January Health Resolutions


January marks a change for many things.

A New Year, new commitments, and new start! Make 2017 your year with whatever you decide you want to do in your life. Here are some tips to stay motivated and achieve your New Year’s Resolutions!

Be Realistic. Deciding on a New Year’s resolution that is realistic for you and your life is the first step towards being successful. For example, if you tell yourself you’re going to stay completely away from sweets but you have a huge sweet tooth and you know you’re bound to encounter some holiday treats somewhere, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, challenge yourself to limit sweets to a couple times a week.

Start Small. Setting smaller goals more frequently can lead to a higher chance of overall success than setting one large goal. If we use our sweet tooth example above, we start by saying limit our sweets to once a week.  From there we can move to a three times a week and go from there. Being successful is the most motivating factor in keeping a New Year’s resolution. Also, the smaller the goal, the easier it is to stick to it. We can’t start training for a marathon by running 26.2 miles, but we can start with a 1 mile walk.

Reward Success. Positive reinforcement works for not just our kids and dogs, but adults too! Make sure to reward yourself for your accomplishments as long as it’s not counterproductive to your overall goal.  For example, if you are starting to train for a 5k and you were able to run for a full mile without stopping, go get a pedicure or take a day off from training and spend a day with your family. Doing these activities are especially rewarding because they have been earned through YOUR hard work.

Friends. Invite a friend or co-workers to join you in your New Year’s resolution. We find that people are almost 50% more successful when they have someone to hold them accountable. Help each other stay on track and stay healthy.

Don’t Quit. It’s almost unavoidable that you may have a slip up. Our lives and routines are always subject to change which can get in the way of your new routine and goals. Don’t quit! Change is hard and it won’t happen all at once. Stay positive and remind yourself why you set your goals and why they are important to keep up!

YOU can do this.

Check out these local runs and walks to get started on those resolutions! RUSA, SIERRA

Valley Schools Taps Christy Todd as New Senior Account Manager

Valley Schools, a non-profit broker and trust for insurance benefits, recently hired Christy Todd as a new Senior Account Executive due to massive growth in the number of covered lives at Valley Schools and significant increases in school district membership.  Valley Schools has over a quarter century of experience in group purchasing of insurance.

According to their website at myvalleyschools.com, this is Christy Todd’s outstanding resume and new position:


Christy Todd

Christy Todd serves as a Senior Account Executive responsible for large member clients. Christy has over three decades of experience in personnel benefits and health care administration. Prior to joining VSMG this year she was the owner of the agency, AZ Health and Life Advisors LLC. Before that, Ms. Todd was an Agency Manager for UnitedHealthcare, spent 15 years in various executive positions at Blue Cross Blue Shield, and had served as a manager at both John Alden Insurance and at Pacific Mutual of Arizona.  She holds a degree in Education; Business Management from Bloomington College.

Congratulations to both Christy and Valley Schools!



Immunization Awareness Month


August is National Immunization Awareness Month.  The CDC developed immunization materials in an attempt to educate others year round about how to protect yourself against infectious diseases.

Birth to 6. Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 diseases by age 2 (CDC). After age 2 it’s recommended to receive a yearly flu vaccination to protect them from the different strains they can catch in school or daycare. When children are not vaccinated they pose a greater risk to not only catching diseases but spreading them as well.

Preteens and Teens. Vaccines are recommended for preteens and teens because some childhood vaccines wear off over time and as children get older they develop a greater risk of developing those diseases. Those disease include: meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, septicemia, and HPV.


Adults.  Even healthy adults can be become ill and spread diseases to others. Immunization is especially important for those that already have a chronic condition such as asthma, COPD, diabetes or heart disease (CDC). Immunization is also important for anyone who has contact with those with a weakened immune system such as children or older adults. Other vaccines for adults include: shingles, pneumococcal, hepatitis, HPV.

Pregnant Women. Those planning to become pregnant need to be aware of the vaccines they need to be administered not only during the pregnancy but weeks prior. Some vaccine-preventable diseases include: rubella, whooping cough and flu.


To learn how to better protect yourself  and find out which vaccines are needed and when visit the CDC and download their Tool Kit.


Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in their 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.


Kendall Taylor, VSEBT

Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

When you see someone smoking, you might question “Why would you do that to yourself when you know it could kill you?” Do you react the same way when you know someone doesn’t exercise? You should.

When I was at a recent medical conference, one of the presenters reminded the audience that research has shown physical inactivity to be as deadly as smoking. I was shocked at this when I first heard it a couple of years ago, but I think I was just as shocked hearing it the second time. My guess is you are too. It’s hard to imagine being inactive could be comparable to smoking, but it is.

You wouldn’t dream of smoking (and if you do smoke, you’re likely trying to quit), so why poison yourself with inactivity? But many of us do. Nearly 80% of us don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Many experts agree the inactivity epidemic is more concerning than the obesity epidemic.

The benefits of exercise are numerous and irrefutable. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, dementia, depression, and more. If you exercise, chances are you’ll live a longer, healthier life. Period.

What’s so powerful about exercise? Take heart disease, for example. Heart disease is associated with inflammation in the body. Exercise is a natural inflammation fighter. When you move, your muscles send out anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Also, every time you get up and move, your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides improve. When you sit down, they get worse. It’s just about moving more.

If you’re not active now, I’m sure it sounds overwhelming to start an exercise program. The good news is you can see health benefits with even a small amount of activity. Even taking a daily 5 minute walk around the office will improve your health. Slowly build up from there.

Ultimately, you want your goal to be 30 minutes at least 5 days a week of moderate exercise. We’re talking about a brisk walk– hard enough that you can talk comfortably but not able to sing. But take your time getting there. Throw in resistance exercises a couple of days a week, and you’re on track. If you’ve tried exercise before and didn’t lose weight, don’t be discouraged. You are still getting health benefits even if you’re not shedding weight. If you’re overweight but active and fit, you can expect to live as long and healthy as someone who is normal weight and fit. Even if you’re obese, being active helps you live a longer, healthier life than a normal weight person who isn’t active.

Think you’re too old for it to matter? Hardly. Regardless of your age, getting active has enormous benefits even in your 80s and beyond. We’re not just talking about living longer, but living better with a higher quality of life. As British-American anthropologist Ashley Montagu once said, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”

Source: WebMD 2014 by Michael Smith, MD, CPT

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the February 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.


Valley Schools Employee Benefits Holds Annual Conference

The Valley Schools 6th Annual Conference was held at the Heard Museum last month. The annual conference provides an opportunity for its many members to meet leaders in healthcare, education and other fields that will provide them with insight and knowledge of trends affecting employee benefits and school funding.

The event was emceed by Tom Boone of VSMG and Tom Elliott of VSEBT.

This conference featured an  inspirational group of speakers with timely information on wellness, healthcare, ACA, and State and National legislation.  

Speakers included:

Dr. John A. Hensing, Banner Health Chief Medical Officer spoke on Healthcare Trends and Innovations

John Hensing, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer 

Dr. John Hensing

Dr. Hensing was named executive vice president and chief medical officer in 2009.

He joined Banner (then Samaritan Health System) as senior vice president in 1995. His current responsibilities include care management and organizational performance for Banner including medical management, care coordination, case management and management engineering.

Dr. Hensing practiced internal medicine in Tempe, Ariz. for 18 years and was awarded the Distinguished Internist of the Year Award in 1993. He is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. He has served on multiple boards, including Samaritan Health System, The Samaritan Foundation, HealthPartners of Arizona, and Arizona Medicare Demonstration Project.

Dr. Hensing obtained his undergraduate degree at Iowa State University and his medical degree at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1972. After completing two years as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force, he completed his residency in medicine in 1977 and is board-certified in internal medicine.

Richard Stavneak, Executive Director Joint Legislative Budget Committee, updated attendees on the state budget

Richard Stavneak, Director of JLBC

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas spoke about her objectives for the upcoming year

Diane Douglas, Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Diane Douglas, Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas has always been passionate about the American education system and has been actively involved in Arizona’s education landscape for over twenty years. Her interest started first with her daughter’s education and continues with the birth of her new grandson. She wants an excellent education for her own family and for all families in Arizona.

Superintendent Douglas is proud to have served two terms on the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board, including two years as President of the Board.  During her tenure she worked to support the district’s parents and teachers in delivering an excellent education to all of its students. She has also served on the Site Councils for two Peoria Unified schools and on the Board of Education for church education programs.

As the leader of the Arizona Department of Education, Superintendent Douglas is devoted to improving education in Arizona so that all students have the opportunity to succeed in life. She plans to work directly with the state education community to accomplish this goal and looks forward to collaborating with teachers, parents, students, and administrators.

Prior to her advocacy and leadership in education issues, Superintendent Douglas graduated from Rutgers University and had a distinguished career as a financial expert for a variety of private sector firms.

Acclaimed author and speaker, Robert Scanlan, three time organ transplant recipient and author of “Tigers Under My Bed”, told those in attendance about healthcare from the perspective of a high cost patient.


Bob Scanlon

Bob Scanlon

The event was well attended and at max capacity of around one hundred senior personnel.



Madison School District Supports Chris-Town Health Clinics

– See more at: http://www.madisonaz.org/chris-town-health-clinics-october-30-500-pm-700-pm/#sthash.h1uBwx01.dpuf


OCTOBER 30 @ 5:00 PM7:00 PM


Is your child sick? Don’t have medical insurance? Our School-Based Health Centers are the solution for your family!

We can assist to enroll your uninsured children ages 4-18 to receive basic primary health care services in our School-Based Health Centers Program. Our program also offers preventative and restorative dental services for children enrolled ages 4-18. Come and see if your children are eligible!

¿Está su hijo enfermo? ¿Su hijo no tiene seguro médico?

¡Nuestros Centros de Salud En las Escuelas Primarias es la solución para su familia!

Le ayudaremos a inscribir a sus hijos, de edad 4 a 18 para recibir servicios básicos de atención de salud en nuestro programa. Nuestro programa también ofrece servicios dentales preventivos y de restauración para los niños inscritos, edades 4 a 18. ¡Venga a ver si sus hijos son elegibles!


October 30
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm


Abrazo Health


Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA
5517 N. 17th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ85015 United States

+ Google Map


Thank you to Sheri Gilbert at the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) for bringing this press release and information to our attention.

Peoria Unified School District Holds Healthy Harvest Wellness Fair

In its continuing effort to support healthy staff, students and community members, the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) held a Healthy Harvest Wellness Fair on October 22nd.  This is their 3rd Annual event, not only raising health and wellness awareness, but providing free screenings to attendees and raising funds for helping local healthcare.

Kudos to PUSD for their ongoing efforts to help health and wellness in Arizona.

Thanks to:  Christie Davis, Employee Benefits &  Compensation Manager at PUSD; Julie Padelford, and Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) for providing information on this event.

Two Friends of Mine, Both Just 23, Fighting Cancer, Please Help!

Two young people I know, Kyle and Victoria, seemed to have everything.  Kyle worked with his family at the local coffee shop and cafe Hob Nob’s.  A smart, great-looking guy, buff and witty, who reminded me of my own son.  Victoria the smart, sweet, gorgeous young model with all-American girl next door looks.

Then, this year, both found they had serious cancer.  I get updates on Kyle from his family and he has suffered dramatic surgery for soft tissue carcinoma.  He seemed fine one day, then he ended up having much of his chest and ribs removed with cancer.  He is now going through extensive chemo and radiation treatments.  His brother shaved his head in support of Kyle, who has lost his hair.

Victoria had a small spot her on leg.  It turned out to be melanoma that had already metastasized.  She is in and out of the hospital and going through all sorts of suffering.  Still, she is reaching out to help others with awareness.

I don’t usually do this, but:

1) if you are in metro-Phoenix, stop by Hob Nobs and buy a Kyle-strong bracelet.


2) Please go to the donation site below to donate to help Victoria and also watch her video.  Thanks.



David Peterson is a Candidate for Director of ASBO International



David Peterson, J.D., SFO, Ed.D.

Candidate for Director

Scottsdale Unified School District
Scottsdale, Arizona

David Peterson has been a member of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials for almost 20 years and has been a member of ASBO International for the past 15 years, serving on the Legislative Affairs Committee. Dr. Peterson is a past president and director of AASBO and he has won several honors and awards, including the State of Arizona Governor’s Award for Energy Efficiency. He earned the Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations (SFO) designation. He presents at many State and National Conference on Educational Facilities and School Finance.

He joined the Scottsdale Unified School District family in July 2005 as the Chief of Facilities Management for Learners. Was promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 2007 and has served as the Superintendent for the past three years. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, holds a Juris Doctorate from Concord School of Law and a Certificate of Negotiation and Mediation from Harvard Law School and is a member of the California State Bar. Additionally, he has a Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University, a Certificate of School Business Management from Central Arizona College, a Certificate of Public Schools Planning and Design from Harvard University, and a Master Degree in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.

Prior to joining SUSD, Dr. Peterson served as the Director of Operations for Mesa Public Schools. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona School Alliance and Valley Schools Employee Benefit Trust.

– See more at: http://asbointl.org/about/leadership-governance/candidate-information/david-peterson,-j-d-,-sfo,-ed-d#sthash.uaqcffHQ.xPaAkjwu.dpuf

Acclaimed Author Robert Scanlan to Speak at VSEBT Annual Conference

Acclaimed Author Robert Scanlan to Speak at VSEBT Annual Conference

Robert Scanlan was at the peak of his career with a happy marriage and a big income living the American dream.  Then one day he had strange symptoms and all that changed.  Here is what happened in his own words…

I’ve never been in a hospital before. Checked in today at 6:00 A.M.

At 2:30 P.M. a man introduces himself.
He is about to become my new best friend.

“Your liver is in total failure. We don’t know why. You can’t live without it. There is no cure. No way to fix it.

“We need to find you a new liver to replace the one you have, and the sooner the better. To do that, we need to get you approved for the waiting list. In the meantime, we will do our best to keep you alive day-to-day.”

A soul-searing journey has begun.
My life as I know it… is shredded. The same is true for Marie, my wife of twenty-four years.

Ten years after a successful transplant, I need two additional organ transplants to maintain life.

Were lessons learned from the first transplant? Are they repeatable?
Is the reward worth the suffering?

When all has been lost, can a life be rebuilt? Twice?


Robert Scanlan

Robert Scanlan

After experiencing three transplants, Robert Scanlan decided to write down his experiences in order to help others.  His truthful story is laid out without any veneer in “Tigers Under My Bed” a recently released novel that covers his time from first diagnosis to his life today.  The things you will learn from reading it are shocking and helpful at the same time.


Prior to the release, hospitals, transplant surgeons and patient groups have kept Robert Scanlan in high demand to speak to others to help them through similar circumstances in dealing with traumatic illness, facing death, or being the caregiver in this situation.  Since the publication of the book, Robert Scanlan has been asked to speak to various organizations, including the staff who treated him at the UCLA Medical Center.  Patients, medical staff and their families have all thanked him for his unique narrative which provides insight to what many of us will face in our lives.

Each year, the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Staff (VSEBT) holds an Annual Conference for its members.  This year’s event will be in mid-November.  Guests will be able to hear directly from Robert Scanlan about parts of the healthcare system past, present and future, that few get to understand in such detail until they are thrust into it unprepared.

Robert Scanlan speaking to a group of patients and their families.

Robert Scanlan speaking to a group of patients and their families.

His book is now available on Kindle as well through many hospitals and patient groups.  Prior VSEBT Annual Conference guests have included Dr. Andrew Weil, Congressman John Shadegg, and other prominent leaders in the healthcare industry.  Congratulations to VSEBT for landing such an outstanding speaker for its annual event.


This year’s event will include other prominent speakers as well.  Tom Boone will start off the event and the Master of Ceremonies will be Tom Elliott.