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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Gardening for Nutrition

Apr 21, 09:42 AM

At last the warm weather has arrived, and you know what that means??  It’s time to get outdoors, get your hands dirty and start planning and prepping your edible garden!  Whether you have a designated garden area or just notice a few bare spots in your flowerbeds, in my mind, that means there is the potential to plug in one more edible plants!

Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

1.  Clean up the beds:  Before doing anything, the first task is to clean up your beds of all debris and weeds.  Prune neighboring plants if need be to provide more sunshine for upcoming growth.

2.  Compost:  Adding a couple inches of nutrient loaded compost to your flowerbeds or garden area enriches the soil and allows for a slow release of nutrients needed for plants to grow all season. 

3.  Have plan in hand:  I find it invaluable to have a diagram and written log of all past plantings, along with my goal for the upcoming year to reference.  This is an essential tool for keeping track of your plant rotation.  Seasonal planting in different areas of the garden helps decrease disease and fungus, and is particularly important for tomatoes.

4.  Plant an edible landscape:  If you are like me, you have edible plants growing throughout your entire property.  Within my traditional flowerbeds, I have incorporated a Bay Laurel shrub, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives, artichokes, asparagus and even strawberries scattered throughout.  Along the exterior of my backyard I have several blueberries, raspberries and grape plants along with a few filbert trees.  Lastly I have a designated fenced-in garden area where I grow apples as well as many varieties of Asian and European pears.  Included in the garden area are seven 14-foot-long x 4-foot wide x 2-foot high raised beds; and this is where my creativity really gets wild!

5.  Try something new:  Did you know you can grow lemongrass in the Willamette Valley?  The next time you are visiting your local nursery, take time to explore new or unusual plants to try in your own garden.  Even standard food items such as garlic, onions and carrots can be new and exciting if you have never grown them yourself.

6.  Grow vertically:  If you are lacking ground space, grow vertically!  Trellis your cucumbers or zucchini to allow more room at the soil level.  This is also a great way to provide more sunlight deep into your plants.

The best thing about gardening is that it is all about having fun and being creative.  Whether you have a large established garden area, a few bare spots in your landscape, or planting in pots; now is the time to start planning and planting your edible garden!  What a terrific way to engage the entire family in not only learning how to grow your own food, but also having the ability to simply step outside of your kitchen door and quickly harvest fabulous tasting, nutrient rich fruit, vegetables and herbs and within minutes have them on the dinner table.  It doesn’t get any fresher than this!

For more information on edible gardening click here.

Until next time, here’s to healthy eating!

Lori Dodds, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Spotlight on Julie Carrico

Apr 18, 03:50 PM

Julie Carrico

Julie Carrico, MBA, Associate Coordinator at The Clinical Research Center, is the go to person for clinical research marketing and procedures. Her personal goal is to make sure everyone in the mid-Willamette valley, the state of Oregon and maybe the U.S. knows that The Corvallis Clinic does clinical research.

In pursuit of this goal, she has been sending staff to various conferences to represent The Research Center. Staff have attended the OSU Gerontology conference and the Corvallis Healthy Living and Sports Expo.  She has also joined a national research speaker bureau for which she developed a presentation explaining the basics of clinical research for the community. She has presented this to her colleagues at The Corvallis Clinic and to Wah Chang employees. She will present another program that she developed at the global meeting of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals in San Antonio, Texas.

Julie has been working in clinical research since 1983 and has worked on both the sponsor side and the site side, which gives her a broad perspective of the industry. She joined our staff in 2006. In 2011 she became certified as a CCRC (certified clinical research coordinator.) 

Clinical Research Center

She has participated in 12 research studies at the clinic, and her area of specialty is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She is currently working on an Alzheimer’s study and is branching out to take on her first diabetes study, which will be enrolling soon. She uses her industry perspective to advise the center staff on regulatory guidelines.

In her “free” time Julie is the mother of two college women. She also just completed the Corvallis half marathon. We have to run to keep up with her when she leads the Research Center daily walks.

I am honored to work with a person who demonstrates true professionalism and personal warmth. I’m also impressed that she has the courage to do a presentation at a national meeting of her peers.

If you or someone you know is interested in receiving top-notch care, consider calling about the Alzheimer’s study, the dust mite allergy treatment study, or one of our multiple diabetes studies. There is no cost to participate in a study. These studies provide research medication and study related research physician visits to participants at no cost. For more information about these studies, contact Julie at 541-754-1398, option 1 or send an email to

- Pat Eshleman is the manager of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center



Important Science is Happening Right Here

Apr 09, 02:14 PM

Clinical Research Center

Last week I attended the 38th Annual OSU Gerontology Conference at the CH2MHill Alumni Center.  It was a pleasure to meet and interact with others who are making important contributions to the health and well-being of older adults. Now that AARP cards are regularly arriving in my home mailbox, I was particularly delighted to hear about the research being done right here by OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research (CHAR).

Presentations by CHAR researchers discussed the connection between vegetables and bone health, new methods to train caregivers in fall prevention, and facilitation of advance-care planning conversations. Keynote speakers were inspiring, experts discussing such older-adult health topics as pain management, joint health, cardiovascular care, and macular degeneration.

I felt great satisfaction while attending a session titled “Geriatric Drug Therapy Update” when it became apparent that the Research Center at The Corvallis Clinic has been or is active in several of these game-changing therapies.  Some of the important clinical trials we’ve contributed to include a vaccine to prevent Clostridium difficile infection (antibiotic-associated diarrhea), atrial fibrillation treatments dabigatran (Pradaxa®) and Edoxaban (Savaysa®), and multiple new classes of drugs for diabetes treatment that help with blood sugar control and weight loss.  Not surprisingly, a big portion of the update presentation discussed new approaches to Alzheimer’s disease treatment.  If you’ve read my previous blogs you already know that the Research Center is thrilled to be participating in the Expedition 3 study to evaluate a potential new treatment for those with mild Alzheimer’s disease.

Not all sessions were quite so clinical, however.  There were sessions discussing the importance of incorporating art, humor, exercise, and natural environments for geriatric well-being.  I even attended a session titled Practical Laughter which turned out to be – I’m not making this up – Laughter Yoga.  In my career I’ve attended many professional seminars and trainings, but I have never been instructed so thoroughly on how to laugh!

If you’d like more information about clinical studies contact Josh at the Clinical Research Center at 541-754-1398, option 7, or send an email to

- Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center


Spring into a healthier you!

Mar 31, 12:01 AM

Spring has finally arrived, and oh how I welcome it!  As we all probably agree, it has definitely been a long cold winter. Spring is a season I anticipate the most.  It brings us longer daylight hours, warmer weather, abundant sunshine, blooming flowers and great excitement for the upcoming summer months. This is also the time of year I deep clean the house, shampoo the carpets, toss out old clothes and organize the closets.  This is all fine and dandy, but what, more importantly, is being overlooked?

Spring is also a great time to jump start your health!   So instead of just focusing on revitalizing your house, focus on what matters most…YOU!!

1. Forego those heavy winter meals. Local farmers markets will soon be available, and with that brings a bounty of new and different seasonal fruits and vegetables. Don’t be afraid to sample unfamiliar foods, as creativity encourages variety, and variety helps eliminate boredom.

2. Make meals matter. Get the entire family involved in planning and preparing a weekly menu.  If possible, shop together and take turns choosing new varieties of fruits and vegetables to eat around the family table.  Sharing meals together as a family is a wonderful way to regroup and create special moments.

3. Purge your pantry. We sort through our closets, so why not our food cupboards as well?  Toss out old and outdated food items, along with packaged and processed foods that are high in sodium, fat, sugar … and names you cannot pronounce.  Refill your pantry with foods as our forefathers did – straight from MotherEarth, as these unadulterated foods most likely are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, as well as low in fat, salt and sugar.

4. Get active. Now that our days are getting longer and warmer, this is a great time to start engaging in outside activities.  Whether it is a brisk walk, daily run, adventurous hike or working in your garden, any physical activity is better than none at all.  Strive for an exercise plan that gets you up and moving most days of the week.

5.   5. Set goals. It is important to set both long term and short term goals so that you are striving toward an accomplishment that will provide you pleasure.  Be sure to create goals that are obtainable in a reasonable amount of time.  Once the accomplishments are met and the rewards are recognized, that in itself will be an encouragement to carry you further.

For more information on seasonal fruits and vegetables, check out these two websites:

Until next time, here’s to healthy eating!

Lori Dodds, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Research Study Patient Screening Process

Mar 24, 02:38 PM

Clinical Research Center

A clinical study follows a strict set of directions, called a protocol. The protocol includes a list of inclusion criteria volunteers must meet in order to qualify for the study; there is also a corresponding list of exclusion criteria that can exclude a volunteer from the study. The inclusion/exclusion criteria serve to find volunteers appropriate for the condition being studied who can safely participate in the study.    

Once a volunteer has undergone the Informed Consent process (to be discussed in a future blog!), the next step is a thorough review of the volunteer’s medical history. The status of many, but not all, of the inclusion/exclusion parameters can be determined by this chart review. Additional evaluations, to determine volunteer eligibility and safety, are required. Typically, this will include a physical exam with the study doctor in addition to routine blood work, an EKG and perhaps, depending on the treatment being studied, more specialized testing such as a chest x-ray or a breathing test. 

Completing all of the requirements for screening can be a lengthy process and sometimes, for the comfort of the volunteer, the screening process will be broken into multiple shorter visits rather than one very long visit. The practical side of this from the volunteer’s perspective is that there are frequent visits to the Research Center at the beginning of the study, maybe as many as three visits during the screening process.  

The screening process is complete once the study doctor determines the volunteer’s eligibility in the context of the study parameters and volunteer safety.  If the volunteer is eligible (and desires to continue), the volunteer is included in the study. In research-speak, this means the volunteer is randomized into the trial and will now receive the study treatment. Throughout the trial the health of randomized volunteers is monitored very closely by the study doctor and the rest of the research team.

Sometimes interested volunteers are found to be ineligible for the study. In research-speak, this is known as a screen failure. Volunteers who undergo the full screening process are usually compensated with a stipend for their time but more importantly, their participation and subsequent screen failure may be beneficial in the design of future clinical trial protocols. Also, there are sometimes advantages to the patient for having undergone the screening; see my earlier blog titled Sometimes a Screen Failure is Not a Failure.

As always, if you need more information about clinical studies contact Josh at the Clinical Research Center at 541-754-1398, option 7, or send an email to

 - Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center