We are proud to have won best in this year’s Reader’s Choice Awards in three categories. We dedicate this award to our highly skilled, caring and professional team, without them we would not be one of the very best clinics in the country. Thank you to everyone who voted and congratulations to all of the other winners. To see the full list of award recipients visit https://www.hamiltonnews.com/readerschoice/

Dr. Steven V. Zizzo (Hamilton) is recognized for leading the team at Winterberry Family Medicine to inoculate 31,000 Hamiltonians—and counting—with COVID-19 vaccines. His innovative initiatives have helped to bridge the gap in delivery of vaccines, and he has disseminated his experience to the broader medical community through involvement with the Primary Care Digital Caucus for both his local and provincial Ontario Health Teams (OHT). To view the Award Program visit hwww.ontariofamilyphysicians.ca/ocfp-awards/2022-award-recipients/ocfp-2022-awards-booklet.pdf

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) has recognized Dr. Steven Zizzo for outstanding contributions in community service. The award was presented at the 2022 Ontario College of Family Physicians awards ceremony on November 16, this award recognizes Dr. Zizzo “for outstanding community service for his COVID-19 vaccination efforts”.

Background on Dr. Zizzo’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts:

Dr. Zizzo seized every opportunity to improve community and public health because it benefits patients, all Hamiltonians, and our health system overall. As vaccine programs were announced, Dr. Zizzo quickly offered Winterberry Family Medicine’s resources, showcasing the significance of family medicine and the robust resources a holistic health team can offer. 

Since May 2021, Dr. Zizzo has led the team at Winterberry Family medicine to inoculate more than 31,000 and counting with COVID-19 vaccinations.  

The immunized included his own patients, patients of other practices, unattached patients, rural, disadvantaged, high risk, disabled, children; anyone who needed vaccination from Hamilton and the surrounding communities. 

Consistent with the pillars of Family Medicine, Dr. Zizzo identified an urgent gap in healthcare delivery and, given his capacities to deliver substantial help, volunteered his clinic’s services to Hamilton Public Health (HPH). The goal he set and met was to educate and immunize as many as possible.

Dr. Zizzo’s culture of “giving back” is rooted in the values of his late uncle, Dr. Angelo Zizzo, a respected community leader who hosted a weekly educational talk show, Health Matters, on CHML in the 1990s. Following in his uncle’s footsteps, Dr. Zizzo recognized the urgent need to support every resident in and surrounding his community through the pandemic. He felt that this is what his uncle would have done.  Of note, after the untimely death of Dr. Angelo during COVID-19, Dr. Zizzo resumed care for Dr. his patients, immunizing the vast majority of them. 

Dr. Zizzo felt it was our duty to volunteer our capacities to deliver high volume and safe education and immunizations immediately and safely. He personally funded, created systems to implement and oversaw tens of thousands of COVID-19 inoculations when no other family practices offered them. All costs associated with the distribution, including all technology, medical equipment, PPE, training and salaries were paid for personally by Dr. Zizzo, and he did this because he had the capacity and ambition to help – it was the right thing to do.

For many Hamiltonians, this was their first in-person visit to a family physician in more than a year, and Dr. Zizzo ensured his team was prepared for a variety of concerns that could be raised by patients while receiving their vaccinations. 

Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath hosts first in-person New Year’s Levee at city hall after two yearsIn a departure by past mayors holding one New Year’s levee at city hall, Mayor Andrea Horwath believes there should be more of them for the community to enjoy.

After two years without in-person levees, Horwath held the first of five citywide levees on Jan. 4 on the second floor of Hamilton City Hall, the first time it was held on a weekday evening.

“I just thought it was a positive way to start off the new term of council by saying to the people of Hamilton, no matter what part of the city you reside in, we are all part of one big city,” said Horwath in an interview.

The mayor said the idea came from someone during the recent election campaign, to hold multiple levees across the city.

“We are a city of many communities,” said Horwath. “It just reflects for me the ties that bind us.”

The Glanbrook Municipal Service Centre is slated to host the Jan. 5 New Year’s Levee, followed by Ancaster on Jan. 6, both starting at 7 p.m. and running until 9 p.m. The Stoney Creek Municipal Service Centre planned its levee for Jan. 7, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and Flamborough and Dundas are set to host levees on Jan. 8, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. respectively. The public is encouraged to bring a non-perishable donation for the local food bank.

Adding to Horwath’s attempts to unite the community after 23 years of being an amalgamated city, the mayor bestowed the Order of Hamilton medals on four Hamiltonians during the event. Horwath will be presenting the honour to other residents at the upcoming levees as well.“This is not just a symbolic order, but also a representation of the way we are all part of something,” said Horwath. “We are all in this together and we all have to support each other. There are lots of people doing great things in all parts of our city.”

The recipients of the Order of Hamilton were Bill Custers, senior manager at Cable 14, who provided valuable information during the COVID-19 pandemic; Mike Moore, president of Hamilton Challenger Baseball Association; Karen Nelson, a 30-year volunteer who co-founded the Hamilton Youth Steel Orchestra and has volunteered for the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Hamilton; and Dr. Steven Zizzo, medical director of Winterberry Family Medicine, who volunteered his clinic to deliver high volume vaccine capacity to Hamilton Public Health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been the largest private immunization campaign in Canada, said Horwath.

“There is no shortage or desire of people here (to volunteer),” said Horwath to the estimated 100 people who braved a cold, rainy evening.Holding the levee, said Horwath, who became the first women to sit in Hamilton’s mayor’s chair after winning a closely contested municipal election last October, is a chance to “renew some hope and optimism” for 2023 after two years without an in-person levee.The Order of Hamilton was created in 2019 by former mayor Fred Eisenberger when he awarded nine individuals with the medal and pin during his last in-person New Year’s Levee in Jan. 5, 2020. Eisenberger did conduct virtual New Year’s levees in 2021 and 2022, and announced the recipients during the events.The city created the order as a way to recognize “the unsung heroes of our communities (who) are the endless volunteers.”

Also attending the Jan. 4 event was Hamilton Mountain NDP MPP Monique Taylor, and councillors Tammy Hwang of Ward 4 and Glanbrook Coun. Mark Tadeson.Tadeson said it was his first time attending a Hamilton levee event, which was competing with a Hamilton Bulldogs hockey game, and he was interested to meet and greet residents.

Horwath’s interview with reporters was interrupted by Canadian entertainment icon Luba Goy, who embraced the mayor.”I have stars in my eyes,” said Horwath, who quickly held Goy and stood with her for cellphone photos.Horwath’s first levee, which lasted from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., was broadcast by Cable 14 and hosted by Mike Fortune.

At Winterberry we could not be more proud of the prestigious medical awards our Medical Director, Dr. Steven Zizzo has been honoured with this fall.

One of the awards was given by OntarioMD (OMD) for Dr. Zizzo’s outstanding vision, leadership and commitment to the implementation of digital tools and processes that ultimately improve patient experience.

We are proud to share the letter and the accolades from OntarioMD:

Luminary Award Letter 

Dear Dr. Zizzo,

On behalf of OntarioMD (OMD), I’m pleased to inform you that you are a winner of a 2022 OMD Luminary Award for your outstanding contribution to digital health in Ontario. You were nominated by Krysta Simoes, who submitted a description of why you deserve this award:

“Dr. Zizzo and Winterberry Family Medicine use PS Suite EMR and Pomelo to run an organized and efficient medical practice with a convenient and smooth experience that reduces the stress and anxiety patients often feel when visiting their doctor.

Dr. Zizzo personally undertook the important task of operating Winterberry Family Medicine throughout the pandemic, maintaining existing patient-doctor relationships, all the while expanding the clinic’s operations to administer over 35,000 (and counting) COVID-19 immunizations, including counselling sessions to educate and ease the concerns of vaccine-hesitant patients.

Without these digital tools, Dr. Zizzo and Winterberry could not have achieved these monumental feats in such a short time frame.  Using Pomelo in tandem with PS Suite EMR, Dr. Zizzo created an online booking system whereby patients could also learn about COVID-19 vaccination, update their demographic data, and consent to immunization. This system was more functional than the approach taken by the Ministry of Health, which operated on a “first come, first serve” basis, creating considerable delays to Ontarians trying to get their vaccine and the clinics administering the vaccines. Neither of these difficulties occurred under Winterberry’s system.

Dr. Zizzo created visit templates “PS chart stamps” and “encounter assistants” as well as medical directives for staff to safely and efficiently assess, document, counsel, and administer COVID-19 vaccines. These templates allowed visit records to be searchable and ensured a high quality of service delivery and documentation.  Pairing these EMR and virtual care technologies with iPads and LTE data plans allowed Winterberry to increase the clinic’s accessibility and accommodate Ontarians living with disabilities or other extenuating circumstances. Thanks to these technologies and Dr. Zizzo’s leadership, Winterberry was able to deliver and administer COVID vaccines at patients’ homes or while they remained in their vehicles in the parking lot.

The virtual care platform also allowed Dr. Zizzo to consult patients in the exam room without needing to come into physical contact with them, thus minimizing the risk of COVID transmission for patients and staff. Each of Winterberry’s 16 exam rooms were equipped with high-speed internet, PS Suite EMR, Pomelo, and virtual care capabilities with a microphone and camera.  Dr. Zizzo has a heart for supporting his community.

That is why he spent tens of thousands of dollars resourcing Winterberry and its staff, and spent hundreds of hours on education, planning, and management of certainly one of the largest (if not the largest) private COVID-19 immunization clinics in Canada. His efforts began in May 2021—when virtually no other family practice offered these vaccines—and continue to this day. When Dr. Zizzo saw the need for increased health capacity, he went straight to work, offering Winterberry’s services to Hamilton Public Health (HPH). Dr. Zizzo took on patients from other practices, children, and disadvantaged, high-risk, rural, disability, or otherwise vulnerable communities—whoever needed a vaccine was welcome at his practice. 

These accomplishments were made possible with Pomelo, PS Suite EMR, and of course, Dr. Zizzo’s vision, grit, and dedication to his community. Dr. Zizzo acted heroically, doing what he knew was best for his community, all while showcasing the value of family medicine and the power of technological innovation.”

Here at Winterberry our mission is to help patients live their best life and our Medical Director, Dr. Steven Zizzo, is our guide and visionary. Today we’re congratulating him on being honoured with prestigious awards from CFPC, OCFP and OntarioMD for his contributions toward COVID-19, obesity medicine and virtual care.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFCP) Award of Excellence which recognizes an exceptional accomplishment or innovation achieved in the past 24 months in a specific area pertaining to the specialty of family medicine.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) Award of Excellence celebrates the outstanding skill, knowledge and dedication of family doctors across Ontario through the 2022 Awards program. The recipients showcase the vital work family doctors do to help keep Ontarians healthy.

The OntarioMD Luminary Award which is awarded to Dr. Steven Zizzo for having shown innovative use of certified electronic medical records (EMRs) and other digital and virtual care tools to enhance patient care.

These awards are given in recognition of Dr. Steven Zizzo’s medical excellence and vision as well as for leading the Winterberry Family Medicine team in inoculating 31,000 (and counting) Hamiltonians with COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Steven Zizzo attended the award ceremonies virtually and was excited to accept the honours on behalf of himself and the entire team of caring and skilled professionals at Winterberry Family Medicine.

To find out more about Dr. Steven Zizzo and Winterberry visit www.WinterberryMedical.ca

According to Dr. Sue Pederson, a medical doctor, Specialist in Endocrinology & Metabolism, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine:

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), in conjunction with the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), have just released their joint Consensus Report at the EASD meeting in Stockholm, published simultanously in Diabetes Care.

This rich and beautiful Consensus Statement covers the gamut of treatment of type 2 diabetes, which is far beyond the scope of a single blog post.

What I want to focus on today is a true turning point in how we approach treatment of type 2 diabetes.   Until now, guidelines for which medications to recommend for type 2 diabetes focus on protection of the heart and kidneys, and blood sugar control.  While these remain extremely important goals of treatment, they are now joined by another primary target in treatment: weight management.

As the authors note, weight loss had previously been viewed mostly as a strategy to improve blood sugars and reduce the risk of other health complications associated with elevated weight.  With weight loss now identified as a primary treatment target in people with type 2 diabetes and elevated weight, they point out that:

  • the greater the weight loss, the greater the benefit
  • 5-10% weight loss confers metabolic improvement (eg sugars, cholesterol, blood pressure)
  • weight loss of 10-15% or more can result in remission of type 2 diabetes
  • weight loss can improve cardiometabolic risk factors and, importantly, can improve quality of life.

As far as how to lose weight, the consensus statement points out/advises:

  • There is no single ratio of carb:protein:fat intake that is optimal for every person.
  • Construct an overall healthy eating plan that results in less calories in than out.
  • The use of glucose-lowering medications that provide significant weight loss, particularly the GLP1 receptor agonists with high weight loss efficacy, should be considered, as they can provide 10-15% weight loss or more.
  • Weight loss medications, in addition to lifestyle change, can reduce weight and improve diabetes control.
  • Bariatric (metabolic) surgery should be considered for people who are appropriate candidates.  It is most effective early during diabetes.

In accordance with the triple priorities of heart/kidney protection, glucose control, and weight loss, the consensus statement no longer recommends metformin as the default first line treatmentas the benefits of GLP1 receptor agonists and SGLT2i inhibitors for all three treatment targets often make these medications more appropriate to use first (see figure 3, page 13).

Again, I emphasize that there are so many important aspects to this update, including particular focus on taking each person’s social circumstances into account, supporting patients in self management, physical behaviors through the 24-hour clock (including a brand new section on sleep!), a new section on fatty liver disease, and so much more!

Diabetes Canada was not part of this consensus statement, but I’m certain that it will be a hot topic of discussion at our upcoming Diabetes Canada professional conference.

Watch the video Dr.Sue shared on her site DrSue.ca

We’re excited that our new online appointment booking system is faster and easier to use than our previous system.

To make it as simple as possible for you to book your next appointment we’re sharing “The Oceans Patient Guide To Online Booking”. This Guide gives you information on our new booking system and clear, easy to understand instructions to read as well as a simple, 2 minute video to watch.

Visit this link:

Ready to book your next appointment using our new online booking system? Simply click here to get started.

If you have any questions about our new online booking system please call us to discuss and we will be happy to help you!

By Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The obesity epidemic isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and new research delivers even worse news: Most American adults have not only gained more weight, but they gained most of it earlier in life.

The statistics were grim: More than half of Americans in the representative sample had gained 5% or more body weight during a 10-year period. More than one-third of Americans had gained 10% or more body weight. And nearly one-fifth had gained 20% or more body weight.

It got worse: People were gaining more substantial amounts of weight earlier in adulthood, thus carrying more of that extra weight for more years, researchers found.

This pattern was surprising, said study author Larry Tucker, a professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. “What people don’t realize is that most of that weight, the actual gaining of weight, is highest at a younger age.”

In the study, his team culled data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on 10-year weight change patterns of more than 13,800 U.S. adults.

In 2000, about 30.5% of adult Americans were obese. By 2017-2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 42.4% of adult Americans had reached that weight.

Those extra pounds were packed on in early adulthood: The average American gained about 17.6 pounds from their mid-20s to mid-30s, the study found. Meanwhile, the average person gained about 14.3 pounds between their 30s and 40s, 9.5 pounds between their 40s and 50s, and 4.6 pounds between their 50s and 60s.

Women gained twice as much weight as men, 12 pounds, on average, compared to about 6 pounds. Black women had the greatest average weight gain over 10 years, about 19.4 pounds.

Reasons for the nationwide increase vary, Tucker said. The environment people live and eat in is far different from what it was 50 or 100 years ago. Obesity rates didn’t start climbing until the late 1970s or early 1980s, he explained.

“That’s because very rapidly a few things happened,” Tucker said. “That’s when fast food became prevalent. Before, people were more in control of what they ate. People sat down and had meals. People planned ahead. ‘What are you going to eat? What are you having for supper tonight?'”

Picking up what is admittedly a tasty fast meal, but loaded with calories, makes it hard for a person to control what they’re eating, he said.

“It takes a very conscientious person to work around that. I do this for a living and I’m lean, but it’s because I’m very much aware of the situation,” Tucker said.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Obesity .

Dr. Ethan Lazarus, president of the Obesity Medicine Association, said he had not seen the issue of obesity studied in this way before.

“It definitely points to the idea that obesity is not an equal opportunity employer. It’s unfortunately disproportionately affecting already marginalized groups with less access to care,” noted Lazarus, who was not part of the study.

One reason for the greater impact on women may be that they have experienced more environmental changes than men have in the last five decades, with greater numbers in the workforce and also caring for families, he said.

“I think you see a lot published these days about higher levels of stress and lower amounts of sleep, and more time sitting and more time staring at computer screens,” Lazarus said. “That’s become the normal American job is to sit in front of a computer all day and then we get home and we’re so tired all we can do is sit on the couch and play with the phone. It’s like we’re never unplugged.”

Lazarus also pointed to the foods Americans eat, coming from a box with high quantities of sugar and little nutritional value, as a factor.

“What we look at as a normal diet in America, I think is fueling this epidemic,” Lazarus said.

He suggested rethinking values of making money and working more hours and instead refocusing on personal health.

For those who are already living with obesity, the Obesity Medicine Association suggests healthy nutrition, counseling on physical activity and what it calls intensive lifestyle intervention, which addresses issues that lead to weight gain, such as stresssleep deprivation and social events. A variety of new medications can also target obesity, Lazarus said.

For people with more advanced or more complicated obesity, there are surgical options, Lazarus said.

Tucker said he would like to see more education based on well-established principles of healthy eating from a young age, including not rewarding young people with food and encouraging fruits and vegetables.

“I think knowing at a young age with the medical community involved, with schools involved, we don’t want people to become obsessed and think that their worth is in their weight,” Tucker noted.

“That’s not healthy, but at the same time, we want them to realize that it’s hard to be healthy,” he said. “It’s hard to prevent diabetes. It’s hard to prevent heart disease if people continue to gain weight and become obese.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on overweight and obesity.

SOURCES: Larry Tucker, PhD, professor, exercise science, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Ethan Lazarus, MD, president, Obesity Medicine Association, and physician, Clinical Nutrition Center, Greenwood Village, Colo.; Journal of Obesity, May 6, 2022

TORONTO — The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is expanding eligibility for second booster doses to Ontarians aged 18 and over in order to provide an extra layer of protection to those who may need it.

Starting on Thursday, July 14 at 8:00 a.m., eligible individuals can book an appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Eligible individuals can also book an appointment directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics and participating pharmacies. Appointments are based on availability, which may vary by region.

“As we continue to manage COVID-19 for the long term, we’re expanding second booster doses and extending the availability of free rapid antigen tests to give people the tools they need to stay safe and to ensure Ontario stays open,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Vaccines continue to be our best defence against COVID-19 and protecting our hospital capacity for those who need it most.”

Second booster doses are being offered at an interval of five months after an individual receives their first booster dose. While most individuals aged 18 to 59 years old will continue to have strong protection more than six months after their first booster dose, expanding second booster dose eligibility will ensure that Ontarians can make an informed decision based on their personal circumstances. A new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is anticipated to be approved by Health Canada this fall, which may offer more targeted protection against the Omicron variants. Ontarians are encouraged to speak with their health care provider about whether getting a second booster dose now is right for them.

High-risk individuals who should get their second booster dose as soon as possible and many of whom have been eligible to do so for months include:

  • Individuals aged 60 and over;
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over;
  • Residents of a long-term care home, retirement home, or Elder Care Lodge and older adults living in other congregate settings that provide assisted-living and health services; and
  • Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

The Ontario government will also continue to provide free rapid antigen tests to the general public through existing channels like grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as to workplaces, schools, hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes and other congregate settings until December 31, 2022.

“Expanding eligibility to second booster doses and providing continued access to testing will empower Ontarians to make the best decisions for their circumstances and help keep our communities safe,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Staying up to date on vaccination is the best protection against severe outcomes from COVID-19.”

As part of the province’s plan to stay open, Ontario is expanding Ontario’s health care workforce, shoring-up domestic production of critical supplies and investing more than $40 billion for over 50 major hospital projects that will bring over 3,000 new hospital beds. Since the start of the pandemic, the province has added over 8,600 health care professionals to the health care system with programs in place to recruit thousands more.

Quick Facts

  • Ontarians aged 60 and over, as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over have been eligible for second boosters since April 7, 2022.
  • As of July 11, 2022, Ontario has administered more than 33 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 93 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and over having received at least one dose, more than 91 per cent having received a second dose and more than 57 per cent having received a booster.
  • If you have questions about your vaccine eligibility, please contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007), which is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and capable of providing assistance in more than 300 languages.
  • As of July 8, 2022, Ontario has distributed more than 238 million free rapid antigen tests, with more than 140 million going to highest risk settings, schools and licensed child care, essential industries and small and medium-sized businesses. More than 98 million free rapid antigen tests have been distributed to the public through participating grocery and pharmacy retailers and targeted distribution to high priority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
  • Publicly-funded PCR testing remains accessible for high-risk individuals including as a qualifier for accessing treatment such as antivirals. Learn more about COVID-19 treatments and determine if you are eligible by using Ontario’s antiviral screener tool or calling 811.

Press Release link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-covid-update-rapid-tests-moore-1.6519060