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Extension offers Yoga4Classrooms training for local schools

LIBERTY (September 25) - Yoga4Classrooms uses mindfulness practices in the classroom to support students and teachers in behaviors that lead to a peaceful and engaged classroom environment.

Full details on our Education Page


Annual St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital gala raises $245,000  

NEWBURGH (September 18) –The St. Luke’s Cornwall Health System Foundation hosted its annual gala recently and raised $245,000 in net proceeds which will be donated to support hospital programs and initiatives.

The program also included a celebration of Dr. Christine Jelalian, the Outstanding Caregiver Award recipient, and Community Commitment Award winners, John and Margaret “Chip” Pelella.

L-R: Executive Director, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Charles Walwyn, Eric Najork, Chairman,
Joan Cusack-McGuirk, President and CEO, Jill Cappa, Gala Chair, John Pelella, Margaret Pelella,
Frederick Dabroski, Dr. Manita Sawhney, Dr. Jeffrey Degen, and Jack Smith

Dr. Jelalian has been a member of the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) medical staff since 1985, as a dedicated surgeon. She has served as Chief Medical Officer since 2001, overseeing both Newburgh and Cornwall campuses. In this role, she has been an innovative leader, and valued member of the team, helping to implement important new programs and services that ensure the hospital’s role in the future of healthcare delivery.

“Dr. Jelalian’s guidance, integrity and vision have been vital to St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital through the years,” said Joan Cusack-McGuirk, President and CEO of SLCH.  “She is truly a brilliant physician and leader in this organization.”

John and Chip Pelella have been dedicated members of the SLCH community for more than 30 years. John began his career as a pharmacist at the Cornwall Hospital, and he also oversaw the Materials Management department for several years. He served on the Foundation Board of the Cornwall Hospital, and today serves on both the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board, serving as Chairman from 2012-2014. John later went on to take ownership of Hazard’s Pharmacy in the town of Cornwall, a business he has run for 30 years.

Chip has been involved in the Auxiliary for many years, currently serving as Chair, but her dedication to the community hospital began long before that. Her compassion for the community has helped drive events such as the Gala, NICU Birthday Party, and our annual scholarship awards and reception. Chip is also a member of the Health System Foundation Board of Directors.

“John and Chip have been an important part of our history, and continue to help shape our future,” said Cusack-McGuirk.  “We will be forever grateful for their contributions, dedication and volunteerism.”

The event, which was chaired by Jill Cappa, SLCH Foundation Board member, attracted more than 400 guests including hospital leadership and community members. Top sponsors included the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Medical Staff, Bonura Hospitality Group and RestorixHealth.

“I am grateful for the chance to be involved in such an important community event,” said Cappa. “The success of this year’s gala is a testament to the generosity of our community and the dedication of our volunteers, particularly the gala committee.”



Horizon Family Medical Group welcomes physician assistant

GOSHEN (September 18) - Horizon Family Medical Group welcomes Sheila Kern, a Physician Assistant, to its staff of 110 expert, caring providers.

Sheila had a successful career working with a division of Johnson & Johnson before she decided to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant.  Sheila received her bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from York College of the City University of New York (CUNY) in Jamaica, Queens.  Upon graduating, she accepted a position at Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, Queens, where she worked in their Cancer Center.  Queens Hospital Center was also the site of many of her clinical rotations.  Prior to joining Horizon, Sheila served as a Hospitalist in the Department of Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, NY.  

Sheila is seeing patients at Horizon’s office at 30 Hatfield Lane, Goshen.  845-294-2733.


September is Kinship Care Month in New York State

GOSHEN (September 18) - For the fourth year, the New York Senate and Assembly unanimously passed resolutions declaring September as Kinship Care Month, and the Governor has also again issued a proclamation.  Similar resolutions have passed in nine other states and the U.S. Senate.

Kinship care refers to the more than 200,000 families in New York State who are grandparents or other relatives raising the children of family members. Children who enter into the care of relatives often do so for the same reasons they might enter into foster care, because their parents are unable or unfit to care for them.  Recently, there’s been a surge in kinship care due to the heroin epidemic, leaving countless children suddenly without parents.

According to a 2014 study published by the Center for Disease Control, children in non-parental care were more likely to have experienced adverse family experiences. Kinship caregivers are a national resource for vulnerable children, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and other relatives caring for children who've experienced trauma from abuse, neglect, and parental loss. Research has shown that children who live with relatives after being removed from their parents often have better outcomes than children who enter foster care with non-relatives.

New York State is a national leader in recognizing the efforts of kinship caregivers. The Governor, the New York State Legislature, the Office of Children and Family Services and the Office for the Aging have been especially supportive of kinship.  “Grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings and other relative caregivers are vitally important in caring for children whose parents, for a variety of reasons, are unable to care for them,” said NYS Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “New York State is proud to support these heroic individuals who help bring permanency, stability, and most importantly, love to children who need them, and who enjoy successful lives thanks to the contributions from their relative caregivers.”

Locally, kinship caregivers can find support, resources and referrals from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP).  Among the numerous programs through RAPP, the peer mentor program which allows seasoned caregivers to “give back” and support those new to the caregiving role epitomizes the spirit of Kinship Care month.  These peer mentors not only continue to care for the relative children in their homes, but extend their caregiving role to help others find success as they adjust to all the changes associated with becoming a kinship caregiver.

For more information on kinship families, services, or to get involved, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County’s Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) at 


Local chiropractic office partakes in hurricane relief efforts

NEW CITY (September 11) - Texas and Florida need our help and Chiropractors across the country are banding together this September to assist in the hurricane relief efforts to support needy families in the greater Houston and Miami areas.

(Full details on our Community Page)


Photo: Michael Rogers/HFMG (people not identified)

Horizon Family Medical, Touro students, local cancer survivor ‘Turn the Town Teal’

WARWICK  (September 5) - Local ovarian cancer survivor Kathy Colquhoun and 23 Horizon Family Medical Group/Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine students “turned the town teal”® on Thursday, Aug. 31 to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.   

The group tied teal ribbons to trees and telephone poles along Main Street in the village. They also talked with shop owners and distributed educational materials on the disease.

Dr. Alex Joanow, who is affiliated with both Horizon and Touro, said, “Despite raising awareness and improving treatment strategies, we still don’t have a screening tool for ovarian cancer.  It is a disease process that has many vague signs and symptoms, such as bloating and pelvic pain, that are often overlooked. Therefore, the best screening technique is to see your gynecologist on an annual basis or when these symptoms develop.”

Dr. Joanow, a Horizon Obstetrician and Gynecologist, is a founding partner of the medical group. He is also Director of Clinical Rotations and Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Touro. She oversees the clinical sites – including Horizon Family Medical Group – where third-year Touro students receive their training.

“We are thrilled to be participating in this event for the second year," Jim Olver, MHA, Horizon Chief Executive Officer, said, "Horizon wants to do all it can to help our patients prevent ovarian cancer through awareness and regular gynecological check-ups.”

Dr. Kenneth J. Steier, Touro Dean, said, “The TouroCOM faculty and medical students are proud to participate in events such as this to help raise awareness of issues such as ovarian cancer.  We applaud the Village of Warwick and Horizon Medical Group for their work in improving the health care of our community.”

When Horizon and Touro officials approached Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard to host the event again, he was enthusiastic.

“The Village is pleased to host the “Turn the Town Teal”® campaign for greater awareness of ovarian cancer,” Newhard said. “Our Main Street is the crossroad to our community and is highly visible to all who visit. To adorn our street trees with bright teal ribbons is a way of not only creating awareness but showing support to a cause.  By showing that the entire community is supportive sends a strong and important message.”  

Turn The Towns Teal® is a national campaign to promote awareness of ovarian cancer.


Horizon Family Medical Group welcomes new staff

GOSHEN (September 1) – The following have joined the staff at Horizon Family Medical Group:

Dr. Pasha



Dr. Ibrahim Raza Pasha, a Nephrologist, served as a Hospitalist Physician at Saint Joseph Hospital, Marshfield, WI. A Hospitalist is a Physician whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients.

Previously, Dr. Pasha was also a Hospitalist at Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, NY.

He received his Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery degree from Allama Iqbal Medical College in Pakistan.  In addition, Dr. Pasha was a resident in Internal Medicine at Columbia University Hospital Center in New York, with affiliation at Harlem Hospital Center in New York. He is Board certified in Internal Medicine.

Nicole Armstrong, a Physician Assistant, received her master’s degree, with distinction, from the Physician Assistant Program at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. Nicole was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Delaware.

Prior to coming to Horizon, she worked as a Medical Scribe in the Emergency Department at Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown, NY.

Nicole, a Stony Point resident, is a member of the Honor Society of the Physician Assistant Education Association. In addition, she is a candidate for Pi Alpha, the national honor society for physician assistants.

Marissa Wallace, an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, is a resident of Newburgh, NY, is a graduate of the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program of Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh. She also attended the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Lehman College in Bronx, NY.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, Cum Laude, from Mount St. Mary. Additionally, she has a bachelor’s in Exercise Science, Magna Cum Laude, from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY.



Local cardiologist joins The Heart Center

POUGHKEEPSIE (August 31) – Cardiologist Dr. Amit Patel has joined The Heart Center at its Poughkeepsie location.

“I look forward to working with The Heart Center to advance cardiovascular services in the Hudson Valley and provide quality and compassionate care to patients,” Patel said.

A native of Wappingers Falls, Patel previously served as a cardiology fellow at New York University’s Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. There, he cultivated a passion for all aspects of clinical cardiology and cardiac imaging, including non-invasive stress testing, vascular imaging and echocardiography, a type of diagnostic testing that creates images of the heart using ultrasound waves.

He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Chicago in Illinois and his fellowship in cardiology at the New York University School of Medicine in Manhattan.

The Poughkeepsie office of The Heart Center, a division of the Hudson Valley Cardiovascular Practice, P.C., is at 1 Columbia St., Poughkeepsie. For more information, visit




Crystal Run Healthcare welcomes two new providers  

MIDDLETOWN (August 31) - Crystal Run Healthcare announces the addition of two new providers to the practice.  Joining Crystal Run Healthcare are:

Danielle Belser MD, earned her Medical Degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, NY and completed Residencies in Emergency Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery, both at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, PA. 

Anthony L. Rios, MD, earned his Medical Degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA and completed his Residency in General Surgery at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Hofstra University School of Medicine in Manhasset, NY.  He is Board Certified in General Surgery.



Horizon Family Medical’s Dr. Myrelle Castro named a ‘Top Doctor’

GOSHEN (August 30) - Dr. Myrelle Castro, an Allergist and Immunologist with Horizon Family Medical Group, has been selected as a “Top Doctor” in the Hudson Valley by the magazine of the same name.

Dr. Castro started with Horizon in 2010 as an Internist and Allergist. She focused on her Allergy & Immunology practice in 2014.   She graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. She took her residency and fellowship training at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. Castro is one of five Horizon physicians selected for Top Doctor honors by Castle Connelly Medical Ltd and the magazine. The other Horizon award-winners are Dr. Jonathan Castro, Dr. Rachel Colvin, Dr. Susan Jensen and Dr. Anne Mullin. The providers will be featured in the November issue of Hudson Valley.

Dr. Castro sees patients at her office at in New Windsor. 845-476-3016.


Healthgrades names St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital 5-Star recipient for vaginal delivery

NEWBURGH (August 18) - St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital announced today that it has been named a 5-star recipient for Vaginal Delivery by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. This 5-star rating indicates that the hospital’s clinical outcomes are statistically significantly better than expected when treating the condition or performing the procedure being evaluated. It is the third consecutive year SLCH has received the 5-star distinction in this category.

“This recognition is another example of the high-quality, patient-centered care that St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital provides,” said Joan Cusack-McGuirk, SLCH President & CEO. “Bringing a newborn into the world can be one of life’s most exciting and significant experiences. Our birthing center and neonatal intensive care unit staff consistently make sure that new families have the most comfortable and safest experience possible.”

“Consumers place high-quality outcomes at the top of their wish list when selecting a hospital, so health systems that have achieved this particular distinction stand out among their peers,” said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Healthgrades. “Especially in an environment where consumers have more choices than ever before about where to receive care, a hospital’s commitment to achieving high-quality outcomes for their patients is more important than ever.”

To help consumers evaluate and compare hospital performance, Healthgrades analyzed all-payer state data for 17 states for years 2013 through 2015. Healthgrades found that there is a significant variation in hospital quality between those who have received 5-stars and those who have not.
For example:  From 2013 through 2015, patients having a Vaginal Delivery in hospitals with 5-stars have, on average a 54.9% lower risk of experiencing a complication while in the hospital than if they were treated by hospitals with 1-star.*

The St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Birthing Center features some of the newest technologies in the industry, including a wireless fetal monitoring system that allows women in labor to walk freely throughout their labor room. In addition, SLCH labor and delivery rooms include private bathroom and shower, as well as private and semi-private recovery rooms. Birthing suites for labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum (LDRP) are also available to allow new mothers to remain in the same room throughout their entire birthing experience. The facility also includes a private lactation room where families can utilize all of SLCH’s breastfeeding resources, and a comprehensive infant security program.

The Elaine Kaplan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, located just steps away from the Birthing Center, offers acute and chronic care for premature and ill full-term infants throughout the region. The first Level II NICU in Orange County, the facility’s state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment tools allow the specially-trained team to continuously monitor an infant’s condition, deliver fluids, nutrition and medication, as well as monitor vital signs.

*Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of All-Payer data for years 2013 through 2015 and represent 3-year estimates for patients in 17 states for which all payer data was made available. (See 2017 Healthgrades Women's Care Rating Methodology for more details)


Martin on the marathon track

An Ironman among us

TOWN OF WALLKILL (August 14) - Dr. Eric Martin, Orthopedic Surgeon with Orange Regional Medical Group, set a great example for his patients by participating in his first IRONMAN triathlon in Lake Placid last month.

The race took Dr. Martin slightly over 13 hours and included a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.

We are happy to say that he finished in the top 42%.


Off to college?  Dutchess County celebrates National Immunization Awareness Month

POUGHKEEPSIE (August 14) - Young adults who are college-bound, beginning a job or choosing to travel are about to make the monumental transition to adulthood. It is important to remember just because they are done with high school, does not mean they are done with vaccines. Though most vaccines are given during childhood and adolescence, college students and all young adults still need certain immunizations.

These five vaccines are specifically reccommended for ages 19-24:

  • Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough);
  • HPV vaccine protects against the viruses that cause several types of cancers;
  • Meningococcal vaccine protects against bacterial meningitis;
  • Seasonal flu shots protect against the viruses that research indicates will be most prevalent in the upcoming season;
  • Varicella vaccine protects against chicken pox.

“It’s the perfect time to check with your doctor to make sure you are up to date on recommended vaccines,” said A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health. “Staying healthy includes protecting yourself against diseases such as the flu and meningitis.  The need for other specific vaccinations depends on your health, lifestyle, job and travel plans.  Close attention to this important public health issue will help facilitate a productive transition to life beyond high school.”

The Dutchess County Immunization Clinic, located at 29 N. Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie, offers appointments for individuals without health insurance.  To make an appointment, please call (845) 486-3535.  View immunization schedules and learn more about immunizations at


Free workshops empower stressed caregivers

MONTICELLO (August 14) - Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a free educational series designed to provide informal family caregivers with the tools needed to take care of themselves. Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County (CCESC)’s Caregiver Resource Center is offering this free six-session program on Mondays, beginning September 11, 2017 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the E.B. Crawford Library on 479 Broadway in Monticello. Refreshments will be provided.

Two experienced class leaders, Bonnie Lewis, RN, dependent care educator at CCESC and Lily Stettner, clinical social worker will conduct the series. Dates include September 11, 18, and 25, followed by October 2, 16, and 23. Participants are highly encouraged to attend the series in its entirety; the content of each workshop leads into the next.

Caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools that: reduce stress, improve self-confidence, enhance communication during challenging situations, manage their emotions, and help make tough decisions.

“Interactive lessons, community resources, group discussions, and class brainstorming help the caregiver transfer these new ‘tools’ into action within the home care setting,” said Lewis.

Caregivers will be encouraged to borrow The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class through the Ramapo Catskill Library System. These classes are free, supported by the NY State Caregiver Resource Program.

Space is limited for this free program and registration is required in advance. Registration can be completed by calling CCESC at 845-292-6180, emailing, or visiting Additional donations for CCESC programs are appreciated.

The Caregiver Resource Center is a co-partnered program between Cornell Cooperative Extension and Office for the Aging of Sullivan County and is supported by a grant from the NYS Office for the Aging’s Caregiver Program.






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