Trio Honored as ‘Women of Influence’ in Health Care

Three women at Glendale hospitals were recognized this week by the Los Angeles Business Journal as being among its “Women of Influence” in health care.
The publication named Alice Issai, president of Adventist Health Glendale, Theresa Murphy, chief nursing officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, and Mary Virgallito, associate administrator of quality and patient safety at USC-VHH, among the 40 total honorees.
For its list, the Business Journal said it identified “particularly stellar health industry stewards” in the L.A. region, whose leadership shined throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The health care leaders were chosen by the Los Angeles Business Journal to be recognized for exceptional stewardship and achievement across the full spectrum of responsibility, exemplary leadership as evidenced by the highest professional and ethical standards, and for contributions to the health and wellbeing of the Los Angeles community at large,” the Business Journal wrote.
Issai was recognized for leading Adventist Health through numerous advancements throughout the past several years, including the development of a structural heart program, growth of a number of surgical sub-specialties and the expansion of primary care physicians and specialists at the institution. The Business Journal also noted that the hospital was named among California’s top 5% by the U.S. News & World Report and was among five South California hospitals awarded a five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Murphy was lauded for her continued advocacy for improvements to nurse working culture, having helped implement updated work practices for the pandemic and also support services to combat burnout among USC-VHH’s nursing staff. She is chair of the Hospital Association of Southern California’s Nursing Advisory Committee, where she has also developed and led sessions addressing staff burnout and crisis response.
Virgallito was heralded for her quick response at the start of the pandemic to establish new infection prevention protocols that helped reserve the limited supply of personal protective equipment by making use of remote technology and no-touch cleaning. She was the statewide representative for California chapters of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology to the state Department of Public Health’s Healthcare Acquired Infections Advisory Committee.

Health Professionals Give Guidance for Vaccine and Beyond

Photo courtesy USC-VHH
Why are those getting the COVID-19 vaccinations experiencing headaches, fevers or chills the next day? Medical professionals stress that such reactions mean the vaccine is doing its job — teaching your body how to fend off the coronavirus.

As vaccines for the coronavirus are gradually made available to more and more members of the public, researchers and medical professionals want people to prepare for what it means to be vaccinated and what to expect when getting the key second dose.
Understanding those details will be crucial to finally turning the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, when we can transition back to a relatively normal state of affairs. For that to happen, the large majority of the population will likely need to be inoculated.
“The only way we’re going to get out of the situation with COVID-19 is an aggressive vaccine campaign, but I think because of the speed with which the vaccine was developed and also some political turmoil, there are some doubts about the efficacy of the vaccine,” explained Dr. Nicholas Testa, the divisional chief medical officer of Dignity Health’s Southern California Division. “To get to this idea of herd immunity, the number that they’re looking at is having somewhere between 70 and 90% of the population being vaccinated.”

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Schedule for Vaccinating GUSD Employees Is Uncertain

Photo courtesy USC-VHH
Mary Virgallito, an infection prevention specialist at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, receives her COVID-19 vaccination in December. Virgallito said the hospital is “on standby” to begin vaccinating Glendale Unified School District employees when county officials permit it.

A sudden emphasis on extending COVID-19 vaccination opportunities to residents 65 and older in Los Angeles County may alter plans for a local hospital to begin inoculating Glendale Unified School District educators.
Nothing is set in stone, and the likelihood of further changes will probably grow as President Joe Biden’s administration settles in during the coming weeks. For now, however, the plan for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital to begin vaccinating GUSD employees against the virus starting on Jan. 30 has been paused. In an era of fast-breaking news, this change of plans came 24 hours after the GUSD Board of Education was briefed on the rollout.
“As with everything with COVID, there have been so many twists and turns,” said Mary Virgallito, associate administrator for quality and patient safety at USC-VHH, in an interview Thursday. “We’re just awaiting further guidance. We’ve done everything we can, including submitting a plan, so until the county activates us, we’re on standby.”

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COVID-19: Don’t Forget the Basics of Prevention

By Mary Virgallito, Special to The Outlook

Mary Virgallito

During a time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, I’d like to take this opportunity to review what is currently known about COVID-19 and provide a refresher on the basics about preventing the spread of respiratory diseases. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed.
How it is spread: COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses or inhaled into the lungs of people within close contact (about 6 feet) of an infected person who has produced these droplets. Surface-to-person transmission of COVID-19 has not yet been documented but current evidence suggests that the virus can remain viable for hours to days on a variety of surfaces. Therefore, it is recommended to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work for this purpose.
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USC-VHH Infection Expert Shares Germ Zapper With LCHS

Mary Virgallito visited her former teacher Mark Ewoldsen and some of his AP biology students on Monday, delivering a presentation meant to inform and inspire.

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK La Cañada High School graduate Mary Virgallito, director of Patient Safety at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, visited Mark Ewoldsen’s AP biology class to introduce students to a Xenex germ-zapping robot.
Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
La Cañada High School graduate Mary Virgallito, director of Patient Safety at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, visited Mark Ewoldsen’s AP biology class to introduce students to a Xenex germ-zapping robot.

The La Cañada High School graduate brought an important, powerful friend with her. Continue reading “USC-VHH Infection Expert Shares Germ Zapper With LCHS”