Category Archives: Healthcare

Rivera Conference To Look At Health Issues

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Suzanne Hurt and published in The Press Enterprise on Feb 16, 2015.)

The 27th annual Tomás Rivera Conference at UC Riverside will explore healthcare for some of society’s most vexing concerns – mental health, addiction and aging – and Latino medical workers and artists who use film, theater, music and comedy to spotlight health challenges and promote healing.

The conference, whose theme is “Community and Wellness: Latinas/os, Medicine and the New Health Humanities,” will be on Friday, Feb. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in UC Riverside’s Highlander Union Building 302, according to a UCR news release.

The 27th annual Tomás Rivera Conference is set for Friday, Feb. 20, in honor of Rivera, who died in 1984, five years after becoming UC Riverside's chancellor. Photo Credit: UC Riverside
The 27th annual Tomás Rivera Conference is set for Friday, Feb. 20, in honor of Rivera, who died in 1984, five years after becoming UC Riverside’s chancellor. Photo Credit: UC Riverside

Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside; and conference Director Tiffany Ana López, a UCR theatre professor and the university’s Tomás Rivera endowed chair, will make opening remarks.

Playwright/actor Luis Alfaro will perform his solo play “St. Jude,” about his experience taking care of his father at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main St. in Riverside.

The conference will include theater and music performances, a screening of the documentary “Code Black,” workshops, discussions and a roundtable. The workshops will be led by health professionals, artists, activists and scholars.

The conference is free, but reservations are required by the morning of the conference to reserve lunch and a place in an afternoon workshop, where space is limited. Parking costs $6 to $8.

As a community, we promote health and wellness in all forms. This attention to health and wellness makes Riverside a Location of Choice for people seeking a healthy lifestyle.

For the complete article, click here.

Health Foundation Announces Clinic Expansion

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in The Press Enterprise on February 11, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Riverside Community Health Foundation

The Riverside Community Health Foundation announced this week that it is planning a $3.5 million expansion of its Eastside Health Center that will nearly double the number of patients that can be seen, a news release said.

The clinic on University Avenue in Riverside sees about 6,500 patients per year and is at maximum capacity. The expansion will increase annual patient visits to over 12,000.

With a convenient location, dedicated medical and dental staff, and partnership with the community, Eastside Health Center has and continues to have a huge impact on the City of Riverside residents.

The Eastside Health Center  stands as a core anchor of quality and low cost medical and dental care for the underserved and uninsured throughout Riverside’s eastside neighborhoods. These eastside neighborhoods have in the past been plagued by high crime and poverty rates; however, they have been the focal point of the city’s recent efforts of improvement and renovation. The renovation is an example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar.

The nonprofit foundation has purchased land directly across from the health clinic and plans to break ground on an expansion in late 2015, the news release said.

The foundation also provided more than $3 million in programs and grants in 2014 to organizations providing services to residents living in Riverside and Jurupa Valley.

Organizations that received funding included Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Foundation, Parkview Community Hospital, Riverside Community College District and the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District.

The $3.5 million expansion of the Eastside Health Center is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life. This includes growing the economy, raising the standard of living and managing a growing population.

For the complete article, click here.

Riverside Ranks 39th Healthiest City In America

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Divya Raghavan and published in BetterDoctor on January 11, 2015.)

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Photo Credit: City of Riverside

 

Health is the #1 topic on everyone’s mind as they make New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, quitting smoking and exercising regularly are the top three New Year’s resolutions, together accounting for 3/4 of all the goals Americans set on January 1.

At BetterDoctor, they encourage you to use this year to take control of your health. But this may be easier in some locations than in others. Doctor access, doctor quality, recreational opportunities and health insurance options all vary widely from city to city. BetterDoctor crunched the numbers to determine which of the biggest fifty cities are the healthiest—and which have the worse habits and access to care. Riverside’s unmatched landscape, year-around outdoor activities, and attention to healthy living helped make #39 on the list, making it a location of choice for people seeking a healthy life style.

They used a data-driven approach to determine the healthiest cities in the United States, creating a 100-point composite index that uses the following three questions to assess health of a city:

1. Are residents fit and healthy? They used the American Fitness Index to assess fitness and general health of the residents. This composite index is comprised of many variables, including exercise rates, eating habits, chronic health problems and disease rates, access to parks and recreational activities and more.

2. Is medical care accessible and high-quality? They included the percentage of doctors in the city that are highly rated according to BetterDoctor’s comprehensive, seven-variable algorithm as well as the number of primary physicians per 100,000 residents.

3. Do residents have health insurance? They included the percentage of residents with health coverage to assess how feasible it is for residents to get medical care.

Rank Metro area AFI score Percentage of the population with health insurance Doctors per 1,000 residents Percentage of doctors who are highly rated on BetterDoctor Overall health score
39 Riverside, CA 47.8 80.00% 1.37 13.22% 35.08

For the complete list of rankings, click here.

First Doctoral Program At CBU Scheduled For Fall 2015 Launch

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Dr. Mark A Wyatt and published in CBU News & Events on January 15, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU
Photo Credit: CBU

California Baptist University will have its first doctoral degree beginning in the fall of 2015. The School of Nursing will offer the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) after it was approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

“It is very exciting to be launching CBU’s first doctoral program later this year,” said Dr. Jonathan Parker, CBU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We have been working very diligently to develop a high quality DNP degree program and I’m especially pleased that our accrediting agency has recognized that effort and commented very favorably on the result.”

The school expects 20 students in its first class, said Dr. Lisa Bursch, acting director of the DNP program. Bursch said there is a national movement to have more nurses educated at a doctoral level because of the complexity of health care. For that reason, the school is looking to train nurse leaders to have an impact on health outcomes.

“For as much money as (the nation) spends on health care, our national outcomes are not that great,” Bursch said. “Something’s not translating between what we know to do and what’s being done.”

The nursing doctoral program will be the only one in Riverside County, Bursch said. Students in the clinical doctorate will take original research and put it into practice. Classes will include organization and systems leadership class, nursing theory and translational research, policy and finance. All students will do a project, which involves looking at health outcomes and how to improve them.

Parker said it is fitting that CBU’s first doctoral program is in nursing. “Programs such as the DNP not only help to meet an important need in society by producing highly-trained healthcare professionals,” he explained, “but they also represent the service-related values that California Baptist University seeks to instill in its graduates.”

Being the first and only nursing doctoral program in Riverside County, CBU’s effort to develop programs the meet the needs of employers is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny intelligent growth pillar.

For the complete article, click here.

What’s For Lunch? More Often, It’s Fresh And California-Grown

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Dayna Straehley and published in The Press Enterprise on January 2, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

On California Thursdays at Hillcrest High School, lunches made with fresh vegetables sell out first.

California Thursdays started Oct. 23, and is already a hit at schools such as Hillcrest. The center worked with school food service directors, farmers and produce distributors to develop recipes that students enjoy and can be made from scratch with fresh ingredients grown in-state.

They’re an alternative to frozen, processed, prepackaged meals shipped from out of state and reheated for schools, according to the center, a nonprofit dedicated to education for sustainable living and based in Berkley. Sometimes produce from California is shipped to Chicago and other distant locations for processing before it comes back to schools, the center said.

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

The California Thursdays entree features broccoli buds andcelery slices from Salinas, sliced red peppers from the Coachella Valley, sliced onions and matchstick carrots, rice grown in California and chicken. Food service workers put the vegetables on baking pans with a little water and into the oven. The cooked vegetables are then placed on top of the chicken and rice.

Although the full entree of only California-grown food is a weekly feature, Alvord Child Nutrition Services Director Eric Holliday said his department works with Sunrise Produce to include as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to serve students every day.

The fruit also has fewer preservatives and the apples aren’t waxed like the ones in supermarkets, said Lisa Marquez, vice president of sales for Sunrise, which works with farmers and 75 to 80 school districts in Southern California.

Holliday said schools try to educate students about food and teach them where it comes from. Those education efforts encourage students to eat more fresh foods that may be unfamiliar initially.

Located in beautiful Southern California, Riverside has weather that is conducive to the production of year-round produce and excellent recreational opportunities.  Riverside is a location of choice for those that desire a healthy lifestyle.

To read the full article, click here.

Fighting A “Food Desert”

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Alicia Robinson and published in The Press Enterprise on December 31, 2014.)

Joey Romero, program director of Mobile Fresh, stands in the doorway of an old RTA bus that has been converted to a mini market with fresh vegetables and other healthy food. Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise
Joey Romero, program director of Mobile Fresh, stands in the doorway of an old RTA bus that has been converted to a mini market with fresh vegetables and other healthy food. Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise

More than a dozen communities around the state are part of Kaiser’s HEAL Zone effort. On the Eastside, an estimated 57.77 percent of adults are overweight or obese, and the area is considered a “food desert” – meaning it has plenty of fast food and convenience stores but few places offering fresh, healthy options.

Spearheaded by the nonprofit Riverside Community Health Foundation, those working on the HEAL Zone project are attacking the healthy eating component on several fronts.

Organizers are publicizing classes on eating right and diabetes education at community centers. The Riverside Spanish Seventh Day Adventist church is offering a monthly healthy cooking class. Riverside city staff want to create a community-supported agriculture program that would deliver Eastside residents monthly boxes of locally-grown produce.

To compete with the large number of unhealthy offerings – 36 fast food restaurants within a half-mile of North High School – officials are working with two neighborhood markets to get newer, more energy-efficient chilled cases to hold fresh produce and to create signs, murals and other advertising to let people know they sell fruit and vegetables.

Riverside County public health officials, who are coordinating the market project, also want to help the store owners buy produce at lower prices so they can charge customers less to compete with cheaper fast food, said Lorie Brendecke, a nutritionist with the county public health department.

Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise

Another choice for those who can’t get to a full-fledged grocery store is the Mobile Fresh bus. The produce-filled bus is a project of the nonprofit Family Service Association that linked up with the HEAL Zone because of their shared goals, said Joey Romero, an operations specialist with the association.

The bus, donated by the Riverside Transit Agency, regularly visits more than 40 spots around the county to offer low prices on bags of Brussels sprouts and green beans, bunches of asparagus, mangoes, apples and other fresh foods.

Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of all the participating organizations demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the full article, click here.

Changing the Face of Medical Education in the U.S.

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by G. Richard Olds and published in Zocalo Public Square on December 17, 2014.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

The United States spends more money on health care than any other country in the world. So how does Costa Rica outperform the United States in every measure of health of its population?

Costa Rica is healthier because its government spends more money than ours does on prevention and wellness.

In our country, we have left vast segments of the population without affordable care and we do not focus on wellness or chronic disease management. We don’t consistently control the glucose levels in diabetics and, consequently, too many go blind or lose a limb. Too often, hypertension goes untreated until the patient has a stroke or kidney disease. Then, all too often, these individuals go on medical disability with far more societal expense than the cost of the original health management.

Sadly, it has become the American way to leave many chronic diseases untreated until they become emergency situations at exorbitant cost to the U.S. healthcare system. For many patients, this care is too late to prevent life-changing disabilities and an early death.

When people ask me why we started the UC Riverside School of Medicine last year – the first new public medical school on the West Coast in more than four decades – I talk about the need for well-trained doctors here in inland Southern California. But we also wanted to demonstrate that a health care system that rewards keeping people healthy is better than one which rewards not treating people until they become terribly ill.

As we build this school, we have a focus on wellness, prevention, chronic disease management, and finding ways to deliver health care in the most cost-effective setting, which is what American health care needs.

We also teach a team approach to medicine—another necessary direction for our health care system. If you have a relatively minor problem, your doctor might refer you to a nurse practitioner or physician assistant for follow-up. This kind of team care makes financial and clinical sense, particularly since we have such a national shortage of primary care doctors. The good news: Even among physicians, the team approach, or medical home model, is gaining ground, with the Affordable Care Act accelerating change.

For all the talk about the lack of health insurance in this country, we don’t often discuss the other side of the problem – the fact that many Americans get more care than they need. You may have heard advertisements that you should have your wife or mother get a total body scan for Mother’s Day, because it will find cancer or heart disease. There is no evidence that this screening is a good idea. But in the U.S., we often encourage people to do things that have no proven benefit, and our churches or community centers sponsor these activities.

For all these reasons, we must shift the focus of health care to prevention. Two of the most profitable prescription drugs in the U.S., according to some sources, are those that reduce blood cholesterol and prevent blood clots—both symptoms of coronary heart disease, a largely preventable condition. Shouldn’t we be spending at least as much on prevention as we do on prescriptions? Closely connected to prevention is wellness. So many of our health problems in the United States are self-inflicted, because we smoke, eat too much, and don’t exercise. Doctors need to “prescribe” effective smoking cessation programs, proper diets and exercise as an integral part of care.

One way to accomplish this shift is to teach it to future doctors. At UC Riverside, we are supplementing the traditional medical school curriculum with training in the delivery of preventive care and in outpatient settings. Our approach is three-pronged..

First, we work with local schools and students to increase access to medical school through programs that stimulate an interest in medicine and help disadvantaged students become competitive applicants for admission to medical school or other professional health education programs. These activities start with students at even younger than middle school age, because that is when students begin to formulate ideas about what they want to be when they grow up. We focus on students from Inland Southern California because students who live here now will be among those best equipped to provide medical care to our increasingly diverse patient population. Doctors who share their patients’ cultural and economic backgrounds are better at influencing their health behaviors.

Second, we recruit our medical students specifically with a focus on increasing the number of physicians in Inland Southern California in primary care and short-supply specialties. Our region has just 40 primary care physicians per 100,000 people—far below the 60 to 80 recommended—and a shortage in nearly every kind of medical specialty. Students who have been heavily involved in service such as the Peace Corps, or who are engaged in community-based causes, are more likely to go into primary care specialties and practice in their hometowns.

Then, we teach our medical students an innovative curriculum. For instance, the Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience, called LACE for short, replaces the traditional “shadowing” preceptorship, where students follow around different physicians. Instead, our students participate in an a three-year continuity-of-care primary care experience that includes a sustained mentor-mentee relationship with a single community-based primary care physician. In this experience, they “follow” a panel of patients and gain an in-depth understanding of the importance of primary care, prevention and wellness. Our approach also includes community-based research that grounds medical students in public health issues such as the social determinants of health, smoking cessation, early identification of pre-diabetic patients, weight loss management and the use of mammograms to detect breast cancer.

We try to remove the powerful financial incentive for medical students to choose the highest paying specialties in order to pay off educational loans. We do this with “mission” scholarships that cover tuition in all four years of our medical school. This type of scholarship provides an incentive for students to go into primary care and the shortest-supply specialties and to remain in Inland Southern California for at least five years following medical school education and residency training. If the recipients practice outside of the region or go into another field of practice before the end of those five years, the scholarships become repayable loans.

Third, we are creating new residency training opportunities in our region to capitalize on the strong propensity for physicians to practice in the geographic location where they finish their post-M.D. training. Responding to our region’s most critical shortages, we are concentrating the programs on primary care specialties like family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics, as well as the short-supply specialties of general surgery, psychiatry, and OB/GYN. We are also developing a loan-repayment program for residents linked to practice in our region.

Ultimately, we hope our ideas for how to change health care will succeed and be adopted by others. It might take 30 years, but we believe what we are doing at the UC Riverside School of Medicine will change the face of medical education in the U.S.

UC Riverside School of Medicine  is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas, research, products, and scholars. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, nation, and world to follow.

G. Richard Olds is vice chancellor of health affairs and the founding dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine. He wrote this for Zocalo Public Square. Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

To read the full article, click here.

Research points to MS relief

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Mark Muckenfuss and published in The Press Enterprise on December 2, 2014.) 

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff is an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. Photo Credit: Pittalwala, UCR Today
Seema Tiwari-Woodruff is an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. Photo Credit: Pittalwala, UCR Today

A UC Riverside researcher says she has tested a drug that may not only stop, but reverse the damage caused by multiple sclerosis.

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff is a biomedical science professor with UCR’s School of Medicine. She came to the campus in June from UCLA, where she had been researching multiple sclerosis therapies since 2007.

Tiwari-Woodruff said she and her team tested several ligands, chemicals that mimic estrogen. One particular ligand, Ind-Cl, was especially helpful for mice with multiple sclerotic symptoms.

The results were published Monday in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

Multiple sclerosis affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. The disease attacks the central nervous system, damaging or destroying the myelin sheath that surrounds the axons on nerve cells. The axons carry electrical impulses from nerve cell receptors to their synapses. The myelin acts as an insulator. Without it, the nerve cell can’t effectively send signals.

Mice that received the drug saw as much as a 60 percent improvement in their condition. Not only did the drug diminish the inflammation that accompanies flare-ups of the disease, but the degeneration of the myelin sheath on nerve cell axons, Tiwari-Woodruff said, actually began to be repaired.

Testing showed that the cells with regrown myelin were capable of transmitting nerve signals once more. So far, the drug seems to have few, if any side effects.

This medical discovery is an outstanding representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and staff at UCR cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

To read the full article, click here.