FirstLight graduates 145 Safe Sitter Students

During the month of June, one hundred forty-eight students completed the Safe Sitter course offered by FirstLight Health System instructors.

Instructors traveled to the locations of Pine City, North Branch, Cambridge, Hinckley and Isle in addition to the two classes offered in Mora.  Students from the communities of Pine City, Cambridge, Grasston, Braham, Harris, Hinckley, Isle, Bethel, Dalbo, Onamia, St. Francis, Isanti, Stacy, Rush City, Braham, North Branch, Ogilvie, Brook Park, Stanchfield and Mora participated.

The Safe Sitter program is offered throughout the year to 11-13 year old boys and girls.  This course was created by Dr. Patricia Keener of Indianapolis, Indiana in 1980, and this year marks the 10th year FirstLight instructors have been teaching this program with over 1,090 students graduating.  In 2013, CPR was added to the curriculum, and since then, 369 students have been instructed with this life-saving skill. Students who complete the Safe Sitter class through FirstLight instructors receive a complimentary messenger bag, flashlight, babysitting note pad and a first aid kit.

FirstLight is one of only nine sites in the state of Minnesota to offer this class.  For more information call Ronda, Program Coordinator and Certified Safe Sitter Instructor, at 320-225-3321. For more information about Safe Sitter curriculum, please visit

The Pine City Pioneer published this on 7/29:  Pine City Youth ready to babysit safely

The Isanti County News published this on 5/17/2015 introducing the program for this year:  Safe Sitter program offered in area


Diabetes Self-Management Education Program With ADA Award

Diabetes Recgon 2015 webFirstLight Health System’s Diabetes Self-Management Education Program in Mora, Pine City and Hinckley has been awarded continued Recognition from the American Diabetes Association. The program was originally recognized on August 14, 2002 and offers high-quality and consistent education services to the patients it serves.

The ADA Education Recognition effort, begun in the fall of 1986, is a voluntary process which assures that approved education programs have met the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs. Self-management education is an essential component of diabetes treatment and through the support of a health care team will increase the knowledge and awareness of diabetes so the patient can assume a major part of the responsibility for his/her diabetes management. Unnecessary hospital admissions and some of the acute and chronic complications of diabetes may be prevented through self-management education.

The process gives professionals a national standard by which to measure the quality of the services they provide,” commented Julie Miller, RN, CDE, Diabetes Program Nurse Coordinator. “And, of course, it helps consumers to identify these quality programs, such as FirstLight Health System’s.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the population in the United States who have diabetes. While an estimated 21 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately 8.1 million people are not aware that they have this disease. Each day approximately 4, 657 people are diagnosed with diabetes

The American Diabetes Association is the nation’s leading non-profit health organization supporting diabetes research, advocacy and information for health professionals, patients and the public.

FirstLight Health System staffs a full-time Certified Diabetes Educator, Julie Miller and Registered Dietitians, Melissa Merrick and Danna Woods. Diabetes Education appointments are available at Mora, Pine City and Hinckley clinics for those with Type 1, Type 2, Gestational and Pre-diabetes. Support groups for those living with diabetes are available and are no-cost community events. More information about these groups and FirstLight Health System can be found at FirstLight Health System is located at the intersection of Highway 23 and 65 in Mora and can be reached at 1-800-245-5671.

Local Students Receive $2000 Renewable Scholarship

FirstLight Health System has been privileged to create a scholarship program designed to support young students who intend to pursue a career in healthcare. It is the hope of FirstLight that the scholarship will ease the financial strain of obtaining a post-secondary degree while encouraging exceptional young people to pursue careers in the healthcare industry. This year marks seven years of supporting promising young students within our communities.

This scholarship is awarded annually to students from Hinckley, Mora, Ogilvie and Pine City in the amount of $2000 and is renewable for up to four years.

The 2014-2015 scholarships have been awarded to four very worthy seniors:

  • Brianna Barstad of Hinckley- Finlayson, who will be attending the University of Minnesota studying Biology
  • Keyan Weaver of Mora, who will be attending the College of St. Scholastica studying Exercise Physiology
  • Morgan Mclalwain of Ogilvie, who will be attending Argosy University studying diagnostic medical sonography
  • McKenna Webster of Pine City, who will be attending Brigham Young University majoring in Biology.

These students have worked hard thought-out their high school careers by not only maintaining an impressive GPA, but by being involved in many extra-curricular activities as well as volunteering their time to community causes in need.

Brianna Barstad
Brianna Barstad
Keyan Weaver
Keyan Weaver
Morgan Mclalwain
Morgan Mclalwain
McKenna Webster
McKenna Webster

March Of Dimes Recognizes FirstLight Health System for Giving Babies a Healthy Start

March of Dimes Photo 2105 (2)

FirstLight Health System is being recognized by the March of Dimes for reducing the number of elective and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Babies delivered before full term are at an increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

“We are proud of our obstetric team of physicians and nurses who saw this opportunity to improve the care in our communities by putting policies in place to avoid scheduling of elective deliveries before that 39 week mark of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” says COO, Sandy Zutz-Wiczek.

FirstLight Health System developed a policy discouraging inductions prior to 39 weeks unless medically indicated which is consistent with national recommendations.

Babies that are born even a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for babies born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are important. Babies aren’t just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” says Lawrence Massa, March of Dimes Board Member and Minnesota Hospital Association President and CEO. “I commend FirstLight Health System for being a champion for babies and their quality improvement effort.”

In partnership with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been doubting its “Health Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign, which urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

In Minnesota, March of Dimes worked with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and hospitals to adopt policies against medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks. This change went into effect in January of 2012. Minnesota Hospital Association numbers show the number of early elective deliveries has decreased by 92 percent and FirstLight has been part of this initiative since its beginning.

FirstLight Health Systems Named A Top 150 Work Place


FirstLight Health System is pleased to announce that it has been selected as one of the Top 150 WorkPlaces from the Star Tribune.

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by Workplace Dynamics, LLC, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement, to better understand what’s on the minds of employees. There were over 2,100 organizations invited to participate in the survey and over 69,100 employees shared their views. FirstLight alone had 300 responses to the survey, which is over half of its workforce.

“The culture at FirstLight Health System is created by our employees, by working together as a team, passionately caring about our patients, and their families and continually going above and beyond to provide exceptional care. What an honor it is to earn a Top 150 Workplace award,” said Randy Ulseth, FirstLight Health System’s CEO.

The Star Tribune published the complete list of Top Workplaces on June 14, 2015 and more information can be found at and