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Michelle Gabrielle Centamore

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Coronavirus Fuels Rise Of Telehealth Trend

Telehealth is the wave of the future, medical experts say. (Getty Images)

As the coronavirus pandemic created the need for doctors to see their patients without potentially contracting or spreading COVID-19 during office visits, many are increasingly turning to telehealth — like Skype, but for healthcare — which provides care remotely through telecommunications technology.

Telemedicine services enable practitioners to collaborate with each other and their patients — for example, transfer and analyze data and images — to treat and monitor patients without physical contact. The technology has been crucial in not only being able to address the needs of the sick but to protect the healthy, too. 

“Clearly at a time when you have a large influx of patients with potential for infectious disease, putting them all in a waiting room is suboptimal,” says Dr. Josh Kugler, who chairs the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside. 

Telehealth allows for initial screening to differentiate the need for an emergency room visit due to a broken bone or possible COVID-19, for example. 

“If they don’t meet certain criteria, we may take their phone number and call them in their car and use their technology or we could bring them an iPad…and we could set up a queue according to severity,” Kugler says, adding that by utilizing technology, physicians are able to triage and treat effectively without overexposing patients and providers. 

The healthcare industry is not new to telehealth. But healthcare privacy laws, limited reimbursement for providers, slower adoption by practitioners, and technical limitations made it an intimidating and/or slow-moving feat before coronavirus. 

Upon implementing or updating the scope of their telehealth care, hospitals and medical practices faced challenges from everything from language barriers to entering Medicare and Medicaid telemedicine codes, adoption and comprehension of the technology, and some patients’ reluctance due to their unfamiliarity with the technology. But most if not all of these bumps in the road were promptly addressed. For example, translation technology was utilized to combat language barriers, and the government has lifted regulatory restrictions.

Ultimately, telehealth has provided healthcare experts with advanced capabilities to care for their patients, the benefits of which are invaluable, experts say.

Telehealth adds 24/7 convenience, says Dr. Ken Long, vice president of administration, Mount Sinai South Nassau. Physicians have access to electronic medical records to remotely attend to hospital as well as family practices, even if their physicians have coronavirus. Doctors could easily fill prescriptions following a telehealth visit rather than have their patients run to the ER, for example. And while there’s been a great shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE), telehealth “allows us to conserve masks and gowns,” he says. “We want the practices to stay functional; we don’t want people to get sick.” 

Medical professionals at Northwell Health, Long Island’s largest healthcare system, agree.

“With the onset of COVID-19, Northwell Health has leveraged existing capabilities and expanded their capabilities and outreach tremendously,” says Iris Berman, R.N., vice president of Telehealth Services at Northwell Health. 

Telehealth has been extremely valuable particularly for the vulnerable and at-risk population, she notes, explaining that a patient with multiple comorbidities, simultaneous chronic diseases that require a number of different specialists to manage their care, would typically require special transportation and visits on any given day to a professional team including a pulmonologist, nutritionist, and physical therapist. 

“What we are able to do with telehealth is have all of those specialties at one visit at one time while that patient stays home,”  Berman adds.

They are able to coordinate, collaborate, and treat effectively.

“People will see the convenience of it and the efficiency and want to continue this well after the COVID emergency is over,” Berman says. “Getting good data together, looking at those avoided unnecessary and high-cost transfers to the emergency room — conserving more expensive resources for those that really need it — will be something interesting to look at.” 

Related Story: How To Boost Your Immune System During The Coronavirus War

For more coronavirus coverage visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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How To Boost Your Immune System During The Coronavirus War

Drinking fresh citrus fruit juice is a good source of vitamin C. (Getty Images)

As the world takes cover from the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare experts offer insight on how to help strengthen the immune system and stay healthy.

In addition to not touching your face and practicing social distancing — staying home, avoiding crowds, keeping at least 6 feet away from people in public — to avoid the spread of the disease, experts also offer a few suggestions on preventing and fighting COVID-19, should you contract it.

“Strengthening or boosting the immune system during this difficult time is of the utmost importance,” says Rosemary Cook, a registered nurse and holistic nutritionist. “A healthy immune system can defeat an invasion of a bacteria or virus or organism that is going to come to the host, which is your body.”

Hand hygiene is critical. Good old-fashioned soap and water is preferable to hand sanitizer, which should be used as a backup.

“People are using an overabundance of hand sanitizers and wiping out the natural flora or good bacteria,” she says. “Alcohol, although it has good disinfectant properties, deprives skin of oil and water and can dry skin out, which can interrupt the skin’s natural barrier of protection, increasing the risk of viruses and bacteria entering into the skin.”

She recommends disinfecting and sanitizing naturally, too, with vinegar, oregano oil, Thieves oil, or witch hazel. 

Consume a balanced diet that includes protein, fruits and vegetables, advises Vivian DeNise, D.O., of Garden City Center for Integrative Health. Avoid refined sugar, processed foods (which often contain monosodium glutamate or MSG) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), all of which will inhibit the body from doing its best work, she warns. 

Blending fruits and vegetables into juices and smoothies is a great way to get lots of nutrients into your diet. Frozen vegetables are dense in vitamins and minerals, Dr. DeNise notes. Gelatin-rich bone broth supports gut health and the immune system, adds Cook. 

Liposomal vitamin C is a most powerful antioxidant that strengthens your body’s natural defenses, combats free radicals, and encourages the production of white blood cells to protect the body against infection, experts say. Good food sources of Vitamin C include kiwi, oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, as well as raw vegetables — red and green peppers, spinach, leafy greens, etc. 

“Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut are great probiotics and also are rich in vitamin C,” Cook says. 

Experts note that zinc helps strengthen the immune system, in addition to cod liver oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. 

“All provide protection against viruses,” Cook says. 

If you’re experiencing respiratory challenges, aside from consulting your physician, Cook recommends soothing the condition with the herb, thyme.

“It helps fight respiratory infections and is a natural expectorant; it helps get rid of mucus,” she says.

Avoid respiratory challenges by not smoking or vaping, warns Dr. DeNise. 

“When you smoke, it calms the cilia [tiny hairlike organisms that help protect your body from pathogens] down and whatever you’re inhaling gets deeper into your lungs,” the doctor adds. 

Remember, quarantine does not mean stay inside, says Cook. Fresh air, natural sunlight, and exercise are paramount to feeding the mind, body, and soul. 

“Take a break from social media every now and then, as negativity can wreak havoc on the immune system,” she says. “Sleep helps the body rejuvenate and heal. The body needs rest to maintain and build strength and immunity.” 

Dr. Salvatore R. Pardo, chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream, agrees. 

“Whenever there’s a new virus, we don’t know how it behaves,” he says. Rather than panic, he advises: “Follow good hygiene, health, and safety practices.” 

Experts advise individuals to consult with their trusted healthcare provider for specific guidance and supplement dosage relating to their individual health needs. 

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Bite Into Wellness This National Nutrition Month

Say yes to fruits and no to sweets. (Getty Images)

An unhealthy diet is a leading risk factor for death, studies show.

Poor nutrition choices were responsible for an estimated 318,656 cardiometabolic deaths in 2012, according to “Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States,” a 2017 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The good news is that it’s never too late to get healthy. What better way to start than to explore some of 2020’s most promising nutrition plans? This year’s front-runners are the ketogenic (keto) diet, plant-based diet, and intermittent fasting.

“Many diabetics—Type 2—are using [the Keto] diet for weight loss which helps decrease blood sugar and insulin levels,” notes Greer McGuinness R.D., C.D.N., chief clinical dietician at Cold Spring Hills Nursing Home in Woodbury. “The biggest challenge is following the diet; many patients don’t stick to it and eventually get frustrated and stop, resulting in weight gain.”

The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate- to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. McGuinness suggests that diabetics, especially, should collaborate with their physician and dietician to monitor health and achieve success.

Plant-based diets are the next hottest trend, says McGuinness, and for good reason. According to the American Heart Association, a plant-based diet — which entails removing or limiting some or all meat items and consuming fruits, vegetables and grains — reduces the risk of coronary disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and many cancers. 

“Plant based doesn’t mean you eat less protein,” says McGuinness. “You get protein sources from other items.”

Be sure to get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 and iron, too. 

Intermittent fasting does not dictate what types of food you can or can’t eat; rather, “It’s an adjustment of times for consumption of food and not eating,” explains McGuinness. 

“The fewer hours you eat, the fewer calories you consume, putting you in a calorie deficit for weight loss,” she says. 

Still, consuming healthy foods and practicing healthy lifestyle habits can surely contribute to success. Individuals on medications should consult with their physician, says McGuinness. Whatever nutrition plan you choose, remember, no diet is a one-size-fits-all, says McGuinness, who suggests seeking out counseling if need be.

“The human body is so complex, and everyone is different,” she says, adding that it’s all about “changing the mindset.” 

The Little Mermaid Takes The Argyle Theatre at Babylon Village Under The Sea

The Little Mermaid takes the stage at Argyle Theatre at Babylon Village

The Argyle Theatre at Babylon Village is taking Long Island theatergoers “under the sea” for one more week with the classic Broadway musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

The enchanted tale of a beautiful, brave mermaid who longs to explore life on land is an absolute must-see. Under the creative leadership of Argyle’s artistic director, Evan Pappas, The Little Mermaid sweeps audiences up in one wave, beginning with mesmerizing ocean sounds breezing through the theatre minutes before both vibrant sea and land-life take the audience by storm, quite literally. With brilliantly designed costumes and choreography, a super creative set, awesome props, intricate lighting and sound details, and a dynamic, talented cast, one would think the real Disney story has come to life in the most magical place on earth, except in this story, the magic is all on Argyle’s stage. An especially “hot crustacean [pit] band” is underneath and fills the theatre with a captivating instrumental performance.

Princess Ariel, played by Kimberly Immanuel, embodies the heart, soul, talent and beauty of the teenaged princess who dreams of becoming human, and live with the charming Prince Eric, played by the dashingly talented, Jeff Sullivan. Immanuel sings Part of Your World with a voice that is both sweet and strong, full of conviction with a hint of a dream about to come true. Her transformation on stage from mermaid to human is pure genius thanks to costume designer, Kurt Alger, whose designs are all exquisitely constructed to reflect each character’s unique personalities.  

Ariel’s father King Triton is played with royal perfection by Warren Nolan Jr. He truly personifies your average, protective father and majestic ruler. Under the Sea is a blast, performed by the fiery red crustacean, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gregory Thurman. Such fun and fancy fin-work graces the stage in this scene and more, thanks to an eclectic choreography arrangement by choreographer Tara Jeanne Valle. 

Courtney Balan’s performance as the evil Ursula singing Poor Unfortunate Soul, accompanied by Flotsam and Jetsam, her evil sidekicks on skates, was super powerful. Ariel’s faithful friends, Flounder, played by Matthew Rafanelli and Scuttle, played by Michael Valvo, brought that fantastic, fun-loving energy we’ve all come to adore from a Disney Classic. 

Several of The Little Mermaid’s cast and crew are returnees, a true testament to the specialness of the Argyle family, started by father-son duo, Mark and Dylan Perlman. Argyle’s frequent theatergoers, too, have come to look forward to and appreciate the exceptional talent and heart that is displayed at each of Argyle’s productions.

Argyle Theatre, 34 West Main St., Babylon. argyletheatre.com, 844-631-5483. Disney’s The Little Mermaid tickets $35-$74 Through February 23. 

Healthy Relationships With Food Take Dedication

Eating disorders can impact the mind and body equally. (Getty Images)

For Meaghan Wamboldt, 26, of Dix Hills, establishing a healthy relationship with food and her body took nearly half of her lifetime to accomplish. 

“Ever since I was a little girl, I always struggled with body image and self-confidence,” she recalls. 

During her childhood, competitive cheerleading and dance kept her active and fit on the outside, but by the time she hit her teens, she began to crumble on the inside. Traumatic experiences, poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression settled in, resulting in dangerous eating and lifestyle habits. By her freshman year of college, Wamboldt was diagnosed with anorexia, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although presently recovered from her eating disorder, Wamboldt suffers from its physical side effects, including a heart condition (bradycardia) and infertility.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that could negatively and indefinitely impact an individual’s emotional, mental, and physical health. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (starvation), bulimia nervosa (self-induced vomiting following binge eating), and binge eating disorder (eating large quantities of food). Most individuals who suffer from an eating disorder also feel some sort of guilt or shame about themselves and their condition. 

“An eating disorder is the degree to which thoughts, actions and behaviors about food, weight, body image and exercise begin to interfere with your quality of life and your ability to be present,” says Dr. Sondra Kronberg, licensed clinical nutritionist, certified eating disorder specialist, and founding executive director of Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative, which has officers in Jericho and Hauppauge. 

There are several potential triggers in eating disorders and Long Island is no stranger to many of them, says Kronberg.

“We live in a pretty image-driven culture on Long Island — the amount of pressure to succeed, be the best and the thinnest, stress, and affluence,” could all create an “epidemic of eating disorders,” she says. 

Other triggers may include a history of a mental health condition, a relative with an eating disorder, poor body image, and weight issues, poor self-esteem, anxiety or trauma, and peer pressure, according to NEDA.

“The most obvious sign of an eating disorder is being grossly too thin or being grossly overweight,” says Barbara Crosby, M.S., certified health coach, weight management expert and eating disorder therapist. Other symptoms include thinning hair or hair loss, decreased socialization, increased isolation, not being able to eat around people, etc. 

Recovery from eating disorders is “a work in progress and a lifetime responsibility,” says Crosby. 

“The sooner the patient is diagnosed the easier it will be to heal,” Crosby says. Working with a mental health professional, nutritionist, physician, etc., who specializes in eating disorders is critical. “The goal is for the patient to have the courage and strength to look into and learn about themselves.” 

Support of family and friends may also contribute to healing and help foster positive self-attitudes and gratitude. Crosby advises: Don’t discuss food, weight or appearance. 

“Instead, chat about the weather, kids, jobs, vacations, movies … If asked how they look, “stay neutral,” she suggests, with a reply like, “You look beautiful.”

Those who succeed in recovering from an eating disorder have this in common: “They learn how to eat and care for themselves emotionally, physically and spiritually in a way that supports their aliveness, well-being, spontaneity, growth and development,” says Kronberg. 

Wamboldt says her life was saved by a team of professionals including a nutritionist, psychologist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, and support group, as well as her faith. 

“I no longer view my body as a battlefield, and food isn’t the enemy,” she says. “I learned that my worth and my value doesn’t come from a number on the scale, but what’s in my heart. I learned that self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts and living my life according to my values and morals. I learned that I am loved because of who I am inside, not outside.”

Proposed Flu, HPV Vaccine Mandates Ignite Controversy

Vaccine mandate opponents rally in Albany on Jan. 8, 2020. Photo by Meighan Esmond.

Long Island parents were among an estimated 1,000 protesters who picketed on Jan. 8 outside the New York State Capitol in Albany to rally against a pair of proposals that would mandate students to get additional vaccines to attend school.

If passed, the bills would require an annual flu vaccine for minors from age 2 months to 18 years and require the HPV vaccine for all children born on or after January 1, 2009. Supporters of the bills say the mandates are necessary for public health. Opponents say the science is not settled as to the vaccines’ safety and the government is interfering in parents’ medical decisions for their children. 

”Many children in daycares and preschools are exposed to daily close contact with other young and possibly ill children,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) wrote in his sponsor memo for the flu bill. “Often children of this age group are too young to have been properly taught to cough properly and protect themselves from disease. Vaccination is the best way to make sure our youth is protected.” 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu vaccine can reduce flu illness in up to 60 percent of the general population, depending on how well the current, circulating flu virus is matched to the current flu vaccine virus. Influenza vaccine effectiveness for all vaccine types against influenza A or B for 2019 to 2020 was 48 percent for children ages 6 months to 8 years and 7 percent for children ages 9 to 17, says the CDC.

“Children at that age are at high risk for complications and more likely to transmit influenza,” says Dr. Jana Shaw, chair of public education for the New York State HPV Coalition and an associate professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “The flu vaccine is not perfect but it’s better than nothing.” 

The benefits outweigh the risks, she says. But skeptics remain. Critics note that the flu shot has the most complaints filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a federal program for vaccine safety, co-managed by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Flu vaccines like all other federally recommended vaccines, are inadequately tested,” says Mary Holland, general counsel of Children’s Health Defense and co-author of HPV Vaccine on Trial: Seeking Justice for a Generation Betrayed. “They’re not tested against true inert placebos and not tested over a long period of time. We know that many flu vaccines contain mercury and aluminum — known neurotoxins.”

Sen. Hoylman is also sponsoring the HPV bill. 

“Human papillomavirus is an incredibly common sexually transmitted infection that can be passed on even when an infected person is asymptomatic, and can cause genital warts or cancer,” he says in his sponsor memo for the HPV bill. 

According to the CDC, the numbers of cases and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly in the past 40 years, due mostly to women getting regular Pap tests, which can identify cervical precancer. 

Dr. Shaw says the HPV vaccine can prevent that precancer — HPV infection — and cancer in the future. 

“Most of the infections happen early in life,” she says. “You can be infected with HPV. You will have no symptoms and no idea you are infected and then you will go on developing cancer.” 

An annual Pap smear and consistent medical care — not the HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9 — are the safest and most effective means of preventing cancer, critics say. According to VAERS, more than 60,000 serious injuries and more than 500 deaths were reported from the HPV vaccine as of October 14, 2019. 

“The HPV vaccine has never been proven to prevent a single case of cancer ever,” Holland says. “The clinical trials to license Gardasil 9 were grossly inadequate and fraudulent. The injuries and deaths from the HPV vaccine are real. No parent knowing the real risks would choose to give it to their child.” 

Bills that would permit minors to receive this vaccine without parental knowledge or consent “are unethical and violate the principle of informed consent,” she adds.

New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro (R-Erie County) says the proposed mandates are an example of government overreach and the pharmaceutical industry flexing its muscle, as he suggests was the case in 2019, with the controversial repeal of religious exemptions for vaccines for students in the wake of the measles outbreak.

“It’s not a coincidence that on June 13 — our last day in session — we passed this bill and then on June 14 when we were not in Albany, the [pharmaceutical] company Merck drops 48 million in New York State,” DiPietro says.

Matilda the Musical Coming Soon To Cultural Arts Playhouse

L. to R.: Goldie Lynne Centamore, Sophia Jarmel, and Claire Daly star in Matilda the Musical at the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset.

With a fabulous cast ranging in age from 7 years to grown-up, an extraordinary creative score, catchy tunes, fantastic special effects, and awesome choreography, Matilda the Musical will entertain audiences of all ages at Cultural Arts Playhouse (CAP) in Syosset.

The role of the tiny yet ever-so-capable Matilda Wormwood is shared by three super talented girls: Goldie Lynne Centamore, Claire Daly, and Sofia Jarmel. 

“Their innocence and sweetness, as well as their talent shine through and their ability to memorize such massive material is amazing,” says Bruce Grossman, CAP’s owner and artistic director.

Based on the beloved Roald Dahl classic, Matilda is the story of an exceptional, seemingly enchanted girl who at 5 years old has read hefty titles as Crime and Punishment and Jane Eyre, and even speaks Russian. Rather than praise their daughter and shower her with kisses of pride, Matilda’s parents resent her for not being a boy and are incredibly cruel to her. Matilda attends a private school with a monstrous headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, played by John DiGiorgio and Jerry Callahan. Fortunately, Matilda and her school friends meet kindness in their teacher, Miss Honey, played by Alyson Endlich and Samantha Eagle. The children discover that “even if you’re little, you can do a lot,” a message that resonates well with CAP.

“Our theater is pretty profound for its development and work with kids,” Grossman says. “We give very good training and bring them up in a very positive fashion and help instill confidence.”

CAP offers youth classes and productions, as well as mainstage performances. It makes it a mutually enjoyable experience when child and adult actors collaborate for a mainstage production. 

“The kids absolutely love working with an adult cast — it makes them feel like it’s Broadway,” he says. “The adults are very appreciative because they know it will enhance the show to have really talented kids in the appropriate roles.”

Matilda the Musical is one monumental endeavor, says Grossman, but a welcome challenge that comes with great reward for CAP’s dedicated, creative production team that includes Tony Frangipane, artistic director; Amanda Schmidt, stage manager; Kristina King, choreographer; and Rich Giordano, music director. 

Matilda the Musical runs from Jan. 4 to Feb. 2 at Cultural Arts Playhouse, Syosset, 170 Michael Drive. 516-694-3330. culturalartsplayhouse.com Tickets are $24-$38.

Editor’s note: Goldie Lynne Centamore is Michelle’s daughter.

Making Realistic New Year’s Resolutions Is Key To Success

(Getty Images)

Every year, on December 31 as the clock approaches midnight, billions of people around the world envision a better year ahead. 

They dream of a healthier, happier, and more successful life — smiles, laughter, everything coming up roses. 

New Year’s resolutions can motivate us to create positive change personally and professionally, but experts advise: To make those resolutions stick, make both your goals and steps to achieving them attainable. 

PRIORITIZE YOURSELF

To successfully accomplish your goals and realize your true potential, look within and “focus on you,” says Dr. Christine Grimaldi, founder of The Body Mantra Method, a fitness program for on-the-go celebrities and owner of Body Mantra and Barre Salt Spa in Smithtown. Dr. Grimaldi’s paramount advice: “The key to daily, sustainable happiness for yourself, and even for helping others, is to make yourself a priority.” 

Daily meditation can help, Dr. Grimaldi suggests. 

“Spend five minutes at night making a gratitude list of that day and then a brighter meditation,” she says. “Implementing these tasks will make you a happier and healthier person as a whole.”

PICK A WORTHY RESOLUTION

Consider your reasons for pursuing your resolution, advises Ron Villano, psychotherapist, founder and director of Family & Personal Counseling and Hypnosis of Long Island, and author of the self-help book The Zing.

“Does it align with your values and beliefs or is it something you’re doing because someone else thinks it’s important for you to do?” he asks.

Stefani Kavner, clinical social worker, certified holistic health coach and personal trainer and owner of Huntington-based health and wellness organization Fit for Life, recalls a 78-year-old client who wanted to improve his health so he could dance with his granddaughter at her wedding and one day meet his great grandchildren. 

He “showed up” to work out three times per week for years. At first, “he could hardly do a crunch and within months he was doing full sit-ups. I watched him gain strength and confidence and dance with his granddaughter at her wedding. He’s continued to work out three days a week at 82 years old.”

BE REALISTIC

“Most of us want to lose weight but planning to lose 10 pounds in 10 days is impossible to achieve,” notes Kavner. An alternative, attainable goal, she suggests, is aiming to lose five pounds in one month. Baby steps. 

“If you want to start waking earlier to exercise first thing in the morning, start by setting your clock back 15 minutes earlier than your normal wake-up time for an entire week before setting it back another 15 minutes the following week,” she says.

If detaching from technology is your mission, start small, suggests Villano. 

“Going cold turkey is not a realistic solution,” he says. Instead, he suggests, “For the month of January, I will not look at my cell phone past 9 p.m. … It gets you on the right path and sets a realistic goal designed to give you a win!”

HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

Write everything down. Break down your goals into smaller, more manageable timeframes and record your progress. 

“You can tweak as things change for you, as life is constantly changing,” says Kavner.  

SEEK SUPPORT

For goals that are particularly challenging — like quitting smoking, ending addiction, losing weight — it’s all right to seek professional counseling or support from family and friends. 

“Resolving to make major lifestyle changes to benefit your health and welfare takes a team—with you in the driver’s seat,” says Villano.

CELEBRATE SUCCESS

“Permanent change is the eventual goal but taking notice of the successes you make along the way will help you build that momentum to stick to it,” says Villano. 

Mistakes happen and that’s OK — that’s life. 

“Give yourself a good old-fashioned pat on the back for sticking to the long-term change,” he says. 

“Real, lasting change is hard and happens by changing small habits over time,” adds Kavner. “Time is your friend.”

HIA-LI’S Women Leading The Way Breakfast Inspires Successful Females

L. to R.: Carolyn Mazzenga, Office Managing Partner, Marcum LLP; Kristen Jarnagin, President and CEO, Discover Long Island; Rebecca O’Connell, Managing Director and Regional Head, Chase Bank; Joanna Austin, Publisher, Long Island Press.

Long Island professionals gathered on Nov. 22 at the Stonebridge Country Club in Smithtown for the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island’s (HIA-LI) 9th annual Women Leading the Way Executive Breakfast. 

Some of the most distinguished female executives on LI served as featured panelists. They included Discover Long Island CEO Kristen Jarnagin, Carolyn Mazzenga, managing partner of the Melville office of Marcum LLP and tax partner and leader of Family Wealth Services Group at Marcum LLP, Rebecca O’Connell, managing director and region-head of Chase Bank, and Long Island Press Publisher Joanna Austin. The event was moderated by Domenique Camacho-Moran, partner, Farrel Fritz, P.C. 

The panelists explored common issues experienced by local female professionals and empowered attendees to approach their careers with knowledge, strength, courage, and faith and to never give up on a dream, whether personal or professional. 

Here are some key takeaways:

FIND YOUR INSPIRATION

Inspiration is a key motivator for personal and professional success, according to Austin. 

“You have to find inspiration from every aspect of your life whether it is from your family that influences your work or your work that influences your family,” she said.

 For Austin, “the everyday hero” who gets the job done, is happy, and is still standing at the end of the day is certainly applaudable. 

DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS

For most of the panelists, the definition of “success” was initially tied solely to financially security but evolved to include more substantial values. 

While in college, O’Connell said, “I had my eye on the money.” Her vision changed once she embarked on her career. She came to define success not only by earnings but also by abilities, thriving on her own courage, commitment, humility, and ability to connect with others. 

“The minute that I recognized that and started leading in that capacity was the minute I started making a difference in the organization, as well as for myself and for the individuals around me,” she said. 

PROMOTE AND PERSEVERE 

“Hope is not a strategy,” said Mazzenga. 

She recalled a childhood memory in which she asked her mother why there were no female paper carriers; her mother could not answer. From that point on, Mazzenga was determined to not let anything stand in the way of her success. 

“If you can’t tell me why I can’t do it, then I’m going to do it,” she said. “That drove me all through my career.” 

Success takes wholeheartedness and ambition, asserts Jarnagin. 

“You have to have the passion for what you love and what you do,” she added.

OWN YOUR SKILLS

O’Connell offered some key advice she received from her mentor while at a crossroads in her career. She said these words helped her reach a greater level of success. 

“Don’t sit back and wait,” she said. “Find outside opportunities and be proactive.” 

Jarnagin said the proof is in the pudding.

“If you want to be a manager, act like it,” said Jarnagin. “Take on management roles and show that you can do it.” 

Austin added, “You have to have the courage to push boundaries.” 

Respect yourself and respect your team. 

“Listen,” Austin advised. 

DON’T FEEL GUILTY

Leaders can have hearts, but they also need to have thick skin and the ability to make difficult choices, said Mazzenga. 

Regarding terminating an employee, she said, “There are times when you just need to part ways.” 

It’s possible to do with no hard feelings.

FIND A BALANCE

“If you want to have it all, you need to manage your sacrifices,” said Jarnagin. 

While work and family are both a priority, she notes that sometimes, something’s gotta give. Finding the balance to keep everyone including yourself happy is critical, she noted.

There’s no hard-fast formula to achieving work/life balance, said Austin. It’s personal. 

“It’s a constant work-in-progress,” she said.

Walk-In Dermatology Takes Patients With No Appointments

Dr. Stacey Brisman treats patient Ariana Nikolis.

Notice something suspicious on your skin? Early detection saves lives, reminds the Skin Cancer Foundation. 

But what do you do when you call for an appointment and you’re told you’ll have to wait days or even weeks for an appointment? Enter the new convenient care, designed to help patients avoid panic mode, achieve peace of mind, and receive professional treatment in a timely fashion: Walk-in Dermatology in Greenvale, Long Island’s first local walk-in dermatologic office. 

“The increase in public awareness of skin cancers and advanced treatments available for chronic skin conditions has encouraged more people to have their skin examined,” says Stacey Brisman, M.D., F.A.A.D. ”This, combined with the shortage of dermatologists, has contributed to long wait times to see a board-certified dermatologist.

Dr. Brisman is a board-certified dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Women’s Dermatology Society and Skin Cancer Foundation. In April, she and Steven Dresner cofounded Walk-in Dermatology, which provides medical and cosmetic dermatologic services and allows patients to book online, call the office or simply walk in on the same day to be seen by a dermatologist. Dr. Brisman is joined by dermatologists Dr. Louis Siegel and Dr. Kumar Sukhdeo, both Fellows of the American Academy of Dermatology.

At Walk-in Dermatology, “anyone can walk in and be seen seven days a week for any skin care condition,” Dr. Brisman says. Plus, the office accepts most health insurance plans.

The secret to Walk-in Dermatology’s success is quite simple, says Dr. Brisman. While the practice provides the same services — full-body skin examinations, diagnostics, cosmetic procedures, etc. — as a traditional dermatology office, their approach is more modern and keeps in mind that people are busy and sometimes waiting is not an option. 

“It’s all in the scheduling,” she notes. “We manage our calendar to avoid scheduling back-to-back patients so that someone who needs to be seen the same day can simply walk into the office.”

“In dermatology, faster is better,” notes Dr. Brisman. “The sooner you are diagnosing any kind of skin cancer, the more treatable it is…rashes, contact dermatitis and other skin issues need to be dealt with faster before they spread.” 

The goal of Walk-in Dermatology’s founders is to achieve efficiency in patient management, monitoring and follow-up by utilizing advanced technology systems to manage electronic medical records. 

“It’s super high-tech stuff and we believe this is really the future of care,” Dr. Brisman says.

While Dr. Brisman is thoroughly enjoying being able to serve patients more efficiently at Walk-in Dermatology, she notes, “The hardest part about starting a new practice for me was leaving the special bonds that I had made with so many of my prior patients.” 

She says thankfully she has been reacquainted with some familiar faces. Robyn Doubert of Port Washington was a patient of Dr. Brisman’s at her previous practice who says she owes her life to Dr. Brisman. For years, other physicians missed a spot that had concerned Doubert; Dr. Brisman tested the area and diagnosed Doubert with melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. 

“I was very lucky and thankful she is so thorough,” Doubert says. She has also taken her three children to Walk-in Dermatology. “It’s a big relief to know you can get right in. We maybe waited twenty minutes; you can wait an hour plus 20 [minutes] at a regular doctor’s office.”  

Great Neck residents Harold and Jacqueline Lamkay also followed Dr. Brisman to Walk-in Dermatology. 

“We were so impressed with her there; we’d follow her wherever she goes,” Harold says. 

The quick and easy access to care at Walk-in Dermatology has come in handy for Mr. Lamkay. Upon returning with his wife from a recent trip overseas, he had noticed a rash. 

“She [Dr. Brisnan] saw me immediately and prescribed medication; she gave me her cell,” he says.

The rash was healed in five days.

“I feel humbled everyday with the incredibly positive feedback from patients old and new about the convenience of Walk-in Dermatology and the exceptional care they received by our board-certified dermatologists,” says Dr. Brisman.

Walk-in Dermatology is located at 50 Glen Cove Rd. in Greenvale. It can be reached at 516-621-1982 or walkindermatology.com