Posts by boarmaa

This World Mental Health Day, Let’s Celebrate the Creativity of Our Young People

Posted on Oct 9, 2020 in Mental Health & Addiction Care, Scroll Images

A message from John Boyd, Sutter’s CEO of System Mental Health & Addiction Care:

World Mental Health Day is always an opportunity to reflect on our well-being, both as individuals and as a society. After the unprecedented difficulties and upheavals of 2020, it should also serve as a challenge. We can no longer minimize or overlook the impact of individual and collective trauma, and we must work together to ensure a more supportive, empathetic and human future. Central to that project is reimagining “mental health” as “human health”—it’s fundamental to who we are, how we connect with others and how we understand the world around us. Making this shift in thinking a reality must start with a focus on young people.

As I’ve written about before, my own childhood was shaped by experiences of trauma, stigma and shame. Sadly, these same experiences are far too common among our youth, and the events of the past year have only further intensified the impact. Too often, the heaviest burden falls on our most marginalized communities, including people of color and neurodiverse students. With schools across the country facing difficult questions about whether and how to safely re-open, it’s important to center students’ developmental needs in addition to their educational needs.

It goes without saying that young people, particularly adolescents, place a great deal of value in their friendships and peer relationships. There is a deep biological and psychological basis for this—adolescents are hard-wired to seek out friendships and form social bonds. They are also learning to assert their independence, challenge authority, and test boundaries (as any teacher or parent will attest!). School and extracurricular activities provide critical outlets for these fundamental needs, and unfortunately many public health guidelines—physical distancing, avoiding large groups—are in tension with the developmental needs of our young people. But we can learn a lot about how we can solve these problems from young people themselves.

One of the most heartening aspects of the past year, despite its difficulties, has been the many stories of creativity, hope, and resilience from young people. The developmental processes I mentioned above are also great drivers of creative thinking. What may look like boredom or impatience from the outside can also be an opening for a novel, innovative idea.

We’ve seen that spirit of discovery and creativity as young people continue to raise their voices in response to ongoing police violence around the country. Others have used technology in surprising ways to stay connected with friends despite many new obstacles. Young artists are also finding ways to create through diverse media, providing a vital outlet for self-expression at a difficult time in a young person’s life. No matter what the future has in store, we can always count on young people to surprise us.

In that spirit of creativity, Sutter Health is reimagining youth mental health through human-centered design. We have a assembled a diverse team of clinical experts, social workers, designers and youth advisors to understand the lived experience of young people as they transition from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. The interplay between the ups and downs of everyday life, developmental psychology and living with a mental health condition presents unique challenges for young people at this age. That’s why it’s so critical that we take a human health approach to reimagining the experience of young people living with mental health conditions.

We’re all facing more constraints than ever in 2020, and it’s our responsibility to keep exploring and imagining new ways to meet these challenges. We should inspire our young people to do the same—their resourcefulness and empathy gives me hope for the future. Our creativity is one of the things that makes us human. Let’s use that creativity to be healthier, too.

Welcoming to the world one bundle of joy…make that two bundles… actually three!

Posted on Oct 2, 2020 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scroll Images

When Zarmina and Haris Anjum learned they would be having triplets this spring, one of the first things they did was buy an SUV.

“We planned for one, then it was twins, and then two weeks later it was three. It was wonderful and not at all expected,” said Haris. “We joked that we better hold off on having any more ultrasounds.”

Fast forward to this fall.

The Anjum’s were scheduled to deliver at a San Francisco hospital. When that facility experienced a staph outbreak, the family was transferred to nearby Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness campus hospital.

“We were met with such warmth,” said Haris. “It was reassuring to be cared for by such professional doctors and nurses. The facility was phenomenal, and we were relieved there were private NICU rooms.”

Healthy delivery

The Anjum triplets – Yahya, Yakub, and Yusuf – were born at 34 weeks via cesarean section.

“Delivering twins is already fun, but triplets—now that’s super fun,” said obstetrician Ruth Olweny, M.D. “We’re well equipped to handle multiple births at CPMC and having three providers on that night made Zarmina’s delivery seamless. The room setup was mostly the same, too, except that for triplets we have three isolettes on hand (a clear plastic enclosed crib that maintains a warm environment) as opposed to one or two.”

Obstetrician Izumi N. Cabrera, M.D., added, “When the family arrived at CPMC, Haris had a big box of supplies for cord blood blanking.”

Cord blood is the blood from a baby that is left in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. This blood contains special cells called hematopoietic stem cells that can be “banked” (stored) for later use by the individual and has been used to help treat certain diseases.

“Cord blood collection requires another step during delivery. When you consider that we were doing it for three babies, that means there’s even greater focus from the team. I was pleased we were able to capture the needed material from all three babies’ cords. We were basically a functioning assembly line as each baby was delivered,” said Dr. Cabrera.

Three facts about triplets

They’re rare. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) and Prevention reported 3,400 triplet births, while there were more than 123,000 twin births. The CDC reported 3,791,712 total births in the U.S. in 2018.

They’re early birds. According to March of Dimes, the majority of triplets are born premature. Most triplets are born between 32-34 weeks of gestation and caesarean section delivery is common.

There’s often a family history of multiple births. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist says that twins are the most common type of multiple births. Heredity on the mother’s side ups a couple’s odds of conceiving fraternal twins.

Settling in at Home

Born in early September, the Anjum triplets are getting stronger and gaining weight by the day.

“All three are wireless now,” chuckles Haris, referring to each baby no longer needing a feeding tube and now breathing room air.

As for what’s next, Zarmina and Haris are taking it one day at a time.

Haris says, “I have the honor of being their chauffeur and continuing to support my wife in her recovery. We’re looking forward to settling in at home and introducing our four-year-old son to his baby brothers. But first I have to conquer these car seats!”

Sutter’s Electronic ICU Helps Hospitals Handle Influx of Coronavirus Patients

Posted on Sep 9, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

COVID-19 is bringing new relevance to Sutter’s longstanding electronic intensive care units (eICUs) and to telemedicine. The integrated healthcare network’s two eICUs, one in San Francisco and one in Sacramento, enable it to provide hospitalized critical care patients, including COVID-19 patients, in both rural and urban hospitals with the safest, most advanced medical care—as well as expanding the system’s critical care bed surge capacity during the pandemic.

Tom Shaughnessy, M.D. and medical director of Sutter’s Bay Area eICU, says the program’s goal hasn’t changed much since its earliest days: “Making sure the sickest patients across the system’s geographically diverse footprint get access to specially trained nurses and doctors 24-hours a day,” he says.

Sutter’s innovative eICU program began in 2004 and the first of its kind on the West Coast.

Expanding Critical Care during a Pandemic

eICUs allow critical care doctors and nurses to check in on patients remotely using cameras, microphones, alarms and other monitoring tools. This approach not only helps protect on-site physicians, critical care nurses and other professional staff at the patient’s bedside, it also conserves precious personal protective equipment (PPE) and helps provide backup to caregivers who may be stretched thin at both rural and urban ICUs. Electronic ICUs have also helped increase critical care bed capacity in the event of a COVID-19 patient surge.

Read more on CNET.com about how Sutter’s eICU is helping the integrated network handle the influx of patients during the pandemic.

“If you choose to live in a rural community, it doesn’t mean your health should suffer because you don’t have access to the resources that you need,” says Vanessa Walker, D.O., a pulmonary critical care physician and director of the eICU for the Valley area of Sutter Health.

“Sutter’s eICU program has been especially beneficial to nursing staff at our smaller hospitals. [In this pandemic], they’ve had to take a crash course on managing incredibly complicated patients. Our eICU nurses have been there to help, whether it was for a second signature for medications to prevent further exposure or as a practical guide on how to place a patient in a prone position. The teamwork between the eICU and the bedside has been phenomenal,” she says.

Colon Cancer Up Among Younger Age Groups; Screening Key to Early Detection

Posted on Sep 4, 2020 in Cancer Care, Scroll Images

Actor Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer at age 43 came as a shock. Following his passing, Boseman’s family shared that he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer four years earlier. Many headlines captured the public’s collective sentiment—Colon cancer? But he was so young!

Michael Abel, M.D., chair of surgery at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and colorectal surgeon, says of the news, “When you look at a 39-year-old male in his prime who is coming in with GI symptoms and not feeling well, colon cancer would not be at the top of the list. That needs to change.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says the rate at which younger people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer is rising. Data shows the disease’s case rates have been increasing since the mid-1980s in adults ages 20-39 years and since the mid-1990s in adults ages 40-54 years. On the upside, data shows case rates among individuals 65 and older are decreasing.

“While the medical community doesn’t know why these rates are climbing in younger populations, physicians are now paying closer attention to this cancer,” says Dr. Abel.

Colorectal Cancer Facts

According to the American Cancer Society:

• Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S.

• About one in 23 men and one in 25 women will develop colon or rectal cancer at some point during their lifetime.

• It is estimated that there will be 104,610 new cases of colon cancer and 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer in the U.S. this year.

• The rate of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is higher among the Black community than among any other population group in the U.S.

For more information about colorectal cancer, visit here.

New Thinking on Screenings

In 2018, the American Cancer Society lowered the recommended screening age for people with average colorectal cancer risk, i.e. no family history, to age 45. “More aggressive screening is the best thing we can do to help prevent colorectal cancer and helps allow those who are diagnosed with cancer to have better outcomes,” says Dr. Abel.

For individuals with a family history of the disease, meaning a first degree relative or parent was diagnosed, a physician will likely recommend getting screened as early as age 40.

Black Community at Increased Risk of Developing Colon Cancer

Black people are more likely to develop colorectal cancer at a younger age and to be at a more advanced stage when diagnosed. According to the National Cancer Institute, even when African Americans are diagnosed with early stage disease, they have significantly worse survival rates.

“Earlier and more aggressive screening in this group can help bridge this gap,” says Dr. Abel.

Primary Care Doctors Paying More Attention

A patient’s primary care doctor is typically his or her first line of defense in knowing if symptoms warrant further examination.

“Providers should consider other potential causes of a symptom like rectal bleeding, beyond assuming its hemorrhoids, as an important step in diagnosing what could be a more concerning issue. The physician can then refer the patient to a specialist who will perform a more thorough screening or schedule a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Abel.

“Colorectal cancer can be preventable, and if detected early, curable,” he says.

For ways to reduce your colon cancer risk, visit here.

CPMC’s Colorectal Cancer Center of Excellence Program

In 2019, Sutter’s CPMC was recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC) as a leading Center of Excellence. To earn this three-year accreditation, CPMC met 19 standards, including the establishment of a rectal cancer multidisciplinary team, which includes clinical representatives from surgery, pathology, radiology, radiation oncology and medical oncology.

Read more about CPMC’s accreditation here.

For more information, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. To find a Sutter primary care physician, click here.

No Sprint, Lacing Up for Pandemic’s Mental Health Marathon

Posted on Sep 1, 2020 in Mental Health & Addiction Care, Scroll Images

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging our mental health in ways we could have never predicted, and some people may feel they’re beginning to run on empty as far as ways to cope with all the change and loss.

“Coping as a primary strategy no longer works. It’s time to try something new,” says Holly Anton, an integrative therapist with Sutter’s Institute for Health & Healing. “Adaption is now the long-term objective.”

Rather than grieving for the way of life you may have lost with the pandemic, Anton recommends finding ways to create a meaningful life in the here and now.

Where do you want to put your energy? What deserves your focus? How can you make the most out of today? You can choose how you relate to the circumstances.

Importance of Maintaining a Routine

Structuring your day with activities and goals makes it predictable and gives individuals a sense of being in control of their environment,” says Anton.

On a basic foundational level, Anton recommends people eat healthy foods and get exercise. “You want your body tired at the end of the day so it’s ready for sleep. Put devices away at least two hours before bed and give your mind a chance to wind down with your body.”

Read more of Anton’s advice on ways to mentally adapt in this San Francisco Chronicle article.