Health e-News 
 October 2011

Ask the Expert

  Dr. Harrison 
Brian Harrison, MD
Affinity Occupational Health

 Q. How can I determine if my employees need help understanding depression?

You can know what your employees know about depression. Affinity Wellness and Prevention offers a benchmarked survey of employee attitudes and understanding of depression. We use comparison scores from a nearly 7,000 participant database. We can administer this to your workforce, to help you understand your employees' attitudes about this common condition. 
How do you suppose your employees' level of understanding compares with these values from that large population?  Is it as BAD as these areas:

--Greater than two-thirds of respondents feel that employers offer few resources or don't know what resources or offered. 

--One-third don't know how to access employer offered resources.   
--40 percent of respondents disagree with the statement, "Most people with depression can handle their share of the work."

--24 percent of people agree with the statement, "An individual with depression is more likely than other people to become violent."

On the other hand, do your employees do AS WELL as the benchmarks in these areas:

--94 percent disagree that working alongside someone with depression would bother them.

--92 percent disagree with the statement that depressed people should "just get over it."

--92 percent would feel comfortable discussing their depression with a doctor (although only 29 percent would tell a supervisor about it!).

Click here for some sample questions from this 28-item survey to spark your interest.  Call Riley McDermid at (920) 628-1533 if you want the full survey administered and benchmarked at your organization.

Try This!
Workplace Wellness Tip

 Beat the Blues    


Fall is here, and daylight savings will soon be spent. Seasonal affective disorder is a real and common form of depression spurred by lack of sunlight. Try these tips for beating the winter blues.

Let there be light. Get outside in the sun, even on chilly days. Take a drive and bask in the rays coming through your windshield, or sit near a window and soak up the daytime beams.

Chuckle up! Laughter triggers endorphins, the body's feel-good chemical.

Get physical. Exercise is good for your mind, body, and spirit. Take a walk. Join a gym. Play kickball with your kids. Anything that gets your heart pumping will also help battle the blahs.

Be friendly. Social interaction with co-workers and friends can help boost your mood and give you a break from stress. Organize a department potluck lunch or invite a group out for coffee after work.

Pay it forward. Volunteer during the upcoming holiday season to benefit your community and your spirit, too. Helping others can give your emotions a boost - a win-win situation for all.

With the Experts 



Foot and Ankle Issues
in the Work Environment

Presented by
Richard Hammond, DPM
Affinity Medical Group

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah


Your feet may be the furthest from your mind both physically and mentally. We take them for granted, but healthy feet are fundamental to the quality of your life. They are often the indicators of overall health, so we need to take care of them.

Richard Hammond, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine at Affinity Medical Group, will discuss prevention and treatment for foot and ankle problems common in all workplaces. Topics include heel pain, foot and ankle conditions, and foot and ankle trauma.

Dr. Hammond will also cover foot-related issues that diabetics may face and how proper diabetes management can help avoid serious complications.

Dr. Hammond is board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery and graduated from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. 

To register for this free seminar, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or

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Quick Links

Can you guess what common health concern affects nearly half of American families at some point in life? Depression.

October is Depression Awareness Month. This edition of Health e-News explores ways your company can boost awareness of depression, snag some quick mood-lifters on dark days, and even help prevent the unthinkable tragedy of suicide.

Affinity's new Medical Home model for primary care is making great strides in identifying, referring, and healing people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health issues. Read on to learn more about this and how Affinity experts can come on-site to help employees choose and strengthen a relationship with a Medical Home primary care provider.

A version of today's newsletter designed for your employees is waiting at: Please be sure to pass it on!  

In good health,
Lisa Kogan-Praska
Director, Employer Solutions and Urgent Care

Caring for the Mind and Spirit  

Affinity Medical Home offers advantages in Behavioral Health 


Affinity's new model for primary care, Affinity Medical Home, covers all the bases of personalized care. Your primary care provider works side-by-side with a variety of providers to treat your mind, body, and spirit. One of the key players on your Medical Home team is a Behavioral Health care coordinator.

"With the Medical Home team approach, there is an added emphasis on holistic care and the effects physical and mental health have on the other," says Barb Viste-Johnson, LCSW, Behavioral Health care coordinator for Affinity Medical Home in Kaukauna. This means your providers are working together to care for your full spectrum of needs.

What are the advantages to you, the patient?

  • Everything happens in familiar territory. If you need services from a Behavioral Health professional, your primary care provider can refer you to a colleague within the same clinic -someone who will be communicating closely with your doctor, in total confidence.
  • Faster scheduling. You won't have to wait weeks to get the assistance you need. Once you agree to a referral, Behavioral Health appointments can often be scheduled within a day or two.
  • Specialized care. Many primary care providers have extensive knowledge in treating behavioral health concerns, yet when needed, they acknowledge Affinity's counseling specialists offer an even greater level of expertise. Your primary care provider can easily refer you to a Behavioral Health care coordinator within your Medical Home, because it's the best choice for your health.

What conditions do the Medical Home Behavioral Health care coordinators treat?
Affinity Medical Home Behavioral Health care coordinators can help patients with a variety of concerns, including:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • trauma
  • eating disorders
  • grief
  • life transition stressors
  • sleep disturbance
  • family conflict and/or dysfunction
  • couples issues
  • ADHD
  • difficulty adhering to the primary care provider's plan of care
  • and more.

What happens at a Behavioral Health visit?
Affinity Medical Home Behavioral Health providers use a three-step process.

  • Step one - complete a comprehensive evaluation of your health history and current situation
  • Step two - develop a treatment plan based on your measurable goals
  • Step three - "I typically have 'homework' for patients to do between visits to carry what we discuss into their lives on a day-to-day basis," Barb says.

Affinity's Behavioral Health care coordinators are on your side, working closely with you and your primary care provider to achieve optimal emotional and physical wellness. "We approach each patient as a unique individual," Barb says, "trying to understand his or her life experience as if I were in my patient's shoes."

And that is what Affinity calls personalized care.  


CounselingPrevent Suicide;
Know the Signs
QPR Gatekeeper Training  

October is Depression Awareness Month. Can you recognize the signs of depression? How do you know if your co-worker, neighbor, or family member is suffering from depression - or worse? You can help prevent the tragedy of suicide, by knowing how to read and respond to the warning signs.

QPR Training stands for Question, Persuade, Refer - a process that counselors urge all local organizations to consider exploring among their own workforce.

"You can't just have professional clinicians asking the suicide question," says Scott Radtke, licensed professional counselor with Affinity Health System and Lawrence University. "We need all kinds of people in all sorts of disciplines knowing the warning signs, asking the questions, persuading people to get help, and giving them information on what to do next."

Three years ago, leaders at Lawrence University recognized a need for suicide prevention training. Through a federal grant, they rolled out a QPR training program and empowered nearly 1,800 individuals in our community with the knowledge to save lives by intervening when a potential suicide case is detected.

These trained individuals, called gatekeepers, are stationed within local health care systems, school districts, Goodwill Industries, and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). Together they're starting a grass roots awareness of suicide prevention.

How does QPR Training work?
Working with a qualified Gatekeeper trainer, QPR participants learn the warning signs of suicide, how to have sensitive conversations with people at risk for suicide, and what to do with the answers when they learn a person needs help. QPR training raises awareness of the Behavioral Health services available at Affinity and elsewhere.

Why should employers be interested?
The statistics are frightening. Of 153 adolescent survivors of near lethal suicide attempts, 25 percent acted within five minutes of the impulse to do so, and 71 percent acted within one hour (as reported by David Mays, 03/16/2010).

Your employees may be at risk. Do you know who they are? Do you know how to help them? If not, QPR training is the right thing to do.

"Seventy percent of people who die by suicide saw a primary care provider within a month prior," Scott explains. "This speaks to how critical it is to have a large pool of people trained by QPR who know the signs so they can refer a person at risk to the appropriate resources."

If you're interested in learning more about QPR training for your organization, call Affinity Occupational Health at 1-800-541-0351. 


SistersWhat's Happening at Affinity? 

Night for Women
Women of all ages are invited to attend a free inspirational event, Night for Women, hosted by Calumet Medical Center. Join us Oct. 10 at Engler Performing Arts Center in Chilton for informative presentations, interactive displays, a delicious snack buffet, and fantastic door prizes!

Speakers for the ninth annual event are Erin Davisson, co-anchor of WFRV-Channel 5, and Kathryn Meyer, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist with Affinity Medical Group. For more information and to register, go to

Open Enrollment - Bring Us On Site!
Is your company preparing to kick off its annual open enrollment period? Affinity Health System can help. Our experts are ready and willing to come on site to educate employees on our many offerings. Whether it's a benefit fair, a booth in your break room, or simply providing informative materials, we are available to help your workers navigate the key components of their health care benefits, including:
  • finding a primary care provider
  • taking advantage of our new Medical Home model for primary care
  • connecting employees with other Affinity resources.

You know the primary care relationship is key to optimal wellness and prevention. Let us help you set your employees up for success. Call Affinity Occupational Health today at 1-800-541-0351. 

Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, coordinator of account management for Affinity Occupational Health, enjoys building relationships with clients while finding creative solutions for their needs.  Holly's background includes 15 years of experience in the health care field, with a strong background in employee assistance programs and occupational health. 

Riley McDermid, employer health and wellness consultant, is passionate about identifying opportunities for local businesses to enhance their occupational health programs.  In addition to her role in new business development for Affinity Occupational Health, Riley is a certified tobacco cessation specialist.

Tammy Davis, customer account liaison for Affinity Occupational Health, provides immediate response to customer service requests.  She works closely with Holly and Riley to coordinate educational programs and provide clients with valuable services information.  Tammy has 14 years of experience in marketing, sales and customer service.

To contact Holly, Riley or Tammy, call the Affinity Occupational Health office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or