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A Conversation With Atul Gawande, MD: Living a Good Life All the Way to the End

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“When should we try to fix and when should we not?” asks Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH, in his latest bestselling book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Dr. Gawande is a practicing surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, a staff writer for The New Yorker and executive director of Ariadne Labs, a global health care innovation center.

Being Mortal is his fourth bestselling book. It’s a physician’s personal journey toward a better understanding of aging, serious illness and what it means to balance prolonging life with preserving the treasured priorities that mean the most to each human being as that life draws to a close.

Dr. Gawande is also the featured speaker at Mills-Peninsula’s Community Health Dinner and Lecture and the annual Mills-Peninsula Luncheon and Lecture in April 2016, benefiting the Mills-Peninsula Palliative Care Program and breast health programs.

In anticipation of his April visit to speak at our Mills-Peninsula events, we asked Dr. Gawande to share his insights about how doctors, patients and family members can partner together to help loved ones live a life that is meaningful to them all the way to the end of life.

Q: What were the key takeaways you learned from researching and writing Being Mortal?
DR. GAWANDE: I ended up interviewing more than 200 patients and family members about their experiences with serious illness and infirmity. I also interviewed scores of clinicians including palliative care physicians, hospice teams, nursing home aides and directors. The people who were really great at what they were doing had learned several key things. Read More

Mills Helps SF Giants Strike Out Stroke

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Mills-Peninsula volunteers helped make last month’s Strike Out Stroke event at San Francisco’s AT&T Park a great success, says Jenny Im, a Mills-Peninsula stroke coordinator.

Before the San Francisco Giants took the field for a game on August 15 2015, more than 30 volunteers gathered at the park to distribute giveaways with the FAST stroke warning signs: Read More

Ode to Joy Takes Flight at Mills-Peninsula

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Eight groups of birds seem to take flight from the grounds of Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame, California. The new public artwork Ode to Joy, created by acclaimed sculptor Douwe Blumberg, was commissioned by the hospital and installed this spring.

“I think the name of the piece, Ode to Joy, sums up my motivation,” says Blumberg. “People visiting the hospital are often going through something difficult. They can walk through this beautiful area and see something joyous.”

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Around the time Blumberg began working on this piece, he lost a good friend to brain cancer. Witnessing his friend’s struggle and coming to terms with his loss fueled Blumberg’s drive to create a work expressing freedom and joy.

The artist also created his flock of cast aluminum birds with Mills-Peninsula employees in mind. “Staff may have been treating very sick people all day,” Blumberg says. “This sculpture is meant to be something that can rise above all that.”

Blumberg has completed more than 200 commissions, including artwork for Ground Zero in New York City, the Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial and the royal residence in Dubai.

“The sculpture is beautiful and makes a very prominent entry statement for Burlingame,” says the city’s Vice Mayor Michael Brownrigg. “We are pleased that the hospital was willing to do this for the people of Burlingame.”

Ode to Joy can be viewed by hospital visitors, pedestrians and passing drivers near the intersection of El Camino Real and Trousdale Drive.

Drop, Cover and Hold On for the Great California ShakeOut

Get ready to rock, California. Mills-Peninsula Health Services and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation will join more than nine million expected participants in the Great California ShakeOut, the largest earthquake drill ever.

On Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m., organizations throughout the state will practice how to be safer during a major earthquake. Read More

Saving Lives in San Mateo County – Hep B Free Campaign


Hepatitis B is a serious disease of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Caused by the hepatitis B virus, the disease can go virtually unnoticed until it’s too late, says Dirk Baumann, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula vascular surgeon and chair of the San Mateo Hep B Free Campaign.

“One quarter of people infected die of liver failure or cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in certain Asian populations”, he says. “For this reason, hepatitis B is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’.”

In 2009, the San Mateo County Medical Association Community Service Foundation along with a strong steering committee pooled their resources to begin the San Mateo Hep B Free Campaign. Modeled after the highly successful San Francisco Hep B Free program, its goal is to raise awareness about the severity of the disease in San Mateo County. “San Mateo County has an incredibly diverse population, of which nearly 26 percent are Asians and Pacific Islanders (API),” Dr. Baumann says. “One out of every 10 people in this population has chronic hepatitis B, and two thirds do not know it.” Read More

Healthpoint TV: Face to Face with Medical Experts

Would you like more face time with doctors and other experts on the latest health topics and trends?

Mills-Peninsula’s Healthpoint TV features interviews with physicians and other health care professionals on a wide range of health and wellness subjects from pregnancy to emergency medicine and weight loss.

Healthpoint TV is based on Mills-Peninsula

Residents of San Mateo County are already familiar with Mills-Peninsula’s award-winning magazine Healthpoint, which features health information and updates on services provided at our community hospital – Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame – and Mills Health Center in San Mateo.

Now with 10 shows in rotation on local cable station Peninsula TV (Channel 26) Healthpoint TV, brings that same great information to life. Every 30-minute show also includes top tips on diet and exercise from Mills-Peninsula dietitians and exercise physiologists. In fact, Healthpoint TV won an award of it’s own recently for “excellence in health care marketing. Read More