Anxiety and Depression are More Common Than You Think

At one time or another, many of us have felt sad or anxious. For example, the death of a loved one can leave us feeling down. Financial or work demands can cause us stress. However, when these feelings negatively affect (for long periods of time) how you think, and how you handle daily activities, such as working, sleeping and eating, your symptoms may be due to depression or anxiety. Both of these conditions can result in severe impairments that interfere with or limit your life.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders in the nation. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 40 million people in the U.S. (18 percent) experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. Additionally, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the last year according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

If you feel like you need assistance in managing your anxiety, or if you can’t seem to shake the blues, confidential and professional help is available. For emotional and spiritual support, you may want to contact a member of the clergy.

You can also make an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP), who can help coordinate your care and refer you to a specialist, if needed. If you don’t have a PCP, look to Mercy Health Physician Partners to find a provider here>>

Mercy Health is committed to helping you live a healthy life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.


I’m Training to Live Longer

Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic patient Tammy Griswold shares how a little change has made big impact in her life.

Tammy Griswold had always struggled with her weight, so when her primary care physician, Nicholas VandenBosch, DO, mentioned he was helping to develop the Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic, she said she’d give it a try. Griswold was among the first patients to sign up for the clinic, located in downtown Muskegon inside the PEAK Training Academy building.

The Lifestyle Clinic provides a structured program that includes medication, nutrition and exercise as a comprehensive strategy to address obesity and its related conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes elevated cholesterol, fatty liver, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

“I’m 60 years old, and I’ve decided that I need to be healthy. I’ve always been overweight, but I’ve told my kids that I’m going to live to be over 100 years old,” said Griswold.

[g-slider gid=”5187″ width=”100%” height=”55%” random=”0″ watermark=”0″]

Her family’s medical history has motivated Griswold to make significant changes. “Both my mom and dad had heart problems and diabetes, and my sister had heart problems and high blood pressure,” she explained. “My biggest goal was to not become diabetic.”

At her first appointment with VandenBosch at the Lifestyle Clinic in November 2017, lab results showed that Griswold had high blood pressure and was both pre-diabetic and morbidly obese.

The first goal she and VandenBosh set was to get Griswold moving. “Dr. VandenBosch began by trying to get me to exercise, and I said, ‘No, no, it’s not going to happen. I’m in no shape to exercise.’ But in the end, I went to exercise classes about twice a week,” she recalled. “Once I got going, I absolutely loved it.”

At that point, there was no mention of weight or changing her eating habits. The focus was to get Griswold’s lab numbers down first, trying to eliminate the need for medications and possible bariatric surgery. Weight loss would come later.

“Weight is just one of the several metrics we follow, with other markers being waist circumference, blood pressure, as well as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Visualizing improvements in areas such as waist circumference helps patients see that change is occurring. If their pants are fitting better, change is on its way,” said VandenBosch.

The coaches at the Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic developed a workout plan specifically for her. Griswold loves the fact that periodically she sees VandenBosch come to PEAK and work out with the class and also check in with her and her coaches.

“If our patients feel like they’re on their journey alone, our efforts will often be in vain,” said VandenBosch. “When I show up at the gym and put in the work with my patients, they know they have an advocate in their quest toward a healthier life.”

VandenBosh’s approach resonates with Griswold. “He is very patient, and he listens. Most important, he answers your questions. In the beginning, he said we’d start with baby steps, so he could find out what was and wasn’t working for me. I absolutely love that. What doctor takes the time to do that?

Griswold’s second checkup at the clinic was in February. Her test results were encouraging. “My blood pressure was down to 132/84, my glucose was down to 84 and my cholesterol also went down.” No longer pre-diabetic, she was thrilled with the direction her numbers were going.

At that point, Griswold’s new goal was to continue to exercise but also to watch her carbohydrate intake. “Many of the Lifestyle Clinic patients consult with Kailee Conrad, our clinic’s registered dietitian,” said VandenBosch. “Kailee and I work in collaboration to find what each patient needs, not apply a cookie-cutter algorithm to their diet.”

Due for her third follow-up soon, since reducing carbs, Griswold has lost 18 pounds and four inches around her waist. Formerly a size 14, she was thrilled about having to buy size 12 jeans. And now she goes to work out in group classes that she chooses three days a week. “If people want to go out after work when I’m planning to work out — and they suggest I skip my class — I say, ‘No, no, I don’t do that.”

VandenBosh’s patients in the exercise classes hold each other accountable and celebrate each other’s successes when they meet goals. “It’s important for me to meet people and to have that support. Now I can’t wait to go to class. I’ve raised my weights and even go on Saturdays if I miss during the week.”

Griswold has another amazing personal goal that involves the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, an organization for which she has a passion: “If I can reach my goals and stay off my blood pressure medicine, I will try to get on the live-donor kidney list.”

With more energy and a reduced need for medications, Griswold is a fan of the Lifestyle Clinic. “I loved seeing the change in my body. I tell people, ‘Try it. It won’t hurt. There is no embarrassment, and Dr. VandenBosh will be right there with you.'”

Are you a candidate for the Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic?

Individuals can join with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30+ and any of the following:

  • High or borderline high blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Fatty liver
  • Diabetes or prediabetes
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Chronic kidney disease

Individuals can also join with a BMI of 40+ and none of the conditions above.

Take back control of your health with Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic. We are enrolling patients now! Call 231.655.7075 to learn more.


“I really can do this, I can be an RN”: Tenth Cohort of RN Residents Shares Lessons

Cohort 10 at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s comprised 30 RN Residents, the largest group to date. The RN residents celebrated with a poster presentation to hospital and nursing leadership on July 23, 2018.

“The RN residency taught me many things, but something that surprised me was that it taught me that I really can do this, I can be an RN,” said Jessica Jeffers, BSN, RN, who works on 3 Lacks at Mercy Health.

“This experience really is the best way to get a new nurse going in their practice,” echoed Adelyn Pilarski, BSN, RN, who works on 7 Main. “The residency pushed me in the beginning of my career to remember everything that I learned in school and really helped me to remember that I need to care for myself before I care for any of my patients.”

Jeffers and Pilarksi are just two of the 30 RN residents who completed the year-long course as the Tenth Cohort of RN Residents at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. For more than three years, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and more recently, Mercy Health Muskegon have worked with newly hired registered nurses during their first year to promote learning in a safe environment, where other new nurses may have similar questions and experiences.

New for this cohort was the introduction of nurses who work for Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP) in Grand Rapids.

Tanya Holton, the inaugural MHPP nurse to participate in the RN residency program, agreed that both she and her patients will benefit from the experience: “I was exposed to information about many of the terrific resources available to our patients. Now I’m able to share this information about these resources to help my patients.”

[g-slider gid=”5174″ width=”100%” height=”55%” random=”0″ watermark=”0″]

To celebrate the year-long residency of newly hired registered nurses, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Tenth Cohort presented its evidence-based practice projects to members of Senior Leadership, Nursing Leadership and other nurses at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s on July 23, 2018.

Congratulations to the following members of the Tenth Cohort, which is the largest group to date:

MHPP Rockford

  • Tanya Holton

Emergency Department

  • Katie Daniels
  • Jesse Ensign
  • Madison Sullivan

Hauenstein 2

  • Laura Droog
  • Allison Gast
  • Morgan Gagnon

Hauenstein 3

  • Victoria Killian
  • Sarah Flickinger
  • Elise Vander Weele
  • Allison White


  • Rachel Hock
  • Kim Cober

Psych Med Unit

  • Mandy Fortier

7 Main

  • Shelly Friedman
  • Adelyn Pilarski
  • Afo Odhu

8 Main

  • Jesse Scott
  • Alyssa Kloosterhouse

Maternal Child

  • Lucy Montanaro
  • Natalie Carothers
  • Aubrey Opaski

4 Lacks

  • Jordan Vickery
  • Katie Schoenborn
  • Clayton McNamara
  • Alayna Stratton

3 Lacks

  • Andrea Czerny
  • Jessica Jeffers
  • Morgan LePoire
  • Bekah Sauers

 Interested in learning more about nursing at Mercy Health?

KataCon Presentation Earns International Respect, Recognition and Opportunity to Share Expertise

Zingerman’s created a specific logo dedicated to kata practice

The Mercy Health Process Excellence (PX) teams in West Michigan are garnering international attention for the positive strides they are making in kata.

Last February, Mercy Health Muskegon Senior Process Excellence Consultants Dorsey Sherman and Maurene Stock – both experts in Toyota Kata – presented the keynote at KataCon in Atlanta, an international conference where continuous improvement professionals gather to hear from the best kata and lean practitioners in the business. They shared their use of kata principles to develop colleagues and improve processes in the health care setting.

Since then, they’ve hosted Zingerman’s and have been approached by United Kingdom’s National Healthcare Service.

Stock and Sherman’s efforts began at Mercy Health with internal Rapid Improvement Events and creating a management system for standardized work in nursing operations, the Heart Center, case management, rehabilitation and inpatient surgery. But as colleagues started to feel safe in the PX improvement groups when talking about change, they’d eventually fall back or drift into their old habits. So, in May 2016, Stock and Sherman began training in Toyota Kata, specifically.

“Using this methodology, alongside our colleagues, we were able to achieve some amazing results that help to better serve the patient such as improvement in echocardiogram turnaround times and reduction in length of stay,” said Stock.

Additional examples include:

  • Increased Acute Rehab fuctional status change
  • Decreased discharge order writing time for all diseases
  • Decreased overtime hours for athletic trainers
  • Decreased Cardiac Rehab (Phase 2) no-show rate

What is kata?

Kata is a pattern of behavior that is practiced in order to increase scientific problem-solving skills. Through this practice, the kata pattern becomes second nature – done with little conscious attention. Examples include riding a bike, driving a car or typing on a computer. People who have learned how to drive don’t have to think much about using the car’s controls – they are able to just focus on the road ahead. The core idea for organizations that practice kata is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. (The Lean Enterprise Institute, 2018). Using kata practice and creating patterns in workflow help drive out excess costs and allow colleagues to look at the bigger picture in order to better plan for what’s to come.

“Toyota Kata really resuscitated our lean management system at Mercy Health,” said Sherman.

Zingerman’s Comes to Town

Mercy Health PX Teams

Zingerman’s is well-recognized and respected in the areas of lean and process improvement. Known for their famous deli on University of Michigan’s campus, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB) is a sizeable group of food-related companies and entrepreneurial ventures founded in 1982. Their vicinity to the Ann Arbor area has presented this team with the unique opportunity to learn from and work with some of the world’s leading authors, experts and researchers in the field of kata, including Jeff Liker (The Toyota Way) and Mike Rother (Toyota Kata). Zingerman’s leaders, who also attended KataCon, were impressed with Stock and Sherman’s presentation, even asking to visit Mercy Health in West Michigan to see the lean improvement results firsthand.

During their visit last spring, the discussion centered around how frequently each unit was practicing kata, how challenges are set, how to engage colleagues who aren’t motivated to practice, and how each organization is developing their kata improvement coaches.

In Grand Rapids, the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s PX team has been on their kata journey for the past five years with a focus on enhancing and building a culture of improvement.

“Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it is the same with changing a culture,” said Sarah Kolekamp, senior Process Excellence consultant for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “We have so much to learn by articulating our story and defining the struggles and successes. Likewise, we truly test our own understanding when we offer a listening ear and supportive feedback to others.”

In Muskegon, PX colleagues have been utilizing kata practices as a way to streamline processes and procedures which ultimately create more successful outcomes for patients.

Zingerman’s team also observed Kim Maguire, chief nursing officer for Mercy Health Muskegon, on her weekly kata rounds.

“Kata rounds are my favorite part of the week because I have the privilege of interacting with the frontline staff and management on our strategic aims,” said Maguire. “I’m able to hear firsthand how the staff and leadership are connecting their work and improvement cycles to the organization’s priorities.  It’s also the perfect time to really see what it is they need from me and how I can truly support them in their work.”

Zingerman’s crew members said how impressed they were by the support of Mercy Health administration for encouraging and celebrating their colleagues’ continuous improvement efforts.

“It’s pretty unbelievable to listen, share, observe and learn from a team committed to developing people and improving the work as you all are,” said Laura Wonch, manager of Zingerman’s Deli.

Continuous improvement has become part of the overall culture at Mercy Health, considering the consolidation work of combining the legacy of three Muskegon hospitals into one; the new outpatient medical centers being established in neighborhoods to offer greater health care access for patients; and the addition of the Innovative Primary Care office in Grand Rapids, which is reinventing the experience of the provider visit.

“I think I can speak for the entire senior leadership team and say how impressed we are with the Process Excellence team’s work.,” said Jeff Alexander, vice president of Strategic Integration and Subsidiary Operations for Mercy Health Muskegon. “Their introduction of a lean management system and lean tools, such as kata, have already improved our workflow and patient experiences. As a result of the team’s leadership and coaching efforts, we are well on our way to the creation of a new lean culture that will significantly improve the future of patient care in West Michigan.”

International Fame

Building on the momentum of the keynote presentation at KataCon and Zingerman’s visit, Stock fielded a phone call recently from Alan Martyn, national director of Lean Transformation in the United Kingdom for the National Healthcare Service.

“I am keen to talk to someone like yourself who has more experience with kata in healthcare,” Martyn said while on the phone with Stock. “As you know, the NHS is a huge organization of 1.7 million staff and the only way I can think about leading a lean strategy across such an enormous organization is to have kata at its core.”

For Stock and her PX teammates, this is just the beginning. With additional conferences and observational visits planned throughout the year, the regional Mercy Health PX team is looking forward to the continued growith and development of others in the practice of kata.

Four Seminarians Experience Chaplain Ministry At Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Seminarians Mulderink, McDaniel, Goodwin and Ayers

For 10 weeks in this summer, four Catholic seminarians had the opportunity to serve with the chaplain ministry team at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in downtown Grand Rapids. Three of them, Andrew Ayers, Michael Goodwin and Robert Mulderink, are newly-ordained (May 2018) transitional deacons for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. The fourth seminarian is Jacob McDaniel from the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. In August, the Deacons will be returning for their fourth year, and Jacob will be entering his third year at Mundelein Seminary.



 [g-slider gid=”5129″ width=”100%” height=”55%” random=”0″ watermark=”0″]

The past 10 weeks have been filled with a variety of ministry experiences that are preparing these seminarians to serve as parish priests. What follows are brief reflections about how this summer at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has had an impact on each of them:

Deacon Andrew Ayers:

It’s good to do the work I was ordained to do.

Deacon Michael Goodwin:

“The opportunity to serve at the hospital this summer has given me a deeper sense of what we are called to as Deacons and eventually, priests. It has been good to draw near to people in the hospital and to hear their stories and pray with one another. I feel very comfortable now visiting people in this setting, and I am mindful of how important it is to visit people when they need hospital care. This summer has also deepened my appreciation of all the different people who work and serve in our hospitals. They give so much of themselves for the care of others. This is a witness that I pray I carry with me in serving people as a parish priest.”

Deacon Rob Mulderink:

“This time at the hospital has been an opportunity to be deeply submersed each day in the part of parish ministry that is hardest to teach in a classroom and easy to neglect behind other more routine responsibilities. It’s hard to put a name to — but it’s being stopped in the hallway, and being available for the unexpected, being for another person, listening to them, giving them your attention. At the hospital I have experienced the hard work and the joy of that part of ministry.”

Jacob McDaniel, seminarian from the Diocese of Gary, Indiana:

“The internship at St. Mary’s has provided me with perspective not only on how to minister to parishioners in the  hospital, but also on the challenges and blessings of working in direct and indirect patient care in a hospital setting. Over and over again, I saw so many different people in different roles in the hospital truly sacrifice themselves for the well-being of their patients.”


Helpful Tips for Those Living with Skin Cancer

Learning you or a loved one has skin cancer changes your life.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), concerns about treatments, managing side effects and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family or continuing daily activities.

The NCI and Mercy Health offer the following suggestions to help you focus on your treatment and maintain a Healthy Spirit:

  • Doctors, nurses, and other members of your health care team can answer questions about treatment, working or other activities. As part of the team’s services, you may receive an outreach call. Please remember to return the call if you miss it.
  • Support groups also can help. In these groups, people with skin cancer or their family members meet with other patients or their families to share what they have learned about coping with the disease and the effects of treatment. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone or on the internet. You may want to talk with a member of your health care team about finding a support group.

When you’re being treated for a health condition, it may not always be easy to decide where to go for care when you need it. For anything that is considered a life-threatening situation (like chest pain or sudden and severe pain) it’s best to go to the emergency room.

For less severe matters that still require immediate attention, if you can’t get in to see your primary care physician (PCP), going to an urgent care facility can save you time and money.

Even if you require emergency or urgent care for your health situation, it’s always best to have a relationship with a PCP who knows your history and understands what is happening with your health over time.

If you don’t have a PCP, just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

Mercy Health is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.

Record Number of Students Participate in Free Heart Screening

Mercy Health Physician Partners West Shore Cardiology and Mercy Health Heart Center hosted a record-setting student heart screening on July 18 in the Youngberg Auditorium on Mercy Health Hackley Campus. Free and open to students in grades 9-12, the event successfully screened 141 students.

Heart screenings are a quick method for identifying pre-existing heart conditions that could increase a student’s risk of complications during physical activity and/or athletic competition. However, students do not have to be athletes or participate in sports to undergo the screening.

The screenings are completed in approximately 15 minutes and consist of a heart history questionnaire, blood pressure check, 12-Lead EKG, physician exam and, if necessary, an echocardiogram.

Since 2012, several heart screenings have been hosted each year. Mercy Health has screened nearly 4,500 high school students and diagnosed several at-risk students with a serious heart condition.

A special thanks to the numerous Mercy Health colleagues who volunteer for this event and continue to make it a success!

The next student heart screenings will take place August 8 & 22.

To register & access health history questionnaire and consent form:

North Ottawa Medical Group Transitioning to Mercy Health Physician Partners

Mercy Health and North Ottawa Community Health System (NOCHS) are pleased to announce the next step in its ongoing affiliation. Today, we are delighted to report that our two organizations are working together to transition North Ottawa Medical Group (NOMG) to Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP).

“NOMG has been a strong, healthy and vibrant physician group, comprised of talented, community-minded experts in family medicine, internal medicine, pulmonology, gastrointestinal, and obstetrician care,” said Mary Boyd, chief integration officer at Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “Their commitment to their patients through chronic disease management, student health, weight management, and other key Population Health Management initiatives, makes them an invaluable resource in Ottawa County.”

NOCHS is a strong, independent organization that has been serving its community for the past 100 years. As Mercy Health strengthens its commitment to the lakeshore, providing expanded tertiary services, and building a strong primary care network, this next step in transitioning NOMG to Mercy Health Physician Partners will ensure primary care and specialty access continue to grow in northern Ottawa County.

“Mercy Health and NOCHS share a common goal to help the lakeshore maintain local access – and choice – to hospital and primary care services,” said Shelleye Yaklin, President and CEO of North Ottawa Community Health System. “We’ve worked together for more than a decade toward that goal, all while improving quality, and keeping comprehensive, high-quality care close to home. This innovative approach to our affiliation allows our primary care groups to become stronger, providing a deeper bench of resources to things like data, grants and best practices, while NOCHS has the opportunity to focus on their local hospital.”

The transition is effective July 20, 2018.

This is an exciting time for both NOCHS and Mercy Health. As we work together through this next step, we’ll continue to learn from each other, while keeping our patients at the center of all we do. Please join us in celebrating our continued collaboration!

Please join Mercy Health Physician Partners in welcoming the following providers:

MHPP North Ottawa Medical Group Women’s Health

Tabatha Barber, DO

Diana Okuniewski, DO

Melissa Kushlak, DO*


MHPP North Ottawa Medical Group Internal Medicine

Haney Assaad, MD

Marilena Oravitan, MD

Matthew Schoeck, MD

Anda Scorza, DO*

Elizabeth Cross, NP-C

Rachel McDermott, NP-C


MHPP North Ottawa Medical Group Family Medicine

Ryan Klanseck, DO

Kyle Kramer, DO

Martin Russo, DO

Theresa Pebbles, PA-C

Donna Zambetis, NP-C


MHPP North Ottawa Medical Group Gastroenterology

Guy Power, MD


MHPP North Ottawa Medical Group Pulmonology

Mehul Patel, MD


MHPP North Ottawa Medical Group Family Medicine

Raymond Rabideau, DO

Tania Vandyke, NP-C

Katie Zarnosky, PA-C

Anna Zuidema, NP-C


*Not employed by the medical group, but has signed Professional Services Agreement


Life Jackets Available to Borrow at All Public Beaches in Muskegon

Over the last two years, the Mercy Health Safe Kids program has placed 22 beach safety and life jacket loaner boards throughout Muskegon County – with the last five boards sponsored through a donation from Lake Michigan Credit Union. Due to the shrinking budgets of the local municipalities, most beaches no longer employ lifeguards. One of the main goals of the Safe Kids Task Force is to ensure that the children of Muskegon County are safe and protected around all bodies of water. “This milestone so important to our community and we are very grateful for Lake Michigan Credit Union’s support,” said Holly Alway, injury prevention coordinator for Mercy Health Muskegon. “Their donation allowed us the ability to meet our goal of placing the life jacket loaner boards at all public access beaches in Muskegon County.”

The beach safety boards hold life jackets and safety rings that anyone may borrow for swimming or before going out on a boat – and the coordinators of the initiative just ask that the life jackets be returned after use. “We want to make sure there is quick access to rescue equipment for all swimmers because we know in a water emergency, seconds count,” added Alway.

Mercy Health is proud  to partner with local community businesses to keep the residents of Muskegon County safe all summer when enjoying the water!

Colleagues Recognized for Going Above & Beyond

The Mercy Health Muskegon Above and Beyond luncheon  honored 14 colleagues for their exemplary service to patients, visitors and fellow peers on Tuesday, July 17 in the Hackley Youngberg Auditorium. The individuals selected demonstrated Mercy Health’s commitment to excellence, quality and compassion.

  • Candace Coleman, Practice Manager – Shoreline Neurosurgery
  • Dr. Sara Holzgen, Physician – Lakes OB/GYN
  • Raemyra Jones, Mercy Imaging
  • Ka’san Black, Susan Ketchum, David Hamilton, Wanda DeYoung – Nutritional Services
  • Kasie Wood, Lab Courier – Lakeshore Campus
  • David Walters, Finance
  • Laura Sullivan, Clinical Assistant – Northshore Family Medicine
  • Amber Villapando – Harborwood Family Medicine
  • Nanette Panici-Farrell, Cardiac Cath Lab
  • Matt Perkins, Pharmacy
  • Rudy Fyan, Ambulatory Informatics (Athena Team)

Mercy Health Muskegon President Gary Allore read each nomination story aloud before presenting awards to the selected colleagues. From donating shoes to a vulnerable patient, accompanying a worried expectant mother in an ambulance during an emergency, or stepping in to help colleagues in other departments – even when the duties are completely outside of the scope of one’s job – these individuals, and many more just like them, are the nucleolus of the Mercy Health culture. They are the ambassadors of servant leadership and positivity and the ones that will evolve and enhance the organization’s mission for years to come.