Monday, August 14, 2017

Eye Safety and the Total Solar Eclipse

Total Eclipse of 2017
On August 21, 2017 millions of eyes will be looking upwards to catch a glimpse of what is being dubbed "The Great American Solar Eclipse." This eclipse is indeed an exciting event since it has been nearly 100 years since the last time this has happened.! 

Unfortunately, this spectacular celestial event comes with a risk for those who look without preparation. The reason is that the sun's rays can scorch your retina with little or no warning, possibly causing permanent vision damage. So, it is very important to take some precautions if you decide to look at the eclipse. It can't be stressed enough that even short peeks at the sun can cause harm to your eyes and cause solar retinopathy, which is a hole burned in the retina. 

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon completely blocks the sun. The last time an eclipse like this crossed from coast to coast of North America was back in 1918, according to NASA--but that time it only was visible in a portion of the Northwest and western Canada. This time the total eclipse will cut a 70 mile wide swath from Oregon to South Carolina, while the rest of the continent will be dimmed 

Eye Safety Precautions: 
If you're in the path of the total eclipse (see map), the only time you can view the sun with the naked eye is when the moon completely covers it, known as the "totality." This is when the sun's corona (glowing gas aura) become visible. AT ANY OTHER TIME YOU SHOULD VIEW THE ECLIPSE THROUGH SPECIAL GLASSES! Or, if you don't have access to the eclipse glasses, NASA's website  offers instructions how to make homemade  pinhole projector from paper or a cereal box.

Make sure you buy certified eclipse glasses (beware of fakes!). Don't rely on your sunglasses. Normal sunglasses block about about half of the amount of light compared to specially manufactured protective eclipse glasses. They must meet an international standard known as ISO 12312-2--which is marked on the glasses so look for it because the American Astronomical Society has warned that many glasses being sold don't meet that standard even if they say they do so make sure you look for that number or go to the American Astronomical Society's website for a list of sellers that are certified for safety. 

Other Precautions:
Other safety concerns aside from proper glasses: 
* children: keep watch of them during the eclipse since most reported cases of solar retinopathy involve children. 
* don't magnify: don't use a telescope, binoculars or look through a camera unless there is a special solar filter over the lens
*driving: during the eclipse watch for distracted drivers and/or pedestrians. Most importantly, don't attempt to drive wearing the eclipse glasses! 

If you look:
If you're watching the eclipse from the path of totality, you should remove your eclipse glasses during totality.  If you keep your filters on during totality, you won't see anything because they block out almost all light. However, if you're watching the partial solar eclipse from other parts of the U.S., you must keep them on the entire time. If you take them off, not only do you risk burning your eyes, but you also won't be able to see the eclipse.

Have fun but be well informed. The following sites can help you plan for a safe, maybe once-in-a-lifetime event. 

If you don't have time to plan for this eclipse, take heart, here's a planner for the next 30 years. What are you doing in 2024?

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Woman's Heart

What Every Woman Should Know about Heart Attack
February is all about hearts! This month not only the American Heart Association's Go Red Month for heart disease awareness, it is also Valentine's Day, too.  It won't come as a surprise to say that men and women are different. But, it may surprise you to learn that mean and women may experience heart attacks differently, too. We are all familiar with the classic picture of a man clutching his chest in pain which immediately alerts us to the possibility of a heart attack. However, this may not happen in women, and instead women may experience other symptoms not quickly associated with heart attacks, such as:
  • Pain in the arm(s), back, neck, or jaw 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness 
  • Sweating 
  • Fatigue
While these symptoms may not be a heart attack by themselves, do not take a chance if you feel something isn't right. 

According to the CDC, women are "more likely to describe chest pain that is sharp, burning and more frequently have pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back."

You are not alone when it comes to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. According to the Go Red for Women website, 1 in 3 women's deaths are from heart disease and stroke, killing 1 women every 80 seconds!
* approximately 44 million women in the US are affected
* 90% of women have 1 or more risk factors
* 80% of heart disease and stroke events might be prevented by lifestyle changes
Learn more at

Are you at risk?
If you are Hispanic, you are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than their Caucasian counterparts and it is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women. Sadly, only 34% are even aware that heart disease is their biggest health risk. 1 in 8 women report their doctor has brought up their risk.
African-American women also have increased risk, killing over 48,000 annually. 48.3% of African-American women ages 20 and older have cardiovascular disease yet only 14% believe it is a big health problem risk. Worse, only 50% of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack!

Now for some good news just in time for Valentines Day: chocolate may not be so bad for you after all!
Chocolate benefits may include:
* lowering cholesterol levels
* preventing cognitive decline
* reducing risk of cardiovascular issues

Keep in mind the key word is "may"--more studies need to be done to prove the health benefits of chocolate conclusively. So, don't despair if you get some chocolate for Valentines Day, researchers suggest that "consuming a small amount of chocolate every day could lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease." Take care of your health, heart and most of all be aware of what your body may be telling you--it could save your life!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A New You for 2017?


It's that time of the year again! Are you one of the 38% who never make a New Year's resolution? If so, you don't need to read any further. But, if you are part of the other 62% of the population who makes a list every Jan 31st, then this post may offer some helpful tips--or at the very least, some insight as to why hope springs eternal for some of us each beginning of the calendar year.

The statistics aren't very encouraging: according to one site ( only 8% successfully fulfill their resolution goal. So, why do we do it and why do we fail?

Let's first start off with what a New Year's resolution is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is a "firm decision made on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day to do or refrain from doing something over the course of the coming year." (

That is it in a nutshell and believe it or not, modern society didn't invent it. It seems that this tradition goes back to ancient Babylonians who are rumored to have been the first to start the trend over 4,000 years ago! They also were the first to party on New Year's Eve as well, although for them it was not in January but rather when mid-March. And, it was not one night of festivity but 11 whole days so they had plenty of time to decide what promises they were going to make to their gods in return for good favor. However, in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar switched it to January 1st in honor of Janus, the god of new beginnings. Still, it wasn't officially recognized as January 1st until Pope Gregory XIII with the  creation of the Gregorian calendar in 1582. (

For those who do keep their resolutions, 63% admit to having broken a resolution at some point during the year while 65% break a resolution within just one month of New Year's! Some studies attribute this to a variety of reasons with the top reasons being:

* Going solo: If you're quitting a habit or tying to get fit, you may have a better chance of success if you find a support system or exercise buddy to establish some sort of accountability for your efforts (or non-efforts, whatever the case)
* Overly ambitious goals: If you're 55 and aim to finally fulfill a childhood dream of winning an Olympic medal, you may want to scale that dream back a little by starting walking and then later running in the local 5K race. Realistic goals are more likely achievable and will reinforce self-satisfaction instead of creating a feeling of failure by not qualifying for the Olympics.
* Giving up too easily: If you started dieting on January 1, don't be discouraged if you haven't lost as much weight as hoped by January 31st-- one day at a time.
* Time Management: Everyone has 5 minutes a day to devote towards something but not everyone has 5 hours a day or 5 days a week of free time. Take an inventory of your commitments and be realistic. If you have young family, your time commitment will be much different than a retiree's. Do what you can and don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
*No Plan: If you don't map out how you will get what you want, you probably won't get there. Even the best of us sometimes need a GPS getting places. Consider making a plan your own internal GPS of sorts so when you get off track, it will help you to end up where you wanted to be.

There are lots more reasons but really, it basically boils down to the fact that many of us create too many resolutions or ones that are unrealistic to achieve, no matter how good intentioned we are on January 1st.
Read more:

However, if you are determined to be part of that successful 8%, there are some scientific ways to approach goal setting which may be helpful.  

* Writing down goals: Putting your goals in writing helps to visualize and commit.
* Make it personal: Simply put, the more a goal means to you (and not others), the more likely you will try your best to make it happen.
* Small Steps: Break your goal down into small goals to track progress, then celebrate each milestone you set.

Read more about this positive approach:

Despite all the naysayers and dismal statistics, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, "people who explicitly make resolutions are 10xs more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make them."

So there you go. Whether you are one who loves to make resolutions or not, it is totally up to you but remember, if you do, be kind to yourself and extend the same encouragement to yourself as you would to others.

Some inspirational quotes to get you started.
We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier.' (Alfred Tennyson)'s your turn! please share your resolutions with us and keep us updated throughout the year. Will you be part of the 8%?

Happy New Year 2017!
Thanks for reading our blog,
the Trinitas Library staff

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Holidays!

To celebrate the holidays we made this video for you!


Have a healthy and safe holiday season,
Trinitas Library & Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Elizabeth, NJ


Monday, November 14, 2016

by Guest blogger, Johanna Thomas
November is the unofficial start to the holiday season.  Some get into the spirit of the holidays immediately after Halloween.   Others dislike that Thanksgiving is almost always overlooked.  Facebook is full of friendly battles over when it’s appropriate to start decorating for the season.  On November 1st? Before Thanksgiving?  After Thanksgiving?   Most of us might never agree on the best time to start the celebrations.

What all of us can agree on is that November is also the month were we celebrate and give thanks to our Veterans.  Every year on November 11th we remember to give our thanks and show our appreciation to all of the sacrifices veterans have made for our freedom.  Here at Trinitas Regional Medical Center I am proud to say that we do not wait until Veterans Day to honor our veterans.  With the collaboration of Trinitas’ Palliative Care and the Hospital Elder Life Program, the “We Honor Veterans” program ( was implemented to honor and thank those hospitalized patients who served in the military. 
Since we started the recognition program we have honored over 45 veterans (and families) from all branches of service.  Patients who are identified as a veteran get a personalized certificate of appreciation, a thank you card, and an American flag.  The “We Honor Veterans” program at Trinitas Regional Medical Center has honored veterans from WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, and Peacekeeping. 
I felt grateful to shake the hand of a patient who was a member of the Borinqueneers, a Puerto Rican regiment of the US Army (  We were honored to be in the presence of one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military pilots!  As the staff presented him with his recognition certificate he told us several stories about the hardships and discrimination black pilots endured during their service. 

Another moving story came from a family whose estranged father had served in Vietnam.  The Social Work Team at Trinitas was able to locate the adult children and present them with their father’s certificate days before their father died.  Another patient thanked us through tears and said that no one had ever done that for him. 

Several of the veterans we have recognized during their hospital stay have struggled with addictions, PTSD, and depression to name a few.  During their hospitalization, our goal is to acknowledge their sacrifice to our country and to assist them and their families with any support services we can provide.  Our true democracy was and continues to be possible because of the brave men and women who fought for it.  At TRMC, with our most humble and sincere gratitude, we are proud to be a part of a team that recognizes and acknowledges the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families. 

Veterans can be honored any day of the year, not just on Veterans Day.
For more ways to support/honor veterans visit:

#trinitasregionalmedicalcenter #TRMC #wehonorveterans #veterans #veteransday

Friday, October 7, 2016

Celebrating Medical Librarians Month

National Medical Librarians Month 2016
Every year, the Medical Library Association designates October as National Medical Librarians Month  to raise awareness about the important role  Medical Librarians play. 
We all know what Librarians do but what exactly do Medical librarians do?
Most of our customers are health care professionals. In a teaching hospital we assist with the medical education needs of our doctors, nurses, students and other staff. Medical Librarians also conduct research, build collections, teach how to find and evaluate information, keep on top of technology trends and demands, and much more. In addition, by helping health care providers stay current with advances in their specialty areas, Medical Librarians help contribute to the quality of patient care.
Medical Librarians are an integral part of the healthcare team. Studies show that librarian-led information services and resources improve both clinical decision making and patient-care outcomes, so it is a win-win!
Here at Trinitas Regional Medical Center located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, our Medical Library is very active. We have several Residency programs ranging from Internal Medicine to Podiatry to Psychiatry, and medical students, nurses, and allied health personnel all using the Library's services and resources every day, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!
Over the course of any given year, the Librarian performs hundreds of literature searches on various clinical topics for patient care and research. Plus, our support staff fulfills nearly 4,000 Interlibrary Loan and document delivery requests per year.
However, we're not just a clinical Library. We also offer a variety of services to hospital employees as well, such a family friendly DVDs, world music cds, a spiritual book collection, daily newspapers, tv news scroll, computer stations and even a courtesy charging station for our customers to use for a variety of electronic devices.  
Our Medical Library offers opportunities for consumers to learn about many medical topics, such as prediabetes, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer's and  medical terms in the form of an online quiz game. The quizzes are now available in English and Spanish, too.

To date our quizzes have reached over 10,000 people world wide through our hospital and Library websites plus the virtual platform of Second Life!

Please feel free to follow us on social media. We tweet daily about consumer health studies, medical breakthroughs, technology trends etc:
Twitter: @TrinitasLibrary

Website: Medical Library:

staff: Elisabeth Marrapodi, Library Director
         Ritza Alexandre, Library Assistant

Friday, September 9, 2016

Volunteering is Good for You

Spotlight on the Trinitas Volunteers Department

Recent research has indicated that serving others might be the essence of good health, helping to ward off loneliness, depression and possibly even lowering blood pressure. With those kinds of rewards, it's no wonder around 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization over the past couple of years in the United States!

Volunteerism At Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Volunteers at Trinitas Regional Medical Center are an important part of our hospital family. These dedicated individuals donate their time and efforts to supplement and extend the activities of our employees.

The Volunteer program at Trinitas helps to hold down escalating healthcare costs as we continue to offer the highest quality service to our patients and community.

In 2015, our 309 volunteers, ranging from 14 to 95 years of age, provided 52,018 hours of service to the hospital, and volunteered in over 52 different departments.  One of our volunteers has been here for 32 years! In total, they have donated 716 years of service.

The Role Of A Volunteer: Patient Care
Volunteers supplement our employees in many ways: transporting patients, escort service, comforting and entertaining patients within the hospital through several programs, such as Spirit of Service and  Reach Out and Read.

Elder Life Program (HELP)
This program was created in 2013. It is designed to prevent delirium (acute confusion) by keeping hospitalized older patients oriented to their surroundings. This is done by promoting activities, adequate nutrition and fluids, and a calm environment. Our volunteers offer older patients extra special attention that could ultimately improve their overall hospital stay.

To be involved in this area, volunteers receive specific training and play a key role in carrying out interventions that are created for each patient in the program on an individual basis. To date 63 volunteers have participated.

If you'd like more in depth information about this program, HELP was spotlighted in a previous blog post.

Patients' Families
Volunteers work at the Information Desk and provide visitors with information and assistance as needed. Volunteers also offer families in the Surgical Waiting Room coffee/tea and various reading materials and games, as well as providing limited patient information.

Other non-clinical areas such as Administration, Medical Offices, Finance, the Library, Public Relations, Human Resources and the Lab are also supported by volunteers who assist with clerical and computer skills.

Seniors First
Trinitas Regional Medical Center's commitment to the needs of seniors is reflected in our Seniors First program, which is an all-in-one approach to care for seniors and their caregivers. Volunteers serve as Seniors First escorts, and in helping older patients find their way around the hospital.

Support Services
Volunteers also supplement the paid staff in such service areas as Building Management, Dietary, Warehouse and Transportation.

Community Outreach
Many volunteers are recruited from local schools and colleges focusing on the specific needs of the Hospital. In addition, agreements with such programs as: Community Work Experience (Welfare), Union County College and various others provide work experience through community outreach.

Our volunteers also assist in Health Fairs, Screening Programs, and other public advocacy efforts.

Patient Liason
Volunteers visit patients to welcome them to the medical center. They also advise patients as to how to register their concerns regarding any unmet needs.  Volunteers also provide blankets, ice water, and reading materials. This program began in 2009, and 186 volunteers to date have participated.

Animal Assisted Activities Program
Trinitas also offers special volunteer program that offers patients visits by specially trained animals!

* The Morris & Charlotte Rudner Memorial Award is presented to an outstanding adult volunteer in memory of Nadine Brechner's (Trinitas Health Foundation) parents
* Janet Memorial Teen Award is presented to an outstanding teen volunteer

Hours Of Operation
The Volunteer Services Office is open Monday through Friday from 8am-4pm. The Information Desk is open 8am-8 pm, Monday through Friday and 9am-8pm Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers are assigned to various areas during their specific hours of operation within the 8am-8pm daily schedules. An added benefit is that all Trinitas volunteers receive free, on-site parking as well as free lunch each day they work!

How To Become A Volunteer
To become a volunteer, stop by the Volunteer Office to pick up an application, fill it out and return it in the postage paid envelope. You may also phone the Volunteer Office to request an application at