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ANCR Community Feature: AAMC

ANCR Community Feature: AAMC

This week on the ANCR blog, we highlight one of our community partners. At Anchor Coffee Roasters our community is everything, so we’ve partnered organizations like the Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) Foundation that do incredible things in the community. Casey sat down with Jan Woods, the President of the AAMC Foundation.  Jan answered our questions about their mission, some of their concerns, and their upcoming Coffee with Clinicians event sponsored by Anchor Coffee Roasters. In the transcript, you will see why we are proud to be their partner, and why you can take pride knowing that a portion of sales from every bag goes to this great organization!

Casey:  What is the mission of Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation?

Jan: Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation is the charitable giving arm of the Anne Arundel Health System and Anne Arundel Medical Center and it’s our job to work with the community at all levels to help support care that impacts 1.2 million people in this region.  We are one of the only remaining community hospitals in the State of Maryland.  We’re the largest community hospital in the State of Maryland, independent, so we are not part of a larger system such as The University of Maryland or Hopkins or MedStar.  And there are only 15% of hospitals in the United States are independent and it is because financially it is so hard to remain independent.  But we feel very strongly that our independence is what allows us to maintain our community centered approach to care.  And to really provide the care that this community needs and wants, as opposed to being dictated by a corporate structure that might be in Baltimore or DC or somewhere else.  And that independence is very much at the soul of who we are, and we think that is very much the connectivity that we’ve created with the community.  It’s their hospital, it’s your hospital and so we work together to keep it strong and ensure quality healthcare for all who needs it.

Casey:  What are some of the more popular programs AAMC Foundation provides to the community?

Jan: There are some facts I can tell you that some people don’t know, we are the largest joint program in the State of Maryland and we are the fifth largest joint replacement program in the United States.  We have the largest bariatrics program in the State of Maryland.  We have the largest urogynecology in the State of Maryland.  We are the 2nd largest birthing hospital in the State of Maryland, we have about 5700 babies born here every year.  1 in 17 babies in Maryland is born at Anne Arundel Medical Center.  We’re the only level 3 neonatal intensive care unit in the region, so we are getting babies from Delaware, parts of Virginia, Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, these are babies which are as small as two sticks of butter when they’re born, they are 23 weeks gestational age and we have a greater than 99% survival rate.  The care they do there is really incredible.  Our Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute takes care of all types of cancer, the only cancer that we don’t care for is pediatric cancer.  And that’s because we have Children’s Hospital and Hopkins nearby and they do a wonderful job and thankfully the incidence of pediatric cancer is not too overwhelming in our community and we’re grateful for that.

We are in the process of gaining a certificate of need approval for a new Inpatient and Outpatient Mental Health hospital that will be built on our Pathways campus on Riva Road.  Unfortunately, addiction care and mental health care are the two greatest needs in this community and frankly in the United States right now and there are just simply not enough.  There are only 200 inpatient beds in Maryland and we alone saw just under 2,000 cases of folks suffering from mental illness and the disease of addiction last year.  There’s a real need for beds and for care and we’re working hard to provide that.

1 in 4 people in the United States and in our community will experience the disease of addiction or mental illness in their lifetime.  There are very few families that aren’t touched by these diseases.

Casey:  When and how did you get involved with the AAMC Foundation?

Jan: I have been a donor to the Medical Center for close to 30 years.  I’m a strong believer that the hallmarks of a strong community are its education and its health care.  Those are the two things attract businesses, that attract people who want to live here that make a strong community.  So I’ve been a donor for many years and about 12 years ago I was asked to be on the board of trustees to the hospital.  I was on the governing board of the hospital and was an independent consultant with my expertise in strategic marketing and market development and I had decided I was going to stop consulting.  The CEO of the hospital at the time asked me to consider coming to work for the hospital.  I got off the board and transitioned into the Foundation because I believe so strongly in the importance of quality health care in a community and the importance of philanthropy and enabling us to stay an independent community hospital.  So I came and was the number 2 to the president of the Foundation and became the president of the Foundation when she retired almost five years ago.  It’s a real honor to do what I do.  We really feel like we are making a difference in this community every day.  We get to work with great people like you and with great businesses and individuals who believe in doing their part to make this community strong and to make health care in this community strong.  I’m very lucky to do what I do every day.

Casey:  Has community service always been important to you?

Jan: It has.  I was raised in a family that believed very much in community service and the importance of giving back, either of time or treasure, whatever you can do.  It was expected to me and my brothers and it was very much a part of what my parents did.  We’ve really tried to instill that into our children as well.  It starts as early as a lemonade stand when you’re five years old and that instills the mindset and ethic of giving back in whatever way you can.  I come across a lot of people who say, ‘I wish I could, but I can’t make a big gift’, and every gift makes a difference.  If everyone did their part, it would ensure we have a great health care community for years to come.

Casey:  In November, I got the chance to attend AAMC Foundation’s “Not my Child” community discussion which discussed the disease of addiction especially in our children.  What are some of the other challenges facing our youth today?

Jan: Things are a lot tougher on our kids than when we were young.  We used to be able to walk anywhere we wanted and not think twice about it. We didn’t have all of the media and information hitting us all the time, and we had more time to relax and just play and be kids.  With all of the connectivity that comes with cell phones and computers, it used to be someone might say something about you behind your back and you’d never know about it.  And now it is all over the internet and it’s very pervasive.  Children are much more self-conscious, they’re more anxious.  It used to be that you played a sport because it was fun and because you loved it, but it was not how you were going to get into college.  More and more today kids are feeling pressured that ‘that is how I’m going to get into this program.”  So, we need to get back to letting our kids be kids.  It’s much tougher to be a child these days.  There’s a feeling that if you don’t start playing lacrosse by the time you’re five you’ll never get onto a good team and you won’t get into a good college.  If you don’t specialize in a STEM program, you won’t get into a good school, there’s just a lot more intensity around being a kid.  It’s easy for us as parents to get caught up in all of that and is important for us as parents to sit back and say “ok, how do we raise healthy balanced kids and have life into perspective.”   It’s about learning and teaching our kids the focus is great and athletics teach our kids a lot of great lessons about commitment and about healthy eating, exercise and about teamwork and we just need to keep it in perspective with regards to school and just enjoying being a kid.

Casey:  Your Coffee with Clinicians event on March 7th is focused on caring for elderly loved ones.  What can we expect to learn about and discuss during the event?

Jan: The baby boomers are the largest generation to hit this country, and we are now getting into our older years.  What is happening is people are living longer, and when you used to go to the hospital, you usually had one thing wrong with you, you had cancer or heart disease.  As this great generation is aging, we have several things wrong with us.  We might have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), we might have diabetes, we might be recovering from a cancer diagnosis, or we might have heart disease.  So we’ve got lots of specialists trying to coordinate multiple aspects of our health care and it’s complicated.  The health care system throughout the country is difficult, it’s hard to navigate: what are your benefits, who should you be seeing for what and how do I reconcile the medications I’m taking for this ailment and how does that interact with the complications from this other ailment?  A lot of us are taking care of older adults. So we’re taking care of our own kids while also taking care of our aging parents, and how do we coordinate that?  We are very focused here at AAMC, we are the only hospital in the State of Maryland with an Acute Care for the Elderly unit, which is a specialized unit within the hospital that specializes in care for older patients, the unique needs and concerns of older patients.  We are creating the Institute for Healthy Aging, which will be an entire area of care dedicated to how we help our aging parents and ourselves, grow old in a healthy way, maintain our mobility, our nutrition, balance our medication management, talk to our loved ones about how we want to grow old.  We have something called ‘The Conversation Project’ and you’re never too young to have a conversation with your spouse, with your brothers and sisters and your children about ‘what I want and what I don’t want’ if I get sick.  What we find is too often families don’t have the conversation and they’re sitting in an ICU in an urgent situation, trying to make decisions about a loved one and the loved one can’t weigh in because they’re not in a position to.  So, we want people to have those conversations now.

This presentation will be about palliative care, aging in a healthy way, having conversations about how you want to grow old with the people who will be helping manage your care and doing so in a way that respects your boundaries, your wants and your desires, and what does growing old gracefully look like to you, and what does and doesn’t end of life care mean to you, and what is palliative care.  Very often folks associate palliative care with end of life care, and it’s not.  You may have a chronic disease that creates some pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and although that is uncomfortable and creates pain, you’re not at the end of your life.  You’ll live another 5, 10, 20 years, so how can we use palliative care to keep you living in a productive healthy manner and manage your pain, so you can continue to do the things you love to do and be a part of your family’s life.

Casey:   Your staff is some of the most positive and professional group of people we have ever met.  How do you continue to keep them motivated?

Jan: We have a lot of open dialogue about the work they’re doing and the impact of their work.  I very much encourage them to find a work life balance, so it is important to take the time needed to get space when you need it, to be refreshed and get your energy level back.  We do a lot of fun things together, some sort of team building, going out and going bowling, Navy Football: things that make us enjoy and appreciate one another as people.  I think the biggest thing is making sure they pace themselves and they take the time to recognize the importance of what they’re doing and the impact they’re making on their community and how grateful people are for the work they do.  They are a great group.

Casey:  What can Anchor Coffee Roasters coffee drinkers do to spread your message or get involved, either with the foundation or in the community?

Jan: Anchor Coffee Roasters is a lot like AAMC, independent, community focused, and part of what makes a community is people helping out and doing what they can and where they can.  Everyone should give something and give to what matters to you, no matter what size of a donation.  It’s important to support community businesses and it’s important to support community non-profits and that is what makes Annapolis unique.  We are a region of small businesses, Anne Arundel County has very few major employers and our strength is in the entrepreneurship and the quality of companies like Anchor.  Plus, the partnerships between groups, like AAMC and Anchor Coffee Roasters, those bring joy to people’s lives and make this community special and strong.  Patronizing local businesses and support local nonprofits and organizations that make a difference, whatever they size.   We say, volunteer if you’ve got time, this hospital has about 83 different areas to volunteer, from patient care to special events, and we have a great student career program as well.  Host some kind of a community event and donate for the organizations you support.  

To learn more and donate, please visit http://www.aahs.org/fdn/

  • Post author
    Casey Johnson

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