We have two little dogs. Pepe is a 10 year old Shih Tzu/poodle and Coco is an 8 year old Shih Tzu /Bichon. Pepe had been getting frailer and weaker throughout the Fall months.
We thought this might be her last year with us. But her blood work in November showed that she has a thyroid problem. She now gets a daily medication and has more energy and no longer sleeps most of the day. The name Pepe (as in peppy) is fitting her again.
She had also been losing weight and getting very thin. So, we started her on canned food. Maybe she had a problem with the dry food she has always eaten. Or maybe Coco, who is dominant, wasn’t letting her get to the food dish. What dog or cat doesn’t love canned food??? Pepe loves it and has been gaining weight. While my husband and I are still getting used to that nasty moment when you first open the can of wet food, we do it because we love her and want her to gain weight and get strong. It’s working.
When we recently took Pepe to the vet to deal with a digestive problem, the vet found she had a broken tooth and the area around it was inflamed. She would need surgery to have it pulled. That happened this week and all is well. She is even back to eating treats that take some chewing. In hindsight, the broken tooth could have been the reason she stopped eating the dry food.
Animals can’t talk or “use their words” as we tell small children, so it’s hard to know when something is wrong. And it’s hard to know the interconnections between all these issues. Continue reading
Like many, I am surprised and disappointed at the outcome of the presidential election. From some of my previous posts the past few years, there’s probably no question about my political leanings.
A new message of “forward together” is needed now more than ever. Only half of all eligible voters voted on Tuesday. Half of them voted for Donald Trump and half for Hillary Clinton. She got more popular votes. But that means only one fourth of the country elected our next president. He will need to be a president for all of us.
A dark cloud has hung over us during an incredibly divisive and bitter campaign with often hateful language and bullying behaviors. We may have been afraid to talk to co-workers or neighbors or family members in fear they may support the other candidate and we did not want to have to debate with them. People on both sides felt this way.
Hillary Clinton’s speech to her staff on Wednesday had many important and inspiring messages as we move forward as a country. I encourage you to find the speech online to gain some perspective and to renew your hope for the future.
I watched her speech with my husband and the general contractor on our outside house project. He and his crew have been working here for several weeks on a major redo project – new patio, landscape and fence. They are a nice group of guys and we chat each day. But we consciously never brought up the election.
The general contractor needed to talk to us about a change order so came into the house Wednesday morning. He saw we were not in a good mood and asked who we had supported. He told us he voted for Trump. Bottom line, he thought a change was needed but admitted that he couldn’t defend a lot of what Trump said on the campaign trail. We debated a bit but it was civil.
He said he wanted to see Hillary’s speech when it came on. I went outside and got him when it was time. He sat in our living room with one of our dogs on his lap and watched. I sat behind him in the kitchen with tears. He thanked us for letting him come in and watch and said she made some great points. I told him that I did it with a big heart. Continue reading
My first professional event since moving back to New England is the evening of Monday, November 7th. Boston Health 2.0 is a chapter of the national Health 2.0 organization. They hold monthly meetings to promote, showcase and catalyze new technologies in healthcare. The November event is a panel titled “The Power Women of Health IT: Path to Success”.
All powerful women have advice to give others and stories about obstacles they’ve overcome. This group of women panelists is no different and I’m excited to be part of it. Helen Figge, Senior Vice President, Global Strategies and Development, LumiraDx, USA, Inc., Cara Babachicos, Corporate Director/CIO, Community Hospitals, Partners Healthcare, and I were all honored to be named earlier this year to the “Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT” by Health Data Management. We look forward to sharing our perspectives and stories.
The panel will cover advice on entrepreneurship for women, how women can influence the health IT industry, differing perceptions of competency in men and women, importance of mentorship, how men can be more supportive of professional women, and obstacles we’ve overcome in our own paths to success.
This should be a great discussion with a lot of insight and advice. But which obstacle should I comment on? Looking back to my early days in management, unfortunately there are many stories to share.
There was the male colleague who had it out for me during a five-year period when I was the only woman on the IT leadership team (it was the 80’s). One of the things he did early on was to spread a rumor that I was only in management because I was related to a board member with the same last name. It was so not true; I didn’t even know the board member. Continue reading
History was made this week. For the first time, a woman was nominated by a major party for President of the United States. Nearly 100 years after women won the right to vote and 240 years after the founding of our country, Hillary Clinton has broken this barrier. Did you hear the glass breaking? I did and it was music to my ears.
Across this country, women have proven they can do anything a man can do in any field. Yet women lag behind in pay, in executive roles and are poorly represented in fields like technology. In a longitudinal salary assessment, HIMSS found that women’s share of health IT salaries for comparable jobs is smaller than it was ten years ago. That means we are losing ground!
I’ve written and spoken about this and will continue to do so. As I was quoted in a recent article, Removing the Glass Ceiling in Health IT, we need to be open about this problem. Naming a problem is the beginning of addressing it. I could sit back quietly but I won’t. I owe it to the next generation of women, my daughters and my granddaughters to speak up. I was influenced by the women’s movement of the 1970’s, so I know that if we don’t speak up, we will never make the changes we need.
At last year’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I was greeted by a 10-year-old boy with, “I thought only men were managers”. Continue reading
While I try to stick to the topics you would expect in a professional blog, there are times when I can’t ignore the events we all witness. Whether they are joyous or tragic, they all leave a mark on us. Last July I wrote about marriage equality sharing the story of my Aunt Dorothy.
During the fall as a US presidential candidate repeatedly talked about building a wall along the Mexican border, my post “Build bridges, not walls” was a message about the importance of embracing diversity. In that post, I quoted a church hymn that really struck home for me. “Our World is One World” by Cecily Taylor included this verse:
Our world is one world, the thoughts we think affect us all. The way we build our attitudes, with love or hate, we make a bridge or wall.
I closed that post with this statement: “Let’s continue to work together to build the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren and generations to come.”
My fourth grandchild is due next week. I look forward to holding this new baby and welcoming him into our family. I am busily crocheting his baby blanket trying to get it done in time. While I crochet at night, I watch hours of television news about the worst mass shooting in US history – 49 people were killed in a gay nightclub, a place they considered safe and welcoming.
My maternal grandparents were born in Slovenia and came to the United States as immigrants in the early 1900’s. My grandfather was one of 11 children. One of his sisters had 10 children; two of her sons and one of her son-in-laws were rounded up and executed along with 30 others in their Slovenian village by the Fascists in 1942. They were my mother’s cousins. Continue reading
March is Employee Appreciation Month. UMHS leadership is hosting breakfast, lunch or dinner at all our sites as a way to say “thank you.” We also conduct our annual Employee Engagement Survey this month. There are only two more days to participate in it.
I’m happy to say the IT department is at an overall participation rate of 66% compared to 48% for all of UMHS. We had a 90% participation rate in IT two years ago. It was my first year as the new CIO and I made it very clear to the people on staff that I couldn’t address problems in the department if I didn’t know what they were. I needed their input!
Based on the survey results two years ago, we established four workgroups to focus on several key areas. Some areas we were definitely weak on and others we were OK but knew we could improve – recognition and appreciation, employee development and training, service excellence and teamwork.
While we’ve made good progress in all these areas, I’m the first to admit there is still far more work to do.
I have been encouraging our IT department staff to “Make Your Voice Heard.” There are multiple channels for staff to give me and the entire leadership team input and feedback. In addition to Continue reading
When we encourage staff to speak up, we, as leaders, must be ready to listen. I’ve heard it said we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen more than we speak.
I encourage my staff to “make their voice heard” and have written about this. Yesterday, I participated in the University of Michigan VOICES of the Staff Town Hall Meeting. It was the third such session in the last ten years and focused on the Future of Work. Over 100 staff from across the university and health system were brought together to help define and shape changes needed in our working environment. The goal of the meeting was to determine the most pressing challenges for all UM staff to develop VOICES work team themes for 2015.
Prior to the town hall, 600 staff were surveyed for ideas. 100 staff members who were willing to give a half day to the town hall were to turn those ideas into concrete proposals. At the end of their working session, each of the 12 groups gave a 30 second “elevator speech” pitch to our new University President, Dr. Mark Schlissel. Continue reading
It’s been 18 days since the Ferguson grand jury decision and 9 days since the NYC grand jury decision. We have all seen the news and protests in cities around the country. Black lives matter.
Yesterday, another group demonstrated their support. Students at 70 medical schools around the country organized a national white coat die in. They lay down for fifteen and a half minutes. Eleven minutes to represent the number of times that Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe” as he was in a choke hold by police in New York City and four and a half minutes to represent the four and a half hours that Michael Brown’s body lay in the street after being shot by a police officer.
Medical students with the support of deans and faculty at prestigious schools such as Harvard, Yale, UCLA and Johns Hopkins said that racial bias is a public health issue. Physicians are trained to do no harm. They are trained to heal. They are trained to save lives. Yes, this is a public health issue. Continue reading
Last November, I started the practice of hosting monthly breakfasts for up to 20 of my department staff at a time. We skipped two months around the time of our major inpatient go live in June. That means I’ve spent time with at least 160 staff getting to know them, listening to their concerns and answering questions in a small, informal setting. There’s a small group of “frequent flyers” who have come to more than one so far. I tease them that it must be the food but I know it’s them wanting to have a voice which I’m happy to listen to. “Make your voice heard” is a theme I’ve been encouraging all year.
At the most recent breakfast, there was a lull in the conversation. I called upon one of my frequent flyers whom I have come to know is willing to tell it like it is. Continue reading