Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SUGU Snacks: All-Natural Breakfast Bars & Cookies

Registered Nurse Susan M. Gugliuzza knows how challenging it can be to find snacks that don't just taste good, but are healthy and filling too. That's why she launched SUGU Snacks, a line of breakfast bars and cookies that minimize ingredients like sugar and sodium without sacrificing quality.

Susan explains what makes SUGU Snacks so unique and why they're a must-have in every shopping cart.

What are SUGU Snacks? How do they compare to other cookies on the market?

SUGU Snacks produces a line of all-natural, whole grain cookie dough. SUGU’s products include:
  • breakfast bars,
  • pre-portioned frozen cookie dough,
  • baked cookies, and 
  • our newest addition, SUGU’s Gluten Free Cookie Dough.



It is SUGU’s unprecedented combination of ingredients that separates us from any other cookie on the market. Our cookies use a low-fat, low-sugar, and low-sodium recipe, combining whole grain oats, real butter and real sugar that help us achieve success in taste-testings.

While other manufacturers may claim 51% whole grain content, SUGU Snacks cookies are 73% whole grain with 8 grams of whole grain per cookie.

SUGU’s whole grain content comes primarily from oats. Research consistently shows that the consumption of oats contributes to heart-health and intestinal health.

Where are SUGU Snacks available for purchase?

SUGU Snacks pre-portioned, frozen cookie dough is sold at all Dash’s Market locations, as well as at Lexington Co-op on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.

An online ordering system is currently being developed.

During the school year, students may purchase fresh-baked SUGU cookies from their participating school cafeteria. The use of whole grain plus low-sugar provides a longer digestion time with a slow, steady release of sugar into the blood stream. This combination offers the child a feeling of fullness over a longer period of time, along with sustained energy.

With SUGU breakfast bars and cookies, children do not experience a rush of sugar, jitteriness or an inability to concentrate, as may happen with other brands.

What led you to create SUGU Snacks and how did you develop the recipe?

Nutrition has always been a passion of mine from the days of cooking in the kitchen with my mom and grandmother.

The quest for developing healthy recipes grew with a move to Southern California, where I lived for ten years. With the extended warm weather, fresh produce abounds year round, as did visitors from Western New York attempting to evade the cold weather! With plenty of guests, I was able to cultivate my craft of concocting scrumptiously-healthy recipes.



My interest in the health of families intensified after giving birth to my own two children. I saw first-hand how dependent this little baby was on the foods that I fed him and the importance of the food that a parent chooses and the information available to educate parents. I thought that if I, as a registered nurse in Maternal-Child Health, struggled with finding resources on feeding a baby in a nutritionally-sound manner, what is every other parent doing who does not have access to the information?

In speaking with pediatricians and insurance providers, I was encouraged to begin writing about what it takes to feed children nutritiously from birth. This led to the writing and publishing of two books regarding early childhood nutrition, the period between birth and five years of age.

“Growing a Healthy Baby, One Spoonful at a Time,” and “Growing a Healthy Preschooler, One Meal at a Time” focus on helping parents grow well-rounded eaters and learn to navigate through the picky-eater phenomenon. Each book is seasoned with a mixture of original recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack-time. It is through the healthful snack recipes that SUGU Snacks was born.

As part of my role in building healthier communities, I assist school districts with nutrition education for Universal Pre-K programs and Elementary schools. At meetings, I repeatedly heard comments relating to unhealthy snacks and the lack of choices. I knew my books held many recipes for nutritious snacks, ones that children in the neighborhood enjoyed and little league teams clamored for. At one school district meeting, I offered to make nutritious cookies for a trial at one school. The success led to forming a company, contracting with a local bakery, all to manufacture nourishing cookies and providing a healthy option for all to enjoy.

My original recipe went through many revisions. At first it was too grainy, then too cake-like, then too hard, too dry, and on and on. After two years in the test-kitchen, the final SUGU recipe was born. Precisely the right amount of everything good for you!

That just happens to be our motto, “SUGU Snacks…So Good For You!”


To purchase SUGU Snacks, visit a Dash's Market near you or Lexington Co-op on Elmwood Avenue.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ask Us Anything: Can Skin Tags Be Removed?

“Within the last 2 months, I have had skin tags appear in vaginal area. I have heard of many causes of this, but it is a huge concern to me as to why they just started to appear. Can they be removed, and will they return? Any advice would be appreciated.”

Dr. Ali Ghomi Responds:

"Skin tags" are benign skin lesions that can occur anywhere on the body, including external genitalia and the vagina. These small flaps of tissue that hang off of the skin are most common in women and are generally found on the neck, chest, back, armpits, under the breasts or in the groin area.

The exact cause remains unclear.

They may resolve spontaneously and almost never progress to a serious condition.

Skin tags are rarely painful. If the skin tags are symptomatic and bothersome, they can be easily removed as an office procedure. They may be cut off with a scalpel or scissors, frozen off with cryosurgery or burned off with electrosurgery.

There is no evidence that a skin tag would return once removed. However, some people are more prone to skin tags than others and may need to have them periodically removed.

Skin tags can be removed by dermatologists, family physicians, internal medicine physicians and gynecologists.

— Dr. Ali Ghomi

Dr. Ghomi is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery and Chair of The Robotic Surgical Committee at Sisters of Charity Hospital. He is the only physician in Western New York who performs Sacrocolpopexy Prolapse surgery using the da Vinci® robot. Sacrocolpopexy is a proven “gold standard” procedure worldwide to repair severe pelvic prolapse. Click here to learn more about Catholic Health's OB/GYN services.

Dr. Ghomi sees patients at the M. Steven Piver, M.D. Center for Women’s Health & Wellness in Buffalo.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Strategies for Successful Breastfeeding


"Anyone can learn to breastfeed,” said Tammy Kowalik, a Registered Nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at Mercy Hospital.

Getting off to a positive start begins at the hospital. While you’re recovering, here’s what you can do to make breastfeeding as easy as possible for both you and baby.

Minimize Distractions

Having a baby is an exciting time for you and your family. However, the distractions of visitors, cell phones or picture-taking can prevent you from breastfeeding.

Ask visitors to step out of your room at feeding time, so that you can be free of distractions.

Keep Your Baby Close

Keep your baby with you as much as possible rather than sending him or her to the nursery. With the baby in the room, you can see his or her feeding cues and be ready to breastfeed when needed.

Tina Zbytek, a Registered Nurse and lactation consultant at Sisters Hospital, says that moms should expect to feed their babies about 8 to 12 times a day, every 2 to 3 hours. “Your baby will pull away when he or she is full."

Night time is one of the peek times for breastfeeding.

“Babies are usually more awake, and mom’s prolactin level – a hormone that helps to make breast milk – rises during the night,” said Kowalik.

Breastfeed Within 1-2 Hours After Birth

Your baby’s suckling instinct is strongest in the hours after his or her birth.

“Put your baby to breast as soon as possible after delivery,” said Alayne Danzer, a Registered Nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at Mercy Hospital. “I call this first nursing experience a meet-and-greet. I am just looking for the new mother to have some private time skin-to-skin with her new baby.”

Avoid Using Formula

Everyone knows that having a baby is exhausting, and it can be tempting to use formula, especially when you’re tired. But formula can confuse for your baby. There are mechanical differences in how a baby gets milk from a bottle as opposed to a breast. If given a bottle, your baby may become confused or frustrated when feeding or refuse the breast altogether.

To prevent nipple confusion, avoid artificial nipples within the first three to four weeks of your baby’s life.

Be Patient

“Breastfeeding is a learned behavior, and it may take several feedings for mom and baby to get proficient with nursing,” said Danzer.

Breastfeeding becomes easier the longer you do it. A week or two may pass before you feel completely confident nursing your baby.


After you leave the hospital, plan to breastfeed for as long as you can. “Between 6 to 9 months is the optimal time to introduce solids to complement mother’s milk,” says Kowalik.

Speak to your pediatrician about when solid foods should be introduced and watch your baby, noting his or her developmental milestones for cues.


Catholic Health’s maternity hospitals, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Sisters of Charity Hospital, are both equipped to support breastfeeding moms. Lactation consultants and nurses are available to assist breastfeeding moms. Lactation consultants also teach breastfeeding classes. Click here to learn more about the breastfeeding resources available to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Preparing to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is something that any expectant mother can learn, with a little planning.

“Education is the key, either formally or informally,” said Tina Zbytek, a Registered Nurse and lactation consultant at Sisters Hospital.

The learning process begins before you arrive at the hospital.

“People have the mentality that lactation consultants show them at the hospital. But we’re more like fine tuners,” said Registered Nurse and lactation consultant Tammy Kowalik, who works at Mercy Hospital.

Here's how you can prepare:

Take a Class or Read a Book

A breastfeeding class or book can teach you what to expect and offers strategies for successful breastfeeding.

“We want moms and their families to feel confident and be successful with breastfeeding,” Zbytek said of Catholic Health’s breastfeeding classes.

“We provide some hands-on learning with dolls. We assist them with position and will attempt to answer all of their questions. We encourage partners or a family member to attend also.”

Click here to learn about breastfeeding classes at Catholic Health.

Shop for Pediatricians

Meet with your baby’s doctor before you deliver. Review your breastfeeding plan and talk about what support is available at his or her office.

When choosing a pediatrician, look for one who has a lactation consultant available in-house. The consultant can help you to use a breast pump, offer advice on feeding, answer questions and provide support.

Join a Support Group

A support group can connect you with moms who are preparing to breastfeed or are doing so currently. Support groups are hosted by Baby’s Sweet Beginnings in Lancaster.

If you’re a member of WIC, you will be paired with a mom who is successfully breastfeeding and who can offer support and advice.

Plan for a Return to Work

Buy a breast pump, and talk to your Human Resources department about where you can use it.

New York State law requires that employers provide new moms with a private space where they can express milk or breast feed. You might phrase your question in this way: “With the New York State breastfeeding law, can you tell me where I’ll be pumping?”

After your baby is born, give yourself a couple of weeks to prepare for your return to work. Note your baby’s feeding hours and determine how often you’ll need to pump and how much to put into a bottle.

Kowalik recommends returning to work on a Wednesday so that you can ease into your new routine.

When your return to work approaches, call your lactation consultant. “We can give information on pumping, and the collection and storage of breast milk," said Zbytek.

Educate Loved Ones

The support of your loved ones is critical to your breastfeeding success. As you learn more about breastfeeding, share your knowledge with them. Teach them about what they can expect and what support you’ll need to make the process easier.

Although breastfeeding takes some time to master, in the long run, it’s more convenient than formula. There are no bottles or nipples sterilize and no formula to measure and mix. You’ll save money, and both you and your baby will enjoy better health.


Catholic Health’s maternity hospitals, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Sisters of Charity Hospital, are both equipped to support breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding classes, taught by our lactation consultants, are offered, and lactation consultants and nurses are available to assist breastfeeding moms. Click here to learn more about the breastfeeding resources available to you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5 Reasons Why You Should Breastfeed


The decision to breastfeed is a personal one. Most moms find that breastfeeding is the best choice for both her and child.

If you’re expecting, here’s why you should consider breastfeeding.

1. Your Baby is Healthier

Breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. It changes as your baby grows, giving him or her just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein.

“As a mother provides breast milk for her baby, she passes her antibodies through the breast milk and shares her immunity with her baby,” said Alayne Danzer, a Registered Nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at Mercy Hospital.

“Statistics show that infants who are breastfed are healthier and have fewer colds and ear infections. Breastfeeding also helps to prevent childhood obesity, allergies and diabetes.”

Breastfed babies are smarter too, said Tammy Kowalik, also a Registered Nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at Mercy Hospital. “Infants who are exclusively breast fed have a 10% higher IQ than formula fed infants.”

2. You Recover Faster & Lower Your Risk of Disease

The health benefits of breastfeeding aren’t limited to babies alone. When you breastfeed, you recover from pregnancy faster.

“When a mother nurses her baby, the hormones that are released cause her uterus to contract, helping to control postpartum bleeding,” said Danzer.

Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.

3. You Can Lose Weight Faster

Breastfeeding can get you out of maternity clothes and into your favorite clothes faster. Not only do hormones from breastfeeding cause the uterus to contract, returning it to pre-pregnancy size, but Danzer says that moms burn 500 to 800 calories per day by producing breast milk.

Tina Zbytek, a Registered Nurse and lactation consultant at Sisters Hospital, said, “Some moms are under the impression that their body shape will change – it’s a common misconception.”

4. You Can Save Money

Families can save an average of $2,500 per year by breastfeeding, said Kowalik. Breastfeeding eliminates the need to buy formula, and because it keeps mom and baby healthier, there are fewer trips to the doctor’s office and fewer days missed from work.

5. You Can Save Time and Hassle

“When a mother nurses her baby, her milk is ready at a moment’s notice. Breast milk is always available at the right concentration and temperature – just hold your baby close and nurse,” said Danzer.

There are no bottles or nipples sterilize and no formula to measure and mix. Plus, you don’t need to carry formula when you travel, whether you’re making a quick trip to the store or going on vacation.

Your body has everything it needs to feed your baby and keep him or her healthy. “When you know that your baby is thriving from you, it’s a bond that’s indescribable,” said Kowalik.  


Catholic Health’s maternity hospitals, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Sisters of Charity Hospital, are both equipped to support breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding classes, taught by our lactation consultants, are offered, and lactation consultants and nurses are available to assist breastfeeding moms. Click here to learn more about the breastfeeding resources available to you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ask Us Anything: I Had a Myomectomy and Am Pregnant. Do I Need to Deliver by C-section?

"I had a myomectomy surgery last year. I am now pregnant and I am informed that my delivery will be by c-section. Will other pregnancies will be by the same or can I go through VBAC (Vaginal Birth after C-section)?"

Dr. Lynn-Marie Aronica Responds:

The reason for for your first C-section after myomectomy is the same reason for all of your pregnancies.

A myomectomy is the removal of a fibroid, the benign overgrowth of the muscle layer of your uterus. Without knowing the extent of your surgery, I can only guess that this muscle layer was disturbed and weakened by the removal of your fibroid. This is why you have been counseled to have a C-section with this pregnancy.

VBAC, or vaginal birth after C-section, is a generally safe mode of delivery for mothers wishing to labor with subsequent pregnancies. The decision for VBAC is coordinated with a physician who will review the reasons for the first C-section. In many instances, it is a great option. However, in your case, that muscle layer would now have two weakened areas – from your myomectomy and your first C-section. Therefore, VBAC is not an option for you.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and know that you and your physician has made a safe choice to keep both yourself and your baby healthy.

– Dr. Lynn-Marie Aronica

Dr. Lynn-Marie Aronica is board certified in OB/GYN. She sees patients at her office at the Mercy OB/GYN Center in Buffalo. Her interests include family-centered obstetrics and high-risk obstetrics. 

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Fresh This Summer

In spring, we wrote about the benefits of buying locally-grown foods.
    Now that summer is almost here, it's time to update your shopping list with produce that's grown in Western New York during the summer months.



    Do you have any favorites in this list?

    Farmer's Markets 

    If you're not sure where to shop, check out these popular farmer's markets:

    Buffalo
    • The Downtown Country Market on Buffalo’s Main Street is held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting May 17, 2012 through October 25, 2012.
    • The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market is a producer-only market (all vendors grow or produce what they sell) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • The University Community Market (999 Broadway ) at the UB South Campus (on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue) is open on Saturdays form 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October 13.
    • The Broadway Market (999 Broadway ) is an indoor market that operates year-round from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Saturdays.
    • The Clinton-Bailey Farmer’s Market on Clinton Street is open year-round. In April, the market is open on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Summer hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. 
    Alden
    • Alden's Farmer's Market in the Alden Village Plaza runs run every Saturday through October 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Clarence
    East Aurora
    Kenmore
    • The Kenmore Farmer's Market on the corner of Delaware Rd. and Delaware Avenue is held every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. through October 26.
    Lancaster
    • The Lancaster Village Market at 4913 Transit Road in Depew is held on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The market is open until October 29.
    Williamsville


    This information was compiled with the help of Deborah Richter, a registered dietitian at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga and is a certified diabetes educator. She teaches diabetes education classes and provides outpatient nutrition counseling. She has helped her clients to lose weight, reduce their blood pressure and feel better about themselves through healthy eating choices.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Throwing Footballs at Taxis and Other Keys to Success

    Today, I attended Get Motivated at the First Niagara Center, and I have to say that it was surprising (in a good way). I had expected a big sales pitch that was short on content, but all of the speakers had something of value to share, and workshop sign-ups were limited to ten-minute breaks.

    If you couldn't make it or just need a refresher, below are some highlights from the event.

    Be Prepared – Joe Montana

    Former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, Joe Montana believes that preparation is the key to success.

    Growing up, he and his friends made a game out of throwing footballs at neighborhood cars, a sport that earned him a police escort home.

    His training paid off when David Letterman challenged him to throw a football through the window of a passing taxi. Montana rose to the occasion, and when asked why he looked like he'd just won the Super Bowl, Montana replied that he planned to call his dad, and ask, "Remember when the police brought me home?"

    Take Risks – Steve Forbes

    Publishing executive Steve Forbes learned from his grandfather that sometimes you have to do things a little differently to get ahead.

    An immigrant from Scotland, B.C. Forbes set out to be a business writer but couldn't find a job. He offered to work for an editor for free for a few weeks, on the condition that he be offered employment if his performance was satisfactory. Not only did Forbes get the job, but he used an alias to land a second job with a different editor. The two editors later debated who had the better business reporter, unaware that their reporters were actually the same person.

    Keep Trying – Steve Forbes

    Success taking a little longer than planned? Steve Forbes said that "it's not over until it's over," citing Steve Jobs, who at the age of 30 was fired by his own company, only to return and rebuild it into the icon that it is today.

    Ray Kroc sold milkshake mixers in California when he was in his 50's. Wanting to expand his milkshake business, he purchased the McDonalds fast food chain in the 1960s.

    Look Outside of Yourself – Krish Dhanam

    "You will never find a happy person who is self-involved," said professional speaker Krish Dhanam.

    He recommends that you give more than you have and be generous in spirit in order to find happiness.

    Manage Your Own Investments – Phil Town

    Millionaire Phil Town started out with $1,000 and made $1.4 million in five years. He did it by managing his own funds.

    "You get nothing from professional fund managers," he said.

    Why? Fund managers are unable to wait for a bargain, can't buy a small number of stocks and can't use risk-reducing strategies.

    Town has developed a training course and online tools to minimize risk and maximize return.

    Be Early – Marcus Luttrel

    Texan native and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrel recommends that you always be at least 15 minutes early for any appointment. "Be 15 minutes early – that's on time," he said.

    Do It – Bill Cosby

    Bill Cosby quoted a James Brown song to drive his point home that actions get results.

    "You're not going to get rich giving your idea to somebody else. You see it on Judge Judy all the time," he said.

    "Whenever you think something is wrong and something is needed, do it! You're the reason you're not succeeding. Stop blocking yourself with the negative."

    As Cosby wrapped up his speech, audience members begged him to stay, saying "We love you!" Cosby replied, "If you love me, when I come back to town, you'll be thousand-aires."

    So do it!

    Turn Off the TV – James Smith

    Real estate investor James Smith is no friend of the TV. He said, "You're watching TV because you're checked out of life. Shut off the junk you watch on TV. Focus on the things that matter."

    Don't Mistake Money for Happiness – James Smith

    If you think that money will make you a happier person, you might be disappointed. Smith said, "Some of the most miserable pukes I know are wealthy."

    Be Kind – James Smith

    "Be careful who you blow off," Smith warned. "The way that you treat people is what you're going to get."

     And don't get down on yourself or others because of a job title. "A living is what you make, not who you are. Be your own fan."

    Make Good Use of Your Time – Steve Wozniak

    Apple co-founder and engineer Steve Wozniak said that when he and Steve Jobs created Apple, his skills were entirely self-taught. Everyone learns the same things at school, Steve said, but it's what you do on your own time that can lead to your creativity.

    Solve Problems – Adam Markel

    If you're not happy with what you earn at work, professional speaker Adam Markel has a solution: solve more problems. "You're a professional problem solver. If you're not earning enough money, you're not solving enough problems."

    Have Fun – Adam Markel

    A former lawyer who worked 80-hour weeks, Adam Markel changed his path in life when he was on the verge of a breakdown. "If you're not having fun, you have to do something else."

    Have Resilience – Marv Levy

    Don't let mistakes defeat you.

    Former Buffalo Bills coach Mary Levy said, "Everything isn't always going to work, no matter how well you plan. How you handle set-backs is important."

    Get the Right People Together – Marv Levy

    Build your team with the best people. During Marv Levy's time with the Buffalo Bills, they selected players who were intrinsically motivated.

    "A good leader gets the right people together – people that know more than he or she does about certain things."

    "When you're a leader, it's not just having the right vision, it's having the right people."





    Did you attend Get Motivated? What did you think of the speakers?

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Ask Us Anything: Can Essure Tubal Implants Be Removed?

    “I had the Essure tubal implants done almost 2 years ago. My menstrual cycle has never been regular nice then, with more prominent cramping. Can the implants be removed? If I had known all of the side effects that went along with this procedure, I never would have elected to do it.”

    Note: Essure is a non-surgical birth control procedure in which small, soft implants are inserted into the fallopian tubes through the natural pathways of the vagina and cervix. The Essure website states that the procedure is not easily reversible and should be considered a permanent birth control solution.
    Dr. Ali Ghomi Responds:

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    Although irregular menstrual cycles have been reported as a result of tubal ligations or tubal occlusive procedures such as Essure, this notion has never been proven scientifically. It may be a coincidence that you experienced menstrual irregularity after the Essure procedure.

    That being said, the Essure coils can be surgically removed.

    The coils are designed to cause significant scarring in the proximal portion of the fallopian tubes where they meet the uterus. This scar tissue prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. If removal is necessary, that segment of the fallopian tube containing the coils and perhaps a small segment of the uterus may need to be removed.

    As expected, there would be no guarantees that removing the coils would resolve your menstrual irregularities.

    — Dr. Ali Ghomi

    Dr. Ghomi is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery and Chair of The Robotic Surgical Committee at Sisters of Charity Hospital. He is the only physician in Western New York who performs Sacrocolpopexy Prolapse surgery using the da Vinci® robot. Sacrocolpopexy is a proven “gold standard” procedure worldwide to repair severe pelvic prolapse. Click here to learn more about Catholic Health's OB/GYN services.

    Dr. Ghomi sees patients at the M. Steven Piver, M.D. Center for Women’s Health & Wellness in Buffalo.

    If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Corporate Challenge Walker Profile: Dave Rhoads

    The Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 7 features hundreds of Western New Yorkers from companies throughout the area. Today and tomorrow, we'll feature select participants and get their thoughts on the race, including how to prepare.

    Are you running or walking the Corporate Challenge? Fill out our online form to be included in our runner profiles.

    What is your role at Catholic Health?

    Manager, IT Department

    How many times have you participated in the corporate challenge? 

    This is my second time.

    What do you like about the Corporate Challenge? What motivates you to participate?

    Being with co-workers. And I like walking.

    How do you prepare for the race?

    I walk daily, not usually this far, so I'm walking longer than normal.

    Do you have any advice for first-time walkers or runners?

    Walk a little bit each day. Drink plently of water, and most importantly, have fun!


    Thanks Dave!

    Corporate Challenge Runner Profile: Ben Kirst

    Today's Corporate Challenge features hundreds of Western New Yorkers from companies throughout the area. We're featuring select participants and get their thoughts on the race, including how to prepare.

    Are you running or walking the Corporate Challenge? Fill out our online form to be included in our runner profiles.

    Ben Kirst
    Which team are you running with?

    The Buffalo News / Buffalo.com

    How many times have you participated in the corporate challenge?

    This will be my fourth year running the Corporate Challenge.

    What do you like about the Corporate Challenge? What motivates you to participate?

    I like to be part of an event of this size. I think it’s a fun summer event and  a good team-building exercise. Plus, it’s fun to see people from the other teams supporting their companies.

    How do you prepare for the race?

    I run regularly throughout the year, so this is part of my normal routine. I run about 30 miles each week.

    Do you have any advice for first-time walkers or runners?

    It’s going to be a very crowded race, so you’re not really doing it for time, you’re doing it for fun. You should really look at it more as an opportunity to get to know the people you work with outside of work, as opposed to it being a competition.

    Do you have any words of encouragement for the runners and walkers in tomorrow’s race?

    Stay hydrated, and do your best.


    Thanks Ben! You can find Ben on Twitter at @BK77.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Corporate Challenge Runner Profile: Christopher Caruana

    The Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 7 features hundreds of Western New Yorkers from companies throughout the area. Today and tomorrow, we'll feature select participants and get their thoughts on the race, including how to prepare.

    Are you running or walking the Corporate Challenge? Fill out our online form to be included in our runner profiles.

    Christopher Caruana
    Which team are you running with?

    Ingram Micro

    How many times have you participated in the corporate challenge? 

    3 times. This will be the 4th!

    This is how it will pan out – I will attempt to run for about a half mile, MAYBE 3/4 a mile. Then I will stop, turn up my music and just walk the rest of the way until I find someone to make conversation with.

    What do you like about the Corporate Challenge? What motivates you to participate?

    It's for a great cause, as well as a great networking opportunity.

    How do you prepare for the race?

    I prepare by testing the local pizza and wing joints in the areas 3 days a week, to find out who has the best. The other 4 you can find me on the golf course (using a cart, of course).

    Do you have any advice for first-time walkers or runners?

    Don't do what I do to prepare.

    Do you have any words of encouragement for the runners and walkers in tomorrow’s race?

    Good luck and I wish everyone the best! See you out there!


    Thanks Chris! You can find Chris on Twitter at @CACaruana.

    Corporate Challenge Runner Profile: Trong Bo

    The Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 7 features hundreds of Western New Yorkers from companies throughout the area. Today and tomorrow, we'll feature select participants and get their thoughts on the race, including how to prepare.

    Are you running or walking the Corporate Challenge? Fill out our online form to be included in our runner profiles.

    Trong Bo
    2011 Challenge
    What is your role at Catholic Health?

    Application Analyst supporting Invision, Soarian Financials, and the Intranet

    How many times have you participated in the corporate challenge? 

    A gazillion times (since 1999). I usually run, but this is the first time that I'll be walking.

    What do you like about the Corporate Challenge? What motivates you to participate?

    I used to use it for motivation to train and be fit. My motivation to participate is that it is for a good cause.

    How do you prepare for the race?

    Then: Run 6 miles a week from February until June.
    Now: Eat pizza and wings and drink beer 6 times a week from February until June. Just kidding!

    Do you have any advice for first-time walkers or runners? What should they expect (i.e. parking, the course, race etiquette, etc.)?
    • Runners to the front, walkers to the back!  
    • Parking: good luck!  
    • The course: pace yourself.  
    • Race etiquette: follow the rules.

    Do you have any family or friends who are participating?

    I have friends from Catholic Health who are running and walking. 

    Do you have any words of encouragement for the runners and walkers in tomorrow’s race?

    Be smart, stay hydrated, be safe. Remember, it's for a good cause.


    Thanks Trong!

    Corporate Challenge Runner Profile: Carolyn Nerber

    The Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 7 features hundreds of Western New Yorkers from companies throughout the area. Today and tomorrow, we'll feature select participants and get their thoughts on the race, including how to prepare.

    Are you running or walking the Corporate Challenge? Fill out our online form to be included in our runner profiles.

    Carolyn Nerber,
    2011 Challenge
    What is your role at Catholic Health?

     IT Project Manager

    How many times have you participated in the corporate challenge? Running or walking? 

    I've ran two times.

    What do you like about the Corporate Challenge? What motivates you to participate?

    It's an opportunity to give back, represent Catholic Health and get to know co-workers better. It helps to build relationships.

    How do you prepare for the race?

    I train on my own.

    Do you have any advice for first-time walkers or runners?

    Parking is limited, so get there early and/or carpool. The course is nicely routed and has a lot of space to run and/or walk in a group without feeling crowded.

    I love when the Buffalo Firefighters participate and spray the crowd while running – very refreshing.

    Do you have any family or friends who are participating? 

    I participate with friends from Catholic Health. We get a lot of time to spend prior to, during, and after the event.

    Do you have any words of encouragement for the runners and walkers in tomorrow’s race?

    Get some rest, stretch and drink lots of water.


    Thanks Carolyn!

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Ask Us Anything: I'm Pregnant and Can't Afford Pre-natal Care or Delivery. What Can I Do?


    "My husband and I are having a baby in November. I make less than federal minimum wage, and my husband and I will have almost no income (and no insurance) after the start of the fall semester.

    Can I get emergency Medicaid for the delivery? If something goes wrong, can I tell them that I'm an illegal immigrant (even though my husband and I are both natural-born U.S. citizens) and not give the hospital my I.D. or social security number?"

    Catholic Health Responds:

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    In answer to your question, misrepresenting yourself as an illegal immigrant in order to qualify for assistance is not an option. Doing so would constitute fraud and could lead to your having to pay restitution (which can be hundreds of thousands of dollars) and being criminally prosecuted.

    Fortunately, there are resources available to aid with the costs of pregnancy and delivery.

    First, apply for Medicaid and the Child Health Plus programs through the county. It is likely that you will qualify for Medicaid, but if your Medicaid application is not accepted, you may at least be able to get coverage for the newborn. Click on the links below for more information:
    If you are a Catholic Health patient, we offer financial assistance for persons who quality. You would receive services as a self-pay patient. Then, you would apply for our Healthcare Assistance Program by providing a letter of financial difficulty and proof of income. Any balance that is left over would need to be paid out-of-pocket (we offer payment plans to make repayment more manageable). 

    For more information, please contact our Revenue Management Center at (716) 601-3600.

    Also, contact organizations in the Buffalo area that offer assistance to pregnant families. These include:
    Best of luck to you and your family!

    If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.
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