Winona Health designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence!

Winona Health has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Being awarded the status of a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence signifies that Winona Health has earned accreditation in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast MRI, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy.

“It takes an incredible team commitment to earn accreditation as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence,” said Claudine Van Meeteren, director of Imaging Services at Winona Health. “The criteria is extensive and includes everything from staff credentials, board certifications and continuing education to image quality assurance documentation. Our technology is the best of the best, and we have an outstanding team devoted to providing the highest standard of care to our community.”

Peer-review evaluations, conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field, have determined that Winona Health has earned the designation of Breast Imaging Center of Excellence based on image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.

Winona Health uses 3D technology (tomosynthesis), for all screening mammograms and every aspect of breast care. To schedule a screening mammogram at Winona Health, a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, call 507.457.4320 (select option 1).

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About the American College of Radiology: The American College of Radiology is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive healthcare services.

Dr. Birdsall’s Retirement Open House: December 11

Scott Birdsall, MD

Scott Birdsall, MD

Scott Birdsall, MD, retiring after caring for women and welcoming the Winona-area’s newest residents for 30 years

Scott Birdsall, MD, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in the Women’s Health Center at Winona Health, will retire on December 31, 2016. Dr. Birdsall has been caring for women and welcoming babies into the world in the Winona area since August of 1986.

In honor of Dr. Birdsall’s years of service and to celebrate his retirement, Winona Health invites community members to a retirement open house Sunday, December 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the clinic first floor at Winona Health, 859 Mankato Avenue in Winona.

“The care and service Dr. Birdsall has generously given to women and babies in our area is unsurpassed,” said Rachelle Schultz, Winona Health president/CEO. “During his 30 years in Winona, he delivered 85-percent of his patients’ babies—an incredible statistic reflecting that he generously made himself available whenever possible, day or night, whether or not he was on call. That’s an amazing gift.”

In a note thanking his colleagues for their support through the years, Dr. Birdsall said, “This has been an incredibly satisfying career. Not only have my wife and I had the privilege of raising our three children in this beautiful city, but I’ve seen and been a part of many wonderful healthcare changes over the past 30 years.”

In appreciation of his years of service, Winona Heath will make a gift to the Winona Health Foundation in Dr. Birdsall’s honor.

If you wish to send a retirement message to Dr. Birdsall  through our online form, click here.

Get ready to Sparkle: Tuesday, October 18

Quinn_webWinona Health invites women of all ages to Sparkle, Tuesday, October 18, at the Tau Center, 511 Hilbert Street in Winona.

This year’s event will help women of all ages keep their sparkle, especially the Sparkle in their eyes! The evening filled with the information to help women feel their sparkling best. New this year: “Dessert with the Docs” — a chance to ask questions and get to know some of the healthcare experts at Winona Health.

Featured speakers include:

Crystal Waldera, Winona Health optician, will also be on hand to share tips for choosing an eye wear frame that not only fitSerleth_small_RGBs but also flatters your face.

Doctors available during Dessert With A Doc include:

Women are encouraged to gather their girlfriends to enjoy an evening filled with fun and information about health and wellness while enjoying refreshments and hors d’oeuvres and connecting with friends.

The event is open from 5 to 7 p.m.

  • Booths open: 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Presentation: 5:30 – 6 p.m.
  • Dessert with a Doc: 6 – 7 p.m.

Before and/or after the presentation, women can visit fun, informative booths and enjoy hors d’oeuvres–and sparkly cupcakes.

“This is an important opportunity for women to put themselves first for a couple of hours. It’s time to enjoy an evening out with friends and to focus on their health and wellbeing,” said Nicole Schossow, community relations coordinator at Winona Health. “We hope to help women realize that taking care of themselves helps them take care of others—and they deserve to have a little fun.”

Admission is $5 or free for Spirit members. Sign up for Spirit (no obligation, free membership) and the admission fee is waived. Space is limited, AND we want to be sure to have enough cupcakes, so RSVP by Friday, October 14.

RSVP for Sparkle!

Learn about Spirit of Women



Wine & Gyn: A special Women’s Health event, Thursday, September 22

Winona Health Women’s Health team is hosting Wine & Gyn, a special event for women approaching their 50s 60s and beyond, Thursday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Elmaro Vineyard, N14756 Delaney Road in Trempealeau, Wisc.

Invite your girlfriends to join you for a fun evening out in a beautiful setting while getting answers to your questions about women’s health. You’ll also get the inside scoop and learn from the frequently asked questions our experts hear from women approaching their 50s, 60s–and beyond. This is a fun, informative, relaxed event.

Attendees can enjoy appetizers and $4 wine specials. Admission to this special event is free, but seating is limited, so RSVP is required.

This event is part of Winona Health’s Spirit of Women programming. Spirit membership is free and there are several benefits. To learn more about Spirit or to RSVP for this event, online here or call 507.457.4161.


RSVP for Wine & Gyn Learn about Spirit

Would you like to submit an anonymous question for the Women’s Health experts at the event?

Submit a Question




Are YOU ready? HealthyFit begins Thurs., April 7

Thank you for your interest. As of Friday, April 1, the spring HealthyFit classes are full. If you are interested in being notified when the next HealthyFit classes are scheduled, please click here.

Want to lose a little—or a lot?  HealthyFit is Winona Health’s new, 14-week, adult weight-management program. The one-hour sessions are led by a registered dietitian and also feature tips and information from exercise and behavioral health specialists.

The spring program meets Thursdays beginning April 7. There are two meeting time options: 2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.

Topics covered include effective goal setting and problem solving, label reading and grocery shopping, handling setbacks and maintaining your weight loss. Participants can track their progress through weekly weigh-ins, and a pre-and post-program body composition analysis.

The 14-week program is $175 and includes resource materials. Financial assistance may be available to those who meet specific criteria.

Class size is limited. To sign up or for more information, click here or call 507.457.4161.

Want to be Smoke Free? FREE help is available.

Lynn Sprain, MS, RT, RCEP, smoking cessation program facilitator

Lynn Sprain, MS, RT, RCEP, smoking cessation program facilitator

Improving your health is a gift to yourself—and your family and friends. Winona Health’s next smoking cessation program is FREE and it begins Thursday, April 7.

This free program includes four sessions meeting Thursday evenings 6 – 7:30 p.m. in the Parkview Conference Room on the first floor of the hospital at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue.

“Quitting smoking can be the number one best thing people can do to improve their health,” said Lynn Sprain MS, RT, RCEP, program facilitator. “Quitting is worth the effort, and it can be done. We’re here to help.”

Winona Health’s smoking cessation program will:

  • help individuals recognize and understand their reasons for smoking
  • cover the variety of benefits to quitting
  • provide ways to handle physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms
  • share tips and techniques for becoming and remaining smoke free
  • provide a supportive atmosphere for you to ask questions and get helpful information

“Quitting can be such a relief,” said Sprain. “Relief from worrying about your health, relief from the feeling of dependency on cigarettes—and relief from the high cost of smoking.”

This four-session program is free. RSVP is appreciated, but walk-ins the first night of the program will be welcome as space permits. For more information or to sign up in advance, call Lynn Sprain at 507.474.3324.

RSVP Online

Winona Health also offers CT lung screening.
For more information, call:
Radiology and Imaging Services

Group diabetes education program now available

Theresa Hoyles, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Winona Health

Theresa Hoyles, RD, LD

Winona Health’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education department is now offering group diabetes education classes.

“People with newly diagnosed diabetes or who have had diabetes for years report enjoying learning from others who have the same diagnosis,” said Theresa Hoyles, a registered dietitian at Winona Health.

Hoyles also explained that research shows diabetes education improves blood glucose control when added to usual diabetes care and decreases the risk of long-term complications associated with diabetes.

The group programs meet at various times. People can join a group program after an initial assessment visit with the nurse diabetes educator.

Ann Heesacker, RN, MSN, CDE

Ann Heesacker, RN, MSN, CDE

Ann Heesacker, a certified diabetes educator at Winona Health, noted, “What’s nice, but something many people don’t know, is that Medicare provides benefit coverage for diabetes education received through an accredited program.” Winona Health’s diabetes education program is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Medicare coverage provides:

  • 10 hours of initial diabetes education to individuals who have not previously received diabetes education with Medicare insurance
  • two hours of follow-up diabetes education each year

“Nationally, only four percent of people who have diabetes and are covered by Medicare receive diabetes education,” said Heesacker. “At Winona Health, we want to improve on that national statistic. Helping people use the resources available to them will help them improve their overall health and preserve—or improve—their quality of life for years.”

In addition, people covered by Medicare who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease can receive three hours of initial education with a dietitian for Medical Nutrition Therapy, plus an additional two hours per year of follow-up education.

For those who are not covered by Medicare, Heesacker recommends checking with their insurance. “Commercial insurance plans most often provide diabetes education,” she said. “However, because plans vary, we recommend that people review covered services with their own insurance plan.”

Those interested in meeting with a diabetes educator or nutrition therapy expert, or in participating in the diabetes self-management group program, should contact their primary care provider to be referred for diabetes education.


Learn more about Diabetes Education



Zika FAQs

To help patients and concerned community members, Winona Health’s Infection Control Committee is sharing a list of frequently asked questions about the Zika virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Below is information based on what is known about the virus as of February 19, 2016.

Information related to the Zika Virus Disease is rapidly changing. For the latest information, visit these websites:

What is Zika virus disease?

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Zika is not currently found in the US. The mosquitoes that can carry Zika are found in some areas of the US.

Where is Zika found?

Zika infected mosquitos have historically existed in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Since May of 2015, there has been an outbreak happening in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

How is Zika transmitted?

Zika is transmitted in the following ways:

  • through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito
  • from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy
  • through sexual contact

What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?

Note: 4 out of 5 infected individuals do NOT show signs of infection; only 1 in 5 become ill.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Pain in the joints, especially in the hands and feet
  • Red eyes

Symptoms begin 2-7 days following a bite from a Zika infected mosquito and are generally mild and last for several days to a week.

What should you do if you have symptoms of Zika Virus Disease?

  • Contact your healthcare provider.
  • See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider where you traveled.

If you are diagnosed with the Zika virus:

  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
    • Take medicine to reduce fever and pain
    • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika virus

How can I protect myself from getting the Zika virus?

You can protect yourself (minimize the likelihood of getting bit by an infected mosquito) by:

  • Avoiding travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing and if travel is required, protect yourself by:
    • Using air conditioning or window/door screens
    • Using mosquito repellents on exposed skin
    • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
    • Wearing permethrin-treated clothing
    • Emptying standing water from outdoor containers

There is no vaccine to protect you from getting the Zika virus

Special Considerations regarding Pregnancy:

Women who are pregnant (in any trimester) and plan to travel to Zika outbreak country:

  • Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing
  • If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip
  • Zika can be spread from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy
  • Infection during pregnancy may be linked to birth defects in babies

Women who are pregnant and have traveled to a Zika outbreak country:

  • See your healthcare provider
  • Your healthcare provider will consult with the CDC to determine if testing should be initiated. Testing may be offered from 2-12 weeks after a pregnant woman has returned from travel.

Women who are pregnant and their partner has traveled to a Zika outbreak country and the couple has had sexual intercourse without protection when their partner returned, should see their healthcare provider to determine if testing should be initiated.

  • The man should consistently and correctly use a condom or abstain from sex throughout the duration of the pregnancy.

Women who are trying to become pregnant:

  • Before you travel, talk to your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection
  • Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip


  • To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed.

Unknowns at this time related to pregnancy and birth defects:

  • It is unknown if there is a safe time during your pregnancy to travel to an area with Zika
  • It is unknown if you do travel and are bitten:
    1. How likely you are to get Zika
    2. How likely it is that your baby will have birth defects from the infection

Zika Testing

All Zika testing is conducted by the CDC and only performed when the CDC indicates.

Information related to the Zika Virus Disease is rapidly changing. For the latest information, visit these websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

World Health Organization at

New support group for moms and moms to be

Beginning Tuesday, February 9, Maria Pellowski, BSN, RN, a Winona Health Emergency Department nurse, will facilitate MomMe Time, a monthly support group for people struggling with the emotions that may accompany pregnancy, birth and being a new parent.

“This is a guided peer support group,” explains Pellowski. “We’ll talk about mood disorders that may accompany pregnancy and the birth of a baby. This includes topics such as postpartum depression, anxiety or other changes in mood, along with symptoms, prevention, resources, self-care and relaxation techniques. Topics also may include tips for dads and other family members.”

The group is free and no registration is required. Pellowski notes, “It’s a time to discuss motherhood concerns in a supportive and non-judgmental place.”

The MomMe Time support group will meet from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month (unless it falls on a holiday), at Beno’s Deli, 78 E. 4th Street in Winona.

Those who have questions about the support group may call 507.450.3054.


Save the date for the Way to Wellness Expo

Saturday, February 27: a Heart-beating, fun-loving, laughter-filled day to kick up your health

Winona Health and other area organizations invite people of all ages to the Way to Wellness Expo, Saturday, February 27, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Winona Middle School, 1570 Homer Road in Winona, Minn.

“I think people will be surprised by all the opportunities to learn about simply feeling better in addition to improving their health,” said Nicole Schossow, community relations coordinator at Winona Health. “This isn’t an ‘exercise and eat-your-veggies’ type of event. Our goal is for people to come away feeling energized and inspired.”

Attendees are welcome to drop in for any or all of the seminars and visit informational booths. The dozen or more seminars cover general areas including: nutrition, active living, mental health, wellness, and cooking demonstrations.

Partners in the Way to Wellness Expo include: Live Well Winona, Winona Area YMCA, Winona State University, SHIP Winona County, Winona Area Public Schools, Winona County Public Health and area Lions Clubs. Many other health and wellness-related organizations will have exhibits for attendees to visit and ask questions.

There is no charge for the event. In addition, the Y will have a special ‘Day of Play’ time for children from 9:30 to 11:30, so parents can attend seminars or visit booths. “Some of the special seminars will require an RSVP so we can plan for the number of attendees,” noted Schossow. “Registration for those seminars will be available online or by phone in early February.”

More information will be updated as seminar times are confirmed. If you are interested in volunteering at the event call 507.457.4161 of click below.

Volunteer at Expo