Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board members and Friends,
It’s been another busy week here at Salus with the weather finally turning cooler and mid-terms upon many of our students.
I’d like to congratulate Jamie Maffit, MS, COMS, CLVT who has been the coordinator of the University’s Orientation and Mobility (O&M) program for several years, has now assumed the role of Program Director. We’re all very excited for this and are looking forward to more great things from Jamie and the O&M program.
As student engagement and extracurricular activities on campus have expanded over the last few years, we have seen the establishment of more student organizations that help to enhance student life. Two recent additions officially began earlier this month, with similar goals of welcoming and educating the Salus community about the populations they serve. The Salus chapter of Hillel was introduced through the event “Sushi in the Sukkah” providing free sushi to attendees in celebration of the Jewish festival of Sukkah. Whereas the Salus Sexuality and Gender Alliance opened its membership to anyone interested in learning about the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex) communities that face disparities in health and access to healthcare services. We welcome these diverse student groups to campus.
On Monday, I was invited by the American College of Healthcare Executives to participate in a very interesting roundtable discussion that centered on value based care and the future of healthcare delivery in the country. I was joined by several CEOs of local healthcare systems, Accountable Care Organizations, insurance providers and non-profit organizations. As you might imagine the discussion took us all over the map when it came to what we thought the Affordable Care Act might evolve into - if it survives at all. While there was much conjecture about future healthcare policy, everyone agreed that the only real way to begin to lower healthcare costs was to recognize and address some of the root causes of our current situation. Clearly, many of the social determinants of health include poverty, nutrition, getting enough exercise; adequate housing and having a safe environment to live are key factors in obtaining good health. When one’s life expectancy can be measured by zip codes in cities such as ours, addressing these social determinants is key to “moving the needle”. Addressing such maladies as obesity, diabetes and hypertension will be difficult unless significant cultural and behavioral changes are made by a significant percentage of our population. So, while we didn’t solve any problems, it was in a way, refreshing to have these leaders around the table to have a candid discussion on healthcare and where the focus really needs to be. To our students who are preparing to become part of the healthcare system, it will become even more incumbent upon you to integrate mitigation strategies to address many of the issues I’ve mentioned. As you already know, you won’t be able to do this alone. This will require an integrated approach to healthcare that involves many of those professions we teach here at Salus in addition to behavioral health, nutrition and others. It’s a challenging, yet exciting time to be in healthcare and it will be up to your generation to begin to “move the needle” in the right direction. Looking back on the discussions, I hope that you are having similar discussions in your circles as this will affect your practices well into your new careers.
It’s always nice to see what other academic institutions in our region are up to as we are always looking to explore strategic academic relationships that benefit our students and programs. On Wednesday, we hosted representatives from the University of Scranton on our campus. They have very strong science and pre-medical programs. And, we are looking forward to visiting their campus in the near future to determine where we can help each other out with articulation or other types of agreements.
Please remember our Looking Out for Kids charity fundraiser is on Saturday, November 11 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. I recently heard from a student at one of the schools we currently serve. There was a young man who we determined needed glasses and after he received his new prescription, we received the following note:
“I just wanted to tell you about my trip to Salus University today…Wedens, Marlene and I went to pick up Wedes' new glasses. He was thrilled! He also spoke more in the hour we were together than I've heard him say in a while. He put the glasses on and said "It's like I've come back to earth!" I was wondering where he's been, if not on earth, but he assured me he was exaggerating. We walked outside the building and he said, "It's like I haven't seen these trees in 100 years!" - pretty funny. He also asked me when he could get Lasik, but I told him I wasn't sure there were Lasik scholarships. Everyone at Salus was wonderful and patient…they also made him feel super comfortable. I told him we kind of look like twins, he apparently doesn't see the resemblance.”
It’s stories like this one that help to make our Looking Out for Kids charity and initiative such a unique, important and rewarding service we provide to our surrounding communities. We cannot do this without the help of those who are willing to contribute to this charity. Our annual fundraising event is the only event we hold that raises funds to support this. Our corporate sponsors have been extremely generous but we really need more. If you know people who might be interested in the great work our faculty, staff and students are doing to change the lives of underprivileged children everyday, please let them know about this work and maybe they can help us provide good vision to more children in need.
Along the same lines, I’d like to thank all of the PCO faculty and students who participated in the annual Give Kids Sight Day last weekend. It was a great success and not surprisingly, the fantastic work of our PCO faculty and students was not only greatly appreciated but clearly recognized by all those involved, especially the patients.
On this note, I’ll wish everyone a safe and restful weekend. Be careful out there on Sunday as I understand we’re in for quite a wash out.