Back-to-school health isn’t just for kids

Back to school pinterest

The dog days of summer are at their tail’s end and fall is rapidly approaching; families are flocking to Wal-Mart to purchase back-to-school supplies and wardrobes, teachers rush to prepare for the influx of students, and fall health & flu prevention begins.

Each year, around 50,000 people in the United States die from vaccine-preventable diseases according to Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services ( Influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and hepatitis B, diseases with available vaccines, account for over 250,000 hospitalizations on an average year.

The good news? Medicare covers vaccinations for each of these diseases. Medicaid and CHIP covers the influenza vaccination along with other vaccinations needed for children.

But it’s not just for kids. Influenza claims an average of 36,000 lives a year. People 65 and older make up a large amount of that statistic. The same goes for invasive pneumococcal disease. Of all the deaths caused by the bacterial pneumonia, greater than half are 65 years of age or older.

This fall, schedule a “time-out” from watching fourth-string scrubs play football or visiting shopping rallies at the mall and take the first step. Contact your health care provider or a local clinic to find out more about vaccines and immunizations.


For more information on vaccines and preventable diseases, visit: For more information on what vaccinations are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, visit

How to recognize eating disorders in teenagers

Eating disorders are a common chronic condition among adolescent girls. OCH psychologist Erin Golden, PsyD takes a closer look at two: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In the the following post Dr. Golden breaks down the similarities and differences between each eating disorder, while also sharing recognizable signs and symptoms: 

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder characterized by:

  • An unrealistic fear of weight gain;
  • Self-starvation, or refusal to maintain body weight at or above normal weight;
  • A distortion of body image
  • And absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles (in women of appropriate age and health).

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where the main feature is binge eating followed by unhealthy behaviors to compensate for such binge eating in order to prevent weight gain (e.g., purging). This includes:

  • Binge eating
  • Eating in a discrete period of time an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances
  • A sense of lack of control over eating during these periods
  • Compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain such as: self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas or other medications, fasting or excessive exercise;
  • This eating pattern occurs at least twice a week for three months (or longer)
  • A distorted body image.

Onset of anorexia nervosa starts mostly between 14 and 18 years, while for bulimia onset is around the time of transition from adolescence to early adulthood in adolescent and adult females, especially in female athletes, ballet students, fashion models and culinary students.  Anorexia nervosa is the third most common chronic condition among adolescent girls in the USA, after obesity and asthma. Although the occurrence of eating disorders is infrequent the outcomes of eating disorders are serious. Approximately 25–33% of patients with anorexia or bulimia nervosa develop a chronic disorder.

Eating disorders often co-occur with substance abuse disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders. Because anorexic females typically deny that any problem exits, treating the disorder is difficult. Hospitalization is often necessary to prevent life-threatening malnutrition.  Family therapy, aimed at changing parent-child interaction and expectations is the most successful treatment; still, only about 50% of anorexics fully recover. Bulimia is usually easier to treat than anorexia, using therapy focused on support groups, nutrition education, and revising eating habits and thoughts about food.

erin golden psychologistDr. Golden sees patients at OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa. Her focus includes the evaluation/testing; individual and family therapy; adult and pediatric patients with depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, eating disorders, and behavioral issues. Dr. Golden worked as a psychologist in Arkansas since 2011. She received her education from the University of Michigan and the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. Dr. Golden is currently a member of the Missouri Association of Play Therapists and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Erin Golden can accept Medicaid, Medicare and UHC Military insurances. To contact her, call the Nixa clinic (417) 724-3100 or fax (417) 725-7380.

Ask Beverly: Hot Topic Women’s Health Questions

Let’s face it: visiting the gynecologist isn’t nearly as fun as shopping for a new pair of shoes. But, it is important. All women should make a point to stay on top of their reproductive health, regardless of their age or life stage. Don’t just take our word for it; OCH Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Beverly Gann helps answer questions you may not know (or want) to ask about you (and your daughter’s) health:

When should I go for my first mammogram? Females should look to schedule their first mammogram around age 40. However, it is important to discuss your family history of breast cancer with your provider, as this may change when you should receive your first mammogram. 

What is the best and safest birth control method for teenagers? The best birth control method is the one your teenager will actually use! From my experience, it seems as if long acting types (birth controls that are not user-controlled) are very popular with young women. Ask your women’s health provider what options are available.

What is the difference between a pap smear and a pelvic exam? A pap smear is a test for cervical cancer. It is sometimes performed during a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam is the internal exam of female organs done for STD testing, menstrual problems, pregnancy and other concerns.

 What do I need to know about STIs? Anyone is able to get a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Using condoms consistently will decrease the possibility of contracting an STI during any sexual act.

 What is peri-menopause? Peri-menopause is “the change.” It is the time it takes for the ovaries to stop ovulating (menstruation cycles eventually stop so that a woman can no longer get pregnant). Main symptoms include: irregular periods, problems sleeping, hot flashes, mood changes and low libido.

Normally, peri-menopause occurs in women between the ages of 45 to 55 years. Women are considered “in menopause” or “menopausal” if they have not had a menstrual cycle for 12 continuous months. There are other reasons cycles can stop, so it’s advisable to discuss your cycle with your provider.

How can I prepare my daughter for a women’s health exam? Take her to your annual exam (as soon as you feel she’s old enough to be involved in ‘girl talk’). Bringing her along can help calm her fears. Depending on her or your comfort level, your daughter can step out during the actual exam or remain seated by your head.

 What are the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy? The pros and cons mostly relate to dose and length of use.  It’s important to discuss your concerns with your provider. Remember, not everyone needs hormone replacement and the general rule is lowest dose for the shortest time.

Beverly Gann, WHNP is certified in women’s health and has worked at OCH since 2002. She has more than 16 years experience working in women’s health. Beverly received her education from the St. John’s School of Nursing and the University of Missouri at St. Louis, Barnes School of Nursing. In 2011, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Springfield Business Journal named her as a local Health Care Champion honoree.

Questions? Contact the Women’s Health Department at Ozarks Community Hospital (417) 837-4079.


Six Ways to Avoid Being a Victim

Let’s face it: bad guys are out there. And statistics say one in five women are likely to be assaulted in their lifetime. Are you prepared to fight back? If not, start reading! Chuck Renner, OTR, CHT of OCH Advantage Therapy has six tips to help you keep yourself out of trouble and brush off the bad guys.

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings. You heard ’em ladies, get off the phone! The more aware you are of your surroundings, the more likely you will be able to see a potential assailant before he attacks.
  2. Stay with people, go with people. Crowds are your best friend. If you are in a public setting, you have a better chance to make a scene and escape. Remember, your attacker doesn’t want an audience.
  3. Keep a barrier between you and the bad guy. It’s one more obstacle for your attacker to have to go through. The more you have between him, the better.
  4. Attract Attention. Scream as loud as you can, for as long as you can (even if your assailant tells you not to). if you make noise, you become a burden for your attacker. Bad guys want easy, quiet targets.  
  5. Control his hips and hands. If your assailant starts to come towards you, put up your hands. Nothing fancy, just raise ’em up and hold ’em steady. This simple gesture puts a block up and prevents your attacker from getting a clear shot to your face. Plus, you can keep screaming the entire time.
  6. Use your strongest weapons against his weakest targets. Your hands, elbow and knees against his eyes, neck and groin. It’s a no-win situation if you try to fight his strength; go for the areas he can’t “train.”

OCH Employees practicing some of Chucks’ techniques during a self-defense class.

And of course, always fight like a girl! Your goal is to get away, alive. Fight enough to allow yourself a window of opportunity to escape, and then scram. If you’re out, don’t forget to let someone know where you are (if you don’t know who to call, leave yourself a message on your answering machine). Every step you take, is one more step away from being a victim!

Chuck is OCH/Advantage’s Director of therapy services. He received his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Kansas in 1984. He has practiced martial arts for 32 years.  In addition, Chuck is a second degree black belt in Tenshi Goju Ryu Karate and a fourth degree in Aikido. He serves as head instructor of the Springfield Aikido School. Chuck became a Certified Hand Therapist in 1991. He has certifications in these treatment techniques: Active Release Techniques, Total Motion Release, ASTYM, and Manual Lymphatic Drainage/Complete Decongestive Therapy and a level II provider of Primal Reflex Release Therapy. His professional organizations include: American Occupational Therapy Association, American Society of Hand Therapists, International Association for the Study of Pain, Past President of Southwest District Missouri Occupational Therapy Association, and The Missouri Chapter of the American Society of Hand Therapists.

Celebrate National Women’s Health Week

There are many of reasons females should feel empowered, and today is no exception. Monday, May 9, marks the start of a National Women’s Health Week, a weeklong national observance empowering women to make their health a top priority.

The theme, “It’s Your Time!” encourages women to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases. Women can live longer healthier lives through disease prevention, early detection, and lifestyle modifications.

Medicare is now helping to pay for more preventive services and screenings. Some of these include:

  • Bone Mass Measurements
  • Cancer Screenings
    • Breast (Mammogram and Clinical Breast Exam)
    • Cervical and Vaginal (Pap Test and Pelvic Exam)
    • Colorectal
  • Cardiovascular Disease Screenings
  • Diabetes Screening
  • HIV Screening
  • Immunizations
    • Hepatitis B
    • Influenza
    • Pneumococcal
  •  Tobacco Use Cessation Counseling
  • Yearly Wellness Exam (New for 2011)

Note:  While coverage by Medicare is subject to certain eligibility criteria, many preventive services and screenings can now be received with no out-of-pocket costs to the beneficiary.

For more information, contact Beverly Gann, WHNP at Ozarks Community Hospital via phone (417) 837-4079 OR visit National Women’s Health Week or click here:  National Women’s Checkup Day.

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo! How to choose my birth control?

Trying to choose a contraceptive is like staring at a long list of ice cream flavors: twenty-one options and they all sound good! Unfortunately, for most women, the real deal isn’t as easy as choosing between cookie dough and caramel chocolate delight; it’s a bit more daunting.

Providers Beverly Gann, WHNP and Krista Boyd, DO sat down with us to offer their insight on birth control and contraceptive options available for women today. Watch the videos to find out more information, but please note:  OCH providers do not endorse specific brands of birth control.

Beverly Gann, WHNP specializes in women’s health and is certified as a psychiatric and mental health nurse and childbirth educator. She received her training at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and at the St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing. Gann is currently a member of the Association of Nurse Practitioners in the Ozarks. She works in OCH’s Specialty Clinic and can be reached by calling (417) 837-4079.



Dr. Krista Boyd’s is board certified in family practice and works at the OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa, Missouri. She received her training at the Kirskville College of Osteopathic medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. To contact Dr. Boyd, call (417) 725-8250.

Issues in the Spotlight: Human Trafficking in SWMO

On December 7, 2010, Ozarks Community Hospital hosted a “Human Trafficking Lunch & Learn,” with guest presenters from the nonprofit Legal Services of Southern Missouri. More than 80 community members, OCH staff members and providers gathered together to learn about a serious issue affecting the Ozarks.

In the following paragraphs, OCH psychologist Dr. Beatty offers insight from her profession and relays helpful resources offered through the “Human Trafficking Lunch & Learn” presentation. In sum, Dr. Beatty brings to light an issue she and many other OCH providers are highly passionate about.

A recent presentation at OCH by Legal Services of Southern Missouri brought to light the prevalence of human trafficking. Human trafficking is thought to be a crime that occurs in major cities and across international borders with the primary target being underage girls. However, there are cases where parents traffic their own children. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri continues to be a leader in the fight against human trafficking and has prosecuted more trafficking cases than any other District in the United States. Recent cases include trafficking crimes in Blue Springs, Chillicothe, Branson and Kansas City, to name a few.

The definition of human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery although it is more accurately defined to include force, fraud, or coercion beyond sexual exploitation. Trafficking need not entail the physical movement of a person; however it does entail the exploitation of the person for labor or commercial sex. One fact often overlooked in human trafficking is that victims are literally enslaved and, unlike drugs, humans can be sold over and over again – thereby making for a potentially substantial and long-term source of profit and control. Once the mind of the victim is enslaved they begin to associate his/her self-worth to sex (or chosen method of exploitation) and in some cases may begin to view their abuser as their support system.  Coupled with distrust for law enforcement, this makes identification of the abused quite difficult. 

The identification of human trafficking victims includes, but is not limited to, evidence of being controlled, inability to move or leave a job, signs of battering, non-English speaking, and lack of identification documentation.  Traffickers commonly take away the victims’ travel documents and isolate them to make escape more difficult. Considering the obstacles to identify the victims of trafficking, to rescue them, and restore them to a normal life, it is imperative for everyone to be aware of the signs of trafficking.  This is especially true in the field of healthcare, where it is the job of providers to accurately identify disharmony within the human body.  Whether providing physical, mental or emotional treatment, an awareness of the signs of trafficking can only enhance the overall efficacy of the doctor-patient interaction.

The following are questions to ask to determine if an individual is a victim of human trafficking.

  • Can you leave your job if you want to?
  • Can you come and go as you please?
  • Have you been threatened if you try to leave?
  • What are your working or living conditions like?
  • Where do you sleep and eat?
  • Have you been deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care?
  • Has anyone threatened your family?
  • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
  • Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do not want to do?

Government agencies are beginning to recognize the prevalence of this crime and training for law enforcement personnel has increased. If you have identified an individual of human trafficking, there are several resources available including the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888. Websites that provide additional information on this subject can be found at or

Dr. Annie Beatty received her education and training through the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. She is certified in Civil and Domestic Mediation. Dr. Beatty works at both Ozarks Community Hospital and at OCH’s Christian County Clinic in Nixa, Mo. To contact Dr. Beatty, call (417) 875-4682 or call (417) 725-8250 to reach her in Nixa.