St. Joseph Medical Center offers a variety of educational and health-related opportunities.

Birthing, Centering Pregnancy & Parenting

Whether you’re a new or returning parent, we encourage you to participate in our classes to prepare for your new baby! Remember to start your childbirth classes no later than 34 weeks! The better prepared you are, the less overwhelmed you will feel.

Childbirth Preparation

Childbirth Preparation – This series of classes taken during the 6th or 7th month are designed to educate parents about the physical and emotional aspects of the birthing process. Support person(s) are encouraged to attend and will learn their role as coach during labor. Classes taught by nursing educators of Penn State Health St. Joseph Breidegam Birthing Center. A tour of the Birthing Center is included. Class fee is $65 and may be covered by insurance.

Contact our OB Nurse Navigator, Christiane Benner at 484-878-1766 or cbenner3@pennstatehealth.psu.edu to learn more.

Breastfeeding your Newborn

The benefits of breastfeeding for babies, mothers and the family are numerous. This class is designed to help get breastfeeding off to a great start by dispelling myths, teaching evidence-based current information and some practical tips for welcoming a newborn baby into the family. A doll would be helpful to bring to class. Support persons are welcome! Total class duration is 2 hours and they are offered on select Wednesday evenings. Class fee is $10 and may be covered by insurance.

Contact Lactation Services at 610-378-2068 to schedule a customized prenatal breastfeeding session.

Baby Bistro

Baby Bistro classes are offered the first and third Wednesday, monthly from 10–11 a.m. in the Family Birthing Center Conference Room. Meet with a member of our lactation team to get support with breastfeeding, pumping, and returning to work.

For more information or help with scheduling, email cbenner3@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or call 484-878-1766.

Centering Pregnancy Prenatal Care

Centering Pregnancy is offered at our Downtown Campus and Bern Campus. Centering Pregnancy is an innovative model in a group setting that includes self-monitoring and extended time with the provider. It integrates three major components of care: health assessment, education and support.

Benefits of Centering Pregnancy

Centering Pregnancy promotes self-care and has been linked to overall health managements. The combination of the continuity of prenatal care, as well as the educational, emotional and social support the women in Centering Pregnancy receive has also been linked to better pregnancy health outcomes such as: lower rates of preterm delivery and low birth weight babies, and higher exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Expecting moms are placed in a group of 8-12 other women due within the same month, and they attend group sessions until it is time to deliver. They are seen by a prenatal provider as they would be in a traditional appointment, and their exams take place in a private section of the Centering room during their group sessions. After all the women have been examined, they gather in a circle for group discussions about pregnancy related topics led by expert facilitators. Educational sessions cover topics such as: prenatal nutrition, dental health, healthy relationships, labor preparation, pain management during labor, breastfeeding, post-partum depression, bonding with your baby, preventing SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome, and newborn care. This is not just for first-time moms. Experienced moms enjoy sharing their pregnancy and parenting knowledge to add to the relaxed group discussion.

How to Join

Groups are offered in both English and Spanish at our Downtown Reading and Bern Campuses. Please contact OB Nurse Navigator, Christiane Benner at 484-878-1766 or cbenner3@pennstatehealth.psu.edu for more information about the Centering Programs.

Mothers who complete the Centering Pregnancy program will be offered to continue group care with their babies through the Centering Parenting program.

Centering Parenting

Centering Parenting is offered at Downtown Campus Pediatrics for well-baby check-ups for the first 2 years of a child’s life. Building off of our accredited Centering Pregnancy program, Centering Parenting brings 6-8 moms, partners, and their same-age infants together in with their healthcare providers and other parents who are experiencing similar things at the same time.

Benefits of Centering Parenting

Centering Parenting fosters a safe and supportive environment to ask questions and creates lifelong bonds between families. The primary goals are to increase compliance with well child visits and immunization schedules, as well as increase exclusive breastfeeding rates at 6 months. Each session provides 2 hours of time with the Pediatric provider, a Community Health Worker, and other parents receiving enhanced discussion surrounding developmental milestones and age-specific education. The program has proven lasting benefits for the baby, parents, and family such as: better health outcomes from higher attendance to well-child visits, education on self-care, increased self-confidence in parenting skills, more time with the provider compared to regular visits, fosters community support and friendship, in a relaxed and fun group environment.

How to Join

Mothers who complete the Centering Pregnancy program will be offered to continue group care with their babies through the Centering Parenting program, but any new mother who plans to receive care for their baby at the Downtown Pediatrics clinic could also have this option. Centering Parenting will be discussed at the first or second newborn visit, and babies will then be enrolled into a group with other babies born around the same time. All of the Downtown Pediatrics providers will be facilitating this model of care, so many times a baby can see the same provider from the very first Newborn visit all the way until his or her 2nd birthday!

Groups are offered in both English and Spanish at our Downtown Reading and Bern Campuses. Please contact OB Nurse Navigator, Christiane Benner at 484-878-1766 or cbenner3@pennstatehealth.psu.edu for more information about the Centering Programs.

Diabetes Management

The health care professionals of the Diabetes Management department at Penn State Health St. Joseph believe that education is the key to empowering people to take charge of their lives and manage their diabetes for optimum health and wellness.

Our Diabetes Self-Management Education Program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association for meeting the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Training.

The Penn State St. Joseph team of diabetes care and education specialists are trusted experts of the integrated care team that provide collaborative, comprehensive and person-centered care and education to people with diabetes.

Services Offered

Individual Outpatient Consultations

Consultations include a needs assessment, establishment of specific diabetes treatment goals, instruction in the disease process, self-management training and follow-up to help individuals and their families cope with the lifestyle adjustments required to achieve diabetes control. These sessions are available at Penn State Health St. Joseph Downtown Campus in the Walnut Medical Pavilion, Bern Township’s Medical Office Building Suite 103, Wyomissing’s Broadcasting Road office, Exeter Ridge Health Complex, and our Muhlenberg practice.

Insulin Start-Up Program

Outpatient instruction for the administration of insulin and all other types of diabetes-related injectable medications is available.

Managing Diabetes Course

This 10 hour course which provides comprehensive diabetes self-management training is recognized by the ADA.* Classes are offered weekdays and evenings at St. Joseph Medical Center and Exeter Ridge.
Click here for more information.

Gestational Diabetes Program

This program provides nutrition counseling support and self-glucose monitoring training necessary for motivation to achieve the treatment goals for positive outcomes for mother and baby.

Specialized Services

Specialized Services are available for children and adolescents, the visually impaired, the learning disabled and those speaking little or no English.

Scheduling an Appointment

Medicare and other third-party payers frequently cover the costs associated with diabetes self-management training. Physician referral and/or prescription is required. Please call your insurance company to verify your benefits under diabetes management training.

Limited free parking is available in the lot at the corner of 6th and Walnut Streets and at the Walnut Medical Pavilion. Additional parking is available at the Reading Parking Authority garage at Poplar and Walnut Streets. Parking passes are validated.

Free parking is available at the Bern Campus, Spring Ridge, Muhlenberg, and Exeter Ridge sites.

Individuals with diabetes and health care providers may contact the Diabetes Educators directly by calling 610-378-2030.

Interested individuals with a doctor’s order may schedule appointments by calling Central Scheduling at 610-378-2100.

Services are available at the following locations:

Penn State Health St. Joseph Exeter Ridge Health Complex
3970 Perkiomen Avenue Exeter Township Exeter, PA 19606
Directions / Map
610-378-2030

Diabetes Management at Downtown Campus
640 Walnut St. Reading, PA 19601
Directions / Map
610-378-2030

Penn State Health St. Joseph Spring Ridge Health Corridor
2607 Keiser Blvd. Wyomissing, PA 19610
Directions / Map
610-378-2030

Penn State Health St. Joseph Muhlenberg
4301 N. 5th Street Highway Muhlenberg, PA 19605
Directions / Map
610-378-2030

Diabetes Education at Medical Office Building
2494 Bernville Road Suite 103 Bern Township, PA 19605
Directions / Map
610-378-2030

Fit150

Modifying your lifestyle to include exercise and a healthy diet helps prevent a heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

Program Overview

The CDC recommends we engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. FIT150 focuses on incorporating moderate-intensity aerobic activity along with weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) for substantial health benefits.

Call 610-378-2407 to learn more about the Fit150 pledge.

HEALTH4cast

Four critical numbers that predict your health

Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and BMI numbers are key indicators of your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. These four predictors help assess the health of your heart and measure risk of heart attack and stroke.

Knowing these numbers – and understanding what they mean – can help you measure your health and help determine the action to take to reduce your chances of developing a major life-threatening or quality-of-life altering illness or chronic illness.

Screening your Numbers

In 20 minutes or less, we’ll take your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and BMI. There is no need to fast or other preparation for the screening. We’ll also asses your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Warning…a finger prick for blood is involved, but it is not painful! Your information will be captured in a brochure that is yours to keep. We will not document your personal health information.

Next, you’ll sit down with a Clinical Navigator to discuss your results and learn ways you can improve your health. Lastly, there is a scheduler on hand to make the necessary follow-up appointments including primary physicians, gynecologists and our cardiology specialists. We do not document your personal health information.

Call 610-378-2407 to learn more about the program.

KidFit Children’s Metabolic Clinic

The Reading Elks Pediatric Clinic at the Downtown Campus offers a KidFit Metabolic Clinic for children ages 7-13.

Program Overview

Children at risk for obesity-related health effects are enrolled in the program, and are seen with their parents in a group setting twice a month for a total of six sessions. At each session, children and parents receive education about positive behavior modification, healthy eating habits and exercise. In addition, a provider sees children one-on-one during group sessions to assess their individual health needs. A bilingual community health worker is present for the both the education and provider visit portions of the session to accommodate Spanish-speaking patients. Through interactive games and activities, information is presented in a way that both parents and children will enjoy.

Children are enrolled for the KidFit Metabolic Clinic at the Pediatric Practice at Downtown Campus. For more information, contact Kathy Henry, RN, Outpatient Diabetes Navigator at khenry7@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 610-208-4535.

Stop the Bleed

Emergencies come with no warning. In an emergency, would you know how to help someone who is bleeding? The minutes before trained emergency personnel arrive are critical in preventing blood loss. Stop the Bleed training can save a life.

Program Overview

Penn State Health St. Joseph Emergency Department and the Berks County Scholastic Athletic Trainers Association partner to teach easy-to-learn techniques that control severe bleeding. This multi-year program gives teachers and staff of Berks County Schools the tools and training to beat the clock, Stop the Bleed and save lives.

Penn State Health St. Joseph Emergency Department professionals lead this 90-minute course for up to 50 educational and support staff per school building. A lifelike device is used to simulate a severe bleeding injury, and participants respond hands-on. Stop the Bleed techniques can then be directly applied to real-life victims who suffer deep wounds from a traumatic injury. 

View Stop the Bleed Infographic

Schedule training today

Contact Don Hirsch, EMS Outreach Coordinator at Penn State Health St. Joseph to schedule training for your organization or learn more about bleeding control kits.

Phone: 484-877-0619
Email: dhirsch@pennstatehealth.psu.edu