By JOANN S. LUBLIN
Is there such a thing as a diversity dividend?
A new study of 366 public companies in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Brazil, Mexico and Chile by McKinsey & Co., a major management consultancy, found a statistically significant relationship between companies with women and minorities in their upper ranks and better financial performance as measured by earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT.
The findings could further fuel employers’ efforts to increase the ranks of women and people of color for executive suites and boardrooms — an issue where some progress is being made, albeit slowly.
McKinsey researchers examined the gender, ethnic and racial makeup of top management teams and boards for large concerns across a range of industries as of 2014. Then, they analyzed the firms’ average earnings before interest and taxes between 2010 and 2013. They collected but didn’t analyze other financial measures such as return on equity.
Businesses with the most gender diverse leadership were 15% more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median, the study showed. An even more striking link turned up at concerns with extensive ethnic diversity. Those best performers were 35% more likely to have financial returns that outpace their industry, according to the analysis. The report did not disclose specific companies.
Highly diverse companies appear to excel financially due to their talent recruitment efforts, strong customer orientation, increased employee satisfaction and improved decision making, the report said. Those possible factors emerged from prior McKinsey research about diversity.
McKinsey cited “measurable progress” among U.S. companies, where women now represent about 16% of executive teams — compared with 12% for U.K. ones and 6% for Brazilian ones. But American businesses don’t see a financial payoff from gender diversity “until women constitute at least 22% of a senior executive team,’’ the study noted. (McKinsey tracked 186 U.S. and Canadian firms.)
The study marks the first time “that the impact of ethnic and gender diversity on financial performance has been looked at for an international sample of companies,’’ said Vivian Hunt, a co-author, in an interview. Yet “no company is a high performer on both ethnic diversity and on gender,’’ she reported.
And “very few U.S. companies yet have a systematic approach to diversity that is able to consistently achieve a diverse global talent pool,” Ms. Hunt added.
McKinsey has long tracked workplace diversity. A 2007 study, for instance, uncovered a positive relationship between corporate performance and the elevated presence of working women in European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany.
6. …but people still expect them to show up the second they ring the call bell.
7. Sometimes they’re working so hard, they can go entire shifts without eating, drinking water, or sitting.
Lunch break? What’s that?
8. Ditto going to the bathroom.
9. Some patients will incessantly hit on them.
10. Others will expose themselves for no clear medical reason.
“Your arm is broken… so why is your dick out?”
By SYDNEY LUPKIN
Seattle Children's Hospital hallways erupted in cheers and applause this weekend as the Seattle Seahawks played a nail-biter of a game against the Green Bay Packers and officially locked down their spot in Super Bowl XLIX.
And 8-year-old Maria Moore's room was no exception. The recovering leukemia patient watched the game while wearing her Seahawks hat and clutching her signed football. On the table next to her, she propped up a photo of herself with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who visited her at the hospital in November.
At one point, Maria was so bummed that her team appeared to be losing, she shed a little tear, her dad told ABC News. He told her not to worry, that Wilson and the Seahawks would come back. And they did.
"We were just totally shouting and applauding and hollering and giving high fives to each other," Thomas Moore told ABC News. "It was an amazing gave to watch. She was super excited."
Marie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in September and initially didn't respond to chemotherapy, but the doctors at Seattle Children's and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center helped get her treatment "recipe" just right, he said. Marie underwent a cord blood transplant on Jan. 2, and is in remission, but should be at the hospital a few more weeks, he said.
"We’ll probably be watching [the Super Bowl] from the hospital, but that's OK," he said. "As long as she's doing well, that’s fine by me."
Nearly every Tuesday, the team's star quarterback, Russell Wilson, visits Seattle Children's Hospital to meet with patients, said hospital spokeswoman Kathryn Bluher. So the team holds an extra special place in the hearts of patients and their families.
Wilson visited Maria the day after flying back from an East Coast game in November, and she was "all smiles," Moore said.
"It makes a bigger fan out of me. I really can't say enough," Moore said. "[Wilson] is a down to earth, really nice guy. He takes time talk to the kids, do pictures, sign some things."
After Sunday's win, patients at Seattle Children's Hospital took photos with "Congratulations" signs from their hospital beds to show their support.
"It takes their mind of things," Moore said. "It gives them something fun to think about."
By LIZ NEPORENT
Cathy Nichols and son Jason were front and center at the National Football League playoff game last Sunday to witness her beloved New England Patriots clinch a spot in this year’s Super Bowl.
The Fayette, Maine, resident, 59, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just two days before the big game. She said it was the support of a close-knit community, and the generosity of the Patriots, that brought her to what she believed will be the last football game she will attend.
“My son and I are super fans and when I got the diagnosis, I told him we probably weren’t going to get to go to many more games,” Nichols told ABC News today. “Now, not only did I get to see them play, but I was at a playoff game; it was just unbelievable.”
Nichols’ worship of Tom Brady and all things Patriots is well known at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, Maine, where she works as a special education teacher. So when she confided in several work friends about her illness, they immediately contacted a local sportscaster, who, in turn, reached out to the Patriots.
By Friday night, a team representative had called Nichols to offer her two tickets in the owner’s box to the playoff game.
Despite her rollercoaster of a week, Nichols said she was touched by the outpouring from friends and strangers alike.
“It isn't just the tickets, they’re doing fund-raisers and I’m getting calls from students and athletes I coached more than 25 years ago,” the former cheerleader coach said.
At Sunday’s game she not only had the best seats in the house, she was given field passes so she could watch the pregame warm-ups. Team owner Robert Kraft even called down to the field to make sure she was having a good time, before she returned to the box.
Nichols said she knows an invite to the Super Bowl was in the works but she put a stop to it. Doctors believe the disease may have already spread from her pancreases to her liver, she said, and she may only have six months to live. She doesn't feel strong enough to make the trip to Arizona for the February game.
But Nichols said she isn't bitter. Far from it.
“I am a very fortunate woman to have all this support and it makes me determined to be here as long as I can,” she said. “But I've lived a good life and I want to focus on quality of life over quantity.”
Moments after Jacob "Jake" Boddie woke from surgery to remove a tumor in his pelvis, his father, Kyle Boddie, said to his 2-year old son, "Hey, Jake, bust a move!" Although he was still groggy, the toddler smiled. One tiny shoulder, then the other, wiggled in time to a beat.
Kyle and Jake's mother, Ashley McIntyre, say Jake started dancing long before he could walk. "And now that's all he does," Kyle said. "He loves it. You can't stop him."
During his yearlong treatment for a rare cancer, Jake danced with his nurses, child life specialists and doctors at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. He boogied in his hospital room, in the hallways, and even on the way to the operating room. His parents say dance helped Jake recover from his treatments and surgery. It helped them cope with their son's illness.
"Even though Jake went through so much, he uplifted us," Ashley said. "We thought, if he can have fun through all of this, why can't we?"
Kyle and Ashley knew something was wrong when Jake wasn't acting like himself at a Fourth of July picnic in 2013. Agitated and restless, the toddler wasn't his "silly self" and refused to dance or play with the other children. A few days later he began limping. An ultrasound performed in the emergency room at Comer Children's Hospital showed a large mass resting in the lower part of his abdomen and reaching into his pelvis.
A biopsy revealed the mass to be a sarcoma, a fast-growing cancer. "The tumor was 4 inches in diameter, about the size of a small grapefruit," said pediatric oncologist Navin Pinto, MD, an expert on sarcoma treatment. In addition to his clinical work, Pinto leads a personalized medicine initiative at Comer Children's Hospital that is sequencing the genetic makeup of pediatric tumors from every patient to help guide treatment.
For Jake, several rounds of chemotherapy were needed to shrink the tumor to half its original size. It was then small enough to be removed, but Jake's surgery would be complicated. The tumor was wrapped around critical blood vessels as well as the right ureter, a tube that brings urine from the kidney to the bladder.
On the morning of the surgery in January 2014, Ashley and Kyle danced with Jake to the song "Happy" as they headed toward the operating room doors; there they turned him over to the surgical team. "Jake knew something was going on," Ashley recalled, "but I think it made him feel better to see us laughing and dancing."
Pediatric urologist Mohan Gundeti, MD, and pediatric surgeon Grace Mak, MD, worked together in the surgical suite. First, Gundeti used an endoscopic approach, placing a stent in the ureter to mark its location and keep the fragile tube open. Mak then surgically removed as much of the tumor as possible, meticulously separating it from the vessels and ureter while avoiding nearby nerves.
"Jacob recovered beautifully and bounced back quickly after the operation," Mak said, adding, "he was eating -- and doing his moves -- a few days later."
Completing Jake's treatment required both chemotherapy and radiation to eliminate any lingering cancer cells. In addition, the lower section of the right ureter had narrowed, leading to pressure on the right kidney, and needed attention before it became completely obstructed.
Gundeti performed reconstructive surgery, moving the right kidney down a few centimeters and making a new tube for the ureter using a flap from the bladder. Again, Jake recovered quickly from an extensive surgery.
Today, the 3-year-old visits Comer Children's Hospital regularly for follow-up care with the nurses and doctors who cared for him.
"He feels comfortable at the hospital; he's always laughing and having a good time," Kyle said. "Everyone knows him now. And everyone dances with him."
By Dan Kedmey
General Electric released images on Wednesday from its first clinical trial of a next generation body scanner that captures bones, blood vessels and organs in high-definition.
The patients ride into the chamber of the scanner, dubbed “Revolution CT,” where a fan-shaped beam of x rays passes down their bodies and a computer reconstructs a digital model of the body, slice-by-slice. The scanner can build an image of a heart in the time it takes for a single heartbeat, according to GE.
The snapshots below, provided by GE, may look like an artist’s rendering from an anatomy textbook. In fact, they were taken from living patients at West Kendall Baptist Hospital in south Florida, the first hospital to test the new scanner in the field.
By Carolyn Kylstra
1. They work 10- or 12-hour shifts, often without breaks.
Actually, make that 13 hours.
2. Those 10- or 12-hour shifts? They might just start at 6 am. OR AT 6 PM.
Rise and shine!
3. They have no idea what they’re about to encounter literally every time they go to work.
NBC / Via uproxx.com
4. Except they know for sure that they will be doing paperwork. Lots and lots of it.
Pixar / Via youtube.com
5. They’re usually taking care of about six (or more) patients at any given time…
By Bridgid Joseph
Changing jobs can be a stressful process for some because of the dreaded interview process. But there are a few pretty simple tips that can help put you, and your interviewer, at ease to make for a much better experience, and lead you closer to that new job you’ve been wanting! Stop letting the interview process paralyze your career.
For most people, the worst part of thinking about changing positions, or getting a new job, is the interview process. Maybe you are someone who gets nervous and sweats, shakes, or just can’t focus on the questions being asked, which makes the interviewing process torturous for you, something you dread, and guess what?
If you feel awkward and uncomfortable, so does the person interviewing you. As someone who has moved around quite a bit, interviewed for numerous jobs, and scored an offer each time (not to toot my own horn), I have learned some tricks to interview well, that are applicable to most people. And as someone who now interviews applicants, I have a whole new perspective of what and interviewer “sees” during an interview; there are some small Do’s and Don’ts that can make you appear more poised and ready than you may feel!
DO Dress the Part:
Even though you may be coming in for an interview for your first job as a nurse, Medical Assistant (MA), Patient Care Technician (PCT), etc. you want to dress as if you are coming in for a job as a Director or the Chief Nursing Officer. I am not telling you to spend a ton of money on some fancy suit, but you want to look nicely put together with clothes that fit you well and look nice.
I was walking from my car to an interview and I was wearing these great fitted pants that I found on sale at one of my favorite stores and couldn't believe they were 60% off, they looked great, fit great, and with a top that I already owned, and a pair of smart black shoes, I felt (and looked) like a million bucks. Until I tripped a little, looked down, and realized the hem gave away on one of my pant legs (probably why such an amazing pair of pants were on such a super sale in my size), so I acted quickly, hobbled quickly to my car, did a little “runway” hem with some tape that I had in my car (i.e. I taped up the hem inside of my pants), and went back on my way.
Even though it was a bit of smoke and mirrors show, no one knew that my pants were taped together, and I even got complimented on how great my outfit looked. You don’t need to spend a lot, to look like a lot, but looking neat in nicely fitting clothes, shows that you are putting in the effort to put your best foot forward and show yourself in the best light.
DON’T Dress for a Night Out or a Day of Work:
If you are applying for a clinical job, yes it is awesome that we get to wear scrubs to work everyday, and it does make those of us that work clinically, at a deficit for “business” attire in our wardrobes, but it doesn't make it acceptable for us to wear scrubs to an interview. You also want to make sure that you aren't wearing something that you would choose to wear out to a bar/nightclub with your friends.
I have seen quite a few outfits in my time that make me think twice about the applicants common sense. Don’t make the interviewer question your common sense; that means you have set yourself up to have to prove your intelligence and critical thinking skills, despite what your resume might say!
(I realize I put this in twice, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people really inappropriately dressed for interviews!!)
DO Have Good Posture:
Did you know that sitting straight up and keeping your shoulders back make you appear smarter, attentive, and more of a leader?
Well, it does. I may be interviewing you for a position in an entry level, but I am more apt to hire someone that shows me they can be a leader within their position and will work hard and role model their leadership skills. And if they stay in their position, they will hopefully move up the ranks quickly.
DON’T Oversell Yourself:
A big mistake interviewees make is overselling their skills. If you don’t have a certain skill set for a job you are interviewing for, that’s OK. Not everyone is an expert in their field when they first start, right?
We all start somewhere. So when you are asked, for example, “How comfortable are you taking care of a patient on with an intraaortic balloon pump?” and you think “A WHAT?!?!?”
Don’t sweat it, and give an honest response such as, “I haven’t had the experience of taking care of such a patient, but I have extensive other skills, such as [insert skills here] that I learned quickly, and I would love the opportunity to learn more about those patients and their specific needs. Is this a common patient type on your unit?”
You do two things with that answer...
You let me look back at your resume to review your skills, and you also show that you are interested in this experience and willing to learn. I may be looking for a more experienced nurse, but I will definitely consider you and your willingness to learn as a huge asset; I would rather hire someone motivated to learn and improve than someone who is stagnant in their learning process and no longer feels excited about their role.
DO Be Honest on Your Resume:
Sometimes it is glaringly obvious when people tell mistruths on their resumes, and sometimes it isn't, but it usually becomes obvious during an interview. I have had perspectives that added some skills into their resume that they don’t have, and through standard interview questions, it got quite awkward as I realized they did not have the skills they boasted about. (see don’t oversell yourself!)
DO Be Positive:
As with all experiences in life, if you walk in feeling positive, confident, with a big smile on your face, and an open mind, you can win over almost anyone! There is no need to be nervous as the worst thing that can happen is that the job isn't a match; so think positively and imagine that you already have the job, and your interview will be a great experience.
If you want a change in your career/life, send out those resumes and get your interview smile on and go get that new job!
U.S. health officials have hard numbers to back up their warnings that this season's flu shots are less than perfect: A new study finds the vaccine reduces your risk of needing medical care because of flu by only 23 percent.
Most years, flu vaccine effectiveness ranges from 10 percent to 60 percent, reported the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite the reduced effectiveness of this season's flu shot, "vaccination is still important," said lead report author Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist with the CDC.
"But there are ways of treating and preventing flu that are especially important this season," he added.
These include early treatment with antiviral drugs and preventing the spread of flu by washing hands and covering coughs, he said.
Twenty-three percent effectiveness means that there is some benefit -- a little less flu in the vaccinated group. Flu is usually more common among unvaccinated Americans, Flannery said, "but this year there is a lot of influenza both in people who are vaccinated and in people who are unvaccinated."
The findings are published in the Jan. 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
As of early January, the middle of flu season, flu was widespread in 46 states, and 26 children had died from complications of the infection, CDC figures show.
The vaccine's reduced effectiveness highlights the need to treat serious flu quickly with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu or Relenza, the CDC said. Ideally, treatment should start within 48 hours of symptoms appearing.
Spot shortages of these drugs have been reported, and the CDC said that people may have to contact several pharmacies to fill these prescriptions. However, it anticipates enough supply overall to meet the high demand.
In flu seasons when the vaccine is well matched to the circulating H3N2 strains, effectiveness has been between 50 and 60 percent, the CDC said. This year, however, about 70 percent of the H3N2 virus seen has been different from the H3N2 strains in the vaccine, which explains its reduced effectiveness, Flannery said.
Flu viruses change constantly, and this new H3N2 virus did not appear until after the flu strains were chosen for inclusion in the current vaccine, he explained.
Vaccine effectiveness is also related to the health of those getting vaccinated. The vaccine works best in young, healthy people, and is less effective in those 65 and older, the report noted.
This year's shot is most effective -- 26 percent -- for children 6 months old through 17 years. Older people get less benefit -- just 12 percent for those 18 to 49 years and 14 percent for those 50 and older, the CDC said.
Although the vaccine is less reliable than in some years, the CDC still recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. Vaccination can prevent some infections and reduce severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and death, the agency said.
Also, the vaccine protects against three or four flu viruses, some of which may circulate later this season, Flannery said.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, agreed. As other flu strains included in the vaccine emerge later in the season, he predicted the vaccine's effectiveness will rise to about 40 percent.
Flu activity so far this season has been similar to the 2012-2013 flu season, which was classified as a "moderately severe" flu, officials say. Siegel said that season "the vaccine's effectiveness was about 40 percent, so this is even worse."
However, he agreed it's a good idea to get a flu shot. "Twenty-three percent is better than nothing, and there is no downside to getting the vaccine," Siegel said.
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
Lindsey Hallen is in the bug spray aisle at REI, the outdoor equipment emporium in SoHo, looking for exactly the right mosquito repellent to take to West Africa’s Ebola zone, when her phone rings. Three ascending tones, the personal anthem of an emergency room nurse, captured in a ringtone called “Summit.”
“Hello?” she says, pulling the phone out of her jacket pocket. Then in an aside, “I think this is them.”
Ms. Hallen listens, pacing back and forth along the aisle, as her gaunt face takes on the same wide-eyed look of concentration it assumes as when she works in the emergency room at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Total Focus. Matter of Life and Death.
Since the latest Ebola outbreak entered public consciousness, most accounts of United States health workers have focused on the ones returning; the missionaries who were airlifted out and brought back from the brink of death, or Craig Spencer, the young doctor cured of the virus at New York City’s premier public hospital, Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan, while much of the city held its breath.
Now Ms. Hallen, a 31-year-old nurse with two years’ experience working with critically ill patients in this country, is going the other way, heading to West Africa to fight an epidemic that has sickened 21,000 people and killed more than 8,000.
“Why?” her friends and colleagues invariably ask when they find out what she is doing. Why would a relatively young, untested nurse want to risk putting her life in jeopardy to help save people living thousands of miles away, people sick and dying of a brutal, bleeding, contagious fever?
The question annoys her. Her reasons are instinctive, from the gut. You feel driven to do this or you don’t. The thinking only comes later.
“Why not?” she replies. “Why not me?” So the phone call shakes her. The woman on the other end of the line is a recruiter for Partners in Health, the Boston organization that is sending her to West Africa. Instead of Sierra Leone, as had been planned, the group now wants her to go to Liberia, the woman says. Ebola cases there have fallen, but they need people who can rebuild the shattered medical system, teach about controlling infection. She won’t have direct contact with patients. Yes, she can still go to Sierra Leone if she wants to, and take care of patients there. The final decision is up to her.
So the choice is this: Be an instructor, safe, teaching other people how to wear a protective suit, or be the one wearing the suit. She is given a day to decide.
Ebola officially reached American shores on Sept. 30, when Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian visiting family in Dallas, tested positive for the virus. Preparing for a possible onslaught, Lenox Hill Hospital set up a room within the emergency department where Ebola patients would be isolated. The staff had to be trained in wearing protective gear, the stifling, fluid-proof layers that include bootees, gloves, gowns, goggles and face shields. The more Ms. Hallen learned, the more she wanted to know. She volunteered for advanced training. She started lingering on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I was looking at the case numbers and I started to become a little obsessed with everything that was going on over there, and how it was impacting us here,” she said.
She spoke of her newfound interest to her older sister, Kimberly, a real estate photographer, who sensed that this was more than a casual attraction. “She texted me saying she had volunteered to train how to handle Ebola if it came to New York City,” Kimberly recalled. “In the back of my head, I was like, ‘Oh, God, I feel like this is going to expand into her wanting to do a little bit more.’ But I kind of put it away. Maybe not.”
“She’s always been like this ever since she was little,” Kimberly Hallen said. “She was always the one who was trying to find the next fun thing to do. She was bored so easily.”
Lindsey Hallen, a slight blonde with eyes that shift from green to blue depending on the weather and her mood, grew up in suburban Cheshire, Conn., and was a communications major in college, but not a very serious one. “I was very social and that was what I cared about,” she said. After graduation, she moved to Hawaii, without knowing anyone or even having visited. “I was amazed how well everything fell into place,” she said.
She worked at an animal clinic and went to South Africa on an unpaid internship in wildlife conservation. After two years, she moved to Boston, where her sister lives, and began working at Global Vision International, the organization that had sponsored her internship. Her job sent her to South Africa, Guatemala and Costa Rica, to make sure projects were running smoothly. As a memento, she wears three bracelets on her right arm made of twisted copper and brass that she bought at street markets in South Africa. She never took them off, but she had to leave them with her sister before departing for Africa.
After three years, she wanted to grow. She thought about veterinary school, but she also wanted to travel. “Nursing came to mind as a perfect middle ground,” she said. Now, after two years in the E.R., the dread that she has done something wrong no longer wakes her at night. She can rattle off the medical script for an alcoholic with the shakes, a child with the flu or an elderly woman with a broken hip like someone reciting a Social Security number.
There has to be more to life than the three-block dash from her Upper East Side brownstone studio to the 8-a.m.-to-8-p.m. shift at Lenox Hill, and back.
The Ebola patient in Dallas died on Oct. 8, having set off a rapid chain of events. Two nurses who treated him fell ill, shaking confidence in the United States health care system. In mid-October, several New York hospitals volunteered to be Ebola treatment centers, including a sister hospital to Lenox Hill. On Oct. 23, Dr. Spencer, recently returned from Guinea, was rushed to Bellevue and tested positive. The next day, Kaci Hickox, a nurse returning from Sierra Leone through Newark Liberty International Airport, was forced into quarantine because of public officials’ fears.
Rather than being frightened, Ms. Hallen was swept away. Ebola was her 9/11, the disaster that nourished her sense of purpose.
Scrolling through the C.D.C. website, she came across a link to an application form for medical volunteers willing to go to West Africa, kind of like a universal college application online.
She recalls sending it in a few days after Ms. Hickox returned. Her first response, from Partners in Health, arrived on Halloween night. She sent back an email as she dressed for a Halloween party. She was not a sexy witch, or even a nurse. She wore a $12 zombie suit with a zipper splitting her face.
Still, she didn’t really think it would happen. And she assumed that even if she were selected, she would not be paid, and she could not afford that. But Partners in Health agreed to pay for her travel, expenses and medical insurance, as well as provide a stipend that would cover most of her lost salary for nine weeks; six weeks in West Africa and three weeks upon her return, during the disease’s incubation period. As a single person, she didn’t have to worry about disrupting anyone else’s life.
The agency also agreed to pay for her evacuation if she contracted Ebola — a further reminder of the dangers.
Her mother, Laura, cried when she heard the news. Her father, Dan, “had a million questions” but was proud of her.
“I think that she’s got the right mentality to perform in this type of environment,” Mr. Hallen said. “I guess what I would liken it to is firefighters that rush into a burning building when everyone else is running out. All I can say to that is, thank God for them. Where would we be without them?”
That mentality is not widely shared, the numbers suggest.
Since November, about 1,300 people have applied to travel to West Africa through Partners in Health, and about 360 have been hired, Sheila Davis, chief of the agency’s Ebola response, said. She said she was still looking for people with the right “humility,” but the number of applicants has declined as Ebola has moved off the front pages.
North Shore-LIJ Health System, the hospital network that includes Lenox Hill, has 54,000 employees. Ms. Hallen is only the second one to go to West Africa to treat Ebola, Joseph Moscola, the system’s chief of human resources, said. An informal survey of other New York City hospitals found few if any volunteers at most of them.
At some hospitals an internal debate rages over whether highly trained specialists should be volunteering to do menial work in African field hospitals or can make a better contribution at home, perhaps by doing Ebola research.
“Major academic institutions, you would think, would be those who would be pushing it,” Ms. Davis said. “But it’s the opposite. It’s definitely been Middle America, and California, but not the numbers you would think in Boston and New York.”
In preparation for Ms. Hallen’s trip, Partners in Health sent her a packing list. Mostly it is similar to a list for summer sleep-away camp: shampoo, toothbrush, underwear. But not entirely. She will need a headlamp, in case the electricity goes down, and some fancier clothes to wear for Embassy events. Also, styptic pencils to stanch cuts, and tampons, for nosebleeds, ominous inclusions in an environment where bodily fluids may be deadly. Ms. Hallen has scratched out the word “condoms.” She has enough contagion to worry about, she said. She trades email with other volunteers. Bring washable shoes, they say. Dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, to break the monotony of rice and beans.
She picks up her mosquito net at REI and jokes that she might use it to keep away the cockroaches in her apartment. Last night she slept with a hat on, haunted by a woman who had arrived at the emergency room with ear pain. The diagnosis: a cockroach stuck in her ear canal.
At the checkout counter, the brooding, longhaired salesman examines her basket and asks where she is going. “Sierra Leone or Liberia,” she replies.
“You should read this book,” he says, and on a scrap of paper writes the name Peter Piot, author of a memoir about the discovery of Ebola and AIDS.
The next night, she writes an email to the recruiter from Partners in Health. Deletes it. Writes it again. Presses “send” at 11:42 p.m.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, she was scheduled to fly to Sierra Leone, to care for people who are sick and dying of Ebola.