Penn Medicine News Blog: Posts by Olivia Fermano

Olivia earned a BA in Communications from Rowan University and has a total of over 20 years experience in health care public relations. Before specializing in media relations, she worked in hospital and health system marketing communications. She also has experience in print and broadcast advertising, media buying, publication feature writing, fundraising and special events, community relations, and employee communications.

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The Support behind the Support

November 9, 2015 // Comments image from

The number of adults and childhood cancer survivors in the United States is expected to reach 19 million in 10 years, nearly quadruple what it is today, the American Cancer Society reports. The increase in cancer survivorship is attributable to many factors – from advanced imaging techniques and earlier detection... Read more

The Professional Image of Nursing

October 13, 2015 // Comments PAH SON 1940

Since 1999, nurses have topped the annual Gallop poll that rates 11 professions on honesty and ethical standards, with the exception of 2001, when firefighters were recognized for their tremendous contributions during and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That’s higher than medical doctors, police officers and clergy. Nurses in front... Read more

The Skinny on Fat

September 14, 2015 // Comments Junk food head

For more than a few decades the medical community told us that fat was bad. Much maligned, fat was deemed enemy number one of hearts and minds (clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes, oh my!) as well as waistlines. However, as new research shows, the tide against some fats is... Read more

Exercise: It does a pregnant body good!

August 18, 2015 // Comments Pregnant-woman-exercising_2

The Internet – particularly social media – is cyber proof of the truth behind the phrase, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” It’s all about shaming and more often than not, women are the victims of said shaming. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re a celebrity... Read more

A Trifecta of Meaningful Recognition

July 23, 2015 // Comments Lantern Group Shot

Year after year, Gallop polls reflect that Americans rate nurses as having the highest honesty and ethical standards of all professions. However, being so well-respected doesn’t mean working without challenges. Nurses deal with life and death issues, critically ill patients and worried family members – on a daily basis. One... Read more

When Less is Just Right

June 23, 2015 // Comments Ford-labcoat

Philadelphia is chock full of historical firsts, including in the field of medicine. Just last month, two of Penn Medicine’s big “firsts” celebrated their birthdays: the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania – the nation’s first medical school – turned 250 and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first... Read more

A Very Special Tea for Two

May 27, 2015 // Comments 5 Preston Tea_1

You can change someone’s world with one simple act of kindness. Earlier this month Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) maternity nurse, Lynne Dever, RNC, was going about her work day when she noticed her patient – Alison Paymer of Philadelphia – was in great distress. Other than being pregnant with twins, Paymer’s... Read more

Individual Stories, Global Impact

May 7, 2015 // Comments HWHC_1

If there is a prominent reason for a woman to be grateful she lives in the 21st century, it’s health care. Over a dozen speakers – scholars from the humanities and health care professionals – gathered at Pennsylvania Hospital last week to help illustrate this fact at the 10th Annual... Read more

Puentes de Salud – Providing “Bridges of Health” in a New Home Base

April 28, 2015 // Comments PdS_1

“This is a tremendous day for the community…” “What an honor and pleasure it is to see this dream come true…” “This has been a labor of love…” Positive emotions were running high when these heartfelt remarks were heard at an open house for the nonprofit health and wellness organization... Read more

A Peek Under the Counter of Pennsylvania Hospital’s New Outpatient Pharmacy

April 7, 2015 // Comments New OtPt Pharm_6

Apothecary. Drug Store. Pharmacy. No matter what you call them, they do the same, vitally important thing: prepare and dispense medicine. Over the course of time the local pharmacy has become a community staple, expanding to provide more and more health care and retail services. And in today’s world, hospital... Read more

Doing Both His Families Proud!

March 11, 2015 // Comments Joshua_Trovato_HK_2015

Anyone who works at a hospital, especially one that has been operating in virtually the same location for the past almost 264 years, will come to realize two things: Hospitals truly are pillars of the communities in which they’re located and serve, providing medical care, economic support and stable employment... Read more

Neither Snow nor Rain…

February 19, 2015 // Comments image from

We’ve all heard it – or at least part of it – the unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. As Philadelphia experiences what is slated to go... Read more

Removing Barriers to Breast Cancer Care

February 13, 2015 // Comments image from

I overheard a breast cancer patient once say: There is only one thing worse than having cancer – not being able to afford it. Sobering. Financial cost remains a barrier to cancer screenings - let alone cancer treatment - among lower income women. While multiple factors contribute to racial and... Read more

The New Nightingale

January 8, 2015 // Comments Deb Ferrarello_1

The image of the nurse is synonymous with hospitals and doctors’ offices. But in 2015, that sure is one old school point of view. Today’s nurses defy old stereotypes. Both male and female, many earn multiple advanced degrees, working out of uniform and beyond the bedside to all areas of... Read more

When Sentiment Overcomes Reason

December 23, 2014 // Comments Mehta-Rima

We humans, we’re definitely a sentimental lot. Some might even argue that is one of the key traits that separate us from other animals – our desire to acquire mementos of life’s experiences. We sure do treasure our keepsakes, those tangible tokens of endearment to commemorate a special time, person... Read more

Providing a Place to Give Thanks

November 27, 2014 // Comments Becker

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article, "Drama at the holiday table: It's not about the food," that made the rounds to newspapers all across the U.S. in anticipation of Thanksgiving, the official kick-off holiday of the season. The story explores the source of drama behind so many meals as... Read more

Sending Love and Hope

October 15, 2014 // Comments ICN baby PAH

After only seven weeks of being pregnant, Keri Heickert’s life as she knew it was no longer. Hers was a difficult pregnancy. In the fall of 2012 at only 20 weeks along, Keri – who was carrying fraternal twin girls – was admitted to monitored bed rest in Pennsylvania Hospital’s... Read more

The Art of War Against Cancer

September 23, 2014 // Comments image from

The Art of War, the military treatise attributed to the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, has influenced more than warfare since it was written over 2,000 years ago. Its principles have been applied to not only military strategies and tactics, but political, economic and legal ones as well. Today, Tzu's... Read more

Penn Gynecologist Collaborates with Her Sister to Explore the “Wild West” of Reproductive Medicine

September 2, 2014 // Comments Wanda Ronner_Margaret Marsh

Billy the Kid. Jesse James. Buffalo Bill. Wild Bill Hickok. We’ve all heard the names before: They’re the colorful and dangerous characters of America’s old “wild west” that have dominated U.S. cinema and television for decades. And that is where the connotations of entertainment end. Today, whenever an emerging trend... Read more

Robots – Hi-Tech Help or Freaky Fiction?

August 10, 2014 // Comments image from

Robots cause a polarizing effect in the minds of people. We only have to look to Hollywood to illustrate this. They’re either portrayed as endearing characters like Star Wars’ C-3PO and R2D2 and the adorably-animated WALL-E – or they’re killing machines as seen in Terminator and iRobot. The fact is... Read more

To Examine or Not to Examine? That is the Question

July 18, 2014 // Comments Gearhart-Peter

The field of medicine has a funny way of contradicting itself. Not that it’s on purpose, mind you. Thanks to rapid-fire advances in technology and new research discoveries, medicine is in a constant state of flux, always evolving. Think about it…20 years ago, fat was the dietary demon to avoid... Read more

Hope Rings Eternal for Patients at the Abramson Cancer Center Pennsylvania Hospital

June 26, 2014 // Comments 6 Schieft Hope Bell-pt

In 1733, the English poet Alexander Pope penned the famous line, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” in "An Essay on Man, Epistle I." Over three and a half centuries later, Pope’s words still resonate with profound meaning. No matter the circumstances, humankind continues to have the capacity to... Read more

Behind the Scenes of Bloodless Medicine and Surgery

June 6, 2014 // Comments image from

Annual spring symposium reenacts bloodless patient visit In May, the Center for Bloodless Medicine & Surgery (CBMS) at Pennsylvania Hospital welcomed over 100 guests to their annual spring symposium for a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be and treat a bloodless patient. Yes, bloodless. The term... Read more

What’s History Got to Do with It?

May 27, 2014 // Comments image from

Preserving a Precious Past: Pennsylvania Hospital’s Curator-Lead Archivist Talks Shop Some may debate over whether or not Philadelphia deserves to be called “The City of Brotherly Love.” However, no one can contest that it has earned its rightful place in U.S. history as a "Birthplace of America.” Philly is chock-full... Read more

“Technology and Pearls” – The Dichotomy of Women and Medicine throughout History

April 7, 2014 // Comments HWHC_2014_2

In the 19th Century, rigorous work was thought to negatively affect female fertility. It was also thought to create a masculine and angular appearance in women, thus stunting the development of femininity. These are just a sample of some of the startling yet fascinating “facts” presented by ten distinguished speakers... Read more

From Red Carpet to Canvas

March 17, 2014 // Comments LaryCampbell&BethDunn - Full

Creative Nurses Care Beyond the Bedside “It takes a special type of person to be a nurse.” If I had a dollar for how many times I’ve heard someone say that… It is an expression I believe to be true. It also seems to me it just isn’t enough for... Read more

From Philly to Sochi – This Physician Makes a Different Kind of House Call

February 11, 2014 // Comments Dorshimer_gary

Even before they began, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia were fraught with problems. Troubling issues ranged from protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin and terrorist threats to stray dogs roaming Olympic venues and news reporters’ tales of unfinished hotel accommodations. Sadly, the disturbing media coverage dedicated to these... Read more

Some of the Biggest Bonds Come from the Tiniest Patients

October 15, 2013 // Comments ICN_Group_Picture JPEG

Celebrating Life, Friendship and Personal Bonds at Pennsylvania Hospital’s 2013 Intensive Care Nursery Reunion The careers of health care providers are some of the most stressful, yet most rewarding. Talk about running the full range a of emotions and experiences. Every day in hospitals around the world, nurses, physicians and... Read more

From Neonatal Intensive Care to College, This Baby’s Come a Long Way

September 5, 2013 // Comments Pennsylvania hospital

It’s back-to-school season again – a fresh start for students of all ages. One recent event, however, reminded me of how many babies get their very first start in life here at Pennsylvania Hospital. On May 16th, this past spring, Janelle van Leusdan, who now lives in Wheaton, IL, stopped... Read more

The Gift of Surviving Cancer and Giving Back

June 7, 2013 // Comments Ginny and Brealey 001

She’s a striking blond. Attractive, warm, funny, caring, and always smiling. He’s also a striking blond – and warm and caring and funny – and seems to always be smiling as well. “She” is Ginny Fineberg, a youthful looking 64 year old cancer survivor. And “he” is her self-proclaimed “Momma’s... Read more

Penn Medicine CAREs Grant Helps Bring Healthy Living Education to Seniors

April 3, 2013 // Comments PAH Pharm CAREs gran recips pic

Officially our nation’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital has been a stalwart pillar of its surrounding Philadelphia community since its founding in 1751. No wonder than, with over two and a half centuries of history and continuous service behind it, the hospital inspires its employees to “give back” to the community.... Read more

Together, Penn Medicine and SHIELD Focus on the Community… and the Future

March 6, 2013 // Comments SHIELD at Sim Ctr 004

What do the songs “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees and “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen have in common? And – what could they possibly have to do with health care or saving lives? Well, as it so happens, both songs have a steady rhythm of 100 beats... Read more

Lasso It Up: How a Rodeo Roping Technique Can Help Treat an Age-old Heart Ailment

February 19, 2013 // Comments Cowboy Lasso Image

To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all areas of Penn Medicine. At first pass, lariat seems like just a hifalutin' word for the more down-to-earth, lasso – a long, noosed rope. For most, either word... Read more

Having Fun While Raising Funds at Pennsylvania Hospital’s First “Souper Bowl”

February 1, 2013 // Comments Souper Bowl image 1

It’s that time of year again. All across the U.S. folks will gather together on Sunday, not to worship, but to watch the 47th Super Bowl and – thanks to an increasing popularity due to “cute overload” – Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl 9. Some even started the festivities early here... Read more

Breaking through the Communications Clutter with “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”

December 12, 2012 // Comments 10 Step Ribbon Cutting 1

In an effort to cut through the constant communications clutter – websites, e-newsletters, targeted text messages and mailings, plus a plethora of pregnancy and parenting magazines – that bombards women during pregnancy and during early motherhood, Pennsylvania Hospital is taking a fresh approach to help educate and inform staff and... Read more

In the Pink Shadow: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month Needs the Spotlight Now

November 27, 2012 // Comments Pancreatic-cancer-awareness-month

With each passing year the month of November loses more and more respect. On paper it looks good – All Saint’s, All Soul’s, Veteran’s and Election Day come right in a row within the first two weeks. But poor Thanksgiving. For several centuries it rose through the ranks as one... Read more

Breast Cancer Awareness – Beyond the Pink Ribbon

October 19, 2012 // Comments Ribbon

Ah, the fabulous colors of fall. A time when those of us inhabiting the more northern parts of the hemisphere are treated to a natural environment rich in russet, gold and burgundy hues. Then, come October: PINK. There are all the little ribbons, t-shirts and caps. There’s pink neon lights... Read more

On Bodies and Minds: Effects of the Civil War

September 28, 2012 // Comments #48 - Hospital for the Insane - Dept. for Females

It’s hard to fathom, but to this day one startling Civil War statistic stands: approximately 625,000 American men – the equivalent of 6 million men today – were killed in action or died of disease between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865. That’s more than in World War I,... Read more

A New Use for an Existing Technology Improves the Lives of Incontinence Sufferers

September 11, 2012 // Comments

Life is full of embarrassing moments. Who among us hasn’t suffered the mild mortification of unknowingly walking around with toilet paper trailing from a shoe? Or an unzipped fly? How many of us know what it’s like to emerge from an underwater dive only to discover that part of our... Read more

Helping Female Cancer Patients Get Ahead

July 25, 2012 // Comments Smiling woman wigjpg

Free Wig Salon at Pennsylvania Hospital Hair. It’s big. And I’m not just talking about the 1980’s. Hair is our only built-in body adornment, capable of infinite versatility – if you have it. Often referred to as one’s “crowning glory,” the significance of hair spans centuries. It was the source... Read more

Helping Mothers Give Their Babies the Best Start in Life

July 3, 2012 // Comments 391px-Breastfeeding_WPA_poster

All of Society Needs to Support Breastfeeding for Everyone to Reap the Maximum Benefits Medical journals, magazines, websites… they’re all touting the same message, something nature has known all along: breastfeeding is beneficial for both babies and mothers. The message is getting through - but not always to everyone who... Read more

Celebrating Survivorship at Every Stage

June 18, 2012 // Comments JKCCRIBBON

It’s about time we starting treating cancer patients as survivors – even when they’re still in the midst of treatment. Every year hundreds of hospitals, cancer centers and communities throughout the US and across the world join in a Celebration of Life for National Cancer Survivors Day®. This year the... Read more

Pre-eclampsi-whaaa?: One of the most common, most dangerous, least known threats to pregnant women…

April 30, 2012 // Comments Pregnancy-Heart Disease

I remember the first time I heard of preeclampsia . Despite the fact that I’ve worked my whole adult career in hospitals and health care, I didn’t first learn about preeclampsia on the job. In truth, I read about it years ago – and rather graphically – in the John... Read more

Menopause, Hormones and Heart Disease: The Battle to Find the Lesser of Three Evils

February 22, 2012 // Comments Hormone-replacement-therapy

To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all parts of Penn Medicine. Hot flashes. Night sweats. Sleep disturbances. Mood swings. Irregular and racing hearts. These are all signs of menopause setting in, the time in a... Read more

Women & Heart Disease – the Usual and Unusual Risk Suspects

February 16, 2012 // Comments Nazanin Moghbeli, MD

To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all parts of Penn Medicine. The flowers and cards have all been delivered. The chocolates were devoured and Cupid can now take his annual break. But just because Valentine’s... Read more

What Every Woman Needs to Know About Heart Disease and How to Recognize Signs of Trouble

February 7, 2012 // Comments Nazanin Moghbeli, MD

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the US for both men and women. Heart disease, in all its forms, is responsible for over 400,000 deaths a year among women – more than all forms of cancer combined. Read more

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy – better in the OR (and left off the grid iron)

April 7, 2011 // Comments Samir-mehta

Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRPT) has received a lot of attention as a popular treatment for celebrity athletes, but its value in treating the injuries in many of the most famous cases is unproven. Samir Mehta, MD provides insight into the types of cases where PRPT is approved and demonstrated effective.

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