Friday, May 29, 2009

Ask the Expert Radio this Sunday - swine flu and infectious diseases

WHFS Ask the Expertby: John Cmar, MD

What is the latest on the swine-origin influenza outbreak, and is it something that you should be concerned about?  What other infections are lurking as the summer kicks into full swing?

Myself and Jackie Daley, Director of Sinai Hospital's Infection Prevention and Control division, will be on hand to answer these and other infectious diseases-related questions on the Ask the Expert show this Sunday, May 31, from 08:00-09:00 EST on WHFS 105.7 FM radio.  Our regular hostess, the lovely and talented Rudy Miller, will be taking a much deserved vacation, and I will have the pleasure of filling in. 

If you have any questions for us, feel free to call 410-481-1057 between 08:00-09:00 Sunday morning, or post them as comments below.  You can tune in directly if you are in the Baltimore area, or check out the live feed from their website.

Building Bridges Mentoring Program Honored

The Building Bridges Mentoring Program was honored twice this spring. LifeBridge Health received an Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Maryland Mentoring Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of youth mentoring.

“The Excellence in Mentoring award honors Maryland’s finest examples of helping people achieve their potential," says Mike Stone, manager of corporate partnerships and training, Maryland Mentoring Partnership. "LifeBridge Health has done an awesome job."

Building Bridges also received a Volunteer Award for Outstanding Service from Cross County Elementary School yesterday. Other honorees at the Cross Country volunteer award ceremony included C.H.A.I., MECU Fallstaff, Jewish Volunteer Connection, Experience Corps, the Cross Country P.T.A., and the Cross Country Chess Club.
This is the second year for the Building Bridges Mentoring Program. Sinai and Levindale employees have partnered with Cross Country Elementary School (now K-8), and Northwest has partnered with Windsor Mill Middle School.

Sinai NICU Helps Babies Gain Strength

Diane Boulay was 27 weeks into her pregnancy when, uncertain if her premature labor could be stopped, she was admitted to Sinai Hospital and placed on bed rest. Less than three weeks later, Alexander Marc Boulay was born, weighing just three pounds, one ounce.“Within 24 hours, I was holding Alex and I was encouraged to breastfeed,” recalls Boulay, who spent the next four days and nights in the Jennifer Gandel Kachura Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sinai Hospital, where Alexander would remain for the next month.

“I knew the quality of care at Sinai was top notch and I could not be in better hands,” says Boulay, who is enjoying life at home with a happy, healthy Alex and his 6-year-old sister, Anna.

All Sinai NICU physicians are board certified in Pediatrics and in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Parents, grandparents and healthy siblings can visit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The NICU is equipped to provide the most state-of-the-art care to sick newborns. Sinai’s newborn nursery was one of the first in the region to institute universal jaundice screening with the goal of decreasing the number of severe jaundice cases.

Sinai’s Level III+ NICU consistently ranks among the top 20 percent of care units in the nation. The Pediatric department covers most subspecialties, including pediatric surgery.The NICU is a member of a nationwide consortium of more than 450 neonatal centers—the Vermont-Oxford Neonatal Network—which serves as an information resource and database management for NICU statistics.

For more information about the Sinai NICU or Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, or to be referred to a physician specializing in neonatology, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sinai President Honored by UMES

Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer joined over 300 graduates in celebration at the 2009 University of Maryland Eastern Shore graduation.

Meltzer received an honorary Doctor of Science degree. He is pictured on the right, with Stephen C. Powell, the president and CEO of Powell Steel Corporation in Lancaster, Pa., a fellow doctoral of science recipient, on the left. Others honored at the ceremony included Rilous Carter, vice president of Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida; Ellis M. Stanley Sr., director of western emergency management services for Dewberry, LLC in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Dr. Darlene F. Williams, general deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Administration for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carter, Stanley and Williams received honorary Doctor of Public Service degrees.

UMES, named twice in the top tier of America's Best Black Colleges by U.S. News and World Reports, emphasizes selected baccalaureate programs in the liberal arts and sciences and career fields with particular relevance to the Eastern Shore and its land-grant mandate, offering programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. For more on the UMES graduation, click here.

LifeBridge Health & Fitness Launches Parisi Speed School

LifeBridge Health & Fitness is proud to partner with Parisi Speed School to bring one of the most highly regarded athletic training programs to Baltimore. The gym is the only Baltimore County provider of this program, which has trained many top professional athletes. Parisi Speed School focuses on both physical development and confidence building for elite athletes.

Current Ravens’ kicker Steve Hauschka and former Ravens’ kicker Matt Stover and Orioles’ third baseman Ty Wigginton will all be on hand to launch the program on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The best time for photos will be at noon in the main lobby of LifeBridge Health & Fitness. The gym is located at 1836 Greene Tree Road, Baltimore.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Postpartum Depression Outreach Program touches lives of new mothers

Sleep deprivation, fluctuating hormones, high stress and limited mobility all can tax the emotional and mental health of any new mother.

Mixed together, these ingredients can be a formula for depression despite the excitement of a newborn baby. According to the March of Dimes, postpartum depression is the most common complication among women who have just had a baby. In fact, they estimate that about one out of every eight women has postpartum depression.

To combat this very real problem, Sinai Hospital’s Women’s and Children’s staff, along with support from the Department of Psychiatry, developed the hospital’s Postpartum Depression Outreach Program.

Educating mothers and family members to recognize the symptoms of depression is key, says Lisa B. Kelly, program coordinator. This includes differentiating the “baby blues” (mild and brief symptoms of depression or anxiety that emerge in the first two weeks following delivery but dissipate quickly) from postpartum depression, which can occur anywhere from a few weeks to 12 months after giving birth. Postpartum depression is distinguished by a combination of depressive symptoms that persist and can interfere with a woman’s daily functioning.

To read more, click here. For more information about Sinai Hospital’s Postpartum Depression Outreach Program, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sinai is a leader in surgical safety

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an independent not-for-profit organization helping to lead the improvement of health care throughout the world, placed Sinai Hospital on its list of hospitals that have tested the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist at least once, in at least one operating room, by April 1, 2009.

According to an article published in the January 14, 2009 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, a WHO study that included hospitals in eight cities around the globe successfully demonstrated that use of the checklist during major operations can lower the incidence of deaths and complications by more than one third. Inpatient deaths following major operations fell by more than 40 percent with implementation of the checklist, which ensures the safe delivery of anesthesia, appropriate measures taken against infection, and effective teamwork by the operating room staff. Sinai aims to implement the checklist in all ORs by June.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Partnership Tackles Pressure Ulcer

Pressure ulcers result from staying in one position for too long without shifting your weight. This can happen to those who are bedridden or in a wheelchair. Courtland Gardens and Sinai Hospital are partnering to enhance continuity of care between hospitals and nursing homes for residents with pressure ulcers as well as those at risk for developing pressure ulcers. This exciting new program, developed by the Delmarva Foundation and Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene , provides a unique opportunity for nursing homes and hospitals to work together to make sure there is a smooth transition for residents between health care facilities. It is hoped that this model for the consistent identification, treatment, and reduction of pressure ulcers will become a national model for prevention of facility-acquired pressure ulcer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sinai Hospital Celebrates 50 Years

Did you know Sinai Hospital has been at its current location in northwest Baltimore for 50 years?

In honor of the anniversary, Sinai treated its employees today to a picnic lunch, complete with cake and gorgeous weather.

Sinai President Neil Meltzer also took time to speak with employees, commending them on their hard work. He is pictured here with Physician Services Manager Nechama Mael and inpatient neuro-rehab's Gail Pariser, OT.

Sinai employees have also celebrated by a dedication to performing 50 Acts of Kindness in the community through 2009. Volunteers have helped members of the Fallstaff Neighborhood Association, CHAI and Fallstaff Elementary School build a playground for their children. Sinai volunteers also participated in Senior Home Repair Day by assisting seniors with activities like yard work, minor home repairs and safety improvements. Other events have included painting Pimlico Elementary School.

Naps May Reduce Stress

A recent study shows midday naps may have a positive impact on the heart, especially for working men.

The Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School ran a six-year study on more than 23,000 Greek adults, the results of which appeared in The Archives of Internal Medicine in February 2007. Investigators found those who took a nap three times per week for an average of at least 30 minutes had a 37 percent lower coronary mortality than those not taking siestas. The study’s investigators concluded that “afternoon siesta in a healthy individual may act as a stress-releasing habit, and there is considerable evidence that stress has both short- and long-term effects on incidence of and mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD).”

Experts agree it’s the stress release value of a nap that is likely the reason behind the health benefits. Brian Bohner, M.D., director of the Sinai Sleep Center, says stress reduction in any form—be it napping, meditation or biofeedback—is a good idea.

“The message from this study should not be that everyone should go out and take a two-hour siesta,” he says. “But stress has an impact on coronary mortality, and stress reduction in whatever form you do it is important.”

LifeBridge Health internist Steven Gambert, M.D., says a nap should be between 30-45 minutes, and those who nap should expect to sleep less at night. For those who don’t receive enough sleep—less than eight hours a night for most people—Bohner suggests there may be restorative value to an occasional nap.

“The most traditional advice is not to take a routine nap but a nap to catch up on lost sleep,” he says.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LifeBridge Doctor Acts Quickly; Saves Life

by Betsy Haley

Dr. Michael Zollicoffer, M.D., (or as he refers to himself, Dr. Z) practices old fashioned medicine and teaches the parents of his pediatric patients about using their instinct and creating balance.

“Intuitiveness and instinct are two keys to great health and my medical practice,” says Dr. Z, who practices in the LifeBridge Health Michel Mirowski Medical Office Building.

Dr. Z used this instinctive nature during a recent visit from an eighth-month-old female patient and her Spanish speaking relatives. The patient presented with respiratory distress and as Dr. Z evaluated her status, he became very concerned. With the help of a translator, he was able to explain to the baby’s mother the gravity of the situation. As he continued to examine his patient, she grew listless, turned blue, and almost stopped breathing. Her wheezing intensified. Without hesitation, Dr. Z rushed the baby out of the examination room, through the main lobby of his practice, and asked his staff to warn Sinai Hospital ER-7 that he was minutes away. While holding the baby, he sustained the inhaler treatments and attempts to regulate breathing. He continued across the Greenspring Avenue bridge and across the parking lot to Sinai Hospital. While carrying the baby, Dr. Z hoped that he would make it in time.

“I was very nervous about this baby’s respiratory state,” says Dr. Z. “I knew that my time was very limited and I needed to act with extreme speed to save her life. I told her Mom, trust Dr. Z! Then, I ran.”

When Dr. Z entered the emergency department, Sinai nurses were ready to help. The baby was intubated within minutes and later was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She remained in the PICU for 3 days and is now at home and healthy. Dr. Z’s quick decision and natural instinct saved her life.

“I believe in access to health care for all people. It didn’t matter to me that a language barrier exists between my patient’s family and me. I’m here to help, heal and educate all people, even my patients who are underinsured or uninsured.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Women's Screening at Northwest Hospital

A women's heart & lifestyle screening will be held at Northwest Hospital on Thursday, May 28 with appointments starting at 3:00 p.m. Please call 410-601-WELL to pre-register. A 6-hour fasting is recommended for this test, which allows you to eat breakfast.

This is best described as a "lifestyle screening." It includes a lipid panel, glucose, heart health awareness assessment, body composition analysis, exercise and nutrition information, and brief counseling and education with a registered nurse. Results with certain risk factors are reviewed by a cardiologist. You will receive a free two-week trial to LifeBridge Health & Fitness with your results.

The screening will be held at the Northwest Hospital Education Center, 5401 Old Court Rd., Randallstown, MD, 21133.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bike Helmets Are a Must

It’s the time of year to jump back on the bike and enjoy the spring weather. But before you head for the Gwynn Falls Trail, remember your bike helmet.

Even experienced bike riders cannot always avoid collisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year nearly 1,000 persons die from injuries caused by bicycle crashes, and 550,000 persons are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to bicycle riding. According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, bike helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injury by more than 80 percent.

In addition to wearing a helmet, it’s also important to learn the signs of a concussion if you or a loved one is involved in a collision or fall. These include:
• blurred vision
• headache
• lethargy
• signs of confusion
• unusual sleepiness

Learn more about brain injury and other services offered at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute at LifeBridge Health.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A First Call for Help

Physicians are equipped to deal with many things, from disaster and disease to daily care. But sometimes, there are problems they just don’t have the solutions to.

With patient care being the highest priority for medical professionals, not having those solutions can be unsettling. Enter 2-1-1 Maryland.

To learn more, visit MdMD for Life.

ACCE Honors Sinai

The Academy for College and Career Exploration, a Baltimore public high school, chose to honor Sinai Hospital at its Appreciation Day yesterday.

In 2004, when ACCE opened its doors, the school was embraced through a corporate partnership with Sinai Hospital. Neil Meltzer, President and COO at Sinai Hospital, become a member of the ACCE Advisory Board. Each year, Sinai has made it possible to reserve space in its volunteer program for ACCE students who have an interest in health care. Additionally, students thrive at the LifeBridge Health facility, as the ACCE interns are engaged in multiple rotations throughout the hospital, allowing students to explore and enrich their knowledge and awareness.

Each year, Sinai is the first employer who signs-up to be a Job Shadow Day Host Site. ACCE saluted Sinai as a “Friend of ACCE” for its influence on student achievement, commitment of its employees, and financial resources in support of the ACCE Annual Appreciation Day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ask The Expert Radio - Gastroenterology

Are you having stomach problems or intestinal distress? Have you ever wanted to talk to a physician or another health expert about it without waiting for an appointment?

On Sunday, May 17, LifeBridge Health gastroenterologists Steven Epstein, M.D. and Lila Tarmin, M.D., will be on hand to answer your questions via Ask the Expert Radio WJZ (105.7 FM).

Every week, experts from Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and LifeBridge Health & Fitness join host Rudy Miller for Ask the Expert. Rudy and her guests take calls from listeners and talk about the latest medical topics, advances, and treatments. If you want to ask the expert, call 410-481-1057 between 8 and 9 a.m. or you can e-mail your questions to Or you can post your questions in the comment field below.

To hear previous Ask the Expert Radio shows, click here.

Levindale Names New President and COO

Aric Spitulnik has been named the new president and COO at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital and Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (formerly Jewish Convalescent & Nursing Home), and a senior vice president of LifeBridge Health. Spitulnik is currently the vice president of operations and the administrator at Levindale.

"I am honored to assume this leadership role in such a stellar organization and am dedicated to continuing the journey to provide the elders in our community a real and the best medical care,” Spitulnik says.

Spitulnik’s extensive list of achievements includes more than three years of spearheading culture change at Levindale and overseeing the future expansion of the Levindale campus. He also is also a member of the board of directors of the LifeSpan/MANPHA, the Jewish Hospice Advisory Board and the Baltimore Jewish Council- an agency of THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Spitulnik also shared his experience as part of the ASSOCIATED’S Baltimore Jewish Council Leadership Development Program in 2007-2008. He has a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, both from York College of Pennsylvania.

First Hip Resurfacing Surgery on Twitter

Michael Mont, M.D., founder and co-director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement, has performed more than 2,000 hip resurfacing procedures. Under Dr. Mont's leadership, Sinai Hospital is breaking new ground in the area of hip preservation and replacement techniques. Today Dr. Mont led the team that is conducting the first hip resurfacing surgery broadcast on Twitter. Visit to see real-time updates and pictures.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sign Up Today to Give Life

By Donna Marquess, MA, MT(ASCP), SBB
Manager, Blood Bank
LifeBridge Health

Did you know that patients at LifeBridge Health used over 26,000 blood products in 2008? Patients in oncology, trauma services, orthopedics, and pediatrics require blood transfusions every day. With summer quickly approaching, let's do our part to avoid blood shortages and ensure that our patients' needs are met. LifeBridge Health has collected 118 units of blood to date in 2009, about 21 percent of our goal this year. Can you help us collect the remaining 432 units needed to reach our goal this year?

The need has never been greater - the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac region has been suffering from an unusually low donor turnout during the first 12 days of May. With just 9 days until Memorial Day weekend the community blood supply is not well positioned to begin the summer months, our most challenging season.

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown on Friday, May 22, in the Education Conference Rooms, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. To set up an appointment in advance, call the Blood Bank at 410-521-5926 or click here.

The second drive will be held at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore on Friday, May 29 in Zamoiski Auditorium, from 7 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. To set up an appointment in advance, call the Blood Bank at 410-601-5112 or click here.

All donors will receive a gift at the upcoming drives! Bring a new donor with you for an extra prize. Most importantly, remember, by donating one pint of blood, you can help save three lives!

Prevent an ACL Injury

That popping sound you heard during your last intramural soccer game, followed by extreme knee pain? It could be a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

But that doesn't mean you're out for the count. Not only does LifeBridge Health & Fitness have a specialized post-rehabilitation program for athletes with a torn ACL, it also offers a prevention program.

The highly trained staff at LifeBridge Health & Fitness uses the latest in training techniques such as multi-directional movement and plyometric training. By targeting the knee area through specifically designed strength exercises, athletes decrease their risk of such an injury.

To learn more, call 410-484-6800.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gardening Doesn't Have to Stop with Arthritis Diagnosis

With the sun out in Baltimore, many gardeners are ready to start planting their own fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs. While joint pain can make gardening more difficult, it is a wonderful activity for maintaining joint flexibility, bone density and range of motion. Experts agree that physical activity decreases pain, improves function and delays disability. The Arthritis Foundation offers the following tips for gardeners who are ready to hit their yards:

1) Ask for help. Know your limits.

2) Gentle stretches loosen joints and help prevent injury. Practice correct posture. Instead of using your fingers to lift an object, try using the flat palm of your hand, your forearms or even your elbows. Keep items close to your body as you carry them.

3) Try container gardening if you have difficulty bending or kneeling. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs and many flowers lend themselves to container gardening. For a vertical garden, use a trellis for vines, such as sweet peas. Raised beds should be built narrow enough to reach comfortably across.

4) Use joint-friendly tools and gadgets to help your plant, water, weed and prune. Look for tools that allow you to use your whole arm, not just your fingers and wrist. Try sitting on a caddy or a scooter wagon while weeding to give your joints a break.

For more tips on gardening and arthritis, visit To learn more about the latest in arthritis treatment at LifeBridge Health, visit the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

Women's Clothing Sale at Sinai

The Sinai Hospital Auxiliary is holding a women's clothing sale today and tomorrow at Sinai Hospital. Dresses, camisoles and more items are available from Applause Fashions. The sale, located in Zamoiski Auditorium, is today from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics Physicians Train Orthopedic Surgeons

In early September, the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement and the International Center for Limb Lengthening (ICLL) will host two educational events: the Third Annual Hip Joint Preservation and Resurfacing Arthroplasty Course and the 19th Annual Baltimore Limb Deformity Course.

Dr. Michael Mont of the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement will be co-directing the Third Annual Hip Joint Preservation and Resurfacing Arthroplasty Course along with Dr. Thomas Schmalzried of Los Angeles, Calif. Drs. Mont and Schmalzried are two of the most respected joint replacement surgeons in the United States. In fact, Dr. Mont has performed more than 2,000 hip resurfacing procedures. This year’s course will feature a world-renowned faculty that will be discussing the latest research and treatment options.

The ICLL physicians conduct the Baltimore Limb Deformity Course, which provides a forum for physicians from all over the world to be able to share knowledge, innovative techniques and new treatment options. Drs. John Herzenberg, Janet Conway, Shawn Standard and Bradley Lamm will be conducting hands-on labs and lectures on topics such as external fixation for the foot and ankle, deformity correction techniques, osteomyelitis and segmental bone defects. Last year’s course attracted more than 235 attendees from almost 40 countries and 25 states.

More information about each course is available online at and

Friday, May 8, 2009

As "swine flu" excitement fades, hand washing should still remain

Good news, everyone!  We have not seen the End of Days due to pandemic "swine flu" in the past week, and society still stands!

What we have seen is the expected progression of cases into Maryland, and a more detailed picture of an illness that in most respects, is not much different than seasonal influenza in terms of severity. There are currently 23 confirmed cases in Maryland, and 4 more reported as "suspected or probable." Of these, 3 of the confirmed cases and 1 unconfirmed case are in Baltimore county. There have been no fatalities in Maryland, and only 2 deaths out of the the 2254 cases confirmed nationwide.

As discussed last week, the swine-origin influenza virus isn't causing severe disease in most people. The vast majority who do get sick are having mild symptoms and an uncomplicated illness. That noted, there are still areas of concern. Those who do get seriously ill are more likely to be healthy young adults and children, than with seasonal influenza, which usually affects the very young and the very old more severely. Also, this virus does appear to have the potential for efficient, rapid spread among populations. This means that future mutations to the virus that increase it's infectivity and the severity of illness it causes could result in a pandemic situation.

As "swine flu" slowly fades from the headlines, our attention to the basic, simple things we can do to prevent getting and transmitting diseases like influenza must not similarly fade from our daily lives. Always be sure to wash your hands often, especially after being in a public place and before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. When sick, wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or wiping your nose. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm instead of your hands when possible, or an immediately disposable paper tissue. Also, stay away from crowded living areas, and avoid close contact with other people.

The medical community still has much work ahead in tracking and study this swine-origin influenza outbreak. Vaccine possibilities are being considered, although whether this will eventually be worked into the yearly seasonal influenza vaccine or be separate is still to be determined.

Continuously updated information can continue to be found on the websites of the Maryland DHMH, the CDC, and the WHO.

And of course, wash your hands.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Northwest Spring Cosmetic Surgery Series

With bathing suit season right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to learn about the the latest in cosmetic surgery. Northwest Hospital is sponsoring four sessions next week. One lucky attendee will win a Radiesse® facial filler, and light refreshments are provided.

New Curves for ’09 – The Latest in Body Contouring
Jeffrey Schreiber, M.D.

Is That My Mom I See in the Mirror? – Fixes for Early Aging
Larry Lickstein, M.D.

THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2009
The Winner by a Nose – Today’s “Nose Job”
Ronald Schuster, M.D.

Body Makeovers – Making Changes that Last
Daniel Markmann, M.D.

All sessions are at Northwest Hospital Education Center – Pike Room, 5401 Old Court Road, Randallstown, MD. Sessions run from 7 - 9 p.m. Call 410-601-WELL (9355) to register today!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vaccines Important for Public Health

With all the talk about the H1N1 virus (swine flu), it’s a good time to talk to your physician about what vaccines you may need. A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention study, conducted in the summer of 2007, indicates that not enough American adults are getting vaccinated and as a result are leaving themselves vulnerable to a range of avoidable disease
“Vaccinations are second only to washing your hands in terms of prevention of disease,” says John Cmar, M.D., a faculty member in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Sinai Hospital. “Vaccines and using them are among the most successful things we do today as a measure of public health.”
Relatively new vaccines tackle diseases such as meningitis and shingles. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day of Hope Conference Addresses Epilepsy

By Faith Muigai, R.N., M.S.N.

Last week on the Tavis Smiley show, the musician Prince discussed struggling with epilepsy as a child. He’s not alone― roughly 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year, with the incidence highest in those under the age of 2 and over the age of 65. Epilepsy, characterized by seizures, can present challenges to patients, families, and caregivers.

The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain and Spine Institute recently partnered with the Epilepsy Foundation of the Chesapeake Region to organize a Day of Hope―a conference for those with epilepsy to learn about new developments, interact with others who share their condition, and become informed about available resources. Sponsorship and educational materials were provided by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, pharmaceutical vendors, and manufacturers of medical devices.

Invited speakers addressed the causes and effects of epilepsy, new research and treatment options, resources regarding patient rights, and the psychosocial implications of living with the disorder. An epilepsy advocate shared his personal journey, challenges, and triumphs in his keynote address.

Patients, family members, and caregivers who attended the conference overwhelmingly expressed appreciation that the event was held and commented that having the opportunity to gather with others who share their experiences helped them to feel that “they are not alone in their battle.” With such positive feedback, the Institute and the Epilepsy Foundation anticipate making the Day of Hope an annual or bi-annual event.

Monday, May 4, 2009

LifeBridge Health Celebrates Nurses Week

LifeBridge Health is honoring its nurses this week with a series of events.

Northwest Hospital kicked off the celebration this morning with an awards presentation, and will host an ice cream social on Friday. On Wednesday, Timothy K. McNelly CRT, CPFT, will be the featured Lunch and Learn speaker on the topic of Sleep Disorder Breathing and Related Co-Morbid Conditions.

Sinai Hospital's luncheon ceremony will be Wednesday, featuring presenter Elizabeth Norman, Ph.D. Dr. Norman, a nurse and professor at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, will be speaking about her book, "We Band of Angels", the inspiring story
of WWII Army and Navy nurses who were prisoners in a Japanese internment camp for three years.

Sinai will also host an ice cream social with seated massage on Friday.

To learn more about Nurses Week celebrations, visit

LifeBridge Health Security director wins prestigious award

BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT Roger L. Sheets Sr., director of Security for LifeBridge Health, has been named National Security Director of the Year for 2009 by Campus Safety Magazine.

Roger was presented with a plaque Tuesday at the Campus Safety Conference, which was held at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront in Tampa.

The program honors school, university and hospital security administrators and police chiefs who exhibit outstanding leadership and management of their departments. In all, 18 campus security executives were honored during the presentation and reception.

One of the reasons why Roger was tapped as the health care winner was his wise management of his institution’s parking operations. He turned at $250,000 per year loss into a $700,000 annual profit.

“I want to thank all of you who have sent congratulations. I am completely humbled and surprised by this award. I want to congratulate each of the other 18 finalists nominated for this award for the great work they have done,” Roger says.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Swine flu" is no cause for panic, but a good cause to wash your hands

by: John Cmar, MD
Faculty, Division of Infectious Diseases
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

Anyone exposed to the media reporting on "swine flu" this past week could come away with the impression that the whole of civilization is soon to collapse under the weight of a pig-fueled pandemic. Needless to say, this isn't going to happen. There was was much uncertainty at the start of the outbreak and several questions do remain. That noted, the hard work of the CDC and the WHO has given enough answers for all of us to proceed with our normal daily activities with informed awareness.

Swine influenza is respiratory disease of pigs that is caused by one of several types of influenza virus. It rarely causes disease in humans, and when it does, it has only briefly been transmitted from person to person. The virus involved in the current outbreak is a new strain of type A H1N1 influenza that resulted from the mixing of the genes of swine, avian, and human viruses during animal infections. This is similar to how previous influenza pandemics have started, such as the 1918-1919 "Spanish flu." In these instances, the result was a virus that could be easily passed from person to person, and could cause human infections much more severe than seasonal influenza. At this point, however, the latter seems not to be the case.

As of the time of this post, the WHO has identified 367 confirmed cases of this swine-origin influenza and 10 deaths in 13 countries. There have been 141 cases confirmed in the US, and only one death reported. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases in Maryland, but 8 probable cases have been identified, 4 of which are in Baltimore county. A probable case is defined as someone with an acute febrile respiratory illness who tests positive for influenza A virus, but negative for the seasonal H1 and H3 strains.

While no cases have been confirmed in our area yet, it is very likely that there will be shortly. This is a cause for caution, not panic, as this strain of swine-origin influenza virus seems to be causing illnesses that are not much more severe or fatal than seasonal influenza at this time. If you develop fever >100 F with cough or sore throat, and have either traveled to an affected area within 7 days, or been exposed to someone is ill who has traveled to those areas, stay at home and call your doctor. LifeBridge Health is working closely with the Maryland DHMH, and is well prepared for any cases that may occur.

As with seasonal influenza, the most important thing that you can do to prevent getting infected with the new strain of swine-origin influenza virus is to wash your hands often, especially after being in a public place and before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. There is no reason to wear a mask in general situations, or to avoid public air or ground travel, to prevent getting the virus. If you do have a respiratory illness, there are several practical steps you can do to avoid transmitting it to others. Wash your hands, especially after coughing, sneezing, or wiping your nose. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm instead of your hands when possible, or an immediately disposable paper tissue. Finally, stay away from crowded living areas, and avoid close contact with other people.

Myself and Jackie Daley, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Sinai Hospital, will be on the Ask the Expert show this Sunday, May 3, from 08:00-09:00 EST on WHFS 105.7 FM radio to discuss the current state of the swine-origin influenza outbreak, and to take any call-in questions. Please tune in to hear the latest news, and feel free to give us a call. Further updated information can be found on the websites of the Maryland DHMH, the CDC, and the WHO.

Oh, yeah, for good measure - wash your hands.

5K run to benefit LifeBridge Health's Cancer and Infusion Centers at Sinai and Northwest hospitals