Cooking for Cognition: Making a Meal is Good for Your Brain

By | Mental Health

If you feel at home in the kitchen, planning and preparing nutritious meals, congratulations. You’re not only refueling your body; you’re stimulating your brain with the type of workout it needs to remain healthy.

“A nourishing, home-cooked meal, shared with friends or family, touches on three of the six pillars of brain health,” says Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD, Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “This familiar activity exercises the brain, provides the nutrition our bodies crave and encourages social interaction, all of which are critical to preserving cognitive fitness.”

Dr. Cummings notes that many brain processes involved in getting dinner on the table are classified as executive functions, which help us plan and control goal-directed thoughts and actions.

“Executive functions test our ability to organize, prioritize, sustain focus, solve problems, retrieve memories and multitask,” he explains. They are located principally in the prefrontal regions of the brain’s frontal lobe, with connections to other brain regions.

Producing a holiday dinner with all the trimmings will surely tax your executive functioning, but smaller-scale meals demand equivalent skills:

  • Formulating a meal plan, perhaps by researching recipes online or in cookbooks, compels you to anticipate and organize.
  • Factoring details into your planning – your brother hates green beans, you served an Italian dish the last time he came over – requires you to remember and to solve problems as you strive to design a menu that will make everyone happy.
  • Making a list and shopping for groceries draws on memory and focus. If all the ingredients you need are not available, you may have to improvise, which also benefits your brain.
  • Multitasking and organizing come into play as you prepare the meal to ensure that everything you’re serving is ready at the same time.

Executive function applies to another dimension: managing frustration and controlling emotions. You may have to draw on these cognitive resources if your meal preparation goes awry or your dinner falls flat, despite your best efforts. Don’t despair. Grace under pressure is just one more sign of a healthy brain!

For more information on how you can keep your brain engaged and reduce risk for brain decline, visit Cleveland Clinic’s

Montevista Hospital Offers New Adolescent Chemical Dependency Intensive Outpatient Program (CD IOP)

By | Mental Health, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Hospital Open House—Montevista Hospital Outpatient Clinic

Friday, March 17, 2017

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

6000 West Rochelle Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89103

Strategic Behavioral Health, LLC and Montevista Hospital are proud to announce the new Adolescent Chemical Dependency Intensive Outpatient Program (CD IOP). This program is offered in response to the urgent community need for a voluntary outpatient treatment program for adolescents ages 12-17. Montevista Hospital offers a centrally located after school program that encourages young people struggling with chemical dependency issues to stay in school while attending treatment sessions. Since family support and participation is essential to the success of any treatment program, the 3:00-6:00 pm program schedule is offered so working parents or guardians can attend often with minimal disruption at work and at home. This program will evaluate and support adolescents with a full range of substance use disorders.

Program Benefits:

  • Gain an understanding about addiction
  • Receive substance abuse education
  • Identify triggers of use
  • Process underlying feelings
  • Relapse prevention
  • Management of life’s stressors
  • Ongoing support
  • Transportation assistance available for participants

Program Expectations:

  • Attend 12-step meetings weekly and obtain a sponsor
  • Attend and participate in all individual and group sessions under supervision of therapist
  • Attend multi-family group sessions
  • Comply with drug screens
  • Follow program rules and guidelines

*To share this information with the community, Montevista Hospital’s Outpatient Clinic will host an Open House on Friday, March 17, 2017. The Outpatient Clinic will be open to the public from 10:00 am to 5 pm on March 17th. Snacks and beverages will be served throughout the day.

Outpatient Clinic Open House Schedule of Events:

10:00-11:00 am: V.I.P. meeting with hospital leadership, treatment teams, tour facility. Media invited, interviews available   upon request.

11:30- 1:00 pm: Montevista Hospital’s monthly Lunch & Learn continuing education series presented by Larry Espadero, LADC and Kevin Hall, LCSW: “Adolescent CD Treatment” for community partners/invited guests.

3:00-   5:00 pm: Special After School Open House session for parents and educators. Note: All educators will receive a specially designed “tool-kit” to assist in their effort to support troubled adolescents under their daily supervision.

About Montevista Hospital:

Montevista Hospital has been the leader in behavioral health care for the greater Las Vegas area for over 30 years. Montevista Hospital is a 202-bed state-of-the-art mental health facility built specifically with our patients needs in mind. Montevista provides quality behavioral health care to promote growth and structure for patients and families throughout southern Nevada. We treat children, adolescents, adults, and seniors in both inpatient and outpatient settings. We also provide 60 adolescent residential beds for our community’s needs.

About Strategic Behavioral Health, LLC:

Founded in 2006, Strategic Behavioral Health (SBH) continues to strive towards being one of the top behavioral healthcare organizations in the U.S. Our goal at each SBH treatment center is to help our patients overcome their personal challenges and create a positive environment through compassionate caregivers, family, and friends that supports them in their effort to regain control of their life during and after treatment.

Each of our unique locations specializes in an innovative and effective treatment process.  We understand each patient has a unique set of challenges that almost always require a custom treatment plan.  To ensure successful treatment and recovery, each patient works with a team of trained professionals that setup a personalized treatment and recovery plan that addresses each direct and indirect challenge.  Using an interdisciplinary team of professionals, our patients and their family can rest assured that they will receive an exceptional level of service and care.

To RSVP for the open house contact Gregory Cowper, Director of Business Development, or (702) 302-6290.


Understand the Growing Alzheimer’s Crisis at a Vegas PBS Preview Screening Jan. 19

By | Mental Health, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts Premieres on January 25

Vegas PBS is holding a preview screening of Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts on Thursday, January 19 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Optum, 2716 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, Nevada 89128. The show examines the national public health threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease.

After the screening, attendees will be able to network with local health care professionals and enjoy refreshments. In addition, Kelli Kristo, Regional Director of the Desert Southwest Chapter – Southern Nevada Region of the Alzheimer’s Association, will moderate a panel discussion featuring:

· Dr. Eric Farbman, Director of the Movement Disorders Center University of Nevada School of Medicine;

· Dr. Dylan Wint, NV Energy chair for Brain Health Educations for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; and

· Dr. Julie Zacharias-Simpson, Assistant Professor in the Primary Care Department at the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The event is hosted by Desert Meadows Area Health Education Center (AHEC), a grant-funded service of Vegas PBS chartered to educate middle and high school children about healthcare careers in Southern Nevada; to retain qualified healthcare professionals through professional continuing education; and to educate the community about public and personal health care issues.

Space is limited for this special preview. Please contact Summer Collins at to RSVP. 

The preview screening is part of our increased efforts to promote health and wellness in the Southern Nevada community through our Desert Meadows AHEC,” said Tom Axtell, Vegas PBS general manager. 

The television program and preview screening event are both sponsored by Southwest Medical Associates and AARP Nevada.

Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts will air on Wednesday, January 25 at 10 p.m. With power and passion, the documentary weaves together expert commentary with compelling personal stories filmed around the country that represent previews of the future happening today. Many know the unique tragedy of this disease, but few know that Alzheimer’s is one of the most critical public health crises facing America. This powerful program illuminates the social and economic consequences for the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered for this currently incurable disease.

An encore screening of Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts will air on Sunday, January 29 at 11 a.m., followed by Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia at noon, which lays the foundation for a better understanding of the disease, ways to care for those with dementia and the support systems families need in order to provide that care.

About Vegas PBS

Dedicated to enriching lives in Southern Nevada, Vegas PBS uses television and other technologies to educate and empower individuals and to extend and amplify the effectiveness of community organizations.

Vegas PBS Channel 10 is one of America’s most-watched PBS stations and offers five unique secondary channels: Create, Vme, Worldview, Rewind and Jackpot! Vegas PBS also collaborates with strategic partners to create content that examines current and historic regional issues.

Vegas PBS provides outreach programs to assist students of any age, from childhood through adulthood; professional development services for teachers; online adult job training and education courses; career services and resources for veterans; literacy and health workshops for families; educational materials for the deaf, hard of hearing, blind or vision impaired; and 24/7 online access to content via an array of devices and media.

For more information, visit, or

Well Care Clinic Aims To Help Defragment Services Offered As Part Of Mental Health Care

By | Healthcare Innovation OPM, In The Media, Mental Health | No Comments

Michael’s downward spiral started five years ago after he lost his job.

“I was really depressed. I had really bad anxiety issues,” said Michael, who withheld his last name. “I tried hurting myself quite a few times.”

Michael said he is amazed at how far he has come since he was first referred to a Well Care Services facility in August 2015.

Read more in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

‘YMCA For Mental Health’: New Downtown Studio Draws On Creative Arts For Therapy

By | Healthcare Innovation OPM, In The Media, Mental Health

Clarity. Connections. Goals. Love. Health. Moment. Break.
Printed or scrawled, these words graced brightly colored, paint-smeared canvases inside PeaceLove Studios, an art space opening downtown today. They represented the desires of Zappos employees seated around a table cluttered with paints and brushes Wednesday afternoon.

“I’d like to have a day where my mind isn’t racing,” said the man who wrote “break.”

Read more in the Las Vegas Sun.

Postdocs Embrace The PRACTICE’s Mission

By | Healthcare Innovation OPM, Mental Health, Recent Releases

What would you say the “polio of our era” is?

Here’s a hint: It’s not a viral or bacterial affliction.

It’s the looming crisis in children’s mental health. That’s the warning from Dr. Jay Fisher, head of pediatric ER at University Medical Center. Dr. Fisher expressed his concern in a May 2015 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

That’s scary in a state ranked worst for providing access to mental health care for youth. In fact, Southern Nevada has been historically underserved when it comes to mental health across the board. The state currently ranks 50th for number of psychiatrists per capita, and 47th for psychologists per capita.

However, UNLV is making big strides in addressing these needs through The PRACTICE, an accessible, on-campus mental health clinic. Short for Partnership for Research, Assessment, Counseling, Therapy and Innovative Clinical Education, The PRACTICE, which opened in 2012, is a collaboration between the Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts.

A community mental health training clinic, The PRACTICE offers affordable mental health services to anyone in the community. It also is a training and research center for faculty and students from both colleges.

The PRACTICE is addressing local mental health gaps by bringing in some of the best and brightest in the field, like postdoctoral scholars Jeremy Gallas and Jared Grant. The two came on board at The PRACTICE in August, thanks to fellowships funded by a gift from the Eleanor Kagi Foundation, a Lynn M. Bennett Legacy.

Gallas, who works mainly with children’s and women’s services, as well as family therapy, was sold on UNLV because of its diversity — along with the diversity of needs The PRACTICE is serving.

“I liked working in a college counseling center, but I missed the diversity of a community counseling center, working with kids and family. I’ve also done group work.  I see The PRACTICE as being a combination of all that,” he says.

“I was unaware of how underserved the area is until I spoke with [The PRACTICE director] Dr. Michelle Paul. It’s really an added benefit to do the work I love in a place where it’s so needed.”

Grant primarily works with groups dealing with depression and anxiety. He was compelled to come to UNLV by The PRACTICE’s scope in the community.

“What really stood out to me is how committed The PRACTICE is to reaching the community. They see a need and really want to make a difference,” says Grant. “It really felt like something I needed to be a part of.”

The impact of individuals like Grant and Gallas could help shape The PRACTICE — and Southern Nevada — for a long time.

“There are a lot of postdoctoral jobs where you go in and everything is already done and established. You just learn how they do what they do,” Gallas says.

“What’s unique about this fellowship is that we get to be part of building something up.”

Read more in UNLV Foundation.