Why come to the dentist office? We’ll tell you.

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We have been introducing you to our dentists and now we would like to introduce and welcome you to our offices – which are open to anyone seeking dental health.

What does oral health mean? It means limiting or controlling the bad bacteria we all have in our mouths. You – the patient – play the most important role in limiting this bacteria, but we are here to support you in this fight.

There are things we can do in our office that you cannot do at home like:

  • Take X-rays to see what is going on between your teeth
  • Take important bone measurements
  • Diagnose areas that need treatment
  • Fill cavities
  • Perform specialized cleanings

What you can do at home is the most important thing. That means brush two times a day, floss one time daily, and use a mouthwash that kills bacteria and contains fluoride. Most people brush daily but do not floss.

As our dental director, Dr. LaJuan Mountain always says:

“Brushing but not flossing is just like showering, but not washing your armpits. You have to floss to clean in between your teeth because it can be the smelliest part of your mouth if left untouched.”

So it is important that you do your job at home and you see a dentist on a regular basis to allow them to do their job – which is helping you get or keep your dental health.

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Hanover parenting classes kick off

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Our free Hanover parenting classes kicked off this week with “Parenting the Love and Logic Way” with our friends from Family-Child Resources.

Over six weeks, parents in attendance will learn tools to help them better raise responsible, respectful kids.

The goal? To love our kids so much that we’re willing to set limits. And to do so with sincere compassion and empathy. Logic happens when we allow our kids to make decisions and affordable mistakes.

In each class – held every Tuesday at our Hanover Center – the parents will learn a skill. They’re asked to experiment with the skill as homework. Each week will add another which builds off the previously-learned skill. The first week was putting an end to arguing, back talk and begging (something we think all parents know too well).

20160426_181859Our parents started off with a video that explained some tips for when you’re arguing with your child.

Step one: Go “brain dead.” The less your lips move, the more effective you become.

Step two: Simply repeat the same, calm, one-liner. “I know.” Don’t be angry, don’t be sarcastic. Give them very little ammunition.

Why’s this so important? Kids crave attention. So if you’re calm and give them little to work with, they’ll likely move on.

We also learned some great tips to help build a relationship like – at least once a day notice something special about them. Love them when they’re behaving not so lovable, and more!

It was a great start to the six-week program. Thanks to our parents for attending and to Patient Care Coordinator Hyacinth Gayle for organizing!

Celebrate nurses this National Nurses Week

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May 6 to 12 is National Nurses Week so let’s take the time to celebrate all of the nurses we have here at five Family First Health sites!

During the week-long celebration, we want to draw some attention to our Nurse-Family Partnership program, which connects qualifying first-time mothers with an at-home nurse who visits through the baby’s second birthday.

It’s a great program that’s proven to bring success. Three randomized, controlled trials demonstrate that Nurse-Family Partnership delivers against its goals of better pregnancy outcomes, improved child health and development, and increased economic self-sufficiency. These outcomes contribute to preventing child abuse, reducing juvenile crime, and increasing school readiness.

In 2015, our nurses served 188 mothers with a total of 2,036 visits!

One of our mothers, Suleyka was attending Vo Tech when her daughter was born. She wanted to be done with school, but her nurse Judy kept encouraging her to go back and finish.

“If it wasn’t for her [Judy], I was going to get out of school. I was ready to finish, I wasn’t going to go back. She encouraged me to think about other options, think about the baby.”

Judy helped to walk her through a choices facilitator that outlined some the impact of choosing not to go back to school. Judy said, “So you don’t go back to school, so what is this going to do. You’re not going to graduate from high school, not going to be able to get a good paying job, not going to be able to provide the things your daughter needs or wants.”

When asked the best thing about her nurse, Suleyka shared: “When she helped me to think about things before I quit school. I thought nobody cared about it, but she really really cared and she was there for me.”

You can help us help more first-time mothers like Suleyka succeed through our Nurse-Family Partnership program by making a donation during this National Nurses Week.

There are four donation levels that let you make a DIRECT impact in one of our NFP homes. Making a donation is as easy as clicking on this link.

$25 –  Keeping them fed and clean – You get diapers and formula into the hands of a first-time mother for her child.

$50 – Get a move on – A mother gets an umbrella stroller for getting around in ease.

$75 – Checking in – This covers a developmental assessment for a child to determine that milestones are being met at certain stages.

$100 – Riding in style – This donation gets a car seat for a first-time mom and her child to keep them safe on the road.

 

 

A look at who we serve during Minority Health Month

April is Minority Health Month and because we just published our annual report, I wanted to share some of our numbers with you.

In 2015, we served 21,304 patients at our five sites with a total of 68,717 visits.FFH-AnnualReport-2015_Final-Cover_03302016-231x300

Let’s break down those patients by race:

13,737 – White

3,794 – Unreported

3,671 – Black/African American

102 – Other

Of those patients, 57% identify as Hispanic or Latino. And 18% are best served in a language other than English. 55% of them live under the poverty line.

When looking at insurance, most of our patients have Medicaid – 11,565 of them to be exact. 4,457 are uninsured. 1,852 have Medicare, 3,101 have private insurance and 329 have public insurance.

Learn more about what we’ve been up to in 2015 and who we’ve served in our annual report.

Take a full look at our 2015 annual report here.

Meet the staff: Dr. Terrence Walker

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Dr. Terrence Walker joined Family First Health in August 2015 – seeing patients at our George Street and Hanover centers. He remembers exactly the month when it puts it into context that it was around the time he injured his Achilles tendon playing basketball and needed surgery. Since then, he’s hung up his basketball shorts.

He received his Bachelor of Science from Hampton University. He received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. After doing a residency in Tennessee, teaching back at his dental school and doing another residency in Connecticut, Walker decided it was time to come home to York.

Walker was born and raised here, going to St. Patrick’s, York Catholic and York Suburban for school. It was at Suburban where he discovered his love of dentistry. A high school teacher told them to choose an occupation, shadow someone and do a report. The teacher suggested they choose something they were strong in – and for Walker that was science and art. So Walker decided to shadow his own dentist – Dr. Charles Stein in East York. From there, he knew he wanted to be a dentist.

His favorite part of being a dentist is interacting with patients. “Everyone’s different,” he said. And he works to “connect with patients as people.” It’s been fun along the way when patients come in and say they know his grandparents or aunt. “It’s cool to see how small the unit is,” he said.

When he’s not working in York or Hanover, Walker loves to travel. Mostly, he goes to Atlanta to see his fiancee (they’re getting married this October). The two met while doing their residencies in Tennessee. They’ll be doing their first big trip together after the wedding, when they head to Aruba for the honeymoon.

He loves comedy – too many comedians to pick, though Chris Tucker and Larry the Cable Guy come to mind (he blames living in the South). When it comes to sports – it’s Penn State football, the Philadelphia Eagles and North Carolina Tar Heels basketball. But he’s a giant Penn State fan.

His favorite food is anything Italian – mainly lasagna and pizza. And then it comes to his favorite dental procedures, he admits it’s got to be the restorative and aesthetic work. There’s just something about seeing the immediate turnaround on a patient’s smile and how that makes them feel.

Staff members witness Gov. Wolf’s LGBT anti-discrimination order signing

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Shannon McElroy and Karen McCraw get their photo taken with Gov. Tom Wolf after he signed the LGBT anti-discrimination order.

A week after Family First Health announced its participation in a yearlong collaborative to transform primary care for LGBT patients, three staff members got to sit two rows away from the governor as he signed executive orders saying Pennsylvania would not stand for discrimination of LGBT people.

Because of Family First Health’s work for the LGBT community, Rep. Kevin Schreiber invited us to witness the historical moment that came on the heels of anti-LGBT laws gaining traction and approval in some states.

North Carolina enacted a law preventing cities from creating non-discrimination policies based on gender identity. It also states that students in state schools use the bathroom that corresponds with their born gender.

Outrage over the law was swift, and many businesses and performers are boycotting the state. Gov. Wolf said his executive orders were signed to show the country that Pennsylvania will not stand for discrimination of any kind – but especially against the LGBT population.

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Gov. Tom Wolf signed it!

“I am taking action to protect those that I can and send a signal to the country that Pennsylvania is open for business no matter who you are or whom you love,” Wolf said at the press conference. “What happened in North Carolina, and what is going on in other states, should be a call to pass non-discrimination legislation in Pennsylvania now.”

“We must show that Pennsylvania is the place that William Penn envisioned when he founded our commonwealth on the principle that it is open, diverse, and inclusive for all people.”

Director of Social Services Karen McCraw, Shannon McElroy from Caring Together and I got to sit two rows away from the governor as he signed the orders. While we were there, Karen also spoke to the state Physician General Rachel Levine who said she was aware of Family First Health’s LGBT efforts and wanted to be kept in the loop.

It was an honor to represent Family First Health and the great work you all do during a historic moment for Pennsylvania.

Watch Gov. Wolf’s speech here.

Meet the staff: Victoria Lorenz

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Michigan native Victoria Lorenz was looking to try something new. So she left the only place she’d ever lived to move to Pennsylvania and attend school at Salus University. She wasn’t totally alone though, since her sister – 4 years her senior – lived in nearby Lancaster.

Once she graduated from school, she started looking around for options. She knew she wanted to work with the underserved. And she was always interested in family medicine. She stumbled across Family First Health online, liked our website and the rest is now history – or at least the start of a new story.

“I always wanted to do this,” she said. So far, she’s loving what she does working with patients at our George Street Center. She thinks the staff is pretty great, too.

When she’s not working at George Street, Lorenz admits she’s a Netflix addict. Some of her favorite shows to binge watch include The Walking Dead, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and The Vampire Diaries. She also loves watching movies, reading and shopping. When it comes to sports, Lorenz played volleyball in school and is also a fan of basketball, baseball and soccer.

Her teams? All Michigan, of course.