Bursting with Ride! The Oldest Hospital in Nevada Donates a Historic Heirloom to Recognize 160 Years of Healthcare and Emergency Medical Services in Northern Nevada
Recognized as one of the world’s leading breast cancer experts as a 2023 Legends in Cancer Honoree
Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, FACP, Section Chief of Medical Oncology at the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown, was honored as th
HealthyNV Project News
Study Shows Importance of Ensuring Participant and Provider Follow-up After a Genetic Screening Result
Released in partnership with the Desert Research Institute: New research from the Healthy Nevada Project® finds that a confirmed diagnosis does not always result in changes to patient care.
Presenting individuals with potentially life-al
Se Recomienda A Los Pacientes De Renown Que Los Acompane Una Persona De Apoyo A La Visita Medica O En La Estadia En El Hospital
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Note: "Stable" is not a condition.
Dr. Lee Schwartzberg Honored With 2023 Legends in Cancer Award
Recognized as one of the world’s leading breast cancer experts as a 2023 Legends in Cancer Honoree Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, FACP, Section Chief of Medical Oncology at the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown, was honored as the 2023 Legends in Cancer honoree at this year's Best of Breast conference for his contributions to the field of breast cancer. The conference took place on Jan. 21 and 22. Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer and about 1 in 36 women will die from breast cancer. Breast cancer is associated with increased age, hereditary factors, obesity, and alcohol use. Since 1990, breast cancer death rates across the country, and here in Washoe County have declined progressively due to advancements in treatment, detection, and care. Each year in the United States, about 264,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,400 in men. Here in Washoe County, more than 21 deaths per 100,000 females are due to breast cancer, a significant decrease since 2012 when 24 deaths per 100,000 females were reported. Dr. Schwartzberg was selected for this award based on his unique and vast contributions to advancing science and patient care, including his major research interests such as therapeutic approaches to breast cancer, targeted therapies, and supportive care. The selection committee evaluates each candidates’ body of work — including contributions to the field of breast cancer in clinical research, patient care, mentoring and community service — before deciding on an honoree. “Dr. Schwartzberg is deserving of this honor. As a national expert in the study and treatment of breast cancer, precision medicine and supportive care, Dr. Schwartzberg is transforming cancer care and improving the lives of all of us in northern Nevada. As the most preferred cancer program in the region, we are working with the support of donors like The William N. Pennington Foundation to recruit additional oncology specialists and cancer science researchers to become the first National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer care center in Nevada," said Dr. Brian Erling, MBA, CEO of Renown Health. “The incredible care that comes from the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute is possible because of nationally recognized oncologists like Dr. Schwartzberg.” “Dr. Schwartzberg completed fellowship training in medical oncology and hematology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident and was a founding member of the institutional ethics committee,” add Paul J. Hauptman, MD, dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and chief academic officer for Renown Health. “We are proud that he serves as a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. His research interests include supportive care, precision medicine and patient-reported outcomes in breast cancer and he has published over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and monographs.” “It is an honor to work with Dr. Schwartzberg and his patients have the most incredible things to say about the care he provides.” said Dr. Max J Coppes, PhD, MBA, Director, William N. Pennington Cancer Institute, Renown Health. “He understands that his patients are going through one of the most challenging times in their lives. Dr. Schwartzberg brings decades of experience to our community, is a great listener, and treats everyone with compassion and dignity. We are so proud to have him at Renown.” The Best of Breast Conference is an innovative medical education program that gathers the world's leading breast cancer experts to discuss cases with high-risk characteristics, adjuvant and metastatic treatment advances, interdisciplinary care and survivorship and recurrence — all while incorporating data from the major oncologic annual meetings. Dr. Schwartzberg has been selected to chair Total Health’s spring oncology education retreat in Lake Tahoe on April 15 and 16. The event’s comprehensive agenda will allow attendees to engage with the latest research and strategies in cancer care while networking with colleagues from across the country in a peaceful setting. Additional conference information is available here. For women, breast exams using mammography after 40 years old is recommended. For those age 75 and older, a mammogram is recommended every year. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. Both 3-D digital mammography and whole breast ultrasounds are available at the Greenberg Breast Health Center at Renown and other locations across northern Nevada. The Affordable Care Act makes breast cancer screening and counseling free. All health plans must cover these benefits at no cost to you. Renown MyChart app users can self-schedule a mammogram appointment. To call to schedule, dial 775-982-8100. At the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown Health, patients receive innovative, personalized treatment to fight cancer while an experienced team provides the support and technology to maintain the highest quality of life. The Renown team’s clinical expertise and advanced treatment options blend evidence-based care with leading-edge research to improve cancer outcomes for every patient and family. For more information or a referral, visit renown.org/cancer. About Renown Health Renown Health is Nevada’s largest, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in a community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. About Total Health Total Health is a medical information company of planning experts who produce tailored content, courses, and conferences for oncology healthcare providers, virtual and in-person. Total Health believes knowledge is power. Its mission is to give oncology healthcare providers an educational experience that equips them with the latest strategies to improve clinical practice and treatment outcomes.
Read More About Dr. Lee Schwartzberg Honored With 2023 Legends in Cancer Award
Renown Welcome Area's First Baby of 2023
Meet Eleazar, the first baby born in the Reno-Sparks area in 2023 Reno's first baby of 2023 was born in the Labor and Delivery Childbirth Center at Renown Regional Medical Center. Gricella Grajeda gave birth to Eleazar Grajeda at 1:05 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Baby Eleazar weighed 5 pounds, 3.4 ounces and was the first 2023 birth at any of the region's hospitals. Baby Eleazar is also welcomed to the world by Yesinia Valazquez. More than 4,040 babies were delivered at Renown Health in 2022. Renown Health offers exceptional family-centered care with complete prenatal services designed for the health and well-being of every patient and their new baby. About Renown Health Renown Health is Nevada’s largest, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 6,500 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in a community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®
Renown Health Tracks Santa’s Progress on Christmas Eve in The Renown Transfer And Operations Center
Renown Health wishes you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas This time of the year, Santa and his reindeer; Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph, travel across the world on Christmas Eve. Santa stops at millions of homes to deliver toys and gifts- and to enjoy a quick snack of milk and cookies. This year the elves at the Renown Transfer and Operations Center (RTOC) will use their command center in south Reno to track Santa’s progress (of course, while continuing to customize the care experience for every patient at Renown). Starting on the morning of Christmas Eve, the specially trained RTOC elves will work with the elves at the North Pole to get a live feed using Santa’s sleigh GPS. With this advanced technology, they will track his progress and anticipate when he will arrive here in northern Nevada. “I am deeply grateful to the thousands of Renown care givers who will be working throughout the holiday to care for patients and their families. I am excited that we will also have elves in the RTOC tracking Santa’s journey over Christmas Eve this year,” said Dr. Brian Erling, President & CEO of Renown Health. “Along with watching Santa’s flight path on Christmas Eve, the RTOC team is dedicated to being the ‘eye in the sky’ for patient care coordination across the Renown Health system.” Renown’s elves are expecting that Santa and his reindeer will start their biggest night of the year in the South Pacific before heading to New Zealand and Australia. From there, they’ll visit Japan, Asia, then across to Africa, Western Europe and Canada. Santa is expected to reach the United States just after midnight and conclude his night in Mexico and Central/South America. Thankfully, it is not anticipated that Santa’s route will be impacted by the weather this year. “Tracking Santa is such a fun part of our job here at Renown,” said Melanie Morris, MSN, RN, director of the RTOC. “We hope it builds Christmas cheer across northern Nevada, in our Children’s Hospital and we hope it helps parents at home get their kiddos into bed before Mr. Claus arrives.” In addition to tracking Santa and his reindeer journey, the RTOC team tracks a patient’s journey, which dramatically improves care and efficiency across Renown’s integrated health system. “Renown Regional Medical Center is the region’s only Level II Trauma Center. Our caregivers and specialists are prepared to care for high-acuity patients including those who have suffered heart attacks and strokes,” said Dr. Erling. “Serving over 1 million people, the Transfer and Operations Center assists in caring for patients in both urban and rural communities. We work together, in one location, to ensure we have the appropriate care teams and facilities ready to serve patients- immediately and upon their arrival at Renown Regional Medical Center, Renown South Meadows Medical Center, Renown Children’s Hospital and Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as our emergency and urgent care sites.” About Renown Health Renown Health is Nevada’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 9,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. For more information, visit renown.org.
Read More About Renown Health Tracks Santa’s Progress on Christmas Eve in The Renown Transfer And Operations Center
Renown Health Lowers Minimum Employment Age To 16 Years Old
Students ages 16 and older can now submit applications for entry-level, non-clinical opportunities at region’s top employer and one of the nation’s Top Places to Work ® Obtaining a career in healthcare has been the goal of many who seek to make a positive difference in the lives of others and improve the health of their communities. Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations; and this increase is expected to result in about 2 million new jobs over the decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today, Renown Health leaders announced they are accepting employment applications for individuals 16 years old to work in entry-level, non-clinical roles; formerly teens needed to be 18 years or older to apply for employment at Nevada’s largest not-for-profit health network. “Many of us who work today as physicians, nurses and key members of the healthcare team, started out as teenagers working or volunteering in our local hospitals,” says Brian Erling, MD, MBA, President & CEO, Renown Health. “Supporting local teens with their first jobs in healthcare, and providing support for life-long careers, helps build the workforce of the future. We are excited to welcome the next generation of Renown employees as they partner with us to care for our community and Fight the Good Fight.” “For more than 160 years, the foundation of our success has been to hire the brightest and most compassionate people,” says Brittany Brown, MBA, Director of Recruitment. High school students curious about a career in healthcare are encouraged to apply to one of the many entry-level, non-clinical positions available now at Renown Health. All entry-level positions offer flexible schedules to account for school schedules. Named Ragan’s “Top Places to Work for 2022,” Renown Health fosters a caring culture of values that include caring, integrity, collaboration and excellence. Renown was awarded for championing their workforce and providing guidance, initiatives and resources that promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, offering ample room for professional growth and providing effective communication that keeps employees engaged and informed. “Renown Health is rising to the occasion by expanding employment opportunities for high school students,” said Ms. Brown. “We hope to help teens develop career skills that will serve them today, and for a successful future.” The decision to lower Renown’s minimum employment age to 16 was rooted in the health system’s desire to support students in their long-term career goals and foster their interest in healthcare. Renown’s expert recruiters are poised to welcome teen applicants and be a resource for them throughout the hiring process. Along with offering education and career growth opportunities, Renown has extensive employee benefits available to full time and part time employees. Open part-time and per diem positions available for students who meet the new minimum age requirement of include, but are not limited to: Patient Access Representatives Patient Safety Assistants Patient Transporters Dishwashers Food Service Workers Housekeepers Renown Health also recognizes the value of experienced workers and believes in equal opportunities for all. Part-time, full-time and flexible positions are also available for people 55+ and retirees. Individuals may apply directly at renown.org/careers. Renown Health ensures equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. For more information, see our non-discrimination policy at renown.org. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®.
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Study Shows Importance of Ensuring Participant and Provider Follow-up After a Genetic Screening Result
Released in partnership with the Desert Research Institute: New research from the Healthy Nevada Project® finds that a confirmed diagnosis does not always result in changes to patient care. Presenting individuals with potentially life-altering health information doesn’t mean the individuals – or their healthcare providers – will act on it. Follow-up education and conversations about actionable care plans with patients and their doctors are key next steps, according to new research from the Healthy Nevada Project. The Healthy Nevada Project is a genetic screening and research project that launched in 2016 as a partnership between DRI and Renown Health. The project now has more than 50,000 participants, with genetic sequencing provided by Helix. Between September 2018 and September 2020, the Healthy Nevada Project successfully notified 293 participants that they were genetically at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, Lynch syndrome, or familial hypercholesterolemia – three common genetic conditions known collectively as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tier 1 conditions. In a study published today in Frontiers in Genetics, Healthy Nevada Project scientists looked at the impact that notifying a patient of a positive finding for a CDC Tier 1 condition had on the care that the patient received in the months and years that followed. According to their results, among the 293 Healthy Nevada Project participants who were notified of their genetic risk of a CDC Tier 1 condition, 71 percent of participants with electronic health records shared their findings with healthcare providers. However, only 30 percent of the electronic health records for these patients contained documentation of the genetic diagnosis, and only 10 percent of examined patients experienced a possible change in care after receiving the results of their genetic screening. “The Healthy Nevada Project was implemented with a ‘hands-off’ approach where the participants receive their findings and decide with whom and when to share those findings. The findings were not automatically added to their electronic health records,” said Dr. Gai Elhanan, health data scientist at DRI and co-lead author of the study. “What we’re learning now is that to ensure that important genetic findings are integrated into the care journey it is important to make their inclusion into the electronic health records part of the study.” This study builds on previous Healthy Nevada Project research published in Nature Medicine demonstrating the importance of screening for CDC Tier 1 conditions, which affect about one in 75 individuals and can be mitigated or even prevented from developing into disease when detected early. This study found that as many as 90 percent of the CDC Tier 1 cases are missed by clinical providers during normal clinical care screenings and examinations. During the current study, the Healthy Nevada Project scientists found that 19 percent of studied participants had already developed one of the CDC Tier 1 conditions, and thus would have potentially benefited from earlier notification about their condition. The study team hopes that their findings will encourage individuals in Nevada to obtain genetic testing for these relatively common conditions. Even if individuals are older or have already suffered from diseases related to these conditions, testing could also prove beneficial to siblings, children, and grandchildren who may also be at risk and who could subsequently be screened in the event of a positive finding. The study team also encourages informing health care providers of the importance of incorporating genetic diagnoses into the pharmaceutical (for example, for Familial Hypercholesterolemia) and treatment advice given to patients. “As a result of this analysis, the clinicians at Renown Health and the Healthy Nevada Project researchers have made significant changes, including obtaining informed consent from participants to report positive findings from their genetics reports directly into their electronic medical record,” said Daniel Kiser, M.S., assistant research scientist of data science at DRI and co-lead author of the study. “This will help both participants, their clinical providers, and the whole state maximize the long-term benefits of the Healthy Nevada Project voluntary population-based genetic screening.” Additional information: The full text of the study, Incomplete Penetrance of Population-Based Genetic Screening Results in Electronic Health Record, is available from Frontiers in Genetics: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2022.866169/full?&utm_source=Email_to_authors_&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=T1_11.5e1_author&utm_campaign=Email_publication&field=&journalName=Frontiers_in_Genetics&id=866169. This project was funded by Renown Health, the Renown Health Foundation, and the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Study authors included Gai Elhanan (DRI), Daniel Kiser (DRI), Iva Neveux (DRI), Shaun Dabe (Renown Health), Alexander Bolze (Helix), William Metcalf (DRI), James Lu (Helix), and Joseph Grzymski (DRI/Renown Health). For more information on the Healthy Nevada Project® or to request genetic screening, please visit: https://healthynv.org/ About DRI The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in basic and applied environmental research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students who work alongside them, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe. Since 1959, DRI’s research has advanced scientific knowledge on topics ranging from humans’ impact on the environment to the environment’s impact on humans. DRI’s impactful science and inspiring solutions support Nevada’s diverse economy, provide science-based educational opportunities, and inform policymakers, business leaders, and community members. With campuses in Las Vegas and Reno, DRI serves as the non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. For more information, please visit www.dri.edu. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org. About Helix Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics. Helix enables health systems, life sciences companies, payers, and government partners to accelerate the integration of genomic data into patient care and public health decision making. Learn more at www.helix.com.
Read More About Study Shows Importance of Ensuring Participant and Provider Follow-up After a Genetic Screening Result
Wilbur May Foundation Donates Five Million Dollars to New Renown Children's Hospital Endowment Fund
Endowment funds generate annual income, ensuring support for years to come. Pictured above: Dr. Max Coppes, Physician-in-Chief, Renown Children’s Hospital and Nell J Redfield Chair of Pediatrics, UNR Med; Dr. Kristina Deeter, MBA, FAAP, Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Associate Physician-in-Chief, Renown Children's Hospital; Becky Haase, RN, Director of Children’s Services at Renown Health; Emmalee Sutton, Renown Health's Children's Miracle Network Child Champion; Renown Health Foundation’s Chief Development Officer, Greg Walaitis; Dixie May, Vice President at the Wilbur May Foundation; Dr. Thomas Graf, CEO of Renown and Larry Duncan, VP, Administrator, Renown Children’s Hospital. The Wilbur May Foundation recently announced a $5 million gift to Renown Health Foundation. This gift marks the first major donation to support the newly formed Renown Children’s Hospital Endowment Fund. Endowment funds are invested, and each year a portion of the fund’s income will be used as a steady stream of support for the Renown Children’s Hospital, while the rest of the return is re-invested to preserve and grow the original gift. As the only dedicated children’s hospital in northern Nevada, Renown Children’s Hospital treats nearly 50,000 of our youngest community members every year, with a focus on keeping quality healthcare close to home. “Building a strong endowment is one of the most critical steps an organization, like Renown, can take to help see it through challenging times and periods of growth,” said Thomas Graf, MD, FAAFP, CEO of Renown. “An endowment is a permanent fund –— it is our key to continuously creating health. We will spend only the investment income we earn, this will allow us to have a dedicated stream of dollars to pay for the equipment and programs that we know our children need.” In honor of the Wilbur May Foundation’s extraordinary donation, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), currently under major renovation, will be named the Wilbur D. May NICU and PICU. These two major ICU units are moving from the Sierra Tower to the Tahoe Tower at Renown Regional Medical Center, home of Renown Children’s Hospital. “This endowment gives physicians and staff peace of mind knowing services and programs will continue to be readily available to families in our growing community,” said Kristina Deeter, MD, MBA, FAAP, Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Associate Physician-in-Chief, Renown Children's Hospital. “The generosity of the Wilbur May Foundation will impact care at Renown Children’s Hospital for generations.” The late Wilbur D. May was a northern Nevada rancher, businessman, world traveler and philanthropist. He had a deep and longstanding concern for the welfare and education of children. The Wilbur May Foundation – comprised of family relatives, including his daughter, Dixie May – continues to enhance Wilbur’s vision. The foundation has made numerous gifts to Renown Children’s Hospital over the years, including supporting the current PICU and children’s kidney dialysis program, among others. “It’s an honor to work with community leaders and donors like Dixie May and the Wilbur May Foundation, and it’s our hope this announcement will inspire others in the community to Join the Good Fight and support children and families in our community,” said Renown Health Foundation’s Chief Development Officer, Greg Walaitis. To learn more about the Renown Children’s Hospital Endowment Fund, or to contribute, visit renown.org/give or call Renown Health Foundation at 775-982-5545. ### About Renown Health For more information, visit Renown Health is the region’s largest locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Clinical institutes include Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath and Neurosciences. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®.
Read More About Wilbur May Foundation Donates Five Million Dollars to New Renown Children's Hospital Endowment Fund
Renown Regional Named Health Equity Leader for Nevada
Recognized as national leader in LGBTQ+ care by Human Rights Campaign Foundation for 2022 All people who need medical care should be able to see their doctor or have a hospital visit without worrying about being mistreated, harassed or denied service outright. Data from the national CAP survey shows that LGBTQ+ people experience discrimination in healthcare settings; and that discourages them from seeking needed care. These results highlight the importance of protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in healthcare. Renown Health and UNR Med caregivers, supported by community LGBTQ+ and Transgender Allies and partners, are working to bridge the gap for LGBTQ+ patients and families, and to become a more inclusive organization. This week, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation recognized Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nev. as the first and only hospital in Nevada designated with a perfect score, and at the highest level of support as “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader.” The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees. We constantly strive to be among the best in the nation for quality, safety and patient experience," said Dr. Thomas Graf, interim CEO and Chief Clinical and Quality Officer. "This recognition confirms what the Renown Health team is dedicated to – providing the best patient care possible. Quality and safety are the responsibility of every employee and physician at Renown, and we are proud that the Renown Regional Medical Center team has been chosen among the best in the state and nation for our commitment to LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.” “Renown Health is proud to join the state of Nevada, which also earned top rankings on the Human Rights Campaign State Equality Index, and the City of Reno on the Municipal Equity Scorecard for LGBTQ+ equality,” said Sy Johnson, MBA, interim president and Chief of Staff. “The Human Rights Campaign HEI offers a powerful way for organizations to affirm that they are committed to LGBTQ+ patient-centered care and extend non-discrimination protections to our LGBTQ+ employees, who play a key role in ensuring sensitive, knowledgeable LGBTQ+ care.” “We at UNR Med are so proud to be partners with Renown in this effort,” said Nicole Jacobs, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)Associate Dean, Diversity and Inclusion; Clinical Psychologist / Professor; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UNR Med. “The designation of being an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equity Leader demonstrates Renown’s strong commitment to advancing equitable healthcare in Nevada, our core and shared values and our shared mission of addressing the healthcare disparities in our backyards.” A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 496 of those earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Equality Leader” designation. Renown Regional Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Nevada recognized by the Human Rights Campaign. No other hospitals in the state met their stringent standards for the 2021 rankings. “Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care,” said Tari Hanneman, (she/her) Director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars: Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support Employee Benefits and Policies Patient and Community Engagement Suzanne Hendery, MA, APR, Chief Customer Officer, who led Renown’s application process, noted the remarkable progress reflected in the team 2022 HEI submission includes: Updated Medical Records with Preferred Name and Pronouns. Kathleen Zaski, BSN, RN, Director of IT Applications explains why this is so important. “Your name and identity are core to who you are as a person, and here at Renown, we aim to take care of you as a whole person and to provide the highest level of quality care to our community – all while ensuring the experience is exceptional and tailored to the individual. Our medical records system supports our doctors, nurses and care team in capturing this vital information. We are now able to capture every person’s preferred name, sex and sexual orientation to better care for them.” Allowing visitation without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. Whitney Hansen, PhD, Director of Service Excellence says, “I know how important it is to our patients and their families that Renown serves our entire community and that we provide a welcoming, safe space and sense of belonging to all. We are proud of Renown’s visitor policy, inspired by family members, who requested that the policy encourage two family members per day be able to visit a loved one hospitalized at Renown.” Gender Neutral Restrooms. Chris Baker, CHFM, Director Facilities Engineering, whose team has created over 48 gender-neutral restrooms across Renown says, “Ensuring that private restrooms are equally available to everyone on our campus is just one way we can provide a more inclusive, caring space for the people we serve.” In addition, Renown clinicians and caregivers received recognition in the following areas: Every staff member receives training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care Both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are included in both the patient non-discrimination policy and in Renown’s employment nondiscrimination policy Offering transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to employees and members of Renown’s not-for-profit health plan, Hometown Health Providing substantial support and awarding grants to area organizations addressing diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ+ community Pride events and collaboration with LGBTQ+ organizations as an ally “I’m extremely proud of the people I get to work with every day who make achievements like this possible, says Brian Colonna CHC, CHPC, CHRC, Director of Compliance. “This is a meaningful designation, said Bethany Sexton, MA, Chief Transformation Officer. “I feel so proud to be part of a team and organization that helps translate our mission as an organization into action that matters for every member of our community.” Mitch Harper, Director of Network Performance, said, “We have just begun on this journey. We recognize there is still so much more to improve upon in becoming an inclusive organization. We are working to create a safe and welcoming environment for our community and our employees. Access to basic human services should not be contingent on an individual’s skin color, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or beliefs.” Sean Savoy, Manager of Spiritual Care at Renown said, “Good news indeed! So glad that Renown Health has achieved this milestone with HRC – a leader in civil rights for sexual orientation-gender identity minorities. I look forward to the continuing work around striving to achieve clinical equity, cultural competency, and respect for our LGBTQIA patients and employees.” For more on LBGTQ+ care and providers at Renown, visit renown.org/diversity/lbgtq-at-renown/ Join the Renown team Renown Health is now hiring key roles in our organization to support the health and well-being of our community. To join the Renown family to Fight the Good Fight, apply on line at careers.renown.org/ About the Human Rights Campaign Foundation The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
Read More About Renown Regional Named Health Equity Leader for Nevada
Renown Health Named Top Place to Work
Recognized as a workplace that champions caregivers, diversity and professional growth by Ragan Communications Renown Health has been recognized among Ragan’s “Top Places to Work” for 2022. Ragan’s award winners represent organizations that value internal communications, foster collaborative and innovative workplaces that champion caregivers, cultivate a culture that thrives with diverse ideas and backgrounds and supports professional growth and well-being. In selecting Renown Health for this honor, Ragan judges noted that Renown Health earned its spot as a top place to work by “taking swift action to respond to pandemic challenges.” They noted that “the teams at Renown Health, serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California, practice emergency preparedness 365 days a year. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, those teams took swift action to ensure Renown and the community remained ready and prepared.” Renown had the foresight to create an Alternate Care Site (ACS) in the Mill Street parking structure of its Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nev. No other organization in northern Nevada, public or private, prepared for an overflow of patients with COVID-19. Until January 2021, the ACS served hundreds of hospitalized patients and allowed caregivers to remain on campus with access to lab, pharmacy, imaging, food and other crucial services. Patients are now cared for within one of Renown’s hospitals or monitored in their homes 24/7 by clinicians in the Renown Transfer and Operations Center. Many employees worked remotely throughout the pandemic; Renown’s human resources department listened to their employees' thoughts and opinions. Positive feedback about remote work (which included decreased commute times, fewer distractions, improved work-life balance and a reduced carbon footprint) resulted in allowing more than 700 employees to continue working remotely, with having the option to “hotel” onsite at any time. In June 2020, the Renown Laboratory team sprang into action to help meet the growing demand for COVID-19 testing. Renown expanded staffing and in-house testing capabilities, allowing Renown to swab and process up to 1,000 COVID tests for patients each day and share results within hours. Working with the mayor’s COVID-19 task force and local faith and community leaders, the hospital also provided free COVID-19 testing for communities of color to address health equity needs. After several weeks of employee and volunteer drive-thru vaccination events, Renown also supported the Washoe County Health District and the state in vaccinating more than 70,000 neighbors and caregivers. Aristotle, supervisor of clinical nursing in Neurosciences says, “As a leader on my unit, I love the fact that I get to see the growth and development of my team, and be a part of a support system that helps elevate them in to the future endeavors to really breed that culture of excellence at Renown.” See his video here. Reviewers at Ragan stressed, “Employees want to work at organizations like Renown that champion their workforce and provide guidance, initiatives and resources that promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, offer ample room for professional growth and provide effective communication that keeps them engaged and informed.” After listening to employees, Renown announced a number of additional benefits to promote ways to increase work/life balance; support rest-and-recuperation strategies, and new financial resources essential to sustaining happy, high-performing teams. In U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital Rankings, Renown Regional Medical Center is named #1 in the State of Nevada for 2021. No other hospital in Nevada earned recognition from U.S. News. Renown Health is hiring key roles to support the health and well-being of our community, and encourages those with a passion for service to join the Renown family to Fight the Good Fight. Apply on line at careers.renown.org. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. In U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings, Renown Regional Medical Center was listed #1 in the State of Nevada. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
Renown Children’s Hospital Joins The Children’s Oncology Group
Dr. J. Martin Johnston, Renown Health's Chief of Hematology and Oncology. Renown now home to northern Nevada's only Children's Oncology Group institution, giving local pediatric cancer patients access to the most cutting-edge treatments. Renown Children's Hospital announced today that it is now a member of the Children's Oncology Group (COG), the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood cancer. Membership in the COG allows Renown to enroll its youngest patients in the latest clinical trials, including ground-breaking treatments for many childhood cancers, studies to better understand these diseases, and trials focused around supportive care and survivorship. Renown is now enrolling pediatric patients in clinical trials through the COG. Through this process, many childhood cancer patients will be eligible to receive newly-developed therapies. For example, some trials employ immunotherapeutic drugs in addition to conventional chemotherapy, in hopes that adding the immunotherapy results in better health outcomes for pediatric cancer patients. "As a pediatric intensivist by training, I understand how quickly advancements are made in pediatric medicine," said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown Health. "As a member of the COG, pediatric oncology patients of Renown Children's Hospital now have access to the latest and most cutting-edge treatment options in addition to commonly prescribed treatments. I am proud of the highly-skilled caregivers at Renown who are constantly expanding their knowledge and contributing research to give our pediatric patients and their families hope for the future." "Until now, we have been able to offer treatments at Renown based on the current standard of care, which means the treatment is based on published trial results that may not reflect the latest research in the field," said Renown's Chief of Hematology/Oncology, J. Martin Johnston, MD. "Previously, a pediatric oncology patient could only enroll in a COG trial if the family had the capacity to temporarily relocate to the Bay Area or Salt Lake City, for example. Now, our patients will have the opportunity to enroll in these trials without the need to travel so far from home." "When faced with pediatric cancer, the last thing parents should worry about is traveling great lengths to receive the best in cancer care," said Larry Duncan, Vice President of Pediatrics and Surgery and Administrator, Renown Children's. "We are proud to now offer the most advanced childhood cancer treatment options here at Renown, close to home and convenient for area patients and their families. We always strive to see more patients beat cancer, and being part of the COG helps our expert team of pediatric oncologists implement innovative and new ways to make that happen." Carson City local Brenda Milligan's son, Austin, was 5 when he was diagnosed with leukemia and received treatment at Renown Children's Hospital. As an active participant in her now 10-year-old son's treatment plan, Brenda shares that she regularly sought out advice from COG providers across the country and is pleased that northern Nevadan parents of children being treated for leukemia can now take full advantage of the COG right at home. "The COG allows Renown's providers to have access to treatment plans that weren't available when Austin was receiving treatment," said Brenda. "It comforts me to know that not only can children receive cancer treatment right at home, but their parents can now elect for them to participate in trials and plans that are at the forefront of cancer treatment today." According to the COG, more than 90 percent of 14,000 U.S. children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer annually are cared for at COG member institutions. As a COG member institution, Renown joins over 200 institutions including Stanford, UCSF and Kaiser Permanente in this prestigious honor. The COG is made up of more than 9,000 experts worldwide and has nearly 100 active clinical-translational trials running at once. Research from the COG has drastically transformed children's cancer outcomes. Just 50 years ago, pediatric cancer was thought to be untreatable; while today, it has a combined five-year survival rate of 80 percent. "The key to ending childhood cancer is through extensive scientific research and clinical trials," said Max Coppes, Cancer Center Director at Renown Institute for Cancer. "As a COG member institution, our doctors will have the opportunity to collaborate with other pediatric oncologists around the world who share a common goal—to cure all children of cancer. At Renown, we are proud to be at the forefront of life-saving research and treatments for pediatric oncology patients throughout our region." "We are also grateful to the William N. Pennington Foundation for its support in establishing the William N. Pennington Fund for Advance Pediatric Care in 2016, which allowed us to hire more than 15 specialized pediatricians, including in oncology/hematology, which was crucial to our application for COG membership." About Renown Children's Hospital Renown Children's Hospital is the only dedicated children's hospital in northern Nevada, and offers a variety of programs and services designed specifically to care for families in our community. It has the region's only pediatric ER and ICU. Renown Children's Hospital is not-for-profit and relies on philanthropic support. Visit renown.org/give to support Renown Children's Hospital. For more information on programs and services, visit renown.org/children.
Read More About Renown Children’s Hospital Joins The Children’s Oncology Group
As Community Covid-19 Cases Rise, Renown Has Capacity; Prepared And Ready To Serve
Renown team is prepared and ready to serve the community with staff, technology, supplies, equipment and remote patient monitoring services to meet needs and assure the highest quality care and safety. Many parts of the country and Nevada are seeing increases in COVID-19 cases and patients hospitalized with both the Delta and the new Omicron variant. As Nevadans experience the impact of the pandemic, the Renown Health team continues to be prepared to serve the community with staff, technology, supplies, equipment and services in place to meet the needs of patients and assure the safety of Renown's care teams. The Renown Health team ensures constant readiness and continues to safely screen, diagnose and care for patients with respiratory illnesses, including those at risk for COVID-19. Renown Health continues to have capacity to accept patients at all 11 Urgent Care locations, Renown's three Emergency Departments, including the Children's ER at Renown Regional Medical Center and the Emergency Department at Renown South Meadows Medical Centers. There is capacity if needed for additional patients on Renown's three Intensive Care Units or ICUs, and Renown hospitals continue to operate a full surgery schedule. "Every community member can feel confident that Renown has a trained team of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, medical assistants, care managers and physical and occupational therapists around the clock, every day to ensure that, no matter the illness or injury, every patient will be treated with compassion and the appropriate degree of care," says Susan Lee, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Services. "News about the COVID-19 may be making you feel anxious about going to the emergency room (ER) or getting the medical care you need," said Bret W. Frey, MD, emergency medicine physician at Renown. "Please remember it's important to seek emergency care if you have serious non-COVID-19 symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Delaying care for a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, can be life threatening or lead to serious complications. We are here for you around the clock and have taken all precautions to be sure that visits to the ER and hospital are as safe as possible." He reminds us, "Emergency departments are experiencing large numbers of patients presenting with COVID-like symptoms. Please do not visit the emergency department if you are experiencing non-life threatening symptoms including a sore throat or cough. Consider these options to get the care you need; use Renown's MyChart "Talk to a Doctor" for a virtual visit, obtain free COVID-19 screening and testing through the Washoe County Health District, or contact Renown at 775-982-5000 to make an appointment with a primary care provider." Renown Uses Analytics and Predictive Modeling in Service to the Community Renown continues to use current local and national data, analytics and public data sets for predictive modeling in service to our community. When there is heightened concern around an illness, enhanced infection prevention strategies are in place to ensure Renown is ready with the appropriate supplies and alternate plans should the need arise. Renown medical experts report the following information this week: 1. Cases in Washoe County have started climbing. It appears the Omicron wave has started in northern Nevada. The good news is that studies continue to show that vaccines and previous infection still provide people with protection from severe disease. Predictive analytics at Renown show that the Omicron wave is expected to peak in northern Nevada sometime between January 10 and February 10. 2. Data continues to mount that Omicron infections are much less severe than previous variants. The Renown team is preparing to see an increase in hospitalized patients, but at a far lower rate than during previous surges. 3. Today, new patient hospital admissions to Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center for patients with COVID-19 are low. Today, of the 501 patients hospitalized at Renown, less than 9% or 43 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. This may change at any time and medical experts and scientists at Renown will continue to monitor data on a daily basis. Renown Offers State-of-the-Art Remote Patient Monitoring to Enhance Patient-Centered Model of Care Renown continues to enact the emergency preparedness plans that have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic, creating additional capacity for inpatients while allowing Renown to continue to deliver high-quality care. Renown now has state-of-the-art clinical remote monitoring services to serve additional patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are clinically stable or improving. Remote patient monitoring is now being visualized and monitored by clinical staff within the new Renown Transfer and Operations Center (RTOC). The Transfer and Operations Center is powered by Renown doctors, nurses, technicians and national technology partners help ensure seamless care for patients and providers. Through this highly coordinated care logistics system, Renown is able to customize health care to the needs of every patient; delivering the right care, at the right time and place across the integrated delivery system. Renown clinicians are able to access near real-time information on patients' vital signs and symptoms, enabling them to identify adverse changes in health sooner and intervene earlier. "We are excited to continue to enhance our relationships with patients by integrating technology that supplements our care teams to provide patients with a virtual care solution that continuously tracks vital signs, making healthcare more accessible, affordable and convenient," said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO, Renown Health. Patients and their loved ones have said they have greater confidence and security knowing that our clinical team is closely monitoring their health data and communicating regularly to deliver high quality, personalized care." Renown Continues to Welcome Patient Supporters at the Hospital Bedside Renown Health continues welcome two patient supporters to visit their loved ones during their medical visit, surgery, birthing or hospital stay. Renown continues to have extra safety measures in place to protect the health of patients, visitors and healthcare employees. All people entering Renown sites must continue bringing and wearing a face mask for their entire visit, including inside patient rooms. "Visiting the hospital can be an anxious experience," says c. "It's incredible how the company of loved ones can reduce anxiety and promote healing. What we can do together with families to support patient care and excellent outcomes is greater than what any of us can do alone. We are glad to welcome patient supporters to our hospitals to help our patients feel more at ease, so they can focus on their recovery, health and healing." In addition to in-person visits, there are many ways to brighten the day of a patient at Renown hospitals. You can send a personalized message that will be hand-delivered to your loved one, call 775-982-4100 to speak with a patient, or Renown's care team can facilitate virtual visits via computer or tablet from the bedside. Please note that Renown Health reserves the right to limit visitors in the best interests of patients, families, visitors or staff. The Best Protection Remains Vaccination At this time, the medical experts at Renown remind us that vaccination is still the best protection against Omicron and COVID-19, and Renown providers and hospitals have full capacity to care for those who are sick or injured. "The most important action you can take to protect yourself from the Delta and Omicron strains and the COVID-19 virus is to get fully vaccinated," says Brion Hill, MD who practices at Renown Urgent Care - Los Altos location. "The COVID-19 virus and its related strains are preventable and controllable through safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, which are free and now widely available in our area. The CDC recommends all people 5 years and older be vaccinated against COVID-19. Data shows that nearly all COVID-19 deaths are now occurring among unvaccinated individuals." A list of providers in our area offering vaccines is available at vaccines.gov." Renown Hospitals #1 in State of Nevada In the most recent U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings, Renown Regional Medical Center was listed the #1 hospital in the State of Nevada. Last year, Renown South Meadows Medical Center was named the #1 Best Hospital in Nevada. A hospital's score is based on multiple data categories, including patient outcomes, safety and volumes. Hospitals earning a high performing rating were significantly better than the national average. Renown Regional Medical Center has also been awarded the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation based on compliance with hospital standards related to emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. Renown's Roseview, Sierra and Cardiac Intensive Care Units have each been awarded a Beacon Award of Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) based on patient outcomes that exceed national benchmarks. Renown has the only intensive care units awarded this distinction in Nevada. Stay Up-to-date on COVID-19 To stay up-to-date on communications regarding Renown's preparation for COVID-19, FAQs and the scientific evidence behind the vaccine, visit https://covid.renown.org/ Join the Renown team Renown Health remains committed to hiring key roles in our organization to support the health and well-being of our community. To join the Renown family to Fight the Good Fight, apply on line at https://careers.renown.org/ Support the Renown team Renown Health, a charitable, not-for-profit organization, is so grateful for our community's support during these unprecedented times. If you are interested in supporting Renown Health, a charitable, non-profit health organization, please consider giving to Renown Health Foundation. Donations are accepted through the following ways: Make a gift at www.renown.org/give Call Renown Health Foundation at 775-982-5545 Mail a check to Renown Health Foundation, 1155 Mill St., O2, Reno, NV 89502 Venmo: @RenownFoundation About Renown Health Renown Health is the region's largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children's hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region's largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world's largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
Read More About As Community Covid-19 Cases Rise, Renown Has Capacity; Prepared And Ready To Serve
Renown Welcomes New Year's Baby
Reno's first baby of 2022 was born in the Labor and Delivery Childbirth Center at Renown Regional Medical Center. Jacqueline Guzman Sanchez gave birth to Alejandro De La Rosa Jr. at 12:07 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. Baby Alejandro weighed 7 pounds, 6.2 ounces and was the first 2022 birth at any of the region's hospitals. Baby Alejandro is welcomed to the world by his father, Alejandro De La Rosa and grandparents Juan De La Rosa, Gerarda Lopez and Alicia Gamiros. More than 4,260 babies were delivered at Renown Health in 2021. Renown Health offers exceptional family-centered care with complete prenatal services designed for the health and well-being of every patient and their new baby. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. In U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings, Renown Regional Medical Center was listed #1 in the State of Nevada. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
A One Year Reflection: Thousands of Health Care Workers and Northern Nevadans Vaccinated Against COVID-19, Offering a Beacon of Hope This Holiday Season
The best protection continues to be getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often. For the thousands of physicians and health care workers of Renown Health, this week is etched into the pandemic timeline as the start date of a nationwide wave that signaled the first vaccinations against COVID-19 and a beacon of hope for the future. A year ago, the nation’s health care systems in communities across the U.S. first began vaccinating physicians and health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, and thousands received their first vaccine. One year ago, Renown Health, the Washoe County Health District (WCHD), the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began to distribute the initially available, limited supplies of the COVID-19 vaccines in Washoe County. Media representatives viewed the first healthcare workers as they obtained their first dose of the life-saving vaccines. Luis Martinez, first health care worker vaccinated, now plans to attend medical school Luis Martinez, who served on the front-line of the pandemic at Renown Regional Medical Center, received the first of his Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine a year ago this week, after it received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. He received the second and final vaccination in the series 21 days later. Luis has been at Renown since 2016, where he started as a phlebotomist and has been encouraged to advance his career in the medical field. He works as a technician on Renown’s Clinical Decision Unit — a short stay unit within the hospital for people who need clinical care, but do not need admittance to the hospital. Luis worked with patients and clinicians in the Clinical Decision Unit for a year before requesting to work in Renown’s Alternate Care Site, built in the Mill Street parking structure as a place to care for patients recovering from COVID-19 before they returned home. Today, Luis is working to fulfill his dreams of becoming a doctor. He took the Medical College Admission Test® earlier this year, interviewed virtually and applied to 24 medical schools. Luis has shadowed physicians in a number of medical fields, including internal medicine, emergency medicine, cardiology and orthopedics, and would be thrilled to train in any one of those areas. As for medical school, Luis was excited to hear about Renown’s new clinical affiliation with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med). He is enthusiastic about becoming part of the next generation of Nevada's health care professionals, and his first choice is UNR Med. He expects an admission decision by UNR Med this winter. If that doesn’t work out, he says, he has an interview with leaders at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV in January. Luis is bilingual and understands that Nevada continues to face a shortage of physicians and affordable medical care. He volunteers with CARE Chest of Sierra Nevada, a non-profit organization that provides free medical equipment, supplies, and prescription assistance to underserved populations when he is not working at Renown. His dream is to graduate medical school and stay in the community to provide medical care as a physician. Luis knows the importance of excellent medical care, and the importance of the vaccines against COVID-19. Last October, Luis turned 33 and contracted COVID-19 after a family birthday party. Because of his experience, his interest in medicine and his research, Luis obtained his COVID-19 vaccines- and his booster, and is pleased that everyone in his family is triple vaccinated too. He says they are all feeling well and looking forward to being together at the holidays. “As we celebrate this holiday season, we give thanks for Luis and the thousands of health care heroes who have been fighting this pandemic with care and compassion; continuing to safely screen, diagnose, care for and vaccinate thousands of employees and community members,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown Health. “It has been an honor to assist local and statewide health partners in the herculean vaccination effort. Over the past year, Renown’s vaccine team administered more than 58,000 dose 1 and dose 2 vaccinations to Nevadans ages five and older. We continue to work closely with our community health leaders and are always ready to assist. We are proud to be part of the solution for our community and pleased to have made a genuine difference in the health and well-being of others throughout this unprecedented time in our history.” Renown continues to use current local and national data, analytics, and public data sets for predictive modeling in service to our community. When there is heightened concern around an illness, enhanced infection prevention strategies are in place to ensure Renown is ready with the appropriate supplies and alternate plans should the need arise. Vaccination is still the best protection against Omicron and Coronavirus Today also marks a dark new milestone for Washoe County — over 1,010 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and over 70,549 total cases in our population of nearly 500,000. The bright spot is that over 65,714 people have recovered in Washoe County, although many still grapple with long-term effects of the illness. The world and the U.S., continue to experience an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations with the highly contagious Omicron variant, which now accounts for 50 percent of the coronavirus cases in parts of the country. In some areas, there is a significant stress on the hospital system, particularly where vaccination rates are low. “The most important action you can take to protect yourself from the Delta and Omicron strains and the COVID-19 virus is to get fully vaccinated,” says Susan Lee, DO, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Care. “The COVID 19 virus and its related strains are preventable and controllable through safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, which are free and now widely available in our area. The CDC recommends all people 5 years and older be vaccinated against COVID-19. Data shows that nearly all COVID-19 deaths are now occurring among unvaccinated individuals.” A list of providers in our area offering vaccines is available at vaccines.gov.” “The best protection from COVID-19 has been a combination of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often,” says Amy McCombs, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNML, vice president of Quality for Acute Services for Renown, and a champion of the vaccination effort for Renown. “No one tool alone will stop this pandemic; it will take a combination of all of us using all of these efforts to fight the spread of this virus, especially through the holidays.” “Vaccinations have been a game-changer in terms of improving the health of our community,” said Rahul Mediwala, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Health Services. "Given the demands of this COVID-19 pandemic, we have been pleased to help in the fight by providing vaccinations. Our goal a year ago, was that all Renown physicians; employees and their family members; and all Hometown Health members and Renown patients interested in receiving the vaccine would have an opportunity to be vaccinated, we are excited to help make that dream a reality for all.” The COVID-19 vaccine is now mandatory for all Renown employees in an effort to protect those who are ill and physically vulnerable, and ensure a safe environment for patients and health care workers. Renown is covering all costs of the vaccine, and it is being offered free of charge to employees. As of today, 97% percent of all 6,750 Renown Health employees are vaccinated or have an approved exemption or deferral. “This year was a year no one will forget. For everyone- and for our health care workers at Renown, the year presented countless challenges and opportunities. Those of us who choose healthcare as our life’s work answer a true calling to serve others; this field requires a self-less commitment and a tireless dedication to caring for people when they are at their most vulnerable,” said Renown’s Chief of Staff, Sy Johnson, MBA. “I applaud the entire team- every physician, nurse and health care hero for their valor, their strength and perseverance in serving our patients and community during these unprecedented times.” What follows are highlights of some of the most remarkable moments and events that have taken place at Renown Health over the past year in relation to the response to COVID-19. Temporary Deployable Medical Structure Outside Renown Regional Emergency Department On March 12, 2020, Renown erected a deployable medical facility to serve as a respiratory illness evaluation and screening center for Emergency Room patients at Renown Regional Medical Center. A similar tent was also set up outside the Emergency Room at South Meadows Medical Center. An additional layer of protection, this proactive measure helped to care for people with symptoms of respiratory illness, and to protect patients and staff in the Emergency Department and other areas of the hospital. The tents were dismantled on January 20, 2021. (See photo here.) Alternate Care Site at Mill Street Parking Structure at Renown Regional As many communities across the nation experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases, including significant surges in hospitalized patients, Renown’s leadership had the foresight to create an Alternate Care Site (ACS) in the Renown Regional Medical Center Mill Street Parking structure. The ACS served additional hospitalized patients and allowed caregivers to remain on campus and still have access to existing hospital infrastructure such as lab, pharmacy, imaging, food services and other critical services. This solution also supported an efficient level of care escalation and other emergent interventions as needed. After just 10 days of intricate construction, including flooring, electrical infrastructure, lighting, water, technology and wall partitions, the ACS was completed on April 3, 2020 with space to hold up to 1,400 patients. On Nov. 12, 2020, Renown opened the ACS to serve additional hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who were clinically stable or improving. Healthcare workers at Renown cared for hundreds of patients in this site. In early Jan. 2021, the remaining patients returned home. The Site has been decommissioned and leaders expect the area to be available for additional parking later this winter. (Alternate Care Site B-Roll.) Renown invests in Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) ‘Hospital at Home’ Monitoring Systems Appropriate patients (including those recovering from COVID-19) are now offered a telehealth solution using wearable, continuous pulse oximetry, and the convenience of being in their own homes, with the confidence and security of knowing that Renown clinical staff are closely monitoring their health data through the Renown Transfer and Operations Center, and regularly communicating with them through their recovery process. The Renown Transfer and Operations Center spans 6,000 square feet, and is one of the largest centers of its kind in the nation, equipped with 28 high-definition dashboards on the front wall, two in the center of the room and four hanging monitors toward the back. Large plasma screens display important metrics such as patient vital signs, bed availability, facility capacity, staffing, technology and more. Registered Nurses and dispatchers continuously monitor activity around the clock, across Renown’s 100,000 square mile service area, 100+ locations and partner facilities to make the best decisions for patients, providers and care teams. “LOVE” Makes its Way to Renown On April 16, 2020, during a time of darkness and uncertainty, Artown loaned the “LOVE” sculpture, a one-ton, welded-aluminum artwork created by artist Laura Kimpton and fabricated by Jeff Schomberg to Renown, where it lit up Regional Medical Center’s main entrance on Mill St. The sculpture formerly debuted at Burning Man in 2019. On July 13, 2020, thanks to the support of former board chair and community supporter, Blake Smith and the Keyser Foundation, “LOVE” continues to glow in Renown’s signature purple every evening, shining brightly for patients, employees, visitors and passersby to enjoy. Throughout the pandemic, this sculpture has served as a source of inspiration, hope and positivity for our community. (LOVE sign B-Roll.) When Words Fail, Art Speaks Recognizing art’s powerful healing capabilities, Renown collaborated with prominent artist and fine art photographer, Anicia Beckwith, to immortalize the many battles fought against and amidst COVID-19 within the healthcare system’s walls. Beckwith captured portrait images of Renown caregivers, patients and their loved ones, showing raw and touching scenes from the COVID Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Departments, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Wilbur D. May Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Alternate Care Site field hospital. A group of Renown caregivers hold a COVID patient’s hand. Tears well up in their eyes as the patient takes his last breath. Care providers respond to a patient’s only request – a facial shave. The man beams at the sight of his freshly groomed face, and is visibly touched by the tender care he received to make it happen. Lupe, an environmental services worker, takes special care in her efforts to clean and sanitize patient rooms—a craft she has perfected and taken pride in for the 25+ years she’s worked at Renown. These are just a few of the captivating moments Beckwith illustrates through her art. Beckwith’s full photo gallery of images from Renown are located here; and downloadable visual assets are available here. Evolving in an Ever-Changing World: Long-Term Remote Work for Renown Employees The COVID-19 pandemic pushed healthcare leaders throughout the world to determine how best to provide care in this ever-changing environment. Leaders in Renown’s Human Resources department evaluated the thoughts and opinions of employees working remotely throughout Renown Health. Due to the positive feedback from employees, including decreased commute times, fewer distractions, improved work-life balance and a reduced carbon footprint, over 700 Renown employees will continue working remotely. Renown Offers In-House COVID Testing In June 2020, the Renown Laboratory team sprang into action to help meet Washoe County residents and businesses’ growing demand for COVID-19 testing. Renown invested in expanded staffing and in-house testing capabilities to be able to swab and process up to 1,000 COVID tests for patients each day, with return of results within hours. Renown’s CEO, Dr. Tony Slonim also collaborated with the Mayor’s COVID-19 Task Force, local faith and community leaders beginning in Oct. of 2020 to address health equity by providing free COVID-19 testing for communities of color. (Lab B-Roll). An Extraordinary Year of Service Renown’s leadership remains steadfast commitment to keeping our community safe. “We thank the community for standing by us and helping us all emerge as stronger people with hope for the future. We continue to fight the good fight,” said Dr. Slonim. “With COVID now imbedded into our daily lives, it’s remarkable to reflect on the progress we’ve made and the obstacles we’ve overcome. I will be forever grateful for the precautionary measures, innovation, and acts of service and love implemented by our dedicated team over the past two years. We hope by demonstrating our caring values and exhibiting hope and determination, we are inspiring others.” Stay Up-to-date on COVID-19 Renown Health is prepared to safely screen, diagnose and care for patients with respiratory illness, including COVID-19. To stay up-to-date on communications regarding Renown’s distribution of the COVID19 vaccine, FAQs and the scientific evidence behind the vaccine, visit https://covid.renown.org/ Join the Renown team Renown Health remains committed to hiring key roles in our organization to support the health and well-being of our community. To join the Renown family to Fight the Good Fight, apply on line at https://careers.renown.org/ Support the Renown team Renown Health, a charitable, not-for-profit organization, is grateful for our community’s support during these unprecedented times. If you are interested in supporting Renown Health, a charitable, non-profit health organization, please consider giving to Renown Health Foundation. Donations are accepted through the following ways: Make a gift at www.renown.org/give Call Renown Health Foundation at 775-982-5545 Mail a check to Renown Health Foundation, 1155 Mill St., O2, Reno, NV 89502 Venmo: @RenownFoundation About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 6,500 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
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