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As a designated site to care for potential patients with Ebola virus disease, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has and continues to set plans in place to implement the safest procedures possible to keep its patients, employees and visitors safe. Although there are currently no patients with Ebola at any Johns Hopkins Medicine hospital, Johns Hopkins will continue to be proactive in identifying the best measures for preparedness. Dianne Whyne, director of operations for the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), talks about the current state of Ebola preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

If you have any questions for Dianne on Ebola prepareness at Johns Hopkins, ask your questions in the comments section below and she will answer some of them throughout the day.

 

How prepared is Johns Hopkins for a patient with Ebola?

Johns Hopkins is well prepared to identify and isolate any potential patients with possible exposure to Ebola, and to work closely with local and state health authorities to make an Ebola case confirmation or rule-out. In addition, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has been designated as one of three hospitals in the Baltimore–Washington region that would care for a patient with Ebola. As a result of many high-level discussions and detailed planning, patient screening procedures, clinical protocols, personal protective equipment training, patient care guidelines and other guidance has been developed in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. To learn more, visit the CEPAR web site: http://www.hopkins-cepar.org.

 

As an employee, should I be worried about exposure to the virus?

Employees should not be overly worried about exposure to the virus unless they have traveled or are planning approved travel to the areas of West Africa affected by the Ebola outbreak. All faculty, staff and students should become familiar with CEPAR’s interim guidance regarding Ebola and international travel. Read the document: http://www.hopkins-cepar.org/_docs/ebola_2014/ebola_travel_guidance.pdf

 

Are we using what we learned from past emerging disease events, like swine flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome and others?

CEPAR and its experts use lessons learned from disease outbreaks and other threats to help improve future preparedness.

 

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We've all been in situations where the stakes are high. An interview for a dream job, a date with your crush, a presentation in front of an important client all may have caused  butterflies in your stomach at one time. From the time you were a youth playing sports, you encountered situations where your performance would make or break a situation. A recent study from The Johns Hopkins University suggests that in situations like this, performance depends on two factors: the framing of the incentive in terms of a loss or a gain, and a person’s aversion to loss. Read more about this study and what it found out about performing under pressure.

Do you perform well under pressure? Take today's poll and let us know where you stand. Leave a comment and share a story of a time you either came through big or came up short in a pressure situation.

How Well Do You Work Under Pressure?

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The Johns Hopkins 2014–2015 flu campaign is now in full swing, and getting vaccinated is the top priority for those within the Johns Hopkins community. As part of the mandatory flu vaccination policy, all Johns Hopkins Medicine faculty, trainees, students and staff covered by the policy must be compliant by Dec. 2, except for All Children’s Hospital employees, who must be compliant by Nov. 19. Employees who receive vaccinations at off-site locations, including doctors’ offices and retail stores, must provide documentation of vaccination.

For more information on the Johns Hopkins Medicine flu campaign, including dates, times and locations for vaccination, as well as the mandatory flu policy, visit the Johns Hopkins Mandatory Flu Vaccination Campaign website.

So why is it important to get vaccinated? We visited some of the flu vaccination clinics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and asked for employees’ thoughts on why it’s important, particularly before flu season hits. See their responses below and  be sure to leave a comment and tell us why YOU think it's important to get the flu vaccine.

 

Gurpreet Skinner, medical office supervisor with the Department of Dermatology, shares her thoughts on the importance of the flu vaccine:

Grace_Brzozowski

Grace Brzozowski, program coordinator, pediatrics

“Having had the flu about 20 years ago, I never want to have it again. The fever was high and the headache was bad, and then you just don’t know if that causes you to have other immunity problems as times goes on.”

 

 

Ruth_Lewis

Ruth Lewis, residency program coordinator, radiation oncology

“I’ve had a case of the flu before, and I hadn’t had the shot. After that, I decided that I definitely should. Who wants the body aches and being away from work? Nobody likes being sick.”

 

 

szanton-sarah-bioSarah Szanton, associate professor, school of nursing

“I think that all adults, even if they are healthy, should get a flu shot to help contain the flu and prevent it from spreading to other people. I do think there is some suspicion in the community that they think the shot will give them the flu, so the more people that go out and get the vaccine and don’t get the flu, the better.”

 

 

Millie_RiceMillie Rice, skills enhancement instructor, human resources

“Some people think that because they’ve never had the flu or don’t get colds, they’re not going to put something in them to cure something they don’t have. People need to get the vaccine—they can spread the flu to their families and any other people they’re around. And it doesn’t feel good.”

 

 

Woojin_Song

Woojin Song, research assistant, pediatrics

“It’s important to get a flu shot for my own health, but also because it can also prevent the spread of the flu in the community. I had a bad experience about four or five years ago, and I think I spread it to my friends, so ever since then I get the flu shot every year. ”

 

 

 

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The 2014 Johns Hopkins Medicine United Way campaign is underway, and JHM aims to make a difference in the lives of those around us, with a goal of raising $1.66 million. This year's campaign theme is “Changing the Odds for Families and Communities” and your donation can help change the odds, especially in high-need neighborhoods.

But you can choose where your donations go. You can donate to the United Way general fund, select a specific initiative such as the Family Stability Initiative or the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund, or choose a 501(c)(3) health and human services organization of your choice. You can even choose a combination of these options.

Have you donated to the United Way campaign? Do you volunteer for other charitable organizations throughout the year? Share your efforts and tell us the reasons you give back to the community.

To learn more about the United Way and how you can make a difference by assisting families and communities in need, visit http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/unitedway/index.html.

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high_schoolThe autumn air can lead some to reminisce about their days as a youth in high school. From the homecoming game to extracurricular activities and clubs to school dances, there was plenty to be excited about back in high school. You may have even learned a thing or two! Put on that letterman jacket, show some school spirit and share what you miss most about high school in today's Throwback Thursday.

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Some people feel burning in their chest after eating. Others complain of a cough, hoarse voice or trouble swallowing. And then there are those who experience frequent belching or taste acid in their mouth. All of these are symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, a digestive disorder commonly known as heartburn, which is often humorously depicted in TV commercials touting over-the-counter remedies. But for the estimated 60-million-plus Americans who suffer regularly from gastroesophageal reflux, the condition is no laughing matter. And for a small percentage of people, it can lead to a serious precancerous condition. To learn more about heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux, we turned to Jim Williams, M.D., a family practitioner with JHCP at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

What causes reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when acid comes up out of the stomach and travels up the esophagus. This happens because the esophageal sphincter, which opens to allow food into the stomach and closes to keep it in, becomes relaxed for too often or too long. “Certain foods that you eat will make this relaxation of the esophageal sphincter more likely to happen—anything with caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and peppermint,” says Williams. Medications, including those used to treat osteoporosis, can also cause heartburn. So can lying on the couch after dinner.

Who is most at risk?

People with large abdominal girth, smokers and pregnant women. Those who have a hiatal hernia—when the upper part of your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm and into your chest—are also more at risk. “With a hiatal hernia, stomach acid can slide up the esophagus more easily,” Williams says. Hiatal hernias occur in about 3 to 10 percent of people, are more prevalent with age and can be treated with surgery if necessary.

What can I do to prevent reflux?

“The most important thing you can do is to identify the habit that’s the problem and change it,” says Williams. “For example, people who find heartburn and reflux intolerable at bedtime need to avoid eating two hours before they go to bed.” In addition, losing weight, quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol and avoiding overeating can all help prevent reflux.

What are the most effective treatments?

Over-the-counter antacids like Tums can be helpful in treating reflux, Williams says. For more persistent reflux, Williams recommends taking H2 blockers (acid reducers), like Zantac and Pepcid, which often have to be taken with every meal. “Far and away the best over-the-counter type of medication is a proton pump inhibitor known as Prilosec OTC,” he says.

When should I see my doctor?

Any regular need for H2 blockers or Prilosec OTC should be reviewed with a physician. “You don’t just want to put a bandage on a problem that needs something more,” Williams explains. Here’s why: Neglect your reflux for too long and the condition can become chronic. “If the esophagus is exposed to hydrochloric acid of the stomach repeatedly over time, it gets burned and injured,” he says. One can even develop adhesions in the esophagus that make swallowing difficult. Over years, the affected cells in the esophagus can become precancerous, a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. “Heartburn ignored for long enough, especially in combination with smoking and too much drinking, puts you at increased risk for cancer of the esophagus,” says Williams.

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Social media has turned into the primary hub for staying connected with the people, places and events most important to us. Johns Hopkins Medicine recognizes the importance and impact of social media, inviting people from all over the world to stay connected through various social channels like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Are you connected with Johns Hopkins Medicine on social media? What are your favorite social sites to use to connect? Cast Your Vote on all that apply and let us know what you like about Johns Hopkins social media sites  in the comments below.

Visit Johns Hopkins Medicine on social media:

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and at Johns Hopkins the Office of Workforce Diversity and Safe at Hopkins aims to help stop workplace bullying by helping employees identify bullying in its many forms - physical, mental and emotional. Have you ever encountered bullying? Share your story and how you overcame your situation, or helped someone else to overcome bullying.

For more about bullying and other disruptive behaviors, visit the Office of Workforce Diversity's page on Bullying and Other Disruptive Behaviors or visit Safe at Hopkins for more information on mild, moderate and severe bullying in the workplace. You can also visit the Safe at Hopkins resources page to download brochures on how to help identify and prevent disruptive behaviors, like bullying, at work.

To report a disruptive behavior issue, you can email safeathopkins@jhmi.edu

 

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