Now Viewing: Health Care Workforce

Mental Health Challenges of Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

Oct 29, 2014, 8:31 AM, Posted by Vicki Philips

Hurricane Sandy - Shore Tour Driftwood Cabana Club, Sea Bright, N.J.

On her 90th birthday, instead of celebrating, Dottie (whose last name is withheld for privacy) lost her home in Superstorm Sandy. Two years later, she is still displaced, living in temporary rentals.

Dottie’s nephew is trying to change that. He’s been rebuilding Dottie's home. Like so many New Jersey residents, he says he’s going to keep at it until reconstruction is complete. Meanwhile, he’s getting some much needed support from groups like BrigStrong, the County Long Term Recovery Group, and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ).

It’s been two long years since Hurricane Sandy slammed into New Jersey on October 29, 2012. As a mental health worker, I still see the aftereffects firsthand.

For the past two years, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ), along with other local groups, has been on the front lines of the battle to maintain the mental health of Jersey Shore residents. Thanks to a major RWJF grant, MHANJ has been able to leave the county in a better position to deal with the next disaster:

  • We’ve given mental health first aid training to city employees who, in their daily work, encounter community members with mental health issues.
  • Through our Certified Recovery Support Practitioner program, we’ve improved our ability to reach out to the most vulnerable. Many community members certified through the program have faced mental health challenges themselves, which only increases their credibility.
  • We counseled populations with mental health issues on how to safely evacuate or shelter in place, thus ensuring that first responders will be safer in future emergencies.

View full post

Rx for Delivery System Transformation: Satisfied Doctors Who Find More Joy in Practice

Aug 20, 2013, 4:32 PM, Posted by Susan Dentzer

Susan Dentzer

In my last post, I wrote about what would best motivate physicians to transform health care: carrots, sticks or something else. The case for “something else” was made in a series of innovation sessions presented at a recent American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation forum. They focused on evolving health care delivery models aimed at increasing quality, decreasing cost and enhancing patient-centered care.

Readers of Daniel Pink’s book Drive will be familiar with his thesis about “Type I” human behavior: the kind that is less concerned with “the external rewards to which an activity leads and more with the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself.” Many innovations presented at the forum echoed that theme—augmenting the satisfaction that doctors get from focusing most of their attention on helping patients.

Engaging doctors: At the forum, Craig Sammit, the CEO of Wisconsin-based Dean Health noted that “extrinsic” motivators, such as showing doctors how their relative performance data stacked up against their peers, had substantial impact in spurring improvement. But he observed that the measures that were most effective in transforming the way care is delivered  at Dean were those that helped make the organization “the best place for a physician to work.”

View full post

Diversity Is a Window: It Lets Light In and Out

Aug 15, 2013, 5:17 PM, Posted by Culture of Health Blog Team

A nurse gives a patient a TB test.

When patients carry racist attitudes into the health care setting along with their illnesses and injuries, how should nurses and other providers of color respond?

While some patient attitudes can be insulting, to say the very least, Angela Amar, PhD, RN, FAAN, says such a patient encounter can also provide a learning opportunity.

In a post on RWJF's Human Capital blog, Amar recalls a particularly challenging incident when she was a new nurse. "I had just entered a patient’s room when he called out from the bathroom to ask his wife who was there," Amar writes. "She replied, 'it’s a lil’ colored girl to see you.'”

View full post

Why Employers Should Take a Healthy Interest in Employee Wellness

May 16, 2013, 11:18 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Employers finance the largest share of the nation’s health care costs. If they want to hold down medical spending—and reap the other benefits associated with better employee health, such as reduced absenteeism—then investing in wellness is one of the smartest business decisions companies can make.

That's according to RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, in her inaugural post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes:

Cold, hard data on the success, or failure, of a wellness program, derived from credible and transparent measurements will not only increase staff morale and quantify the value of their personal investment, it will also generate a trove of information that can and should be used by employers to extract reduced insurance rates."