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February 10, 2012 Volume 1, Issue 19


Oh Baby! Employees Cite Modern Rooms, Convenience Among Attractions to Maternity Services

When Allyson Gormley, a social worker in Neurology, was deciding where she wanted to give birth to her second child, she did not need to look far.

Gormley family 
The Gormley family with newest member, Teddy

“I had heard good things about BMC’s new maternity unit and I couldn’t beat the convenience,” says the mom of two young boys who gave birth to her first child at another Boston hospital. “I also knew I wanted a natural delivery and BMC was very supportive of that, so my choice was easy.”

Allyson worked the morning of April 6, 2011, and by the end of the day, was holding her newborn son, Teddy, in the post-partum unit on Menino Pavilion. It was two years to the day after she gave birth to her first son.

“My experience was awesome,” she says. “From the cleanliness of the unit, to the large, private rooms to the friendliness of staff, I was totally impressed by BMC.”

Allyson was one of 2,500 women to deliver at BMC in 2011. Known as a “baby-friendly” hospital for its high breastfeeding rates, BMC Maternity Services also is a safety leader, with low infection, mortality and cesarean section rates.

“A key to our success is our collaborative practice,” says Aviva Lee-Parritz, MD, Vice Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology. “We create an individualized care profile for each patient whose care is overseen by a team made up from Obstetrics, Family Medicine and Midwifery. We strive to always be in communication, huddling twice a day, so everyone knows one another’s patients and we can anticipate problems before they occur.” Lee-Parritz notes this team approach has made BMC a national maternity services leader.

Maternity Services By the Numbers

  • 2,427 deliveries in 2011
  • 32 of the newest, largest post-partum rooms in Boston
  • State-of-the-art safety measures. BMC is in the lowest tier for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) infections and NICU mortality rate
  • 29 percent cesarean rate, the lowest in Boston
  • 18 percent vaginal birth after cesarean section rate, one of the highest in Boston
  • 95 percent breastfeeding rate. BMC is the only baby-friendly hospital in Boston with lactation support seven days a week starting at 3 a.m. (when babies are awake!)
  • 60 percent of staff speak more than one language

The unit also recently remodeled its post-partum rooms for mothers to recover and bond with their baby, family and friends. Eight large, private state-of-the-art rooms are equipped with a fridge, sink for bathing the baby, and a pull-out chair for an overnight guest.

“The room provided a lot of privacy and quiet for my family,” says Meryl Bailey, Marketing and Communications Specialist in Development, who gave birth to her son George on July 28, 2011. “You would have thought we were the only patients on the floor. As a new mom in those precious first days, it was exactly what I wanted.”

Another draw to BMC’s maternity services is its natural approach to labor and delivery, says Julie Mottl-Santiago, CNM, MPH, Director, Midwifery Service.

“We work with many women who seek a non-medicated birth,” says Mottl-Santiago. “We are very supportive of that choice and work hard to ensure they have the delivery they want.”

Gormley couldn’t agree more.

“I had told my midwife Julie that I didn’t want an IV when I was in labor, so when I arrived on the floor, she told staff and they were respectful of my decision. It was perfect.”

Gormley says she was so impressed with her experience at BMC, that she encourages women on a mom website to consider delivering at BMC.

“I really hope people think more about giving birth here. It really is exceptional.”

Learn more about BMC’s Maternity Services.

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Long-time Physician Honored for Excellence

Lewis Weintraub, MD, a BMC Hematologist/Oncologist and Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been named the 2011 recipient of the Jerome Klein Award for Physician Excellence.

Lewis Weintraub and Ravin Davidoff
Lewis Weintraub, left, and Ravin Davidoff, Chief Medical Officer

The Jerome Klein Award was established in 2010 to commemorate Dr. Klein’s 50 years of service to BMC/BUSM and is presented annually to a physician who shares Dr. Klein’s attributes. Weintraub, who has served the BMC/BUSM community for 39 years, received the recognition for his clinical and research excellence, leadership and dedicated commitment to education and mentoring.

“Lewis has a gentle approach to educating and mentoring his students, and he makes sure patients always receive the ultimate care,” Ravin Davidoff, MD, Chief Medical Officer, told the crowd gathered in the Wilkins Board Room Jan. 31 to celebrate Weintraub’s achievements.

“Thank you,” Davidoff continued, turning to Weintraub, “for what you have given us and our patients.”

During his career, Weintraub pursued a broad range of clinical and translational research topics in hematology. He is the author of 78 papers and reviews, and has served on numerous hospital and school boards. Teaching, however, has been a key interest throughout his career, and an area in which he has made a great impact.

“Dr. Weintraub is one of the best teachers and mentors I have had during my medical training,” noted a fellow in the nomination form for Weintraub. “He is a model physician who shows the utmost compassion and dedication to his patients.”

Another fellow commented: “Dr. Weintraub’s commitment to teaching is striking. Every case, from a routine follow-up he had been seeing for years to a new patient with a strange and unusual presentation, was ‘a teaching case.’ He is known in the department as ‘the final word’ when it comes to hematology. I think it is the combination of his incredible breadth of knowledge and experience, as well as his kind heart that allows him to always to be patient and available to answer a question with enthusiasm and a smile.”

Weintraub attended Dartmouth as an undergraduate and then Harvard Medical School. He trained in medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan and then in hematology at Mount Sinai Hospital. During the Vietnam War era, he joined the “yellow berets” and served as the Assistant Chief of Hematology at Walter Reed Hospital, where he also carried out research on iron metabolism. He returned to Boston in 1965, first on the faculty at Tufts Medical School and New England Medical Center. In 1972 he was recruited to Boston University School of Medicine as an Associate Professor of Medicine. In 1977 he was promoted to Professor and Chief of Hematology at University Hospital (now known as BMC), a position he held until 2003.

“It has been a fruitful 39 years for me,” said Weintraub as he received the Klein Award plaque. “I look forward to another 39.”

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Movie Premiere to Benefit BMC Program

It’s not every day that a homeless man’s story makes the big screen, but for Jonathan Flynn, a former client of BMC’s Elders Living at Home Program (ELAHP), that’s exactly what’s happened.

Being Flynn movie poster

“Being Flynn,” starring Robert DeNiro, will premiere at the Kendall Square Theater on March 7. The movie is based on the memoir by Jonathan Flynn’s son, Nick Flynn, about his experience working with homeless people in Boston and of the struggle his father faced with homelessness prior to receiving services from the ELAHP.

All proceeds from the premiere will support the ELAHP, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in December. The program provides a range of services to homeless and at-risk older adults, and has impacted more than 2,500 lives since its inception in 1986. The ELAHP refers clients to BMC for health care and helps them access and maintain safe, affordable permanent housing.

Eileen O’Brien, ELAHP Director, says the premiere couldn’t be a better way for the program to celebrate its anniversary.

“We are grateful for an opportunity like this, not only to highlight the work we have done over the years, but also to bring attention to the larger issue of homelessness among older adults in Boston. Mr. Flynn’s story is a great one, and it exemplifies the need for housing and ongoing support services for a very vulnerable group of people.”

Attending the premiere will be Academy Award Nominee Director Paul Weitz, authors Nick Flynn and Michael Patrick MacDonald, and actors Paul Dano and Olivia Thirlby. The group will be available for a brief question-and-answer session following the screening.

The movie opens to the general public on March 9.

To purchase tickets to the premiere, and watch the movie’s trailer, visit www.beingflynnbenefit.com.

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What Do You Do, Winnie Suen?

Name: Winnie Suen, MD, MSc, LMT
Title: BMC Geriatrician and Palliative Care Consultant, Assistant Professor of Medicine at BUSM
Department: Geriatrics
Years at BMC: 8

What brought you to BMC?
I selected BMC to complete my residency in internal medicine/primary care because of the institution’s mission and the reputation of the faculty and residency program. I continued with my medical education by completing a fellowship in geriatric medicine and subsequently left BMC to complete a fellowship in palliative care. I worked at another institution for two years doing home care and as their director of palliative care services. The factor that most influenced my return to BMC was the opportunity to work again with the wonderful section of geriatrics and the growing palliative care program, which provides essential services to a wide range of patients.

Winnie Suen, MD, MSc, LMT 
Winnie Suen, MD, MSc, LMT

What do you do here?
I primarily work as a geriatrician and a palliative care consultant. I also instruct medical students, internal medicine residents and geriatric medicine fellows on the topics of geriatrics, palliative care and quality improvement. I am the physician leader for the BMC Schwartz Center Rounds, which occur once per quarter and are open to all hospital staff. These sessions highlight BMC cases that illustrate the emotional impact and challenges of patient care.

What do you like about working here?
I really enjoy working with the staff. They consistently demonstrate their willingness to go the extra mile to provide care for patients and their families, which has inspired me as a physician to identify ways to improve the quality of patient care. As a junior faculty member, I also appreciate having mentorship and support from different members of the faculty and staff at BMC as it has been essential for my professional development.

You created the Staff Chair Massage Program here. Can you tell us a little about it?
The Staff Chair Massage Program was inspired by two BMC programs: Healing Touch and Inspiration Break. The Healing Touch program, supervised by Dottie Keosaian, offers hand massages to patients given by volunteers. The Inspiration Break program, run by the chaplains, provides staff members with an opportunity to participate in relaxing discussion while receiving snacks and massage.

The Staff Chair Massage program, funded by generous supporters of BMC, provides staff members with a 10-minute massage by licensed massage therapists. A relaxing environment is created in a dedicated room with music and snacks. The goal of this program is to reduce the stress of employees and enhance their ability to work more effectively throughout the day. Employees have appreciated the therapists’ caring touch. Staff Chair Massage sessions are held every Thursday from 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on 8North, Newton Pavilion. Newton Pavilion staff can sign up for an appointment by going to the 8N Conference Room. Menino Pavilion staff members are asked to contact Cynthia Rodriguez to schedule massages for their unit or department.

Do you consider massage therapy a new approach to treatment for certain medical conditions?
The practice of using massage as a treatment for medical conditions has been in existence for thousands of years. Bodywork therapies, such as massage, have been neglected primarily because it is not covered by insurance plans and incurs out-of-pocket costs to the patient. Many integrative therapies, including massage, Reiki, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, nutrition, music therapy, can be used with traditional treatments without many adverse side effects. These therapies also can help patients cope with their medical conditions and improve their overall well-being.

You were recently selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as an Innovation Advisor. What do you expect to accomplish in your new role?
As an Innovation Advisor, I have the opportunity to mentor others in improving the systems and care provided to patients and their families. This will allow me to enhance my skills in the field of quality improvement through interaction and collaboration with professionals involved in the delivery of patient care. Right now, I am implementing a pilot program at BMC to improve pressure ulcer prevention and treatment in the intensive care unit.

Do you know a staff member or department that should be profiled? Send your suggestions to communications@bmc.org.

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In Their Words

Patients share their BMC experience

Letter writing 

I would like to take a moment to let you know how utterly impressed I have been with my care from your facility. Earlier this year my doctor here in my hometown of Fall River found a mass located near my parotid gland. Due to some underlying health concerns, I was immediately referred to Boston and to Boston Medical Center. I was very lucky to be seen by Dr. Jalisi. He ran a few tests and after receiving the results, we discussed my options. We agreed to proceed with a parotidectomy. I had a successful surgery and have been extremely happy with the results and care I received.

From the very moment my husband and I met Dr. Jalisi's team, we felt comfortable with our decision to go to BMC. The staff was thorough and helpful in answering my questions, and everyone was pleasant and easy to deal with. Then I met Dr. Jalisi. He walked into the exam room with a big smile on his face and shook our hands. The immediate rapport he had with us extended to my other visits with him. I have to admit, I was expecting a somewhat cold bedside manner because I had researched him and knew he was a sought-after surgeon. I expected our consult to be rushed and even impersonal. It was exactly the opposite. Dr. Jalisi was easy to talk to; he answered the list of questions we had, and he made us feel at ease and reassured.

When my surgery date arrived, everything went as well as it possibly could. The pre-op staff was phenomenal. I have dry mouth from a medical condition I have and the nurses were vigilant about giving me swabs so I would be comfortable. All of the staff were very friendly and checked in on me as we waited for the operating room to open. After the surgery, the recovery room staff was very accommodating. I was pretty foggy, but I remember sharing stories with one of the nurses about my cats (my babies). These personal touches made my experience wonderful.

My stay at BMC was great. Everyone from Housekeeping to Nutrition to Transport was friendly. Often you see staff a little stressed and unhappy while they are working. This was the exact opposite of my experience.

So, as you can tell, I am overwhelmed by the care I received by everyone at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Jalisi and his staff are shining stars. I have no hesitation in recommending Boston Medical Center to anyone in need of medical care.

Fall River, Mass.

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Awards and Accolades

Janine Hogan, RN, Nurse Manager, Emergency Department, and Mirinda Brown-Tyo, RN, Assistant Nurse Manager, Pediatric Emergency Department, recently were accepted into the Organization of Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Leadership Academy. The Academy is an educational experience that includes mentoring and coaching to help nurse leaders become more effective.

Contact Office of Communications (The BMC Brief)

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Fax: 617.638.8044


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