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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

JULIE ALLEN, LEFT, and Dr. Boris Stevenin share a smile while the person Allen represents locally, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, is interviewed by a camera crew behind them. Stevenin is the director of the Seelig Regional Diabetes Education Center, which had an open house last week.

Open House Celebrates
Achievements, Services

By Ted Waddell
HARRIS — November 27, 2001 – The Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) dedicated their new Seelig Regional Diabetes Education Center and the Center for Wound Care at a celebratory open house on November 19.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that, left untreated, can be life-threatening. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), of the estimated 15.7 million Americans who have diabetes, nearly one-third (5.4 million) are undiagnosed, leaving them at great risk for a wide range of serious complications.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1, in which the body cannot produce insulin, and type 2, which is the result of the body’s resistance to insulin. A type 1 diabetic cannot produce enough insulin, while a type 2 diabetic has insulin resistance with hyperinsulinemia (cannot use insulin effectively), does not produce enough insulin or both.
Complications of diabetes may include damage to the eyes, kidneys or nerves. It also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Ten percent of the people who have the disease suffer from type 1 diabetes, while the remaining 90 percent have type 2 diabetes.
The CRMC diabetes education program is recognized by the ADA for quality self-management education. Group and individual appointments cover several ADA content areas, including individual assessment, nutritional counseling, blood sugar monitoring, medications and the use of insulin and oral #medications, exercise, setting personal goals, acute and chronic complications and other topics based on individual needs.
Diane Creed of the National ADA presented a certificate of recognition to the center during the opening ceremony.
“Assuring high quality education to help develop and improve patient self-care skills essential to diabetes management is one of the primary goals of the education recognition program,” she said. “Programs that achieve education recognition have a staff of knowledgeable health professionals who can provide state-of-the-art education about diabetes self-management to participants.”
CRMC board of trustees chair Joyce Salimeno said in her introductory remarks, “It’s absolutely wonderful. . . . We’ve made a lot of headway at the hospital with so many different programs, and this will# serve a lot of people with diabetes in the region.
“This is a world-class diabetes and wound care center,” added Art Brien, CRMC president & CEO.
Guest speaker Congressman Maurice Hinchey called the new centers “eloquent testimonies to the great work” that has been accomplished at the area’s primary medical facility.
In recounting the story of how his grandson almost died before being diagosed with diabetes at the age of two, Hinchey said, “Diabetes is a very serious disease that affects a great many people. . . . Diabetes education is very important in America, because it’s a very treatable disease, if caught early enough.”
Hinchey handed out Congressional certificates of special recognition: for CRMC; for the Seelig Regional Diabetes Education Center/Center for Wound Care; for Dr. Boris Stevenin, diabetes education medical director; and for Donna Gibbons, the center’s diabetes education coordinator (and president of the NY Northeast Association of Diabetes Educators).
“This is a major achievement for the community,” said Dr. Stevenin, adding that about 1,000 area residents suffering from diabetes are treated at CRMC.
Gibbons was instrumental in creating the new diabetes education center and wound care center.
“We had a dream to put together a quality diabetes education program as a service for the community,” she said. “We have an excellent program here in rural Sullivan County.”
Jim Yaple of Neversink watched the ceremony from his wheelchair. In 1978, he was diagnosed with insulin diabetes. Since then, he’s had a foot amputated as a result of a severe infection and suffered a minor heart attack which led to bypass surgery.
“Back then, 28 years ago, they had no sort of education program,” said Yaple of how diabetes was treated. “They just hoped it went away.
“I call it a diabolical disease,” he added. “It affects everything in your body. . . . It destroys everything.”
Yaple’s take on the professional medical staff at CRMC?
“They’re very encouraging,” he said. “They try to help you through the rough spots.”
The local medical center’s wound care program focuses on the numerous types of wounds that have difficulty healing, usually caused by health complications and showing little or no# signs of improvement – such as diabetic ulcers (mostly occurring in the feet as a result of poor circulation and nerve damage), veinal stasis ulcers (the most common type of leg ulcers resulting from poor circulation of the veins), arterial ulcers (caused by weak or inadequate circulation of the arteries) and pressure ulcers (generally found over a bone and caused by unrelieved pressure).
And the Seelig Regional Diabetes Education Center is the only program of its kind in the area united with a Center for Wound Care.
The multi-disciplinary team consists of a board-certified endrocrinologist, registered dietitian, clinical exercise physiologist, certified diabetes nurse educators, general surgeons, plastic surgeon, podiatric surgeon, vascular surgeon, nurse practitioner, certified wound care nurse and licensed practical nurses.
The staff includes Dr. Boris Stevenin (director), Donna Gibbons (coordinator), Vince Livingston, Mary Lou Pompeii, Patty Doti, Jacquelin Deatcher, Robyn Walsh, Penny Berger, Julia Stuhlmiller, Joanne Gilbert, Maria Cannonier, Gregg Atlas, Dr. Arthur Goldstein, Dr. Raj Gulati. Dr. Abdul Shahzad and Michael Rollin.
The center offers a series of four group# classes (“Basics & Nutrition,” “Self-Monitoring Blood Sugars,” “Exercise & Nutrition,” and “Long Term Wellness”) and individualized sessions. Morning, afternoon and evening classes are available.
In addition, a monthly support group #meeting is held on the first Wednesday of the month at 1:30# p.m., and a monthly insulin pump# support meeting is conducted on the last Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.
For information, call the Catskill#Regional Medical Center at 794-3300: Seelig Regional Diabetes Education Center (ext. 2106), the Center for Wound Care (ext. 2819).

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