Media Releases

Dr. Rollison joins Portage Health Women's Health Team

(Staff) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Portage Health is proud to welcome Dr. Charles Rollison to the Portage Health Women’s Health Team.

Dr. Charles Rollison“Dr. Rollison’s advanced training and trusted reputation will be an immense benefit to our community,” said Jim Bogan, president/CEO of Portage Health.

Dr. Rollison is a board-certified physician who attended medical school at Michigan State University before earning three medals while serving in our country’s military as a medical professional.

“My experience in the military made me accountable very quickly,” Dr. Rollison said. “The leadership and clinical skills learned there are irreplaceable.”

His choice to come to Hancock was made easier by two months of experience at Portage Health as a temporary physician in early 2011.

“I loved the efficiencies of the operating room and family birthing center at Portage Health,” said Dr. Rollison. “The entire hospital seems to be focused on the right thing, ensuring quality care for the patients.”

Dr. Rollison also served as an instructor and assistant clinical professor at Michigan State University.

Dr. Rollison specializes in in-office minimally invasive procedures, in-office gynecologic procedures and urinary incontinence treatment.

Learn more about the area’s newest women’s health expert at and make an appointment today by calling 483-1050.

Ransom recognized with excellence in nursing award

(Staff, Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Cindy Ransom was recognized as the 2012 winner of the Gertrude Decker Hellman Excellence in Nursing Award Wednesday afternoon at Portage Health.

Gertrude Decker Hellman Award 2012

Cindy Ransom (middle) poses with the plaque recognizing the winners of the Gertrude Decker Hellman Excellence in Nursing Award. Standing with Ransom is, from left, Inpatient Unit Manager Paula Polso, Vice President of Patient Services Deb Young, Susan Lines, who founded the award in memory of her mother, and President/CEO Jim Bogan.

“What’s perhaps most amazing about what Cindy has done is that she has retained the passion for bedside nursing and compassion for her patients since she began working here on March 17, 1976,” said Paula Polso, inpatient unit manager. “We are so proud and happy to recognize one of our very best.”

The award was founded in 2005 in honor of Gertrude Decker Hellman, who had been a patient at Portage Health. It’s presented each year to a nurse who demonstrates excellence in the provision of patient care. Patients and their family members nominate candidates for the award.

“I feel very honored,” Ransom said. “These nurses I share this honor with are people I’ve worked with and looked up to my entire career, all of them have been so deserving.”

The award was presented by Polso, Vice President of Patient Services Deb Young, President/CEO Jim Bogan, and Susan Lines, the daughter of Gertrude Decker Hellman.

“Mother felt that nurses had a nature of being caring, efficient and dedicated, and they weren’t sufficiently thanked for their contribution,” Lines said. “She said to us, ‘The doctors many times perform miracles, but the nurses are angels that bring you back to health.’”

The award was part of Portage Health’s annual service awards ceremony. Employees who have completed 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years received recognition. In total more than three-dozen employees were named, totaling more than 870 years of service at Portage Health.

Brewster serving as athletic trainer for U.S. in-line team

(Staff, Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link
INGOLSTADT, GERMANY – You typically don’t think of a world traveler to be an athletic trainer based out of the northern most city in Michigan, but Certified Athletic Trainer Brian Brewster is just that.

USA HockeyBrewster is the head athletic trainer for the men’s U.S. In-line Hockey Team. The team is playing in the world championships beginning June 1 in Ingolstadt, Germany.

“I’m really excited to be able to do this,” said Brewster, who also worked with the U.S. Sled Hockey Team from 2007 to 2011, where he was part of championship teams during the 2009 World Championships and 2010 Paralympics games in Vancouver.

Brewster, a Portage Health employee, spends his winter as head athletic trainer with the Michigan Tech hockey team, and was grateful to have this opportunity, which allows him to travel to his fourth different country with a national team.

“It’s like any other team I’ve worked with, but we get to travel all over the world,” said Brewster. “These guys are playing for our country, and I’m right here with them wearing a USA polo shirt, helping out as we represent our country.”

The sport is similar to ice hockey, with one less player per team playing at a time, no off-sides rule and no checking.

“It’s a very fast game with a lot of scoring,” Brewster said. “It’s a fun game to watch.”

The team begins Friday against Germany, and then plays Slovenia Saturday and Canada Sunday. Elimination games begin next week. USA is ranked No. 2 going into the tournament, which also features the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and Great Britain. See the full schedule here.

Calumet native and Michigan Tech graduate Corey Rastello is also working with the team as equipment manager. Rastello is the equipment manager for the Providence College Div. 1 hockey team in Providence, Rhode Island.

Live streaming of all games can be found at

Summer 2012 fitness class schedule finalized

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HOUGHTON – The summer session of community fitness classes at Portage Health – Houghton begins June 4 and runs through the end of August. Eleven different classes are being offered including two new programs: Recess bootcamp for youth ages 12-14, and a walk/run program aimed to help beginners find their stride.

“The recess bootcamp will expose participants to a variety of creative aerobic and strength-training exercises, as well as team-building fitness-themed games,” said Angela Luskin, community health coordinator at Portage Health.

The walk/run program is ideal for people interested in participating in the Portage Health Canal Run.

“We want people to begin their day with an invigorating walk that incorporates running intervals,” said Susan Rosemurgy, who is organizing the program. “This is a great introduction to a running and will provide people the background they need to a successful past time.”

The summer schedule also welcomes back the adventure bootcamp for a second summer. This class runs Monday through Thursday from June 11 to July 19.

“In 2011 the bootcamp was wildly popular,” said Luskin. “People loved the team atmosphere and the variety of challenges.”

Other courses include indoor cycling (Tuesday/Thursday 6-7 a.m., Monday/Wednesday/Friday 8-8:45 a.m., Tuesday/Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m.), cycle fusion (Monday/Friday), zumba (Monday/Wednesday 5:30-6:30 p.m.), total body circuit (Tuesday/Thursday 8-8:30 a.m.), yoga (Monday/Wednesday 7-8 a.m., Monday 6:45-7:45 p.m. FREE), core combo (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10-10:45 a.m., mat pilates (Friday 9-10 a.m.), strength and tone (Monday/Wednesday 4:45-5:15 p.m.), walk/run program (Tuesday/Thursday 6:30-7:30 a.m.), recess bootcamp (Tuesday/Thursday 1-2 p.m. for 12-14 year olds), adventure bootcamp (Monday-Thursday 6:30-7:15 a.m. or 7:30-8:15 a.m. with a free trial June 4-7).

Sessions are $6 for the public, $4 for Fitness Center members with 16-class punch cards and special pricing for indoor cycling, recess bootcamp and adventure bootcamp. Call 483-1149 for additional information or to register.

Health & Safety Fair set for June 2

(Events) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Portage Health will be hosting its fourth annual Health & Safety Fair on Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

HealthFairGraphic“We have a lot of fun every year at the fair, and we hope people from all over the Copper Country will bring their families by on Saturday,” said Angela Luskin, community health coordinator.

This year’s event features 10 health screenings, a car seat clinic, opportunities to speak directly with healthcare professionals and 125 children will leave with new bike helmets.

All that and much more is available free at the event.

“It’s a great opportunity to be proactive about your health with screenings that can really give you an idea of where you’re at,” Luskin said. “We will have a slew of giveaways, tons of friendly faces and a lot of exhibits that will entertain people of all ages.”

Entry is free and pre-registration is not required. Two lucky participants will win high-end mountain bikes at the event!

For a full list of activities visit RSVP to the event on Facebook by clicking here.

Hearing Loop installed in Calumet Theatre, courtesy of Portage Health Audiology

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New technology allows patrons to connect hearing aids directly to Theatre’s audio system

CALUMET – The Calumet Theatre in downtown Calumet is the first theater in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to have a hearing loop installed.

Hearing LoopThe hearing loop allows patrons with a telecoil (T-coil) equipped hearing aid to directly connect to the Theatre’s audio. The hearing loop project has been a year in the making and will be introduced to the community for the first time on June 9 for the Judy Collins performance.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have this technology available to our patrons,” said Laura Miller, executive director of the Calumet Theatre.

The system was made possible by the Portage Health Audiology Department, which raised funds for the installation, then worked with the Calumet Theatre and Hearing Loop Systems (of Holland, Mich.) to install the loop and test it with hearing aids.

“This technology is on most hearing aids we fit for our patients,” said Melissa Collard, audiologist at Portage Health. “This looping system is something that will completely change the experience people will have, and it’s something we’re hoping will be added to other area public places.”

The hearing loops are popular in many metropolitan areas in the United States, and are growing in popularity very quickly.

“The hearing loop is to hearing impaired what elevators and ramps are to those in wheelchairs,” said Collard. “This is a sweeping change in not just theaters, but churches, schools, auditoriums and even businesses around the nation.”

**The Calumet Theatre opened in 1900 in the midst of the Keweenaw Peninsula’s copper boom. At the time, more than 30,000 people lived within walking distance of the theater. Now, the 501( c)3 organization annually hosts 60-70 events with total attendance nearly 20,000. Nearly all of the performing arts disciplines are represented, including symphony, diverse musical genres, opera, theatre, dance, and community events, as well as public meetings and guided tours. The Calumet Theatre is a National Historic Landmark and a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. Visit for more information about the theatre.

**The Portage Health Audiology Department is the Keweenaw’s leading provider of comprehensive audiological services, including the U.P.’s only certified infant audiology center. The department offers comprehensive audiologic evaluations, auditory brainstem response testing, otoacoustic emission testing and services/fits a full array of assistive listening devices such as hearing aids. Visit for more information about the Portage Health Audiology Department.

Presentations at BRIDGE school focused on healthy eating

(Events) Permanent link
HANCOCK – Monday afternoon Portage Health Nutrition Services Director Mark Pittillo and the School Food Tour’s Sara Salo will be presenting to the students at BRIDGE Alternative High School about the many benefits of healthy eating habits.

“We’re trying to get these kids excited about nutrition through good food,” said Pittillo.

Salo will present at 12:30, talking about her recent 5,000-mile coast-to-coast bike trip to raise awareness of the topic.

“I believe so strongly in healthy food and physical activity that I wanted to do something that got attention and carried the message to as many people as possible,” said Salo, who blogged throughout the 10-month trip at “The generation of kids in school right now is the first generation in history that isn’t projected to live as long as their parent’s generation.”

Salo will speak of her experiences on the roads to motivate the students to take charge of their own food decisions.

Pittillo will follow Salo with a food demonstration, allowing the kids to taste a variety of seafood.

“Eating healthy can be fun,” said Pittillo. “We’re going to go in and try to help these kids realize that, while introducing them to new foods, many of which are easily accessible to them.”

The partnership with BRIDGE and Portage Health began earlier this year when Pittillo did other cooking demonstrations. This school year’s partnership will culminate in early June when a group of four students will be cooking lunch for the Portage Health Foundation Board.

Portage Health Foundation Ball & Auction set for Saturday

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HANCOCK – The 2012 Portage Health Foundation Spring Ball & Auction is set for Saturday night at the Rosza Centre for the Performing Arts in Houghton.

More than 150 people are planning to attend the event, which is celebrating its 20th year as the Portage Health Foundation’s biggest fundraiser.

“The response this year from our community has been wonderful,” said Kevin Store, executive director of the Portage Health Foundation. “We’re excited to share a fun night of exciting games, delicious cuisine and most importantly raising awareness to the issue of childhood obesity.”

Event goers will be treated to casino-style games including blackjack, craps, and roulette, a variety of Mediterranean-style meal options, and a chance to bid on some great live- and silent-auction items. Auction items include private dinner parties, an iPad, four tickets to a Detroit Tigers baseball games, a suite at one of Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival hockey games, a vacation package to Orlando, Florida and dozens of other exciting items.

More information on the Portage Health Foundation and the Foundation Ball & Auction can be found at

Portage Health Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival registration open

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HOUGHTON – The Portage Health Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival is set for June 16, with early registration due by May 31.

Keweenaw Chain DriveThe 16-and 32-mile bike races go from downtown Houghton to Portage Health’s main campus in Hancock, starting at 10 a.m., with the Junior Chain Drive set for 3:30 at Portage Health.

Registration for the 16- and 32-mile races is open at Registering for the Chain Drive by May 31 includes a $15 discount and the guarantee of a bamboo t-shirt.

“We appreciate early registrations as it helps us determine how many volunteers we’ll need and how much food to have at the finish line,” Race Director Lori Hauswirth said.

This year’s event follows a slightly new course, including a brand new section.

“We worked with the owners of the Churning Rapids Trails and adjacent property to identify an area, then hired the crew from the Copper Harbor Trails Club to build about a mile of new flow trail,” said Hauswirth. “These types of trails turn a relatively uninteresting section of land into rolling hills that make things exciting for all bikers, from beginners to experts.”

The new trail will be included in the long and short races, and should create a more exciting atmosphere for all participants. The race also crosses the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, covers land on the Maasto Hiihto Trails and includes areas that private-land owners graciously allow racers to use.

“Between the exciting new course layout and a strong organizing team, our race should continue to be a high-quality event that racers from across the Midwest come to enjoy,” said Hauswirth.

Find out more information about the race, including how to register online and additional information about the Junior Chain Drive, by visiting

New imaging device improves eye care offerings in Hancock

(Services) Permanent link

Dr. Mark Ulrickson looks through the new Optovue Ocular Coherence Tomography retinal imaging device at the Portage Health eye clinic.

HANCOCK – Advanced eye care in the Copper Country has taken a major step forward with the addition of an Ocular Coherence Tomography retinal imaging device at the Portage Health eye clinic.

“Prior to this, the detail we needed just wasn’t possible here,” said Dr. Mark Ulrickson. “Now our images are so in-depth that we can view structures such as the retina to determine thickness at the micron level.”

This type of detail makes it possible to more accurately diagnose and treat conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and glaucoma.

The Portage Health eye clinic is made possible because of a partnership with U.P. Eye Specialists in Marquette. Previously, patients had to travel to Marquette to have access to this level of technology.


Dr. Mark Ulrickson points to a clear image of an eye taken with the new Optovue Ocular Coherence Tomography retinal imaging device at the Portage Health eye clinic.

“This has totally changed the way we practice,” said Dr. Ulrickson. “The vast majority of conditions can be diagnosed and treated right here in our Hancock clinic now.”

The technology performs a CT scan of the retina and optic nerve using light waves rather than X-rays. As such, this testing is not harmful to the structures of the eye. The results are unprecedented.

“Twenty years ago this was a dream,” Dr. Ulrickson said. “Now we have it with us on every visit.”

For more information on eye care at Portage Health, visit

Foundation and McDonald's team up to raffle two bikes

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HANCOCK - The Portage Health Foundation and McDonald's of Houghton have teamed up to help battle childhood obesity.

BikesA 24” Mongoose Mountain Bike and a 20” Huffy Bike, which were donated by McDonald's, are up for raffle at the Portage Health Pediatric Department starting today, and running through May 18, when the winners will be announced at

To enter the raffle, you must be under the age of 18, and enter your name into one of the raffle boxes, which will be located at McDonald's in Houghton, the Portage Health Pediatric Department and visiting several local schools.

“Children need to be active, and we hope that these bikes will provide a great opportunity for two children to get out and exercise,” said Kevin Store, executive director of the foundation.

The bikes will be featured at Houghton, Hancock, CLK and Bridge schools during the week of May 14-18 in conjunction with Houghton-native Sara Salo’s School Food Tour.

Salo will be speaking at the schools concluding a 5,000-mile 16-state bicycle tour focused on creating awareness for the importance of healthy eating and regular physical fitness. More information on Salo’s adventure can be found at

The Portage Health Foundation is a charitable, non-profit organization established in 1990 to support the mission of Portage Health. This year the foundation, through fundraising at its annual Foundation Ball and Auction on May 19, is focusing on childhood obesity, which tripled nationwide from 1980 to 2009.

For more on the Foundation Ball & Auction, visit

Auxiliary announces winners of 2012 scholarship

(Acheivements and Accolades, Events) Permanent link
HOUGHTON – The Portage Hospital Auxiliary announced the winners of its annual scholarship program Tuesday night at the 21st annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner.


Scholarship winner Emily Anderton poses with the Portage Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship Program Chairperson Joanne Edwards after being presented her scholarship certificate. Anderton was one of five $1,000 scholarship winners.

Five area students, including two Calumet High School graduates, as well as one graduate from Hancock Central High School, Houghton High School and Lake Linden-Hubbel High School, were awarded $1,000 scholarships.

“All of our applicants were very, very good this year,” said Joanne Edwards, scholarship program chairperson. “It was very difficult for us to make a decision. We were so glad to give five away, this is the first year we’ve been able to award so many.”

The award winners include:
  • Joshua Hendrickson: Hancock graduate who is attending Ferris State University for Pre Pharmacy.
  • Eric Sturos: Calumet graduate who is attending Michigan State University for Human Medicine.
  • Mariah Hahka: Lake Linden-Hubbell graduate who is attending Michigan Technological University collaboratively with the Wayne State MedStart Program for Biological Sciences.
  • Emily Anderton: Houghton graduate who is attending Northern Michigan University for Nursing.
  • Nathan Laakonen: Calumet graduate who is attending Ferris State University for Doctorate of Pharmacy.
Each year, the Portage Hospital Auxiliary awards scholarships to outstanding local college student who plan to enter the healthcare field. The funds are raised through the Lights of Love project. Scholarships are awarded to students from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties. Scholarships are paid directly to school.

To be eligible for the 2012 scholarship, students met at least the following criteria:
  • Complete one year of higher education before the fall of 2011.
  • Be pursuing a career in healthcare.
  • Be a registered resident of Houghton, Keweenaw, Ontonagon or Baraga County.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Provide an official scholastic transcript.
  • Write a letter briefly outlining career intent, volunteer work and financial need.

Volunteers recognized at 21st annual dinner celebration

(Acheivements and Accolades, Events) Permanent link
HOUGHTON – Portage Health recognized its volunteers Tuesday night with a dinner and award presentation at the Shelden Grill in Houghton.


Portage Health volunteer John Hanner shakes hands with Portage Health CEO/president Jim Bogan while Robbyn Lucier, human resources director, looks on. Hanner was one of 16 volunteers recognized at the dinner.

“All of you are truly champions of care, thank you,” Portage Health President/CEO Jim Bogan told the crowd of more than 50 volunteers. “With your help we are able to reach out beyond our four walls to better improve the health of our community.”

In 2011 Portage Health had 99 active volunteers donate a total of 11,880 hours of time.

“The little things that mean so much are what our volunteers provide for us,” said Robbyn Lucier, human resources director. “It’s the huge smile to welcome a patient to the hospital, the offer to escort a patient to their appointment or helping at the gift shop to find the perfect gift.

“Thank you to our volunteers, who make those things possible.”

A total of 16 volunteers were recognized for their time as they reached lifetime milestones of hours, ranging from 500 to 10,000.


Mary Ellen Shane, volunteer extraordinaire, shakes hands with Jim Bogan, Portage Health CEO/president. Shane has completed more than 10,000 volunteer hours, the most of any volunteer at Portage Health since recording of hours began in 1991.

Only one volunteer is in the 10,000-hour club, Mary Ellen Shane. She has volunteered at Portage Health almost at a full-time pace since 2005. Prior to volunteering here, she volunteered for healthcare organizations in the Detroit metro area, dating back to 1965.

“I’ve made an awful lot of good friends here over the years,” Shane said. “I love the congeniality of the hospital, everyone here is just great to me.”

Shane and her daughter, Gale LaFond are the top two volunteers at Portage Health since hour tracking began in 1991. LaFond has donated more than 9,000 hours.

To learn more about volunteering at Portage Health visit Click here to see more photos from the event.


Ten of the 16 recognized volunteers pose for a photo with Portage Health Human Resources Director Robbyn Lucier (second from left) after the 21st annual Portage Health Volunteer Recognition Dinner, which was hosted on May 1, 2012 at the Shelden Grill in Houghton. The volunteers are, from left, Henrietta LaMotte, Lucier, Gale LaFond, Mary Roy, John Hanner, Gertrude Fallon, Mary Ellen Shane, Jeannine Blough, Karen Lewis, Clayton Tervo and Clarice Fowler.

Better Hearing and Speech Month celebration underway, including battery sale

(Services, Events) Permanent link
HANCOCK – The celebration of Better Hearing and Speech Month is underway at Portage Health. The Portage Health Audiology Department and Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) are recognizing the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s 85th annual celebration.

BHSM 2012“This is an important time for us each year as we try to make people aware of issues involved with speech and hearing,” said Elizabeth Martin, an SLP at Portage Health.

Portage Health is the Copper Country’s leader in speech therapy with three SLPs, and is home to the area’s most qualified staff of audiologists. Included on site in Hancock is the Upper Peninsula’s only certified Infant Diagnostic Audiology Center.

“We have technology that can drastically improve the life of someone who struggles with hearing, and our diagnostic center can be a vital link to a newborn’s future hearing,” said Melissa Collard, Aud, a Portage Health audiologist.

The audiologists spend a lot of time with adults as well, recommending adults of all ages come in for a checkup as soon as they realize they are having difficulty.

“There are hearing aids out there for every type and degree of hearing loss,” said Collard. “The technological advancements in hearing aids is incredible, and we’re happy to help you improve the quality of your life.”

Portage Health’s speech-language pathologists specialize in helping youth develop proper communications skills.

“Most issues can be improved with proper rehabilitation,” said Jane Anderson, a SLP who works with the CCISD. “We regularly get to see children improve their skills greatly, it’s a real blessing to be able to help them.”

The recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month at Portage Health began last week when experts from the University of Michigan Hospital visited and led a discussion on cochlear implants for our staff and interested community members.

Hearing Aid Battery Sale
The celebration is continuing with a sale on hearing aid batteries at the Portage Health Audiology Department. A 40 or 48 pack of batteries is just $20, down more than 40 percent from original price. To get a pack of batteries visit the department, which is located across the hallway from the Portage Health Emergency Department. The discounted batteries are available May 1 to May 31, while supplies last. More information on the batteries can be obtained at or by calling 483-1455.


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