Month: October 2020

In English and en Español, helping Bothell stay healthy!

There’s a new doctor in Canyon Park with a passion for helping Bothell families young and old

When Mariana A. Frias Garcia was 12, her grandpa had a heart attack. He needed quadruple bypass surgery, but thankfully made a full recovery.

“That was a big moment for me,” she says. “I decided I wanted to pursue a career that would help other people. I enjoyed the sciences a lot, so I chose to study medicine.”

Dr. Frias Garcia’s grandpa lived to see her graduate from Technológico de Monterrey, one of the best medical schools in Mexico, and also attended her wedding before he passed away. He lives on in her continued public service, helping families stay healthy in her primary care practice at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Canyon Park in Bothell.

From Mexico to West Virginia

After graduating from medical school Dr. Frias Garcia moved to West Virginia to complete her residency in family medicine, where she developed a passion for preventive medicine.

“I love taking care of diabetes! I find the management really fascinating,” she says. “There’s not enough emphasis on prevention of chronic diseases in our healthcare system in general, and I hope to change that.”

While in West Virginia Dr. Frias Garcia helped to implement the American Academy of Pediatrics childhood obesity program, called ‘5210’:

  • 5 or more fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less of recreational screen time
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • 0 sugary drinks (water is best)

Accepting new patients at PacMed Canyon Park

Since moving to Bothell, Dr. Frias Garcia has developed a few specialties within the PacMed clinic. She’s become one of Canyon Park’s go-to for women’s health matters like contraception and cancer screening. Also, she has a growing children’s practice, and is meeting more and more patients from Bothell’s Latin American community.

“There aren’t many Latinos in West Virginia! There’s a much bigger community here,” she says. “Many of my patients are super grateful that I can talk to them in Spanish, and they’re starting to spread the word.”

As part of her passion for preventive care, Dr. Frias Garcia encourages patients to schedule a well visit to stay ahead of chronic illnesses.

“Check in with your doctor,” she says. “Make sure your weight is within a healthy range, that you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. Have your doctor monitor your biochemical profile including lipids and sugars to get ahead of the game.”

Dr. Frias Garcia’s family practice is open to people of all ages, from newborns to geriatrics, and she really enjoys working with the very young and very old. Make an appointment with Dr. Frias Garcia online or by calling 425-412-7200. Find Dr. Frias Garcia at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Canyon Park1909 214th St. SE, in Bothell.

Traversing the diabetes trail

Terri - Diabetes StarOne patient’s advice for taking health into her own hands

When a patient gets a diagnosis of diabetes, or even prediabetes, it can come as a shock. About five years ago, PacMed patient Helen “Terri” Woodrow learned she had progressed from prediabetes to diabetes. Terri credits her PacMed care team for instilling her with the supportive drive to battle her condition and lead a healthy, active life. “Diabetes impacts every part of your life… you have to deal with it every day,” says Terri. “You have to be mindful of so many things—diet, exercise, stress, blood sugar levels—and that can be overwhelming. Fortunately, I have my care team at PacMed to see me though the rough times.”

Terri is one of our Diabetes “Star” Patients, nominated by our doctors to showcase those living well with diabetes. “I thought Terri would be great for the STAR program because she’s tackling the disease from so many angles,” says Dr. Christopher Smith, Terri’s primary care physician. “People with diabetes face many challenges, and perhaps the biggest is an emotional one. It’s a disease that’s intimately tied to your body image, your eating habits, how you spend your free time and how you feel about yourself. Some patients become frustrated and want to give up.

“The thing about Terri is she’s very motivated to make changes to her health. She’s consistent with her appointments, she takes her medications and she’s able to talk about the challenges she faces and work with her providers to come up with solutions. She’s not always successful; in other words, she’s human. But she continues to work hard, even through foot and back injuries that have made it difficult for her to exercise at times.”

Terri admits to being hard on herself occasionally but tries to stay upbeat and finds inspiration in books on how others cope with the disease. Two of her favorites are Bright Spots & Landmines and Diabetes Burnout.

She also focuses on regular exercise, mixing urban hikes with riding on a recumbent stationary bike, stretching exercises, Tai Chi and swimming. When on vacation, she enjoys going on longer hikes.

Currently, Terri is taking an online class from Harvard University on eating properly. As she explains, “I’m not an overeater; it’s just learning to eat the correct things. And portion control is important too. There are times, like during the holidays, that I go off the rails.”

Terri relies on her PacMed diabetes educator, Christine Stirparo, to help her stay focused on her nutrition and blood sugar goals. “Terri has her ups and downs, but that’s normal,” says Christine. “When she’s down I try to give her more encouragement. She’s very committed to making her appointments, sharing her progress and receiving feedback.”

“One time, when my numbers were up, I went in and asked for a good butt kicking—and I got one!” laughs Terri. “Both Christine and Dr. Smith are very encouraging and keep me focused on my goals.”

What advice would Terri give to others dealing with a diabetes diagnosis?

“I would say embrace everything your doctor is telling you. Get your diet and exercise under control. Monitor your blood sugar numbers regularly. And don’t be afraid to tell your doctor or dietitian what’s going on. They are here to help you.”

“This past year, I’ve put more emphasis on self-care,” she adds. “If I’m feeling over-stressed, I’m going to take a day off, drink a lot of water and go walking. You can’t beat yourself up if you’re having a tough period. You just have to stay motivated and keep moving along the path.”

Terri and friend, hikingTerri also shared with us how she modified her exercise routine to stay safe and active during COVID-19. Read Terri’s COVID exercise tips.

Dr. Won set to make his mark in Lynnwood

Entering medical school, Dr. Sang Won had yet to pinpoint exactly what type of doctor he aspired to be—only that he wanted to be one, and would be one. He left his area of specialization open at Penn State College of Medicine until he found a mentor who inspired him to specialize in family medicine.

“Family medicine was the choice for me because I was able to see a wide range of ages,” says Dr. Won. “I get a lot of joy from my work.”

This October, Dr. Won joined the primary care team at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) in Lynnwood, after completing his family medicine training at Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley, California. He strives to be compassionate with patients by developing long-term relationships and working with them to tailor plans to achieve their best health.

“We have to form a relationship. That way I get to know you more, and it gives you, the patient, a chance to learn more about me,” explains Dr. Won. “It’s about listening, too, to what the patient needs. I will hear what their needs are and what they’re concerned about. With every visit, the plan will change and become more personalized.”

As he works with his patients, he encourages them to be involved in shaping their care. “Everybody has their personal lives and how they want to approach treatment for themselves,” he says. “There’s more than one way to treat their illnesses or concerns. I want to accommodate their personal preferences to the best of my ability but at the same time, meet the end goal of being healthy.”

PacMed stood out to Dr. Won due to its compassionate care model. At PacMed, the providers ensure patients receive “the necessary care when and where they need it,” he summarizes, “and in a way patients can easily understand and be engaged in their treatment.”

Dr. Won’s medical interests include preventive care, diabetes, geriatrics, heart health and kidney disease. In his free time, he spends time with his wife, travels and enjoys cooking. Although new to the Lynnwood area, Dr. Won says that he already enjoys the community and is excited to continue serving its people.

Dr. Won is currently accepting new patients. He is available for both in-person and video visits using PacMed’s secure Zoom platform. He is fluent in Korean, as well as English.

Active-living passions draw family doctor west

Primary care physician enjoys helping patients reach their wellness goals

When Dr. Jimmie Stewart finished his residency in Kansas and was ready to begin his medical practice, the Pacific Northwest quickly captured his attention. Yes, there were the professional opportunities, but what really captivated the primary care physician was the ability to stay active outside year-round, pursuing fitness and recreational pastimes like hiking and kayaking.

Today, Dr. Stewart brings those passions to his family medicine practice at the Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Canyon Park clinic in Bothell, where, in addition to caring for patients from newborns to seniors, he brings a special interest in sports medicine, fitness, weight loss and preventive care.

“I really enjoy taking care of everyone in the family and building those long-term relationships with children, their parents and grandparents,” Dr. Stewart says. “It feels good to help people, and to help them find success in their goals, whether that’s improving their fitness, losing weight or getting back to an activity they love.”

Families that play together can stay healthy together

By building those relationships, Dr. Stewart can more easily support patients in their wellness goals, whether it’s disease prevention through nutrition and fitness or charting a course back to the playing field following an injury.

Dr. Stewart’s accessible approach underscores how building trust with patients is key to their success, as is a practical, mindful care plan. “I think it’s important to have a realistic approach and come up with a plan that can be maintained, such as building in rewards for success,” he explains.

Similarly, improving fitness while reducing the chance of injury also benefits from a plan. After all, adds Dr. Stewart, “we know that keeping moving definitely helps keep you healthy.”

When the unexpected does happen, the right care is key.

“I enjoy working with the patient to figure out exactly what happened and how to get them back to their activity,” Dr. Stewart says. “We can make the assessment, create a protocol for getting back to play safely and help address the symptoms they’re experiencing.”

Numerous resources at hand

While Dr. Stewart enjoys providing hands-on care as much as possible, with a full suite of specialists, surgeons and physical therapists on the PacMed team, referrals are simple when more specialized care is required.

“We have all the resources here to assess the injury and, if necessary, connect you with the experts you need to get you well,” he says.

Make an appointment with Dr. Stewart online or by calling 425-412-7200. Find Dr. Stewart at PacMed Canyon Park, 1909 214th St. SE, in Bothell.

Senior Health Checklist: A yearly review



Health for the Road Ahead

As you move into your golden years, make sure your health care matches your needs, goals and desires.
Go over this checklist of health care, insurance and advance care decisions each year so you can relax and enjoy a smooth road ahead:

Review your insurance. Medicare Open Enrollment runs Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, your annual opportunity to select different Medicare options. Attend a free session or call 1.877.315.3279.
Check-up regularly. Get one free Medicare Wellness Visit* each year, where we’ll screen you for common ailments that can be treated well when caught early. Schedule yours now.
Go virtual! PacMed offers Zoom visits for many appointment types, including Medicare wellness visits during the pandemic, from the safety and comfort of home. We can walk you through it.
Re-hire your care team. Do your doctors listen, collaborate, explain things and work proactively for your best health? Our team approach leads to one of the highest Top Doctor percentages in the Northwest. Make sure you have a care team that will work for you.
Make your wishes known. Talk with a trusted friend or partner about what you want if you can’t make decisions yourself, and prepare the paperwork to empower them to help.

We’re here to help.
Visit the links above, message your doctor on MyChart with medical questions or just give us a call. We’re happy to help.

1.888.4PACMED (1.888.472.2633)

*Please note, If you have symptoms to discuss with a doctor, these fall outside the Medicare Wellness Visit and should be addressed in a regular appointment with your physician.

Halloween fun during a pandemic

HalloweenThe risks of catching the flu and novel coronavirus this year are spooky enough. PacMed pediatrician Alexander Hamling, MD, shares how to celebrate a safe Halloween at any comfort level.

Mix it up inside

Even though most kids love trick-or-treating door to door, this may be the year to try something different. Why not create a new tradition that keeps your family safely indoors?

Get in the mood by decorating your yard for others to enjoy, similar to putting up holiday lights. Inside, decorate rooms with spooky scenes for an indoor haunted house. Rather than going trick-or-treating, plan for an indoor candy hunt like you might for Easter.

If you want to show off costumes, arrange a virtual party over Zoom. Keep loved ones in mind by making Halloween cards to send to grandparents, cousins and friends. You can also get in the spirit by decorating the front of your house in a scary theme and then settling in for a spooky movie night.

Handing out treats & other traditions

If venturing outside, remember to keep things distanced and in open-air environments. Take the family to a pumpkin patch where people use hand sanitizer, wear masks and stay six-feet apart. Avoid the hayrides or corn maze where you might be in close-quarters with strangers. Carve the pumpkins safely and add to your home decorations, inside or out.

On the big night, avoid big bowls of candy so kids don’t root through them in search of a particular treat. Instead, consider spreading out treats along a fence line, or setting up a table in an outdoor space rather than having kids congregate in an entryway where everyone will touch doorbells or door handles.

Post a sign limiting the number of people in your yard at one time, and other instructions for trick-or-treaters. As a host, you can provide hand sanitizer. If you open the door, be sure to put on your mask and eye protection every time.

If you do go trick-or-treating

The CDC recommends not trick-or-treating the usual way this year. If you decide to go out, first take time to assess the risks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 data tracker can help you determine the risks in your area. By clicking on a particular region, you can learn the total number of cases in a specific county, as well as the number of infections per 100,000 people. Also, consider the health risks present in your household, such as obesity, diabetes, chronic pulmonary conditions (asthma, COPD, etc.), as well as if a member of the household is 65 years or older.

If the kids go out, it’s important to have a parent accompany them – regardless of age – to hold them accountable with mask wearing and social distancing. Consider who you will be trick-or-treating with—have they been using safe practices to prevent infection? Keep social distance when walking with those outside your family. Bring your own hand sanitizer to use between homes, and avoid walking in large crowds, busy entry areas or congested apartment buildings until others have left.

Make sure everyone is wearing a protective cloth mask. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask, and combining the two can make it hard to breathe. Costume masks that cover your eyes and block the field of view should also be avoided. Infection risks and normal hazards, like cars, both need to be seen.

As always, follow the normal rules of safety, such as staying on sidewalks and not crossing the street unless there’s a crosswalk. Bring a flashlight and add reflective gear to costumes, such as neon vests, bands or sashes.

Exercising self-control when it comes to candy has many health benefits, beyond just limiting sugar intake. There’s a lot that’s still unknown about surface transmission of the virus, so before digging in to your haul, wipe down pieces and wash your hands, or let the candy sit for a week to kill off any potential virus.

This year’s Halloween may be unlike any other, but with a little extra care and imagination you can limit the scare to only one night, and make it a safe and memorable one.

Learn More

Alexander M. Hamling, MD, MBA, FAAP, provides care as a pediatrician out of PacMed’s Canyon Park clinic. Read more about him, or call 425.412.7200 for an appointment.

Find out more about our Pediatricians
Alexander M. Hamling, MD,MBA,FAAP
Elisabeth Ware, MD

LWA: Wellness Symposium

RSVP NOW—Virtual 2020 Workplace Wellness Symposium

We’re back and better than ever! Join us for The Living Well Alliance’s annual, one-of-a-kind wellness symposium for Puget Sound–area wellness coordinators. This complimentary symposium is designed to help you promote and grow your workplace wellness program.

Thursday, October 22
10:00 a.m.–2:15 p.m.
Cost: FREE
Virtual via Cisco Webex Meetings
Register Here by October 16

  • Find inspiration for your wellness program during COVID-19
  • Network with other area wellness directors in break-out sessions and using webinar’s chat functionality
  • Stay to the end for a chance to win various raffle prizes! (prizes delivered by mail)

Schedule of Events

10:00–10:15 am Welcome, introductions (participation with video is encouraged!)
10:15–12:00 pm Jen Arnold, RDN, from Redesigning Wellness:
“From Critic to Champion: How to Effectively Engage Leadership in Wellness”
12:00–12:30 pm Lunch Break (offline)
12:35–1:10 pm “Stress at Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Tools to Take Back to Your Wellness Team”
1:15-1:45 am Webex breakout sessions for networking and brainstorming wellness ideas in this new time
1:45–2:05pm Christy Goff, MS, RDN: Healthy Cooking Demo
2:05–2:15 pm Final remarks and raffles!