Friday, November 5, 2010

MGH leadership meeting highlights Be Fit, the bicentennial and United Way

BICENTENNIAL LEGACY: In honor of the MGH bicentennial, the hospital established the MGH Bicentennial Scholars program.

MGH and MGPO managers and supervisors at the Oct. 27 leadership meeting in the Bulfinch Tent heard updates on research results from the Be Fit and Choose Well/Eat Well programs, the MGH's upcoming bicentennial and the United Way employee campaign.

Following a welcome and brief remarks by MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD,  Ann Thorndike, MD, MPH, of the MGH General Medicine Unit and Cardiac Prevention Center,  highlighted research on the Be Fit and Choose Well/Eat Well programs. Thorndike and her staff initiated the Be Fit study in 2006, tracking participants' health information immediately following completion of the program and one year later. Employees generally lost weight and reduced their blood pressure and cholesterol during the program.  At the one-year follow-up, there were still small but significant health improvements. Employees also reported improvements in nutrition and exercise behaviors at the end of the program and at one year. In the Choose Well/Eat Well programs -- which label foods at MGH dining areas as green, yellow or red corresponding to healthy, not-so-healthy and unhealthy choices --foods are strategically located so that healthy options are more readily at hand than the unhealthy selections. This "choice architecture" has led to a significant change in customers' choosing
more healthy options.

Next, Peggy Slasman, senior vice president of Public Affairs, reminded attendees of the hospital's upcoming bicentennial in 2011. She introduced Lynn Dale, director of MGH Bicentennial Planning, who provided an overview of events and activities to commemorate the bicentennial.

Several upcoming events that pay tribute to the MGH's rich past and build excitement for the future include the renewal of the hospital's charter at the State House in February and the opening of an MGH museum in late 2011. Dale encouraged all hospital departments to incorporate the bicentennial theme into their departmental events throughout the celebratory year. Other approaching highlights are a new MGH website homepage, which will launch Jan. 1, the announcement of the "bicentennial babies," a new in-house MGH200-TV channel that will broadcast MGH history programming around the clock, and the sale of bicentennial merchandise at the MGH gift shops. Employees also can look forward to the springtime release of a new MGH history book, "Something in the Ether:  A Bicentennial History of Massachusetts General Hospital 1811 to 2011," by Webster Bull and Martha Bull. Following her presentation, Dale introduced Webster Bull, who read an excerpt from the book.

In honor of the hospital's 200 years, the MGH has established a legacy gift through the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI). Joan Quinlan, executive director of the CCHI, explained that the gift not only perpetuates the hospital's heritage of serving its community, but it also focuses on the community's youth, who represent the future. For more than 20 years, the hospital has worked with Boston high school students interested in health careers, offering them hands-on experience and mentoring from MGH employees.  Approximately 70 percent of these high school participants are accepted to college, but many have a difficult time completing their degrees. To help them reach their higher learning goals, the MGH has committed $1 million to the "MGH Bicentennial Scholars," a program for students currently in the MGH high school program who will graduate in 2012.  By providing students with mentors, connections to resources such as tutoring and counseling, peer support and financial aid assistance, the program aims to help this group enter, remain in and graduate from college. Students are eligible for scholarships of up to $5,000 for each of the four years they are in college, as long as they complete their academic requirements.

The last presentation was from MGH United Way employee campaign co-chairs Deborah Washington, RN, PhD(c), director of the MGH Diversity Program for Patient Care Services, and Elizabeth Mort, MD, vice president of the MGH/MGPO Center for Quality and Safety.  They provided an overview of this year's campaign, which features the tagline, "Upholding a 200-Year Promise to Our Neighbors." The campaign runs from Nov. 8 through 19 and will include many of the same highlights as recent years --such as the rolling rally, United Way specialty items at the MGH eateries and raffle prizes. More information about the campaign is available in this United Way article and at the MGH United Way intranet site. (Note: Login to MGH Intranet required).

Following the meeting, MGH managers and supervisors enjoyed the Annual Manager and Supervisor Appreciation luncheon in the Bulfinch Tent.


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