Friday, April 30, 2010

Champions of Care Program Honors LBH Staff

How many times in your career have you heard:

"With all my love and gratitude from the top of my aorta to the bottom of my mechanical valve, thank you for giving me a chance to live my best life!" or " You exhibit the highest quality of skill combined with a warm and caring personality – thank you."

These are but some of the glowing comments LifeBridge Health staff have gotten recently. These observations were put in writing, mailed to the hospital and forwarded to the employee. Included was a monetary donation to the hospital to honor the staff member.

The Champions of Care initiative allows a skilled and caring employee to learn how much he or she is appreciated by a patient. The patient gets a chance to express gratitude to a staff member. The hospital gets a donation toward employee and community health education, equipment and patient programs.

What made it even sweeter for the first recipients is that they had no idea Champions of Care even existed. They were just doing their jobs and doing them very, very well.

"It gives us a way to identify our patients who are grateful for their care," says Alice Caltrider, campaign manager in Development. Certain patients, such as those who are frequent visitors to the hospital, are asked specifically if there's a special person at their hospital that they'd like to thank. "They receive letters from the presidents asking about their care and asking if they would like to recognize one of their caregivers through a donation to the hospital," Alice explains.

Karen Foote, guest relations representative at Northwest Hospital, was having a very bad day.

"It was rough. We had about 200 people here. We had two deaths. And I was feeling very much underappreciated," Karen says.

That happened to be the day Karen received the letter in interoffice mail that she was one of the
Champions of Care.

"Someone showing appreciation made me feel like everything was all right. That note was awesome!" Karen says.

So far, there have been more than 100 Champions of Care at LifeBridge Health. You might notice them by the lapel pin they are wearing. The patients have donated amounts ranging from $25 to $1,000. The employees recognized so far includes nurses, physical/occupational/speech language therapists, food service representatives, physicians and nurse practitioners.

At Sinai Hospital, you can see the full list of the 2009 Champions of Care in the “Patient Comments” display case off the main hallway leading toward the cafeteria. At Northwest Hospital, the names are in a display case toward the end of the connector hallway in the main building.

Are you a former patient who wants to recognize a Champion of Care? If so, click here.

-Sandra Crockett

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Northwest Hospital Receives Award for Stroke Treatment Program

When you or a loved on is being admitted for a stroke, it's important to know that your health care team has the latest skills and knowledge.

That's why we're proud that Sinai and Northwest hospitals are designated as Maryland Stroke Centers. Hospitals with this MIEMSS stroke designation showed they have a stroke team that can give acute stroke medicines and have resources to take care of stroke patients.

Now there's one more reason to celebrate our treatment for stroke patients. Northwest Hospital has received the 2010 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association "Get with the Guidelines" bronze award for its commitment to providing high quality care for stroke patients.
This recognizes Northwest's commitment to and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Get With The Guidelines® is an evidence-based program for in-hospital quality improvement that focuses on quick diagnosis and treatment for stroke patients. Patients treated in hospitals with a Get With the Guidelines program can know they are getting care that is aligned with the latest scientific guidelines

Northwest and LifeBridge Health are also active in the community in promoting awareness of stroke symptoms. The warning signs of a stroke are:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
To learn more about our stroke programs, call 410-601-WELL (9355) or click here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sign Up for Race for Our Kids

We are excited to announce the Sinai Hospital Auxiliary has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the sixth annual Race for Our Kids!

Mark your calendars for the 2010 Race for Our Kids at 8 a.m. on Sunday, September 26. All proceeds from the race benefit the division of pediatric oncology at The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. The race features 5K and 10K race courses, complete with disposable timing chips, water stops and police support.

The 1-Mile Family Walk travels around the Sinai Hospital campus and is great for families with children, or those who want to participate in the race without completing the 5K or 10K.

All participants receive an Under Armour® Race shirt and admission to the best post-race party in town, sponsored by The Classic Catering People.

This year, we are happy to announce we have online registration (with no additional fees) for our participants! In addition, if you register before August 1, you will receive an early bird discount of $5. Don't delay, register today!

Click here for more information or to sign up! Questions? Call Jen Doyle in the LifeBridge Health Department of Development at 410-601-9328.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fighting through a Fitness Plateau

By Natalie Smith
Group Exercise Team Leader, LifeBridge Health & Fitness

Ever feel like you're working out like a fiend, but no longer experiencing results? You may be at a plateau, a common concern of many fitness enthusiasts and even athletes. A change in intensity may be just what's required to take you to the next level of weight loss, toning or performance.

In fitness, there is a level of intensity that trainers and instructors call the "edge of discomfort." This refers to working at a level that challenges, but doesn't overwhelm you. It is the place where you feel like you're testing your limits, your heart rate is pounding, your muscles are fatigued, and your breathing is heavy. If you were to work any harder, you'd be quite uncomfortable.

Many people work up to their edge of discomfort which, in general, is good. But if you're facing a plateau, it's not always good enough.

During my CycleFit classes, I often encourage participants to push themselves past their edge of discomfort. This doesn't sound like much fun, but pushing yourself over that edge is exactly where you need to go from time to time if you want to see continued improvements. When your body consistently performs at the same level, it puts you a risk for that all-too-frustrating plateau. Working harder, even if only for brief intervals, helps you achieve more than you originally thought was possible.

Pushing past our perceived limits can strengthen the not only our physical muscles, but also the mental muscles we need to achieve amazing results every day. All it takes is making regular, small steps past that edge of discomfort. It may be uncomfortable to take the risk, but it's often the only way to grow and bring more of what you want into your life.

If you are interested in starting on your way to fitness, please call 410-484-6800 or visit us at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sinai Vice President Named Grassroots Champion

Barbara Epke, Vice President at LifeBridge Health, has been named an American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award winner.

The AHA, in partnership with the Maryland Hospital Association, chose Epke because of her exceptional leadership and community activity in support of Maryland hospitals. The award is given to one hospital leader in each state
who has been an advocate, educator, and broadened the base of support in the community. The 2010 honorees will be recognized at a special Breakfast of Grassroots Champions at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting tomorrow morning.

In a statement, AHA president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said people like Epke are "the cornerstones of the communities they serve."

Since 2008, Epke has been on the Governor's Health Cost & Quality Council and has served on the Maryland Hospital Associations Council on Clinical and Quality Issues since 1994. According to the AHA, her dedication was particularly critical to the development of Maryland's Hospital Performance Guide and the Health Services Cost Review Commissions Quality-Based Reimbursement project.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sinai Works with Parents to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

Your newborn won’t stop crying. What is your plan?

That’s the conversation many nurses at Sinai Hospital are increasingly having with post-partum mothers, and their partners, before the baby goes home. The goal is to reduce the incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is believed to be the most common form of child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and presents a chance to increase education on preventing SBS.

SBS occurs when a baby is violently shaken, resulting in head trauma. Symptoms can include lethargy, decreased muscle tone, extreme irritability, decreased appetite, no smiling, difficulty breathing or seizures.

“It’s totally preventable,” says nurse Lauren Underwood, R.N., who divides her time between Labor and Delivery, Neonatal Intensive Care, and the Pediatric Intensive Care at Sinai Hospital. She has been an advocate of talking more with parents about not shaking their baby, a topic that’s gained traction. The 15 states that have instituted mandatory education on Shaken Baby Syndrome have seen a dramatic reduction in incidence rates of SBS, she says.

“There’s enthusiasm growing among the Sinai staff for educating parents on Shaken Baby Syndrome,” she says.

Part of this stems from the extreme consequences of SBS. According to the National Institute for Neurological Damage and Stroke, “the majority of infants who survive severe shaking will have some form of neurological or mental disability, such as cerebral palsy or mental retardation, which may not be fully apparent before 6 years of age.” Shaking also can cause blindness.

Parents do not always realize the consequences of shaking, Lauren says.

“Often the parent says something like ‘I didn’t shake him that hard,’” she says. “This is something that can affect all families.”

“All parents go through a time when they are frustrated and the baby won’t stop crying,” Lauren says. “We ask parents to watch a movie on Shaken Baby Syndrome and to answer the question ‘what do you do when you’re at wit’s end?’”

Answers can be to call someone for help, to put the baby in a safe place like a crib and walk away, or to take a walk.

“You check to see if the baby is hungry, sick, tired or wet,” Lauren says. “But sometimes babies just need to cry.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coping With Stress at Work

Do you find yourself having a hard time sleeping, troubled by an upset stomach or headache, or snapping at the people around you?

In any type of job, whether it's teaching or construction, the cause of the above symptoms could be related to stress at work. In additional to the physical effects, stress can lead to depression, decreased job satisfaction, and strained personal relationships.

Health care professionals face unusual challenges in tackling their sources of stress, such as dealing with grief. Not only can that stress lead to burnout, but it can harm patients. One 2002 Annals of Internal Medicine study among showed that burned-out residents "were significantly more likely to self-report providing at least one type of suboptimal patient care at least monthly (Shanafelt, Bradley, Wipf, & Back, 2002).

That's why LifeBridge Health and Carebridge are pleased to offer a Carebridge Guidance Seminar on "Coping with Stress in a Health Care Environment." Attend the session and learn strategies to cope after a loss of a patient, how to compartmentalize work and a personal life, and how to address compassion fatigue.

The seminar will be from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27 at Sinai Hospital, and 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 20 on Northwest Hospital. Pre-registration is required - LifeBridge Health employees should sign up through HealthStream's Center for Leadership and Professional Development courses.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Violence Prevention Program Held Tomorrow

To recognize National Crime Victims' Rights Week, the Northwest Hospital Domestic Violence Program and the Baltimore Police Department will be sponsoring their Second Annual Community Against Violence event.

Northwest is proud to partner with law enforcement in addressing issues like domestic violence, identity theft, elder abuse, drug abuse, and youth gun violence. National Crime Victims' Rights Week serves to empower residents, and to let victims know of their rights. This week is also a chance to memorialize those people who became victims of crime.

The program begins tomorrow evening at 7 p.m., Liberty Resource Center, 3505 Resource Drive, Randallstown. The doors open at 6:30 p.m..

There will be three speakers:

  • Scott D. Shellenberger, the Baltimore County State's Attorney, speak about witness intimidation and what the state is doing to combat it.

There will be representatives from a variety of local agencies, food and beverages, door prizes and some great raffles! All are welcome.

To see a list of other National Crime Victim's Rights Week events, click here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

I bet you hardly ever think about some of the professionals your doctor depends on to correctly diagnose and treat you. But laboratory professionals play a crucial role in helping doctors determine the cause of your illness and how to treat it. And they hardly ever get a “thank you.” So here’s one from me, on behalf of all of us: thank you, lab professionals!

To showcase all the work these fine folks accomplish and to celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, I talked with LifeBridge Health medical technologists Mary Scott and Cynthia Heggins-Sawyer, along with other members of the Laboratory Activities Committee (LAC), to answer some common questions about life in the lab.

What happens in the laboratory?

The lab helps determine how the major functions of the body are working (i.e. kidneys, liver, bone marrow, heart). We provide test results that aid doctors in making an accurate diagnosis. We perform complex testing such as H1N1 and MRSA identification, cancer markers, HIV and hepatitis testing.

What are some of the different jobs in the laboratory?

Throughout the lab, there are phlebotomists, lab assistants, medical technologists, histotechnologists, pathologist assistants, pathologists, managers, lab directors and administrative assistants. The education required for these professions range from a high school diploma to a M.D. or Ph.D.

How does a lab fit into the overall picture of health care?

Seventy percent of the medical decisions that physicians make are based on laboratory results.

What are the new
innovations in the lab?

The lab uses many types of instrumentation on a daily basis to meet the demands and needs of the hospital and the patients. There are always advancements in technology and methodologies that allow for more efficient and accurate test results.

What type of career satisfaction do you get from your chosen profession?

We help save lives. We help aid in the proper diagnosis of patients, as well as provide the results that are used to monitor treatments. We feel good knowing that we make a difference in someone’s life.

Are there any common misconceptions about the lab?

The laboratory is not just the four walls in which it is contained, but the people within them performing the testing. Our job is very personal. We treat the samples that we test as if they belonged to a member of our family.

To learn more about a career in the labs of LifeBridge Health, visit

-Sandra Crockett

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reaching Underserved Populations with Lifesaving Breast Care Information

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of attending an afternoon tea at Northwest Hospital featuring a talk by Sandra Millon Underwood, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N. Dr. Underwood is the 2010 Komen Visiting Professor, and she was making a stop at Northwest during her tour through Maryland.

As a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dr. Underwood’s area of research is how to reduce – and even eliminate – disparities between breast cancer detection and treatment among various socioeconomic and cultural populations.

When breast cancer is spotted early, the opportunity for survival increases, and over 98 percent of early detected cases of breast cancer are cured. However, if a woman is not getting regular mammograms – whether it’s because she does not have health insurance, cannot afford her co-pays or doesn’t understand she needs to have regular screening – this will result in breast cancer being caught much later than it otherwise would be.

“Pink is not the only color associated with breast cancer,” says Dr. Underwood.

That’s because black and green also have significance. While white women overall have higher incidence rates of breast cancer than black women, black women under age 50 not only have higher rates of breast cancer, but they are also more likely to die from the disease. For those whose issue is green – they cannot afford regular screening mammograms and treatment if breast cancer is detected – Dr. Underwood puts them in touch with a Center for Disease Control and Prevention screening program that provides these resources.

Women who know their individual levels of risk – based on ethnicity, family history, and health and lifestyle factors – will have a great understanding of what needs to be done to catch cancer early.

Dr. Underwood also spoke about her efforts to reach out to the women on the maintenance and janitorial staff at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. These were women who set up and broke down the university’s community health educational events, but they were never encouraged to attend the events themselves. After talking with one of the janitors, Dr. Underwood realized that she needed to hold events specifically for these unreached women. She even hosted events in the middle of the night (2 – 3 a.m.) so that all of the female shift workers could have the opportunity to learn what they needed to know about breast cancer.

Are you interested in becoming a team captain for the 2010 Race for the Cure? Click here to sign up to attend an informational meeting.

To learn more about breast cancer services at LifeBridge Health, call 410-601-WELL (9355) or click here.

-Holly Hosler

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sinai Hospital Celebrates National Volunteer Week

by Beth Markowitz, Volunteer Manager
Sinai Hospital

At long last, spring has arrived! The highly anticipated change in seasons couldn’t come soon enough for most of us, and for volunteers spring means more than warm weather.

National Volunteer Week will be celebrated from Sunday, April 18 to Saturday, April 24. The Points of Light Institute and the Hands on Network designate the week annually to honor the countless individuals who take action to strengthen their communities through volunteerism. Sinai Hospital takes advantage of Volunteer Week to show gratitude to the 200 volunteers who regularly donate their time to the hospital.

Providing food and gifts for our volunteers, hanging a banner over Greenspring Avenue, and placing an ad in the Jewish Times are just some of the ways that Sinai Hospital and LifeBridge Health show appreciation to volunteers during National Volunteer Week. You, too, can thank our volunteers simply by taking a moment to say hello and by sharing a warm smile.

LifeBridge Health’s Annual Volunteer Luncheon is always held each spring close to National Volunteer Week. This year, the event was this past Tuesday, April 13, at Beth Tfiloh Congregation. Volunteers from all LifeBridge Health entities enjoyed food, gifts, and entertainment.

The value that volunteers bring to the staff and patients at Sinai Hospital is priceless. From knitting hats and blankets for our smallest patients to providing emotional support to a patient scheduled for a procedure, volunteers are part of the care provided at Sinai Hospital each day. It’s important to show volunteers your appreciation whenever possible, but National Volunteer Week is a great reminder for us to demonstrate that we care.

Sinai employees: can you use the help of a volunteer? Please contact Volunteer Services at 2-5023 if you have a need for volunteer(s) in your area. I am always looking for opportunities to engage volunteers and provide meaningful support to the hospital.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wellness Program Offered at LifeBridge Health & Fitness

Are you struggling with managing your diabetes, trying to shed weight after having a baby, or regaining your muscle strength?

By joining the Wellness Connection at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, you may find the key to good health. Participants with health issues, including hypertension, obesity, or diabetes, are encouraged to try the 8-week program, which incorporates a weekly session with a personal trainer. The cost is $149, which gives you those sessions and access to the many facilities at LifeBridge Health & Fitness. The program also provides lifestyle education, nutrition guidance, flexibility training and a specialized exercise program.

"After 8 weeks, you can feel some changes," says Donna Bair, Wellness/New Member Integration Team Leader. "But many people with health issues find it less intimidating. It's a good way to start."

Participants need to have their physician's permission to join the program. To learn more, call Donna at 410-318-6802 or click here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrate Patient Advocacy Week

It’s not much fun being sick. Apart from not feeling well, your life is disrupted, you or your family must make complicated care decisions, and – in the back of your mind – there’s the worry you won’t make a full recovery.

So if somebody grabbed your hand and offered to make being sick a little easier, you would think he or she was heaven-sent, right?

To many a grateful patient or family member, patient advocates - who can be a navigator, health coach or guest relations designee - are like angels. The Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy (SHCA)'s Patient Advocacy Week (April 11-14) is a good chance to thank those who work tirelessly in departments such as Volunteer Services, Guest Relations or the Emergency Department.

For Karen Foote, guest relations representative in Northwest Hospital’s ER-7, being a patient advocate is very much about giving people the respect they want. She “works the area,” introducing herself to everyone and giving waiting family members updates on their loved one so they aren’t kept in suspense.

Knowing that ER waits can be draining, Karen pushes around a cart of supplies to make sure those in the waiting room have pillows, blankets, and a paper or magazine to read. Sometimes she’ll even reconfigure the ER seating to accommodate groups or add extra chairs so that everyone has a place to sit.

“I like feeling like I’m approachable,” says Karen. People often confuse her for a police officer, social worker, registration associate or financial services representative. At times, she has to play these roles.

“I love my job; it was made for me,” Karen says. “It’s not just about fixing people physically, but also fixing them mentally.”

For more information on Patient Advocacy Week, click here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Northwest Hospital Debuts SurgiCenter

Northwest Hospital will officially open and dedicate its new ambulatory surgery center tomorrow from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

To mark this occasion, there will be a reception, brief program and self-guided tours of the SurgiCenter, with staff available to answer questions. Speakers at the event include Warren Green, president and CEO of LifeBridge Health; Erik Wexler, president and COO of Northwest Hospital; Walter Amprey, chair of the Northwest Hospital Board; and Alan Davis, M.D., chief of surgery at Northwest Hospital

The SurgiCenter at Northwest Hospital will serve patients by providing facilities optimally designed for safety and comfort, with operating rooms open later for early evening procedures. The SurgiCenter at Northwest Hospital is on the top floor of the new Northwest Professional Center, which is connected to the main hospital via an enclosed bridge over Carlson Lane.

Members of the media interested in covering the event can contact Holly Hosler at 410-601-8678 or hhosler(at)

Monday, April 12, 2010

LifeBridge Health Welcomes Komen Professor

LifeBridge Health employees, patients, faculty and affiliated physicians are invited to a tea on Wednesday that features the 2010 Komen Partnership Visiting Professor.

Sandra Millon Underwood, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will speak about her research findings on how to reduce disparities in breast cancer detection and control among different populations.

Dr. Underwood has committed herself to developing strategies/interventions aimed toward improving the access of minority, economically disadvantaged, and medically underserved populations to state-of-the-art breast cancer detection and control programs and is world renowned in this field.

The event will be Wednesday, April 14, from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Reister and Owings Rooms at Northwest Hospital.

Amgen will be providing light refreshments. The Komen Partnership Visiting Professor lecture is made possible through a grant from Maryland Affiliate of Komen for the Cure and the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

The tea is limited to 50 attendees. Reserve your spot now by e-mailing Dr. Caryn Andrews at CAndrews (at)

Sinai Hospital Receives Women's Health Excellence Award

Sinai Hospital was among an elite group of 169 hospitals nationwide to receive Health Grades 2009/2010 Women's Health Excellence Award. This exclusive designation recognizes Sinai as a leader in quality patient care.

Women in the U.S. account for over 60 percent of all hospital admissions. They are increasingly affected by chronic diseases like congestive heart failure.

Unfortunately, chronic diseases mean more hospitalizations. Because of the wide quality gaps that exist in care between women and men, women should research hospitals and choose the ones best for them.

The HealthGrades Sixth Annual Women's Health in American Hospitals Study has found that among eligible hospitals, a total of 18,089 lives could have been saved and 6,849 complications avoided if all eligible hospitals performed at the level of the best-performing hospitals in women's health.

Hospitals like Sinai are in the top 5 percent of all hospitals nationwide when it comes to providing care to women in three areas: Women's Medicine (heart attack, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke); Women's Cardiovascular Procedures (coronary bypass surgery, peripheral vascular bypass, coronary interventional procedures, resection/replacement of abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid surgery, and valve replacement); and Women's Bone & Joint Health (total knee and total hip replacement surgeries, spinal surgeries, and hip fracture repair).

HealthGrades analyzed more than 2.6 million hospitalizations using Medicare data from all 50 states from 2005 through 2007 for this study.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Business Ventures for LifeBridge Health

by Rachel Joseph
Director, Business Development, LifeBridge Health

Many of you have probably noticed the distinctive Pulse ambulances that are whizzing back and forth across our campuses and throughout the community.

What you may not know is that Pulse is a new company created by LifeBridge Health in partnership with FutureCare, a local nursing home operator, and Medical Transportation Consultants, a New Jersey-based company specializing in developing and operating medical transportation ventures. Pulse originated out of the LifeBridge Health Department of Business Development in 2007. While reviewing operating budgets, Vice President of Business Development Bryan White noticed the $700,000 line item associated with patient ambulance and wheelchair transports and came up with an idea for a transport system that would reduce costs, generate new revenue, and improve service. Pulse debuted in June 2009.

Another exciting partnership is the launch of LifeBridge Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, a joint venture between LifeBridge Health and Physiotherapy Associates, a national provider of outpatient rehabilitation clinics. The program is operating four outpatient physical therapy clinics in Pikesville at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, as well as Owings Mills, Eldersburg, and Timonium. A fifth site in Towson is scheduled to open in a few months. These clinics expand the range of physical therapy and rehab options we can provide to our patients and employees, while complementing the LifeBridge Health Sports Medicine program.

Both of these partnerships stemmed out of the LifeBridge Health Department of Business Development. As Director of Business Development, my role is to foster a continuous flow of new ideas, evaluate potential opportunities, develop a ‘business case’ for new projects, and spearhead the negotiations, valuation, due diligence, and contracting aspects of the business development process. It is my goal to harness the entrepreneurial talent from across our system, as our LifeBridge employees have been the source for several promising projects, and work with the local business community to develop new products and services that can also enhance our bottom line.

I encourage you all to imagine the possibilities, define the market, develop your sales pitch, and contact Business Development at 5-8801. We can provide you resources and support to assess your concept, develop a business plan, and connect you with potential mentors where appropriate.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sinai Hospital Hosts NICU Reunion

The Jennifer Gandel Kachura Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is more than a unit at Sinai Hospital: it's also a place where families find hope during a difficult time.

The 21-bed unit handles a full range of medical problems of premature and critically ill newborns. Most premature babies stay in the hospital until their due date. When the NICU newborns do go home, many families stay in touch with the staff.

That's why on Sunday, 70 families will revisit Sinai Hospital's Zamoiski Auditorium for a NICU reunion. The event will run from 1 to 4 p.m.

The children will enjoy games and adults can catch up with NICU staff, all the while celebrating how far their babies have come. The event will also feature a slide show of the NICU graduates.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April is National Donate Life Month

With more than 105,000 people nationwide waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, including nearly 2,000 people in Maryland, the need for designated organ, eye and tissue donors has reached an all time high. Sadly, on average 18 people in the United States die every day due to the lack of available organs for transplant.

To help bring awareness to this growing health care crisis, LifeBridge Health has partnered with The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (LLF) to provide employees and members of our community information about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland is a federally designated organ procurement organization dedicated to saving lives by facilitating the process of organ and tissue donation, recovery and transplantation.

During April, National Donate Life Month, The Living Legacy Foundation urges health care professionals, volunteers, educators, community groups, private organizations and the public at large to make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye and tissue donors and to raise awareness for the urgent need for life-saving organs and tissue. Throughout the month, a ‘donate life’ flag will be displayed in Greenspring Café at Sinai Hospital and Old Court Café at Northwest Hospital to honor the many individuals and families that have selflessly give the gift of life to others.

In 2009, Sinai Hospital helped facilitate 10 organ donors and nine tissue donors. Northwest Hospital facilitated one organ donor, its first in many years, and 11 tissue donors. In total, with the dedicated commitment of LifeBridge Health administration, staff and generous patients and families, 33 individuals were given a second chance at life through solid-organ transplantation and hundreds of lives were enhanced through tissue transplantation.

More than two million Maryland residents have already made the decision to designate themselves as organ, eye and tissue donors, either through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration or the Maryland Donor Registry, this statewide outreach will hopefully encourage others to make the decision to be a donor.

The Maryland Donor Registry also allows people who already designated their wishes either on their driver’s license or on the Maryland Donor Registry to specify their gifts of donation. Maryland residents are able to specify which organs and tissues they choose to donate for transplantation, medical research or both. The Donate Life Maryland web site also allows registered donors to share their wishes with family and friends with a simple e-mail.

LifeBridge Health has committed to helping to reduce the number of people waiting for a life-saving transplant by providing our employees with information about donation and transplantation and allowing each of us to make an educated decision about becoming a designated organ and tissue donor.

For more information on organ, eye and tissue donation please visit the Donate Life Maryland website at or call 866-MD-DONOR.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Art Students Light Up Hospital

Pediatric patients from The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai received illuminating gifts last week when National Art Honor Society students presented them with hand-made night lights.

The students, who attend Reservoir High School in Fulton, redesigned night lights for the patients. The idea stemmed from wanting to give children in the hospital a more secure feeling during the night. Using translucent materials like tissue paper, and combining them with 3-D materials, the students transformed simple night light designs into an uplifting, humorous, or beautiful relief sculptures.

The pediatric patients can take home their lights upon discharge. The patients and students were featured last week on WJZ-TV EyeWitness News.

Thanks to the art students who brightened up the day of both patients and staff!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vitamin D: Are You Getting Enough?

By Holly Hosler

Ever since I went to Sinai Hospital Grand Rounds last week, which featured a talk on vitamin D by John Hopkins Bayview Hospital endocrinologist Suzanne M. Jan de Beur, M.D., I’ve been tempted to spend a little time outdoors during my lunch break. That’s because I learned a mere 15 minutes outside (without sunscreen) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. can cause the body to produce 3,000 IUs of vitamin D. This is necessary for bone mineralization and the prevention of fractures and osteoporosis, and potentially important for staving off conditions such as breast, prostate and colon cancers; diabetes; and cardiovascular disease.

Experts recommend that we get 800 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day. (Levels up to 10,000 IUs per day on a continued basis are even safe, suggests a study cited by Jan de Beur.)

Unfortunately, it is believed that up to half of us have too little vitamin D in our bodies. The consequences of vitamin D deficiency include osteoporosis, osteomalacia (in adults)/rickets (in children), thyroid problems, muscle pain and weakness, and an increased risk for breast, prostate and colon cancers, as evidenced by epidemiological data. Those who are elderly, obese, spend most of their time inside, have dark skin, live in northern climates or have certain health conditions are particularly susceptible to low levels of vitamin D.

Jan de Beur explained that barring supplemental vitamins, ninety percent (90%) of our vitamin D comes from sun exposure, while the remainder comes from food sources such as sun-dried shiitake mushrooms, salmon and cod liver oil, and a slight amount from fortified products such as milk. She showed a graph illustrating that young people naturally produce more vitamin D from the sun than older folks. Of course, the elderly are at higher risk for falls and fractures, so it is critical that they receive enough vitamin D to help their bones absorb calcium.

Ironically, the UVB rays necessary for vitamin D production are the very same rays that cause skin cancer, so I decided to scrap my idea to eat lunch outside. Plus, in Maryland, the sun only helps us produce vitamin D between March and November. Therefore, Jan de Beur recommends that vitamin D be obtained through dietary supplements, as there is no evidence that this supplementary vitamin D is inferior to the vitamin D our bodies produce from the sun. She says that most people require vitamin D supplements to get the amount that they need for good health.

Do you suffer from insufficient vitamin D? Symptoms include bone pain and muscle weakness, but sometimes the signs aren’t very pronounced. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns, especially if you are not already taking a supplement with at least 800 IUs of vitamin D.

Friday, April 2, 2010

CSA Sign-Up Extended to April 15

Attention LifeBridge Health employees: There is still time to sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share for the summer.

A CSA allows you to buy into a farm at the beginning of the season and receive a share of whatever is in season each week. Our partner, Breezy Willow Farm, is located in Howard County and offers an opportunity to pick up shares at Sinai at a set time each week. It’s like bringing the best of the farmers' market to you!

Each week, participants will receive an assortment of eight products that are currently in season. This will include an assortment of local, naturally grown vegetables and fruits, as well as free-range eggs and fresh bread. On certain weeks, you may also receive value-added farm products including honey, jam, and sheep's milk soap.

Deliveries begin the first week of June and continue through November. The cost of this program breaks down to approximately $35/week and several payment options are available.

Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t like broccoli?
You can swap it out with something you prefer when you pick up your share.
Not sure how to prepare squash?
Recipes for each item in your share will be included each week.
Sounds good but it’s too much food?
Farmer Casey will set you up with a half-share for half the price.
How do I learn more?

Stop by the following cafeterias between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Thursday, April 1 at Sinai
• Friday, April 2 at Northwest
• Wednesday, April 7 at Levindale

You can also e-mail Casey at CaseyCaulder(at)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Challenge of Diversity

by Sandra Crockett

One of the things that landed LifeBridge Health on Fortune Magazine's 2010 list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" list is something that could have divided us. It is our diversity.

LifeBridge Health understands that diversity is a good thing. Instead of dividing us, we like to celebrate it. A diverse workforce means different viewpoints are brought to the table. And different viewpoints can make for a stronger workplace.

So it was gratifying for members of LifeBridge’s Diversity Council, of which I am one, to see the results of the LBH Diversity Survey. The purpose of this survey, which was distributed last October, was to establish benchmarks of where we are now. It was also to observe how LBH employees view diversity.

The results were pretty encouraging although, to be sure, there is still work to be done. There were 7,000 surveys distributed and 1,507 employees responded. Yes, we would have liked even more respondents.
Highlights of the survey included
  • 63 percent – 75 percent of respondents agreed LBH leadership is committed to diversity, inclusion, and holding themselves accountable for progress with diversity.
  • 63 percent - 78 percent believe they are treated respectfully by staff around the LBH entities.
  • 68 percent of respondents agreed that hiring and promotion decisions are based on objective criterion.
  • 20 percent felt that only “sometimes” promotion decisions are made based on objective data.

Cross tabulation analysis of the respective questions yielded no significant differences by race, age, or gender.

The next step for the Diversity Council (besides sharing the survey results to all of LBH) is to conduct focus groups to follow-up on certain questions where further understanding is needed.

And, yes, we will look into the needs of those who did not respond and the needs of those who responded unfavorably. Overall, the LBH staff deserves a “congratulations” for being committed to diversity.

To learn more about working for LifeBridge Health, click here.