Center for Total Health

let it snow!

Today is Our Birthday!

Today marks the third birthday for the Center for Total Health, which is hard to believe! We spend a lot of time looking forward to the many great things that lie ahead, but we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the first three years and thank those who have made them so memorable.

We’ve had thousands of visitors from more than 20 countries with interests ranging from maternal & child health to end-of-life care, walking to diversity, urban planning to farming. We have played with Playworks, brought healhy meals to our events, and spread the benefits of walking meetings.

healthy lunch

healthy lunch

To see photos from our first three years, visit our Flickr group. If you have photos you’d like to share with us, please feel free to add them to that group (now or anytime down the road).

Special thanks to our amazing, supportive colleagues within and outside Kaiser Permanente, including those who conceived of, designed and built the Center before any of the current team was here.

Here’s to another great year of hard work and lots of fun!

Our first Playworks ever! (2012)

Our first Playworks ever! (2012)

On a more personal note, my first day as a Kaiser Permanente employee was also three years ago today. I’ve had a great time meeting so many people working in so many ways to make health more achievable for all of us.  I’m three in Kaiser Permanente years now, too!

Photos of the Week: Students at the CTH

Today, the Center for Total Health welcomed two groups of students (or, as we like to call them, future health leaders): The first group was from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, and second group included student volunteers for Health Leads. It was great to spend the day with young people so interested in, and passionate about, health!

University of Maryland MBA students

University of Maryland MBA students

Health Leads volunteers discuss possible uses for telemedicine with Executive Director Keith Montgomery.

Health Leads volunteers discuss possible uses for telemedicine with Executive Director Keith Montgomery.

 

Health Leads Student Volunteers

Health Leads Student Volunteers

Connecting Health With Place

Artistic rendering of 11th Street Bridge Park courtesy of Ed Estes, Washington, DC Office of Planning

Artistic rendering of 11th Street Bridge Park courtesy of Ed Estes, Washington, DC Office of Planning

Editor’s Note:  We often write pieces on the Center for Total Health blog about how important our surroundings can be to our health.  We’ve covered passionate discussions around built environments, and we’ve highlighted success stories.  What we haven’t been able to capture so far is the process.  We have invited Scott Kratz, director of 11th Street Bridge Park – a newly launched project – to share with us some of his experiences as he takes this vision of a shared community space that supports health from concept to reality.  This is his first post with us.

Can your zip code determine your health? Epidemiologists tell us that place – where we live and work – is one of the greatest factors in health outcomes. Urban planning decisions afect people’s health. We know there is a strong link between regular physical activity and lowered risk of obesity and chronic diseases. But what if there is no safe place to play? What if one’s home is located in a food desert, as it has been for many residents in Washington, DC, without access to healthy meal choices?

Linking place and health is a key goal of the 11th Street Bridge Park – an innovative project in the nation’s capital to transform an old freeway bridge into a new civic space. As the 11th Street bridges across the Anacostia River have reached the end of their lifespan, the DC Office of Planning and a local non-profit, Building Bridges Across the River, will use part of the remaining infrastructure to build the 11th Street Bridge Park, a new park above the river.

We have led an extensive public outreach campaign asking local residents for their programming suggestions and have received many inspired ideas and wonderful support. The community has suggested innovative play spaces, urban agriculture, an environmental education center and kayak / canoe launches on the river below.

Community outreach continues with a brainstorming session on Tuesday, March 25 at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health with presentations by 11th Street Bridge Park’s team. All of these ideas will inform a nationwide design competition launched in March to imagine the new park.

But we need to be more than aspirational. We need results. To understand the ways that access to green space, farmers markets, planting festivals and kayak launches may improve health outcomes, we are implementing a Health Impact Assessment. This baseline data of residential health will enable a comparative analysis after the 11th Street Bridge Park opens in 2017/2018. If we’re successful, we can make a solid link between health and place — and build a bridge to a healthier Washington, DC.

A Healthy Beginning for Babies and Their Moms

CEX12d041Last week’s annual “Building a Healthier Future” Summit put on by the Partnership for a Healthier America provided an opportunity to highlight what many organizations across the country are doing to address the underlying causes of childhood obesity.

For Kaiser Permanente, that meant not only a chance to show that we could and did deliver on our commitment to the highest levels of exclusive breastfeeding within our hospitals, but also the opportunity to showcase how Kaiser Permanente is building upon those successes by rolling out a comprehensive “Healthy Beginnings” effort to address the health of mother and child throughout the first years of life.

Robert Riewerts, MD, regional chief of pediatrics for Southern California Permanente Medical Group and clinical lead for childhood obesity for Kaiser Permanente presented an overview of the Healthy Beginnings work at a breakout session at the Summit. We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Riewerts alongside Jocelyn Audelo, RN, senior consultant at Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute who coordinates Kaiser Permanente’s interregional work around Healthy Beginnings.

CTH Blog: Why is Kaiser Permanente focused on supporting a program of “Healthy Beginnings?”

Dr. Robert Riewerts: As an integrated health care system, Kaiser Permanente has been very interested in providing the best support we can to breastfeeding mothers. In our system, we deliver nearly 90,000 babies each year, so we have an incredible opportunity to make an impact on the lives of those babies.

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in America, and we’ve learned from research and from the care of our own patients, that if we support breastfeeding effectively, we’re going to produce a population of children that start out healthy. With effective breastfeeding support, those babies will get the important nutrients they need as young babies and they’ll be more likely to be healthy children later on.

Jocelyn Audelo, RN: Pregnancy is also a critical time in the development of healthy habits. As a new family is coming into being, we have the opportunity as a health care system to help support some of the habits – like breastfeeding, healthy diet patterns, and plenty of movement – that can translate to a pattern of well being over time for a family.

CTH: What can you tell us about the recent research showing trends in obesity reduction in children age 2 – 5?

RR: There’s been a lot of excitement around the recent article in the in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed a 43% reduction in obesity in early childhood, ages 2 – 5, range. This research gives us hope that the work that we’re doing is effectively reducing the rate of childhood obesity. One of the factors quoted in the article is the fact that early breastfeeding and the support of breastfeeding may be an effective reason why we are seeing this reduction in obesity.

Although we are hopeful that this is a trend for the future, we still have a whole lot of work to do. And Kaiser Permanente’s relationship with the Partnership for a Healthier America and our commitment to the Partnership represents a road that we will be staying the course on, in order to make greater progress in addressing childhood obesity.

CTH: What would a comprehensive Healthy Beginnings program look like?

JA: At Kaiser Permanente, we feel that there is an opportunity to broaden our approach beyond just breastfeeding in support of a healthy weight trajectory throughout life, that really has its beginning in the pregnancy and early childhood time frame. Healthy Beginnings is our Kaiser Permanente approach to support healthy weight, active living and good nutrition from the time before a woman becomes pregnant, throughout her pregnancy and throughout the early life of the child. Examples might include things like helping women to get healthy and fit before conceiving, supporting women and families in emotional and behavioral health, helping pregnant women to stop using tobacco and other harmful substances, and teaching how families can incorporate a pattern of healthy foods – with plenty of vegetables and fruits – for babies and young children.

RR: Kaiser Permanente has a wealth of employees involved in all sectors of health care. We want all of our physicians, our nursing staff, our doctors who are delivering babies and caring for mothers during pregnancy to be aware of the importance of breastfeeding and to really start that infant out on a good healthy lifestyle.

JA: We know there are lots of things that we can do clinically to support a healthy beginning, but we know it needs to be much bigger than that. It needs to involve our community partners, our built environment to support physical activity and good nutrition, and numerous areas that we need to continually develop capacity in.

Since we know that what happens during pregnancy and the early childhood timeframe is critically important for a life course of Total Health, we’re focusing intensely on this Healthy Beginnings work. We are very excited about the journey we’re on, to support women and children and their families on a trajectory of Total Health from the beginning.

Mingle and Move with the Partnership for a Healthier America

Every March, the Partnership for a Healthier America gathers leaders of the effort to end childhood obesity for a summit in Washington, DC. Kaiser Permanante is grateful to once again host the welcome reception at the Center for Total Health on behalf of the founding partners of PHA: Alliance for a Healthier Generation, The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Nemours, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

James R. Gavin III, board chair for Partnership for a Healthier America, speaks at the reception held at the Center for Total Health.

James R. Gavin III, board chair for Partnership for a Healthier America, speaks at the reception held at the Center for Total Health.

 

Sam Kass, executive director of Let's Move! and senior policy advisor for nutrition policy for The White House.

Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move! and senior policy advisor for nutrition policy for The White House.

 

The menu at the reception included a variety of healthy options...

The menu at the reception included a variety of healthy options…

 

…including a build-your-own-salad bar.

…including a build-your-own-salad bar.

For tips to help your kids and community, check out Kaiser Permanente’s thriving schools campaign and the PHA resources page.

Transportation Techies Meet at CTH

Capital Bikeshare at the CTH

Obligatory Walking Wall Shot – Capital Bikeshare

Thanks to all who attended the Transportation Techies Meet Up at the Center for Total Health tonight, and special thanks to organizers Michael Schade and Tom Fairchild. Michael started this Meet Up just four months ago to meet other (self-described) “data nerds” who love transportation.

Presentations ranged from uber-technical to practical to futuristic, but all looked to data to improve transportation. Learning where people walk, bike, and ride (metro or bus) can help planners, architects, and residents make informed decisions.

If you’re interested, check out their meet up calendar – there’s lots going on in the coming months!

Special thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit and Innovation & Advanced Technology teams, who made tonight possible. 

 

Photo of the Week: Talking About Walking

Despite the snow storm that hit the Washington area overnight, a planned meeting of Everybody Walk!  went on (mostly) as planned today at the Center for Total Health. We were pleased to welcome Jonah Berger  as a special guest speaker. A little snow didn’t stop this dedicated group!

Jonah Berger leads a breakout today at the Center for Total Health.

Jonah Berger leads a breakout today at the Center for Total Health.

A little snow couldn't keep the Everybody Walks! crew from convening.

A little snow couldn’t keep the Everybody Walks! crew from convening.

Since its launch in 2011, the Every Body Walk! campaign has gained real footing — and the numbers bear that out: Its official website has had more than 1.3 million visits, the mobile app has been downloaded more than 165,000 times, its short films have had more than 300,000 views, and the campaign has more than 30,000 followers on Twitter. The awareness the campaign is raising supports the ultimate goal of a walking revolution.

See the full set of photos here.

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Photos of the Week: A Busy Thursday

Today was a busy day at the Center for Total Health. We were excited to welcome a range of guests from across the total health spectrum. Guests included a  group of nursing students from George Washington University, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), and Hal Ruddick, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

Lu Casa, ARNP, welcomes George Washington Nursing students

Lu Casa, ARNP, welcomes George Washington Nursing students

C-TAC's Advanced Care Project Kick-Off Meeting

C-TAC’s Advanced Care Project Kick-Off Meeting

Keith Montgomery, Executive Director of the Center for Total Health, and Hal Ruddick, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, wearing two different types of fitness/activity tracking devices

Keith Montgomery, Executive Director of the Center for Total Health, and Hal Ruddick, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, wearing two different types of fitness/activity tracking devices

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Photo of the Week: German IT Delegation

Today at the Center for Total Health, Kaiser Permanente International hosted a group of German Health IT delegates for an informational session. Joy Lewis, MPH provided an overview of Kaiser Permanente to set the context for the dialogue that followed. The group saw a KP HealthConnect demonstration and heard about being a physician Tom Tesoriero, MD, from the Mid-Atlantic Permanante Medical Group, followed by a discussion with Sandra Stuart, Executive Director of Health IT Standards. Sandra talked with the group about the future of HIT and shared some examples of how Kaiser Permanente is forward-thinking about the use of technology at four different care sites (hospital, clinic, home and virtual).

Dr. Tesoriero

Dr. Tesoriero

 

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Group Discussion

 

Sandra Stuart speaks to the group about Kaiser Permanente's approach to Health IT

Sandra Stuart speaks to the group about Kaiser Permanente’s approach to Health IT

 

Your Feedback Wanted: How Would You Like Total Health to Be Supported and Promoted?

This post is part of a campaign to invite feedback and ideas that will help inform the next generation of content for exhibits at the Center for Total Health.

Now that we’ve established why it is important to focus on total health and what total health may look like when implemented in a variety of ways and locations, the final question remains:  How should total health be supported and promoted to health care consumers?

To answer this question, it’s helpful to look at what resources and access we each need to focus on our total health and live healthier lives.  Some examples may include the following:

  • Expert medicine:  Medicine based on the real-life experience of caring for millions of members, not just clinical research studies of a few hundred or thousand people.
  • Innovative technology:  Appropriate for the individual’s ability to understand and use it, smartphones for those who can afford them or community kiosks and other solutions for those who need alternative access.
  • Innovative programs:  Designed to fit the individual needs of health care consumers at home, at work, while out and about or in a clinical setting. Personalized scenarios for how different individuals may receive maternity care, senior care, well-child visits, behavioral health and more.
  • Telemedicine:  Video visits with specialists while meeting with your primary care physician or from your home, office or while on the go – via video chat on smartphones.

In a current display at the Center:
Crowdsource Pic for How
Interactive video displays demonstrate how My Health Manager (Kaiser Permanente’s personal medical record and portal for its members) and Kaiser Permanente Health Connect (the system-wide electronic health record connecting patients with all of their care providers) demonstrate how technology and connectivity can enable better care.

One idea for an alternative display:

Exhibits could present different examples for how total health might be experienced or supported – such as using common home video game technology to conduct video visits with physicians; terminals where someone could enter data and estimate likelihood or risk for developing diabetes; or examples of the latest mobile devices to help manage their health.

What are your thoughts?  How would you like to see a focus on total health supported and promoted to you and other consumers?  Tell us in the comments!

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