RIC Matters 2014-11-05 - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC Matters 2014-11-05

Quote of the Week

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Winston Churchill

Back Issues

To find previous issues, go to our Index of RIC Matters back issues.


SkyRise Chicago Participants Rise to the Occasion for Best Year Ever

On a crisp, clear Sunday morning the first wave of stair climbers and hand cyclists began their ascent to help raise funds for RIC as the most successful SkyRise Chicago to date got underway.

With friends, dedicated volunteers, colleagues and supporters cheering them on, nearly 3,000 participants either climbed the 103 floors of Willis Tower or handcycled the equivalent distance on stationary machines.

“SkyRise is so much more than a stair-climbing event. It's a celebration of the human spirit," said Dr. Joanne C. Smith, president and CEO of RIC. "The climb brings together friends, family, patients past and present, doctors, therapists and community members to show their support for the unyielding perseverance that so many dedicate to rehabilitation."

Dr. Smith said this year’s SkyRise Chicago was the most successful in its six-year history thanks to a record number of participants and an increase in corporate sponsorship.

Among the stair climbers this year was Sen. Mark Kirk, who last year climbed after relearning how to walk at RIC following a massive stroke. Former patient Adam Finney, who broke his back and sustained a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, handcycled in the event.

The first group of “elite” climbers started up at 7 a.m. with the fastest climber hitting the top at 13 minutes, 37 seconds. The fastest handcycle time was 15 minutes, 47 seconds. But SkyRise is not a competition. It’s a friendly, community event, and many SkyRisers received a finisher's medal from an RIC patient – a reminder of why SkyRise Chicago’s fundraising efforts are so important.

For those who took part in SkyRise, please remember that fundraising does not end after the climb. Donations are still being accepted. Please continue to spread the word about RIC and your SkyRise achievement throughout your network.

The winners of the top fundraising prizes will be announced soon. Tracy Biskner, Executive Director of Planning and Project Management, just won a set of Chicago Bulls tickets.

For more SkyRise Chicago photos, click the arrows above.

RIC and SkyRise Chicago captured the attention and hearts of the networks and newspapers, including NBC Nightly News.

Here are links to a few of the stories:    

NBC Nightly News - http://youtu.be/5-UaoD2PcEk

ABC (live segment, pre-event) - http://youtu.be/3OGA-kNc914

FOX32 - http://youtu.be/LfXi9oaqmZ0

NBC - http://youtu.be/k3SylGVJflM


2015 Benefits Open Enrollment Information

RIC’s 2015 Benefits Open Enrollment period is currently underway through November 28th. This is a once-per-year opportunity to make changes to your benefits plan. If you want to continue your current medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage as it is today, no action is required.

During this time, you can:

  • Add or cancel coverage for yourself and your dependents, or switch medical/dental insurance plans by completing the 2015 Enrollment Form
  • Enroll in a Health Care or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for 2015
  • Apply to purchase additional voluntary life insurance or enroll for short-term disability insurance. For more information, please email benefits@ric.org or call 312-238-4138.

These changes must be submitted to HR by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 28.

If you participate in our Commuter Flexible Spending Account, please be aware that this benefit will change in spring 2015. The Commuter Flexible Spending Account (FSA) will change from a one month to a two month pre-fund process, beginning with the April 2015 payroll deduction which will fund June 2015 transit/parking passes. There will be a one month ramp up period associated with this change, meaning transit/parking orders for May 2015 will not be funded by April 2015 payroll deductions.  You can increase your monthly pre-tax contribution (not to exceed the pre-tax limits of $130.00 for Transit and $250.00 for Parking) in the months preceding the transition so you will have residual funds to cover your May passes.

Example: If your monthly pass costs $80.00, increase your monthly payroll deductions to $100.00 from December 2014 to March 2015. This will result in a residual Commuter FSA balance of $80.00 that can be used to fund May 2015 passes.

Please refer to the 2015 Commuter FSA Change Planning document for additional information. 


Please use the following resources to assist you during Benefits Open Enrollment:

  • A meeting calendar of benefits open enrollment informational meetings and enrollment support sessions at RIC clinic locations and the flagship hospital
  • A 2015 benefits booklet that can be used as a quick guide for your RIC benefits
  • A 2015 enrollment form to review 2015 rates and mark any medical, dental, and vision coverage changes

For those who are unable to attend onsite meetings, we will also be conducting two webinars:

Friday, November 7th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Follow this link to participate: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/468238237   Then dial 630-581-0238.  The PIN is 501595.

Thursday, November 20th from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Follow this link to participate: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/453175965   Then dial 630-581-0238.  The PIN is 501595.

If you have any questions about RIC’s benefits or the Benefits Open Enrollment process, please contact benefits@ric.org or Mike Manthey at 312-238-4138.

RIC Brings Halloween Festivities to Patients

The Therapeutic Recreation Department and the Caring for Kids Program at RIC helped our young patients celebrate Halloween with pumpkin carving and a costume party last week.

The Therapeutic Recreation Department hosted its first ever pumpkin carving event, inviting patients and their therapists throughout the hospital to decorate a pumpkin for Halloween.

The Caring for Kids Program also helped young patients celebrate Halloween with a spooky afternoon of fun. Children enjoyed activities that included decorating sugar skulls, playing Halloween-themed “Minute to Win It” games and taking turns walking the runway for a costume fashion show. 

Staff and patients dressed up in costumes including the Hulk, sisters Elsa and Anna from the movie, “Frozen,” and even as pieces of bacon. 

More than 30 patients and therapists attended. Patients had an opportunity to work on a wide range of goals from fine motor skills to planning and sequencing. It was both fun and therapeutic.

For more photos of the party and pumpkin carving events, click the arrows below.

















Memorial Program for Dr. Alice Brandfonbrener Scheduled for November 10

A memorial program honoring Dr. Alice Brandfonbrener, a former RIC Physiatrist, has been scheduled for Monday, November 10, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Brandfonbrener was internationally known for her pioneering treatment of the injuries and health issues of opera stars, musicians and other entertainers. She was Medical director of RIC’s Medical Program for Performing Artists from 1998-2005, and guided numerous performers back to health.

The memorial will begin at 5 p.m. in the Pritzker Auditorium on the third floor of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Feinberg Pavilion. A reception will follow.

Esprit! Award Nominees Named

Congratulations to our most recent Esprit! Award nominees. These employees have been recognized by their peers for going “above and beyond” in their work and embodying the RIC Values in all they do. To see which of your peers were nominated, please click here.

We want to remind you that thanks to the Prince Family Esprit! Program, there is an easy and fun way to recognize your RIC colleagues. It’s the Esprit! Award Peer Recognition Program, and you can recognize your colleagues for exemplary effort using handwritten “You Made My Day!” Thank-You notes.

On every floor and in every department, “Thank-You” notes are readily available. Once you have written a “Thank You” note, please make a copy before giving it to the person you wish to recognize. After you have given your colleague the note, submit the copy to Stephanie Adams in the Human Resources Department.

Why not write a note today about a colleague who went above and beyond? If you have any questions regarding the Esprit! Award Peer Recognition Program, or need any materials, please contact Stephanie at 8-6291 or sadams@ric.org.

RIC Offers Employee Referral Premium Award of $1,000

RIC is always looking to hire great people and we believe our employees are one of the best ways to recruit qualified candidates. Because we value your referrals, for a limited time RIC  is offering a special Employee Referral Premium Award for Occupational Therapist (OT) and Physical Therapist (PT) referrals! What does this mean? Qualifying employees will be eligible to receive a Premium Award of $1,000 for referring OTs and PTs. To qualify for this special offer, OT and PT referrals must be received by the Talent Acquisition team in HR between November 5 and November 30, 2014, and be hired by January 30, 2015.

To refer a candidate:

  1. 1) Direct the candidate to apply online (preferred method)
    1.      a) Candidate must identify the referring employee as the “Source” when applying online in order for employee to be eligible for an award, or
    2. 2) Forward candidate information to Talent Acquisition, including:
      1.      a) Submitting candidate resume (if available), and
      2.      b) Submitting a completed Employee Referral Form (click here for link).

When submitting candidate information and completed employee referral form directly to Talent Acquisition, please send to:

Arturo Romo, RIC Recruitment Coordinator

Email: aromo@ric.org (preferred)

Fax: 312-238-1216

Paper: Interoffice to Human Resources – Onterie Building, 10th Floor.

Please hurry if you want to participate in this special offer! If your OT or PT referral falls outside of the qualifying period of this offer, you will still be eligible to receive the standard employee referral award of $250.

Don't forget! All RIC positions across the system of care have a designated standard referral award. Please refer to the GREEN Employee Referral Program Guidelines (click here for link) for questions related to who is qualified to receive an employee referral award and payout information. If you have any questions, please contact Marty Pearson, Director, Talent Acquisition at mpearson1@ric.org.

Overhang Ceiling Repair Scheduled for Next Week

The exterior plaster overhang ceiling above the main east entrance of the flagship building will undergo minor repair from Monday, November 10 through Saturday, November 15. Contractors will install scaffolding and overhead protection above the main entrance for safety. We appreciate your understanding as we undergo facilities maintenance. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this work, please contact Jerry Giovannelli, Director, Planning and Construction @ jgiovannel@ric.org or at extension 8-1304.

LIFE Center Shares Resources for November Health Awareness

The LIFE Center would like to share a list of resources with employees, patients and families to promote National Family Caregiver Month and National Diabetes Awareness Month.

For  access to the list of resources, please click here.

Oktoberfest a Big Hit

The Oktoberfest and Farmers Market last week were a huge success. The food was delicious, the staff and diners had a blast and the fall weather was perfect.





Santa Needed for Caring For Kids Christmas Party

The Caring for Kids program is looking for a volunteer to play Santa Claus and is also seeking a group of carolers for the Caring for Kids Christmas Party on December 20. The program needs a Santa from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and carolers from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. The Santa would need to have his own suit. Please contact Ashley Gruenwald, CTRS, Program Specialist, Caring for Kids at 8-8-5005 or email her at agruenwald@ric.org.

Compliance Corner – Getting the IRB Involved

When conducting research on human subjects, researchers must submit the project to an  Institutional Review Board (IRB) for review. IRB must approve the project before work can begin (45 CFR 46.101 (a)). Non-human subjects research does not require IRB approval beforehand.

The two key questions to consider in determining whether to submit your project to the IRB are:

1)      Is it research? Research is defined as a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (45 CFR 46.102 (d))

2)      Are human subjects involved? A human subject is a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains either: a) Data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or b) Identifiable private information. (45 CFR 46.102 (e))

Here are a few examples:

a)      A researcher plans to conduct a study on the comments posted on a public blog for patients who have had a stroke.

This would be classified as non-human subjects research, therefore it does not have to be submitted to the IRB (No intervention or interaction with patients; no private information).

b)      A bioengineer researcher plans to examine spine tissue to determine the mechanical properties that help protect the spine from inadvertent damage. All of the spine tissues would be obtained from postmortem de-identified specimens.

This would be classified as non-human subjects research, therefore it does not have to be submitted to the IRB. (Cadaver material. Not from a living individual; no identifiable information).

c)      A psychologist proposes videotaping interactions between groups of toddlers receiving rehabilitation services and their caregivers to determine which intervention methods most effectively manage aggression.

This would be classified as human subjects research, therefore  it does need to be submitted to the IRB for approval before the project work is started. (Interaction and intervention with living individuals; collecting identifiable data; contributing to generalizable knowledge).

The Northwestern University IRB, which typically provides IRB services on behalf of RIC, provides a tool called the Human Subject Research Determination Form to help researchers determine whether their project needs to be submitted to the IRB. For more information, visit the IRB web site at http://irb.northwestern.edu/

When your research proposal is ready, complete and email the signed form, along with any relevant supporting documents (such as a protocol), to irb@northwestern.edu. If it is determined that your project is non-human subjects research, which does not require IRB oversight, then the authorized IRB personnel will endorse and date the form, and return it to you. Please keep this form on file as an official determination of non-human subjects research from the IRB. In addition to the general IRB email provided above, the assigned IRB liaison to RIC is Lucas Sikorski, Senior IRB Coordinator at the Northwestern University . Lucas can be reached by email at lsikorski@northwestern.edu or by phone at 312-503-6010 for questions and additional guidance. 

RIC Insider


Family & Friends Basic Life Saving Training Tomorrow

The Prince Family Esprit! Program is offering the Family & Friends Basic Life Saving training program through the American Heart Association tomorrow at the flagship in Room 1659 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Registration in advance is required, using the Learning Management System (LMS), found on RIC Connect. Click on the “Learning Management System” link.  Your LMS user name and password are first name.last name and welcome. Once you are logged in to the LMS main page, click on Course Catalog > CPR/Medical Emergency Classes > Family & Friends.

If you have questions regarding Family & Friends training or registration, please contact Stephanie Adams at sadams@ric.org or 312-238-6291.

Last Weight Watchers Open House

For those interested in learning more about joining Weight Watchers, there will be one more open house on Tuesday, November 11, from 11:30 a.m. to noon in the Magnuson Auditorium, 16th Floor.

Through the Prince Family Esprit! Program, RIC  offers employees the opportunity to participate in Weight Watchers programs. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Adams at sadams@ric.org or 312-238-6291.

RIC Matters Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit articles and announcements for RIC Matters is Monday at noon if you want them published in the following Wednesday’s newsletter. Please remember if your articles are time sensitive to submit them as early as possible to: RICMatters@ric.org. Thanks!

Superior Street Sprout Café Menu

Please click here to access the Superior Street Sprout Café menu.

Participate in The Great American Smokeout with the Prince Family Esprit! Program

If you are ready to kick your tobacco habit, the Prince Family Esprit! Program is here to help! On Thursday November 20, we are proud to promote the Great American Smokeout. The Prince Family Esprit! Program will provide information and resources on the day of the Great American Smokeout and the days leading up to the event to help you quit.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks leading up to the Great American Smokeout for more information.

Non smokers are encouraged to participate, too. Show solidarity with your colleagues by giving up one of your vices – it could be your morning coffee, unhealthy snacking during the day, or any other unhealthy habit you want to quit. We encourage you to reach out to your tobacco-using colleagues to make the pledge together.  

The Prince Family Esprit! Program also provides a FREE tobacco cessation program to our employees. The program, Quit For Life, is designed to help you build new skills to think differently about tobacco through online tools, a printed workbook, and toll-free access to expert Quit Coaches®.

If you want to get a head start with the Quit for Life Tobacco Cessation Program, you can enroll in the following ways:

  • Call 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (866-784-8454)
  • Visit https://www.quitnow.net. When you log on to the site, select “Enroll Now” at the top of the page. You will be taken to an enrollment site. Select RIC (or Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) from the drop-down menu under “Select Your Employer” and then select your health plan from the drop-down menu under “Select Your Health Plan.” Enter your home zip code and press “Submit Form” to get started.

The program is free for RIC employees; however, knowing that quitting is often a collaborative effort, the program is also open to RIC employees’ dependents for $375 per person.

For more information about Quit For Life or the Great American Smokeout, please contact Stephanie Adams at ext. 8-6291 or sadams@ric.org.

If you plan to enroll a dependent in the program, please contact Stephanie before registering  him/her through Quit For Life. Payment for dependent participation in Quit For Life will be made through a payroll deduction, and Stephanie can help you arrange this.

Welcome New RIC Team Members

Lucy Arias – Patient Care Technician, Nursing Flex Staff

Hannah Arntson – Programmer, Research – Sensory Motor Performance Program

Ashley Choi – Medical Records Technician

Heather de Souza – Registry Occupational Therapist, Flex Staff

Ro’chik Earl Kelley – Housekeeper II, Environmental Services

Juavanda Lewis – Accounts Payable Clerk, Office of Controller

Courtney Polock – Occupational Therapist, Inpatient Float

Kaitlin Reilly – Physical Therapist, Traumatic Brain Injury Unit

Jennifer Rodriguez – Patient Care Technician, Stroke Unit

Arturo Romo – Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources

Libby Rosenstein – Registry Occupational Therapist, Flex Staff

Diane Rowles – Manager, Provider Relationship, Referral Development

Madeline Schork –Registry Care Manager, Flex Staff

Maureen Stress – Registry Psychologist

Marine Sutrisno – Occupational Therapist, Wheeling DayRehab

Judy Jue Wang – Registry Physical Therapist, Flex Staff

Patricia  Raleigh – Occupational Therapist, Flex Staff