1. Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight. A balanced breakfast includes fresh fruit or fruit juice, a high-fiber break-fast cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt, wholewheat toast and a boiled egg.

2. STRETCH: Learn to do stretching exercises when you wake up. It boosts circulation and digestion, and eases back pain.

3. Neurobics for your mind. Get your brain fizzing with energy. American researchers coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate the brain’s own biochemical pathways and to bring new pathways online that can help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits.

     Brush your teeth with your ‘other’ hand, take a new route to work or choose your clothes based on sense of touch rather than sight. People with mental agility tend to have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mental decline.

4. Brush up on hygiene. Many people don’t know how to brush their teeth properly. Improper brushing can cause as much damage to the teeth and gums as not brushing at all. Lots of people don’t brush for long enough, don’t floss and don’t see a dentist regularly. Hold your toothbrush in the same way that would hold a pencil, and brush for at least two minutes.

     This includes brushing the teeth, the junction of the teeth and gums, the tongue and the roof of the mouth. And you don’t need a fancy, angled toothbrush – just a sturdy, soft-bristled one that you replace each month.

5. Get what you give! Always giving and never taking? This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you’ll get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you can’t receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?

6. Get smelly. Garlic, onions, spring onions and leeks all contain stuff that’s good for you. A study at the Child’s Health Institute in Cape Town found that eating raw garlic helped fight serious childhood infections. Heat destroys these properties, so eat yours raw, wash it down with fruit juice or, if you’re a sissy, have it in tablet form.

7. Get spiritual. A study conducted by the formidably sober and scientific Harvard University found that patients who were prayed for recovered quicker than those who weren’t, even if they weren’t aware of the prayer.

8. Bone up daily. Get your daily calcium by popping a tab, chugging milk or eating yogurt. It’ll keep your bones strong. Remember that your bone density declines after the age of 30. You need at least 200 milligrams daily, which you should combine with magnesium, or it simply won’t be absorbed.

9. Knock one back. A glass of red wine a day is good for you. A number of studies have found this, but a recent one found that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. It’s thought that the antioxidants help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.

10. Berries for your belly. 

Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain plant nutrients known as anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries rival grapes in concentrations of resveratrol – the antioxidant compound found in red wine that has assumed near mythological proportions. Resveratrol is believed to help protect

against heart disease and cancer.

11. Curry favour. Hot, spicy flavor foods containing chillies or cayenne pepper trigger endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Endorphins have a powerful, almost narcotic, effect and make you feel good after exercising. But go easy on the lamb, pork and mutton and the high-fat, creamy dishes served in many Indian restaurants.

12. Cut out herbs before ops. Some herbal supplements – from the popular St John’s Wort and ginkgo biloba to garlic, ginger and ginseng – can cause increased bleeding during surgery, warn surgeons. It may be wise to stop taking all medication, including herbal supplements, at least two weeks before surgery, and inform your surgeon about your herbal use.

13. I say tomato. Tomato is a superstar in the fruit and veggie pantheon. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful cancer fighter. They’re also rich in vitamin C. The good news is that cooked tomatoes are also nutritious, so use them in pasta, soups and casseroles, as well as in salads.

     The British Thoracic Society says that tomatoes and apples can reduce your risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases. Both contain the antioxidant quercetin. To enjoy the benefits, eat five apples a week or a tomato every other day.

14. Eat your stress away. Prevent low blood sugar as it stresses you out. Eat regular and small healthy meals and keep fruit and veggies handy. Herbal teas will also soothe your frazzled nerves.

     Eating unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas boosts the formation of serotonin, another feel-good drug. Small amounts of protein containing the amino acid tryptamine can give you a boost when stress tires you out.

15. A for Away. This vitamin, and beta carotene, help to boost immunity against disease. It also assists in the healing process of diseases such as measles and is recommended by the WHO. Good natural sources of vitamin A are kidney beans, liver, dairy products, green and yellow vegetables, pawpaw, mangoes, chilli pepper, red sorrel and red palm oil.

16. Load up on vitamin C. 

We need at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day and the best way to get this is by eating at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. So hit the oranges and guavas.

17. No folly in folic acid. Folic acid should be taken regularly by all pregnant women and people with a low immunity to disease. Folic acid prevents spina bifida in unborn babies and can play a role in cancer prevention. It is found in green leafy vegetables, liver, fruit and bran.

18. GI, Jane. Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index, such as bread, sugar, honey and grain-based food will give instant energy and accelerate your metabolism. If you’re trying to burn fat, stick to beans, rice, pasta, lentils, peas, soy beans and oat bran, all of which have a low GI count.

19. Pure water. Don’t have soft drinks or energy drinks while you’re exercising. Stay properly hydrated by drinking enough water during your workout (just don’t overdo things, as drinking too much water can also be dangerous).

     While you might need energy drinks for long-distance running, in shorter exercise sessions in the gym, your body will burn the glucose from the soft drink first, before starting to burn body fat. Same goes for eating sweets.

20. Mindful living. You’ve probably heard the old adage that life’s too short to stuff a mushroom. But perhaps you should consider the opposite: that life’s simply too short NOT to focus on the simple tasks. By slowing down and concentrating on basic things, you’ll clear your mind of everything that worries you.

21. Do your weights workout first. Experts say weight training should be done first, because it’s a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you’re fresh and you have the energy you need to work it.

     Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you’re weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.

22. Burn fat during intervals. To improve your fitness quickly and lose weight, harness the joys of interval training. Set the treadmill or step machine on the interval program, where your speed and workload varies from minute to minute. Build up gradually, every minute and return to the starting speed. Repeat this routine. Not only will it be less monotonous, but you can train for a shorter time and achieve greater results.

23. Sunscreen can be a smokescreen. Sunscreen is unlikely to stop you from being sunburned, or to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. That’s because most people don’t apply it properly, and stay in the sun too long.

The solution? Slather on sunscreen daily and reapply it often, especially if you’ve been in the water.

24. Your dirtiest foot forward. If your ankles, knees and hips ache from running on pavement, head for the dirt. Soft trails or graded roads are a lot easier on your joints than the hard stuff. Also, dirt surfaces tend to be uneven, forcing you to slow down a bit and focus on where to put your feet – great for agility and concentration.

25. Beat the sneezes. There are more than 240 allergens, some rare and others very common. If you’re a sneezer due to pollen: close your car windows while driving, rather switch on the internal fan (drawing in air from the outside), and avoid being outdoors between 5am and 10 am when pollen counts are at their highest; stick to holidays in areas with low pollen counts, such as the seaside and stay away from freshly cut grass.

26. Doggone. If you’re allergic to your cat, dog, budgie or pet piglet, stop suffering the ravages of animal dander: Install an air filter in your home.

Keep your pet outside as much as possible and brush them outside of the home to remove loose hair and other allergens. Better yet, ask someone else to do so.

Omelette Cafe

Omelette Cafe

When the sign went up for the Omelette Café, the first thought was, wow, another breakfast restaurant. But, once you walk in the door and see the menu, your mindset will quickly change.

     The Omelette Café in Rincon, Georgia opened its’ doors five years ago and has been booming with business ever since.  Omelette Cafe is a part of the Sunnyside Up family of restaurants which have been around this area for over 16 years.  The restaurant is one of the 8 locations owned within the surrounding areas.

     Many people think the Omelette Café is a breakfast location only. But, their menu far exceeds that of any breakfast menu around. The other Omelette Café Restaurants in the area are open from 6AM-3PM for breakfast and lunch.  The Rincon location is the only location open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Their extensive lunch and dinner menu gives you many delicious choices…. from burgers to chicken fingers to seafood’s and specialty salads. Some of the local favorites, aside from the breakfast menu with their Signature Omelettes, is the Fried Shrimp, Monster Burger, Catfish, Philly Steak Sandwich and of course their Omelettes.

     The Omelette Café is family oriented and provides a family environment for their customers.  The full service restaurant can seat up to 70-80 people at one time and provides ample booth space as well as tables and a diner countertop.  The kitchen is an open kitchen, so customers can see their food being prepared by the chefs.

     The restaurant proudly uses shell pasteurized eggs, and they believe they are the only restaurant in the county to do so.  In fact, they were so impressed with the quality of these eggs, that now all of their family of restaurants have switched over to the shell pasteurized eggs for a better quality of taste for their customers.  They also use chicken that is cage free, antibiotic free and steroid free.  The shrimp used in the restaurant has no phosphates, again providing an excellent taste to the palate.

     The family of restaurants are all available for eat in or take out if you want to take your food to go.  The staff eagerly awaits helping the customers in any way they can, and provides exceptional customer service.

There are 8 restaurants in the Sunnyside Up family located throughout the area:

Omelette Café :

Rincon, Georgia
410 S., Columbia Ave.

Suite AA

Rincon, GA 31326



Pooler, Georgia

325 SE Hwy 80

Pooler, GA 31322



Richmond Hill, Georgia

10070 Ford Ave.

Suite 1 (Ford Plaza)

Richmond Hill, GA. 31324



Savannah, Georgia

49 W. Montgomery Crossroads

Unit B

Savannah, GA 31406


Hinesville, Georgia

103 E. General Screven Way

Suite C

Hinesville, GA 31313



And a new restaurant will be coming soon to Buckwalter, in Bluffton, South Carolina

Sunnyside Up:

Hwy 21

Hwy 80

Derenne Ave.

Please check them out on Facebook at FB/TheOmelette.Cafe, and stop by to see them at one of their many locations.

Edel Caregiver Institute

Edel Caregiver Institute:

Helping caregivers so they can better help their loved ones

Hospice Savannah is a program for the terminally ill which includes services for care and support of patients at home, in a nursing home or assisted living facility or in Hospice House. Usually abstaining from extraordinary measures to lengthen life, they focus on pain and symptom control and emotional support for the loved ones.

     Hospice Savannah concentrates on the patient and their loved ones; The Edel Caregiver Institute concentrates on the caregiver.

     Caring for a loved one with any type of illness or disorder is not planned and many times the caregiver is at a loss for what they need to do. Caregivers can be friends, relatives, in-laws, spouses – anyone who provides assistance to another, in whatever capacity and whatever their relationship, with no financial benefits. The Edel Caregiver Institute offers support for non-paid, non-professional family caregivers. Again, its primary focus is the caregiver, not the care recipient. The care recipient is rarely hospice patient. It is usually someone who has been diagnosed with a long-term chronic illness such as Congestive Heart Failure, Dementia, Pulmonary Disease, etc.

     The Edel Caregiver Institute opened its doors a year ago, with a vision of helping families. In fact, the Institute has helped over 300 families to date.  With a-state-of-the -art facility nestled off Chatham Parkway, they offer an array of classes and programs for caregivers.  Within their skills lab, they provide hands-on training with medical equipment from oxygen tanks to Hoyer lifts.  The skills lab is able to assist 12-15 people per class and can be disease- specific. Basic nursing skills are also taught to caregivers.

     Taking care of a loved one stricken with disease or a disorder, such as Autism, can take an emotional and physical toll on the one providing the care. The Edel Caregiver Institute delivers wellness for the caregiver, including nutrition education and exercise. It also offers help with navigating the medical world through the assistance of eight retired physicians on hand who are available to go with patients and caregivers to doctor appointments to communicate information. Dementia coaches are also available. They are placed in the homes to help with problem solving and offer hands on help.

     The Edel Caregiver Institute is a not for profit organization that relies on funding from the United Way, donations and fundraisers. All services offered by Edel are free of charge. Please see the website for complete information regarding all the classes and support offered.

Edel Caregiver Institute

6000 Business Center Drive (off Chatham Parkway)

Savannah, GA 31405

EdelCaregiverInstitute.org     912-629-1331

Counties and communities served:

• Bryan: Ellabell, Pembroke, Richmond Hill, Midway

• Chatham: Savannah, Tybee, Pooler, Bloomingdale,

   Thunderbolt, Garden City, Port Wentworth

• Effingham: Rincon, Guyton, Clyo, Springfield

• Liberty: Hinesville and surrounding communities

• Long: Ludowici and surrounding communities

The Edel Caregiver Institute can also provide:

• Reduced rates for daytime respite at local assisted living facilities.

• Discounted rates on local agency sitter services.

• Resource information and referrals to community services. By appointment.

• Caregiving 101 skills follow-up support.

• Individual consultations for disease specific education with fourth year medical

   residents. By appointment.

• Social work support. By appointment.

• In-home respite care scholarships for qualified individuals.*

(*Participating caregivers who wish to apply for a respite scholarship must have had a personal consultation with the manager of the Institute. A participating caregiver is one who has completed a questionnaire, attends classes, and has an established relationship with the Edel Caregiver Institute.  Respite scholarships are offered on a limited basis for a pre-determined amount based on availability).

Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of Savannah

Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of Savannah

Celebrating four decades of treating patients in the Coastal Area

For the past forty years, when patients in the Coastal Empire have experienced any type of head and neck disorders, they usually found their way to offices of ENT Associates of Savannah.

     Since starting the practice four decades ago, Dr. Michael Zoller and his colleagues have seen many technological advancements in the medical field, but one thing remains constant with him and his staff: a dedication to giving the best possible care to every patient that comes into their offices.

     In addition to their Rincon office, they have locations in  Pooler, Statesboro, Bluffton and Richmond Hill, an ENT Surgical Center located on the Armstrong campuses as well as their main office in Savannah.

     Dr. Zoller recently reflected on the enormous growth of his practice over the years. “Having trained in Boston, I started in 1977 in Savannah. Seven years later I was joined by Dr. Fred Daniel, who trained in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Twenty-two years ago, Dr. Stephen Rashleigh joined the practice, having trained in Chicago, and Dr. William Moretz III joined us  ten years ago after being trained in Augusta. Dr. Brad Rawlings joined six years after his training in Norfolk, Virginia. Our most recent addition, Dr. Diane Davis, was in practice for over thirty years in Dublin, Georgia before joining ENT Associates two years ago,” says Dr. Zoller.

    “We’ve had to add those physicians as well as our physician’s assistant, Michelle Yamada, in order to handle the volume of patients at the various satellite offices,” he says. “In fact, we’ve been in Effingham County and Richmond Hill for about twenty-five years. We initially had our office in the Effingham Hospital, but we later moved to Rincon in order to serve our clients who didn’t want to drive in to town for their appointments. I also see quite a few of our Effingham patients in our Pooler office,”  he adds.

     In addition to the physicians, ENT Associates of Savannah has five doctors of audiology on staff who are experts in the newest hearing aid technology.  The Audiology Department works both independently and in conjunction with the physicians to provide a wide range of hearing services, both diagnostic and rehabilitative. Additionally, there is an allergy clinic for  testing and treatment. For over two decades now, residents in Effingham County can now benefit from the services that ENT Associates have been offering to Savannah residents for forty years.

     “The population in Rincon grew so much that we eventually made the decision to move there. Now we have one of our senior partners, Dr. Stephen Rashleigh, M.D., who is at the Rincon office one day a week. He stays extremely busy,” says Dr. Zoller with a smile. Dr. Rashleigh adds, “We’ve been going to Effingham for over twenty years, and it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship. There’s definitely a need for our services, since many of our patients don’t care to drive into Savannah.”

     Dr. Zoller adds, “It’s really nice to be part of the Effingham community. Many of our patients who have moved to Effingham County from Savannah can now receive the same top notch service from our satellite office in Rincon.”

   Founded in 1977, ENT Associates of Savannah has been proud to provide the residents of Georgia and the low country of South Carolina with outstanding ENT care, and they are looking forward to another successful forty years.

Vapor City

Vapor City

By Stephanie Cardozo

     Robert Medrano is the owner of the Vapor City, LLC, and, he has had an extraordinary story that led him to starting this business.

   About four years ago, Robert was diagnosed with larynx cancer. The larynx is located in the neck.  This cancer is common among smokers. “I used to smoke a pack and a half to two packs of cigarettes a day. I went to the doctor and they found a tumor in my throat,” he explains.

    Naturally, he went on to have surgery to remove the tumor, and the doctors advised him to avoid smoking as much as he could. Robert’s search for alternative methods to quit smoking began. He then stumbled upon vaping, which has proven very successful for him in more ways than one. The passion of the vaping industry sparked a fire in Robert that pushed him towards more research, as well as, various conventions to further his knowledge. He met with distributors and vendors and decided to open Vapor City in April of 2015. This business is owned and ran by Robert and his family.

   “Thank God, I have been cancer free and smoke free for three years,” says Robert.

   “About a year ago, I started bringing in a product called CBD. It is an oil extracted from a hemp flower plant, a great product that is completely natural. It is legal in all states and does not contain THC,” he continues to explain the benefits of the oil and how it relieves inflammation, stress, anxiety, arthritis, muscle tension, insomnia, and PTSD amongst many others.

    Robert himself began using CBD two years ago. “I had three dislocated disks in my back. I used to get cortisone injections twice a year.” He has stopped the cortisone shots for a year and a half after vaping CBD. This all natural oil has helped relieve his pain as well as many of his customers.

     “We have expanded the selection of CBD milligrams, the higher the dosage, the better and faster it works,” Robert said. He also sells CBD is gummy and capsule form. Now, everyone has a different system on how they choose to use it. Robert would like potential customers to please take note that it does not contain any THC and it is made from the hemp flower.

    “In my personal opinion, vaping is a great alternative to smoking.” Robert encourages people to do the research before simply writing vaping off as an option to quit smoking. It has helped many people kick the habit and can help so many others.

    Robert and his family currently run three Vapor City stores.  Their locations are Springfield, Hinesville and Swainsboro.

    For more information and a closer look, please visit one of the Vapor City shops. Experience why they continue to grow and succeed in helping customers leave the nicotine addiction behind.

Dr. Wiggins

Colon Cancer is a type of cancer that is very common in the United States. Unlike other cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and others, colon cancer is one that is potentially prevented.

     A way to prevent the potential dangers of colon cancer is to have a test called a Colonoscopy.” In the 90’s, the National Polyp Study came out. Basically, it wasn’t just that it helped to identify cancers early, it actually saved lives. It was a mortality benefit in the neighborhood of 50-74%,” explains Dr. Travis Wiggins of Gastroenterology Consultants of Savannah.

     Dr. Wiggins continues, “We have seen a 2-3% rate of reduction in the amount of colon cancers diagnosed in the US in the last 20 years. A large part of this is due to colon screening initiatives.”

     In 2000, The CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) started covering colonoscopies for cancer screening. Since then, the US has enjoyed a reduction in the amount of colon cancers diagnosed within a single calendar year.

     In recent months, another type of test that is helpful for colon cancer screenings has emerged.  It is called FIT  (Fecal Immunochemical Test). FIT is noninvasive and tests for blood in the stool. This test, if done consistently on an annual basis, can serve as a good tool for early detection and prevention.

     If the FIT is positive, a patient must then have a colonoscopy. Dr. Wiggins highly recommends that anyone with a personal history or family history of colon issues to have a colonoscopy. “If you are experiencing bleeding, a change in bowel habits or any other higher risk symptoms, FIT is not an option.  A colonoscopy is the recommended way to go.” says Dr. Wiggins.

     A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows a close look inside the colon and rectum. A thin, hollow, lighted tube with a tiny video camera on the end is gently eased inside the colon and sends pictures to a TV screen. The exam takes about 30 minutes and the patients are given medicine to help them relax and sleep during the procedure.

     Colon cancer screening should typically start at the age of 50. Some of the newer guidelines recommend screening the African American population starting at the age of 45. If a patient has an increased risk of colon cancer screenings should start at 40, and in some cases of family history, even younger.

     Dr. Wiggins is affiliated with all the hospitals in Savannah, but every Wednesday you’ll find him in Springfield at Effingham Hospital. He is board certified in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Internal Medicine.

     Special areas of concentration for Dr. Wiggins are colon cancer screening, reflux disease, pancreatic and biliary diseases and radiofrequency ablation for Barrett’s esophagus.

     Dr. Wiggins is very much a family man.  He and wife, Jennifer, have three sons that he lovingly calls “The A Team,” Austin, Alex and Andrew. He is very involved with his boys and is a coach for a 7th grade basketball team and an 8U baseball team.  He laughingly says, “I am a coach with hobby of being a Gastroenterologist.”

     He and his entire family will be participating in the upcoming ‘Get Your Rear in Gear’ 5K hosted by the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion.  Gastroenterology Consultants of Savannah is in its 7th year of being one of the presenting sponsors. “This is a very worthwhile cause.  All proceeds of the event will be used to provide screening kits and colonoscopies for low income and underserved patients in our area,” says Dr. Wiggins.

     You can schedule an appointment to see Dr. Wiggins in the Physicians Center at Effingham Hospital by calling his office at (912)354-9447.

Stroller Strong Moms

story by Katrice Williams     photos by Shelia Scott

Apryl Lee, a Savannah native, is the owner and coach of Stroller Strong Moms and has lived in Effingham for about five years. Apryl and her husband, Justin, have two little darlings, their daughter Ryan, 3, and son Jack, 2.

     Interestingly enough, Apryl had a rewarding career as a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit Nurse (CVICU) prior to committing herself to her current endeavors. She wholeheartedly understands the challenges that moms can face when making decisions about leaving their new little ones to return to work. She, too, faced those same difficulties. However, Apryl explains that when she “looked into Ryan’s eyes,” it was a done deal.

     Regarding her decision to become a stay-at-home mom, she confidently remarks, “I would never, ever change it.”

     All-in-all, Stroller Strong Moms strives “to inspire a tribe of strong moms” while also pushing “that person to be more than they thought they could be.” In September 2011, Alexa Smith from Columbus, Georgia wanted to start a distinct fitness class for moms, as she had recently become a mother herself. As a long-time fitness and soccer coach, Alexa wanted to use her athletic skills in a way that would help moms stay active. Hence, she created a stroller fitness class, allowing moms the convenience of having their babies and toddlers outside with them while working out and allowing the children to see them making healthy choices. Alexa, a military wife, later moved to Savannah and started an affiliate branch. Actually, most affiliates are coached by “military moms,” as majority are on military bases. In fact, Apryl, having affiliate groups in both Effingham and Statesboro, is one of the few civilian owners in the organization.

     Stroller Strong Moms has grown rapidly over the years, and its popularity has spread across the country. Presently, there are a multitude of affiliates throughout the United States. Georgia alone has branches in Effingham, Savannah, Statesboro and Columbus.

Apryl began her journey with the organization in December 2014; she started in the Savannah branch when her daughter was 8 weeks old. Shortly thereafter, Apryl found that she was pregnant with her son. She still continued to work out throughout her entire pregnancy.

     She insists, “It really helped me push through forty weeks of pregnancy.” Apryl is still incredibly grateful for all that the group provided, even advice and assistance with “first time mom things like teething.”

     She knows that the benefits of the group are priceless; she wants women to embrace the beauty of motherhood, along with the value of fitness, while “empowering women to feel good about themselves.” That said, Apryl knows that there are often “outside pressures associated with having babies–getting your body back and being the perfect mom” nearly all at once…the superwoman ideology. She wants every woman to experience the true and undeniable joy that comes with taking pride in having a healthy body, while being comfortable in the skin they are in.

     “The body is a wonderful and amazing thing; you’ve gotten amazing little tiny people out of it,” she said.

     Apryl wants women to know their significance in life as moms and embrace the irreplaceable joys of motherhood. Stroller Strong Moms supports, inspires and motivates each other. She adds, “It’s okay to inspire and encourage fellow women. This is not a competition; it is really true friendships. I want to keep building that community. The workouts are wonderful, but you come back for the comradery and the empowerment. You’re competing with the person next to you to try to beat them in a race, but at the same time, you’re cheering them on, which is very hard to find in a group of women.”

     Apryl is confident that nearly anyone can succeed in her class. She strives to be as flexible with the members as possible and says that “everything can be modified.” Apryl does not want anyone to be “scared off” or intimidated by anything. She states, “It’s something for everybody, and we can take it to your level; it’s a health and wellness thing.”

     Each class consists of a one hour full-body workout outdoors; at present, Apryl’s Effingham fitness class is held at Baker’s Pond and her Statesboro class is held at Mill Creek Regional Park. There are four conditioning stations, which takes about 10-12 minutes each. This time frame works great for the kids, who are watching from their strollers; it is usually just enough time for them to be entertained but not enough to become bored and agitated. There is cardio conditioning, including walking and running paths, cross-hiit (high intensity interval training) and plyometrics. However, that can be modified based on individual preference and needs.

     A diverse group of ladies make up the classes, mainly moms with toddlers; moms with older children of various ages also attend. Moreover, there are even ladies who attend who are not moms at all; they merely appreciate the overall benefits. Apryl wants to encourage mothers to take a small amount of time out of the day for themselves without feeling guilty about it.

     “Taking that one hour out of the day for you makes the other 23 hours so much better for your child, because you’re happy, you’re in a good head space, you’re confident, you’ll have energy and will be a better mother for it.”

     There is also fun outside of the exercise arena. Apryl and the other ladies enjoy a “mom’s night out” once each month. Whether going bowling or catching a movie, they have a fun and relaxing change of scenery. There is even something for the kiddies; after all, they are also little dedicated members of the group. They have a play-date after class once each month. One of the play-dates that is “everybody’s favorite” involves a toddler workout.

     Apryl smiles and says, “My kids live to work out.”

     Apryl is proud that Stroller Strong Moms support a cause that is “near and dear to her heart”—CURE, an organization that completely focuses on finding a cure for childhood cancers. Apryl has donated to the worthy cause over the years. Each year, Stroller Strong Moms has a consignment sale consisting of designer children’s clothing, where “a portion of the proceeds goes to CURE.”

     “Obviously, we’re all mothers; you can never be too grateful,” Apryl mentions.

     Going forward, she wants to continue to make more women aware of Stroller Strong Moms and be a voice of empowerment for moms. She, too, is excited about the 10-week fitness and nutrition challenge that the organization is currently involved in, which brings participants “back to the basics” in wellness. This includes the consumption of the suggested daily water intake, enhancing exercise goals, and helping individuals challenge themselves to achieve various points of wellness.

     Apryl Lee, alongside Stroller Strong Moms, is certainly leading by example, truly showing that “taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your kids.” For additional information about the organization, visit www.strollerstrongmoms.com.

John Bennett – MD

story by Kelly Harley     photos by Tonya Perry

Dr. John Bennet works hard to better himself and the healthcare industry. With years of experience under his belt, his career in the industry has certainly blossomed. In 2017, he was named chief medical officer (CMO) and chief medical information officer (CMIO) for Effingham Health System (EHS), a position that requires a high level of dedication and commitment to excellence. This position also requires leadership oversight for the Medical Staff Governing Body and the design of the healthcare delivery model across the health system.

     As CMO/CMIO for EHS, Dr. Bennett is a physician who is championing the selection and procurement of a replacement electronic health record system. “We are faced with workflow challenges managing multiple systems. As we grow, we need an infrastructure that will support our operational needs, and our delivery of safe and quality care to the patients we serve. Having one system to replace three will greatly improve efficiency and work satisfaction,” says Dr. Bennett.

     Dr. Bennett works closely with the chief executive officer, department directors, physicians, and hospital staff to ensure that the highest standards of quality and service are maintained. He oversees the implementation of quality improvement efforts designed to enhance clinical performance and maintain compliance with accreditation standards. He also evaluates developments in medical care and makes recommendations for new practices and procedures.

     For Dr. Bennett, being a doctor wasn’t his first career choice. After graduating from Georgia Tech, he spent several years as a civil and environmental engineer. A visit from a friend who had attended medical school sparked an interest in Dr. Bennett. “At that point in my career, I was working with biotechnology as an option for decontaminating industrial sites so I had developed a good knowledge of microbiology. Our conversations during her visit basically planted the seed of curiosity about medicine and the human equation,” says Dr. Bennett. “I wanted to learn, so I went to medical school. My wife always says grass would never grow under my feet since I am always moving forward taking on the challenge of learning new things.”

     Dr. Bennett obtained a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. After completing residency at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, he moved to Atlanta to practice medicine. He then built a successful practice in Cumming, Georgia, that focused on outpatient internal medicine. He also assisted in building an Urgent Care in Atlanta.

     In 2013, he was recruited by EHS to work as an internist in the Port Wentworth medical office and to assist in the development of ECB (Effingham-Chatham-Bryan) Occupational Medicine. In addition, he shared rotational weekends with other area physicians as a hospitalist at EHS. In 2014, EHS lost one full-time hospitalist and he stepped up to fill that position. The following year, Dr. Bennett moved away from traditional primary care to become a full-time hospitalist for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah. During his off weeks, he continued to work for EHS as the director of Occupational Medicine. He also filled in as a hospitalist as needed.

     No matter the role Dr. Bennett takes on at EHS, there is one thing that doesn’t change and that’s his commitment to his work and those he serves. “I understand the challenges happening in healthcare and challenges faced by small hospitals,” says Dr. Bennett. “Working at EHS gives me the opportunity to be a part of that in the most rewarding way, which centers around the people I work with and the patients I care for.”


Getting school age children the medical care they need when they aren’t feeling well can be a real challenge for parents. A new telemedicine program from Effingham Health System is providing some area students the opportunity to “visit” the doctor while they are in school.

     Effingham Health TELEMED has transformed healthcare for children in our community. It makes healthcare more convenient and accessible for parents, avoids delays in treatment and enhances learning by decreasing absenteeism.

     Effingham County’s non-profit healthcare system is working with the Effingham County Board of Education on this new program. According to Joseph Tallent, Community and Operations Coordinator for Effingham Health System, it is the first such program in the greater Savannah region.

     Telemedicine in schools has met with great success in the past few years. Effingham Health TELEMED has partnered with Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, which has launched telemedicine programs in over 100 schools in Georgia. “Being a part of their pacesetting program is a real honor for Effingham Health System,’” explains Mr. Tallent.


     If a sick student appears that they may need to see a doctor, the school nurse reaches out to the parent. The student (or a teacher who is not feeling well) is triaged to determine if they meet the criteria for a telemedicine appointment. If yes, and there is signed consent on file, the nurse contacts Effingham Health System to schedule a same day appointment via the schools telemedicine technology. If it is late in the afternoon, appointments are made for early the next morning.

      Assessments and diagnoses are performed by a physician or advance practitioner from Effingham Health System. Their care team advises on medical treatments and calls in any prescriptions for the parent to pick up at their convenience. The school nurse follows up with parents after the visit.

     Today’s telemedicine has evolved to include cutting-edge medical treatment and innovative technology. A blue tooth stethoscope, HD digital cameras, monitors and a digital scope, provide a high definition picture of the patient for the physician, who communicates via live cameras and a computer, while a secure connection assures patient privacy.

     Effingham Health TELEMED is also open to faculty and staff members. Guyton and Springfield Elementary schools were chosen as the pilot schools for this new program. The plan is to expand to other schools in the fall.

     The goal of our telemedicine program is to increase attendance and GPA for students, increase access to providers, decrease after hours emergency room visits and hospitalizations all while decreasing the time away from work for parents.

     The school nurses, Joe Tallent and Shannon Clark, Effingham Health System Practice Manager, have received training through Georgia Partnership for Telehealth and are Certified Telehealth Clinical Presenters.

     “Joe and I are available to not only assist with the scheduling, if needed, but we also go to the schools to assist the nurses with the presenting of the patient to the Providers if the nurses are busy with their other daily duties and responsibilities,” states Clark.

      Effingham Health System has had 27 telemedicine visits since the program went live in October 2017.