Friday, December 17, 2010

December has provided for some interesting "sights"  for the Institute community.   I had the chance to accompany some Partners' colleagues to Delhi, India in order to explore some collaborative opportunities for the future.  This picture, taken at India's largest mosque, is my favorite one from the trip!

Six faculty members representing our two Schools shared their research results with members of the Board at their recent Board of Trustees Dinner.   During a pre-dinner reception, faculty work was displayed on posters around the room and Trustees had a chance to visit with the faculty members and learn of their contributions.

Faculty members Pat Reidy and Dan Kane  (above)
hosted visitors in the ICU environment.

The lovely patient in the home care setting presented
an interesting mix of  challenges including her own
personal health habits and a bad wig!  By the way, the patient
is Dr. Deb Navedo!
Dr. Marianne Benninato (Physical Therapy) explained her work to Board Chair, Dr. George Thibault during the recent Board Dinner

On another note, Dec. 15 was the Institute Open House for the Simulation Center.  Many faculty members were able to see first hand the simulated home care environment and the ICU environment.  One of the goals of the event was to encourage faculty and student use of simulation in teaching activities.

By the way, the home simulation center is in need of a variety of products, furnishing, and assorted items.  Be sure to check out the list provided by the Simulation group that is posted in the main lobby of the Shouse Building.

Thanks to the faculty members who pulled the "open house" off and made it a big success!
CSD Faculty members Julie Atwood and Lesley Maxwell were seen attending the amazing holiday party hosted by the President!   What an event!   As usual, members of our Institute community raised money for a local shelter and donated two bins of toys for "Toys for Tots."   The marines were present to pick up the goods.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wake Up; It's December Already

     December Thought #1:  From all of my years in school (when have I ever NOT been in school?), December is always a memorable time.   In elementary school, December meant holiday planning and celebrations; in high school and college  it meant looking forward to a much desired break; and now in my professional life it almost always means time to "take stock."  One of the things that I have been thinking about as I take stock of this year is--how fast we are moving to the future.  I am so optimistic about our future at the Institute, that I almost can't remember all we have been accomplishing.   Rather, I keep wanting to jump ahead to that next exhilerating step.  I know that everyone doesn't always embrace my enthusiasm for change, and I am trying to be respectful of that.  At the same time, I am so excited about what is to come.
       This December, I am making a resolution to look back with appreciation for the wonderful environment in which I work (with each of our faculty members, staff, and students); the accomplishments of our faculty; and the responsibilities that we all take so seriously. As we look ahead together, I am promising myself and all of you to remember the Institute's long history of successful leadership and the recent work that has brought us to this exciting threshold.   More about that in January.....

December Thought # 2:  Today is December 1 and that means it is World AIDS Day.  How far our health care and social systems have come in prevention, treatment, and support of those with AIDS and HIV.  We work in an environment-Partners, MGH, Brigham and of course, the Institute-that has consistently demonstrated strong leadership about AIDS and also in serving those with this disease in a responsible, helpful, and respectful manner.  Today, I am particularly proud of those on our faculty, particularly some of our nursing colleagues, who have exemplified this leadership.   It is suggested that we wear "red" on AIDS awareness day.  Today, I am wearing and AIDS pin that was given to me by some health workers when I visited South Africa in honor of our nursing colleagues at the Institute.  Thanks for your leadership in our program, in Boston, and around the world.

December Thought #3:  Were you able to attend our first ACADEMIC TOWN MEETING?  It was held on November 22 and was well attended by the academic community.  If you missed it, the slides from my comments are available on the intranet.   As always, I am happy to answer any questions or hear comments from the Intstitute community.

Monday, November 1, 2010

On Giving Thanks: Some IHP Thoughts

      Almost every culture has a celebration of remembrance and gratitude. In the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is the holiday where we spend time acknowledging those people and events that we appreciate most. In a few weeks, most of us will be spending time with friends or family (or maybe sharing time with a student or colleague who is new to Boston) and sharing in this great American holiday tradition.
           This year, as I celebrate Thanksgiving with my own family, I will also be remembering some aspects of the Institute community for which I am most grateful.   First of all, I am so appreciative to be part of this remarkable group of colleagues and students. We are all working together to prepare the future leaders of health care delivery, and this is an honor beyond words.
I am grateful for those in the larger community who have their eyes (and hearts) on the Institute. Having just come from the annual Scholarship Gala, I am filled with appreciation for those who are so generous in support of our work, the volunteers who contribute so much to our strength and impact.
  I am thankful to be part of the larger health system and education arena in Boston. Our city’s health institutions, especially our Partners’ colleagues, are transforming health care every day. Our friends in the health and education community add value to our educational programs, precept and mentor our students, and honor us by their commitment.
I am thankful for the enthusiastic and energetic staff who “keep the trains running on time” at the Institute. Our support structures are small, so as not to add to the cost of educating our students. Despite our size, our staff operates to get the job done, assures high quality services and responsiveness, and provides considerable value to the educational enterprise.
I could go on and on with this catalog of appreciation. Instead, I hope that my own reflection encourages you to think about the Institute community with gratitude.  Happy Thanksgiving to the whole community!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Physical Therapy

This weekend, the Department of Physical Therapy is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of PT at the Institute. Alumni, faculty, and friends will come together for social and educational events. PT Chair (and Interim Dean of SHRS) Leslie Portney has produced a publication that reports the history of the program. Congratulations to our PT faculty, students, and alumni!

This birthday celebration of PT, which coincides with National PT Month, is a reminder of the important contribution that our PT programs make to the life of the Institute. From an educational standpoint, our program is recognized for cutting edge curricula, and is ranked 7th in the nation and first in the northeast by US News and World Report. Faculty in PT contribute as Institute leaders, and many have high profiles in the American Physical Therapy Association. Our remarkable and talented Physical Therapy students participate in wellness projects that impact many aspects of the community and they conduct an annual dodgeball tournament that raises thousands of dollars for charity.

The impact of the PT Department extends beyond the classroom. This past year, the program opened an exciting new clinic for the community. Located on the third floor of the Shouse Building, the clinic provides physical therapy services to individuals also being seen in the Speech and Language Center, and to our Charlestown and Navy Yard neighbors. The clinic is staffed by our students two days per week and he schedule is already full.

Finally, the PT program is unique in its international master's program. This program is customized to meet the needs of internationally licensed physical therapists who wish to accomplish advanced study in the U.S. These phenomenal individuals from around the world add much to the life of the Institute.

I hope that everyone in the Institute community will take a moment to say "thanks and congratulations" to our colleagues in Physical Therapy! We are all so grateful for your leadership and service!  Happy Birthday PT!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Complicated Journey

I returned late last evening from a week long trip to Israel. This was the fourth "People to People" trip that I have led in the past three years. I was able to lead 30 Speech-Language Pathologists to Israel for professional exchange with each other via Continuing Education, with colleagues in universities, hospitals, and clinics in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem, and also to tour important historical and religious sites. What a trip! Exhausting and exhilarating and filled with surprises and learning! The trip was not affiliated with the Institute and was not sponsored by the Institute (just in case you were wondering!). What a great way to use some of my annual vacation leave. Some thoughts that I will spend time (alone, not on here) thinking about over the coming months--

+speech-language pathologists from the US and Israel have much in common and services are similar in many ways, though not identical. Passion for people with communication disabilities, health issues, and quality of life are universal concerns. We have wonderful Israeli colleagues.

+In the higher education and clinical sites that we visited there was multicultural concern about assuring that access to services was available for people of diverse religions and languages. Regardless of the political issues that are so prevalent in that small country, there is consistent passionate concern for the rights to access services, to develop a diverse pool of SLPs, and address cultural competence. One university, Hadassah (Jerusalem) will open a new MS degree program with an emphasis on multicultural competence.

+The political, historical, and religious conflict in Israel are complex and defy resolution. Israeli and Palestinians are able to express concerns for each other, while experiencing great anxiety about compromise. Not surprising, there are diverse opinions within groups as well as between them. I am anxious to read more, learn more, and develop a better understanding of the political environment.

+Israel is prepared for violence and war. All young people enter the army for 2-3 years after high school. At first it is a bit alarming to see 20 year olds walking around, some out of uniform, carrying large weapons. Airport security is much more complex than the US (I didn't know that was possible). The largest hospital in Israel (Sheba) is equipped with a complete underground alternative hospital, that is available should there be war on the ground. It is maintained 24/7, even though it has never been used. We also saw outdoor gurneys and showers to be used if there are chemical attacks. One of our meetings at a preschool program for deaf children was held in a basement room, that is a bomb shelter. Every public building has bomb shelters. Reality is in your face everywhere in Israel; but people are happy, positive, and confident. Amazing!

+Socialized health care is working well and colleagues with whom we spoke were encouraging about our future. Some examples---all children under 6 are screened for all problems possible and covered for health, habilitative, and rehabilitative services. We saw a treatment program for 6 month old high risk infants that was beyond belief. Talk about investing in the future. They have much to teach us. Similarly, cochlear implants are universally covered for children with hearing loss, if the parents desire the implant (this is hardly true in the US). Rehabilitation hospitals have patients in treatment for PT, SLP, and OT for several months after onset of the disability. Their system is quite impressive and there is high regard across the system for interdisciplinary collaboration.

I come back to the Institute with a renewed sense of commitment to assuring that our future in the new health care system assures access for patients with ALL types of needs, that we assure that all of our students understand the importance of primary and generalist care as critical to such access, and with an appreciation for the work of our colleagues in Israel.

Stop by and I can share some pictures with you! It was a wonderful trip. Mazel Tov.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Violence, Concern, and The Institute

Over the past week we have learned of shootings and stabbings at Regis College, Boston College, and at Seton Hall University. These important institutions with strong religious and service identities are the last place one might expect to observe such violence. This morning, in the Boston Globe we see reports and commentary about the recent violence in our city that has led to the death of a young mother and her preschool child. This is so much food for thought and for thinking about safety, social issues and trauma, coping and the list goes on.

Earlier today, I had an email exchange with my good friend and colleague, Dean Brian Shulman at Seton Hall. His response to my attempted words of concern and encouragement: "We will get through this." These heroic words have been used so many times in recent years, as our educational institutions and the young people who are their focus have come under attack. Academic leaders and others seem to constantly have to remind their stakeholders that recovery is possible, that confidence in the future should not be underminded by a single event, and that the collective "we" is fundamental to recovery.

The images associated with these acts of violence trigger many concerns for me (and I am sure for all of us), I am trying to put my own thoughts around what we can do in the Institute community. First, assuring that we provide a safe environment for our work and study. All of us should take note of any person or situation that seems questionable. The MGH Police Officers and Security system are excellent and are available to us 24/7. Second, we should be sure that our students, as health providers, are prepared to deal with the acute and chronic "symptoms" experienced by those touched by violence. These are our patients, families, clients, and potentially our students and colleagues. Learning to communicate with, develop trust with, and address the needs of those who have experienced these problems should be part of our core skills as practitioners. We should be asking about our competence in dealing with trauma, grief, coping, and long term support and rehabilitation for those affected by violence. Finally, we should all recognize our own collective and individual role in preventing violence in the first place. The literature and the popular media have promoted the concept of the "first responder" as those individuals who intervene after an emergent situation has occurred. I believe that in many cases, those individuals are the "second responders." My hope is that our faculty, students, and alumni are true first responders--individuals who devote their work and energy to being the one who prevents, to the degree possible, the kind of violence that we have recently experienced.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hindsight and Foresight

Last week I distributed two documents. The first, a summary of the "academic" progress of the Institute tells the story of all that you and your students and colleagues have done to make the Institute better in teaching, service, and research over the past year. The second, The Role of the IHP in Health Care Education of the Future, provided a series of questions and reflections for the faculty to consider as we engage in strategic planning over this fall term.

As I thought about "Vision 2020", our strategic planning process, I found it very helpful to use the accomplishments and challenges of the past year to serve as the foundation for thoughts about the future. We have accomplished so much! Rather than listening to those random voices of frustration about the volume of work that remains to be done, looking backward helps me see that we can be confident that it is all do-able.

So, as we enter this time of planning and focus on the longer term, I hope that you find the opportunity to join me in an optimistic view in Vision 2020. In fact my wish for all of us is that we can share 20/20 vision about Vision 2020!
Have a great week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Off to a Great Start

We are off to a great start (why does it always feel like a race?) to our new academic year at the Institute. We have crossed a new enrollment threshold of 1000 students. This is largely due to unexpected growth in our part time and non degree programs, particularly the new year round opportunity for "prerequisites in the health professions." Yesterday we kicked off the year with a little early morning breakfast celebration for the faculty and staff.

This fall we welcome several new faculty colleagues to our community. New faculty members in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences-Meredith Bosley (CSD), Bonnie Halvorson-Beourgeois (CSD), Douglas Haladay (PT), Janet Kneiss (PT), and the new Associate Chair of Physical Therapy, Pamela Levangie (PT).

In the School of Nursing, new faculty members include Susan Carpenter, Theresa Evans, Amy Fuller, Susan Hamilton, Antonia Makosky, and Judith Webb. Stephen Coffey has also increased to a full time position this year.

As you welcome each new faculty member, be sure to let them know of your interests and activities. They will all be looking for ways to become involved in the life of the Institute.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Here We Go

Welcome and Welcome Back....

First of all, I am thrilled to welcome 10 new faculty members who have joined us since last spring. In my next blog, I will focus on introducing them. Representing the Department of CSD, the School of Nursing, and the Department of Physical Therapy, these outstanding individuals come to us with fantastic clinical and academic experience, wonderful aspirations, and a commitment to working with our students and faculty members. Please join me in welcoming them, including them in every way that will help them get started, and pointing them toward resources and ideas that might be helpful in getting started!

Hearty welcome to 28 new students in our International PT program, and all 392 students who have joined the Institute community since last May. Each of you brings talent, intellect, and energy that we welcome and honor. One of you was THE student who helped us cross the threshold to 1000 students!

And for those returning faculty and staff member, I want to say "thanks." Thanks for returning, thanks for all that you have done and will do to focus on excellence, thank you for being open and inviting to healthy change, and thank you for all you to make our community thrive!

I hope that you will choose to stay tuned to my blog, and respond openly,and introduce issues or topics that might help the community.

I invite you to discover some improvements and expansions in our clinical and laboratory areas; talk with Denis Stratford about new teaching and learning technologies, participate in our orientation for new students on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Welcome and Welcome Back to the Institute!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chronicle Best Places to Work!

If you haven't checked out the "Great Colleges to Work For" Site in The Chronice of Higher Education, I hope you will do so soon. The Institute made the list this year, which is no surprise to most of us who work here. The commitment to excellent education, strong academic and clinical components, the commitment to transparency and trust, and the long standing sense of community are factors that have helped to place our Institute high on the list!

Now, I also think of some other reasons that I think we work in a great place. While not factors used in the Chronicle rankings, they are my personal favorites:

1. Our location---how fortunate we are to work and go to school on the harbor in the C'town Navy Yard! Knowing that our faculty and students travel from throughout the area every day, how great it is to convene in an area proximal to our city, close to our partner hospitals and clinics, and so strongly identified with Boston's historical and cultural heritage.
2. Our building(s)--have you had a chance to visit the facilities of other schools and colleges lately? We are so fortunate to have a historically significant, yet modern, beautiful building. A commitment to maintenance, high quality resources, high tech electronics, and loving care from our operations and facilities staff make the Shouse building and our offices in Building 34 and 39 welcoming, functional, and a source of pride!
3. Our staff: We have such a dedicated group of staff members, all committed to serving the faculty, students, and community. Whether they are raising funds, telling our story to the community, counseling, registering or assisting students, they all keep their eye on the goal of service, every day!
4. Our focus on service and education: From the moment one comes to the IHP, it is clear that the Institute is dedicated to the communit(ies) in which we work. Walk in the front door and you can't miss the Speech-Language-Literacy Center which serves over 200 patients per week. Head to the left and discover our state of the art simulation facility, where students and guests learn how to serve those with health care needs; and have you visited our new PT Center on the third floor, next to the NEW health assessment lab. The Institute always has an eye on the need for our students and faculty to engage in real world service and we live out that commitment in our facilities and also in the hundreds of practicum activities in which our students engage every day of every week!
5. Our students--Those who come to study at the Institute are quite a remarkable group. Because most of our students come without a background in the health professions, we have the wonderful and "awesome" responsibility of helping them learn the content of their discipline, while engaging in their formation as a health professional. I continue to be amazed at the broad background and interests, their passion for their own education as a platform to service in the world, and their unique portfolio of talents and expertise.
6. Our faculty--There is no "listing" of attributes that can fully describe our faculty. Look for an upcoming blog exclusively devoted to my expression of appreciation for those who teach and lead the Institute.

You might have some other thoughts on why the IHP is so great. I would love to hear your ideas!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Retreat To Remember

The Institute's academic and administrative leaders have just completed their annual retreat for purposes of planning, thinking about our future, discussing emerging trends and issues. To my knowledge, almost every organization engages in similar planning and "big thinking" activities. While you will be hearing more about the future from President Bellack, I want you to know that we are looking ahead, thinking about the year 2020, considering what the profile of our school will be, and what the necessary "culture" will be to support the future.

I would ask that in the coming weeks each member of the Institute community begin to think about how he or she deals with change, why change is viewed as positive or negative, and how we can all be more comfortable in dealing with changes. Your leadership is in agreement that change is are required for the vitality of the Institute, the fulfillment of our desire to be leaders (and to prepare leaders) in the health professions, and to be responsive to trends in the economy, higher education, and in the practice of health care (including its reform).

I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on some of these topics and comment in the postings section to this item.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Deans and Schools

In the coming academic year we will be giving lots of attention to our new academic organizational structure. For the first time in the Institute's History, we have two schools. We have two Deans in place. Our new Dean of Nursing and the Interim Dean of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences have been appointed and have begun to work together. A Dean's Council including the two new Deans and the Dean of Students will begin meeting with me after July 1. Our system is moving into place!

Many faculty members have asked what it means to be a school. Some have asked, "what's the big deal? What is different since we have moved to schools? I acknowledge that for the typical faculty member or student, there is probably minimal notable difference to date. I hope that next year at this time we will all see the benefits of the new organizational structure (and celebrate them). Here are some questions that we might consider as we look to the future and judge the effectiveness of this new model:

1. What are the distinctive characteristics of each of our schools and are they being communicated clearly to our various stakeholders?
2. Are we observing programmatic distinctions in Nursing and in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and are these being "talked about"?
3. Are we experiencing simultaneous growth in our two schools as evidenced by additional programs and departments?
4. Are faculty members and students experiencing customized communication and services that help them do their jobs?
5. Do faculty and students experience the "voice" of their School and their discipline in their dean and leadership?
6. Are scholarship, teaching, and service enhanced through our new schools?
7. What efficiencies have been gained by having new schools and having Deans in place?

I welcome thoughts and reflections from all stakeholders as we move ahead!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Clinical Partners

Last week, the Institute celebrated our partnerships with preceptors from two of our major "partners within Partners." These events, held at Spaulding Boston, Spaulding Cambridge, Spaulding's Shaunnesy-Kaplan, and at Mass General were attended by over 100 preceptors, administrators and guests. The events represented a deliberate gesture by the Institute to express our thanks to those friends and colleagues who do so much for us.

Over the past year, in partnership with our Clinical Affairs Coordinating Committee, I have had the remarkable opportunity to consider the impact of our clinical partners. Ours is a unique situation, as we are housed within a major health system. Almost all of our students will spend a significant portion of their clinical education with PHS programs. How fortunate they are to learn from these remarkable clinicians, many who are alumni of the Institute. How fortunate we are to have these dedicated, loyal, and trusted friends to add value to the educational enterprise. For the 300 plus students a week who "partner within Partners" we can never be grateful enough.

I mention this because I hope that you will all do the following: (1) say thank you every chance you get to our preceptors and their administrators in MI, Nursing, PT, and CSD; (2) remind students to say thanks, send a thank you note to a valued preceptor, and to be as responsive and focused as they can in their clinical activities; (4) spend time in your program/ faculty meetings to learn about the clinical enterprise for your program; problem solve where necessary; and identify "clinical heroes and heroines" in your discipline (and then find ways to honor them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Post on This Blog

Greetings and First Blog:
Welcome to my new blog. I want to use this to keep friends, colleagues, and students up to date on academic life at the Institute. Occasionally (hopefully about one time per week), I plan to use this blog for posting some thoughts, announcements, reflections, and new ideas. I will be anxious to hear what you think. My hope is that occasionally, this blog will stimulate some useful conversation among the academic community.

Yesterday, June 25, was a special day for me. Along with some other faculty members and Dean Clabo, I was lucky enough to attend the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Chelsea High School Student Health Center. This event, attended by a number of local political dignitaries, Dr. Peter Slavin (MGH President), and other leaders from the community and the MGH honored one of our current faculty members, Gail Gall, MSN (SON) for her leadership in establishing the Center in Chelsea and serving as its first Nurse Practitioner. Being there reminded me of the good work that our faculty do and the remarkable contribution that we make in the community. It was wonderful to hear of the accomplishments of Gail in moving the clinic to its current level of service (over 1400 student visits per year). Every day,faculty members like Gail are providing service somewhere. Thanks to Gail and to our whole faculty for all that you do every day to improve health and quality of life for others.

Earlier last week, actually Monday thru Thursday, I had the opportunity to participate in a series of events designed to celebrate the contribution of our clinical partners at the MGH and the Spaulding Network. We held events at three Spaulding locations and a large reception at the Mass General. So many of our preceptors came to these events. We provided new Institute Preceptor pins and a variety of other gifts for our guests. Our preceptors, provide thousands of hours of service for our students every week. There are days where we actually have over 500 students in a practicum experience somewhere! It was fantastic to have the chance to take a moment to say thank you to our generous colleagues. My hope is that everyone at the Institute takes this opportunity whenever they can. Their contribution to the quality of our educational programs is incomprehensible, unique, and distinguishes us from our peers. This will be the first of many events and other activities designed to recognize the service of our preceptors. Special thanks to faculty members and administrators who attended. Also, many, many thanks to our Clinical Coordinators Commitee members and to the Office of Institutional Advancement, especially Jean Marie Bonofilio and Susan Reynolds, who devoted countless hours to making these events so successful.