Learning Matters in 2012

December 2012 / January 2013

Day of Philanthropy

Sherie Koshover, chief advancement officer, Daniel Hoebeke, senior development and gift planning officer, and Sharon Fried, leadership gifts officer, attended Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund’s “Day of Philanthropy” on November 7. Joining more than 500 professionals, community leaders, staff and philanthropists at this day-long event, they took this unique opportunity to connect, learn and celebrate our community’s collective impact. Under discussion were further opportunities for collaboration with representatives from other local organizations, while their participation in two workshops provided information concerning best practices and insights into trends in philanthropy.

When it comes to charitable estate planning, is the party over?

This is the question Daniel Hoebeke, the Home’s senior development and gift planning officer, asked when he addressed attendees at the Peninsula Estate Planning Council’s event on December 5. Cohorts were pleased to learn that recent tax changes (and others that are contemplated by Republicans and Democrats alike) do not sound the death knell for charitable estate planning. And this is especially true when professionals in personal estate and financial planning align their thinking with the legacy goals of their clients rather than focusing on tax savings.

Daniel’s presentation covered what is uppermost in the minds of clients when considering philanthropic gifts; why it is the professional’s ethical responsibility to raise the opportunity for charitable giving with their clients; and why charitable gifts should be encouraged from places other than Schedule A of the income tax return, and where these gifts make the most sense.

Research scientist receives grant for innovative healthcare practice and measures

Dr. Christine Ritchie, Harris Fishbon Distinguished Professor in Clinical Translational Research in Aging, and Dr. Bruce Leff, her colleague at Johns Hopkins University, were awarded a grant from the Commonwealth Foundation and Retirement Research Fund to establish a Medical House Calls Network: Optimizing Care Quality for Functionally Impaired Older Adults with Chronic Serious Illnesses. This grant will focus on the development of a group of committed stakeholders who will define quality domains and measures for house calls.

Drs. Ritchie and Leff see this as the first of a series of projects that will result in the creation of a national registry for house calls practices, encourage national standards for quality house calls practice, and provide data for comparative effectiveness research.

Charting New Frontiers in Aging – GSA’s 65th Annual Scientific Meeting

Joining “more than 4,000 of the brightest minds in the field of aging,” Dr. Christine Ritchie was in attendance at The Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting, which took place in San Diego, November 14–18. Founded in 1945, GSA is the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public.

GSA also publishes the longest-running and most widely-cited peer-reviewed journals in its field. As a serving board member of GSA’s Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, Dr. Ritchie’s primary focus at this gathering was her participation in the Journal’s editorial board meeting.

Effects of alcohol felt more easily as people age – and science bears this out

In the New York Times’ “Booming” column (Nov. 21), Dr. Christine Ritchie weighed in on the question that many baby boomers and older adults often ask themselves, ‘Why can’t I hold my alcohol anymore?’ “(B)y the time you reach your baby-boom years, even if you are good about exercising, your body composition has probably changed,” Dr. Ritchie explains. “You are likely to have more fat and less muscle. (And) that can change how the body absorbs, and gets rid of, alcohol.” There may also be another explanation. Many people may not really recognize the small cognitive impairments that have come with age, but when they drink, it may be a different matter. “It’s possible that alcohol may unmask some of those changes,” Dr. Ritchie says. Thus, health-conscious boomers may not only want to think twice about how much they eat, they should also think about how much they drink.

November 2012

Snippets from Dr. Schwartz

Dr. Janice Schwartz, director of the Home’s Center for Research on Aging, once again participated in the National Institutes of Health’s study section (October 7 – 9), reviewing research-related grants for funding. She will be repeating this process in January.

She also informs us that she is on the UCSF Search Committee to choose their next Division Chief of Geriatric Medicine.

Palliative care team presents end-of-life issues

As members of the Home’s palliative care team, Social Services director Sonya Ciancutti, Rabbi Shelly Marder, director of Jewish Life, and Lisa O’Donnell, recreation therapist, made a presentation on end-of-life issues to Acclaim Homecare and APA Homecare agencies during their on-site visit on October 10. To ensure that those who act as companions to our actively dying residents are felt most welcomed and supported in their role, presentation topics ranged from the pragmatic, to spiritual and psychosocial aspects. Notes Sonya: “With the help of the team, Lisa did an outstanding job putting together a manual and giving this information to the group.”

September 2012

CEO joins mayoral board advising on health care

President & CEO Daniel Ruth has accepted the invitation to sit on the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Advisory Board for health care, and will be representing the post-acute/long-term care sector of health care delivery. Says Daniel: “I’m looking forward to participating on this advisory board to further the interests and profile of both the Jewish Home and Jewish Senior Living Group.” He notes that it also bodes well for the Home’s site redevelopment project.

Daniel’s professional and personal achievement has been wholeheartedly endorsed by Steve Krieger, chair of the Jewish Home’s board of trustees, and David Friedman, board chair of Jewish Senior Living Group.

Jewish Home presence at Excelsior district awards event

In attendance at the 2012 Daniel E. Koshland Civic Unity Awards event in July were Sherie Koshover, chief advancement officer, and Daniel Hoebeke, senior development & gift planning officer. This year’s event recognized 12 community members’ efforts to improve quality of life in the Excelsior district. Established in 1982, the Koshland Civic Unity Program recognizes Bay Area grassroots social innovators who work collaboratively to overcome neighborhood problems and concerns, with the goal of promoting civic unity by building mutual respect among diverse people in the community and encouraging small, voluntary efforts to address neighborhood issues.

Administrator selected for Academy program

Sandra Simon, chief administrative officer, has been selected to join LeadingAge’s 2013 Leadership Academy program.

LeadingAge includes 6,000 not-for-profit organizations in the United States, 39 state partners, businesses, research partners, consumer organizations, foundations, and a broad global network of aging services organizations that reach over 30 countries. It focuses on advocacy, leadership development, and applied research and promotion of effective services, home health, hospice, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care communities, nursing homes, as well as technology solutions, to seniors, children, and others with special needs.

The Leadership Academy is a year-long program designed to develop aging services leaders nationwide. The program provides a challenging and engaging learning environment that enhances the leadership capacity of aging-services professionals so that they are better equipped to serve the aging-services field. Encompassing face-to-face meetings and site visits, Sandra can look forward to learning from visionary leaders, developing a broad perspective about the field, and gaining a deeper understanding of her own leadership skills and core competencies.

Learning at the Lighthouse

Director of education Joan Accarino and Tom Bookwalter, pharmacy director, presented Pain: How it Affects Us and What We Can Do to Help Ourselves at the Lighthouse for the Blind, Frances Neer Visually Impaired Persons Forum in July. Discussing the various types of pain, they spoke on how persistent pain affects the whole person and their social system. Also covered were medications, and complementary and alternative techniques as adjuncts in pain management. Joan and Tom also informed attendees how to be advocates for themselves and their families when dealing with healthcare providers.

Joan notes that the presentation went really well, and both she and Tom felt most pleased to be able to give back to the community. Joan also reminds us that Frances Neer, of blessed memory, was a resident of the Jewish Home. Personally and through her published works, Frances demonstrated how individuals can thrive without the benefit of sight.

July/August 2012

Guest research group to hold focus groups on attitudes toward end-of-life-issues

What information should be provided regarding end-of-life decisions and advance directives is the issue that will kick-start resident-centered focus groups in August.

In a project funded by the German-Israeli-Foundation (GIF) and the University Medical Center Goettingen, Germany, and entitled Cross-Cultural Ethics of Health and Responsibility: Expert and Lay Perspectives Regarding Bioethical Dilemmas in Germany, Israel, and the United States, the researchers will be asking participants to discuss the moral aspects of end-of-life decisions.

Dr. Silke Schicktanz is the project’s principal investigator. Her publications cover a broad range of bioethical issues concerning organ transplantation, genetics, and end of life decisions; the moral philosophical meaning of concepts of the body and identity; and political-philosophical work on lay people’s engagement and public policy on bioethics.

Chaplain’s chapter in print

Pick up a copy of the newly published book Broken Fragments: Jewish Experiences of Alzheimer’s Disease through Diagnosis, Adaptation, and Moving On (ed. Douglas J. Kohn, New York: Union for Reform Judaism Press, 2012) and you will find a chapter therein written by Rabbi Shelly Marder, the Home’s director of Jewish Life. “Doorways of Hope: Adapting to Alzheimer’s” combines Shelly’s rabbinic experience at the Home with scholarship on Jewish tradition, dementia, and the literature of pastoral care. He notes that the entire volume can be useful across the board – from staff and families, to volunteers and residents.

June 2012

Partners in senior life

Sherie Koshover, chief advancement officer, attended the annual symposium of Partners In Senior Life (formerly Associates of Jewish Homes & Services for the Aging), held this year in Hartford, Conn., from May 19 – 22. Appointed a Director for Life of this organization, Sherie presented the 2012 Rose M. Richshafer Senior Mentor Award, an award she established in 2004 (and named after her maternal grandmother, of blessed memory) that is given annually to honor leadership – both lay and professional – of the organization’s member agencies.

In addition to a robust schedule of presentations ranging from programming to fundraising to social media, and including a keynote address by Dr. Bernie Siegel on Reflections on the Art of Living, the delegates toured two Hartford facilities sponsored by the Jewish community, Hebrew Health Care (skilled nursing) and Hoffman Summerwood assisted living community.

May 2012

Research updates

Informing us that she spoke on Mulimorbidity, Polypharmacy, and Medication Adherence at the American College of Cardiology’s meeting on March 5, Dr. Janice Schwartz, director of the Jewish Home of San Francisco Center for Research on Aging, brings us up to date with a number of research-related happenings:

Dr. Schwartz will be participating in the NIA (National Institute on Aging) review panel of proposals submitted for funding in June. NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of National Institutes of Health, leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life.

On June 14, Christine Ritchie, MD, MSPH, who joined our research center in March as the first occupant of the Jewish Home-based UCSF Harris Fishbon Distinguished Professorship in Clinical Translational Research in Aging, will be present for her investiture ceremony at the University of California, San Francisco.

And more news about Dr. Ritchie:

As noted in last month’s StaffMatters, she presented the second Julian S. Davis Memorial Lecture, It’s More Complicated than it Seems: Why Research Matters More than Ever to the Care of Older Adults at the Jewish Home on April 11. That evening (also part of this year’s Julian S. Davis Memorial Lecture series), she delivered How Can We Overcome the Evidence Gap in the Care of Older Adults? The Role of “Pragmatic” Research at UCSF.

Adding to her impressive résumé, she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in March.

Furthermore, Dr. Ritchie will be sharing her knowledge as a panelist for the National Institutes of Health Sarcopenia Consensus Conference, May 8-11; giving a poster presentation on The relationship between symptom burden and perceived comorbidity in outpatients with common solid tumors at the American Society of Clinical Oncology on June 4; another poster presentation, June 28-30, addressing Rehospitalization rates among older cancer patients at the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer; serving on the study section for VA Health Service Research from August 28-30.


Researchers visiting the Jewish Home in the near future include Laura Wagner, RN, Ph.D., who will be on site on May 29 to explore opportunities for research and clinical service. (Dr. Wagner joins the UCSF School of Nursing in July.) On May 31, Doug Seals, Ph.D., who hails from University of Colorado, Boulder’s Department of Integrative Medicine, will bring his expertise in exercise physiology, aging and atherosclerosis, as well as his interest in vitamin D, when he connects with related professionals at the Home.

CNO invigorated by conference’s offerings

Chief nursing officer Edwin Cabigao returned from the American Society on Aging Conference in Washington, D.C., March 27-30, “feeling invigorated, more passionate, and excited.”

Edwin tells us that the conference includes an advocacy day at Capitol Hill. He therefore had the opportunity to be inside the Capitol and to meet with the lobbyists for a variety of programs and bills advocating for older adults. Discussions covered the Affordable Care Act, reauthorization of the Older American’s Act, entitlement programs, and enhanced quality of life for those we serve. He attended conference workshops about geriatric care management, care transitions, and quality assurance programs. This full agenda also enabled him to bring back a complement of best practices ideas and innovative programs from other healthcare communities and organizations.

April 2012

Dr. Christine Ritchie to present second Julian S. Davis Memorial Lecture

Education, research, and the exchange of knowledge related to improving care and life for older adults are essential to the welfare of our society. It is also part of the mission of the Jewish Home, and of our colleagues in gerontology and geriatric medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

The Julian S. Davis Memorial Lecture was created to provide enhanced opportunities for both the Jewish Home and UCSF’s Division of Geriatrics to be exposed to leaders in the world of gerontology and geriatric medicine. It is also an avenue for academic visitors to UCSF to share their expertise with a broader audience committed to improving life for the elderly; for the Jewish Home to benefit from such expertise and have access to local and academic colleagues; and for programs and facilities at the Home to receive increased exposure.

Wednesday, April 11 is the date of the second Julian S. Davis Memorial Lecture, presented by Christine Ritchie, MD, MSPH, who joined our research center in March as the first occupant of the UCSF Harris Fishbon Distinguished Professorship in Clinical Translational Research in Aging. EntitledIt’s More Complicated than it Seems: Why Research Matters More than Ever to the Care of Older Adults, staff, residents, family members, volunteers, and friends are invited to attend this on-site address, 1:00 p.m. in the Jewish Home’s synagogue.

For the good of community

In accordance with the prevailing spirit of the Jewish Home and of community partnership and collaboration, we look forward to welcoming members of “Ruth’s Table” when they host their retreat on our campus in June. Named after San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa, Ruth’s Table is a center for creative learning, primarily art and wellness programs, that focuses on keeping people and elders engaged and involved in lifelong learning.

A career in occupational therapy

Licensed occupational therapist Cherie Wieland was the professional on hand at Skyline College’s career day on March 21, touting occupational therapy as a career and the educational path to follow. She also participated on a health care career panel.

March 2012

Research director leads panel discussion on healthy brain aging

Dr. Janice Schwartz, director of the Jewish Home of San Francisco Center for Research on Aging, moderated a panel titled Healthy Brain Aging: What People of all Ages Need to Know on February 28. Sponsored by the Business Leadership Council of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation, the panel addressed genetics, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Attendees learned about the latest research on recognizing the problems associated with one’s aging brain, as well as remedies to treat the symptoms. Speakers included Dr. Adam Boxer, associate professor of neurology at UCSF; Gregory Tranah, a scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute; and Dr. Kristine Yaffe, chief of geriatric psychiatry and director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

February 2012

CFO to serve on advisory board of CHA’s newly created center

Kevin Potter, chief financial officer, has been invited to continue serving as a member of the advisory board of the newly created California Hospital Association’s Center for Post-Acute Care. Kevin’s appointment for an additional term of three years (continuing through December 2014) is the direct result of the significant contributions he has made during his service on the advisory board of Hospital Services for Continuing Care.

The Center for Post-Acute Care was created to provide improved support and advocacy for CHA membership in the context of healthcare reform and the changing healthcare delivery system. The new Center will foster communication and collaboration among and between levels of care, and will provide representation for providers throughout the post-acute care continuum.

The power to donate life

Did you know that one person can save and help up to 60 lives through organ, eye and tissue donation? Or that most health conditions do not prevent organ and tissue donation, and age is not a factor?

Laura Cellini of the California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN) provided these facts and more when she presented an in-service on January 17. CTDN coordinates organ and tissue recovery and distribution, and educates healthcare professionals and the public about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and the success of transplantation.

Registering to become an organ and tissue donor is simple. You can simply check the registration box to be a donor when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or state identification card, or you can register online at https://register.donatelifecalifornia.org/register/

How to fundraise in trying times gets explained by gift planning officer

Senior development & gift planning officer Daniel Hoebeke was the keynote presenter at Silicon Valley Planned Giving Council’s event in San Jose on February 1. Addressing attendees on The End of Planned Giving as We Know It (Fundraising in Trying Times), Daniel noted that “charitable estate tax benefits have virtually disappeared from the tax code and murmurs continue about limiting itemized deductions. So what is a gift planner to do? Two things: encourage giving from a different part of the tax return, and recognize that although philanthropy often goes hand in hand with tax savings, the two of them are not in a ‘committed relationship.’”

Mount Zion Health Fund’s board tours the Home

The Jewish Home was both the site and the source of updates when it hosted a tour and meeting space for Mount Zion Health Fund’s board members on January 25.

Long-standing supporters of the Jewish Home, Mount Zion Health Fund has given grants to, amongst others, help modernize our pharmacy; the funding of Russian/English translators; continuing education for our nursing staff; support the Home’s department of Jewish Life; our 2006/2007 comprehensive campaign; the Rosenberg Family Center’s cardiology clinic; our site master plan initiative; and the renovation of our rehabilitation center.

With the aim of seeing firsthand and learning about the present and future outcomes of their generosity, MZHF’s tour included a meeting with Rabbi Shelly Marder, director of our department of Jewish Life, and Jim Weslow, director of Rehabilitation Services, and concluded with an update by president & CEO Daniel Ruth.

Federation’s board brought up to date

Continuing in the spirit of hosting agencies, we had the pleasure of welcoming board members of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (likewise long-standing Jewish Home supporters) on January 26, when they, too, held their board meeting on our campus. Their meeting agenda included Daniel Ruth providing an update about the Jewish Home and Jewish Senior Living Group.

Two elders reading in the galleria at the Jewish Home
Golf Tournament, Dinner and Auction
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