A Change in Leadership and Ambitious Expansion Plans Impacts the Los Angeles Jewish Home
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A Change in Leadership and Ambitious Expansion Plans Impacts the Los Angeles Jewish Home
Jul 12, 2020
After 24 years as president and CEO of the Los Angeles Jewish Home, Molly Forrest is stepping down and making a lateral move, to become president of the Jewish Home Foundation. Dale Surowitz, CEO of Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center will replace Forrest beginning Oct. 1. Read more ›
Author: Leslee Komaiko · Publication: Jewish Journal · Date: July 12, 2020
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.
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."
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.