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New Classes and Support Groups at St. John's Health

This fall, new classes and support groups at St. John’s Medical Center will be available for community members.

Brain Works helps keep brains healthy

St. John’s Cognitive Health is offering a new, one-week “boot camp” session of Brain Works, an innovative program inspired by evidence that lifestyle changes can keep your brain healthier.

According to Dr. Martha Stearn, the internal medicine specialist who founded St. John’s Cognitive Health and developed the program, “You can reduce your risk for dementia by as much as 50% by improving your life choices. Education and commitment are key, and this program sets you on the right path with the proper tools.”

The intensive course will take place Monday, October 16 to Sunday, October 22. Sessions will meet Monday-Friday: 8-10 am and 5:30-7:30 pm. On Saturday, the class will take place from 9 am until noon, and on Sunday, 10 am to noon.

Classes cover the following topics: the importance of exercise, the value of good nutrition with an emphasis on the Mediterranean diet, cooking lessons with Dr. Annie Fenn, computer-based brain training to strengthen cognitive weaknesses and enhance strengths, stress reduction techniques including mindfulness and yoga, the importance of sleep, and other relevant subjects.

The cost for the program is $300 per person. When two people enroll together, each will receive a $50 discount. The price includes individual pre- and post-course interview and testing with Dr. Stearn.

To enroll in the program, call Cognitive Health at 307.739.7434 by October 5.

Healthy U for those with chronic conditions

St. John’s Medical Center is offering a new session of Healthy U, a program for people with chronic conditions. Designed by Stanford University, the class presents practical tips, suggestions, and strategies to manage conditions such as fatigue, pain, disease, disability, and more.

The six-week program takes place on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, beginning October 10 and running through November 14. It is facilitated by St. John's certified wellness coaches Lisa Smith, a registered dietitian, and Natalie Stewart, a board-certified registered nurse.

According to a past participant, “(Healthy U) taught me to make an action plan for my life. In making this commitment, I have lost 15 pounds, and learned how to eat and sleep better. Without participating in Healthy U, I never would have accomplished that.”

Classes are highly participatory. Participants experience mutual support and success, which builds their confidence in managing their health and maintaining active and fulfilling lives.

Sign up by October 6 by calling 307.739.7243.

Healthy U is offered through a grant from the University of Wyoming in collaboration with the Wyoming Center on Aging.

Cancer Support Group Features Guest Speakers

This fall, the cancer support group will have a series of guest speakers on a variety of topics of interest to cancer patients, survivors, and family members. People do not need to be patients of St. John’s to attend. The group meets twice a month on Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. It is led by cancer nurse Beth Shidner, RN, OCN, and social worker Lynnette Gaertner, MSW, LCSW. The group will have the following presentations this fall:

September 21 - "Chemo Brain," featuring speech-language therapist Chris Smithwick, MA, CCC-SLP

October 5 - "Oncology Support through Massage," featuring guest speaker Ali Pasquill, NCTM

October 19 - "Understanding Pathology," with pathologist Lars Conway, MD

November 2 - "Cancer and Intimacy," with nurse Andrea Mazer, BSN, RN

November 16 - "Managing Fatigue," featuring physical therapist Lindsay Love, PT, DPT, CLT

Meetings take place in Suite 206 (the Innovation Center) in St. John’s Professional Office Building, 555 E. Broadway, Entrance E. For more information, call St. John’s Cancer Care at 307.739.6195.

Growing Through Grief Support Group

St. John's Medical Center Hospice will offer “Growing Through Grief,” an eight-week grief support program beginning on Tuesday, October 3 and led by Hospice social worker Oliver Goss, LCSW.

The group will focus on supporting those experiencing the loss of a loved one. It meets on Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 pm and will continue through November 28 (no group November 21).

Each week will include a different discussion topic and activity, as well as voluntary homework assignments. Topics include: common responses to loss, handling difficult emotions, holistic approaches to grief, remembering, adjusting to loss, managing stress, preparing for special occasions, and finding meaning.

For more information and to sign up for “Growing Through Grief,” please call 307.739.7483 by Oct 1.

St. John’s Hospice also offers a drop-in support group led by Mr. Goss. The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, from noon to 1 pm. The session’s topic is determined by the members who are present. Please call 307.739.7483 in advance.


Media contact: Karen Connelly, 307 739 7380,

St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming, offers patient-centered clinical excellence and community wellness services through a full-service hospital, primary care, and specialty physician practices, and a long-term care Living Center.

The mission of the St. John’s Hospital Foundation is to secure philanthropic support to advance the mission and strategic objectives of St. John’s Medical Center, including patient-centered care, clinical excellence, and community wellness.