Category Archives: Health Care


Holiday meals can challenge diets

The holidays always seem to be more enjoyable when you’re gathered around the table with family and friends to share good food. But in a world filled with obesity, diabetes, allergies, and dietary restrictions, cooking a traditional holiday meal can be challenging.

So, just how DO you handle it when your sister can have no gluten, Dad is diabetic, Aunt Sally is a vegetarian, and your cousin Ed is allergic to nuts?

“Make better choices on what to serve, and modify your recipes,” says Pam Brisky, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Georgia Regents Medical Center. Brisky suggests including the following items on your holiday menu:

• Roasted Turkey
• Gravy
• Glazed Ham
• Cornbread Dressing
• Cranberry Salad
• Sweet Potato Casserole
• Parsley Buttered Mashed Potatoes
• Green Bean Casserole
• Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
• 7-Layer Salad
• Dinner Rolls
• Banana Cream Pudding
• Pumpkin Pie

“Roasted turkey should be OK for all diets,” says Brisky, “except maybe Aunt Sally, the vegetarian in your dinner party. If you plan on serving gravy with your turkey, you should prepare it according to a gluten-free recipe.” Another popular holiday meat is glazed ham, but as with the gravy, you will need to slightly modify the glaze so that it’s gluten-free.

So what’s the big deal with gluten? Gluten is a protein found in several grains, but some people cannot tolerate it. For those with celiac disease, gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines. Brisky says a good way to remember which grains to avoid is the B.R.O.W. acronym – to eat gluten-free, a person should avoid eating Barley, Rye, Oats, and Wheat.

Your turkey may not be gluten-free if it is pre-brined or marinated, says Brisky. Her recipe calls for coating the bird with butter, herbs, salt, and pepper and cooking it in the oven. For gravy, she uses the droppings from the turkey and corn or potato starch to thicken it instead of flour.

When it comes to Cornbread Stuffing, Brisky says, she will not bake the stuffing inside the bird because that is not a safe cooking environment. She substitutes gluten-free bread for wheat or cornbread. A moist stuffing with adequate fat and seasonings will taste great, and no one will notice gluten-free bread was used, she says.

Dinner rolls: Buy or make dinner roles that are gluten-free, or serve your gluten-free sister a slice of the gluten-free bread used in the stuffing.

Pies: “I doubt the rest of the family would like pumpkin pie with a gluten-free pie crust,” says Brisky, “When I make the pies, I will make baked pumpkin custard as well for Sister and Dad (less carbs!).

Banana Cream Pudding: “I will make the pudding with corn or potato starch instead of flour. I will serve the vanilla wafers on the side instead of in the pudding (so Sister can have some). This works for Dad, too (less carbs!).”

Sweet Potato Casserole: “This has already been altered for Uncle Ed (because I don’t use nuts), and the new recipe will work for Sister’s gluten-free needs and help out Dad, too (less carbs!).”

Green Bean Casserole: “I know this is such a popular family dish, but it is so high in calories and fat that we need to start a new tradition,” says Brisky. She recommends serving a mixed vegetable dish of green beans, mushrooms, and onions, because everyone can have this dish.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese: “This is one dish that I cannot make gluten-free and meet the expectations of the rest of the family. The alternative here would be to make a separate macaroni and cheese dish for my sister with gluten-free pasta and corn or potato starch. Of course, she may not even want this high fat and calorie side dish.”

By making adjustments, such as using sugar substitutes, skim milk, and fat-free and reduced-fat ingredients, you can also make the meal healthier for everyone.

Brisky says the uncle with a peanut allergy has the most serious condition, as it can be life threatening. She recommends that you assure your uncle that you have a “nut-free” house. Back that up by removing all nuts from the house – no cooking with any nuts or nut oils; no peanut butter stocked; no snacks, desserts, or side-dish toppings containing nuts.

“I would alter the sweet potato casserole to a more ‘diet-friendly’ recipe that eliminates pecans for the uncle and also would not have added carbohydrates (flour) for Dad who has diabetes. Eliminating the flour will also make this a recipe acceptable for my sister. Oven-roasted sweet potato wedges with a light crust of buttered brown sugar would be acceptable to all the diet restrictions.”

If other guests or family members bring food, make sure you scrutinize their recipes and ask how dishes were prepared. You may want to remind them that not everyone can eat the same things anymore.

A few last words of advice from Brisky:
• Don’t skip meals before the Thanksgiving meal to save calories and carbs. This will make it harder to control blood sugars.
• Before serving yourself, look at all the foods. Remember to follow the diabetes plate recommendations – half your plate should be vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ carbohydrates.
• It will be tempting to have the sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, and a dinner roll. But these are all carbs and should be limited to ¼ of your plate.
• Stick with calorie-free beverages such as water, unsweetened tea, or diet soda.
• Have one dessert (pumpkin custard or banana pudding minus the wafers). Eat slowly, and savor the flavor.
• After the meal, take a walk with other guests. Exercise is a great way to lower blood sugar levels, and it takes you away from tempting foods!

Additional resources for health information and modified recipes include: (American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)


Augusta Chronicle: MCG students buy toys for CHOG

The Augusta Chronicle: Dec. 19, 2014

A half-dozen students from the Medical College of Georgia enjoyed the fruits of their labor Wednesday, as they loaded more than 250 toys into a giant box wrapped like a present at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

The toys will brighten the faces of children in the hospital and clinics throughout the facility, and that is what the medical students have been working for all year.

Read MCG students buy toys for children’s hospital patients


Chest Pain Center reaccredited

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Whether you need an antacid, thorough observation, or emergency cardiac intervention, the Chest Pain Center at Georgia Regents Medical Center is ready. The Center has been reaccredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care for another three years for successfully demonstrating the ability to receive, assess, diagnose, and treat patients suffering from chest pain or other potential heart attack symptoms.

Georgia Regents Medical Center was the first hospital in Augusta to become an accredited Chest Pain Center, earning the original designation in 2009.

“More than 5 million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. That’s where our experience and preparedness come in,” said Dr. Mary Dement, Director of the Center and an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. “Our emergency department and heart care teams work diligently every day to provide and enhance the timely, quality care of patients in the critical minutes following a heart attack. We have saved lives and provided peace of mind to thousands of families. This reaccreditation is proof that our commitment is solid and our approach is working.”

GRMC has implemented chest pain protocols and procedures in the Emergency Department that aim to help reduce the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment, thus preserving more heart muscle. Just as important, patients are carefully observed when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital.

More than 1.2 million heart attacks occur each year in the U.S., and about 460,000 of those episodes are fatal. By working closely with the SCPC, emergency medicine and cardiovascular experts at GRMC hope to significantly reduce that mortality rate through education, treatment, and rehabilitation.


Aiken Standard: Flu shot best way to combat season

The Aiken Standard: December 14, 2014

Flu shot still the best way to combat the season

Even though there could be a bit of a mismatch in this year’s vaccine, local physicians still recommend the flu shot as the most effective way to combat influenza, a contagious viral disease that can cause fever, muscle aches, and cold-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and a runny nose.

Emergency medicine and infectious disease expert Dr. Jim Wilde discusses how the flu vaccine is determined each year and why some are more vulnerable to the virus.

Officials still recommend good hygiene, particularly frequent handwashing; avoiding contact with someone who has the flu; and staying away from others if you become symptomatic.

Read Flu shot is best way to combat the flu season.

GRNC ext flags

GRU-affiliated hospitals rank high in state

Georgia Trend magazine ranked Georgia Regents Medical Center – the flagship hospital for the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University – and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany — at No. 3 and No. 7, respectively — among the Top Teaching Hospitals in the state in their 2014 Top Hospitals feature. Phoebe Putney is the hub of MCG’s fi11-14-cover-743e6678rst satellite medical campus – the Southwest Georgia Clinical Campus – for third- and fourth-year medical students. The Children’s Hospital of Georgia also has a pediatrics presence at Phoebe. In addition, Floyd Medical Center, part of GRU’s Northwest Clinical Campus for MCG students, was ranked second best teaching hospital in the state.

There are more than 130 hospitals dotting the Georgia landscape. To determine the rankings, officials at Georgia Trend grouped hospitals of similar size and mission together and compared them with their peer institutions. The top hospitals are listed in five categories: Teaching Hospitals, Large Hospitals (more than 400 beds), Medium-sized Hospitals (151-399 beds), Small Hospitals (fewer than 150 beds), and Critical Access Hospitals (rural community hospitals, typically with fewer than 25 beds).

The data used to compile the rankings came from publicly available information on quality of care, patient satisfaction, mortality and readmission statistics, and hospital-acquired infections and conditions. The information comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and is available at The data download date for our analysis is July 2014.

Hospitals affiliated with accredited medical schools that provide education and training opportunities for students:

  1. Emory University Hospital – Atlanta
  2. Floyd Medical Center – Rome
  3. Georgia Regents Medical Center – Augusta
  4. Navicent Health** – Macon
  5. Emory University Hospital Midtown – Atlanta
  6. Midtown Medical Center – Columbus
  7. Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – Albany
  8. Atlanta Medical Center – Atlanta
  9. Houston Medical Center – Warner Robins
  10. Memorial Health University Medical Center – Savannah
  11. Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross – Waycross
  12. Grady Memorial Hospital – Atlanta

**Formerly Medical Center of Central Georgia

To see other hospital categories and rankings, read the full article in the December issue of Georgia Trend magazine.


Nearly $170,000 raised at Radiothon

The 14th annual Cares For Kids Radiothon, which aired Thursday through Saturday on radio stations 104.3 WBBQ, 96.3 Kiss FM, and G 105.7, brought in $168,881 in donations and pledges for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Radiothon is the largest single annual fundraiser for CHOG, the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The event brought in $190,000 last year.

The 154-bed not-for-profit Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the second largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. Visit or follow on Twitter at



Philips expands global reach of diagnostic X-Ray solutions


Philips News Release: Philips expands global reach of diagnostic X-ray solutions

Georgia Regents Medical Center is the only U.S. hospital featured in a global PR campaign and news release about Philips diagnostic technologies.

“With Philips, we’ve moved from ordering a piece of equipment to an established long-term partnership. That partnership allows us to take a long view of how we will improve care,” said Dr. James V. Rawson, Chief of Radiology, Georgia Regents Medical Center. “When we replaced the digital portable X-ray units in the ICU, we completely changed the workflow. After an X-ray was taken in the ICU, the image was immediately available at that bedside for the physician to be able to see. That allowed real-time decisions and corrections or repositioning of lines and repeating at the X-ray, and cut our cycle-time down substantially.”

This release was published in more than 150 news markets around the world, including the Boston Business Journal,, (Canada), and the Providence Journal (Rhode Island).

Read: Philips expands global reach of diagnostic X-ray solutions

CC Hospital.render1038x576

WATCH: GRMC wins hospital bid

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) — Three hospitals wanted it, but there can only be one winner and on Wednesday we found out who that winner is. The state gave Georgia Regents Medical Center the green light to build a brand new hospital in Columbia County, but as News 12 reports details still need to be worked out and an appeal could delay everything.

The state says Georgia Regents’ plan to educate and build a level 2 trauma center set them apart.

Watch the full story on News 12.

Read: Georgia Regents wins Columbia County hospital bid

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hard-fought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health decided Wednesday. But Doctors Hospital of Augusta said it would appeal and University Hospital said it was considering its response.