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Mahaska Health Partnership was recognized by the Iowa Donor Network for achieving a greater than 60% conversion rate for tissue donation over the last two years.

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Halloween is a fun holiday for children to dress up, visit their neighbors and enjoy friends and family. Mahaska Health Partnership offers tips on how to make the most of Halloween while keeping your kids and trick-or-treaters safe.

Halloween gets more exciting as children grow. Trick-or-treating in fun costumes is a lot of fun for both kids and the houses they visit. “For costumes, it’s always best to make sure accessories like swords are soft and flexible in case of a fall,” MHP Family Practice Physician with Obstetrics Dr. Leigh Gilburn shared. “Costumes should also fit properly, including masks and shoes, to avoid tripping in the dark.”

Kids should not trick-or-treat alone. “Make sure if you are not able to go out with your children to send them with a group who is supervised by an adult,” Dr. Gilburn suggested. “It’s easy for kids to wander and get lost or visit an area that is unsafe during the excitement, so supervision is a good way to keep everyone safe.”

Dr. Gilburn also suggested adding reflective tape to costumes or goodie bags. “Teaching children how to safely cross the road and to stay on sidewalks is a valuable lesson. However, children are also impulsive and with the excitement of trick-or-treating it’s easy to forget those lessons.”

When it comes to treats, inspection prior to consumption is highly recommended. “Make sure to check your child’s candy for tampering, allergens and choking hazards before eating,” Dr. Gilburn urged. “Only eat homemade treats from trusted individuals, and make sure to monitor consumption to avoid overeating.”

If giving out treats, Dr. Gilburn suggests some healthier alternatives. “Kids will get many sweets and candy during trick-or-treating, so stickers, temporary tattoos or other fun small gifts are great options instead of food. If you want to hand out snacks, sugar free gum, raisins, apple slices, Goldfish crackers or cereal bars are healthier options.

“Halloween can be a fun celebration with friends and family as long as you keep safety in mind. Watch for traffic and stay away from unfamiliar areas. Make sure to enjoy the night and have a ghoul time!”

There is still time to register for Mahaska Health Partnership’s Free Women’s Breast Health Night on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Gateway Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa.

“We hope to have a large turnout again this year, as it will be very beneficial for women of all ages who are looking for more information about their overall health,” said MHP PR/Marketing Coordinator Cassie Riley. “We have moved to a bigger room in the church, so we want to encourage anyone interested to attend and bring their friends. We simply ask for pre-registration so we can be prepared.”

This free event is open to all women, and will feature delicious hors d’oeuvres, fun door prizes as well as potentially life-saving information about screenings and women’s general health.

Riley said this year will feature a panel of experts answering breast health questions. The panel will include General Surgeon Paul Riggs, Family Practice Physician Dr. Lisa Ruckman, Cancer Care and Infusion Center Nurse Sally Blake and breast cancer survivor Martha Landers. “This is a great opportunity to hear professional opinions as well as a personal account from a survivor.”

Registration is still open for Women’s Night. Attendance is free but pre-registration is required. Call 641.672.3369or visit to register.


The Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Store, located at 114 N First St. in Oskaloosa, recently presented a $1,014.45 check to the Mahaska Health Partnership Hospice Serenity House. According to Mahaska County Outreach Store Manager Alice Moore, the donation was proceeds from the Thrift Store’s September Bag Sale. Shown at the check presentation are, from left: MHP Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Lisa McNulty, MHP Chief Operating Officer Erin Baldwin, Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Store Manager Alice Moore and Volunteer Keith Moore and MHP Hospice Coordinator Kim Stek. The Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Shop is a non-profit organization. All proceeds raised after normal store expenses are distributed to other non-profit organizations in the county. 


In honor of National 4-H Week, Mahaska County members wanted to give back to the community by presenting a gift to the first baby born at the MHP Birthing Center during National 4-H week. Mom, Courtney Garber of Deep River, holds Hunter while big brother, Tiegan, shares in the excitement. 4-H club members are, from left; Leah Van Mannen, 4-H leader Karen Adams, Lily Stream, Rachel Adams, Veronica Bolibaugh and Sienna DeJong. 

DigitalMammoMahaska Health Partnership continues to bring innovative technology to our community. The latest addition is a replacement of their digital mammography system that can image patients with a third lower radiation dose than standard digital mammograms.

“Radiation exposure is a concern for many patients,” MHP Director of Radiology Julie Hartke said. “Everyone is exposed to different sources of natural radiation in daily life, including being in the sun and flying in an airplane.

“Patients need to weigh the benefits versus the risks,” Hartke stressed. “Having an annual mammogram can save your life, so it’s worth it. Our patients can take comfort in knowing they can get this potentially life-saving exam, which provides detailed images for diagnosis, at a fraction of the radiation exposure as standard digital mammograms.”

MHP’s new Siemens Mammomat Inspiration Digital Mammography System provides enhanced image quality, increased comfort for patients and computer assisted diagnosis (CAD). Hartke explained that the new system features automated compression that adjusts for each patient and can capture images faster so compression time is reduced.

“We are very excited about the CAD software because it will call out abnormalities in the images for our Radiologist to pay close attention to. With the ability to digitally layer mammography images from previous years in comparison with today’s images; it will aid our radiologist in noticing those subtle changes that can lead to early diagnosis when a cancer is still small and contained in one area,” Hartke emphasized.

“That is why it is a good idea to obtain tests such as mammograms at the same place year after year,” Hartke said. “All images captured at MHP are digital and stored within each patients chart for our medical staff to access at a moment’s notice. If we didn’t image you; they don’t have that valuable diagnostic tool.”

According to the American Cancer Society, the rate of breast cancer deaths is going down. They strongly attribute that to regular mammography screening and still recommend it as the best tool for diagnosis. “We suggest patients receive a screening mammogram annually, beginning at age 40, unless risk factors exist that warrant an exam sooner,” Hartke said. 

“We strongly believe in the recommendations of the American Cancer Society because they have thoroughly researched all options for diagnostic testing. If there comes a time they recommend additional imaging capabilities in addition to mammography, our new system can be upgraded to addition capabilities.”

With such high-tech equipment close to home, area residents have no need to travel for efficient, detailed imaging exams. Ask your physician about imaging with MHP’s new digital mammography system.

Mahaska Health Partnership will host its 7th Annual Free Women’s Breast Health Night on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Gateway Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa.

The Women’s Breast Health Night is a fun, educational evening, where women can gather to learn more about protecting themselves from a disease that will effect one in eight women this year. “We have seen great strides in breast cancer detection and treatment over the years,” MHP Director of Radiology Julie Hartke said.

“I believe this is due to better screening techniques but also a result of a more educated population. Events such as Women’s Breast Health Night are a wonderful opportunity for women of all ages to be informed so they can ask the right questions of their doctor to effectively monitor their ongoing health.”

According to Hartke, attendees will enjoy wonderful food, informative booths staffed by healthcare professionals and community resource advocates as well as fabulous door prizes. “The fun stuff gets people in the door but once they arrive; they will benefit from very valuable education.”

The program for this year’s event will feature a panel of four speakers including General Surgeon Dr. Paul Riggs, who surgically treats breast cancer through port placement and management, biopsies and lump or mastectomies. Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Dr. Lisa Ruckman provides primary care for women, in addition to entire families, and will speak to regular health screenings and diagnosis techniques. Cancer Care and Infusion Center Nurse Sally Blake has been providing cancer treatment at MHP for 11 years. She has traveled the recovery journey with countless patients and can speak to the effects of treatment as well as various options offered at MHP. Finally, breast cancer survivor Martha Landers of What Cheer will participate in order to address questions about her treatment and breast cancer diagnosis as well as her remission and moving forward.

“We try to change our format each year to keep the program fresh. This year, a panel will field submitted questions that will be collected ahead of the event via facebook, our website and other sources,” Hartke explained.

“We always offer a question and answer opportunity at Women’s Breast Health Night but we understand that not everyone is comfortable asking in front of a crowd. Unanswered questions can lead to lack of treatment so we hope to address people’s curiosities through this format to contribute to overall health and well-being,” Hartke stressed.

All women are encouraged to attend this event. Women’s Breast Health Night is free, but you must pre-register in order to attend. To register for this free event, visit or call 641.672.3369.
Mahaska Health Partnership Laboratory Services has been recognized by the College of American Pathologists for commitment to safeguarding patient care and achievement of the highest standards in laboratory medicine.

After an inspection by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), MHP’s Laboratory has again been certified as a CAP accredited laboratory. This means that MHP’s Laboratory consistently offers a high level of service, uses extensive checkpoints as a guide to assess overall laboratory operations and aims to improve patient safety by advancing the quality of pathology and laboratory services through education and practice.

“Our lab works continuously to adhere to CAP Laboratory Accreditation standards,” MHP Laboratory Director Tim Schroeder shared. “The goal is always to provide the best patient care and services possible to our community. This accreditation exemplifies our dedication to high standards in MHP Laboratory Services.”

According to the College of American Pathologists, when a lab becomes CAP accredited, there are many benefits for patients because it means they are achieving the highest standards in the industry.

“A ‘CAP Accredited’ certification is used to indicate to the public that a lab is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and we display ours proudly,” Schroeder explained.

Seeing the CAP checkmark in a lab ensures they can be trusted to be detailed and reliable with your testing, which ensures accurate diagnoses. Accredited labs distinguish themselves as leaders in the community committed to quality patient care.

“CAP accreditation benefits both the patient and their provider,” Schroeder said. “Each year the requirements for accreditation change to enhance laboratory quality and meet the growing needs of the people we serve. By becoming accredited, we can show that we take patient care very seriously, reassuring both providers and patients in accurate lab testing.”