Patient Thanks Dr. Rita Kwan-Feinberg for Her Thoroughness That May Have Saved Her Life

Posted on Jun 17, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I am an ABSMC patient writing to tell you a story about an amazing doctor who quite possibly saved my life – she for sure left me with an inspiring breast cancer story to tell, rather than a harrowing one.

Rita Kwan-Feinberg, M.D.

I was first referred to Dr. Rita Kwan-Feinberg by my general practitioner, Dr. Mary Miller when I inquired about an umbilical hernia I had been dealing with since my twins were born eight-years-ago. Upon exam, Dr. Kwan-Feinberg figured out that I also had an inguinal hernia, laying out my options ranging from laparoscopic surgery to no action. Hernia diagnosis aside, she noticed the prevalence of late onset breast cancer in my family – both my mom and my maternal aunt got breast cancer at around age 60.

In response to a question from the doctor about my cancer risk, I must have said – maybe somewhat flippantly – that for me, it was less about whether I’d get breast cancer and more about when. Once we were done talking about a possible hernia surgery, she re-visited my breast cancer risk and asked if I’d be willing to make a separate (virtual) appointment to do an assessment of my breast cancer risk. It turned out, weighing my entire health history, that my chance of getting breast cancer was about 34 percent.

From there, Dr. Kwan-Feinberg went over things I could do to reduce that chance, but she also recommended I start doing a breast MRI once a year, along with a mammogram once a year too. The two diagnostics were to be spread out every six months.

I went ahead and underwent the hernia surgery. Two weeks later I was due for the breast MRI. In my mind, I was just kicking off a new, more intense detection regimen. It turned out to be the kick-off of a breast cancer diagnosis!

They found a lump in my right breast and a biopsy confirmed it was Stage 1, Grade 1 Lobular Breast Cancer, something that didn’t show up on the mammogram I had six months prior.

I really am one of the luckiest woman around and all thanks to Dr. Kwan-Feinberg and her amazing intellect, intuition, bedside manner, knowledge, thoroughness and passion for a holistic, preventive based approach to medicine. That sneaky lump would have never shown up in a mammogram and it would have likely grown for years before I knew it was there – were it not for Dr. Kwan-Feinberg and that MRI…and she was just my hernia surgeon (initially anyway)!

I can’t say enough about what a superwoman she is – an incredible doctor and person. In addition to helping to relay the message of early diagnostic testing for those women with a higher risk of breast cancer, I also feel compelled to relay my kudos to one of the finest medical professionals I’ve ever met!

President’s Message

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in President's Message | 0 comments

Last month was AAPI heritage month, and I had the opportunity to participate on a systemwide forum, sponsored by the Sutter Multicultural inclusion and Diversity Group, as a panelist to discuss the experience of Asians in today’s troubling climate of rising hate crimes and violence. It was widely well received, and a similar forum was replicated locally, sponsored by the ABSMC Diversity and Inclusion Council. I appreciate all who were able to attend. Some tough questions were asked and not easily answered, but a dialogue was started, and there is intrinsic value to that. I will try to keep you updated on future forums regarding diversity and inclusion.

Here is the link to the recorded event, but it does need to be opened within the Sutter network due to privacy concerns.

On the COVID front, things are feeling eerily more normal. We are testing less thanks to less symptomatic patients, and given the vaccination rate, we have been able to avoid unnecessary screening tests on admission or pre-operatively. We even have hit a new low of cases in the hospital since the beginning of the pandemic! Thanks to Dr. Boynton for her regular updates.

I have been thankful to be able ride my bike outdoors and not wear a mask! I anticipate however that we will be wearing masks in the hospital for the foreseeable future.

We soon may be able to have indoor meetings, but we are waiting on SHEMS guidance based on local health department and CDC guidelines.

In Alameda County, nearly 64% of eligible residents have received at least one dose of vaccine!

This is taken from the CA COVID 19 page.

More information is available from:

You can look up vaccination rates by zip code on this website as well.

California is projected to open up on June 15, with restrictions lifted on most indoor gatherings aside from mega-events.

If you’re vaccinated, you will be eligible for the Vaccine Lottery – 10 winners of $1.5 million, 30 winners of $50,000!

Vaccine hesitancy however is still real within certain communities and people of color. Please take the time to ask your patients if they have been vaccinated, and if not, what barriers exist to their receiving the vaccine.

Lastly, please update your Sutter Profile.

As a member of the medical staff, you should have a Sutter online MD profile. Some of you might not. Some of yours might be out of date. In 2020, physician profiles on were viewed > 17 million times. Please take a moment to review and update your profile with a current photo and campus information to make sure any info being posted is accurate. Thanks.

Step 1: Review your profile =

Step 2: Update your profile = Complete sections. Scroll to the bottom and hit “submit”

Once you submit this form, they will update it within 1-2 weeks. If you have any questions or need assistance with your online profile, please email

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

Chhavi Bajaj, M.D. Receives Caring for People Award

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Chhavi Bajaj, M.D. Receives Caring for People Award
Dr. Chhavi Bajaj has been recognized for her invaluable contributions to our patients, specifically her guidance and assistance with our Case Management team. Dr. Bajaj spent a significant amount of time speaking with a patient and family members to review all options for a safe discharge plan. The family was very appreciative of Dr. Bajaj’s assistance and we truly appreciate Dr. Bajaj’s efforts to ensure the patient was safely discharged.

Summit Physician Wellbeing

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Wellness Committee | 0 comments

Cultivating Emotional Balance

  • An Important Strategy for  Coping with Stress and Finding Joy in our Work!

Our work is full of time pressure, life and death situations as well as amazing opportunities to see the depth of the human condition.  We are not taught any strategies the help us cope.  I have stumbled upon a great one.  Dan Siegel, a  Harvard psychologist,  developed this idea he calls  “Name it to Tame it”.

Simply naming an emotion is a great way to get control over it.  Functional MRI show that when we name an emotion the activity of the brain moves for the arousal areas of the limbic system where we really feel the heat of the emotion to the prefrontal cortex where appraisal happens and with this, calming neurotransmitters are released to sooth.   Simply naming the emotion helps put out the fire and gives us some control.  Moving our thoughts away from the source of the emotion to the emotion itself can help stop ruminative thoughts that can be fuel for the flames.

The first crucial step is paying attention to our emotions which, at least for me, I was not in the habit of doing.  Emotions are an embodied phenomenon.  We feel them.  Paying attention to our body is a good way to help us recognize what we are feeling.

Interestingly, when we are feeling positive emotions, naming them helps us appreciated them more; the good get amplified!

Give this a try.  It doesn’t take any extra time and with some practice I am sure you will notice the benefits!

The link below is to a longer essay I wrote on this for the society of hospital medicine.  In it, I describe how I used this technique on a tough day on our Covid unit last winter.

And look for more Celebrating our Physicians post in June!

Leif Hass, MD
Summit Wellness Chair

Alejo Santa Cruz, M.D. Receives Caring for People Award

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Announcements | 0 comments

Alejo Santa Cruz, M.D. Receives Caring for People Award
Dr. Alejo Santa Cruz has been recognized for consistently showing exemplary skillful care to patients, specifically his guidance and assistance with the Covid Unit on 6SW at the Alta Bates Campus. Alejo has partnered with staff on best practices and continuously thanked our nursing team and employees for their dedication. We truly appreciate and thank Alejo and congratulate him on this much deserved award.

WiserCare: An Online Advance Healthcare Directive Platform

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Announcements | 0 comments

Patient Experience

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Wellness Committee | 0 comments

Sutter Community Connect

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

New Physician Memo

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in New Physicians | 0 comments

Alta Bates Campus Exercise Room

Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Alta Bates Exercise Room

The exercise room in CR3 (1st floor, near Doctor’s Lounge) now has a coded lock.  The code is 1, 3, 7, 9, #

Leanna Hudson, CPMSM
Manager, ABSMC Medical Staff Services