Health e-News
August 2014
Announcing Expanded Employer Solutions Department
The Importance of Self-Care
Workplace Wellness Tip: Inspirational Quotes
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Back
Why Are Vaccinations Important?
Breakfast with the Experts
Catalpa Health Expands Mental Health Services for Youth
Quick Links


What's one of the best ways we can motivate our employees to be more productive? Encourage them to take care of themselves! Healthier, less stressed employees will be happier and better able to manage their work responsibilities. 


This edition of Health e-News focuses on self-care. Why is it important? How can we achieve it? From proper rest to injury prevention to boosting morale, we're here to show you how to tend not only to your employees but also to yourself. 


And be sure to read our special announcement on your new expanded Employer Solutions Department. Some exciting changes are taking place, which will benefit you and your employees.


Please share this valuable information with your work force. Their version of today's edition is available at:       


To your good health,   


The Employer Solutions Team

Announcing Your Expanded Employer Solutions Department

We are pleased to announce that Affinity Medical Group and Ministry Medical Group have merged occupational health departments! Employer Solutions is the new integrated department responsible for the development and delivery of employer solutions, which includes a broad range of occupational/ primary health care, wellness, industrial rehab, and employee assistant services (EAP) serving businesses in the Ministry Health Care footprint.

In February 2012, Ministry Health Care (a subsidiary of Ascension Health Alliance) assumed sole sponsorship of Affinity Health System, which has resulted in enhanced and streamlined services throughout the Fox Valley and beyond. This uniting of all occupational health services is a natural progression of the strong relationship between Affinity and Ministry.

Serving you, our valued client, is our priority. With this integration, we believe that both you and your employees will benefit from our combined forces because not only are we stronger together, but with clinic locations in Menasha, Oshkosh, Stevens Point, Weston, Merrill, and Rhinelander, we can also offer you an expanded service area throughout Wisconsin. In combining our resources and expertise, together we will continue to provide your company with the most cutting edge solutions to managing your employee health, wellness and safety needs.

At the helm of this new venture is our executive director, Patti Groholski. Patti has served as the director of Ministry Medical Employer Solutions since 2008. She oversees four occupational medicine clinics, more than 20 employer-sponsored on-site locations, including on-site clinics, provider placement and Employee Assistant Services (EAP), and is responsible for the deployment of employee health tasks for Ministry Health Care.

Prior to serving as the occupational medicine director, Patti worked with Ministry Medical Group Occupational Medicine as a sales and marketing representative, and has an extensive background in the business/sales industry. Patti has a bachelor of science degree in business management.

Patti has a large family, including six children and her husband, who owns a land surveying company. She keeps very busy and enjoys watching her children play sports, especially basketball, and has an interest in special needs.

The Importance of Self-Care
By Shelly Maxwell, EAP counselor

What comes to your mind when you hear the term "self-care'? Is it a term that has meaning for you personally? What about as an employer and maintaining a healthy workforce? Do you see a role for your organization in your employees' daily self-care routines? What are some self-care practices that happen during the work day? We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, and our work routines can often impede on our self-care goals and routines.

In order to maintain a healthy workforce, your employees need to tend to their self-care on a daily basis. Usually we pay a lot of attention to our hygiene for self-care. But there is more to self-care than brushing our teeth and showering. Each day, in the Employee Assistance Program, I see clients who are struggling with the impacts of low self-care, either themselves or by coworkers around them. We all focus on providing regular maintenance to our cars, houses, lawns, even our jobs, but what about the complex organism called Employee?

Let's first think about the signs of poor self-care. How do you know when an employee is not performing well? Is it:
  • Difficulty remembering things? 
  • Irritability? 
  • Fatigue?
  • More sick time/days? 
  • Overreacting? 
  • Low mood or energy?
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs tells us that to function well we need to be sleeping, eating, moving our bodies and taking time to connect with ourselves (breathing). There are lots of articles on optimizing our self-care practice. But let's talk about the Hierarchy of Needs and review the daily basics. When employees tend to these few items, their performance will improve. 

Food/Eating: Are employees encouraged to take time to eat their regular meals? When they need a snack, are "real" (whole) foods available or just the "fake" (processed) foods found in vending machines? If fake food has taken over, can the organization consider slowly replacing some of the processed foods with healthier choices? Eating whole foods helps regulate blood sugars, which stabilizes mood, increases energy level and improves waist lines.

Sleeping: Are employees expected to work overtime and sacrifice sleep and home life for their job? Usually this starts to cut out your employees' ability to sleep and their hours spent sleeping, because they spend their sleeping hours trying to catch up on home and work responsibilities. A good sleep schedule increases your employees' ability to concentrate, stabilizes their moods and improves their immune systems.

Body movement: Body aches and pains can be caused by too little activity or excessive repetitive movement. Do you give employees an opportunity throughout the day to be active for at least 30 minutes or to switch activities? Research shows that 30 minutes of physical activity including walking three times a week assists with mood stability.

Breathing: Taking a few minutes daily to pay attention to our breathing is one of the most beneficial things we can do physiologically, psychologically and spiritually. Breathing is a free gift that keeps on giving. Mindful breathing triggers our brain to release stress fighting hormones. Mindful breathing also connects us to who we are and makes us more aware of how we are living this specific moment. Do you give your employees some breathing space each day? Just like computers, our brains need some down time to reset. Give your employees 15-20 minutes of quiet time and see how it impacts their productivity and efficiency rates.

I used to think I needed nine to ten hours of sleep to feel rested. However, when I started meditating for 10 minutes each day, I felt rested after only seven hours of sleep. Turns out that the rested feeling I needed didn't come from sleep but from meditation. Who knew that 10 minutes of silence and connecting with my breath would equate to two hours of sleep! That's five minutes of meditation per 60 minutes of sleep. Now I'm hooked and meditate 15 minutes when I wake up and before I go to sleep. It has changed my perspective on life, my interactions with others and how I manage stress.

Wellness checks: Just like the 15-point check our cars receive at oil changes, our bodies need a checkup too. Annual wellness checks are a great way to measure the body's response to daily self-care efforts. Annual checks are also a great way to identify areas that need more attention as well as goals for furthering self-care.

After reading this, do you have ideas of how your organization can assist your employees in meeting their self-care needs on a daily basis? What are some small tweaks the organization can make to contribute to your employees' basic self-care goals? We might be nervous to take more minutes out of a work day to tend to basic needs. But if we take this time, our concentration, productivity and efficiency increase; teams function better when they are rested and moods are more stable; health care costs decrease; and your customers are better served.

If you would like more support and ideas, Employer Solutions staff are trained experts in helping you reach your organization's self-care goals. We can also provide on-site annual wellness checks and set up incentives for your associates to participate in these practices. For more information about how Employer Solutions EAP can help your organization develop a happier, healthier workforce, please call Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533.
wire-bound-pad.jpg Try This! Workplace Wellness Tip:
Inspirational Quotes

By Megan Klug, wellness account specialist,

and Stefanie Armstrong, telephonic health coach


Reading inspirational quotes can help improve your stress levels by giving you a great pick-me-up immediately after reading them. You will instantly feel happier, more motivated, and inspired after reading the right quote. This, in turn, will help give you the energy that you need to get going and work towards your goals. Inspirational quotes can also help with procrastination. Reading a few inspiring quotes when you are having trouble getting motivated is the quickest and best way to beat procrastination.


Try posting inspirational quotes in high traffic areas around your facility or e-mailing them to employees on a regular basis. They may help employees reduce stress or improve their mood.


Here are some examples of great quotes:


"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." ~Albert Einstein


"Love yourself unconditionally, just as you love those closest to you despite their faults." ~Les Brown


"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Don't let anyone steal your dream. It's your dream, not theirs." ~Dan Zadra


"You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be." ~Lou Holtz


"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." ~Golda Meir


"The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others." ~Dr. Sonya Friedman


"Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face." ~Helen Keller


"Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." ~Charles Dickens


"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~ Art Linkletter

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Back
By Ted Tate, PT, CEAS

How bad is the problem?
According to a background paper on low back pain written by Beatrice Duthey, PhD, in 2013, "low back pain is considered an extremely common health problem worldwide. As part of the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2010, Expert Group showed that low back pain is among the top ten high burden diseases and injuries, with an average number of DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) higher than HIV, road injuries, tuberculosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and preterm birth complications."

Is it just in Western civilization?
She goes on to say that "low back pain occurs in similar proportions in all cultures, interferes with quality of life and work performance, and is the most common reason for medical consultations. Few cases of back pain are due to specific causes; most cases are non-specific."

How does age affect back pain? Is it just a problem for old people?
In the same paper, Duthey mentions, "The lifetime prevalence of non-specific (common) low back pain is estimated at 60-70 percent in industrialized countries (one-year prevalence 15-45 percent, adult incidence 5 percent per year). The prevalence rate for children and adolescents approaches that seen in adults. It then increases and peaks between ages 35 and 55. As the world population ages, low back pain will increase substantially due to the deterioration of disc bones."

What is "the low back" everyone is referring to?
What most people call the "lower back" is often referred to as the lumbar spine among medical practitioners. The entire spine consists of three areas: cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid-back), and lumbar spine (lower back).

Practice correct posture
Whenever possible, keep the spine in the neutral position. This means maintaining the natural "S" curve of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. The neutral position resembles the "at attention" posture such as the way soldiers stand in the military. If viewing someone standing from a sideways position, a straight line should be drawn from the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. When sitting or squatting, the straight line should be drawn from the ear, shoulder, and hip.

Activities at work and home
When sitting at a computer data terminal, the head, neck, and chin should be erect and facing straight ahead. Wrists should be straight (not extended, flexed, or side-bent) while entering data on the keyboard. The rule of thumb for correct seated posture is that elbows, hips, knees, and ankles should all be flexed to right angles while sitting in a computer chair for maximum comfort.

When lifting objects from the floor, keep the back erect and bend at the knees through the entire lift. If possible, kneeling on one knee will make it easier to maintain an erect posture while lowering your level to lift.

Strengthen core muscles
Muscles controlling joint movement are "prime movers" and "stabilizers." Prime movers are typically larger than stabilizers and perform most of the work external to the body. Stabilizers are typically smaller and help hold the joint together for proper and efficient functioning. In many cases, the joint cannot function or will be damaged without stabilizers. For example, the shoulder would fail to function properly without the rotator cuff. Therefore, in order to prevent injury to the shoulder, you should focus on strengthening the rotator cuff.

The lower back stabilizers are often called your "core" muscles, such as the abdominals. Focus on these in order to prevent injury to the lower back. Exercises may include single leg balance exercises with leg kicks, alternate arm and leg exercise while on "all fours," or contracting abdominals while lying on your back and alternatively raising arms/legs.

Stretch muscles that affect posture
In my observation, tight hamstrings affect lumbar posture the most. Hamstrings run from the pelvis to the knee. When hamstrings are tight, they have the potential of pulling your pelvis in the posterior direction with sitting and standing. Pulling the pelvis in the posterior direction flattens the back and takes the body out of neutral posture. To counteract shortening of the hamstring, perform hamstring stretches. While sitting or standing, extend the knee so the heel touches the ground. Flex the foot back towards you. Bend over at the waist while reaching your hands towards your foot. Hold for 30 seconds. Perform this exercise two to three times a day.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy back, the important thing to remember is "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"

For more information about how Employer Solutions can bring onsite rehab education and services to your organization, please call Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or Cindy Budiac at (920) 628-1533.
Why Are Vaccinations Important?
There's a lot of hype surrounding vaccines these days, and much of it is misguided. At Employer Solutions, we follow the CDC's guidelines for vaccinations--with good reason. The CDC is the nation's leading authority on disease not only in our country but around the world. Why should children and adults in American continue to be vaccinated against common diseases? Here's what the CDC says:

"The chances of your child getting a case of measles or chickenpox or whooping cough might be quite low today. But vaccinations are not just for protecting ourselves, and are not just for today. They also protect the people around us (some of whom may be unable to get certain vaccines, or might have failed to respond to a vaccine, or might be susceptible for other reasons). And they also protect our children's children and their children by keeping diseases that we have almost defeated from making a comeback. What would happen if we stopped vaccinations? We could soon find ourselves battling epidemics of diseases we thought we had conquered decades ago."

For information on recommended vaccines for children and adults, visit the CDC website:

To schedule vaccinations for yourself or your child, call your primary care provider. If you do not have an established provider, our connection specialist, Sarah Stern, will be happy to help connect you to the right provider for your needs. Call Sarah directly at (920) 628-1510.
Breakfast with the Experts

Managing Work/Life Stress
Presented by Jennifer Norden, MD, and Shelly Rutz Maxwell, MSW, LCSW

Wednesday, Sept. 10
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah

Work--and life--often present us with unexpected changes and unwelcome stressors. Work/life stressors impact us personally but also professionally. Join Jen Norden, MD, and Shelly Rutz Maxwell, MSW, LCSW,  to learn how this impacts the physiology of our bodies and minds, and what techniques can help. Mind-body practices like breathing exercises, gratitude practices, and meditation can change the brain in ways that increase resiliency, compassion, and happiness. 

Jennifer Norden, MD, medical director the Mary Kimball Anhaltzer Center for Integrative Medicine, provides integrative medicine services, including medical acupuncture and guidance on nutrition and lifestyle. She is board-certified in internal medicine. Dr. Norden earned her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed her residency at Oregon Health Sciences University. She is a graduate of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, under the guidance of Andrew Weil, MD. Dr. Norden completed her training in Medical Acupuncture for Physicians, Helms Medical Institute, University of California Los Angeles.

Shelly Rutz Maxwell, MSW, LCSW, provides counseling through Employer Solutions' Employee Assistance Program. She earned her master's degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She previously worked at the UW Oshkosh Counseling Center. Shelly draws on a wide array of work experiences to provide a holistic approach to her clients. She works to create a safe atmosphere to identify the issues creating difficulty and to figure out the best response. Shelly's specialties include mental health, family and relationship issues, grief, stress management, identity development, and life transitions.

To register for this free seminar, please contact Stefanie Armstrong at  
Catalpa Health Expands Mental Health Services for Youth

Catalpa Health is making strides to help improve access to mental health services for children, teens and their families throughout the Fox Valley. So far this year, they've opened an Access Center and a location in Oshkosh, as well as established a school-based program within the Oshkosh Area School District.

Catalpa's Access Center, located at 442 N. Westhill Boulevard in Appleton, opened April 1. The new access model is designed to work as follows:

* When clients or parents call Catalpa Health, call specialists in the Access Center assess clients through a series of questions to determine needs. If necessary, a more in-depth clinical triage is provided.

* If the client's need is urgent, an appointment is set up within 24 hours. Clients with non-emergency needs are set up with an initial assessment within five days.

* For clients and families who are receiving mental health services through Catalpa Health and who have additional needs or barriers that may affect receiving treatment, a case manager may be assigned to help with those needs and to overcome barriers.

* After a client's initial appointment, follow-up appointments are scheduled either at Catalpa Health within 10 days, or with one of Catalpa's many qualified community partners.

This time last year, the wait time for an initial assessment was around 50 days. Since opening the Access Center, Catalpa Health has been able to consistently fulfill its promise of providing initial evaluations within five days or less, or within 24 hours if the need is urgent.

Along with the addition of the Access Center and implementation of the new access model, Catalpa Health opened the doors to its Oshkosh clinic on July 1. Mental health services are offered to children, teens (ages 2 to 18) and their families by one of the three master's-level mental health therapists who work from that location. The treatment center is located at 1821 Witzel Ave.

All initial evaluations for mental health therapy take place at Catalpa Health's Access Center in Appleton. Following the evaluation, clients are matched with an appropriate mental health therapist based on specialization and timely access. Clients now have Oshkosh as a location option for receiving treatment.

The new treatment center has a "Catalpa café" look and feel and offers a juice and coffee bar free of charge with light snacks. The idea is to make clients and their families feel welcome and relaxed during appointments.

In other Oshkosh news, Catalpa Health now provides Helping Our Students Thrive (HOST), a school-based therapy program within the Oshkosh Area School District. Funding partners for HOST include Oshkosh United Way and J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc. The program was established for students who have identified barriers that prevent them from seeking mental health therapy outside of the school. These barriers include transportation issues, financial issues, parent work hours and others.

Each participating school has a lead staff member, usually a school counselor, who identifies students appropriate for referral based on behavior or other mental health concerns, as well as barriers to receiving outside services.

More on Catalpa:
Catalpa Health provides a full range of mental health services for children, teens and their families, including psychiatric evaluations, psychological and neuropsychological evaluations, mental health therapy (individual and group) and concussion testing. For more information, visit 

If you have questions related to Catalpa Health's services, if you are looking to set up a meet-and-greet or if you need posters, brochures or anything else, contact Patient Relations Specialist and Community Liaison Kristie Marx at (920) 750-7034 or 
Contact Employer Solutions

To contact an Employer Solutions sales associate, call our office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or