Diabetes Education and Prevention

Peggy Steere of Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital discussed diabetes education and prevention Nov. 5, 2013 on KIT 1280.

The statistics:

  • In the United States, nearly 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – that’s more than 8 percent of the population. Another 79 million people have prediabetes, meaning their blood sugar levels are higher than normal.
    • Here in Yakima County, one in 11 people has diabetes. And one in three has prediabetes.
    • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total costs of diabetes have risen from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012. That represents a 41 percent increase over a five-year period.

How do we combat the disease?

Research has shown that managing your diet by reducing fat and calories and physical activity can help prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Memorial is taking part in the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which can help people cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in half.  In the program:

  • Participants work with a lifestyle coach in a group setting to receive a 1-year lifestyle change program.
  • Research has shown that participants who made modest behavior changes lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight. That’s about 10-14 pounds for a 200-pound person.
  • These lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with prediabetes.

Memorial also has received a state grant to boost its diabetes awareness and prevention programs. Offerings will include courses for those newly diagnosed with diabetes, monthly support groups, foot screenings, insulin training and nutrition and one-on-one counseling.

Fun Event:

Memorial Community Education is organizing a family walk to build awareness about diabetes prevention and to encourage physical activity. Everyone is invited, so come join us!

Saturday, Nov. 9, 9-11 a.m. at Franklin Park

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.

The first 200 people get a free sports bottle.

Free Screening:

Memorial is also offering free diabetes screenings from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Nov. 16 at its community education center, located at 2506 W. Nob Hill Blvd. in Yakima.

For more information, call 509-574-5956. Or visit our website, yakimamemorial.org

North Star Lodge Cancer Clinical Trials

North Star Lodge Cancer Care Center offers clinical trials at every stage of cancer and provides patients with access to some of the latest and most effective drugs in the fight against and management of cancer.  Yakima is considered a small town with a very robust clinical trials program.

How long has North Star Lodge offered clinical trials?

  • The program started in 1991.
  • NSL has participated in more than 200 trials since the program’s inception.
  • At any given time, NSL is hosting 30-40 active trials


Who participates in the clinical trials?

  • The North Star Lodge Clinical Trials program has approximately 75 active patients and about 130 patients in long term follow up.
  • Nationwide the average participation is 1-2% of a clinic’s patient base.  North Star Lodge engages 6-8% of its patient base.
  • 15-20% percent of all patients served at North Star Lodge are Hematology patients.   Thirty percent of all clinical trials participants are hematology patients.
  • There are hematology patients here who don’t have cancer, some hematology patients have diseases that can progress to cancer, so it makes sense to see a specialist.
  • The North Star Lodge website lists the current trials we are participating in and includes links to national resources for trials.

How are patients selected?

There are two ways to be selected for clinical trials:

  1. Clinical trials staff prescreens the records of referred patients for eligibility and then informs the physician that the patient might be eligible for entrance into a study.
  2. The physician, after consulting with the patient and reviewing the chart, contacts the clinical trials staff about a trial that might benefit a patient.


Clinical trials are completely voluntary. The patient has the right to withdraw from the study at any time during treatment or follow-up.


For information about the active trials at North Star Lodge go to www.northstarlodge.org or call Clinical Trials Coordinator, Beth Parker at 509-574-3493.




April is Autism Awareness Month – Today is World Autism Day


Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month.  Each year, activities are planned at Children’s Village to educate our community about autism.

Autism, part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime.

  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • The disorder is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from mild to severe. One milder form of the disorder is known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Other developmental disorders that fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorders are Rett Syndrome, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
  • Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or their child’s failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Some parents describe a child that seemed different from birth, while others describe a child who was developing normally and then lost skills. If you have concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait: speak to your family health care provider about getting your child screened for autism.



  • Autism cases are on the rise.  Results from a new study conducted by the CDC found schoolchildren between the ages of 6 to 17 with some form of autism being diagnosed at a record rate of 1 in 50.
  • The study attributes the growth to better detection, not environmental threats.
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation over $137 billion per year.
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
    • The cause of autism remains a mystery.  There is no blood or biologic test for it.  Genetics is believed to play a role.
    • CDC investigators are studying the causes… such as illnesses moms might have while pregnant whose children late developed autism.  They are also looking into medications pregnant women took and those given to their children when they were young.



  • In Yakima, County, approximately 925 children are estimated to be on the autism spectrum.
  • More than 54 children were seen in diagnostic clinic in 2011.  Less than half of those received a diagnosis on the autism spectrum through this multidisciplinary team at Children’s Village in 2011.
  • We do not have enough effective services in Yakima. We are currently working on planning and development for a program dedicated to autism specialty services, however, all providers who work with children with autism will need to have knowledge about ASD to appropriately serve families that are affected by autism.
  • For Autism Awareness Month in 2013 we have several activities planned:
  • April 2, 3:00-5:00 pm-Get your blue hair extensions at Children’s Village in the Community Room.  Call Children’s Village at 574-3200 to schedule your five minute appointment.
  • April 18, 6:30-8:00 pm- “Views from My Shoes” panel presentation at Autism support group at Children’s Village.  Three student speakers who experience ASD will be talking about when they found out they have autism, how it’s affecting their life at home, school, friendships, difficulties they encounter and what they want everyone to know about autism.
  • April 21, 5:30-7:30 pm- Gymnastics Plus Family Night.  No charge and no registration necessary.
  • May 11, 9:00am-4:00pm CUT-A-THON at Elite Academy in the Nob Hill Plaza, 2606 W. Nob Hill Blvd.

This Cut-a-thon fundraiser includes: Haircuts, Pedicures, Manicures and Facials.  All proceeds go to support Autism Services at Children’s Village. Donation requested for each service provided.


For more information on autism services or the activities listed above, visit yakimachildrensvillage.org or call 574-3200.

Yakima flu and Winter Respiratory Issues

Topic: Winter respiratory issues and the flu
Guest: Brian Weihs, Director of Respiratory services,
Date: January 22, 2013

We know respiratory ailments and the flu can be more challenging in the winter. Here are some issues you need to be aware of and precautions you can take to protect yourself:

Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
Help stop the spread of influenza and other diseases by doing the following things:
• If you get sick stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
• Wash your hands regularly
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
• Practice appropriate sneeze and cough etiquette
Should I still get vaccinated since flu season has started?
• Yes. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as long as influenza viruses are circulating.
• It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that provide protection against the flu.
Should I still get vaccinated even if I have already gotten sick with the flu?
• Yes, it’s possible that your illness was not caused by an influenza virus. Other respiratory viruses have similar flu symptoms. The only way to know for sure that a flu virus is making you sick is to have a sample taken and tested in a laboratory. Even if you were sick with one influenza virus, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against three types of flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
Can I get vaccinated and still get influenza?
• Yes. It’s possible to get sick with influenza even if you have been vaccinated (although you won’t know for sure unless you get a positive influenza test).
What antiviral drugs are available this season?
There are two influenza anti-virals drugs this season that can be used to treat illness caused by most currently circulating influenza viruses. The brand names for theses are Tamiflu® and Relenza®.

Cold Air Triggers Asthma
• The cold air that winter brings can set off asthma attacks. Upper respiratory infections that are common in the wintertime can also cause asthma attacks.
• In order to help protect your lungs from cold air that can lead to respiratory infections and/or asthma symptoms, experts recommend warming the air that you breathe. wear a scarf over your mouth when you need to walk for a short time in cold air. Cold weather masks are also a great option, especially if you need to be outside in the cold for a longer period of time.
Indoor Air Quality Is Worse During Winter
Poorer indoor air quality during winter months can spell danger for asthmatics. Closed doors and windows, sealed tightly against the cold, prevent air circulation, leading to higher concentrations of indoor allergens.
People spend more time indoors during the winter breathing in indoor allergens. (Air quality is generally worse indoors than out in any season, but especially during winter.)

Tips to staying healthy and avoiding asthma attacks:
• Being compliant with medication use
• Keep prescriptions filled and current
• Avoid/limit contact with others that are sick
• Maybe it’s time to speak with a specialist?
• Severe Asthma – new treatment option called Bronchial Thermoplasty
• Stay hydrated; very important in winter

If I have asthma should I get a flu shot?
Yes. Winter time is peak flu season. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) states that the flu “can cause a severe asthma attack, which can lead to potential complications including pneumonia and hospitalizations.”

Yakima Children’s Wellness Programs

Kate Sansom was the guest on KIT. She was talking about our children’s wellness programs.

Children’s wellness programs at Memorial

 It’s a new year and a great time to renew commitments to health and wellness.  At Memorial, we are committed to creating a healthy Yakima for all – including our children.

Why are children’s wellness programs a priority for Memorial?

  • The obesity epidemic is well documented and we know that the implications of this are not good.  A study by an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan found:
    • Overweight kids are less likely to pursue education beyond a high school diploma
    • They are more likely to be teased or suffer discrimination, they feel inferior.
    • This is in addition to the health complications they face:  type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease.
    • Other communities in the state are looking at what they can do to stop the progression of this epidemic.
    • As a healthcare leader in this community, Memorial has made it a priority to address this issue by creating and offering wellness programs.
    • We certainly aren’t doing this alone and are really proud of the collaborations that have been formed.

What are the programs Memorial offers?

  • ACT! Actively Changing Together
    • This is a new program we’ll be launching later this month in partnership with the Yakima YMCA and Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.
    • This program was developed by Seattle Children’s Hospital.
    • Generous support provided by Sage Fruit and the Safeway Foundation
    • It’s designed to bring children, ages 8 to 14, and their parents together to receive nutrition and physical fitness education with a goal of making sustainable lifestyle changes.
    • It’s a 12 week program.  We’ll be following up with participants to see how it impacted their lives.
    • Kickin’ it with Kohl’s & Memorial
      • This program launched in the fall in partnership with the Yakima Youth Soccer Association and Kohl’s Department Store.
      • The goal of the program is to provide health education that focuses on injury prevention, nutrition, healthy eating habits, exercise, physical fitness and positive developmental psychology.
      • During the fall and spring seasons, Kohl’s associates help our health educators distribute materials and healthy snacks at the games.
      • We also offer a special session for coaches that cover injury prevention.
      • All of this is offered free of charge thanks to a grant from Kohl’s Cares
      • Safe Sitter
        • This is a two day training course we offer in the summer for boys and girls, ages 11-13.
        • We teach safe and nurturing childcare techniques, behavior management skills and how to handle emergencies. We also cover infant and child CPR.
        • We offer several sessions and it’s a popular course.  We’re happy to announce that we’ll be offering it again this summer.  We’ll announce dates in the spring.
        • Ongoing Health Education outreach
          • Community health events throughout the year
          • Our educators demonstrate to kids what’s in the food they like so much such as sugar and fat content.


For more information contact Kate Sansom at 509-225-3179 or KateSansom@yvmh.org