Archives for January 2017

Breast Fest organizers give $10,000 to support people dealing with breast cancer

Pictured (l-r): Charlie Heins and Cyndi Spalding, Breast Fest; Sandy Gruszynski, Winona Health; Shelly Paffrath and Mark Fredrickson, Breast Fest; and Betsy Midthun, Winona Health.

Breast Fest, an annual music festival held to benefit local people being treated for breast cancer at Winona Health, raised $10,000 to be distributed through the Winona Health Foundation.

The organizers started the event in 2013 with the intent to do something to help local people who may need assistance paying for miscellaneous expenses that come along with dealing with a serious illness. They simply wanted to make life a little easier for people in our community who are dealing with breast cancer and show them that more people than they know care about them.

Sandy Gruszynski, cancer care coordinator at Winona Health, said, “This gift from the Breast Fest organizers makes a big difference to individuals and families dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. What’s especially touching is that it’s from community members, for community members, and it’s another example of what makes Winona a wonderful community.”

Reflecting on the Breast Fest committee’s experience so far, committee member Cyndi Spalding, said, “I think all of us were surprised by how many people were willing to give and to get involved. It makes us all want to do even more.”

The organizers requested that the money help as many people as possible with expenses such as transportation to clinic visits and costs related to having a serious illness but that are not covered by insurance.

Breast Fest funds are administered through the Winona Health Foundation and can help with expenses such as:

  • Transportation to appointments
  • Wigs and other head apparel
  • Groceries for special dietary needs
  • Mastectomy Bra & Prosthesis
  • Gift cards including massage and spa

For more information, contact Sandy Gruszynski, RN, in Winona Health’s Cancer Care Clinic, 507.494.7378.

Breast Fest 2017 will be Saturday October 7, at The Black Horse in Winona. For more information about Breast Fest, call 507.458.8589.

To learn more about the Winona Health Foundation and ways to give, click here or call Betsy Midthun, vice president of Community Engagement, 507.457.4116.




Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine department improves scheduling

To help parents when they have a sick child, the Winona Health Pediatrics team now has a provider designated for same-day appointments for children who are ill.

“We’re always looking at how we can improve care and increase our efficiency,” said Winona Health pediatrician Sarah Lallaman. “Having a sick child isn’t something parents can plan ahead for, so to make it more convenient for them, we’ve reorganized our schedules so that one of our Pediatric providers is available for a same-day appointment when your child is ill.”

Dr. Lallaman also noted that this is a great time of year to schedule school physicals including kindergarten and sports physicals. “Many of us don’t think about scheduling these types of appointments until we receive a reminder from school or we’re trying to fit them in last minute,” she noted. “These appointments can take place and the forms can be completed at any time during the year. It’s really nice to get them taken care of before there is a rush so there are more scheduling options.”

To schedule an appointment in the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine department at Winona Health, call 507.457.7607.



Free Class: A Matter of Balance begins February 15, 2017

Winona Health’s Physical and Sports Therapy Department is offering a free program to help improve balance and prevent falls. A Matter of Balance will meet Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. beginning February 15 for four weeks.

A Matter of Balance is designed for people who:

  • are concerned about falling
  • are interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength
  • have fallen in the past or
  • have to restrict activities due to falling concerns

Participants will learn how to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance.

The program will be at Winona Health Sarnia Square, 420 E Sarnia in Winona.

There is no charge for this class, but space is limited so RSVP is required. To RSVP, call 507.457.4329.

A Matter of Balance, Feb. 15, 2017

$5 Jewelry Sale fundraiser February 8 & 9

The Winona Health Volunteers will again host the Masquerade $5 Jewelry Sale Wednesday, February 8 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Thursday, February 9, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the HOSPITAL LOBBY at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave. Attendees are asked to park in the hospital parking lot and use the hospital main entrance, which is closest to the sale.

Masquerade, a nationally known $5 jewelry company, will showcase more than 25,000 pieces of new merchandise. There will be a wide variety of jewelry and accessories for men, women and children including rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, jewelry sets, wallets, leggings, scarves, watches and much more. Everything is $5. Cash, check and credit cards will be accepted.

All proceeds will go toward healthcare-related educational scholarships and volunteer healthcare projects.  For more information, please call the Winona Health Volunteer Services Office at 507.457.4342.

Sick child? Same-day appointments in Pediatrics

Have a sick child? The Pediatrics department has a provider designated for same-day appointments for children who are ill.

To schedule a same-day appointment in the Pediatrics department, call 507.457.7607.

For more information about Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Winona Health, click here.

Who deserves recognition? Nominate them! It’s easy…

Nominations for the Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute accepted through February 3

Winona Health Foundation is seeking nominations for the Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute.

“We’ve made the nomination form easy to complete, and this is a wonderful opportunity to recognize someone who makes a positive difference in our community,” said Betsy Midthun, vice president of Community Engagement at Winona Health.

The Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute is awarded to an outstanding person, persons or community organization who has made a significant difference and positive impact on the Winona region and/or Winona Health. Candidates will be evaluated on their generosity of time, spirit, energy and/or charitable donations. Nomination forms are available online at and will be accepted through Friday, February 3.

The Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute was established by the late community philanthropist, Benjamin A. Miller, in the name of his wife, Adith. In addition to a special recognition dinner at Cedar Valley Restaurant, the family of Ben and Adith Miller and RTP Company honors the recipient with a $25,000 contribution to the Ben & Adith Miller Patient Care Fund to assist area individuals and families.

Last year, Jon Kohner received the Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute for the countless hours of service he has given the Winona community. Those who nominated the Jon reflected on his quiet consistency to saying ‘yes’ when asked to volunteer.

Written nominations are being accepted now through February 3.

Info and Nomination Form

If questions, call 507.474.3328.

Previous Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute recipients:

  • Jon Kohner
  • Dr. Charles and Judy Shepard
  • Dee Cipov
  • Irene Renk
  • Marlene Kohner
  • Jenny Kahl
  • Justin Green
  • Nancy Iglesias
  • Dennis Theede and Home and Community Options
  • Karen and O.J. Fawcett
  • Donna Helble
  • Kent Gernander
  • Marilyn and Keith Schwab, Kim and Pete Schwab
  • L. “Max” DeBolt
  • Rose Anderson and Diane Barge
  • Carol and Dan Barr
  • Joette and Michael Gostomski
  • Roger Metz
  • Nancy and Mark Kristensen
  • Dave Arnold and Dan Rukavina
  • Pete Woodworth
  • Dr. Frank and Ruth Bures
  • Sue Cornwell
  • Bob Kierlin
  • Tom Graham
  • Gary Evans
  • Pauline Knight
  • Tom and Judith Stark, Dr. Roger and Helen Hartwich, John and Helen David


The Gift: A new quarterly series for adult children and/or their parents

Winona Health is introducing a new program series designed for adult children and their parents.

“A lot of people fall into the category of adult child, as those of us who are lucky still have one or more of our parents,” said Robin Hoeg, vice president of Inpatient and Senior Services at Winona Health. “Our goal is to guide adult children in helping their parents plan for and successfully navigate their senior years and enjoy life to its fullest—It’s what many of us hope our children would want for us.”

The new series, called The Gift, will cover topics related to various aspects of aging.

The first program, Financial Preparation for Long-Term Care will be Thursday, February 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Great Hall at 175 E. Wabasha Street in Winona.

The Gift: Financial Preparation for Long-Term Care will be presented by a panel of experts including Audrey Pronschinske, a director in the Winona Health business office; Ashley Martin, a social worker with Lake Winona Manor; Andrew Kieffer, Vice President, Investment Executive, Winona National Bank; and Martin Oines, CFPL, CTFA, Vice President, Trust Investment Officer, Merchants Bank.

Future topics in The Gift series include financial, legal and emotional issues associated with aging. To receive advance notice about these and other Winona Health events, sign up for the free monthly events enewsletter at:

The Gift series is free and people are welcome to attend any or all of the programs in the series. For planning purposes, RSVP is requested by Tuesday, February 14.

RSVP for The Gift

If questions, or to RSVP by phone: 507.457.4161.


Thank you! Every little purchase adds up to a big gift

Mary Brenno, Winona Health Volunteer and co-chair of the Gift Shop Committee, recently presented a $30,000 check to Kim Schwab, president of Winona Health Volunteers and Betsy Midthun Vice President of Community Engagement. The check represents the 2016 profits from the Winona Health Gift Shop and the volunteer’s annual Holiday Happiness event.

Brenno said the gift was made possible through a team effort.”This group effort includes our many gift shop volunteers and supportive customers from employees, volunteers and the community.” The donation is designated for this year’s project, the purchase of ten treatment chairs for dialysis patients, nursing scholarships and Lake Winona Manor.

Since the Winona Health Glady Miller Gift Shop opened in 1979, this little store located in the entrance to the hospital, has provided $883,000 in charitable support to Winona Health patients and projects. In the past five years alone, the Gift Shop has donated nearly $150,000 back to Winona Health.


Photo: Mary Brenno, (center) recently presented a $30,000 check to Kim Schwab (right), president of Winona Health Volunteers and Betsy Midthun (left), Vice President of Community Engagement. .Other Volunteer co-chairs of the Gift Shop Committee include Diane Barge, Mary Breza, Carole Matjeka, and Cherre Pye.

Scholarships available through Winona Health

Three scholarships are offered to the Winona community through the Winona Health Foundation and the Winona Health Volunteers. Applications are now being accepted.

Winona Health Foundation’s Phyllis McClenathan scholarship

The Winona Health Foundation’s Phyllis McClenathan scholarship is a $1,000 award available to an individual who is in the final one or two semesters of completing his or her two- or four-year nursing degree. The scholarship recipient must be from within a 60-mile radius of Winona or attend a post-secondary school within the designated area, or be a current Winona Health employee. Priority will be given to individuals committed to providing care at Winona Health.

Phyllis McClenathan was a long-time nurse in Winona Health’s Family Birth Center who passed away after a long battle with cancer. In 2006, her husband, Dean, and their children established a nursing scholarship in her name through the Winona Health Foundation.

Applications for the Phyllis McClenathan Scholarship are due Wednesday, March 15, 2017. An application form and eligibility information is available here.

Winona Health Volunteers Carol Hill Scholarship

The Winona Health Volunteers Carol Hill Scholarship is named for a retired director of Winona Health Volunteer Services in honor of her long-standing service to the Winona Health Volunteers.

Scholarship awards are contingent on acceptance into an accredited healthcare educational program for fall 2017. Applicants also must be a permanent resident of the Winona Health service area or be working and/or volunteering at Winona Health.

Individual scholarship awards will be made in amounts of $500 or more, and up to a total of $20,000 in scholarships will be awarded. Scholarship funds are raised through Volunteer fundraising events.

Carol Hill Scholarship applications are due Wednesday, March 15, 2017. An application form and eligibility information is available here.

Winona Health Post-Secondary Scholarship Program
Through the generosity of anonymous contributors, the Winona Health Post-Secondary Scholarship Program was established to provide graduating high school seniors with financial assistance to pursue a health-related career.

Scholarship recipients will be selected by the Winona Health Scholarship Program Committee based on the student’s demonstration of the program standards which include:

  • a strong motivation to pursue a healthcare career
  • academic excellence
  • a dedication to community service
  • a demonstrated need of financial support for their college education

Additionally, the scholarship is contingent upon acceptance to an accredited institution in a program of study for a career in healthcare.

The deadline for application submission for the Winona Health Post-Secondary Scholarship Program is Saturday, April 1, 2017. An application form and eligibility information is available here.

Please note that applications for all scholarships that are received after the due date, or not fully completed, will be ineligible. For more information, call 507.457.4316 or click here.





Meet our new board members

Dorothy Duran

Winona Health welcomes Dorothy Duran, Brian Semling, Bob Williams, Brett Whyte, MD; Nicole Varela, MD; and Nicholas Modjeski, MD, to its board of directors.

“I was delighted when I was invited to be on the board,” said Dorothy Duran, president of Minnesota State College Southeast. “I believe that our mission at the college aligns with the mission of Winona Health in terms of service to our communities. This is also an opportunity for me to learn what the hospital needs so when we’re developing curriculum, we can ensure that our students will have the right skills and be the kind of healthcare providers the organization is seeking to hire.”

Duran added, “When I moved to Winona, I brought my mother, who had Alzheimer’s, with me. She spent the last year of her life at Lake Winona Manor, and when I think of the last seven years of her life, that year was the brightest time for her. That’s another reason I’m honored to be on the Winona Health board – because of the wonderful care my mother received here.” Duran is originally from New Mexico. She’s been with Minnesota State Southeast Technical in Winona for three years.

Brian Semliing

Fountain City-native Brian Semling also joins the Winona Health board in January. “I’m pretty focused on my business, and I thought this was an interesting opportunity to work with other leaders to make a positive impact on our community,” said Semling, “I enjoy brainstorming and coming up with ideas for improving things, and Winona Health is an organization that believes in continuous improvement and doing things differently to achieve the best results.” Semling is the founder and CEO of Brian’s Toys, a business he began when he was a junior in high school that now employs about 25 people and develops children’s toys to inspire creative play.

Bob Williams, retired owner, Robert J. Williams Associates, LLC, human capital and organizational consultants, also joins the Winona Health board of directors in January. He replaces Kim Schwab as the Winona Health Volunteers board representative. He said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be invited to join the Winona Health board and participate in their continuing efforts for the betterment of life and health in the communities served.”

Bob Williams

After retirement, Williams moved from the Chicago area to Trempealeau to be closer to family. He’s lived in the area for seven years and has been an active Winona Health Volunteer since 2010.

Physician changes to the board include the addition of Brett Whyte, MD, who was named Winona Health Chief of Staff after Daniel Parker, MD, retired from this role after serving for eight years; Nicole Varela, MD, who assumed the role of vice-chief of staff after Richard Ferris, MD’s, eight years of service in that role, and Nicholas Modjeski, MD, who assumed a role on the board after Dr. Birdsall retired from Winona Health in December 2016.

In addition to these new members, the Winona Health board includes Ken Mogren, chair; Scott Biesanz; Steve Blue; Matthew Broghammer, DO; Sandra Burke; Vicki Decker; Toni Highum; Hugh Miller; Rachelle Schultz, president/CEO; and Mark Wagner.

The Winona Heath board and staff thanks all former board members for their dedication and service. Volunteering on the board is a commitment in addition to everything else these physicians and community members do, and their time and expertise are deeply appreciated.

The Winona Health board is composed of community members elected to serve on the board on a volunteer basis. The board is responsible for establishing Winona Health’s strategic direction; quality and safety; financial oversight; and setting organizational policy. Board members are committed to guiding Winona Health in its mission to improve the health and wellbeing of the greater Winona area community while remaining a strong and independent, not-for-profit community-owned healthcare system.