Thursday, January 16, 2014

Resolving to be Healthier in 2014

The beginning of a brand-new year is great time to think about self-improvement. Many people set goals or New Year’s resolutions and resolve to finally kick that bad habit or start exercising. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are often quickly abandoned, especially when people don’t see immediate results. Without a plan in place to keep you on track, it can be challenging to measure your success, and frustrating when you don’t succeed. 

If you have the determination and willpower to change a habit, one way to help you stick to your resolutions or goals for 2014 is to set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused and Time-bound. This proven method of goal-setting can be applied to virtually any habit you wish to stop or start, such as quitting smoking, eating healthier, exercising more or drinking more water. Using SMART goals, your chances of achieving success improve through following a carefully laid-out plan.

Steps of making a “SMART” goal:
S: Specific. Making your goal specific is the difference between an abstract idea and an achievable goal. Adding the way you will achieve your goal helps guide your goal into a more specific approach.
M: Measurable. Think about how you will determine whether or not you reached your goal. Results must be able to be measured; simply saying that you want to make a change can lead to giving up. 
A: Attainable. Ask yourself “Is this goal attainable?” Setting reasonable expectations for yourself will improve your chance of success.
R: Results-focused. Consider what your reasons are for meeting the goal. What is the purpose? How will it benefit you? Keeping the end in mind as you work to meet your goal will help you avoid the temptation to give up.
T: Time-bound. Setting a realistic, timely goal is critical to an effective goal. Not only will it help keep the end in sight, it will also be a motivating factor in sticking to your goal.

Examples of SMART goals - Before & After 
Before: “I want to be thinner.”
After (SMART goal): “I want to lose 10 pounds in four months through exercising four times per week and eating a 1,500 calorie diet, so that I can improve my overall health and reduce my risk of diabetes and heart disease.”

Before: “I want to quit smoking.”
After (SMART goal): “I want to quit smoking and completely reduce my dependence on nicotine within three months’ time, through using nicotine replacement gum as directed, so that I can reduce my risk of lung cancer.”

Before: “I want to consume less sugar.”
After (SMART goal): “I will begin to drink at least eight glasses of water every day and eliminate sugary beverages from my diet, to reduce my sugar intake and chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

What are your goals for 2014? Share in the comments. 

Help Save a Life by Donating at the Next Red Cross Blood Drive

According to the American Red Cross, someone in America receives a blood transfusion every two seconds. Five million patients will need blood this year. The good news is that it’s easy to help! The actual donation of one pint of “whole blood” takes only about 8 – 10 minutes and may benefit up to three people!

The American Red Cross stresses that donating blood is very safe. Blood is always drawn using a new, sterile needle, which is used only once and then discarded. While the donation itself typically lasts up to 10 minutes, the entire process, from registration to refreshment, takes about one hour.

Below is an overview of what to expect during donation of whole blood:

  • Registration: After individuals first arrive for their blood donation appointments, they provide basic information about themselves and also show identification.
  • Health History and Mini Physical: Potential blood donors confidentially answer questions about their health and travel history. Certain vitals are taken to ensure the individuals are eligible to donate.
  • Donation: The individual’s arm is cleansed in the area the needle will be placed. A new, sterile needle is inserted to draw the blood, and the donor will feel a quick pinch. After about a pint of blood is collected, the donation process is finished. The “whole blood” is later separated into red cells, plasma, platelets and/or Cryoprecipitated Antihaemophilic Factor (a frozen blood product prepared from plasma).
  • Refreshments: Donors enjoy complimentary refreshments and relax after their donation. Within about 10 or 15 minutes, they’re able to leave and continue with regular activities.

Within about 24 hours, plasma from the donation is replaced; red blood cells are replenished within approximately four to six weeks. A healthy donor may donate whole blood every 56 days

Getting Involved
GBMC holds community Red Cross Blood Drives throughout the year. The next is being held on Thursday, February 27, 2014 from 5:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. To learn more about blood donation, visit To register for the next blood drive at GBMC, visit or contact Kim Davenport at 443-849-2400 with any questions.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
  2. Enjoy!

Servings: 1
Calories: 229
Fat: 8.4g
Saturated fat: 1.7g
Protein: 9.2g
Carbohydrate: 32g
Fiber: 4g
Cholesterol: 3mg
Iron: 0.8mg
Sodium: 113mg
Calcium: 211mg

Recipe courtesy of 

Winter Safety: Snow Shoveling and Your Back

Winter weather can pose a variety of health and safety concerns, from slippery surfaces and flu viruses to frostbite and back pain from shoveling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 50,000 people sustain some sort of winter-related back injury each year. While 5,800 of those are related to holiday decorating, back problems can also be caused by strenuous activities in winter, such as snow shoveling. With the help of our resident experts at GBMC, we have compiled health and safety tips to keep in mind when digging out, whether you've only had a few inches of snow or a full-blown snowstorm. These best practices can help you reduce your risk of injury your back while shoveling snow. 

Snow Shoveling Posture
  • Begin with a straight back and slowly bend your knees while shoveling, lifting with your legs as you come back to a stand.
  • Keep your back straight at all times, avoiding hunching over, which causes undue stress on the spine.
  • Shovel small amounts of snow at a time. Heavy lifting can cause unnecessary strain on the back.
  • Purchase an ergonomic shovel that has an angle in the handle. This will help you maintain proper posture.
  • Keep this simple mantra in mind: “If it hurts, stop!” Injuries to the back can start from small, seemingly insignificant pain. Listening to your body is important.
  • Remember to hydrate after shoveling snow. Even though you might feel cold, you are exerting the body when shoveling,

If you experience back pain, begin by treating with heat or ice in combination with aspirin or acetaminophen. If the pain becomes worse after an extended period of time, it is recommended that you contact your physician. Greater Baltimore Neurosurgical Associates (GBNA) offers appointments for patients with back pain. To learn more, visit or call 443-849-GBMC (4262) to make an appointment.

Celebrating Half a Century of Volunteerism at GBMC

In the early years of GBMC, volunteers
pushed a Gift Shop Cart through the
halls, stopping at patient rooms.
Fifty years ago, a group of innovative women, dedicated to the health and well-being of their community, formed the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary. These women came from the two founding hospitals of GBMC HealthCare — The Hospital for the Women of Maryland, of Baltimore City and Presbyterian Eye, Ear and Throat Charity Hospital — and created a legacy that continues proudly today.

The GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary was formed on November 20, 1963, just one month before construction of the hospital began. Since funds were severely limited in the early days of GBMC, volunteers donated their time and talents wherever they could be valuable, usually in “behind the scenes” roles. Today, more than 450 active volunteers carry on the tradition of giving much-needed help to staff in providing the best patient care. Many volunteers also say they want to “give back” to GBMC, often for care that they or a loved one received.

Over the years, the sole focus of GBMC’s volunteers has remained consistent — to enhance the patient experience through compassionate acts of kindness and support. If you find yourself a patient at GBMC during the holidays, you can expect a volunteer to knock on your door with a beautiful poinsettia to brighten your room. If you are struggling to locate your car, a volunteer will shuttle you around campus until you find it. These small gestures are particularly meaningful.

Carol Kamps once helped to
push the mobile Gift Shop
Cart - 41 years later, she
is still an active volunteer
at the Corner Shop.
“For 50 years, GBMC volunteers have enjoyed the opportunity of serving the needs of their community,” says Martha S. Klima, President of the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary. “Throughout the 2.25 million hours contributed to GBMC and Gilchrist Hospice Care, the volunteers have given compassionate, joyful care to anxious patients and their family members. Because of their dedication and generous gifts of time and talents, funds have been raised to expand many GBMC programs, which will provide a healthier future for our families and neighbors.” 

From modest contributions to multimillion dollar gifts, Auxiliary members can always be counted on to help GBMC. For many years, the Auxiliary has quietly helped our most vulnerable NICU babies with funds to purchase blanket warmers and special “giraffe” beds to promote their healthy development. The Volunteer Auxiliary supported expansions in the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, purchased a linear accelerator to deliver radiation treatments for patients of the Sheila K. Riggs Radiation Oncology Center and supported the Cancer Survivorship Program’s annual gathering to celebrate patients and their caregivers.

The Auxiliary has also compassionately given to GBMC’s bereavement program for families who lose children during pregnancy or shortly after birth and to help Gilchrist Hospice Care with the expansion of inpatient care in our community. All gifts, too numerous to mention, have been meaningful to GBMC and our community. The most recent $1 million contribution supported the GBMC Center for Neurology, allowing increased services for the growing number of patients in need of comprehensive neurological treatment for stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other age-related brain conditions.

The generous individuals who join the Auxiliary come to their volunteer work after years of successful careers and raising families, often with little idea of how significant their contribution will be. According to Dr. John B. Chessare, President and CEO of GBMC HealthCare, “Without the countless contributions made by our wonderful volunteers, our HealthCare System would not be able to achieve what it does every day, contributing to the health, healing and hope of our community. We stand in awe of the enormity of their gift of 50 years of time, talent and treasure.”

To learn more about becoming a volunteer at GBMC, visit or call 443-849-2050.