands the importance of health care and preventive medicine, and maintains an active role in the community. Kent County strives to be a “community for a lifetime.” The aging population needs those of all ages to have access to preventive health screenings, wellness programs, and latest health, wellness and safety information.

For more information, call 443-480-0940, email or visit

Eastern Shore Psychological Services opens Chestertown Office


Eastern Shore Psychological Services, LLC (ESPS) has announced  the expansion of its adult and child behavioral health services to Kent County.

.ESPS is a behavioral wellness company providing individual, family and group behavioral health services for children, youth and adults throughout the Eastern Shore. The company was formed in 1999 in Salisbury, Maryland by Dr. Kathryn Seifert and has grown to become one of the leading providers on the Shore.

Each year ESPS helps over 3,000 consumers address mental health concerns, recover from substance use problems, and heal from the impact of trauma.The downtown Chestertown office (315 High Street/Suite 201) is providing mental health and substance use recovery services; and most private and public insurances are accepted

Dr. Ben Kohl, ESPS Director of Programs, notes, “we spent a lot of time meeting with, and listening to people living in Kent County. Our goal is to offer services that are responsive to the needs of this community. We are excited about the accessibility of the downtown office; and we have an incredibly talented group of therapists staffing this new location.”

To learn more about how to access ESPS services please call 443-282-0102. 

Maryland Health Group Attacks High Costs of Prescription Drugs


Maryland health group attacks high costs of prescription drugs

Capital News Service

BALTIMORE – With EpiPens and other prescription drugs rising in cost, families who desperately need them but do not have health insurance are bearing a huge financial burden, according to community advocates.

The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a coalition of more than 1,200 religious, labor, business and policy groups seeking quality and affordable health care, wants the state legislature to address that financial burden by overhauling some of the laws governing drug pricing.

“The problem is when prices are raised so high, it’s really hard on families with children who need access to life-saving medications to budget to get these medications that they really need,” said Anna Davis, the health policy director for Advocates for Children and Youth.

The health initiative recently released the results of a poll of 802 Maryland registered voters that showed an overwhelming 80 percent supporting three key actions to combat high drug costs – and all three are to be incorporated in proposed legislation.

The healthcare advocates want to require companies to disclose the price basis (how much they spend on production, research, advertising, and profit) of their drugs, require companies to notify the public of an increase in price of a drug, and authorize the state’s attorney general to take legal action to prevent unfair price hikes.

In the next couple of months, the group will announce a bill and sponsors for these proposals, said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. The Maryland General Assembly’s session is scheduled to begin in January.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll told the Washington Post that her organization would like to work with advocates to provide accessible information on the out-of-pocket cost for drugs. (

Regarding legislative efforts to make public how drug companies set prices, Carroll said: “Legislation like this doesn’t help patients to actually afford the medications they need.”

An Intercontinental Marketing Services health study conducted this year found that consumers spent a total of $310 billion on medications in 2015, which is 8.5 percent higher than 2014. (

“People are in danger and their lives are in danger because they can’t afford the prescription drugs they need,” DeMarco said. “We need these life-saving prescription drugs to be affordable and available to people.”

On the federal level, members of Congress have pressed drug manufacturers to explain dramatic price hikes in pharmaceuticals but so far have not found bipartisan consensus on possible legislative action.

At a Sept. 21 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Heather Bresch, CEO of EpiPen maker Mylan, Inc., defended her company’s decision to raise prices by 400 percent since 2007. She said her company is making only about $50 per EpiPen. Her company now is offering a generic version at $300 and is improving public access to the device.

“I wish we had better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration of the rising financial issues for a growing minority of patients who may have ended up paying the full wholesale acquisition cost or more,” she said. “We never intended this.”

That did not comfort lawmakers.

“I find this to be so extreme…it is driving exorbitant profits,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Calif., panel chairman.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, ripped into Mylan for boosting the EpiPen’s price “for no discernible reason.” The committee, he said, obtained documents showing that net sales revenue from EpiPens in 2008 was $184 million; this year that figure will be $1.1 billion.

“They raised the prices, I believe, to get filthy rich at the expense of our constituents,” the congressman said.

Having been personally affected by the prescription drug price hikes, Baltimore resident Barbara Gruber, 58, said she would feel more comfortable and healthier if she could buy prescription drugs for her asthma when she needed them.

“It’s a choice between eating, living, and getting the drugs that will keep me alive,” said Gruber, an adjunct professor at various universities in Baltimore city.

Without her prescription drugs, she would not be able to enjoy her hobby, which is painting, Gruber said.

“I can live without an extra paintbrush, I can live without that tube of Indian yellow that I love so much, but I can’t live without certain drugs that I take,” she said. “If the drugs go out of my price range, I can die.”

The Maryland Pharmacists Association would not comment on the three initiatives until advocates introduce them, Executive Director Aliyah Horton said.

“The Maryland Pharmacist Association supports efforts to limit unjustified or unreasonable pricing by pharmaceutical companies that may affect the affordability of medications for patients,” she said.

Chestertown Hospital Auxiliary Provides Funds for Hospital Staff Education, Advancement


UM CRHF Auxiliary launches scholarship fundProfessional advancement for team members at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown has just been made a little bit easier, thanks to the Chester River Hospital Center Auxiliary.

The Auxiliary has donated $20,000 to the Chester River Health Foundation to create a fund designated for scholarship assistance for employees seeking professional certification in their career fields. Any employee of the Chestertown hospital seeking a first-time certification may apply to the new fund for a scholarship that will help pay for a certification course, books and other resources, and/or the cost of the certification exam.

The general range for certification costs in health care professions is $300 to $1,000.

The new fund’s first scholarship recipient is John Haines, a nursing supervisor in the Emergency Department at UM SMC at Chestertown who is now studying for the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam. “I am so grateful for the financial assistance the Auxiliary scholarship fund provides as I advance my professional skills and credentials,” says Haines.

According to Jack Edson, president of the Auxiliary and a member of the Chester River Health Foundation Board, the new fund is a “first” in that it is not limited to nursing support — any staff member in any department who is seeking a first-time certification is welcome to apply for a scholarship award.

“For example, a staff member working in dietary might want to get certified in food safety and sanitation, or a radiology tech might want to earn certification in a specialty area such as sonography or magnetic resonance imaging,” says Edson. “The Auxiliary’s goal is to support all hospital staff in endeavors that will increase their expertise, help them mentor other staff and support outstanding care.”

Photo: UM SMC at Chestertown Emergency Department Nursing Supervisor John Haines, second from left, is pursuing his emergency nursing certification with the help of a scholarship award presented by Chester River Health Foundation President Bill Noll (left) and Chestertown Hospital Center Auxiliary President Jack Edson. At right is CRHF Executive Director and Auxiliary Liaison Maryann Ruehrmund.

Chestertown Medical Pavilion Open to Patients


Susan Ross, MD, UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s newest medical office building – University of Maryland Shore Medical Pavilion at Chestertown – opened its doors to patients on June 7.

The new Pavilion, located at 126 Philosophers Terrace in Chestertown, provides medical office space for primary care and a variety of medical specialty providers. UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Chestertown will is now home to Susan Ross, MD, of University of Maryland Community Medical Group – Primary Care; Christopher Parry, DO, of UM Community Medical Group – Urology; and R. Duane Cespedes, MD, of UM Community Medical Group Continence & Pelvic Health. Additional medical specialties will be available at the new location over the next several months. Providers are affiliated with University of Maryland Community Medical Group, a multi-hospital, multi-specialty network of University of Maryland Medical System providers, all serving the people of Maryland.


Christopher Parry, DO, UM Community Medical Group – Urology

“University of Maryland Community Medical Group and our affiliate, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, are very excited for the opportunity to offer our patients accessible primary care and various clinical and surgical specialties in a centralized location,” comments Michele Wilson, vice president of operations, Southern Region, UM Community Medical Group. “Their relocation to Shore Medical Pavilion at Chestertown enables the patients we care for in Kent County and its surrounding communities to more easily access the quality health care services we provide.”

“We are deeply committed to the health and wellbeing of our friends and neighbors in Kent County and the residents of our entire five-county region,” says Kenneth Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health. “Our organization strives to create healthier communities, by providing high quality, accessible health care programs and services, in the most cost efficient manner to the patients we serve. The new medical pavilion in Chestertown will allow us to do just that as we provide exceptional medical care, close to home.”


R. Duane Cespedes, MD, UM Community Medical Group – Continence & Pelvic Health

Additional information about the Pavilion and its providers can be obtained by visiting

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.