Happy 4th!

This weekend, as you gather with friends and family for cookouts, lawn games, World Cup games, and fireworks, join us in taking a minute to remember what the day is about. In 1776, our founding fathers gathered to declare our independence from England. Fifty years later, two of those men famously died on the same day (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson).

The 4th has seen a lot of other important historic moments: in 1802, West Point opened its doors; in 1817, construction of the Erie Canal began; in 1827, the state of New York abolished slavery; in 1839, Lou Gherig was diagnosed with ALS; in 1997, NASA’s Pathfinder landed on Mars.

This year, let’s take a moment to thank the amazing men and women who serve our country every day in the armed forces, all levels of government, and community organizations.

And, please – don’t forget the sunscreen and to be careful in the heat that will hit some of us (DC-area folks, I’m talking to you!).

The Team

Inaugural Build Your Best Life Health Festival

On Saturday, May 31, the Center for Total Health hosted the first-ever Build  Your Best Life Total Health Festival in partnership with Capital Pride, Whitman Walker Health and several other organizations. We were excited to welcome more than 150 guests from the community to receive health screenings and information, enjoy a healthy snack, and even do a little dancing!
pride dance
It was a great day of learning, talking, and listening to better understand and navigate LGBT health in the national capital region, complete with workshops and presentations on topics from dating to retirement. Festival participants included many great partners:

• Kaiser Permanente
• Whitman-Walker Health
• Casa Ruby
• Mixology – Matchmaking with a Twist
• Rainbow Families DC
• SAGE Metro DC
• Freestyle Fitness
• Mary’s House for Older Adults
• Gay Love Project

A huge thanks to all who stopped by and our amazing partner organizations! Happy Pride!

ILN Day 2: Innovation Safaris

Capital Bikeshare -- Innovating active transportation.

Capital Bikeshare — Innovating active transportation.

This morning, ILN in-person attendees got the chance to visit DC-area companies embodying innovation in their everyday work. Safari destinations included:

  • Capital Bikeshare – Technology to change the way we move, for health
  • NPR Headquarters – Disrupting broadcasting, building for health
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  (CFPB) – Financial health and behavior change at the 
  • National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center  (NICOE)
  • ONC Blue Button – Empoweirng patients with their electronic health record information  (SafariBlueButton)
  • OPOWER – leveraging the latest behavior change science to transform energy consumption  
  • Uniformed Services University (USU) Simulation Center (USUSIM)
  • MedStar Health’s Simulation Training & Education Lab (SiTEL)
  • The Bridge to ER One at MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Walter Reed Dedication

Walter Reed Dedication

ILN Attendees with the Surgeon General

ILN Attendees with the Surgeon General

Attendees hurried back to the Center for Total Health for remarks from Rear Admiral (RADM) Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H., Acting Surgeon General of the United States, who reminded us that we haven’t failed until we stop trying.

The afternoon included more great speakers and a walking break to the Supreme Court. Tonight, we’re looking forward to a healthy dinner at 1776 with health startups on the cutting edge of technology and innovation.


Innovation Learning Network, In Person: Day 1

Yesterday, the Center for Total Health was excited to kick off the Spring Innovation Learning Network (ILN) In Person meeting after months of planning. In partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Military Health System, MedStar Health and other organizations, the ILN convenes health care innovators from around the world to share ideas, problems, solutions, and inspiration.

Newly Titled Innovation Divas  Ted Eytan, MD, Chris McCarthy, Keith Montgomery, Tim Rawson

Newly Titled Innovation Divas
Ted Eytan, MD, Chris McCarthy, Keith Montgomery, Tim Rawson

The three-day conference has the theme of complex system change, and kicked off with tours of the Center for Total Health. Speakers included our own Keith Montgomery, executive director for the Center for Total Health, author Paul Plsek, and MedStar’sEd Tori. Themes included being willing to take risks (and possibly fail before you succeed) and moving to a focus on simple rules built by the users (rather than dictated by the top).

Ed Tori, MedStar

Ed Tori, MedStar

So much more to learn on days 2 & 3! Follow along on twitter via #ILN14 !


Earth Day

Join the Center for Total Health and the entire Kaiser Permanente family today (and every day) in working to improve the health of our planet. Whether through large-scale efforts, like our partnership with the Alliance for Climate Education, or through individual decisions to recycle or create less waste, there are things each of us can do. For ideas, check out this list from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Of course, we particularly like the suggestion to use active modes of transportation!

Happy Earth Day!


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!

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. 


Random Acts of Total Health

Every year, thousands celebrate Mardi Gras on the streets and in the bars of New Orleans. The next day, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent for Christians around the world.

In my childhood, these two days were a little confusing – I get cake and parades on Tuesday, and then have to fast and go to mass on Wednesday? Lent always meant giving something up, as if punishing ourselves. That doesn’t make any sense when you’re six years old. As an adult, it seems to fit much better – a day of indulgence followed by a day (or several) of recovery, with time to reflect.

As an adult, my Lenten sacrifices aren’t actually sacrifices at all. Instead, I  aim to improve myself and my community through conscious, deliberate (but often small) changes. And, thanks to Catholic guilt, I take Lenten resolutions far more seriously than those made at the start of a new year or any other time. For the next six weeks, I will do at least one good deed each day. This morning, for instance, I helped an elderly man onto the bus over a snow bank. It’s small, but it seemed to make his day. And, in turn, maybe he’ll make someone else’s.

As for improving myself, I’m focusing on my diet and aiming to eat the recommended two cups per day of fruit and veggies.

It’s not much, but it’s what I can do to improve my total health.

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

African American History Month: A Prescription for Healthy Living

David Satcher, MD

David Satcher, MD

David Satcher, MD, has had a storied career that includes time as U.S. Surgeon General under two presidents, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and president of Morehouse Medical School in Atlanta.

While serving as surgeon general from 1998 to 2002, Satcher adopted what he called “Prescription for Healthy Living” that provides a great blueprint for all of us:

  • 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week
  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Avoidance of toxins – drugs and alcohol
  • Responsible sexual behavior
  • Daily participation in relaxing and stress-reducing activities

Today, Satcher heads the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse.  He is working to “develop a diverse group of public health leaders, foster and support leadership strategies, and influence policies and practices toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in health with the focus on neglected diseases and under-served populations, while giving priority to health promotion and disease prevention.”

Read more about Satcher’s work as a public health hero here.

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