Cedars-Sinai

Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

Wellness Lecture: What a Sober Alcoholic Can Teach Us About Addiction

The Housestaff Wellness Committee and the Office of Graduate Medical Education invite you to a special lecture "What a Sober Alcoholic Can Teach Us About Addiction” with Herb Kaighan on Monday, April 8, at noon. The hourlong lecture will be held in the North Tower Conference Room B. To RSVP, email sheryl.katzovitz@cshs.org.

» Read more

Runner's Race May Impact Local Commutes Sunday

A race that weaves through Beverly Hills and west Los Angeles on Sunday, April 7, will close nearby streets, and could affect commutes to Cedars-Sinai. Road closures may begin as early as 4:30 a.m. and may last until 10:30 a.m. Sunday. More information is available at the race's website.

» Read more

Physician WINs: FitClub Summer Competition Offers Cash Prizes

Physician WINS (Wellness Information and Notables): Summer is around the corner and Cedars-Sinai physicians are welcome to join a new eight-week challenge designed to get you ready for pool parties, BBQs and trips to the beach. Need more of an incentive? The three people with the most points at the end of the challenge will win cash prizes.

» Read more

Enter Drawing to Win Clippers Suite Tickets

Thanks to Cedars-Sinai's partnership with the Los Angeles Clippers, employees have an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to an exclusive suite for an NBA game on Wednesday, April 10. Tickets will be made available to Cedars-Sinai employees through a random drawing.

» Read more

Conference Peers Into VR's Future in Medicine

The second annual Virtual Medicine Conference drew roughly 400 people to Cedars-Sinai from about a dozen countries, and featured talks by Cedars-Sinai virtual reality experts along with researchers and technology executives from other major institutions. The two-day event served as a hands-on workshop that focused on how to integrate VR technology into patient care.

» Read more

Making Waves in Science: Nancy Sicotte, MD

In honor of National Women's History Month, we are celebrating Cedars-Sinai's talented female leaders with a Q&A series, "Making Waves in Science." This week's interview is with Nancy Sicotte, MD, professor and interim chair of the Department of Neurology. She also directs the Multiple Sclerosis Program and the Neurology Residency Program.

» Read more

Annual Telemundo Health Fair Cares for Thousands

Thousands of low-income Los Angeles residents received free health screenings, vaccinations and wellness education from physicians, nurses and health professionals from Cedars-Sinai, the lead healthcare provider at the 15th Annual Telemundo 52 Health Fair. Cedars-Sinai provided more than 600 staffers and volunteers representing more than 50 Cedars-Sinai departments for the daylong event on March 17.

» Read more

Students Become Neuroscientists in Brainworks Program

Keith L. Black, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, welcomed more than 100 local middle school students to the 21st annual Brainworks program on March 11 in the Harvey Morse Auditorium. The highly interactive, one-day program is designed to inspire students and encourage them to pursue careers in science and healthcare.

» Read more

Core Labs Changing Test Codes

The Special Testing and Core Laboratory Divisions within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are changing outdated test order codes for HIV 1 Western Blot and HIV 1/HIV 2 EIA.

» Read more

FDA Cautions About Use of Paclitaxel-Coated Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning healthcare providers about a potentially concerning signal of increased long-term mortality in study subjects treated with paclitaxel-coated products compared to patients treated with uncoated devices.

» Read more

Morton H. Field, MD: 1931-2019

Morton H. Field, MD, passed away on March 31, at age 87. Field was an active member of the medical staff as an attending in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology since January 1962. His contributions and service to the medical center and to the community will be greatly missed.

» Read more

Medical Library Offers Classes to Learn New Skills

The Cedars-Sinai Medical Library is offering a variety of classes in April. Classes are now being offered at 8 a.m. and noon in the Medical Library—Plaza Level, South Tower, Room 2815.

» Read more

CS-Link Tip: Wild Cards

Within CS-Link™, most templated notes and SmartPhrases contain "wild cards." A wild card is three asterisks (***). You cannot close a note with unresolved wild cards. Many often scroll to the wild card and then hit delete or backspace three times. This isn't necessary.

» Read more

Wellness Lecture: What a Sober Alcoholic Can Teach Us About Addiction

April is all about addiction, so let’s talk recovery.

Addiction is one of the greatest social problems of our time. It causes damage, heartbreak and emotional and physical scarring. It breaks up families and carries self-destruction in its wake. Addiction is responsible for a large part of crime, and consequently, our prison population. It underlies several of our most costly medical epidemics. Addiction has no respect for age, gender or race. It cuts across every socioeconomic classification.

While you may not be a fall-down drunk, addicted to painkillers, a gambling addict, a chronic pot smoker, anorexic or addicted to porn, you likely struggle with addiction in other ways, such as workaholism, overeating, shopping beyond your means or engaging addictively with technology and social media. If you don’t believe you suffer from addiction in any way, chances are you know and care about someone who does.

The Housestaff Wellness Committee and the Office of Graduate Medical Education invite you to a special lecture "What a Sober Alcoholic Can Teach Us About Addiction” with Herb Kaighan on Monday, April 8, at noon. Mr. Kaighan brings a wealth of experience, strength and hope to this widespread problem. The hourlong lecture will be held in the North Tower Conference Room B.

To RSVP, email sheryl.katzovitz@cshs.org.

April Wellness Event (PDF)  



Runner's Race May Impact Local Commutes Sunday

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The Run to Remember race will close nearby roads and may affect commute times to Cedars-Sinai Sunday, April 7.

The Run to Remember Los Angeles race will close nearby streets Sunday, April 7, and could affect commutes to Cedars-Sinai.

Road closures in Beverly Hills and west Los Angeles may begin as early as 4:30 a.m. and may last until 10:30 a.m. Sunday. 

In its fourth year, the Run to Remember race is expected to draw a considerable number of participants. The race pays tribute to fallen first responders and supports a variety of community programs including police mentorships, education and scholarships for youth, and equipment for local police and fire departments, at-risk-youths and veterans.

Run to Remember Road Closure Notice (PDF)  

Physician WINs: FitClub Summer Competition Offers Cash Prizes

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The newest FitClub classes will focus on fat burning and body sculpting.

Summer is around the corner and Cedars-Sinai physicians are welcome to join a new eight-week challenge designed to get you ready for pool parties, BBQs and trips to the beach.

Need more of an incentive? The three people with the most points at the end of the challenge will win cash prizes. First place will receive $350, second place will receive $150 and the third-place winner will receive $50.

The newest FitClub classes, which run from April 15 to June 7, will focus on fat burning and body sculpting and are appropriate for all fitness levels. Participants will accumulate points in three unique categories: fat loss, attendance and social influence.

"If I win, I'll invest in the next challenge," said Miguel Can, a patient services representative in the Kidney Living Donor Program, who is currently participating in his first FitClub program, a mud-run training. To date, Can has lost 11 pounds and 4 percent body fat.

"FitClub is so convenient, encouraging and fun," Can added. "It has also been a great way to meet fellow staff and feel more connected to the medical center."

The eight-week program, taking place in Thalians Auditorium, includes access to 12 fitness classes per week, a meal plan template, before and after body composition analysis and a FitClub T-shirt. The cost of the program is $225.

Learn more about FitClub, the upcoming class schedule and class descriptions.

For questions, email amber@fitclubwellness.com.

Enter Drawing to Win Clippers Suite Tickets

Thanks to Cedars-Sinai's partnership with the Los Angeles Clippers, employees have an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to an exclusive suite for an NBA game on Wednesday, April 10.

The Clippers tickets will be made available to employees through a random drawing. Employees may enter only once.

After submitting the requested information, an employee will automatically be entered to win tickets for the Clippers game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m.

Winners will be notified on Monday, April 8.

Cedars-Sinai is the official health partner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Conference Peers Into VR's Future in Medicine

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Laura Garcia helps Robert Chernoff, PhD, adjust his VR goggles at the second annual Virtual Medicine Conference at Cedars-Sinai.

Clutching a virtual reality headset, Harmon Clarke took center stage at a Cedars-Sinai symposium last week and declared, "I'm here today because this device saved my life."

It was an emotional moment for Clarke, 35—who has struggled with the pain of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and related health problems since his teens—as well as for attendees of the second annual Virtual Medicine Conference.

The two-day gathering, which drew roughly 400 people from about a dozen countries, featured talks by Cedars-Sinai virtual reality experts along with researchers and technology executives from other major institutions.

VR’s seemingly vast potential to deliver the sort of alternative pain relief that Clarke described—by providing the distraction of a deeply immersive experience—was one of the key themes. Speakers also touched on many other uses of VR and related technologies. That included the use of avatars for mental health counseling for patients—including soldiers traumatized on the battlefield—who lack access to a psychiatrist or who ordinarily are reluctant to talk about their psychological scars.

Likewise, experts talked about techniques to help dementia patients recapture memories from their youth, to provide early detection of reading problems among young children and to improve training for surgeons and other healthcare workers.

Yet throughout the conference, the high hopes expressed for the technology were balanced against reminders of its limitations and the need for more research to find out its actual benefits.

VR sometimes is thought of as simply a gaming technology that requires players to wear headsets with big goggles to enter a 3-D virtual environment. But as Brennan Spiegel, MD, director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research and the founder and co-director of the conference, views it, the technology of VR is evolving and the field is not about a specific device but rather "a new type of immersive therapeutic," which uses sensory stimulation in ways that can, among other things, "manage pain, lower blood pressure and combat anxiety using a technique that does not rely on medication."

With the nation’s opioid crisis as a backdrop, one researcher after another addressed the idea that VR could be part of the solution.

Melissa Wong, MD, a fellow in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, outlined her research that is tracking whether VR is effective in helping women cope with the pain associated with labor contractions. Milton Little, MD, a Los Angeles orthopaedic surgeon affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, discussed his randomized controlled trial on post-operative pain control.

The evidence so far, Little said, is that patients appreciated the use of VR, and the technology is associated with "less of an increase in post-intervention pain, which I think is a big deal." Little said the evidence also shows "a trend toward decreased opioid usage," although the difference so far in the trial is not statistically significant.

Perhaps the most dramatic testimony about the potential pain relief benefits, however, came from the personal stories of four patients who participated in a panel discussion on their experience with medical VR.

Clarke told how he hit his low point in late 2017. He was feeling "trapped in a hospital bed," separated from family because of his compromised immune system, in extreme pain, unable to eat or drink, and in need of emergency surgery to have his large intestine removed.

"I was in a very depressed, dark place in my life, death was looming all around me, and I really thought my life was coming to an end ....So, when Spiegel came in, I was like, 'Really? You're going to treat my severe pain with some technology? This is ridiculous.' But he said that this may be able to help manage, may help me sleep better, just feel a little bit better. So, at this point, I was willing to try anything."

After putting on a clunky headset, Clarke chose to be immersed in a simulated adventure involving flying over waterfalls in Iceland.

"For those few minutes, I viscerally felt like I was in Iceland, like I could feel the sun glistening on my skin," he said. "I could hear the waterfalls. It was almost like the water was splashing in my face, like I was there. I’ll never forget that moment .... The nurse came in a few hours later, she said, 'You haven't requested your pain medicine yet.' And I realized that I had gone far beyond my normal time regimen for pain and it was because I was so immersed in this world, and that's when I realized there that were alternatives to the pain medicine."

Making Waves in Science: Nancy Sicotte, MD

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Nancy Sicotte, MD

In honor of National Women's History Month, we are celebrating Cedars-Sinai's talented female leaders with a Q&A series, "Making Waves in Science." This week's interview is with Nancy Sicotte, MD, professor and interim chair of the Department of Neurology. She also directs the Multiple Sclerosis Program and the Neurology Residency Program.

How are you making an impact on science?

I am researching multiple sclerosis and the mechanisms driving this disease's progression. I use advanced imaging techniques to better understand the symptoms, cognitive changes and depression related to multiple sclerosis. I also am testing new imaging biomarkers that may provide additional diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. This is important because instituting effective, individualized treatments early in the course of multiple sclerosis will lead to the best outcomes for the nearly 1 million people nationwide living with this debilitating neurological condition. Building the future workforce in neurology in general, and in neuroimmunology in particular, is my other passion. My aim is to spark interest in the field among the medical students and residents who rotate through our clinic. While we now have many more effective multiple sclerosis therapies, there is a need for expertise in using them appropriately. I also am impacting science by providing young women trainees with living proof that women can hold leadership positions in academic institutions.

What leadership advice would you give to your younger self?

I would have told her to relax and realize there are many different leadership styles and that over time you will develop a style that suits you. When you're young, you often feel as if you're standing still and not accomplishing enough; in reality, though, you're learning important lessons. I also would have told myself to expect both difficulties and accomplishments. It is these experiences—good and bad—that fuel your future growth. In fact, all of your experiences as a young person will inform the future leader you'll become.

Who is your favorite science heroine from history and why?

My science heroines aren't from history. They're my contemporaries—my colleagues and role models. Sarah Kilpatrick, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, certainly comes to mind. She is not only an exceptional clinician who has conducted groundbreaking research, but also a trailblazing role model for many, myself included. When I first came to Cedars-Sinai, she reached out to me and was very supportive. She has raised awareness institution-wide about the importance of diversity and equality. Role models can have a powerful impact. My three daughters grew up knowing women can be doctors and scientists. The oldest is now in medical school, surrounded by female students who may well be the science heroines of the future.

Annual Telemundo Health Fair Cares for Thousands

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Linda Lesley, RN, takes the blood pressure reading for Yadira Benitez at the 15th Annual Telemundo 52 Health Fair.

For Gail Millan, MN, RN-BC, a thank you hug said it all.

The embrace came from the appreciative 16-year-old son of a woman who Millan, a Cedars-Sinai nursing education program coordinator, patiently guided for 45 minutes during the 15th Annual Telemundo 52 Health Fair on March 17.

Known in Spanish as "La Feria de la Salud," the event is aimed at the local Latino community and provides a broad range of free healthcare and wellness services, along with a day of entertainment. It is intended to help people who receive little or no regular medical attention.

Cedars-Sinai, which has been involved in the fair for the past 10 years, is the event's lead healthcare provider.

The mother who Millan escorted was a poignant example. She hasn’t received regular medical care in years. She showed up—one of the estimated 30,000 people who flocked to the Los Angeles Convention Center—to get eyeglasses for herself and a mental health screening for her teenage son. Fortunately, both of those services were added to the fair this year.

Millan said the 40-year-old woman was "extremely, extremely hesitant" to seek any further care. Yet with encouragement from Millan and the woman's son, and the support of Cedars-Sinai's bilingual nurses who greeted her warmly in Spanish, the woman had a change of heart.

She agreed to get a flu shot—something she had never had before. She also had her blood pressure, blood sugar and total cholesterol screened. Finally, Millan led them over to representatives from the Southside Coalition of Community Health Care Centers, in hopes of securing continuing care.

When it came time to say goodbye, the 16-year-old "embraced me, he hugged me, and said, 'Thank you so much for your kindnesss. Thank you for your patience,'" Millan recalled, holding back tears. It brought home "why we were there," she added.

For Michele Rigsby Pauley, RN, MSN, CPMP, who oversees the fair for Cedars-Sinai and is the interim associate director for Community Health and Education, the woman's story also was emblematic of what the event is all about.

"It's sort of like a one-stop shop," she said. "You can get a lot of healthcare services all in the same place."

Together with its 30 community partners, Cedars-Sinai provided more than 600 staffers and volunteers representing more than 50 Cedars-Sinai departments. In all, they tallied 12,000 "encounters"—instances of one-on-one medical services or health education—with fair attendees.

Those encounters included Maria Alvarado, 64, a cook at a West Los Angeles restaurant who doesn't receive health insurance through her job. She said she has attended the health fair for each of the last 15 years. "I come to do the essentials," Alvarado said.

She added that this year she received a flu vaccine, underwent a mammogram and screening for diabetes and cholesterol.
Alvarado said she has looked for other opportunities to receive free healthcare, but there is "almost nothing," so "the only thing I can do is come year after year."

Cancer screening was added as a service last year and, even though there initially were concerns that the people would be reluctant to discuss the disease, it drew substantial interest. Women, in particular, flocked to the area for mammograms, said Griselda Pantoja, a management assistant in the ambulatory administration office who was staffing the cancer education and screening station.

Some men came for education about prostate cancer, Pantoja said, but in many cases, it was tough to capture their attention. "For them, it was nerve-wracking even to talk about it," Pantoja said.

Some of the other new services added this year were liver screening, body composition screening with cancer risk prevention education, along with education on drunk, drowsy or otherwise distracted driving and education on human trafficking.

"I'm just proud to be part of an organization that is supportive of this type of community service. It's a privilege and an honor to be able to do it every year—and to get support to grow and expand it," Rigsby Pauley said.

 

Students Become Neuroscientists in Brainworks Program

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Fernanda Martinez (center, right) from Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Middle School was one of 100 students to participate in the Brainworks program, which seeks to inspire youngsters to pursue careers in science and healthcare.

Keith L. Black, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, welcomed more than 100 local middle school students to the 21st annual Brainworks program on March 11 in Harvey Morse Auditorium.

The highly interactive, one-day program is designed to inspire students and encourage them to pursue careers in science and healthcare.

Students listened to remarks from Black and neurologist Robert Baloh, MD, then broke into groups to explore interactive exhibits and presentations.

"I think they really enjoy the hands-on experience," Black said.

Some of the highlights included a research station, where students could learn about experiments while holding real sheep brains, and an imaging station, where the students practiced using real medical imaging equipment. Students also had the opportunity to handle surgical tools, use virtual reality headsets and practice rehabilitation exercises.

Afternoon sessions included presentations from various medical professionals across Cedars-Sinai, including J. Manuel Sarmiento, MD; Padmesh Rajput, PhD; Maria Cecilia Alpasan, OTR/L, and Laurie Paletz, RN.

Black was inspired to become a neurosurgeon after attending a similar program when he was growing up.

He envisioned Brainworks as a way for students to meet physicians, explore medical facilities and get a close-up view of leading-edge research. He hoped the program would provide motivation and encouragement for students to stay in school, pursue higher education and consider the possibilities of a career in medicine.

"I remember how important it was for me … and what a huge impact it had on me. We just wanted to make sure we had a program like this at Cedars-Sinai," Black said.

Core Labs Changing Test Codes

The Special Testing and Core Laboratory Divisions within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are changing outdated test order codes for HIV 1 Western Blot and HIV 1/HIV 2 EIA.

The changes apply to the following test order codes:

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The old test codes have not been running since 2013 and are being deleted from the CS-Link™ database. The new test codes are already in use.

If you have questions, contact Kimia Sobhani at kimiasobhani@cshs.org, or Melissa Cervania at melissa.cervania@cshs.org.
 

FDA Cautions About Use of Paclitaxel-Coated Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning healthcare providers about a potentially concerning signal of increased long-term mortality in study subjects treated with paclitaxel-coated products compared to patients treated with uncoated devices. A preliminary analysis has shown there is a potential for increased long-term mortality after use of paclitaxel-coated balloons and paclitaxel-eluting stents (collectively “paclitaxel-coated products”) to treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the femoropopliteal artery.

The FDA website has more information.

Morton H. Field, MD: 1931-2019

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Morton H. Field, MD

Morton H. Field, MD, passed away on March 31, at age 87. Field was an active member of the medical staff as an attending in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology since January 1962.

His contributions and service to the medical center and to the community will be greatly missed.

A celebration of life will take place Tuesday, April 23, at 1:30 p.m. The event is being held at the Mulholland Tennis Club, 2555 Crest View Drive, Los Angeles. The club's telephone number is 323-654-0550.

For more about Field, see his Los Angeles Times obituary.

Medical Library Offers Classes to Learn New Skills

The Cedars-Sinai Medical Library is offering new classes in April.

Classes are now being offered at 8 a.m. and noon. Each 30-minute class is in the Medical Library—Plaza Level, South Tower, Room 2815.

EndNoteX9 for PC

Learn how to use this citation manager to organize your search results for manuscripts and grants. The class will meet Tuesday, April 16, at 8 a.m. and noon.

Web of Science

Learn how to search in this citation database and how to do an H-Index. The class will meet Tuesday, April 30, at 8 a.m. and noon.

Classes also are available by appointment. Call Caroline Marshall at ext. 3-2315 or RSVP to caroline.marshall@cshs.org.

CS-Link Tip: Wild Cards

Within CS-Link™, most templated notes and SmartPhrases contain "wild cards." A wild card is three asterisks (***). You cannot close a note with unresolved wild cards.

Many often scroll to the wild card and then hit delete or backspace three times. This isn't necessary.

If you use your F2 key, it will take you directly to the wild card. Then, just start typing. You don't need to backspace. As soon as you hit any key, the *** disappears.

If you don't need to insert any text here, simply hit the space bar. The *** goes away.

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.