Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Surviving Survivor Guilt PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:41
From Natural Disasters to Layoffs, Today’s World is Full of Tortured Survivors, Physician Says

There wasn’t a name for the syndrome before the 1960s, when psychologists started recognizing a condition among patients who all happened to be Holocaust survivors. It came to be known as “survivor guilt.”

The affliction also affects those who have endured war, natural disasters, the suicide of a loved one, epidemics and even employment layoffs. Eli Nussbaum, recently named among the top pediatric pulmonologists, is keenly aware of the circumstances surrounding this subset of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I am a consequence of the Holocaust – both of my parents lost their families during those years,” says Nussbaum, author of The Promise (, a novel that begins in Poland on the eve of World War II and follows three generations through the aftermath.

He is among the group known as the “Second Generation” – children born to survivors anxiously trying to rebuild the families they’d lost. Nussbaum was born in Poland to a man who’d lost his first wife and four children, and a woman who lost her first husband and child, during the Nazi’s genocidal regime.

“Because of my family background, I am intimately aware of life’s fragility and how a devastating experience can affect a person emotionally,” he says. “As a Second Generation, I too was shaped by my parents’ trauma. While being raised by survivors made some of us more resilient and better able to adapt and cope, it made others distrustful of outsiders and always on the defense.”

For anyone profoundly affected by loss, he says, it’s worth the effort to work at transitioning from guilt to appreciation of the gift that is their life. He offers these tips:

• Seek treatment early: The sooner counseling is provided, the more preventable or manageable guilt may be. Early methods may recognize a survivor’s feelings and eventually offer alternative perspectives. The hope is to get the survivor to see the loss of colleagues, friends or family as the result of misfortune that has nothing to do with personal culpability.  

• Watch for delayed reactions – even years later: No two individuals are identical, and some survivors do not show symptoms until long after a traumatic event. If you or a loved one has experienced a life-altering change or loss and later develop problems such as clinical depression or a prevalent sense of self-blame, be aware they may be rooted in past trauma and share that information with a counselor. Other problems that could be signs of survivor guilt: nightmares, unpredictable emotional response and anxiety.

• Don’t turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with uncomfortable feelings: Many people suffering post-traumatic stress-related disorders try to self-medicate or somehow will themselves into a better mental state. Drug addiction is often the result, which is why those who suspect a problem should seek professional help. One-on-one therapy, as well as group talk and possibly doctor-prescribed medications are frequently used to help survivors move past guilt.

“Whether people are dealing with the loss of life from combat, or an accident, or suicide, they may not consider themselves ‘victims.’ So they don’t seek help,” Nussbaum says. “They may also feel that no one has been through the same experience.

“That’s why it is important to be surrounded by loved ones who can offer love, support and perhaps the perspective to seek professional help.”

Because their families were gone, many Holocaust survivors did not have that option, which Nussbaum says made the writing of his novel that much more imperative.

“Only they can know just what it was like – but suffering is a universal experience to which we can all relate,” he says. “Life can get better, and the story of my parents, and the fortune in my life, is proof of that.”

About Eliezer Nussbaum, M.D.

Eliezer Nussbaum, M.D., was born in Katowice, Poland. He is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics Step VII at the University of California and Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Medical Director of Pediatric Pulmonary and Cystic Fibrosis Center at Memorial Miller Children's Hospital of Long Beach. He has authored two novels, three non-fiction books and more than 150 scientific publications, and was named among the top U.S. doctors by US News and World Report in 2011-12.

Sin Begets ‘Walk in Bethel;’ Love Redeems It PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:31

If ever there was a contemporary writer with the credentials to write about a family drama in the Mississippi Delta, it’s Rose Mary Stiffin, author of “Walk in Bethel” (

Her book is a return to the Southern Gothic tradition – one she understands, having been raised in Indianola, Miss., where she picked cotton as a child. Set in this sweltering part of the country, the story begins in the early 1890s and follows three families, two of which descended from slaves, through nearly a century. Stiffin writes in the vernacular, describing the darkest passages of the human heart and its well-lit corridors of freedom, forgiveness and love of family.

The story is set into motion when Nashville Thompson, a preacher’s wife, on her way home from a sickbed visit, is set upon and nearly raped by two white brothers. The man who fends off the rapists then leads her on a terror-filled trek home as the two seek to avoid the enraged brothers. In the chaos that ensues, a sin is committed that will shape the generations to come.

Add to the plot – and the next generation -- a man harboring a violent secret who marries into the Thompson family and the stage is set for decades of struggle and triumph, sorrow and devastation.

“ ‘Walk in Bethel’ is a beautifully written, multicultural saga,” writes reviewer Deborah C. Pollack. “There is a generous sprinkling of spice, as well as intrigue, warmth, and unflinching realism. … It would make a perfect book club candidate as well as a fine film.”

Dr. Debra Perkins writes that the novel’s roots are evident from the outset.

“The book sizzles with sexual tension as the veneer of civilization is worn thin,’’ she writes. “There is murder, rape, lynching and depravity of the ‘natural superior.’ These characters surprise – and live.”

About Rose Mary Stiffin, PhD

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Rose Mary Stiffin’s life is an example of Americana and the American Dream. She went from picking cotton as a child to earning several degrees, including a bachelor’s in chemistry from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s in organic chemistry from Mississippi State University, and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. She is the chair of the Division of Health and Natural Sciences at Florida Memorial University.

Loebsack Announces More Than $374,000 for Community Coalitions to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:28

Grants awarded to organizations in Clinton, Van Buren, and Henry Counties

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that the Office of National Drug Control Policy has awarded Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) grants totaling $374,998 to the Van Buren County Safe Coalition, the Henry Healthy County Communities, and the Clinton Substance Abuse Council (also known as the Gateway ImpACT Coalition).

“I have been a strong supporter and advocate for the Drug Free Communities Support Program.  This funding will allow these valuable programs to continue their work to better protect the health and safety of our children,” said Congressman Loebsack.  “The Drug Free Communities Support Program uses a successful community level approach to prevent youth alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use.  I have met Iowa students involved with these programs and applaud each of these community coalitions for the great work they do.”

The Drug Free Communities Support Program works to increase citizen participation in order to reduce youth substance use by creating a local coalition of community leaders, parents, adolescents, teachers, business leaders, law enforcement and the media.  These grants will provide the necessary funds to continue the work of the drug free community coalitions and keep young people informed and safe.

Details of the funding are below:

  • Van Buren County Safe Coalition, Keosauqua, $125,000
  • Henry Healthy County Communities, Mt. Pleasant, $125,000
  • Clinton Substance Abuse Council, Clinton, $124,998


Governor Quinn Launches Illinois Heart Rescue to Save Lives PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:50

$2.5 million grant helps Illinois become seventh HeartRescue state

CHICAGO – August 22, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn and the University of Illinois Hospital Health Sciences System today launched Illinois Heart Rescue, a statewide all-volunteer effort to more than double survival from sudden cardiac arrests. The Medtronic Foundation provided a $2.5 million grant to the University of Illinois Hospital to coordinate Illinois Heart Rescue. Governor Quinn recently signed a new law to increase CPR training.

"Learning CPR is something simple we can all do to help save lives, whether you're on the field, in the classroom or at home," Governor Quinn said. “Illinois Heart Rescue will educate the public about heart health and help give those experiencing cardiac arrest a greater chance of survival."

Illinois Heart Rescue's community initiative will aim to improve bystander CPR in Illinois through free instruction. The effort is designed to more than double survival from sudden cardiac arrests by strengthening three key links in the chain of survival: bystander CPR, pre-hospital resuscitation by EMS, and post-arrest care through hospital interventions. In the first moments, a knowledgeable bystander who can begin CPR can save a life. At today’s event, bystander-performed, chest-compression-only CPR was demonstrated.

The program’s all-volunteer leadership team represents an unusually broad collaboration among physicians, health professionals, community organizations, hospitals, EMS systems, fire departments and governmental agencies across the state.

Evidenced-based best practices for pre-hospital care will be taught to 911 dispatchers, EMTs, firefighters, and paramedics in simulator training at the Chicago Fire Academy Simulation Center and later at simulation centers in Peoria and Evanston. The Illinois Heart Rescue team will use social media, multi-lingual and culturally-sensitive messaging, athletic events and community health fairs to reach the diverse population of Illinois.

Leaders in the initiative include the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago EMS System, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Education Service (CCARES) and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Other grant partners include the American Heart Association, the Chicago Cubs, the American Red Cross, the Chicago Department of Public Health and many community organizations that include local health clinic systems and neighborhood groups.

Governor Quinn signed House Bill 5114 earlier this summer, which allows middle school students to learn CPR and AED skills in the classroom. In 2011, he also signed legislation providing legal protection to good Samaritans who performed CPS in an emergency, which will encourage citizens to use this critical skill to save a life.


"In sudden cardiac arrest, a few seconds of time can make a lifetime of difference," said Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital, who will lead the project. "The unprecedented collaboration from so many Illinois institutions along with the opportunity Medtronic Foundation has provided us will allow us to help the people of Illinois and serve as a model for other states."

"Currently, one of the missing links in the 'chain of survival' is data," said Dr. Joseph Weber, Chicago EMS director, emergency-medicine physician at Stroger Cook County Hospital and assistant professor at Rush Medical College.  "This grant will allow us to quantify cardiac-arrest survival across the state. We can then use this data to direct quality improvement initiatives and track progress on our ultimate goal of improving cardiac arrest survival in Illinois.”

"We will bring the science of cardiac-arrest resuscitation to the streets through simulation training," said Dr. Eric Beck, EMS Medical Director for Chicago and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Simple things like high quality, uninterrupted chest compressions and limiting patient movement during cardiac arrest have been shown to dramatically improve survival."

"If you see someone collapse, the message is simple: Call 911. Start doing chest compressions, 100 beats per minute and two inches deep. Call for someone to bring an AED and use it. These actions alone can save someone's life," said Dr. Amer Aldeen, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University, co-director of CCARES and Illinois Heart Rescue community liaison. "We plan to spread the message of bystander CPR and AEDs throughout Illinois, especially in our relatively underserved urban and rural areas."

"We are especially pleased to partner with Illinois Heart Rescue in this important initiative to eliminate disparities in sudden cardiac arrest and to improve cardiac arrest outcomes in our state, particularly in Chicago and underserved rural areas of the state," said Dr. Derek J. Robinson, executive director, Illinois Hospital Association's Quality Care Institute.  Almost 30 hospitals throughout Illinois will collaborate initially to collect outcome data and champion state-of-the-art care for patients post-resuscitation.


Iowa’s Healthiest State Walk Set for October 3 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:58

- Goals: Continue momentum, build on successful 2011 event -

DES MOINES, Iowa – August 22, 2012 – Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds called on fellow Iowans to join in a one-kilometer Healthiest State Walk on Wednesday, October 3, as one part of an effort to become the healthiest state in the nation.

“Iowans turned out in extraordinary numbers for last year’s kick-off of the five-year Healthiest State Initiative,” Branstad said. “We’re encouraging even more Iowans to join in this symbolic event and to enjoy a short stroll during our state’s beautiful autumn weather.”

More than 291,000 Iowans participated in the Healthiest State Initiative’s “Start Somewhere” walk in 2011. Many organized Healthiest State walks will be held at noon on October 3, but walks are encouraged throughout the day. A kilometer is about 7.5 city blocks, a 12-minute stroll for the average walker. Walkers can sign up for the event at

In addition to walking, Branstad and Reynolds are encouraging Iowans to add one more wellness activity to their day on October 3. “Wellness activities can take many forms – from playing outside with your children to eating a healthy meal together as a family to volunteering in your community,” Reynolds said. “We’d love to see even more Iowans walk this year – and more Iowans take wellness steps beyond the walk.”

Branstad and Reynolds last year announced the plan to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation within five years as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®. In 2011, Iowa ranked 16th compared to all other states, moving up from the 19th position in 2010.

Branstad and Reynolds noted that the Healthiest State Initiative made good strides in its first year. Along with the large numbers of “Start Somewhere” walkers, 84 Iowa communities indicated an interest in becoming Blue Zones ProjectTM demonstration sites and the first four were announced in May. Six additional demonstration sites will be selected and a new program designed for small communities also has been created. The Initiative also helped shine a spotlight on the state’s well-being challenge, highlighted existing programs and developed new programs such as a healthy restaurant entrée pilot program and Laugh Out Loud Day. Recently, the Initiative sponsored the opening ceremonies at the Iowa State Fair and co-sponsored a mobile application to help find healthy food options at the Fair.

“The intent of the Healthiest State Walk is to encourage Iowans to take their own steps that will help us improve our state’s well-being rank,” Branstad said. ”The Healthiest State Initiative this year will continue to champion existing well-being programs with special emphasis on encouraging local walk groups, workplace well-being, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and smoking cessation. Progress in these areas will translate to a healthier Iowa and better quality of life for all its residents.”

The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, public effort that engages Iowans and their communities throughout the state. It involves individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector in a broad-based community-focused effort. For more information, visit

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