NEWS: NOAH Offering COVID Vaccine Booster

Recently the CDC approved a booster shot for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. NOAH will begin offering booster shots for specific groups starting Monday, Oct. 4. To schedule your Pfizer booster, contact NOAH at 480-882-4545 or request an appointment online.

All boosters should be given at least six months after the initial doses.

The CDC recommends booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people:

  • Age 65+ and residents in long-term care settings
  • Age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, depending on their individual benefits and risks
  • Age 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and spread because of school, work (including healthcare), or housing situations (including shelters), based on their individual benefits and risks.  

Many of the people who are now eligible to receive a booster shot received their initial vaccine early in the vaccination program, between December 2020 and May 2021, and will benefit from this additional protection. Read more about the CDC’s guidelines on boosters here.

The initial two-dose Pfizer mRNA vaccines provides excellent protection against COVID, but the data shows that the effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing mild to moderate infection decreases by around 20% over time. Regardless of whether people get the booster or not, the initial two-doses of Pfizer are still more than 80% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalization or death.

Did you get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

At this time the CDC has not recommended booster shots for either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The CDC will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of all COVID-19 vaccines and evaluate data to make any new recommendations for other vaccines or groups of people to receive boosters.

If you have any questions about the COVID vaccine, are unsure whether or not you qualify for the booster dose, or want help deciding which vaccine is right for you, make an appointment to talk to your NOAH provider.

Here’s What to Know About the Flu Shot

By Andrea Klock MSN, FNP-C | Family Nurse Practitioner

It’s that time of year again: Flu Season. Most people are familiar with the influenza (flu) vaccination and thankfully many of us receive a shot every year. With the current focus on COVID and that vaccine, it’s still very important to protect ourselves and each other from the flu.

Because the flu vaccine has been common for years, a lot of people don’t know the facts about the vaccine, like and why a yearly shot is necessary as compared to receiving a series or booster like the COVID vaccine.

Common Flu Vaccine Questions Answered

Why is the flu vaccine so important?

The CDC estimates that on average 3 – 11% of the population in the United States contract influenza yearly. But this number only reflects symptomatic patients who got tested for influenza. The percentage is higher when including persons who did not have symptoms or didn’t see a provider for a test.

Who is at high risk for problems if they catch the flu?

Those who are considered high risk for more serious complications if they get the flu include people who are 65 years or older, have a cancer diagnosis, are pregnant, have chronic medical conditions, or are young children.

When is the flu season?

Although the influenza virus can be detected at any time during the year, the peak infection time starts in the fall and goes through the winter months.

Why do I need the flu vaccine every year?

The influenza virus changes – mutates – every year creating new strains every flu season. The vaccine is restructured every year to provide the best possible coverage from new strains.

Can receiving the flu vaccination cause you to get the flu?

No – the flu vaccine is made with an inactivated virus or single protein (very small part) from the virus. Any reactions that mimic the flu after receiving the vaccination are our own body’s immune response.

How do I prevent catching the flu?

Along with getting the flu shot, the best way to prevent getting sick is to avoid others that are sick. A lot of what we did to slow COVID helps slow the flu too, like cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands, and disinfect surfaces that may have been contaminated with the influenza virus. Always stay home from work, school, and other activities when sick to keep it from spreading to others.

Did you get your flu shot yet? Make an appointment with your NOAH provider today and get protected from the flu this season.

Profile in Leadership

Meet Yvonne Moss of NOAH’s Board of Directors

Yvonne is the new President of NOAH’s Board of Directors. She shares her passion for NOAH and commitment to community service.

Q: Tell us about yourself and when you joined the Board of Directors.

Yvonne Moss
Yvonne Moss, NOAH Board President

A: I’m the Assistant General Counsel at Make-A-Wish of America which is headquartered here in Phoenix. I joined the NOAH Board of Directors in December of 2016, so it has been almost five years of serving the organization.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: Supporting community health just makes sense to me. I believe access to quality healthcare should be a universal human right, everyone deserves the dignity of compassionate care. Good healthcare also impacts the overall community. When people are healthy, it positively impacts their family, their jobs, their schoolwork, and more.

Q: What made you decide to serve on NOAH’s Board of Directors?

A: I was working at a Phoenix law firm before joining Make-A-Wish and NOAH worked with the firm. I got to know NOAH and the leadership team and it really motivated me to do more for community health. I trust the NOAH leadership and love being able to support the organization and the patients with my time.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term as President?

A: We have a terrific group of talented, passionate, interesting, and fun people serving on the Board of Directors. Together, the board is working to increase access to whole person care at NOAH. When I joined the board, we used to lovingly say “NOAH is the best kept secret” but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. We aren’t a secret anymore, and the more people get to know NOAH, the more we can impact lives, families, and communities.

Q: What about NOAH motivates you the most in your role as President of the Board of Directors?

A: It is hard to pick just one thing, but if I had to narrow down my passion for NOAH it is truly about the whole person care approach. Including physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, and access to resources like health insurance into how we work with patients changes lives. Add that to the compassion the whole team brings to their job, and it’s just not like everywhere else. NOAH is different and it shows in how we treat each patient.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.

Watch Out for West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is having a major moment in Arizona this year and it’s important we all pay attention.

People get this virus when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. In 2020, Arizona had just 11 confirmed cases. In 2021 so far, there are an average of 25 cases every week since cases began for around 135 cases total and 5 deaths (as of 9/23/21), with no indication of it slowing down anytime soon.

While we all celebrated the much-needed rain we are getting here in Arizona this year, that rain is also why we have record-high cases this year.

NOAH’s Medical Director Dr. Vanyo-Novak shares what symptoms to look for, when to see a provider, and how to prevent mosquito bites.

“West Nile Virus symptoms include sudden fever, headache, joint aches, muscle aches, back pain, and decreased appetite,” said Dr. Vanyo-Novak. “Other, less common symptoms include eye pain, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. And, between 25-50% of patients get an itchy rash on the chest, back and arms.”

Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus will never develop any symptoms. And, because it is only spread through mosquito bites, an infected person can’t spread it to another person.

“Symptoms usually come on anywhere from two to 14 days after mosquito bite and can last for up to 10 days,” said Dr. Vanyo-Novak. “Please contact us if you are feeling unwell and have some of the above symptoms.”

While most people either never develop symptoms, or recover on their own, West Nile Virus can be dangerous. This happens when the virus spreads to the nervous system.

“The more serious symptoms like vision changes, balance issues, intense headaches, light sensitivity, confusion, or paralysis need to be addressed immediately,” stressed Dr. Vanyo-Novak. “These can indicate the person developing meningitis or encephalitis. If experiencing any of these symptoms go to the ER.”

Because it is a virus, there is no cure for this infections. That’s why preventing mosquito bites is important.

“You can prevent West Nile Virus by staying indoors, limiting or avoiding standing water outside your home (puddles, bird baths, pools), and using mosquito repellent.”

The CDC shares a few more prevention tips here to help your family, friends, and neighbors avoid pesky mosquito bites and avoid the West Nile Virus.

Check Out the New Desert Mission Health Center

The new Desert Mission Health Center is just a few short months away from being completed. With it’s 23,000 square feet of state-of-the-art healthcare support, Desert Mission Health Center will impact the lives of thousands every year.

Watch the Time-Lapsed Video of Desert Mission Health Center Construction

See the progress of the new facility with this video starting in late March 2021 and through today! Watch the video here.

The project began in early April 2021 with a Groundbreaking celebration recognizing the many people and organizations who had worked together to make the new facility possible. In June, the final steel beam was raised to complete the building framing, and NOAH celebrated with a Topping Out event.

The new Desert Mission Health Center will be located at 9015 N. 3rd St. in Phoenix. When completed in early 2022, patients will have access to services, including:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Psychiatric
  • Nutrition
  • Pediatric
  • Counseling
  • Prenatal
  • Community Resources

Every member of the community is welcome at NOAH’s Desert Mission Health Center, accepting all health insurance including Medicare, AHCCCS (Medicaid), private insurance, and patients who are uninsured. Whether you are a growing family needing prenatal and pediatric services, an aging individual looking for preventative healthcare, or anything in-between, NOAH has the caring providers to help you live your healthiest life.

When it opens this winter, the newest NOAH health center will have 28 medical exam rooms, 26 counseling/psychiatric offices, 6 dental rooms, and 1 group therapy room. The health center will also offer access to telehealth, both for NOAH patients to get care virtually, but also as a space for our patients to receive telehealth from other providers with safety, privacy, and technological access.

To learn more about the new Desert Mission Health Center, visit New and existing patients can also make an appointment at any of NOAH’s health centers or for a telehealth appointment at

Profile in Leadership

Meet Scott Richter of NOAH’s Board of Directors

Meet Scott, the newest member of NOAH’s Board of Directors. He shares a glimpse into what this role means and why he is passionate about NOAH.

Board of Directors
Scott Richter, NOAH Board Member

Q: Tell us about yourself and when you joined the NOAH Board of Directors.

A: My name is Scott Richter. I am the Chief Credit Officer for RAZA Development Fund, a Phoenix-based organization that invests and creates financial solutions to increase opportunities for Latino and poor communities across the country. I am brand new to NOAH’s board having joined in September 2021.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: Service to others is the primary reason. From an early age, my parents instilled in me a strong ethic to help others. Growing up, my dad was a hospital administrator for a small hospital in rural Arkansas and I saw the importance and impact of providing high quality healthcare even at that age.

In addition, as a diabetic I am personally aware of how important it is to take care of one’s health. I also recognize that not everyone has access to the same quality of care. Diabetes is something that can be prevented or controlled when quality care is available. Anything I can do to help others avoid my fate is something I want to be a part of.

Q: Why did you want to serve on NOAH’s Board of Directors?

A: NOAH’s approach of being an active part of the community is what motivated me. We are focused on the patient across the full spectrum of healthcare needs, and that is how my dad approached his role as hospital administrator in rural Arkansas with his focus always on the patient. In that role, he undertook a major renovation providing state-of-the-art care not previously available to the community, not because it was flashy and new, but because it made a real difference in the lives of the people served by the hospital. That sort of strategic foresight is something I hope to bring as NOAH looks to the future of care.

Q: What do you hope the Board of Directors will accomplish during your term?

A: My goal is simple – to make a positive difference in the lives of NOAH patients.  Anything I can do as part of the board that will improve and expand access to quality care to all is worthy of my best efforts.

Q: NOAH serves many different people in the community. What patient population are you most passionate about helping?

A: To me, everyone matters. Our CEO at RAZA Development Fund often says, “poverty doesn’t discriminate.”  Poverty does, however, impact people’s access to quality healthcare. Without good health, any person’s ability to have meaningful work that provides economic stability and opportunity for that person and their family is at risk.  Building a solid foundation that supports people and helps them out of poverty is what matters the most to me.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.

September is Suicide Awareness Month

By Cassandra Altamirano PA-C | MPAS

Call, text or chat the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or if you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 individuals in the United States suffers from mental illness.  Yet, despite how common it is to suffer from this illness, many people feel uncomfortable reaching out for help. As a medical provider I see many patients struggling to deal with depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. It is important to see this topic more openly discussed in families and communities.

Mental Health Background

There is no shame around being diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition. There are more than 51 million U.S. adults living with a mental illness, so these individuals are not alone.

Our brains are an important part of our body, and we often forget that it plays a key role in our everyday health. Our brain controls our emotions, and those emotions can impact physical health. People with a serious mental illness are at an increased risk for chronic diseases, and metabolic and cardiac conditions.

Suicide Awareness – Signs and Symptoms

Our emotions can be so strong that they disrupt our daily lives. Sometimes this makes life seem very overwhelming. Someone struggling with their emotions might start to have feelings of worthlessness or start to wish they didn’t exist. When these overwhelming emotions snowball, the person can feel so trapped that they think there is no way out. This can lead to thoughts of ending their own life.

It is important for both the individual experiencing these thoughts and feelings, and those around them to know the warning signs of suicide and act on ways to help. Learn about suicide awareness now to save a life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call, text or chat the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 or 988

For non-urgent needs, consider scheduling an appointment with a NOAH counselor.

What to Know for Healthy Aging Month

Our bodies change in many ways as we age. The more we know what to expect and how to manage any challenges, the better. NOAH offers comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages, but since September is Healthy Aging Month, we are sharing useful tips and reminders for you and your loved ones.

Don’t Miss Annual Physicals

Annual physicals are an opportunity for you to discuss your health and wellness with your primary care provider. Medical providers will order age-appropriate tests and labs to get a full picture of your health. At NOAH we strongly encourage our Medicare patients to schedule their annual Medicare Wellness Visit to discuss health goals and recommendations.

Get Regular Check-Ups

If you aren’t feeling well, make an appointment to see your provider. Patients, especially aging patients, shouldn’t try to wait it out if there is something wrong. Having regular check-ups will keep you feeling well and catch any potentially serious conditions early.

Mental Health Matters

No matter your age, your mental health is important. In aging adults, depression can have a negative impact on health conditions like heart disease and stroke. Patient’s often underestimate depression and mental health concerns, but it is important to everyone’s overall health to make sure mental wellbeing is, managed appropriately.

Get Moving

More physical activity means a healthier you! Getting active can help delay, prevent, or manage many chronic diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. Being more active can also help keep your bone density and strength. Any exercise is better than none, so just get moving!

Eat For Your Health

Being overweight or obese will seriously harm your overall health, particularly as you age. Eating a nutritious diet will help manage chronic conditions, keep you healthy, and even improve your mood. Consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals, and always talk to your provider about any diet changes.

If you have trouble accessing or affording healthy, nutritious food, talk to NOAH. We can help!

Stay Social for Healthy Aging

A recent study found that older adults with more social activity had more positive moods, fewer negative feelings, and higher levels of physical activity. If you don’t have a social network, look for one through volunteer activities, at senior centers, at church, or other local community groups.

NOAH is here for you and your loved ones at any age. To learn more about healthy aging, comprehensive care, enrolling in Medicare or another insurance plan, access to healthy food and other resources, reach out to NOAH today at 480-882-4545 or make an appointment online.