Friday, August 18, 2017

Welcome New Students: Week of August 18th

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Board Members, Alumni and Friends,

I’d like to again welcome all of our new students to Salus. I know I speak for all of our faculty and staff when I tell you how excited we all are to have you here and to help you begin your professional careers. As I mentioned to you at Orientation and again at the White Coat ceremony, this week began your transition from being an undergraduate student to becoming a healthcare professional; the standards by which you’ll be measured from this day forward are different from what you’ve become accustomed to in undergraduate school. We know you’re up for the challenge and are really eager to get you started on your journeys. To our returning students, welcome back! We hope you spent some time to recharge and reflect on all the great stuff you’ve learned and now are back, ready to charge full-speed ahead. 

For those of you who had the opportunity to attend the White Coat Ceremony, I want to congratulate you on receiving your white coat. I want to remind you of the symbolism of the coat that represents your transition to becoming a caring, competent healthcare professional. Vice Admiral Faison’s speech was right on target and his words of wisdom will serve all of us well as we begin this academic year. I’ll bet everyone will remember the admiral asking us to pull up a photo of someone we loved on our smartphones, but more importantly showing us how this relates to viewing your future patients as individuals with respect and dignity, similar to the way we view those we care for on a daily basis.
I want to welcome back our Student Optometric Service to Humanity group form Haiti. I understand they broke the record for number of patients seen on a single day. Well done – it’s good to have everyone home, safe and sound!

I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this week’s awful events in Charlottesville, VA. Our hearts go out to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured due to the violence that occurred. It is important to remember the strength of our country is derived from our diversity, inclusiveness and the many contributions made by people of many different races, religions, national origin, sexual orientation and political beliefs. To be clear, at Salus we do not tolerate racism, extremism, bigotry or hatred in any form in our institution. It is against all of our values and everything we stand for. 

Finally, on Monday classes begin for our new students in earnest. I want to wish everyone a successful start to this academic year.  We’re here to help you succeed and are expecting great things from you!

I’ll be “off the grid” starting tomorrow, visiting our daughter who is serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. I’ll have fairly limited connectivity, so I won’t have a “Weekly Update” next Friday.  I hope you have a great weekend!  Be safe and have fun.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Getting Ready for Orientation: Week of August 11th

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board members and Friends,

Greetings from a sunny and unusually mild Elkins Park! We’ve been pretty lucky this summer so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather remains nice, at least through next week when we welcome our largest entering class for Orientation, culminating with our White Coat Ceremony on Thursday. Pretty exciting stuff!

Earlier this week, I had the absolute pleasure of hosting Dr. Hank Brown, the interim president of Arcadia University. We had the opportunity to discuss the breadth of collaboration our two universities have been engaged in as well as potential for additional areas to explore. For those of you who are not aware, we have an agreement with Arcadia that guarantees a certain number of seats for qualified students in our Occupational Therapy and Optometry programs. Similar agreements are being finalized for both Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Students have to meet our academic criteria prior to being enrolled at Salus. This, along with other areas of cooperation, really takes advantage of our proximity to Arcadia as well as their excellent undergraduate programs.  

We just learned that Rosemary Connors, from Philadelphia’s NBC 10, will be our celebrity co-host for this year’s “Looking Out for Kids” charity fundraiser event. Remember, it’s November 11th at the Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill. Please put this on your calendars!

Also a reminder about next week’s White Coat Ceremony, which will be held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, August 17 at 2 p.m. - this is the first time we’re holding the event in the city and this venue. Hopefully, many of you will be able to attend.  Vice Admiral Forrest Faison, the Navy Surgeon General, will be our guest speaker, and I know he’ll have a great message for our new “white coaters.”

Finally, I wanted to share an experience I recently had with a local healthcare provider. I was referred by my dentist to see another dentist for a second opinion. When I called for the initial appointment, I was greeted with, “Hello, welcome to our office. What type of dental insurance to you have?” After all that, they informed me I would receive an email from them with “further instructions.”  I did receive the email that evening with a term-paper worth of questions to fill out that I was “instructed” to bring with me for my initial appointment. Today, I received both a text and phone call “requiring” me to show up 15 minutes early for my appointment which is sometime next week.  

I’m sharing this with you because, in my opinion, it’s a great example of how NOT to treat a patient, and I hope our students especially take note.  If we are to be truly patient-centered healthcare providers, then a high degree of both empathy and respect needs to be shown every patient we see. In the interactions I had with the dentist's office I felt they were not respectful of me or my time, but rather was both demanding and dispassionate. Requiring a patient to be in the office early is very convenient for the office but doesn’t take into account a patients schedule. Additionally, there are many nicer ways to say that. I think I would not have had such a negative reaction to this if they would asked me to “Please see if I could get to the office 15 minutes early to complete any additional paperwork, etc.” as opposed to “requiring” me to be there.  So, if I arrive 10 minutes early as opposed to 15 or I arrive at my appointed time are they not going to see me?  I sure hope not, but that the impression I have. Never did I hear a “please” or “thank you” during any of my interactions.  

So, the lesson I want to pass on is this: while we need our patients to provide necessary information to us so we can provide optimum care and yes, also be reimbursed, and we would like to remain on schedule, there are ways to do this that projects respect and empathy. My expectation and hope is that we treat all of our patients with that respect and empathy so they leave our clinics feeling special and well cared for.  

On that note - here’s wishing everyone a great weekend.  Please be safe and come back next week energized to welcome our new students!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer is Flying By: Week of August 4th

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

I can’t believe it’s August already! This summer is flying by. Orientation begins in just two short weeks when we will, once again, welcome our largest incoming class. It’s an exciting time as we’ve made some changes to include moving our traditional White Coat Ceremony from October to the end of Orientation Week. Not only have we changed the date, but we’ve changed the venue to reflect the stature of the event as well as the size. This year’s White Coat ceremony will be held in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts at 2 p.m. on August 17. This year's guest speaker is Vice Admiral Forrest Faison, Surgeon General of the Navy, who I know will have a great message for our new students. I’m hoping many of you can join us for this important occasion.

The Osborne College of Audiology has been conducting Summer Workshops in which many attendees are international students who are advancing their education through our AuD Online Bridge Program. We provide this very unique program because in some countries a master’s degree is the highest level of education required to practice as an audiologist, but the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree allows interested providers to deepen their clinical skillset and expand their scope of practice. 

Our Speech-Language Pathology Department co-hosted a special continuing education workshop with The Hanen Centre, a Canadian-based charitable organization, entitled, “It Takes Two to Talk – The Hanen Program for Parents of Children with Language Delay.” The three-day program focused on the role parents play in their child’s early language intervention and how speech-language pathologists can facilitate parents’ involvement.

As a reminder, the CityLife clinic is now open at The Eye Institute (TEI) and is continuing to enroll new patients. If you have a chance to stop by TEI, check out their new site as well as how nice the whole building now looks. I know you’ll be able to find a parking space as we’ve added 70 new spaces to our lot.

For those of you who are walking around the Elkins Park campus, you’ll notice some minor construction going on in the West building. This is secondary to a water leak we experienced a couple of weeks ago. To that end, we anticipate the work will be completed within the next couple of weeks allowing us to open up areas that have been closed since the incident occurred. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Finally, it looks like it’s going to be another nice weekend.  I encourage you all to get out and enjoy the sunshine (with sunscreen, of course) and have some fun.  Please be safe and stay hydrated.  

Have a wonderful weekend!