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past issues

 Published monthly for CC employees by Clinical Center Communications

July 1998

Public awareness campaign

Theology students

people's query

Children at work


T'ai Chi at the CC

Wet floors

Health Fair

News briefs



Royalty visits the CC

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, recently visited the Clinical Pathology Department while at the Clinical Center attending a meeting on women's health issues. Also while at the NIH, the Duchess met with, among others, Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, deputy director of NIH; Dr. Vivian Pinn, director of NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health; and Dr. David Henderson, CC deputy director for clinical care.

CC increases efforts to improve public awareness and patient recruitment

Determining how the Clinical Center wants to be viewed by the world was the purpose of a branding workshop held last month by a group of consultants with Clinical Center and Institute employees.

Macro International, Inc., a professional services firm, and Porter Novelli, a public relations firm, have been contracted by the Clinical Center to improve patient recruitment and raise awareness of NIH intramural programs. The branding workshop is one in a series of steps to determine how best to reach physicians, community members, and the general public to increase awareness of and interest in participation in clinical trials at the CC.

"If people don't know who we are and what we do, they aren't going to be interested in coming here or referring their patients here," said Dr. John Gallin, CC director. "Methods that have been reliable in the past, including depending on friends within the medical community, are not going to keep research beds filled as we move into the next century."

The patient recruitment plan is currently composed of four elements: physician mobilization, community outreach, public and professional awareness, and internal capacity building. Macro began the process earlier this year by conducting internal interviews with CC and Institute investigators, nurses, and administrators to determine what some key players view as obstacles to patient recruitment.

A brand is a combination of a name or message and graphic look. The purpose of the brand is to help distinguish a product or service from competing efforts. Once a look and message for the CC are developed and approved, they will appear on all materials distributed to the public to recruit patients. Before it is adopted and integrated into CC materials, the brand will be tested among members of the public.

The Clinical Center awareness and patient recruitment contract is managed by Dottie Cirelli, chief of the Patient Referral and Recruitment Center, and Colleen Henrichsen, chief of the Office of Clinical Center Communications. A steering committee made up of Institute and CC investigators, nurses, administrators, communicators, and patients is overseeing the process.



The Spiritual Ministry Department recently welcomed interns to the Clinical Pastoral Education program. Shown are (front row, from left) Chaplain Karen Morrow, Emily Jenkins, Mata Mandir Kaur Khalsa, Jane Bussey, and Ray Fitzgerald, department chief. (Middle row, from left) Terry Hannon, Hyo Myong Lim, and John Waidande. (Top row, from left) Mark Marius, Lisa Fiddermon, and Shirley Chow.


Theology students gain experience from CC's unique setting

Nine theology students have selected the CC's Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program in hopes of gaining the education and experience necessary to foster their future aspirations in the area of ministry.

"I hope to be a parish pastor," said Terry Hannon, a theology student. "I am attending seminary now and the skills I am learning here will be called upon once I'm out visiting people in hospitals such as this."

The program, with roots stemming from the 1960s, was re-established at the Clinical Center in 1984. It is designed to offer theology students practical education and experience in a clinical setting.

"I am here to gain some experience," said Hannon. "It is helpful to me to be a part of a group and to have supervision while I'm learning. The program also allows me to find out where I'm doing things well and ways I can be more effective as a chaplain and a caregiver."

The CPE interns take part in a variety of learning experiences. Those experiences are the only compensation for their participation in the 11-week program.

According to Spiritual Ministry Chaplain Karen Morrow, the students spend about a third of their time in structured learning activities, while the remainder is spent with patients and on their assigned units throughout the hospital.

"Our goal is to provide the students with an experience of hands-on ministry with people in crisis. This helps them to know what their strengths and weaknesses are," Morrow said. "They learn a lot from the patients themselves because many of the students have not had the experience of being ill, as our patients have. Consequently, the patients are teaching the students about life experience and how beliefs can influence people in times of sickness."

Interns not only benefit from the patients but from the interdisciplinary rounds and meetings as well. This allows the students to learn the integral roles of physicians, nurses, social workers and other members of the care team.

"I feel the hospital is a kind of sacred place where people are going through very important transitions in their lives," said Mata Mandir Kaur Khalsa, one of the interns. "One of the things that I have learned from the patients here is that when people are suffering, they grow in tremendous ways and start drawing on resources in themselves that they never knew they had."

The interns include: Jane Bussey, New Bern, N.C.; Lisa Fiddermon, Suffolk, Va.; Terry Hannon, Alexandria, Va.; Emily Jenkins, Silver Spring, Md.; Mata Mandir Kaur Khalsa, Herndon, Va.; Hyo Myong Lim, Washington, D.C.; Mark Marius, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; John Waidande, Sangli, India; and Shirley Chow, Potomac, Md. (by Bonnie Flock)



Summer students hope to gain experience at Clinical Center

"As a nutrition student, I hope to gain valuable knowledge and experience that will help with my education and future career."

--Dallia Clark, Nutrition

"I expect to become motivated for a career in health-care management as well as learn a wealth of information about the National Institutes of Health."

--Allison Morgan, Materials Management

"As a chemistry and pre-med major, working for the CC will be a great experience. It is at the forefront of the medical world, and most of the research done can be directly applied to patient care."

--Jay Wang, Clinical Pathology

"I expect to have a rich experience both professionally and personally. I hope that working with patients diagnosed with an array of illnesses will sensitize me to issues involving chronic illness and enhance my current and future social work practice."

--Maia Gemignani, Social Work

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him to find it within himself." -Galileo

Take Your Child to Work Day hailed a success

More than just a good reason to miss a day of school, this year's Take Your Child to Work Day was praised by parents and students alike as an excellent opportunity to expose children to the field of science. The observance, aimed at children ages 9 to 15, was held throughout the NIH with special events and exhibits housed in the CC. (Right) Visitor Information Center's Carol Cronin used the event as an opportunity to teach children how to identify the parts of a cell. The group was shown the different components of human and plant cells and then viewed their own cheek tissue under the microscope.

Shown assisting children with on-site registration is the family of Hospital Epidemiology's Lucienne Nelson. They are (left to right) Luci, 9; Lindsay, 16; and Bobby, 12. In the back is son Adam, who works with the CC Information Systems Department.

Cancer survivors celebrate

The NCI and CC joined thousands of hospitals and health-care organizations across the country last month in celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day. Cancer survivors, their friends and family, as well as NIH staff and patients, had an opportunity to gather and enjoy week-long festivities held on the 12th floor. Shown (left to right) are Sharon Ballard, recreation therapist, and cancer survivor Martha Herbert, at the kick-off event.


Dr. Adeline Xiao-ying Ge (right) leads a session with Anita Semjen.

T'ai Chi & Dr. Ge: A hope-restoring combination

The lights are low. The music is soft. The movements are slow. As a gentle Chinese melody flows through a nearby speaker, caressing the mind, a soothing voice of a woman can be heard, "Relax . . . relax . . . relax." This peaceful and enchanting aura surrounds the CC's 14th floor gymnasium every Monday and Wednesday afternoon during the Clinical Center's T'ai Chi program.

With the expertise of Dr. Adeline Xiao-ying Ge, and the support of the CC's recreation therapy section, the program has enjoyed a successful two years at the hospital, providing relaxation, energy, and hope to patients and their families during difficult times.

T'ai Chi became an official program within recreation therapy with the support of Dr. George Patrick, chief of the recreation therapy section of the Rehabilitation Medicine Department.

Dr. Patrick was first introduced to the art of T'ai Chi when he observed Dr. Ge working with patients. He was so impressed with the benefits of T'ai Chi, as well as Dr. Ge's level of knowledge and positive patient rapport, that he sought to make it a regular program.

"I'm very pleased with the T'ai Chi program," said Dr. Patrick, whose section seeks to promote wellness-based programming. "It is a valuable part of our program."

He explained that often patients are prescribed light exercise and although he knows "each patient will find their own exercise niche, T'ai Chi is a nice alternative and fits the bill."

"It's very clear that light exercise is good for the immune system," he said. "T'ai Chi is a very good way to deliver light exercise. It's like moving in water."

He describes T'ai Chi as "complementary medicine," since it is not an alternative to patient treatment, but an additional measure to promote health and healing.

Though T'ai Chi is a relatively new form of healing and rehabilitation in the Western world, the art has been around for centuries in China as a means to prevent disease.

"Chinese people always keep this idea in mind: a smart person always does something to prevent disease before it happens," said Dr. Ge, who trained and received her master's in traditional Chinese medicine after earning her M.D. from Zhenjiang Medical School in China.

A licensed acupuncturist and trained in acupressure, she also teaches traditional activities like Chinese brush painting to patients and their families.

Dr. Ge focuses on teaching the principles of T'ai Chi (see sidebar) to patients more than the movements. She believes that if patients think too much about the movements, they will miss the most important element of T'ai Chi: the principles.

"Sometimes you just have to experience it," agreed Dr. Patrick, who attends as many T'ai Chi classes as his schedule allows. "The more you talk, the more you think and if you get the movements into your head too much, it is not very beneficial. You just have to do it."

And once you do it, there is a spectrum of physical and mental benefits to reap from its incorporation on all levels.

"Most everyone succeeds," said Dr. Patrick of T'ai Chi. "You don't have to do the movements perfectly in order to get all the benefits. You can't fail."

According to Dr. Ge, T'ai Chi is an effective stress reducer, as well as a good therapy for the immune system. Also, those suffering from depression and other mental disorders can benefit from the relaxing art.

"If people have too much stress in their lives and can make themselves relax, it's good for the immune system," said Dr. Ge. "T'ai Chi is also good for the joints and can aid medications in reducing pain. The patients love it."

Annamaria Anita Semjen, a cancer patient at the Clinical Center, has been an active participant in Dr. Ge's classes from the beginning.

"Anita loves the T'ai Chi," said Dr. Ge. "She is very good and has wonderful movements. It gives her hope and energy."

Semjen, paralyzed in her right leg since 1996, focused mainly on Dr. Ge's classes for her continuing therapy and rehabilitation in the months following a surgery.

She cited in a letter, written in 1997 in support of Dr. Ge and her program, that T'ai Chi specifically helped her "reduce stress and pain, increase energy, get more sleep, and enhance [her] physical and psychological well being."

"I have learned through T'ai Chi that it is possible to escape, if only momentarily, from the pain and despondency of illness," wrote Semjen in the letter. "The rigorous mental focus and very natural body movements are unmistakably therapeutic and cathartic.

"For one hour, three days a week, my mind and body work together in a wonderful harmony that resonates an inner peace within me," she wrote. "[Dr. Ge] has enabled us to get back in touch with our bodies, to improve our self image and to push beyond the envelope of our infirmities. She has lifted our spirits."

Semjen continues to participate in as many T'ai Chi classes as her treatment schedule allows. She enjoys it more than other rehabilitation methods, though she also enjoys swimming.

"It's always good to use the [exercise] machines. I think they are wonderful as well, but when I'm on the machines I feel like I'm in prison. Here my soul is flying," she explained.

Another CC patient, Rafael Gonzalez, who practices T'ai Chi everyday, also benefits from Dr. Ge's classes.

"I have so much confidence in T'ai Chi and relaxation," he said.

Gonzalez, diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has experienced improvement in symptoms associated with the disease since practicing T'ai Chi and has since regained his ability to write.

Both patients hold Dr. Ge in the highest regard. Semjen may have captured the essence of Dr. Ge best when she wrote: ". . . This is a remarkable person. She is a doctor, a teacher, a woman full of life, compassion and humanity. To those of us in her class, she has been an inspiration. She has taught us there can be hope and optimism and even laughter in our lives, regardless of our physical conditions."

Dr. Ge teaches T'ai Chi classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. in the 14th floor gymnasium. The classes are open to all patients and their guests. (by Bonnie Flock)


(Dr. Ge, left, and Semjen enjoy T'ai Chi)

T'ai Chi: What is it?

T'ai Chi, a centuries-old Chinese discipline for health, relaxation, meditation, self-defense, and self-cultivation, emphasizes relaxation and inner calm rather than strength. It can be learned by anyone regardless of age, sex, or athletic ability.

It is practiced slowly and evenly in circular patterns and is considered a healing exercise because of its reputation for alleviating many ailments, such as hypertension, gastric problems, arthritis, heart disease, and anemia.

Concentration is the foundation of T'ai Chi because from this state of attention comes the possibility to change, correct, and heal. The attitude which T'ai Chi seeks to instill is an understanding of change as a natural life process.

The practice begins primarily as a physical experience, but with time can allow one to grow on emotional, mental, and spiritual levels as well. (by Bonnie Flock)



Safety is always important to the CC's Housekeeping and Fabric Care Department. Julia Calhoun directs traffic while George Winestock, Jr., mops up a spill on a busy corridor in the hospital.




Take heed: wet floor ahead

A wet floor. An accident just waiting to happen. But it doesn't have to be."By following a few simple steps, accidents involving wet floors could be a thing of the past in the CC," said Henry Primas, head of the Housekeeping and Fabric Care Department.

According to Primas, the majority of the falls in the hospital could be avoided if employees simply take notice of the wet-floor signs that housekeeping aides use while they are mopping.

Standard procedure is for housekeeping staff to place signs in the immediate area of the hall to be cleaned. The floor is first dust mopped, and then mopped one half of the hallway at a time, to ensure that people can still pass.

"The biggest problem is when people go around the signs and they fail to listen when housekeepers ask them not to step on the wet areas," said Primas.

"Wet floors due to spills or floods can also pose a problem, but as soon as a spill is brought to our attention, signs are immediately placed in the area."

Unlike department stores or doctors offices, for example, which can be cleaned at the end of the day, the CC is a 24-hour facility that must be cleaned around-the-clock.

"As soon as our staff is finished cleaning an area, it is immediately being used again," said Primas. "For that reason, we sometimes have to block off hallways for a short period of time because the cleaning agents can often be slippery, but we always ensure that there is an alternative route for employees to use."


To cut down on falls because of wet floors, employees are asked to:

  • Look at the floor carefully to see if it is wet.


  • Heed signs in the area. If there is one sign, it usually means there is an isolated spill. If there are several signs in the area, then the hallway is wet.


  • If at all possible, travel a different route when the floor is being mopped.


  • When in doubt, just ask. The housekeeping aide can tell you where you should or should not walk.


  • To report a spill or flood, dial CLEAN (6-5326)

CC well represented at health fair

Several booths highlighting Clinical Center departments were a part of the NIH Health Fair held throughout the main lobby and Visitor Information Center on June 16 and 17. The fair included over 30 information booths and demonstrations ranging from step aerobics to relaxation techniques.


How much is too much food?

The CC Nutrition Department could be found counseling attendees on how to balance food and activity, as well as answer questions on portion sizes and healthy foods. Shown are dietetic interns Danielle Rossi (left) and Robyn Altman (right).



Learn your numbers-more than just your weight.

Lt. Jacquelyn Gilbert, physical therapist with the Rehabilitation Medicine Department, helps NIH photographer Bill Branson calculate his body mass index (BMI). Gilbert explained to health fair attendees the importance of keeping up with your BMI, since typically as the number increases so does a person's risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.



Blood needed

Always on the prowl to find blood donors, Brenda Phillips, Department of Transfusion Medicine's donor resources coordinator, and Karen Cipolone, education coordinator, share information on donating blood at the NIH. The Blood Bank is located in room 1C713B and is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Walk-ins are also welcome. Call 6-1048 for more information.



News briefs:

Foot study

Do you have foot pain and wish to have it evaluated? The CC Diagnostic Radiology Department and Rehabilitation Medicine are conducting a study evaluating individuals with foot pain. After a general history and physical examination, an MRI and ultrasound of the foot will be performed. If interested, please call Dr. Perry at 6-4733 or Dr. Premkumar at 6-7700.

Board moves

If you are looking for a personnel form, announcement, or NIH vacancy list, the Office of Human Resources Management's service board has been moved to the hallway outside of room 1C261.

Post announcements

Departments wishing to post announcements concerning NIH events are encouraged to use the Clinical Center bulletin boards, located on each floor near the main, staff, and patient elevators. Notices must be approved by the Office of Clinical Center Communications before being posted. For more information, call 6-2563.

Rounds cancelled

There will be no Grand Rounds on July 22 and July 29 due to summer vacations. For updated information on the schedules, visit the website at <>

Training in diversity

All CC staff are required to participate in diversity training, designed to provide participants with an understanding of the dimensions of diversity. Several sessions were held during the month of June, and the remainder will be held on September 1 and 3. For more information, contact your supervisor.


 Editor: LaTonya Kittles

Clinical Center News, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3C01, MSC 7511, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7511. (301) 496-2563. Fax: 402-2984. Published monthly for CC employees by the Office of Clinical Center Communications, Colleen Henrichsen, chief. News, articles ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome. Deadline for submission is the second Monday of each month.

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