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past issues

 Published monthly for CC employees by Clinical Center Communications

January 2000

New CC Hospitality Services Program kicks off

Clinical Center scores high on patient survey

Longtime Clinical Pathology employee retires

Jolly holidays

The magic touch of the interpreter

Send your receipts

In memory

Teacher award

News briefs


New CC Hospitality Services Program kicks off

A hospitable hospital

A ribbon-cutting and reception held last month in the Center Lobby marked the opening of the CC's new Hospitality Services Program. Pictured from left to right are Sue LaRoche, Matthew Corley, Michael Alexander, Dr. John Gallin, Michael Daniel, Edward Pettway, and Nancy Pierre.

From left to right, Sue LaRoche, Michael Daniel, and Maureen Gormley applaud the opening of the CC's new Hospitality Services Program.  

Think back to the first time you entered the Clinical Center. Did you confidently find your way to your appointment or meeting? Or did you wander the endless corridors until a kindly stranger pointed you in the right direction?

Thanks to the CC's new Hospitality Services Program launched last month, newcomers won't have to wander and wonder anymore; they'll have easy access to specially trained hospitality staff who will help them navigate this ever-changing building.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, CC Director John Gallin said, "Today we celebrate the beginning of hospitality services at the Clinical Center in a formal way. We've always been very hospitable, but now we are formalizing it. This is the beginning of teaching people to smile and to be generally helpful to everybody."

The program features a greeter stationed outside the CC's front entrance to meet people as they arrive, and hospitality service coordinators stationed at the South Lobby, Center Lobby (near Masur Auditorium), and North Lobby, who will guide visitors to their destinations or assist them with special needs.

Team members can be recognized by their navy-blue blazers, with a hospitality services logo. Equipped with walkie-talkies, they can quickly communicate to ensure that each guest receives the needed services in a timely manner.

The hospitality services team includes Michael Daniel, program chief; Michael Alexander, Matthew Corley, and Sue LaRoche, hospitality services coordinators; Edward Pettway, greeter; and Nancy Pierre, administrative assistant. All are veteran CC employees, except Daniel and Pettway, who worked together in hospitality services at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. Several volunteers have been recruited to assist the full-time staff.

Thanks to two weeks of intensive customer service training, team members were well prepared for their first day at their new posts. "It was great to see them in action," said Daniel. "They had the necessary tools to ensure their success."

The suggestion to implement such a program came from the CC's Patient Advisory Group. "They told us we did a great job with patient care, but the process of getting to the patient-care units was sometimes cumbersome," said Daniel.

"When the South Lobby opened, the orientation of the building radically changed," added Jan Weymouth, CC program manager. "Although the signage was very well done, people were still getting lost."

A steering committee was formed to investigate how the CC might better address wayfinding issues. Michael Daniel was hired last summer, and the program jelled rapidly, thanks to his experience forming a similar program at the University of Maryland Medical System.

As he accepted the many congratulations offered at the kickoff, Daniel said, "I could not have done this without the hard work of [the Steering Committee]. They've been extremely helpful in guiding the process and providing the expertise and information to make this venture a success." Committee members are Rona Buchbinder, Sara Byars, Laura Cearnal, Dottie Cirelli, Michael Daniel, Larry Eldridge, Adrienne Farrar, Maureen Gormley, Steve Groban, Andrea Rander, Maggi Stakem, and Jan Weymouth.

At the ribbon-cutting, Maureen Gormley, the CC's chief operating officer, said, "I'd like to recognize Jan Weymouth. She's done all the administrative coordination behind this program, including getting the furniture and electricity in place, and juggling the logistics and staffing. This was no small feat."

Although staff and facilities are in place, the initiative is not yet complete. "The next endeavor is the training of all Clinical Center staff to orient them to the philosophy of hospitality," said Weymouth.

Daniel will conduct a series of on-site seminars for CC staff. "We'll spend a day in the classroom talking about various customer-service subjects." Added Weymouth, "Our goal is to have everyone who has any interaction with a patient or visitor to have the opportunity to understand what hospitality is all about."

Training sessions should begin in the next few months.

­by Sue Kendall

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Clinical Center scores high on patient survey

Would you recommend the Clinical Center to your friends and family?

"Yes," was the answer of 90 percent of patients who responded to a recent survey conducted by the Clinical Center and the Picker Institute, a nonprofit organization located in Boston, Mass., that works with health care organizations to help them implement improvements based on feedback from patient experiences. The CC also received high marks in nursing care, involvement of family and friends, and courtesy of staff.

Surveys were sent to 728 Clinical Center inpatients who were discharged between January and March of 1999; nearly 62 percent responded.

"That response rate was the best that Picker has ever had," according to Laura Lee, special assistant to the deputy director for clinical care and coordinator of the study.

The Picker Institute has a data base of about 450 hospitals, including 180 academic medical centers, which are what the Clinical Center is most comparable to.

Rather than a traditional patient satisfaction survey, this survey grouped questions into eight "dimensions of care," identified by Picker:

  • Respect for patient values, preferences, and expressed needs
  • Access to care
  • Emotional support
  • Information and education
  • Coordination of care
  • Physical comfort
  • Involvement of family and friends
  • Continuity and transition.

"The dimensions of care measure what patients perceive happened to them in the hospital, rather than whether they were satisfied or not," explained Lee. "A drawback with satisfaction surveys is that a patient could report satisfaction with a process that in fact lacked a crucial step. Picker's research has shown that when you ask questions about what happened during a process, you get a better measure of clinical quality."

The CC scored above the average of the academic health centers in all dimensions, and set the benchmark in physical comfort and involvement of family and friends.

The survey also identified some areas for improvement, including communication of medical information, coordination and continuity of care, and room environment.

"Some respondents indicated that they were told conflicting information by different people, or that tests weren't always performed on time," explained Lee. "The Clinical Center is a large and complex place, and we think that may be part of the reason behind these answers. We plan to convene focus groups of patients to see how we can improve in these important areas."

Several custom questions germane to the CC's unique mission were included for which no benchmark data are available. The CC plans to use internal benchmarking-comparing itself to itself over time-by use of annual surveys and monitoring.

"In future surveys, a few of the custom questions may need to be reworded or expanded to get more precise information," Lee said.

One custom question did receive a much-hoped-for answer, however. Patients were asked, "When you agreed to participate in the study you are on, what was the most important reason?" One of the top three reasons cited was to benefit others. The other two were to learn more about the disase and to get the newest treatments.

"It is such a tribute to our patients that they really do come here to benefit others," said Lee.

So why wasn't this survey done sooner? "Federal paperwork-reduction regulations restrict government use of customer satisfaction surveys, which is why the CC does not do them routinely," said Lee. She credits Dr. David Henderson, the CC's deputy director for clinical care, for diligence in obtaining a waiver from the Office of Management and Budget to do this survey.

The next steps are to continue to analyze the survey data, assemble improvement teams, and target strategies for improvement. Outpatient and pediatric surveys are also being planned.

"The results are this positive because of the wonderful patients and terrific, dedicated, mission-driven staff the Clinical Center has," said Lee. "The high response rate shows that our patients are very interested in providing feedback-good and bad-because of their partnership with us in the research process."

­by Sue Kendall

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Longtime Clinical Pathology employee retires

Janice Glickman holds a piece of the Clinical Center's history. The souvenir brick was presented to her at a retirement tea, held last month.


Janice Glickman looks back on 30 years of change in laboratory technology

Janice Glickman, of the Clinical Pathology Department, retired last month after 30 years of service to the Clinical Center.

Glickman joined ClinPath in 1963 after graduating from George Washington University with a bachelor of science degree in medical technology. She also earned a master's degree in administrative sciences from Johns Hopkins University. Except for an 8-year hiatus to raise her children, she worked in the clinical chemistry service her entire career, and supervised the immunoassay section of that service for the past 15 years.

Dr. Alan Remaley, Glickman's supervisor, pointed out that she has been with ClinPath longer than any of the other current employees.

"The Clinical Pathology department is grateful for her long and dedicated service and she will be greatly missed," he said. "During her time at the NIH, she has witnessed the modern transformation of the clinical laboratory by automation and computers. When she started, the laboratory performed only a limited number of tests by mostly laborious manual methods and relied solely on the manual transcription and reporting of test results. Today the laboratory performs over 100 automated tests, and the results are reported to the patient units via computers."

Laboratory technology has improved to the point where an assay that used to take a day and a half to perform now takes about 12 minutes. These new methods and rapid turnaround times enable Glickman's staff to provide test results during special procedures or surgery, which helps the surgeons better localize the diseased tissue and determine when they've gotten it all out of the patient.

"Not only is this great for the patient and surgeon, but it's good for the techs as well," she said. "Since we're right there in the OR suite, it gives us patient contact that we don't usually get in the lab."

Although still enthusiastic about her work, Glickman felt that the timing was right to retire.

"I've only done this particular job, so I want to try something different; I hope to teach special education," she said. She has applied to Teachers 2000, a collaborative program between Montgomery County Public Schools and George Washington University leading to a master's degree in education. "I enjoy problem solving and figuring out how to present information to people with different needs."

Looking back on her years here, Glickman said, "I've really enjoyed working with the other technologists in my section, and I've learned a lot from them. The Clinical Center is a very good place for a med tech to work. There are always exciting new things going on in our department, and we have the cutting-edge technology. It is very satisfying to know that you are giving the patient the best they can get in that area of their health care. I feel very fortunate to have worked here."

­by Sue Kendall

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Jolly holidays

Santa Claus visited with children on the 14th floor shortly before Christmas to double-check his shopping list. At left, Jonathan Hackler, 10, asked for lots of Legos and toy cars.


At right, Alisa Townley, 3, seemed content with just a sugar cookie, but she managed a request for a Curious George doll.

The Recreation Therapy Section of the Clinical Center's Rehabilitation Medicine Department arranged for Santa's visit

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The magic touch of the interpreter

The following letter, written by a former Clinical Center volunteer interpreter, was forwarded to CCNews by Andrea Rander, chief of volunteer services.

Thanks to the great opportunity of working as a volunteer medical interpreter at the National Institutes of Health, I experienced the wonderful feeling of being an interpreter.

More than a translator, the interpreter is the facilitator; is the one who makes understanding a lot easier, avoiding difficulties among people of different ethnic backgrounds; is the one who helps convey the right information, thus avoiding frustration, and making life easier for people who speak different languages.

On occasion, in the medical field an interpreter can even save the life of a person by indicating the right symptom and interpreting the correct emergency medical care.

An interpreter can also become a guide to the newcomer by indicating the right steps to follow when applying for a loan, buying a car, or even making an appointment with a

In a particular situation, it was very flattering for me to hear from a a patient that by seeing me coming into her room, it was as if a guardian angel came in, making her feel better due to the breaking down of a barrier to communication.

I have experienced great satisfaction as an interpreter through helping non-English speakers communicate with their care providers. The interpreter is always ready to perform their job with enthusiasm, dedication, and great efficiency.

­Dolly M. Torrico

If you would like to volunteer as a Clinical Center interpreter, contact Andrea Rander at 6-1807.

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Send your receipts

The drive to collect grocery receipts to benefit local schools is still on. If you aren't currently supporting a school, please consider the NIH Children's School.

Receipts from Giant stores may be sent to Bldg. 10, Room 10S235. Contact the NIH School at 6-2077 for information on the Safeway program.

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In memory

The family of the late Jacinta Shafor Cohen, a former CC patient, visited the 14th floor playroom last month to donate 300 Beanie Babies to CC pediatric patients in her honor. Described by family as friendly, helpful, caring, creative, and artistic, Cohen collected and distributed more then 600 Beanies to CC pediatric patients during her 2 1/2 years as a CC patient. Cohen died last September of melanoma. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to support melanoma research. The family donated $1000 to Dr. Steven Rosenberg to support his research of this type of cancer. Pictured from left to right are Cohen's mother, Rita Shafor; Michael Hutchinson; Sam Whitmore; Maria Cohen, Cohen's daughter; and Rosemarie Peak.

Teacher award

Dr. Susan Leitman, chief of the Blood Services Section of the Clinical Center's Department of Transfusion Medicine, received the 1999 Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award. The Clinical Teacher Award is presented annually to recognize excellence in clinical training involving the direct care of patients by any senior clinical investigator at NIH. Clinical associates nominate individuals who, in their judgment, have contributed significantly to the professional development of clinical trainees. The final selection is made by a panel of NIH fellows. Dr. Leitman's nominations cited her energy, enthusiasm, patience, fairness, clinical teaching skills, academic talent, dedication to patients, and mentoring of fellows. Pictured with her is CC Director Dr. John Gallin.

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News briefs

Weight study

Parents, consider enrolling your overweight teen in an NICHD study of a promising weight-loss medication called Orlistat. NIH provides all study tests, medication, and weight-control education at no charge. Overweight teens aged 12­17 who can attend weekly weight-control meetings may be eligible. Call the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at 1-800-411-1222 for details.

Healthy mothers needed

NIMH researchers seek right-handed mothers aged 20 to 40 with non-adopted, first-born children aged 5 to 12 to participate in a fMRI study on the visual processing of faces. Volunteers should have no history of medical or psychiatric disorders, and should not be taking prescription medication (including birth control pills). The first-born children of volunteers should have no history of psychiatric illness or chronic medical problems. Volunteers must have normal vision or wear contacts. Participation requires a 2-hour screening interview, a follow-up visit, and a 3-hour visit for the fMRI scan. Participants will be reimbursed. For more information, call Lisa Kalik or Neil Santiago at 6-8381.

Brain study

NINDS researchers seek healthy volunteers for fMRI studies of brain and cognitive function. Tasks may be as simple as moving your fingers or as complex as remembering ideas and responding by pressing buttons. A 1- to 2-hour screening interview and a 3- to 4-hour visit for the fMRI scan are typical. Volunteers should have no implanted metal in their bodies, and should have normal vision or wear contact lenses. Participants will be reimbursed. Specifically needed are men and women aged 18 to 35 years, who are right-handed and who learned English as their first language. For more information, call Milan Makale at 6-0225.

Visual study

NIMH researchers seek men aged 56 to 73 and women aged 51 to 59, to participate in an fMRI study on the visual processing of faces. Partici-pants must be right-handed and currently married. Volunteers should have no history of medical or psychiatric disorders, and should not be taking prescription medication (except hormone replacement therapy for women). Volunteers must have normal vision or wear contact lenses. Participation requires a 2-hour screening interview, a follow-up visit, and a 3-hour visit for the fMRI scan. Participants will be reimbursed. For more information, call Lisa Kalik or Neil Santiago at 6-8381

Please revolve

As winter chills up, please remember to use the revolving door at the Clinical Center's South Lobby rather than the two side doors. Use of the revolving door will help keep the lobby warm for staff and visitors and will conserve energy.

Finance class

The Education and Training Section of OHRM presents "Personal Financial Management," on Feb. 3, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Frederic Petze, personal financial manager, will present a basic vocabulary of financial terms and principles, and discuss how to develop a financial management plan. Call 6-1618 for more information or to register.

Daniels is tops

Dr. Charles Daniels, chief of the CC's Pharmacy Department, was named one of the 50 most influential pharmacists of 1999 by "American Druggist" magazine. According to the magazine's profile, "in the last year alone, he has enhanced the review process of medication errors, spearheaded new quality-of-life research studies, and implemented a pharmacy credentialing program to ensure that pharmacists at NIH are properly trained for the often complicated research projects at the clinic. Daniels is also hoping to increase the frequency of collaborative efforts between pharmacists and physicians on the research teams." The article is available at

Sonies honored

Dr. Barbara C. Sonies, chief of the Speech-Language Pathology Section of the CC's Rehabilitation Medicine Department, was honored by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) at its annual convention last November. The ASHA Honors recognize those whose contributions to the field of speech, language, and hearing "have been of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of the professions," according to ASHA. It is the highest award the Association bestows. Sonies was recognized for her research on the use of ultrasound to image the oropharynx, and her clinical expertise in the management of swallowing disorders.

New directive form

Consistent with the Federal Patient Self-Determination Act, NIH policy requires that all Clinical Center research participants be given information about advance directives and the opportunity to fill out an advance directive if they wish. Starting Jan. 17, a new form, "NIH Advance Directive for Health Care and Medical Research Participation," will replace the old form. New forms are available at nursing stations and clinics, or from the Department of Clinical Bioethics. Blank copies of the old form should be destroyed. Completed copies of the old form will continue to be valid.

Bioethics encourages NIH staff to alert all participants to the new form, even those who have previously completed an advance directive, because the new form allows individuals to indicate preferences regarding their future research participation.

The Bioethics copy (green copy) of completed advance directives should be sent to Bldg. 10, Room 1C118. Please ensure that all information, including patients' names and identification numbers, appears clearly on the 4 copies of completed forms.

For more information, contact Bioethics at 6-2429.

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 Editor: Sue Kendall  

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