Category Archives: Press Releases

Tips to Keep Screen Time in Check

Kids are spending more and more time in front of a screen these days.  Increased screen time is a risk factor for childhood obesity.  It’s safe to say that technology is here to stay, so finding a healthy balance between screen time and active time is a good goal for your family.

Here are some tips from the National Institutes of Health on how to go from screen time to lean time:

  • Talk to your Family. Explain to your kids that it’s important to sit less and move more in order to stay healthy.  Tell them they’ll have more energy, and it will help them develop and/or perfect new skills, such as riding a bike or shooting hoops.
  • Set a Good Example.  You need to be a good role model and limit your screen time to no more than two hours per day, too.  If your kids see you following your own rules, they’ll be more likely to do the same.
  • Make Screen Time = Active Time.  When you do spend time in front of the screen, do something active.  Stretch, do yoga, or lift weights.  Or, challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or leg lifts during TV commercial breaks.
  • Set Screen Time Limits.  Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day or an amount works for your family.  More importantly, enforce the time limit.
  • Create Screen-free Bedrooms.  Don’t put a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom.  Kids who have TVs in their room tend to watch about 1.5 hours more TV a day than those that don’t.  Plus, it keeps them in their room instead of spending time with the rest of the family.
  • Make Meal Time = Family Time.  Turn off the TV during meals.  Family meals are a good time to talk to each other.  Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals.  Try to make this a priority at least two to three times a week.
  • Provide Other Options.  Watching TV can become a habit, making it easy to forget what else is out there.  Give your kids ideas and/or alternatives, such as playing outside, getting a new hobby, or learning a new sport.
  • Don’t Use TV Time as Reward or Punishment.  Practices like this may make TV seem even more important to children.
  • Understand TV Ads & Placements.  Seeing snack foods, candy, soda, and fast food on television affects all of us, especially kids.  Help your child understand that because it’s on TV-or your favorite TV characters/actors/sports stars eat or drink it-doesn’t mean a food or drink is good for you.  Get your kids to think about why their favorite cartoon character is trying to get them to eat a certain brand of breakfast cereal.




FirstLight receives a blue ribbon for influenza vaccination rates

FirstLight Recognized for efforts to protect patients from influenza – 93 percent of facility’s employees received influenza vaccination in 2016-17

FirstLight Health System was among 139 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among facility employees during the 2016-17 flu season.

FirstLight had 490 vaccinated employees, representing 93 percent of staff, received influenza vaccinations during the past season of the Minnesota FluSafe program. The facility received a blue ribbon and certificate of achievement from Minnesota Commissioner of Health Edward Ehlinger for its efforts.

The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can potentially pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.

“The health of our patients is our top priority,” said Cindy Teichroew, BSN, RN, CIC, Infection Prevention Practitioner, at FirstLight.  “Participating in the FluSafe program helps us increase our employee influenza vaccination rates and prevent flu from spreading to our patients.”


Of the 149 facilities that participated in FluSafe this year, 67 reached vaccination rates of 90 percent or greater, 41 reached rates of between 80 and 89 percent, and 31 reached rates of between 70 and 79 percent.

“After seven years of FluSafe, we continue to be grateful for – and impressed by – the important steps participating facilities, like FirstLight are taking to prevent flu through health care worker vaccination,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control at MDH.

Health care facilities participating in the FluSafe program receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their influenza vaccination rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through the state’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC).

More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2016-17 facilities earning blue, red, and white ribbons, can be found on


FirstLight does offer a walk-in clinic for flu shots, in Mora, Pine City and Hinckley, from now until November 30, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
No appointment is necessary.

Pine City High School Receives National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award

Program recognizes high schools that help to keep young athletes safe


Pictured Becky Huberty, FirstLight ATC and Alex Wimmer, Dragon Football Player

Pine City High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award for high school athletics. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.

“One of the things I wanted to accomplish in addition to building a clinical Sports Medicine practice with FirstLight was to implement a program at the schools to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our athletes safe. I received confirmation that Pine City High School was accepted as a 1st Team Safe Sports School through the National Athletic Trainers’ Association,” said FirstLight Sports Medicine’s, Dr. Mullin.

“We remain committed to the health and welfare of young athletes in competitive sports,” says NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “This award recognizes the contributions and commitment of schools across the country that are implementing safe sports policies and best practices to ensure athletes can do what they love best and have the appropriate care in place to prevent, manage and treat injuries should they occur.”

In order to achieve Safe Sport School status, as Pine City High School did, athletic programs must do the following:

  • Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
  • Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
  • Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
  • Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
  • Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
  • Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
  • Provide or facilitate injury intervention
  • Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
  • Provide or facilitate psycho-social consultation and nutritional counseling/education
  • Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities


About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association represents and supports 39,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit

Energy Balance in Real Life

This is real life.  Busy schedules and social commitments can set us up for energy imbalance.  Instead of looking for the newest fads in weight loss, consider a more sensible approach to managing your weight.  Try the simple step of reducing 50 calories here and there versus making major dietary changes.

According to the National Institutes of Health, consuming just 150 calories more a day than you burn can lead to an extra 5 pounds over 6 months.  That’s a gain of 10 pounds a year. 

If you don’t want this weight gain to happen, or you want to lose the extra weight, you can either reduce your ENERGY IN or increase your ENERGY OUT.

Here are some practical ways to cut 150 calories (ENERGY IN):

  • Drink water instead of a 12-ounce regular soda
  • If you love french fries, order a small serving instead of a medium, or order a salad with dressing on the side
  • Eat an egg-white omelet (with three eggs), instead of whole eggs
  • Use tuna canned in water (6-ounce can), instead of canned in oil
  • Choose a low fat dressing instead of high-fat creamy ones
  • If you love your ice cream, try some of the products with no sugar added
  • Choose grilled instead of crispy chicken

Here are some practical ways to burn 150 calories (ENERGY OUT), in just 30 minutes (for a 150 pound person):

  • Shoot hoops
  • Window washing
  • Walk two miles
  • Kayaking
  • Do yard work
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Dance with your family or friends

Remember that a combination of both is the best way to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight over the long haul.

FirstLight’s Annual Frame Show – 2017

Join us for the Annual Frame show at the Mora Eye Center on Tuesday, October 24th.

We are excited to have Representatives from from Tura and Safilo that have styles including:

  • Humphrey’s
  • Brendel
  • Fossil
  • Saks Fifth Ave
There will be over 500 frames to choose from!

One day only, from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Light refreshments will be provided


Construction Update: September 29, 2017

Progress on the northeast addition today.

After a couple of days of rain, the crew is back at it. View of the northeast addition where the new Emergency Department will be located.
View of approximately where the new helipad will be.
Digging for the new sanitation piping by the NE addition.

A video of what happened on the southwest side of the building project today. Link will expire 10/13/2017.

Mora Elementary School Grand Opening

Tonight from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. there will be a grand opening celebration for the new Mora Elementary School.  If you have a chance to stop by, please do.  There will be many activities:

Click here to view the event on the school’s website

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Free Meal (first 500 people)
  • Magic Show
  • Face Painting
  • Spin the Wheel
  • Anti-bullying/School Spirit
  • Prizes
  • Guided Public Tours
  • Popcorn
  • Live music

Attached you will find the flyer that was created to help raise some awareness about the new FirstLight Community Wellness Center.

FirstLight Recognized as a BCBS MN Trailblazer

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is shining a spotlight on innovative healthcare companies and contributors around Minnesota for making a healthy difference in the communities which they serve.  FirstLight and the “Helmet Headquarters” campaign (featured in May) have been spotlighted as a Trailblazer in the 2017 BlueCross Trailblazer Tour, a journey moving healthcare forward across the state.

 A huge congratulations to Kim Tepley for putting together such a creative and noteworthy campaign and to all of those who have helped with this.

 Thank you to Sandy Moore, June Juday, EMS staff, Erin Mason (Graphic Designer at Mason Jar Creative), front registration staff, FirstLight providers, and Deb Wright for your help with this campaign and achievement.

 This story will be featured online and on social media. Please feel free to share and spread the great news!