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Black History Month: Profiles in Leadership

In February, we celebrate Black History Month – a time to honor African-Americans and their contributions and sacrifices. 

UMHS has voluntarily declared a formal diversity initiative as a matter of integrity and as an institutional imperative.  The premise of our declaration is a simple reality: our organization reflects the diversity of our times – our employees, our patients, our business partners, and our vendors come from all points of the globe.  To achieve our vision and mission to become the national leader in healthcare, we embrace diversity and innovation to inspire excellence.

In support of this initiative, we caught up with a few of our own to talk about what the month means to them, leadership, and more!  The first interview in this series is with Executive Director of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Paul King. 

Headlines: Why is it important to celebrate/focus on Black History Month?

PK:  Black History Month started out as “Negro History Week” in 1926.  It was celebrated during the second week in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  In 1976 (as part of the American Bi-Centennial), it was officially extended to include the entire month of February.  Having an “official” month to recognize the contributions of Americans of African descent ensures that there will be dialogue and recognition at least annually of the many contributions made by our fellow citizens.  Americans of African descent have a unique history tied inextricably to the manner by which we came to this country.  It is a story of hardship and triumph.  It is a story of an extraordinary people and the challenges that we overcame through that history, many of which continue to the present time.  Taking a moment each year to reflect on those lessons learned, and to celebrate the many contributions of several exceptional citizens helps all Americans celebrate the richness of the diversity that makes this truly a United States of America.

Headlines: What does it mean to you to be a leader?

PK: Webster defines “leader” as a person in charge or in control, offering synonyms of “boss” and “chief” to further a better understanding of the term.  Other definitions state that a leader is a powerful person who controls or influences what other people do.  I gravitate more towards the concept of servant leadership, as defined by Robert K. Greenleaf.  He defined it as a person who wants to serve first; someone who makes sure that other people’s highest priority needs are met.  Servant leaders put great emphasis on listening, understanding, empathy, persuasion and rebuilding community.  I am humbled and honored to be a leader within the University of Michigan Health System.  As a leader, there are many constituencies that my colleagues and I serve; patients, families, faculty, staff, learners from many disciplines, donors, volunteers, and the greater community – each with unique needs.

Headlines: How has past history impacted or directed your career path?

PK: My career path has been impacted significantly by those who have come before me.  I am blessed to have a vision of a bright future made possible and attainable by the sacrifices made by the giants upon whose shoulders I stand.  It is amazing that we are only five or six short decades (or roughly three generations) from a time when it would have been unthinkable that I would hold the position that I have here at the University.  I now share in the responsibility of repaying the debt created by the hardships endured by our predecessors to make sure that all Americans (not the least of whom includes those who have been historically and systematically denied opportunities) are able to achieve the promise that this great nation provides to all who choose to grasp it.

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Black History Month: Profiles in Leadership

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In February, we celebrate Black History Month – a time to honor African-Americans and their contributions and sacrifices.

UMHS has voluntarily declared a formal diversity initiative as a matter of integrity and as an institutional imperative.  The premise of our declaration is a simple reality: our organization reflects the diversity of our times – our employees, our patients, our business partners, and our vendors come from all points of the globe.  To achieve our vision and mission to become the national leader in healthcare, we embrace diversity and innovation to inspire excellence.

In support of this initiative, we caught up with a few of our own to talk about what the month means to them, leadership, and more!  The first interview in this series is with Executive Director of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital  and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital Paul King.

Headlines: Why is it important to celebrate/focus on Black History Month?

PK:  Black History Month started out as “Negro History Week” in 1926.  It was celebrated during the second week in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  In 1976 (as part of the American Bi-Centennial), it was officially extended to include the entire month of February.  Having an “official” month to recognize the contributions of Americans of African descent ensures that there will be dialogue and recognition at least annually of the many contributions made by our fellow citizens.  Americans of African descent have a unique history tied inextricably to the manner by which we came to this country.  It is a story of hardship and triumph.  It is a story of an extraordinary people and the challenges that we overcame through that history, many of which continue to the present time.  Taking a moment each year to reflect on those lessons learned, and to celebrate the many contributions of several exceptional citizens helps all Americans celebrate the richness of the diversity that makes this truly a United States of America.

Headlines: What does it mean to you to be a leader?

PK: Webster defines “leader” as a person in charge or in control, offering synonyms of “boss” and “chief” to further a better understanding of the term.  Other definitions state that a leader is a powerful person who controls or influences what other people do.  I gravitate more towards the concept of servant leadership, as defined by Robert K. Greenleaf.  He defined it as a person who wants to serve first; someone who makes sure that other people’s highest priority needs are met.  Servant leaders put great emphasis on listening, understanding, empathy, persuasion and rebuilding community.  I am humbled and honored to be a leader within the University of Michigan Health System.  As a leader, there are many constituencies that my colleagues and I serve; patients, families, faculty, staff, learners from many disciplines, donors, volunteers, and the greater community – each with unique needs.

Headlines: How has past history impacted or directed your career path?

PK: My career path has been impacted significantly by those who have come before me.  I am blessed to have a vision of a bright future made possible and attainable by the sacrifices made by the giants upon whose shoulders I stand.  It is amazing that we are only five or six short decades (or roughly three generations) from a time when it would have been unthinkable that I would hold the position that I have here at the University.  I now share in the responsibility of repaying the debt created by the hardships endured by our predecessors to make sure that all Americans (not the least of whom includes those who have been historically and systematically denied opportunities) are able to achieve the promise that this great nation provides to all who choose to grasp it.

Breaking the brain’s garbage disposal

What can two Turkish children, a handful of yeast, and a  bunch of Hungarian fruit flies teach scientists?

A lot, it turns out.

New research from a U-M-led international team relied on these unlikely helpers to figure out a key piece of information about our brains. They team was able to show how crucial the “garbage disposal” system in brain cells is, and what happens when it suffers even a tiny change.

The findings could help lead to better treatments for people with diseases caused by malfunctioning “garbage” systems inside their cells.

Read more in this new UMHS News article: http://umhealth.me/ataxia1

Big ideas, big money: President’s Staff Innovation Award nominations now being accepted

What’s the big idea?  Your answer to that question could land you a $2,000 grand prize (or a shared $3,000 prize for team entries) thanks to the President’s Staff Innovation Award.

The President’s Staff Innovation Award recognizes individual staff members or teams whose big ideas and “outside The Cube” thinking help make the university a better, more inclusive community. 

Nominations are being accepted now through Monday, Feb. 29.  Read through for everything you need to know, including who is eligible, how to enter, and what you could win.

What kind of ideas? Organizers are looking for any ideas, big or small, that has an impact in one of the following initiative areas:

-Efficiency

-Productivity

-Cost savings

-Achievement of environmental or health and well-being goals

-Enhancement of the diverse culture and inclusive climate of the university

Of course, those areas are broad, leaving lots of room for creativity.  And it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Modest ideas can be marvelous, too. (HINT: Innovations may be a process, product, method, system, program, or service).

Who can enter? The President’s Innovation Award is open to any regular staff member of the Health System, and Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn Campuses. 

How can I enter? Nomination forms are available online.  Also available on the site are handy tips with suggestions to give your idea some polish before you submit it.  Ideas can be submitted by individual employees or teams until the Feb. 29 deadline.  (HINT: Don’t procrastinate, because the nomination form requires detailed information and well-thought-out ideas.  Wait until the last minute at your own risk.)

What can I win? Two prizes are available – honoring one individual staff member and one team.

-Individual award: $2,000

-Team award: $3,000 (to be shared among all members of the team)

How will winners be determined? Entries will be evaluated based on originality, impact, practicality, measurability, and applicability. 

Who is selecting the winners?  Nominations will be reviewed by President Schlissel in collaboration with the Voices of the Staff program management team. 

What is the timeline (and when should I plan to spend my winnings?) Nominations are being accepted now through Monday, Feb. 29, which is the final day to submit forms online.  Winners are expected to be revealed at the 2016 Best Practices and Technology Conference, which takes place on Wednesday, May 11.    

Learn more about the President’s Staff Innovation Award. 

Nominate someone today

 

Website: http://www.innovationaward.umich.edu

What is the Zika virus? What pregnant women need to know.

News about a mysterious, tropical virus called Zika and its link to severe birth defects and newborn deaths abroad may be worrisome for many – especially pregnant women or those who are thinking about getting pregnant. Last week, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a first-of-its-kind travel alert recommending that pregnant women avoid countries where Zika has spread.

A small number of cases has recently been reported in the U.S., however the only cases are in women who traveled to areas where they have been bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus.

If you’re pregnant or have a loved one who is, you may understandably be concerned.

However, it is important to emphasize that the only known way to get this infection is from a mosquito bite in a region where the virus is currently being spread. That means that pregnant women and others who have not traveled to any of those countries are not at risk. This is not a disease that can be transmitted directly from person to person.

More on the Zika virus

What is it?

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus related to dengue, yellow fever and the West Nile virus that causes symptoms in only 20 percent (or 1 in 5) of those infected.

The most common symptoms are usually mild, including fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (eye irritation). Brazil reported an outbreak in May and since then the virus has primarily spread in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Who is most at risk?

What we know: Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where the Zika virus is found who has not already been infected is at risk, including pregnant women. People who have not traveled to these areas (even those who may have had direct contact with someone who had the virus in the U.S.) are not at risk.

What we don’t know: While pregnant women have been the focus of concern because of the potential to pass the virus to the fetus, we don’t know if women are more likely to get an infection just because they are pregnant.

 What are the risks to a fetus?

What we know: Although the Zika virus rarely causes significant illness in adults, the effects could be severe and irreversible for the fetus of a pregnant woman who is infected. The Zika virus has recently been associated with an increased number of babies born with microcephaly (which causes an abnormally small head and is associated with brain damage), mostly in Brazil.

What we don’t know: Unfortunately, there are still many unknowns. We don’t know how likely it is for a fetus to be affected by the virus if the mother has it. We also don’t know the full spectrum of potential outcomes. It is possible that there could be no impact, or that babies could be very mildly affected if their mother has an infection. In other cases, the consequences could be profound, impacting the child’s ability to function independently. We don’t know if the infection behaves differently in the presence of other factors like nutrition or environment. We also don’t know whether the stage of pregnancy is linked to how babies are affected.

Some newborn deaths and miscarriages abroad have also been associated with the virus but there is no evidence confirming the virus was the cause.

If you are pregnant

At the present time, there is no treatment available for the Zika virus and the recommendations focus on prevention. Women who are pregnant should avoid traveling to any of the areas listed by the CDC. If travel is required, they are advised to limit exposure to mosquito environments such as forests and marshes and use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning.

If you have traveled to an affected region during pregnancy and are concerned, contact your primary care provider to discuss best next steps. Depending on several factors, your doctor may recommend you receive diagnostic and fetal testing to evaluate your baby’s health and development.

For more information about the Zika virus, visit the CDC’s website.

Website: http://uofmhealthblogs.org/general/what-is-the-zika-virus/26906/

Recognition in Review: 2015 Making a Difference Award Highlights

The words in this image represent the types of comments made about Team UMHS through the Making a Difference program.

Employees across UMHS made quite a difference in 2015.  In fact, more than 13,000 Making a Difference awards were distributed last year with 44 percent coming directly from patients and their families. 

Recognizing the contributions employees make to UMHS helps our team to become more motivated, drives better teamwork, and gives each individual a sense that they are an integral part of achieving organizational goals. 

You may not always realize the impact you make during each customer interaction, but it’s a vital part of the relationship-building process that the UMHS team uses to engage with patients and each other.  Here are a couple of examples of team members making a difference:

Peer Recognition  

“We had a patient who was scheduled to be admitted and, after spending some time in the waiting area, became very irritated.  He came up to the desk where he acted extremely rude and began using foul language.  The employee who was helping him did not lose her patience or send him away; rather, she listened to what he had to say and provided all of the information she was able to share.  She did everything she could to comfort him and was soon able to turn this irate patient around.  He shared his story with her and provided reasons for his frustration, and even apologized for his actions.  This kindness this employee demonstrated was the epitome of U-M’s mantra of patients and family first and because of that, they were able to work together.  I commend her.  Many people would not have been able to keep a cool head and would have just called Security or sent him somewhere else.  She made a difference and that’s why I’m nominating her for this award.  She absolutely deserves it!”

Patient Recognition

“When my OB/GYN informed me that I needed to go to U of M for a follow-up, I immediately felt overwhelmed and anxious just by the thought of going to such a huge health system.  Questions immediately raced through my mind, such as: Where is registration? How do I know where to go? Where do I park? What if I am late because I can’t find parking?  Registration called me (I was so pleasantly surprised by that) two days after my appointment was made.  I received a very helpful packet in the mail, which included directions of how to get to my appointment and where to park.   I received a call from a nurse the day before my appointment who thoroughly explained what was going to take place and took the time to answer all of my questions.  All of this truly helped my anxiety level decrease dramatically.  When it came to the day of my appointment, everything was seamless – from parking to checkout.  Everyone made me feel like I was the only patient that was being seen that day.  Thank you U of M for delivering perfect Patient- and Family-centered Care!

Learn more about the “Making a Difference” recognition program. 

Nominate someone for “making a difference” today!

MHealthy Rewards is now open, earn up to $100

Find your way to well-being with MHealthy Rewards & earn up to $100.

MHealthy’s annual Rewards program encourages qualifying benefits-eligible faculty and staff to review their health and take action to maintain or improve it.

How to participate in Rewards 2016:

  1. Complete the confidential health questionnaire by April 15. Earn a $50 before-tax reward and get a personalized health report.  
  2. Also complete one qualifying healthy activity by August 31 to earn an additional $50.

Qualifying activities focus on how to manage weight, stress less, quit tobacco, move more, eat smarter, and drink less alcohol, and include:

  • Active U 2016 – registration still open!
  • MHealthy mental and emotional well-being programs
  • Weight Watchers®
  • MHealthy’s Ready to Lose weight loss program
  • MHealthy nutrition consults
  • MHealthy exercise and relaxation classes
  • Alcohol management programs
  • NEW – MHealthy personal training
  • NEW – MHealthy Learn to Live Tobacco Free Program
  • NEW – StayWell® online self-directed coaching
  • NEW – Your Choice Program – lets you set your own health goal!

To get started on the health questionnaire and learn more about qualifying activities, go to mhealthy.umich.edu/rewards.  

Website: http://www.mhealthy.umich.edu/rewards

Raising the bar in HR: UMHS HR team undergoes transformation

UMHS is transforming its human resources to improve the way we support and engage the extraordinary people who work across our organization.  The team has transitioned to a high-impact HR model that is focused on aligning its services to the mission and goals of the academic medical center. These changes primarily involve several interconnected improvements that include:

  • The implementation of a new HR Solutions Center (HRSC), which launched on Jan. 25, that provides employees and leaders with a centralized resource and solutions to HR questions about compensation, employment, medical leaves, and more!

Employees can call 734-647-5538 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to speak to an HR Solutions Center Specialist who is dedicated to providing friendly, reliable, and timely solutions to their HR needs.

  • Standardizing processes in an effort to maximize value and efficiency.  HRSC leaders will be partnering with customers in departments across the academic medical center to determine key areas of focus and streamlining those processes in support of being ONE with the UMHS community.  Some examples include medical leaves, employment processes, and compensation administration.
  • A corresponding redeployment of HR professionals who are focused on attracting, developing, and deploying the best talent, being great coaches and advisors, and strategic partners to our management teams, and the voice for our employees.

HR Business Partners (HRBPs) are assigned to each department and will work closely with leaders to provide strategy on key priorities like attracting, developing and deploying the best talent, provide coaching and support to identify and address work environment issues, and collaborate to ensure alignment with departmental goals and metrics.

Networks of Expertise are comprised of professionals who have unique insights and great depth in HR practice areas around people, performance, and organization. These areas include Compensation,   HR Strategy, Labor Relations, Payroll, and Performance Learning and Development, and will work closely with HRBPs and the HRSC team to provide support to departments.

For more information about the changes in Human Resources, talk to your Supervisor or check out the FAQs.

Flu season is here: “Masks On” begins tomorrow

Flu season is here, and unfortunately, it’s a season that keeps on giving – especially if you haven’t received your flu shot.  Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 a.m., a mandatory “Masks On” requirement will go into effect for all employees who have not received their flu vaccine.

Who needs to wear a mask?

All UMHS employees including regular and temporary staff, faculty, students, trainees, vendors, contract personnel, and volunteers must get the flu vaccine, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact.  This includes Medical School employees and those who work in nonclinical settings.  Violations of this policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination (Note: For staff covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the provisions of the contract shall apply).

Why do I need to wear a mask during flu season?

Wearing a mask if you are not vaccinated will help to protect our patients and colleagues, as well as you and your family, from getting sick.

When do I need to wear it?

Masks must be worn upon entry to any building where patient care is provided or where patients may be present, including the patient’s home. 

Where can I get a mask?

Masks are available at all UMHS Main Campus entrances in “flu stations.”  In areas not located on the UMHS Main Campus, masks will be provided to you by your manager. 

How long is “masks on” in effect?

The “masks on” requirement will remain in effect until the end of flu season.  A notification will be sent via email when flu season is over and masks no longer need to be worn. 

Where can I get my flu shot?

For your convenience, Occupational Health Services offers free flu vaccines to UMHS employees, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you would like more information about the UMHS flu prevention program, visit http://www.med.umich.edu/u/flu/

Check out the FAQs for more information about the “Masks On” requirement.  

Remember, when it comes to the flu – don’t give it.  Don’t get it.    

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