Scholarship program diversifies the health care workforce

Kaiser Permanente Northwest has awarded more than a half million dollars ($ 549,000) in college scholarships to 173 diverse high school and college students in Oregon and Washington through its Health Care Career Scholarship Program. The program is part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to improve community health by increasing access to educational opportunity and developing a health care workforce that mirrors the communities it serves. This year’s investment brings the total scholarships awarded since the program’s inaugural year in 2009 to more than $ 4 million.

Scholarships were awarded in amounts of $ 2,000, $ 5,000, or $ 10,000 to 148 high school seniors from public high schools in Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s service area, which spans from Longview, Washington, to Eugene, Oregon. In addition, 25 scholarships were awarded to continuing Kaiser Permanente Scholars, rising college juniors attending a range of higher education institutions who had originally received the scholarships as high school seniors.

Scholarship recipients receive more than financial assistance. Kaiser Permanente also connects recipients with professional development and career learning opportunities throughout college, such as free resume and interview workshops, paid internships, and volunteering opportunities to support their persistence to degree completion and readiness to enter the health care field.

“We are passionate about making health care equitable — it should be accessible and affordable for everyone, no matter their circumstances,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest. “A person’s language, race, or ethnicity shouldn’t be a barrier to good care, but studies show us that patients respond better when they share these characteristics with their providers. By creating a more diverse workforce, we can take a big step toward helping everyone in our communities live their longest, healthiest lives.”

Diverse scholarship recipients will improve quality of health care

Three-quarters of scholarship recipients hail from diverse backgrounds, reflecting the region’s diversity across race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and abilities. Recipients stand to play a critical role in providing culturally responsive care and creating a vital future for themselves and their communities.

Kaiser Permanente Scholars and Outstanding Educator to be recognized at celebration 

Recipients were honored at a reception and ceremony at the OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building in Portland on Saturday, May 11, 2019. The event featured a career fair; a keynote address from Lindia Willies-Jacobo, MD, associate dean of admissions at Kaiser Permanente Medical School; and special master of ceremonies, Imelda Dacones, MD, president and CEO of Northwest Permanente. Keri Pilgrim Ricker, leader of the Health Services Pathway program at Churchill High School, was presented with an Outstanding Educator award and a $ 5,000 donation to the school for her role in facilitating student success for the past 11 years.  

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

Contact

Debbie Karman
debbie.a.karman@kp.org
503-813-4060

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New program to strengthen diverse small businesses

PORTLAND, Ore. — Today, Kaiser Permanente introduced the Portland metro area’s first Inner City Capital Connections program. ICCC is an initiative designed to support small businesses and promote inclusive economic prosperity.

Kaiser Permanente is funding local businesses’ participation in this tuition-free, 40-hour mini-MBA program that combines executive education, webinars, coaching and connection to capital. Starting today, businesses can apply using the online application form, or anyone wishing to nominate a small business can use the online nomination form.

“Economic vitality is a key contributor to good health, yet not everyone has access to the same opportunities,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest. “We know life expectancy can differ by as much as 20 years in neighborhoods only about five miles apart from one another, and income is one of the major contributors to that gap in health. In driving small-business growth, ICCC improves not only the health prospects of the business owners and their employees, but of their entire communities.”

ICCC was created by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a national nonprofit research and advisory organization. ICCC has a demonstrated record of success across the country. For example, since 2005, 2,221 ICCC alumni have averaged 160% growth in revenue, created 19,907 jobs, and raised $ 1.92 billion in capital.

The program starts with an opening seminar taught by professors from leading business schools such as Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Northwestern University. After completing the opening seminar, business owners will continue their learning for three to six months through online training courses and business advising from banking and consulting firms.

The program culminates in a national conference, where ICCC participants can pitch for capital in “kinder, gentler shark tank sessions” and get immediate feedback from a panel of experienced capital providers.

“Access to capital is a key component to economic vitality, and increasing opportunities for underrepresented business owners puts us on a path to economic vitality and economic equity,” said Jarvez Hall, executive director of East Metro Economic Alliance. “Programs like this help to revitalize communities and create growth from the inside, with businesses that hire people in their local communities. The economic multiplier effect is tremendous, and we are not only investing in business, but we are investing in communities.”  

Nominations and applications

Program qualifications

A business must meet the following criteria to be eligible for participation in ICCC:

  • Be an independent, for-profit or nonprofit corporation, partnership or proprietorship.
  • Have its headquarters or more than 51% of its physical operations located in an economically distressed area, or have more than 40% of employees residing in an economically distressed area.
  • Be past the survival stage — Initiative for a Competitive Inner City typically works with businesses with annual revenues of at least $ 500,000.
  • Have been in operation for two years or more, and past the proof-of-concept stage — start-up companies are not eligible for this program.

On a case-by-case basis, ICCC will consider businesses that do not meet all the specified criteria on the recommendation of a nominator.

About Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC)

ICIC is a national, nonprofit research and advisory organization founded in 1994. ICIC’s mission is to drive economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector investment to create jobs, income and wealth for local residents. www.icic.org

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

For more information, contact:
debbie.a.karman@kp.org
p: 503-813-4060

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Washington now 1st state with long-term care program

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill that makes his state the first to create an insurance benefit to help offset the costs of long-term care.
ABC News: Health

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Istituto Marangoni Strengthens Scholarships Program With New Partnerships

MILAN — Istituto Marangoni is strengthening its post-graduate scholarship program, adding new names to its partnerships’ portfolio.
The initiative aims to assign 25 masters to graduates in fashion, business or marketing, as well as experienced professionals in the industry, and cover half of the post-graduate courses’ fees at the Istituto Marangoni outposts in Milan, Florence, Paris and London.
As reported, to determine the recipients of the first five scholarships, a series of contests was launched in January with Etro, Balmain, Ermanno Scervino, Chantal Thomass and leading furniture firm Poliform.
Now Missoni, Loro Piana, Jimmy Choo and Stephane Rolland are among the names joining the initiative, as well as design players Cappellini and Rossana Orlandi and titles i-D and ODDA.
With Missoni, Istituto Marangoni’s Milanese site developed two contests, dubbed “International digital engagement” and “a new target from emerging trends.” The former invites contestants to present innovative ideas for digital strategies and campaigns able to engage international consumers, while the latter asks designers to indicate emerging trends and identify a specific target for the M Missoni line.
The “Boost your menswear design” project developed by Loro Piana invites applicants to develop a digital portfolio representing a capsule collection for the brand that targets the Chinese market

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FDA To End Program That Hid Millions Of Reports On Faulty Medical Devices

The Food and Drug Administration announced it is shutting down its controversial “alternative summary reporting” program and ending its decades-long practice of allowing medical device makers to conceal millions of reports of harm and malfunctions from the general public.

The agency said it will open past records to the public within weeks.

A Kaiser Health News investigation in March revealed that the obscure program was vast, collecting 1.1 million reports since 2016. The program, which began about 20 years ago, was so little-known that forensic medical device experts and even a recent FDA commissioner were unaware of its existence.

Former FDA official Dr. S. Lori Brown said ending the program now is a “victory for patients and consumers.”

“The No. 1 job of the FDA — it shouldn’t be ‘buyer beware’ — is to have the information available to people so they can have information about the devices they are going to put in their body,” Brown said.

FDA principal deputy commissioner Dr. Amy Abernethy and its device center director, Dr. Jeff Shuren, announced the decision to terminate the program in a statement on increasing transparency about the safety of breast implants.

The agency has for years allowed makers of breast implants to report hundreds of thousands of injuries and malfunctions out of the public eye, federal records show.

“We believe these steps for more transparent medical device reports will contribute to greater public awareness of breast implant adverse events,” Abernethy and Shuren said in a Thursday statement. “This is part of a larger effort to end the alternative summary reporting program for all medical devices.”

FDA spokeswoman Angela Stark said the agency will also end “alternative summary reporting” exemptions still in place for makers of implantable cardiac defibrillators, pacemakers and tooth implants. The FDA has said the program was originally designed to allow for more efficient internal review of well-known risks.

The agency said it began winding down the program in mid-2017, revoking many reporting exemptions, including those for saline breast implants and for balloon pumps used inside patients’ blood vessels.

At that point, the agency required device makers with ongoing exemptions to file quarterly reports in its public device-harm database known as MAUDE, short for the Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience.

Still, FDA data provided to KHN shows that during the first nine months of 2018 the FDA continued to accept more than 190,000 injury reports and 45,000 malfunction reports under the hidden “alternative summary reporting” program.

Ronni Solomon, vice president and chief policy officer of the ECRI Institute, which studies device safety, said the staff uses the FDA’s open data on a daily basis to look for signals that might show heightened risks with a particular device.

“We think it’s really vital for the sake of transparency, for the sake of policy, for sake of science,” she said. “We’re really glad to see this, the sooner the better.”

The agency said its forthcoming data release will be for the alternative summary reports filed before mid-2017. The FDA for years reached agreements with makers of about 100 devices, allowing them to cease public reports of certain types of problems. The agency previously said the agreements and resulting records were available only by filing a Freedom of Information Act request, a process that can take months or even years.

Going forward, device makers will be required to file individual reports describing each case of patient harm related to a medical device.

The FDA has not said it will stop allowing device makers to file other types of device-harm exemption reports that are withheld from the public, such as when there is mass litigation over a device or when a company is submitting reports from an independent device-tracking registry. Nor has a plan been announced to open those records, which contain reports of harm related to pelvic mesh and surgical robots and reports of deaths related to several cardiac devices.

The FDA had granted Covidien, now a division of Medtronic, a long-standing “alternative summary reporting” exemption for its surgical staplers, a device used to cut tissues and vessels and quickly seal them during a variety of surgeries.

In 2016, when just 84 reports of stapler-related harm were disclosed in the FDA’s MAUDE database, almost 10,000 more malfunction reports were sent directly to the FDA’s in-house database, the agency acknowledged.

The device has been subject to numerous lawsuits over patient deaths and grave harm.

Doris Levering alleged in court that a stapler malfunction during liver surgery caused profuse bleeding that left her husband, Mark, 62, with serious brain damage and unable to walk. She applauded the agency’s decision to open the database. “It’s just wonderful to know that this information is going to be out in the open and not covered up,” she said. “Now doctors who need to find the information will be able to find it.”

The surgeon, hospital and device maker have all denied wrongdoing in an ongoing legal case.

The FDA has announced a May 30 advisory board meeting to review the agency’s oversight of surgical staplers.

The FDA will leave in place a newer summary-reporting program that allows makers of more than 5,500 types of devices to send the agency spreadsheets logging device malfunctions. Unlike the “alternative summary reporting” program, device makers will not be allowed to report serious injuries using that approach.

Over the years, the FDA has had an uneven record of disclosing its “exemption” reports to advisers who review the safety of individual devices.

In February, FDA officials presented an advisory panel on gynecological devices with data showing 476 adverse events in 2017 related to a certain type of pelvic mesh. That panel was not briefed on nearly 12,000 reports filed by eight mesh makers in 2017, under a special exemption for lawsuit-related reports, according to an agency spokeswoman and a review of public records.

FDA spokeswoman Deborah Kotz said in an email that those “litigation” summary reports did not contain enough detail for the FDA to determine whether they shed any light on the safety question at hand.

The FDA ultimately took decisive action, though, ordering makers of the type of mesh under review to stop marketing those products, which were used to support sagging pelvic organs.

In late March, after KHN’s investigation landed, the FDA convened another panel to review breast implant-related injuries and a rare form of lymphoma. For that meeting, the agency did provide a full tally of previously unreported injury and malfunction reports related to breast implants.

As of Thursday, though, the agency said it would leave the textured breast implants linked to a rare lymphoma on the market.

Matt Baretich, a Denver-area biomedical engineer who advises health systems on device safety, is eager to examine the hidden reports as they’re released by the FDA.

“I’m really interested to see what information has been hidden so I can go back,” Baretich said. “I may have been looking for that information and not found anything and thought there was not a problem.”

Kaiser Health News

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AT&T Taps Lena Waithe For Lead Mentor In Filmmaker Mentorship Program

AT&T has announced that Emmy-winning writer/producer Lena Waithe has been tapped as the Lead Program Mentor for the 2019 edition of AT&T’s Hello Lab Filmmaker Mentorship Program.

The initiative, which began in 2017, aims to help filmmakers from underrepresented communities work on their craft and to provide them with major platforms, such as Direct TV, to showcase their work.

Waithe will select five screenwriters whose projects will be financed and produced by AT&T. She will also pair each writer with an up-and-coming director who will help bring their vision to life. The program puts an emphasis on diversity; pulling talented women, people of color, and content creators from the LGBTQ+ communities. Each of the mentees will be given access to the full filmmaking process; including meeting with everyone from casting directors to top-level executives.

Lena recently dished with Complex about her involvement with program… peep the Q&A below.

How did you to get involved with the Program, and what it was about the program that you were hype about?

I think that what excites me so much is that me and my executive Rishi Rajani over at Hillman Grad, we really are big into not just mentorship, but we’re always searching, looking for new talent. We found that we had a lot of really cool interesting directors in our pocket, a lot of really cool writers that we knew that we were trying to put on shows and help get their shows made.

Every now and then you get a writer/director who is amazing, but there’s just not that many amazing writer/directors out there. I wanted to do this the right way. Because of [our working relationship last year], they were kind enough to say “Look, you really found something special, and you seem to know a lot of these people, why don’t you do all of them next go around?” That’s what we’re really excited about, is to really put this together in a really cool way so that we can [find] even more writers and directors. That, to me, is really exciting.

How involved are you with the mentees that are selected?

It’s a bit of a team effort. Rishi, who is really out in the trenches and out there every single day while sometimes, like today, where I’m in the writers room working on The Chi as we started on season three, so where it stands we’re like I have to be focused on that, and he is always like, “Hey Lena, this is a person you should know, this is a person you should check out, I think we should give this person opportunity to do it,” and I’m like “Oh great, love it, that person’s great, love that person” or sometimes I’ll say “Hey, I don’t think that person’s ready yet, do you have any other options?” And usually, when those scripts are done I’ll take a look at them, read them, give my thoughts, give my feedback, and then what we really try to do is [get] people who are great, o we don’t have to babysit. I think there’s this sort of weird misconception that just because someone is new, they usually don’t know what they’re doing. It just means they haven’t gotten an opportunity yet to show their stuff.

Look, not everybody succeeds, sometimes people falter, and we have to pick up the pieces and make sure everything is cool. It’s really on us to take people that are responsible, take people that are ready, take people that we’ve been following for a few years. It all works hand-in-hand, but we don’t put them on the position unless we know that they’re ready for it. For me, yes, we’re sort of mentoring our program, but in essence, it’s helping us.

The industry is constantly looking for people of color, women, people who are queer, people who are not able-bodied because they know it’s almost like a mandate—you can’t just have a bunch of white guys directing your shit. Everybody has to be on their A-game because if somebody’s a new person, they’re coming in, they’re hungry, they’re ready, and they’ve got a story to tell, I’d rather go with that new person with a new, fresh perspective, who is coming ready to work.

This year, you’re bringing in a more musical element to the Program, with an incentive on finding unsigned producers and musicians and working on music videos. What drove that expansion?

The big thing we’re trying to do is we are trying to help bring music videos back. We have some amazing directors that also could use some shine. To me, it’s sort of like a two-fer. Kill two birds with one stone, where you hear a really beautiful song, and we also want to really elevate the music video, because I feel like so many music videos are so literal. They go straight down the middle; there’s no real plot put into it.

Back in the day, the real artists used to get movie directors to do their videos. RIP John Singleton, he directed Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” music video. I was like, “why not have these budding feature directors, TV directors, bring their aesthetic, their visual ideas to these songs?” This is a director who has a vision [working on] your song. More often than not, you’re going to get something very cinematic, very unique, because they think in a cinematic way. It’s really exciting because I always love matching up certain artists with certain directors where you were about to go “What? That don’t make sense.” And then you get something really unique and really fresh that comes out of it, so we’re really excited for people to see that.

For more information on AT&T’s Hello Lab Film Mentorship Program, visit their website.

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Do You Have A High School Student? Here’s A Program That Can Help Change Their Life.

Disney Dreamers

Source: Disney Dreamers Academy / Courtesy of Disney

When invited to cover the Disney Dreamers Academy hosted by Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I haven’t been to Disney since I was in high school and I didn’t think I would get caught up in all the “magic.” Boy, was I wrong. The weekend ended up being inspiring, enthralling, and yes, magical.

First off: Disney holds nothing back in helping the high performing kids in attendance dream even bigger. The program is hosted over a weekend, with kids arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday. The weekend is jam-packed with events, but the best part is that their all in the interest and the betterment of children. Each year, Disney and Essence chooses 100 kids to come for the inspiring weekend. The kids are allowed to bring one parent or chaperone for the event (yes, all of their amenities are covered as well).

Upon arrival, I dropped my things off and immediately rushed to a luncheon followed by a press conference where Tracey Powell, Vice President, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and DDA Executive Champion gave opening remarks along with Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications who explained what would occur over the weekend. Disney Dreamer Alumni also spoke to get current Dreamers excited for the weekend.

Disney is all about the magic and even if you think you’re not going to feel it, they will make sure you do! There is a daily parade at the Magic Kingdom and Disney organized to let the Dreamers’ lead it. Very cool and exciting for the kids. Afterward, the kids have an option to go to a Deep Dive. Deep Dives happen throughout the weekend with the kids being able to explore area of interests and connect with experts and leaders in that field.

Disney Dreamers

Source: Disney Dreamers Academy / Courtesy of Disney

In addition to Deep Dives, the weekend also consists of a lot of motivational speaking. Princeton Parker, Mikki Taylor, Lisa Nichols, Yolanda Adams and more poured words of strength, encouragement and love into the students. I surveyed the room and you could just see the kids sitting straighter, off their phones, and minds turning. The greatest part is that a lot of these speakers are returning speakers. Mikki Taylor helped found the program and Lisa Nichols also spoke to the students last year.

Of course, kids don’t just want to hear from adults, so the Dreamers’ Academy also brought in Black-ish stars Marcus Scribner and Miles Brown to talk about how they deal with balancing their dreams, enjoying being kids throughout the fame, and more.

In an interview with Steve Harvey. We discussed how the program had evolved. He reflected on past years and how he had met so many parents that had “poured everything into their children and forgotten about their own dreams.” Harvey admitted to being a “big dreamer” and still dreaming at 62, so he found it important to also make sure that parents were still doing the same. There were organized “Parent Tracks” to allow parents time to reflect, learn, and grow. The whole event felt like a family reunion. There was a family dinner and on Sunday, the commencement felt more like a Sunday church service.

Disney Dreamers

Source: Disney Dreamers Academy / Courtesy of Disney

Yes, throughout the busy weekend there is still time to enjoy Disney and all the parks. It’s a lot of work and character building, but also an equal amount of magic and play. The event is diverse, with kids of all races and a range of high school ages in attendance. This is like a hyped up summer camp and after speaking to Dreamer Alumni, they still keep in touch with people from their cohort.

If your kid or a high schooler you know is looking for an opportunity to ensure their future is bright, encourage them to apply to Disney Dreamers Academy. I wasn’t even a part of the program and left incredibly inspired by the students!

 

MadameNoire

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Boeing delays by months test flights for U.S. human space program: sources

Boeing Co has delayed by at least three months its first uncrewed flight to the International Space Station under NASA’s human spaceflight program, and pushed its crewed flight until November, industry sources said on Wednesday.


Reuters: Science News

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Spire.io – Over 50 Million Minutes of Calm Discovered!

Feeling shaky about Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament? Remember, no program is more solid.

For as much as Mark Few’s program has done to establish itself as a perennial power, it is still judged too critically by a single loss in its mid-major conference.
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Exclusive: SpaceX, Boeing design risks threaten new delays for U.S. space program

NASA has warned SpaceX and Boeing Co of design and safety concerns for their competing astronaut launch systems, according to industry sources and a new government report, threatening the U.S. bid to revive its human spaceflight program later this year.


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Building a Cardiac Program With Heart

With warm, dry seasonal weather on the way, David Ford knew it would soon be time to refresh the vast gardens in his yard, and tend to his certified wildlife sanctuary of bobcats, bears, birds, bees, and other creatures.

But, he also knew that if he was going to help his wife, Phi, with the heavy lifting on their outdoor projects, it was time to get serious about the chest pain he had been self-medicating with over-the-counter antacids.

David visited his Kaiser Permanente primary care physician and a cardiologist, who referred him to Yong Shin, MD, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Kaiser Permanente Northwest Center for Heart and Vascular Care in Clackamas, Oregon. David underwent numerous tests so his care team could identify the source of the problem and recommend a treatment that would give him the best outcome.

Trusted expertise

As a retired health care executive, David felt out of his comfort zone in his new role as a patient — but he and Phi did their homework. They were pleased to learn that Dr. Shin had attended Cornell University and trained at Harvard Medical School before leading the launch in 2009 of Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s heart surgery program.

“We learned that Dr. Shin is committed to providing the least intervention possible,” says David. “That resonated with us in a good way.”

The procedure that Dr. Shin performed on David — known as coronary artery bypass grafting — involves removing an artery from the patient’s chest, arm, or leg and creating a detour to improve blood supply to the heart muscle. Patients are usually placed on a heart-lung machine (also called “on-pump”), which permits the surgeon to temporarily stop the heart, and resume it once the graft is completed.

David Ford and his wife, Phi.

David and Phi have more healthy years together thanks to life-saving care from Dr. Yong Shin and team.

Phi said, “When Dr. Shin and Dr. Phillip Lund (anesthesiologist) came out to talk to me in the waiting room, they each had a huge grin and were jumping for joy. I was so relieved, I slept for 9 straight hours!”

A world-class heart surgery program

Building the Northwest’s top-rated heart program took time, dedication, and heart. In Dr. Shin’s words, “We looked at what would be best for patients and their families, and we put them at the center of all our decisions. We created a program where we would feel confident sending our own loved ones.”

He attributes the program’s success to a rigorous focus on multidisciplinary care, evidence-based medicine, recruiting top talent, and teamwork.


“We make every stitch a masterpiece. When patients trust us with their lives, we are obligated to do our very best.”

— Yong Shin, MD

As for multidisciplinary care, Dr. Shin calls out several specialists that form a patient’s care team, such as surgeons, cardiologists, critical care doctors, hospitalists, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, care coordinators, social workers, physical therapists, respiratory therapists … and the list goes on. “Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire hospital to have a successful heart program,” he said.

David is grateful for the entire “village” who cared for him, from pre-admission all the way through discharge and follow-up. “All the pieces were knitted together to form a team that functioned flawlessly. This says a lot about the integrity — and the uniqueness — of the program that Dr. Shin and his team have built.”

A privilege and a blessing

Dr. Shin believes Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Heart and Vascular Care has achieved — and maintained — clinical excellence because, “We focus on giving the best care possible to our patients. We make every stitch a masterpiece. When patients trust us with their lives, we are obligated to do our very best.

“It’s a privilege and a blessing to come to work every day because I know that I have a 100% chance of helping somebody,” he said.

Learn more about cardiac care at Kaiser Permanente at kp.org/cardiac/northwest.

Accolades and Awards

Kaiser Permanente’s accolades underscore the highest category of quality, and place Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Oregon, among the elite for these surgeries in the United States and Canada.

  • Three stars (the highest rating) from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for patient care and outcomes in coronary artery bypass grafting (for 9 straight years), aortic valve replacement, and mitral valve repair/replacement.
  • A 3-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for patient care and lung cancer resection outcomes.
  • In 2018, Consumer Reports named Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center one of just 18 hospitals in the country to earn top scores in coronary artery bypass grafting and in aortic valve replacement

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Jon Stewart Demands Congress Fund 9/11 Victim Program ‘Properly’ | NBC News

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HHS Finalizes Rule Seeking To Expel Planned Parenthood From Family Planning Program

The Trump administration Friday finalized a regulation intended to push Planned Parenthood out of the Title X federal family planning program, keeping a campaign promise to anti-abortion groups.

The program provides contraceptives, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and other primary health services to 4 million patients each year, many of them low-income or uninsured, at more than 4,000 clinic sites. Planned Parenthood serves about 40 percent of that caseload.

None of the funds provided for Title X services may be used for abortion. That has been true since the program was created in 1970. But abortion opponents have for decades complained that since many Planned Parenthood affiliates that receive Title X support also provide abortion, the federal family planning money can be improperly commingled with funds used for the procedure.

The new regulations erase previous program rules requiring that women with unintended pregnancies be given “nondirective counseling” on all options, including birth, adoption and abortion.

Under the new rules, Title X recipients would be banned from making abortion referrals in almost all cases. This would reverse existing rules, which require that a referral be given if a woman requests one. Counseling would still be allowed but no longer required.

The new rules “will ensure compliance with, and enhance implementation of, the statutory requirement that none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” says the executive summary.

Organizations would also have to physically separate facilities that provide Title X-funded services from those that provide abortions.

Abortion-rights and family planning provider groups were quick to decry the regulations. Planned Parenthood called the new rules a dealbreaker.

“This is direct interference with the practice of medicine and our ethical obligations to our patients,” the organization’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, told reporters on a conference call Friday. “Planned Parenthood cannot participate in a program that would force our providers to compromise their ethics.”

Other family planning groups called the rules out as well.

“This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,” Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, the group that represents Title X recipients, said in a statement.

The American Medical Association said, “The patient-physician relationship relies on trust, open conversation and informed decision making and the government should not be telling physicians what they can and cannot say to their patients.”

But abortion foes have been pushing hard for the changes.

“We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. “The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses.”

Added Kristan Hawkins of the group Students for Life of America, “This is a life-saving policy change, as abortion vendors have used these family planning resources to underwrite their deadly enterprise.”

Defunding Planned Parenthood has been a goal of the anti-abortion movement for decades. Republicans thought they could make the group ineligible to provide care to Medicaid patients at part of their bill — which did not pass — to rewrite the Affordable Care Act in 2017. The Planned Parenthood provisions were struck from the bill under Senate rules even before the measure collapsed.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum promised to file suit against the regulation. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also said he is prepared to sue, particularly because an estimated one-quarter of all women potentially affected by the changes live in California.

However, a similar set of rules, issued by President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1987, were eventually upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991.

The rules will take effect in stages, starting 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The portion requiring physical and financial separation would not take effect for a year.

Kaiser Health News

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NASA mulls buying new rides to space from Russia amid program delays

NASA said on Friday it was weighing an option to buy two additional astronaut seats aboard a Russian rocket as a contingency plan against further delays in the launch systems being developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing Co.


Reuters: Science News

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Experts, images suggest a Saudi ballistic missile program

A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest, evidence of the type of weapons program it has long criticized its archrival Iran for possessing.
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Apple’s battery replacement program cut into iPhone sales

Apple may have shot itself in the foot with its $ 29 iPhone battery replacement program as 10 million more users than anticipated opted to swap out their old batteries rather than pony up for a new phone. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has replaced 11 million batteries under the program, according to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber,…
Business | New York Post

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Here Are the Winners of the Google Podcasts Creator Program

Previously, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported that Google and PRX, a leader in podcast content, training, and technology were looking for multicultural podcast creators to participate in the accelerator portion of the Google Podcasts creator program. Well, it seems they are locked and loaded. Here are the participating teams:

AfroQueer, Nairobi, Kenya

Google Podcasts

AfroQueer, Maeve Francis, Aida Holly-Nambi, Selly Thiam (Image: Google)

A reported, narrative-driven podcast about queer Africans living, loving, surviving and thriving on the African continent and in the diaspora.

Las Raras, Santiago, Chile

Google Podcasts

Las Raras, Martin Cruz, Catalina May (Image: Google)

This Spanish-language, non-fiction podcast tells stories of “The Weird Ones,” the people who live on the margins of society because of their background or life choices, and how these stories challenge social norms.

Timestorm, Bloomfield, New Jersey

Google Podcasts

Timestorm, Michael Aquino, Dania Ramos (Image: Google)

This audio fiction series tells the story of 12-year-old twins, Alexa and Beni Ventura, who travel through time to uncover hidden moments in the history of Puerto Rican culture.

Long Distance, Los Angeles, California

Google Podcasts

Long Distance, Patrick Epino, Paola Mardo (Image: Google)

This reported, narrative podcast uncovers unknown histories and present-day realities about life in the Filipino diaspora.

The Colored Girl Beautiful, Baltimore, Maryland

Google Podcasts

The Colored Girl Beautiful, Baltimore, Maryland (Image: Google)

Explores black women’s concepts of beauty, then and now, using Emma Azalia Hackley’s 1916 book The Colored Girl Beautiful as a framework.

Who Taught You How To Drive?! Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Google Podcasts

Who Taught You How To Drive?!, Tanikka Charraé, Melissa Tsuei, Tezarah Wilkins (Image: Google)

A humorous interview podcast about how we get around told through the stories of drivers, walkers, riders, and bikers and their habits on the road.

“The teams selected for the first round show incredible promise, and we couldn’t be more excited to help these producers develop and grow their shows,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Product Manager of Google Podcasts which launched in June 2018. “This program is one of the ways we hope to ensure that our millions of listeners have access to a variety of content for all types of global audiences.”

The program is funded by Google and run independently by PRX. The creator program aims to remove barriers to podcasting, increase the diversity of voices in the industry, and make sure content is available for all audiences through a series of educational programs, including a 20-week podcast training and accelerator program.

The post Here Are the Winners of the Google Podcasts Creator Program appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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CRH 9-month EBITDA Rises; Commences Phase 3 Of Share Buyback Program

CRH Plc. (CRH, CRH.L), a building materials group, reported Tuesday that for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2018, EBITDA, a key earnings metric, rose 8 percent to 2.5 billion euros from 2.3 billion euros in the year-ago period. Like-for-like EBITDA rose 2 percent.
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Government Investigation Finds Flaws In the FDA’s Orphan Drug Program

The Food and Drug Administration has failed to ensure that drugs given prized rare-disease status meet the intent of a 35-year-old law, federal officials revealed in a report Friday.

The Government Accountability Office, which spent more than a year investigating the FDA’s orphan drug program, said “challenges continue” in the program that was created to spur development of drugs for diseases afflicting fewer than 200,000 patients.

The investigation began after a request from three high-profile Republican senators last year, in the wake of a KHN investigation. KHN found that the program was being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines being taken by millions.

The GAO uncovered inconsistent and often incomplete reviews early in the process of designating medicines as orphan drugs and recommended “executive action” to fix the system. In some cases, FDA reviewers failed to show they had checked how many patients could be treated by a drug being considered for orphan drug status; instead, they appeared to trust what drugmakers told them.

In response to GAO’s probe, the FDA issued a statement saying it agreed with the report recommendations regarding documentation and that the agency is “streamlining our processes.” The agency declined requests for interviews. In a comment included with the report, Matthew Bassett, assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services, said HHS agreed with GAO’s recommendations.

John Dicken, director of the GAO’s health care team, said the focus of the report is “ensuring that the intent of the law is being met.”

The FDA’s rare-disease program began after Congress overwhelmingly passed the 1983 Orphan Drug Act to motivate pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for people who lacked treatments for their conditions. Rare diseases had been ignored by drugmakers because treatments for them weren’t expected to be profitable. The law provides fee waivers, tax incentives for research and seven years of marketing exclusivity for any drug the FDA approves as an “orphan.”

The incentives, though, have proven to be more powerful and highly coveted than expected, said Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank.

Many people are “starting to wonder whether or not the Orphan Drug Act over-corrected for the problem,” Roy said, noting that a third of all pharmaceutical spending in the U.S. will be on so-called rare-disease medicines in 2020.

GAO analysts examined FDA records for 148 applications submitted by drugmakers for orphan drug approval in late 2017. FDA’s reviewers are supposed to apply two specific criteria — how many patients would be served and whether there is scientific evidence the drug will treat their disease.

In nearly 60 percent of the cases, the FDA reviewers did not capture regulatory history information, including “adverse actions” from other regulatory agencies. The FDA uses experienced reviewers, Dicken noted, who may already know the history of certain submitted drugs and not see the need to document it.

And 15 percent of the time FDA reviewers failed to independently verify patient estimates provided by the drugmaker.

Of the 148 records the GAO reviewed, 26 applications from manufacturers were granted orphan status even though the initial FDA staff review was missing information.

“It is tempting to think that perhaps those approvals were sort of granted routinely without sufficient scrutiny,” said Bernard Munos, senior fellow at FasterCures and the Milken Institute.

By contrast, early Orphan Drug Act advocate Abbey Meyers said she was not concerned about the lack of population estimates because many rare diseases lack population studies that show how common a disease is.

Rather, Meyers said, she’s “disappointed that there is no government-funded agency that is willing to finance” such research.

The GAO investigation began after Scott Gottlieb, who took over as FDA commissioner in May 2017, announced a “modernization” of the rare-disease program.

Critics have long complained that drugmakers game the FDA’s approval process for orphan drugs. In January 2017, the KHN investigation, which was co-published and aired by NPR, revealed that many orphan drugs aren’t entirely new and don’t always start as treatments for rare diseases.

The GAO report, while not analyzing the same years, found that 38.5 percent of orphan drug approvals from 2008 to 2017 were for drugs that had been previously approved either for mass-market or rare-disease use. About 71 percent of the drugs given orphan status were intended to treat diseases affecting fewer than 100,000 people.

KHN’s investigation found that popular mass-market drugs such as cholesterol blockbuster Crestor, Abilify for psychiatric conditions, cancer drug Herceptin and rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, the best-selling medicine in the world, all won orphan approval yet were already on the market to treat common conditions.

In addition, more than 80 orphan drugs won FDA approval for more than one rare disease — or several — each one with its own bundle of rich incentives.

Genentech’s Avastin, a cancer treatment approved for mass-market use in 2004, won three more orphan-designated approvals this year for the treatment of three rare forms of cancer. It now has 11 approved orphan uses in all, and exclusive protections that keep generics at bay won’t run out until 2025.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter in March 2017 asking the GAO to investigate the program and find out whether Congress’ original intent for it was still being followed.

“Despite the success of the Orphan Drug Act, 95 percent of rare diseases still have no treatment options,” Hatch said in a statement Friday. “I hope that my colleagues will utilize this [GAO] report as they work to strengthen the accomplishments of the Orphan Drug Act and encourage developers to continue their investment in this patient population.” The GAO report also mentioned concerns about prices, noting that “the ability to command high prices” was one reason the rare-disease market was growing so rapidly.

The average cost per patient for an orphan drug was $ 147,308 in 2017 compared with $ 30,708 for a mass-market drug, according to a 2018 EvaluatePharma report on the 100 top-selling drugs in the United States. Celgene’s chemotherapy drug Revlimid was the top-selling orphan with $ 5.4 billion in sales and $ 184,011 in revenue per patient.

“We have accepted culturally that it’s OK for a company to charge high prices for [orphan] drugs,” said Roy. “The end result is that a lot of these orphan drugs are $ 10 billion drugs, even though they are for rare diseases.”

From 2008 to 2017, more than half of the drugs granted orphan status were for cancer or blood disorders, according to the GAO report. And nearly two-thirds of drugs approved in the program were given expedited review processes, such as accelerated approval or fast-track designation.

Prior to announcing Gottlieb’s modernization plan, the FDA had a backlog of 138 drug applications for orphan status that had been waiting more than 120 days. The backlog was cleared in August 2017 after staff from across the agency stepped in to help.


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Kaiser Health News

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NASA selects nine U.S. companies to vie for moon program funding

NASA on Thursday named nine U.S. companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp, that will compete for funding under the space agency’s renewed long-term moon program, a private-public undertaking to develop technology that will explore the lunar surface.


Reuters: Science News

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Uber’s new rewards program offers significant perks for frequent riders

Uber Rewards Program

If you’re a frequent Uber rider and Uber Eats user, you’ll be pleased to learn that the company has launched the equivalent of a frequent flyer program for its services. The more money you spend on Uber and Uber Eats, the better and more interesting perks you’ll get, which, in turn, will motivate you to spend even more cash on Uber. Bikes and scooters will also be included in Uber Rewards soon.

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Uber’s new rewards program offers significant perks for frequent riders originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 14 Nov 2018 at 17:02:48 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Apple launches repair program for iPhone X units with faulty displays

iPhone X

Though not a widespread problem by any means, some iPhone X users over the past few months have experienced issues with non-responsive and temperamental displays. In light of this, Apple today launched a new replacement program for iPhone X users who have encountered this particular touch issue.

Per an Apple support document, impacted devices tend to exhibit one or two behaviors. Specifically, impacted iPhone X units will either not respond to touch at all or will react even when not touched. Either way, it’s undoubtedly a frustrating usability issue, especially for a device that was priced in excess of $ 999.

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Apple launches repair program for iPhone X units with faulty displays originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 10 Nov 2018 at 20:10:50 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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California’s Medi-Cal program paid $4B to recipients who may have been ineligible, audit shows

FOX News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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This Program Empowers Kids By Helping Them Create ‘Superhero’ Prosthetics | NBC Nightly News

NBC News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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New Treasury program limits foreign investment in U.S. technology

The restrictions, which go into effect on Nov. 10, are part of a pilot program that aims to give the government more power to block foreign, non-controlling investments in companies involved in industries such as aircraft development and computer manufacturing, as well as chemical and weapons systems.
Business

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