Author Archive

Healthy Choices for Traveling

Friday, April 20th, 2018


Whether we are traveling by air or road there are often many opportunities to get those, not-so-healthy snacks. While these options can be quick and delicious, most of the foods purchased at airports or gas stations are low in healthy nutrients and high in sugar and fat. However, we can avoid these options by planning and packing healthy snacks in your carry-on bag or in the car! Listed below are some simple and healthy snacks to bring with you:

  • Trail mix
  • Whole or dried fruit
  • Popcorn (use seasonings with garlic and chili powder)
  • Freeze dried vegetables
  • Nuts (pre-portioned into snack-size bags)
  • Nut butters (travel packs are great for planes)
  • Whole-grain pretzels or crackers
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Snack bars (choose snack bars with dried fruit, whole grains, and nuts
  • Mozzarella cheese sticks

Although some stops on a road trip are unavoidable, you can always make mindful choices with whatever food options you have available. Follow these tips to ensure that you stay healthy even on the road:

  • Markets. Pick up pre-washed/pre-cut vegetables, hummus, yogurt, sandwiches, salads and fruit with peels including oranges and bananas.
  • Sandwich shops. Choose whole-grain bread, extra vegetables and mustard instead of oil or mayo.
  • Drive-thru and casual restaurants. Focus on items that are grilled, steamed, broiled or baked instead of fried or sautéed. Consider salads with lean protein and a vinaigrette-based dressing, broth-based soups, oatmeal and eggs with whole-grain bread. If you’re craving comfort food, just watch your portions — stick to the basics such as a single burger patty without special sauces, kid-size sides and water instead of soda.
  • All-you-can-eat buffets. Before you grab a plate, walk around the buffet and decide which foods you’ll choose; then, stick to your plan. Aim to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, one-quarter lean protein and one-quarter whole grains

Just because we are away from home does not mean that we must choose those unhealthy snack foods. We can be mindful and make those healthy choices no matter where we are.

Information pulled from Eat Right from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Just Drive

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving causes more than 3,000 fatalities and over 400,000 injuries in the United States each year. At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while behind the wheel. Please don’t be one of them. April is distracted driving awareness month and we urge everyone to be aware of the dangers and risk.

It is not just texting, drivers are using apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat behind the wheel. Other distractions on the road include eating, applying makeup, adjusting the radio or music on a cell phone; additionally, it may also be something more subtle like talking to passengers or having a pet in the vehicle. In fact, anything that diverts attention from the task of driving is considered distracted driving.

Many people believe they are accomplished multitaskers. The truth is that the human brain cannot handle two thinking tasks at once. Rather, our brains must toggle between the tasks; consequently, neither you nor other drivers on the road are capable of being totally invested in driving and invested in talking on a cell phone at the same moment. One moment of distraction can be the difference between a crash and near miss. My life, your life and the lives of our loved ones may be in the palm of a driver’s hand.

An estimated 1 in 4 car crashes involve cell phones, according to the National Safety Council, and 34 percent of teen drivers have admitted to texting while driving; 52 percent have said they have talked on the phone. Ten percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Each person injured or killed is a mom or a dad, a sister or a brother, a daughter or a son. In April, during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the challenge incumbent on all of us is to be part of the solution. Be mindful and present while operating any motor vehicle.

Everyone at Portneuf Medical Center encourages you to be aware and to be safe on the roads.

Drew McRoberts, M.D. is board certified in general surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is the Chief of Surgery and Trauma Director at Portneuf Medical Center. He has practiced in Pocatello since 1995

Patient-Centered Medical Home

Monday, April 9th, 2018

In order to provide comprehensive and collaborative medical care to patients, with the goal of obtaining maximal health outcomes, Portneuf Primary Care has transformed how they deliver care and have organized their practice to better serve our community.

Portneuf Medical Group is proud to announce, that after a two-year transformation effort, Portneuf Primary Care has attained national recognition through National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. What does this mean exactly? The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is a care delivery model whereby patient treatment is coordinated through their primary care physician to ensure they receive the necessary care when and where they need it, in a manner patients can understand.

After transforming into the PCMH care model, Portneuf Primary Care now offers same-day appointments (many for urgent care), a care coordinator (who follows up with patients within three days of discharge from the emergency department and inpatient units), an after-hours call service (where current patients may be connected to the doctor on call), as well as more collaborative care with both behavioral health and various other specialties within the community. Portneuf Primary Care also has a social worker who counsels primary care patients and helps ensure that the whole person’s needs are met, both physical and mental.

They were among the second cohort of Idaho clinics in 2016 to further promote transformation in our community. After two years of diligent work to transform their model of care to offer even better services for patients—Portneuf Primary Care is pleased to have attained recognition so quickly—and to have connected with so many other primary care clinics in Bannock County’s “Medical Home Neighborhood.”

The Portneuf Medical Group team understands that more team-based, comprehensive care is necessary for Pocatello’s growing community. They are proud to offer services that will better meet the needs of the community and offer the best possible care to patients and their families. Portneuf Primary Care is taking new patients, please call 208-239-3815.

Spring Into Healthier Eating!

Friday, April 6th, 2018

By Krista Diekemper

Kick off Spring with a variety of color on your plate and in your diet! With warmer weather comes a larger variety of produce, better quality, and at more affordable prices. Having a “colorful” plate of food is an easy way to provide your body with a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Foods Currently In Season:

Artichokes, avocados, bananas, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, and mushrooms

Now is the perfect time to begin preparing for your garden! Listed below are a few tips for a successful garden:

  1. Clean out or set up a garden space – Pull out any weeds, debris and old plants.
  2. Gather a list of your favorite produce items – Do not plant foods that you will not consume or too many plants/seeds. Popular items include corn, cucumbers, green beans, squash, tomatoes, raspberries strawberries, etc.
  3. Time your crop – Timing is everything when it comes getting the most out of your garden. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map ( can help you determine optimal dates for planting and harvesting.
  4. Have fun!

Glorious Guacamole Recipe:

2 avocado, pitted

1 large tomato, diced

¼ purple onion, diced

1 Tbsp. jalapeño, minced

¼ cup cilantro, minced

½ lime, juiced

Mix together items, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy with tortilla chips.

Menopause & Hormone Therapy: Facts and Fiction

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

To relieve the symptoms of menopause, doctors may prescribe hormone therapy. This can involve the use of either estrogen alone or with another hormone called progesterone, or progestin in its synthetic form. Hormone therapy can relieve many menopausal symptoms and prevent or postpone diseases that afflict women later in life, but it might not be right for everyone. Come learn about the risk, benefits, potential side effects, and questions to ask your care provider.

If you or a loved one would like more information about menopause, hormone therapy and available options, please join us for a special seminar in the Red Hot Mamas® lecture series titled “Menopause & Hormone Therapy: Facts and Fiction.”

The Red Hot Mamas® organization is a leading provider of information and support programs to women to help optimize their health at menopause and beyond.

This seminar will be held in the Pebble Creek Conference Room at the Portneuf Medical Center on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Doors open at 6:00 pm; the presentation begins at 6:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a seat, visit or call 208-239-2033. To learn more about Portneuf’s upcoming seminars, including Red Hot Mamas®, be sure to like Portneuf Medical Center on Facebook.

Medically reviewed by: Luis Fernandez, MD, Primary Care Physician


Celebrate Doctors’ Day

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

As the newly appointed chief medical officer at Portneuf Medical Center, this is my first chance to celebrate all of the physicians who give of themselves to improve health across our region. It is an honor to serve them in my new role. Doctors Day is celebrated on March 30th to recognize the contributions of doctors to their communities. You can impress your friends at parties by telling them that March 30th was chosen as the date of Doctors Day because it marks the first time general anesthesia was used in surgery; this is a fact not lost on me, as an anesthesiologist.

When I first moved to Pocatello eleven years ago to go into practice, I was told that if I didn’t like the weather, all I had to do was wait ten minutes and it would change. That same pace of change seems to be embedded in our country’s system of healthcare. Between payment reform, industry consolidation and policy changes, it is not an easy system to navigate for providers, let alone patients.

Despite all of the change, what I appreciate most about my fellow medical colleagues in our community is that they are universally focused on providing compassionate and thorough patient care. Serving the community and making decisions that serve patients’ best interests is what drives our medical community.

This concern for each and every patient that comes through any of Portneuf’s doors stretches well beyond the physicians. Every nurse, medical assistant, radiology tech, nutritionist, social worker, housekeeper, and administrator I have come across has patient care as a top priority. In addition to practicing medicine, I have spent the last eleven years at Portneuf involved in numerous patient care committees. Whether serving on the hospital board of trustees, on the medical staff credentials committee or serving as the medical staff president, every administrative meeting comes back to the guiding principle of world-class patient care.

Feel free to thank any of my fellow physicians on Doctors Day this March 30th. But ultimately it the physicians who will end up thanking you for trusting your health to them.

Dan Snell, MD, MPH is the newly appointed chief medical officer of Portneuf Medical Center. Dr. Snell has a medical degree and Masters in Public Health from the University of Utah, completed his anesthesia residency at the University of Arizona and is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Snell and his wife, Melissa, have three children and reside in Pocatello.

Paying It Forward

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

The Mickelsen family with Portneuf Medical Staff

Paying It Forward

POCATELLO/Portneuf – The Magical Moments baby photo contest was about celebrating the precious lives that began at Portneuf Medical Center in 2017. However, with the generous gift from the Grand Prize winners, the Mickelsen family, babies born in 2018, who need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, will receive a special gift bag.

Attached to each gift bag is a note from the Mickelsen family: “Dear NICU Parent, Congratulations on your new arrival! We know the joys of holding a new bundle of joy and also the worry and stress of having them here in the NICU. We were so blessed  from the kind acts of others while we spent a month here and want to pay it forward. Our twins won the Portneuf Medical Center baby contest and were awarded some cash. We took that money and made ‘survival kits’ to share with you. We hope you can enjoy a few snacks, water, wipes, diapers and a baby book on us. If anything, we hope it gives you the strength you need. Know we are rooting you on as well as all the amazing nurses and doctors here. Stay strong and we wish you the very best!”

The photo of twins, Zach and Krew, were among sixty-three babies entered in our online photo contest this year. Voting was based on public popular vote; the photo with the most likes at the close of the contest was selected for the grand prize.

“Everyone helped us so much,” said Emma, sister. “Mom picked out what was going in each bag and we totally helped,” said Caleb, older brother.

According to the Center for Diseases Control, one in every eight babies in the United States is born prematurely, before 37 weeks. It is often difficult to predict which mother is likely to deliver early. In fact, the precipitating cause of early labor in nearly half of preterm births is unknown. Giving birth to a sick or premature baby can be quite unexpected for any parent and during this often overwhelming time, support and understanding are important to those families.

Through the years, we have been fortunate to help many moms and babies through many different, as well as difficult, birthing experiences. We provide a level of care to patients and their families that meet and even exceed expectations.


Note: Portneuf Medical Center is a regional referral hospital for southern and eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. From our Cancer Center and Level II NICU to our cardiology care and Level II Trauma Center, our dedicated doctors, nurses and staff stand ready to help families in the region.

Free Seminar on Colon Cancer Awareness

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Medically reviewed by: Judith Csanky, MD

Approximately 140,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S. and over 50,000 people die from it annually. It is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. However, colorectal cancer is different than most cancers – it’s largely preventable and beatable.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer are numerous and nonspecific. While usually characterized by a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days; some other symptoms include red or dark blood in stools, abdominal pain or bloating.

The number one way to detect colon cancer is through screening, namely a colonoscopy. Of course, the greatest barrier to long-term colon health is the social unease when it comes to sharing information about your bowels. Despite the prevalence of colorectal cancers, many individuals opt to not discuss their bowel habits during wellness visits or choose not to make a call if they have a concern.

If you or a loved one would like more information about colon cancer, please join Judith Csanky, MD for a special seminar. Topics will include screenings, risk factors, symptoms, lifestyle changes, diagnosis, as well as treatment options.

This free community seminar will be held in the Pebble Creek Conference Room at the Portneuf Medical Center on Wed, March 21, 2018. Doors open at 6:00 pm; the presentation begins at 6:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a seat, visit or call 208-239-2033. To learn more about Portneuf’s upcoming seminars be sure to like Portneuf Medical Center on Facebook.

To find out more about routine screenings, visit Together you and your care provider can outline a plan that is unique to you and your specific needs.


Celebrating Nutritionists

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Portneuf Medical Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

Pictured: Alyssa Lynott, Jessy Griffel, Cary Yensen, Jessica Strange, Amy Kramer, Eva Sorrentino.
Not pictured: Margaret Larson, Krista Diekemper, Abby Wilson, Jennifer Anthony.
By Amy Kramer, MPH, RD, LD

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics designates March as National Nutrition Month®. Additionally, March 14, 2018, is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day. Here are at Portneuf, we have RDNs serving in a variety of areas throughout our campus. Our wonderful RDN team has members who hold specialized certifications as well as advanced degrees.

The clinical staff consists of both inpatient and outpatient RDNs. The clinical inpatient RDNs see a variety of patient differing in both age and nutrition risk; patients include infants to geriatric and nutrition risk varying from normal to severe. Collectively, they work as part of the interdisciplinary healthcare team for our patients by providing nutritional screening, recommendations, assessments and education.

Outpatient RDNs work in the Portneuf Cancer Center, Weight Management Clinic and in our Outpatient Education Clinic. In these more defined areas, our RDNs are able to provide tailored education to their patients based on what is needed.

Lastly, we have RDNs working in the food service/management section at the facility. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to overseeing staff, department operations, patient/customer satisfaction and menu analysis.

Do you need to speak to an RDN? You can find one by visiting (find an expert) or by scheduling an appointment with the outpatient Education Clinic at 208-239-2070 or the Weight Management Clinic at 208-239-2620. A member of the inpatient RDN team can be requested during hospitalization should the patient want nutrition education.


5 Ways to Decrease your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Friday, March 9th, 2018

By: Jessica Strange RD,LD

Foods High in Fiber

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women; it is

also the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. March is #ColorectalCancerAwarenessMonth, a month set aside to increase awareness and education of colon cancer.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, almost half (47%) of colorectal cancer could be prevented or significantly delayed with lifestyle and diet modifications. Here are five ways to help you fight colorectal cancer.

  1. Plant food intake that is high in fiber.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a daily intake of 2 ½ cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, and 6 oz. of grains (half of which is encouraged to be whole grains). If you are someone who doesn’t consume a lot of plant foods, these amounts can seem unattainable. This goal can be made less intimidating by including ½ cup of vegetables and fruits at each of your meals and snacks. Before you know it, you will be a pro at eating your fruits and vegetables. By choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables you will be increasing your fiber intake at the same time.

  1. Limit intake of red meats and avoid intake of processed meats.

Diets high in the red meats (beef, pork, and lamb) and intake of processed meats (bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and cold cuts) increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. To reduce your risk, it is recommended to consume less than 18 oz. per week of red meats and avoid intake of processed meats. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat any meats. There are many options available to increase the variety of meats you consume. Meats that don’t carry these same risks are poultry (chicken, turkey, and etc.) and seafood (tuna, shrimp, salmon, cod, and etc.).

  1. Limit alcohol intake.

If alcohol is something that you consume, it is recommended to limit daily intake to 1 drink (12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of liquor).

  1. Increase physical activity.

Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes each day. Activity can be simple and broken up throughout the day, 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes after work is one way to reach the daily goal. Exercise may include walking, hiking, biking, running, swimming, or something that gets you moving. The important thing to do is to remember to move your body.

  1. Prevent weight gain throughout life.

Increasing your plant food intake and physical activity will help prevent weight gain throughout life. If you are already considered overweight or obese, weight loss can help reduce your risk as well.