Thursday, March 31, 2016

Join us for MSU's Public Affairs Conference

CoxHealth is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s Public Affairs Conference at Missouri State University. This year’s theme is “Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind, Spirit.”
Plenary speakers include;

- Jillian Michaels -- Keynote Speaker, Health and wellness expert - Mark Umbreit -- Restorative Justice - Paul Thomlinson -- Why People Die by Suicide - Robert Putnam -- Our Kids: American Dream in Crisis - Zack Exley -- Information, Tech & Class Gap - Peter Gray -- Emotional Resilience in College

For more information and details, please visit the conference website at this link. We look forward to seeing you there.

Here's a quick guide to the CoxHealth presentations:

Getting real, getting started: Owning your own wellness: 
Tuesday, April 5, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m., CoxHealth Meyer Center. Never have our lives been more dominated by the distractions of constant technology, overloaded schedules and competing priorities. How can we possibly manage it all and achieve a state of genuine well-being? A mindful approach makes it possible, keeping us open and attentive to the opportunities present in every moment. A single conscious decision made daily can have limitless influence on our physical, mental and spiritual condition. Panel discussion presenters: Jason Bauer, Mary Braun, Danielle Dingman, Marie Pearl.

Be Well Rally and Walk: 
We’re holding a Be Well Rally and Walk, Tuesday, April 5, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Jordan Valley Park, 635 E. Trafficway, Springfield. Celebrate health, get some tips you can use and take a step in the right direction! Join CoxHealth for a fun, free wellness rally at Jordan Valley Park including high-energy group fitness demonstrations, fun prizes, health stations and more. You'll even have the chance to meet some of the dogs and handlers from Pet Therapy of the Ozarks. After the rally, we'll walk as a group to the JQH Arena for Jillian Michaels' kick-off of the MSU Public Affairs Conference "Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind, Spirit." Bring your family and friends!

· Be Well Rally participants who sign up to receive HealthSense Update (CoxHealth’s monthly e-Newsletter) will be entered in a drawing for a free Fitbit – thanks to the generosity of our CoxHealth Wellness team!
· Take advantage of the great walking path around Jordan Valley Park as well as the one-mile group trek at 6:30! You’ll earn one wellness point for entering 30 minutes in your cardio log.
· Free t-shirts are available for the first 500 people!

The Affordable Care Act: Perspectives from the medical community
Friday, April 8, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m., Plaster Student Union, Room 313, MSU campus

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings a new reality to the medical profession. How is the ACA supposed to work for the medical field? How are doctors and medical personnel expected to manage care of patients under the ACA? To what extent does the new law restrict or enhance medical professionals in doing their job? Some doctors do not support or want the ACA and have left the practice, retired or discouraged others from going into the profession. How will the ACA affect the medical profession in the short- and long-term? Panelists: Steve Edwards, Steven Fowler, Marisela Gonzalez, Aiden Hill.

Bob Simmons honored for his commitment to Cox Medical Center Branson

Bob Simmons, center, was honored March 31 during a dedication ceremony at Cox Medical Center Branson. Simmons is joined by Board Chairman Phillip Loyd, left, and President William Mahoney, right.

For 27 years, local business owner Bob Simmons donated his time and talents to help Cox Medical Center Branson become a leading health care provider in southwest Missouri.

On March 31, Cox Medical Center Branson dedicated its Critical Care Waiting Area to Simmons in appreciation for his many years of unyielding service to the medical center.

Simmons joined the Skaggs Community Hospital (now Cox Medical Center Branson) Board of Directors in 1988 and has served as chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and member-at-large over the years. Simmons also served as interim CEO in 2009. He retired from the Cox Medical Center Branson Board of Directors in 2015.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to have had Bob’s leadership and wisdom throughout the years,” said Cox Medical Center Branson President William Mahoney. “Bob has an unwavering dedication to the health of our community. Before my arrival in 2010, Bob unselfishly served as interim CEO for 10 months. Then, in 2012, he was an integral part of the team that worked diligently to bring Skaggs and CoxHealth together. He’s a strong leader because he is a strong listener. We will forever be grateful for his contributions to our medical center and our community.”

In 2005, Simmons was honored with the Excellence in Governance Award from the Missouri Hospital Association.

In addition to serving on the hospital board of directors, Simmons also serves the community as a Branson alderman, a position he has held since 2009. Simmons is co-owner of Table Rock Asphalt Construction Company, in Branson, and Southwest Materials Inc., in Ozark.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Healthy Living: Change is possible

Mary Braun, Danielle Dingman and Jason Bauer will join moderator Teresa Coyan and spinning instructor Marie Pearl for panel discussions on taking charge of your wellness

Here are a few secrets about the wellness experts you see sweating at the gym, eating right in the cafeteria, running 5Ks and doing triathlons: They all started somewhere. Many of them weren’t always healthy. They don’t have more time than we do. They don’t have it all figured out. The fittest among us are working on wellness every day, just like the rest of us.

As individuals and as a community, we all have the opportunity to make improvements, building on wherever we are in our current wellness. That’s the message four of our CoxHealth experts will deliver at Missouri State University’s Public Affairs conference in April. The conference theme is “Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind and Spirit” and our team will lead a discussion about how we can all make moves to be healthier and improve the health of our community in the process.

The panel includes Danielle Dingman, community wellness coordinator; Jason Bauer, system director of Food Services; Mary Braun, Ferrell-Duncan Clinic director of nursing; and Marie Pearl, spinning instructor at CoxHealth Fitness Centers and a contestant on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”

Between them, the four have decades of experience in improving health. Their passion for wellness has transformed each of their lives – both professionally and personally. 

Here’s what our experts had to say about what we can all do to make a difference:

Take charge

There’s no one fix that works for everyone. Finding what we can control and making small improvements can give us a sense of power that can drive greater accomplishments.

Jason: Start by looking at your strengths – what are you good at and what are you likely to fail at? Some people are morning people, some are evening people; you have to fit your wellness plan into what works best for you. We all have to make time – set time aside for yourself and communicate that to your family.

Mary: Take control – you can’t make progress if you feel defeated. Wellness is individualized. No one plan or strategy works for all people. You have to own your choices. Eating, for example, is something you have control over. I don’t always do it perfectly, but I have control over it. Try planning out your grocery shopping and what you’ll eat. Remember that there are decision points every day where you can make choices – simple things like, ‘Will I drive to the next building or walk?’

Danielle: Don’t let your circumstances determine your health. We’re all busy and it’s easy to rely on convenient options, like the drive-through. You can take control by planning – pack a lunch, pack healthy snacks. Set aside 30 minutes in your day for exercise. And forgive yourself – there will be times you don’t get done what you wanted, but you have the present and you can move forward from there.

Marie: Write a list of your ultimate goals, whether that’s a number on a scale, a fitness goal or a better cholesterol level. Then, research methods to accomplish that. Equip yourself with knowledge and invest in learning about wellness, nutrition and exercise. Find things you love and will enjoy for a long time – both exercise activities and foods you can tweak to be healthy.

Environment matters

There’s power in community – we should surround ourselves with people who have similar goals and who can support us.

Danielle: Wellness is on a continuum: social, mental, emotional – you have to address all of those components to be fully well. Pay attention to your social network. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. You really need to think about what you want and then put yourself in an environment that will help you achieve your personal goals.

Jason: You have to figure out how much time you are willing to commit to wellness. What will you sacrifice for it? I wouldn’t say sacrifice time with your family, but I do have to ask, ‘Do I need to watch what’s on TV or can I record it for later?’ It’s a question of what you are willing to adapt to.
Danielle is right about influences – negative people bring everybody down. I don’t have time for that, so we all seek out positive influences.

Mary: I’m inspired by the people around me. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of family and close friends. If you have a supportive family, that’s a real gift.

Marie: Wellness is an area where the group mentality of “everybody else is doing it” can be a real positive! Have a support system, your co-workers, friends, family – people who will enjoy the ride with you. Having people I’m committed to keeps me accountable. If I don’t have someone to be there for, sometimes I won’t be there for myself.

Find your ‘why’

Ultimately, wellness requires a series of daily, personal decisions. Those are easier to make if we are clear on what’s driving us. For our experts, wellness has become a part of their identity.

Danielle: Faith and a sense of purpose are huge motivators for me. I’m very passionate about helping other people be healthy. I see how important it is in my life. Everyone has a purpose and to achieve that purpose, they need to be the healthiest version of themselves that they can be. I want to be able to help people achieve their purpose through health and wellness.

Mary: I try to focus on things that feed my soul. My goal is simple: Be healthy, retire healthy and enjoy my grandchildren. I love to play with my grandkids and that keeps me healthy. Your health changes over time – what may have worked for me 10 years ago is not the same as what works today. I’m working to adjust what I do to how my body has changed.

Jason: I’m driven to be healthy by my family first, then work. I love my job. We’re in a spot where people look to us – I’ve had people come up to me in the cafeteria to ask what I’m eating! I put myself in a career that’s driven my wellness. It keeps me on track, and it motivates the motivator!

Marie: I’m motivated by not going back to the way I used to feel. I was winded from a walk from the car to the office. Every day, I’m motivated by making sure I can live the happy, healthy life I’ve set out for.

Celebrate successes

Every step forward counts, even small ones. Don’t forget to acknowledge your progress. Do whatever it takes to provide your own motivation.

Danielle: Sometimes, life-changing, motivating ‘lightbulb moments’ happen, but most of the time they don’t. Sometimes you just have to say, ‘Everything isn’t positive right now, but I have to do something.’ Create a plan and take it a day at a time, or a half-day at a time, and commit yourself to making small changes. Eventually a shift in mindset will come. Just start where you are and take those first steps.

Mary: You have to acknowledge those small steps. Even if that means creating a daily ‘gratitude list’ to acknowledge the steps you’re making.

Jason: Everyone has stress and we all have to manage that. Ask yourself, ‘Is it a bad day or just one bad thing that I’ve made into a bad day? It’s all how you react to things. Stress management is huge. Everybody does it differently – cycle, run, hit the weights, take a walk or just spend some time organizing. Every time you accomplish a goal, celebrate those successes. That success will start to build on itself until you’re accomplishing the big goals.

Marie: I used to reward myself with food, now I focus on experiences and making memories – small getaways and trying new things like horseback riding and ziplining.
You have to know it’s possible. The ability to change – to build the life you want – is within your control. When you’ve never been fit, thin or active, in your head it seems impossible, but I know it can be done. You have to work for it, but it is possible to change your life.

Child Life celebrates 25 years of helping kids at CoxHealth

Being in the hospital is difficult at any age, but it’s especially trying for kids. However, youngsters at CoxHealth – 11,500 in 2015 alone -- have some special people who help make the experience better. Those people are Child Life Specialists, and this month they’re celebrating their 25th year of serving kids at CoxHealth.

“By assisting children and their families in understanding hospitalization, diagnoses and procedures, Child Life helps to empower children in the healthcare environment,” says Rana Post, Child Life Coordinator at CoxHealth. “As we look towards the future and the ever-evolving needs of Pediatric patients and their families, Child Life will continue to be an essential part of the health care experience by helping provide for children’s psychosocial needs and facilitating play during hospitalization.”

In everyday terms, some of those efforts translate to preparing children for produces by explaining them step-by-step in kid-friendly terms, allowing children to touch and manipulate medical equipment prior to procedures to decrease anxiety, organizing special visitors and events, and distracting patients during procedures. 

In 1991, CoxHealth began with one Child Life Specialist who served kids in the Pediatric Unit and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Today, the program has expanded to three full-time employees who aid kids in locations such as Same Day Surgery at Cox South, the CoxHealth Surgery Center, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department, Pediatric Urgent Care, Pre-Admissions, Radiology and Pediatric Sedation. The specialists also serve any adult patients in the hospital who are developmentally delayed.
Photo: From left to right are CoxHealth Child Life Specialists Amanda Eddington, Morgan Conrad and Rana Post.

Eat local this National Nutrition Month -- and all year long!

Access to fresh, local food products not only improves health, but provides the opportunity to talk to producers about the food is grown. We can all support the revival of real, healthy, clean, and fair food by supporting local agriculture!

Over the last 20 years or so, convenient, cheap, processed food has dominated the food arena. A shift in agricultural politics and economics throughout the 1970s and '80s jump-started this trend by making commodity products like meat, corn and soy very cheap while creating food deserts lacking affordable, fresh, healthy food.

Up until the past 5 to 10 years, family-owned farms were disappearing while waistlines and rates of chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease were increasing.

In Springfield, however, a culture of local food is in fact alive and well: Local restaurants are selling local food and community gardens are growing it. There are locally-based food marts and farmer's markets that distribute local food products.
This area is also proud to have the Ozarks Food Policy Council with a mission of building community relationships and alliances around local food and farming. More information on their efforts is available at the Ozark's Regional Food Policy Council website.

Why Does This Matter?

Eating locally not only supports local farmers but it truly matters to people who want to promote better nutrition while spreading the joys of good food!

Local food is more than a business transaction.

  • Local food is more flavorful, and contains more nutrients, as it is harvested at the peak of ripeness in-season. It's also tastes better because it's transported shorter distances and available to eat sooner.
  • Buying locally supports the local economy by profiting the farmers who then are able to reinvest in businesses nearby.
  • Purchasing close to home minimizes the impact on the environment by supporting the use of organic methods and keeping operations small while preserving open community spaces.
  • It allows for the creation of a safety net and increases food security by reducing the steps between you and your food source. 
Most Importantly…

Local food us rediscover the food that nourishes us!  It allows us to be acquainted with the grower, allows us the opportunity to have important conversations about the realities of food production while gaining an appreciation for this three-times-a-day, life-sustaining necessity that we call food.

With these things in mind, whether you eat out frequently, or prefer a night in with friends or family over a homemade meal, there are plenty of ways to honor a long-lost but revived tradition here in Springfield, Missouri!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Grant helping tobacco-free program provide diapers for new moms

Thanks to a grant from Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation (OHAF), 20 local mothers will receive diapers for a year as an incentive to stay tobacco free.

The $6,480 grant from OHAF allows Cox Medical Center Branson to fully implement a Baby & Me -Tobacco Free program. Baby & Me - Tobacco Free is an evidenced-based tobacco cessation program targeted specifically at pregnant women.

“Through the Baby & Me - Tobacco Free program, we will provide counseling, support and resources to pregnant women in our community,” explains Tracey Williams, director of OB Women’s Services. “Our goal is to come alongside expectant moms, help them quit and then incentivize them to stay quit. By helping these soon-to-be moms become tobacco-free, we’ll be able to improve birth outcomes and long-term positive outcomes, for mother and baby. We are very grateful of Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation’s grant that will help us encourage moms by providing them with a much needed essential for that first year.”

“At Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation, one of our priorities is to address the critical needs of children,” says Cindy Fulp, president of OHAF. “We believe in the Branson area, there is a lot of need for a program like Baby & Me. An estimated 25 percent of pregnant women in Taney and Stone counties use tobacco and we hope, with this grant, we are able to help move that needle in the right direction.”

Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in southwest Missouri by providing support to area nonprofit agencies addressing children's critical physical, mental, and dental health needs in the Ozarks.

For more information about Baby & Me – Tobacco Free, visit or call CoxHealth Women’s Center Branson at 348-8313.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Join us for a conference focused on healthy communities

CoxHealth is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s Public Affairs Conference at Missouri State University. This year’s theme is “Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind, Spirit.”

Plenary speakers include;
- Jillian Michaels -- Keynote Speaker, Health and wellness expert
- Mark Umbreit -- Restorative Justice
- Paul Thomlinson -- Why People Die by Suicide
- Robert Putnam -- Our Kids: American Dream in Crisis
- Zack Exley -- Information, Tech & Class Gap
- Peter Gray -- Emotional Resilience in College

For more information and details, please visit the conference website at this link.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Brock Shamel named administrative director of regional services

Congratulations Brock Shamel! Brock, who joined our Branson team in 2010 as an intern, has been named administrative director of regional services for CoxHealth!
In his new role, Brock will be responsible for the overall operations of CoxHealth regional services’ 75-plus ambulatory and hospital-based practices, coordinating and integrating services with partner members of Cox Medical Group. Over t...he past 6 years, Brock has taken on roles of increasing responsibility, ultimately moving into the role of director of Cox Medical Center Branson clinics in 2014. 
Brock completed his undergraduate degree at College of the Ozarks and received a master’s degree in health administration from Missouri State University.
“Brock is an inspirational leader, combining great vision for the big picture with a keen connection to the details of clinic operations,” says Max Buetow, vice president, regional services and neurosciences. “He brings his energy, integrity and compassion to work with him every day.” 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cox Family Medicine Residency to gain nine resident physicians

For nearly 30 years, the Cox Family Medicine Residency program (Cox FMR) has been the only physician residency program in the Ozarks. Now the program, which works to train physicians who will be at the forefront of patient care, is gaining nine new resident physicians.

Cox FMR is pleased to announce the Class of 2019:  

  • Jennifer Bulcock, MD, University of Kansas – Kansas City
  • Matthew Dalke, MD, University of Arkansas – Little Rock
  • Whitney Davis, DO, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
  • Alyssa Easter, MD, University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Jenny Eichhorn, MD, University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • Cliff Ganus, MD, St. George’s University       
  • Evan Johnson, MD, University of Arkansas – Little Rock
  • John Long, MD, University of Kansas – Salina
  • Lukas Mathews, MD, Ross University

Nationally, there has been an increase in the number of medical school seniors who are choosing primary care residencies. But the need is still great, and the shortage of primary care doctors is a reality. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 91,000 primary care physicians by 2020 to keep up with expected health care demands. As a result, CoxHealth expanded the residency positions available from 8 to 9 this year with hopes for further expansion in the future. 

“This year, we had 775 applicants to our program for 9 available spots,” said residency administrator Tonya Fisher. “This speaks not only to the increasing trend of medical school seniors recognizing the importance of serving as a primary care physician, but also to the strength of our program here at CoxHealth.”

Another benefit of having a primary care physician residency in the Ozarks? Many residency graduates choose to practice medicine locally: In fact, 62% of the graduates in the past five years have remained in Southwest Missouri. 

“There is no question that CoxHealth’s commitment to maintaining a quality residency program and training excellent family physicians benefits everyone in our region,” says Fisher. “Physicians trained here tend to stay here.”

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cox Branson to receive Excellence in Eye Donation Award


Saving Sight, one of the largest eye banks in the country, will be recognizing the staff at Cox Medical Center Branson on Friday, March 25, for their outstanding commitment to donation.
Saving Sight awards the Excellence in Eye Donation Award to its partner hospitals that achieve an eye donation consent rate of more than 45 percent and had at least 10 patients donate eye tissue in 2015. Last year, staff at Cox Branson helped to facilitate 23 eye donation cases, which resulted in 22 individuals receiving restored sight through a cornea transplant. Overall, the hospital achieved a 64 percent consent rate for eye donation.

The Excellence in Eye Donation Award was created in 2014 to recognize hospitals that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to eye donation. Fewer than 15 percent of Saving Sight’s partner hospitals are being recognized with the honor. This year marks the second time Cox Branson will receive an Excellence in Eye Donation Award.

“We applaud Cox Medical Center Branson for empowering others to give the gift of sight and for striving to create a culture that supports donation,” said Tony Bavuso, CEO of Saving Sight. “Thanks to the generosity of eye donors and their families, and the staff at Cox Medical Center Branson, more people than ever were able to receive a sight-saving cornea transplant last year.”

The Saving Sight award will be presented to Cox Branson at 11:30 a.m. March 25 in the CoxHealth Outpatient Center lobby. In conjunction with the Saving Sight honor, Mid-America Transplant will have representatives on hand starting at 9 a.m. registering first-person donors. Community Blood Center of the Ozarks will also host a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. in the Cox Branson Tree Rooms that day.

In Springfield, Cox South will be receiving an Excellence in Eye Donation Award on April 15. Cox South achieved a 60 percent consent rate with 150 donors.

Each year around 48,000 individuals in the United States require a cornea transplant to restore vision that has been lost due to disease, disorder or injury. With the help of hospital partners like Cox Branson, Saving Sight provided corneas for more than 3,000 of those transplant surgeries in 2015.  For more information on becoming an eye, organ and tissue donor please visit

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

CoxHealth physicians, survivor to host prostate cancer informational event

There’s nothing like getting information firsthand: On March 29, the community is invited to learn more about prostate cancer from CoxHealth physicians and a local survivor. The evening, which is open to both men and women, features heavy appetizers – and a chance to hear more about diagnosis and treatment of the disease straight from those who know it best.

 “It is important for men to understand that prostate cancer is very treatable, but it isn’t something to ignore,” says Dr. Abe Abdalla, radiation oncologist with CoxHealth, who notes that nearly 200,000 men are estimated to be diagnosed with the disease in 2016 in the United States alone. After skin cancer, it’s the most common form of cancer for men – 26,000 are estimated to die from it this year – and will affect around one out of every seven men.

But there are ways to fight it. “There are a variety of treatment options available, so it’s important to have all the information before making a decision on how to combat the disease,” says Dr. Abdalla. “Some prostate cancer patients with very favorable features do not need aggressive treatment and could be closely observed, while many other patients need carefully tailored plans to treat their cancers and maintain a good quality of life. But in it all, awareness and testing are crucial components.”  

Dr. Abdalla will present at the event alongside Dr. David Anderson, a urologist at CoxHealth. The duo will speak about prostate cancer as its relates to their specialties, as well as why testing and treatment are important. Tom Guy, a local survivor, will also discuss his experience with the disease. All three will answer questions from the audience.

The event will be held at 6 p.m. in Foster Auditorium at Cox Medical Center South (3801 S. National Ave., Springfield). Registration for the event is requested by March 25. For more information or to register, call 417-269-5224.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Cox Branson meets ‘gold standard’ in care

John Pafford, who recently suffered a stroke, walks down a hallway inside the Acute Rehabilitation Unit with help from Physical Therapy Assistant Whitney Haughery.

The Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Cox Medical Center Branson has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation, the highest level possible, from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This award marks the third time the comprehensive inpatient rehab unit has received the high honor from CARF.


“CARF is the premier accrediting body for rehabilitation programs and considered the gold standard,” says Acute Rehabilitation Unit Program Director Nancy Ward. “While it is a voluntary program, it is a very rigorous program that we choose to undergo because we want to be the best for our patients.”


The unit is dedicated to helping individuals recover mobility and daily activities following illness, injury or disease. The staff of the 13-bed unit includes a physiatrist, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, dedicated social worker and other support staff.


“We are a small, specialized unit and therefore we are able to provide very individualized care,” Ward explains. “Our goal is to get each person who comes through our unit back home and enjoying life.”

The unit includes a transitional living apartment where individuals practice skills such as cooking, entering and exiting a bathtub as well as getting into and out of a traditional bed. Before going home, individuals also spend time practicing getting into and out of a car.


“Anything they would do at home, we do with them here,” Ward says.


Individuals may be referred to from home, doctor’s office, emergency room, assisted living, nursing home or hospital.


For more information about the Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Cox Branson, call 348-8217.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ask an expert about shoulder pain management

When it comes to shoulder pain, there are a variety of treatment options, ways to reduce discomfort and avenues to improve mobility. People can learn more about those opportunities on Tuesday, March 22 with Dr. Ken Carpenter, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at CoxHealth.

“Knowledge allows people to have options,” says Dr. Carpenter. “It’s my hope that attendees will leave this event encouraged by what they learn and the information they receive.”

This free evening, which is open to anyone who would like to attend, features a presentation by Dr. Carpenter. He will also take questions from the audience. The event will be held at The Meyer Center (3545 S. National Ave., Springfield) in Conference Room B from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Registration is requested. For more information or to register, call 417-269-INFO.

Friday, March 11, 2016

New Cox Branson physician dedicated to caring for nursing home residents

Dr. Jessica King
Cox Medical Center Branson is welcoming Jessica King, MD, CMD. Dr. King’s time will be dedicated to caring for residents of two area nursing homes.

“Our providers are excited to work directly with a CoxHealth physician who has proven expertise in managing the complex medical conditions that many of these skilled nursing facility patients may have,” said Cox Branson Chief Medical Officer Brian Clonts, MD. “We believe that Dr. King will be a tremendous asset in providing excellent care for the patients discharged from Cox Medical Center Branson to one of these facilities.”

Dr. King, who grew up in Mountain Grove, attended medical school at University of Missouri - Kansas City. She completed her residency at Cox Family Medicine Residency in Springfield and is family medicine board certified.

She explained that when she completed her medical training, she didn’t anticipate working only in nursing homes. However, Dr. King said, when opportunities arose and she found herself dedicating more and more time to care at nursing homes, she fell in love with the idea and realized the value of having a physician in the nursing homes.

“For the past three years, I have focused all of my attention on nursing home residents,” Dr. King explained.  “I have provided care for patients who are there for rehab as well as those who reside there fulltime, whether they are too elderly or too ill to care for themselves.”

She said during that time, she realized how important it is for providers to be in nursing homes providing care.

“When I’m in a nursing home on a regular basis, I am able to get to know the patients and staff and I can understand each patient’s health better,” she said. “I believe the better I know a patient, the better care I can provide for them. If they do fall ill, I can intervene quickly and often keep them out of the emergency room or hospital. Having someone present, to take care of our nursing home residents where they are and where they live, that is huge.”’

Dr. King will be seeing patients at Forsyth Nursing and Rehab, in Forsyth, and Tablerock HealthCare, in Kimberling City. 

Dr. King and her husband, Derek, have an 8-month-old daughter, Olivia. In her free time, Dr. King enjoys kayaking, reading, traveling and kickboxing.

For more information about Dr. King, call 335-7128.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Continuing a career in caring at age 82

The year was 1963 when Barbara McNagny graduated from a nursing degree program, intent on finding a job as a nurse.

Back then, the year wasn’t especially noteworthy. But now, 53 years later, it is: Because 82-year-old Barb can still be found nursing right here at CoxHealth. “It keeps me participatory in my society,” says Barb. “And it makes me functional. It gives me a reason to come in and perform and to make someone else’s life better.”

Nursing wasn’t the only career Barb considered in her younger years. “I actually wanted to be an airline stewardess, too,” she says.

However, that plan was derailed by a trip that made her airsick. “I decided I better not be an airline stewardess if I was going to end up being the guy getting sick in the bag,” she says with a laugh.

Her life’s journey was also a bit varied: She was born in Chicago, and moved to Indiana as a child where she grew up on a farm. After high school, not going to college wasn’t even an option. “I really wanted a degree,” recalls Barb. “It mattered to me.”

Because of that desire, she began studying nursing in Fort Wayne, Ind., but dropped out of the program because she didn’t think the school had high enough academic expectations for its students. “I must say, it took a little courage to withdraw,” says Barb. “But I thought, ‘I’m not going to get an education here.’”

After some time out of college – including a stint living in Long Beach, Calif., where she went to the beach daily before getting a job selling silver in a local department store – Barb decided to re-enroll in nursing school.

This time, she chose Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. “I absolutely loved the place,” says Barb, recalling its location on Broadway and 159th Street in the heart of the Big Apple. “When you sat in the cafeteria, you looked out at the George Washington Bridge all the time.”

Studies weren’t the only thing on her mind at the time: In the same time frame, she also got married and had her first child, a daughter named Lili. After graduation, the next few decades were spent taking care of her family – including two other children, Phil and Emma, who came along – with some part-time nursing thrown in at local doctors’ offices.

But when the family moved to Ava, Mo., in 1975 “to get away from the world,” Barb re-entered the workforce full time. Part of those years was spent at the hospital in Mansfield, where she did a little bit of everything to help keep things running smoothly.

“I had to be the only RN in the building at night,” she says. “I had to do all of the labor and delivery. I mixed my own IV antibiotics.”

After leaving the hospital, she spent time at other Springfield health care facilities before making the switch to CoxHealth in 1989. She began as a floater but then settled at Cox North in nephrology and on L600, which at that time was the diabetic floor, before transferring to Cox South.

After partially retiring in 1998, she came to Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital in 2006 and she’s been there ever since. “I really enjoy working here,” she says. “I am a caretaker. You just are who you are. And I like to take care of people.”

Even though she’s been here for 25 years, Barb has no intention to retire any time soon. “As long as I feel competent, I’ll keep working. And I won’t do this a day after I don’t feel that way.”

CoxHealth Colleagues
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Try new herbs and spices this National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, making it the perfect time to clear up some misconceptions about eating right. To begin with, healthy dishes don’t have to be bland. Herbs and spices are a wonderful aid for a healthy eating regime, both because they provide flavor and nutritional benefits – and they can replace extra fat, sugar and salt in meals without the extra calories.

“Herbs and spices are a natural way to enhance healthy eating efforts,” says Cindy Seaton, a clinical dietitian with Nutritional Services at CoxHealth. “And they’re easy to implement – just a few small additions can make a huge difference.”

But like their distinct benefits, herbs and spices are distinctly different. Learn more about them here:   

What are herbs?

Herbs are the leaves of low-growing shrubs, and can aid in healing and strengthening the immune system. They also have many anti-inflammatory properties, which help with issues related to chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Herbs can help in a variety of ways:

  • Digestive issues can be helped with dill, chives, rosemary, oregano and basil.
  • Respiratory problems may be eased with dill, chives, oregano, thyme and basil.
  • Nausea, fatigue or aches and pains have simple herb fixes, too. Chives can help with fatigue, and rosemary can help with those aches and pains and may also improve memory.

What are spices?

Spices come from the bark, root, buds, seeds, berry or fruit of tropical plants and trees. They may fight infection, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve heart health, keep skin healthy, regulate metabolism, help with weight loss, strengthen bones, increase digestion, protect against many diseases, protect oral health, treat illness/infections and balance hormones.

A few benefits from spices include:

  • Inflammation reduction may tie to cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg and turmeric. Such spices are full of antioxidants can reduce chronic inflammation and help in the prevention of illness or infection. 
  • Digestion and GI issue reduction may be aided with cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and nutmeg.
  • The aging process may be slowed with cinnamon for pain management, improved heart health, increased brain function and a potential reduction in blood sugar. Cumin and nutmeg may aid bone health, manage heart rate, improve eyesight and reduce macular degeneration. And, last but not least, turmeric may have protective effects on brain health, preventing a decline in brain function that is associated with aging.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Meet Your Fitness Assistant: Amanda Knerr

Amanda Knerr

Fitness Assistant Amanda Knerr may be one of the newest team members at CoxHealth Fitness Center Branson, but that does not mean that she is not an expert when it comes to fitness.

Amanda, a senior at College of the Ozarks, will complete her degree this year in exercise and science nutrition.

“I have always enjoyed being active and living a healthy lifestyle,” Amanda says. “At College of the Ozarks, I took a weight lifting and physical fitness class and fell in love with learning and growing in the field of nutrition and exercise science. I loved it so much, I’m now planning to make fitness my fulltime career.”

While Amanda enjoys fitness, she also loves helping others learn to love fitness, too.

“I enjoy working at a place where people are changing their lives for the better,” she said. “I enjoy talking with and helping our members.”

So what would Amanda say to anyone considering joining the fitness center?

“Do it!” she said. “We would love to see you at the center. You will not regret it. It’s the first step of what can be an incredible life-changer.”

Friday, March 4, 2016

Help distract kids (receiving medical care) with DVDs

Besides quality care, one of the biggest things that kids in the hospital need is distraction. In order to help fulfill that need, CoxHealth’s Child Life Specialists are launching a DVD collection drive to benefit kids at CoxHealth. The drive, which goes until March 12, seeks any new or used children’s DVDs (rated G, PG or PG-13) and portable DVD players.

“It’s easy for kids in the hospital to be scared, bored or uncomfortable,” says Rana Post, Child Life Specialist at CoxHealth. “We hope that this drive will produce a lot of new ways to divert their attention while in such situations.”

Areas that will benefit are CoxHealth Surgery Center, Pediatric Urgent Care, Pediatric Sedation in Radiology, Ambulatory Infusion Clinic and Pediatric Rehab at the Meyer Center.

Items can be dropped off in the Child Life office on the first floor of the Dee Ann White Women's and Children's Hospital West Tower. Those wishing to deliver donations should call 417-414-2621 in advance.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Boot Camp 30 begins March 7

Boot Camp 30 begins March 7 at CoxHealth Fitness Center Branson.
Call 348-0060

Swimsuit season is just around the corner, but getting in shape for it does not require a huge commitment to the gym. CoxHealth Fitness Center Branson will host Boot Camp 30 starting March 7. Boot Camp 30 is designed to burn lots of calories and help participants get in incredible shape in a short amount of time.

“Boot Camp 30 consists of 30 minute workouts three days a week, for 30 days,” explained Fitness Center Manager Adam Wright. “These 30 minute workouts will follow the HIIT Method (High Intensity Interval Training). Participants will work hard and play hard during these classes, but it is only for 30 minutes and in the end, they should have a lot of fun and feel incredible.”

The boot camp classes will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:15-12:45 p.m. and 5:15-5:45 p.m. Classes will include a variety of exercises including squats, pushups, pull-ups, lunges, sit-ups, burpees, running, sprinting, jumping and more.

“While the classes will be intense, our awesome trainers are prepared to make adjustments because we want everyone to be successful and enjoy the workouts,” Wright says. “Aside from incredible workouts, boot-camp participants also benefit from group comradery, group accountability and a wide variety of exercises without a huge time commitment. Another great benefit is that since participants will be accomplishing so much in such a short amount of time, they will be burning calories during the class and for the next 24 hours as their bodies recover and prepare for the next class.”

Boot Camp 30 is available for fitness center members at $30 per person or $50 for nonmembers. Call 348-0060.