Hundreds of home-bound seniors across Pittsburgh recently received a tasty surprise delivery to their doorstep, just in time for the holidays. Earlier this week, UPMC employees, University of Pittsburgh students and many volunteers prepared and delivered more than 200 Thanksgiving meals to older adults who will spend the holidays alone.
The effort, coordinated by Giving it Forward Together (GIFT) Pittsburgh and funded by the UPMC Center for Engagement & Inclusion, donated “Thanksgiving to GO” meal kits filled with delicious holiday food and thoughtful gifts.
Volunteers added a personal touch by personally delivering the meals and spending time with the seniors. More than 50 older adults in the UPMC Living-at-Home Program/Staying-At-Home Program received these special deliveries, making their holiday much brighter.
“Delivering these meals was truly a humbling experience,” said Missy Sovak, director of UPMC Living-at-Home Program/Staying-At-Home Program. “Each client had a personal history, and to receive the gift of a homemade meal meant a great deal to them.”
“Thanksgiving to GO” was started by GIFT Pittsburgh so seniors who are no longer able to spend the holidays with family can still eat a Thanksgiving meal and feel a sense of joy and blessing. This program reinforces the UPMC Living-at-Home Program/Staying-At-Home Program’s efforts to care for older adults.
Each senior appreciated the dinner and everything the program does, and it brought the volunteers joy to give back to those who need it most.
“I was speechless when I got back to the car each time, reflecting on how much this program truly means to each individual client,” said Sovak.
In time for the holidays, underprivileged adults in Pittsburgh received free foot screenings and proper fitting shoes, thanks to UPMC orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Conti, his family and fellow foot-care professionals.
During the annual Our Hearts Your Soles event, Conti and a team of UPMC foot-care specialists provided foot exams and, based on medical recommendations, University of Pittsburgh prosthetic and orthotic student volunteers fitted participants for shoes. Conti partnered with Catholic Charities to host the event, and more than 400 pairs of shoes were donated from Red Wing Shoe Company and Superfeet.
“Ill-fitting and disrepair shoes can lead to many foot problems with the poor, especially those who live outside during the Pittsburgh winter,” Conti said. “The volunteers and I are privileged to be able to serve these individuals each year through our charity.”
The annual event, which is in its 12th year, was founded by Matthew Conti with the help of his father in the hope to fill the gap in services provided to the homeless population. Since then it’s become a national occasion, taking place across more than 20 cities this year.
Global leaders in the field of orthopaedic foot and ankle surgery recently gathered in Pittsburgh for the International Consensus Meeting on Cartilage Repair of the Ankle.
The first-of-its-kind meeting was the result of a year-long collaboration among national and international experts to develop a consensus on key focus areas like the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for common and complex injuries to the ankle.
“In over 60 percent of ankle sprains, there is an associated injury, whether it be small or large, to the surrounding cartilage of the ankle,” said Dr. Macalus V. Hogan, vice chairman of education and division chief of foot and ankle surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgey at UPMC. “Our goal is to reach consensus with these thought and evidence-driven leaders so we can ultimately improve patient care.”
The meeting included over 100 orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, radiologists and scientists from 26 countries.
Christopher Murawski, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, became interested in orthopedics after suffering injuries as a high school baseball player. He said conferences like these help move research and treatment options forward.
“We have been meeting as a group since 2012, and the first time there was a lot of disagreement,” he said. We now have a very unique opportunity to bring a group of experts together from around the world and discuss a problem where not a lot of clinical evidence exists.”
For more information about orthopaedic care at UPMC, click here.
The holiday season is filled with family and food, but can also be stressful for many people who are concerned about overconsumption. Americans typically gain up to 2 pounds over the holiday season, and this weight gain can increase if they aren’t cautious about caloric intake.
We asked Elizabeth Dubovi, clinical nutrition coordinator at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, for some tips on staying on track with this holiday season.
How should someone get their diet back on track after Thanksgiving?
A. To get back on track after Thanksgiving, I recommend eating like it’s any regular day. Don’t restrict your food intake the following day just because you overindulged – this could easily lead to overeating once again. Additionally, drink plenty of water to help with digestion, and restart your typical exercise routine to burn extra calories you may have consumed. Remember, the holidays only come around once every year, and it’s normal to get off track from a healthy eating plan. With a positive attitude and desire to get back on track, you will recover from your Thanksgiving feast.
A. Be mindful. Mindful eating includes awareness of the entire process of consuming food. First, smell your food and, during the meal, chew slowly and take time to absorb the many flavors. By taking time to eat, you are preventing overeating. Portion control is also important to exercise. Using smaller plates can help to reduce the amount you eat. It’s helpful to start your meal with a salad and vegetables – the fiber will help fill you up and prevent overindulgence of the more high-calorie foods, like entrees and dessert. Always wait at least 10 minutes before going back for second helpings, as it can take 10 to 15 minutes for your stomach to realize it is full. Finally, enjoy dessert! If portion control was managed during the first course, enjoying dessert in moderation is not a problem.
Can you name a few tips to avoid overconsumption during the holiday?
A. On Thanksgiving Day, don’t drink your calories. While it is traditional to drink alcoholic beverages on the holiday, being mindful of the empty calories they contain is important. I recommend eliminating alcoholic beverages completely, however, limiting your consumption to one to two beverages can help to significantly reduce the calories you consume. Additionally, don’t sit near dessert trays – this often leads to mindless consumption of sugary, high calorie foods. Over the days following Thanksgiving, be smart with your leftovers and don’t feel you need to eat everything at once. Eating traditional Thanksgiving dishes over several meals or days can also be enjoyable. Try eating turkey, stuffing and a salad for lunch and choose turkey, sweet potatoes and green beans at dinner.
Amid concerns for the safety of first responders exposed to chemicals like fentanyl, UPMC emergency physicians recently published precautionary safety guidelines for emergency medical personnel who may be exposed to a harmful substance when responding to the scene of an overdose.
The guidelines were developed by UPMC emergency medicine physicians Dr. Michael Lynch, Dr. Francis Guyette and Dr. Joseph Suyama, and published in the September issue of the journal Prehospital Emergency Care.
“We’ve seen multiple reports of police officers or EMT’s and other types of responders potentially exposed to powder with a variety of symptoms that may or may not have been attributable to the drug or powder,” Lynch said. “That further fueled concerns for the safety of the responders.”
The guidelines cover various response scenarios and provide safety recommendations for first responders when they encounter a situation that may be considered high risk for exposure.
To obtain a copy of the guidelines or request additional information, contact the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC at 800-222-1222.