President’s Message

Posted on Sep 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

California is burning.

Just two years ago, the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise and burned nearly 150,000 acres, leading to billions of dollars in damage and claiming 85 lives. This year, the wildfire season began earlier than expected due to dry lightning strikes and dry vegetation, causing multiple discrete fires throughout the bay area, of which at the time of writing, are still not fully contained.

The scope of the devastation is not nearly as large in terms of human lives lost, largely in part to the efforts of emergency officials to evacuate civilians, and the fact that the fires are mostly concentrated in less inhabited areas. However, the air is choked with smoke, and the air quality index in the bay area (AQI) has been mostly unhealthy, at times dangerously so. As expected, this causes an increase in visits for respiratory illness, particularly for those with underlying conditions such as Asthma/COPD, but also with heart disease, and the young.

The map below is from Cal Fire, the agency that manages fire services for the state. They have pulled in out of state resources to fight the fires, which at this point have burned 1.42 MILLION acres of land. The areas in red indicate the active fire zones.

This picture, taken from NASA, shows the charred earth and smoke from space.

Many of us live in the fire affected zones, and some of us have had to evacuate. Thankfully, some of the evacuation alerts have been lifted, but the predicted ongoing dry weather poses additional risks.

What can we do ourselves to mitigate risk? These websites have some useful resources and fire update information, as well as up to date air quality information.

Thanks and best wishes to the firefighters at the front lines right now battling the blazes to keep us safe.

Jeff Chen MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief of Staff, ABSMC Summit Campus

Balancing Authenticity with Positivity: Using “Right Speech” to cope with 2020

Posted on Sep 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Balancing Authenticity with Positivity: Using “Right Speech” to cope with 2020

 It seems the provocations to what we thought was normal life just keep coming; they are piling up upon each other faster than we can resolve them.  We are still grieving and trying to cope with one thing when another happens. Now the state is burning, and the air is toxic.  Our beautiful bay area has air quality as bad as anywhere in world.  Anyone not feeling overwhelmed at times must be great at denial.

There are great reasons to keep it positive even if we are not feeling great.  Our brains are in fact wired bidirectionally so that a forced smile can lead to mood change.  We all know that mood is contagious and some positivity at the workplace can bring everyone up. We have much to lift us up as we go through our day if we look for it: the beauty in our patient’s struggles, the love the nurses bring to their care, our teamwork and sense of meaning that caring for those in need brings.

Yet we are human and need to be so at work. Expressing our vulnerabilities can be healing and liberating as we break stereotypes about physicians’ emotional lives.  More generally, nothing predicts workplace satisfaction more than the feeling at we can be our authentic selves.

Getting the balance right between being cheerful and “real” is not easy.  We don’t want to dump all or frustrations and anxieties on our co-workers, and at the same time, we don’t want to try to be someone we are not. Getting the balance right takes some mindfulness.  We need moments of calm to actually understand how we are feeling. This starts with stopping our never-ending mental narratives and sense what is happening in our body, our mind and surroundings. At this point we can communicate in ways that are authentic and productive to our culture.

The Buddhist have this notion of “Right Speech” I call upon to communicate in the “right” way.

First, we need to listen to our selves. What are we feeling and why are we feeling that way?  We need to carefully listen to those around us to see how they are feeling.

Then, when we speak, we want to make sure our comments are wholly truthful; don’t let your grief or fear take you to unhelpful hyperbole.  We want our comments to be expressed with kindness and be helpful.  Perhaps most importantly, we want our words to be spoken at the right time.  Unloading on others about your problems at the wrong time can certainly make the work environment more toxic – such as during a meeting or during direct patient care.

Yesterday during a meeting, I felt I wanted to explode; this initiative we have been working on was going nowhere and my patience these days is short – understandably right? Well, I kept it together and after the meeting, I framed my concerns as best I could without the hyperbole and expletives it might have earlier had.  I also let people know I was struggling.  My comments were met with kindness and concern and a constructive conversation then ensued.  The Skype called then ended with me feeling better about myself, my awesome teammates and the initiative we were working on.  Being my authentic self, expressing my vulnerability and then using “right speech” led to a win-win.

In these crazy times we need to take care of ourselves and we need to invest in our culture. Using right speech to express our vulnerabilities can help us with both of these. Sharing our struggles offers our teammates an opportunity for them to act on their compassion and we get the gift of receiving it.

So, be positive, keep your eyes open to the beauty of our work, open your heart to your colleagues.  That means sharing our struggles with your colleagues when the time is right and picking them up when they need some love.  With this mindset we can build individual relationships and our culture and create a healing environment for our patients as well as all of us who are lucky enough to work at ABSMC.

Lief Hass, MD – Wellness Chair- Summit

Empiric Treatment of Enterococcus Infections

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Alta Bates Summit Introduces New Mobile Mammography Van

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“88 Thank Yous” to Our Alta Bates Summit Team Members

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Timely Delivery of Meds-In-Hands: Alta Bates Summit Kicks-Off Patient Centered Improvement Program

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Alta Bates Summit Celebrates the First Anniversary of the Summit Kitchen and Cafe

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Why Sutter Community Connect

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New Physicians Memo

Posted on Sep 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Oluwayemisi L. Adejumo, MD
1411 E. 31st St. Oakland, CA 94602-1018
(510) 437-4414 (510) 437-4187
Internal Medicine

Maged W. Botros, MD
Virtual MedStaff
2655 Northwinds Pkwy. Alpharetta, GA 30009-2280
(877) 732-7089 (404) 751-5297

Eric O. Buadu, MD
East Bay Regional Critical Care & Pulmonary Medicine
411 30th St., Fl 3 Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 465-6800 (510) 268-0634
Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine

Yao-Wen Cheng, MD
Sutter East Bay Medical Group
350 Hawthorne Ave., Ste. 2308 Oakland, CA 94609-3108
(510) 869-6883 (510) 869-6888
Internal Medicine

Margaret J. Chiu, MD
East Bay Anesthesiology Medical Group, Inc.
3000 Colby St., Ste 205 Berkeley, CA 94705-2058
(510) 666-0854 (510) 666-1192

Carolyn E. Kwon, MD Bay Imaging Consultants
2125 Oak Grove Rd., Ste. 200 Walnut Creek, CA 94598
(855) 424-2723 (925) 296-7171
Radiology, Diagnostic

Adam C. Marre, MD
Pinole Oral Surgery and Implantology
2150 Appian Way, Ste 201 Pinole, CA 94564-2520
(510) 724-3922 (510) 724-1037
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

William M. Mundy, MD
Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation
2450 Ashby Ave., Ste 5505 Berkeley, CA 94705-2067
(510) 204-1893 (510) 649-8287
Hospitalist, Medical

Brian Nguyen, MD
East Bay Anesthesiology Medical Group
2001 Addison St., Ste. 329 Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 666-0854 (510) 666-1192

Rohini E. Noronha, MD
Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation
2450 Ashby Ave., Ste. 5505 Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 204-1893 (510) 649-8287
Hospitalist, Medical

Jonathan C. Patberg, MD
350 Hawthorne Ave., Ste 2308 Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 869-6883 (510) 869-6888
Family Medicine

Michael T. Stanger, MD Bay Psychiatric Associates
2001 Dwight Wy., Ste. 4190 Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 204-4635 (510) 204-3860

Adrian E. Thomas, MD
Berkeley Emergency Medical Group
PO Box 1258 San Ramon, CA 94583-6258
(925) 962-1800 (925) 962-1801
Emergency Medicine

Yuri A. Veber, DDS
Contemporary Periodontics & Dental Implants
5277 College Ave., Ste 101 Oakland, CA 94618-1437
(510) 923-0699 (510) 952-4999
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Mark L. Villalon, MD
NorthBay Healthcare Foundation
1860 Pennsylvania Ave., Ste 120 Fairfield, CA 94533-3550
(707) 646-4400 (707) 646-4401

Marcus L. Williams, MD
2000 Crow Canyon Pl. Suite 260 San Ramon, CA 94583
(925) 962-1800 (925) 962-1801
Emergency Medicine

Warda Zaman, DO
East Bay Nephrology Medical Group
2905 Telegraph Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705-2017
(510) 841-4525 (510) 848-9970

President’s Message

Posted on Aug 5, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

It’s been roughly six months since we started planning for COVID-19. We had early hints that the storm was going to come, with an early surge of cases in March. Administration and medical staff leaders came together to devise a plan on how we would handle this new threat; establishing a command center, creating surge plans and capacity to care for those affected, securing PPE, bolstering our testing capabilities, and obtaining therapeutics that may have some benefit. We weathered that initial precipitation quite well, perhaps also lucky that a massive surge did not overwhelm us in the way that it did in other states and localities.

Nationwide, we have approximately 4.5 million cases. Over 150,000 Americans have died. California now leads the country with over 493,000 cases. We have suffered over 9000 deaths. ABSMC has identified and cared for over 468 cases since the start of the pandemic, of which 20 have died. Our current census of COVID patients as of July 30 is 44 cases shared amongst the two campuses. There has been a concerning rise in the overall burden of cases in the community, and as a result, hospitalizations, in the last 2 weeks.

Those numbers above become more personal when among them are our own staff. We recently lost two employees to COVID-19. Janine Paiste-Ponder was an RN on PCU 6 and Juan Salgado was a chef in our Summit café. Both were valued members of our Summit family, and they exemplified the qualities of selflessness and caring that make our medical center so great. They will be greatly missed. I am frightened by the prospect that we will undoubtedly lose more staff members to this deadly disease.

Please know that we are doing everything we can to make this medical center safe for patients and employees. It is absolutely critical that we are consistent with messaging to our fellow doctors and nurses in regards to appropriate PPE, both within and outside the hospital. Miscommunication will only further sow mistrust and fear. Studies have shown that wearing a simple surgical mask while the patient is masked can drastically cut down on transmission. We have an opportunity to model to the community in our personal lives as well, wearing a facemask and eye coverings at all times, even while exercising or being outdoors.  We should not attend large in person gatherings, and limit nonessential travel. Only through concerted efforts inside and outside the hospital can we limit the spread of disease.

A note of positivity:

ABSMC Summit was nationally ranked as a high performing program in bypass surgery, heart failure, and COPD by US News and world report!

Please take care of yourselves and be safe.

Jeff Chen MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief of Staff, ABSMC Summit Campus