Dermaplaning:  What Is It & Why You Should Try It.   By Ashley Gardewine, LE, Laser Technician

If the idea of dermaplaning or shaving your face sounds a bit strange to you, it is understandable. Isn’t shaving the face a manly thing? After all, what about the age-old myth that if you shave your face, your hair will grow back thicker and darker? I’ll answer that question and explain what I mean by dermaplaning and why it may be your key to gorgeous, glowing skin.

What is dermaplaning?

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons have practiced Dermaplaning for over 40 years; it can be found in many clinics today  by a trained skincare specialist or esthetician. Dermaplaning is a physical/mechanical exfoliation that is extremely safe. It essentially shaves your face by removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells and vellus hair (better known as peach fuzz), leaving your skin smooth, supple, and vibrant. But it’s far more than just ‘shaving.’

How does dermaplaning work?

Your trained practitioner takes the special scalpel and carefully runs it over each part of the face in small strokes. Dermaplaning removes dead skin in a way that an at-home exfoliator simply cannot achieve. Before starting the treatment, the practitioner will remove makeup, cleanse, and tone the face to make sure it is free from as much bacteria and dirt as possible, and then begin the dermaplaning on dry skin. For best results, I recommend having dermaplaning once every 4-6 weeks.

What are the benefits of dermaplaning?

  • Immediately rejuvenates the skin!  Peach-fuzz and dead skin cells can cause the skin to look dull.  The exfoliation process of dermaplaning boosts collagen production making it highly effective for minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars while leaving the skin radiant and soft.
  • Helps prevent acne from forming.  By removing the top layer of dead skin cells, dermaplaning prevents oils, dead skin and debris from being trapped inside the follicle.
  • Increases the absorption of skincare products, and helps procedures (peels, laser, enzyme treatments) work even better. If you suffer from acne, for example, the products you use to combat it will be able to work more effectively.
  • Creates smooth, glowing skin.  Dermaplaning makes your skin the perfect canvas for makeup application! You end up using less complexion products like foundation, concealer and powder because they work more effectively on smooth, exfoliated skin.  Amazing! And the great thing is there is no downtime, no pain, and no irritation, so it’s perfect for any special occasion.  It sounds like a dream treatment, right?

Does shaving really make your hair grow back thicker and darker?

No, this is physiologically impossible. Dermaplaning, waxing, tweezing, or any other depilatory form of hair removal, cannot alter the type of hair grown in any given area. So, if this has been putting you off, rest assured you will not be looking like Chewbacca a few weeks down the road. I have personally had dermaplaning done for several years now and can vouch for this.

Dermaplaning at home vs. with a licensed professional/clinic?

Though there are tools that promise effective at-home dermaplaning, a razor (or at home tool) is not the same as a dermaplaning scalpel used in a professional setting.  Plus, there is no substitute for a licensed professional with years of dermaplaning training and knowledge of different skin conditions! Firstly, as a medically trained practitioner, I have years of experience using a surgical blade and can, therefore, safely perform the treatment that ensures results. Trying it at home, having never used such a sharp tool is a bad idea and can lead to damaging your skin and a lot of pain – no thanks! Secondly, you won’t get the same results at home using a razor, and you might experience nicks, stubble, or ingrown hairs.

Schedule your complimentary consultation:

Now that I have addressed all the ins/outs and many benefits of dermaplaning, I’m sure you are anxious to see how dermaplaning can improve your skin! I hope to see you very soon. I am in the office M-F 8-4:30, and I also offer free consultations to answer any further questions.

To healthy, happy skin,

Ashley Gardewine, LE, Laser Technician

COVID 19: The New Era of Women’s Health By Dr. Alexandra Mathern

In this new COVID-19 era of medicine, we are led to think that less contact is safer, not only socially but especially in the healthcare realm. The implementation of telemedicine has been a great resource in this time of uncertainty to continue providing some level of care to our patients, but has it been enough? Or will it be enough moving forward during our new normal? As a gynecology office, we provide several services that screen for often asymptomatic precancerous or cancerous conditions. However, these services are reliant on a physical exam, particularly the dreaded vaginal and pelvic exam. In the last few years, lines had been drawn in the sand between certain medical societies about the importance of a pelvic exam. In 2017 the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) published a guideline stating there was insufficient evidence to weigh risks and benefits of annual pelvic exam in those that are asymptomatic and not pregnant. Recommendations for exams are still indicated for pap smears and STI evaluation, but that annual pelvic at the yearly exam when the above were not needed were not found to be beneficial (nor harmful). Later that same year AAFP or American Academy of Family Physicians took the USPSTF recommendation and went a step further, actually recommending against an annual screening pelvic exam for asymptomatic and non-pregnant females. The reasoning behind these recommendations is that the most common conditions that cause potentially serious issues for women either present with symptoms or the pelvic exam is not sensitive enough to detect them.

As gynecologists, however, we respectfully disagree on the account that most gynecologic precancerous or cancerous conditions are asymptomatic, or symptoms are so vague they are often ignored. For GYN providers (pre-COVID) who performed upwards of 10-20 pelvic exams daily, the rate at which abnormalities were found is likely higher than a general practitioner. In the light of COVID and less in-person exams, it is concerning to think about the potential delay in the diagnosis of potentially cancerous diseases.

Gynecologic societies such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Gynecologic Oncology recognize that the data presented across a number of different specialties does demonstrate annual pelvic exams often do not identify the high-risk conditions before symptoms. However, we still strongly recommend at least a discussion of the importance of the pelvic exam in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of all organ systems for women.

It is not infrequent for us as gynecologists to recognize small and, at times, significant changes during the pelvic exam that the patient was unaware of, some benign and others not. From cervical polyps to HPV lesions, from the reassurance of normal anatomy to vulvar melanoma to name examples in my own practice alone.

As providers, we take an oath to do no harm. In these uncertain times, we are challenged with the seemingly impossible task of balancing this new public health threat and continuing to provide comprehensive women’s health. As we start bringing patients back into the office for routine and follow up exams, please know that it is you and your health that are our main priorities and that providing you with the most comprehensive gynecology care we can, just include a short stint in the stirrups.   Don’t delay.  Schedule your pelvic exam today.


What I Learned During COVID-19 By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

It is hard to believe it has been almost four months since we unexpectedly altered our lives due to COVID-19. Schedules, plans, trips, and vacations are cancelled. Gym memberships are put on hold. Jobs are in limbo. Trips to the grocery store cause anxiety. Social media is anything but safe or positive. Stress is immense. Unlike celebrities, most of us have not had the ability or time during this pandemic to perfect our summer body.

Anxiety, depression, and mental health issues continue to rise throughout this pandemic. Increased stress often results in stress eating. Alcohol sales are skyrocketing. Soda, sugar-sweetened coffee drinks, and candy help many people push through their mid-day slump. Inexpensive, processed, and packaged foods, which are often calorie-rich and nutrient-poor, may be the only form of substance for families struggling with the unexpected financial loss. The stress of this pandemic, children and spouses at home, gym closures, sports cancellations, and ever-changing Illinois spring weather has also decreased personal and family physical activity. No wonder #COVID15 is trending.

The medical community is starting to accumulate new research and hypothesize what affects the broad spectrum of COVID-19 symptom severity. Symptoms could be affected by duration of exposure, vitamin D levels, gut health, uncontrolled chronic disease, and overall health. COVID-19 has exposed possible insecurities in our health.

We must all take measures to understand, protect, and improve our health, especially during the pandemic. Do not let COVID-19 negatively affect health and weight. Instead of relying on “youth” and hoping for immortality, we should focus on improving health, instead of depending on medical options that manage health. Treating a symptom is not the same as finding the root cause of the symptom. The most significant lesson I have learned during COVID-19 is to protect and prioritize my family’s health.

As sunshine, summer weather, and slightly looser regulations approach Central Illinois; it seems many are starting to seek change. Is it possible to flourish and avoid the #COVID15, while maintaining proper risk reduction from COVID-19?

Taking Charge of Your Health:

  1. Understand your health. Seek information and new recommendations if you do not understand your current health. If current medical recommendations are not helping, seek alternate options. The Couri Center specializes in women’s health and integrative medicine. Objective and comprehensive labs will identify areas where improvement is needed. If you have never had labs drawn, the time is now! Consider a personalized disease prevention program like TLC: Total Lifestyle by Couri, which is now on sale in JULY!
  2. Move. Exercise at an intensity that challenges your lung capacity. Sweat! The heart and lungs are organs that require exercise and adapt to intensity levels over time. Remember to alternate low, moderate, and high-intensity levels throughout a variety of exercise options.
  3. Consider your gut health. If you struggle with IBS, acid reflux, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, I recommend a consultation to further discuss dietary options.
  4. Evaluate your weight and your lifestyle. Plant a garden to help decrease grocery store costs. Decrease consumption of inflammatory foods. Consider an exercise buddy for accountability. Quit nicotine use. Seek positivity. Weight loss is never easy and can be very frustrating. If you are struggling to implement weight loss changes, please call the office to discuss our new TLC: Weight Management program.
  5. Check your mental health. Prioritize stress management. Reflect. Enjoy the sunshine. Talk to your spouse or a friend. Enjoy the sounds of your children laughing. Breathe. Figure out ways to appreciate what you have. Consider counseling or therapy.
  6. Detox. Detoxification may look different for many people. Consider a dietary, alcohol, financial, social media, or mother-in-law (HA!) detox. Everyone has a weakness for something unhealthy. Balance is key. A detox will help “reset” your lifestyle. If you are looking for a dietary detox, consider the 6-Day Micro Detox by Xymogen.

Women’s “health” is multi-factorial, complex, and never the same for each person. Let the practitioners at the Couri Center help you to understand better and improve your health. Consider a complimentary consultation to discuss our many programs and options.

Difficult circumstances and “storms” in life force great change, and most challenges are understood in hindsight. Charge yourself to implement positive change during this pandemic. Dr. Mark Hyman, MD said “As a doctor, on the front lines of the chronic disease epidemic, it is increasingly clear that our health crisis, along with our social, environmental, climate and economical challenges start with food.” Seeking an “outside the box” perspective may change, and improve, your life. Do not be the person looking back wishing things would have turned out differently.


Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT



An Interview with Esthetician, Ashley Gardewine


We are so excited to welcome Ashley Gardewine to the Couri Center’s Aesthetic Studio.  Ashley is a licensed esthetician & certified laser technician. She has over 12 years of experience in the industry, with 7 of those owning her own business. Ashley specializes in corrective anti-aging treatments for sun damage, fine lines, and acne. Whether you’re looking for laser hair removal, dermaplaning, or are simply searching for a solution to wearing less makeup, she’s your go-to.  Her passion is to find customized solutions to help you love your skin. We hope yo enjoy getting to know Ashley better in this interview.


What is one word you would use to describe yourself? 

I could think of several words to describe me, but if I had to pick just one, it would be: driven.  In this industry, you cannot be lazy.

So, you’re both an Esthetician and Cosmetologist. Tell us what inspired you.

Several things inspired me to become both an Esthetician and Cosmetologist. Both my grandfather (Dad’s side) and grandmother (Mom’s side) owned hair salons. My grandpa, Fran, was well known in the Effingham, IL area for giving the best perms and roller sets in town! I guess you could say it’s in my blood. As far as skincare goes, I always was obsessed with wanting to take good care of my skin while growing up. I also had a passion for wanting to help people with their skincare goals. While growing up, we are taught so many things but little about how to properly take care of our skin (our largest organ). I wanted to be that girl who teaches them all the tips and tricks.

I’ve heard you LOVE taking care of your patient’s skin! How much do you love skin/skincare? 

I love skin/skincare so much that my friends and family are probably sick of me talking about it.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my children. They are tiny humans still, but they are good kids.

How do you recharge?   

I am a mom; do moms ever get a chance to recharge? Lol. If I get a chance to myself, I enjoy reading or taking an uninterrupted bath.

If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be, and what did they do? 

I would thank my Mom. She was a single mom and struggled a lot to raise my sister and me. We did not have a lot growing up, but she made sure we always had what we needed.

How do you stay on top of skincare trends?

I follow several well-known Estheticians in the industry whom I have learned a lot from over the years. I also am a firm believer in continuing education. One thing no one can ever take away from you is your education.  The more you know, the further you will go in this industry.

What does happiness look like for you? 

This is a tricky question. We are always chasing something to be happy, whether it be a new car, a new promotion, a significant other. This leads to the belief that, “When (blank) happens, I’ll finally be happy.” I have learned that major events make me happy at first, although it doesn’t last. To answer your question, I guess happy for me would be to slow down so I can appreciate life’s little pleasures.

What characteristic do you most admire in others? 

Honesty. We are all so afraid of hurting each other’s feelings. I always tell my clients if you are unhappy with something, please tell me so I can fix it.  Do not worry about hurting my feelings because what would hurt my feelings more, is if you went somewhere else before giving me the chance to make it right. I think they deeply appreciated that, and it opened this circle of trust.

What are you most passionate about?

Skincare. DUH. 😊

What would a “perfect” day look like for you? 

A perfect day for me would be a day where my entire family could all be together. We are all scattered all over the US, with one being in Canada.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?

Do not plan out your entire life. God’s plans are bigger than our own.  

If you could volunteer your time, what would you do? 

I would volunteer mine and my family’s time at a homeless shelter. I believe there is a lot to learn from the less fortunate.

What is your favorite season? Why?

My favorite season is the fall. I love sweater weather and all things pumpkin spice.

What type of music do you enjoy? 

I don’t have one specific favorite genre of music. I listen to what moves me at the time.

What do you like to do for exercise?  

For exercise, I like to sit on the couch and watch my favorite reality tv show, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Oh wait, that’s not exercising. When I do exercise, I enjoy lifting weights and walking. 

What motivates you?

Results in this industry really drive me. I thrive on creating a strategy to help my clients achieve the results/goals they are looking for.

What are your MUST HAVE product(s) for our skin? 

The biggest must-have products you should be carrying in your cabinet are SPF, Vitamin C, and Retinol.

Biggest skincare myth—what should we know?

Myth: Age or liver spots are a part of getting older. Reality: These spots are actually sun damage and have little to do with getting older or your liver. This is why I am always preaching about SUNSCREEN!  SPF IS YOUR BFF!

We have so many incredible female patients here at the Couri Center. What would you most like to share with them? 

We all have imperfections when it comes to our skin, so don’t beat yourself up. I am here to help you love your skin!


Schedule your complimentary skin care consultation with Ashley now:


Teen Girls: Starting the Conversation By Renee Alwan Percell, PA-C



Adolescence means the process of developing from a child to an adult.  There is not only biologic growth occurring but emotional/social growth too.  Healthy development will likely occur if risk factors are limited.  The most common threats to the well-being of adolescents typically result from lifestyle habits, experimentation, and psychosocial stressors.

The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the initial visit with a gynecologist should occur between ages 13-15.  This initial visit provides an opportunity to start a patient-provider relationship, build trust, and counsel patients and parents regarding healthy behavior.  Risky behavior among adolescent high school students in the U.S includes poor diet and low physical activity, sexual activity, and substance abuse.  Other safety concerns should also be addressed, such as the use of wearing a seat belt and no texting while driving. The most common cause of death among people ages 10-24 is motor vehicle crashes.  Following closely behind are unintentional injuries and suicide.

When we think of a gynecological or physical checkup, we think of preventing future disease and prolonging longevity.  For young adults, this includes addressing common safety issues and addressing social and emotional issues.  To promote well-being, adolescents need to be encouraged and feel valued.  In preventing harmful factors, it is vital to empower young adults by focusing on an individual’s strengths, so they form healthy social connections and develop healthy lifestyle habits.

Physical health and mental health go hand in hand.  Meeting with a dietitian for guidance in developing healthy eating habits helps to create a positive body image.  This can help ward off negative mental and emotional thoughts.

At the Couri Center, we treat the whole person.  In a world with mass social media, cell phones, and Snapchat, it can be challenging to help your adolescent stay happy and healthy.  Early conversations and education can make a big difference later.

We are happy to help.


Be well

Renee Alwan Percell, PA-C

Bikini Medicine: The Brain Game  

“Bikini Medicine” is the misconception that women are similar to men in all ways biologically, except for those body parts that fit under a bikini. In other words, women were assumed to be men, but with breasts and uteri. Women have long been understudied in science and medicine, and this has led to non-existent funding for medical studies which would be tailored towards women. Specifically, the female brain has received astonishingly little attention and was rarely studied by medical researchers, resulting in a wealth of misinformation about women’s health.

Women’s brains are significantly different from men’s brains. For example, in men, the path to Alzheimer’s disease is primarily vascular, whereas in women, it’s more metabolic and hormonal. These differences are significant in understanding the processes which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Male and female brains age differently, and hormones affect the brain in different ways. Estrogen, the female hormone, is neuro-protective, boosts the brain’s energy levels, which supports the immune systems and also keeps the brain young. Testosterone does the same in men; however, estrogen and testosterone have different life spans: testosterone declines gradually, while estrogen declines quickly. The estrogen deficit in women can potentially trigger episodes of mood changes or increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The focus is often on hormone deficiency and how those deficiencies impact women’s menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, weight gain, bone density, etc. While those issues are critical in the quality of life and protection of bone density, brain health should also be considered equally important.

Women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, 2 out of every 3 Alzheimer’s patients are women and twice as likely to end their lives suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, even when their longer lifespans and family history are taken into account. In addition, women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer; however, breast cancer has been clearly defined as a women’s health issue, while Alzheimer’s is not. 

Dr. Lisa Mosconi, the director of the Women’s Brain Initiative at Weill Cornel Medical College, has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is the author of The XX Brain. Dr. Mosconi has extensively studied the female brain and its connection with Alzheimer’s and has found that as women age, life events can be the cause of increased stress, and stress can steal estrogen away from the brain. When experiencing stress, the body produces an overproduction of the hormone cortisol. When cortisol increases, estrogen decreases. Estrogen protects the female brain and keeps the brain from shrinking, and since estrogen begins to decline in the 4th decade, proactive brain health is the key to preventing Alzheimer’s risk. Proactively embracing a healthy lifestyle, a low-fat, high fiber diet, and the consideration of bio-identical hormone replacement can optimize brain health in women. Women need to reclaim their health. It takes discipline, perseverance, and knowledge.

Luckily, it is never too late to take care of yourself. No matter when you start, the benefits are undeniable. Let us help you live your best life.


To your brain health,

Dana Humes Goff, APRN, CNM, DNP





Meet Lauren Ponder, MSN, APN, FNP-C

The Couri Center team proudly welcomes Lauren Ponder, MSN, APN, FNP-C to our practice. We hope you enjoy learning more about her in the following interview:  


What is one word you would use to describe yourself? Compassionate

What are you most proud of?  The family my husband and I have created. How close I am with my parents and siblings. 

How do you recharge? Quality family time. Taking breaks from social media and the internet. Working out and going out with family and friends. 

Do you like to cook? I do like to cook, but my husband is the main cook in our house. 

What is a favorite recipe? My mom’s cheesy potatoes.

Which sports teams do you root for? St. Louis Cardinals and Blues. Green Bay Packers.

If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be, and what did they do? Definitely my mom. She instilled the importance of hard work and perseverance to achieve anything I set my mind to. She and my dad ensured my sisters and I knew the importance of family values and putting God and our faith at the center of our lives. 

When are you the happiest? When I am with my family, unplugged from the daily grind.

If you really knew me, you’d know…. I genuinely care about others and want to help people any way I can.

What would you most regret not having done by the end of your life? Not taking proper care of myself. Self-care is so essential in order to give the most of yourself to others.

What characteristic do you most admire in others? Loyalty

What are you most passionate about? My family, friends, and my work. I am so lucky to have a profession in which getting to know people and helping them on their journey is the focus of what we do. 

What one memory do you most treasure? The birth of my son.

What would a “perfect” day look like for you? Waking up with family, exercising, getting outside, spending quality time with family and friends, and laughing a lot.

Why did you choose to be an Advanced Nurse Practitioner? My younger sister was very sick, growing up. I saw firsthand how much of an impact the nurses had on both my sister and my parents. I wanted to be able to help people in their times of need and knew that nursing was the best choice for me. I went on to be a nurse practitioner because I wanted more autonomy with those that I served. It has really allowed me to capitalize on my passion for serving others while allowing me to have more independence while doing so. 

If you could volunteer your time, what would you do? Help children of high-risk families and schools.

Tell us about your favorite season?  Summer. I love hot summer days/nights and the carefree feeling that comes specifically with this season. I love seeing kids out riding their bikes, swimming, and having fun. 

What type of music do you enjoy? Honestly, all different types. I like different genres depending on what I am doing; driving, working out, relaxing, with friends, etc.

What is your least favorite exercise? Box Jumps! What’s your go-to exercise? My incline trainer. Good combo of cardio and resistance training. 

Tell us some of your favorite books? The Secret. Unbroken. Same Kind of Different as Me. 

What motivates you? My family. My passion for helping others. The idea of who I want myself to be in the future for my kids and one-day, grandkids.

We have so many wonderful patients here at the Couri Center. What would you most like to share with them? I genuinely want to help you meet whatever health or life goals you have. I am very invested in my patients; their lows are my lows, and their highs are my highs.

I look forward to serving you and going on this journey together. 


Lauren Ponder, MSN, APN, FNP-C

Healthy Gut, Happy Skin! By Leslie A. Gilstrap, LE

Your skin is the largest organ of the body. Not only is it affected by external factors like the sun, free radicals, and of course, the normal aging process, it’s also affected internally by our digestive system. It’s not as hard as you think to follow a few essential tasks to increase elastin, collagen, decrease inflammation, and have more glowing, healthy skin. After all, we are what we eat.

Drink warm water with lemon

Drinking warm water with lemon will help your digestive system throughout the whole day. The citric acid aids in a productive digest system.

Eat plenty of fiber-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seeds.

You’ll be less likely to crave carbohydrates. These fibrous foods are filling and also provide antioxidants.

Consider taking a digestive enzyme

Digestive supplements are important for people who have trouble digesting food.  Consider scheduling an appointment with our Registered Dietitian if this is an area of concern.

Be mindful of snacking

Say no to chips and other junk food. Instead, reach for plant-based, whole foods like carrots, celery, and broccoli.

Make sure to chew your food

Ample chewing allows for proper digestion.


If you struggle with digestive issues, acne, psoriasis, eczema, or unknown rashes, consider food sensitivity testing.  As a Licensed Esthetician, I am also available for a complimentary skin care consultation to help with a proper skin care regimen.


To happy skin,

By Leslie A. Gilstrap, LE




Complimentary Tele-consults with Registered Dietitian Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Complimentary Tele-Consults with Registered Dietitian Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Just because you are staying safe at home during the COVID-19 situation, does not mean you have to make unhealthy choices, over-eat or continue to feel less than optimal.  Now is the perfect time to take steps to improve your health!  In your private consultation, Leslie will review your health history, concerns, and goals.  She will explain the options available to you and help you get started on the path to success.

Schedule your free tele-consult now:  You will receive a call or email generally within one business day, M-F 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM.



Spring Has Sprung; How Will You Grow? By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

With the current state of our medical, personal, social, and economic environment, did you miss the first day of spring? Instead of searching for signs of spring like the start of tulips, green grass emerging, longer days, and warmer temperatures, have you been hyper-focused on social distancing, politics, daily press conferences, and all the stressors that come with our current environment? Once considered a difficult spelling word, quarantine is now a regular term, the subject of many memes, and may define the year 2020.

Integrative Health

The Couri Center was created and structured on the principles and pillars of integrative medicine. Our model of integrative medicine uses a total-body screening approach to our patients. Our providers also highlight and educate each patient on the importance of using tools to prevent disease. Many of us take our good or manageable health for granted. Do you?

Age, busy schedules, lack of interest, or an unhealthy reliance on medications collectively impact the effort we each put toward our health. The current COVID-19 environment is highlighting and proving the utmost importance of disease prevention. Hand washing, good hygiene, and social distancing are all measures to prevent, or reduce, the spread of this virus. We are all depending on and seeking healthy immune systems. 

Current statistics show those at highest risk for COVID-19 are aged older than 65 and have pre-existing chronic diseases. Unfortunately, the United States is finding a higher number of young, healthy children and adults suffering from the symptoms associated with COVID-19, than found in China and Europe. Many factors could be influencing this statistic; however, it would be irresponsible not to consider the negative impacts on health and the immune system created by an unhealthy diet, poor sleep, excessive stress, and a sedentary lifestyle. 

Many of us have relocated our work office to a room in our house. We are not spending time commuting to work. Some are temporarily out of work. Children are home from school, sports, and social gatherings. Instead of letting stress and life’s complications (stress eating, lack of exercise, increased alcohol consumption, over-thinking and sleeping less) rule our current lifestyle, recreate and follow a daily schedule. Focus on improving your nutrient intake. Manage your grocery budget by limiting the amounts of processed foods, soda, or alcohol your purchase. Take a walk every day. Meditate. Cook! Stop cruising through life on auto-pilot. Stop buying overly processed, unhealthy foods because you have a “right” to eat them. Activate a change in attitude. We now have the time to take action and improve our health and well-being. 

Tele-Consults Available

Just as spring is the season of growth and new beginnings, it would benefit each of us not to waste this season, but to use the season of COVID-19 as a season of growth. The Couri Center is also transitioning and growing due to COVID-19. We are as focused as ever to the importance of staying connected to our patients and providing the BEST information regarding women’s health and integrative medicine. Telemedicine appointments are easy, effective, and now available by calling 309-692-6838 or via our patient portal to schedule.  Some insurances are even waiving co-pays on telemedicine video calls through April 30, 2020.

Email your topics/questions

We also understand and value the questions many of you may have regarding COVID-19, disease prevention, integrative medicine, and overall women’s health. Over the next few weeks, we will focus on answering these questions through articles, live videos, and interviews with many of our providers. We would love to discuss the topics and questions you have. Please email your questions to  Stay connected to the Couri Center by following our Facebook page. You will see us providing the women of Central Illinois with the most comprehensive, prevention-based, cutting-edge tools and information during this transitional time of growth.

Wash your hands and stay healthy-


Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT