One year ago I commented about the co-existence of oil and fisheries in my home state of Louisiana. This year I share an article that seems to cut right through to the true status of the recovery. Many times I've driven that stretch along Bayou Lafourche (once for the state high school football championship -- we lost) and to Grand Isle. You can't help but see the signs peddling fresh fish, crab, shrimp and oysters.
If is true that the signs, and fishermen, are disappearing and dolphins are dying by the hundreds ... it is truly a sad day. My only hope is that we are only seeing a short term impact and this area of the Gulf Coast will recover within the next couple of years. It is too painful to think that it won't!
The American College of Physicians has a YouTube video that demonstrates the impact of low health literacy on the healthcare delivery system and costs. Healthcare administrators and clinicians should view this video to see the challenges for themselves. Notice the potential for medication errors alone!
I learned something about measuring today - from Drew Brees and Elmo. I thought of adding the video below since it includes two of my favorite things - the Saints and Sesame Street - and people - Elmo and Drew.
But, then I started thinking. In healthcare we measure many things and some are rather objective -- like Drew's ruler. However, it is also important that we not forget the more subjective measures and stories.
Sometimes, those subjective measures are just as important, if not more important. So keep this in mind as you go about your day in the hospital, clinic or other healthcare environment and set up your measures. Remember the stories when it comes to patient experience, quality and all of those emerging technologies.
Tulane University has finally recovered financially from Hurricane Katrina and today announced the re-building of a football stadium on campus. The old beloved and historic Tulane Stadium, built in 1926, was torn down in 1980. This meant that I, as a graduate student in the late 80's, watched Tulane games in the Superdome. The experience left much to be desired, especially for someone who came from LSU and the thrill of games in Tiger Stadium.
October 17, 2013 Update: A couple of retirements have reminded me of this post and it is probably time to add a couple of names. Richard Bracken, currently the CEO of HCA, was at the time our group president and the one asking that one more name be added to the layoff list. At the end of this year, he will retire.
I finally let a cat out of the bag for the world to see for an article about women and maternity leave. It was a long time ago, but the feelings of being laid off after just returning from maternity leave remain in my memory.
My boss had made the comment about the few female CEOs in the company (Hospital Corporation of America) not having children at home almost two years earlier when I informed him I was getting married. I do believe his intention, as a mentor, was to make sure I recognized the reality of the day. I appreciated his concern.
I always had to fight against the current to accomplish my goals and just saw what lay ahead as one more challenge and another opportunity to prove my determination -- that I could "have my cake and eat it too." The reality was that my industry or company wasn't ready for me, or others like me.
At the time of my layoff, the environment was that we were having to re-invent the organization to survive through the tsunami of managed care. (This was at a time when managed care wanted new moms out of the hospital fast. I had been asked what time I planned to leave the hospital just seven hours after delivering my daughter. Legislation later required a more appropriate length of stay.)
I could understand the need to eliminate my position at thathospital, given the continual decline in census due to managed care. What I can't understand or even explain, is why my company, one I had worked for over many years, did not try in the slightest to find another position for me -- even in another area of the country. Maybe it was the fact that the "Columbian's" were in charge. Or perhaps, as my boss had cautioned, because I had just had a baby.
My boss continued to be a source of recommendations and referrals to opportunities, but the company let me down. Now that the "Columbians" are gone, it seems that perhaps the company has evolved. Hopefully, others haven't or won't share this experience.
I just learned about a resource on disaster planning for healthcare, a project of the Louisiana State Medical Society, and want to share it with my readers. I've only quickly reviewed the 122-pages, but notice it has some great pictures to give readers a real perspective on the issues discussed. I also noticed one chapter includes a section on leadership and organization effectiveness (one of my favorite topics), so I can wait to read this one.
Here in Santa Barbara County we continue to work on our hospital and public health preparedness and I look forward to learning from and incorporating Louisiana's lessons learned.
The LSU Alumni Magazine included my book, Social Media in Healthcare: Connect Communicate Collaborate in the Tigers in Print section of their Summer issue. It might be cool for people who knew me when to see it and maybe I'll even get to reconnect with an old friend or two.
I loved my days at LSU! Enough classes for a Communications Minor. The quite beauty (but not on football days) of the campus. The warm and humid environment (really cold in the winter). Being young and away from my family (a young girl's dream). Off to Ft. Walton, FL for spring break, picking peaches in Clinton, LA and so many other new adventures!
Hospital employees are among those who have been devastated by the recent flooding and tornado disasters in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.
The Care Fund, created in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, is there to assist those hospital employees who experienced devastation and suffering. Contributions are tax deductible and funds are distributed by hospitals to those employees who need assistance. The fund is administered by the Alabama Hospital Association.
The Directive emphasizes three national preparedness principles:
An all-of-Nation approach, aimed at enhancing integration of effort across Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments; closer collaboration with the private and non-profit sectors; and more engagement of individuals, families and communities;
A focus on capabilities, defined by specific and measurable objectives, as the cornerstone of preparedness. This will enable more integrated, flexible, and agile "all hazards" efforts tailored to the unique circumstances of any given threat, hazard, or actual event; and
A focus on outcomes and rigorous assessment to measure and track progress in building and sustaining capabilities over time. The Directive calls for the development of an overarching National Preparedness Goal that identifies the core capabilities necessary for preparedness, defined as a spectrum of five broad efforts:
Prevention - those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism;
Protection - those capabilities necessary to secure the homeland against acts of terrorism and manmade or natural disasters;
Mitigation - those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters;
Response - those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred; and
Recovery - those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively.
The Directive also calls for development of a National Preparedness System to guide activities that will enable the Nation to achieve the goal; a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness; and an annual National Preparedness Report to measure progress in meeting the goal.
This action recognizes that our national response to a wide range of events, from the 2009-H1N1 pandemic to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has been strengthened by leveraging the expertise and resources that exist in our communities. All of us can contribute to safeguard our Nation from harm, and we must continue to lean forward together to prepare for all hazards.
County Health Rankings is a site that allows users to view and compare counties on key indicators of health. I'll excuse the fact that they overlooked reference to the parishes of the great State of Louisiana, because this is such a wonderful resources.
I noticed my tri-county area seems to have a similar ranking and attribute the lead by San Luis Obispo to it's beauty and wide open spaces. Next I'll check out the parishes of my youth, but I have to admit I'm a little afraid of what I might see. Hopefully, Governor Jindal is right and I'll be wrong!
For me, it was a little closer view of Louisiana's current political climate and new details on where the State's healthcare system is heading. It was also a trip down memory lane and through what is so familiar to someone who lived in Baton Rouge (while at LSU), as well as, New Orleans and Metairie and visited Mansura often.
I agree with the Times Picayune's take on the party check boxes, but I think I would expect that from any politician. However, I was also struck by Jindal's depth of commitment, resolve and caring. This was missing in in some of Louisiana's past political leaders and it contributed to the unfortunate export.
In his chapter about culture and ethics, Jindal included a quote from deTocqueville that really does describe the importance of balance when speaking of America, or even Louisiana.
America is great because it is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Ochsner and the New Orleans Saints are teaming up to give you the chance to win one-of-a-kind experiences and exclusive Saints merchandise with an online Saints Auction! All proceeds go towards The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner.
Submit a bid before the deadline on Thursday, December 16th at 11:59 a.m.
I met Louisiana's Governor this morning and heard him speak at the Regan Ranch Center. One of the things he mentioned was that for 25 years, Louisiana's greatest export was its young people. We moved in search of opportunity -- elsewhere. I was among those and am really happy to hear that over the last three years, things have turned around a bit.
Louisiana has a storied political history, but it seems Bobby Jindah is making the changes that were overdue. I'm really impressed with Governor Jindal and so pleased my family and friends overwhelmingly elected him to office.
I met him as he signed my copy of his new book -- Leadership and Crisis. I shared that I was from Louisiana and even talked high schools with his wife. Then later I read what he wrote in my book and it choke's me up a bit every time I think about it.
Christina - Come back to Louisiana! Thanks!
Sometimes, I wish I could. It is nice to know I have a personal invitation from the Governor! My mom will be so happy to hear about this!
BTW, he said he liked my fluer de lis (logo)! I knew he would!!!!
The Community Health Center Model -- merging the fragmented disciplines of medical care, epidemiology and public health -- was first used in South Africa during the late 1940s and 50s. Many found this "third world approach" relevant for addressing some community needs here in the US; beginning with Mississippi in the 1960s.
The book includes a review of the history, great pictures and even a chapter on the impact of community health centers in New Orleans -- post Katrina. I'm going to give my copy to my favorite local Community Health Center, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and encourage you to visit and share the link to the Faces of Hope ebook.
I hate the fact that I can't watch all of the Saints games from home here in SB. So, I'm in my office today keeping up with the score on my computer and am really happy to see the current one. I came across a great picture and want to share it with my readers.
My children and I took a road trip to Louisiana last week and will be leaving soon. It has been a while since I've been here in the summer, so I thought I'd write a little about the experience.
First, the grass, woods and air are thick. (The latter makes my hair thick and curly.) It is hot and humid, but I prefer this to being here in August.
I've had seafood (crab, catfish, crawfish), a muffuletta, beignets and cafe au lait, creole tomatoes and daiquiri to-go.
I've stocked up on Bergeron pecans, Tony's, tasso, fish fry, beignet mix, sparklers and a king cake mix.
We made a really big bon fire (my son informed my dad you could get arrested for doing that at home) and did our own fireworks show.
We went to a real mall (inside), "town", visit aunts and uncles and see the Superbowl trophy at the Saints Training Facility.
We worked in my mom's yard and toured ancient indian mounds (Marksville) and the Louisiana 4-H museum (I raised rabbits as a 4-H project).
I gave my daughter driving lessons in the pasture (where I learned to drive) and graduated her to the road (dirt and paved).
My younger daughter bought an LSU tee shirt for her bear.
My kids have enjoyed their time with some of their cousins and met a few more of their 2nd cousins.
I was interviewed by a Tulane SPHTM student for an upcoming issue of the school's newsletter.
I drove by my house in Metairie and hope I can make it to Lakeview tomorrow.
I shared old and new stories of life in Louisiana with my three beautiful children.
The best two things of the trip have been driving through the state (North to South) and seeing my family. I'm looking forward to going home, but will miss the sights, sounds, smells, taste and feel of Louisiana.
The LSU Alumni Crawfish Boil is next weekend, but I'll miss it because I'll be in San Antonio for ATA. So, the family announced, "no problem, we can go without you." They are all really excited and I'm hoping I might still get some crawfish since I'm only one state over.
In all the pre-boil hype, I've learned about Flippy and his Friends. As cute as the books and tee shirts are, my babies are just a little too big (teens and tween). But, I'm sharing Flippy with my readers who may still have little ones. "Who's your Crawdaddy?" is certainly my favorite for a young child, but I also like "Make roux, not war!"
I've been reading the Wall Street Journal coverage of the oil spill and the response to clean it up and also heard some of the coverage on TV. I have my own thoughts on the subject and since this blog is a place for me to use my voice, I'll do so on Louisiana once again.
Having grown up in Louisiana, traveled down to the gulf shoreline (from Holly Beach to the panhandle of Florida) and married a man who for 17 years repaired, inspected and maintained the oil rigs deep underwater I may have a unique perspective.
Thinking back I am a bit surprised that I only saw a significant amount of oil/tar on the beach once and that was at Holly Beach when I was still really a child. For all of the oil that is drilled out in the Gulf, I think that is a fairly significant accomplishment. I also don't remember hearing about too many spills. As a comparison, I get tar stuck to my feet just about every time I go to the beach here in Santa Barbara, because the pressure pushes it up and it bubbles out then flows to shore.
Oil and the fisheries have been big drivers of the Louisiana economy for many years. Before the early 80's the oilfield was full of cowboys and safety wasn't always job one. However, the oil companies did change this culture and safety became really important. I certainly can't speak for BP, but overall it seems the industry has had good outcomes. Just as in healthcare there are risks and great leaders manage those risks and take action to minimize errors and loss. However, it isn't perfect.
Now, the fisherman and oil field workers have co-existed for a long time. And, I think every oilfield worker knows how big of a challenge it would be for them to get to Venice (and work) if the local fishing communities had lost confidence in their industry and its ability to protect the environment and fisheries. I suspect that oil knows they can't screw this up.
So, my perspective is that this was a truly unfortunate accident and a root cause analysis to determine what really happened needs to occur. The lessons learned need to result in corrective action and perhaps, a new regulation might be warranted. However, I caution government from jumping to regulation before this process has been completed. I expect BP to fulfill their responsibilities and to learn from this experience and to ensure that they actions are taken to minimize/eliminate the risk of this type of event from reoccurring.
One last thing. I'd like to make a personal observation, because it reflects on a largely unknown aspect of the south Louisiana culture. When I still lived in Louisiana, the fisherman had a certain look and it was largely cajunish. However, I saw a picture of a group of boat captains in the WSJ and it was different -- there were many Asians. My guess is that they are from the Vietnamese immigrants who fled Communism in the 1970s and settled in Louisiana -- especially in New Orleans East. I'm often asked why I don't have a southern accent and this is an example of why. New Orleans is really a big melting pot city. I'm sure in a few years, the picture will also include post-Katrina Mexican immigrants.