Carla Sandy, MD – The Total Health / MSDC Presidential Interview

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Studio portraits for Carla Sandy. Photo by Delane Rouse/DC Corporate Headshots.

Carla Sandy, MD.

On October 28, 2015, Carla Sandy, MD, will be installed as the President of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

Dr. Sandy is a practicing OB/Gyn specialist at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center in Washington, DC and Service Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology, District of Columbia/Suburban Maryland, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group.

The Center for Total Health team chatted with Dr. Sandy recently about her thoughts on Total Health and the Presidency.

All members of the community are welcome to attend the 2015 Annual Meeting and Reception of MSDC – click here for more information

1. In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?

It’s the physical and emotional connection, and making sure it is taken care of optimally. As physicians, we are good at finding physical signs and symptoms. We need to dig to find out what the real causes are of less-than total health.

I ask my patients questions such as “what else is going on with you,” and “what is your work environment like.” I’ll take a few more minutes to figure out what it is (that’s keeping someone from total health). I tell patients, the nice thing about talking to me is that you’re talking with someone confidentially, which gives a patient permission to disclose what’s going on in their life.

2. What’s your first health-related memory?

Chicken pox. That was not a fun time at all.

3. Was there a specific patient that has had an impact on you in your training?

In my second year of training – I had a really difficult patient, a teen, 17-18. It was her second pregnancy, and she was living in a very unstable home situation. We ran a clinic where I trained, at Washington Hospital Center, for teen moms. One day I was expressing frustration over this patient and one of my attendings said to me, “Despite how she’s making you feel, she still needs us.”

4. Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?

My grandfather is my health hero. He is 101 years old and still active. Every day he gets up and walks out to his fruit trees and picks something to eat. In addition to a plant based diet, he exercises daily and takes time for spiritual rejuvenation and meditation. He is an inspiration to me.

5. What is your favorite food?

Macaroni and Cheese. I should have probably said something like apples…. but, everything in moderation!

6. What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?

Definitely direct patient care. I will always have some type of patient care somewhere in my career. Most of the physician leaders in the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group still engage in direct patient contact and I think it’s important to keep that piece.

7. Where would you most like to live?

I always wanted to live in Manhattan, and my husband always asked, “Why?”

A few months ago, I went to a conference in Manhattan and realized I could never live there.

8. What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Being Chief of the Department has meant the most to me in my career. It’s not only a validation of the work I’ve been doing, earning the respect of my boss and my Department, it’s also knowing they respect me and that we work together cooperatively to improve patient care.

9. What health disparities are you passionate about?

As an OB/Gyn, I’m concerned about maternal access to care and the quality of care. I work with a patient population that has a higher rate of pre-term deliveries. We’ve been working to mitigate the risk factors to see if we can change the narrative and improve those results.

10. Besides your leadership role within Kaiser Permanente, you have recently been elected as president of the Medical Society of DC. What excites you the most about that new role?

I’ve been on the MSDC Board for three years, and MAPMG is one of the largest medical groups in this area.

There is an ongoing shift of physician practice types. More and more physicians who are employed instead of in private practice. I am showing the physician community that yes, things have changed as more physicians are employed and that’s very different. However, we still have the same patients who have the same issues. The reason I said “yes” then, is to show that I am a physician first and I still have the same concerns about my patients receiving the best care. As physicians, we need to stand together.

Total Health Questionnaire: Mary Anne Sterling

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Mary Anne Sterling is a Health IT expert with a passion for patient engagement and empowerment. She recently guest authored this great post about Blue Button for the CTH Blog. 

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?
A: My physical and emotional wellbeing, supported by nutrition, exercise, and alternative medicine.

MaryAnne Sterling

Mary Anne Sterling

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A: Age 4: chicken pox.

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A: Regina Holliday, who has made it her mission to help everyone have access to their health data.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Italian.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A: Making a difference. People who listen to my presentations and come up to me afterwards to tell me their own stories about struggling to care for a loved one with dementia — they inspire me to keep going.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most underrated way to improve health for individuals?
A: Alternative medicine.

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

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Bringing visibility to millions of family caregivers struggling to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: Jackie Kennedy, Mother Teresa, and Joan of Arc.

Total Health Questionnaire: Madeline Morales

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Maddie is the FoodCorps fellow for Washington DC. She is excited to be supporting 13 fabulous service members in our nation’s capital to build upon the work being done to close the gaps between children, food, and healthy happy lives!

Q: What does Total Health mean to you?

Maddie Morales

Maddie Morales

A: Total Health means a lifestyle where I am happy and feel capable enough to do the things I want!

Q: What is your first health-related memory?
A: 
Jump Rope for Heart was probably the highlight of my grade school gym events. We had an assembly every year where we got to jump rope in the gym and learn fancy tricks!

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A: My dad. He is an amazing role model of how to be truly strong both mentally and physically. He is supportive of everyone’s health and fitness, no matter what level. He has an amazing balance of fitness in his life and is always doing big things! Someday we are going to bike across the US!

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Sweet potatoes!

Q: If you could change one thing in health care, what would it be?
A: A focus on prevention and establishing healthy lifestyles!

Q: In your opinion, what is the most underrated way to improve health for individuals?
A: A balanced diet.

Q: Where would you most like to live?
A: Somewhere by the water and my parents.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Making amazing friends and having a supportive network of people that I can surround myself with and lean on everyday.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: Audrey Hepburn, Michele Obama and my grandma.

Read more about Food Corps DC here.

Total Health Questionnaire: Alice Patty

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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.

Total Health Questionnaire: Lu Casa, MSN, CRNP, CTTS

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Lu Casa, MSN, CRNP, CTTS, is a Nurse Practitioner at Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?Lu Casa
A: Having a lifestyle which fulfills you physically and emotionally.

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A:
Standing in line in the gym in my Chicago elementary school with about 50 other kids waiting to get vaccinated circa 1971.

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A:
My first nursing instructor who helped open a whole new world to me — the world of nursing. She scared me and empowered me to be more and do more.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A:
Helping Kaiser Permanente members attain a healthier state of being. Seeing members make sustainable change in their behavior to stay healthier.

Q: If you could change one thing in health care, what would it be?
A:
Make it available to all people without barriers.

Q: Where would you most like to live?
A:
New England

Q: Where do/would you most like to travel?
A:
Greece

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A:
My family – my wonderful wife and daughter.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: My Mom – I miss her everyday; Madonna; and Pope Francis.

Total Health Questionnaire: Murray Ross

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Murray Ross, PhD, is vice president of Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy.

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?Murray Ross, PhD
A: Total health to me highlights the interdependency of our internal health systems. Not just physical health, but life satisfaction, emotional wellbeing, purpose, and resilience.

Q: What is your first health-related memory?
A:
Riding my first bike at full speed into the back of a parked car.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: 
Spaghetti Bolognese with grilled vegetables.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A: I like being surrounded by smart, creative, engaged people trying to make the world a better place.

Q: If you could change one thing in health care, what would it be?
A: Doing what matters to people, not what matters to providers.

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

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Running my first marathon at age 50.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Joan Baez.

What You Should Know About the Flu — A Chat with the CDC’s Angela Campbell, MD

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Flu season is here. And to help us prepare for what the season may bring, we were lucky enough to get a few minutes with Dr. Angela Campbell, a medical officer in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division.

To welcome Dr. Campbell to the blog, we started out with one of our favorite questions.

Angela Campbell, MD

Angela Campbell, MD

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?

A: Total health means caring for myself physically, intellectually, and spiritually, and working to sustain and improve the health of others.

Q: How does influenza vaccination factor into that view?

A: To me, influenza vaccination is an important component of caring for my own physical health – it is something I choose for myself every year. I am also passionate about encouraging flu vaccination for those whom I love, for my patients, and for the U.S. public at large. Flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu. Because every flu season is different, it’s important to do what you can every year to protect yourself and those around you – and the first and most important line of defense against the flu is getting a yearly flu vaccination. Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick from flu and, by protecting yourself from flu by getting vaccinated; you’re also protecting the people around you who may be more vulnerable to complications from flu illness.

Q: What is NIVW?

A: NIVW stands for National Influenza Vaccination Week, which was December 7-13 this year. CDC established NIVW in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination throughout the holiday season and beyond. Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past seasons have shown that flu vaccination typically drops near the end of November, so this is a time to stress the important reminder that as long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

Q: Really? Is it worth getting your flu vaccine in December or even after the New Year?

A: Yes! Flu activity most commonly peaks between December and February, but can continue as late as May, so it’s not too late to protect yourself as long as flu activity is ongoing. In fact, even unvaccinated people who have already gotten sick with flu this season can still benefit from getting vaccinated since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you receive) that are expected to circulate each season.

 Q: Can flu be more serious for some people than others?

A: Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older; however, vaccination is especially important for protecting those at high risk for serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, and people age 65 years and older. Pneumonia and bronchitis are examples of flu-related complications that can result in a hospital stay or sometimes even death. The flu can also make chronic health problems worse for those who have them. And since babies younger than 6 months are too young to get their own flu vaccine, parents, caregivers and others in the household should be vaccinated to help protect them. By getting vaccinated, you will be less likely to get the flu and, therefore, less likely to spread the flu to others in these vulnerable groups.

Q: Should children receive one or two doses of the flu vaccine? We’ve heard different things.

A: Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting vaccinated for the first time, as well as some who have been vaccinated previously, will need two doses. Your child’s doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can tell you if two doses are recommended for your child. If your child has not already received their first dose of vaccine, get your child vaccinated now. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine. If two doses are needed, begin the process as early as possible. The doses should be given at least 28 days apart and it usually takes about 2 weeks after the second dose is given for protection to begin.

Q: If you don’t have time to get to the doctor, will insurance work at other vaccination locations?

A: Since September 2010, new health insurance plans are required to cover recommended vaccines without co-pays or deductibles when provided by an in-network health care provider. For more information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/. Many private health insurance plans also cover the cost of vaccines, but you should check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers. They also are offered by many employers, and are even available in some schools. Another useful tool is the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find the nearest location where you can get vaccinated.

Total Health Questionnaire: Elisa Mendel

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Elisa_Mendel editedElisa Mendel is Kaiser Permanente’s vice president of Healthworks & Product Innovation.

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?
A: Mind, body, spirit.

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A: My dad is a radiologist. The smell of the x-ray department is an early familiar positive memory.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Peanut butter.

Q: If you could change one thing in health care, what would it be?
A: More value and emphasis on emotional health.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most underrated way to improve health for individuals?
A: Daily movement and laughter.

Q: Where do/would you most like to travel?
A: Anywhere I’ve never been.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: My mom (she died when I was young), Gandhi, and Jimmy Stewart.

Total Health Questionnaire: Faye Sahai

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Faye Sahai is vice president of innovation & advanced technology for Kaiser Permanante Digital Faye SahaiTechnologies & Operations. 

Q: In a few words, what does total health mean to you?
A:  Wellbeing of mind, body, and spirit.

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A: When i was six, going to see the doctor who said I needed more iron – and I thought he meant metal plates like a robot would have.

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A: My mother is my health hero as a pediatrician and sole practitioner and business owner. She is very knowledgable, intuitive and caring.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A: Working with great people to make a positive difference.

Q: If you could change one thing about health care, what would it be?
A: Affordable for all.

Q: Where would you most like to live?
A: Where I am today – in the Bay Area.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Working with children from war-torn countries to discuss a new vision of a peaceful future and presenting to the UN with request and result of more countries signing the International Children’s Rights Agreement.

Total Health Questionnaire: Marilyn Chow

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Marilyn ChowRN, PhD, FAAN is Kaiser Permanente’s vice president of National Patient Care Services and Innovation.

Marilyn Chow

Marilyn Chow

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?
A: Inner peace and integrated connectedness of mind, body, spirit.

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A: 
Drinking Chinese herb tea (very bitter!) for my respiratory infection as a young child.

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A: 
Florence Nightingale.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: 
Tastes around the world–tapas, Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, vegetables.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A: Making a difference in people’s lives.  Seeing positive changes occur keeps me inspired.

Q: If you could change one thing in health care, what would it be?
A: Shared decision-making with a deliberate focus on coaching and teaching people how to care for themselves.

Q: Where do/would you most like to travel?
A: Europe, especially Paris and Italy.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Development and coaching of nurses and nurse executives across the US who are making a difference in health care.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: 
Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mead, and Florence Nightingale.