Sherry Hay: Hometown Hero

Sherry Hay is Wednesday’s Hometown Hero.

Sherry is an adjunct assistant professor with UNC’s Department of Family Medicine.  She works to help people get the health insurance they need and want.  Specifically, she helps people understand the Affordable Care Act and what it can do for them.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/sherry-hay-hometown-hero

Audra Campbell: Hometown Hero

Audra Campbell is Thursday’s Hometown Hero.

Audra is a supervisor in the hospital laboratory system of UNC Family Medicine.

Her laboratory averages about 1,500 blood draws a month and with the recent expansion at UNC Family Medicine, she expects that number to increase.

The vision of the UNC Department of Family Medicine is to promote the health of the people of North Carolina and the nation through leadership and innovation in clinical practice, medical education, research and community service.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/audra-campbell-hometown-hero

Dr. Sam Weir: Hometown Hero

Dr. Sam Weir is Tuesday’s Hometown Hero.

Dr. Weir played a key role in the recent redesign of the UNC Family Medicine Center.  But, he credited the entire team for all of their hard work.

The vision of the UNC Department of Family Medicine is to promote the health of the people of North Carolina and the nation through leadership and innovation in clinical practice, medical education, research and community service. As an instrument of the State of North Carolina, we are concerned with both current needs and future generations, and have a special commitment to the underserved, mothers and children, the elderly and other populations at risk in a time of rapid changes in the organization of health care.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/dr-sam-weir-hometown-hero

Dr. Christine Kistler: Hometown Hero

Dr. Christine Kistler is Monday’s Hometown Hero.

Dr. Kistler is an assistant professor in the UNC Department of Family Medicine.  Her specialty is geriatric medicine.  She is also the clinical director for their REACH program.

REACH stands for “Reaching out to Enhance the Health of Adults in their Communities and Homes.”  The program helps medically complex and at-risk adult patients who live in their homes and in assisted living communities experience a high level of care coordination for their health care services, particularly around transitions of care.

Learn more about REACH.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/dr-christine-kistler-hometown-hero

Dr. Harry Stafford: Hometown Hero

Dr. Harry Stafford is Friday’s Hometown Hero.

Dr. Stafford has been a team physician for UNC for the past 8 years.  Currently, he is the head primary-care doctor for UNC’s women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track & field, and the cross country teams.

He also sees patients from the community at UNC Family Medicine.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/dr-harry-stafford-hometown-hero

Herb Davis: Hometown Hero

Thursday’s Hometown Hero is Herb Davis.

Herb is a member of the Patient Advisory Council.  His primary goal to let doctors, nurses, and the rest of the staff at UNC Family Medicine know how the care that is offered affects patients.

He has worked to get patients individualized care at UNC Family Medicine.

About UNC Family Medicine:

“The vision of the Department of Family Medicine is to promote the health of the people of North Carolina and the nation through leadership and innovation in clinical practice, medical education, research and community service. As an instrument of the State of North Carolina, we are concerned with both current needs and future generations, and have a special commitment to the underserved, mothers and children, the elderly and other populations at risk in a time of rapid changes in the organization of health care.”

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/herb-davis-hometown-hero

Linda Myerholtz: Hometown Hero

Linda Myerholtz is Monday’s Hometown Hero.

Linda is a psychologist with UNC Family Medicine.  Almost one in five people in the United States suffer from some sort of mental illness.  One of her goals is to raise awareness because so many people are afraid to reach out for help.

She’s been here in Chapel Hill a relatively short period of time, but she’s made a tremendous impact already.

http://chapelboro.com/lifestyle/hometown-heroes/linda-myerholtz-hometown-hero

Quit Now! “Great American Smokeout” Is Thursday

Thursday marks the annual “Great American Smokeout,” a national initiative sponsored by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to try quitting – one day at a time.

The ACS holds the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November every year. It’s a one-day event: the idea is to encourage smokers to quit for 24 hours, with an eye on beginning the process of quitting for good. (The benefits of quitting are almost instantaneous: within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure begin to drop, and within 12 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. Quitting for a year cuts your excess risk of coronary heart disease in half.)

Learn more about the health benefits of quitting.

In Chapel Hill, UNC Family Medicine’s Nicotine Dependence Program is getting into the spirit: they’ll be operating a booth all day at UNC Hospitals, with information and help (plus raffle prizes!) for individuals looking to give up smoking.

Barbara Silver of UNC Family Medicine spoke with Aaron Keck on WCHL.

 

If you’re thinking of quitting, there’s also a hotline you can call: 1-800-QUIT-NOW. If you’re an Orange County resident, you can get 8 weeks of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy if you call and register to quit.

For more information on how to quit smoking, visit this page.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/quit-now-great-american-smokeout-is-thursday

UNC Infectious Disease Expert: AIDS Lessons Should Inform Ebola Strategies

A UNC expert on global health and infectious diseases said Wednesday that the lessons learned from the AIDS outbreak during the `80s should guide today’s medical community when dealing with West Africa’s Ebola crisis.

“We ought to really learn a lesson from HIV,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chancellor for Global Health at the University of North Carolina. “We’re always going to have new microorganisms causing problems. We need to know the rules.”

Cohen sat down Wednesday afternoon with Drs. Adam Goldstein and Christy Page at the UNC Family Medicine auditorium for an episode of “Your Health,” a syndicated radio program presented by UNC Family Medicine and WCHL.

The infectious diseases expert answered questions about the spread of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, and the recent outbreak of Ebola.

Cohen reminded the studio audience, many of whom were medical students, that there was a time when researchers and disease specialists didn’t even know that AIDS was caused by a virus.

Back then, he said, much of the public discussion about AIDS was based on fear, rather then focusing on what he calls “the rules” of discussing a major disease outbreak. A similar situation is happening today, he said, with Ebola.

The rules are: What caused the disease? How is it transmitted? And what are the strategies to prevent transmission?

Cohen also reminded the audience that AIDS was once a death sentence, and now, a short time later, it is not.

“So we go in a very short window of time – ’85, a brand-new bug that’s just discovered; 2015, a person detected with HIV a treated effectively, early in disease, lives a normal life span.”

Scientists know that Ebola is transmitted by exposure to bodily fluids. Cohen said they’re trying to learn more about windows of contagion, and inanimate transmissions, caused by secretions that have been lying around on fabrics and other surfaces.

He said we can expect see the fastest deployment of prevention and treatment strategies in the history of the human species. Animal tests for drug treatments look promising, he added.

Still, the medical community is bracing for this to go on for a very long time.

Ebola is now in the exponential-spread phase. The CDC estimated 1.4 million cases in West Africa, perhaps over the next few months.

“There will be cases in Europe and the United States,” said Cohen, “and they’ll be constrained.”

Like most issues in the U.S. these days, Ebola has become politicized. Goldstein asked Cohen if the idea, proposed by some politicians, to prevent travel from West Africa has any merit.

“That’s only going to work of, then, travel from West Africa to Europe is constrained,” said Cohen. “If you put a finger in the dike of airlines going one place, then people will go another place and then show up, and it’ll be less prepared.”

You can hear the entire interview on “Your Health” with Drs. Adam Goldstein and Christie Page. The episode airs Saturday at 9 a.m.; Sunday at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.; and at 6 p.m. Monday on WCHL, 97.9 FM.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/unc-infectious-disease-expert-aids-lessons-inform-ebola-strategies

Post Health Care Deadline, Officials Say More Than 7 Million Enrolled

As the March 31st deadline for Americans to enroll in health care has come and gone, early estimates indicate that more than 7 million Americans successfully signed up for coverage, despite problems and long wait times.

Sherry Hay, UNC Family Medicine Director of Community Health Initiatives, says her department and community partners have been working to help locals sign up for health care since open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act began on October 1 of last year.

On Monday, Hay says UNC Family Medicine was still taking calls and answering people’s questions about enrolling for health care.

“Through the month of March, we tried to do a variety of events— some more global type of community events with other partners such as UNC General Internal Medicine and others in the community, to scheduling patients around their medical appointments here at family medicine to see a certified application counselor,” Hay says.

The last-minute rush before Monday’s midnight deadline was a headache for some, as people reported call wait times of more than two hours and constant glitches with the HealthCare.gov website. Such problems have plagued the system since its debut.

“During these tight times when we are all dependent on the system, it is really frustrating, and people were frustrated by that when it didn’t operate as it should,” Hay says.

Still, federal officials estimated that about 2 million Americans were able to successfully enroll in the two weeks leading up to the deadline.

According to data released in February, Hay says it was estimated that more than 200,000 North Carolinians had enrolled through the federal health care exchanges.

In 2013, 1.5 million people in North Carolina were uninsured.

“It has been an interesting change in healthcare, one of the biggest in decades. There was no state agency that was necessarily deemed the agency to be responsible for the change,” Hay says.

All people, with few exceptions, are required to have health insurance. People who are already covered by health insurance through a private provider are not required to change coverage.

Citizens who can afford health insurance but did not purchase it by the March 31 deadline will be fined $95.

However, the enrollment period has been extended for those who began the application but were unable to finish.

“The Obama Administration did release that if someone had started the process by midnight [on March 31st], they will have until April 15th to complete the application process,” she says.

Now that this open enrollment period has ended, Hay says UNC Family Medicine and its partners will regroup, assess what went well and what didn’t in helping to get people signed up and focus on the next open enrollment, which begins in November and runs through February of 2015.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/post-health-care-deadline-officials-say-7-million-enrolled