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Living Out Their Salad Days: Shaping Healthier Environments for Kids in the Nation’s Schools

Sep 2, 2014, 10:59 AM, Posted by Susan Dentzer

A school lunchroom full of hundreds of young children, happily slurping up ... salad.

If you’re someone who’s ever struggled to get kids to eat their vegetables, it sounds like an impossible dream.

But this is reality at Anne Frank Elementary School, the largest in Philadelphia, with 1,200 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Serving salads was the brainchild of Anne Frank principal Mickey Komins, who had the salads brought in from a local high school cafeteria.

Along with the after-school Zumba and kickboxing classes that the school now sponsors for kids, parents, and staff, healthier food offerings are among the innovations that earned Anne Frank an award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee, is a nonprofit founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation to help stem the tide of childhood obesity. It’s at the vanguard of a growing national movement to turn schools into healthier environments, and offer kids fundamental lifelong lessons about maintaining their health.

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Pennsylvania Adopts Law Supporting Insurance-Less Health Care Offices

Sep 25, 2013, 9:13 AM

Zane Gates, MD, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leader and medical director of Altoona Regional Partnering for Health Services in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Gates and Patrick Reilly, president of Impact Health Solutions, founded the Empower3 Center for Health program, which is the model for a new health care law in Pennsylvania.

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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has recently adopted a law to fund community-based clinics that can demonstrate real impact to the community with regard to increased access, reduced costs, lower emergency room (ER) visits, and improved behavioral health outcomes for the low-income working uninsured.  It is modeled on community-based clinics featuring a unique structure that I created along with Patrick Reilly, an insurance consultant from western New York:— Empower3 Center for Health program.

The model we created features an “insurance-less” office concept that allows patients to come in as frequently as needed without worrying about being billed or having any balances to pay. The program has no co-pays, deductibles or balance billing when the patients use the participating community hospital that partners with the program.  Since there is no billing at the point of service, there is more face time with the medical professionals to spend creating a true relationship that focuses on care and provides dignity to the patients seeking quality medical care. The office is open five days a week to provide access to patients as needed. 

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The Pennsylvania Action Coalition: Voices Carrying a Campaign

Jun 19, 2012, 1:11 PM

Michelle Scott

I had the privilege of attending the Pennsylvania Action Coalition conference in Philadelphia in early June. It was hosted by Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Afaf Meleis, PhD, DrPS (hon), FAAN, and the co-leads of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition, Betsy Snook, MEd, MSN, RN, and Christine Alichnie, PhD, RN

The conference was held to educate Pennsylvanians about how nurses and other leaders can prepare themselves for these monumental changes in health care as recommended in the Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The audience included nurses and other health professionals, business employees, educators and students. It is this diversity that drives the campaign. We need resources to ensure the many campaign supporters can advance its agenda.

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The Pennsylvania Action Coalition Launch: Students Speak Out

Jun 19, 2012, 1:09 PM

The following Q&A was conducted by Michelle Scott, a recent graduate of Rowan University who is an intern at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), working with The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Scott recently attended a conference to launch the Pennsylvania Action Coalition, and interviewed some students who also participated. Read Scott’s reflections on the conference here.

Question: What do you feel your role as a rising physician will be in the plan to bring nurses and doctors together to work toward improving patient care?

Paul Shay: In health care, there has been a historical hierarchy that places the infallible physician above all other health care providers; however, recent literature has shown that collaborative health care is the best health care. It turns out that doctors aren’t infallible, and every team member, from social worker to nurse to physician, is equally valuable in patient care.

As a rising physician, I would be foolish not to embrace this collaboration in my future practice. I will make a concerted effort to let all of my non-physician colleagues know and feel that they are equal members in our team. Furthermore, it is equally, or arguably more, important that I advocate for other physicians to do the same. And outside of our own practices, we need to support the efforts of nursing organizations such as the Pennsylvania Action Coalition and the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA).

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Game Solutions for Health Care: A Spectacularly Transformative Learning Experience

Jun 15, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by Nancy Hanrahan

Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, is associate professor and faculty member of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the Penn School of Nursing. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar alumna. As a health systems researcher, she develops innovative models that promote an integrated mind/body approach to mental and physical health care.

Nancy Hanrahan

At a time when there is an urgent need for innovative solutions to health care challenges, educators have a responsibility to prepare a generation of students who can think outside the box. The Inaugural Game Solutions for Healthcare Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing showcases such transformative learning experiences.

At this event, students from nursing and other schools within the University of Pennsylvania show what happens when you “mix-it-up” and work together to build innovative games and applications that target specific health care problems. More than 60 undergraduate students, staff and faculty participated in the game projects from five different schools at Penn. Teams included students from nursing, engineering, computer science, law, medicine and business. Nursing students defined a health care problem and then a team of engineers, or computer scientists, developed a technological solution.

 

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MyHeartMap Challenge: Mapping Life-Saving Defibrillators in Philadelphia

Jan 31, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by Raina Merchant

By Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program alumna and assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine

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If the person next to you went into cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Would you know where to find an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock and restart their heart? Millions of public places across the United States have AEDs that can save lives – airports, casinos, churches, gyms and schools, among them – but most people don’t know where they’re located. Every second counts when someone’s heart stops beating, and time spent searching for an AED is time wasted in increasing the chances of survival.

Surprisingly, no one knows where all of the country’s AEDs are located. Requirements for AED reporting and registration vary widely by state, and no comprehensive map of their locations has ever been compiled. As a result, 911 dispatchers aren’t always able to direct callers to an AED in an emergency, and callers have no good way of quickly locating one on their own.

This week, I launched the MyHeartMap Challenge with a multidisciplinary team from the University of Pennsylvania. This pilot study will use social media and social networking tools to gather this critical public health data and create searchable maps of Philadelphia’s AEDs that can be used by health professionals and the general public.

The first step of our challenge is a Philadelphia-based community-wide contest. We’re asking Philadelphians to find and photograph AEDs over the next six weeks, and submit the photo and location to us via a mobile app or our website. You can also participate if you don’t live in Philadelphia by finding a creative way to use your social network or harness crowdsourcing.

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Ozioma - That's Good News - From the NABJ Convention in Philadelphia

Aug 11, 2011, 6:51 PM, Posted by Linda Wright Moore

By Linda Wright Moore

RWJF Senior Communications Officer

Attending the 36th annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) last week in Philadelphia provided an opportunity to reflect on the many challenges facing reporters and the news industry in the 21st century. It was also a personal trip down my professional memory lane.

At the start of my career, as a television reporter and anchor, I attended my first NABJ annual meeting in New Orleans in 1983. The organization was small back then – just a few hundred members. We all knew each other by name. Fast forward to 2011, and I was happy to connect with old friends, including founders of the organization.

The group has grown dramatically to 3,000 members, and more than 2,500 people attended the Philadelphia gathering. The profession of journalism and newsgathering has also been transformed in response to tectonic shifts in the way we gather and disseminate information. Consider: “publisher” used to define an institution that had capacity to print a book, newspaper or magazine. Now, it’s anyone with a laptop, an Internet connection and something to say.

But don’t be fooled. The explosive growth of information and ease of access to it do not mean that journalism is a dying craft. In this 21st century age of information overload – where opinion, conjecture and even fiction can masquerade as fact – the ability to find credible, engaging, reliable sources of news and information is more valuable than ever. A free press is still the cornerstone of democracy – enabling us to make informed decisions about political leaders and policies. And we also rely on media to keep us informed about issues and policies affecting every aspect of our lives, including our health and health care.

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) booth at the NABJ Career Fair & Exhibition, we provided an array of information about Foundation programs – touching on the work of every team: Childhood Obesity, Coverage, Pioneer, Public Health, Quality/Equality, Vulnerable Populations and Human Capital. We distributed the first edition of the Human Capital Expert Resource Guide, which highlights the work and expertise of selected RWJF scholars, fellows and leaders with a focus on issues of concern to Black and Latino communities. We hope it will be a useful source of experts to interview for reporters developing stories around health and health care issues. Take a look and let us know how we can make future editions more useful for journalists and other researchers.

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February's RWJF Clinical Scholars Health Policy Podcast Focuses on Philadelphia's Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Feb 15, 2011, 9:06 PM, Posted by mtomlinson

In this month’s RWJF Clinical Scholars Health Policy Podcast former RWJF Clinical Scholar Donald Schwarz, M.D., M.B.A., (University of Pennsylvania, 1985-1987), Philadelphia Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, discusses his work combating the childhood obesity epidemic in Philadelphia, touching on that effort’s controversial soda tax. In his conversation with podcast series host, Matthew Press, M.D., Schwarz also talks about the impact of health care reform at the city health level, and the learning curve required to transition from a career in academia to government service.

Read more about the RWJF Clinical Scholars program. For an overview of RWJF scholar and fellow opportunities, visit www.RWJFLeaders.org.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.