Health Check: Mammogram screening confusion

[Twelve News, February 2, 2016] The Plymouth Creek Center is known as a gathering place for exercise, but once a month, doctors from Allina Health drop by to share information about important medical issues. Tuesday’s “Walk with a Doc” topic was on breast cancer.

Program encourages Somali-American women to get fit

[Star Tribune, January 29, 2016] Almost everyone has obstacles to overcome when trying to get fit, from time constraints to physical limitations.

Star Tribune photo

Star Tribune photo

Ibrahim Mohamed discovered that Somali-American women in Shakopee had more challenges than most: they didn’t know much about exercise and couldn’t find a women-only environment to work out, which many Muslim women prefer.

“They didn’t know how and they didn’t have the resources,” Mohamed said. “They needed accommodation and also they needed motivation.”

Mohamed, president of the Shakopee Diversity Alliance, applied for and received the Neighborhood Health Connections grant from Allina Health and St. Francis Regional Medical Center. He used the $10,300, intended for health-related programming, to create the Somali Women’s Exercise program, or Somali Jimisci. Read more at

Zika virus Q&A

[KARE11, Jan. 28, 2016] The alarming spread of the Zika virus has prompted many questions. Allina Health Clinics infectious disease specialist Dr. Wendolyn Slattery answered some of them for KARE 11 News.

Clearing up the confusion around mammograms

[KARE11, Jan. 27, 2016] It’s understandable that women are confused about breast screening guidelines. Earlier this month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued its final recommendations saying mammograms should be done every 2 years starting at age 50. Those guidelines contrast with others. The American Cancer Society suggests yearly mammograms starting at age 45. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says women aged 40 should start annual mammograms.

Dr. Lisa Schneider, a breast imaging specialist from Allina Health’s Piper Breast Center talked with KARE 11 about the confusing recommendations.

What happened to flu season?

[KSTP-TV, Jan. 26, 2016] Local doctors are cautiously optimistic and somewhat surprised by this year’s flu season, because there really hasn’t been one. Last year 4,153 people were hospitalized with the flu in Minnesota. So far this winter it’s only 63.

Allina Health Clinics infectious disease specialist Dr. Frank Rhame says historically flu season peaks in December or January. If that holds true, we may get through this winter without much damage.

“This is about as late as it’s ever started in the season,” said Rhame. “So if it doesn’t start in the next two or three weeks it will be unprecedented. If it does starts in the next weeks, it’s probably going to be one of those seasons where there’s much less of it than usual.”

Zika virus expected to spread through the Americas

[KSTC 45TV, Jan. 25, 2016] With confirmed Zika virus infections in four states and 21 countries and territories coping with an outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issues a new warning. The WHO says the virus, spread by mosquitos and is linked to neurological issues in babies, will likely spread across the Americas.

KSTP’s Kevin Doran sat down with Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease specialist at Allina Health Clinics, who addresses those concerns and further discusses the virus’ effects.

Take peanut allergies seriously

[KMSP-TV and WCCO-AM) Parents of a 22-year-old who died from eating peanuts warns people to heed food label warnings. Their son who was allergic to peanuts ate a piece of candy that didn’t contain peanuts but was produced in a facility where peanuts were used. Dr. Allan Stillerman, an allergy and asthma specialist with Abbott Northwestern Hospital, talked about peanut allergies and new research to help children overcome them.

New diet guidelines: About the sugar

[KMSP-TV, January 21, 2015] The USDA recently announced new dietary recommendations for Americans. The biggest change was to the amount of sugar we should have in our diets. Registered Dietitian Janel Hemmesch with Abbott Northwestern explained the new guidelines and where sugar is hiding.

How long will you live?

[WCCO-TV, Jan. 19, 2016] In 1900, the average American lived to only 48 years old. By 1980, life expectancy had jumped to 74 by decreasing childhood mortality and making major medical advances in heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Today, experts expect the average American baby to live to 78.8 years old.

So, how long should each of us expect to live?

“That’s really hard to speculate,” says Dr. Eric Anderson, a specialist in palliative care at Allina Health. “Lifestyle is just so important and if we as a society can focus on health, nutrition and exercise that help people live longer, the payoff is enormous.”

New food and beverage choices coming to Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Mcdonalds_MPR[The Alley, January 18, 2016] On December 1st, Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Allina Health announced that they were putting into action a new food and beverage policy starting in 2016. These changes will include removing sugary drinks and deep-fat fried foods from all cafeterias, vending machines and gift shops. As part of this change, the hospital has terminated the lease with the McDonald’s that has been located inside the hospital for many years. The McDonald’s will close by the end of May. Read more at