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Pre-dawn Cheers and Applause Buoy Spirits of Weary Firefighters

Posted on Sep 4, 2020 in Carousel, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center, Santa Cruz, Uncategorized

The town of Aptos is typically quieter than neighboring Santa Cruz, but last Tuesday that tranquility was broken by shouts of gratitude and applause for firefighters battling the CZU Lightning Complex fires – all organized by Sutter’s Lisa Haux.

“We made so much noise they could hear us across the highway,” Haux said.

Nella, age 8 and Clara, age 5 of Santa Cruz show
off the banner they made for the firefighter tribute.

The pre-dawn event that drew more than 100 community members was spurred by equal parts sincerity and serendipity, said Haux, a compliance officer with Sutter Health. “As part of the Sutter family, I’ve seen the salutes that our frontline healthcare workers have received from first responders – including fire, police, sheriff and ambulance units – thanking our nurses and doctors for their bravery and dedication to duty in the face of COVID-19. Those tributes were so meaningful to us, I thought we could do the same for the firefighters.”  

A small town has no secrets, and Haux learned which hotel was housing most of the out-of-town firefighters and that the end of their shift varied day to day, depending on firefighting conditions. “So I decided to organize a surprise early morning send-off, to lift their spirits at the start of their shift,” she said.

Haux quickly realized that firefighters – like healthcare workers – start work early. To catch the firefighters before they headed to base camp, the community needed to gather in the hotel parking lot, with their signs and balloons, by 5:45 a.m. “I honestly expected maybe 20 people would show up, given how early it was, so I was blown away by the response.”

The crowd was five times larger than Haux’s expectation and even drew reporters from the Santa Cruz Sentinel and KTVU. “When we started it was still dark outside, but we held our banners high as the sun slowly rose. It was awe-inspiring to see the turnout and see how heartfelt the appreciation was from our community to these brave professionals, risking themselves for strangers.”

Crews from across California filled the two dozen fire trucks that pulled out that morning, flashing their lights and waving back in thanks.

Stephen Gray, chief administrative officer for Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz and operations executive of Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz said that wildfire season is something we know all too well in Northern California.

“Several parts of our network, including our employees who live and serve in these communities, have been personally impacted,” Gray said. “We’re so happy to express our appreciation for the efforts of the firefighters to keep us safe, which helps us continue our mission of serving others.” 

A week later Haux still delights in how her community showed their spirit, saying, “Fire is a horrible way to bring out comradery, but it does show that people really do want to help each other, and we are all in this together.”

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

Posted on Sep 4, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Scroll Images, Wellness

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.

“Tell me your life story, I’m listening, I see you.”

Posted on Sep 3, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Health Equity, Innovation, Mental Health, People, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

Faculty and residents in Sutter’s Family Medicine Residency Program

We are a mosaic of our experiences, lifestyle, social and family connections, education, successes and struggles. Apply those factors to our health, and a complex formula arises that clinicians commonly call the patient experience.

Learning the skills to assess these factors and deliver compassionate care to patients is what Sutter’s family medicine resident physicians aim to enhance. The newly enhanced Human Behavior & Mental Health curriculum is helping lead the way.

“We encourage faculty and residents to think about context, systems and dynamics within population health to address social determinants of health,” says Samantha Kettle, Psy.D., a faculty member in Sutter’s Family Medicine Residency Program.

She and colleague, Andy Brothers, M.D., a family medicine physician in Sacramento and faculty member in the residency program, are bringing health equity to the patient experience and training family medicine residents in Sacramento and Davis.

Family medicine faculty and residents at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

Seven residents each year learn to screen patients for social determinants of health (such as financial challenges, environmental and physical conditions, transportation needs, access to care and social factors) that may impact patients’ risk of depression and anxiety, substance use disorder and suicide.

This year’s residents may train in addiction medicine, psychotherapy, chronic pain, spirituality in medicine, well-being and the field of medicine that supports those who are incarcerated.

And in a community as diverse as the Sacramento Valley Area, statistics suggest these factors may significantly impact the health of its residents:
• 15.9% of California adults have a mental health challenge(1)
• Nearly 2 million Californians live with a serious mental challenge
• Substance misuse impacts 8.8% of Californians
• The prevalence of mental health challenges varies by economic status and by race/ethnicity: adults living 200% below the federal poverty level are 150% more likely to experience mental health challenges; 20% of Native Americans and Latinos are likely to have mental health struggles, followed by Blacks (19%), Whites (14%) and Asians (10%).

“Taking care of our local population’s health is a moral imperative,” says Dr. Kettle. “Many residents have entered our program to continue their quest in helping people in underserved communities.”

For instance, third-year Sutter family medicine resident Mehwish Farooqi, M.D., is studying ways to screen for post-partum depression using an approach developed through the ROSE (Reach Out, Stay Strong, Essentials for mothers of newborns) program.

“Women are most vulnerable to mental health concerns during the post-partum period: as many as one in seven women experience PPD. ROSE is a group educational intervention to help prevent the diagnosis, delivered during pregnancy. It has been found to reduce PPD in community prenatal settings serving low-income pregnant women,” says Dr. Farooqi.

“Sutter has clearly demonstrated a commitment to health equity and social justice that has propelled our residency program toward a future vision of health care in which all patients are cared for as individuals with unique life stories, struggles and successes,” says Dr. Brothers.

Advancing Social Determinants of Health through Graduate Medical Education at Sutter:
Other family medicine programs across Sutter’s integrated network incorporate health equity into ambulatory training for residents. The family medicine faculty at California Pacific Medical Center include a social worker who teaches residents to address concerns like financial and food insecurity, as well as social isolation. Residents learn how to care for people with depression and anxiety, and lecture series are offered on topics like addiction medicine and chronic pain/narcotic management.

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program incorporates social justice through a Community Engagement and a Diversity Action Work Group—a committee comprised of faculty and residents who help tackle issues around inequity and structural racism.

“We are committed to strengthening a relationship between the residency program and the diverse communities we serve, guided with cultural mindfulness and compassion in our pursuit of overall wellness for all,” says Tara Scott, M.D., Program Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program in Santa Rosa.

Learn more about Sutter’s Family Medicine Residency Program.
• Find out how Sutter is advancing health equity.

Reference:

  1. California Department of Health Care Services.

Hungry People Fed through Food Waste Reduction Pilot

Posted on Sep 1, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, Innovation, Memorial Hospital, Los Banos, Memorial Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Sutter Solano Medical Center, Sutter Tracy Hospital

35,000 meals donated in first seven months of project

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –In its first seven months, a pilot project involving 14 Sutter hospitals reduced food waste and fed the hungry by donating nearly 35,000 meals to 17 local nonprofits. The effort comes at a critical time as increasing numbers of people experience food insecurity due to the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

Last January, 10 hospitals in Sutter Health’s integrated network launched a collaboration with nonprofit Health Care Without Harm to implement the program, which is partially funded by a grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments. Over the summer, an additional four Sutter hospitals joined in Sutter’s efforts.

“From our earliest days, Sutter Health’s network has provided access to high-quality, affordable medical care in our facilities – but we’ve also been deeply invested in the health and wellbeing of our broader communities,” says Chief Medical Officer Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., executive sponsor of Sutter Health’s Environmental Stewardship program. “The teams behind this project with Copia and Health Care Without Harm are putting our values into action by leveraging innovation to not only reduce our environmental footprint, but also help feed community members in need.”

The work is powered by a technology platform designed by San Francisco-based Copia – a zero waste and hunger technology platform that allows food service employees to measure and prevent food waste while seamlessly donating all unsold or unserved edible excess food. Hospital food services workers measure daily food waste and submit their edible food donations in one streamlined process through Copia’s software application on mobile tablets. Copia’s mobile app then automatically dispatches drivers to pick up and deliver the food to local non-profits feeding food insecure populations.

And local really does mean local in this case – the average distance donated food traveled from the hospitals to someone who needed it was 3.4 miles.

In its first week in the program, Sutter Delta Medical Center recovered nearly 140 pounds of surplus food from the hospital—enough for 116 meals for Love a Child Missions, which serves homeless women and children in Contra Costa County, and Light Ministries Pentecostal Church of God, which serves meals to needy families in Antioch.

“This is an exciting partnership,” says Sutter Delta’s assistant administrator Tim Bouslog. “We’ve always had a vested interest in sustainability at our hospital, and the positive impact on the community during these difficult times makes this a great step forward.”

Another program benefit? The food donations efforts have helped Sutter reduce carbon emissions by 185,000 pounds and saved 15 million gallons of water!

Says Maria Lewis, director of Food and Nutrition Services at Sutter’s Eden Medical Center, “Eden’s first donation provided 45 meals to The Salvation Army in Hayward. This one donation not only consisted of 55 pounds of perfectly edible food, but also saved 241 pounds of CO2 emissions. We are humbled to be able to support our community, as well as help preserve our environment in the same process.”

“Over the first six months of this pilot project, we have gained valuable insight into how to contribute to community health, reduce waste and be good stewards of our own resources,” says Jack Breezee, regional food and nutrition services director for Sutter’s Valley Area. “I can only look forward to what we will learn over the pilot’s remaining year, and how we can build on these successes to serve our patients and communities.”

“Food waste among hospitals is a solvable problem,” says Komal Ahmad, founder of Copia. “If every hospital in the U.S. partnered with Copia, we could provide more than 250 million meals each year to people in need and save hundreds of millions of dollars in purchasing and production of food. Copia is thrilled to partner with Sutter Health to lead the healthcare industry in filling the food insecurity gap and building community resilience, especially during a time when insecurity has never been higher.”

Participating Sutter hospitals are Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, Memorial Hospital Los Banos, Memorial Medical Center, Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Center for Psychiatry, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Sutter Solano Medical Center and Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

Sutter Delta Medical Center Welcomes New Chief Nurse Executive

Posted on Aug 31, 2020 in Affiliates, Sutter Delta Medical Center

ANTIOCH, Calif. –Sutter Delta Medical Center, part of the not-for-profit Sutter Health integrated network of care, recently welcomed a new chief nurse executive, Kevin Streeter, MBA, RN. Streeter joins the hospital during a time of unprecedented challenge in healthcare across the country.

“Kevin is an experienced nurse executive with a track record of improving patient care quality and service and maintaining strong relationships with staff and physicians at all levels,” said Sherie Hickman, Chief Executive Officer of Sutter Delta Medical Center.

Kevin Streeter, MBA, RN

Streeter brings with him a wide breadth of experience. Most recently, he served as chief nursing and clinical executive at Emanate Health’s Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, Calif. where he oversaw all nursing and ancillary departments. Prior to that, he served as the director of Perioperative Services for Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles; corporate director of Perioperative Services at Emanate Health for a three-hospital system in Southern California; as well as director of Ambulatory Surgery Center, interim director of Perioperative Services, and interim director of the Center for Sports Science for Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

Among his many accomplishments, Streeter has led initiatives leading to improvement of patient experience, reduction in patient harm, recruitment of experienced nursing professionals and favorable management of operational budgets. Having earned a bachelor of science degree in management and an MBA (Leadership & Managing Organizational Change) from Pepperdine University, Streeter also holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix. In January 2022, he will earn a master’s degree in Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College.

Stay on Top of Your Heart Health During COVID-19, Part II

Posted on Aug 27, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Wellness

In another post, we provided information on how to read your blood pressure and what medical conditions may result from having prolonged high blood pressure. In this article, we offer tips from Michael X. Pham, M.D., M.P.H., chief of cardiology with Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco on how to reduce—or maintain—your blood pressure.

Better Diet, Better Heart Health

To lower one’s risk of high blood pressure, Dr. Pham encourages people to limit their sodium and eat a heart-healthy diet. Canned foods, condiments, deli meats, salad dressings and sauces are some of the biggest sodium culprits. Instead, make meals using garlic, lemon juice, herbs, spices or seasonings with no salt added. Do not add salt to prepackaged or frozen meals, as they are already loaded with sodium.

What goes on our plates at mealtime also offers insight into how healthfully we’re eating. “Mentally divide your plate into four quadrants. Two quarters (or half) should be fruits and veggies. One quarter should be proteins (lean fish, chicken or beans), and the remaining quarter should be a whole grain or starchy vegetable (brown rice, sweet potato),” says Dr. Pham.

Dr. Pham says that staying hydrated with water is good. People should avoid sugary drinks and alcohol as much as possible.

Get Those Steps In

Exercise is also key in maintaining a healthy heart. For this reason, it’s important to walk outside every day—but check air quality levels first.

Dr. Pham recommends a goal of 7,000-10,000 steps daily. “If you can’t get in a big walk all at once, break it into shorter walks throughout the day.” With increased community spread of COVID-19, he recommends walking early in the morning or early in the evening when there are fewer people out, and, if possible, be conscious of physical distancing and wear a mask. For those who cannot go outside, take frequent standing breaks and do laps around your house or yard.”

Your Heart & COVID-19

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with moderate to severe hypertension may be at increased risk of COVID-19 complications.

“Hypertension makes it harder to fight off infections. Regular check-ups allow your provider to help manage your condition and provide a proactive plan if your blood pressure gets worse,” says Dr. Pham.

Know your numbers. An at-home blood pressure monitor, available at your local drugstore or online, can track your blood pressure readings in between checkups. Dr. Pham suggests bringing your at-home monitor to your next in-person appointment to help ensure its readings are accurate and reliable.

Award-Winning Cardiac Care

In August 2020, ten hospitals across Sutter’s not-for-profit integrated network of care received recognition by the American Stroke Association for providing a high level of stroke care as part of the 2019 Get With The Guidelines® awards.

Additionally, 20 hospitals in the Sutter system received recognition from the American Heart Association for consistently applying the American College of Cardiology guidelines when treating patients with heart failure. Read more about these recognitions here.

Options For Care

The heart is one of your body’s most essential organs. Don’t take it—or caring for it—for granted.

Sutter Health is committed to your health and safety. If you need care or to make an appointment today, Sutter’s care teams are ready to serve you in person or by video visit.

For more on Sutter’s heart disease prevention programs, visit here.