Wednesday, December 17, 2014

As MDs depart, finding a primary care practitioner can be a challenge

For the third time in three months, I find myself looking for a new primary care practitioner. 

When I moved to Western Massachusetts five years ago, I found a wonderful family practitioner who was in a solo practice; an astute diagnostician and a wise clinician.  She has guided me well through some annoying and frustrating medical challenges, although thankfully none of which were serious or life threatening.  In August, I received a letter from her stating that she had decided, after much soul-searching, to close her practice.  I naturally scheduled a visit to discuss my options with her and to better understand her thinking in this matter.  She made several good suggestions for local practitioners that she thought I would feel comfortable with.  Then she shared that her solo practice had simply become too burdensome with increased expectations of communication with multiple payers and other providers, significantly more paperwork (much of it redundant), and projection of capital expenditure for technology to support the electronic health record that would need to be able to interface with a variety of local entities.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 ways online college courses can benefit high school students

With more than 1.3 million high schools students enrolled in an online class in 2010, online learning is becoming more and more common place for students.  Not only does the opportunity to enroll in an online college-level course better prepare high school students for college-level work, it provides them with skills to be successful in online learning environments.

There are numerous benefits to taking online college courses for high school students. From gaining confidence in coursework to earning college credits, the benefits provide students with early collegiate and career skills, as well as lifelong learning skills.

1. Earn college credits

Earning credit in online college courses while in high school provides students with a head start on their college-level learning.  Whether it is 3 credits or the equivalent of a semester’s worth of credits, earning credit prior to entering college provides students the opportunity to adjust their college schedules according to the rigors of a particular semester, more easily engage in study abroad and internship opportunities, double major or add a minor to an existing major, and/or graduate early.

Friday, December 12, 2014

5 Questions with Ruby Parker: Exploring the rise in international admissions

1. The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange was released last month, and results show the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 in the 2013-14 academic year. What is contributing to these record high figures?
Increasing numbers of international students in US universities had been a favorable trend these past few years.  The increased wealth among the middle class in countries across the globe has led to higher numbers of families sending students abroad. Foreign nations have also decreased the restrictions on outbound travel for sending countries, while restrictions for inbound travel for receiving countries have also lessened. These factors, in addition to an increased political interest in internationalization as a national policy in the top sending countries, have led to record numbers of international students here in the U.S.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 simple tips to celebrate a greener holiday

The holiday season is upon us – the season for indulging and splurging that is all too often at odds with sustainable, green living.  But there are a few simple choices you can make that will lead to a more environmentally-friendly holiday, without cutting back on the festive fun!

1. Christmas Tree - real or artificial?

Determining whether a real or artificial tree is the more sustainable choice is not as clear cut as you might think.  The greener choice may depend less on the type of tree and more on how the consumer plans to use and dispose of it.

Since real trees are readily biodegradable, you might think this is the obvious environmentally-friendly choice.  While a real tree is typically the greener choice, if the tree must be shipped long distances to be sold or is thrown out with the trash at the end of the season, its carbon footprint can rival that of an artificial tree!  Many municipalities have addressed this concern by providing pick up services or drop off locations for trees to be chipped and mulched, keeping the trees out of landfills.  If you choose to celebrate with a real tree, boost your green factor by purchasing one that is farmed locally and be sure to compost or mulch it at the end of the season.  (Of course, the greenest option of all would be to use a potted tree and plant it in the spring!)

Friday, December 5, 2014

5 Questions with Chris Szpryngel: How to manage Millennials in the workplace

1. Eighty-six million Millennials will be in the workplace by 2020, representing 40 percent of the work force, according to a study by the Intelligence Group. How do companies begin to prepare for this influx of Millennials?
First some context:  We look at the millennial generation as those born between the years of 1980 and the early/mid-2000s. They are the estimated 80 million Millennials who will make up the workforce for the next 70 years.  This is compared to 75 million boomers who have already begun to retire and 45 million Gen Xers, so hence the potential gap. The oldest Millennials are now 34 and the youngest are around 10 years old.  They are considered the largest generation and make up about 30 percent of the US population. I have two children who were born during this period and one borderline Millennial born in 1979. So for all intents and proposes, I know this generation very well. All too well! And employers should also get to know them too.  This group is different than the Gen Xers and much different than the Baby Boomers. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Post Experience: Sonia Ramirez; A journey of higher education

In 2012, Sonia Ramirez found herself at an intersection in her career. She was searching for a way to bring additional value into the organization she worked for and was eager to continue growing professionally.

When she hit this benchmark, Ramirez, the Managing Director of Operations at the YWCA of the City of New York, a non-profit organization, decided she was going to begin a journey.

“The starting point of that journey had to begin with enrolling in a competitive master’s degree program,” she said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Digital Learning Divide: A consumer revolution of technology for children

It all started early in October.  The daily mail bundle in our mailbox increased; not with bills, letters, or canvasing from local politicians but with holiday circulars. There were the glossy circulars with ‘shop early and often coupons’ and the less flashy circulars from the big box stores.  No matter the quality or number of coupons, they all had one thing in common: multiple pages of electronic devices geared at different young child and teens. Why buy Tickle Me Elmo when you can have a tablet?  Or a TV console geared specifically to your own age group?

As a parent of an elementary school-aged child, and an educator and scholar whose research focuses on emerging adults’ use of technology to communicate, I am savvy and knowledgeable about digital learning; however, I still wasn’t prepared for the amount of targeted marketing to children of all ages from the electronics retail industry. This onslaught of marketing came at the same time that my husband and I were considering purchasing a tablet for our soon to be 8-year old.