Noted Surgeon, Writer Delivers Lecture on “Being Mortal”

Before a capacity audience in Stern Auditorium that included faculty, staff, students, and the public, Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, noted surgeon, writer, and public health researcher, recently presented a professional overview—yet highly personalized account—of modern medicine’s impact on how we age, and die, in the twenty-first century. His speech, titled “Being Mortal,” based on his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, was delivered as the 2015 Annual Douglas West Memorial Lecture, an event sponsored by Mount Sinai’s Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute. Read more

Around the Health System

Mount Sinai Queens Community Health Fair Draws 900 Attendees

Mount Sinai Queens and the United Community Civic Association co-hosted a daylong neighborhood health fair at Kaufman Astoria Studios on Saturday, June 6, attracting some 900 attendees. Mount Sinai Queens staff offered a wide range of free health screenings, including glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, asthma, and osteoporosis. They also measured body mass index and provided information on weight control, stress management, and smoking cessation and prevention. Attendees enjoyed free, healthy snacks from the hospital chef, family fun activities, and entertainment. Read more

Educating the Public About Stroke

Carolyn Brockington, MD, a board-certified vascular neurologist and Director of the Stroke Center at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt, is actively involved in educating the public about all aspects of stroke-—from its symptoms to its prevention and treatment.

“Most people do not realize anyone can have a stroke at any age, but the good news is many strokes can be prevented,” Dr. Brockington says. “The key lies in identifying and successfully controlling the risk factors with lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and possibly medication.” Read more

Tips for Avoiding Eye Infections from Contact Lenses

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported millions of Americans may be suffering from keratitis, an infection of the cornea, caused by improper handling of contact lenses. According to the CDC, wearing lenses too long and not cleaning them properly are the most common underlying factors of eye infections in the estimated 38 million Americans who wear contact lenses.

“Bacterial keratitis is usually treated with antibiotic drops and may require multiple return visits to your ophthalmologist,” says Marina Grapp, OD, Director, Specialty Contact Lens Service, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, “But the infection is easily avoidable with proper use.”

During Contact Lens Health Week, Dr. Grapp offers some tips for avoiding contact lens-related eye infections:

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Third Annual SINAInnovations Conference “Engineering and Medicine”

This year’s program will feature a number of exciting speakers, exhibitors, and demonstrations exploring the expanding interface between engineering and medicine—and how it is transforming all aspects of health care.

Topics include: breakthroughs in material science, nanotechnology, and imaging; genomics and personalized medicine; transformative technologies, including apps, software, and mobile technologies; and engineering to improve global health.

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Breakfast of Legends

The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center (MSAHC), a pioneer and leader in the treatment of adolescent-specific health services, will celebrate its 11th annual Breakfast of Legends benefit on Thursday, October 23, from 7:30 to 9 am, at The Plaza.

Funds raised at the Breakfast of Legends enable the MSAHC to provide free comprehensive health care—medical, mental, dental, optical, reproductive, and health education—to more than 11,000 adolescents from New York City and surrounding areas.

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“…Health Care News Stories Often Emphasize or Exaggerate Potential Benefits, Minimize or Ignore Potential Harms, and Ignore Cost Issues.”

The JAMA Internal Medicine article included the following abstract “From April 16, 2006, through May 30, 2013, a team of reviewers from HealthNewsReview.org, many of whom were physicians, evaluated the reporting by US news organizations on new medical treatments, tests, products, and procedures. After reviewing 1889 stories … the reviewers graded most stories unsatisfactory on 5 of 10 review criteria: costs, benefits, harms, quality of the evidence, and comparison of the new approach with alternatives. Drugs, medical devices, and other interventions were usually portrayed positively; potential harms were minimized, and costs were ignored. Our findings can help journalists improve their news stories and help physicians and the public better understand the strengths and weaknesses of news media coverage of medical and health topics.”

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Unnecessary Tests and Procedures in the Health Care System

The Choosing Wisely article noted “Physicians Say Unnecessary Tests and Procedures Are a Serious Problem, and Feel a Responsibility to Address the Issue.”

“Physicians say unnecessary tests and procedures represent a serious problem in the health care system. A majority of physicians feels a strong responsibility to help their patients avoid unnecessary care.”

“84 percent of physicians are interested in learning more about evidence-based recommendations that address when tests and procedures may be unnecessary. Physicians with exposure to the Choosing Wisely campaign are 17 points more likely to have reduced the number of tests or procedures they have done in the last 12 months. 45 percent of primary care physicians say they have seen or heard about the Choosing Wisely campaign after a description.”

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“…Physicians Believe That Fellow Doctors Prescribe an Unnecessary Test or Procedure…”

The Kaiser Health News article noted “The most frequent reasons that physicians order extraneous—and costly—medical care are fears of being sued, impulses to be extra careful and desires to reassure their own assessments of the patient…”

“… Choosing Wisely, a two-year old campaign devised by a foundation created by internal medicine doctors … has persuaded nearly 60 medical societies to identify overused tests and procedures. The goal is to cut back on needless medical care, which by some estimates may waste a third of the $2.8 trillion the country spends on health each year.”

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