NOAH’s Sierra Health Center Closing

As of November 1, 2021 the NOAH Sierra Health Center is closing. This community health center location opened in late-2016 at the corner of Bell Road and 59th Ave in Glendale.

Sierra was always different than most of the other eight health center locations because it was focused on a specific service. Sierra offered quality therapy and counseling services to a wide variety of patients of all ages. The providers at this location serviced couples, children, teens, and individuals as they worked to overcome life’s toughest challenges with a holistic approach to counseling.

While Sierra may be closing, providers from Sierra will continue to serve patients throughout the metro-Phoenix area through telehealth counseling and therapy sessions, or at another NOAH location.

NOAH behavioral health professionals incorporate various treatment methods into the counseling process and treat the counseling relationship as a partnership between the patient and healthcare professional working toward shared goals. And, because NOAH believes in whole-person healthcare, your behavioral health provider can work with or refer patients for other services at NOAH, working together with all providers.

To schedule an appointment or for more information on services, request an appointment online or call 480-882-4545.

Profile in Leadership

Get to Know Kavita Bernstein From NOAH’s Board of Directors

Kavita is NOAH’s new Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and shares her vision for community health through NOAH.

Kavita Bernstein, NOAH Board Vice Chair

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

A: I recently became the Director of Relationships and Solutions at Candelen, an Arizona nonprofit that provides resources and support to parents, caregivers, and educators to help every kid achieve the brightest outlook possible. I joined NOAH’s Board of Directors in 2019.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: In my eyes, health and wellness are basic needs. When our health is impacted, it has the capacity to impact other parts of our life, including our ability to work, our capacity to have relationships with others, and so much more. My passion has always been with those that are in need of healthcare but may not have it readily available to them. Community health is the perfect answer to that.

Q: What motivated you to serve at this level on NOAH’s Board of Directors?

A: The mission of NOAH falls right in line with my vision for community health – to find quality health care that is provided in a compassionate manner. Truly, that is what we all want when we are feeling unwell – to find medical care that is not only high quality but also to find providers that are willing to sit with us, listen, and then act on our behalf to get us to better health.

Q: What do you like about working with your fellow board members?

A: We are all in. We are here to serve the NOAH staff and patients. I regularly hear in Board meetings and from Board members, “How can we help?” and “What do you need from us?” because our board members are not content to just sit and listen. We are ready to serve NOAH. It’s this dedication in the form of action that I truly value in the Board.

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

A: To support the growth and development of NOAH, to support the team in meeting the goals of the strategic plan, and to continue to help cultivate our board culture.

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

A: Helping the most vulnerable in our community through access to quality healthcare.

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.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is More Than Pink

Breast cancer and the color pink go hand-in-hand during October. But there’s so much more to breast cancer awareness and NOAH wants you and your loved ones to be aware about breast cancer risks, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and more.

Breast Cancer Awareness Fast Facts:

  • Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but according to the American Cancer Society, men can get breast cancer too.
  • Breast cancer is often (though not always) detected by a lump in the breast. However, most lumps in the breast are benign (not cancerous), but ALL lumps should be checked by your provider.
  • There are different kinds of breast cancer that start in different areas of the breast.
  • Alcohol increases the risk of developing breast cancer. An average of 1 drink per day increases risk by 7-10% while 2 to 3 drinks per day increases risk by 20%!
  • Being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight are the best things to do to prevent breast cancer. This is especially true for women after menopause.
  • Mammograms and breast ultrasounds are the most commonly used, and the most effective screening tool available to detect breast cancer early.
  • There is little to no benefit of doing self-breast exams or clinical breast exams, but women should still be alert and see a provider if anything looks or feels different.

Treatments for breast cancer will vary depending on the type of breast cancer and when it is diagnosed. At NOAH, we want to work with you to keep a healthy lifestyle, focus on prevention, answer any questions you have, support you through a diagnosis, and help you during treatment.

To learn more about breast cancer risks, types, treatments, and more, check out the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer section. To talk with your NOAH provider about any questions you have, request an appointment today.

Cool Down! A New Dietary Treatment for Menopause

By Daniel Davis, MD | Internal Medicine

A study published by the North American Menopause Society found a plant-based diet rich in soy reduces moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 84%. During the study, nearly 60% of women became totally free of moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Overall hot flashes (including mild ones) decreased by 79%.

What does this all mean for diet and menopause? We dive in with Dr. Daniel Davis.

What are hot flashes?

Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause with about 80% of American women experiencing them. Hot flashes can be mild or serious enough to impact your day-to-day life. The feeling is usually a flushing warmth or heat in the upper body and face.

Traditional treatment for hot flashes

Most women with mild hot flashes can treat them with small changes: fans, air conditioning, dressing in layers, and avoiding things like spicy foods and stress. For serious hot flashes, women for a long time were given estrogen (a group of hormones in women) therapy. Now we know that these treatments increase the risk of some cancers, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes! After learning this, many providers began treating serious hot flashes with other medicines like anti-depressants. Diet wasn’t considered in most patient’s treatment plans.

But that changed in March of 2021 when a study in the American Journal of Menopause showed diet might play an important role in menopause and hot flashes.

How does diet impact menopause?

Scientists have known for a long time that not all women have hot flashes like American women, particularly those countries not following a western/American diet. In countries like Japan and other parts of Asia, only about 15% of women develop hot flashes compared to 80% of American women!

While researchers are still figuring out why 65% more American women have hot flashes compared to Japan, diet is top of mind. People living in Asian countries usually eat less animal products (meat, dairy), eat more vegetables, and have other differences.

How did the study work?

The March 2021 study looked at women all experiencing the same hot flash symptoms, and randomly put them in two groups and watched they symptoms:

  • Group #1 – Dietary Changes – low fat vegan diet
  • Group #2 – No Dietary Changes – known as the control group

Women in group #1 with the vegan diet saw a 79% decrease in all hot flashes. Women in group #2 had a 49% decrease.

For severe hot flashes – the kind that disrupt daily life – women in group #1 had a decrease of 84%, while women in group #2 saw severe hot flashes decrease 42%. When it came to less severe hot flashes (mild or moderate), 59% of the women on the vegan diet in group #1 said they didn’t have ANY!

The vegan diet group also lost a significant amount of weight and had other health improvements compared with group #2 that did not change their diet.

What does this mean about estrogen, diet, and menopause?

Estrogen is still an important factor for menopause and hot flashes. But doctors and researchers want safer ways to replace estrogen. One way is diet.

Luckily most plant foods – like soybeans and tofu – have estrogen-like nutrients that help during menopause. What’s even more exciting is that these foods have health benefits, like decreasing the risk of breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancer.

People concerned about children or males consuming estrogen don’t need to be. There isn’t a hormonal effect on men or on children’s normal development from foods. Most people can and should consume soy. If someone has a soy allergy, which is rare, they should not treat hot flashes with soy foods.

What about estrogen supplements for menopause?

I recommend against consuming phytoestrogen supplements (plant-based estrogen-like pill). Herbal supplements in the USA often contain ingredients not on the label and they aren’t regulated by any government agency, so we really don’t know what is in them or if they provide any benefits. Additionally, not all plant-based estrogen-like nutrient pills are the same. Some have potentially risky plant estrogens being sold as safe supplements.

What does Dr. Davis recommend?

As a doctor, I recommend you talk to your primary care provider or registered dietician if you are working with one before making any major changes to your diet. If you want to make an appointment with a dietician, NOAH’s has a team of registered dieticians here.

Plant based diets, like a vegan diet, can have a lot of health benefits and a well-planned vegan diet is good for anyone according to the American Dietetics Association. Eating a plant-based diet can also prevent and be part of a treatment plan for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and obesity.

What now?

This study shows that diet can have a tremendous impact on menopausal symptoms. The vegan diet in this study is safe and could lead to many other benefits. Ask your medical provider or dietician if you can give it a try.

You can read more about this study here, and find the full scientific paper free here.

Understand Gynecological Cancer

By Dr. Monica Mansour | Family Medicine Residency

September was gynecologic cancer awareness month, but it is always a good time to learn about these diseases. There are five main types to be aware of: cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, vaginal, and vulvar cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021 an estimated 110,000 women will be diagnosed with one of these cancers and approximately 32,500 may die from them.

Steps to lower your risk of gynecological cancer:

  • Practice safe sex. Use condoms and ensure you and your partner(s) are routinely getting checked out for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of cervical, ovarian, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting.
  • Get your HPV vaccine. Males and females aged 9-45 years may qualify for it. The vaccine helps reduce the spread of the human papilloma virus which causes abnormal pap smears in females, as well as cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. The HPV virus can also cause cancers of the head, neck, and anus.
  • Talk with your doctor about your medical history. When you started your period, if you have ever been pregnant, if you had fertility issues, or have a history of endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome. These and other facts will help you and your doctor come up with a plan that is right for you.
  • Know your family history. Risk for developing ovarian or uterine/endometrial cancer is higher in people who have a family history of these cancers. A family history of breast cancer, and any other cancer, is also important to share with your doctor.
  • Be aware of your body and talk to your doctor about new changes that don’t feel right to you. Irregular vaginal bleeding or bleeding after sex, pelvic pain or bloating, sores or lumps of the vagina are some symptoms that you should get checked out.
  • Unfortunately, many gynecological cancers do NOT have symptoms. Talk with your doctor to determine how often you need a pap smear and don’t skip out on your annual exams. This is a great time for you and your doctor to check in with each other.

Schedule an appointment today with a NOAH provider to discuss your health history, family health, questions, or concerns, and get any needed tests or screenings scheduled. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to keep you and loved ones safe from gynecological cancer.