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1341 Clark Street
Cambridge, OH 43725


News & Events

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Healthy Guernsey Aims to Improve Health of Local Residents

healthyguernseyCambridge, OH – Southeastern Med recently took a leadership role in improving the health of Guernsey County residents by bringing together area health professionals and agencies to form the community action coalition Healthy Guernsey.

Healthy Guernsey, which has been meeting monthly since January, is focusing on providing residents with easy access to health and wellness information, initiating a health and fitness campaign, developing community partnerships, and forming support connections to engage local residents in healthy living initiatives.

The formation of Healthy Guernsey comes on the heels of the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which found a number of health problems in the county are linked to lifestyle related disease and health risks. Those risks include smoking, lack of exercise and being overweight.

  • 17% of residents lack health insurance
  • 21% of adults smoke, with 30% of mothers reporting that they smoked at the time of their child’s birth
  • 36% of residents are obese
  • Guernsey County ranks 81st out of 88 counties in Ohio for healthy behaviors

With the CHNA revealing that many of Guernsey County’s health problems are higher than state and national averages, Southeastern Med decided to include community leaders in developing the pathways that Healthy Guernsey will take to help residents.

“Southeastern Med realizes that this is a bigger problem than what we can solve alone,” said Shelly Thompson, Director of Wellness Resources at Southeastern Med, “so we elected to invite individuals from various community organizations to come together to tackle unhealthy behaviors and chronic disease in our county.”

Healthy Guernsey Team Members

  • Shelly Thompson, Southeastern Med Director Wellness Resources
  • Annie Lehner, Southeastern Med Dietitian
  • Kathy Fetzer, RN, Southeastern Med Community Health Educator
  • Debbie Stillion, Southeastern Med Wellness Resources Coordinator
  • Jim Cowin, Cambridge YMCA
  • Randy Cochrane, Muskingum Valley Health Center
  • Jen Howell, RN, Cambridge School Nurse
  • Kathy Jamiel, Guernsey County Job and Family Services
  • Stephanie Laube, United Way Guernsey and Noble Counties
  • Jeffrey Arnold, Area Agency on Aging 9
  • Angela Gray, Health Department
  • Kylee Quinn, Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center

Put Your Best Fork Forward During National Nutrition Month


Crash diets, elimination diets and the latest juice craze may lead to some weight loss, but making lasting, long-term improvements to your overall wellbeing requires a commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors, with an emphasis on sustainable, enjoyable eating practices and daily physical activity.

Eating a variety of healthful foods helps reduce the risk of preventable chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Your healthy eating plan should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy and lean proteins.

The Wellness Department at Southeastern Med recommends taking things one forkful at a time – starting with small changes to your eating habits. Try swapping your morning glass of OJ or apple juice for a serving fresh orange or apple slices. Whole fresh fruits offer added nutritional value, without the added sugar that processed or packaged fruit juices contain.

Remember though, how much you eat is just as important as what you eat, and there’s a difference between portion size and serving size.

Portion size is the amount of food on your plate, like a 12-ounce steak. Serving size is the amount of food in a single serving. Nutrition facts are based on serving size. The USDA recommended serving size for protein is about 6 ounces, so that 12-ounce portion of steak on your plate counts as two servings.

One small change you and your family can make is tailoring your portion sizes to the serving sizes recommended in the USDA Dietary Guidelines. Ellen Ratliff (MS, RD, LD), a Community Dietitian at Southeastern Med, suggests following this simple template for your meals:

  • 1-2 palms of lean protein
  • 1-2 fists of non-starchy vegetables
  • 1-2 cupped handfuls of healthy carbohydrates
  • 1-2 thumbs of heart-healthy fats

“This [template] allows me a huge amount of flexibility and helps me feel good about the food choices I make at every meal,” she says. Check out the new MyPlate illustration, an update on the old food pyramid, which focuses on creating balanced meals with a variety of food types.

Shelly Thompson (MS, RD, LD), Director of Wellness Resources at Southeastern Med, finds it helpful to plan her meals in advance. “When I have downtime, I’ll jot down meal ideas for the coming week, find any recipes I want to use, and make a shopping list,” she says. “That way, when I get to the grocery store, I know exactly what I need and I’m not tempted to add extra items to my cart.”

Sunday mornings, Thompson says, are reserved for meal prep. “I cut up vegetables, separate proteins into individual serving sizes, and portion out all the other ingredients I need for that week’s meals. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and prepping makes it easy to put a balanced meal together quickly.”

Exercise is also an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Ratliff and Thompson both suggest scheduling time to work out like you would any other appointment.

"You may start your day with the intention of hitting the gym after work, but it’s easy to shrug it off if you have a long or busy day,” Ratliff notes. Thompson nods in agreement, adding “scheduling time in my day to exercise helps me stay accountable to myself.”

Try out the USDA’s SuperTracker, which helps you plan, analyze and monitor your diet and physical activity. To get a little extra movement in your day park further away from the entrance and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Southeastern Med is celebrating National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Day (March 8th) by featuring delicious and nutritious salads, custom-designed by our Registered Dietitians, in the hospital cafeteria. They’re offering a Buy 5, Get 1 Free special on these featured salads, as well as discounts on items from the Fit Fare menu. Other fun happenings this month include:

  • Make-your-own oatmeal and yogurt topping bars, which will alternate during breakfast hours, to add a greater variety of fruits, nuts, flavor and fiber
  • A Hydration Challenge competition with other local companies to encourage healthy beverage selection and striving for the recommended 8 or more glasses of water per day

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about diets, food, and nutrition, so if you’re serious about embracing a healthy lifestyle, talk with a Registered Dietitian at Southeastern Med. As experts in food and nutrition, they can help you take the right steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Contact the Southeastern Med Wellness Department at 740-435-2946 to schedule a nutrition consultation.



What Is Colorectal Cancer?

colon cancer at a glance

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel, and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

Screening Saves Lives

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re age 50 or older, getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life!

Here’s how:

  • Colorectal cancer usually starts as precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there.
  • Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
  • Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
  • Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Who Gets Colorectal Cancer?

Both men and women can develop colorectal cancer, and while it can occur in young people, it’s most often found in those older than 50.

Your risk of colon cancer increases with age, but there are other risk factors as well.

Are You at High Risk?

Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:

  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
  • You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.

People at high risk for colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent testing.

Download this PDF from Screen for Life to learn more about colorectal cancer, and talk to your doctor about when to begin your regular colorectal cancer screenings and how often you should have them.

Southeastern Med Opens Outpatient Lab Draw Station

OP Lab sizedCambridge, OH February 23, 2017 – Southeastern Med is making it easier for you to get the care you need, close to home, with the opening of their new, outpatient lab draw station.

Conveniently located across the street from the hospital, the outpatient lab draw station will open on March 8, 2017. Area patients who have a lab work order signed by a physician or other licensed healthcare provider will now be able to get their labs drawn easily, without having to go into the main hospital building.

The staff at the new lab location includes highly trained, experienced phlebotomists who specialize in safe, clean and professional specimen collection services for adult and pediatric patients.

Southeastern Med’s new outpatient lab draw station will also offer convenient hours: Monday – Friday from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Appointments are not required, but patients should check with their insurance carrier regarding coverage for outpatient laboratory services.

An Ounce of Prevention for a Healthy Future

March is Colorectal Cancer Month

supercolon resizedIf you could predict the future, you’d take steps to prevent accidents and other bad things from happening, right?

You don’t need a crystal ball to know that colon cancer is the third-most diagnosed cancer and the third-leading cause of cancer death, or that regular screening and testing can help prevent it.

Treatment advances and an increased awareness of the importance of regular screenings have contributed to a decline in colorectal cancer mortality rates over the last 20 years, yet 41% of people aged 50 and older aren’t getting tested in accordance with current screening guidelines. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be 95,520 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed in 2017.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Southeastern Med reminds you to make your health a top priority by being proactive and informed.

The colon, also known as the large intestine, is the last section of the digestive tract. The main function of the colon is to store unabsorbed food products prior to their being eliminated from the body.

A colonoscopy is a screening exam that is utilized to detect colon cancer and precancerous polyps. Polyps are abnormal growths on the inside lining of the intestine that vary in size and shape. The majority are not cancerous but may become malignant in the future.

The purpose of a colonoscopy is to allow the physician, or gastroenterologist, to examine the inside of the large intestine. A colonoscopy enables the physician to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, and bleeding. It also enables physicians to diagnose colon cancer at the earliest, most treatable stages.

Most individuals are encouraged to have a colonoscopy beginning at age 50 and repeated once every 10 years depending upon individual needs and symptoms that could indicate colon health problems. Symptoms of colon problems could include bleeding, pain, and changes in bowel habits, such as chronic diarrhea.

The physicians at Southeastern Med use additional cutting-edge technology to deliver high-quality healthcare to our patients. In 2016 alone, the dedicated physicians at Southeastern Med preformed 1,839 colonoscopy procedures.

Michael D. Sarap MD, FACS, surgeon at Southeastern Ohio Physicians, Inc. and Southeastern Med medical staff member stated, "The Southeastern Med Endoscopy unit staff and the surgeons performing the colonoscopy procedures continuously measure, document and track several data points during and after each colonoscopy and compare these metrics to national benchmarks on a quarterly basis. This process is just another example of the commitment to quality exemplified by the Southeastern Med Cancer Program."
In 2005, Southeastern Med began an initiative, now known as the Tina Kiser Cancer Concern Coalition (TKC3), to provide education and free colonoscopy services to our local community. We’ve provided 500 colonoscopies to individuals from 16 Ohio counties through this program. Most of the procedures were totally free—including the physician, hospital and pathology fees.

Surgeons who have donated their time and skill include: Dr. Flanigan, Dr. Leslie, Dr. O’Hanlon, Dr. Paulick and Dr. Sarap. Becky Wheeler, former cancer registry manager at Southeastern Med and current TKC3 member, has also played an integral role in this community service.

These efforts resulted in a 28% increase in colonoscopies by the end of 2008, community polyp detection has increased by 65% since the beginning of the taskforce efforts, and the total number of diagnosed colorectal cancer cases rose 50% in one year.

Our community has, on average, 30 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed annually. Within the first three years of the taskforce the number of late stage cancers fell significantly, and Guernsey County improved to the best statistical category instead of the worst in the state of Ohio. Since then, our statistics have shown a consistent decrease in late-stage diagnoses. Metrics for most years were in the 40% range, but 2011 numbers revealed an incredibly low 29% late-stage diagnoses and the 2013 rate was even lower!

After nearly 12 years of effort in education, screening and prevention, we’re thrilled to announce that the total number or colon cancer diagnoses has dropped to 25 with only eight late-stage cases.

And we’re still continuing our efforts! The taskforce received additional grant money from the American Cancer Society for multiple educational initiatives, which included providing 200 primary care physicians in Southeastern Ohio with a flash drive containing an educational presentation on colorectal cancer and the benefits of appropriate screening. Colonoscopy numbers continue to trend upward as do the numbers of polyps being removed in comparison to 2005 and before the colorectal cancer taskforce began its work.

Our efforts and results have been recognized at local, state and national gatherings. We’ve presented on our initiatives and data at the Commission on Cancer National Meeting, a Colon Cancer Conference at the CDC, the Community Cancer Control in Appalachia Conference, the Prevent Cancer Foundation national meeting and at several state meetings. We’ve also received an American Hospital Association Charitable Services Award of Excellence, a National Colon Cancer Roundtable Blue Star Award and an 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award, and our program has received the sole Excellence in Mission Award from the East-Central Division of the American Cancer Society for the last three years.

The primary care community and the public have responded dramatically to our efforts to increase screening. The educational component to any screening program must be complemented by competent care during the screening process and advanced treatment of those individuals found to have colon cancer as a result of the program. Our Cancer Program has earned American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Accreditation for over 20 years. We also monitor quality assurance benchmarks that include withdrawal time during colonoscopy, adenoma detection rates at colonoscopy, appropriate follow-intervals for colonoscopy, number of lymph nodes harvested at colon resection and percentage of colon cancer patients that receive appropriate adjuvant or neo-adjuvant radiation and chemotherapy. Our CoC benchmarks regularly exceed local, state and national levels.

This focus on quality care has resulted in local five-year survival rates that equal or surpass the majority of CoC facilities and 96% of all colon cancer patients choose to remain in our community for their care.

Clearly, there has been a definite improvement in awareness of colorectal cancer screening and real progress in decreasing late stage diagnoses in our small community. These improvements have been accomplished with minimal resources, without governmental funding, by fostering relationships with primary care providers and the American Cancer Society. Our hope is that our modest efforts can be expanded to state and national initiatives that will increase education to the public and to primary care physicians about the value of screening, mandate screening coverage by insurers, and results in funding to provide screening and diagnostic colonoscopies to at-risk populations. Each of these initiatives would benefit the total population in preventing many colorectal cancer cases and limiting most to early stage and easily treated cancers.

If you are under the age of 50 and have a family history of colon cancer, you are highly encouraged to have a colonoscopy ten years prior to when your family member was diagnosed. Regardless of your family medical history, it is recommended that you visit your physician to learn more about colorectal cancer screening options around age 50.

Since 1952, Southeastern Med, an independent community hospital, has offered high-quality health care services to our community and continuously invested in facility and technology improvements. We are more than just a community hospital. We’re your destination for quality, affordable medical care, and we’re in this together. For more information, visit or


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