Penn Medicine News Blog: Posts by Sally Sapega

Sally SapegaAs editor of HUPdate and System News, Sally is responsible for seeking out story ideas, writing articles, taking photographs for stories, and coordinating both the design and the distribution. In her role as Director of Internal Communications, she is also responsible for helping craft strategic communications plans, writing memos and other communications for senior leadership members, and creating appropriate communications materials for special needs.

Sally holds a BA in Communications from Simmons College and graduated from Rowan University with a masters in Public Relations.

View Sally's bio and beats

Caring for Families is Part of Caring for Patients

March 9, 2015 // Comments image from

The respite room in HUP's Center for Family Caregivers provides a temporary escape from the stress of having a loved one in the hospital. More and more, hospitals are putting the needs and expectations of patients as a priority but many are continuing to take a more family-oriented approach to... Read more

The Best Way to a Woman’s Heart

February 9, 2015 // Comments image from

Chileshe Nkonde-Price (third from left) with members of Penn Medicine's cardiovascular team on "Go Red" Friday. Most women fear breast cancer more than heart disease but, in fact, cardiovascular disease is the more deadly. Indeed, more women die from a cardiac condition than all cancers combined. “More men are diagnosed... Read more

PAC’ing it Up and Moving to Presby

January 2, 2015 // Comments Trauma blog small

As we look toward the opening of our new Pavilion for Advanced Care (PAC) and the transition of our trauma center from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), throughout the month of January, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest... Read more

Tis the Season to Give

December 24, 2014 // Comments Blackwell dinner

Penn Medicine staff help those in need throughout the year but the “giving” reaches new levels in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Outreach efforts started early this year when nearly 80 Penn Medicine staff and their families and friends volunteered at The Great Gathering, a Thanksgiving feast for... Read more

Don’t Let the Empty Hallways Fool You!

November 28, 2014 // Comments HUP at night

Ever wonder what’s life really like for the Penn Medicine employees who care for patients while most of us are asleep? We were curious so we dropped into the nighttime shifts at three Penn Medicine hospitals to find out. On first glance, the hospitals seem almost deserted at night. The... Read more

Why Surroundings Matter in Patient Care

November 5, 2014 // Comments Scenery photo

Being in a hospital can be overwhelming and anxiety-producing for both patients and families. While receiving excellent clinical care is clearly essential, the surroundings in which the care is provided can make a difference in the patient experience as well. Studies have shown that art can have a calming influence...

Listen to What I Say

October 13, 2014 // Comments Melissa Trolene and Suzanne Leonard F14 010

Strengthening the Nurse-Patient Connection Advances in health treatment and technology have improved patient outcomes, but this fast-paced and sometimes stressful environment can take a toll on the nurse-patient relationship. Much of nursing now centers more on technology, often in the areas of collecting and monitoring. Sometimes that means that nurses...

A Great Save

September 17, 2014 // Comments Lucky save 002

Running along the Schulykill River Trail was a frequent outing for Todd Tewksbury, a 27-year-old mechanical engineer. So when he started his run one evening last month, the last place he expected to end up was in the emergency room of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “I remembered...

The Role of Culture in Health

August 28, 2014 // Comments Spirit_catches_you2

Each year, the University of Pennsylvania sponsors a series of events throughout its campus focusing on a central theme chosen by faculty, staff and students. The focal point of the 2014-2015 academic year is Health. The Year of Health was chosen, in part, because of the national focus on health-care... Read more

"Break" from Cancer a Turning Point for Patient

July 16, 2014 // Comments Daryl Robinson cropped

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines respite as “a short period of time when you are able to stop doing something that is difficult or unpleasant.” The trips that For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation provide for patients clearly fit that definition. The all-expense-paid vacation is a chance for the patient –– and... Read more

Gentle Support for Perinatal Loss

June 20, 2014 // Comments Bereavement box -- contents

Losing a baby, either before or shortly after birth, is devastating. Patients often feel completely alone in their grief, feeling that no one can understand what they’re going through. HUP’s bereavement support group tells them otherwise. Families share stories, coping mechanisms, and challenges. “We want them to know that they... Read more

Taking a Look "Inside Penn Medicine"

June 16, 2014 // Comments IPM-publications-blog-photo-new

Penn Medicine is a vibrant community of students and health-care professionals. Get a glimpse into what’s happening in this world of education, clinical care and research through our internal newsletters, located on the “Inside Penn Medicine” homepage and in print editions throughout UPHS. You can also subscribe to get news... Read more

A New Focus on Elder Health Care

June 2, 2014 // Comments image from

GRNs Krista Walsh (r.) and Colleen Hogan walk with patient John Fitzpatrick to help him prevent losing physical strength during hospitalization. Hospitalization has a greater cognitive and physical impact on geriatric patients than on those who are younger. Indeed, more than 40 percent of the elderly suffer from delirium while... Read more

A Life-Changing Outreach to African Patients

May 5, 2014 // Comments CGA140129_DR_JOLI_CHOU_WARD_ROUNDS_RP0009_HI

Photo caption: Joli Chou checks on one of her post-op patients on the Africa Mercy ship. Photo credit: Ruben Plomp. © Mercy Ships. Spending two weeks on a cruise ship seems like the perfect escape from winter, but for Joli Chou, DMD, MD, of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, it was... Read more

A Smile Makes A Big Difference

April 9, 2014 // Comments Ambassadors

Eleanor Ball, who welcomes patients at the main entrance of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, greets everyone with a smile. “Most people are scared when they come in,” she said. “When they see a smile, it makes a big difference.” A smile is just one component of how... Read more

Taking a Look "Inside Penn Medicine"

March 27, 2014 // Comments IPM publications blog photo

Penn Medicine is a vibrant community of students and health-care professionals. Get a glimpse into what’s happening in this world of education, clinical care and research through our internal newsletters, located on the “Inside Penn Medicine” homepage and in print editions throughout UPHS. You can also subscribe to get news... Read more

The Gift of Life Blossoms into Friendship

March 12, 2014 // Comments Wendy and meghan

There was no reason for Meghan Shaffer and Wendy Hancock to know each other. After all, they had nothing in common. Wendy lived in Pennsylvania and had recently given birth. Meghan was a young nursing student at the University of Michigan. But Fate had other plans for them. How It... Read more

Changing the Course of Heart Disease

February 14, 2014 // Comments Jess maciey

Jessica (Maciey) Minot, a nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, never knew her older sister, who died of what was diagnosed as a “congenital heart defect” at eight months old. And she was only seven years old when she lost her mother to heart disease as well.... Read more

Reiki: Helping to Relieve the Anxiety of Cancer Patients

January 22, 2014 // Comments Reiki 002

Reiki is a noninvasive practice that uses a light touch on --or holding hands just above -- a person’s body to help promote balance and well-being. There is no pressure or tissue manipulation. Despite any clear biologic mechanism, “our recent study has shown that Reiki induces relaxation, decreasing anxiety, stress... Read more

Tis the Season to Reach Out

December 18, 2013 // Comments Poppy bass philabundance 001

Throughout the year, employees at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania volunteer their time to help members of local communities but the outreach always reaches new levels around the holidays, making the season more joyful for those less fortunate. Poppy Bass of Information Services got an early start. Fighting... Read more

Save Lives Through Organ Donation

October 21, 2013 // Comments Laura kelchner, bob and sue 002

Only 45 percent of Americans are registered organ donors. As a result, nearly 120,000 people in this country remain on a waiting list for a life-saving transplant. About 18 die each day due to a lack of available organs. In an effort to increase donor registration, Penn Medicine partnered with... Read more

Do Patients Really Understand? The Push to Eliminate Health Illiteracy

October 4, 2013 // Comments Health_literacy

Inadequate health literacy is a significant concern in today’s health-care environment. Indeed, more than one-third of Americans don’t understand the basic medical information that’s needed to make informed health-care decisions. This knowledge gap can have serious repercussions: poor medication adherence, increased mortality, and increased hospital readmissions and trips to the... Read more

Closing the Loop on Medication Safety

September 3, 2013 // Comments

In a hospital, errors can occur in any part of the medication process – from prescribing to dispensing. That’s why, for the past several years, the University of Pennsylvania Health System has implemented several measures to help reduce these errors and ensure patient safety. For example, Electronic order entry on... Read more

Clinical Excellence: More than Skills and Knowledge

August 7, 2013 // Comments Rockwell

Doctor and The Doll, a classic Norman Rockwell painting that graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1929, harkens back to a simpler time, when the kindly family doctor was always available and willing to take care of any ‘patient,’ human or otherwise. The increasing complexity of medicine... Read more

Breaking Down the Barriers to Medication Adherence

July 12, 2013 // Comments MPP 003

“Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” — C. Everett Koop, MD Medication non-adherence -– ie, not taking essential medications or not taking them as prescribed -– can lead to serious outcomes and, as a result, readmissions to hospitals. Indeed, in this country, nearly one in five hospital... Read more

An Important Early Lesson for Tomorrow’s Health-Care Providers

June 19, 2013 // Comments

Team work. It’s a part of all successful organizations. But nowhere is this combined effort more essential than in the medical field, where health-care professionals working as a team -- instead of in side-by-side silos -– open lines of communication and, as a result, improve patient care. Throughout the University... Read more

Trying to Give Trauma Docs a Breather

May 10, 2013 // Comments Rhonda at outreach cropped

“I want to put trauma doctors out of business.” Rhonda Holmstrom, Trauma Outpatient & Injury Prevention Coordinator, says this with a smile, knowing it’s not a realistic goal, but she –- and other members of the trauma team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -– are reaching out... Read more

Emotional First Aid for 'Second Victims'

April 19, 2013 // Comments Second victim photo

A trauma nurse faces the tragic loss of a young patient close to his own son’s age. A transporter must bring an infant who died in the Neo-ICU down to the morgue. A pharmacist hears that his patient had an anaphylactic reaction to a medication. He discovers the medication allergy... Read more

High-Quality Nursing Equals High-Quality Patient Care

April 9, 2013 // Comments Rhoads 5 gold beacon cropped

Members of Rhoads 5 SICU, winners of the Gold Beacon Award Nurses make up the single largest segment of the health-care work force, providing 95 percent of direct care to hospitalized patients. So it’s not surprising that the higher the quality of a hospital’s nursing staff, the better the patient... Read more

Pharmacists on the Front Line of Care

March 14, 2013 // Comments Medication sign

Penn Medicine has set a goal to eliminate preventable readmissions within seven days after patients are discharged from the hospital at its three hospitals by July 1, 2014. Since the kick-off of this effort in 2011, a number of initiatives have successfully reduced these readmissions but a key component in... Read more

Take Control of Your Heart Health

February 21, 2013 // Comments

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. The mortality rate from both heart disease and stroke have decreased significantly in the past decade, but they still remain the #1 and #4... Read more

You Can Do It!

January 21, 2013 // Comments IMG_0355

The new year frequently brings with it resolutions to improve our lives. And the two goals topping most people’s lists are losing weight and getting more exercise. Every January, gyms suddenly become more crowded and weight-loss programs see significant increases in membership. Diet aid apps are downloaded by the thousands.... Read more

Helping Spirits Rise

December 24, 2012 // Comments Scottish santa cropped

No one wants to be in the hospital, but being there during the holidays –- away from family and friends -– makes a difficult situation even harder. That’s why staff at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania go out of their way to bring the holiday spirit into patient... Read more

Preserving Fertility in the Face of Cancer

November 30, 2012 // Comments Oncofertility photo

At any one time, Penn Medicine investigators run as many as 3,000 studies involving human subjects, generating knowledge about disease and finding new cures. And making sure these studies run smoothly are 700 clinical research coordinators who do everything from recruiting patients and administering medication to collecting the data that... Read more

Be a Hero. Donate Blood.

November 7, 2012 // Comments Nick and mom 1210

Do you donate blood? If you’re like the majority of Americans –- more than 90 percent -- the answer is no. Most people don’t think about it in their busy lives. Or they feel someone else will take up the slack. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Less than 40 percent... Read more

Are You at Risk for Breast Cancer?

October 10, 2012 // Comments DNA_noburst2

Genetic Counseling Can Help Identify Clues Confusion and fears surrounding breast cancer abound. While researchers have long since put some myths to rest -– such as ideas that using anti-perspirant, drinking caffeine, and wearing an underwire bra will all increase your risk -- others issues related to breast cancer risk... Read more

A Pipeline To Promising Careers

September 20, 2012 // Comments Pipeline 2012 -- group

“Thanks for pushing me to do my best … I believe in myself more than I ever did.” Local students in Penn Medicine’s High School Pipeline Program work hard. Indeed, they’re responsible for keeping up their grades in school while taking college-level courses and working within the University of Pennsylvania... Read more

You Have the Power to Save a Life

August 29, 2012 // Comments

When it comes to organ transplants, the closer the match between donor and recipient, the better the outcome. This is especially true for bone marrow transplants, which have more stringent requirements for matching than solid organs since they aim to rebuild all the bone marrow in the patients after treatment... Read more

Penn's Transplant House: A Home Away From Home

July 20, 2012 // Comments Ashlee newberry pic

The Penn Transplant Institute’s reputation draws patients from across the nation who are waiting for a second chance at life. It is the region’s leader in total number of organ transplants performed; Penn transplant surgeons performed over 400 solid organ transplants during the 2011 fiscal year, including heart, liver, kidney,... Read more

Investing in Our Future

June 28, 2012 // Comments PMWS cropped

Capital investment – which is money spent on buildings, facilities and equipment – helps an organization maintain its leadership position. At Penn Medicine, our current and future projects represent something more important: a way to continue providing high-quality health care and improving each patient’s experience. Some of our projects are...

Getting Drug Prescriptions Filled Post-Op Doesn’t Have to be a Drag

June 14, 2012 // Comments Prescription bottles

The last thing a patient wants to do after being discharged from outpatient surgery is to try to find an open pharmacy and then wait – in pain -- while a pharmacy fills a prescription. An innovative program in the SurgiCentre at Penn Medicine’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine ensures... Read more

The Healing Impact of Art

May 25, 2012 // Comments Cropped photo

Art has been shown to have a calming and healing effect, which makes it a vital presence in a hospital environment. This is especially true in an intensive care unit which can be a frightening experience for both patients and visitors, with all its unfamiliar equipment and sounds. When the...

Helping Medical Students Learn the Ropes

April 25, 2012 // Comments DSC01527

Diana Santangelo demonstrates patient wound care to medical student Stuart Carter. Wound care on a patient with diabetic foot ulcers. Pulling together information for a patient discharge. They seem like routine activities in any busy hospital but they often remain hidden from medical students learning the ropes; they’re more apt... Read more

Biggest Loser Competition for Charity: A Win-Win Event

April 13, 2012 // Comments Biggest losers

The top 'Biggest Loser' team (l. to r.) Jen Naji, Kellie Barnes, Tyesha Godwin and Teel Summer. Not pictured: Jen Perno. In keeping with Penn Medicine’s focus on improving the health of both our patients and employees, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Nursing Renewal – an... Read more

Penn Medicine CAREs In the Community

March 21, 2012 // Comments New Choices photo small

Packing food boxes for distribution by Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization. Helping at a camp for children who have lost a parent. Reaching out to children and teens to keep them from smoking … or to encourage them to quit. These are just a few of the ways...

A Precious Commodity Comes to HUP’s Tiniest Patients

February 21, 2012 // Comments Baby blog pic

Nothing beats mother’s milk when it comes to helping infants thrive. It contains all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs in its first six months of life. Breast milk is especially good for premature babies because it is also filled with disease-fighting substances and is much easier for their... Read more

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