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Do you prefer the horror classics, such as Frankenstein or Dracula, the unsettingly frightful movies such as Carrie, Poltergeist, or the newer generation, such as Friday the 13th and Paranormal Activity? Whether the lead was a zombie, possessed child or ghost, share what's your favorite Halloween movie?

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Over half a million people participate in marathons each year, and millions more enjoy running in shorter races and at their leisure. Aaron Keil, DPT, is a physical therapist and the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Rehabilitation Manager at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is a long-time runner, and is an expert in treating the foot and ankle, ranging from casual runners to professional runners. Dr. Keil recently spoke about preparation, pain, treatment and other common concerns among runners. Have you run in a marathon? Share your photos.

Q: What is the most common injury faced by runners?
A: Knee injuries are the most common, including IT band tendonitis and lateral knee pain as well as issues with the knee caps. The second most common injury is foot and ankle injuries, such as plantar fasciitis.

Q: Do more experienced runners face different types of injuries than new runners?
A: The main cause of injury for runners is related to abnormal stress on the body, so whether you are just starting out with running and are increasing your distance too quickly, or are already running 50 miles a week and increasing that by a few extra miles, the body can only handle so much stress over a certain period of time, and trying to accommodate this stress too quickly is what often causes injury.

Q: When should someone seek medical attention?
A: The length of time a person has had an injury plays very largely into how long it will take for them to get better. The longer the pain has been going on the more difficult it is to undo. It is often difficult for runners to realize when there is a problem, because running as a sport can be inherently painful. In general, if a runner has pain that is sharp and localized and happens repeatedly you should probably see someone. General muscle soreness is common after runs, but should not last more than a few days. If discomfort lasts more than a week it is important to see someone before the problem gets worse.

Q: Are there more holistic approaches to treating pain?
A: While often there is a short-term fix, pain can be a reflection of many other things happening. for instance, sometimes it is an issue with the hip that is causing someone’s knee pain, and while we can temporarily help the person feel better, the problem will return unless we address the larger issue causing the abnormal tissue stress.

Q: What kind of exercises to you recommend for runners?
A: The core area is very important — and is more than just the abdominal area that people think of. The mid-section of the body, from the mid back to the knees, are all part of the core and need to be addressed. I think that it’s also important to focus on endurance and how these muscles can function over time. When Muscles fatigue is when bad things can happen to runners, so it is important to make sure specific muscles can last over time.

Q: What is the best way to avoid injury?
A: One of the most important is avoiding too much too soon. Whether you are a seasoned runner or new to the sport, pushing your body too hard too quickly may result in injuries. A general rule is the body will react to too much stress over a short period of time (in the form of pain and injury) but will respond to stress by getting stronger if that stress is applied over a longer period of time.

Q: What do you think of the barefoot running and minimalist shoe trend that has risen in the past few years?
A: At first, I had been hesitant to believe there was any good science behind this trend. I used to tell my patients that each foot type should be matched with a certain shoe type for an optimal outcome. However, study after study has shown that this does not matter as much as we previously thought, Essentially, we’re starting to see that those runners that transition into a minimalist shoe over the right period of time, almost always change their running style to more effectively absorb the impact forces of running. This ultimately may lead to a significant reduction in injury risk.

Q: How does one begin running with minimalist shoes?
A: There is a risk of getting injured when changing shoe type, and Achilles tendonitis is higher with forefoot runners, so it is important to gradually change your shoes to build up tolerance. The arch muscles in your feet are not used to flat running, but for most people this will get stronger over time. The best way to start is to spend more time barefoot or in thin sandals, not just running but also walking around the house to prepare your feet. After a few weeks of that you can start running with a minimalist shoe for 25 percent of your run, and after a few weeks of that increase to 50 percent, and gradually work your way to running only in minimalist shoes.

Q: Do you ever suggest people give up running?
A: Barring a severe medical problem, there’s no reason that someone cannot return to running or become a runner. Many people say they have a bad knee or some other problem that prevents them, but my belief is that with the right treatment most of these issues can be resolved.

Q. What’s the latest research related to running and foot and ankle injuries?
A: Running related injuries of the foot and ankle are oftentimes the result of overtraining (too much stress, too soon). The overall health benefits of running far outweigh the risks that may be involved.

Q. What kind of treatment does Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation offer?
A: We can usually help runners get out of pain fairly quickly with a variety of treatment options: deep tissue mobilization, focus on restoration of appropriate flexibility and strength, the use of real-time ultrasound technology to more accurately assess muscle function in real-time and finally, we have some amazing technology that allows us to measure specific force data while someone runs in real-time, coupled with slow motion video.

Q. Are there any health risks for runners?
A: The only one I can think of is doing too much too soon. However, if you do have a specific medical condition (osteoporosis, neuropathy, etc.) consulting a medical professional before running may result in a more successful and rewarding experience.

Where can people find more information?

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Whether it’s for 30 minutes or an hour, do you catch up on bills, take a walk or grab at bit to eat at a nearby restaurant? Cast your vote on how you spend your lunch break most of the time. Feel free to share a photo of your lunch.

How Do You Typically Spend Your Lunch Break?

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Some of TV’s most popular shows have featured medical drama. Many of us are familiar with Grey’s Anatomy, ER and M.A.S.H. Then there were the Johns Hopkins documentaries Hopkins and Hopkins 24/7. But what about Marcus Welby, M.D., Dr. Kildare and Doogie Howser? Don't forget these: Trapper John, M.D., Chicago Hope, Scrubs, St. Elsewhere, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman and House. Share your favorite medical TV show.

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Whether it's because you have multiple projects due by the end of the day or the thought of how you’ll get through dinner and homework with a headache, stress happens. Cast your vote for how you typically de-stress during the workday.

How Do You Relieve Stress During the Workday?

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Share your tips for how you relieve stress at the office.

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The workplace is a prime location to meet people and develop relationships, and a number of faculty and staff met their spouses at Johns Hopkins. Whether it was at work or school, through a blind date or online dating service or during a social event, we invite you to post how you met your husband, wife or "significant other." Feel free to share a photo.

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Ken Grant and DeNiro DeGross

DeNiro DeGross has advanced from a part-time nutrition services worker to a full-time patient transporter under the mentorship of Ken Grant, vice president of general services.

Johns Hopkins Medicine's five-year strategic plan identifies mentoring as a key strategy to "attract, engage, retain and develop the world's best people.” Whether you participate in a formal mentoring program, such as the nurse residency program called SPRING or Master Mentors program that teaches senior faculty the essentials of successful mentoring, or support a colleague in adapting to the workplace culture, please share your mentoring story or tips.

Read more about mentoring and professional development in the September 2013 edition of Dome.

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Heidi ConwayHeidi Conway, senior director of benefits at The Johns Hopkins University, provides an update on the 2014 benefits plan for school of medicine and other university faculty and staff. Annual enrollment will take place Oct. 22 through Nov. 12. Town hall sessions and a benefits fair are being scheduled, so watch for details on these activities, rates and enrollment information when they become available at

What changes will university faculty and staff see in the 2014 benefits program?

  • As announced last year (as an outcome of the Benefits Advisory Committee’s work), JHU is moving toward an employee cost-sharing of 25 percent for family coverage. Employee contributions for medical coverage will continue to increase.
  • We will continue to price our plans based on the six salary bands. Those who are paid less will continue to have lower premiums.
  • Other medical and pharmacy plan features (e.g., deductibles, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximums, etc.) will have one small change: Consistent with health care reform requirements, the deductible amount will be included in the out-of-pocket maximum. Our benchmarking has shown that these amounts continue to be in line with what’s offered at JHU’s peer organizations.

Will we gain any new benefits?
Yes! We’re adding a new voluntary legal services benefit, and relaunching critical illness coverage, so give them some consideration when you enroll.

When is Annual Enrollment?
Annual Enrollment will take place Oct. 22 through Nov. 12. It’s the time to evaluate and decide on the right coverage for you and your family. Rates will be available by early October, with town hall sessions and benefits fairs beginning Oct. 1. Even if you’re not planning to make any changes, be sure to learn how the 2014 changes may impact you.

How does health care reform affect benefits?
We anticipate health care reform will have limited impact on the university’s health plans for 2014, but with the delay of the law’s employer mandate, the university is in the process of reviewing and understanding the impact.

What does the health care exchange mean for JHU employees?
You should know that the health care exchange takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. Beginning Oct. 1, you can evaluate the health plans offered to the public through the government-run health insurance exchange, but if you are a full-time employee, the university’s coverage will likely be your most cost-effective choice. According to the law, any employee who does not have health care coverage must pay a penalty, which will be levied through the Internal Revenue Service.

Where can I find more information about benefits and wellness?
Stay tuned. We’ll be posting information at

What about benefits for Johns Hopkins Health System employees?
The JHHS Benefits Office has posted important information at Information about the benefits programs for employees of Howard County General Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital will be available to them in the upcoming weeks.

Hopkins Happenings note: To ask a question or make a comment, please click on the button below. Please do not ask about personal situations or include personal health information or your medical history in your question or comment; these questions can be sent directly to for an individual reply. Throughout the day, review the comments to see responses from Heidi Conway and the JHU benefits team.

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What Are the Changes in JHH/JHHSC Benefits for 2014?

Hope Marsh, senior director of benefits and wellness for the Johns Hopkins Health System, provides an update on the 2014 benefits program for employees of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, Johns Hopkins HealthCare and Johns Hopkins Home Care Group. Mark your calendars for open enrollment, which will take place Oct. 21 through Nov. 4. We’ve also posted helpful information on the EHP website at and

After years of providing 100 percent paid health insurance, why did Johns Hopkins go to a 90/10 co-insurance plan?
Last year, Johns Hopkins announced that in an effort to control the rising medical care costs and improve the health and wellness of its employees, it was making important changes to the health benefits plan, known as the Employer Health Programs, or EHP. The most significant was that Johns Hopkins Medicine would shift from paying the total cost of health care coverage to a 90/10 cost-sharing split when the employee used a provider outside of the Johns Hopkins network for inpatient services. If you’re familiar with Johns Hopkins Medicine’s five-year strategic plan, you’ll see that these changes align with our people strategic initiative to improve the health and wellness of our workforce members, many of whom are at risk for at least one chronic illness, and improve employee access to the world-class care that Johns Hopkins provides; and the strategic initiative of performance, which focuses on cost savings, increased revenue and operational efficiencies that will strengthen each of our member institutions.

How does the 2014 medical benefit work?
We will continue to provide 100 percent coverage if you use Johns Hopkins-owned facilities, such as the six hospitals, and we will also continue to provide 100 percent coverage for preventive care services. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, if you use a provider or facility that is part of the EHP network, but not the Hopkins Preferred Network, you will pay 10 percent of the cost for inpatient and outpatient care, up to the yearly out-of-pocket maximum of $2,000 per individual and $4,000 for a family. Plan members who choose to obtain care from providers who are not members of the EHP network will pay higher copays and a higher percentage of co-insurance (70/30, rather than 90/10). You can view the Schedule of Benefits at

How will employees know who is a Hopkins Preferred medical provider?
You will be able to verify who is a Hopkins-Preferred Network medical provider through an online directory. To search for a provider in the Hopkins Preferred Network, use our Provider Directory.
A list of Hopkins Preferred Network providers can be found here.
Since PCP care is not changing, the listing of EHP in-network primary care providers can be found here and also in the provider directory.

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