Connections to Care Mobile Hero
Home / News & Events / Newsletter
Our Newsletter


Aug 1

Los Angeles Jewish Health Empowers Extraordinary Recovery

Life is a joy for Marilyn Poliskin. The 88-year-old Los Angeles Jewish Health resident delights in diverse activities (jewelry making, painting, playing bingo, exercise), advocating for her peers (she serves as Fifth Floor Ambassador for the Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer building), and spending quality time with friends. But Marilyn didn’t always see things through such rose-colored glasses; just 18 months ago, she was fighting for her very survival. When asked about the dramatic turnaround, she credits the “incredible people and environment” she found at Los Angeles Jewish Health. Born and raised in Patterson, New Jersey, Marilyn moved west with her husband and three children in the early 1970s. After the kids graduated from Beverly Hills High School, she and her husband separated, and she put down roots on her own in Santa Monica. It was then that she began a fulfilling, multi-decade career as an accounting supervisor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a “dream job” that allowed her to be part of an organization that was making a tangible difference in sick children’s lives. Unexpectedly, one of Marilyn’s own (now adult) children, her daughter Amy, fell ill herself, with breast cancer. In order to be as present as possible for Amy – a single mother to a young son, Elias – Marilyn retired from Make-A-Wish after 23 years and focused on trying to help Amy heal. Tragically, the cancer ultimately took Amy’s life, and Marilyn became a full-time caregiver to eight-year-old Elias. “I lost my daughter, my mother, and my husband (we separated but never divorced) in the same year, and suddenly I was raising my grandson all alone,” she says. “It was obviously a difficult time, but I was determined to be there for Elias and to give him everything he needed.” It was after Elias had grown up and left the house that Marilyn developed a serious health issue. It took months to diagnose the problem (pneumonia, and a cascading series of complications that resulted from it), during which her son, Scott, who lives and runs a business in Indiana, took up temporary residence with her for eight months and tirelessly advocated for her as she underwent countless tests across multiple medical facilities. In the interim, Marilyn lost 86 pounds, and her blood pressure began to dip dangerously low. “My blood pressure kept going down, and I would pass out,” she says. “It got so bad I couldn’t even stand up, and eventually I was bedridden.” As time passed, Marilyn sunk into a devastating depression. “Honestly, it began to feel like I couldn’t go on,” she recalls. “What was the point if I wasn’t ever able to get out of bed and walk again?” But Scott refused to let her give up, and through his determination they secured an open spot at Los Angeles Jewish Health. When she arrived, a switch inside her flipped. “My son and the therapy department at LAJH saved my life, no question,” she says. “I didn’t think I was capable of recovering, but Scott got me here, and the therapists, certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses, and everyone else encouraged me in the most remarkable way and encouraged me to push myself. I kept thinking of Elias, and how he had already suffered so much loss, and how much I wanted to continue to be a presence for him. So, I took a deep breath, and decided to try.” A year and a half later, the results are nothing short of astonishing. Marilyn is up and about every day, chatting with friends (“There isn’t any floor here where people don’t know me,” she laughs), decorating her room, and investing her energy in making life brighter for those around her. “My main wish now is to be healthy for other people,” she says. “I don’t like to see them depressed because I was there, and it makes me so happy when I can make someone else happy.” Marilyn also attributes her recovery to the love and assistance of family: Scott, her other son, Tuvia, and her grandchildren (Sara, Erez, Isaiah, Elias, and his wife, Lily, whom she considers a fifth grandchild), who motivated her to find the will to keep on going. “I’m so proud of all of my grandchildren, who have been successful at such a young age,” she says. “They inspire me every day.” She says having the privilege of waking up at Los Angeles Jewish Health is another big motivator. “Living here is the most positive turn of my entire life,” she enthuses. “When I look out my window, I can see the sunrise, the moon, and the stars, and it’s all so beautiful.”
Read More
Aug 1
Adobe Stock 228426205

At Skirball Hospice, a Commitment to Comfort and Care

For both patients and their families, navigating end-of-life care is sobering stuff. The logistics can be complicated, and the investment of physical and emotional energy can be draining. Yet, notes Sandra Kaihatu, executive director of Los Angeles Jewish Health’s Skirball Hospice, it can also be an opportunity to find comfort and nurturing support – the kind of warm and compassionate assistance for which Skirball Hospice has come to be known. “It’s important to discuss with families what care can look like at the end of life,” she says. “We can offer so much.” Sandra, who has worked in hospice for over two decades, arrived at Skirball Hospice this past January and says there were two things that immediately stood out for her. “Our staff is incredible, and no matter where they sit in the organization – whether they are nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, or part of our administrative team – they’re passionate about getting good care out the door,” she says. “They are also committed to going above and beyond, even if it’s after hours; the critical concern is always making sure our families are as well supported as possible.” Under Sandra’s direction, that support means putting families first and prioritizing the broad range of their needs. “We can’t cure people, but we can change their end-of-life experience,” she says. “I believe we’re only as good as the last patient we touch. That’s what keeps me going.” In the past quarter, Skirball Hospice has served nearly 140 patients in a coverage area that spans from Santa Clarita to Westchester, and Santa Monica to Pasadena. In terms of patient capacity, the organization is poised for growth. “There are so many avenues for expansion, whether it’s bringing on more after-hours staff, additional per diem nurses, or more LVN’s (licensed vocational nurses) who want to do continuous care,” Sandra says. “We are dedicated to doing whatever we can to be of service to more families in Southern California.” At Skirball Hospice, Sandra feels fortunate to partner with a team she sees as heads and shoulders above the rest. “The culture here is focused on empowering each employee to do our best in order to be as productive as possible, and that’s wonderful,” she says. “It leads to excellent collaborations, across the organization, with amazingly bright colleagues who share a common value of putting in the work to make a difference.” Sandra says the ethos and environment at Skirball Hospice make her job a pleasure – but that the real joy comes from knowing she is having a real impact in people’s lives. “Death is something we all confront eventually,” she says. “What a privilege to be able to make it a smoother and more comfortable journey. That’s our job at Skirball Hospice, and we endeavor to do our best every single day.”
Read More
Jul 3
LAJH Guardians Comedy 6 7 23 542

It’s No Joke: The Guardians Turn Comedy Into Contributions
for Los Angeles Jewish Health

The Guardians, a support group of Los Angeles Jewish Health has worked to honor and support older adults in our community for nearly nine decades. This June, to mark its 85th anniversary, the group hosted a Comedy Night event that raised critical funds for LAJH residents and further cemented The Guardians’ status as a dedicated protector of seniors across Los Angeles. Featuring headliner Sarah Silverman and three other comedians including Jeff Ross, Elon Gold, and Ken Garr, the event drew nearly 300 people to historic nightclub AVALON Hollywood. Comedian, actor, and writer Ben Gleib emceed the event, which kicked off with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6 pm and lasted well into the evening. “Comedy Night has been one of our members’ most desired events for years, although we took a short break from it and are just now starting up again,” says Guardians President Anthony Behar. “Going forward, we’re going to alternate every year between Comedy Night and our always-successful real estate gala.” After subtracting the costs of the event, all proceeds from this year’s Comedy Night went directly to support the seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Health. The amount of money donated to LAJH was significantly higher thanks to the collaboration of the artists involved. “Everybody performed pro bono, and they were all amazing. Ben Gleib was particularly spectacular, keeping the crowd engaged and encouraging people to keep contributing,” Anthony says. Also critical to the night’s success was the involvement of event co-chairs Nathan Agam, Jason Berger, Dan Frankel, and Yossi Reinstein. “They did a fantastic job and really helped carry the event,” Anthony says. “I’m incredibly grateful for all their support.” Anthony says he is proud of what Comedy Night accomplished, both in terms of funds raised for, and awareness heightened about, Los Angeles Jewish Health. “I think it’s so important to have an impact and to support something that’s bigger than each of us individually,” he says. “I look at our elders, who laid the groundwork for everything good in our community when they were young, and I feel strongly that it’s my generation’s responsibility to do the same thing now.”
Read More
Jul 3
Shirley Groner Interview 02

At 108, Los Angeles Jewish Health Resident Continues to Thrive

When Fountainview at Gonda Westside resident Shirley Groner was born in June 1915, the average life expectancy was 54 years. The idea of doubling that lifespan would have been inconceivable – and yet, 108 years later, Shirley is still going strong. The third of four sisters born and raised in the Chicago area, Shirley was a natural athlete – a talented swimmer and diver who brought the same passion and energy she displayed in the water to everything she did. It was that desire to jump in and experience life fully that led her to San Francisco as a young woman, where in a matter of months, she met and got engaged to her husband, Harold. They were together for 59 years, building a family and a life together that infused their partnership with love, fulfillment, and joy. Their daughter, Wendy Groner Strauss (who with her husband, Michael Strauss, also lives at Fountainview at Gonda Westside), says Shirley has always been a force of nature. “Mom is curious and engaged, and throughout her life she leaned into every opportunity,” Wendy notes. “If there was somewhere to go, she went; a place to explore, she seized the chance; people to talk to, she started chatting. I think being such a doer has helped keep her going all these years.” In addition to raising Wendy and her two brothers, Wayne and Brian, Shirley was constantly on the move, whether it was knitting sweaters for US soldiers, participating in Hadassah and B’nai Brith, or serving as president of the San Francisco chapter of City of Hope. She also embraced the arts, frequently attending ballet performances, writing her own poetry, and soaking up musical theater productions. Music was central to her identity, and she delighted in playing the cornet, a brass instrument similar to the trumpet. Although Harold’s passing in 2000 was difficult to bear, Shirley moved forward with her typical vigor, traveling frequently between Southern California and the East Coast to visit her 10 grandchildren, 53 great-grandchildren, and 24 great-great grandchildren. “Bubba is a fixture in my life. I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with her when I was growing up, not only at our house in Orange County but also traveling abroad,” says grandson Sasha Strauss. “She’s stylish and creative, and so open to new things. Whenever she had a chance for adventure, she would say ‘yes,’ and in that way (and so many others) she’s really a role model for me.” Embracing adventure has taken Shirley around the world, including Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Curacao, Honduras, Italy, the Seychelle Islands, and beyond. She has even been mushing with Alaskan huskies in Colorado in 32-degree-below-zero conditions! On a number of trips, she channeled her love of swimming into skindiving with her son-in-law, Michael, an orthopaedist and wound care specialist who spent over three decades traversing the globe as a doctor for the Navy SEALs. “Shirley is bold, there’s no question about it,” Michael says. “She’s also indefatigable: She would frequently accompany me to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meetings, spearheading some of the group’s charitable activities by helping to build playgrounds in cities from San Francisco to Washington, DC.” For years, Shirley lived in a senior living community in San Francisco, but during COVID, she headed south to be closer to Wendy and Michael and their sons, Sasha, an expert in brand strategy and a professor at USC and UCLA, and Ari, an electrical engineer. Wendy, still a working pharmacist, and Michael, an active LA-area surgeon, had been poised to take up residence at Fountainview at Gonda Westside when Shirley made the move to Los Angeles, and they were successful in securing her a spot, as well. “Living at Fountainview at Gonda Westside has been great for Mom: She frequently attends lectures and plays dominoes every night,” Wendy says. “Sometimes, she wins!” Sasha was recently a Fountainview at Gonda Westside guest lecturer, and he was proud to have his grandmother in the front row. “I spoke for a couple of hours, and Bubba was following along and keeping up the entire time, even more so than many of the other, much younger, attendees,” he says. “To have that kind of ability at 108 is nothing short of astonishing.” From her perspective, Shirley agrees that staying active has been central to her ability to thrive. But she has other ideas about what may be fueling her longevity, as well. “Healthy food helps,” she says. “Also, having a lot of love.”
Read More
Jun 6
20230420 145019

Making Music at Los Angeles Jewish Health

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche noted that, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Celebrating life – and the music that makes it worthwhile – is the focus of therapeutic music services at Los Angeles Jewish Health (LAJH). Conducted in partnership with the Music Therapy program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Los Angeles Jewish Health’s therapeutic music services bring CSUN students to the LAJH campus to stimulate and engage residents with population-appropriate activities. The students – juniors and seniors at CSUN – are working toward their Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy; once they complete their degree, finish a six-month internship (including 1,200 hours of clinical training), and pass a board certification exam, they become board-certified music therapists. CSUN’s Music Therapy program – an important and growing major at the nexus of healthcare and music – is the only one in the California State University system. “Music therapy helps promote functional changes in behavior,” says Hilary Yip, chair of Music Therapy at CSUN. “It’s based on science – understanding how our bodies and brains react and respond to music. Music therapists work with people from infancy through their senior years, boosting their social and emotional skills, cognitive and motor skills, and the ability to communicate. For instance, music can help reduce the suffering of adolescents with depression and anxiety and assist adults with dementia in accessing their memories.” Los Angeles Jewish Health’s collaboration with CSUN is new, and Stacy Orbach, LAJH’s director of volunteer services, is already seeing results. “It’s a win-win situation because the students get experience in their field, and our residents benefit from afternoons filled with music and joy,” she says. “Music is so powerful: It can bring older adults back to a particular time and place in their lives. I’ve been amazed watching their reactions as they travel that path.” Music has always played a central role at Los Angeles Jewish Health, and volunteers frequently visit to share their talents with residents. But the joint effort with CSUN pairs music enjoyment with a more scientific approach. “One of the things that’s remarkable about the CSUN partnership is that it both benefits our seniors by making them feel good, and it is also data driven, producing findings that can contribute to the body of medical knowledge about aging and potentially improving seniors’ quality of life down the line,” says Dale Surowitz, chief executive officer and president of Los Angeles Jewish Health. The program is equally beneficial for the students, enabling them to acquire hands-on experience of going into the community and working with clients. “In class, they’re just playing music for each other, but at Los Angeles Jewish Health, they can witness, first-hand, how their music brings a smile to seniors’ faces,” Hilary says. “It’s so rewarding for them to elicit that reaction and to see how they can use music to impact someone else.” As part of the partnership, Stacy and LAJH Special Programs Coordinator Julie Lockman-Gold make presentations to CSUN Music Therapy students at the start of each semester, introducing them to Los Angeles Jewish Health and to the needs of its senior population. Over the course of the semester, the students build warm relationships with LAJH residents, forming bonds that enhance the seniors’ sense of fulfillment and well-being. “Our residents couldn’t be more enthusiastic about these interactions,” Julie says. “At the end of every session, they encourage the students to come back any time.” Early response to the program has made it a standout success. “I’m so delighted by the feedback we’ve received from our seniors,” Stacy says. “We’re in this partnership for the long term.”
Read More
Jun 5

Annenberg School of Nursing Celebrates Class of 2023

Annenberg School of Nursing Class of 2023 Spring carries with it the sweet smell of new beginnings, and so it was this past April that graduates of the Annenberg School of Nursing’s class of 2023 gathered together to mark the culmination of their studies and the start of a fresh chapter as licensed healthcare professionals. A program of Los Angeles Jewish Health (LAJH), the Annenberg School is a premier destination for nursing education and a prime launching pad for high-impact nursing careers. This year’s 20 graduates were joined by more than 300 family members, friends, and LAJH staff to celebrate their achievements and to help send them off to their exciting futures in healthcare. Benefitting from a return to in-person classes as school resumed its normal pace in the wake of the pandemic, the graduates gained critical, hands-on experience that prepared them well for their next step. “They are all getting ready for the state board now, and I’m pleased to say that, thanks to our small cohort and individualized, one-on-one teaching, our passing rates for that exam exceed the state average,” says Amandeep Kaur, the school’s director. “I am confident our most recent graduates will distinguish themselves with their performance!” The graduation ceremony itself was also in-person – the first one in three years to take place inside, as the past few years, health regulations required a drive-up ceremony in the nursing school parking lot. “We are so thrilled to have been able to share this year’s experience with everyone gathered together.” Amandeep says. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the critical support we received from the talented and caring staff of Los Angeles Jewish Health, its board of directors, and our board of directors at Annenberg School of Nursing.” The program featured three student speakers including Talin Oz, class valedictorian. “We have worked so hard, gotten through long nights studying, early morning clinicals, and supported each other along the way to be here,” she said in her speech, also noting that the expertise, guidance, and mentorship of Annenberg faculty and staff were “priceless and instrumental in shaping us into the nurses we are today.” Nina Heckathorn Nina Heckathorn, who won the prestigious Florence Nightingale Award, also offered remarks at the event. “Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy,’ and he must have had us in mind,” she said. “We have all collectively been pushed to our absolute limits and stretched beyond imagination, yet in our stretching we’ve learned not just about our chosen field but about ourselves. Now I can say, without a doubt, it was truly worth it!” Kanoko Jones The third graduation speaker was Kanoko Jones, who offered heartfelt congratulations to her peers. “We made it!” she enthused. “We persevered, and we overcame. I am so proud of each and every one of us.For members of the class of 2023, persevering was not always easy. “This class was unique in its own way. We had students who lost family members during the program, as well as some who went through divorce, and others who were suffering from serious medical conditions,” Amandeep says. “But they kept fighting on, and I have such tremendous respect for them. Annenberg is really a special place, and our most recent graduates'' have made it even more so.”
Read More
May 2
Berman thumb

Andrew Berman Celebrated at Los Angeles Jewish Health Circle of Life Gala

Proceeds from Event Expected to Raise $325,000 LOS ANGELES, CA – May 1, 2023) Andrew Berman, Chair of the Board for Los Angeles Jewish Health (LAJH), formerly Los Angeles Jewish Home, was honored recently by The Executives, a Support Group of Los Angeles Jewish Health at their Circle of Life Gala. The evening event held at the Stephen Wise Temple, April 30, included a crowd of community and religious leaders, his loving family and LAJH residents and staff. The tribute celebrated Berman's active participation and numerous contributions to Los Angeles Jewish Health over the years and highlighted his two terms as Chair of the leading non-profit organization where 4,000 seniors are cared for each year. Berman, an entertainment executive, is credited with working to ensure the growth and sustainability of LAJH at a time when many senior care facilities across the country were forced to go out of business over recent years. He was instrumental in helping to ensure LAJH remained on the forefront of excellent care throughout the COVID pandemic taking all measures to keep residents and participants healthy. His efforts helped to quickly start to rebuild the numbers of those served by LAJH as soon as admissions were able to reopen. To ensure the future growth and sustainability of the organization, Berman led the charge for the century old organization to enhance their marketing efforts. This included taking the bold step to update the name from Los Angeles Jewish Home to Los Angeles Jewish Health, a name that better reflects the vast selection of programs, services, and living options offered to older adults from throughout the community. In commenting on Berman's special recognition Dale Surowitz, Chief Executive Officer and President of Los Angeles Jewish Health shared, "I have had the pleasure of working with many volunteer leaders over the years. Andy sets the bar for all who take on the role of Chair for any non-profit organization. He is hands on and his energy and commitment bring out the best in all of us. I consider him a great leader, partner and friend." Andrew Berman with Danny Rosett and Ira Halpern, Gala Co-Chairs. The special evening premiered a new LAJH video showcasing all of the many living options, services and programs available. Then, the highlight of the evening was a tribute video about Berman where staff, volunteer leadership, family members and Rabbi David Woznica of Stephen Wise Temple spoke of the extraordinary contributions of time and talent Berman has made, not only at Los Angele Jewish Health, but throughout the Los Angeles Community throughout his life. Proceeds from the evening are expected to reach $325,000.
Read More
Apr 30
Intergenerational thumb

From Generation to Generation at Los Angeles Jewish Health

As a leading national expert in the provision of senior care, Los Angeles Jewish Health has found a secret to graceful aging: youth. Through an expanded focus on intergenerational programming, the organization is bringing diverse groups of young people to its San Fernando Valley campuses to lift seniors' spirits and allow them to see the world through new eyes again. It's all part of an ongoing focus at Los Angeles Jewish Health to identify innovative ways to enhance residents' lives. Commenting on the successful program, Chief Executive Officer and President Dale Surowitz says that "The goal is to inspire our seniors and to give them a reason to get excited about each day. I've seen first-hand how interactions with young people can light up our residents and fill them with enthusiasm. It is truly a wonderful thing to behold." The benefit, Dale notes, is mutual. "Our residents get so much from being with younger folks—and the younger folks are also enriched in so many ways," he says. "Hearing about seniors' experiences, and sharing in their wisdom, adds meaning to their lives, as well." Now that many of the pandemic health regulations have lifted, intergenerational in-person events are coming back to Los Angeles Jewish Health in a big way. "We're scheduling visits from youth groups, preschoolers, synagogues, primary schools, and more," says Stacy Orbach, the organization's director of volunteer services. "There's so much going on here; we've never had so many wonderful programs happening on both campuses at once!" Examples of these intergenerational programs abound: In February, to celebrate Sweetheart's Day (Los Angeles Jewish Health's version of Valentine's Day), fifth graders and parents from Brentwood School stopped by to sing to residents and join them in arts and crafts projects. At Purim, preschoolers from a nearby Israeli gan (daycare) came to celebrate, arriving in costume and dancing for residents. Over Passover, a seventh-grade class from Temple Judea visited, chatting with residents and engaging them in activities. That same class returned a few weeks later, for Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), playing Israeli bingo with residents and continuing conversations they started during their first visit. "I saw one of the residents hugging a boy from Temple Judea. When I asked her about it later, she said, ‘He remembered me from last time! It made me feel so good, I had to give him a hug.' Those are the moments we're trying to create, helping spark joy for our seniors that brightens up their days," says Julie Lockman-Gold, special programs coordinator. Those moments are also powerful for visiting students. "We had an elementary school class come from Heschel Day School. As the students were leaving, one of them said to me, ‘Don't be surprised when you see me here volunteering when I'm older, because I loved this!'" Stacy says. Members of a music club from Taft High School recently stopped by to perform swing and jazz numbers for the residents. "One of our seniors was just dancing in her chair like crazy," Julie recalls. "She came up to the students afterward and told them, ‘I'm 98, and I'm blind, but I can hear. Many years ago, I was a singer. Your songs are bringing me back, and this is such a treat.' It was incredibly moving." Not all visitors to Los Angeles Jewish Health are part of the under-18 set. The organization's own board chair, Andrew Berman, has launched a weekly program called the Men's Club—a discussion group that enables him to spend time with, and get to know, residents of the skilled nursing facility on Los Angeles Jewish Health's Grancell Village campus. "We talk about a range of subjects, from food to politics to cars. Everyone gets to share their different perspectives, which is so healthy and energizing and therapeutic," Andy says. "It's also really gratifying for me because I learn so much from these guys. I'm just thrilled to be able to do it." Building on our vision of enriching our residents each day, the staff at Los Angeles Jewish Health is committed to ramping up intergenerational programming even more in the near future. "We're doing everything we can to bring enrichment to the lives of our residents," Stacy says. "This is one of the things that differentiates us from every other facility in Los Angeles—we've taken it to a higher level." Reaching that "higher level" has been made possible through gifts from donors and foundations such as the Steven Ohren Foundation, which helps fund the music therapy program and certified therapy dog program at Los Angeles Jewish Health. "People in our community recognize the importance of intergenerational programming and want to contribute to it," says Corey Slavin, senior vice president of the Los Angeles Jewish Health Foundation. "We are grateful for our donors' partnership—and, of course, additional support is always welcome."
Read More
Apr 30
Pharmacy thumb

A Prescription for Senior Health

On the national landscape of senior care facilities, Los Angeles Jewish Health stands apart. It distinguishes itself on multiple levels: through the quality of its care, the breadth and depth of its expertise, and the warmth and compassion of its dedicated staff. There is also another key differentiator: Unlike most of its peer institutions, Los Angeles Jewish Health has a full-service, on-site pharmacy, raising the bar on excellence in senior health across our community. Located in the Joyce Eisenberg Keefer (JEK) Medical Center on Los Angeles Jewish Health's Grancell Village campus, the pharmacy was licensed in 2007 and can dispense medication to residents in JEK's skilled nursing facility, as well as to individuals in the Auerbach Geriatric Psychiatry Unit (AGPU). Pharmacy director Aida Oganesyan oversees one other pharmacist and four pharmacy technicians, as well as a pharmacy resident in conjunction with Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy (WesternU). "We're a devoted team, and we take pride in our commitment to going above and beyond to meet a broad range of residents' needs," Aida says. "We make it our goal to get to know our patients so we can be active partners in their care." Value of care is a major priority for Aida and her colleagues. "It's something we really emphasize: developing good relationships with providers (whether they're primary care, nurse practitioners, or nurses) and learning the backgrounds of our patients to ensure we're providing the same quality of care we would give our own loved ones," she says. As part of their effort to understand Los Angeles Jewish Health residents' needs, the pharmacy team often interacts with patients and their families. "We do comprehensive medication reviews with residents; we talk to family members if they have questions about residents' medications; and we interact with seniors in the AGPU," Aida says. "We all work collaboratively to advance Los Angeles Jewish Health's signature focus on patient-centered care." This high level of personal attention is a key point of distinction between Los Angeles Jewish Health and other senior care organizations. "Most skilled nursing facilities solely rely on a contracted pharmacist who reviews the residents' medications monthly. At Los Angeles Jewish Health, our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians monitor our residents' medications daily," says Chief Medical Officer Noah Marco, MD. "Aida and her team help our physicians prescribe the right medication, at the right dose, at the right time—all the time." The AHSP-accredited pharmacy residency program is another unique feature of Los Angeles Jewish Health's pharmacy services. "Each year, we precept a yearlong pharmacy resident through our collaboration with WesternU for a year of hands-on learning and mentoring, and they get licensed during their time with us," Aida says. "We're proud to help nurture the next generation of pharmacists." Aida, who became the interim director of pharmacy in 2020 and then took the position permanently in 2021, served as Los Angeles Jewish Health's first pharmacy resident in 2013. "Los Angeles Jewish Health has been my home since the very beginning of my career, and I can say with absolute certainty that this place is truly exceptional," she says. In addition to its role as a training ground for young pharmacy talent, Los Angeles Jewish Health is also a launching pad for innovative initiatives that are advancing the field of pharmacy writ large. "We've developed an antibiotic stewardship program with our providers, and we have a pharmacist-led hypertension management program," Aida says. "Now, we're developing a transitions of care program with the Taper building, where we review medications for short-term rehab patients." These innovations, in conjunction with published research conducted by Los Angeles Jewish Health pharmacists, are expanding the tools pharmacists can use to increase the health and wellness of seniors both locally and nationwide. The bottom line, according to Dr. Marco? "Our pharmacists are making the lives of our residents better and improving outcomes for countless older adults around the country," he says.
Read More