University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Health and Wellness

Friday, September 12, 2014

Understanding Kidney Transplantation

Do you have chronic kidney disease? Do you know someone who does? Have you explored kidney transplant as a treatment option?

According to the National Kidney Foundation, over 101,000 people in the United States are awaiting a kidney transplant. Most kidney transplants come from deceased donors, but transplants from a living donor actually have a better chance of long-term survival than those from a deceased donor.

On Sunday, September 21, we’re offering a new, two-hour interactive conference with doctors and nurses from the Kidney Transplant team. The event will allow chronic kidney disease patients, their friends or family, and those interested in donating a kidney to learn more about transplant. During it, the team will answer questions such as:

• What are the benefits and risks of kidney transplant?

• Is it safe to be a live kidney donor?

• How do I get on the transplant waiting list?

• What’s involved in the kidney transplant surgery?

The Understanding Kidney Transplantation event will take place at the Hilton on City Line Avenue over a complimentary brunch. There will even be a free, preliminary kidney transplant screening.


Roy D. Bloom, MD

Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Peter Reese, MD, MSCE

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Paige Porrett, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

More Details:

Sunday, September 21, 2014
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., complimentary brunch provided

Hilton Hotel, Renaissance Room
4200 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131

If you'd like to attend Understanding Kidney Transplantation, please RSVP to: or call 215-615-4662.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

37th Annual Penn Medicine Radnor Run

Penn Medicine Radnor Run
It’s time to lace up your sneakers for a great event. The 37th annual Penn Medicine Radnor Run will be held on Sunday, October 26, 2014.

This family-friendly event benefits the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania and their effort to help improve the lives of those currently living with chronic lung disease. The money raised will help fund important programs, including asthma camp, clean air in schools and smoking prevention/cessation for teens and adults.

The Radnor Run includes a five mile road race that is sanctioned and certified by the USA Track and Field Association and a one mile fun run. The first place female runner will receive the Jody’s Cup, an award in the memory of Radnor Township resident Jody Lynn Sack and the first place male runner will receive the Penn Medicine Award.

You don’t have to be a runner to take part in the day’s fun festivities which will include games, activities, and many giveaways. Bring the whole family out to enjoy a fun, harvest-themed day in Radnor!

Sign up today for the Penn Medicine Radnor Run!

Date:  Sunday, October 26
Time: 5-Mile Race Start: 8:30 a.m.
          1-Mile Fun Run Start: 8:40 a.m.
Location: 301 Iven Ave. Wayne, PA

Join the fight for clean air

It is estimated that close to 342,000 Americans die of lung disease each year, responsible for one in seven deaths. The American Lung Association and partner organizations are fighting to protect the Clean Air Act, a law that protects public health by reducing harmful pollution and gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the ability to clean up the air.

Air pollution has very serious health effects including shortness of breath, asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and even premature death. The Clean Air Act helps to reduce the pollutants that lead to these types of health issues.

The American Lung Association has and will continue to play a critical role in the advocacy for clean air.  For more information, please visit

Track your success

Need some extra motivation to get out there and hit the pavement? Look into the benefits of a digital fitness tracker.

If the shoe fits…run!

A well-fitted pair of running shoes can make all the difference. Check out Dr. Farber’s take on the importance of picking the right running shoe.

The benefits of staying active

Aspiring to improve your health? By simply staying active, you can unlock many hidden health benefits.

Meet Ruth Johnson

Ruth Johnson, LMA, MS, is an aesthetician with the Penn Skin Care Program, a division of Penn Plastic Surgery. Ruth is dedicated to taking care of her skin, and yours too.

“When I first meet with someone, I ask a lot of questions about their concerns, skin care regimen and the products they use at home,” she said. “Getting the ‘big picture’ on a first visit can help me tailor the treatment and make recommendations for products that person can use on a regular basis.”

Ruth said that one of the top concerns about skin and skin care is that it changes. What may have worked in the past, no longer works.

“A lot of women tell me their skin changed after having children and that their standard skin care routine no longer works,” said Ruth. “It’s true that as we age, our skin changes and so do our skin care needs. Many women who experience hormonal changes, such as those with pregnancy or menopause, have concerns about the texture of their skin or new breakouts. Fortunately, a consultation with our team can help identify problem areas, and we can start to work together to get skin back in balance.”

She also explained that going to a skin care center, like the Penn Plastic Surgery, is important because the clinicians and staff there are backed by a medically supervised program.

“You want to make sure the person you are getting your skin care from knows everything from standard treatment to identifying possible complications. We work closely with the medical staff and stay current with the latest techniques and treatments, so our patients are getting the best possible care.”

We caught up with Ruth to learn more about her, get some of her favorite health and beauty tips, and ask her about her experiences at Penn Medicine.

What are some of your own favorite tips for having beautiful skin at any age?

Use SPF, eye cream and moisturizer, and Retin-A. Everyone needs to apply SPF of at least 30 regardless of the weather outside. Dangerous rays from the sun can still get through on a cloudy day.

What is your secret to beautiful skin?

I sort of live by the “you are what you eat motto.” I think nutrition plays a huge role in beautiful skin:
  • Staying away from processed food
  • Eating lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming omega-3s (fish)
I also drink a lot of water, use moisturizer every morning and night, apply SPF under my makeup and try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.

What advice do you most often give patients?

  1. Stay out of the sun! If you are going to be outside in the sun, make sure you wear SPF of at least 30 and a nice, big hat for personal shade. 
  2. Use a good moisturizer under your makeup and before bed.
  3. Use a cream with retinol at night. 
  4. Get a good night’s rest.
  5. Always take your makeup off at the end of the night!

More About Ruth…

Favorite movie: The Great Gatsby
Favorite food: Mexican and sushi
Favorite exercise: Zumba or spinning
Favorite type of music to work out to: Hip-hop
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones -- It’s also the last book she read!
When she gets downtime, she likes to: Read and work out

Meet Ruth and the Penn Medicine Plastic Surgery Skin Care Team

Let Penn Plastic Surgery help you look and feel your best. Schedule a consultation with Ruth, or find out more about Penn skin care products and services.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Powder Sunscreen, So Hot Right Now

Applying sunscreen, especially to your face, is something you should do every day, all year long.

“I don’t go a day without wearing sunscreen,” said Penn plastic surgeon, Ivona Percec, MD, PhD. “I tell all my patients that once in the morning is not enough. Your face is the number one thing exposed to the sun. Take care of it.”

But when it's humid and sunny outside, you know that sunscreen is only going to make you feel greasy and stickier. And when it's cooler and cloudy, you question the point and the effort involved.

Our Penn Plastic Surgery Skin Care team has a convenient solution to keep your skin protected in a fashionable way, for all four seasons: Powder sunscreen.

Powder sunscreen is mineral-based, so it acts as a shield and doesn’t break down as quickly as chemical sunscreen. Plus, it's easy and convenient to use; you can keep it in your purse or back pack.

The best part: no mess or oily hands and face. It's just like makeup. You sweep the compact brush onto your face, and it’s translucent.

Powder sunscreen is great for young children too. Kids never seem to be able to stand still and always complain about the feeling of having lotion smeared all over them. And unlike a spray which can miss spots or get in kids' eyes, powder can be applied with the quick and soft sweep of a brush.

There are several powder sunscreen products in the market, ranging from drugstore brands to ones you can only purchase through your clinical aesthetician.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to Choose Your Sunscreen

It’s no secret that sunscreen offers the best protection against skin cancer next to staying out of the sun altogether or covering up with sun protective clothing. However, most people don’t realize that the kind of sunscreen we use is also important. Did you know there are two main kinds of sunscreen? Chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen.

Chemical Sunscreen vs. Physical Sunscreen – What’s the Difference?

A sunscreen is a compound (or lotion) that uses agents to block, deflect or reflect the sun’s rays.

To be effective, we recommend that all sunscreens be liberally applied (at least one ounce for the entire body) to all exposed areas of the body, at least 15 minutes before going outside.

Chemical sunscreens use up to a dozen ingredients that, when applied, are absorbed in the top layer of skin. They react with the skin to absorb UV rays and convert them into energy before they can harm the skin.

Chemical sunscreens aren’t as thick as physical ones, so they are often used in sunscreens specifically made for the face as well as those found in spray bottles. Since chemical sunscreens need to be absorbed into the skin, they must be applied at least 20 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors.

Physical sunscreens, sometimes called “natural or mineral” sunscreens, include two ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Together, these ingredients sit on top of the skin and deflect or reflect the sun’s rays.

Think of physical sunscreens like a shield, while chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. Both ingredients work well to protect from UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) rays. Since physical sunscreens are thicker, they can leave a white cast on the skin.

Which Sunscreen Is Right for You?

Those with sensitive skin, especially young children, should opt for a physical/mineral sunscreen since those ingredients are milder. Those with darker skin may opt for a chemical sunscreen, since they don’t leave a white cast.

According to plastic surgeon, Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, “A chemical sunscreen really just protects against UB – the burning rays. In two hours that’s degraded by the sun. The mineral block [physical sunscreen] is the much better block because it protects against both UVA and UVP.”

Both types of sunscreen provide adequate protection. Your personal preference may help you decide what type of sunscreen is right for you.

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