Month: May 2019

Pacific Medical Centers Launch an Important Mental Health Awareness Campaign

According to The Washington Nurses Association, about 45 million people in this country (4.2 percent of the U.S. population) suffer from mental illness and at least 10 million of these people suffer from serious mental illness. With those stats in mind, PacMed has launched a campaign that highlights awareness, de-stigmatization, screening for depression and the role of primary care relationships as a first step in identifying potential concerns—OneMoreQuestion.

Q: What is the motivation behind starting this campaign, and why is it so important?

A: The One More Question concept stemmed from an impactful story of a Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) primary care provider after a family came in for a visit. The provider noticed something about one of the children and decided to continue with a depression screening, and the questions she asked revealed that this child had plans to end his life. Through the screening and recognition of this, they were able to receive resources and support. PacMed’s One More Question campaign encourages us to become present when asking one more question in our own lives; when checking in with a friend, patient, coworker or family member. Remember, we can all make a difference in someone’s outcome.

Life always seems to have its ups and downs, and those chaotic moments can come in waves. Maintaining our connections to one another helps to navigate the waters when our lives can mimic rough seas. Connections and their potential to influence our lives are why One More Question is an important conversation for all of us to be having.

May is also Mental Health Awareness month, a time for us to elevate the topic of mental health in our communities and to encourage others to join us in this work. We want to empower patients and our communities to take an active role in caring for themselves and their networks. As an organization, PacMed wants to connect with people before a crisis occurs. We want to open up the conversation about mental health, to de-stigmatize the topic of mental health and depression, and to remember depression does not look the same for everyone. We know that mental health issues will affect one in five Americans, so chances are there is someone you know who is affected.

Q: How (and where) can readers access #OneMoreQuestion themselves, and/or how can Seattleites take advantage of local resources?

A: As humans, we all want to and need to be seen and heard in an honest way. We may not have all of the answers or be able to solve someone else’s problems, but we can listen. The simple act of listening can drastically change someone’s outcome or perspective during a hard time in their life.

Big or small, these acts can bring a sense of caring into someone’s darkest times. One more question can have a profound positive effect on which path someone takes when struggling. Even those who seem the strongest need to know that others are there to support them. As a primary care doctor, I would encourage everyone to talk with their doctor. Your doctor can help identify resources, support or refer you to a licensed mental health provider.

If you are in crisis, please consider utilizing your local or national resources, which could include King County 24-hours Crisis Line at 1-866-4-CRISIS, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. It is important to remember you are not alone, in urgent cases, please call your health care provider and tell them it’s urgent, call 9-1-1, or go to your nearest emergency room at your local hospital. If you would like to learn more about the One More Question campaign, visit our news story PacMed encourages #OneMoreQuestion for depression.

Allergies and Colds Q13 News Interview with Julia Becke, MD

Dr. Becke from Pacific Medical Center’s First Hill Clinic recently was interviewed on Q13 News discussing the symptoms that many people confuse with having a cold – are actually caused by allergies. These symptoms can include itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and trouble breathing. Dr. Becke recommends to see a doctor if your allergies are getting in the way of your everyday routine. To help minimize allergies, Dr. Becke also suggested keeping windows and doors closed, regularly washing your linens and vacuuming and dusting on a regular basis.

LWA Spotlight: On-Site Yoga!

Yoga At WorkOn-Site Yoga—Coming This June!

Living Well Alliance is excited to announce that Christy Goff, the registered dietitian who leads Living Well Alliance, will soon be able to offer on-site yoga at your company! Christy finished her 200-hour yoga teacher training program in February and is excited to share her theme-based classes with all ages and abilities. Her philosophy is to provide yoga for all levels and abilities, making students feel comfortable and empowered. Help your employees increase mindfulness, think outside the box and improve posture and flexibility. For more information, email

The Living Well Alliance is run by Pacific Medical Centers. Call us today at 206.621.4419 for more information or email

Meal plans for bone and eye health

Meal PlanningNUTRITION CORNER: Planning Meals for Strong Bones and Good Vision

May is Osteoporosis Month and June is Cataract Awareness Month. So in this edition, we are sharing nutrition information tied to bone and vision health. Then, to help you take action, we have included some powerful tips on meal planning. As always, work closely with your medical provider to create a care plan that’s right for you.

Nutrition for Healthy Bones and Eyes

Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium all help to maintain strong, resilient bones. fortified juices, canned salmon and tofu. Other excellent sources are figs, cooked bok choy, sardines, almonds, sesame seeds and cooked white beans. Dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, some yogurt, eggs, mushroom and some fortified foods. You can get magnesium from leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

When it comes to vision, studies have shown that some nutrients may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a common eye condition and the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50. Supplements are one approach, but experts agree that the best method is to consume a varied diet that’s rich in antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin . Recommended sources are egg yolks, dark green vegetables and some yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as corn, nectarines, oranges, papaya, squash and sweet potatoes.

Meal Planning 101

A weekly menu is the most important step to consistently eating healthy meals! Try these tips to make your meal planning a success for strong bones, good vision and overall health.

  1. Make a weekly menu in advance. Your menu doesn’t need to be fancy. Just aim for a basic framework of meals. Choose a regular time each week to make your plan. Overwhelmed? Start with planning one or two meals in advance.
  2. Choose meals that have leftovers. Leftovers are perfectly legitimate for another day’s lunch or dinner! For example, baked salmon on Monday can top a salad or go in a tortilla wrap on Tuesday.
  3. Use ingredients that are versatile. Select a few ingredients that work across various dishes. Sautéed kale can be eaten with olive oil and seasoning at dinnertime, or added to scrambled eggs. Hardboiled eggs are an easy breakfast item or can be part of a Cobb salad for dinner.
  4. Keep it simple. You don’t need exotic or elaborate dishes each night. Instead, imagine a plate that is half vegetables/fruits, one-quarter grains and one-quarter protein. Example: Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, brown rice and chicken.
  5. Cook in bulk. Put that freezer to work! When buying and cooking, double the recipe and then put half in the freezer for when life gets busy. Try making two quiches and freeze one. You can also freeze cooked grains and marinated meats.
  6. Keep your plan visible. Whether on the counter or hanging on the fridge, having your plan accessible will keep you focused on upcoming meals.
  7. Chop and cut once. Cleaning and prepping ingredients can take up precious time. Consider chopping all your veggie and meats at the start of the week. Store each recipe’s portions in separate containers in the fridge, ready to go.
  8. Keep a list of successes. Was one meal easy to prepare and enjoyed by your family? Maybe it worked well for leftovers? Keep a list of those meals for easy repeats!

PacMed has dietitians who can help you meet your nutritional needs. Learn about the dietitian services at PacMed. Or call to make an appointment: 206.505.1300.

Finding peace with the sun

Peace with the sunWhen his new barber got too popular, Seattle patient Russ tried trimming his own hair back at home. That’s when he noticed a new spot on the back of his neck.

“My first thought was to shrug it off,” says Russ. “But after thinking it over, I took out my cellphone and snapped a photo to send to the doctor.”

It’s a good thing he did. Soon after delivering the photo, he was asked to come in for a series of appointments, which led to a diagnosis: melanoma.

“I went through some initial scary moments when I saw the report, but the doctor was able to explain it was just stage zero,” says Russ. Having caught the skin cancer early, treatment was simple and complete within weeks, and now he wears sunscreen daily.

Many Northwest residents flock outside in April to soak in the vitamin D as soon as the sun appears. Our many cloudy days can make the sun feel like an old forgotten friend, bringing mixed feelings when it reappears. It can help us feel better—and take better care of ourselves—to remember the sun shines through all the time, even when we don’t see it.

“It’s obvious you need to wear sunglasses when the sun is intense,” says Tony Huynh, MD, an ophthalmologist at PacMed’s Canyon Park and First Hill clinics. “But it’s important to protect your eyes year-round, even when it’s cloudy. Those damaging rays can still get through the clouds.”

One sign of the Seattle area’s mixed relationship with the sun is our high rate of sunglasses purchases—50% higher per capita than the national average by one measure, possibly because we forget where our shades are stored over long cloudy periods.

If you forgot where your last pair of sunglasses was stored, it’s good to pick up a new pair, according to Dr. Huynh: “Your eyes can get sunburned, just like the rest of your skin, which can be painful. But without protecting your eyes, the damage can be much worse, ranging from abnormal growths to cataracts to macular degeneration.”

Dr. Huynh emphasizes the importance of choosing wraparound sunglasses with 100% UV protection. He also recommends brown and orange-amber tints, which are better than gray or blue tints at blocking the low-wavelength light that can cause serious damage over time.

While Russ had a close call with melanoma, the wake-up call helped him improve his relationship with the sun. “I’m a rower, and a lot of times I’d get on the water and realize I forgot the sunscreen. Now I know which sunscreen is best, and stocked up on the zinc oxide and a few hats. I definitely feel more empowered now going out in the sun.”

Tony Huynh, MD, practices ophthalmology at our Canyon Park (Bothell) and First Hill clinics. Learn more about him at our website, or call 206.329.3937 to schedule an appointment.

See what PRIDE means to us

Pride PictureWe Take Pride…Seriously

When Megan first came to the PacMed First Hill clinic, she was worried about her chronic health issues. She also had concerns talking about her gender transition. Happily, her first visit—with Dr. Julia Becke, a PacMed physician of seven years—calmed all her fears.

“Dr. Becke was awesome,” says Megan. “She understands me. She works with me. I’m transgender, and finding a doctor who’s willing to work with the medications I’m on, and to really hear the story of a transgender patient, is just amazing.”

“I believe the job of a doctor is to meet people where they are,” says Dr. Becke. “Every person is unique; that’s what makes this job so amazing. You get a glimpse into the lives of people very different from yourself. That’s an awesome responsibility—and a joy—to be able to do that every day.”

“Certainly, Megan has had a journey that not many people have a chance to experience,” says Dr. Becke. “She’s gone through it with grace and dignity, and I’ve had the pleasure to support her along the way. Not only did I want to make certain to address her ongoing health issues, but I also strove to figure out how we can meld those issues with her plan to continue gender transition over time.”

At PacMed, we believe each of our 100,000 patients deserves the best possible care. We respect every individual and do not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, gender or sexual identity or orientation. Wherever you get your care, we encourage you to find a doctor who helps you relate and feel safe.

Julia Becke, MD practices internal medicine at our First Hill clinic. Learn more about her at our website, or call 206.505.1101 to schedule an appointment.

Concerns about bone density? We can help

Bone DensityBone Up on Bone Health

Sitting around—which many of us do too much of during the cold months—is a major risk factor of osteoporosis and low bone mass. The aging process also affects bone density, and women are far more prone to osteoporosis than men (an estimated 80% versus 20%). The good news is that stress on bones—such as walking or weightlifting—stimulates bone growth.

As you ease into physical activity again or have any concerns about bone density, we can help! The best way to detect osteoporosis accurately is a low-radiation form of X-ray technology called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DXA (pronounced “dexa”). DXA is a quick, painless procedure for measuring bone loss. The DXA test can also assess your risk for developing fractures. If your bone density is found to be low, you and your physician can work together on a treatment plan to help prevent fractures before they occur.

As you get moving again, ease back into weight-bearing activities, ask your PacMed doctor about DXA if you have bone concerns—and if you drink milk, save up your cartons for a team or your own boat at July’s Milk Carton Derby at Green Lake!

The best place to start your journey to improved bones is with your primary care doctor. If you are looking for a new doctor, explore the PacMed clinics and our primary care services. We also offer DXA scans and nutrition counseling with our registered dietitians .