by Ron Hendricks

BINGO! Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (COCHLAA) held the annual Bingo Night in June and is looking forward to more great fun in July, August & the rest of the year.
In July we will be the guests of Fernando Acuna, the Executive Chef and Director of Dietary at both, the North and South Oklahoma Heart Hospital locations. He is also one of two certified Pritikin chefs in the state of Oklahoma. We will taste some great recipes and HEAR how to cook them. The room will have a hearing loop!
August 4th will be the annual Ice Cream Social at Lakeside United Methodist Church, 2925 NW 66th St, 2-4PM. There is no charge and the public is invited. This is where COCHLAA announces new officers and planned programs for both the night and day groups for the year. We will introduces scholarship winners, and this year will give away a home loop system. Great things are happening!
This is a year of celebration for COCHLAA as we begin our 28th year of service to those with hearing loss in Oklahoma and the Hearing Helper’s Room (HHR) will be celebrating 20 years of helping, answering questions, and demonstrating all sorts of assistive hearing devices. The HHR is a place to learn and get information but you can’t buy anything,
We are very proud of one of our members, Ana Covey a representative of Assist2Hear, a private company supplying LOOP systems to Oklahoma. Ana has been instrumental in the installation of hearing loop systems in the Nichols Hills City Council Chamber, the Civic Center Music Hall, Church of St Mary in Tulsa, and most recently the Rodeo Cinema which is due to open any day now. A hearing loop connects to the sound system and provides a magnetic, wireless signal which is picked up by the telecoil inside most hearing aids and cochlear implants. Instead of struggling to understand, straining to hear the words clearly, or trying to read lips, the hearing loop brings clear sound straight to those of us suffering with hearing loss.
Your Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America is excited about the coming year. To learn more visit our website,

Peanuts. Shellfish. Eggs. Milk. While that may look like a grocery list to some, to those who are allergic to these common foods, it reads like the start of a horror novel.
More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from at least one food allergy, and many can result in serious health problems and even death. Allergic reactions to food are most common in children, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 4 to 6 percent of youngsters in the U.S. are affected.
With food allergies making such a significant impact on the population, are we any closer to solving the issue?
“We don’t yet have all the answers, but we’ve found some important new clues in recent years,” said Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation President Stephen Prescott, M.D.
Food allergies occur when the body has a specific immune response to a food. While our immune system is designed to fight off foreign invaders like viruses to keep us healthy, occasionally it can incorrectly identify a harmless substance—like peanuts or shellfish—as a threat.
Prescott said for many years, health experts focused on identifying allergens and telling people to stay away from those offending foods.
“This resulted in stringent requirements for food labels and measures like peanut-free classrooms,” he said. “Still, the prevalence of peanut allergies kept increasing.”
In an effort to understand why, scientists studied hundreds of infants deemed at high risk of developing a peanut allergy. They randomly assigned some of the babies to be regularly fed peanut products, while denying the others all foods containing peanuts.
By age 5, less than 2 percent of those children fed peanuts developed an allergy, compared to almost 14 percent of those who’d avoided peanuts. A second study involving children who already showed peanut sensitivities at the beginning of the study yielded similar outcomes.
“These findings suggest that we’ve been going about things all wrong,” said Prescott, a physician and medical researcher. “Instead of protecting kids from food allergens at young ages, it looks like we’d do better by exposing them.”
Indeed, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has issued new guidelines recommending giving babies puréed or finger food containing peanut powder or extract before they are six months old.
“If parents follow this advice, I’d hope to see the peanut allergy numbers start to drop in the coming years,” said Prescott. “If that happened, it would be a big step forward.”

INTEGRIS announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase all associated assets of Deaconess Hospital located near NW 50th & Portland in Oklahoma City from an affiliate of Community Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CYH) headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee.
Deaconess operates under the AllianceHealth brand name in Oklahoma and the purchase does not include other AllianceHealth facilities in the state. INTEGRIS will continue operations in the Deaconess facility offering quality health care to area residents.
“This purchase will provide much needed additional capacity for INTEGRIS,” said Chris Hammes, Interim President & CEO, who added, “We see tremendous community benefit and anticipate a seamless transition.”
“Deaconess has offered quality health care services to local residents for many years,” said Damon Brown, Interim CEO, AllianceHealth Deaconess. Brown added, “We believe the combination with INTEGRIS sustains and enhances Deaconess’ commitment for delivery of quality health care and services to the community.”
Due diligence efforts continue, and the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC is acting as the exclusive financial advisor to INTEGRIS Health on this transaction.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
July 5/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
July 10/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm5/ 350-7680/ Kruck
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
July 10/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am- 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State Conventional Learning Center – 6191 Tinker Diagonal
July 12/ Thursday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 4 pm/ 350-5014/ Kruck
Spanish Cove – 11 Palm Ave.
July 13/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
SW. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
July 13/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 297-1455/ Palinsky
Will Rogers Senior Center – 3501 Pat Murphy Dr.
July 24/ Tuesday/ Okla, City/ 8:30 – 3:30 pm/ 773-6910/ Kruck
Healthy Living Center – 11501 N. Rockwell Ave.
July 28/ Saturday/ Shawnee/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 818-2916/ Brase
Gordon Cooper Tech Center – One John C. Bruton Blvd.

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to:

Dr. Cherian A Karunapuzha MD

Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City is expanding neurology services with the creation of the Herman Meinders Center for Movement Disorders at Mercy NeuroScience Institute (NSI), adding an expert physician and cutting-edge new treatment.
Dr. Cherian Karunapuzha, a neurologist specially trained in treating movement disorders, has joined Mercy NeuroScience Institute. A movement disorder is a neurological disease that impairs a person’s ability to move naturally. The most common types include Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia.
“At Mercy, we have developed a comprehensive multidisciplinary program which serves as a one-stop shop for care for all aspects of movement disorders,” Dr. Karunapuzha said. “This first of a kind center for Oklahoma will provide patients and referring physicians access to advanced care without having to travel out of state.”
As part of the comprehensive approach to care, Mercy will now offer deep brain stimulation (DBS) for patients living with movement disorders. Dr. Eric Friedman, an experienced neurosurgeon, will perform the new procedure at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City.
Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes in the brain to help regulate abnormal body movements using electrical impulses.
“DBS essentially acts like a pacemaker for the brain,” said Dr. Richard Vertrees Smith, medical director of Mercy NeuroScience Institute. “Movement disorders may progress very slowly, often over decades, and some patients reach a point where medications no longer work. We are proud to be able to offer this exciting new technology that can dramatically improve the quality of life of our patients.”
The creation of the new comprehensive movement disorder clinic was made possible through a $1.7 million donation from local philanthropist Herman Meinders.
In 1970, Meinders founded American Floral Services Inc. (AFS), an international flowers-by-wire service based in Oklahoma City. AFS grew to be ranked as one of the largest floral wire services in the world. Meinders sold AFS in 1994, and it merged with Teleflora in 2000. He remains chairman emeritus of Teleflora.
Herman and his wife were longtime supporters of Parkinson’s research and treatment before he was diagnosed in 2014.
“When I became a patient of Dr. Karunapuzha, I realized what a great doctor he is and when I learned he was considering joining Mercy, I wanted to do whatever I could to make that happen,” said Meinders. “The fact my donation provided the funding necessary to create a comprehensive center for movement disorders and also allowed Mercy to add the best Parkinson’s doctor in Oklahoma to its outstanding staff made this an easy decision for me.”
At the Herman Meinders Center for Movement Disorders, patients will also have access to the most up-to-date imaging services, group exercise classes and a specially trained team of nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for Herman Meinders and his extreme generosity,” said Jim Gebhart, president of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City and regional strategy officer. “This donation will have a profound impact on our patients and families for years to come.”
Dr. Karunapuzha will begin seeing patients May 21 at Mercy NeuroScience Institute Suite 218. To schedule an appointment, please call the movement disorder center at 405-302-2661 or the administrative office at 405-749-7000.

INTEGRIS, Oklahoma’s most comprehensive health care system, announces the selection of Timothy Pehrson as its president and chief executive officer following completion of a national search. Pehrson comes to Oklahoma from Intermountain Healthcare in Utah where he most recently served in a dual role as regional vice president/CEO for the North Region and vice president of continuous improvement for Intermountain Healthcare.
Like INTEGRIS, Intermountain is widely recognized as one of the most innovative, high-quality health systems in the country. In his role as CEO of the North Region, he was the market leader of a five-hospital region in Utah and Idaho, responsible for integrating the efforts of physicians, hospitals and health plans to improve care for the communities Intermountain served. In addition to his role in charge of regional operations, as vice president of continuous improvement he led the enterprise-wide improvement efforts across Intermountain Healthcare to drive caregiver engagement and strong performance in safety, quality, patient experience, access, caregiver engagement, costs and growth.
“Tim distinguished himself throughout the interview process with his impeccable record of accomplishment, an impressive understanding of not only today’s health care industry and its challenges, but more importantly his insights into areas of opportunity for sustainability, affordability and even greater success,” said INTEGRIS Health Board Chairman Pete Delaney, who added, “Tim’s strong physician and employee focus and his genuine enthusiasm for the possibilities that exist here make him the right choice to lead INTEGRIS.”
“I am both humbled and pleased to be joining INTEGRIS, a health system also recognized nationally for excellence, pioneering medicine, innovation and commitment to community,” said Pehrson. “The physicians, clinical professionals and employees at INTEGRIS are some of the most accomplished anywhere. Professionally and personally, my family and I are excited to be making the move to the Oklahoma City area and being part of a growing community that offers an excellent quality of life.” He succeeds Bruce Lawrence, who retired last December, and Pehrson officially steps into his INTEGRIS leadership role Aug. 1.
Pehrson’s career at Intermountain began in 2000 as operations officer at one of its hospitals, and he was named that hospital’s CEO in 2004. Prior to his career at Intermountain, Pehrson worked for United Healthcare, Samaritan Health and Henry Ford Health System.
Tim earned his B.A. in history from Brigham Young University and his master’s in health services administration from the University of Michigan.

Using sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher offers more protection against dangerous UV rays.

From stinging, blistering and swelling to more serious side effects like headache and nausea, even a run-of-the-mill sunburn can make you wish you’d applied your sunscreen before going out in the sun.
But as bad as the instant regret can be, the long-term effects pose the most substantial threat, said Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation President Stephen Prescott, M.D.
“A number of issues can arise over time, including premature aging, deep wrinkles, eye damage and, most significantly, skin cancer,” he said. “Ultimately, the takeaway is: sunburns are bad news and can have serious consequences.”
Although most people are aware of the dangers burns can present, that doesn’t mean they’re taking the necessary precautions. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than one-third of adults and 70 percent of children have been sunburned within the past year.
Those numbers, particularly in children, strike Prescott as alarming.
“There is a clear link between sun exposure and certain types of skin cancer. This is particularly true when children and young adults get bad burns, because it gives problems a longer time to develop as they age,” said Prescott.
“It’s almost impossible to prove, but many experts think even one bad burn, particularly in childhood, can make the mutations in your DNA that will eventually lead to cancer,” he added.
It’s not the acute burn itself that proves to be dangerous, he said. The infrared rays that cause you to look red or pink when you come out of the sun can cause pain and blistering, but it’s rare that a sunburn is severe enough to require medical attention. It’s the other rays—ultraviolet rays—in sunlight that cause longer-term issues.
Ultraviolet rays are the leading factor in causing skin cancer, the most common cancer in the U.S. In fact, more people have suffered from skin cancer than all other cancers combined over the past three decades, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
And sunlight might not be your only enemy when it comes to UV rays. Prescott said even tanning beds can lead to many of the same skin issues and elevated cancer risks.
Thankfully, the solution is a simple one: if you’re going to be exposed to the sun, wear sunscreen. You can also cover up with hats, long-sleeves and pants.
It’s important to note that all sunblock is not created equal, Prescott said. Use something that blocks UV rays, and the higher the SPF the better. OMRF’s Prescott recommends using SPF 30 or higher to be safe.
“We all want to have fun outdoors in the summer at barbeques and lounging by the pool, but taking a few minutes to apply proper sun protection can make a word of difference in the long run,” he said.