People

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.”

“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.

Employees Rate Sutter as one of the Best in Latest Forbes Poll

Posted on Aug 24, 2020 in People, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Employees across Sutter Health hold the network in high regard, according to the latest list by Forbes. In its second annual ranking of America’s best employers by state, Sutter Health was listed as one of California’s top employers.

“Sutter Health appreciates our entire workforce and how they help enhance the health and well-being of our communities,” said Jill Ragsdale, chief people and culture officer for Sutter Health. “Our teams live our values every day. With caring and compassion, they support patients and families, as well as each other.”

Using anonymous surveys, Forbes and market research company Statista verified the best-liked organizations by employees. Determining factors included potential for development, working conditions, diversity, salary, etc. Employees were also asked to rate on a scale from 1-10 whether they would recommend working for their employer to others.

This ranking takes special significance this year. Surveys took place from Oct. 2019 – May 2020, a portion of time that included the COVID-19 pandemic hitting stateside. Healthcare providers were facing challenges not seen before in their lifetimes. In response, Sutter identified resources that helped compassionately support the needs of staff. These creative solutions include offering temporary lodging around hospitals where staff may be relocated to support, retraining for staff asked to care for patients in other parts of the network, child care options close to work, self-care and mental health support, and remote work help.

Sutter Health was recently named one of 22 healthcare systems on Forbes’ 2020 list of “America’s Best Employers for Women.” Sutter ranked on Forbes list of California employers in 2019, too.

Sutter Health is more than 60,000 people strong, thanks to our network of clinicians, employees and volunteers. Grounded in our not-for-profit mission, our team members partner to provide access to high quality, affordable care for more than 3 million Northern Californians through our network of hospitals, medical foundations, urgent and walk-in care centers, telehealth, home health and hospice services.

Wildfires, Extreme Heat, Unhealthy Air During a Pandemic

Posted on Aug 20, 2020 in Carousel, People, Quality, Safety, Scroll Images

An Integrated Network Continues to Serve Northern California Communities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –Wildfires fueled by high temperatures and winds are spreading across Northern California. Firefighters are battling to stop the blazes, which have forced thousands of people out of their homes. And to top it off, smoke from the fires is causing extremely unhealthy air quality in many areas, compounding respiratory issues concerns–especially for people with COVID-19.

Sutter’s round-the-clock emergency management system is monitoring the progress of the fires and the impact the heavy smoke is having on some of our care sites. Sutter has a long-standing commitment to the health and safety of the communities we serve, especially in times of natural disasters. During these unprecedented times, our integrated network is able to quickly move and redirect resources to those most in need. And despite the many challenges we’re all facing right now, Sutter hospitals and the vast majority of our clinics are open and stand ready to care for patients.

“I want to thank the thousands of firefighters and additional emergency personnel who are responding to these blazes and patients with medical conditions triggered by them—especially the physicians, nurses and staff across Sutter’s integrated network,” said Sarah Krevans, Sutter Health’s president and CEO. “Our teams have been on the front lines caring for patients since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and now they are simultaneously helping support their communities during these fires.”

December 11, 2017 – Fire crews, using controlled burns, create a barrier in the foothills of Carpinteria, California, in the hopes of containing the Thomas fire in Southern California.

“We are deeply saddened by the devastation the firestorms are waging on our communities and we are committed to supporting wildfire victims and evacuees,” said William Isenberg, MD, Phd, Sutter Health’s chief quality and safety officer. “Sutter Health team members also live in these communities and we know many of their homes and families have been impacted by the fires, so we are activating employee resources like emergency financial assistance.”

Resources to Help You Access Care

Although some care sites may be experiencing temporary closures due to evacuation orders, air quality concerns or COVID-19, listed here, care team members at those care sites are available to determine which available options work best to help patient access care during the closures:

  • Video visits with a care provider
  • Obtaining in-person care at another Sutter facility
  • Rescheduling services once it is safe to do so

In partnership with clinicians and care sites across our network, Sutter’s Mental Health & Addiction Care team is also available to assist with your mental wellness. Even if you are not directly affected by the wildfires across Northern California, just hearing about them may trigger memories from a past event, leading to fear, anxiety or other strong emotions. If you or a loved one needs help, please contact your primary care physician or access the emergency resources found here.

A Message from Sarah Krevans on the Northern California Wildfires

Posted on Aug 19, 2020 in Carousel, People, Quality, Safety, Scroll Images

Wildfires are again burning in multiple Northern California counties. Sadly, it’s an all too familiar occurrence for many of the communities Sutter Health is privileged to serve.

Sarah Krevans, President & CEO,
Sutter Health

I want to thank the thousands of firefighters and additional emergency personnel who are responding to these blazes—especially the physicians, nurses and staff across Sutter’s integrated network. Our teams have been on the front lines caring for patients since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and now they are simultaneously helping support their communities during these fires.

We are closely monitoring the progress of the fires, as well as the resulting poor air quality, and their impact on our care sites. As always, the safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We will work to keep our communities informed during this evolving situation.

Sutter is also committed to supporting our staff who may have been evacuated or otherwise impacted by the wildfires. We are checking in with our team members and activating employee resources like emergency financial assistance.

As we have done throughout the ongoing pandemic and in past wildfires, we will use the breadth of our integrated network to move resources around our care sites to where they are needed most to help our communities and patients in Northern California.