Volunteering to Change Academic Culture for Girls

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FMCNA employees Marnie Bair and Ellen Johnson want to change the academic culture for girls and they are doing something about it.

Marnie and Ellen

Blair and Johnson, who both work at the Ogden, Utah facility, volunteered their time and expertise to participate in “Expanding Your Horizons (EYH),” teaching computer programming classes to middle-school-aged girls as part of a Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) outreach in northern Utah.  Johnson is a Database Administrator and Blair is an Information Systems Program Analyst.


Ian Harding, Manager of Manufacturing Software in Ogden, said his daughter attended the event and had a great time. “Girls get to experience fun projects that are also difficult and technical,” Harding said. “Some classes engineered roller coasters and others worked on projects ranging from robotics to geocaching.”  Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.


The EYH event, Girls’ Gateway to Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing, was sponsored by local tech companies to excite and encourage middle-school aged girls about STEM subjects.


The EHY Network website says, “We provide STEM role models and hands-on activities for middle and high school girls. Our ultimate goal is to motivate girls to become innovative and creative thinkers ready to meet 21st century challenges.”

STEM programs for girls

According to the website, “The EYH Network began in 1974 as the Math/Science Network, an informal group of women scientists and educators in the San Francisco Bay Area who were concerned about low female participation in math courses. On a volunteer basis, members of the group began planning coordinated efforts to strengthen their individual programs and to offer mutual support.”

Making Wishes Come True

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For the third year in a row, FMCNA’s North Division Central Admissions Office in East Providence, R.I., has sponsored a toy drive for Boys Town New England. This year, 50 children under the care of Boys Town were asked to write their Christmas Wish List to Santa. The lists were placed on an ornament and hung on the “Giving Tree” for employees to take.


Some children with larger wishes were adopted by entire teams, and others were adopted by employees’ family and friends who were eager to participate. All of the children will have special gifts from “Santa” under their tree this year.


Boys Town was founded in 1917 by the Rev. Edward J Flanagan in Omaha, Neb. His Home for Boys grew into the Village of Boys Town with its own school, hospital and government. In 1936 the community became an official village in Nebraska.


Boys Town New England in Portsmouth, R.I., opened in 1991 and brings life-changing care to the lives of 8,000 children and families in New England each year. Wherever children and families are hurting, Boys Town is helping. With the support of generous donors they reunite kids with their families, find foster homes for others and provide a Boys Town family for those with nowhere else to turn. Others receive help at home keeping their family intact.


The FMCNA office in East Providence coordinates patient admissions for the North Division. Sharon Hutchinson and Employee Action Committee president and Lilian Jerome, both Patient Intake Coordinators, led the campaign to bring happiness to these children.  Hutchinson and her husband Paul are also foster parents through Boys Town, and know first-hand what some of these children have been through.


“I am overwhelmed but not surprised by the generosity of everyone here at Central Admissions,” Hutchinson said. “Boys Town has a saying, ‘Some people don’t believe in heroes. That’s because they haven’t met a foster parent.’ Well, everyone here is a hero to these children, and should feel proud of all they have done.”

Mr. Nat

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Mr. Nat has been working at Pitt County Dialysis for 37 years.  He has a wide variety of responsibilities from driving delivery trucks to housekeeping.

Mr. Nat has been working at Pitt County Dialysis for 37 years. He has a wide variety of responsibilities from driving delivery trucks to housekeeping.

At 89 years old, Nat Willoughby, “Mr. Nat,” as he is affectionately known, is the oldest FMCNA employee in the country. He gets up each morning and goes to work at 8:30 as a Ward Clerk at Pitt County Dialysis in Greenville, N.C. He’s worked for Fresenius Medical Care North America and our legacy companies for 37 years and he’s not retiring any time soon.

“You know, I like to have something to do and I need the money,” said Willoughby, who puts in a good 30 hours a week. “I don’t want to go retire and just sit right down. You don’t last long like that.”

Sheila Reynolds, Clinical Manager at Pitt County, calls Mr. Nat “our rock.”

“He’s always there to do whatever needs to be done,” she said. “He’s like the backbone of our clinic. And he’s always been.”

Thirty-seven years ago, Willoughby’s duties included housekeeping and some janitorial work. He used to drive the truck and help deliver machines and supplies to patients at home. Sometimes there would be snow in the winter and it was Mr. Nat who cleared the walkways and put down the salt. Now he prepares packets for the nurses, keeps the store room clean and does whatever else needs to be done.

“He’s always smiling,” said Reynolds. “He’ll pass me in the hallway and say, ‘Hey, Miss Sheila, you going to smile today?’ Having him with us says to the other employees that this company values its older employees.”

Keeping the store room clean is one of Mr. Nat's jobs.

Keeping the store room clean is one of Mr. Nat’s jobs.

Increasingly companies are realizing the value that older employees can bring to the work force. It’s a growing trend, according to Kerry Hannon, contributor at Forbes .com, who cited a study that showed in 1990 employees 65 and older accounted for just 12.1 percent of the workforce, but that slice of the pie expanded to 16.1 percent by 2010.

Phillip Moeller of USNews.com reported that HR managers find older employees are generally more professional, with a strong work ethic and skills that include critical thinking, problem solving and written communication.

Those attributes are appreciated at FMCNA as well. By the end of 2013, there will be 246 employees age 70 or older in the company. FMCNA was recognized by Retirementjobs.com as a Certified Age Friendly Employer™ for 2013, reflecting what it characterized as the company’s “commitment to the age 50+ workforce.”

After Willoughby, the company’s second-oldest employee is Helen Louise Horsey, MSW, in Garden Grove, Calif.

“I’ve been a social worker for 57 years,” said the 82-year-old Horsey. A Maryland native who moved west nearly 30 years ago, she has been at the Garden Grove dialysis center for 12 years. “I’ve always felt this company was age-friendly. They don’t seem to mind my age.”

And despite the long history, it’s a job she still enjoys doing. “I like working in dialysis because you see the same patients and develop long-term relationships and that helps you to counsel and provide direction more effectively,” she said.

When it comes to the question of retirement, all she would say was, “I’m thinking about it.”

Reynolds, the Pitt County Clinical Manager, said the years of experience and wisdom that older employees contribute should not be under estimated. “Dialysis can be tough on employees,” she said, “and the older ones have done it before. They know. They help the younger ones walk through those tough times.”

Willoughby and Thelma, his wife of almost 50 years, live in Greenville, just a few miles from the clinic. “I live here in this city, but I’m a country boy, really,” he said, adding that he grew up in Winterville, a little town outside Greenville with fewer than 10,000 people today, but it has grown considerably since Willoughby was a youngster.

“Working at Fresenius is nothing but a blessing,” Willoughby said. “I thank the company for letting me stay here. I’ve been at jobs and I’ve seen it happen when you get to a certain age they put the pressure on you to go away. They treat me so good here. I’m still hanging in there.”

“I think about retirement,” Willoughby said. “I teased Miss Sheila one day and I told her I’m going to hang it up. Just go home and look at the wall. I’m not going to, but one of these days I know I’m going to have to.”


Smoking Adds Another Wrinkle to Aging

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There Everybody knows smoking is bad for your health. Now here’s something you may not know: Smoking is bad for your looks. It’s true. From your rosy cheeks to your pearly whites, smoking doesn’t just push you toward an early date with the grim reaper. It also makes you look that way.  Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco have found that female smokers are three times as likely to have moderate to severe wrinkling as female nonsmokers. Male smokers have double the wrinkles of male
nonsmokers.  The American Academy of Dermatology says that a person who smokes 10 or more cigarettes a day for 10 years is more likely to have deep, leathery wrinkles than someone who doesn’t smoke. Smoking also changes the skin’s hue, giving it a yellowish tinge.

Sources of damage

Here’s how cigarette smoke and its component chemicals can
damage your skin:

  • It reduces the body’s ability to form collagen, the main structural component of skin. This causes elastin, the normally long, smooth and elastic fibers in skin, to thicken and break apart.
  • It reduces blood circulation, thereby reducing oxygen supplies to the skin.
  • It cuts estrogen levels in women, causing skin dryness and cracking.
  • Chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products causes irritation and dryness to the skin.

But wait: There’s more

Smoking also steals your smile since it doubles a person’s risk of losing teeth.  Tobacco use affects bone around the teeth, which irritates and destroys the gums, leading to tooth loss. Cigarette-smoking women lose significantly more teeth than women who don’t smoke. The adverse effects of smoking on physical appearance are often more of a deterrent for people to quit than cancer fears, especially for young people. People can relate to things that they see; hence, awareness of premature aging with smoking may convince people to quit, or never begin, smoking.

Healthy Recipe – Spinach Pesto Pasta

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8 ounces fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fresh spinach
½ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped


Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and place in large
mixing bowl. In a blender add oil, garlic, spinach, basil, chicken
broth, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Blend until leaves
are well-blended. Pour sauce over pasta. Mix until well coated..
Add beans and red bell pepper. Stir gently and serve.
Serving Size: 4
1 Cup of Fruits and Vegetables per Serving
Calories: 360

Total Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 2g

Protein: 16g
Carbohydrates: 62mg

Dietary Fiber: 8g
Sodium: 330mg

Cholesterol: 5mg

Great American Smokeout

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Smokeout Day: The Best Ways to Quit

Thousands of smokers across the United States will try to kick their bad habit as part of the Great American Smokeout and experts agree that a two-pronged strategy is the best bet for success.  “The U.S. Public Health Service has done very extensive reviews of all the evidence, and [best] is a combination of counseling/advice, by pharmacists, physicians or quitlines, plus medicine,” said Thomas Glynn, a director at the
American Cancer Society.  There are a number of ways that people can succeed, [including] seven medications approved by the FDA. Still, many Americans resist medications or counseling, and rely on personal willpower to get them through nicotine withdrawal. “Cold turkey, sheer willpower; the best data is that about 5 percent of people succeed,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. For heavy smokers, Gary Giovino, chair at the University at Buffalo recommends starting with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Smoking-cessation medications come in three buckets: nicotine replacement, Wellbutrin/Zyban and Chantix.

They all work. It’s better to take one than none. Nicotine patches give users a steady dose of nicotine through the skin and come in 16- or 24-hour varieties, by prescription or over-the-counter. Fast-acting forms of NRT are lozenges and gum, available over-the counter, and prescription inhalers and nasal sprays. You use the patch to get constant coverage and use the other forms to get over cravings, as supplements. “If people want something based on a prescription, they should discuss it with their doctor,” Giovino said.  Telephone quitlines can be effective, convenient and free, but are underused because smokers have misconceptions about them. They’ll schedule calls around your quit day. It’s so you can talk to somebody who can help you if you’ve slipped, you can get back on the wagon. Smokers can call 1-800-QUITNOW from anywhere in the US, and some state quitlines offer free NRT. Internet quit sites provide another option. For instance, the American Lung Association offers the “Freedom From Smoking” online program, Edelman noted. Even with outside help, willpower still comes into play in breaking long-held habits and battling sharp cravings.

Giovino suggested the “‘six Ds’: delay, drink water, distract yourself, discuss with someone, deep breath and, finally, don’t debate. People who do best are those who decide smoking is no longer an option.”

American Diabetes Month – November 2013

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 American Diabetes Month® 2013 Overview

One of the American Diabetes Association’s primary objectives is to raise awareness and understanding of diabetes, its consequences, management and prevention of type 2 diabetes. American Diabetes Month is an important element in this effort, with programs designed to focus the nation’s attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the people impacted by the disease. In 2012, the Association launched a socially focused initiative for American Diabetes Month called A Day in the Life of Diabetes, to demonstrate the impact diabetes has on our families and communities across the country.

In 2013, the American Diabetes Association will continue to grow the campaign with a host of online and offline program elements. The movement to Stop Diabetes® is not over and we will continue to call for individuals to take a public stand via the Association’s social media channels and other online properties, to support us in this movement. Using imagery, the power of social engagement and our celebrity outreach channels, we will continue to shine a light on the issue of diabetes and those who live with it each and every day, as well as the Association and corporations focused on stopping this insidious disease.

A Day in the Life of Diabetes

Overall Messages

Diabetes doesn’t stop. It is 24/7, 365 days a year. To showcase the extraordinary effort it takes to live a day with the disease, the American Diabetes Association will continue to ask people to submit a personal image to the Association’s Facebook mosaic representing what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means to them. The image can be a picture of themselves or someone they care about, or otherwise represent how the disease impacts their lives. The image will then make up a larger mosaic image that will embody the message of A Day in the Life of Diabetes.

To make the mosaic more impactful this year, we will change the mosaic “target” imagery several times throughout November to show the many compelling images that represent A Day in the Life of Diabetes. These photos that will embody the mosaic throughout the month will capture the essence of the campaign and our movement. In addition, we will be working closely with NASCAR driver, Ryan Reed, to showcase the mosaic in the NASCAR series. Ryan’s race car will be wrapped with photos from the mosaic and will be featured in his Nov. 9 race in Phoenix during American Diabetes Month.

We will also engage our social media audience by highlighting submitted images via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and our blog, Diabetes Stops Here. We’ll pose thought-provoking questions (examples: What makes your life happily ordinary? What extraordinary things have you accomplished while living with diabetes?)—plus success stories and messages from our network of followers, fans and high-profile celebrities.

Key Messages

The American Diabetes Association is behind the largest national movement to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences.

During American Diabetes Month 2013, the Association encourages Americans to share A Day in the Life of Diabetes by uploading a personal image to our Facebook mosaic that shows what the daily life of diabetes means to them.

Learn how you can submit your personal image and story during American Diabetes Month by visiting us at facebook.com/AmericanDiabetesAssociation or diabetesmosaic.org, or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.

Read our blog (www.diabetesstopshere.org) and follow us on Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Pinterest (@AmDiabetesAssn) to receive updates all month long.


About Diabetes


  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.


The Toll on Health

  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.


Cost of Diabetes

  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.
  • Direct medical costs reach $176 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than those without the disease.
  • Indirect costs amount to $69 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
  • One in 10 health care dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications.
  • One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.

For more information in English and Spanish, call 1-800-DIABETES or visit stopdiabetes.com. Also, please follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AmericanDiabetesAssociation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AmDiabetesAssn).

A game of chance improves patients’ chances

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PCTs Dave Molinaro and Angelica Carr just got tired of their dialysis clinic in Uniontown, Pa., about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, being designated as on the “action threshold.” So they did something about it.

“It was a fabulous idea,” said Susan Ray, Registered Dietitian. “The patients really got into it and the results have been fantastic.”

“I came up with the idea, because I wanted to fit things into the contest that are popular in this area,” Molinaro said. “Steelers fans are very loyal and we used that to push them to achieve the goal.”

The contest that inspired the patients to significant improvements in their albumin, phosphorus and potassium levels was a combination auction and raffle in which patients earn chances to win a drawing for the prizes they like.

“We’ve had contests before to reinforce protein goals, but not with this kind of reaction from the patients,” said Ray. “Angelica wrapped and presented the gift baskets full of prizes and then displayed them perfectly so the patients looked at them every single visit to the clinic.”

“I wrapped all the prizes in cellophane and we saw the patients eye-ballin’ them up every day. They’d say, ‘I want to win that. I want to win that,’” Carr said.

Dave Molinaro and Angelica Carr, both PCTs, found the right combination of incentives and excitement to encourage patients at the Uniontown, Pa., dialysis clinic to make dietary improvements.

Dave Molinaro and Angelica Carr, both PCTs, found the right combination of incentives and excitement to encourage patients at the Uniontown, Pa., dialysis clinic to make dietary improvements.

During the second quarter of the year, patients were awarded four raffle tickets if their albumin met a set goal (>/=4.0) and, similarly, one ticket each for potassium and phosphorous levels (</=5.5).

Then they could use their tickets for any or all of the three gift baskets which included a Pittsburgh Steelers tote bag filled with team merchandise, a bath and beauty basket, or a family movie night DVD and treat basket.
Mary Lou Bowser, Clinical Manager, said the contest worked like a charm. “Patients couldn’t wait to see their monthly lab reports to see how many chances they had won for each month,” Bowser said.
“They were talking among themselves about it and they wanted to get better results because they wanted to win the gift baskets,” Bowser said. “It was awesome and it correlates to healthier diets and lower hospitalization rates.”
So at the end of three months the winners were chosen by random drawing.
Molinaro and Carr are proud to report that their contest has helped Uniontown move out of the “action threshold” for albumins and they look forward to sponsoring more contests.

“Some of the patients have asked us what kind of contest we’ll do next and we’ve got some ideas, but we’re not saying anything just yet,” Carr said.

Ray, who covers three FMCNA dialysis clinics in south western Pennsylvania, said following the success at Uniontown she brought the contest to her other clinics in Brownsville and Green County with similar results.

“It is the lure of the chance to win,” said Ray, attempting to explain why the auction/raffle was such a hit. “I think because the patients could see the prizes it was a much stronger motivational tool.”

“We’re always trying to educate our patients on these things and sometimes it seems like they just can’t hear us,” said Ray. “You know, the prizes didn’t cost a lot, but it was fun and exciting and that’s why they liked it so much and really wanted to do well so they could have more tickets for the raffle.”

Bowser also thanked Henry Trzeciakowski, Director of Operations, for his support of the contest.

October: Children’s Health Month, Where are kids getting empty calories?

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Where Kids Get Their Empty Calories

A new study found that nearly 40% of the energy consumed by kids and teens comes in the form of “empty” calories. Half of those empty calories come from the solid fats and added sugars in just 6 sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza and whole milk.

Today, nearly 1 in 3 children nationwide is overweight or obese. These children have an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma. Both greater energy consumption (counted in calories) and less physical activity are factors that contribute to the nation’s growing weight problems.

NIH scientists examined extensive data on children’s diets to learn more about where the extra calories are coming from. Overall, the top 5 sources of energy were grain desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps and granola bars), pizza, soda, yeast breads and chicken dishes. Experts recommend that kids limit their intake of empty calories to between 8% and 20% of their total calories. But the researchers found that nearly 40% of the children’s total energy came from empty calories. Sugar-sweetened beverages, a major source of empty calories, contributed a whopping 10% of total energy.

“The epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents is now regarded as one of the most important public health problems in the United States,” says study co-author Dr. Jill Reedy of NIH’s National Cancer Institute. The findings suggest that sugar sweetened drinks should be a major target of efforts to improve our children’s health.”

Help Children Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is increasing in young people. In 1990, fewer than 4 percent of children were diagnosed with this disease. Today, 30 to 50 percent of children are at risk for it, say health experts at the University of Washington. This type of diabetes is associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Helping children maintain a healthful weight, along with exercising, can help prevent the disease.


Healthy Recipe: Chicken Ratatouille

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 zucchini, about 7 inches long, unpeeled, thinly sliced
1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ lb fresh mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1 can (14½ oz) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
½ Tbsp garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
1½ tsp dried basil, crushed
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, rinsed, dried, and minced
⅛ tsp ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan. Add chicken, and sauté for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add zucchini, eggplant, onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley, and black pepper. Stir and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings. Serving Size: 1½ C chicken and vegetables

Each serving provides:
Calories 266 Total Fat 8 g
Carbohydrate 21 g Cholesterol 66 mg
Total Fiber 6 g Sodium 253 mg
Protein 30 g
Potassium 1,148 mg

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of screening and the early detection of breast cancer.

About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point during her life. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women.

The good news? Many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early.

Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

We can use this opportunity to spread the word about important steps women can take to stay healthy.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Ask doctors and nurses to speak to women about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
  • Encourage women age 40 and older to talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms.
  • Talk with women ages 50 to 74 in your community about getting mammograms every 2 years.

Need more resources regarding National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

Visit the Susan G. Komen site

Prevent Cancer site

Cancer Care site

American Cancer Society site

National Cancer Institute site

Learn more about opportunities at Fresenius Medical Care Learn More