Category Archives: New York (NY) MA

Dec 18 2013

RWJF Clinical Scholars Podcast: NY Health Commissioner Discusses Health Reform

In his first two years in office, New York State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, MD, MPH, has been deeply engaged in the state’s ambitious Medicaid redesign process. Shah oversees the $50 billion state public health agency and has been praised for his health system reform efforts. Moving forward, he is focusing on issues such as securing federal funding for “supportive housing” to offer chronically ill, low-income individuals subsidized living quarters in building complexes that also contain in-house medical and social services.

Shah, an RWJF Clinical Scholar alumnus, discusses this and more in the latest Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars Health Policy Podcast, a monthly series co-produced with Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and hosted by RWJF Clinical Scholar Chileshe Nkonde-Price, MD.

The video is republished with permission from the Leonard Davis Institute.

May 12 2013

Simulation: A Powerful Tool to Support a Quality Learning Environment

Ann Marie P. Mauro, PhD, RN, CNL, CNE, is a clinical associate professor, fellow with the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, and the program liaison and project director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing scholarship program at the New York University (NYU) College of Nursing, which has made extensive use of simulation. This is part of a series of posts for National Nurses Week, highlighting how nurses are driving quality and innovation in patient care.


For students in the health professions, the beauty of simulation is the ability to apply their critical thinking and assessment skills in a safe environment where they can learn without fear of harming a patient. Sometimes I think people learn much better from their mistakes. While simulation does not completely replace traditional clinical experiences, it is a great teaching strategy to help standardize students’ learning experiences, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


You can achieve targeted learning outcomes for students who have the opportunity to work with patients with specific health concerns. When we take students into a traditional clinical setting, we do not have control over which patients might be available and what students might be able to do. It is getting particularly challenging not only to find clinical sites, because of competition among schools, but to deal with health care organizations that have transitioned to electronic health records and electronic medication administration records, which are difficult for faculty and students to access. Furthermore, it is time-consuming and costly for faculty to be trained on different systems.

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Nov 21 2012

RWJF Community Health Leader Provides Vital Health Education to Immigrant Community

Gabriel Rincon, DDS, is the founding executive director of Mixteca Organization, Inc., in Brooklyn, N.Y., which provides a broad scope of health and education programs, including literacy and computer classes, English-language courses, and afterschool programs, to thousands of Hispanic New Yorkers each year. He is also a 2011 recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leader Award. The Human Capital Blog asked Rincon to reflect on his experience as an RWJF Community Health Leader.


Human Capital Blog: How did you come to found the Mixteca Organization?

Gabriel Rincon: In the 1990s distribution of information about AIDS was on the rise in developed nations such as the United States, but in immigrant communities—particularly Hispanic ones—levels of HIV/AIDS infection and general ignorance of the disease was still high. The City of New York was one of the locations with the highest number of Hispanics infected with HIV/AIDS. In 1991, I witnessed the lack of information available in Spanish. I decided in 1992 to take action by designing a slide presentation and organizing talks about HIV/AIDS, signs and symptoms its risks, forms of prevention, and treatments. With the use of a portable projector and informational pamphlets, I made presentations in factories, churches, houses and community centers, and on radio and TV. In 2000, together with other community members, my work was formalized; Mixteca Organization, Inc., obtained its official status as a non-governmental, non-profit community based organization.

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Sep 25 2012

Mount Sinai Creates Department of Family Medicine to Encourage Primary Care

Many elite medical schools — Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Yale, among them — have no departments of family medicine to train students who want to specialize in primary care. Students interested in that field are instead trained to take care of seriously ill patients and are sometimes even discouraged by professors if they do not pursue a specialty, NPR reports.

But Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York is making a “fundamental change” in its mission. Previously ranked among the bottom 20 medical schools in the country when it comes to the number of primary care doctors it graduates, Mount Sinai had neither a department nor any family physicians on staff until this June.

Now, thanks to a partnership with the Institute for Family Health, the school employs primary care doctors from the Institute’s community clinics to teach students during all four years of medical school, offering primary care students a chance to learn the skills they’ll need in practice.

"I want to spend my career keeping people healthy rather than trying to bring them back from a very serious illness," Mount Sinai student Demetri Blanas told NPR. "I think it is what society needs right now, and that is important to me."

Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, called the partnership “a natural marriage.”

"I think people are finally realizing that the country will be bankrupt if we continue to admit people and readmit people for conditions that could be prevented with good primary care," he told NPR.

Listen to the story on NPR.

Aug 27 2012

Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.


Brandon McDonald
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Rising Senior at the University of Rochester
Major: Public Health
Internship Research Project: Marital Status as a Predictor of Dental Health Service Utilization

Human Capital Blog: What did you expect before you arrived? How different is the reality?

Brandon McDonald: When I first arrived at Project L/EARN, I expected there’d be a sense of difficulty as well as more independent-based projects. In actuality, I realized that there’s a broader sense of structure and a bigger support system than I would have ever expected. There are different segments when the papers are due so you have [more] connections with your mentor than what I would have thought as well.

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Aug 23 2012

Nine States Receive RWJF Grants to Build More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program this week announced that California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington state have been chosen to receive grants to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. Each state will receive a two-year, $300,000 grant. 

The states will now work with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees in order to improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles.  In particular, the states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.

In its groundbreaking report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher by the year 2020.  At present, about half of nurses in the United States have baccalaureate or higher degrees.

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Sep 6 2011

RWJF Community Health Leader Fights Asthma in East Harlem, Door to Door

In May, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a multi-year grant to an asthma prevention and treatment program run by 2008 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader Ray Lopez of New York City. Lopez is the director of environmental health services at the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service in New York’s East Harlem. The grant award is shared with the New York Academy of Medicine.


Human Capital Blog: First, congratulations on the grant. Would you tell us about the project, please?

Ray Lopez: Our mission is to serve children in East Harlem by helping their families treat and prevent asthma incidents. Asthma rates are unusually high in New York City in general, and the problem’s even more acute in Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn where there are all kinds of environmental factors in children’s homes. We’re focused on children in public housing, where there are a number of problems. A lot of the apartments have mold that has grown as a result of leaks, and they’ve also got a lot of cockroaches, and mice, which all contribute as well. What we do, and what this grant will help us do a lot more broadly, is to get treatment for the kids, but also to go into their apartments and get to work on reducing the environmental factors. Sometimes that means identifying moisture sources and safely cleaning the mold. Sometimes it means pressing the city’s housing authority to do major work. Sometimes it involves teaching the adults in the family about the safe use of pesticides and cleaning products. For each family we visit, we work with them to create an individualized service plan, and then we focus on remediating the asthma triggers.

Teaching is a major part of this, too, and the plan is to teach by showing and doing. Families are enrolled with us for a year, and by end of year, we hope they will have accumulated skills to manage these problems on their own in the long-term. It’s a three-year project, in all: two-plus years working with the families, and then a final phase that consists of data analysis and policy initiatives led by the New York Academy of Medicine.

HCB: And then what’s the plan with the data and the analysis?

Lopez: The plan is to build the business case for this kind of intervention, and then to persuade insurance companies and providers that it’s worth the investment to them to spend a little money up front to prevent asthma incidents, rather than paying for them in the emergency room.

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Dec 22 2010

Health & Society Scholars National Program Officer to Take Reins of UCSF School of Nursing

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has appointed David Vlahov, Ph.D., R.N., the new dean of the School of Nursing. Vlahov is co-director of the national program office for the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, and president of The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). His term will begin in April 2011.

Learn more about Vlahov and his new position.

Dec 21 2010

Alum of RWJF Scholars Programs Nominated Commissioner of NY Department of Health

Congratulations to Nirav Shah, M.D., M.P.H., who has been nominated by Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo to serve as the Commissioner of the New York Department of Health. Shah is an alumnus of the RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars program (2007-2010) and the RWJF Clinical Scholars program (2001-2003).