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Staff Writer

AYER — Women’s health was the driving force behind this week’s Wellness Day at Nashoba Valley Medical Center.

“We just honestly do it as a community service,” said Jayme Kulesz, manager of marketing and public relations. “Periodically, we run different things. It’s all part of being a good neighbor.”

One of the biggest events of the day was the free bone density screening done by physical therapy assistant Miriam Ursua.

“This will tell you if you are at risk (for Osteoporosis),” Ursua said. “I’m really grateful the hospital is letting me do this.”

Ursua is currently in the nursing program at Mount Wachusett Community College and used the bone density screening as her 20 hours of community service in Service Learning.

“I love women’s health. In physical therapy, that is my favorite area,” Ursua said. “I wanted to do something for my service learning that had to do with women’s health, so this was perfect.”

Ursua said the screening was supposed to start at 10 a.m. but there were so many women in line she started a half hour early.

“I think this service is really wonderful,” said Rayah Cannon, a physical therapist in the rehabilitation department. “It educates the patients. They can take their results to their doctor to find out if they need to have the whole test done.”

Alice Herne said she had the test done five-years ago at Emerson Hospital and was above average for her age.

“I try to stay active, but I have a bad back so I had to stop the exercises,” the 74-year-old said. “We’ve been waiting for the nice weather so we can start walking.”

Herne and her husband, Frank, have the same bone density score even though Frank has been smoking for 50 years.

“Men are not a high risk like women; even though smoking is a very high risk factor,” Ursua said.

Ursua and Cannon added that lack of bone density can be fixed with calcium intake, walking and weight- bearing exercises.

Some of the best dietary sources for calcium include milk, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, sardines, oysters, cooked broccoli and oranges.

Wellness Day provided information about Diabetes, mammograms, hearing, occupational and physical therapy, among others.

The event also featured an informational talk with Plastic Surgeon Loreen Ali, MD.

“With having Dr. Ali on staff, women who have a mastectomy because of breast cancer can have reconstruction surgery done at the time of surgery or they can wait,” Kulesz said. “It’s a service we couldn’t provide before having (Dr. Ali) on staff.”