Shaking things up: first-in-the-nation earthquake technology at new CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital

Posted on Jan 28, 2019 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Scroll Images

Viscous wall damper technology, used in dozens of construction projects in Japan, proven to substantially decrease building movement during earthquakes

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 28, 2019) – Sutter Health’s new California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital includes first-in-the-nation seismic technology, which is designed to allow it to withstand a major earthquake. The 11-story structure incorporates 119 innovative viscous wall dampers which absorb very strong movement and reduce overall stress on the building. This technology has been used in dozens of construction projects in Japan – including many high-rise buildings – over the past 25 years. These are the first ever viscous wall dampers incorporated into a building in North America.

The new, 1 million square-foot California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital, located at 1101 Van Ness Ave. at the intersection of Geary Blvd. in San Francisco.

Check out KPIX-TV 5’s story about our new hospital, its first-in-the-nation seismic technology and its focus on patient safety and comfort.

“Geologists say there’s a 72 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake along the Hayward Fault and other Bay Area fault lines within the next 30 years,” said Jay Love, senior principle engineer at Degenkolb Engineers and the engineer of record for the project. “With the latest seismic technology in place, the new CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital is prepared to continue to deliver healthcare services when the next ‘Big One’ strikes.”
Based on stringent testing and analysis, viscous wall dampers absorb approximately 90 percent of the energy from an earthquake. When minor or even violent shaking begins, the dampers go into effect. This substantially decreases building movement, especially in the upper floors where seismic accelerations are typically the greatest. In the event of a major disaster, Sutter’s CPMC Van Ness Campus Hospital is built to sustain itself for at least four days off the city utility system, with the support of three emergency generators, food, water and the ability to safely store sewage.

Installation of the dampers has reduced the structure’s reliance on steel alone to strengthen the building. Without it, the hospital would have required up to 60 percent more steel and more bracing frames on the column lines of the building. Factoring in the cost of the dampers with structural steel, Sutter Health saved 25 percent on the total cost of the building’s structural steel, money that was able to be used in other areas of the project.

Viscous Wall Dampers, like this one, will allow the new CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital to withstand a very strong earthquake.

In addition, the dampers are strategically located between windows on the exterior of the building’s façade, allowing for unobstructed views and access to exterior light in every patient room.

By employing viscous wall damper technology, we’ve created one of the most earthquake-resistant buildings in all of San Francisco,” said Larry Kollerer, Sutter Health’s executive director for facility and property services. “In the event of a major disaster, the new CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital is designed to not only remain standing, but to be operational to serve the needs of the community in a time of extreme crisis.”

Viscus wall dampers are made of two pieces. The first is a simple steel box that fits into the width of the exterior wall space and connects to the floor girder below. The second is a vertical steel plate that inserts into the steel box and is connected to the floor girder above. The plate is free to move horizontally through a polymer viscous fluid in the box. The fluid, polyisobutylene, is a synthetic elastomer that absorbs the earthquake’s energy when the plate pushes its way through the fluid as floors move horizontally from one another.

The Office of Statewide Health and Planning Development (OSHPD) required vigorous testing and analysis to demonstrate that the new hospital would perform as well – if not better – than a conventional California hospital during a major earthquake. Full-scale testing of the technology took place at the University of California San Diego’s Caltrans Seismic Testing Facility, where six full-scale dampers were put through more than 20 tests. After reviewing the results, OSHPD agreed that the system met the requirements needed for hospital construction in California.

In response to urgency created by the events of California’s Northridge earthquake in 1994, and because of the total collapse of two hospitals during the Sylmar earthquake of 1971, the California State Legislature introduced a Seismic Safety Bill—Senate Bill 1953—which was signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson in 1994. The new law required nearly half of California’s hospitals to be retrofitted, reconstructed or closed by 2030 if they were unable to meet the new seismic safety requirements.

San Mateo Resident Celebrates 104th Birthday and Nearly Four Decades of Volunteer Service to Sutter Health

Posted on Jan 25, 2019 in People, Scroll Images, Sutter Care at Home

Dolores Duckworth celebrates her 104th Birthday with her volunteer family.

Sutter Health volunteer, 104-year-old Dolores Duckworth of San Mateo, has accumulated more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service since 1980.

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U.S. Army Reservist Thanks Sutter Colleagues for their Support

Posted on Jan 24, 2019 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Ernesto Brizuela, R.N., BSN, PHN

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center (SASC) Director of Nursing Ernesto Brizuela, R.N., BSN, PHN returned in December from a nine-month assignment as a medical surgical nurse with the U.S. Army Reserves in Honduras. While gone, he missed major milestones with his wife and four children: birthdays, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving.

One thing that made being deployed far from home a little easier was knowing that his SASC colleagues were fully behind him. The SASC team worked together to cover his duties while he was away, and Administrator Andrew Kim called him every two weeks to check in on him.

“Those phone calls really helped keep me connected to home, to my family at Sutter Alhambra,” Brizuela said.

The SASC team also contributed to a special care package full of his favorite treats from home—including beef jerky, cookies and coffee creamers.

“Opening that care package felt like Christmas,” Brizuela said. “I saw that everyone had contributed something from their heart. It was really meaningful.”

To thank Kim and his co-workers, Brizuela nominated them for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves’ (ESGR) Above & Beyond Award, which recognizes employers that provide their National Guard and Reservist service member employees additional, non-mandated benefits.

“Ernesto is an integral member of our team, and we’re all very proud to support him,” Kim says. “His commitment to his country, his family, and our Sutter Alhambra team is incredibly admirable.”

ESGR presented the award to the SASC team on Jan. 17.

Sutter Delta Medical Center Welcomes New CEO

Posted on Jan 23, 2019 in Affiliates, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Delta Medical Center

SACRAMENTO, Calif.  – Sherie C. Hickman is the new chief executive officer of Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch. Hickman began her new role on Jan. 2.

Hickman comes to Sutter Delta from Novato Community Hospital, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care, where she served as administrator for two years.

“Sutter Delta Medical Center has a rich history of serving the healthcare needs of Antioch and the surrounding Delta communities,” says Hickman, “I am energized by the opportunity to work with Sutter Delta staff and physicians to enhance the well-being of the community.”

Hickman brings to this position a background in healthcare leadership that spans the continuum of care: outpatient care, hospital administration, post-acute care services and health plan administration. These roles included chief operating officer at Novant Health/Presbyterian Healthcare System in North Carolina, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan in Walnut Creek and Richmond, and Dignity Health/Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City prior to her administrator position at Sutter’s Novato Community Hospital.

Hickman is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), a member and past president of the California Association of Healthcare Leaders; a member of the Women Healthcare Executives group of Northern California, and of the National Association of Health Services Executives. In 2007, she received the ACHE’s Regents Award for Outstanding Leadership in Healthcare Administration, and in 2018 received the North Bay Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year award.

Hickman earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She has completed advanced leadership programs at the University of Southern California, Stanford University and Harvard University Business School.

Healthy ‘GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL’: Championing Wellness through Youth Soccer

Posted on Jan 22, 2019 in Scroll Images, Wellness

Kids these days.

They are their own mini versions of professional athletes. Year-round sports have superseded the seasonal variety—and this specialized focus has captivated the attention of kids and families alike.

Seeing an opportunity to team up with the youth soccer movement, Sutter Health will serve as the San Jose Earthquakes’ presenting sponsor of the Quakes Academy youth soccer teams and Quakes Academy jerseys.


“Physical activity, at any stage of life, can play an important part in one’s health and wellness goals,” said Richard Gayle, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and one of the Earthquakes’ team doctors. “The youth soccer movement is particularly inspiring, and youth sports overall are a natural way for our communities to come together. We appreciate the opportunity to align with the Quakes Academy to champion healthy habits.”

The Quakes Academy has blossomed in recent years, with both boys’ and girls’ teams producing youth national team-caliber players. Most recently, U-17 midfielder Sophie Jones – a Duke University commit – competed for the United States at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay. The boys’ academy has produced five Homegrown Players to date, including former U.S. U-20 goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski and 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year finalist Nick Lima.

The Earthquakes and Sutter Health will work in tandem to provide physical and mental wellness, stress management, and nutritional education programming for all Quakes Academy players. They will launch a web portal later this year filled with information in each of those categories, which will serve as a wellness resource for all athletes in the Bay Area.

Sutter Health’s work with the San Jose Earthquakes focuses on numerous aspects of health and wellness. Sutter will continue to present Get Earthquakes Fit, a program targeted at fighting childhood obesity in Northern California. The program has been adopted at more than 35 schools annually since 2016, impacting more than 16,000 students to date. Doctors at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, part of Sutter Health’s not-for-profit network, will continue serving as the Earthquakes’ official team physicians. The doctors, who specialize in orthopedics and primary care, use their experience and expertise to support Earthquakes players so they may reach their peak performance.

In addition to supporting healthy activity in communities, not-for-profit Sutter Health gives back to communities in other ways, too. Sutter Health’s total community benefit investment was $612 million in 2017. These funds supported traditional charity care, unreimbursed Medi-Cal costs, health education and community clinics. Learn more about ways Sutter cares for Northern California at

Designed for the Times: New San Francisco Hospital Embraces Mature Moms

Posted on Jan 17, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Carousel, Quality, Scroll Images, Women's Services

The CPMC Women and Children’s Center at the new Van Ness Campus will set the standard for hospital-based childbirth for a growing number of moms in their 30s and beyond.

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Sutter Amador Hospital CEO to Retire, Leaving Legacy of Community Health Excellence

Posted on Jan 16, 2019 in Carousel, Expanding Access, Scroll Images, Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Medical Foundation, Transformation, Uncategorized

JACKSON, Calif. – Anne Platt is retiring March 1 as CEO of Sutter Amador Hospital after 14 years presiding over unprecedented expansions and improvements to the medical campus and the local healthcare community. Replacing her is Tom Dickson, who has led some of Arizona’s most respected hospitals and has a proven record for excellence in patient care. His first day at Sutter Amador Hospital is Feb. 11.

Sutter Amador Hospital CEO Anne Platt is retiring after 14 years of leading several expansions in medical services for the Gold Country communities.

“Sutter really struck gold when Anne was recruited to take the helm of Sutter Amador Hospital,” said Grant Davies, CEO of Sutter Valley Area Hospitals. “She worked hard to bring many advanced medical services to the Gold Country and was a major contributor to the health and well-being of the community. It was tough to find someone who can ably fill her shoes as CEO, but we are confident that Tom is up to the task of carrying on Anne’s legacy.”

When Platt arrived in 2005, Sutter Amador was a beautiful, newly constructed, small rural hospital with limited resources for patients in several medical specialties. She leaves her post having greatly advanced the hospital — adding services that allow residents to receive care locally instead of having to leave the county.

“I care deeply about the health of our residents and the community, but none of this could have been accomplished without the support and generosity of the greater Jackson community and the contributions of an amazing staff of medical professionals,” Platt said. “It has been a pleasure to work with so many to ensure that our residents get the best healthcare right in their own backyard.”    Read More