Tag Archives: School of Nursing

Healthy Cities: Healthy Women Los Angeles

Author: Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

This week, I attended the Penn Nursing sponsored conference Healthy Cities: Healthy Women in Los Angeles. This is the fourth conference in this series of day-long discussions about the health of urban women (conferences on this topic were previously held in Philadelphia, New York and Miami).

Afaf Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at Penn, visited Los Angeles in January and energized a group of Penn alumnae, parents and friends to organize a conference that addressed the needs of women in Los Angeles. Meeting monthly, this fantastic group of volunteers, led by conference chair Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12, amazed me with their enthusiasm, dedication and can-do attitude – and action! Their efforts led to a packed ballroom at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on Wednesday, where local residents heard from experts about problems and solutions facing women in urban environments, and specifically Los Angeles.

Attenees check-in at the registration desk at the Loews Hollywood Hotel

Attenees check-in at the registration desk at the Loews Hollywood Hotel

Instead of summarizing the day, I’ll instead include this link to a blog post at The Family Savvy written by one of the conference attendees. In short, there are many challenges facing women, and the many speakers at the event represented city and county officials, non-profit leaders and academics. All shared their experiences, expertise and thoughts about how we can help women be healthy and care for their families in urban environments.

Local organizations in the Community Impact Area provided attendees information on their services and ways to get involved.

Local organizations in the Community Impact Area provided attendees information on their services and ways to get involved.

Johnathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, WG’77, Director and Health Officer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, opens the conference.

Johnathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, WG’77, Director and Health Officer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, opens the conference.

All the speakers were interesting, informed, and inspiring. Sue Dunlap, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, encouraged everyone to be “outspoken nurses,” and advocate for women’s health. Dean Afaf Meleis addressed the group from the future – 2022 – and talked about all the advancements made since we met here ten years prior. The last speaker, Dr. Robert K. Ross, C’76, M’80, G’92, President and CEO, The California Endowment, brought the room to a standstill when he read a poem from a survivor of incest. The poem was heartbreaking, but he shared that this young woman was now working to help others in similar situations. He said that women are the cohort that will help solve the sexual abuse and trafficking problem and charged us to help.

Penn Nursing’s Healthy Cities: Healthy Women conference is next going to Washington, DC, and London. If you live in one of those cities, I encourage you to get involved with the conference planning, to attend and encourage your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to participate.

Follow Penn Urban Women’s Health on Facebook or Twitter for more updates.

Thank you to the organizing committee:

Nancy Bergmann, C’89

Lisa Block Cohen, C’85, PAR’15

Gaby Cosgrove, C’91

Carolyn Enenstein, C’95

Jory Goldman Feldman, PAR’15

Terri Cox Glassen, Nu’91

Laurie Burrows Grad, CW’66, PAR’91

Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

Beth Kean, ENG’89

Jodi Kirkbride, PAR’13

Gloria Lee, C’97, G’98, WG’07

Deborah Marrow, CW’70, GR’78

Ashley Damron Mohan, W’98

Donna Shralow Nadel, C’82, PAR’13, PAR’15

Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12 – Conference Chair

Pamela Petre Reis, CW’70

Kathryn Tong, WG’07

Lynn Wagmeister, PAR’13

Denise Green Winner, W’83

Melissa Wu, C’98

Thank you to the conference sponsors:

Keynote Sponsors:

Dean Kehler, W’79, and Elizabeth Kehler

Panel Sponsor:

 UCLA School of Nursing

 Gift bag donations:

The Planning Committee stocks gift bags before the conference.

The Planning Committee stocks gift bags before the conference.



Luna Bars

Neuro Drinks



Penn Nursing Science

Perky Jerky

Snak Club

Tempted Apparel

Volunteers distribute the bags to conference attendees.

Volunteers distribute the bags to conference attendees.

These organizations were showcased in our

Community Impact Area – engage with them and get involved!

American Red Cross

CAST LA (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking)


Girls and Gangs

Girls on the Run of LA

Impact Personal Safety

Inner-City Arts

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

L.A. Family Housing

Minds Matter LA

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

Providence Little Company of Mary, Community Health Department

Rape Treatment Center

Union Station Homeless Services

YWCA Santa Monica/Westside


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Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Alumnni Education, Events, Kiera R., Photos, West Coast Regional Office

Locust Walk Talk: Penn Nursing at the annual Penn–Cornell Luncheon in Rochester

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Penn Nursing has a proud 125-year legacy.  Since 1886, nursing education at Penn has transformed the preparation of nurses and the profession of nursing. Many of the early nurses educated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and other programs truly changed the world. They managed hospitals and brought clean uniforms, order, and dignity to healthcare, changing the way society viewed nurses and, in the process, turning nursing into a respected and sought-after profession. Today’s nursing students build on that robust foundation as they work with world-renowned faculty to generate new knowledge in research and forward advances in clinical care.  These students join approximately 14,000 alumni from the HUP School of Nursing, Penn’s nursing education programs, and the current Penn School of Nursing. Each one of these students and alumni is caring to change the world through their efforts as practitioners, educators, researchers, community leaders, administrators, and policy advocates.

This year for the annual Penn–Cornell Luncheon, the Penn Club of Rochester hosted Dr. Mary Ersek, Associate Director, Center for Integrative Science in Aging and the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her presence at the traditional event highlighted our outstanding Nursing School’s Quasquicentennial.  This annual luncheon between the two school’s alumni clubs in Rochester has been going on for over 70 years.  Originally the gathering served as an affair for the two clubs to get together before the Penn-Cornell football game, which was originally played on Thanksgiving. The luncheon, now held the Monday before Thanksgiving, serves as regional institution with the heart of the event being the keynote speaker who hails from hosting alumni club’s school.  Today, the hosting responsibilities alternate between the University alumni clubs, based on whether Penn or Cornell is the home team that year.

A surviving ticket from the 1938 Luncheon.

Dr. Ersek’s address was titled “It is Your Life, Anyway: Healthcare Decision-Making in the context of Serious Illness,” which she delivered as an engaging and encouraging approach to palliative care.  The talk introduced the specialized area of healthcare that is both family-centered and focused on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients to the attendees. Unlike hospice care, palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life. This type of care involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information and choices.

An illustration from The New Yorker that Dr. Ersek used to show her point

Though a heavy topic, Dr. Ersek delivered a genuine talk about the importance of having choices in one’s treatment, gaining the adequate information about those choices as well as learning that information from an appropriate health care provider, having conversations with both health care provider and family in light of the options, and finally making the decisions and communicating them successfully to all involved. She focused heavily on having the conversation, since this is the most difficult part in the process.  Insightfully, she relayed anecdotes from her nursing students to demonstrate how to broach the subject.  In class, Dr. Ersek would show a clip from 2007’s The Savages featuring Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Philip Bosco having the difficult discussion as two children discovering their father’s ideas for care.  The scene is humorously awkward, but in the end provided her students with the means to be open to having this discussion with future patients as well as with their parents and future health care proxies.

Pennsylvanians and Cornellians alike left the luncheon appreciating the field of palliative care. They noted in passing that they need to be open to talk about end of life care before it should be of any concern.  While not talking about it, any insured person will be given all life-sustaining therapies. However, this may not be in the individual’s own needs.  The best time to discuss this topic is while one is still able to establish her or her own definition of quality of life.

The corresponding football program for the surviving luncheon ticket

Dr. Mary Ersek directs the palliative care minor in the School of Nursing and teaches in courses in this program. She also mentors pre- and post-doctoral fellows and students and is the lead author of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Geriatric curriculum. Dr. Ersek’s research centers on pain and palliative care in older adults, with an emphasis on residents of nursing homes, including the investigation of the efficacy of a pain self management group for residents and the examination of the effectiveness of a pain management coupled with intensive support and consultation.

Dr. Ersek referenced the New Yorker article, “Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?by Atul Gawande.  It is a very powerful read, accentuating many of Dr Ersek’s themes and points.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Clubs

Remembering Why

Author: Amanda D’Amico

As a staff member at The Penn Fund, I understand the important impact that philanthropy has on Penn’s students.  Penn Fund dollars help to support the 40% of Penn students who receive student aid; they help to support the 574 student organizations at Penn; and they affect each undergraduate at Penn.

But working in an administrative building away from students doesn’t allow me to regularly see what interesting things Penn students are doing because Penn Fund dollars helped to support their lab’s upgrade, or what riveting conversations are taking part in a small lecture hall because Penn Fund dollars helped to pay for more faculty members, or the value added by a student who would be unable to attend Penn without of the support of financial aid.  That’s why I was thrilled to venture with other members of The Penn Fund’s marketing team to Penn’s School of Nursing for a few hours.

A colleague in the School of Nursing set up a wonderful afternoon for us.  Our first stop was five minutes with Dean Afaf I Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN.  The Dean spoke to us about how giving at Penn, through The Penn Fund, the Nursing Annual Fund, and other sources, has impacted the school.  She spoke of her priorities for the school and of her vision for its future.

Next, we sat down with Angela Iorianni-Cimbak, MSN, RN, Director of the Brunner Lab.  Angela gave a wonderful presentation on the upcoming transformation of the simulation labs and the impact it would have on the students.  This was followed by a tour of the existing labs, complete with simulated patients and operating rooms.  We were able to peak at students as they practiced putting IVs in the arms of “patients,” and as they hurried around the simulation rooms which seemed to be almost as busy as a real ER.

At the end of our tour, we were able to meet with two undergraduate students who talked about their experiences at the Nursing School.  Their perspective was particularly interesting, as they were both second-degree students (meaning that they had received a bachelor’s degree from another University in another subject and were now attending Penn Nursing for the bachelor’s in Nursing).  The students talked about their experiences as non-traditional undergraduates and of the opportunities that Penn Nursing afforded them.

Overall, it was a fascinating and fantastic experience, and I can’t thank my colleagues enough in Nursing for taking the time out of their day to speak to us.  This visit really helped to emphasize the impact that philanthropy has on Penn’s students.

To learn more about the Penn’s School of Nursing, visit http://www.nursing.upenn.edu/Pages/default.aspx .

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Filed under Amanda D., Student Perspective, The Penn Fund