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Advancing Care - December 2021

stress and drinking


Understanding stress, drinking and safe limits

Mixing the holidays with the pandemic can up the stress ante for many people. Studies show that alcohol consumption is increasing as people turn to alcohol to relax and destress. Are a few extra glasses of wine on the weekends that big a deal?

The amount of alcohol adults can safely imbibe depends on a number of factors, according to Lamia Haque, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital hepatologist and director of the Yale Clinic for Alcohol and Addiction Treatment in Hepatology. She recommends looking at guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Alcohol guidelines

People who don’t have health issues that alcohol could make worse should stick to what the NIAAA considers “low-risk” drinking. Adults of legal drinking age can choose to drink in moderation. According to the guidelines, the daily limit for men is two drinks or less and one drink or less for women.

Dr. Haque stresses that one drink is considered:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

“People do not usually measure out to the ounce how much is being consumed,” Dr. Haque said. “One drink could actually be two or three, and this can lead to health consequences.”

Avoid alcohol if you are:

  • Taking medications that interact with alcohol
  • Managing a medical condition that can be made worse by drinking
  • Under the age of 21, the minimum legal drinking age in the United States
  • Recovering from alcohol use disorder or unable to control the amount you drink
  • Pregnant or might be pregnant

Risks of drinking alcohol

Short-term alcohol use that exceeds the low-risk guidelines could lead to alcohol poisoning, impaired cognition, falls, accidents and risky decision-making. Excessive alcohol consumption over time can lead to chronic conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancers and liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. “Liver disease from alcohol occurs on a spectrum,” Dr. Haque said.

Putting it into pandemic perspective, the NIAAA has said drinking too much alcohol may weaken the body's immune response to COVID-19.

If you are concerned about your alcohol intake, speak with your primary care provider. 

“Alcohol use disorder is a treatable chronic condition just like many other conditions we care for in medical settings,” Dr. Haque said. “You should feel empowered to ask for help, and providers should be ready to deliver that care or refer patients to places where they can receive it.”

Even if you stay within the low-risk guidelines, you may want to watch your drinking patterns heading into the holiday season. Dr. Haque recommends that you evaluate your own health risks, be mindful of how much alcohol is in the glass – and always plan for a safe way home.

Grant wishes for pediatric patients

Art kits and music toys and weighted blankets for naps – these are a few of their favorite things! Children in the hospital always need some extra TLC, and you can help Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital lift their spirits with the Wish Book. The book lists items that are urgently needed by the Children’s Hospital, from small toys to programs that help our youngest patients and their families cope during hospital stays throughout the year. View the Wish Book and select items to donate

YNHHS orthopedic practice opens on Masonicare campus 

Yale New Haven Health System and Yale Medicine unveiled the newest addition to their growing orthopedic services on Masonicare’s Wallingford campus. YNHHS completely renovated the first floor of the medical office building at 67 Masonic Ave. to offer comprehensive orthopedic services. Yale Medicine physician specialists provide surgical and non-surgical interventions, sports medicine and treatment for various conditions of the hand, wrist, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, foot and spine. The site features 10 exam rooms and X-ray.

“We are very proud and excited to realize our goal of bringing services to central Connecticut, and to collaborate with Masonicare, which shares our vision and our values,” said Keith Churchwell, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital president. “Our ambitious plans to open this site in October of 2020 were temporarily put on hold by the pandemic. Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health remained steadfast in our commitment to this community and assembled a team of orthopedic specialists, advanced practice providers and radiology technicians for patients at this new site.”

Masonicare, which owns the three-floor medical building, leased the 7,688-square-foot space to YNHH. “We are delighted to have Yale New Haven Health on campus,” said Masonicare president and CEO Jon-Paul Venoit. “We share a common commitment to the highest standards of quality care and service, and are thrilled to help bring this caliber of orthopedic service to Wallingford and neighboring communities.”

What is an APP, anyway? 

Yale New Haven Health employs more than 1,700 advanced practice providers – and counting. They represent 28 percent of the health system’s medical staff and provide care in inpatient and ambulatory settings throughout Connecticut and in Rhode Island.

Yet many patients might not know what an advanced practice provider (APP) is. 

“The term ‘advanced practice provider’ is somewhat misleading, because there isn’t one APP role,” said Kevin Burns, a physician assistant in Emergency Medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH). 

“APP” refers collectively to four distinct healthcare professions: physician assistant (PA), nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse midwife (CNM) and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

APPs help to meet an increasing demand for care as healthcare organizations nationwide treat more, and sicker, patients. They work in in primary and specialty care areas, including critical care, emergency medicine, palliative care, oncology, psychiatry, surgical services, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and others. All APPs are licensed providers who diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medications. 

“We collaborate with the other members of the healthcare team to deliver a comprehensive patient experience, while providing the highest quality care within our scope of practice,” said Jeannine Rockefeller, APRN, a family nurse practitioner in pediatric neurosurgery and the lead APP in ambulatory neurosciences at YNHH.

So how are APPs different from physicians? All require rigorous education and training, but physicians’ are longer. After earning a bachelor’s degree, prospective physicians spend four more years in medical school, followed by at least three years as a resident – more if their chosen specialty requires it. 

Depending on their role, APPs complete an additional two to six years of education and training after earning a bachelor’s degree. PAs receive a general medical education, with clinical rotations in different specialties. Some PAs practice autonomously; others work alongside physicians NPs, CRNAs and CNMs usually earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing followed by additional, advanced nursing education and training in a specialty. 
Learn more about Advanced Practice Providers at Yale New Haven Health.

Online classes for mediation and yoga 

Yale New Haven Hospital patients can relax, renew and rejuvenate in the comfort of their own home with specially designed classes offered online through Zoom. 

The free classes include gentle and restorative yoga, guided imagery mediation, Zumba Gold and T'ai Chi/Qigong. They are designed to guide you through stretching and strengthening exercises, mindful breathing practices and systematic relaxation that results in an overall improvement in health and well-being. No previous experience is necessary.

Classes are held throughout the week. To register, search for a keyword in our Classes and Events section.

MyChart: Access your medical information in one place

MyChart gives Yale New Haven Health patients secure, online, 24/7 access to portions of your electronic medical record (EMR). There, you can see your medical history, most laboratory and test results, appointment information, medications, allergies, immunizations and other health information. You can schedule appointments with your doctor, request or renew prescriptions, pay your bill, and send and receive secure, confidential electronic messages with your doctor’s office. Sign up by using the activation code on the after-visit summary from your doctor, request a MyChart Activation Code at your next appointment or visit and select “New User?”

Questions about cancer? “Yale Cancer Answers”

“Yale Cancer Answers” is a weekly radio program produced by the Yale Cancer Center that provides listeners with the most up-to-date information on cancer screening, detection, treatment, and prevention. The program is hosted by Anees Chagpar, MD, professor, Department of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine. Each week guest cancer specialists talk about the most recent advances in cancer therapy, prevention and supportive care.

“Yale Cancer Answers” airs Sunday evenings at 7:30 pm on WNPR. Tune in live online at, or browse the podcast episodes to find a specific topic. 

If you have a question for possible use during a show, please email [email protected].


Find a Doc at YNHH

Are you looking for a physician? Call 888-700-6543 or visit our website’s Find a Doctor feature for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted. Many of our physician practices offer telehealth video visits for your convenience.  


Billing questions?

Yale New Haven Hospital offers financial counseling to patients and families. Spanish-speaking counselors are also available. To make an appointment with a financial counselor, call 855-547-4584.