SSM Health Care meets “Project Run­way,”

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We all know it, we all hate it, but it per­sists in near uni­ver­sal­ity nonethe­less: the “one-size-fits-none” hos­pi­tal gown.

As if be­ing fed on some­one else’s sched­ule and hav­ing your vi­tal signs dis­played on a com­puter screen weren’t dis­em­pow­er­ing enough, pa­tients can al­ways count on a hos­pi­tal gown to strip away any shred of lin­ger­ing dig­nity. Usu­ally faded from years of wash­ing, the manda­tory gowns fea­ture no pock­ets and a propen­sity for even slight breezes to trig­ger mo­ments of awk­ward peek­a­boos in front of mixed com­pany.

Why doesn’t some­one ask an ex­pert to redesign the hum­ble hos­pi­tal gown? Say, Michael Drum­mond from sea­son eight of “Project Run­way”?

That’s ex­actly what SSM Health Care in St. Louis did. Drum­mond and six SSM ex­ec­u­tives de­signed cou­ture hos­pi­tal gowns, and mod­els wore them on the run­way dur­ing the sys­tem’s an­nual Show­case for Shar­ing con­fer­ence, where em­ploy­ees gather to net­work, ex­change ideas and laugh at their bosses’ ex­pense.

Some of the de­signs were bet­ter than oth­ers, and a few seemed de­signed as much for hu­mor as func­tion. But Out­liers was en­cour­aged by sev­eral things.

First of all, sev­eral of the gowns fea­tured pock­ets for iPods. Now that is ex­ec­u­tive in­no­va­tion. Also in­ter­est­ing was a gown made from an­timi­cro­bial ma­te­rial and fea­tur­ing a cloth that turns a dif­fer­ent color in case of an ac­ci­dent. Scor­ing points for style were the an­i­mal-print and terry-cloth robes.

Drum­mond, a St. Louis res­i­dent, took lib­er­ties with the idea and came up with a hand-dyed ki­mono-style gown that, as the SSM web­site says, “of­fers both ease and wear­a­bil­ity and re­minds us that we can look fab­u­lous no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances.” Some­how, we don’t think the hand-dyed fabrics would stand up to the in­dus­trial wash­ing ma­chines hos­pi­tal gowns have to go through.

If what you re­ally want to do is di­rect …

For­get Cannes and Sun­dance. As­pir­ing film­mak­ers now have a new venue to show­case their work. But this fes­ti­val isn’t for edge-of-your-seat po­lit­i­cal thrillers or artsy for­eign flicks.

The As­so­ci­a­tion for Pro­fes­sion­als in In­fec­tion Con­trol and Epi­demi­ol­ogy, a Washington-based group known as APIC with more than 13,000 mem­bers, re­cently an­nounced it has be­gun ac­cept­ing en­tries for an in­fec­tion-pre­ven­tion-and-con­trol-themed film fes­ti­val, which will take place at its next an­nual con­fer­ence in Bal­ti­more in June 2011.

In­for­ma­tional videos, an­i­mated films, short doc­u­men­taries, and even hu­mor­ous looks at in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion are all fair game, says APIC, as long as en­tries tell a com­pelling story and run no longer than 10 min­utes. The win­ner will re­ceive free reg­is­tra­tion to the con­fer­ence, and the top film will be screened be­fore a live au­di­ence. If you wanna get your Scors­ese or Woody Allen on for health­care, the de­tails are avail­able at

“We hope our mem­bers will be in­spired to share best prac­tices in in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion, sto­ries of those per­son­ally af­fected by health­care-as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions, or per­sonal re­flec­tions on these is­sues,” says Vickie Brown, APIC’s 2011 con­fer­ence chair. It’s too early to make pre­dic­tions on the num­ber of en­tries, an APIC spokes­woman says, but the as­so­ci­a­tion is hop­ing for a big re­sponse: “We’re re­ally open to any type of story and, al­though we’ve been telling our mem­bers about it, any­one is el­i­gi­ble to en­ter, in­clud­ing pa­tients.”

Out­liers is hop­ing for a good love story.

The cure for the com­mon shop­ping binge?

If you start to doze off af­ter gob­bling down too much turkey this Thanks­giv­ing, just think of the tryp­to­phan in that bird as an in­oc­u­la­tion against an­other kind of ex­cess.

Ac­cord­ing to a study by Uni­ver­sity of Utah re­searchers, the high lev­els of tryp­to­phan in turkey and other pro­teins can make con­sumers less li­able to make im­pulse buys.

“We were very ex­cited to study the in­flu­ence of con­sum­ing a tryp­to­phan-rich meal in a nat­u­ral­is­tic way, rather than a lab set­ting,” says Arul Mishra, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at the David Ec­cles School of Busi­ness at the Uni­ver­sity of Utah. “We were able to demon­strate the ef­fects tryp­to­phan can have on con­sumer pur­chase de­ci­sions, par­tic­u­larly im­pul­sive ones.”

Seems the study showed that eat­ing foods rich in tryp­to­phan af­fected lev­els of sero­tonin, which helps reg­u­late emo­tions—in­clud­ing im­pul­siv­ity.

So re­mem­ber: If you’re think­ing of buy­ing that $15,000 ed­i­ble ginger­bread play­house from Neiman Mar­cus for lit­tle Is­abella or Ja­cob (and no, we’re not mak­ing that up:, just take a bite from a turkey sandwich, and step away from the cash reg­is­ter (or your com­puter).


Feel­ing im­pul­sive? Maybe some turkey can help. Idaho could “see if there could be a resur­gence of vol­un­tary as­sis­tance specif­i­cally around keep­ing adults sta­ble in the home en­vi­ron­ment.” —Idaho State Health and Wel­fare Di­rec­tor Dick Arm­strong in

the Spokesman-Re­view (Spokane, Wash.) to state leg­is­la­tors on the pos­si­bil­ity of us­ing vol­un­teers to fill gaps in Med­i­caid ser­vices

be­cause of bud­get prob­lems.

Michael Drum­mond’s cre­ation may not be util­i­tar­ian, but what would Heidi Klum say?

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