Altru Advanced Orthopedics Opens At Altru Professional Center

It’s an exciting time of change for Altru’s orthopedics, sports medicine and sports training teams. There’s a new name, a new location and new procedures and programs now available to the residents of the Red River Valley and beyond.

ORTHONew Brand
Advanced orthopedic care from Altru’s specialists helps get you back to a pain-free active and enjoyable lifestyle as quickly as possible. Altru Advanced Orthopedics delivers personalized care for the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

S15_5052-minNew Location
Offerings of Altru Advanced Orthopedics is now located under one roof at Altru Professional Center.  The clinic space will offer a new experience for our area, with an innovative self-rooming process available to patients. At check-in, patients are given a badge to wear during their visit along with a room assignment. Providers and nurses are able to monitor all patient locations and wait times through their badges on multiple digital screens in private staff areas. The goal of this new process is efficiency and reduced wait times for patients. The new space includes seven cast bays, two x-ray rooms and 24 exam rooms.
(Special thank you to our contractors who completed this project.)

Advanced Procedures
Our orthopedics team is continually bringing advanced procedures to our region, helping patients get back to activities sooner rather than later. Some of these advanced procedures include anterior approach to hip replacement, cartilage restoration and arthroscopic superior capsular reconstruction. Offering these procedures at our local specialized orthopedic hospital, Altru Specialty Center, reduces the need for travel to top hospitals for this same level of care.

New Programs
Altru Advanced Orthopedics will offer elite training and injury prevention through a partnership with EXOS, a world renowned athletic training and human performance institute.  Sports Advantage powered by EXOS will offer youth, collegiate, pro and adult training. The program is currently located within the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. In September, it will move to a new 5,000 square foot facility within Altru Professional Center, outfitted with synthetic turf and some of the industry’s best equipment.

700x700-FB_Fall-Fit-FairJoin Us at Fall Fit Fair
Altru Advanced Orthopedics will celebrate their new space and elite service offerings, along with complimentary screenings and fitness-focused offerings, at the Fall Fit Fair on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Altru Professional Center. Keep an eye out for more information about this event.

For the latest information about Altru Advanced Orthopedics, visit

Jill WilsonJill Wilson, Altru’s Administrative Director of Regional Operations and Clinical Support Services, collaborates with physicians, staff and community members throughout the region to provide quality heath care services in their local area.


Finding Strength and Courage through TEARS

“There is an ache in my heart that will never go away,” says Tammi about the passing of her son Ryan, who died by suicide in March 2014. Despite the time passed, Ryan’s memory is as real today as it was before his death on that cold, stormy first day of spring.

Fun-loving Ryan501 (24)-min
Ryan was a kind-hearted young man, who loved football, snowmobiling and spending time with family and friends. He grew up with six siblings and participated in wrestling, baseball, and football throughout high school. His love and care for others was a trait all who knew Ryan admired. He was continually thinking of others and putting others’ needs in front of his own.

Ryan’s Struggle
After Ryan graduated and moved away from home, his family began to notice a change in his demeanor. Ryan struggled with depression and anxiety, a battle he would face until the end of his life. “Ryan was in a dark place that he didn’t know how to get out of,” his mother shared. He struggled with low self-esteem and couldn’t escape the thought that his life was meaningless. On March 21, 2014, Ryan’s mind became an enemy too great to overcome.

Ryan’s passing left his family with many unanswered questions. For his mom, these questions seemed overwhelming and unending. Was there something more that could have been done to prevent Ryan from taking his life? The guilt and grief of losing a son from suicide weighed heavy on Tammi’s heart.

510Strength from TEARS
After Ryan’s death, Tammi started counseling, and that is how she heard about TEARS (Together we Educate About the Realities of Suicide). Tammi began attending TEARS’ Survivors of Suicide Support Group in April 2014.

“I walked in, and the first thing I see is that everyone is smiling. I’m thinking to myself, if they all know how I feel, how are they smiling right now?” Tammi expressed. “I sat down and others began to share their stories, and I realized that they DID understand what it was like to lose someone to suicide.  The guilt, the anger, the fear, the resentment; all common feelings other group members experienced and could relate to.”

Tammi has continued to attend the meetings, leaving every time with a renewed purpose. “I feel that I am able to focus on moving forward, and also not be afraid of what happened and not feel ashamed to talk about it.”

Tammi often reads a saying that says, “Just for today, I will remember your life Ryan with the comfort of all the treasured days and moments we shared. Just for today, I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside for I know that is what you would want your mom to do. Life will never be the same. The pain will never go away we just learn to go on and never lose the memories.”Necklace

In closing, Tammi shares, “You’re never going to heal fully. When you lose a child, there is a part of you that is missing forever.”

Tammi’s experience of loss and grief has been difficult; but with time and patience, she has found strength and courage through TEARS.

To this day, Tammi wears a necklace in remembrance of Ryan. The necklace includes her late son’s signature, his birth stone, Saint Felicity (the Saint for a mother who has lost a child) and the words, “Forever my Angel” inscribed on the surface of a medallion.

ElevatorWalk to Remember, Walk to Support
Tammi and her family participated in the Walk to Remember, Walk to Support in September 2014. She explained the environment at the walk, saying, “The group was very warm, very welcoming to me. I felt the love of everybody there.”

TEARS Walk for Suicide Prevention will be September 13, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. in Lincoln Park/Greenway. To donate, join a team, or learn more information, please visit

Read the poem “Just for Today” by Vicki Tushingham  >>

Exfoliation 101: Why It’s Important for Glowing Skin

700x700-FB-tempate_ExfoliationExfoliation is an important skin care step that helps our skin look and feel amazing. It is such a simple task, maybe too simple, that people often forget to do it.

Exfoliation allows us to remove the dead skin that has been sitting on the surface for far too long. By doing this, we are increasing the skin’s cell cycle, which will allow new, healthier skin to surface at a much faster rate. In return, we notice:

  • Our skin is silky smooth.
  • Our complexion is more radiant.
  • Sun damage (freckles, age spots) appears lighter.
  • Acne prone skin improves.
  • We feel better about how we look.

You don’t want to exfoliate every day, as that can be too much of a good thing. Your skin will tell you by appearing red and irritated. Ideally, you will want to have a proper home care routine that provides exfoliation and a trip to your aesthetician once a month or every other month to get a medical grade exfoliation treatment.

At home:

  • SkinTx System – a professional home care system is uses products with ingredients that loosen the glue bonds that hold the skin together, increasing that cell cycle. Some of these ingredients are: Retin-A, Retinol, Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, L-ascorbic Vitamin C, Resorcinol and Phytic acid.
  • Clarisonic Devices – use a brush head that oscillates back and forth, allowing for deep cleansing and even exfoliation. This device can be used twice a day if needed on rough skin, but most will do every other day or every third day. The Clarisonics that are mostly recommended are: Mia 1, Mia 2 and Smart Profile. (All are available at Truyu.)

Aesthetician’s Office:

  • Hydrafacials – these include microdermabrasion, which is an even form of abrasion that is more aggressive. We can also focus on blackheads by doing manual extractions. The last step of the Hydrafacial is to apply a treatment serum, which your aesthetician will help you select, and a proper sunscreen. Hydrafacials give your face that glowing, refreshed look with no downtime.
  • Chemical Peels – there are many different forms and brands of chemical peels. Consulting with your aesthetician to discuss goals and expectations is best. If your goal is a healthier glow or correcting pigment or acne scarring, we can find a chemical peel that is right for you.

With so many options available, I don’t expect the average person to be able to sort it all out. That is why we recommend scheduling a consult with us, so that we can guide you into making the best decisions for your skin goals.

Hagen, Jessi_4C_2015Jessi Hagen is a master aesthetician and certified laser technician at Truyu Aesthetic Center on DeMers. She has expert and advanced training in aesthetics and laser treatments. Outside of work, Jessi loves spending all of her free time with her husband and young daughter.

Advancing Care for Healthy Hearts

Heres to your Heart_Blog_2
The heart is the body’s strongest muscle. It beats 100,000 times per day, pumping 1.5 gallons of blood each minute. Your heart, along with your vascular system, which is made up of vessels that carry blood through your body, is crucial to one’s survival. When it’s not working properly, health implications can be serious. Luckily for those in our region, Altru’s Heart, Vascular and Interventional Radiology Services team combines highly specialized providers across a spectrum of services. Here’s what we’ve been working on:

Provider Outreach
Over the last few months, physicians from Altru’s Heart, Vascular and Interventional Radiology Services “took their show on the road” and visited with healthcare providers in ten different towns in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. It’s important to build relationships with providers in our service area to strengthen referrals and have them think “Altru” when needing specialized heart, vascular and interventional radiology care for their patients. Our hope is we can work as a team to align services and care in a more focused way.

PADnet and Vascular Services
Early identification of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can prevent leg pain and amputation, but also assists in identifying those at risk for other vascular diseases, including stroke or heart attack. Altru offers screening options for PAD and now has specialized equipment – PADnet – to offer baseline screenings in primary care settings throughout the region. Using an air cuff based method to identify obstructive disease, PAD testing provides data to determine medical or surgical treatment and guides an effective treatment plan. The technology securely transmits test data and patient history for remote interpretation, saving time and eliminating the need for travel to a hospital or specialty lab for baseline testing. PADnet will be available this summer.

The CardioMEMS™ Heart Failure System, used by providers to manage patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), is now offered at Altru. The CardioMEMS™ HF System is a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA) during a minimally invasive procedure. The system allows patients to transmit PA pressure data from their homes to their healthcare providers, allowing for personalized and proactive management of their CHF to reduce the likelihood of an emergency room visit or hospitalization.

For more than five years, Altru’s Cardiology extended an outpatient clinic in cardiac electrophysiology. Recently, the arrhythmia service line at Altru was expanded to offer interventional cardiac electrophysiology. Patients now have access to advanced treatment of heart rhythm disorders, including diagnostic testing and catheter ablation of supraventricular arrhythmias, atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation, diagnostic electrophysiologic testing, risk stratification of sudden cardiac death and evaluation of syncope.

Specialty Clinics
Altru offers a number of specialty clinics related to heart and vascular services, including Adult Congenital Heart Defect Clinic, Anticoagulation Clinic, Chronic Wound Clinic and Cardiac Device Clinic.

Altru’s Cardiac Device Clinic provides comprehensive device management for patients with pacemakers, internal defibrillator and loop recorders to ensure optimal function. Ensuring the device is working properly is an important part of these patients’ ongoing care.

In the coming weeks, Altru’s Congestive Heart Failure Clinic will begin. It will offer education, counseling and timely physical assessments. CHF patients can be complex. Better care coordination via a dedicated clinic can reduce hospital admissions/readmissions and emergency room visits.

Altru’s Heart, Vascular and Interventional Radiology Services team of more than 15 providers across five specialties offer comprehensive heart and vascular care to the region. Combining expertise and compassion, our physicians focus on the cardiovascular health of our patients and strive to provide the best care for your heart. To learn more, visit

img-medicalservices-HagenKellyKelly Hagen, RN, is the Administrative Director of Heart & Vascular Services and Surgical & Procedural Services. She provides strategic leadership and oversight of Heart and Vascular Services; Surgery and Procedural Services; Neurology and Interventional Pain Management. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, running, and doing crossword puzzles.


Sports Advantage powered by EXOS

Sports Advantage FB Powered by EXOSA two-minute performance of grace and strength on the ice. A 16-second 100 meter dash. A 20-minute half in basketball. Adrenaline courses through their veins, their hearts race and sweat beads in anticipation. Countless hours of training, effort and practice go into these short, yet powerful moments in time. And now, athletes of all experience levels can take advantage of the highest level of programming available throughout the country.

Altru Partners with EXOS
EXOS and Altru Health System have entered into a new partnership to bring EXOS’ performance training and nutrition programs and services to their headquarters in Grand Forks, ND, to create Altru’s Sports Advantage.

With Altru’s Sports Advantage, powered by EXOS, you train with a team of performance specialists and nutritionists to fuel your game, upgrade your health and amp your performance.  The goal is to provide performance plans and drive you to achieve higher levels of success.

Using advanced performance training techniques, our specialists help you raise your game and keep your body primed for sport. With an individualized assessment and program tailored within four pillars – mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery – the team is ready to help you get the advantage.

“We are expanding offerings of Altru Advanced Orthopedics to develop Sports Advantage powered by EXOS to benefit and support those in our local community, as well as to attract regional and national athletes,” says Jill Wilson, Administrative Director of Altru Advanced Orthopedics. “EXOS has supported athletes and teams in MLB, NFL, MLS, NBA, and the NHL, multiple world champions, and Olympic gold medalists. To provide that level of support locally builds on our commitment of providing world-class services as part of Altru Health System.”

Getting the Advantage
Altru’s Sports Advantage offers programs for youth, high school and college athletes, professional and elite athletes, as well as adults looking to upgrade their health and performance. While current training is offered at the existing Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics, a new 5,000 square foot facility that features leading equipment from EXOS partners SKLZ, Keiser, Woodway, Octane and PowerBlocks as well as a synthetic turf field is expected to be completed in September 2015 inside Altru Professional Center.

“Working with performance specialists with Altru’s Sports Advantage has helped me become stronger, faster and more explosive on the ice,” states Madi Estad. Madi is a competitive individual and synchronized figure skater. In July 2014, Madi achieved the title of double gold medalist for United States Figure Skating having passed the Senior or Gold level in both Moves in the Field and Dance. “I now have the confidence to attack any new jump or skill because I know I am stronger than I’ve ever been. To achieve my goals, I realize that what I do off-ice with training, eating better and rest is just as important as what I do on the ice.”

In addition to the EXOS performance training and nutrition programs and services, physical therapy will also be offered by Altru’s team of sports medicine professionals.

Jocelyne Lamoureux, performance specialist has played a key role in Altru’s Sports Advantage team and says the partnership between Altru and EXOS is going to change how our community looks at strength and conditioning for athletes and overall health for adults. “EXOS is world-class in their approach to training and human performance. There’s no better way to leverage this than combining it with the advanced medical expertise at Altru.”

Through her athletic career and education, Jocelyne has been exposed to world-class facilities, coaches and training systems.  She goes on, “This program is second to none. I’m excited for the opportunities Sports Advantage will provide kids and adults to reach their goals. If I had a resource like this growing up in Grand Forks, I know this is where I would have been!”

“We are very excited to partner in bringing our proven performance system to Grand Forks with a true leader in the health and wellness space, Altru Health System.” said Mark Verstegen, founder and president of EXOS. “Our goal is to provide performance game plans to elevate people to achieving higher levels of success.  Our shared vision is to support the entire community with Altru’s Sports Advantage powered by EXOS programs.”

Call 701.732.SPORT (7767) to get the advantage with Altru’s Sports Advantage powered by EXOS.

See also:
Altru Health System Announces Partnership with EXOS
TRAINING: EXOS performance coming to Grand Forks

FullSizeRenderHailing from the Magic City (Minot, N. Dak.) and now a Minnesota transplant, DeAnn Burckhard has been part of Altru Health System’s family in corporate communications since 2003. When DeAnn isn’t playing make-believe and dress-up with her two young daughters, she can be found running up and down the Grand Cities or lifting weights.

Impacting Our Community through Healthy Encouragement

700x700-FB_impactImproving health and enriching life often starts in our own backyard. Everyone—our families, our friends, our co-workers and ourselves—could use a little healthy encouragement now and then.

It’s an honor and privilege to positively impact health and quality of life for our patients and our community. At Altru, we have been specifically focused on initiatives stemming from our 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment. Two top priorities include reducing obesity and increasing colorectal cancer screening rate.

Walking toward Wellness

As part of Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks, we are inspiring adults and youth to make walking a daily habit. Together, we aim to create change in our community to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our community. Our overall goals include:

Throughout June, we’re promoting #30DaysofRunning, part of the overall Walking Challenge. Whether running, biking, walking or rollerblading, any kind of movement counts. (It all adds up in the fight against obesity.) So far, we’ve logged 100,280 miles in 2015, which is the equivalent of burning ~10,000,000 calories.

No Butts about It

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. When detected early, it is treatable.

One of our goals is to increase the proportion of the eligible population (ages 50-75) who have had appropriate colorectal screenings from 57 percent to 57.5 percent. And we’re making progress: In the first four months of the year, 59.5 percent of the eligible population was screened.

The average cost of a screening colonoscopy is $1,800. Last year’s Harvest Gala provided $260,000 of funding for Altru’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative. The amount will be increased by proceeds of this year’s Run for Your Buns 5K, held this past Saturday, June 13. By encouraging colonoscopies, we’re potentially saving lives.

Educate, Encourage, Enrich

The human body doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. Health information is readily available online—some good, some bad. We’re adding to the good information. Enrich is a new publication and online resource center that contains helpful tips and insights from leading experts at Altru. Filled with providers’ perspectives and national research, the articles can guide your pursuit of healthy lifestyle choices.

DR photoAs Chief Planning Executive, Dennis Reisnour leads the development of Altru’s strategic plan and directs the marketing, communication and overall management of Altru’s brand. In his spare time, he enjoys time at the cabin, culinary explorations and spending time with his granddaughters.



Introducing Altru Advanced Orthopedics

The Orthopedics service line is one of the more highly competitive services in our market. Even more, consumers have a much more active role with this specialty in choosing where they go for care because most of the procedures provided are elective. Upon research, we found we weren’t the top brand and knew a major change was needed. Guided by the directive of the Board approved business plan and in support of one of Altru’s strategic growth goals, Orthopedics has been refreshed with a new name, a new look and soon a new location: Altru Advanced Orthopedics.

As you can see by the logo, it’s bolder and much bigger. This image is one of the elements helping us elevate our Orthopedics team and related services to a higher level.

And later this summer, the team will head south to its new home base at Altru Professional Center. Altru Advanced Orthopedics’ 14,000 square feet of clinic space boasts seven cast bays, two x-ray rooms and 24 exam rooms. Even more, it will offer a new experience for our area with an innovative self-rooming process available to patients. At check- in, patients are given a badge to wear during their visit along with a room assignment. Providers and nurses are able to monitor all patient locations and wait times through their badges on multiple digital screens in private staff areas. The goal with this new process is efficiency and reduced wait times for patients.

As part of a comprehensive marketing plan, Altru has also produced two commercials featuring Altru Advanced Orthopedics. These commercials are now airing throughout our entire service area across North Dakota and Minnesota. Radio, online ads and billboards are also part of the marketing mix. Please take a few seconds to enjoy our newest ads:

Altru’s Behavior Standards: Meaningful and Team

Each one of us has the power to help patients get well. Patients need our knowledge and our emotional support throughout their time with us. They need to know they can trust us and depend on us. Living out Altru’s Behavior Standards is a good place to start. Making these standards part of how you live your life will take time. However, it will become easier with practice. The important thing to remember is that we treat the patient, not the problem.

Meaningful: We will provide an exceptional patient experience. 

  • I will treat each person as an individual and remember a healthcare experience is not routine or comfortable for everyone.
  • I will demonstrate that “I have the time.”
  • I will be mindful of my tone of voice and convey that I am trying to understand.
  • I will keep others informed.
  • I will be compassionate and recognize that everyone is important.

700x700_Treat Each OtherMeaningful in Action
A few months ago, Altru dietitian, Janelle Olson, gave one patient a day he will never forget.

An older gentleman came in for his regular dialysis treatment. The patient was a former farmer and wasn’t enjoying the long periods of sitting and watching TV. After getting to know him, Janelle learned of his love for farming. She purchased a custom combining documentary. He watched the documentary during his next appointment and told the nurses it was a highlight of dialysis!

Janelle acknowledged he was a person and not just a patient. She gave him a world-class care experience and changed his view of his dialysis appointments. Janelle demonstrated how to provide a meaningful experience.

Here are some other examples of meaningful:

  • Think before you speak. How will your words impact the person listening?
  • If you think a project will not be completed by deadline, update the appropriate person with your progress. Explain how you will work to accomplish the task.
  • Demonstrate compassion. If you notice a co-worker or patient is having a tough day, ask how he or she is doing. Be willing to listen, even if you have a busy schedule.

Team: We will work together to deliver world-class care.

  • I will be committed to the success of my team.
  • I will seek consensus with my teammates and openly support decisions.
  • I will display energy and enthusiasm and bring all my talents to the table.
  • I will be flexible when faced with change in my work environment.

The next behavior standard is team. Visualize the human body. Each part has a specific and important role. If one part suffers, the whole body suffers. Think of Altru in the same way. Each one of us is integral in the function of the system. If one of us doesn’t do our part, the whole system suffers. In the same way, if we each work together and support one another, the body prospers.

700x700-FB-_AmbulanceTeam in Action
In 2014, Altru’s ambulances responded to 7,335 calls for service, including the healthy delivery of four babies outside of the hospital. Responding to emergency situations requires excellent teamwork in the field and in the emergency room. In these instances, teamwork extends beyond our staff to include community agencies and other emergency personnel.

Here are some other examples of team:

  • If a co-worker has a new idea, support it.
  • During meetings, be excited and curious. When someone is speaking, show interest and nod. Show you are listening, not just hearing, by displaying attentive body language, providing feedback and responding appropriately.
  • Accept each other’s differences. Each person brings different talents and experiences to the table.
  • When something unexpected happens, take a deep breath. Think before reacting.

Each of us is important in a patient’s healthcare experience. Although some of us might not directly care for the patients, we still are important to the success of the team.

Learn more about Altru’s Behavior Standards.

See also:

Nancy HansonNancy Hanson, manager of patient relations, oversees service and the patient experience. Outside of the office, Nancy enjoys many different sports, photography and, when time, reading a good book. 




AudreyAudrey Lorenz, strategic planning lead within Altru’s Corporate Development, has been with Altru for 26 years. Within her role, she focuses on business strategic planning and brand management. During her free time, Audrey enjoys being with her husband, two daughters and 12 dogs. She enjoys running, decorating and doing yard work.  

Ready to Quit Smoking? Enlist Help from a Tobacco Cessation Specialist at Altru

700x700-FB_ready-to-quitAre you or a family member feeling the urge to snuff out that butt for the very last time? A certified tobacco cessation specialist may be the ticket to a smoke-free life.

Dependence on nicotine is an addiction, which often makes tobacco cessation more challenging than engaging in other behavior modifications, such as starting an exercise program or eating more fruits and veggies.

Amanda Dudgeon, NP and certified tobacco treatment specialist at Altru, shares real questions, real answers about quitting tobacco for good.

Why should someone seek help from a certified tobacco cessation specialist?

  • Certified tobacco cessation specialists understand the brain chemistry changes that are involved in addiction and have received special training to assist patients with conquering addiction. Assessing and understanding individual triggers is an important component of treatment.
  • At Altru, we create an individualized plan for each tobacco user’s unique situation and triggers, and provide the reinforcement needed to be successful. 

What methods do you use during treatment?

  • Using the cognitive behavioral approach to self-talk is key. Thinking or talking to yourself in situations that trigger you to use tobacco is a necessary component to get past those urges. Saying to yourself, “Smoking is not an option”, or “I can do this” may be the self-encouragement required to get past bumps in the road to ending your addiction.
  • Alter routines and use problem solving skills to identify situations that could put you at risk of relapse. Certain places and times of the day can create extreme urges to use tobacco. Breaking the old routine and making a new routine increases success rate.

E-cigs are popular right now. Are they a healthy alternative to smoking other forms of tobacco?

  • The compositions of e-cigs are all different. They are not regulated by the FDA and are known to contain additives and impurities. Some contain cytotoxins and carcinogens, as well as varying amounts of nicotine. I do not recommend them due to the lack of evidence for safety. 

Why quit?

  • The health benefits of quitting tobacco are endless. As a provider, I see many people suffering from COPD. The feeling of not being able to breathe can be terrifying. Quitting smoking reduces this risk. Many develop lung cancer as a result of smoking. These people often have a difficult time with treatment and suffer significantly. I also see cancer of the mouth, esophageal, gastric and other cancers. If I can help someone quit early, his or her risk of developing these diseases decreases significantly.

It’s never too late to quit. When you’re ready, we’re here. Smoking can lead to a number of serious health problems, from cancer to heart disease. Quitting the habit can foster both immediate and long-term health benefits.

Decide that you deserve to be healthy. Quit smoking aids are available to those who financially qualify through Altru Health Foundation. Request an appointment with a certified tobacco treatment specialist today for a smoke-free tomorrow. Learn more at 

Dudgeon, AmandaAmanda Dudgeon is a family nurse practitioner and certified tobacco treatment specialist at Altru Cancer Center. In addition to seeing patients for rechecks and tobacco cessation, Amanda implements the Survivorship Program. Outside of spending time with her husband and two children, she enjoys playing basketball and softball.

Celebrating 1,000 Cranial Shaping Helmets at Altru

1000th HelmetSince 2007, Altru’s Prosthetics and Orthotics has shaped the heads of 1,000 local babies.

Thanks to generous donor gifts, Altru Health Foundation provided funds for the purchase of a STARscanner™, the only one of its kind in North Dakota. The scanner quickly collects accurate head shape data for the creation of cranial shaping helmets, custom headgear that guides skull growth. About two weeks later, the helmet is ready for the first fitting.

Unusual head shape often appears in the first months of life. Causes include the position of the baby during pregnancy, the birth process or the baby’s preferred sleeping position.

Why are helmets necessary?
Cranial shaping helmets are not experimental or cosmetic. They are medically necessary. Improper head development can have lifelong effects including:

  • poor jaw function,
  • middle ear infections,
  • migraine headaches,
  • vision problems and
  • facial asymmetry.

“This is about as close to a ‘cure’ as we can get,” explains Steve Sattler, certified orthotist. Helmets are most effective during the first year when a baby’s head grows rapidly.

Photo Contest
Have you personally experienced cranial shaping helmets at Altru? From April 23-30, 2015, visit Altru Health System’s Facebook page to participate in the #1000Helmet photo contest. Here’s how it works:

One entry per person. We reserve the right to remove any photos we feel are inappropriate. By posting your photo, you are also agreeing to let us share it as the winning photo.

If you’re wondering if your child needs a helmet, discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor. To learn more about cranial shaping helmets at Altru, call 701.780.2424.

See also: