‘Tis the season of giving! If you’d like to donate your time, money or other resources, look no further than your local food pantry.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 14.5% of American households face hunger. What does this mean? This means that some Americans experience “food insecurity” or that access to adequate food was limited by lack of money and other resources. Food insecurity is experienced by 10% of households with children. In Wisconsin 11% of households experience food insecurity. Many of the people facing hunger are hard working adults, children and seniors who are struggling to make ends meet and go without food.
Poor nutrition impacts all areas of health. Insufficient nutrition increases the risk of illness, weakens the immune system and negatively impacts cognitive development in children.
What can you do?
- Get involved. Volunteer or donate to a food bank in your community. Click here for a listing of food banks in Wisconsin.
For more information, check out Feeding America.
- Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, Mark Nord, and Anita Singh. Household Food Security in the United States in 2012, ERR-155, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2013.
Frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Handwashing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn’t require water.
What’s the right way to wash your hands?
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Always wash your hands before:
- Preparing food or eating
- Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
- Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash your hands after:
- Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
- Using the toilet or changing a diaper
- Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes, or waste
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
- Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
Check out NSF International’s Scrub Club website for some fun ways to talk to kids about the importance of proper handwashing.
World AIDS Day, observed on December 1st, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to honor people who have died.
Why is World AIDS Day important?
Globally, an estimated 34 million people are living with HIV1. More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and almost 1 in 5 are unaware of their infection2. About 8,000 people in Wisconsin are currently living with HIV3. And while there have been many medical advances in the treatment of HIV, many people do not know how to protect themselves and others from HIV.
So what are the facts?
- HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks the immune system.
- AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person with HIV is considered to have developed AIDS when the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off diseases.
- HIV can be passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal secretions or breast milk. The most common ways HIV is passed on are:
- Sex without a condom
- Sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment
- There is no cure for HIV, but people on HIV treatment can live healthy and active lives.
- To protect yourself against HIV, ALWAYS use a condom when having sex and NEVER share needles or syringes.
What can I do to honor World AIDS Day?
- Get tested. Click here to find a testing location near you.
- Wear a red ribbon. The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV.
When we asked our staff what they were thankful for this holiday season, these are some of the responses we received:
Janet: “I am thankful for the people I have in my life. I have wonderful, loving family, friends and co-workers!!!”
Marilyn: “This year I am so very thankful for my mother’s uncomplicated adjustment to her new living situation in an assisted-living facility in Rochester, NY. My mom is 86 and mentally sharp as a tack. She has such a great attitude about life which is supported by her faith. Mom takes every opportunity to be independent and take good care of herself (eating wisely and walking regularly). After enjoying her own apartment and her autonomous lifestyle for decades, Mom has decided to “go with the flow” at Heather Heights despite the fact that, “Not everyone has the best manners.” Isn’t that just putting it mildly? Thank you mom for your strong and graceful spirit—your example of aging with dignity and positivity.”
Carl: “I am thankful for good health.”
Kristin: “I am deeply grateful for my husband and two boys.”
Amanda: “While I’m thankful for many, many things, I am definitely thankful for all my coworkers! You all keep me continually learning, even now that I’m out of school; everyone always has new ideas from a conference, health news they recently read, advice on how to approach a difficult situation, expertise on technology in which I’m inexperienced using, or just a funny web link to share. It keeps the work days fresh, exciting, and motivating. I’m thankful for my WWHF family and their passion for our work!”
Susan: “I’m thankful for everything I have! It may not be much, but all of it makes me feel blessed”
Amy: “I am thankful to be back home in the USA J.”
McKaye: “I am thankful for every opportunity I have been given. Those around me (friends, family, and complete strangers) have all afforded me opportunities for development, advancement and self-reflection. Because of those closest to me, I have found some of my passions, experienced unconditional love, and have been able to explore new experiences; these affordances have become more clear to me as I graduate college and dive into ‘the real world.’ What more could I ask for!?”
Nora: “I am thankful for the love of my family and friends.”
Chelsea: “My coworkers J!”
Tommi: “A wonderful family whom I love more than I can put into words… and an amazing staff, whom inspire me daily and who I feel are an extension of my family…I am truly blessed!”
What are you thankful for this year?
When WWHF decided we wanted to post about a healthy Thanksgiving side dish option, we knew exactly how to ask. Our dear friend, Cammie, who writes Polka Dotted Peony has graciously provided us with a delicious Wheat Berry Salad recipe! Read on:
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for healthy holiday side dish options that showcase bright and delicious flavor, appealing texture, and requests for second helpings. As a hostess (or as a guest that’s offered to bring an accompanying dish), I hope to provide family and friends with yummy food that leads to happy bellies, and the wonderful thing is we can be thankful there are lots of great alternatives to traditional not-as-healthy holiday dishes.
Enter the beautiful wheat berry.
My mom, introduced me to wheat berries several years ago, and like most things, she was exactly right when boasted their nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture. Yum.
Our family makes her version of the wheat berry salad for various occasions, and it’s always a hit. It’s festive and just a little different. It’s also dairy-free, so if you have loved ones with dietary restrictions, this could be a really nice option.
Joan’s Wheat Berry Salad
// ingredients //
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 large fresh red pepper, diced (any color pepper would be lovely)
1 medium red onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
// instructions //
Cook wheat berries according to the instructions on the package (usually cooking in several cups of water under a rolling boil, covered for 45 minutes or so).
While the wheat berries are cooking, caramelize one medium red onion with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Saute them on lowish heat (3-4 worked well on my stove) until they’re iridescent and soft. Set aside.
Drain the water off the berries, and while they are still hot, pour on the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This will help the dressing absorb into the berries.
In a medium bowl, combine dressed wheat berries with diced red pepper and caramelized red onion. Add the garlic and cayenne pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature.
Side note: This recipe is so flexible, which is part of the reason I love it. Try adding dried cranberries and slivered almonds for a festive twist. If you like a little more heat, up the cayenne pepper a bit. Love those peppers? Add more!
Clare Meier was one of WWHF GrapeVine’s Faith Community Nurses, but took a hiatus when she went on a mission trip to Thailand. WWHF reconnected with her at our recent event, the Gathering. We were inspired to hear about her great adventures abroad. She was happy to write a brief post for us, so we could share with you!
“Last November found me in sunny, tropical Thailand. I had signed on for 14 months of missionary exploration in that area and explore I did. Never living on foreign soil for that long away from my home in WI, Asian culture was an adventure. Being an RN and a Grapeviner, I looked for medical opportunities. I found a group, Operation Blessing, which conducted monthly medical outreaches into the rural communities. One particular weekend, we headed into a mountainous Hmong community. About 250 people turned out on Saturday and another 150 on Sunday for free medical services. I was the first of 6 stops. I took blood pressures, but was unable to fill out a brief initial assessment of complaints due to language barriers. Other stops were at the free reading glass table, haircut and lice treatment table, prayer table and doctor and pharmacy tables. Monthly clinics were held throughout northern Thailand with annual follow-ups for those who met criteria.
In the city, medical care is much cheaper than in the US. I was told this is due to more doctors, who have more time and also due to little malpractice.
Many foreigners visited this second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai, so the hospitals in the city wanted to improve their English. I met a nurse whose main job was listening for English errors at Thai report.
Thai patients typically do not question their doctors wisdom. Americans are seen as pushy by asking “why” or “how about trying this procedure” when they come to doctor visits. I was never a medical patient but did enjoy a root canal at 1/3 US prices in a modern facility. Thai family members stay with their hospitalized family members, assisting with meals and cares. This too contributes to less cost.
I had the opportunity to be an English speaking friend to English speakers in a foreigner-friendly elder care facility. We chatted about their homes in the states or the island of Jersey off France, or even Poland, my ancestral home. We chatted too of their reasons for being there, being either cheaper or warmer or accidental. This site had been first established by a Dr McKean as a leprosy colony. Lepers still worked on the grounds at the craft center. Leprosy is more manageable with medications. There is less stigma, but in China, where I visited for 2 months in a village, the lepers still lived a secluded lifestyle. They were careful to tuck their hand stumps or crippled feet away from prying eyes. I got to sit with some of them though, as the old women congregated. They encouraged me, nonverbally, as they persevered. I like to think I encouraged them as I was simply there with them and prayed or held hands.
This is only a small slice of my Thai time. It IS challenging to work cross culturally, yet whatever is done for the least of these is done for Him. A part of my heart remains with them and a part of their heart remains with me this wintery November day.”
Looking for something to read while curled up next to the fireplace? We have the book for you!
The name of the book is I am a Woman Finding My Voice by Janet F. Quinn. The subtitle of the book is “Celebrating the extraordinary blessings of being a woman.” The book is a collection of stories and affirmations created to remind the author, and the reader, to celebrate who she is and how she is becoming. Some titles of the entries are: I am a Woman Letting Go and Moving on; I am a Woman Praying the Prayer of Parenting; I am a Woman Centered in the Present Moment. Sounds like good reading, doesn’t it?
We have chosen just one passage from the book to share, and invite you focus on the message. We invite you to take a nice deep breath in and exhale fully. Close the door to your office and read this brief entry, try reading it out loud, even. Notice how you feel when you are done.
Janet Quinn writes: “I am a woman respecting myself. Respect—re-spect—means to look again. I am a woman looking again at myself and liking what I see. I am doing the very best I can with the resources and gifts I have been given. I am staying on my path, fulfilling my responsibilities. I deserve respect, not for anything I’ve done but for the simple reason that I am a human being. Whether my work in the world is cleaning the executive bathroom or being the sole owner of its key has no bearing here—I deserve no more or no less respect because of my work. Respect is my birthright. But respect begins with me. For too long I have allowed others to determine my opinion of myself. Somewhere I heard the phrase: your opinion of me is none of my business. It’s true, but I haven’t always acted that way. I have allowed others’ ideas about my ideas and about women to make me feel embarrassed, humiliated, and foolish, losing respect for myself. That was then, and this is now. Now, I am a woman respecting myself.”
Today, join others around the nation who are participating in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout! Annually, on the third day of November, smokers are encouraged to remain smoke-free for 24 hours or choose this day to quit smoking altogether.
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans smoke, making tobacco use in the United States the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death. Additionally, smoking is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths and 1 in 3 cancer related deaths. Given these statistics, chances are you or someone you know is affected by smoking.
How to take part in the Great American Smokeout and support a smoke-free lifestyle:
- Do not smoke, not even a puff!
- Drink lots of water.
- Spend time outdoors.
- Use nicotine replacements.
- Go out for dinner or a movie.
- Chew gum or suck on candy.
- Avoid people who are smoking.
- Prepare and eat a “cold turkey” meal.
- Attend a smoking cessation class or follow a self-help plan.
- Alter your regular routine to avoid situations where the urge to smoke is strong.
- Spread the word and support family, friends and coworkers in the effort to quit smoking.
And at the end of the day, breathe deeply and congratulate yourself or someone you know for remaining smoke-free. That is an amazing accomplishment and a great step towards a smoke-free lifestyle!
For more information on the Great American Smokeout and quitting smoking please visit www.cancer.org.
“About 1 in 13 pregnant women (7.6%) reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.”- CDC, 2012
As stated in the above statistic, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is occurring at a rate of about 8% nationwide. Alcohol is a teratogen, an agent which interferes with normal prenatal development. Alcohol is passed along to a developing fetus and can affect skeletal structures, organs, the central nervous system, and may lead to a diagnosis within the range of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Fortunately, FASDs are 100% preventable when a woman has an alcohol-free pregnancy. For this reason, the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation began the My Baby & Me program in 2006.
The My Baby & Me program aims to:
- Provide screening and key FASD prevention messages to all pregnant women.
- Help participants stop or significantly reduce their alcohol use during the prenatal period.
- Provide comprehensive alcohol-related training and technical assistance to healthcare providers.
- Disseminate the best practices in alcohol education and FASD research, resources, tools, and continuing education opportunities.
In an effort to follow best-practices and update the program with the most relevant information and research, My Baby & Me completed an update and was re-launched during the week of November 4th-8th.
Why the Change?
Our goal was to:
- Align intervention with best practices
- Relieve provider burden – shortened forms and only two surveys
- Refine program materials to promote inclusivity, cultural competence, and a non-judgmental approach
MBM Development Process
- 6 months of research on best practices
- Review with expert panel for consistency with best practices
- Review with funder for consistency with program priorities and needs
- Review with panel of current providers for provider feasibility and appropriateness for target population
- Inclusion of key messages & alcohol education
- Any alcohol that a pregnant woman consumes is passed along to her baby.
- Alcohol use is the leading preventable cause of birth defects.
- Therefore, there is no known safe amount, time, or type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.
- Measuring screening AND brief intervention
- Shift from abstinence-only to harm reduction
- Deletion of Quantity-Frequency (QF) Questions
- 2 surveys instead of 3
- FRAMES intervention
The re-launch was held in four different regions of the state including: Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Stratford. The trainings were attended by 54 providers from 26 different sites throughout the state. If healthcare sites are interested in providing the My Baby & Me program, but were unable to attend one of the re-launch sessions, they can contact their regional Program Coordinator to set up an on-site training.
Carl Oliver- Central/South East Region, 608-251-1675 ext. 117, email@example.com
Chelsea Stover- Central/South West Region, 608-251-1675 ext. 118, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Brenden- Northern Region, 715-214-6334, email@example.com
It’s November. And that mean’s it’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation is familiar with the topic and so are some of their Annual Dialogue attendees.
We want to extend a big thank you to all of the community leaders who joined us on October 10th (Madison) and October 11 (Milwaukee) to engage in our 7th Annual Dialogue – Women & Aging: The Impact of Dementia. The moderated panel discussion of state leaders (see panelists below) engaged the audience with presentations and a Q & A about the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and impact of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Discussions were focused on an attempt to improve healthcare outcomes for Wisconsin women, families and communities.
Elizabeth Chapman, MD
UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Malgorzata Franczak, MD**
Medical College of Wisconsin
Gina Green-Harris, MBA
Director of Milwaukee Outreach Program & Services
Kurt Hansen, MD*
Assistant Clinical Professor
UW Department of Medicine
Alzheimer’s Association – South Central WI Chapter
Alzheimer’s Association – Southeastern WI Chapter
Family Support Coordinator
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin
*Madison Location Only
**Milwaukee Location Only
We will be publishing a white paper in early 2014. If you’d like to request a copy, please email McKaye Whiteside at firstname.lastname@example.org.