Keeping Active After Discharge

Door County Medical center is devoted not only to the wellbeing of patients currently under our care, but also to those patients who have been discharged. In order to better guarantee positive long-term outcomes for our patients, DCMC’s Rehab Services team has joined with Exercise Physiologist Adam Peronto to develop a new program that provides support for patients who have been discharged.

Adam Peronto

Adam Peronto

Adam Peronto brings a diverse array of rehabilitation practices to Door County Medical Center. A 2017 graduate of UW-Eau Claire, Adam worked with children and adults with cognitive disabilities, providing recreational programs to improve movement skills and encourage physical activity. His involvement in a research study, which investigated the impact regular exercise had on the communication abilities of aphasia patients, lead to the development of aphasia specific exercise protocols for group exercise sessions in Minneapolis and Eau Claire. Additionally, Adam has worked with many community outreach programs such as LEEPS, Community Fitness, LIVESTRONG and Special Olympics. More recently, he has worked at the DCMC clinics in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay as a rehabilitation assistant.

Bridges to Health

Adam’s most recent project, Bridges to Health, helps patients who, following a medical service at DCMC, need guidance in becoming physically active and in developing a healthy lifestyle. This program focuses on prevention and management by prescribing exercise. Bridges to Health is a supervised exercise program that is safe and appropriate for patients in need of medical supervision during exercise. “We’re concentrating on our geriatric population and on people with special health concerns who have recently been discharged.” says Adam. “This program is designed to help our patients maintain the progress that they made under our care and to help them improve their long-term health.”

Adam will meet with participants at the rehab clinics in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Algoma to develop an exercise program that safely helps participants manage their weight and improve their strength, endurance and balance. Adam will also be able to go into the home to provide his service for specialty cases. The focus of this program is to eventually ‘bridge’ participants to local organizations and services that will help them continue to improve their wellbeing. Adam adds, “My goal is to provide additional support to our patients through movement and exercise in order to prevent future health problems. After our service we want to help bridge our patients to community organizations that improve social participation and create lasting health benefits. Even though they are no longer in our care we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help our patients live a healthy lifestyle.”

The long-term benefits of the Bridges to Health program include:

  • Improved physical fitness
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Increased physical activity
  • Faster recovery time
  • Decreased likelihood of future health problems

Door County Medical Center supports a culture of wellness by keeping you active, healthy and independent. Begin your journey today! For more information regarding Bridge to Health call 920-746-0410 or talk with your DCMC physician. This program will be available in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Algoma.

50 rural hospital CEOs to know | 2018

Gerald Worrick recognized as a top rural hospital CEO to know by Becker’s Healthcare

Becker's top 50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know 2018

The CEOs featured on this list have overcome significant challenges operating rural community and critical access hospitals to lead sustainable and thriving organizations. Many CEOs have served their institutions for decades, recruiting physicians, expanding services and implementing technology platforms to ensure the best care possible for their communities.

Becker’s Healthcare accepted nominations for this list and considered leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. The CEOs featured lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association, American Hospital Association and HIMSS as top institutions; others sit on local chamber of commerce boards and serve on state hospital associations.

As president and CEO of Door County Medical Center, Gerald Worrick (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) has overseen the hospital’s efforts to affiliate with Hospital Sisters Health System. In his current role, Mr. Worrick oversees a medical staff that includes more than 175 physicians at the critical access hospital and satellite clinics. Mr. Worrick also has experience in leadership roles with the American Hospital Association and served in administrative positions at hospitals in Chicago and Eau Claire, Wis., before joining Door County.

Note: This list is not an endorsement of any individual or institution featured. Individuals do not pay and cannot pay for inclusion on this list.

Contact Laura Dyrda at with any questions about this list.

Door County Medical Center General Surgery Welcomes Michael St. Jean M.D.

Dr. Michael St Jean

Michael St. Jean M.D.

Door County Medical Center is pleased to announce Dr. Michael St. Jean, M.D., F.A.C.S. will be providing General Surgery at Door County Medical Center beginning March 6th, 2018.

Dr. St. Jean received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University. While there, he joined the Army ROTC, and then completed medical school at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. He completed his surgical residency training at the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center and following his training, served at several Army MEDDACs and the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. He completed a Minimally Invasive/Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at Geisinger Medical Center in 2005 and concluded his military career at Womack Army Medical Center, serving as residency director, Director of Medical Education and Chief, Department of Surgery. Following numerous combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2006 and 2011, he retired from active service. Prior to joining DCMC, Dr. St. Jean practiced Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine where he served as Surgeon Medical Director, overseeing all perioperative surgical services.

Dr. St. Jean’s practice includes all aspects of Minimally Invasive Surgery, endoscopy and robotic surgery. In particular, he is looking forward to bringing his years of experience with advanced robotic surgery to DCMC. “We’ll be using the da Vinci Xi Surgical System,” says Dr. St. Jean. “It’s really the latest advance in robotic-assisted surgery and in minimally invasive procedures.” The da Vinci Xi makes it possible for surgeons to perform complex operations through small incisions—operations, which would otherwise require large incisions and long recuperation times. Additionally, Dr. St. Jean points out that robotic-assisted surgery results in “decreased post-op pain. It gets the patient back to normal faster. Now that DCMC has one of these machines, Door County residents won’t have to travel to a major city for one of these procedures—we’re bringing the technological forefront to Door County.”

Dr. St. Jean is also looking forward to moving closer to his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, who live in Wisconsin. “My wife is from Northern Illinois,” he adds, “so in a sense, this move is about getting back to family.”

Edge Fitness Academy – Creating healthy, lifelong habits

As kids grow up, they tend toward less physical activity. In fact, one Washington State survey found that while 80% of 6th graders said they regularly took part in vigorous physical activity, that number fell to 65% in 12th graders. Staying physically fit is always important at any age, but it is equally important that, as children become teenagers, they continue to remain active, building appropriate exercise habits as they go from middle school, to high school, and move into their adult lives.

When teens stay active, they reduce their chances of becoming overweight or obese, and developing other weight related problems—like diabetes or heart disease—down the line. Additionally, physical activity has been shown to elevate mood and mental focus. By staying active, teenagers decrease the risk of developing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and academic performance tends to improve.

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has long been committed to promoting, supporting and maintaining the health and wellness of Door County teens and student athletes. Part of our support for that community takes shape in our desire to keep kids active during the summer months, so for the past decade, Edge Fitness Academy, powered by DCMC, has worked to provide middle school and high school students with high quality athletic and fitness training during the long summer break.

Edge Fitness Academy

Edge Fitness Academy is a 6-week, sports performance summer camp that brings DCMC’s experienced team of Athletic Trainers directly to every one of the Door County high schools. Originally called Athletic Edge, Edge Fitness Academy started in 2008, and since that time, has been dedicated to “educating, empowering, and challenging the next generation in health, fitness, and athletics.” In 2013, Edge director Jason Linzmeier joined the team and immediately began to expand the program. “I came out of college with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Strength and Conditioning minor,” Linzmeier says, “and I saw what Athletic Edge was offering, and I thought ‘this is great, but we can take this up a notch.’ So now, we’ve moved from basic cardio and band exercises to high intensity cardio and full-body, multi-plane exercises that mimic the requirements of certain sports. Last year, for example, we finally got the kids into the weight room and started them on a regimented, progressive, weight training program.”

Edge: Essential and Elite

Edge Fitness Academy offers two programs. Edge: Essential is the core program. It focuses on strength, agility and speed. “Essential is 45 minutes in the varsity sports gym,” says Linzmeier, “focusing on strength training through body weight and locomotion—push-ups, sit-ups, jump-squats, squats, lunges, and things of that nature. If it’s a nice day, we’ll do 45 minutes on the track—the mile-long runs, the more cardio/endurance based activities. And, Essential is more time oriented—for example, ‘how many can reps can you do in 30 seconds. Okay, keep that score in mind, now try to beat your own personal score.’ That way these kids are always looking to push themselves—they’re not comparing themselves to someone else.” Essential provides a baseline of knowledge and is available to both middle school and high school students.

Edge: Elite is an additional 45 minutes following the Essential program, and is an advanced program for student athletes that want to take their game to the next level. Elite focuses primarily on high intensity weight training. “We try to keep it pretty basic,” Linzmeier adds. “Between the ages of 14 and 18, there’s a pretty big gap in levels of knowledge and maturity, so I’m not going crazy with a bunch of different styles. Essentially, I’m trying to find one style that’s good for every sport out there—I’m trying to cast the biggest net I can.” Because weightlifting first requires a certain level of knowledge that is provided by the Essential program, and because weight training can damage growth plates in young children, Elite is available only to high school students.

Edge: an opportunity and a learning experience

“I talk to the kids in high school all the time,” says Linzmeier, “and they say they don’t have a coach to help in the weight room, or a long-term class that teaches them how to lift weights. Often, when I initially enter the weight room with these kids, I see two things: that they’re not getting the most out of a lift because of poor technique, and the way they lift could lead to injuries. So, I view Edge as an opportunity—as a learning experience for the kids that sign up. They learn how to lift the right way, how to get the most out of their exercise experience, and how to manage a weight room. More than that, we’re teaching them appropriate exercise habits that they can use for the rest of their life—that will help keep them healthy and happy.”

Dates and Times

Athletic Edge Fitness Academy

Click to view Edge Fitness Academy poster

Edge Fitness Academy begins Monday, June 11th and ends Friday, July 20th. All sessions will meet in the varsity gym of the school you signed up for.

  • Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay sessions are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Southern Door from 7:00 – 8:30AM and Sturgeon Bay from 9:30 – 11:00AM.
  • Gibraltar and Sevastopol sessions are held Tuesday and Thursday. Gibraltar from 7:00 – 8:30AM and Sevastopol from 9:30 – 11:00AM.
  • General Registration begins March 17th, 2018 and ends June 10th, 2018 at 11:59PM (CST).
  • Early registration begins March 1st, 2018 and ends March 16th, 2018 at 11:59PM (CST). Register early to receive $10.00 off your final purchase price.

Note: All registration for Edge Fitness Academy will take place online at There is no offline registration. For more information, please visit:, call Jason Linzmeier at 920.746.0410, or email him at

“My Experience at Door County Medical Center was a Beautiful Experience”: Why One Nurse Decided to Join Our Team at the Birthing Center

Giving birth to your first child is one of the most exciting and profound experiences anyone will go through during their lifetime. For one of our newest labor nurses, her experience giving birth to her first child at our Birthing Center was so positive that she decided she wanted to work at Door County Medical Center. The following interview recounts her experiences at the Birthing Center, both as a mother and as a labor nurse. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

My name is Jessica Skinner and I’m a Registered Nurse working in the Birthing Center at Door County Medical Center. I’m also an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. So, I fill two roles here in the Birthing Center.

I initially trained at Aurora Sinai in Milwaukee and actually started as a post-partum aid. While there, I was able to work with some excellent lactation consultants as well as several really wonderful nurses. And at Aurora Sinai, they have their birthing center split into labor/delivery and post-partum, so following my training as a post-partum aid; I cross-trained over onto labor and delivery. It was a more high risk, high volume hospital, but also a good place to learn.

What brought you to Door County Medical Center?

My parents are from the Door County area, so following my training in Milwaukee, I moved back home and started working at Aurora Bay Care in Green Bay as a labor nurse. Again, it was a big place, many wonderful people—a lot more patients than we typically see in Door County—but also a great place to learn and get my feet wet. And then, I had my baby right here in this very room [where we are doing the interview] and I was so taken with the level of care that I received—that was available here—that I was blown away. So, I think my son was almost a year old when I decided to come to Door County Medical Center, and I have not regretted a day of it.

What about your experience at DCMC’s Birthing Center, thus far, has so impressed you?

At DCMC, we don’t have the patient volume that my previous hospitals did—the nurses here typically don’t have four mom-baby couplets that they are taking care of at one time, usually it’s just one or two. Sometimes you might even be the only mom-baby group here. What that translates to is a lot more personal care for our patients, and of course patients really appreciate that—as a patient at DCMC, that level of personal care really blew me away.

But more than that, nurses at DCMC also really appreciate the low nurse-to-patient ratio, because we typically get into this profession for the hands-on, bedside caring. I feel that, instead of going through tasks and just providing safe-care, what we really provide is personal care—we’re teaching men and women and their new babies how to become families. We spend a lot of time answering their questions; letting patients get comfortable with new tasks—we’re kind of standing by for moral support and talking over all the fears you have as a new parent and all the joys you can expect too. We do a really good job of preparing people for becoming parents.

And that preparation actually starts well before people even get to the birthing center. We provide pre-natal breast-feeding classes, which I teach once a month. We also teach prepared childbirth classes, which are held six times a year. We really try to cultivate long-term relationships with families in this community.

When you were in labor was there a specific moment or positive experience that you could point to as “eye-opening,” with regard to the high level of care you received at DCMC’s Birthing Center?

Yes, a couple of memories. This maybe sounds odd considering I’m a labor and delivery nurse, but I was actually really nervous about labor—it was a strange feeling for me to be on the other side. So, I remember that Barb Severinsen, who was my labor nurse during the day, knew that I was a labor nurse, so she turned the monitor away from me so I couldn’t see it, and turned down the volume so I couldn’t hear it. This little thing was really important, because what I really didn’t want was to be my own labor nurse, and she picked up on that. We [labor nurses] tend to calculate the baby’s heart rate in our heads, and Barb could tell I was listening to the monitor and was not fully focused on being in labor.

I also remember laboring in the bathroom after my water broke, and Barb just standing with me there for what felt like hours. I just put my arms around her—Barb’s not a very tall woman, so she’s kind of a perfect height—and I remember hugging her and saying “Barb, don’t leave me,” and Barb just stroking my hair and saying “I won’t. I’m going to stay right here with you.” So, yeah, every step of the way, my experience at DCMC was a beautiful experience. And especially for me, because being a labor nurse, you go into it knowing all of the bad things that can happen, and I didn’t think about that once after I arrived at the Birthing Center.

Is there was a single aspect—a service perhaps—you can point to, which is representative of the high quality of care you are able to provide at the Birthing Center?

One of the services we offer at DCMC, which is really important—and is hospital-wide, but I feel is especially important for our department—is we always follow up with a phone call.  Once a person leaves the hospital, one of the nurses from the unit they were in—often the nurse that took care of them—will call them within one or two days of discharge. Sometimes there is so much going on it’s difficult to make all of the new information stick. Often, people will go home and think, “I can’t remember what she said about this; I can’t remember when I’m supposed to do that.” The follow-up call provides a nice opportunity to reconnect and check in on the patient—people won’t always ask for help, but when it’s freely offered people tend to be a lot more open to it. And that phone call is especially important in a postpartum unit, because everything changes, hour by hour with a newborn, especially when it’s your first baby. That phone call is very different from other places I’ve worked. It opens up a dialog between labor nurses and new moms that can lasts for years—it’s something special that we get to do at DCMC.

For more information on the Birthing Center at Door County Medical Center please visit us online at: or call us at (920) 743-5566.

Family Nurse Practitioner Ellen Knipfer is Coming to the Algoma Clinic

Ellen Knipfer, Family Nurse Practitioner

Ellen Knipfer, Family Nurse Practitioner

Door County Medical Center is excited to announce that Ellen Knipfer, Family Nurse Practitioner at our Sturgeon Bay Clinic, has started accepting patients at the Algoma Clinic. Ms. Knipfer is bringing over a decade’s worth of diverse experience to the clinic, having previously worked on the Medical/Surgical Unit at DCMC, then in Infection Prevention and Employee Health, and more recently serving as Director of the ICU and the Medical/Surgical Unit.

Now, Ellen is looking forward to working with the Algoma community to make the kind of choices that lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life. “After more than 10 years at DCMC, I decided to leave my job as director after completing a Master’s Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I’m really glad that I made that decision, because after working in internal medicine, I saw a lot of chronic illness. Now, I feel I am better positioned to help my patients make the lifestyle changes that I feel they need to make in order to address, and hopefully prevent, those illnesses.”

It’s about education

“It’s about getting off the couch,” says Ellen, “it’s about getting out from behind the computer; it’s about changing eating habits. In general, it’s really about education, and nurses really are educators. So, one of the things I’m interested in bringing to the Algoma clinic is education—I want to teach people how, on a daily basis, to make the kinds of simple choices that will positively effect their overall health.”

Beyond that, Ellen is interested in getting involved in the Algoma community. “I’m looking forward to the move,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to finding out what kinds of healthy lifestyle changes are needed in the community, and how best to effect those changes.”

Ellen Knipfer, APNP, started seeing patients at the Algoma Clinic on Monday, January 29th. To make an appointment please call (920) 487-3496. Door County Medical Center’s Algoma Clinic is located at 815 Jefferson Street in downtown Algoma.

Injured at Work? Door County Medical Center Can Help

Injuries on the JobThe Worker’s Compensation Act provides for payment of medical expenses and compensation for lost wages resulting from work-related injuries or disabilities.

As a provider of medical services in Door County, Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has a critical role within the worker’s compensation system. We act as the primary connection with the injured worker and we coordinate between insurers and the Worker’s Compensation Division.

The partnership between Door County Medical Center and Prevea Health experts makes it possible to have access to the same level of care that is available in any larger market including, but not limited to, diagnostics like x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, therapy and more.

Getting Back to Work, Safely

The best outcome for the employee – and the employer – is to minimize the amount of work missed and get employees back to their job. Door County Medical Center in partnership with Prevea Health, makes it a priority to get you back to work, safely and efficiently.

The role of the Prevea WorkMed Occupational Health team is to best understand the nature of the injuries, the nature of the work, the effect of the environment, and how your work affects you as you recover.

Select a Doctor of Your Choice

Caring Elderly ConceptAccording to the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, “When a worker reports an injury, the employer shall offer the worker the right to select a doctor of the worker’s choice for treatment.”

This means that the employee may select any provider, including nurse practitioner, physician, psychologist, chiropractor, podiatrist, etc., licensed to practice in Wisconsin. If the injury creates an emergency situation, the employer may make whatever arrangements are necessary for immediate treatment.

Additionally, if the employee is not satisfied with the first doctor s/he chooses, a second choice is allowed.

I’ve Been Injured at Work. Now What?

  1. Obtain any necessary medical attention immediately. This may include first aid, seeing a provider or going to the emergency room.
  2. Notify your employer without delay even if you think your injury is minor and will heal without medical attention. A delay may negatively affect your health and may even jeopardize your potential workers compensation benefits.
  3. Maintain all relevant medical and payment records for possible future use.

An employee who is injured at work or suffers from an occupational disease, is entitled to payment of all reasonable and necessary medical, surgical and hospital treatment relating to the injury including: doctor bills, hospital bills, medicines, medical and surgical supplies, crutches and artificial limbs. In addition, an injured employee is entitled to compensation for lost time and traveling expenses incurred for treatment or examination. Of course, all claims are subject to evaluation.

For more information on Worker’s Compensation guidelines in the state of Wisconsin, visit State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development online at

To schedule an appointment regarding a Worker’s Compensation case, please make an appointment with your primary care physician at Door County Medical Center, or with Prevea WorkMed Occupational Health directly. Start by calling (920) 746-0726.

More than the Winter Blues

The idea that one’s mental health could be tied to the seasons and to sunlight is actually quite old. Written around 300 B.C.E., one of the most important classics of Taoism, the Neijing Suwen (also referred to as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine), describes the affects of the seasons on all living things and recommends that during the winter, “desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued.” In 1806, the French physician Philippe Pinel, in his Treatise on Insanity, remarked upon the noticeable decline in the mental health of some of his patients “when the cold weather of December and January set in.” And in 1984, the South African psychiatrist Nicholas Rosenthal, who, after moving to New York, observed a pattern of depression that occurred during the winter months, coined the term Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD Depression DisorderSeasonal Affective Disorder, appropriately referred to as SAD, is a type of major depressive disorder that is cyclic—that is, the primary characteristic of this disorder is that the onset and remission occur at specific times of the year. There are two types of the disorder: Spring-onset SAD and Fall-onset SAD. The less common Spring-onset SAD begins in the spring and lasts through the summer and goes away during the fall and winter. Fall-onset SAD usually begins in September and lasts through April, peaking in months of December, January and February. Fall-onset SAD is by far the most common form of the disorder and is estimated to affect around 500,000 people in the United States each winter.

What causes SAD?

While the reasons for the development of Fall-onset SAD in some individuals still remains unclear, research has led to a number of theories with regard to an underlying cause, as well as to why certain populations are more vulnerable to the disorder than others.

  • Low light during the winter months. “One of the primary theories as to what causes Fall-onset SAD is that it is related to a drop in the amount of sunlight that people get during the winter months,” says Barb Johnson-Giese, Behavioral Health Coordinator at Door County Medical Center. According to Johnson-Giese, when light hits the retina (the back of the eye), messages are passed to the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity. If a person is not exposed to enough sunlight during the day, these functions are likely to slow down.
  • Low serotonin and high melatonin. There are several brain chemicals involved in SAD, but the two primary culprits are thought to be serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter—a chemical that transmits signals from one nerve cell to another. People with depression generally have lower levels of serotonin, and particularly during the winter months. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us sleep. People with SAD tend to have higher than normal levels of melatonin in the winter. Moreover, when exposed to bright light, high melatonin levels tend to drop to normal.
  • Disrupted body clock. Your body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, is set by your brain according to when the sun rises and sets. One hypothesis is that if you’re prone to SAD, the part of the brain that regulates circadian rhythms doesn’t work correctly. When daylight decreases with the winter months, your body clock slows down as well, leading to fatigue and depression.

Who is affected?

SAD primarily affects people in the higher latitudes—or rather, it affects those living in the northernmost and southernmost reaches of the globe—where daylight hours become, during the winter months, the minority. In fact, SAD is rarely reported in areas of the world near the equator.  The onset age for SAD is usually between the ages of 18 and 30, and three out of four people who suffer from SAD are women.

How do I know if I have SAD?

The symptoms of SAD are also the symptoms of major depression. The most commonly reported SAD symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Persistently sad mood
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Craving and eating more starches and sweets
  • Gaining at least 5 percent of body weight
  • Difficulty concentrating

A diagnosis of SAD can be made if the symptoms recur for three consecutive winters and are followed by a complete remission of symptoms in the spring and summer months.

How do I treat SAD?

The most common medical treatments for SAD include:

  • Antidepressant medications, which can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy provides the psychological tools that are needed to appropriately cope with the symptoms of SAD. Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to “achieve better long-term outcomes by preventing recurrences in subsequent winters.”
  • Phototherapy: Also known as bright light therapy, involves sitting in front of special lamps that provide, like the sun, a full spectrum of light. According to Ms. Johnson-Giese, “Bright light therapy, has been found to be effective in up to 85% of Seasonal Affective Disorder cases.”
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is produced when your skin comes in contact with sunlight, and a vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with low light conditions that accompany SAD. To combat this deficiency, take 4,000 units of vitamin D3 per day.

Additional treatments for SAD

  • Get outside: Johnson-Giese suggests getting fresh air during the day. “Increased exposure to sunlight and fresh air—even if it’s cloudy out—is really important. It really helps to get outside. So, don’t isolate in your house thinking ‘There’s no sun out, and it’s too cold, so it’s not going to be helpful to go outside.’”
  • Diabetes Prevention Program ExerciseExercise: Exercise is always an important when trying to combat any type of depressive disorder, and SAD is no different. High-intensity aerobic exercise, like running or biking, releases endorphins—the brain’s “feel-good chemicals.” Additionally, continual low-intensity exercise “spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerves to grow and make new connections,” and improved brain function corresponds to improved overall mood.
  • Yoga and Active Meditation “Active meditation is really useful, especially for individuals that have difficulty being still” says Ms. Johnson-Giese. “Active meditation is meditation that occurs while you do something rhythmic like: walking, dancing or coloring in a coloring book—coloring books for adults have become more popular and are effective.”
  • Eating a balanced diet: Your brain needs a constant supply of fuel to keep working, and the quality of that fuel can affect how well it functions. Avoid processed foods, and instead load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains. For increased Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, which are both good for brain function, eat more fish—especially salmon, tuna and mackerel. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene: “Good sleep hygiene is important,” says Ms. Johnson-Giese, “People need to make sure that their bedroom is only used for sleep and sex. If they don’t go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time, or watch TV in bed, the bedroom can become associated with being awake.”

During the winter months, people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder “tend to isolate,” remarks Ms. Johnson-Giese,  “and the more they isolate, the more they get caught up in their own negative thinking— a symptom of depression that self reinforces and becomes a feedback loop that continues to become more negative.” She adds that “behavioral activation, which is having people push themselves—that is, having people fight the desire to stay inside and not do anything, becomes very important. The more that you do, the less depressed you start to feel. And it just positively builds.”

A number of options exist if you or a loved one feels as though they are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression. To schedule an appointment with Door County Medical Center’s Behavioral Health department please call (920) 746-0510. Additional sources of information include your own Employee Assistance Program, accessed through your employer, or the Community Resources tab on the Door County Library website.  If there is a mental health emergency, Ms. Johnson-Giese suggests calling the Suicide/Mental Health Crisis Line at 920-746-2588, texting “HOPELINE” to 741741, which connects you to trained crisis counselors, calling 9-1-1, or going directly to the hospital emergency room.

Local executive earns top healthcare management credential

Jodi Hibbard, MS, BSN, RN, FACHE recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders.

“Achieving FACHE certification has always been a personal goal since finding my passion for leadership in healthcare. It demonstrates my dedication to the field and is truly a very proud achievement,” says Hibbard, Director of Clinic Operations at Door County Medical Center (DCMC), Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. In fact, only 9,100 healthcare executives hold this distinction. “Jodi is an outstanding leader, and this achievement is a great capstone to all of her hard work and accomplishments,” according to James Heise, MD, DCMC Chief Medical Director.

To obtain Fellow status, candidates must fulfill multiple requirements, including passing a comprehensive examination, meeting academic and experiential criteria, earning continuing education credits and demonstrating professional/community involvement.

“The healthcare management field plays a vital role in providing high-quality care to the people in our communities, which makes having a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization critically important,” says Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, president and chief executive officer of ACHE. “By becoming an ACHE Fellow and earning the distinction of board certification from ACHE, healthcare leaders demonstrate a commitment to excellence in serving their patients and the community.”

“Jodi’s leadership here at Door County Medical Center has brought our organization to another level over the past seven years,” says Gregory S. Holub, FACHE, DCMC Vice President of Clinic Operations.

Fellows are also committed to ongoing professional development and undergo recertification every three years and signifies board certification in healthcare management.

For more information regarding the FACHE credential, please contact the ACHE Division of Member Services at (312) 424-9400, by emailing, or visit

About the American College of Healthcare Executives

The American College of Healthcare Executives is an international professional society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. ACHE offers its prestigious FACHE® credential, signifying board certification in healthcare management. ACHE’s established network of more than 78 chapters provides access to networking, education and career development at the local level. In addition, ACHE is known for its magazine, Healthcare Executive, and its career development and public policy programs. Through such efforts, ACHE works toward its goal of being the premier professional society for healthcare executives dedicated to improving healthcare delivery. The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives was established to further advance healthcare management excellence through education and research. The Foundation of ACHE is known for its educational programs—including the annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership, which draws more than 4,000 participants—and groundbreaking research. Its publishing division, Health Administration Press, is one of the largest publishers of books and journals on health services management including textbooks for college and university courses.

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

Turkey, gravy and stuffing! Ham, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes! Gingerbread cookies, apple pie and ice cream! These are just some of the dishes that we look forward to enjoying with family and friends during the holidays. We reconnect with friends over drinks and relive memories of holidays past with family over meals. In many ways, the holiday feast provides friends and families with a place to come together, it helps us maintain close relationships…and it can also help us add on the pounds.

Holiday Cheer that Keeps on Growing

According to studies by the New England Journal of Medicine, while many believe that they gain up to five pounds during the holiday season, on average most people only gain a single pound. This may seem like great news, “just a pound!” you may say, “bring on Grandma’s stuffing!” But those same studies show that once the holidays are over, you are unlikely to shed that pound, and over the years those pounds add up. The typical adult gains one to two pounds per year, which means that your typical middle-age waistline can be, in large part, attributed to overeating at the holidays. Additionally, if you are already overweight, you are likely to gain even more weight during that same period—up to five pounds.

Nicole Welter, APNP

Nicole Welter, APNP

“I think people go to festivities, parties, family gatherings and they indulge way too much at one sitting. And that results in a lot of added calories.” Says Nicole Welter, APNP at Door County Medical Center’s Southern Door Clinic. “To put it in perspective,” she adds, “if you gain five pounds over the holidays, that comes to roughly 40,000 calories that you end up having to burn by working out over time. That type of weight gain can be problematic when you look at the big picture.”

In order to maintain a healthy waistline throughout the holiday season, Ms. Welter suggests the following tips:

  • Watch portion size. An easy way to fill up your plate sans calories is to load up on veggies! This means the majority of the items on your plate should be things like green beans, carrots, or salad—at least double the meat portion. Meat portions should be no larger than the palm of your hand.
  • Maximize your workout. If you have a spare 30 minutes, make it worthwhile by amping up your workout with an interval-training app. Also, keep your gym bag with you so it’s easier to burn calories on the go.
  • Try not to “over-do-it” on cocktails. Cocktails contain a lot of sugar, in both the alcohol and the mixer, and sugar means unnecessary and empty calories. Replace sugary drink mixers with soda water. Be sure to drink plenty of water, I recommend half of your body weight in ounces per day. Water fills you up and provides the hydration your body needs.
  • Get plenty of rest! At least 7-8 hours of sleep of night does wonders for the body. Not enough sleep can result in an increase in the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can affect metabolism and increase body fat. Additionally, reduced amounts of sleep will make you more prone to crave sweets
  • Plan ahead to make time for self-care. Make sure to include time for yourself, and then stick to the schedule. This is not the time to make excuses to skip the workout!
  • Before big holiday parties. Eat a small amount of lean protein such as yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey or chicken before you go out. This will help take the edge off hunger.

Finally, remember that the holiday season is about reconnecting with family and friends and that reconnecting doesn’t necessarily need to take place over pecan pie! “This is a time of the year when people start coming home,” Ms. Welter says, “If you’re going to be meeting with friends you haven’t seen for a while, instead of centering that meeting around a big meal, why not meet up and go for a hike, or meet up and have a cup of coffee—focus instead on communicating, because when we’re talking, we’re not eating.”