Wendell Smith, M.D.

Fairview Range Welcomes Dr. Wendell Smith

HIBBING — Fairview Range is pleased to welcome Wendell Smith, M.D., to its medical staff.

Dr. Smith is a board-certified general surgeon and comes to us with over 24 years of surgical care experience. He received his medical degree from University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, and completed his residency at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Smith to Fairview Range,” says Heidi Lahti, Director of Ambulatory Care at Fairview Range. “He will primarily be practicing out of our clinic in Mountain Iron, so we are excited to bring his expertise not only to our team, but to the East Range and surrounding communities.”

Dr. Smith is familiar to the Iron Range as he has lived in the area for 17 years. Like many “Iron Rangers,” he enjoys a variety of outdoor sports, including snowmobiling, skiing, hunting and riding motorcycle.

He is seeing patients at Fairview Mesaba Clinics in Mountain Iron and Hibbing and performing surgery at Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, as well as at Northwoods Surgery Center in Virginia, beginning January 7.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith, please call 218-362-6937.

Essentia Health-Virginia recognized as first baby-friendly hospital on Iron Range

VIRGINIA — Essentia Health-Virginia is the first Baby-Friendly hospital on the Iron Range: a designation that says it meets the gold standard in breastfeeding and bonding practices between mother and child.

The recognition was developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization.

“We are here to provide the highest level of care in all of our services and we recognize the importance of the holistic approach in the family birthing area,” said Sam Stone, who leads care at the Virginia hospital. “Congratulations to the team for this recognition of the high-quality, compassionate care they always provide.”

The team works to create and honor the “golden hour” after birth when babies begin bonding with their parents.

Skin-to-skin contact helps mother and baby physically transition from the birth. The experience helps regulate their heart rates, breathing rates and body temperatures. They look at one another and begin to bond. Babies often want to begin breastfeeding and mothers pick up their cues. The experience helps get them off to a good start, said Jane Teasck, nursing director of the Virginia hospital.

Another important piece, she said, is how the community benefits long-term.

“Breastfeeding helps lower the rate of diabetes and obesity in children,” Teasck said. “It helps keep the patient population healthier.”

The Baby-Friendly designation recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies based on the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” and is awarded after a rigorous on-site survey.

There are now more than 550 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers across the U.S.

Three other Essentia Health hospitals have earned the Baby-Friendly designation: St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, and Essentia Health-Fargo.

LSS of Minnesota partners with UofM on new dementia research

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is teaming up with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health to participate in a new research project to provide greater understanding about the best and most effective ways to support families caring for loved ones with dementia.

Through the project, LSS Senior Companions will be specially trained with an evidence-based curriculum to provide care and support to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia conditions. The impact on the health and wellbeing of those with dementia and their caregivers will be measured in the study.

Lutheran Social Service deploys nearly 350 Senior Companions who provide friendship and support to help their peers run errands, get to medical appointments and remain living independently in their homes.

“Our Older Adult Services touch thousands of adults across the state each year and a growing area of need is for individuals and families is caregiver support for families who have loved ones experiencing dementia,” said Roxanne Jenkins, associate vice president of Older Adults Services at Lutheran Social Service. “We are extremely honored to be selected as a partner and we look forward to the outcome of this work to improve support to individuals and families facing dementia.”

For people over age 60, an estimated 5-8 percent are affected by dementia-related conditions, according to the World Health Organization. With increasing numbers of older adults, those rates are expected to rise sharply in coming years. The Minnesota Department of Health predicts nearly 120,000 Minnesotans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by 2025.

The research project is funded by a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Joseph E. Gaugler, a professor and the Robert L. Kane Endowed Chair of Long-Term Care and Aging at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, will be leading the initiative.

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota began in 1865 when a Lutheran pastor and his congregation opened an orphanage for children near Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. Today, with 2,300 employees and 8,000 volunteers, Lutheran Social Service supports one in 65 Minnesotans through services that inspire hope, change lives and build community. Statewide, the organization seeks to foster safe and supportive homes for children, restore health and wellness in families, empower people with disabilities to live the lives they imagine, and promote health, independence and quality of life for older adults. For comprehensive information about the work of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, visit www.lssmn.org.


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