Meridian HealthCare Welcomes Dr. Gary Kraker as Primary Healthcare Physician

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO — Meridian HealthCare’s CEO, Larry Moliterno, is pleased to announce the addition of Gary L. Kraker, DO to its primary healthcare team.

Dr. Kraker has served in a number of different roles throughout his successful medical career and will now be merging his practice with Meridian. In his new position, Dr. Kraker will focus on the integration of behavioral and primary healthcare services.

“Meridian is very fortunate to add Gary to our healthcare team,” stated Meridian’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Daniel Brown. “He’s a great physician and has a passion for medicine and the patients he serves.”

Meridian’s new Warren location – 320 High Street, NE, Warren, OH will serve as Dr. Kraker’s primary office, but he will also see some patients at Meridian’s main office located at 527 N. Meridian Road.

“I’m excited to join the Meridian team,” said Dr. Kraker. “They have a great medical team and I look forward to continuing to serve the community while focusing on integrated healthcare.”

Dr. Kraker resides in Howland with his wife Leslie and two children, Lauren and Christian. To schedule an appointment, please call 330-318-3871.

Meridian HealthCare is a nonprofit organization dedicated to Saving Lives and Serving Communities. Meridian works with those in need of help in the Mahoning Valley through its divisions:

  • Counseling and Addiction Treatment for those with alcohol and drug abuse problems.
  • Community Education and Awareness Programs to stem the tide of addiction.
  • Workforce Wellness and Testing to promote productivity in the workplace.
  • Criminal Justice. Collaboration with the courts and law enforcement.

Healthcare. Integrated approach focused on behavioral and primary healthcare.

Insights & Inspiration Series #3 – “Home”

Family life can be enriched for every member if we work to make home a place where everyone can feel safe, protected and comfortable.

In each episode of the Insights & Inspiration Series, Larry Moliterno, CEO of Meridian HealthCare gives you a glimpse of the thoughts, motivations and emotions that you react to every day. With a new understanding of yourself and others you will be inspired to deal with life, recovery and the other challenges you face.

The mission of Meridian HealthCare is eliminating addiction. It works toward that mission everyday by offering extensive treatment options, primary medical care, behavioral healthcare therapy and counseling.

Meridian HealthCare also provides the Mahoning Valley and surrounding areas with extensive Prevention programming and services. The professionals at Meridian believe that if you can protect your from car accidents and other risks, you should be able to protect them from drug addictions.

For more about services Meridian HealthCare offers, please contact us.

Meridian HealthCare Welcomes Dr. Gary Kraker as Primary Healthcare Physician

Meridian HealthCare’s CEO, Larry Moliterno, is pleased to announce the addition of Gary L. Kraker, DO to its primary healthcare team.

Dr. Kraker has served in a number of different roles throughout his successful medical career and will now be merging his practice with Meridian. In his new position, Dr. Kraker will focus on the integration of behavioral and primary healthcare services.

“Meridian is very fortunate to add Gary to our healthcare team,” stated Meridian’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Daniel Brown. “He’s a great physician and has a passion for medicine and the patients he serves.” NE

Meridian’s new Warren location – 320 High Street, NE, Warren, OH will serve as Dr. Kraker primary office, but he will also see some patients at Meridian’s main office located at 527 N Meridian Road.

“I’m excited to join the Meridian team,” said Dr. Kraker. “They have a great medical team and I look forward to continuing to serve the community while focusing on integrated healthcare.”

Dr. Kraker resides in Howland with his wife Leslie and two children, Lauren and Christian. To schedule an appointment, please call 330-318-3871.

 

Insights & Inspiration Series #2 – “Hope”

Regardless of the depths of our circumstances, the one thing we all want more than anything else is hope.

In each episode of the Insights & Inspiration Series, Larry Moliterno, CEO of Meridian HealthCare gives you a glimpse of the thoughts, motivations and emotions that you react to every day. With a new understanding of yourself and others you will be inspired to deal with life, recovery and the other challenges you face.

The mission of Meridian HealthCare is eliminating addiction. It works toward that mission everyday by offering extensive treatment options, primary medical care, behavioral healthcare therapy and counseling.

Meridian HealthCare also provides the Mahoning Valley and surrounding areas with extensive Prevention programing and services. The professionals at Meridian believe that if you can protect your from car accidents and other risks, you should be able to protect them from drug addictions.

For more about services Meridian HealthCare offers, contact us.

Insights & Inspiration Series #1 – “Find the Strength Inside”

When you learn to tap into this resource that we all have, you can handle more stress and live a happier life.

In each episode of the Insights & Inspiration Series, Larry Moliterno, CEO of Meridian HealthCare gives you a glimpse of the thoughts, motivations and emotions that you react to every day. With a new understanding of yourself and others you will be inspired to deal with life, recovery and the other challenges you face.

The mission of Meridian HealthCare is eliminating addiction. It works toward that mission everyday by offering extensive treatment options, primary medical care, behavioral healthcare therapy and counseling.

Meridian HealthCare also provides the Mahoning Valley and surrounding areas with extensive Prevention programing and services. The professionals at Meridian believe that if you can protect your from car accidents and other risks, you should be able to protect them from drug addictions.

Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board Honors Dr. Brown

Dr. Daniel Brown, Medical Director of Meridian HealthCare, received the Eagle Award at the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board’s recent luncheon. Since joining Meridian in 2013, Dr. Brown been been closely involved in many activities that have benefited both our clients and the community as a whole.

His many accomplishments include:

  • serving as an outspoken advocate for Medication Assisted Treatment — making numerous presentations educating the community, from a medical perspective, on the effectiveness and efficacy of medications when used appropriately and in conjunction with counseling.
  • organizing and implementing Meridian’s telemedicine program, the only Medication Assisted Treatment program utilizing telemedicine in the state of Ohio
  • initiating a program to make Narcan (an opiate overdose reversal medication) available for law enforcement professionals throughout Mahoning County

Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board Honors Dr. Brown

Dr. Daniel Brown, Medical Director of Meridian HealthCare, received the Eagle Award at the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board’s recent luncheon. Since joining Meridian in 2013, Dr. Brown been been closely involved in many activities that have benefited both our clients and the community as a whole.

His many accomplishments include:

  • serving as an outspoken advocate for Medication Assisted Treatment — making numerous presentations educating the community, from a medical perspective, on the effectiveness and efficacy of medications when used appropriately and in conjunction with counseling.
  • organizing and implementing Meridian’s telemedicine program, the only Medication Assisted Treatment program utilizing telemedicine in the state of Ohio
  • initiating a program to make Narcan (an opiate overdose reversal medication) available for law enforcement professionals throughout Mahoning County

Understanding Co-Occurring Addiction and Treatment

Tina Goynes, Co-Occurring Treatment Program Manager for Meridian HealthCare, explains Co-Occurring Treatment Disorders, which involve individuals who are suffering with substance abuse and mental health issues simultaneously. Also discussed are treatment methods.

Meridian HealthCare Awards 7th Annual Meridian Scholarships

Meridian HealthCare presented scholarships to four area students at an awards breakfast held May 11. The 2016 Meridian Scholarship is a component fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

Scholarships were awarded to:

  • Hannah Cooley of Howland High School
  • Andrea Hutzler of Lowellville High School
  • Cassandra Kays of Mineral Ridge High School
  • Michael Vince of Liberty High School

Meridian created the Meridian Scholarship as a way to honor and support students in the Mahoning Valley who have participated in Meridian’s PANDA Leaders Club. PANDA Leaders Club, a prevention program of Meridian HealthCare, empowers kids and teens by giving them the knowledge to make responsible decisions about the issues that affect them most today. Through peer support, they are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle, make positive choices and be comfortable with themselves. These students have adhered to their promise to positively influence their peers and continually be a leader in their community.

Larry Moliterno, Meridian HealthCare’s CEO, said:  “We are very proud of these four students and the leadership roles they have taken on, not only in our PANDA Leaders Club, but also in their schools and communities. We are pleased to contribute to furthering their education and wish them the best.”

Since its beginning in 2010, the Meridian Scholarship has awarded more than $37,000.00 in scholarships to 15 students. Ms. Cooley, Ms. Hutzler, Ms. Kays, and Mr. Vince will receive $1000 a year for four years to the University of their choice.

 

Pictured above (L-R): Andrea Hutzler, Lowellville High School; Cassandra Kays, Mineral Ridge High School; and Michael Vince, Liberty High School.

Is Alcoholism the “Forgotten” Addiction?

In the last few years, it seems that the word “addiction” is most commonly seen next to the word “drug” or some derivative of it (e.g., “prescription drug,” “opioid,” “heroin,” etc.).

There is no way that the severity of the drug addiction problem in the U.S. can, or should be minimized. However, we should also not lose sight of the impact of alcohol addiction has had, and continues to have, on our population.

That point was vividly illustrated at the April installment of the Now You Know series, co-sponsored by Meridian HealthCare and the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County. The speaker was Thomas O’Donnell, a former counselor at Meridian’s TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities).

Tom began his presentation with some chilling statistics. Some 16.3 million adults in the U.S. had an alcohol use disorder in 2014. This includes an estimated 679,000 adolescents ages 12-17. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually in the United States. And the toll on society goes well beyond individuals with alcohol abuse problems and their families. There are nearly 10,000 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities each year. And in 2010, alcohol misuse problems cost the U.S. $249 billion.

Of course, numbers can’t tell the very personal stories of those who suffer from alcohol abuse and their families. As Tom pointed out, alcoholism on the part of one or more members can stress a family to the breaking point — impacting the stability of the home, as well as the family’s unity, mental health, physical health and finances.

The bulk of Tom’s presentation focused on the different stages an individual goes through when dealing with an alcohol addiction, including behaviors that are associated with each stage. There was much more detail that I have space for here, but there are certain “signposts” that families should look for if they suspect a problem.

A future alcoholic usually starts with “social drinking,” but the road to alcoholism begins when the drinking is no longer social but becomes a means of psychological escape from tensions.

Most importantly, there soon comes a point when an individual who was previously able to stop drinking when they chose to can no longer do so. At this point, what had been a psychological habit becomes a physical addiction. Once this person takes a single drink, they cannot stop — and that single drink is likely to trigger a chain reaction that will continue without a break into a state of complete intoxication.

Such a person may have previously been able to resist taking that first drink, but soon finds that he or she cannot face the day without alcohol. By now, a pattern of anti-social behavior has set in, and the loss of friends, family members and employment does nothing to change the alcoholic’s behavior. Nor will landing in the hospital or consultation with a family physician have more than a temporary effect.

Ultimately, any alibis the alcoholic had been making for his or her behavior up to this point will collapse, and they will be forced to admit that their drinking is beyond their ability to control. Only when he or she is fully willing to seek and accept rehabilitation, and realizes that they can never drink again — ever, under any circumstances — is there hope for recovery.

The recovery process can be long and arduous, but millions of recovering alcoholics are proof that it can work. There are many resources in the community available to the alcoholic and his or her family, including treatment programs provided by Meridian HealthCare and other entities. Call (330) 797-0070 for more information.