Fall 2012

Why wait until next year to make your health a priority? This fall, let the changing colours of the leaves be a reminder to give some attention to your health. Take a moment (maybe during a beautiful fall walk) to reflect on the steps you and your loved ones can take to improve your health.

It’s always a good idea to be proactive about your health, because even if you are feeling healthy – you eat right, exercise, don’t smoke and sleep well – you may still unaware of some common risk factors or family health conditions. If you haven’t booked an appointment for your annual physical exam, this is the time to make that call. Annual exams can help bring into focus any underlying health issues and ward off chronic illnesses or diseases later in life.

Be an advocate for the health of the ones you love as well. We all need a little extra help sometimes. Encourage them to listen to their bodies and be mindful of any changes. Let them know that any of their concerns about their health, no matter how insignificant they may seem, should be discussed with a doctor on a regular basis.

Being knowledgeable about your health is an excellent first step toward a healthier future for yourself and your family. Be sure to read some of the articles in this newsletter – including Dr. Mintz’s article, A Guide to Good Health – for great ideas about what women can start doing today to improve their health.

A Shout Out for Cleveland Clinic by U.S. Presidential Candidates

In case you missed the first US Presidential debate, both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney cited Cleveland Clinic for excellence.

President Obama called Cleveland Clinic “one of the best healthcare systems in the world.” Gov. Romney said that Cleveland Clinic is “able to be more effective in bringing down the cost than the government will ever be,” and one of the American medical centers that is doing “an excellent job” and “superbly well” in controlling expenses.

The candidates’ praise for Cleveland Clinic came during a discussion of healthcare costs and quality.

Time and again, Cleveland Clinic is named by leaders as an example of “what’s right” in healthcare.

Our Clinical Family is Growing

In an effort to meet the growing demand and deliver the best patient care possible, we continue to add to our team of talented clinicians. Please welcome the newest members of our Cleveland Clinic Canada family.

Top Orthopaedic Surgeon in Cleveland Comes Back to Toronto

Originally from Toronto, Anthony Miniaci, MD, has been a staff physician at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Sports Health in Cleveland, Ohio for nearly a decade. We are happy to announce that Dr. Miniaci, in addition to his role in Cleveland, will now share his time and expertise with our Canadian patients at our clinic in Toronto. At Cleveland Clinic Canada he will join the Sports Health team, led by Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher, and provide orthopaedic consultations to our patients with knee and shoulder concerns that may require surgery. If surgery is required, the patient has the choice to have the surgery in Cleveland for a fee. If the patient prefers to have surgery in Toronto, then the arrangements will be made with another surgeon.

Dr. Miniaci attended medical school at the University of Western Ontario and practised in Toronto, Calgary, and Bern, Switzerland before becoming a staff physician at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Sports Health in Cleveland. In Cleveland, Dr. Miniaci has been the head team physician for the Cleveland Browns football team and has treated athletes from all over the world. While practising in Canada, he was a full professor at the University of Toronto, an active member of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, an orthopaedic consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays and team physician for the London Tigers baseball club.

Recognized as a national and international leader in the fields of orthopaedics and sports medicine, Dr. Miniaci was recently ranked among the top one percent of orthopaedic surgeons in the United States by U. S. News & World Report.

Consult appointments with Dr. Miniaci require a physician’s referral. To make an appointment with Dr. Miniaci, please call 416.507.6673

Our Executive Health Team is Expanding

Saralaine Johnstone, MD, joins the Cleveland Clinic Canada team as Director of Medical Operations and as an Executive Health physician.

Born and raised in Toronto, Dr. Johnstone received her medical degree from McMaster University and completed her Family Medicine residency at the University of Manitoba. After graduating, Dr. Johnstone worked in Northern Ontario for several years, where she provided comprehensive medical care, was involved in clinic and hospital management, and was a member of a committee that negotiated with the provincial government for a new contract for rural physicians.

For the past seven years she has lived in Australia where she worked as part of a multidisciplinary clinical team providing Executive Health physical exams. She concurrently earned a masters degree in Health Services Management from the University of New South Wales, advancing her physician leadership skills and professional development.

Dr. Johnstone has a keen interest in helping patients maximize their short-term well-being as well as their long-term health status through a patient-centred and individualized approach.

Protect Yourself and Your Family This Flu Season

It's that time of year again. The air is cool and crisp, leaves are falling, and of course flu season is just around the corner. The common influenza virus is largely a nuisance, but it can cause serious complications for some people and is highly contagious. In fact, most healthy adults may be able to infect others as early as one day before symptoms develop, and up to five days after becoming sick.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to have a flu vaccination every year. Cleveland Clinic Canada is once again offering free seasonal flu vaccinations for all our patients and their immediate family members. Flu vaccines are safe and are intended for everyone six month of age or older. Vaccination is especially important for people at greater risk such as healthcare professionals, parents of small children and the elderly.

This year's flu vaccine will provide protection against influenza types B and H1N1, as well as two newly identified strains. Last year's flu shot will not provide protection against these strains.

Download more information about this year's influenza virus.

Why take a chance? Get vaccinated. To schedule an appointment for your flu shot at Cleveland Clinic Canada, please call 416.507.6600

Flying South This Winter?

Cleveland Clinic Canada patients can travel to Florida with the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can continue to get the same amazing care while they are away from home.

If you are in Florida and require medical care, call the concierge line to make an appointment: 954.659.6175.

For your convenience, our global health system has two locations in Florida:


Just west of Fort Lauderdale, Cleveland Clinic Florida's academic medical centre in Weston has more than 200 physicians with expertise in 40 specialties.

The Weston medical campus is fully integrated and includes diagnostic facilities (including CT and MRI), outpatient surgery and a 24-hour emergency department located in its state-of-the-art hospital.

West Palm Beach

The West Palm Beach outpatient location offers convenient access to primary care and specialty medicine in a modern and comfortable ambiance. Consistent with the Cleveland Clinic’s pursuit of excellence, our West Palm Beach facility is defined by expert collaboration and highly advanced treatments, as well as an approach that always puts patients first. Patients in West Palm Beach have access to everything from preventive care to advanced diagnostics (including CT and MRI) and treatments.

Additional benefits:

  • You have one point of contact in Florida to answer your questions and help book your appointments.
  • Your electronic medical records are easily accessible for our physicians in Florida.
  • All treatment that you receive in Florida will be noted in your medical records and will be accessible to the Cleveland Clinic Canada team if necessary
  • We provide estimates on the cost of medical care before you receive the care, so that you are aware of any financial obligation and can provide the appropriate information to your family and/or your insurance company. Please be sure to contact your benefits plan provider and/or your travel insurance agency to learn what coverage you are eligible for when traveling in the United States.

Working with Sunnybrook to Improve the Patient Experience

As a health system that provides care in a local, national and global capacity, Cleveland Clinic believes that it is our responsibility to share best practices and seek collaborative opportunities that can improve the healthcare experience for patients.

Last year, Cleveland Clinic staff members in both Cleveland and Toronto began collaborating with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in an effort to share knowledge and improve the overall quality of care for patients in Canada.

Watch a recent video from a project in which people from both organizations worked together to analyze the processes in the Sunnybrook Emergency Department.

A Women’s Guide to Good Health

Article by Dr. Sharon Mintz, CCFP, FCFP, Director of Preventive Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Canada

The Roman poet, Virgil, said it best when he said, "the greatest wealth is health." Unfortunately this wisdom is often only appreciated after one’s health is compromised. We all know that our risk of disease increases as we age, but what we often neglect is finding the time to make our health a priority in our busy lives. The recipe for good health is simple: combine a healthy lifestyle with a commitment to know your body and monitor its changes. Below are some tips to help you take proactive care of your health today so you age well tomorrow.

Live your Healthiest Life. Everyday.

Healthy living is all about the decisions we make every day to keep our bodies and minds strong, nourished and balanced. These decisions include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, wearing sunscreen, getting enough sleep and minimizing stressful situations. The best advice is to make these changes to your lifestyle sooner than later so you can reap the benefits as you age. To ensure long term success in adapting these healthy habits, you may want to consider having a personalized wellness plan developed for you and your lifestyle.

Visit your Family Doctor

Annual check-ups with your family doctor will help monitor and identify any signs or symptoms of illness. Ask your doctor to help you set up a regular screening schedule based upon your gender, age, ethnicity and family history as well as set up a vaccination schedule that is right for you. Vaccinations protect you from disease – your age and risk of exposure will determine what vaccines are required.

Know your Body

No one should know your body better than you. As women, we need to take the initiative to be informed about our family history and to monitor and communicate any changes happening to our bodies. If you think something isn’t right, talk to your family doctor.

Protect your Heart

Healthy eating, exercise and reducing stress are the foundation of a healthy heart. Smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and family history are the major risk factors for heart disease. What you can do:

  • Talk with your doctor if you have a high risk of stroke, hypertension or family history of heart disease.
  • Monitor your cholesterol.
Keep your Bones Strong

Osteoporosis, common in women, is a disease that weakens bones, making them more susceptible to sudden and unexpected fractures.

What you can do:

  • Eat a diet rich in calcium to maintain healthy bones. Women require 1000 – 1200 milligrams of calcium a day.
  • Vitamin D is vital to the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis because it helps your body absorb calcium. Most women require 1000 IU of vitamin D a day but if you are unsure about your vitamin D levels you can ask for a blood test.
  • Establish a regular exercise program that includes weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, aerobics or weight lifting to strengthen your bones.
  • Talk to your doctor about having a bone mineral density test to check your risk of bone fracture.
Save your Skin

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada. It is important for women to be proactive about reducing their risk by protecting their skin and performing self-skin exams.

What you can do:

  • Use sunscreen – 15 SPF or higher.
  • Perform self-skin exams monthly. You should note any moles, blemishes, or birthmarks on your body, and if you find any changes in size, color, or shape, or if you develop a skin lesion that does not heal, see your doctor.
  • Know your ABCD’s. Check your moles and report any changes to your doctor.
  • Asymmetry – one half of the mole is unlike the other half
  • Border – irregular or uneven borders
  • Colour – varied shades of colour from one area to another
  • Diameter – larger than 6mm (diameter of a pencil eraser)
Prioritize your Colon

Most women dread the idea of having to have their colon checked, but 90% of colon cancer cases are preventable if detected early.

What you can do:

  • Beginning at age 50 you should start getting screened for colon cancer. If you have a family history you should speak with your doctor about an appropriate age to start your screening.
Know your Breasts

It is important for women to be familiar with their breasts and to monitor any changes in them.

What you can do:

  • Mammograms and self-evaluations are our best chance at fighting breast cancer.
  • Speak with your doctor about what screening protocol is right for you and your family history.
Screen for Cervical Cancer

The pap smear is most commonly used to screen for cervical cancer because it can detect abnormalities before they are visible.

What you can do:

  • Women should get a pap smear starting at 21 years of age if they are or have been sexually active. After 2 normal pap smears, screening should be every 3 years until the age of 70.
  • It is recommended for women between the ages of 9-26 to speak with their doctor about the HPV vaccination.

And finally remember, the best investment you will ever make is your health. By making your health a priority today will make all the difference in aging gracefully.

Eight Commandments for losing the Baby Weight

Jennifer Sygo, Registered Dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Canada writes eight commandments for losing the baby weight

Seven Helpful Tips for Sustaining Energy Throughout the Day

When our bodies crave a pick-me-up, we typically choose sugar or caffeine. True, they boost our energy levels, and quickly. But they don’t have staying power.

Our bodies break all foods down into simple sugars for energy, whether they are highly refined carbs, complex carbs, proteins or fats. Heavily processed foods, such as white bread, candy and desserts, are absorbed and digested so quickly that our blood sugar levels spike – and then plummet.

So we feel a burst of energy— followed by a crash. This can send us looking for another energy boost (typically more sugar). If this cycle continues, we become fatigued, can’t concentrate, lose our “oomph” and may get headaches. Fortunately, following a few basic rules can help us avoid this blood sugar roller-coaster ride and give us sustained levels of energy:

  1. Never skip breakfast. Research shows that people who eat breakfast perform better at tasks, eat fewer overall calories and miss fewer days of work and school than those who don’t.
  2. Don’t overdo the caffeine. A daily cup or two of java is fine. Going overboard sets you up for fatigue later in the day.
  3. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates and seek out fibre. Carbohydrates provide you with much-needed energy, but if you choose highly refined carbs over whole grains, you may find yourself on a blood sugar roller-coaster ride.
  4. Add a small amount of lean protein to meals and snacks. Protein takes longer to digest and absorb. When eaten with a carbohydrate, it slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, sustaining energy levels.
  5. Choose small, frequent meals to fuel your day. Remember not to skip meals. Your energy levels can fall so low that you’ll be tempted to overeat at your next meal or graze on unhealthy snacks.
  6. Get adequate sleep. Most of us need at least seven or eight hours of sleep to avoid fatigue, bolster immune defences and perform at our best.
  7. Engage in regular physical activity. Exercise actually boosts energy levels, especially when you do it regularly. It can also help you sleep better.

Cycling: beyond fitness

Special feature by Julien Papon, Founder of Vitess Bicycle Corporation

A few days ago someone was commenting that her Oakville backcountry roads were busier than ever on the weekend. She was not referring to cars, but to bicycles. More people than ever before are taking up cycling, but why?

The health benefits are hardly new discoveries and they are extremely well documented. Whether you want to prevent life-threatening cardiovascular issues (meet Vitess Rider Mark Buckaway), manage diabetes (meet Vitess Rider Henri Feasson), leverage the low-impact nature of the sport because of joint conditions or injuries to knees or hips (meet Vitess Rider Cormac Monaghan), or simply to manage your weight, riding a bicycle is one of the best all-around fitness activities there is.

What is new is a sense that riding a bicycle can help achieve more than just the basic needs of good health. Cycling is a lifestyle. A great ride is multi-faceted: it can turn total strangers into friends, make business deals happen, foster formidable charitable fundraising, and craft unforgettable vacation experiences. In the end, it’s about challenging yourself and having fun with other riders.

Cleveland Clinic Canada and Vitess have been working together to promote the importance of cycling as part of a healthy, active lifestyle. Health + Speed = Fun is the catchy tag line that we used throughout a series of events this year, with much more to come. Fun is the end game. But a fun ride requires both good health and the right tools to help you perform at your best.

One does not need to spend 15 hours a week on the saddle to experience cycling. Most cannot allocate this amount of time because of professional and family commitments so they need to incorporate the sport in a way that makes sense to their lifestyle. Some riders choose to be “weekend warriors” – just drive around on a Sunday morning and you will understand what they mean. While other riders are looking to complement their other activities - cross-training for skiing or hockey for example or to substitute them – gradually moving away from high-impact sports such as running or racket games because of joint issues. Cycling is a great way to add variety to an already active lifestyle- plus you get to leverage the health and social benefits of the sport!

It is important not to let inexperience stop you from getting involved with cycling. Consider this: 80% of the people who saddled up onto a Vitess in 2012 had only been riding for less than 3 years; even more astonishingly: almost 50% of them had never ridden a road bike before they took a test-drive on one of our demos.

It is often said that ‘cycling is the new golf’ because many executives are opting to jump on the saddle instead of grabbing for their clubs. Executives use cycling as a platform of relationship building and deal making. Quite a few of our Vitess Riders have moved away from organizing golf tournaments – usually for customer appreciation or fund raising, and they are now using the concept of cycling training camps to cater to the changing interests of their stakeholders, and also to share their passion. Majorca, California, South Carolina, Arizona: those are terrains often used for such endeavours. The particularly interesting aspect of this type of initiatives is that it is not about a one-day event. It is about an all-encompassing journey during which hard training, strenuous effort and reward are shared – and above all: camaraderie and trust are omnipresent. It’s about building unique relationships.

Saddle up and enjoy the ride!

Julien Papon is the Founder of Vitess Bicycle Corporation. Julien and his team have been working with individuals of all riding abilities to expose them to cycling as a lifestyle, and elevate their ride experience: from novice riders (Meet Vitess Rider Carlos del Junco) to Olympians and former professional cyclists (Meet Vitess Rider Steve Rover).

Julien serves on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Cycling Association and he is a fundraising cabinet member for the Milton Velodrome, to be inaugurated for the Pan Am Games in 2015.

Healthy Fall Recipes

By the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Team

Supporting the Community

Don’t Miss the Exhibition that Took Europe by Storm!

See Painting Canada at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario.

Never before. Never again. Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

This unique exhibition is literally the best of the best, bringing together the finest works of the Group of Seven from many of the country's largest galleries and private collections. The McMichael Gallery is the only Canadian venue for this exhibition.

Rave reviews throughout Europe. Sold out in London. This is an exhibition you don't want to miss. November 3, 2012 to January 6, 2013.

Learn more about the exhibition.