On Tuesday, June 5, Grace Cottage Hospital became the 371st hospital in the nation to sign a Healthy Food in Health Care pledge, created by Health Care Without Harm.

“By signing this, we agree to improve the health of our patients and our community through nutrition, while also doing whatever we can to protect the environment,” said Denise Choleva, Grace Cottage’s Dietary Department manager.

“We’re working with farmers in our area to increase the use of locally-produced foods, we’re cutting down on food and packaging waste as much as possible, and we’re increasing our offering of fresh fruits and vegetables on our salad bar and on patient trays. We want Grace Cottage to be a model of healthy eating for the community that we serve!”

Watch a video of the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge Signing Ceremony, below.

Video courtesy of Zach Stevens/Brattleboro Reformer.

On April 25, 2012, Rick Kenyon picked up a friendly hitchhiker named Joe Chagnon as he traveled through Brattleboro, Vermont. What happened next, neither could have anticipated.

It may sound cliché, but the world certainly does work in mysterious ways. Rick and Joe are living proof. Fate brought these two men together and now Joe is a patient at Grace Cottage Hospital, where Rick’s wife, Cindy is his Physical Therapist. This is their story…

What an amazing weekend we had for the 3rd Annual “Tee Up for Health” Golf Benefit on June 10. We had beautiful weather, for the first time in 3 years, and 104 golfers on 26 teams turned out for the event on a truly breathtaking day at the Tater Hill Golf Club in Windham, Vermont.

With the help of our golfers, sponsors, auction contributors, bidders and winners, volunteers and the staff at Tater Hill Golf Club we raised over $20,000 for the expansion of Grace Cottage’s Messenger Valley Pharmacy.

Congrats to the winning team of golfers: Doug Ward, Tom Dannemiller and Lynn Bucossi.

The winners for the Silent Auction are listed on the auction website, along with the final amounts that each item went for. Congrats to all of our high bidders. There were some really awesome prizes up for auction this year.

We enjoyed a fantastic cake made by Grace Cottage Hospital employee Kristina van Dusen. Yum!

We’d also like to offer a special thanks to our many event sponsors: Cerner Corporation , Architect Vance Hosford, and WKVT; the Dinner Sponsor was Elizabeth Walker; Silver Sponsors were Brunelle & Son, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and People’s United Bank; Hole Sponsors were Brattleboro Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Delta Dental, Durand Motors, e-PharmPro, Dr. Walter Griffiths, H.D. Smith Wholesale, Hickey Alignment & Repair, Homestead Landscaping, Howard Printing, Dr. Susan Lemei, Dr. David & Dr. Kim Liebow, Joan McConnel, Mount Snow, Primmer, Piper, Eggleston & Craemer, The Richards Group, and The Windham Foundation.  Tee Sponsors were Amerinet, Greater Falls Pharmacy, Merrill Gas Company, Dr. Timothy Shafer & Dr. Deborah Luskin, and Trend Business Solutions.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the 2012 Golf Benefit such a great success. Don’t forget to save the date for next year’s “Tee Up For Health” Golf benefit.

WHEN: Sunday, June 9, 2013

WHERE: Tater Hill Golf Club

See you then!

- Andrea

It’s time to dust off the golf clubs and start practicing your swing, because the 2012 “Tee Up For Health” Golf Benefit is just around the corner. As always, we’re leading up to this great event with the Silent Auction, where you can bid on anything from vacation getaways, to massages, local arts and crafts, even your name being featured in a novel by local author Archer Mayor. Take a look at what’s on the auction blog by clicking HERE.

In addition, there will be prizes at the golf benefit on June 10 at Tater Hill Golf Club. Prizes will be awarded for team finishes, longest drive, closest to the pin and more. You could even win a new car for hitting a hole-in-one! Check out the teaser below for more information and we’ll see you on the course!

WHEN: June 10, 2012, Noon – shotgun start

WHERE: Tater Hill Golf Course

WHY: Grab your friends, family or co-workers and join us for a fun day of golf to support “TEE UP FOR HEALTH!”

Planning on joining us? Don’t forget to register and RSVP to our Facebook event.

For more details call Jim Heal at (802) 365-3624

Louise McDevitt, FNP, ANP

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Grace Cottage Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Louise McDevitt has recently been awarded Fellowship Status by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). A limited number of Fellows are selected each year and  Lousie was one of only 43 Nurse Practitioners (NP) to be inducted in 2012 and the only one selected in Vermont.

What does it take to be inducted? Applicants for fellowship status must undergo a rigorous application process and must be sponsored by two current Fellows. Applicants must show evidence of outstanding and continuous contributions and leadership in NP clinical practice, research, education and/or health policy, as well as a potential for contributing to the mission of the AANP and to The Fellows of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner (FAANP) initiatives.

The 2012 FAANP Induction will be held June 22 in Orlando, Florida.

Louise has been a certified NP since 1989. She joined Dr. Shafer’s practice in 1992 and moved with him to Grace Cottage in 2003, but her service to the profession reaches far beyond Townshend and even Vermont. In addition to serving patients at Grace Cottage Hospital, Louise is a Senior Lecturer for Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, an international provider of Nurse Practitioner Certification exams and continuing education. In this role she has taught classes in the U.S. and Canada as well as Central and South America.

Louise is also a clinical instructor for medical programs at the University of Vermont, the University of Massachusetts and Albany Medical School. Her resume includes volunteer and lobbying activities on behalf of her profession.

Please join us in congratulating Louise on this national honor!

We’re nearly there. It gives us great please to report that we’re now within just 8 percent of our total goal. Here’s a special word from our CEO Mick Brant about the current fundraising efforts and what lies ahead for our small rural hospital.

“I’d like to thank all (literally over 1,000 of you) whose gifts helped to make the Medical Imaging Suite addition and technology upgrades possible. With your generosity, we’ve almost achieved the fundraising goal of $800,000.

Medical Imaging Suite Fundraising Campaign - We're nearly there!

Now it’s time to prepare for the next key projects to improve patient care. All of Grace Cottage’s projects are part of the hospital’s five-year Master Plan that was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2009.

Thanks to an initial grant from The Fanny Holt Ames and Edna Louise Holt Fund towards this project, Grace Cottage’s Messenger Valley Pharmacy will receive a much-needed renovation this year. Architect Vance Hosford has agreed to donate his expertise again (as he did for the Community Wellness Center two years ago) and ServCorps, that wonderful group of volunteers from Hartford, Connecticut, will come to Townshend for two weeks in September to work on construction (as they did for the Community Wellness Center).

The footprint of the Messenger Valley Pharmacy won’t change, but the barn behind the pharmacy will be renovated for pharmacy use. This renovation will help accommodate the tremendous increase in services that the pharmacists provide to customers on a daily basis. Over the past 14 years, the number of prescriptions filled at Messenger Valley Pharmacy has increased by 216% to 56,000 prescriptions per year, and the medication counseling services that pharmacists provide, including the Medicine-on-Time program, have also increased.

Another grant from the Holt Fund will enable Grace Cottage to start planning for the renovation of the Emergency Department, also part of the hospital’s five-year Master Plan. More details about planning for this project will follow in future issues of Cottage Door.

The intent of Grace Cottage’s Master Plan is to enhance the community’s health care in the future, with continued focus on what Grace Cottage does best: delivering high-quality, patient-focused primary care.”

Mick Brant, CEO

For more information about our fundraising campaign or to make a donation,  please click here. As always, thank you for your support.

And they're off!

Come rain or come shine, this May we can all bounce back from the winter blues with the Grace Cottage Hospital Spring into Health 5k. This is a great event to join for health, for community and most of all for fun. Although this event is timed, it’s not a competition and we encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out and run, jog, walk, stroll or roll.

Here’s a rough outline of the 5K route:

The Spring into Health 5K will start on the Townshend Common. Participants will take a left onto Grafton Road ( Route 35) to a clearly marked turn around water station. Then return on a gently downward incline to the Townshend Common, passing through the timer at the end.

We’ll have healthy snacks and water available in the finish area to revitalize our fearless participants. Though we wish we had the power to closed the race course, it is important to mention that the 5K takes place on an active road and there may be traffic. A Windham County Sheriff car will be at either end of the course, but good sense and caution are a must to ensure everyone completes the 5K safely.

As you know, parking on the street in Townshend is limited, so we encourage participants to park at Leland & Gray High School.

Spring Into Health 5k

WHEN: Saturday, May 12, 2012 8:30 AM

WHERE: Townshend Common, Townshend, VT

WHAT: A fun-filled run/walk/stroll to encourage outdoor activity

COST: $15.00 (adults) $10.00 (13 years and under)

REGISTRATION: To register, please download and complete this registration form and waiver.

The first 150 participants to sign-up will receive a cool, technical (a.k.a. breathable) non-cotton t-shirt. So register early.

We look forward to seeing you at the 5K.

We are very pleased to offer increased coverage for pediatric services by welcoming Dr. Katya Petrova to the Grace Cottage Hospital staff.

Dr. Petrova received her master’s degree in biomedical sciences at Albany Medical College, Center for Immunology and Microbial Diseases, after having completed her first medical degree at Russian State Medical University in Moscow. She finished her residency at State University of New York Downstate and has been seeing patients at Just So Pediatrics in Brattleboro. She began seeing pediatric patients at Grace Cottage Family Health on January 6, 2012.

Katya Petrova, MD

Dr. Petrova will be seeing patients on Wednesdays and Fridays and Dr. Elizabeth Linder will continue to see pediatric patients at Grace Cottage on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

This arrangement will allow pediatric coverage at Grace Cottage Family Health five days per week. In addition, Dr. Petrova will continue seeing patients at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s pediatric clinics in Brattleboro and Bellows Falls.

Dr. Petrova has served as an English language interpreter for medical missions to the Ukraine and Russia. Her interests include sewing, reading and ice skating.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Petrova. We’re very honored to have her as part of the Grace Cottage Family.

To schedule an appointment, please call (802) 365-4331.

In the short time since its grand opening on November, 18, the new Medical Imaging Suite at Grace Cottage Hospital has already begun to improve patient care in Townshend, Vermont. And this is only the beginning.

Flinging dirt at the Groundbreaking Ceremony in June, 2011.

“The patients who have used the new space love the privacy of the self-contained suite,” says Director of Diagnostic Imaging Angie Clark. “And if more than one type of imaging is needed, such as ultrasound and CT, it’s easy to move from one room to another within the imaging suite.”

The new suite, a 20′ x 40′ expansion on the back of the Grace Cottage facility near the ER, houses several state-of-the-art devices for diagnosing patient needs including a CT scanner, ultrasound machine, digital X-ray, and bone density machine.

“Keeping up with changes in technology can be very expensive for a small, rural hospital, but it’s absolutely necessary.” Mick Brant, CEO

Thanks to donations and grants from a very generous community of supporters, just over $712,000 has been raised to date in donations and pledges, with under $90,000 left to go to reach our goal.

“This project represents a big step forward in patient care at Grace Cottage,” Brant added. “The newly installed 40-slice CT scanner scans quickly and with less radiation than the old 4-slice machine.”

The new CT room and 40-slice scanner.

So what is a CT-scanner anyway? “CT” stands for Computerized Tomography. Rather than sending a single X-ray through the body, as with ordinary X-rays, CT scanners send several beams simultaneously from different angles. A computer then assembles the images into a three dimensional model that is much more detailed than traditional X-rays.

Being able to offer these new kinds of imaging helps patients at Grace Cottage “get a convenient, rapid and accurate diagnosis, which in some situations is life saving,” says Dr. Robert Backus.

Grace Cottage is very grateful for the ongoing support of its patients and community. We look forward to using this new suite to better serve our patients in the future.

It’s not too late to have your name on the Medical Imaging Suite donor wall – contact Andrea or Mary at Grace Cottage Foundation at (802) 365-9109 if you would like to make a gift.

Exciting news everyone. According to a press release by the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont was again named the healthiest state in the nation as the United Health Foundation released its 2011 edition of America’s Health Rankings™. Here are some highlights from the press release.

Vermont has been among the top five healthiest states for the past eight years, climbing steadily from 20th in 1990 to 12th in 2000, to become first in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

This year, Vermont ranked among the top 10 healthiest states in 15 of 23 public health measures relating to behaviors, community and environment, health policies, clinical care, and health outcomes.

“Public health is what we all do together to assure the conditions in which people can be their healthiest,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “Compared to other states, Vermonters are faring well. But not all of us are as healthy as we can be – especially those who are younger, have less education and lower incomes.”

Vermont is notable for its high rates of high school graduation, lower incidence of infectious disease, low violent crime rate, and high use of early prenatal care. Vermont also this year received the first and only ‘A’ on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.

“We can all take pride in Vermont’s standing as the healthiest state,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin. “This is a time to celebrate and learn from our successes to meet the great health challenges ahead.”

View the full state report from the United Health Foundation.

Congratulations fellow Vermonters. If you’re looking for more ways to stay healthy, be sure to check out the upcoming events in our Wellness Calendar.