Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF May 31, 2019 | Archived Issues

Families and Caregivers Celebrate at NICU Reunion

Life for a parent with a baby struggling in a neonatal intensive care unit can be an emotional roller coaster. Whitney Schwartz knows that all too well. She and her husband, Randal, went through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit experience at Cedars-Sinai—with both of their children. As a way of saying thank you for the care the children received, the family on Sunday participated in Cedars-Sinai’s 40th Annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit reunion. More than 500 turned out for the celebration.

» Read more

Physician Wellness Tip: Getting Sleep and Rest

Getting a good night’s sleep can help you in many ways. It can keep your heart healthy, lower the risk for cancer and diabetes, reduce stress and even promote weight loss. Yet 70% of American adults say they don’t get enough rest.

» Read more

President's Perspective: Myth of Nonprofits

By Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

As a nonprofit organization, Cedars-Sinai exists to serve the public. And as a nonprofit healthcare organization in a growing region, Cedars-Sinai has a responsibility to fund new facilities, technologies and equipment to enable our staff to provide high-quality healthcare to all our patients. 

» Read more

Grant, MD, MBA, Named Chair of Anesthesiology

James D. Grant, MD, MBA, has been appointed chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and physician executive in Perioperative Services. Known for his distinguished record of clinical excellence, organizational leadership and administrative expertise, Grant will direct all aspects of the Department of Anesthesiology, including advanced pain medicine.

» Read more

Leon Fine, MD, Graduates to New Challenges

On May 30, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences handed out doctoral and master's degrees upon 26 students. Just 12 years ago, this event could not have taken place; Cedars-Sinai was not a degree-granting institution. Today, Cedars-Sinai operates multiple graduate degree programs, along with a robust Department of Biomedical Sciences. These sea-changing achievements are largely attributable to one individual who happened to have a career itch in 2007: Leon Fine, MD.

» Read more

High Schoolers Get Hands-On Surgical Experience

Twenty-nine students from the Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School in south Los Angeles got a chance to perform surgery, intubation and CPR and use virtual surgical instruments during a recent visit to Cedars-Sinai. Fortunately, they were working with patient simulators, not actual patients.

» Read more

Core Labs Returning to Roche Immunoassay

Beginning June 11, the Core laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will migrate CA 19-9 tumor marker measurement from an Abbott immunoassay back to a Roche immunoassay.

» Read more

Tips on Preventing Social Engineering

Social engineering is the art of gaining access to buildings, systems or data by exploiting human psychology, rather than by breaking in or using hacking techniques. For example, instead of trying to find a software vulnerability, a social engineer might call an employee and pose as an IT support person, trying to trick the employee into divulging their password.

» Read more

Summer Is Coming, and So Are Fireworks

Celebrate Independence Day at the Hollywood Bowl with fireworks and music by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and special musical guests Nile Rodgers and CHIC. The event on Wednesday, July 3, is open to Cedars-Sinai physicians and their immediate family members. Cost is $145 per adult and $75 per child, 3-11 years of age.

» Read more

CS-Link Tip: Marie Kondo Your InBasket

It's fairly common to see InBaskets with hundreds of results and a myriad of folders. This clutter can make it more difficult when something new and important has arrived. With CS-Link™, it's easy to clean up your InBasket. So channel your inner Marie Kondo and tidy up. 

» Read more

Families and Caregivers Celebrate at NICU Reunion

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Leena C. Gibson, MD, (from left) celebrates at the recent NICU reunion with the Cochrane family—Stacey, Conor and Andrew. 

Life for a parent with a baby struggling in a neonatal intensive care unit can be an emotional roller coaster.

Whitney Schwartz knows that all too well. She and her husband, Randal, went through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit experience at Cedars-Sinai—with both of their children.

They had the rougher ride with their first child, Hazel, who recently turned 5. She was born just over 26 weeks into the pregnancy, weighing only 2 pounds, 3 ounces, and wound up staying in the medical center's NICU for 100 days.

Although Schwartz and her husband always felt that they were in good hands medically, "It was really, really scary, and felt to us like it was touch and go," she said.

Thankfully, Schwartz said, Hazel and her younger brother, Rudy, are now "perfectly healthy."

As a way of saying thank you for the care the children received, the family on Sunday participated in Cedars-Sinai's 40th Annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit reunion.

The event, held in the Harvey Morse Auditorium and organized with the help of the NICU Parent Family Centered Care Council, had the feel of a king-size, elaborate kids’ birthday party. The room was packed with more than 500 NICU graduates and their families, and balloons were everywhere. Children, many in superhero garb, flocked to the face-painting table, and the Los Angeles Rams’ mascot, Rampage, posed for photos.

The focus, though, was on giving a chance for the NICU graduates and their parents to reconnect with their NICU doctors, nurses and other staffers.

Leah Padow—whose 4-year-old son, Eli, spent three months in the NICU after being born early—described the reunions as "part of the healing process."

Padow said she had grown close to the people who cared for Eli in the NICU. When she and her family attended the reunion for the first time in 2015, she remembered feeling that "you want to show them, 'Here he is. He's doing great, and this is because of you, and you deserve to see that.'"

Schwartz expressed a similar view. "We like to come so that we can show them our kids, and say, 'Look what you gave us.'" Like Padow, Schwartz is a member of the NICU Parent Family Centered Care Council at Cedars-Sinai, which supports families with a child in the NICU.

Charles F. Simmons, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Neonatology, said he and his colleagues appreciate that sentiment. "It's the kind of positive feedback that we all need from time to time to remind us why we went into the field in the first place," he said.

Simmons noted that over the past 40 years, 25,000 babies have received care in Cedars-Sinai's NICU. Over that period, he said, there has been "amazing" progress in the field. Nationally, he said, "Some of our tiniest babies had over a 95% mortality rate, and today those same babies have over a 95% survival rate."

It's not only the medical staff and the families of NICU graduates who appreciate the reunions. The events also can provide a lift for families with a child still in the NICU.

When the last reunion was held in 2017, before going on hiatus for a year, Stacey Cochrane and her husband, Andrew, were spending long hours in the NICU with their now 2-year-old son, Conor. They were in the late stages of what turned out to be a seven-week stay in the NICU for Conor, who was born 33 weeks into the pregnancy.

So when families arrived with their NICU graduates—including toddlers as well as teenagers—it "gave us some strength, to see that path forward," she said.

"You got a lot of, 'I'm 18 years old and a football star,' and 'I'm in third grade and have the highest grades in my class.' All of these things you worry about—are they going to be OK?—and then there's all these stories of, yes, they can be OK. You can go through this very difficult experience and [the children] can end up 100% normal."

As for Conor, Stacey Cochrane said, he might have a problem with asthma but otherwise doctors "haven't been able to find any repercussions" from his premature birth, "which is really amazing," she said. "He's completely caught up developmentally-wise," with his height at the 90th percentile.

That fortunate outcome motivated the Cochranes to shorten a long-awaited Big Bear vacation to get back in time for the reunion and express their gratitude to the people who cared for Conor. "You want all of these people who saw him at his worst ... to see this 2-year-old little boy who's just a normal little boy," she said.

 

 

Physician Wellness Tip: Getting Sleep and Rest

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Getting a good night’s sleep can help you in many ways. It can keep your heart healthy, lower the risk for cancer and diabetes, reduce stress and even promote weight loss.

Yet 70% of American adults say they don’t get enough rest. And they’re not only missing the great benefits of sleep, they’re also raising their chances of having memory loss, low energy, poor mood and accidents. For your health and wellbeing, make sleep a priority today!

If better sleep is something you are looking for, Cedars-Sinai has developed a corporate discount for you to connect with a powerful app called Pzizz.

President's Perspective: Myth of Nonprofits

By Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

Beware the "Nonprofit" Myth

As a nonprofit organization, Cedars-Sinai exists to serve the public. And as a nonprofit healthcare organization in a growing region, Cedars-Sinai has a responsibility to fund new facilities, technologies and equipment to enable our staff to provide high-quality healthcare to all our patients. 

Because we are a nonprofit, I am occasionally asked why Cedars-Sinai needs to have a financial gain at the end of each year. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to be a nonprofit, and why a financial gain is crucial to our ability to serve the public.  The misunderstanding often comes from two myths, which I’ll explain below:

Myth:
A nonprofit organization should never have a financial gain at the end of the year, as that would be a "profit."

Fact:
The main difference between nonprofit and for-profit organizations is that a nonprofit organization's main goal is to provide a public service for the community, while a for-profit's main goal is to make money for its shareholders or owners. A nonprofit does not have shareholders or owners; it exists solely for the public. As a result, if a nonprofit has a financial gain at the end of the year, it must be reinvested back into the organization so that it can serve the public.  (A for-profit’s financial gain, on the other hand, can be distributed to its individual shareholders or owners.)

Myth:
As a nonprofit healthcare organization, Cedars-Sinai doesn’t need to have a financial gain. It only needs to be able to "break even" each year by meeting its current expenses.

Fact:
Without a financial gain, Cedars-Sinai would not be able to update the facilities, equipment and technology needed to provide quality care for its patients. 

A financial gain each year provides the resources needed for the major renovation projects throughout our 6.8 million square feet of facilities, new technology and other equipment needed to give our staff the best environment to provide leading healthcare for the community. 

A few examples of the key projects that would not be possible without our financial gain: additional advanced technology operating rooms in the Pavilion; renovation of the main pharmacy; new facilities for the Oschin Cancer Center; primary-care and specialty facilities throughout the community; renovation of the Central Processing facility, GI Lab and Materials Receiving area; rebuild of Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital; and ongoing renovations at the medical center. 

Cedars-Sinai's financial gain is a key element of our shared commitment to ensuring that we continue to provide the optimal environment for high-quality care.  As always, the most important element of our quality is each of you.  Thank you for sharing your dedication and expertise on behalf of our patients.  

Grant, MD, MBA, Named Chair of Anesthesiology

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James D. Grant, MD, MBA

James D. Grant, MD, MBA, has been appointed chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and physician executive in Perioperative Services.

Known for his distinguished record of clinical excellence, organizational leadership and administrative expertise, Grant will direct all aspects of the Department of Anesthesiology, including advanced pain medicine. Grant also will oversee residency and fellowship programs, helping to educate clinical and research-focused physicians to ensure excellent patient care.

"Coordination and collaboration are at the center of Dr. Grant's pivotal role,” said Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the medical faculty. “Among his many key responsibilities, Dr. Grant will establish the strategic direction for the department’s clinical, administrative, research and educational missions—and collaborate with leaders across the organization to integrate and coordinate services to improve clinical outcomes and build a unified patient experience.”

Grant joins Cedars-Sinai from Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, in Michigan, where he has served as chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and professor and chair of Anesthesiology at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

“The opportunity to join Cedars-Sinai and be part of a world-class organization that delivers high-quality care and is a leader in innovative medicine was incredibly exciting to me,” Grant said. “Serving in this role is a tremendous honor, and I am eager to proactively lead a great team that is visionary and positioning itself for the future of healthcare and take it to the next level.”

The Michigan native has served on the Michigan Board of Medicine for seven years, including as chair from 2003-2006, and was president of the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists and the Michigan State Medical Society.

In 2018, Grant was elected as the 100th president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He is on the board of directors of the Anesthesia Foundation and the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. Grant also is an examiner of the American Board of Anesthesiology.

 

 

Leon Fine, MD, Graduates to New Challenges

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Leon Fine, MD

On May 30, the Cedars-Sinai Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences handed out doctoral and master's degrees upon 26 students. Just 12 years ago, this event could not have taken place; Cedars-Sinai was not a degree-granting institution.

Today, Cedars-Sinai operates multiple graduate degree programs, along with a robust Department of Biomedical Sciences.

These sea-changing achievements are largely attributable to one individual who happened to have a career itch in 2007.

"I was keen to do something I'd never done before," said Leon Fine, MD, professor of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, recalling his state of mind at the time. "I also wanted to return to Los Angeles, where my two daughters live. To be sure, my wife certainly preferred the weather in L.A." He had professional roots here as well, having served as chief of the Division of Nephrology at UCLA from 1978 to 1991.

Fine's Southland plan was preceded by a 15-year stay across the pond at the prestigious University College London, where, for 11 years, he chaired the Division of Medicine and the Department of Medicine before becoming dean of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences.

It turned out that Cedars-Sinai in 2007 shared Fine's never-done-this-before state of mind, having committed to creating a department for basic research scientists and a graduate program. Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, who was then chief academic officer and is now executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the medical faculty, was searching for someone to spearhead these supersized undertakings.

Knock, knock.

"When I came back to L.A., my first stop was Dr. Melmed's office," Fine said.

Introductions were not necessary. The two men have known each other for more than half a century. Both were born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, and received their medical degrees from the University of Cape Town.

"I knew Leon would be a good fit because of his experience and expertise," explained Melmed, professor of Medicine and Endocrinology/Metabolism. "He's an extremely smart guy and very intuitive. I felt he would be a natural leader here because of his innate talents and high professional profile."

Fine also is fond of challenges.

"That's why I chose nephrology as my specialty," Fine said. "The kidney is an incredibly complicated organ."

As Cedars-Sinai's first vice dean of Research and Graduate Research Education and chair of Biomedical Sciences—positions he held from 2007 to 2017—Fine had a to-do list full of challenges. Just ask David Underhill, PhD, professor of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine and the Janis and William Wetsman Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He worked closely with Fine in establishing the graduate program, which welcomed its first class in 2008.

"Leon had to create a PhD program from scratch and invent how it would fit into this institution," Underhill said. "He championed getting the program accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2012, which definitely was a big deal."

Underhill added: "He also had to invent a new department and shape its identity. He did a yeoman's job and is widely admired by Cedars-Sinai faculty." The Department of Biomedical Sciences today has 125 faculty members.

Among Fine's admirers is C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, professor of Medicine, director of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center and the Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Program in the Smidt Heart Institute.

"In 2007, we both attended a scientific conference," Bairey Merz recalled. "Dr. Fine heard me present a lecture and afterward approached me about the Clinical Scholars Program he was starting. He thought I would be a good fit as the director.

"I thought the program sounded like a great way to enhance Cedars-Sinai's scientific depth, and Dr. Fine struck me as having a lot of good ideas and energy," Bairey Merz said. "I didn't hesitate in saying yes."

She still directs the program, which trains aspiring clinical scientists. "The success of today's graduate program can be traced back to Dr. Fine, as can the robustness of our research enterprise," she added.

Fine is credited with numerous other achievements during his first decade at Cedars-Sinai, which helped trigger another career direction.

"One of my longtime interests is medical history. I've written many papers about medical history, particularly the history of kidney diseases," Fine explained. So he turned his attention to helping Cedars-Sinai advance this field of study.

Now in its second year and directed by Fine, the Program in the History of Medicine aims to develop original research and educate the medical center community about the theory and practice of medicine and science across the centuries.

Fine has two other interests: collecting beautiful books and post-war and contemporary art. On his walls at home hang works by Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, among other artists. He owns hundreds of books, including private press books. "Each book is a work of art, from the typography to page layout and binding," he said. 

Besides leading the Program in the History of Medicine, Fine since 2017 has served as medical director for a new program: the Center for the Undiagnosed Patient.

"There's a relatively large population of patients who have seen many doctors and still don't have a sense of what's wrong with them," Fine said. "We take a collaborative approach."

The program connects undiagnosed patients to Cedars-Sinai specialists, with the goal of establishing a diagnosis for complex, rare conditions.

Word of the program has spread. "Patient numbers are increasing, and we've started weekly rounds. These are incredibly complex clinical cases," Fine said.

Together with scientific colleagues, he recently established a gastronomic science consortium, another of his passions. "Cedars-Sinai scientists who can exchange ideas with creative chefs plan to broaden the dialog on what is today a widespread infatuation with food culture, world cuisines and food writing." Fine reports that the first of these encounters was fascinating.

Retirement isn't yet on his radar and may not be, he said, "until I hear people whispering in the hallways: 'I wonder when Fine plans to leave.'"

Should that happen, chances are good the whispering would trigger another career itch, and Fine would be off to add a new chapter to his storied life.

 

High Schoolers Get Hands-On Surgical Experience

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Students Marcelo Piedra (left) and Vasilij Shikunov (center) from Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School perform a simulated laparoscopic surgery at the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills at Cedars-Sinai under the watchful eye of James Williams, media services coordinator.

Twenty-nine students from the Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School in south Los Angeles got a chance to perform surgery, intubation and CPR and use virtual surgical instruments during a recent visit to Cedars-Sinai. Fortunately, they were working with patient simulators, not actual patients.

"It's OK. You're not going to kill him," Joshua Schultz, simulation program specialist, teased students as they struggled to accurately place intubation tubes into high-tech mannequins laid out on tables at the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills.

The center is an important resource for healthcare professionals from around the world, training an average of 2,000 people per month in surgery as well as disease containment and crisis management. Through periodic tours, the center also provides hands-on medical and surgical experiences for students from local schools who want to learn what it's like to be a real doctor, nurse or other clinical professional.

Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School, nicknamed "Ortho High," focuses on providing students with exposure to medical and biotechnical fields. The graduation rate is nearly 100%. The school has 96% minority enrollment, with nearly 90% of its student body considered to be economically disadvantaged.

"Through our outreach to schools, we provide a unique opportunity for students from all backgrounds to experience a real-life surgical environment," said Russell Metcalfe Smith, associate director of the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills, who helped lead the student visit. "We hope we can inspire many of them to pursue productive, satisfying careers in medicine." He assisted students during the visit, which was organized by Arleen Orozco, coordinator of the Healthcare Immersion Program.

 

Core Labs Returning to Roche Immunoassay

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Beginning June 11, the Core laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will migrate CA 19-9 tumor marker measurement from an Abbott immunoassay back to a Roche immunoassay.

The change is being implemented because the Abbott assay runs ~36-40% higher than the Roche assay. While this positive bias was previously announced when methods were initially changed, this positive bias in practice causes many patients who are trending high to be above the clinical reportable range for the Abbott assay (i.e., >120,000 IU/mL). This makes it difficult to follow the disease treatment/progression of these patients.

As such, we will revert back to the Roche assay, which will allow for quantitative following of most patients (especially those who are trending at high levels).

If you have questions, please contact Kimia Sobhani, PhD, at kimia.sobhani@cshs.org, or Anders Berg, PhD, at anders.berg@cshs.org.

 

 

Tips on Preventing Social Engineering

What Is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is the art of gaining access to buildings, systems or data by exploiting human psychology, rather than by breaking in or using hacking techniques. For example, instead of trying to find a software vulnerability, a social engineer might call an employee and pose as an IT support person, trying to trick the employee into divulging their password.

Prevention Tips

  • Slow Down: Think first, act later—be skeptical of high-pressure sales tactics and never let a caller's urgency influence your careful review
  • 

Reject requests for help unless you initiated the request
  • Don't provide personal or organization information unless you verify the caller’s identity


  • Don't overshare on social media—too much information can be used to guess passwords or confidential information

Okta Password Reset

Reset your password or unlock your account from anywhere!  

First, you will need to add your cellphone number to your Okta Account. Instructions on how to do so are here.

For more information, contact the EIS Help Desk at 310-423-6428.

Summer Is Coming, and So Are Fireworks

 

The Hollywood Bowl

Celebrate Independence Day at the Hollywood Bowl with fireworks and music by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and special musical guests Nile Rodgers and CHIC. The event on Wednesday, July 3, is open to Cedars-Sinai physicians and their immediate family members. Cost is $145 per adult and $75 per child, 3-11 years of age.

Parking passes also are available.

To reserve a place, contact Cheryl Verne at 310-423-2681 or cheryl.verne@cshs.org.

CS-Link Tip: Marie Kondo Your InBasket

It's fairly common to see InBaskets with hundreds of results and a myriad of folders. This clutter can make it more difficult when something new and important has arrived.

With CS-Link™, it's easy to clean up your InBasket. So channel your inner Marie Kondo and tidy up.

Try to stick to the goal of touching items in your InBasket only once. The InBasket essentially represents a series tasks and no one wants to repeat actions.

Here are three tips that will help:

To learn more, attend a CS-Link Efficiency and Review for Physician meeting on the second Thursday of each month. The classes, which begin at 7:30 a.m., are held in PEC 4.

If you have questions, contact groupeisphysicians@cshs.org.