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Meet Michigan Medicine: Security

January 22nd, 2018

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Security at Michigan Medicine is synonymous with service. Not only is this team charged with keeping patients and employees safe, security officers are often the most highly-visible and best ambassadors for the organization.

In their roles, security colleagues can be some of the first employees that patients and their families encounter upon arriving and among the last employees they interact with before they leave, making them an integral part of the patient experience.

“People don’t necessarily think about security playing a major role in the patient experience, but it drives absolutely everything we do,” said Perry Spencer, director of Michigan Medicine Security.

Here’s what you may not know about this group that emphasizes both safety and service at Michigan Medicine.

Acting with compassion

Hospital security is a 24/7 operation that ensures the safety of everyone on the main medical campus and various ambulatory clinics by focusing on two key attributes: compassion and empathy.

“Those are the most important things we look for when we hire our officers,” Spencer said. “If you’re able to understand where an agitated person is coming from, it helps you keep that person calm and everyone around them calm.”

Newly-hired officers undergo three months of rigorous training, including verbal de-escalation training and proper restraint training. They also must learn their way around the medical center in order to respond efficiently to any call for help.

“All of those efforts are aimed at allowing our officers to provide important services in a quick, friendly and effective way,” Spencer said.

A welcoming role

More than 90 security officers work at Michigan Medicine, donning blue shirts with shiny silver badges.

The team also has close to 80 guest service specialists, who can be identified by their dark sport coats embroidered with a yellow security badge. Guest service specialists are stationed at the main entrance to University Hospital and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and on each inpatient floor at Mott as well as in the two emergency departments. These employees welcome patients and families, help them find their way and even make recommendations such as where to eat or how to find the nearest hotel.

“While being a resource for our patients and families, guest service specialists are also doing important security screening,” Spencer said, pointing out that these staff members identify any visitors who may be ill with the flu or other infections and keep an eye out for restricted individuals who may not be allowed to visit certain patients.

“Very few health care institutions have security staff in a welcoming role,” Spencer said. “It allows our team to be more friendly and approachable while doing our job more effectively.”

Providing help — inside and out

Security officers play a number of other roles at Michigan Medicine. They investigate reports of thefts, manage the organization’s lost-and-found and monitor cameras across the health system. They also distribute ID badges and keys to staff members and monitor parking structures and commuter lots.

“We’ll escort colleagues to their vehicle if they desire an extra level of security, we’ll unlock car doors for people and jumpstart their vehicles,” Spencer said. “We don’t want anyone to be left alone in parking areas as they wait for help to arrive.”

Finally, security officers play an educational and preparedness role on campus. The department leads a number of training sessions and table-top exercises with the help of their U-M Division of Public Safety and Security partners to help colleagues prepare for emergencies such as natural disasters or an active shooter scenario.

Who you gonna call?

If you’d like the assistance of hospital security, or want to report any abnormal or suspicious behavior, contact the department 24 hours a day at extension 6-7890 from any house phone. An officer will respond as soon as possible.

“No situation is too trivial for us to handle,” Spencer said. “Sometimes the smallest hint of irregular behavior serves as the tipping point for something much bigger. If you let us know, we can do something about it and get people the help they need. That’s why we’re here.”

Do you want Michigan Medicine to meet your department in a future edition of Headlines? Let us know!

Week in Review: Week of Jan. 15, 2018

January 19th, 2018

This week, Headlines featured faculty and staff who are focused on making improvements in the months ahead.

Colleagues shared their new year’s resolutions and the positive changes they plan to make in 2018; MHealthy outlined its Rewards program, which offers incentives for individuals to improve their health; readers learned more about Spiritual Care and how it can enhance the experience for patients, families and coworkers; and employees were given a recap of the MLK Health Sciences Symposium, where attendees were urged to make an impact both in the organization and in the community.

In case you missed it, here’s the latest:

Picture it: Employees put 2018 resolutions into action

The Michigan Medicine Compliance Office vowed to make philanthropy a regular part of their 2018 routine, while the CMC therapy team in Northville committed to drinking more water. Those were just two of the new year’s resolutions faculty and staff shared in Headlines this week to win fantastic prizes. Check out the rest of the entries and see who is bringing home movie tickets or Michigan Medicine swag!

MHealthy Rewards offers new incentives in 2018

If you’re a benefits-eligible faculty or staff member, now is the perfect time to learn more about your health and take steps to maintain or improve it. That’s because MHealthy is offering incentives for individuals to complete activities designed around helping them stress less, exercise more and manage their weight or other health conditions. Click through for details.

Service Spotlight: Spiritual Care

When facing a health care challenge, individuals often turn to their faith for guidance and support. That’s where Michigan Medicine’s Spiritual Care Department comes in. Learn more about this dedicated group of chaplains and how they can help patients, families and colleagues when they need it the most.

At MLK Symposium, employees urged to ‘change the world’

On Monday, the entire university came together to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Among the festivities was the 28th annual MLK Health Sciences Symposium at Michigan Medicine. Find out more about this important event, where faculty, staff and students were implored to fight health inequities and make a difference in their community.

At MLK Symposium, employees urged to ‘change the world’

January 18th, 2018

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This week, Michigan Medicine hosted its 28th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Sciences Symposium to commemorate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.

More than 300 members of the organization gathered Monday in Dow Auditorium for the symposium, which was hosted by the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) and sponsored by a number of the U-M health sciences units — including the School of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, Michigan Institute for Clinical Health Research, Kinesiology, U-M Medical School and Michigan Medicine.

“This event represents a collaborative effort that allowed members of our respective units to come together in a powerful way,” said OHEI administrative manager Yvette Harris. “If we as members of the U-M community uphold Dr. King’s values on a daily basis, [everyone’s] presence at this event will become that much more meaningful.”

The event theme: The Fierce Urgency of Now — Moving Past Indecision to Action in Health Care Equity. A keynote address by Adewale Troutman, M.D., M.P.H., a renowned social justice advocate and health equity expert, focused on how both health and health care should be viewed as social justice issues.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’ I think that this is hugely important when we think about health inequities,” Troutman said, pointing to factors such as housing, income and education levels that tend to lead to poorer health outcomes. “Starting here, starting now, you, too, can change the world. Make that a core belief for all that you do here at Michigan Medicine and in your personal lives.”

Also presenting was Yazmyn Cross, president of the U-M Black Undergraduate Medical Association, who introduced a slideshow featuring various images regarding the fight for diversity, equity and inclusion across U-M’s campus. The powerful presentation was met with loud applause from those in attendance.

The hour-long event also featured remarks from David J. Brown, M.D., associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and inclusion and associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.

“We must always remember that our differences as individuals are what make us stronger as an organization, and together, we must celebrate our diversity,” Brown said. “That’s something we should always value and treasure at Michigan Medicine.”

Brown recalled Dr. King’s hard work and dedication when expanding upon the importance of DEI issues on campus.

“During divisive times, it is often difficult to promote an inclusive environment that welcomes those who may be different than ourselves,” Brown said. “Yet, we must remember Dr. King’s words and acknowledge his struggles and seemingly tireless exertions so that we can ultimately create an inclusive environment for all and truly live out his dream — no matter how hard that work may be.”

Miss the MLK Symposium? Click here to watch a complete video.

Events celebrating Martin Luther King’s life and legacy continue for the next few weeks at U-M. For a full list of festivities, download a free mobile device guidebook app by clicking here

Picture it: Employees put 2018 resolutions into action

January 17th, 2018

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Michigan Medicine faculty and staff have ambitious plans for 2018!

Congratulations to the following employees who won movie tickets or swag just for sharing photos of their new year’s resolutions in action.

If you’re among the winning submissions, the Department of Communication will reach out to help you claim your prize.

  • The CMC therapy team at the Northville Health Center
  • The Michigan Medicine Compliance Office
  • Matt Melvin, rehab technician, outpatient physical therapy
  • Nicole Jacob and Craig French, Health Information Technology & Services
  • Katie Schwalm, performance improvement consultant, Department of Internal Medicine
  • The Health Information Technology & Services documentation and publishing team

Thank you to everyone who participated by sending Headlines their goals for the year!

Service Spotlight: Spiritual Care

January 16th, 2018

When facing health care challenges, many patients and families turn to their faith for guidance and comfort.

Michigan Medicine supports these individuals by providing a dedicated group of chaplains that make up the Spiritual Care Department.

Twelve clinically-trained chaplains offer spiritual counseling, ritual support — such as communion, baptisms and anointings — worship services, bereavement consultations, crisis intervention and more 24 hours a day.

“The most common request we receive is for support during end of life,” said Rev. Lindsay Bona, the manager of Spiritual Care. “Sometimes it’s for the patients, and sometimes it’s for the families — but no matter who needs our assistance, we are there to make sure they have the guidance they need to cope with whatever challenges they may be facing.”

The chaplains represent Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths but are sensitive and responsive to the individual needs of any patient or family member.

“We respect the differences between all religions and the traditions of any faith,” Bona said. “If a patient seeks spiritual support, faculty and staff should never hesitate to contact our department.”

Bona said the chaplains will likely be able to assist an individual no matter the request.

“One of the more unique requests we receive is for a smudging ritual — which is a Native American cleansing ritual,” Bona said. “Families have requested it at the time of birth, death or before a surgery. We are happy to serve the needs of our diverse population.”

In addition to assisting patients and families, the chaplains are also trained to support staff who work in high-stress areas such as the emergency department. Bona works with her canine partner Anna, a trained service dog, who helps patients and staff manage stress and anxiety.

While chaplains are available to visit patient rooms, Spiritual Care also manages two chapels on the Michigan Medicine campus. The chapels are open to all patients, families, visitors and staff, and are located in University Hospital (Room 2A215) and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital (Room 2780). Both are open 24 hours a day and host weekly religious services.

For more information about Spiritual Care, please click here. To request a consultation or meeting on behalf of a patient or family member, call 734-936-4041 or email

MHealthy Rewards offers new incentives in 2018

January 15th, 2018

Registration is now open for MHealthy’s 2018 Rewards program. If you are a benefits-eligible faculty or staff member, this is your opportunity to learn about your health, take action to maintain or improve it and earn incentives along the way!

Each year, more than 20,000 participate in the university’s annual health and wellbeing incentive program. This year’s program includes two easy steps:

  • Step 1: Register for Rewards by completing a confidential health questionnaire. If you register by April 20, you can qualify for a fitness center membership reimbursement.
  • Step 2: Earn points by completing eligible health and wellbeing activities. Accumulate 100 points to earn $100!

Achieve new goals

Once registered for MHealthy Rewards, you can earn points by completing any number of healthy activities.

That’s what Richana Gaskin did when she joined the program. Richana, an administrative assistant intermediate in pediatric orthopaedic surgery at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said she originally participated for the $100 incentive. Since then, however, she’s remained involved in healthy activities such as exercise classes and online challenges because she loves how it keeps her body and mind strong and reduces stress.

“My main motivation was to keep up with my children and all of their extracurricular activities without being tired,” said Richana. “But I feel so accomplished when I push myself to do something I’ve never done before or when I’ve achieved a new goal. My colleagues now consider me the ‘fitness motivator’ in our department — yet another welcomed benefit!”

Dozens of activities to choose from

The program offers something for everyone, as more than two dozen healthy activities are eligible. Among them are programs that help you manage health conditions, stress less, move more, manage weight, quit tobacco or drink less alcohol. Activities are worth 25, 50 or 100 points each and can be completed anytime through Oct. 19.

Returning favorites include Active U, Colorful Choices and the MHealthy Ready to Lose weight management program. New choices include an online SleepWell Program, an online 21-day meditation program, MHealthy chef demonstrations and the Personal Action Towards Health (PATH) program.

A complete list of eligible activities, their point values and completion criteria is available on the StayWell Portal, which can be accessed from the MHealthy website.

New fitness center reimbursement

In addition to earning $100 for completing activities, you can also be reimbursed for a portion of a fitness center membership just by registering for Rewards. For every month between January and October that you verify membership, you can earn a $12/month credit. Verify up to 10 months to earn up to $120!

“This is an opportunity to reward our community members for being proactive about their wellbeing,” said LaVaughn Palma-Davis, senior director of health and wellbeing services. “Whether you currently have a membership or have been thinking of joining a fitness center, this new benefit can help ease some of the expense.”

Fitness facilities may be located at U-M or in the community. The following types of memberships are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Health clubs and gym memberships
  • Community center memberships
  • Yoga, pilates, spinning, barre or crossfit facility memberships

To register for Rewards, simply complete the 2018 confidential StayWell health questionnaire. The questionnaire helps you annually reflect on your overall wellbeing, then set goals to maintain or improve it.

Learn more about MHealthy Rewards and get started today!

Week in Review: Week of Jan. 8, 2018

January 12th, 2018

This week, Headlines featured the many ways employees strive to improve the lives of those both within the organization and in the surrounding community.

Faculty and staff shared how they stepped up to bring holiday cheer to neighbors in need; employees were recognized for going above and beyond for patients, families and coworkers; David J. Brown, M.D., highlighted the important work being performed by the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion; and readers learned the story of Karen Hollingsworth, whose nursing background helps her provide vital technology to clinicians and other staff members.

In case you missed it, here’s the latest:

Employees get into the holiday spirit

Over the past few weeks, Michigan Medicine employees made the holiday season merry and bright for thousands of individuals in the Ann Arbor area. From volunteering at a local food pantry to decorating patient rooms at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, check out a number of ways faculty and staff got into the holiday spirit!

Making a Difference: December 2017 highlights

Employees across the organization work hard every day to make a difference in the lives of those they serve. Click here to read about some of the remarkable colleagues who were lauded by a patient, family member or coworker last month.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion: Q&A with David J. Brown, M.D.

From creating employee resource groups to hosting special events, faculty and staff in the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) work hard to ensure equity exists in all facets at Michigan Medicine. The head of OHEI, David J. Brown, M.D., recently sat down with Headlines to discuss his office’s important work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. Find out what he had to say!

Our Nurses Know: Technology

Decades after earning a nursing degree from U-M, Karen Hollingsworth is still making an impact on patients at Michigan Medicine — though not as a bedside nurse. Click through to learn Hollingsworth’s remarkable story and to find out how her nursing background served as a springboard for a successful career in information technology!

Employees get into the holiday spirit

January 11th, 2018

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Over the past few weeks, Michigan Medicine employees have made the holiday season merry and bright for patients, families and community members.

From volunteering at a local food pantry to decorating patient rooms at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, here are just a few examples of ways faculty and staff got into the holiday spirit!

Preparing meals

Members of the Compliance team volunteered at Food Gatherers, preparing meals for community members in need, as their annual holiday party.

They weren’t the only ones to dedicate their time at the food pantry. A team of pediatric ICU nurses spent a day there in early January and a group led by the Performance Improvement division of the Quality Department visited in December.

Providing a toy store for kids

Faculty, staff and volunteers at Mott once again gave patients and their family members a holiday season to remember. For the sixth straight year, employees organized a “toy store” comprised of toys, books and games donated by members of the community.

The parents of each Little Victor got to choose three free gifts for a patient, while siblings could come away with two of their own.

“Shopping for gifts is the last thing on parents’ minds when they have a child who is an inpatient during the holidays,” said Kevin Smith, a Mott community relations specialist. “We wanted to take one worry away [from families] and provide them with free shopping here on site.”

Giving Tree ‘rooted’ in charity

Several departments that work in the North Campus Administrative Complex — Human Resources, the Department of Communication, the Office of Patient Experience, Health Information Management, Paging Services and several outpatient call centers — pulled off the second annual “Giving Tree” celebration this season.

In the atrium of the building, several trees were filled with tags and decorations. Each tag listed a “wish” or item that six different charities such as the Ronald McDonald House and Sweet Dreamzzz would need. Staff members then fulfilled those wishes and brought the items in to be delivered to each corresponding program.

“This year’s Giving Tree was once again a huge success,” said JoAnn Grantham, Human Resources employee recognition program manager, who helped coordinate this year’s event. “Together, our teams collected nearly 1,200 items for charities and brought holiday cheer to the entire community. We can’t wait to do it again next year!”

Filling in the ‘GAP’

The Quality Department raised money and collected almost 20 gift cards, which they donated to the Guest Assistance Program. Members of GAP then distributed them to family members of University Hospital patients in need of financial assistance.

The department also raised money for the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, ensuring those experiencing homelessness had a warm place to stay over the holidays.

‘Coated’ in kindness

Faculty and staff at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, the Institute for Healthcare Policy, as well as staff and parents at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, teamed up to collect nearly 250 winter coats to donate to underserved community members. The team also gathered eight pairs of snow pants, 33 scarves, 42 pairs of winter gloves and 35 hats.

“We’re so thankful for our community’s generosity,” said Donald Likosky, Ph.D., who coordinated the drive. “It was a collective effort to make sure those who needed some warmth this holiday season were able to get it.”

Making the hospital ‘feel like home’

Members of the Clinical Trials Support Unit partnered with Wish Upon a Teen — a nonprofit in the area that provides resources and opportunities to teenagers with severe medical conditions — to help decorate the hospital rooms of patients at Mott.

This included bringing in new bedding, rugs, posters and memorabilia all related to each individual teen’s interests. The team created Wonder Woman decorations for one patient and snowflakes and comic-book themed items for another.

“It was simply a pleasure to give back to kids right here at Michigan Medicine, especially teens and older children who tend to get lost in the holiday shuffle,” said Lori Robertson, administrative assistant for the CTSU. “Our whole team came together and truly made a difference this year.”

Thank you to Michigan Medicine team members for your generosity! Check out the photo gallery above of your colleagues bringing joy to those around them this holiday season.

Our Nurses Know: Technology

January 10th, 2018

Karen Hollingsworth leads the Clinical & Operational Applications division within HITS.

As a freshman in high school, Karen Hollingsworth, R.N., M.S., CPHIMS, knew two things for certain — she would follow in her father’s footsteps by attending U-M for college and she would pursue a career in nursing.

“I have a younger brother who was born with a congenital heart defect that was repaired the summer I started college, when he was 10 years old,” said Hollingsworth, who now works as a senior director in Health Information Technology & Services (HITS). “I think that watching what he went through and seeing how his health care challenges affected our family definitely influenced my decision to become a nurse.”

Hollingsworth was accepted to the U-M School of Nursing. Eventually, her nursing career would take a turn — leading her on a winding path back to Ann Arbor, and a fulfilling, though slightly different, future in health care.

A move to technology

After completing her nursing degree, Hollingsworth headed west and started as a staff nurse at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also enrolled in the University of Utah, pursuing a Master’s degree in physiological nursing.

“The hospital where I worked was an affiliate of Intermountain Healthcare, an organization that is very prominent in informatics and at the forefront of technological innovation,” said Hollingsworth. “We were using a version of electronic health records back in 1980 and utilized computers in our daily work well before a lot of other organizations.”

That emphasis on using technology made it easy for Hollingsworth to transition from nursing into a career in information technology (IT).

“The move from nursing into IT is a more natural progression than many people realize,” she said. “Nurses are at the front-line of patient care, using many of the technology systems and applications in place at health care institutions. They often understand technology needs that would benefit patient care and better utilize hospital resources.”

Hollingsworth made a full transition into a career in technology during her time as the director of critical care nursing at Genesys Health System in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

“At the time, we were merging four hospitals into one and constructing a new hospital building,” she said. “When the IT project director position suddenly became available, I was asked to step in and lead the project. I thought I would be managing nursing documentation implementation, but ended up leading the entire project, including the physical moving of hardware and equipment and many new systems implementation.”

This new position required Hollingsworth to call on her past experience at LDS Hospital.

“I was so thankful for my background at LDS because I had an increased understanding of technology systems and applications that were beneficial in this new role,” she said. “That knowledge combined with my nursing experience gave me all of the tools I needed to transition into that new role.”

Back where she started

More than 20 years later, Hollingsworth’s career has come full circle — she returned to her alma mater in 2014 to lead the Clinical & Operational Applications (COA) division within HITS and occasionally teaches and precepts with the U-M School of Nursing as an adjunct instructor.

As a senior director in HITS, she leads a team of more than 200 staff members, including four directors and 15 managers, who are responsible for at least 300 clinical and business applications relied upon by patients, clinicians and staff every day.

“Many of the applications we support are tied to MiChart, but our team is really in charge of almost any application that helps the health system function day-to-day,” said Hollingsworth.

Examples of programs managed by her team include those used to regulate the temperature of the refrigerators used in clinical areas and many of the cardiology systems used throughout the health system. They even manage the software used by the cash registers in the hospital gift shops.

Hollingsworth credits her U-M nursing degree for the success she has had over the course of her career.

“I truly believe that my nursing degree was the springboard for my career in information technology,” she said. “A nursing degree from the University of Michigan opens many doors, and I believe that our curriculum really prepares graduates for a career that extends beyond nursing. Health IT continues to evolve and expand and nurses will always have an important role to play in the field.”