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Doc Talk

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This week's Doc Talk shares some of the ways you can take better care of your heart through practical steps toward prevention.

As Greater Cincinnati’s Heart Hospital, it is our responsibility to take care of all the hearts of Cincinnati, even before they are sick. See, even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women, it is also very preventable.

You likely won’t find two cardiologists more passionate about keeping you out of their office than Wojciech Mazur, MD, and Joel Forman, MD, of The Christ Hospital- Heart & Vascular Center.

Both have dedicated their careers to preventive medicine and truly believe that their patients are in control of their own destinies, and that changing the way one lives can have a huge impact on one’s health.

We sat down with both to talk about the most important advice they give their patients within these three health-forward categories: Diet, Physical Activity and Emotional Well Being.


Dr. Mazur says:

  1. It’s not the bad food that will kill you. It’s the LACK of good food that  will kill you. If you incorporate these good foods  everyday, you will live longer and happier:
  2. Fruits: 1 medium sized  fruit (baseball size), 1h cup  juice, or 1h cup of cooked or chopped fruit.
  3. Vegetables: 1 cup of raw vegetables, 1f2 cup of vegetable juice or 1h cup of cooked vegetables.
  4. Grains:1f2 cup of cooked rice,  pasta or cereal, 1 slice  of bread.
  5. Meat: 2 to 3 oz cooked lean meat or fish
  6. Did I mention nuts? Eat Nuts! One handful of any nuts a day can cut risk of stroke by 50%.
  7. The  three beverages I get asked about  the most are water, coffee and alcohol. Here’s some  strong stats on each.
  8. Water. Water is best. It keeps your tem­perature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and oth­er sensitive tissue and gets rid of waste. IOM liberally recommends a total daily water intake of 15 cups for the average male and 11 cups  for the average female.
  9. Coffee: Rejoice! Women who drink 3 or more cups of coffee a day, decrease their risk of death from  heart disease by 22% and stroke by 30%.
  10. Alcohol. No comment. Too many breweries around here.

Dr. Forman says:

  1. Limit the amount of processed foods you eat.
  2. Make sure you mostly eat  things that come from the earth.
  3. If it didn’t come from the earth, make sure it had a mother that had either feathers or gills.


Dr. Mazur says:

  1. Stand up. A 2015 analysis concluded that prolonged sitting is associated with higher mortality rates from cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is regardless of activity level!
  2. Add resistance training to your routine. Adding resistance training to a low calorie diet led  to higher weight loss than cutting calories with aerobic exercise.
  3. Get moving! 30 minutes of exercise a day (including household chores) decreases all cause mortality by 39% and  prevents 60% of dementia.

Dr. Forman says:

  1. Always  strive to sit less.
  2. Tell yourself to “move more.”
  3. Do something for its own sake to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness for 30 minutes at least five times per week.

How to get started

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big im­ pact when it comes to heart health. But getting started doesn’t always feel  that simple. That’s why The Christ Hospital Health Network, Dr. Mazur and Dr. Forman have resources to share with you along  every step of the way.


Dr. Mazur says:

  1. Live with purpose. Higher purpose in life plays an important role in protecting against heart attacks and strokes. Each purpose in life unit increase was associated with a 27% reduction in risk of heart attack.
  2. Get a dog. Owning  a dog reduces the risk of death by 21%, and for  people with  coronary disease, 35%!
  3. Getting mad more than 5 times a day in­creases the risk of heart attack and stroke in a healthy individual by 158 times compared to 4 times for a heavy smoker over a 10 year period. Instead, use one of these relaxation techniques when you feel anger coming on: Tai Chi, meditation, yoga, transcendental meditation, contemplative prayer, and coloring books.

Dr. Forman says:

  1. Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
  2. Consider taking up meditation, yoga, or practicing mindfulness.
  3. Be with people you enjoy and do things that you love.

Don’t forget, throughout the month of February, we are part­nering with gyms and studios around the Tristate to provide free pop-up cardio fitness classes – so there’s something for everyone! Join us for one or all the classes:

Monday, Feb. 24,6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Christ Hospital Joint & Spine Center -get your groove on at the Cardia Party-0**, an event that’s one-part workout and one part dance party, led by Curvy Cardia owner Morgan Owens, and everybody’s favorite celebrity deejay, DJ Etrayn!

Friday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.- noon

North College Hill Rec Center- join heart survivor and instruc­tor Nancy Wilkins  for a fun and upbeat line dancing class that willbe sure to get that heart rate going.

We also we encourage you to participate in this years Heart Mini Marathon Walk on Sunday,  March 22, 2020! For any pa­tients who would like to join The Christ Hospital team, please email for a patient discount code to use at registration.

About the doctors:

Wojciech Mazur, MD is a second-generation cardiolo­gist and has been in practice with The Christ Hospital Physicians- Heart & Vascular since 2002. He specializ­ es in cardiac imaging (echocardiography, nuclear car­ diology, cardiac magnetic resonance, cardiac computed tomography) and clinical cardiology. He has published more than 170 research articles, books, abstracts and book chapters in the field of cardiology. Dr. Mazur sees his patients as people, not as a disease or a problem. He focuses on treating each patient well, and with dignity and respect, while learning their stories and under­ standing how each story ties into their health.

Joel Forman, MD, FACC, FASPC has been in prac­tice with The Christ Hospital Physicians – Heart & Vascular since 2005. He is originally from the Cleveland area. His practice interests include pre­ventive cardiology, echocardiography, and stress testing. He stresses the importance of a healthlifestyle in the prevention and treatment of car­diovascular disease. His personal interests include his family, fitness, athletics, music and comedy.

Resource: In 2018, Dr. Mazur and his Re­search Assistant, Stephanie Ambach, created Your Heart Manual, a short book featuring easy-to-understand and  actionable sugges­tions to modify your lifestyle, backed by more than 500 research articles from the past decade. You can  download a free copy online at www.YourHeartManual.Org.

Resource: Dr. Forman is the medical direc­tor of the Preventive Cardiology Program at The Christ Hospital. Through this  unique program, patients work with a team of car­ diology  specialists to make tailored lifestyle changes that will prevent heart disease or stop  its progression, while improving over­ all wellness. Each preventive cardiology care plan includes a nutritional strategy and focused exercise program-both customized for  your individual needs and goals. Our services also include stress testing and peripheral vascular disease rehabilitation.

To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call513-206-1320.

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It builds muscle, kills fat, and sculpts the body with no downtime. Watch for more as we learn more about EMSCULPT from Dr. Gupta at the Dermatology Laser & Vein Center.

We’re talking EMSCULPT with Dr. Gupta from The Dermatology Laser & Vein Center! Keep watching to see more and find additional information at

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We chat with a local doctor about a popular non-invasive fat reduction treatment with little to no downtime. Click to learn more and watch a live look of a procedure in action.

Have a stubborn spot that won’t budge even with diet and exercise? We chat with Dr. Gupta at The Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center and get a live look at CoolSculpting – a non-invasive fat reduction treatment with little to no downtime. Learn more at

Watch the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at CoolSculpting:

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As a disabled widower with a child at home, Robert Duncan says making ends meet has been very difficult. But in March, he learned about a free healthcare clinic that had just opened at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, near his Newport home. Today, both his health and his attitude are faring much better.


“Before, what I had been doing is just really struggling,” he recalled, as a St. Elizabeth nurse checked his blood pressure one May evening.


“But, I’ve been coming here for three months and I feel better now. The nurses here have been excellent. They go a little bit past just doing their jobs here. They really show me consideration and humanity and compassion. A lot of people wouldn’t do that.”


Perhaps “a lot of people wouldn’t do that,” but the two St. Elizabeth Healthcare nurses who started this clinic in March said that after they saw the need for the service firsthand, they almost had to do what it took to make it a reality.


St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas Transitional Care Unit Nurse, Tracy Hagood, and Unit Nurse Manager, Lisa Bowman, decided to create the free clinic after they volunteered at the Court Place church’s weekly food pantry last year and noticed that many of those showing up for food, also desperately needed medical care.


“People at the pantry — once they found out we were nurses — started asking us all kinds of questions about their medical care and their medications because most of these people don’t have physicians and they needed attention,” said Ms. Bowman. “So, you know, we just looked at each other and were like, ‘Now we know why we’re doing this.'”


“It was just like the light switch went on,” Ms. Hagood added. “It was obvious what we needed to do. You know, sometimes you start seeing things and then you can’t turn a blind eye to it anymore. It’s just there.”


A weekly gift of health to the needy
Now, less than a year after the two nurses had that initial revelation, the free clinic is “there” every Wednesday evening in a small basement room the church graciously devoted to the effort. By late spring, 23 St. Elizabeth Healthcare nurses had also joined the effort, volunteering to serve a few hours each month.


Each week, the nurses descend on the room, stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs in hand, to treat whatever ailments those in need bring their way. By late spring, about a dozen people were showing up each Wednesday night to be seen for everything from blood sugar monitoring, to more urgent concerns that mandated trips to the nearest Emergency Department.


The free clinic is operated in conjunction with the church’s weekly food pantry, which serves hundreds of local needy families each month. As the two nurses predicted, the food pantry has supplied a steady stream of clients to the clinic, many of whom have neglected their health for a while and are very sick. One goal of the clinic is to turn that trend around. “Most of the people who come in are from Newport and Bellevue … and there’s a certain population who are living under the (Taylor-Southgate) bridge,” Ms. Hagood said.


“We just saw one man from down there who had a wound on his foot. … We also see a lot of patients here who have been on our unit. Some of them are congestive heart failure patients, and we’re hoping if they start coming here and doing more of the things they need to stay healthy, it will decrease the chances they’ll be readmitted or have to go to the Emergency Department. If they come here, we can really help people stay on track.”


That’s exactly what Newport resident, Sandra Graham was trying to do when she visited the clinic in May. She said she hopes her regular trips there for blood pressure monitoring will help fend off another major health crisis.


“I just want to make sure the medicine is still working,” said Ms. Graham. “By coming here, I keep updated on everything so I know I’m alright, because I don’t want to have another stroke. … I’m also telling my friends about this because a lot of them don’t go to the doctor because they don’t have doctors.”


Clinic nurses work hard to connect patients with sources of regular medical care, including a primary care physician who can keep track of their health long-term. In fact, Ms. Bowman and Ms. Hagood hope to recruit a physician, a nurse practitioner, a dentist and a few other health professionals to join their efforts at the clinic in the months ahead.


Few doubt that these two determined nurses will fail to attract such talent to their efforts. After all, this time last year there was no clinic and people like Robert Duncan were going without the medical care they needed because they simply couldn’t afford it. But, thanks to the extraordinary vision and energy of two St. Elizabeth nurses, Duncan’s not only healthier today, but so is the community he lives in.


“I don’t know if I can put it into words why I do this,” said Ms. Bowman. “It’s just that I think, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ After all, I’m fortunate to have what I have in my life, so why wouldn’t I help somebody else out?”


“This,” says Ms. Hagood, “is what we’re called to do as human beings and as nurses – to care for people – and not just when we’re clocked in. This is really the true fabric of our profession.”

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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When it comes to a long and vital life, your actions are at least as important as your genes. Do you smoke? Eat healthfully? Stay active and maintain your recommended weight?


HEALS is an acronym for the following four major factors that influence our health and happiness:


Heredity: This represents the genetics our parents passed to us. While we can’t change our genes, we can affect the way they impact our lives.


Environment: Once we’re adults, we can make our own choices about our footprint on the earth. Will we allow cigarettes in our homes, regularly change our air filters, and eat, live and vote in ways that protect the planet?


Age: Many health factors change as we age, including the strength of our bones, the vitality of our organs, and the cumulative effects of choices we’ve made, like eating poorly and excessive drinking.


Lifestyle: Lifestyle choices— from the diets we choose to the homes we live in — affect all the other factors that determine our longevity, health and happiness.


Sex/Gender: Men and women face specific risks and benefits purely due to their gender, including childbirth and prostate disease.


Twelve tips for better health this year Now that you have an easy way to remember the factors influencing your health, make a New Year’s resolution to take steps to positively influence those factors, including:


1 Don’t smoke.
2 Build physical and mental activities into each day.
3 Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, avoid fat and sugar, control portions and drink water.
4 Take a daily multivitamin, including calcium and vitamin D.
5 Maintain a healthful weight and body shape.
6 Challenge your mind.
7 Build a strong social network.
8 Learn to manage stress.
9 Floss, brush and see your dentist regularly.
10 Know your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
11 Obtain recommended screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies.
12 Consult a healthcare professional before combining vitamins and herbs with medications.


If you need help to implement healthful changes this year, please call the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Holistic Center at (859) 301-5959 for everything from acupuncture for smoking cessation to yoga and massage.


Written by: By Toni Schklar, St. Elizabeth Holistic Health Center Manager.

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.


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Mayo Clinic. The name is synonymous with the very pinnacle of quality healthcare. Indeed, U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks the prestigious organization as one of the top two hospitals in the country. And now that knowledge and expertise is available to you through St. Elizabeth Healthcare.


On Nov. 14, St. Elizabeth Healthcare became part of the esteemed Mayo Clinic Care Network. The selection for this prized healthcare position did not come easily. Mayo is the best, and as such, it only affiliates with the best. But, in Greater Cincinnati — and the commonwealth of Kentucky — Mayo has clearly concluded that St. Elizabeth is the best and exemplifies the kind of quality for which Mayo Clinic has been come to be known.


Now, the topnotch physicians from St. Elizabeth have direct access to the topnotch people from Mayo Clinic to offer patients what is unequivocally some of the best healthcare in the country. The physicians of St. Elizabeth are now working closely with national experts to make the very best decisions about patient care every single day.


Q: What is Mayo Clinic? And what is the Mayo Clinic Care Network?
A: Mayo Clinic is a non-profit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of “the needs of the patient come first.”


Mayo Clinic operates its own facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and includes more than 3,800 physicians and scientists who treat approximately 1,113,000 patients annually. Mayo Clinic created the Mayo Clinic Care Network to extend its style of collaborative care. Within the Mayo Clinic Care Network, like-minded organizations across the country share a common commitment to improve healthcare delivery in their own communities through high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based medical care, as exemplified by the Mayo Clinic.


Q: Why is St. Elizabeth collaborating with Mayo Clinic to improve care in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky?
A: The experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Mayo Clinic know that patients prefer to obtain their healthcare close to home. That’s why, in keeping with the network’s primary goal, St. Elizabeth will continue to deliver topnotch care locally, but now augment that care, and benefit patients, by working closely with the experts of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, as well.


Q: How is St. Elizabeth actually bringing Mayo Clinic’s expertise to patients?
A: As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, the first in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, St. Elizabeth is developing close relationships with Mayo Clinic experts through direct collaboration and information-sharing tools, at no cost to the patient, including:

  • eConsults that allow St. Elizabeth physicians to connect electronically with Mayo Clinic specialists to get focused, timely input on specific patient care questions. .Through eConsults, Mayo’s leading experts in every medical specialty are available to evaluate a patient’s records, allowing you and your physician to make the best treatment decisions without traveling to a Mayo Clinic location.
  • AskMayoExpert, which is an online point-of-care tool designed and used by Mayo Clinic physicians. Through AskMayoExpert, St. Elizabeth doctors can instantly connect with disease management, care guidelines and treatment recommendations on hundreds of medical conditions at any hour of the day or night.


Q: How do patients access Mayo expertise from St. Elizabeth?
A: Through the Mayo Clinic Care Network tools mentioned, and ongoing health care consulting to improve operational and patient care excellence, St. Elizabeth is building a closer working relationship with Mayo that will benefit patients and community health. For specific questions on care, you are invited to talk with your St. Elizabeth physician.


For more information, go online to for detailed information about the Mayo Care Clinic Network and its many benefits to you.


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Spice and bath salts―those are the innocent-sounding names of two very addictive and dangerous substances that drug treatment professionals at St. Elizabeth say are becoming big problems among local youth. Below is information on the drugs, signs of their abuse and where to turn for help if you believe someone you love has a drug or alcohol problem.


“Spice, K2, fake marijuana, skunk or moon rocks”
Those are just a few of the street names for a frightening drug that treatment professionals are seeing increasingly used by young patients coming into St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Drug and Alcohol Treatment. Regardless of the name, the drug is essentially the same: dried, shredded plant material, which has been treated with what is presumed to be a number of mind-altering chemical additives.


Though illegal, the substance is reportedly very easy to find and purchase locally. Which is evidenced by the number of users who have ended up in local emergency rooms suffering from violent seizures, debilitating headaches, light sensitivity and other troubling symptoms. But, even more disconcerting is the fact that this drug can leave lasting, sometimes debilitating effects on its users.


At St Elizabeth, we’ve seen firsthand how this substance can wreak havoc on the lives of those who use it. In one example, a patient came to us for treatment after a four-month-long hospitalization at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. That hospitalization was necessitated by a prolonged episode of smoking spice. This young patient had reportedly been left in a complete stupor by the drug, at one point, and had to relearn how to perform all the standard activities of daily living.


In fact, recent studies indicate that spice abuse can lead to sudden, severe mental illness, which can even become long-term in certain vulnerable people. This fact is very troubling, especially given that spice seems to be so appealing among teens and young adults.


Earlier this year, the St. Elizabeth IOP staff polled our teen-age patients to get a read on the drug’s popularity and prevalence locally. More than 75 percent of our young patients admitted using spice―often in an attempt to get “cheat” drug screens required by their parents or court officials.


Almost all the users reported intense “highs” from smoking spice, as well as severe withdrawal, including headaches, paranoia, increased fighting and black-outs. In fact, many patients said withdrawal―including extreme paranoia, nausea and disconnection to reality―was so difficult that they wanted and needed to continue using spice in order to manage its painful effects.


Though the substance appears to be more popular among youngsters, adults in St. Elizabeth’s Adult Dual Diagnosis treatment program also reported using spice. But, these older users seemed to know more about how harmful the drug can be and, perhaps as a result, used it for shorter periods than our younger patients.


Older patients in our program were, in fact, more likely to use the drug once and stop. Regretfully, many of the younger patients said they had simply pressed through the considerable discomforts of withdrawal and continued use.


Bath Salts: A “Legal Poison”
The synthetic stimulant, known on the street as “bath salts,” is relatively new to the recreational drug trade. So new, in fact, that the legislation needed to ban it is still being created. As a result, this dangerous, mind-altering chemical is now being sold legally on the internet and at some drug paraphernalia stores.


Bath salts are very easy to find and buy, especially online. But, they’re not cheap. As a result, the drugs are often mixed with other substances and sold at a lower price, making them more attainable and affordable. The drug’s easy accessibility is specifically disconcerting when you consider that knowledge is limited about its precise chemical composition, how it’s produced, and its short- and long-term effects. Some of the drugs sold on the street have later been found to contain potentially lethal rat poison. Therefore, it’s critically important that everyone, particularly parents, learn about the drug and its dangers.


We do know, for instance, that bath salts often contain a chemical cocktail that simulates amphetamines, like methedrone and mephedrone. These drugs act as stimulants on the brain, making them highly addictive and prone to abuse. In fact, among drug abusers, these products are often called or sold as “cocaine substitutes.”


Sadly, the prevalence of these drugs appears to be growing, from use by mostly suburban young adults, to newfound popularity in both urban and rural communities. Likewise, its use has increased among preteens and older adults. Despite the warning label reading: Not intended for human consumption, bath salt packaging is often appealing to youngsters, with names like Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Zoom, White Lightening or Ocean Snow. Some users report feeling euphoric, while others say they feel more alert, confident and talkative.


Along with these “highs,” however, most users often report heart palpitations, blurred vision, hot flashes and muscle tension. Doctors and clinicians say use of bath salts can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions. There may also be nausea or vomiting, resulting in decreased appetite. And then there’s the possibility of addiction. Though little evidence suggests bath salts are physically addictive, users say it’s tough to stop once they’ve started. Indeed, long-term use may result in psychological dependence.


The good news is that the overall prevalence of abuse of this drug is still relatively low. But, it’s important that the public be informed about the drugs’ presence and its true effects to reverse the current rise. So, while it’s true that bath salts have been known to provoke extremely violent behavior in some people―like that relayed in some recent national media coverage―these are extreme cases, and should not be used as reference points.


We hope the information in this article will help you better identify whether someone you know or love has a problem with spice, bath salts or any other drug. In those cases, we hope you will seek help as quickly as possible. In case of emergency, call 911 or go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department. In less urgent circumstances, where you think you or someone you love needs help, please call the professionals at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Intensive Outpatient Program for Drug and Alcohol Treatment at the number listed above for more information and support.


Call (859) 212-5384 to contact St. Elizabeth Intensive Outpatient Program for Drug and Alcohol Treatment.


Written by: Charlene Burlew & Tom Garamy, St. Elizabeth Healthcare―Chemical Dependency Therapists.
Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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The grass is turning a crispy brown, the kids are growing tired of the pool and the stores are brimming with notebooks and calculators.


School is officially just around the corner. Are your youngsters ready? Vaccinations, physicals, eye exams and even dental check-ups are required for many youngsters, depending on their age and grade level. That’s why we’ve compiled this clip-out list to help you know exactly what your child needs by which grade.


But, make your appointments as soon as possible because physicians’ days fill up very quickly at this time of year. And if you still need to find a doctor, don’t hesitate to contact St. Elizabeth Physicians for referral to a great physician close to your home.


Vaccinations:Who Needs What and When
The following vaccines are required for a child’s entrance into child care centers, certified family child care homes, preschool, or Head Start:
• Diphtheria (DTaP)
• Tetanus (DTaP)
• Pertussis (DTaP)
• Haemophilus influenza b (Hib)
• Hepatitis B
• Measles (MMR)
• Mumps (MMR)
• Rubella (MMR)
• Polio (IPV)
• Streptococcal pneumoniae
• Chickenpox (Varicella)


To enter kindergarten, children must have at least:
• Three to four doses of Hib (depends on brand)
• Two doses of varicella (or have had the illness)
• Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella
• Three doses of Hepatitis B
• Four doses of polio
• Five doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis


To enter sixth grade, children must have:
• Booster of tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
• Meningococcal vaccine.
• Varicella Booster (if child hasn’t already had two doses or the illness itself)


Compiled by Jeffrey Janning, M.D. and Lesley Weghorn, M.D. with the St. Elizabeth Physicians Pediatrics office, Crestview Hills (859) 341-3383. To find a St. Elizabeth Physicians doctor near you, call: (859) 859-301-DOCS (3627).


Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, paid for St. Elizabeth Healthcare.