June is National Men’s Health Month

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Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country. The goal of this national observance is to increase awareness about the preventable health problems in men and promote early detection and treatment of disease among boys and men. This month gives healthcare providers, friends, family, and the media a chance to encourage men to seek regular medical advice for disease and screenings. Please see list of exams below:
  • Physical Exam. Needed every year or more often if recommended by your provider. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.
  • Testicular Exam. As the number one cancer for men between 15-35 years of age it is important to check your-self frequently and discuss an exam with your doctor during your physical exam.
  • Blood Pressure Screenings. Needed every 2 years unless it is elevated than it may need to be checked more frequently. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.
  • Cholesterol Screenings. Needed every 5 years unless it is elevated than it may need to be checked more frequently. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be checked. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.
  • Diabetes Screenings. Needed if your blood pressure is above 135/80, you have a BMI of over 25 in addition to other risk factors, or you have an out of range glucose or A1C reading. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.
  • Dental Exam. Needed 1-2 times per year. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.
  • Eye Exam. Needed every 2 years or more often if recommended by your provider. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.
See what activities are going on in your community that relate to this month and don’t forget to wear blue on the Friday before Father’s day (6/16) to support the cause.

Cucumber & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Healthy Spring Recipe

 Cucumber & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

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Ingredients 

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TSP chopped oregano
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 4 cups peeled and diced cucumbers.
  • 1 14oz can black-eyed peas
  • 2/3 cup diced red bell pepper.
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered red onion
  • 2 TBSP chopped black olives

Preparation

Whisk oil, lemon juice, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until combined.  Add cucumber, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, feta, onions and olives; toss to coat.  Serve at Room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition

Per serving: 160 calories; 10g fat (3g sat, 6g mono);  11mg cholesterol; 12g carbohydrates; 5g protein; 3g fiber; 270mg sodium; 273mg potassium.

Bonus: Vitamin C (50% DV), Vitamin A (15%DV)

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 starch, 1/2 very lean meat, 2 fat

Resource: Eatingwell.com

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Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in their March 2016 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Whole Wheat Ravioli – Healthy Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen whole wheat cheese ravioli.
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced.
  • 1/2 TSP kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2 large shallots, sliced
  • 3 TBSP red-wine vinegar
  • 1 TSP Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Preparation

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil Cook ravioli until tender, 7-9 minutes or according to package.
  2. Meanwhile, mash garlic and salt into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife or back of spoon. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic paste and shallots and cook, stirring often, until just starting to brown, 2-3 minutes. Stir in vinegar, mustard and pepper; remove from the heat.
  3. Drain the ravioli well. Place in a large bowl and toss with the arugula and the dressing. Serve sprinkled with the cheese.

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Nutrition

Per serving: 413 calories; 24g fat (8g sat, 11g mono);  57mg cholesterol; 34g carbohydrates; 16g protein; 2g fiber; 585mg sodium; 156mg potassium.

Bonus: Calcium (25% daily value), Vitamin A (19% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 3 fat

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

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Love Coffee? Your Heart May, Too

Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of developing clogged arteries, which in turn might reduce the risk for heart attack, a new study suggests. “We found that drinking three to five cups a day was associated with less calcium build-up in the arteries,” said researcher Dr. Eliseo Guallar, a professor from the department of epidemiology and medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Calcium build-up is an early sign of hardening of the arteries and the risk for heart disease, he explained.

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Guallar said that this study cannot show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between coffee and reduced calcium in the arteries, but noted that the association between these factors is very strong. Although the reasons for this association are not known, Guallar said, researchers speculated that coffee may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for hardening of the arteries. Guallar doesn’t go so far as to recommend that people start drinking coffee just to prevent heart disease. But he did note, “People should not be concerned about coffee intake. This is a habit that is not harmful to the heart.” The report was published March 2 online in the journal Heart.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “Multiple studies have shown that coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of heart attacks and strokes, with lowest risk with three to five cups of coffee a day.” In fact, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently released a report saying that the health risks associated with drinking that much coffee are minimal, and having as many as five cups of coffee each day is linked to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Fonarow said.

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For the study, Guallar’s team collected data on more than 25,000 men and women living in South Korea. Their average age was 41. None had signs of heart disease. During a yearly health exam, the participants were asked about what they ate and drank. They all had CT scans to determine how much calcium had built up in their heart arteries. Three to five cups daily appeared to lower risk of clogged arteries, study says The researchers then compared calcium buildup with how much coffee participants drank.

They found that as coffee consumption rose, the amount of calcium build-up declined, with those who drank three to five cups a day having the least amount of calcium build-up. Guallar said that although the study was done on people in South Korea, he expects the findings would be similar for American coffee drinkers. The association between higher coffee consumption and lower calcium build-up was the same when the study categorized people by age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the researchers said. They also took into account factors such as education, level of physical activity level, family history of heart disease and dietary consumption of fruits, vegetables, red meat and processed meats, according to the study.

The study did not differentiate between regular and decaf coffee, though the authors noted that decaf is not popular among Korean coffee drinkers. Samantha Heller is a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. She said, “That morning cup o’ joe may offer some unexpected health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. “But this is not all about the caffeine,” she said. Coffee contains more than 1,000 chemicals, including antioxidants that may be contributing to the health benefits.

However, coffee may increase LDL cholesterol, affect pregnancy outcomes and increase anxiety and blood pressure, Heller said. “If you do not drink coffee, there is no reason to start drinking it,” she said. “If you do, the sweet spot seems to be in the three-to five-cup range — these are 8-ounce cups, not the 32-ounce jugs of coffee we are used to seeing,” Heller said. And what you put in the coffee makes a difference, she said.

“Whipped cream, syrups, coffee creamers with partially hydrogenated oils, cream, artificial sweeteners or too much sugar can knock the health benefits of the coffee bean out the window. So enjoy your java, but limit the add-ins,” Heller advised.

Source: WebMD; HealthDay

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

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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
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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.

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Bob Scanlon

Bob Scanlon

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Tom Elliott Selected For Not-for-Profit Leadership Position

Tom Elliott has been selected as the Executive Director, Member Services for the Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG).  VSMG has over 25 years of experience in group purchasing insurance for government entities in Arizona.  Their range of managed trusts and pools include healthcare, dental coverage, workers’ compensation and liability insurance.  The organization has saved their members and taxpayers millions per year in premiums while maintaining high quality benefits.

Tom Elliott, Executive Director, Member Services, VSMG

Tom Elliott, Executive Director, Member Services, VSMG

Tom Elliott started with VSMG on July 1st, after serving with distinction as the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services at the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) since 2005.  Tom Elliott has thirty years of executive level experience in auditing, financial management and public administration.  He holds degrees in science, business and accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

“I have seen the high quality of staff and services provided by Valley Schools and I am honored to take on this new role in my career in public service.”  Tom Elliott said.  “I look forward to continuing their long tradition of saving money for Arizona members.”

Tom Elliott and his wife Kathy

Tom Elliott and his wife Cathy

Tom Boone, Chairman of the VSMG Board, has long looked upon the possibility of bringing Tom Elliott on board given his proven management abilities and vast experience as a Trustee on various employee benefits Board of Directors.  “Tom Elliott has served in both large and smaller school districts, as an auditor, and is heavily involved in the community.  I can think of no better candidate to have filled this position.”

Tom Boone

Tom Boone

The opportunity arose when Andrea Billings, the Administrator for the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) took a new position with Aon/Hewitt Consulting.  Andrea has been working with VSEBT to insure a smooth transition.  As Executive Director, Member Services, Tom Elliott will serve a more comprehensive role, as VSMG continues to improve its service model and reorganize when necessary to maximize service to their members.

“As a CPA, it is exciting for me to join an organization that has had the highest audit ratings possible every year for their entire quarter century of service.”  Tom Elliott pointed out.  “As the insurance market continues to change rapidly, especially in healthcare, it is important to have this long track record of steady, upstanding and open organizations like VSMG to protect their members during these rough waters.”

Tom Elliott is an avid sports enthusiast, coached youth hockey, and has served on many community boards and associations.  Congratulations and best wishes to Tom Elliott in this new position!

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