Vital Signs - November 2003

June 2004

Nursing Continues Moving Toward Magnet Designation

nursing logo

Almost 18 months after setting down the path to achieve the award and designation given to recognize and highlight excellence in the art and science of nursing, Strong Memorial's Department of Nursing Practice is almost at its destination. Four nurse appraisers from the Magnet Recognition Program will visit Strong Memorial Hospital for four days (July 6 – July 9) in the last phase of a comprehensive review of Strong's Nursing Department.

The Magnet Recognition Program, launched in 1994 by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Academy of Nursing, recognizes health care organizations that provide the very best in nursing care and supports a strong nursing practice. The program identifies 14 standards—or "magnets"—in attracting and retaining high quality employees during times of nursing shortages. These magnets were culled from a study of 41 hospitals known as nursing practice leaders in the early 1980s; Strong Memorial was among this original select group.

Research shows that institutions that have achieved Magnet status enjoy enhanced recruitment and retention of nurses, reduced Medicare mortality and morbidity rates, increased patient satisfaction, improved nurse-to-patient ratios, and perceived higher quality of care by patients. Today, only five hospitals across the state and 101 of 6,000 hospitals nationwide have Magnet status.

"Magnet status is a natural fit for our Nursing Department," said Stephanie Von Bacho, M.S., R.N., co-director of the Magnet Application Project. "We helped set the standard for the national Magnet Recognition Program, and we hope to join the ranks of those elite nursing practices across the country who have been honored with the designation."

Comprehensive Review

The Magnet review team will visit every nursing unit and tour selected departments, meeting individually with nurses, physicians and executive leadership. They also will talk with patients, visitors, health care team members, and other employees about the hospital and Strong nurses.

"We look forward to the opportunity to share our nurses' expertise with the surveyors," said Chief Nursing Officer Pat Witzel, R.N., M.B.A., M.S. "The dedication of the nursing staff to quality patient care is the hallmark of nursing at Strong. We believe Strong has the best nurses and our model of care demonstrates our commitment to providing excellent care to our patients."

The site visit comes on the heels of substantial work by the Nursing Department since it undertook this endeavor in January 2003. The department created a Magnet Steering Committee, which worked diligently to prepare the official Magnet application, highlighting the strengths and the uniqueness of Strong's nursing practice.
When submitted in February 2004, the application included 258 pages of narrative and 13 inches of supporting documentation. As a testament to its comprehensive nature, the Nursing Department was NOT asked to submit any more supporting information—a rarity in the application process.

If all goes well, the Nursing Department expects to hear the status of its application by September.


URMC Creates New Center to Combat Terrorism Threats

Janet Williams, M.D.

In response to the new reality of terrorist threats, the Medical Center has established a Center for Disaster Medicine and Emergency Preparedness (CDMEP). The CDMEP will marshal the Medical Center's rich resources and expertise to contribute to the region's and nation's counterterrorism efforts.

URMC has national expertise in several areas critical to homeland security including radiation biology, development of biosensors, disaster mental health, design of new vaccines, and clinical decision support systems.

Emergency medicine physician Janet Williams, M.D., was recruited from West Virginia University to direct the new Center. At West Virginia, Williams led several programs and research projects aimed at helping hospitals respond to the threats posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

"The Center for Disaster Medicine and Emergency Preparedness takes all of the core competencies needed to respond to a disaster—everything from identification of bioterrorism agents to radiation treatment specialists to mental health experts—and focuses the efforts of response teams before a disaster occurs to ensure all are ready to provide a coordinated response if and when a terrorist event hits our region."

Main Areas of Focus

The Center's work will focus on potential terrorist activities as they relate to the three traditional missions of academic medical centers—research, education, and patient care. Three core programs are currently underway:

  1. Hospital Emergency Preparedness: The Center serves as the coordinator of hospital planning for the 18 hospitals in the nine-county Finger Lakes region. By looking at the preparation needs of the entire region, the Center can accurately determine the region's existing resources and identify gaps.
  2. Disaster Mental Health: The events of September 11 and its aftermath provided key lessons on the far reaching and long lasting impact such events can produce on mental health. The Center is currently developing guidelines and a training program to assist New York state counties in recruiting, training, and deploying mental health professionals during times of disaster.
  3. Health Effects Following Radiological Disasters: The threat of "dirty bombs" is well known. Utilizing URMC faculty experts in this area, the Center will research and establish best practices on how to handle large numbers of people exposed to radiation.

During the next year, the Center also will sponsor a series of symposia on various topics. In addition, the Center plans to work closely with other academic health centers in Upstate New York to share best practices. For more information, call (585) 275-6618.



Prestigious Kaiser Medal Awarded to Dr. William J. Hall

Dr. William J. Hall
William J. Hall, M.D.

William J. Hall, M.D., Paul Fine Professor of Medicine, Oncology and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Healthy Aging, was recently awarded the Albert David Kaiser Medal by the Rochester Academy of Medicine.

The award – the Academy's highest honor – was presented to Hall for over 30 years of distinguished service and contributions to the medical community as a clinician, teacher and leader in medical progress. The award was initiated in 1939 to recognize the work of Rochester pediatrician Albert H. Kaiser, M.D.

Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in geriatrics, Hall arrived in Rochester in 1971 as one of the first fellows in a newly created Pulmonary Disease Unit at the Medical Center. In 1983, he was appointed professor of medicine and physician-in-chief of the Department of Medicine at Rochester General Hospital, where he developed a special interest in aging, creating innovative programs including a specialized inpatient unit and a comprehensive community-based alternative to nursing homes for the frail elderly.

Hall returned to Strong in 1992 to focus on enhancing the geriatric program on both the education and clinical fronts. He played a major role in developing a plan for a Center for Healthy Aging based at Highland Hospital, and also founded the Center for Lifetime Wellness. In 2001, Hall served as president of the American College of Physicians, and the College's Upstate chapter awarded him their Laureate award in 2001 and in 2002 he received a Mastership.

For his community involvement, Hall has been recognized with the Health Care Award of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, a Certificate of Merit from the Rochester Academy of Medicine, and the Gold Medal Award from the Alumni Society of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Other Faculty Members Cited

Three other faculty members were also honored at the Academy's annual meeting. William Bayer, M.D., Family Medicine, won the Geriatric Award in honor of Carter and T. Franklin Williams. Awards of Merit were presented to Caroline B. Hall, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, and Christopher H. Hodgman, M.D., clinical professor of Pediatrics and professor emeritus of Psychiatry.



Point and Click your Way to Better Health

how's your healthMedical Center faculty and staff have an unprecedented opportunity to get immediate and free feedback on their health–and how to improve it–simply by logging onto The How's Your Health, Upstate New York program is sponsored by the Rochester Health Commission in cooperation with more than 45 private and public organizations including URMC.

Once logged onto, you'll find an anonymous, confidential survey that asks questions about your physical health and overall well-being. Based on your answers, the website will provide you with a personalized education packet on potential trouble spots, along with steps you can take to prevent illness. You'll also get a summary action form to take to your doctor and other useful information.

The online survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, was developed by Dartmouth Medical School, and is available in both English and Spanish.
The individual information provided is not stored, however overall data from all survey participants will be collected and analyzed by a team of medical experts to determine what's right – and what can be improved – in area health care. They will then develop action strategies to help the region better address the health care needs of local residents.


URMC Takes Team Crowns at Corporate Challenge

Faculty and staff from the University of Rochester made a terrific showing at the 2004 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, held May 27. From a field of close to 10,000 runners, microbiologist researcher Laura Bloedorn came in first in the women's division, while Duncan Douglas, M.D., anesthesiology, came in fourth in the men's division. In addition, UR captured both the Men's and Women's team titles—a first for the University—earning them a slot to compete in the Corporate Challenge Championship in New York City in October. All told, more than 300 faculty and staff ran or walked the 3.5 mile course.

Men's Winning Team Time
Duncan Douglas, M.D., Anesthesiology 18:00
Craig Lefort, Biomedical Engineering 18:14
Carl Johnston, Pediatrics 19:02
Alec O’Connor, M.D., Medicine M&D 21:10
Women's Winning Team Time
Laura Bloedorn, Microbiology 19:42
Rachel Delavan, Community & Preventive Medicine 23:44
Lucinda Rettke, R.N., Burn and Trauma ICU 24:33
Karen Kryder, Pathology 26:12


Tomlin Makes the Grade at AANS Meeting


Jeff Tomlin
Jeffrey Tomlin, M.D.

Congratulations to Jeffrey M. Tomlin, M.D., winner of the Robert Florin Award for his presentation at the recent American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) annual meeting. Tomlin, currently a neurosurgery resident at the Medical Center, detailed how the Neurosurgery Department was able to successfully work within the confines of the new stringent resident work hour regulations to maintain educational goals for residents and patient volume demands. The Robert Florin award is presented by the AANS each year at its annual meeting for the best abstract submitted by a neurosurgeon that explores the many nuances socio-economic issues bring to the practice of medicine.


Sign up for NetIDs

With the new Human Resources Management System (HRMS) scheduled to go live July 6, all faculty and staff will need to activate their NetIDs to access payroll statements and manage personal information. The single sign-on identification will allow employees to securely and easily access—both on and off campus—online data and applications.

Faculty and staff can activate their NetID by going to You will need your employee ID number (located on a paycheck or payroll statement) along with the last four digits of an employee’s Social Security number. The process is simple, and takes no more than two minutes to complete.

For the latest updates on HRMS, including the schedule of training sessions, visit



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Last updated: 06/23/2009 10:07 PM