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Mon, 09 Aug 2021 Medlink Blog

Celebrating National Community Health Center Week

National Health Center Week (August 8 – 14, 2021) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.  Community Health Centers serve as the beacon of strength, service, and care in their communities. In moments of pain and loss, they offer support and love. In moments of triumph, they offer hope and a vision for the future.  We are excited to celebrate the vital role that MedLink plays in each of the communities we serve with a special focus each day.

  • Sunday, 8/8: Public Health in Housing Day
  • Monday, 8/9: Heathcare for the Homeless Day
  • Tuesday, 8/10: Agricultural Worker Health Day
  • Wednesday, 8/11: Patient Appreciation Day
  • Thursday, 8/12: Stakeholder Appreciation Day
  • Friday, 8/13: Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
  • Saturday, 8/14: Children's Health Day

You might be wondering, what is a community health center and why are they important to our communities?  A community health center is a non-profit, consumer directed healthcare organization that provides access to high quality, affordable, and comprehensive primary and preventive medical, dental, and mental health care. Community Health Centers provide services to almost 30 million people in the U.S. and provide care to people who disproportionately suffer from chronic disease and lack access to affordable, quality care. While our approach is community-based and local, collectively we are the backbone of the nation’s primary care system. Community Health Centers lower health care costs to the tune of 24 billion dollars a year, reduce rates of chronic diseases, and stimulate local economies.

At MedLink Georgia we strive to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous care to all our patients. We offer a broad array of primary and preventive care services for patients of all ages, including screening, diagnosis, and management of chronic illnesses. In addition to primary care, we also offer: pediatrics, behavioral health, diabetes and nutrition education, occupational & physical therapy, women’s health, medication-assisted treatment, general dentistry and pharmacy services.

In 2020, we served over 45,000 patients in our 18 locations throughout northeast Georgia. All our centers are fully staffed year-round and offer extended hours. Each community has unique needs, so a center may offer specific services based on identified needs and available resources.

We have proudly been serving northeast Georgia since 1976. As a federally qualified health center, we are able to offer uninsured and underinsured patients a sliding fee scale. No one is denied services due to lack of income or insurance status. Many of our employees are also bi-lingual, eliminating the language barrier and providing a more comfortable and welcoming environment for all cultures.

Community Health Centers are not just healers, we are innovators who look beyond medical charts to address the factors that may cause poor health, such as poverty, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition, and unemployment. We are a critical piece of the health care system and collaborate with hospitals, local and state governments, and social, health, and business organizations to improve health outcomes for people who are medically vulnerable.

 

Thu, 15 Jul 2021 Medlink Blog

MedLink Banks welcomes Dr. Jeff Trawick to their team!

We are excited to welcome Dr. Jeff Trawick to our MedLink team!  Dr. Trawick is a family medicine doctor who will work in our MedLink Banks office in Homer, GA.  Dr. Trawick knew from an early age that he wanted to be in the medical field. He started off his career as a paramedic in Kuwait and Russia.  Dr. Trawick is passionate about preventative care, especially with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  He currently resides in Pendergrass with his wife, Amy. Dr. Trawick enjoys woodworking, reading, volunteering at his church, and doing DIY projects at home. He is also a licensed private pilot!  He is currently accepting new patients ages 4+.  To book an appointment with Dr. Trawick, give us a call: 706-521-3113

Mon, 28 Jun 2021 Medlink Blog

Seeking Success in Sleep

It’s that time of the year again… back to school! If you’re anything like me and my little 3 month old, you know that sleep is one of the most important things in our daily lives. And… if you’re like me, you know that to keep all of our sanities intact, we need to plan in advance. Did you know that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society specifies that adults aged 18 to 60 years should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis? Currently, nearly 30 percent of adults in the United States report sleeping six or fewer hours per day. In observational studies, short sleep duration has been associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and all-cause mortality. Additionally, lack of adequate habitual sleep results in daytime sleepiness, irritability, decreased concentration, attention deficits, reduced vigilance, distractibility, poor motivation, fatigue and malaise, lack of energy, restlessness, and incoordination.

So where do we start? Sleep hygiene has been recommended as the first line approach to improve both sleep quality and quantity. 

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. As we get ready for school, planning a week or two in advance with set schedules can prevent those first morning headaches!
  • If you can’t fall asleep or can’t get back to sleep, try getting out of bed and do a calming activity in low light. Reading is a great option, but not in bed!
  • Make sure your bed and bedroom is only used for sleep. Create a restful environment; did you know that setting your temperature to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or less allows most people to go to bed 30 minutes faster!
  • Remove all electronic devices from the bed and bedroom. Turn off the blue light from your phone or set a timer for this to happen automatically at a specified time each night
  • Exercise daily, but avoid exercise for 3 hours before bed. Daily outdoor exercise can actually promote improved nighttime sleep more than indoor activity. 
  • Try to avoid any daytime napping. If you do have to nap, attempt to keep it no longer than 20 minutes. 
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime; also avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bed.
  • Avoid alcohol, THC, nicotine, or snacks directly before bedtime

Do not get down on yourself if these interventions don’t work right away! Like any training, sleep quality and quantity will improve over time if you are consistent. If you do not see the results that you are looking for, please begin a sleep diary and bring it to your primary care physician to review and work with you further. 

Written by: Aaron Purser, MD, MedLink Georgia Family Medicine Physician
 

Wed, 23 Jun 2021 Medlink Blog

Family Nurse Practitioners Complete Residency at MedLink Georgia

On Friday June 4, 2021, a graduation ceremony was held for the inaugural class of the NoGapp Family Nurse Practitioner Residency.  The 4 residents were presented certificates commemorating the completion of the NoGapp Family Nurse Practitioner Residency program.   This program is HRSA funded project, through the Bureau of Health Workforce Advance Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner Residency Program (ANE-NPR Program) and is a partnership between MedLink and Emory School of Nursing. It is the first family nurse practitioner residency program, in a federally qualified health center (FQHC), in Georgia and was created with the intention of producing clinicians prepared to practice in a rural FQHC, such as MedLink. The outgoing residents have completed a rigorous, comprehensive 12 month program centered on the acquisition of clinical and quality improvement skills as well as professional leadership development.  Our immersive program featured didactic sessions led by subject matter experts, from within Medlink, Emory Healthcare and Emory University.  In addition to didactic sessions, the curriculum is comprised of mentored and independent clinic time in their respective sites, specialty clinic rotations and completion of a quality improvement program.  This year’s residents were located in Rabun, Habersham, Winder, and Colbert/Monroe. The program will welcome the next class of residents in July 2021. 

Fri, 04 Jun 2021 Medlink Blog

Skin Cancer Prevention

Summer 2021 is finally here and many of us have never anticipated a season more in our lives.  Coronavirus numbers are finally down and many have protected themselves with the COVID vaccine which makes it safer to get back to vacations, social gatherings, cook outs and the lake!  Since we are venturing back into the glorious sun, we could all use a reminder about preventing sunburns from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.  I commonly hear about “getting that first sunburn of the summer” but just 5 sunburns double your risk for skin cancer. Prolonged direct UV ray exposure is by far the most significant risk factor for developing skin cancer.  And because we all experience some degree of sun throughout our lives, skin cancer is the most common cancer with an occurrence of 1 in 5 people.  Its important to know that all skin types can develop skin cancer, including melanoma, but are much more common in lighter skin.  The good news is that most skin cancers are treatable and can removed before causing a serious problem.  There are 3 main types of skin cancer: squamous cell, basal cell, and melanoma.  Of them, basal cell is the most common and easiest to cure. Melanoma is the rarest but by far the most deadly.  Of the roughly 12,000 people dying each year from skin cancer, melanoma accounts for almost 70%. 

The best way to decrease your risk for skin cancer is to protect yourself from UV rays.   We’ve all heard about using sunscreen but selecting the best type is important.  The most common type of sunscreen is “chemical” based and currently being investigated for safety concerning some of the ingredients, including oxybenzone and octinoxate.  The other form of sunscreen is “mineral” based with zinc and titanium and are considered safe but commonly cast a faint white appearance.  I currently recommend using a high quality, chemically reduced or mineral sunscreen.  Apply 10-15 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours if you stay directly in the sun.  Perhaps more protective is simply spending shorter amounts of time in direct sunlight by taking shade breaks at least every 20 minutes and to minimize direct sunlight from the highest UV hours of 10am to 4pm.  Another important protective measure is wearing clothing and large brimmed hats.  Make sure to take extra care of the kids, since early sunburns in life increase risk for melanoma.  And it is never recommended to use a tanning bed.

In terms of detecting skin cancer, it’s important to be familiar with your most sun exposed areas such as hands, face, and ears.  Talk with your primary care physician if you notice an abnormal spot, especially if this appears to be changing size or color.  Most primary care providers can diagnose and treat many early skin cancers.  Finally, there is not a strong recommendation to have an annual skin check for most people, but light skinned people with history of melanoma should see a dermatologist every year. 

Here’s to having fun and staying well this summer!

Written by:
Daniel Gordon, MD
Primary Care Physician for MedLink Georgia

Fri, 04 Jun 2021 Medlink Blog

Water Exercise

The time is here!!! Time for fun in the surf, sand, and sun! Of course, some prefer the calmer places of lake and land. And others, the crystal-clear water and concrete bottoms of the backyard and neighborhood pools. Whatever your pleasure, moving around in water can be some of the best exercise.

For those who have problems with painful joints or muscles, moving around in water instead of on land can be much more pleasant. Being in water takes the pressure off bones and muscles and can allow movement or bigger movement without causing pain. For those who really want to get stronger, water provides an overall resistance through which to move. This resistance causes muscles to work harder. The concept is the same when people lift weights to shape up and gain strength. Moving in water is also a great, safe way to improve balance. The brain and body are having to make small adjustments, constantly, to keep you on your feet and resist moving with the current or ebb and flow of the water. These constant, tiny adjustments being made by the feet, legs, and trunk increase reaction time, posture, and coordination. Therefore, balance and safety when standing are greatly improved. All of this movement increases heart rate as well provides an opportunity to burn calories and improve lung capacity and oxygen in the blood.

Being in the water can have so many benefits. Not only is it a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends, but it can also improve physical health. Whether you participate in a formal water exercise class, swim laps, or make up your own routine to do a few times a week, the results can be great. Decreased pain and improvements in strength, balance, coordination, and circulation are just a few of things to expect from this type of exercise. 

Written by:
Amanda Wagner, MSOT
MedLink Georgia Director of Rehabilitation and Wellness
 

Fri, 14 May 2021 Medlink Blog

MedLink Welcomes New Providers

MedLink Georgia is excited to welcome 3 new providers to our team!  
Rebekah Hawkins, FNP-C
Rebekah is a Family Nurse Practitioner who will serve as a Float Nurse Practitioner between many of our MedLink Family Health Center locations.  She will see patients for annual wellness visits, sports physicals, well-woman exams and contraceptive management and will accept walk-ins and same day appointments for patients aged 4+.
Savannah Smith, LCSW
Savannah is a Behavioral Health Therapist who is available to assist patients with developmental disabilities, anxiety, depression, grief/loss, PTSD, and is LGBTQ+ affirming.  She is currently accepting patients in our Colbert office and is available for virtual appointments.
Ernie Aldaco, NP-C
Ernie is a Family Nurse Practitioner with over 19 years of experience in orthopedics and sports medicine.  He is accepting new patients, aged 5+, at our Gainesville office for sick and well visits, sports physicals, and basic women's health.  Ernie is also biligual.

To schedule an appointment with any of our providers, give us a call: 706-521-3113

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 Medlink Blog

COVID Vaccination Clinics for Businesses

MedLink Georgia is partnering with local businesses to do on-site vaccination clinics.  Our clinical team will come to you to vaccinate your employees, ensuring your team is protected.  We offer the Moderna COVID vaccine to anyone aged 18+.  There is no cost to your company or your employees.  Let's work together to stomp out COVID!  To get more information or schedule a clinic, email us at: outreach@medlinkga.org

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 Medlink Blog

Ribbon Cutting for MedLink Jefferson

Please join us as we celebrate the opening of our newest office in Jefferson, GA! We will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by open house tours and food & refreshments.

Our Jefferson office offers primary care, behavioral health, and diabetes education. We also have COVID vaccines and COVID rapid testing available.