Training Helps Avert Mental Health Crisis

Mental health problems can affect anyone. Research has shown that one out of five people have a mental health problem at some point in their life. Early intervention is the key to minimizing the risk of a mental health problem escalating to a crisis. CHI Franciscan Health and community partners across Pierce County launched the Prevent-Avert-Respond, or PAR, Mental Health Initiative in 2016 to address this growing community need.

One component of the initiative involves providing free training to individuals who live or work in Pierce County. The training teaches them how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The Mental Health First Aid curriculum was developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. During the eight-hour training, attendees acquire the skills to provide immediate help to someone who is developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental crisis, such as having suicidal thoughts.

“As a psychologist, I know firsthand how important it is to identify the early signs of a serious mental health issue,” says Karen Hye, PsyD, who is a Mental Health First Aid instructor. She says that Mental Health First Aid is not meant to take the place of a trained professional. Instead, the course teaches “regular people” to identify

the signs of a crisis. It gives them tools that can help stabilize an individual in crisis and connect them to appropriate care and support.

Mental Health First Aid is often compared with CPR training, says Monet Craton, director of the PAR initiative. The more people who are trained and prepared, she says, the more often interventions can occur. The training is particularly helpful for people who regularly interact with a wide range of the public, such as those in social services, the court system and education. As of this writing, more than 4,000 people in the county have been trained.

Mental Health First Aid sessions will be offered by CHI Franciscan Health through May 2019. To enroll in a session or arrange training for your organization, contact Monet Craton at


For Additional Information
CHI Franciscan Health

Mental Health First Aid

Capital Medical Center: Raising the Bar in Health Care

“I’m excited about the opportunity here at Capital Medical Center. With a top-notch medical staff and a team of compassionate, talented employees at the hospital—we will focus on providing high-quality, compassionate care along with always looking to make those services more accessible to our community.”

Those were the words of Mark Turner when he was named CEO of Capital Medical Center a year ago. Now his extensive experience, as well as CMC’s above-average rating as a hospital, combine to bring an exceptional balance to its public-private partnership with UW Medicine, which took effect in April.

“The alliance aims to offer higher quality and better patient experiences and services to the people of Olympia, Thurston County and surrounding areas,” said Turner. “Other hospitals will be added to the partnership from Alaska, Idaho and Washington over time.”

On a perpetual mission to improve both the quality of care and patient experience, this partnership will allow CMC to benefit from, and leverage, UW Medicine’s work in achieving the “Triple Aim”— a set of health care reform goals: (1) improving patient experience through care including quality and satisfaction, (2) providing better health care outcomes, and (3) reducing the per-capita cost of health care.

Turner has a strong track record of success working with physicians and hospital employees to improve care and expand the range and depth of services provided at each of the hospitals he has led. His 25-plus years’ experience includes both hospital operational and regional leadership positions for national health care organizations. Most recently he was CEO at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning, California.

A CPA, Turner is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional with the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He is a graduate

of the University of Wisconsin with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.


For Additional Information
Capital Medical Center
3900 Capital Mall Dr SW Olympia

7 Ways to be Active During the Holidays

The Pacific Northwest offers a lot of ways to be active outdoors during the spring, summer and fall. But when the weather turns cold and rainy, it’s hard to muster up the enthusiasm to head out.

Our gloomy winters can seem like the perfect excuse to park yourself on the couch until spring. Add to that the stress and busyness of the holiday season, and staying active during this time of year may seem almost impossible.

But regular exercise and activity are important for your health all year. Instead of settling in to hibernate for the winter, try these seven ideas that will keep you and your family active and moving all season long.

  1. Find a Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog Holiday-themed running/walking events are easy to find in most areas, and are typically family-friendly. These events are more about silly costumes, people-watching and pure fun than about competition, so they are great for all fitness levels.
  2. Strap on some ice skates Ice skating is an iconic holiday activity. Pierce County’s Sprinker Arena is open year-round and offers public skate times. For something more festive, try the new, holiday-themed Indigo Frozen Fountain ice skating rink at Point Ruston or Olympia’s new downtown ice rink. Both are open until early January.
  3. Hit a roller rink If skating on ice doesn’t appeal to you, a number of roller skating rinks in the region offer public skate hours. Either kind of skating is an excellent cardiovascular workout appropriate for almost all age levels. Skating can even help you improve your balance skills, which are important to maintain as you get older.
  4. Walk the mall Sure, it’s going to be packed with holiday shoppers. But if you’re going to be there anyway, set aside time to get in some steps. Walking breaks between stores can help relieve some of the stress of crowds and long lines.
  5. Try ‘feet first’ sightseeing If you’re traveling to visit family or taking a holiday vacation, try exploring new destinations or revisiting your hometown on foot or bike instead of by car or public transportation.
  6. Take a bowling break Stepping away from holiday preparations for a break can help relieve stress and prevent holiday burnout. An outing to your local bowling alley is a family activity that keeps you moving. Plan your trip for after lunch or dinner to avoid being tempted by the snack bar.
  7. Tackle a new challenge It’s easy to put your fitness or health goals aside when the weather’s bad and your holiday to-do list seems a mile long. In times like these, though, self-care is more important than ever. Make a point to try something new that challenges you physically, mentally or both. Sign up for a new fitness class, set a daily step goal—any challenge that gets you moving and can give you a measurable success to celebrate.


Caring for families impacted by age or illness

It can be hard to see our parents struggle as they get older. It can be difficult to take the time to be there for their needs. This is why a home care agency, such as Synergy HomeCare, has become an essential part of daily lives for many seniors.

When their own home is made into a safe place, the seniors themselves can be in charge. They believe their opinion is heard and their preferences are recognized. There is an easier transition to accepting and understanding why in-home care is the best option for them. They need to feel and agree that they need a little support, but they are “the boss.”

When it’s time for this topic to be addressed with your parents, it’s important to remember that first, you may need to plant the idea or seed and then revisit the topic a number of times. Do not give up. Change takes time to adjust to and is harder for seniors in particular. Follow these three steps:

  1. Decide the care your loved one needs.

Whether the need is for a few hours a week or constant care, it’s important to understand the need and establish this expectation with the individual.

  1. Use a soft approach to bring up the idea.

Gently tell your loved one how this care will enhance their life and that you are their advocate, that you desire their independence. Synergy HomeCare can also provide a safety home assessment to help you and your loved one to better understand their needs for safety devices.

  1. Give it a try.

There are no contracts with Synergy HomeCare, so trying the service and support is a perfectly workable plan. Perhaps your loved one would agree to try home care for a few weeks or a month. To stop service, you simply call the office.

Change can be difficult, so Synergy HomeCare is available to talk if you need help. Call 360-338-0837 to find out about all of the services available, including help with bringing up the subject with your loved one. Synergy HomeCare can give you peace of mind and the tools you need to help your parents. Kate Redmond


Enhanced Breast Cancer Imaging Technology

Women 40 or older have been reminded for years that having an annual mammogram is an important part of their overall wellness. “There are many factors that can increase the risk for breast cancer, such as family history, but the biggest risk is being a woman,” advises radiologist Alison Reinbold, MD. That’s why it’s so important to have a screening mammogram done regularly— you’ll increase the chances of detecting breast cancer in its early stages when more treatment options are available.

Early detection has improved further with the introduction of 3D technology. Diagnostic Imaging Northwest recently unveiled this enhanced screening for mammography in Puyallup and Bonney Lake.

Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (or tomo), 3D mammography is used in combination with 2D mammography. “During the exam, a patient will hardly notice a difference,” notes Dr. Reinbold. The images collected are displayed as a series of thin slices that can be evaluated individually or as a dynamic, interactive 3D animation. “We are able to see up and down through the tissue and remove extraneous layers, which makes it easier to find abnormalities.”

The significant advantages of 3D mammogram are the clarity of the image and the ability of the radiologist to review the breast from different angles. This is particularly important for women with dense breasts, who are also at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The greater clarity of the breast images improves early detection and the increased accuracy provides patients greater peace of mind. 3D mammography has been proven to reduce the frequency of additional testing by as much as 30 percent.

Diagnostic Imaging Northwest offers 3D mammography at three locations. Each has been accredited as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, which means that patients will find the most comprehensive imaging care services available.

We encourage our over-40 readers to talk with their doctor this fall about scheduling a mammogram.


For Additional Information or to Schedule a Mammogram
Diagnostic Imaging Northwest

The Parallel Powers of Music and Athletes

Sarah Ioannides’ dynamic presence on the podium for Symphony Tacoma has won praise from audiences and critics internationally. The New York Times has described her as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority.”

The physicality of Ioannides’ career requires dedication and perseverance, much like an athletic endeavor. She shares her story of injury, healing and music as a lens through which others might envision succeeding in anything that requires both mental and physical discipline.

“I’ve always had a passion for running,” says Ioannides, “but… with having two knee surgeries, conquering Lyme disease, and bringing up three children—while living in three states from coast to coast—my physical strength needed recovery… an ongoing challenge with constant travel.”

After moving to Tacoma, she says, she committed to resolve her knee struggles and to regain balance and strength. In 2017 she met Alison Unterreiner, PT.

Unterreiner says physical therapy relies on rehabilitating systematically and deliberately. And running requires a person to train effectively and to be patient for the results. Both physical therapy and running require self-discipline to do the work and to wait for the recovery or performance.

When Unterreiner and her husband attended Symphony Tacoma’s opening concert, the physical therapist was entranced by the performance and the music. But her PT self also focused on the conductor and the physicality of her job.

Ioannides told Unterreiner “I’ve never been very sporty,” but the physical therapist begged to differ: “What you are doing on the podium—takes endurance and strength and movement awareness and timing. That is the essence of athleticism.” This ignited talk of the training parallels of musicians and athletes, the need for selfdiscipline, and having the patience to let the music “sit” or let the body adapt.

After a few months of rehabilitation and running again, Ioannides’ focused dedication enabled her to complete the Sound to Narrows 12K, placing 11th in her age group.

Ioannides’ goals began with wanting to stay fit on the podium, and stay energetic to manage being a wife, mother and conductor. She now believes in her athleticism and plans to stay strong for conducting, for running and for life!


For Additional Information on Running Therapy

Olympia Orthopaedics Welcomes New Sports Medicine Physician

Moving to the Pacific Northwest is a new adventure for Leila Borders, MD, who is joining the team at Olympia Orthopaedics. Hailing originally from Georgia, the doctor stayed true to her southern roots when pursuing her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Emory University and Mercer University, both in her home state.

“I’m excited to make Olympia my new home,” says Borders. “I was initially worried that I might get homesick for Georgia, but when I came out to interview I was pleasantly surprised to find the plants and foliage were similar, so that helped put me at ease.”

Before starting her new role, Borders is completing her primary care sports medicine fellowship at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. She completed her internal medicine residency at the same institution. As part of her training during the last year, she is helping college, high school and semiprofessional athletes to stay at peak performance, in addition to addressing routine health care issues and injuries.

“I enjoy sports medicine because I am able to help change a patient’s quality of life,” the doctor explains. “It’s wonderful when I can help someone with their injury or chronic joint pain and it allows them to do the things they want to do.”

One way Borders will do this in Olympia is through total joint readiness for patients preparing for joint replacement surgery. Maximizing a patient’s ability to engage in physical activity before surgery can help the patient have much better results after surgery.

The doctor is also hoping to work with both recreational and elite athletes to optimize their performance. “One of my favorite things has been working with the student athletes at a rural high school,” says Borders. “It’s such a rewarding experience helping them to improve their athleticism and I’m looking forward to doing the same in Olympia.”

Borders is certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Olympia Orthopaedic’s Westside Clinic has begun scheduling appointments for Dr. Borders.

We welcome Dr. Borders and her expertise to our community.


For Additional Information
Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
3901 Capital Mall Dr SW, Olympia

Meet Clarus Eye Centre’s Executive Director

When you meet Marta De La Torre, the new executive director at Clarus Eye Centre, you will be impressed by how genuine, courteous, collected and engaging she is. She says with a smile that she has been interested in health care “since she was almost 2”! The New England native has traveled around the world and now calls Tumwater home.

De La Torre says one of the most interesting positions she has held in her career was as a third-party health care administrator for the government of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Health care in that country, she says, was different because of gender inequality. “A male doctor can only work on males and female doctors only on females,” De La Torre explains. She said they also have different entrances to medical facilities.

Perhaps inspired by that experience, De La Torre, a mother of three and grandmother of eight, is interested in mentoring young women. She thinks it is important to build up all people to foster strong community.

What attracted De La Torre to Clarus Eye were the long-term employees at the location. She says employees of such long tenure provide an unparalleled level of expertise. She was also impressed that the practice is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “There is a lot to celebrate!” she says.

One of De La Torre’s working goals is to offer a tuition program for employees who want to go back to school. She also wants to cultivate an optical training program at the local colleges. She aims to help Clarus engage with schools and continue to build its relationship with families and the community.

“This job comes as a welcome challenge and a responsibility,” says De La Torre. She looks forward to giving back to the community and carrying into the next 50 years the legacy of compassionate service that Clarus Eye Centre has become known for.


For Additional Information:
Clarus Eye Centre
345 College St SE, Lacey

Senior Nutrition

Do you have a concern about an aging parent’s nutrition and health? A key component, often overlooked, of seniors’ well-being is eating correctly. Good nutrition can help keep them safe and healthy.

Declining eating habits will put seniors at a greater risk of falls, dehydration and poor health. Your mom or dad may no longer have the motivation and energy to plan and prepare nutritious meals consistently. They may just lack the energy to cook for only one or two. Often medication can make food taste different and can make some food textures seem unappealing.

Their solution may be heating a frozen TV dinner in the microwave. But an easy, better solution could be having a family member, friend or in-home care agency come by for a few hours a week to prepare meals. Small, healthful snacks during the day is also a good option. Personalized meal plans can help make meals a positive experience, improving seniors’ quality of life.

Good nutrition and exercise are two factors that prevent falls. For people over age 65, doctors often recommend more calcium, protein and vitamin D. These nutrients can help your aging loved ones maintain muscle mass. And muscle mass helps them maintain strength and reaction response, preventing a fall with serious injuries.

Building a personalized meal plan, shopping for the correct foods, and getting help with meal preparation will help seniors maintain a healthier quality of life. When your mom or dad no longer has the energy for these activities, the use of an in-home care agency for nutritional assistance may be just what’s needed.

SYNERGY HomeCare is an in-home agency that offers this service and is an excellent option to provide support for loved ones.


For Additional Information:
Synergy HomeCare

King County 206.420.4934,  Thurston County 360.338.0837, Pierce County 253.267.0116

Summer Family Travel Tips

Summer is here and we are now ready for summer travel. Dr. Ari Gilmore at Pacific Medical Centers shares these tips with you for fun and safe travel.

Sun safety:

  • Wear sunblock! This is important for long-term skin health. Apply SPF 30 or higher every two hours, or after swimming in salt water.

Water safety:

  • Avoid alcohol while boating driving or have a designated boat driver- this is important for the safety of individuals on the boat, as well as others in the water
  • Know your own human capacity with ocean currents and waves. It’s easy to get caught in a riptide if you aren’t careful. To get out, follow these steps: Relax (don’t panic), face into the waves and swim out diagonally, once you are 100 feet to the left or right, try to come out of the water again.

Physical safety:

  • Wear the right shoes for the activity, i.e. do not hike in flip flops. Keep an eye on the ground when you’re walking- it’s easy to get distracted by the sights; we see a lot of sprained ankles from patients accidentally tripping.

Food safety:

  • If you’re going to eat a meal from a food truck, observe it first to see if they have clean meal preparation surfaces, whether or not it’s a busy place can also be a sign of the likelihood of food safety. Avoid eating fresh fruit that has been prepared out of your sight. Cooked vegetables are generally alright to eat but it’s a good idea to avoid the lettuce/cabbage on your tacos. Always be sure you wash your hands with soap and water before eating.


  • Avoiding Zika virus: Zika is endemic near the equator, in warm humid climates. Physicians recommend women wait eight weeks after departing a location where Zika might be present before attempting to get pregnant. Likewise, we recommend men wait six months after visiting, as they have the ability to transmit the disease for some time, even after symptoms have subsided.
  • Make sure you have the proper vaccines if you’re travelling abroad. Visit or see a travel physician regarding malaria, typhoid and yellow fever. The CDC recently mandated that people travelling to Brazil need to receive the yellow fever vaccine. It’s best to see a physician one month prior to travel to ensure you can receive all necessary vaccines.

Tips for long flights: 

  • Jet lag has less to do with time changes and more to do with the low pressure and low oxygen levels on the aircraft. To increase your oxygen intake, drink higher volumes of water in-flight and make sure you’re properly hydrated the days leading up. Also avoid drinking alcohol on the flight to avoid dehydration.
  • Get up from your seat every few hours to stretch your legs and do a few calf squeezes to increase blood flow