Keeping your cool when it’s hot

Black woman portrait cooling off at home during summer heat

Heat waves can be tough for us Minnesotans — but we’re not alone, and we’re pretty resourceful when it comes to dealing with extreme temperatures. When those thermometers rise it’s not uncommon for even the hardiest folks lose their cool. Thankfully, there are ways to maintain a comfortable internal temperature AND keep calm, cool, and collected during hot weather.

“Extreme heat is hard on everyone, regardless of how resilient you are,” explains clinical health psychologist, Dr. Kristi White. “For people with certain mental health and medical concerns, extreme heat can take an even bigger toll. This can be due to certain medications and conditions that limit the body’s ability to temperature regulate.”

Extreme heat also has a disproportionate impact on the health and well-being of people who live in neighborhoods or work in places without shade, access to green space, or cooling spaces.

“Research has also shown that hotter temperatures are associated with poorer sleep, worsening mental health symptoms, and increased medical events,” said Dr. White. “With climate change contributing to worsening heat waves, we can expect that we will need to take steps to adapt and cope with these types of events going forward.”

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Nneka O. Sederstrom named Chief Health Equity Officer

nneka-sederstrom-v3Nneka O. Sederstrom, PhD, MPH, MA, FCCP, FCCM has joined Hennepin Healthcare as its Chief Health Equity Officer. In this role, Dr. Sederstrom joins Hennepin Healthcare’s Executive Leadership Team to drive organizational work to assess, build, and execute strategies to cultivate a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion and transform how care is delivered. She is a recognized national speaker on many topics including racism, racial disparities, bias, crisis standards of care and treatment, end-of-life care and many aspects of diversity and ethics.

Working collaboratively with teams from across Hennepin Healthcare, Dr. Sederstrom will develop and implement sustainable practices that foster and affirm a patient care environment where disparities are eliminated and all patients can achieve optimal health outcomes. She will also foster community involvement through Hennepin Healthcare’s Community Advisory Board and build other alliances and partnerships to better align care and service models with the communities served by the healthcare system.

“Dr. Sederstrom brings a proven record as a change agent, the ability to bring diverse groups forward together realizing the importance of everyone’s role in optimal health and healing, and proven leadership transforming clinical practice to realized health outcomes,” said Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer DeCubellis.

This extensive leadership experience in program development, training, speaking and writing about racism, social justice, ethics, and their impact on the delivery of healthcare comes from many significant roles held by Dr. Sederstrom, including most recently her position as Director of Clinical Ethics Department at Children’s Minnesota. Prior to this she was the Director of the Center for Ethics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, where she also led the Spiritual Care Department and she was the creator and Executive Director of the Journal of Hospital Ethics.

On a local level, Dr. Sederstrom serves on the MN COVID Ethics Collaborative, Metro Compact Critical Care Core, Minnesota Medical Association Ethics and Legal Committee, and is Vice Chair of the Make-A-Wish Minnesota board of directors.

Dr. Sederstrom earned a BA in Philosophy from George Washington University, MA in Philosophy and PhD in Sociology from Howard University, and a MPH in Global Health Management from George Washington University. She is a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Critical Care Medicine, and an affiliate faculty member of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.

“We feel strongly that to change the trajectory of our community, we need to change how healthcare is delivered from the ground up,” explains DeCubellis. “Dr. Sederstrom brings the vision, energy, and leadership to advance us on that journey. We are excited to welcome her and leverage the incredible talent across our organization in partnership with her to drive this work forward.”