From ensuring backup energy sources to introducing a telemedicine program, Direct Relief anchors Puerto Rico's resurgence in good health.
Originally Published by AbbVie.
For a Local Doctor, Home is Where The Heart Is
It was summer 2017, and Dr. Yania López Álvarez had just returned to Puerto Rico. A new doctor eager to bring her knowledge back to the island, the 35-year-old radiologist turned down more lucrative job offers on the mainland for the chance to practice at home close to her family.
But a few months later, Hurricane Irma slammed into Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria came just weeks after, pummeling the island, destroying homes and causing widespread power outages that lasted for months. The official death toll stands at 2,975 people.
A lack of electricity, running water and jobs prompted many to leave the island. An estimated 135,000 people left Puerto Rico in the six months following Maria, according to a report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.
Dr. López chose to stay.
"My heart is just here," said Dr. López, director of the Imaging Center of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan.
She represents a small but growing group – skilled Puerto Ricans in the health care field drawn to lead recovery efforts and overcome a shortage of workers post-hurricanes.
This fall, Dr. López will help open Puerto Rico's first breast imaging center and train Puerto Rican residents at the University. She'll be able to bring a specialty that the island's only teaching hospital hasn't seen for 45 years, the last time limited breast imaging was included in residents' training.
"As doctors, as members of this community, we need to build our training programs, and we need to encourage strong foundations for doctors to serve in both times of need and of prosperity," said Dr. López.
Focusing on the Uninsured and Underserved
Dr. López's story highlights the ongoing work in Puerto Rico of Direct Relief, a health-oriented humanitarian aid organization focused on improving the lives of people affected by poverty and emergencies.
After receiving an infusion of $50 million from AbbVie six months ago, leaders at Direct Relief focused on executing the first stage of a three-year partnership to rebuild and strengthen primary care on the island. Direct Relief is the largest source of nongovernmental support for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the United States.
"We wanted to be part of the process to reconstruct and rebuild the town. There are still a lot of beautiful places in Puerto Rico, and not just negative news. There is good."
Yesenia Ortiz, Arroyo resident and health records clerk, Centro de Salud Familiar Clinic
In Puerto Rico, Direct Relief's work focuses on 68 community health centers that serve mostly medically uninsured patients in underserved areas. Close to 90 percent of their collective patients live below the poverty line. Additionally, Direct Relief supports hospitals and health facilities run by the government.
Direct Relief is a longtime, trusted partner of AbbVie, with the two working together since 2014 on joint humanitarian initiatives that center primarily on disaster relief and emergency work around the globe.
"Direct Relief's work is not about restoring the island's primary health care system to the way it was before Maria struck," says Melissa Walsh, vice president, AbbVie Foundation. "It's about building a stronger, more resilient health care system that can hold up against future disasters, so that the people of Puerto Rico can count on reliable, accessible care when they need it the most."
Taking a Customized Approach for Each Health Center
Direct Relief tailors its support based on the unique needs of each health center and the people they serve. For one clinic, this means a new mobile medical unit with four-wheel drive that can travel across roads in disrepair, often in hard to reach places. For another, it means the right resources to treat chronic conditions common on the island like hypertension and diabetes. Each center is receiving a stockpile of medications and emergency medicine to equip first responders.
Improvements at every clinic contribute to the big picture – ensuring health providers on the island won't have to close their doors or not have life-saving medication available for patients when they need it most.
"At the end of three years, every health center we're supporting will have solar and battery backup so they'll never lose critical infrastructure again," said Andrew MacCalla, director, international programs & emergency response, Direct Relief. "We've never been in a position in our 70-year history to think about these possibilities before receiving AbbVie's support."
Key to the Direct Relief and AbbVie plan is rehabbing public health facilities and services so they can serve as models for other islands in the Caribbean and beyond. A critical component is Direct Relief's strategy to introduce the island's first-ever island-wide telemedicine program.
Introducing Telemedicine to Increase Health Care Access
Hurricane Maria washed out many roads and bridges and left rural communities in isolation. Telemedicine will drastically improve access to health care, especially in these areas, said Ivonne Rodriguez-Wiewall, Senior Advisor for Puerto Rico, Direct Relief.
The organization is partnering with the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the University of Puerto Rico and Ponce Medical School to launch the program. Specialists like Dr. López can consult with patients and their providers directly and help assess how to manage their condition and whether they need to visit a health care facility.
And by equipping more facilities with specialized medical equipment, the vision is that more physicians will be drawn back to lead health centers that serve as the bedrock of communities across the island.
Emphasizing the "Community" in Community Health Clinic
One such clinic is Centro de Salud Familiar, situated on the southern coast of the island where Maria first made landfall with its strongest winds of 155 miles per hour. There, in Arroyo, this center has remained one constant in the lives of residents.
The emergency room of the Centro de Salud Familiar clinic in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, sustained water and wind damage during Hurricane Maria.
Centro de Salud Familiar clinic serves about 13,000 people annually. It is the only provider of primary and preventive health service for Arroyo, Guayama and the surrounding rural areas.
The clinic received an emergency grant from Direct Relief to help bring it back to full strength after Maria caused wind and water damage. The clinic is also a recipient of the AbbVie donation, which funded a custom-built mobile medical unit to reach community members in rural, mountainous areas.
Yesenia Ortiz, 27, works at the clinic as a health records clerk. Her family home in Arroyo was so badly damaged that it had to be demolished and rebuilt, a slow process that is not quite complete over a year later.
Direct Relief followed Yesenia Ortiz and her family after their home in Arroyo was badly damaged when Hurricane Maria swept through the mountainous community. See how they were impacted and why Yesenia's job at a local health clinic is critical to the family and her community.
Drawing Strength to Create a New Path Forward
When Ortiz and her family – including her father, mother and sister – bounced from one relative's home to another during reconstruction, she found solace in her job.
She returned to work five days after Maria, supporting patient intake. Ortiz describes these early days as chaotic, with many patients dealing with both serious physical injuries as well as the aftermath of losing their homes.
Ortiz focused on one goal during these challenging shifts: Make sure everyone got the best service possible. She funneled strength from friends and neighbors who showed resilience, including a nurse at the clinic with two young children whose home was destroyed but was creating a new path forward.
Did the Ortiz family ever consider leaving Puerto Rico? No. They've lived in Arroyo for generations, and likened the thought of leaving to letting people down in the town that means so much to them.
"We wanted to be part of the process to reconstruct and rebuild the town," Ortiz said. "There are still a lot of beautiful places in Puerto Rico, and not just negative news. There is good."
Immersive trainings offer hotel staff and corporate customers deep dives into 13 cultures, underscoring company's aim to welcome all, elevate customer satisfaction and drive business; the newest culture days: Native American and LGBTQ.
Originally Published by Marriott International.
Marriott International announced the expansion of its groundbreaking Culture Day program aimed at fostering multicultural understanding to ensure welcoming environments at its hotels and increase guest satisfaction. Since Marriott founded the program in 2014, the company has hosted more than 50 Culture Day trainings in over 30 cities and eight countries. During 2018, demand for the program doubled as more hotels as well as corporate customers requested this training.
Novartis researchers are collaborating with tech startup PathAI to search for hidden information in pathology slides.
Originally Published by Novartis.
For 150 years, pathologists have been looking through microscopes at tissue samples mounted on slides to diagnose cancer. Each assessment is weighty: Does this patient have cancer or not?
Coleman, talks with DiversityInc about his journey transitioning from life in the U.S. Navy to working for Kaiser Permanente as an Assistant Hospital Administrator.
Anthony B. Coleman, DHA, is the Assistant Hospital Administrator (Operations Support) for Kaiser Permanente, Fontana and Ontario Medical Centers.
He was born at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving aboard the USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and USS Ardent (MCM 12). After completing a full sea tour he was transferred to shore duty, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Workforce, Education and Development, as well as a Master of Health Administration.
He later earned a commissioned as a Naval Officer serving in various roles overseas and afloat, including Chief Financial Officer at U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort SC, Human Resources Director at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan and Medical Operations Officer onboard the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) nuclear powered aircraft carrier.
Anthony retired in 2016 with 20 years of honorable service and holds a Doctor of Health Administration Degree and currently serves as the Assistant Administrator (Operations Support) for Kaiser Permanente Fontana and Ontario Medical Centers.
DI: What was the initial transition like going from the armed services to a civilian career?
My initial thoughts on transition brought unnecessary anxiety. However, when I learned that my preceptor was a retired Air Force Colonel, it helped put me at ease about the transition. On my first day at Kaiser Permanente, the staff and physicians welcomed me and ensured that I had the support I needed to make a successful transition.
DI: What are some skills or habits you developed while serving in the military that have helped you in your current role?
Two things stick out in my mind as important.
The first is transitioning mindset from duty to desire. I joined the navy at 17, and during the first 3-5 years of my military career I didn't realize I was part of something bigger than myself so I competed tasks out of obligation (duty). After completing my first full sea tour, I realized how my efforts contributed to the overall mission of the U.S. Navy and the duties I carried out started to come from a desire to do so. This realization helped shape my leadership style and how I groomed young sailors early on in their enlistments. I wanted them to realize their very important part in the overall U.S. Navy mission and motivate them to bring their "A" game every day.
This has helped in my current role overseeing nine non-clinical departments (Housekeeping, Food and Nutrition, Engineering, Construction, Parking, Safety, Property Management, Telecommunications, Security and Supply Chain Management) where the majority of the employees I oversee are entry-level and can feel disconnected to health care because they are not physicians or nurses. However, I stress to them as often as possible that whether their job is to nourish the patient, clean and disinfect a patient room, make sure life-saving equipment is in working order, or any other of the hundreds of non-clinical functions they perform day in and day out, they too are vital to a patient's health and healing.
The second is attention to detail. Most times, my staff are the first and/or last interaction our members have with Kaiser Permanente. It is crucial for them to pay attention to every detail about the patient they encounter because each and every detail about the patient, large or small can help us do a better job in serving them. Sometimes, it may be as simple as a smile or word of encouragement that could make all the difference in the patient experience.
DI: What career advice can you offer to veterans or current military folks who are looking to pivot, and what types of jobs should they be looking for?
Stay current in world health affairs, as well as the political climate in the US. Now more than ever, politics are shaping our approach to health care and vice versa. Veterans and current military members should make sure they have an idea of where civilian health care is, as well as where it's going in the future, so they can demonstrate their value to potential health care employers.
Devote time to discovering their passion and allow it to lead them to a profession. So often, when military members plan to transition to civilian life, they tend to focus on their ability to continue providing for their families beyond military service. This can cause us to accept positions for the sake of securing post military employment, or accept positions that are not aligned with our core beliefs, or passion.
DI: Did you always have an idea of the type of career you wanted to pursue after the military?
Yes. As a matter of fact, I began planning my exit from the military in 2005 when I discovered my passion for eliminating health disparities however, because I was a single father of a 5 year old girl, my mom convinced me to complete a full career first.
In 2004, the Navy sent me to graduate school to learn how to be a health administrator. During the summer of 2005, I interned at Wallace Thomson Hospital in rural Union County, South Carolina. While there I met a kitchen worker who impressed me with her skill in preparing meals for all of the sick patients at the hospital, specific to their individual needs. Her name was Pee Wee and even though she never finished high school, and worked a second job to make ends meet she somehow found a way to show compassion for each patient while contributing to the healing environment.
After the rotation was complete, I went back to finish graduate school and learned that Pee Wee died of a stroke. She was 52. Her death really affected me and a began to look at how a person in America could die so young of a preventable health issue. That's when I learned about health disparities and discovered my passion for eliminating them. I understand that I may not be able to complete this task in my lifetime however, I am completely comfortable with making it my life's work at Kaiser Permanente.
A new Business Roundtable campaign is challenging America's top CEOs to shine a light on how they're doing their part to help improve the health of the environment.
Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.
For more than 130 years, Johnson & Johnson has made it a mission to help keep people healthy. And since human health and environmental health are inextricably linked, the company is dedicated to helping keep the planet healthy, too.
Cloud-based dashboard enhancements help reduce re-work, save time and provide access to award-winning compensation benchmarks for client consultation.
Operation Opportunity: How This Veteran and Military Spouse Went From the Navy to Hilton Headquarters
Military spouses will always push through a challenge.
Originally Published by Hilton.
This month marks National Veteran and Military Families Month, including Veteran's Day in the U.S. and Armistice Day in many countries around the world. Supporting military veterans and their families has been an important part of Hilton's history since Conrad Hilton, a U.S. Army veteran who served in World War I, started the company nearly a century ago. We're proud to continue this support through our
Operation: Opportunity commitment to hire 20,000 additional veterans, spouses and caregivers by 2020. This month, we'll feature some of Hilton's military spouses.
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