Total Health Roadmap Drives Away Food Insecurity

Barb Baumgardner

With a mission to connect patients to community resources and ultimately improve their health outcomes, CHI Saint Joseph Health’s Total Health Roadmap Initiative gives a hand up to the most vulnerable population across central and eastern Kentucky.

Through a screening process at four CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group clinics in Lexington, Berea and London, patients who are considered “food insecure” receive a two-to-three day emergency food box provided by God’s Pantry Food Bank. CHI Saint Joseph Health community health workers connect God’s Pantry Food Bank to the at-risk population – all sharing the same goal to improve health.

“We’ve seen through our work that it’s becoming more important to get food to where people are instead of asking people to come to the food,” said Michael Halligan, CEO, God’s Pantry Food Bank.

In the last fiscal year, community health workers distributed 4,919 pounds of food to 579 at-risk individuals, said Barbara Baumgardner, community health coordinator for CHI Saint Joseph Health. The boxes contain various canned fruits and vegetables, grains, milk and canned meats – the staples of a nutritious diet and enough to give someone time to connect with a local food pantry.

“What our community health workers have accomplished is remarkable,” Baumgardner said. “They’re incredible at identifying our patients’ needs. The results have been amazing, from the solutions they’ve found to get people where they need to be, to providing them with emergency food boxes and connecting them to resources.”

Both Halligan and Baumgardner said the partnership was natural and cohesive, with a shared goal to improve food as a social determinant of health – access to good food improves nutrition, efficacy of treatments for patients and overall health and well-being.

Baumgardner said the goal is to expand this initiative to all CHI Saint Joseph Health facilities, starting with Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, in the near future.

“With the Foundation’s help and all that we do with God’s Pantry Food Bank, it provides such a much-needed service,” Baumgardner said.

CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations supports this initiative, including the partnership with God’s Pantry Food Bank. With a recent $945,740 grant from Catholic Health Initiatives’ Mission and Ministry Fund, they will continue to support the Total Health Roadmap Initiative through 2023.

“This would not be possible if it wasn’t for CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations to help us with the financial side of this work,” Halligan said. “CHI Saint Joseph Health is all about making a difference in people’s lives. Seeing the engagement in the community from the staff and their focus on helping the recipient have a better life is what I admire the most.”

For more information about the Total Health Roadmap Initiative, visit

Taking the Risks to Heart

Taking the Risks to Heart

COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the heart and lungs. 

Coronary artery disease, heart failure and high blood pressure are just a few of the long-term health conditions that increase your risk of serious complications due to COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 can lead to viral cardiomyopathy, which weakens the heart and reduces its ability to pump blood,” said Robert Salley, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at CHI Saint Joseph Health. “That can occur when a virus, such as the one that causes COVID-19, damages the heart’s cells.” 

People with lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also have a higher risk of infection from COVID-19, which can trigger the immune system to mount such a strong defense that it harms the lungs.

If you have a heart or lung condition, you can take several steps to stay safe. Follow best practices to stop the spread of the coronavirus, such as practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask in public and washing your hands frequently. Dr. Salley also recommends continuing to take all medications as prescribed and following up with your primary care provider and specialists so they can help you manage chronic health conditions. 

To watch a video featuring Dr. Salley discussing the risks COVID-19 poses to the heart and other organs, visit the CHI Saint Joseph Health YouTube channel’s Heart and Vascular playlist

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Celebrating Our People – Meet Kathy

Celebrating Our People - Meet Kathy

Serving patients, mentees, her country and God sums up Kathy Perkins.

Kathy, who has been a physical therapist at Saint Joseph Mount Sterling since 2008, said her calling to serve others has always been part of her life.

But her journey to become a physical therapist began in her undergraduate years as a chemistry major who had just signed up for the Navy.

“I took biochemistry and loved it; it was the first health science course I had taken and really enjoyed it,” Kathy says. “At that time, I was already committed to being part of the Navy in a year, so I couldn’t change my major. Then, when I was in the Navy, I saved money to go back to school. I learned about physical therapy, and once I went to observe what they did, I thought I could see myself doing that.”

Kathy and her family relocated to Kentucky after living in Florida while she was in the Navy on active duty and in the reserves for 22 years. She and her husband, a pastor, have spent their time working within the church and reaching out to others by mentoring adults and teenagers to let them know God loves them.

“I love working with teenage girls,” Kathy says. “I’ve always felt like I wanted them to have self-worth and value by knowing how much God loves them. That’s been on my heart for years. God is very important to me; sharing God’s love [is important]. I want [mentees] to know God desires to have a personal relationship with them, and God has a plan of hope for their life.”

Education and mentorship also played vital roles in Kathy’s work. She entered the Navy to teach in the Naval Nuclear Power School for five years while on active duty. Now she educates her patients as they heal.

“I like helping people get better, healthier and back to a better quality of life,” Kathy says. “There’s a lot of patient education involved [in being a physical therapist]. I really just enjoy teaching, helping the patients and sharing God’s love.”

Pregnancy During COVID-19

Pregnancy During COVID-19

Right now, many mothers-to-be have the same question: What is the risk of COVID-19 to me and my baby?

Amy Baker, DO, OB-GYN, CHI Saint Joseph Medical GroupObstetrics and Gynecology, said that although the worries mothers have right now are understandable, she wants them to know that the overall risk to pregnant women is still low.

“We’ve been fortunate to not have very many positive cases,” Dr. Baker said. “Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns, but so far, COVID-19 has not been shown to be as severe in pregnancy as other viral illnesses. However, pregnant women with other comorbidities may be at increased risk of severe illness.”

One of the most important things pregnant women can do right now, along with maintaining prenatal care appointments, is follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Wear a mask in public, wash hands frequently, maintain physical distancing, and limit contact with others. CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group has also implemented universal COVID-19 testing before hospital admission to reduce the risk of virus contraction.

“We’re managing pregnancy similarly to how we would outside of COVID-19, but low-risk patients may have spaced out appointments to limit their risk of exposure,” Dr. Baker said. “We are still providing the same level of care for mom and baby’s well-being.”

Keeping up with prenatal appointments is vital for you and your baby’s health. Click here to learn more about obstetrics care at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

A Terrific 10 Years for Saint Joseph London

Saint Joseph London

A community staple for nearly a century, Saint Joseph London recently celebrated 10 years in our beautiful home, and we’re only getting better with age.

In August, Saint Joseph London marked a decade since its 2010 move from Main Street in London to a 340,000-square-foot, 150-bed building on a 52-acre campus adjacent to Interstate 75. The month-long celebration included a special meal and gift for employees, and the burying of a time capsule in the healing garden. The festivities were doubly meaningful because they also commemorated Saint Joseph London’s inclusion in the list of 2020 Best Places to Work in Kentucky by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management.

Saint Joseph London and Saint Joseph Berea President John Yanes, FACHE, believes the move to a new building allowed Saint Joseph London to take its service of our community to a new level more than eight decades after the ministry’s 1926 founding.

“We’ve become a regional provider serving a seven-county area,” Yanes said. “Our facility features the newest design in patient care, including all-private rooms and separate corridors for patients and staff.”

A Ministry for This Moment

Compared with our previous home, Saint Joseph London’s current building provides advantages that go beyond more and larger patient rooms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when many older hospitals around the country have had to convert rooms into isolation rooms featuring careful airflow control, Saint Joseph London is fortunate to have 20 dedicated isolation rooms that were included in the hospital’s original design. Our building, however, is only part of what makes Saint Joseph London special.

“We work in a beautiful facility, but it’s our employees and medical providers who make it so,” Yanes said. “They respond to the call to serve, and that makes them the true shining stars of Saint Joseph London.”

Specialty Care Comes Home

This fall, Saint Joseph London began a new chapter in its history with the opening of a two-level, 60,000-square-foot medical office building (MOB) on its campus. The first floor features cardiology and pulmonology offices, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services, a lab and a variety of imaging services, including 3D mammography. The second floor is home to primary care, general surgery, rheumatology, urology, and ear, nose and throat clinics.

“The MOB was designed around the patient experience,” said Carmel Jones, MBA, CPA, CMPE, chief operating officer at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. “It has a hotel-like feel, with lots of natural light, tranquil waiting areas, and separate hallways and exam room entrances for patients and providers.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Taking the First Step in Primary Care

Taking the First Step in Primary Care

More than 80% of U.S. adults 55 and older suffer from one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cancer and arthritis, according to the National Council on Aging. An annual visit with your primary care provider can help keep your health on track.

Clinical preventive services, such as annual vaccinations and screenings for chronic conditions, can minimize the risk for diseases or find them early when treatment is most effective. Although many of us are focused on not getting COVID-19 this season, remember that flu season will soon be upon us and will continue into late fall and winter months. The flu can also lead to other health problems such as pneumonia, which can result in hospitalization, especially for those who are older. Getting your flu shot this year is more important than ever.

Older adults should be screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, as well as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, on a regular basis. Unfortunately, only 25% of adults ages 50 to 64 and less than 50% of those 65 or older are up to date on these potentially lifesaving screenings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A visit to your primary care provider can help you stay up to date on your specific health needs.

In general, to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent conditions like heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis, you should continue to stay active as you age. The CDC recommends getting at least 160 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, which can range from a short walk around the neighborhood to gardening outside. An active person has better physical function, which in turn reduces your risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Being active can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which prevents the risk of diseases and illnesses such as diabetes and osteoarthritis.

During the ongoing pandemic, 8 of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the U.S. have been among adults 65 and older, according to the CDC. The risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and influenza increases with age, with senior citizens at the highest risk for hospitalization or death. In order to keep yourself safe from respiratory illnesses, such as the flu and COVID-19, it’s important to social distance, limit your interactions with other people, especially in crowds, and take preventive measures when venturing outside. These precautions include wearing a mask or face covering at all times, keeping a distance of six feet away from others, using hand sanitizer that is made up of 60% alcohol, and avoiding touching handrails and other commonly touched surfaces if possible. In addition, avoid touching your face and continue to wash your hands with soap and water as much as you can.

During the pandemic, we recognize that some people may feel nervous about visiting your physician for your annual checkup. We are taking extra precautions to keep our employees and patients safe during this time. This includes constantly disinfecting surfaces, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing in the waiting rooms and limiting the number of people in our offices. Many offices are also continuing to use telehealth services for virtual visits. These measures are intended to ensure our offices are safe for patients, especially those who are most at risk for being diagnosed with COVID-19, like elderly patients.

It is especially important during this time for high-risk patients and older adults to focus on their overall health and continue to visit their primary care physician.

Contact your physician to schedule your annual exam and talk to them about how you can stay healthy this fall.

Brian Glover, DO

Brian C. Glover, DO

Dr. Glover is with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care.

Celebrating Our People – Meet Mollie

Mollie Harris

Mollie Harris, violence prevention coordinator at Saint Joseph London, plays a unique role in the health care industry and in her community.

“Most people think of a hospital as a place where you get your medical needs met,” Mollie says. “But we know social determinants can cause health problems later on in life, so we feel our positions are preventative. The overall goal of our program is to prevent abuse and neglect of children, so it’s interesting working in the health care field. I love it.”

Mollie acts as a bridge, connecting the community to the hospital through evidence-based classes for parents and caregivers of children under the age of 4. The courses, Mollie says, focus on empathy, avoiding some inappropriate expectations of children and discipline.

“What I like to tell our parents [who say] ‘I’m a parent. I don’t need parenting education.’ is our education course takes us back to basics of parenting and allows you to forget all of the negative parenting you’ve learned and pass down the good things you’ve learned to your children.”

Because of COVID-19, classes moved to a digital platform instead of traditional group sessions and home visits for families who don’t have transportation to the hospital.

“I love to do home visits,” Mollie says. “I love to sit down with someone in their environment to capture a true picture of them in their setting. I was worried about Zoom in the beginning, but our participants are loving it so far. It’s made it convenient for families; it has eliminated a transportation barrier.”

As a Laurel County native, Mollie says serving her community gives her pride in her job.

“Some families do a complete 360,” Mollie says. “If we’re providing good education and we’re preventing abuse, then it’s making the community better for my children and my family for them to grow into.”

Mollie’s goal to improve her community one family at a time also encompasses her volunteer work with the Safe Child Coalition, a group of professionals whose goal is to raise awareness and promote prevention of child abuse in the community.

Mollie says Saint Joseph London has hosted an Easter egg hunt for the community the last two years, but because of COVID-19 this year, they partnered with state social workers to have the Easter bunny surprise 68 families with Easter baskets.

“It did our hearts well to have that day of giving,” Mollie says.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

3 Reasons to Get Vaccinated

3 Reasons to Get Vaccinated

Give your immune system a boost.

Derrick Williams, DO, family medicine physician at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care in Berea, explained the benefits of vaccines.

1. It teaches your body how to handle illness.

“Vaccines work because our immune systems work,” Dr. Williams said. “They both cause the body to create an immune response to the virus or bacteria. Our bodies are very good at remembering, so the next time you’re exposed to that bacteria or virus, you will already have antibodies for it.”

2. The side effects, if any, you may experience after being vaccinated are minor and mean the vaccine is working.

“Sometimes, for example, people feel flu-like symptoms after receiving the flu vaccine,” Dr. Williams said. “Vaccines prompt an immune system reaction, so your body will know what to do if you come into contact with a full-strength flu virus. They decrease the severity of your reaction to the virus or bacteria you get.”

3. Your friends and family will benefit, too.

“If the majority of people are vaccinated against a disease, others will have some form of immunity because that disease isn’t going to be able to spread as easily,” Dr. Williams said. “Vaccines are the biggest way we can reduce infectious disease rates, and it’s one of the most important things we can do for the health of ourselves and our children.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Stronger Together

Hannah Woggon

How many of us have referred to this time as “the new normal”? As our lives change, the way that we provide care has changed, too. Several CHI Saint Joseph Health employees have found creative ways to reach their respective communities, ensuring no one goes without the care or support they need during this difficult time. One of the ways CHI Saint Joseph Health has stepped up to support the community’s health is through virtual visits.

“We have seen the number of virtual visits grow since we began offering virtual visits in late March as an option for patients to help slow the spread of the coronavirus,” said Viren S. Bavishi, DO, president of CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. “While our practices have reopened, we continue to offer virtual visits as an additional option for our patients.”

Virtual visits, conducted through Zoom, allow patients to see their health care providers via a smartphone, tablet or computer. It helps patients stay connected with their providers to stay on top of routine medical care for chronic conditions as well as preventive care.

“While virtual visits can’t replace every visit to your physician, patients can address some of their health care needs via telehealth,” Dr. Bavishi said. “Maintaining good health is vital, especially during a pandemic.”

For the Kids

Hannah Woggon, violence prevention coordinator with CHI Saint Joseph Health in Lexington, offers summer camps for elementary school kids. Woggon’s work focuses on providing safe spaces for kids and families in the community, and for several years, the Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program has been an integral part of this mission. Seeing as this was not our average summer, Woggon had to rethink how she would provide activities for children in the community when camp was no longer an option. Her solution was partnering with Consolidated Baptist Church to create activity boxes for kids to pick up and take home, coupled with virtual classes for kids to interact with volunteers. Kids picked up their boxes each Friday, and activities began online the next Monday. They could choose from a wide variety of topics, such as science experiments and art projects. This allowed kids to interact with their peers and stay busy during the summer months without risking their health.

“During times of crisis, those who need the most help often don’t receive it,” Woggon said. “When the need of our community increases, our efforts must increase, as well.”

Similarly, Mollie Harris, LSW, violence prevention coordinator with CHI Saint Joseph Health in Saint Joseph London, also saw the needs of her community increase during the pandemic. She leads the Nurturing Children Program, which focuses on reducing child abuse and fatalities in children under the age of 4.

“Our parenting classes are about teaching parents how to increase bonding and have empathy for their child,” Harris said. “Before the pandemic, we provided in-person visits, parenting groups and in-office classes.”

Providing online parenting classes proved beneficial. Harris saw an increase in parent involvement, and many parents are attending online classes with children at their side. The number of families attending classes and referrals have also increased.

“I’ve been proud of our ability to adapt and give families the support they need,” Harris said.

Both programs are funded through the CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations.

Together in Spirit

Many of us feel isolated during this time, but for patients receiving cancer treatment, the lack of communication can be especially difficult. Martha Keys, MSW, OSW-C, and Ellie Cook, MSSW, CSW, social workers at CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care in Lexington, moved their monthly and weekly cancer support groups to Zoom the first week of April. Both found that online support groups helped patients feel more supported and less alone. Now that patients did not have to leave their homes for their support group, both women saw an increase in the number of attendees.

“The ladies in the Rosie Ring, our women’s support group, had an incredible response, and we started meeting weekly instead of bimonthly,” Cook said. “This has been a great way for them to connect with people and share their experiences.”

“Our men’s prostate cancer support group has had a similar experience, and they’ve been very supportive of each other,” Keys said. “In a way, that’s been our silver lining. I don’t know if we would have tried online support groups before.”

Keys and Cook will continue to offer the option to join in-person groups through Zoom. For many patients, meeting on Zoom overcomes the transportation barrier in-person groups may have.

Here for You

None of us know when things will return to normal, but that does not mean we have to weather this storm alone. We will continue to meet the community’s needs as the times change, whether that be through virtual health visits or online communities.

Virtual visits can help you and your family stay well without leaving home. New and returning patients can schedule a virtual visit by calling 844.611.6877.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

As Seasons Change, Stay Calm

As Seasons Change, Stay Calm

Anxiety and stress are high right now, and you may fear upcoming colder and darker months will make things worse. Taking charge of your mental health can help you prepare for the transition in seasons.

“If you continue to worry about the future, it’s robbing you of any joy in today,” said Amy Frazier, MS, psychologist with Saint Joseph East. “Focus on taking this one day at a time and be fully connected to the present. We may not be in control of the world, but we can establish a sense of control in our own space.”

Frazier recommends the following three tips to keep your mental health in check this fall and winter.

1. Don’t bottle it up. Suppressing emotions can lead to burnout. Find someone trustworthy to talk to through any bad days.

2. Find calming indoor hobbies. It may be colder outside, but you can still de-stress with several indoor activities. These could include cooking, guided meditation, yoga, playing music, journaling, crafting, sewing and reading.

3. Schedule news time. Getting constant updates on the pandemic results in anxiety and stress. Instead, schedule a few minutes each day to read headlines, and then turn the news off. You may also consider limiting time spent reading posted news stories on social media feeds, as well.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.