OneCity Health Awards $5 Million to Community Partners to Benefit New Yorkers

OneCity Health, the NYC Health + Hospitals Performing Provider System under New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, today announced the eight community partners that will receive funding from its $5 million Innovation Fund to implement programs targeting DSRIP priorities and the public health system transformation goals, including reducing avoidable hospitalizations, improving community health outcomes, and addressing social determinants of health, such as food security and health literacy.

“Congratulations to our partners for submitting creative ideas that cover a range of topics, from opioid dependency to improving connections to care. Their innovations will help improve the health of our patients,” said Israel Rocha, CEO, OneCity Health. “Each project represents two important aspects of the DSRIP program, innovation and community collaboration. These innovative solutions help to bridge the gap to a value-based payment environment, and the collaborations between our community partners demonstrate a holistic approach to creating an integrated delivery system. We look forward to helping to foster these programs over the next year and seeing their results.”

The $5M Innovation Fund was open to all OneCity Health partners, which include more than 160 community-based organizations, hospitals, physician practices, pharmacies, and behavioral health practitioners, among others. OneCity Health encouraged partners to collaborate and submit joint applications and ultimately received 41 applications from 55 partners. Projects will start on July 1 and run for a year. Completed project evaluations will be due September 1, 2019.

The $5M fund was one of the largest allocations set aside by a Performing Provider System across the State to support more community collaborations, innovations, and best practices.

Beat Heat-Related Illness

You’re probably all ready for hot fun in the summertime, but don’t let the high temperatures lay you low! Here are a few guidelines for staying healthy in the heat.

Rule number one: don’t let yourself become dehydrated. Bump up your beverage intake – plain water is best – and try to keep ahead of getting too thirsty. It’s also important to be aware that alcoholic and sugary drinks can accelerate the body’s dehydration. NOTE: if your doctor limits your fluid intake or has you on water pills, ask your doctor how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing when you know you’ll be out and about on a very hot or sunny day. It’s tempting to wear as little as possible, but in many cases a light covering helps provide the body a bit of shade while letting sweat escape.

Don’t let the sun fry your brain! Shade that dome with a light-colored hat – a brim can protect your nose, neck, and shoulders from those burning rays of the sun.

Walk on the shady side of the street, pause under a leafy tree, or duck into a store to soak up some AC. If you don’t have an air conditioner at home, cool off in the bath or shower or seek out a ‘cooling station,’ which are often set up to accommodate overheated folks on very hot days. Check in on elderly neighbors and make sure they are staying cool, too.

Take it easy – stay indoors, lay low during the hottest parts of the day, and limit strenuous activity to early morning and the cooler evening hours.

Babies, young children, and the elderly are more vulnerable to heat and should be checked on often. People with mental health issues may require our help to ensure they are taking hot-weather precautions and drinking enough. And naturally those already vulnerable due to chronic conditions, high blood pressure, or heart disease should take extra precautions and receive extra care.

For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control’s Extreme Heat Preparedness Information Site.

“With the summer heat fast approaching, we want New Yorkers to be aware that heat-related illnesses can be dangerous or potentially fatal even to people who are otherwise in very good physical condition. Extended periods in high temperatures, inadequate fluid intake, and overexertion can all lead to heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat stroke. So it’s extremely important to familiarize yourself with high-temperature coping strategies, and to help others stay safe as well.”

5 Ways to Give Your Body a Boost Inside and Out

(Family Features) Balancing work and life is no small proposition, and when things heat up, it can be easy to let your normal self-care habits slide. While a busy lifestyle may not allow for luxurious weekly trips to the spa to rejuvenate, you can still steal moments to promote the wellbeing of your mind and body.

Wake up with water. Staying properly hydrated is an important way to keep your body in top condition. Proper hydration can help keep all your body’s systems functioning like a well-lubricated machine. Some studies have even shown that starting the day with a cold glass of water can help jumpstart your metabolism and curb cravings. Carry water with you throughout the day so you can sip whenever the urge hits you and aim for at least 64 ounces a day.

Take care of your skin. Hydration is important for your skin. Bring the bliss of a spa experience into your shower with a body wash like Softsoap Hydra Bliss Hydrating Body Wash, which is crafted with rejuvenating scents like Coconut Water and Blueberry or Cucumber Water and Mint. These formulas help retain your skin's natural moisture, which can leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. Follow up with a moisturizing lotion to leave skin silky and soft all day long.

Make drive time your zen time. Instead of using your morning commute to run through your to-do list and mentally prepare for your work day, give yourself permission to let those duties wait until you reach your desk. Instead, take a mental boost by listening to some of your favorite music or enjoying an audiobook.

Eat for energy. Food has one true purpose - fueling the body. At mealtime, put your wellbeing first and load up on foods that deliver nutrition your body needs. Look for proteins, a moderate amount of carbs and essentials like fiber that promote good digestion. Avoid feeling deprived by allowing yourself to enjoy occasional treats, but generally avoid unnecessary calories and sugary snacks.

Wash away your worries. After a rough day, there are few things like a warm shower or bath to help wash it all away. Allow soothing aromas to envelop your senses as you lather your skin for a relaxing clean. Experience the essence of serenity with an option like Softsoap Pure Zen Relaxing Body Wash. Choose from tranquil scents of Rosewater and Lotus Flower or Jasmine and Watermint for a relaxing sensory experience.

10 Steps to Help Prevent Cancer
Health Prevent Cancer

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and it remains the second-leading cause of death for Americans, but nearly half of all cancer cases can be prevented.

Research from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shows that diet, exercise and weight play a critical role in cancer prevention.

"Making changes in what you eat, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight have strong and clear links to your risk for cancer," said Alice Bender, MS, RDN and director of nutrition programs at AICR. "We know from decades of research and a thorough review of the science that there are simple things we can all do to reduce our risk."

To live a cancer-preventive lifestyle, consider taking these 10 steps recommended by the scientific experts at AICR:

  1. Be a healthy weight. Higher body fat can be a cause of many cancers. Try to stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain as you get older.
  2. Be physically active. Incorporate moderate physical activity into your daily life through steps like walking more and sitting less.
  3. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Make these foods a major part of your diet.
  4. Limit consumption of "fast foods" and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars. Cut down on processed foods to help control calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Limit consumption of red and processed meat. Eat no more than three portions of red meat per week, and little - if any - processed meat.
  6. Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. Don't drink sugar-sweetened drinks, which contribute to weight gain. Choose water instead, when possible.
  7. Limit alcohol consumption. For preventing cancer, it's best not to drink alcohol.
  8. Do not use supplements for cancer prevention. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.
  9. For mothers, breastfeed your baby, if you can. Breastfeeding is good for both mother and baby.
  10. After a cancer diagnosis, follow these recommendations, if you can. Cancer survivors are encouraged to continue following these guidelines.

Refraining from smoking, avoiding other exposure to tobacco and limiting sun exposure are also important in reducing cancer risk.

Because it can be hard to make lifestyle changes, AICR aims to help people adopt healthier behaviors through efforts like the Cancer Health Check, a tool that shows people how their lifestyle stacks up against known cancer risks and recommends changes that can improve health.

For recipes, tips and other resources, visit

Susan G. Komen Statement on TailorX Study Citing Chemotherapy not need for some Breast Cancer Patients

Komen Funding Contributed to Study That Has Potential to Change Treatment for Many

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, issued the following statement regarding a new study partially funded by the organization – called Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment, or TAILORx. The study shows that many women with early stage breast cancer may not need to undergo chemotherapy treatment. The study was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented this weekend at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The study found that 70 percent of women with early stage breast cancers that are HER2 negative and are sensitive to estrogen, may be able to forgo chemotherapy and its toxic side effects. By using individuals’ Oncotype DX Genomic testing score, researchers found some patients need take only hormone therapy, drugs that block the hormone estrogen or stops the body from making it. This statement can be attributed to Victoria Wolodzko, Komen’s Senior Vice President of Mission.

“Susan G. Komen has been concerned for years about the toxic side effects of chemotherapy, because while it can save lives, it also can potentially cause heart and nerve damage, and also leave patients vulnerable to infection and increase the risk of leukemia later in life. This is why we have funded a body of research that seeks to more precisely treat breast cancers and potentially avoid chemotherapy. This study, which was supported in part by Komen funding, suggests that we have the potential to use Genomic testing to tell some women more precisely whether they would benefit from chemotherapy or not.”

According to the researchers, the study definitively identifies the 70% of women with early-stage, hormone-receptor positive, HER-2 negative, node-negative breast cancer who do not benefit from chemotherapy and the 30% of those women for whom chemotherapy can be lifesaving. This important finding reveals how Oncotype DX testing can lead to a new level of precision treatment.

The TAILORx trial was independently designed and conducted by ECOG-ACRIN under the sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and was the largest adjuvant breast cancer treatment trial ever conducted. It enrolled 10,273 women with early-stage breast cancer across approximately 1,200 sites in the United States and 5 additional countries. Komen funded Dr. Joseph A. Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in New York, the leader of the study, to create a biospecimen bank focused on defining tumor and host factors contributing to recurrence of breast cancer occurring more than five years after diagnosis. Komen has invested more than $266 million in over 590 research grants and nearly 100 clinical trials focused on precision medicine.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Nurse Is Named Sloan Public Service Award Recipient
Health PSloan Public Service Award

Lisette Nieves, chair of the board, Fund for the City of New York presenting Jocelyn C. Perez, RN, with a photo commemorating her award

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan announced that Jocelyn C. Perez, RN, MA, senior associate director of nursing for Behavioral Health, will be one of six outstanding public servants honored with the Fund for the City of New York’s 45th annual Sloan Public Service Award. Ms. Perez is receiving the honor in recognition of her selfless dedication to patients and as a tribute to the nurturing care that she has provided to so many individuals for more than three decades.

Regarded as the Nobel Prize of city government, the Sloan Public Service Awards are presented annually by the Fund for the City of New York to civil servants from all levels and ranks of city government. The winners were selected for their exemplary job performance and tireless dedication to the public. Each will receive a $10,000 cash prize. This year’s award recipients are being honored at their individual workplaces and at an awards presentation ceremony to be held this evening at the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

“Jocelyn Perez is a truly outstanding nurse who has dedicated her professional career to improving the lives of so many men, women, and children with mental illness,” said Alina Moran, chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “For over thirty years, she has helped some of our most vulnerable patients lead their healthiest lives by developing and expanding opportunities for them to help themselves and each other.”

“I believe in patient-centered care and that’s what I’m passionate about,” said Ms. Perez. “All my work is centered on improving the lives of psychiatric patients. All of us who work in mental health need to push the agenda to help make sure that we’re changing the culture of stereotyping psychiatric patients.”

“The Fund for the City of New York is honored to recognize these six outstanding civil servants who have helped make New York the greatest city in the world. This year’s honorees are distinguished by their outstanding performance, their commitment and responsiveness to public needs, their fearlessness in the face of adversity, and their dedication to putting the public interest first. For that, they are being recognized with an award that is the Nobel Prize of city government,” said Mary McCormick, president of the Fund for the City of New York. “To serve the public is the highest honor and recognizing the unsung heroes who make this city a better place is of the utmost importance.”

Jocelyn Perez spent her first 22 years in New York City government at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, starting as a staff nurse. In 2008, she left NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue as the associate executive director of nursing in Psychiatry and moved to NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan as its director of nursing in Psychiatry. There, Ms. Perez leads a group of more than 200 nursing staff in psychiatry inpatient, outpatient, and emergency services. Ms. Perez has been an innovator in improving patient experience, safety, and quality of care. At NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, she initiated the first inpatient Peer Counseling Program, wherein consumers of psychiatric care who completed training for Peer Counseling are employed as staff—a model that has been replicated in other city hospitals.

“My work focuses on helping staff understand that patients with psychiatric disorders can get better and lead normal lives,” Ms. Perez added. “Like any human being, they want to have a job, a sense of purpose, to have families, to belong and to be loved.”

The six award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, peers, and friends and selected from more than 250,000 eligible workers in the mayoral agencies, the Transit and Housing Authorities, NYC Health + Hospitals, the City University of New York, the district attorneys’ offices, and the public libraries.

How does caffeine affect blood pressure?
Cup of coffee

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Caffeine can cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don't have high blood pressure. It's unclear what causes this spike in blood pressure.

Some researchers believe that caffeine could block a hormone that helps keep your arteries widened. Others think that caffeine causes your adrenal glands to release more adrenaline, which causes your blood pressure to increase.

Some people who regularly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than do those who drink none. Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn't have a long-term effect on their blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor whether you should limit or stop drinking caffeinated beverages. If you're concerned about caffeine's effect on your blood pressure, try limiting the amount of caffeine you drink to 200 milligrams a day — about the same amount as is generally in two 8-ounce (237-milliliter) cups of brewed coffee. Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in coffee and other beverages varies by brand and method of preparation.

Also, if you have high blood pressure, avoid caffeine right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor.

To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your blood pressure before drinking a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage and again 30 to 120 minutes afterward. If your blood pressure increases by about five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to cut back on caffeine, do so gradually over several days to a week to avoid withdrawal headaches.

NYC Health + Hospitals Reaffirms Commitment to Keep Patient Immigration Status Private
Mitchell Katz, MD

Mitchell Katz, MD, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals reaffirmed the health system’s commitment to protecting the immigration status of New Yorkers accessing health care services across the public health system. To mark Immigrant Heritage Week, Dr. Katz and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal have joined together to reissue a message first published in December 2016, encouraging New Yorkers to seek care without fear of having their immigration status disclosed.

“One of the reasons I am so glad to be back in New York is because of the city’s amazing diversity, made possible by the many wonderful waves of immigrants who have helped make the Big Apple what it is today,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “To mark Immigrant Heritage Week, I am pleased to connect my name to our health system’s commitment, and the commitment of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, to reassure immigrant New Yorkers that we honor and respect them. And we want to be the health care provider of choice for all our immigrants, whether they be first generation, tenth generation, or anything in between.”

“The City is united in our commitment to promoting the health and well-being of all city residents, including immigrant New Yorkers,” said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “During Immigrant Heritage Week 2018, we’re glad to partner with NYC Health + Hospitals to reissue our letter letting New Yorkers know that our public health facilities are open to them regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Keeping New Yorkers informed, engaged, and healthy is critical to our mission of making NYC the fairest big city in the country.”

Written in 14 languages, the reissued “open letter” assures immigrant New Yorkers that NYC Health + Hospitals remains committed to its mission to serve all New Yorkers, without exception, and regardless of immigration status. The letter underscores NYC Health + Hospitals’ commitment to protect patients’ right to privacy and keep immigrant status completely confidential.

The open letter will be distributed to community and immigrant advocacy organizations, as well as to media across the five boroughs. The letter is available in the top languages spoken by patients in the health system: English, Spanish, French, Haitian Creole, Russian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Urdu, Bengali, Polish, Albanian, Hindi, and Arabic. It urges immigrants not to be afraid to go to any public hospital, emergency room, or community-based health center, and reinforces NYC Health + Hospitals’ policy against disclosing patient information.

Similar open letters were issued in 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2016 in response to heightened rhetoric and tensions concerning immigration laws.

To help determine whether uninsured patients are eligible for Medicaid and other available insurance programs, NYC Health + Hospitals financial counseling staff must ask patients for information that may include immigration status, proof of income, home address, and date of birth. This information is kept completely confidential.

Columbia Launches Scholarship Program to Eliminate Medical School Loans for Students With Financial Need
Stethoscope on top of a textbook

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons announced that it will launch a sweeping scholarship program in the coming academic year – several years ahead of schedule – that will make it the first medical school in the nation to replace student loans with scholarships for all students who qualify for financial aid.

Currently, about half of the student body in the medical school receives financial aid, including need-based scholarships and student loans, to pay tuition and living expenses. Under the new program, all student loans included in their financial aid packages will be replaced with scholarships. About 20 percent of the school’s students – those with the greatest financial need – will receive full-tuition scholarships.

The scholarship fund will be supported by an endowment that was established by Dr. P. Roy and Diana Vagelos, for whom the 250-year-old medical school was renamed last December. The couple has committed more than $300 million to Columbia, $150 million of which was directed toward the scholarship fund endowment. When the commitment was announced in December, university officials anticipated that it would be several years before the funds grew large enough to support the full scholarship program. However, funding from the Vageloses as well as from other generous alumni, faculty, and friends over the past several months increased available funds more rapidly than anticipated and enabled the medical school to launch the scholarship program this year.

“Having a scholarship fund of this magnitude puts our medical school within reach of the most talented students, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Lee Goldman, MD, the dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and chief executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “In addition, this scholarship program will allow our students to choose a medical specialty based on their true passion and highest calling, rather than on income potential. The extraordinary generosity of Roy and Diana Vagelos in establishing this endowment will change the future for generations of students in our medical school.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median cost of tuition and fees at private U.S. medical schools is nearly $60,000 per year. In 2016, nearly 73 percent of students at private medical schools graduated with debt, with the median level of debt at $190,000. At Columbia, like most medical schools, students who qualify for financial aid are typically required to borrow about $30,000 or more per year to help pay for their tuition. Under the new scholarship program, students will be able to forgo that borrowing.