Combating Childhood Obesity


Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s Health Education Coordinator, Annia Reyes


September is Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Research shows that over the past four decades, childhood obesity has grown to epidemic proportions. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 12.7 million American children and adolescents are obese or overweight. That’s roughly one child in every three. The World Health Organization also states that 41 million children under the age of 5 across the globe are obese.

When parents are busy at work all day, daycare and education providers play a critical role in maintaining a child’s health and safety. Many children are in early care and education settings for several hours during the day, which means this is the primary environment where many children eat, play, and grow. With families that spend large amounts of time outside of the home, it is becoming increasingly important for parents and children to eat and play together, giving parents the opportunity to be role models for healthy eating and physically active lifestyles.

At Cornerstone Family Healthcare, we recognize the challenges living in a fast-paced world creates, and we look for opportunities to reduce barriers to good nutrition and physical activity within our communities. Our board-certified pediatricians, together with registered dieticians specializing in adolescent and childhood weight management and our health education team work to offer programs that will help children and families build healthier lifestyles. One goal of Cornerstone’s health education curriculum is to provide classes that include fun, interactive games and activities that promote physical activity and engage families in meeting their wellness goals.

One of the programs the health education team hosts is Strong Families Eat and Play Together. This program is held once a month on Saturdays. Participants receive evidence-based information, healthy snacks, and free produce. In this program, all family members are engaged and learn how to make healthier food choices, discover a range of fun physical activities, learn how to read food labels, and develop many other strategies to building healthier families.

The Cornerstone team focuses on assisting families with making small, manageable changes that are appropriate for their needs. We have excellent resources to help families improve their health and prevent chronic diseases. Every day, we are seeing the impact of healthy weight as a primary factor in preventing diabetes in children and adults. The emphasis of our programs are not on “weight and obesity,” but rather on developing a lifetime of healthy habits.

For more information on health education programs for your family, please visit or call (845) 563-8043.

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Healthy Pool-Side Pasta Salad







Cornerstone Family Healthcare Nutritionist: Barbara Moschitta MPS, RD, CDN

Raw Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes and Pesto      

Servings: 4 • Size: 1 1/4 cups • Old Pts: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 148 • Fat: 12 g • Carb: 9 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 4 g • Sugar: 3 g
Sodium: 102 mg (without salt)  • Cholesterol: 4 mg


For the Pesto:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  •  kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the zoodles (zucchini noodles):

  • 21 oz (3 medium or 4 small) zucchinis
  • 1 cup heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste


In a food processor pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing. Set aside.

Spiralize the zucchini, cut it into smaller strands if they are too long and place them in a work bowl. Toss with the pesto and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

*Recipe provided by

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National Health Center Week—Celebrating America’s Health Centers

National Health Center Week has been celebrated for more than 30 years to recognize the services and contributions of Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Housing Health Centers. While there are countless reasons to celebrate America’s Health Centers, among the most important and unique is their long success in providing access to affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

From August 13-19th, hundreds of community events are being planned by over 1,200 health centers around the country with the goal of raising awareness of the critical role community health centers play in assuring access to health care.

Locally, Cornerstone Family Healthcare will participate in the week-long national campaign by hosting multiple events to promote the health center’s fifty-year mission of providing access to comprehensive primary and preventative health care services to thousands of people in the mid-Hudson Valley, especially those who are uninsured or experience other barriers to care.

Health centers not only prevent illness and foster wellness in the most challenging populations, they produce innovative solutions to the most pressing healthcare issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and addiction. Because of their long record of success in innovation, managing healthcare costs, and reducing chronic disease, leaders in Congress have declared health centers a model of care that offers a “bipartisan solution to the primary care access problems” facing our nation.

Cornerstone community events in celebration of National Health Center Week:


Saturday, August 12

8 a.m.—10 a.m. Family Walk for Health at 147 Lake Street in Newburgh.

There will be blood pressure and dental screenings, activities for children, car seat exchange/fitting, blood drive, and raffles and prizes.


10 a.m.—1 p.m. Community Health Fair from also at 147 Lake Street in Newburgh.

Free consultations and activities including blood pressure and dental screenings, activities for children, car seat exchange/fitting, blood drive, and raffles and prizes.  


Wednesday, August 16

10 a.m.—1 p.m. Back to School Health Fest in honor of National Healthcare for the Homeless Day at 30 Seward Ave., Middletown.

Free dental and health screenings for children and adults at the shelter, eye exams and distribution of free back to school supplies.


For more information about Cornerstone Family Healthcare and National Health Center Week events, please visit:


To learn more about National Health Center Week and the listing of national, state and local events, please visit:

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National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Monica Bernard-Thomas from Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s Women, Infants & Children Center

August is National Breastfeeding Month.  During the month of August, around the world breastfeeding is celebrated and promoted.  At the Cornerstone Family Healthcare WIC Program, we also take part in the celebration by teaming up with other community agencies for our annual WIC Breastfeeding Walk.

How long should a mother breastfeed?

Infants should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age and then complementary foods introduced while continuing to breastfeed until at least 1 year.  If a mom can only breastfeed for a month – that is ok.  Any breastfeeding is good breastfeeding – but more and longer is better.

Should mothers who smoke breastfeed?

Absolutely.  The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any concerns.  However, all women should consider stopping or cutting down on how much they smoke and protect their baby from second hand smoke.

Why is it important to eat healthy while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can be a good time for moms to look at what they eat and make healthy changes.  A mom who eats well has a healthy and happy baby and feels better too!  Flavors of foods can pass into breastmilk so if you eat your vegetables your baby might like vegetables when they are older.

I have questions about breastfeeding.  Whom can I speak to about my concerns?

Start asking your questions while you are still pregnant some breastfeeding problems are avoided if you understand baby’s behaviors and needs’ before you deliver.  Our Peer Counselors, women who have breastfed their babies and have received training in helping others, visit St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh during the week so feel free to ask your questions then.  Any other questions bring with you when you come into WIC for your appointment.  We have two IBCLCs (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants) on staff and four CLCs (Certified Lactation Counselors) in addition to our two Peer Counselors.  We also have a breastfeeding mom support group “Mommy Talk” (pregnant women are welcome too).  This group meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2pm in the WIC waiting room.


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Summer Wellness

How do you take advantage of the beautiful summer weather while also continuing or beginning a healthy and fit lifestyle? Check out the tips below to find out! These activities and ideas are great for the whole family.

  1. Choose water workouts and make a splash as you get fit and strong.
  2. Add color, variety, and flavor to your meals with fruits and vegetables fresh from your local farmers market.
  3. Visit museums, the zoo, or an aquarium and walk for hours without realizing it.
  4. When the sidewalks sizzle, get moving indoors with a fun fitness video or DVD.
  5. Start a small garden in your yard or in a community patch to exercise, grow healthy food, and have fun with family and neighbors.
  6. Plan a weekend hike through a park, a family softball game, or an evening walk around your neighborhood.
  7. Fuel your summer with nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese, seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  8. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise, especially when the temperature soars.
  9. Strengthen your muscles at least twice a week with push-ups, pull-ups, or lifting weights.
  10. Beat the heat with an early morning activity. Go for a walk or bike ride while watching the sun come up.

If summer fun gets the best of you and you need health care assistance you can always come visit Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s Urgent Care department at 147 Lake Street in Newburgh!

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Hepatitis—An Overview





Koreen Thomas, FNP

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are increasing. The World Health Organization (WHO) data show an estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C.

Today, June 28th, is World Hepatitis Day and is an opportunity to learn the global burden of this disease, and the actions you can take to stay healthy. Koreen Thomas, FNP, a provider at Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s Highland Falls location, gave some useful information on a few types of hepatitis.

Hepatitis A:                

Hepatitis A is a virus that is contracted through the fecal-oral route. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the eyes and skin. Poor sanitation or sexual contact with a person with hepatitis A allows for transmission. The good news, is that hepatitis A usually resolves spontaneously and does not require a specific treatment. Once a person has hepatitis A, they cannot be re-infected.

There is a vaccine to protect a person from getting hepatitis A. This vaccine is now a routine part of the childhood immunization series and is also available for adults.

Hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B is a virus that affects the liver. It is spread through bodily fluids. For example, sharing needles. The symptoms are jaundice, abdominal pain and dark urine. Some people do not have symptoms. Hepatitis B infection can cause cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is when the liver becomes scarred and no longer functions. There is also a higher risk for liver cancer in the hepatitis B population. There is treatment for hepatitis B.

Children are now vaccinated at birth. There is also a vaccine for adults.

Hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C is also a virus that affects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. There is no vaccine for prevention but there is a cure for hepatitis C. People born in the Baby Boomer generation, between 1945-1965,  are encouraged to be tested due to the finding that they are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults. There may be no symptoms of hepatitis C. Therefore, screening allows for diagnosis, treatment and a cure for those who have hepatitis C. It is contracted through blood exposure. For example, sharing needles, razors and toothbrushes.

Please discuss hepatitis with your health care provider, or call a provider from Cornerstone Family Healthcare at (845) 563-8000 and decide what is best for you to help prevent liver disease due to hepatitis.

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What is Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning?

The idea that your child could “drown” on dry land is admittedly terrifying, and makes many parents feel helpless. But these rare incidents can be prevented. Get the facts you need to help keep your kids as safe as possible in and out of the water.

The terms “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning” (also called submersion injuries) are often used interchangeably but they’re actually different conditions. In dry drowning, someone takes in a small amount of water through his or her nose and/or mouth, and it causes a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up. In secondary drowning, the little bit of water gets into the lungs and causes inflammation or swelling that makes it difficult or impossible for the body to transfer oxygen to carbon dioxide and vice versa. Dry drowning usually happens soon after exiting the water, but with secondary drowning, there can be a delay of up to 24 hours before the person shows signs of distress.

Dry drowning and secondary drowning incidents, while incredibly scary, are rare and account for only about 1 to 2 percent of drowning incidents. Dry drowning or secondary drowning (submersion injury) doesn’t happen out of nowhere. You’re going to see warning signs.

No matter your child’s age, be on the lookout for:

  • Water rescue. Any child pulled from the pool needs medical attention.
  • Coughing. Persistent coughing or coughing associated with increased work of breathing needs to be evaluated.
  • Increased “work of breathing.” Rapid shallow breathing, nostril flaring, or where you can see between the child’s ribs or the gap above their collarbone when they breathe, means they’re working harder to breathe than normal.
  • Sleepiness. Your kid was just excitedly playing in the pool, and now he/she is fatigued? It could mean not enough oxygen is getting into to her blood. Don’t put them to bed until the doctor gives you the go-ahead.
  • Forgetfulness or change in behavior. Similarly, a dip in oxygen level could cause your child to feel sick or woozy.
  • Throwing up. Vomiting is a sign of stress from the body as a result of the inflammation and sometimes a lack of oxygen, also from persistent coughing and gagging.

Any time you’re concerned about your child and think he could have symptoms of dry or secondary drowning, whether you’re in your backyard pool or on a beach vacation, call the pediatrician right away for advice. Your child’s doctor should be able to talk you through it and might advise you to go to the hospital, a primary care doctor, or an urgent care center.

Prevention is the same for dry drowning and secondary drowning as it is for any other kind of drowning:

  • Swim lessons. Kids who are comfortable and skilled at moving around in the water are less likely to go under and take in water. Around age 4 is a good time to start.
  • Supervision. Monitor kids closely in and around the water, and enforce pool safety rules.
  • Water safety measures. Children should wear floatation devices on boats; pools should have four-sided fencing around them; and you should never leave standing water where a child could get into it.

As long as you practice water safety, pay close attention to your kids after swimming, and get them checked out if you notice any signs of trouble breathing, you shouldn’t have to stress about dry drowning or secondary drowning.

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Healthy Beginnings: Giving your baby the best start





Marian Seliquini, CM, LM, MS

The childbearing year is an incredible journey. Pregnancy, birth, and the early days with a new baby are significant and unique events in the life of any woman. This is a time full of huge physical, emotional, and psychological changes. Standard prenatal care appointments address important medical needs, but we know that women welcome the chance to engage more deeply during this time. With that in mind, Cornerstone Family Healthcare is excited to launch Healthy Beginnings, a new prenatal group program for patients receiving prenatal care in the Ob/Gyn department of our practice.

This program will consist of two sessions, with each session meeting monthly. Session 1, Pregnancy ABC’s, is aimed at women in the beginning of pregnancy and focuses on normal pregnancy changes, coping with common discomforts, healthy pregnancy habits, and stress reduction. Session 2, Birth and Baby’s First Days, is aimed at women in their third trimester and focuses on preparation for labor and birth, breastfeeding basics, early newborn care, and postpartum expectations. At all sessions, an Ob/Gyn provider is present for health assessments, healthy snacks are available, and local resources are highlighted.  Most importantly, these sessions aim to bring women together to share their experiences with each other. Whether expecting her first baby or her third (or her fifth!), every woman has something to share which is of value to the other participants in the group.

More information about the Healthy Beginnings program, including our current schedule of meetings, is available by contacting Cornerstone’s Health Educator at (845) 563-8043. Stay tuned for updates on this program!

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Men’s Health Month





Allan M. Fernandez, MD, Cornerstone Family Healthcare

It’s that time again where we celebrate men’s health for the month of June. There are many conditions we can discuss that would pertain to men’s health such as the prostate, cardiovascular health, diabetes, adequate sleep, smoking and drinking, etc. However, the most important element of all is having your routine visit with your primary care provider. They would know what to look for, what to screen for, and above all, what to treat for.

When we think of men’s health, one of the health conditions we often think almost immediately is prostate cancer. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Over 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their quality of life. Each year over 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 30,000 will succumb from it.

Two common ways of screening for prostate cancer is either through a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and/or checking for prostate specific antigen, otherwise known as PSA. According to the American Cancer Society, average-risk men are typically screened after the age of 50. However, men with higher risk, such as those with a family history of prostate cancer or exposure to carcinogens, are typically screened at an earlier age. When your provider performs a DRE, they are determining the size, shape, and contour of your prostate.  Normally, it is often described as a smooth walnut-sized gland. If there are any abnormalities, further studies need to be conducted. In addition, a PSA can also be checked and as a rule of thumb, higher levels of PSA may pose an issue. Keep in mind that there are several factors that can cause an elevation of PSA such as age, race, enlarged prostate, medications, and infections. As you can see, the list is endless. A simple visit with your provider and discussing options is likely the better decision.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men are more likely to smoke, drink, make unhealthy risks or choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care. By not caring for your health, you may be limiting your life expectancy. On the other hand, by seeking care for your health by getting screening tests that are right for you, making sure you are up to date on important shots/vaccinations, watching out for signs of health problems like diabetes or depression and eating healthy and staying active may be the best choice. It is never too late to start healthy regardless of age.  By making a fresh start or even continuing your healthy lifestyle, you reduce your blood pressureblood sugarscholesterol, and weight. With an active and healthy lifestyle, you decrease your chances of diabetes mellitus type 2 and cardiovascular disease.

Keep in mind that preventative medicine is the best medicine. Most people think that visiting your primary care provider is for when you get sick, however, we are also here to prevent you from getting sick. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about your health and your concerns. We, at Cornerstone Family Health are here to help. As experienced health professionals, we are here to answer your questions and provide you with the best health care.

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Exercising in the Heat

As the weather gets warmer and summer quickly approaches, it is important to know how to enjoy being active in the heat as well as how to stay safe in the heat. Don’t let the heat interfere with your personal fitness goals. Follow the tips below to exercise safely in hot weather.

      1. Drink plenty of water!

Exercising in hot weather increases our body temperature. Our bodies have built-in cooling systems that help us adjust to heat. That’s why we perspire, but this natural cooling system can fail if we’re exposed to soaring temperatures for too long. The result may be heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. To keep cool, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. Since our bodies are about 50 to 60% water, it is vital to maintain this amount. We tend to lose about 2 to 3% during typical exercise and activity, especially on hot days.

Also know that it is possible to drink too much water; this is called overhydration. To avoid this, drink during and after exercise and other physical activities. At other times of the day, drink when thirsty.

        2. Take it slow.

If you normally run, jog or walk. If you’re a brisk walker, slow it down. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the pace and length of your workout.

       3. Avoid the hottest part of the day.

Wake up extra early to catch the cool times of the morning, or go out around sunset. Don’t take the chance of heat exhaustion by going out in prime heat time; jump in the pool instead!

      4. Eat snacks throughout the day to keep your energy up.

Have a nice juicy snack like fruit. The last thing you need in scorching heat are dry snacks like crackers, popcorn, or energy bars that require your body to add water. Plus, dry snacks are often dense with calories, which means they can easily foil weight-loss goals, summer or winter.

      5. Lastly, know when it is time to go inside.

Always listen to your body and look out for symptoms like:

  • Weakness
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Paling of the skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you notice any of these symptoms, find air-conditioning right away.

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  • Blog Authors

  • Providers involved include:

    Monica Francis, PA

    Avi Silber, MD, FAAP
    Tracy Lucas, FNP
    Adeola Ayodeji, MD, FAAP

    Chanchal Singh, MD
    Sneha Shrivastava, MD
    Penelope Guccione, FNP

    Julie A. O’Connor, CM, LM, MS
    Marian Seliquini, CM, LM, MS

    Koreen E. Thomas, FNP
    Andrea Giovinazzo, FNP-C

    Kate Michalak L.Ac., RPAC

    Alban Burke, DDS

    Neha Dada, O.D.

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