Healthy communities

You Too Can Have Healthy Meetings!

Panel discussion featuring, from left:  Kathy Gerwig, Marilyn Chow, Kelly Kearney, and Erin Meade.

Panel discussion featuring, from left: Kathy Gerwig, Marilyn Chow, Kelly Kearney, and Erin Meade.

On Monday, February 2nd, our friends at Kaiser Permanante’s Garfield Innovation Center hosted a great event focusing on delicious, healthy food. “A Taste of the Garfield Center” featured local Bay Area caterers to showcase menus that adhere to Kaiser Permanente’s “Healthy Picks” policy, along with a few presentations on healthy meeting and working practices.

I was certainly humbled to be on a panel with Kathy Gerwig, Marilyn Chow, both of Kaiser Permanente, and Kelly Kearney of Pacific Fine Foods (a favorite at the Garfield Center) – three incredible women. I was inspired that 100 Kaiser Permanente employees made time in their busy schedules to attend the event so that they could go back to the office with a better understanding of healthy picks to share with their teams. The audience included administrative assistants, lawyers, nurses, designers; many expressed trepidation about trying to change habits from their relatively junior positions. “After all,” said one assistant, “we aren’t all vice presidents.” Marilyn’s answer – sincere, honest, and inspiring – was simply, “We all lead from where we are.”

Kelly and the Pacific Fine Foods Team (showing off their VERY delicious kale chips)

Kelly and the Pacific Fine Foods Team

The Center for Total Health was one of the earliest adapters of the Healthy Picks guidelines, about a year ahead of schedule. As a team, we love helping our guests explore healthy AND delicious menus (ideally paired with some physical activity) for their meetings and events, and we are lucky to get to work with colleagues from inside and outside of the organization.

Now, I’m going to challenge YOU to make your next meeting healthier! Here are some tips and tools to help you start:

1. Get agreement for the concept of healthy meetings as a concept before introducing it for a specific meeting. Then hold people to it (especially the boss and other leaders).
2. Ease in! You don’t have to do a 180 degree change overnight. Try making healthy substitutions (lowfat yogurt, leaner meats, more fruits and vegetables) to start.
3. Healthy food can be tasty and fun – look for menu items with herbs and spices instead of sauces, and consider interactive options like a build your own salad bar to get people engaged in (and excited about) what they’re eating. Bonus: no one can complain about what’s in their salad!
4. If you’re ordering from a large chain, they are legally required to provide nutrition information on their menus. Use it! If you aren’t sure what is best, try consulting the USDA’s Healthy Plate guidelines or Kaiser Permanante’s own Healthy Picks guidelines. You might also like our Healthy Meetings Essentials toolkit, which has information about menus, activity, sustainability and more!

We’d love to hear more suggestions from you, and let us know if you’re working on making your meetings (or work environment) healthier!

Total Health Questionnaire: Alice Patty

Alice Patty is a senior program manager for Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit team. Included in her portfolio is management of the Thriving Schools program in the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

Alice Patty

Alice Patty

Q: What does Total Health mean to you?
A: Support for the body, mind, spirit and community.

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A: Breaking my arm on the swing set and having it set at the ER.

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A: Probably my husband. We support each other in healthy eating and active living. Whenever I need a boost of confidence or encouragement he is there for me.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: 
Favorite meal is salmon with asparagus.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A: The ability to help people. The people I work with are constantly inspiring me to do more and grow as an individual.

Q:  If you could change one thing in health care, what would it be?
A: Access for everyone to prevention services. Dietitians, personal trainers and life coaches as a covered benefit.

Q: Where would you most like to live?
A: Paris.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Working in the field of obesity prevention for over a decade. I have seen a lot of changes in the way we address and prevent obesity. I am proud to have contributed to this field.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: Margaret Thatcher, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth I.

Photo of the Week: Carla Sandy, MD

As part of National Health IT Week,  Carla Sandy, MD, Chief of OB/Gyn for Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group of Kaiser Permanente, discussed integrated, technologically coordinated care to support nationally recognized birth outcomes yesterday in Washington, DC. 

Dr. Sandy speaks at Congressional briefing.

Dr. Sandy speaks at Congressional briefing.

Dr. Sandy brought her son Calvin along, who found a fan in DC Mayor Vincent Gray.

Mayor Gray meets Calvin

Mayor Gray meets Calvin.

running

Don’t Let the Heat Keep You on the Couch

For those of us who live in the swamp also known as Washington, DC, hot and humid summer days are nothing out of the ordinary (it’s a special thing when “feels like 90″ is a relief after days of “feels like 105!”). Even for veterans of the heat, it can be a convenient excuse to take a day — or two, or three — away from activity.

With seemingly unusual weather patterns hitting the United States this summer, it seems like a good time to share some hot weather exercise tips:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Not just before you exercise, but during and after, and just in general. Water is  your friend.
  • Exercise early in the morning, or later in the evening (personally, I think the morning is WAY more comfortable and has the benefit of fewer people and cars out).
  • Hit the gym and work out inside, in the glory of air conditioning.
  • Cut back a little (run a shorter route, or bike slower, or take more breaks).
  • Dress for the temperature in wicking materials (with built-in SPF, if you have them) and light colors.
  • Think about location, and opt for a walk, run, or bike on a route with more trees and less sun. Save your track workout for a cooler day (or before sun-up, if it’s a safe area).
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen (this won’t keep you cool, of course, but you should still do it!).
  • Consider hitting the local pool for some laps. Built-in heat relief!
  • Love the sweat. Embrace it as a sign of your hard work, rather than dreading it. Believe it or not, this helps. A lot.

If the heat wave is short, maybe you can take a day or two off, but don’t let the heat keep you on the couch for too long!

Check out these specific tips for runners and bikers, and learn more about heat-related illnesses to keep yourself safe here.

 

 

salad bar

Healthy Picks for Happy Meetings

We’ve all been to meetings with food that runs counter to our best efforts. You know the drill – you wake up, maybe go for a run or hit the gym, eat a healthy breakfast and get ready for your day. You head to a great meeting, full of interesting conversation and great colleagues, only to sit down and be immediately faced with the sugared-up carb du jour and not a lean protein in site. Follow this up a few hours later with heavy lunch, and you’re ready for a nap by 2 p.m.

All smiles at the DIY Salad Bar

All smiles at the DIY Salad Bar

Kaiser Permanante has long offered guidance to employees with our “Healthy Picks” Guidelines – nutrition information and guidance to help employees select healthy meals for meetings and events. On May 1, 2014, the guidance became a policy, meaning that it’s the law of the land. Led by several executives, including Kathy Gerwig, vice president of employee safety, health, & wellness, Kaiser Permanente has made it company policy to have healthy meals provided at company events. The transition is not always easy, but it is catching on as people see that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring.

The Center for Total Health committed to these guidelines more than a year ago. Working with an exclusive caterer, we have succeeded in removing sugary beverages and most desserts from the Center, while bringing in more lean protein and tasty fruits and veggies. One of the most popular innovations we’ve seen is our DIY salad bar, which lets guests build their own salad. It gets rave reviews every time.

If you’re interested in bringing healthier food to your meetings and events, please check out our guidelines. For more healthy meeting suggestions, check out the full guide from our HealthWorks team.

 

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
• AARP DC
• SMYAL
• 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.

 

PRSA Health Academy Workshop Comes to CTH

PRSA1Yesterday afternoon, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) hosted a pre-conference workshop at the Center for Total Heath. PRSA is hosting its anual Health Academy this week in Washington. We are delighted that some of the attendees spent their afternoon with us.

Speakers and panelists included representatives of the National Health Council, the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

You can learn more about PRSA Health Academy here.

Healthy Buildings: Reducing Use of Harmful Chemicals

Yesterday at the Center for Total Health, the U.S. Green Building Council  welcomed Arlene Blum, Ph.D., author, mountaineer, and founder of the Green Science Policy Institute, for a discussion of “Six Classes” – chemicals of concern, the science and policy of flame retardant chemicals, and the national health impacts of California’s changing flammability standards.

Arlene Blum, Ph.D.

Arlene Blum, Ph.D.

Rather than addressing the tens of thousands of chemicals on the market one at a time, the SixClasses.org project educates decision makers in manufacturing, retail and government —  as well as consumers — about the “Six Classes” that contain many of the harmful chemicals in consumer products and building materials. The class approach can prevent regrettable substitutions, where a toxic chemical is removed and replaced by a chemical cousin with similar harmful properties.

Learn more at http://www.sixclasses.org/.

 

 

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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