Medicine around the world: Dr. Chessor

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Alfredmy Chessor, M.D., is a family medicine doctor and has been helping patients at Tri-County Health Care since 2018. Since joining the Tri-County team, she has brought a unique brand of care not easily found elsewhere. She has been practicing medicine since 1998 and her devotion to health care has taken her all over the world.

Dr. Chessor has been employed with Tri-County since 2021

Going the distance

Dr. Chessor discovered her passion for medicine after visiting a doctor’s office in high school. The simple task of listening to a person’s heartbeat sparked her interest in the human body and started her path in the medical field.

Born in West Africa and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Chessor attended college at Xavier University in New Orleans and medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. After school, her career began as a pediatrician in Miami, Florida. Her passion for helping children continued during her time with the US Navy, where she served as both a  Pediatrician and General Medical Officer. Her time with the armed forces thrust her into situations a typical doctor may never get the chance to experience, including a tour of duty in Iraq where she was tasked with helping wounded soldiers and marines during the Iraqi War. Then Dr. Chessor made her way back to Minnesota, where she completed her second residency, in Family Medicine, at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Liberia

However, her stay in Minnesota was not permanent. Soon she would make the journey back to Liberia. Dr. Chessor operated a missionary hospital and built her own practice in the capital city of the small West African nation. The practice grew until it was the premier medical clinic in the capital, frequently used by embassy staff and American visitors.

Dr. Chessor is also no stranger to infection control. Dealing with COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone but to her, it was just another challenge. While in Liberia, she assisted in containing the Ebola outbreak. She managed over 100 medical staff members at an Ebola treatment unit in a remote Liberian village. She later left Liberia and returned to Minnesota and joined Tri-County Health Care.

Tri-County strong

For Dr. Chessor, Tri-County Health Care offers a great deal of flexibility and variety. No two days are the same. Every aspect of her medical training is utilized and it goes even further in the team-focused environment. Having medical staff like Dr. Chessor enhances primary care beyond simple clinic appointments. People like her make the care special, with just a little bit of international appeal.

To learn more about Dr. Chessor and the entire team of primary care providers at Tri-County Health Care, click here.

About Dr. Chessor

Dr. Chessor works in family medicine at Tri-County Health Care. She has spent the last 20-plus years of her career helping people all over the globe. Dr. Chessor is married and has four children. In her limited spare time, she enjoys traveling, dancing, reading and exercising.

Dr. Chessor is a Family Medicine provider and got her start in pediatrics.


Caring for children from the very start

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Establishing a primary care provider is beneficial for people of all ages. Providers develop relationships with their patients to aid preventative care and treatment. For many providers, their passion lies in caring for children from the very start.

Dr. Julie Meyer, Julie Meyer M.D., Tri-County Health Care, caring for patients, caring for children, obstetrics, pregnancy, pregnant, birth, delivery, doctor, Wadena

The importance of prenatal care

For Julie Meyer, M.D., caring for expecting mothers and their children was her passion and the reason for pursuing a career in medicine. She has been practicing family medicine and delivering babies for 20 years. Having an extensive background in obstetrics has allowed her to provide expert care for her patients throughout their entire pregnancy.

Dr. Meyer works with her patients as early as possible. That often means before they conceive. She discussed the importance of taking prenatal vitamins and having a conversation about things to avoid while attempting to get pregnant. “We want the baby to have the safest environment possible,” said Dr. Meyer.

That care continues after conception to make sure there are no complications during pregnancy. This care includes:

  • Watching for signs of gestational diabetes
  • Monitoring weight gain
  • Observing blood pressure to prevent preeclampsia or other metabolic problems

For Dr. Meyer, it’s important to develop a special bond with the mother. She takes pride in being a support system for the family as they embark on their pregnancy journey.

“One of my favorite parts of prenatal care is developing that special relationship and bond with the mother,” Dr. Meyer said. “Once the baby comes, there will be a lot of questions. I want them to be comfortable with me so they can call me and get their questions answered. No question is a stupid question when it comes to pregnancy or a newborn baby.”

At Tri-County Health Care, primary care providers plan to be there for their obstetric patients through every milestone. These include the planning stage, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, and beyond. When it’s time to deliver the baby, Dr. Meyer jumps into action. She puts a high value in being there for every moment. It’s very rare for her to miss a delivery.

The importance of well-child visits

One part of caring for newborns and children is monitoring their progress as they grow up. There are certain milestones providers are looking for to make sure proper development is occurring. The first year is detailed and frequent. There are 5 key milestones over the baby’s first 12 months.

“We want to make sure these babies are developing their muscles and coordination,” Dr. Meyer said. “We look to make sure they’re meeting their milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and pulling to a stand along furniture. Then, ultimately walking, running, climbing and driving parents crazy because they’re so busy!”

Providers then monitor fine motor development. It involves making sure their coordination is working with their fingers so they can grasp food and feed themselves. Eating their food is followed by holding a pencil or crayon. Additionally, they focus on the child’s speech to make sure they’re starting to babble, make noises and ultimately begin talking.

Pre-teen and teen development milestones

The initial years of a child’s life involves several meetings with a provider to monitor growth. While appointments typically become less frequent as the child grows older, they are still essential. Part of ongoing well-child exams includes making sure the child is up to date on immunizations. It is also a good time to discuss with families if there are any other concerns.

These appointments also look for any developmental delay issues. It’s important to diagnose these problems early so those children can function better at school and more easily with adult life.

Dr. Meyer also monitors the child’s growth to determine if they are falling behind. That includes caring for children by checking their height and weight. It is a good indicator of any red flags like growth hormone deficiencies. Checking height and weight at these well-child exams can help prevent things like diabetes or pre-diabetes in their pre-teen and teenage years.

In addition to monitoring their progress, it’s exciting to develop relationships with these families. One thing Dr. Meyer enjoys is seeing children out in the community.

“It’s fun to watch them at sports activities and see them become leaders in the community,” she said. “It’s gratifying when I’m at the county fair or in the grocery store and have these kids come up and greet me.”

Primary Care at Tri-County Health Care

Dr. Meyer joined the team of primary care providers at Tri-County Health Care in January of 2020. She was named a Top-5 Finalist for the 2020 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. To learn more about Dr. Meyer and the primary care team at Tri-County Health Care, view their videos at TCHC.org/primarycare.

Dr. Julie Meyer, Julie Meyer M.D., Tri-County Health Care, caring for patients, caring for children, obstetrics, pregnancy, pregnant, birth, delivery, doctor, WadenaAbout Dr. Meyer:

Julie Meyer, M.D. graduated from Perham High School and completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Meyer has always been interested in biology and even strongly considered veterinary medicine because of her love for animals. She ultimately chose family medicine because she enjoys talking to her patients and developing a strong connection. This is important to providing high-quality patient care.

Dr. Meyer and her husband, Mark, have three sons and live on a hobby farm with 40 rabbits, 15 sheep, 3 cats, and 2 dogs. The farm helps fulfill her passion of caring for animals. She enjoys volunteering in 4-H and helping her youngest son compete at various rabbit shows around the state. Other interests include singing in the church choir, accompanying various groups on the piano and flute, playing volleyball, working in her flower gardens, and traveling to state parks.


Benefits of Having a Family Medicine Provider

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Dr. Julie Meyer Tri-County Health Care patients benefits of having a family medicine provider Who do you call when you’re feeling sick, experiencing pain, or have a rash? For many people, it’s their family medicine provider. There are numerous benefits to choosing and staying with the same provider. Nicole Blasius began seeing Julie Meyer, M.D. when she was nine years old. She has personally experienced the benefits of having a Family Medicine provider.

Nicole has developed a great relationship with Dr. Meyer over the years. Through injuries, illness, and now caring for the whole family, the patient-provider relationship grew and blossomed. The value of having a trusted family medicine provider is so great that Nicole now drives over two hours to see Dr. Meyer for appointments.

“We love her commitment and dedication to us,” Nicole said. “She really pays attention to the details and takes the time to listen to our concerns and makes sure everything is taken care of.”

Family Medicine providers often care for the whole family. Finding and using the same provider can have great value. Here are a few of the benefits of having a Family Medicine provider.

Family Medicine providers offer a trusting relationship

When a provider sees a patient from prenatal care into adulthood, a long-lasting relationship is built. Family Medicine providers can treat a wide range of medical conditions. Therefore, they can be your primary care provider at any point in your life.

Dr. Meyer also specializes in obstetrics. That often means she cares for the mother and then cares for the baby after the birth. It’s about building a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

“It brings great satisfaction to me to see them grow, develop, and prosper,” Dr. Meyer said.

They learn you and your family’s history

Because Family Medicine providers treat a patient throughout their life, they have a high understanding of their medical history. This is valuable when making accurate diagnoses and monitoring changes in health screenings.

Family history can aid in:

  • Assessing the risk of certain diseases
  • Recommending changes in diet or other lifestyle habits
  • Recommending medications or treatments
  • Determining which diagnostic tests to order
  • Determining the type and frequency of screening tests
  • Identifying conditions that might not otherwise be considered
  • Identifying family members at risk of developing certain diseases
  • Assessing the risk of passing conditions on to your children

More than just an annual exam

Annual exams may help diagnose conditions, but the care from your Family Medicine provider doesn’t end there. One of the benefits of having a Family Medicine provider is having them to help navigate chronic medical issues like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and many more.

For example, Dr. Meyer has experience in treating a wide range of conditions with her pregnant patients. That can help save the patient time and stress by managing the issue at a regular appointment.

“I can help with those conditions and still take care of the patient, so they don’t have to spend time going to see a specialist,” Dr. Meyer said.

The numbers support seeing the same provider

Why is it important to have a primary care provider? Through routine check-ups, primary care can catch serious problems early in the process. As a result, adults in the U.S. who see a provider have 19 percent lower odds of premature death than those who only see specialists for their care.

Additionally, seeing your primary care provider can also save you money. One study showed people who have a provider save 33 percent on health care over their peers who only see specialists.

Ready to grow with your family

As Tri-County Health Care’s newest Family Medicine provider, Dr. Meyer is excited about providing care for patients in the area.

For Nicole, she’s relieved to be able to continue to see Dr. Meyer both in-person and through Video Visits. She plans to utilize a combination of the two services as her family continues to grow with Dr. Meyer.

“I loved growing up, having babies, and continuing our relationship with her support the whole way,” Nicole said. “She’s never put me in a situation where I felt uncomfortable and is always willing to listen and makes sure everything is addressed whether it’s in Wadena or on a Video Visit.”

Dr. Julie Meyer Tri-County Health Care Wadena Hospital Benefits of having a family medicine provider

About Dr. Meyer:

Julie Meyer, M.D. graduated from Perham High School and completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Meyer has always been interested in biology and even strongly considered veterinary medicine because of her love for animals. She ultimately chose family medicine because she enjoys talking to her patients and developing a strong connection. This is important to providing high-quality patient care.

Dr. Meyer and her husband, Mark, have three sons and live on a hobby farm with 40 rabbits, 15 sheep, 3 cats, and 2 dogs. The farm helps fulfill her passion of caring for animals. She enjoys volunteering in 4-H and helping her youngest son compete at various rabbit shows around the state. Other interests include singing in the church choir, accompanying various groups on the piano and flute, playing volleyball, working in her flower gardens, and traveling to state parks.


Concussions: Not Just for Athletes

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Many of us hear about concussions daily and probably see something about them on the national news. While concussions can be scary, it doesn’t mean we should wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and just sit on the couch.

Concussion

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. It occurs when the brain strikes the inside of the skull.

It’s important to:

• Beware of the danger of concussions

• Know the symptoms

• Understand they can happen to anyone

• We can make sure football and hockey players have up-to-date helmets and that our athletes/ children are learning proper hitting and tackling techniques.

• We can educate coaches, parents and athletes about concussions, their symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis.

Who can get a concussion?

While concussions are most likely to happen in contact sports, it’s important to remember that anyone can get a concussion. In Minnesota, it isn’t unheard of that someone gets a concussion from slipping on the ice and hitting their head on the ground.

Any blow to the head, some of which can seem harmless can cause a concussion.

  • falling off a ladder
  • falling in the bathtub
  • tripping on a rug

Possible Symptoms: 

concussion-symptoms2

While anyone can get a concussion, it’s important to remember that no concussion is the same. People react differently and there’s no set timeline saying how long a concussion will last.

Next steps:

• Plenty of rest

• Limit participation in sports, playing video games, watching TV or socializing excessively

• Develop a “Return to Normal Activities” plan after acute symptoms improve

• Follow recommendations of healthcare professionals

Symptoms of a concussion can sometimes be difficult to detect so if you think you may have suffered a concussion, let your doctor know right away. The best way to treat a concussion is to rest your brain. If you return to normal activities too soon and your symptoms return, your brain is letting you know it is still injured and needs a break. By not letting your brain heal completely, you are putting yourself at risk for long term brain injury and increasing your risk for future concussions. Bottom line: Don’t “play through the pain” as this may have serious long-term consequences.

Dr. Folkestad

Dr. Folkestad

 

About the Author: Dylan Folkestad, MD, is a Family Medicine Physician at our Henning Clinic. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Minnesota and completed his resident at HealthEast’s St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, MN. Dr. Folkestad lives near Miltona with his wife and two children. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors and helping with his family farm located near Bertha, MN.