Cycle of Health
WCNY, Central New York’s public broadcasting company, is taking a new approach to educating the community about health issues by telling the moving stories of people who have overcome significant health challenges. For the series, WCNY is partnering with four impassioned doctors to present a multi-faceted view of the experience of a health crisis—how it affects individual patients and their families and what happens during treatment, recovery and adapting to a new-normal of healthy living.
“This program tells remarkable stories of recovery and resilience,” said Robert J. Daino, WCNY president and CEO. “The doctors look at each individual not only from a physical point of view, but also from a mental health and emotional well-being perspective. Without sugar-coating the devastation that comes from major illness or injury, the series shows how people can emerge from these challenges with fulfilling lives and a positive outlook.”
The new 13-part, WCNY-produced series premieres at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning May 8, across WCNY’s 19-county viewing area. Hosted by Susan Kennedy, the series partners with four “Cycle of Health” doctors:
• Rich O’Neill, Ph.D., a psychologist and behavioral scientist at Upstate Medical University
• Dr. George Stanley, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Syracuse Community Health Center
• Dr. John Parker, an orthopedic surgeon at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
• Dr. Maritza Alvarado, pediatrician
Episode one features a triathlete pedaling her way through multiple sclerosis, an award-winning caregiver combatting stress with sensitivity as she helps her aging mother, and the story of premature babies 20 years later. A range of other topics include childhood diabetes, lunchroom makeovers, and the donation of organs after a tragedy.
“Cycle of Health” re-airs at 1 p.m. Sundays on WCNY and at 6 p.m. on WCNY’s Create channel. Each episode is also available online at wcny.org/cycleofhealth.
Underwriting for “Cycle of Health” is provided by BHL and BCG, Eye Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Central New York and Central New York Eye and Tissue Bank, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. with a repeat Sundays at 1 p.m.
Saturdays at 3 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.
HowTo Channel 1278
Wednesdays at noon, 8 pm and 4 a.m. (Thursday) with a Saturday repeat at 8 am, 4 pm and midnight.
Cycle of Health will be hosted by Susan Kennedy, an accomplished television anchor, producer, reporter and education innovator who has done work for commercial television stations in Chicago and Denver, and public television in Bethlehem, Pa.
She’ll be joined by four doctors, who take viewers around the region to meet people leading healthy lifestyles. The show’s physicians bring energy to the program through their own passion for cycling, running, swimming, exercising and other active-living hobbies.
- Dr. Rich O’Neill, a psychologist and behavioral scientist at SUNY Upstate Medical University
- Dr. George Stanley, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Syracuse Community Health Center
- Dr. John Parker, an orthopedic surgeon at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
- Dr. Maritza Alvarado, pediatrician
MS is diagnosed most often in women between 20-40 years of age. Learn about how Multiple Sclerosis affects the central nervous system; Find out about the four main stages of the disease; Find a support group near you by visiting the following websites for foundations and government agencies:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Jill is an accomplished athlete. She rode in one of the fundraising rides sponsored by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Find out more about the foundation and its cycling events:
Challenged Athletes Foundation
And she’s an IronMan competitor too! Here’s the Ironman website for more information about events and locations:
There are various levels of care available. To find what best fits your needs, start by contacting the Department for Aging in your county.
Here’s the link to the federal Department of Aging:
Here’s the link to the federal database of services for the elderly:
Here’s the link to the Onondaga County Department of Aging:
This PACE program is a day program for adults, similar to many found across the country. Check it out to see what an adult day care environment is really like:
How prepared are you to care for others? Take this short quiz to find out and share the results with your physician or caregiver advocate!
The March of Dimes tracks premature births each year and ranks how each country is doing in its attempt to prevent babies from being born too soon. Here’s an article on the 2013 study.
Get all the details about causes of and treatments for premature babies from the Centers for Disease Control:
Energetic boys can be a joyful, handful! And the Gilbert boys are no exception. But when not one, but two of the brothers were diagnosed with diabetes – busy days got even more hectic for Mom and Dad.
What exactly is Type I diabetes?:
What exactly is Type II diabetes?:
For more information about causes, treatments and care in your area, contact the American Diabetes Association:
The Joslin Diabetes Center is based in Boston, but has affiliates throughout the country, including Central New York:
A happy, healthy baby starts with a happy, healthy mom. Dr. George Stanley visited a new, young family to witness the positive power of good prenatal care.
Here’s a website put together by the federal government with answers to many questions you may have about prenatal care:
For information on prenatal services in your community, call 1-800-311-BABY (1-800-311-2229).
For information in Spanish, call 1-800-504-7081.
Or contact your state or local Health Department.
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Crohn’s disease is a related condition. Find out more from these websites:
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons
Read about a Manchester United football (soccer) player who has ulcerative colitis:
Heart Disease and Longevity
Would you like to add three years to your life? Three more active, healthy, happy years? Dr. Rich O’Neil says it’s easy to do – in as little as fifteen minutes a day.
The Campaign to get people walking
Walking Trails in Central New York
Fitness has always been a focus for Peter Van Patten. So when rheumatoid arthritis overtook his joints and threatened to debilitate him, he put up a fight.
The Arthritis Foundation has further details on rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases.
The Jingle Bell Run to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation, has races across the country:
Lunch Room Makeover
To get students to choose fruit over fries in the school cafeteria, may take some tricks. But lunchroom makeovers are nudging kids toward healthier choices. Dr. Maritza Alvarado went back to school and got in the cafeteria line to see what students are eating.
Learn more about the nationwide Smarter Lunchroom Movement:
Some couples give gifts of chocolates, photo books, or special jewelry to show their love. Others give the gift of life. Dr. George Stanley introduces us to a couple that are a perfect match – in sickness and in health.
The LOVEoie Kidney Project:
Sign up to be a donor at the Department of Motor Vehicles AND register at the Donate Life Registry AND tell your friends and family:
Four year old Drake Pettit loved pirates and treasure hunts. After an accident took his life, little Drake gave life to two other people, through organ donation.
The Pettit family launched the Dreams From Drake organization in honor of their son Drake, to raise money to help children and teens cope after the death of a sibling or parent.
National Organ Donation Network
United Network for Organ Sharing
New York Organ Donor Network
Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network
Sign up to be a donor at the Department of Motor Vehicles AND register at the Donate Life Registry AND tell your friends and family:
Donate Life America
Monica Johnson is blind. Has been since she was 29 years old, after complications from diabetes. But as Dr. John Parker discovered, this independent woman sees the world more clearly than most of us.
National Federation for the Blind
American Council for the Blind
Aurora of Central New York
Contact Monica Johnson directly if you’d like to schedule her for an inspirational speaking engagement.
Breast Cancer: Helping those in Need
Denika Lundy honors her sister by continuing their work to increase awareness of breast cancer to girls, teens and women in the inner city. 2sisters4life helps connect those in need, with resources to help them understand, detect and fight breast cancer.
The Saint Agatha Foundation was founded in 2004 to provide support, comfort and care to breast cancer patients. Saint Agatha’s helps individuals—particularly the under-insured and uninsured—in the Central New York area by providing financial assistance to cover a range of costs for treatment and recovery.
Find a Susan G. Komen affiliate in your area:
Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, Inc.
Find out more about breast cancer from the American Cancer Society:
Breast Cancer: Getting Screened
The American Cancer Society explains here, the different types of screening for Breast Cancer:
In Central New York:
Susan G. Komen Central New York
This group can connect you with services such as free or low-cost mammograms and diagnostic screenings, education programs for the early detection of breast cancer, resources for those who are diagnosed with breast cancer and support to breast cancer survivors.
The National Institutes of Health describes mammography:
Breast Cancer: The Genetic Test
Did you know we all have the breast cancer genes? When working as designed they repair cell damage and keep breast cells growing normally. But if they mutate, this mutation is passed from one generation to the next. And can increase a person’s chance to get breast cancer by as much as 80%. So some women with mutated BRACA genes choose surgery. Before any trouble begins.
What is the Breast Cancer gene?
This Mayo Clinic report describes the Breast Cancer Gene testing procedure:
Choosing a Nursing Home
For access to services to help navigate caring for the aging, start with the federal government’s Administration on Aging. They can help you find resources in your own area:
Ask your physician, friends and family about Nursing Home Residences in your area. Then visit them. Here are some other resources to aid in your search:
National Institutes of Health Checklist:
US News and World Reports Search:
Medicare’s comparison list:
How healthy, really, is a diet based solely on fruits, veggies and grains? Quite healthy it seems, if done right. We stopped at a vegan café to take a bite.
Dieticians say it’s best to make small changes over time – do not deprive yourself.
What constitutes a “healthy” diet? This article from U.S. News and World Reports may help describe:
Strong Hearts Café has two restaurants in Syracuse NY:
Here’s an article by Erin Scala as she describes her personal journey:
Here’s some information about the Paralympic Games:
Losing Weight: A Lot to Gain
Centers for Disease Control – statistics on obesity
One woman’s weight loss journey:
Tips on how to lose weight – start with small changes:
Go to the American Heart Association site to find out your BMI – body mass index:
When you’re a kid, getting your “weight under control” doesn’t sound like much fun. And being heavier than your peers, is not much fun either. Dr. Maritza Alvarado examines the unique challenges of an overweight child.
American Academy of Pediatrics, information on childhood obesity:
Poverty and Nutrition
Doing the right thing, the healthy thing – is tough for many of us. And getting access to healthy food, and safe and affordable places to exercise, can be especially challenging for children from low-income households. As Dr. George Stanley found out.
Centers for Disease Control – statistics on obesity:
Recent study on slight drop in obesity rates for preschool age children:
How to Quit Smoking
The excise tax on cigarettes varies from state to state. New York is the highest, Missouri the lowest. Read more:
Here are a couple websites with tips on how you can quit smoking:
OR CALL: 1-866-697-8487
For more information about the cancers caused by smoking:
American Cancer Association
National Cancer Institute
Electronic cigarettes have ignited a billion-dollar industry…and a firestorm of controversy. Are they safe? Cycle of health contributor dr. Rich O’Neil lights up some research on the new trend called “Vaping.”
Article on the possible regulation of E-Cigarettes –a $1.5 Billion dollar industry:
Can E-Cigs help you quit smoking?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration weighs in:
What really goes on when someone smokes an e-cigarette? This article clearly explains:
Kids taking a stand against Tobacco
The Centers for Disease Control says cigarette smoking in youth has declined in the past decade. But still, more than 23 percent of High School students in America use tobacco – They smoke cigarettes, hookah, electronic cigarettes or use chewing tobacco.
Reality Check of NY
Reality Check – against big tobacco advertising
American Lung Association explains why kids start smoking.
Drug addiction doesn’t “look” the same on everyone. Find out more about this growing problem:
Are you wondering whether you or a loved one may have a problem with drugs or alcohol? Take this test:
Stopping the R-Word
Blessed with a loving son and brother, who happens to have Down’s syndrome, one family has heard him called some nasty names, including “retard.” So they’re reaching out to help others stop the “R” word and start the kindness.
End the Word
Label jars not people
The Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Foundation
The TEN signs of Alzheimer’s
Lifestyle choices can help curb Alzheimer’s.
Doctor, Athlete, Survivor
He’s a successful orthopedic surgeon. An accomplished endurance athlete. A husband, father and friend. So when faced with thyroid cancer, Dr. John Parker drew on all aspects of his life, to keep on living. He sat down with Cycle of Health’s Dr. George Stanley — a colleague, a training partner and friend.
Living with Diabetes
You don’t have to be a triathlete to be healthy. Regular moderate exercise and eating right can do wonders…. Even cure diabetes! Dr. Maritza Alvarado introduces us to a woman who’s defying Type Two diabetes with diet, not drugs.
Technology and Aging
Research shows more than half adults age 65 or older, are online. Emailing friends, Facebooking grandkids, Skyping loved ones far away. And for those older adults who are less able to hop on a plane to see family, technology is the tool that is keeping us all together.
Older Adults and Internet use.
Administration on Aging
Article from US News about the value of technology for those aging at home.
Learn more about symptoms and treatments for colorectal cancer from these organizations: The American Cancer Society, The Mayo Clinic, The National Cancer Institute:
Breathe in this fact: Asthma is one of the most common, serious, chronic diseases found in children. Yet it often goes undiagnosed. And if left untreated, pediatric asthma can be life threatening.
Sources for more details about pediatric asthma:
National Institutes of Health
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Fitness With Fido
Doctors say Four-legged Fido – can be the best motivation to keep us two-legged humans in shape! Cycle of Health went to the dogs at an agility competition and caught up with athletic pooches and athletic people too.
United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. (USDAA), the world’s largest independent authority for the sport of dog agility, with more than 40,000 registered competitors and more than 200 different breeds of dogs, including mix breeds
Not ready to compete with your pooch? Just get moving!:
Dr. George Stanley, an obstetrician himself, introduces us to the age-old practice of midwifery as it’s used today in the modern world.
Midwives Alliance of North America
Here’s more about the midwifery practice of the woman featured in this story, Heather Shannon M.S., CNM
More information about the American College of Nurse-Midwives:
An article about the 2012 study documenting increased use of midwives in the U-S.
When you meet Ellen Brunet – you can’t help but smile. Her enthusiasm for life, for people, for helping others…radiates and fills the room. As Dr. John Parker found out, Brunet wasn’t always so sparkly about life– but running has transformed her, both inside and out.
Brunet says her reasons for running have changed over the decades. She currently runs to honor a Marine who died in Afghanistan, Corporal Kyle Schneider.
Nolan brothers are an active duo — Even though they are confined to wheelchairs due to their Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. As Dr. John Parker found out, it only takes a triathlon, and a little help from some friends, to keep the Nolans in the competition.
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Two Smiles, One Hope
Music and Child Development
Here’s a couple of articles touting the benefit of dance, music and movement on the development of toddlers.
What is Krav Maga? Find out more here: