Posts tagged ‘leaders’
This is an excerpt from the October 2012 edition of Perspectives, an electronic newsletter from Harold L. Paz, M.D., chief executive officer, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, senior vice president for health affairs, Penn State, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine.
As an academic health center, we have a proud mission that extends beyond treating the sick – promoting health and wellness has long been a vital part of what we do for our patients, our employees and students, and the community as a whole. Increasingly our nation’s health care system is changing in ways that reinforce the importance of wellness, prevention and effective disease management. More than ever before, hospitals and clinicians are being rewarded for keeping people healthy and out of the hospital, rather than the more traditional model of being paid for taking care of people once they’re sick. With preventable illness and often manageable chronic diseases taking a significant toll in terms of mortality, quality of life, productivity, and health care resources, it’s essential for academic health centers to lead the effort to find effective strategies to promote good health through prevention, wellness programs, and tools to help patients and the public take charge of their health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined obesity as an epidemic. It accounts for more than 10% of U.S. medical costs, or about $150 billion a year. Currently 1 in 3 adults and nearly 1 in 6 children are obese, so finding effective ways to help patients reach and maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important ways an academic health center can improve health and well-being among the populations it serves. We know that cultural changes such as the increased presence of higher calorie foods and larger portion sizes have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the past few decades. At the same time, Penn State Hershey researchers are finding that other societal changes, like the advent of social media, may be useful in fighting it.
A recent study conducted by Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Christopher Sciamanna, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and public health sciences, and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and colleagues in Hershey and at University Park, demonstrated the effectiveness of a web-based weight loss program that features successful strategies of others who have lost weight. The researchers designed a website called Achieve Together using data gathered from a previous study that identified key behaviors associated with successfully maintaining a weight loss of 30 pounds or more. The website matched users to role models closest to them in age, gender, and target weight, and allowed them to view their role models’ strategies for weight loss, which they could then use to develop their own weight-loss plan. Over the course of twelve weeks, study participants who used the web-based program lost an average of 4.5 pounds more than members of a control group of people trying to lose weight on their own. As the researchers suggest, since web-based programs like this one entail minimal costs, they could prove to be a cost-effective way to promote and support weight loss.
In June 2010, the Medical Center welcomed its first group of graduate nurse residents. The Nurse Residency Program is a twelve-month program for graduates of baccalaureate programs in nursing designed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and administered by the University Hospital Consortium (UHC). The AACN/UHC Nurse Residency Program™ (NRP) includes a series of learning and work experiences designed to assist graduate nurses as they transition into their first professional roles.
For many new nurses beginning their careers, shifting from the academic world to a clinical environment can be a big adjustment. “One of the major focuses for the program is to assist the nurse in this transition with the goal of improving nurse retention, both at a national level and here at Penn State Hershey,” explains Mary Lou Kanaskie, M.S., R.N.-B.C., A.O.C.N., clinical nurse educator, NRP coordinator. “By following new nurses through their first year of employment, we can provide positive experiences and reinforcement that will encourage them to stay both at Penn State Hershey and in the nursing profession.”
The NRP goes beyond a new nurse’s orientation and preceptor programs. “Since this program spans the entire first year of clinical care, there’s an opportunity to cover broader topics that will have more meaning a few months into the job rather than in the first few weeks,” explains Beth Bates, R.N., B.S., N.D., instructor, Penn State School of Nursing. One example of how topics are explored is through their “Tales from the Bedside” discussions, which allow small groups of nurses to reflect on their shared experiences.
If it’s true that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give, then Milton S. Hershey’s legacy continues to make for an extraordinary life.
Milton S. Hershey is familiar to some who visit the Medical Center bearing his name, and to others who simply enjoy his namesake chocolate candy. But many people probably aren’t aware of the far-reaching influence of this businessman, leader, and philanthropist. Taken together, the long history among Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine, and The Hershey Company begins to reveal his wide-ranging impact.
For instance, this unique partnership continues to lead the way locally and nationally, working seamlessly toward a common goal — improving the lives of children and the quality of life in the region. And in the last couple decades the steadfast efforts of dedicated men and women embracing Hershey’s vision have left their own imprint. Here are some of the highlights. (more…)