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New Family Nurse Practitioner to Join The Lakes’ Iron River

April 3, 2012

The Lakes Community Health Center (The Lakes) has recently hired Heidi Dumas, FNP, as their newest family nurse practitioner to work primarily out of their clinic in Iron River.

“Taking this step to expand medical services to the Iron River community and surrounding area by adding Heidi to our provider team is really exciting,” said Jason Akl, chief operating officer at The Lakes. “Especially given Heidi’s long career in the nursing field prior to becoming a family nurse practitioner, she’s already a huge asset to our clinic.”

Dumas has made medicine her life-long career, completing her most-recent training as a nurse practitioner at University of Boston in 2010.

She started out as a nurse’s aid right out of high school and quickly realized she had a passion for the field. In 1991, she became a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and immediately proceeded to further her nursing career, graduating as a registered nurse in 1993. Dumas has experience working in nursing homes, labor and delivery units, family practice clinic, pediatrics and internal medicine. But after 19 years as a registered nurse, she decided it was time to become a nurse practitioner.

“I love the variety of being a nurse practitioner,” said Dumas. “I really love to learning about different medical procedures, findings and research. Plus, as corny as it sounds, I just really love working directly with my patients.”

This is Dumas’ first experience working for a community health center and it’s a big reason why she applied for the position.
“I had worked in other facilities where they didn’t have additional support services available or even offered, so I was really excited to be part of a clinic setting where dentists and therapists are available, sometimes even on the same day, to address the needs of patients,” said Dumas.

Dumas and her husband, Mark, honeymooned on the north shore of Lake Superior and have been long since drawn to the idea of moving to the area.

“We love the outdoors, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, you name it; we love the beauty of the changing seasons,” Dumas said.
Dumas is no stranger to juggling schedules and chaotic moments while still keeping a smile on her face. She and her husband have four children, 3 sons and 1 daughter, whose ages range from 10-16 years old. In fact, when she went back to school with the plan to complete her nurse practitioner degree, her youngest was just 6 months old.

“It was hard, but because I wanted to become a nurse practitioner for so long, I didn’t want to wait anymore,” said Dumas. “My husband is a huge asset because he’s a stay-at-home dad. We work together as a team really well, otherwise I never could have done it!”

Right now, Dumas is seeing patients Monday through Thursdays in at the clinic in Iron River, covering new extended hours on Mondays and Wednesdays (8am to 6pm). She is currently taking new patients of any age with any concern, infants to the elderly with your routine cough to chronic conditions. Her family still lives in Grantsburg but plans to move to the area at the end of the school year.


PSAs to Air on Local Radio Stations

March 20, 2012

Keep your ears tuned to WBSZ 93.3FM and WXNR 107.3FM for our new public service announcements (PSAs) featuring our very own Dentist, Dr. Tina and Registered Nurse, Mary Beth, with a cameo appearance by someone truly unique to our organization. Hint: He’s apricot colored and covered in hair.

We’re really excited for these new radio spots to start airing. Click the links below to give them a sneak-peek listen/view on YouTube and spread the word!

Dr. Tina PSA 1: Good Oral Health

Dr. Tina PSA 2: Healthy Foods Help Keep your Kids Cavity-Free

Dr. Tina PSA 3: Help your Kids Brush

Dr. Tina PSA 4: First Visit by Age 1

Mary Beth PSA 1: Know Your Numbers

Mary Beth PSA 2: Make Good Food Choices

Mary Beth PSA 3: A Health Start for your Children

UW Extension and The Lakes Community Health Center Launch New Parenting Class

March 6, 2012

A new parenting class offered by the UW-Extension Ashland/Bayfield County Family Living Programs and The Lakes Community Health Center will focus on helping area families improve communication, reduce household stress and increase cooperation among family members.

The Family Factor: Strengthening Families through Food, Fun and Face-time will kick off March 26.

The idea for the program came through the need to offer parenting classes in the area, says Dave Beeksma, Director of Behavioral Health Services at The Lakes.

“We are combining the expertise of our organizations with the need for parenting, nutrition, and family enrichment to make for a really well-rounded class,” Beeksma said. “Collaborating with several professionals will also help make the project sustainable and bring in a wealth of experiences and expertise.”

The program will cover research-based parenting principles in a fun, interactive format. Participants will identify family strengths and goals, explore productive ways to handle conflict and stress, and learn effective tools for building confidence and family unity. The six-week course, which includes a dinner at each session, will even offer tips on preparing healthy, affordable family meals.

The program will include learning activities for both parents and kids. After the meal, which features a budget-friendly nutrition lesson, families will take a quick play break with brain-exercising games designed to prepare participants of all ages for learning.

Afterwards, parents and kids will split into two groups.  While parents are practicing family skills, children will participate in their own program focused on fun ways to unwind and deal with everyday ups and downs. Some sessions will feature yoga instruction provided by the Ashland Yoga Studio. Child care from certified babysitters will also be available through a partnership with the Ashland Middle School After-School Program.

After each session, families will receive copies of recipes and family activities.

Beeksma shared that he hopes to have any and all families consider taking the series. “No matter who they are or where they are from, we think they will have a positive experience and learn something helpful.”

Classes will be held Monday evenings March 26 through April 30, 5:30pm-7:30pm at the United Presbyterian – Congregational Church, located at 214 Vaughn Avenue in Ashland. Participation is limited to 10 families.  Families should pre-register by March 19 by calling 715-682-7017. A registration fee will help offset the costs of meals and materials. More information can be found online at, or

Upcoming March 14 BAHEC Talk

March 6, 2012

The Social Costs of Alcohol Abuse

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
6:30 p.m.
WITC-Ashland Conference Center

Wisconsin ranks the highest in the nation for adult binge drinking and one of the worst in the nation for drunk driving and underage drinking. This impacts children and families, increases the cost of health care, stresses the legal system and creates a financial and social burden that impact each and every one of us.

Featured speaker: Dorothy Chaney, AODA Prevention Programs Manager, Marshfield Clinic and director of Northwoods Coalition, a network of communities working to reduce and prevent substance abuse in Wisconsin

• There is no charge for this program
• Healthy snacks will be provided
• Attendees are encouraged to come at 6:00 to walk before the Workshop

Cosponsored by BAHEC and the Bayfield Ashland Alcohol Prevention Taskforce.

Bay Area Health Education Coalition presents free health education programs to help families transition to a healthier lifestyle. Members include: Essentia Health Clinic-Ashland, Chequamegon Clinic, The Health Care Clinic, WITC-Ashland, Northern Lights Services INC., Public Health Departments of Ashland and Bayfield Counties, The Lakes Community Health Center, Red Cliff and Bad River Tribal Clinics and Memorial Medical Center.

Download the March 14 BAHEC Poster (PDF)

Recent billing company mistake

February 2, 2012

Our billing company mistakenly sent out letters that included demanding language we do not typically use regarding past due accounts. This was an error within their system. If you received a recent letter dated 1/28/12 we apologize for the language used.

Any questions regarding your past due balances can be directed to Amber, Billing Specialist at The Lakes, at 888-834-4551.

Thank you for your understanding.

Working to Keep Kids Cavity-Free

February 1, 2012

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and The Lakes Community Health Center is planning to celebrate with a variety of free activities and screenings geared at promoting healthy oral habits (see calendar below or our Facebook events page for more information).

The American Dental Association (ADA) started the national observance of a children’s dental health month in 1949. The goal was, and still is, to promote the importance of good oral health as part of a child’s overall health.

“Teaching children the importance of oral health at an early age is part of total body wellness,” said Christina Sopiwnik, Dental Director and Dentist at The Lakes. “One of the reasons we spend time and energy getting out into the community, is that we’ve found that it can be a more effective way to reach families with children ages 0-3, and middle-school and high-school aged kids. Anything that we can do to help them get excited about oral health is great.”

The Lakes is planning several events during the month of February and is partnering with Ashland Parks and Recreation, the Vaughn Public Library, Washburn Public Library and the Chequamegon Food Co-op to provide free educational programming, dental screenings, fluoride varnish and healthy snacks:

Free Screenings and Fluoride Varnish at the Bretting Community Center: Fridays from 4-6pm in February
Dr. Tina and Dr. Erin will be providing free screenings and fluoride varnish application Friday nights in February from 4-6pm at the Bretting Community Center (BCC). Kids who get a screening get in to the BCC for free. Fluoride varnish will require a parent’s signature. Call 685-2200 or visiting for more information.

Dr. Tina and Otis at Granny Goose: Monday, February 6, 10:30am
The Lakes’ Dentist, Dr. Tina Sopiwnik and her therapy dog in-training, Otis, will be reading to kids at a special story-time with Granny Goose at the Vaughn Public Library in Ashland. Parents and kids should expect to enjoy a fun tooth-related stories and healthy snacks. Plus, Dr. Tina will be available to answer questions from parents immediately afterwards.

Grandma Carol Story Time at the Washburn Public Library: Wednesday, February 8 at 10:30am
Staff from The Lakes will also be visiting Grandma Carol’s Story Time at the Washburn Public Library on Wednesday, February 8 at 10:30am. Healthy snacks and information provided.

Meet Dr. Erin: Fun-n-Run on February 29
Free screenings and a chance to meet Dr. Erin, The Lakes’ newest dentist will be held at Ashland Parks and Recreation’s Fun-n-Run on February 29 from 9:30 to 11am at the Bretting Community Center. Healthy snacks will be provided.


January 26, 2012


Therapy Dog In-Training

More about Otis:

Otis is an 8 month-old apricot poodle currently in-training to become a therapy dog. He loves carrots, snap peas and Mr. Bill (his stuffed animal). He also loves snuggles, pets and to give kisses. Be sure and ask to meet him if you haven’t yet. He’s primarily in our clinic in Ashland.

Read an article in The Ashland Daily Press