Cultural Competency

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Many schools are starting to offer programs that allow students to travel abroad. These programs give students the ability to live in other countries for certain periods of time while studying. It can provide students with a unique perspective on the world that will change them. Cultural competency is becoming more important than ever in this ever-shrinking world, and cultural exchanges could be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to empowering the next generation. 

The World Is Changing

The world is changing substantially and it’s getting harder to look at things from the perspective of just one nation. The youngest generations are facing real global problems that concern the entirety of humanity. It’s important for the world to be able to come together, and for this to happen, people need to be able to understand other cultures. The world is shrinking because countries are connected now in ways that people didn’t think possible mere decades ago. 

Solving problems such as climate change will involve the people of the world working together. Students who have cultural exchange experience will be well-suited to work with people from other countries. They will have perspectives that are different from the typical American one. It gives them a chance to relate to others in different ways while thinking about the world differently. 

Cultural Competency Is Valuable in the Business World

It’s also important to note that cultural competency is valuable in the business world as well. As the economies of the world continue to become more and more linked, companies are starting to work on global strategies. It’s imperative for companies to find individuals who can work with people of other nations. This means that people who speak different languages and those who understand the customs of other countries will be especially valuable. 

These cultural exchange programs might be more valuable than many people realize. They can provide students with the power to overcome the challenges the world is facing while also giving them the tools to succeed in the business world. As more companies expand business relationships with countries such as China, it makes sense that having cultural knowledge of these lands would raise someone’s stock within an organization.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview

Craving Cultural Immersion

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Many people love to travel to new places to see interesting sights. You might be interested in traveling to a faraway country to see some historical landmarks or go to a special event. In recent times, more Americans have been wanting to become immersed in the cultures of the places they’re visiting. The statistics show that American travelers are craving cultural immersion and that it’s impacting the way people think about travel. 

Learning About the Culture

An increasing number of Americans say that it is important for them to learn about the culture of the places they’re visiting. This means that people are thinking about more than just the entertainment that is available in a specific region. Many people wish to go deeper than that and truly connect with what really makes an area special. Tourists are realizing that what makes an area special is often the people and the unique customs they have. 

This trend is even more important among young travelers than it is older travelers. Millennials find cultural exchanges to be very important when they’re traveling. Generation X also values this experience, but not at the same high number as millennials. It’s a trend among all Americans that becomes more prevalent as you look at the younger generations. 

Cultural exchanges like this can give travelers valuable experiences that will broaden their horizons. Learning how others live their lives can show you how things are different in other parts of the world. It can also show you how similar humans are in many basic ways. It is likely that the American desire for cultural immersion will continue to increase in the coming years. 

Americans Are Still Picky About Destinations

It’s important to note that Americans are still picky about the destinations they choose for vacations. For example, many Americans will be wary of going to countries where they don’t feel welcome. If a country seems to harbor hostilities toward America, they will shy away from visiting that country. This is understandable, but it does mean that becoming immersed in certain cultures will be more problematic than others. 

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog

Five Airline Lounges that Offer Spa Treatments



Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, you’re bound to have some downtime between flights. If you’re looking for more than food and drinks at a lounge, consider a rejuvenating spa treatment during your layover. Here are a few airports that offer a place where you can totally immerse yourself in a suite of pampering services before your departure.

American Express Centurion Lounge at MIA

The American Express Centurion Lounge at Miami airport offers travelers complimentary restorative spa treatments. Guests with Amex Centurion, Platinum, and Business Platinum cards can select free 15-minute spa treatments. The spa menu includes Deep Tissue, Flow, or Fusion chair massages, as well as a heated neck pillow and herbal tea while getting a manicure. Check out the Centurion Lounge on the fourth floor at Concourse D.

British Airways Business/First Lounge at LHR

Besides private dining booths and cabanas, British Airways offers weary travelers personal pampering services at the First Lounge at Heathrow Airport. First, Club World and Gold card members enjoy refreshing facials, massages, and more at Elemis Spa. Look for Elemis Spas located at terminals 5A south, 5B departure lounge, 5 arrivals lounge, and 3 departure lounge.

Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Lounge at HKG

If you’re looking for a place to de-stress, The Wing provides an excellent respite. Preferred Marco Polo Club members, OneWorld frequent flyers, and First Class passengers can unwind in a private Cabana with a range of amenities. Travelers gain access to a large alcove tub, rain shower, daybed, and workspace. Cathay Pacific flyers should go to Level 7 of HKG airport to locate The Wing at Terminal 1, near gates one through four.

Emirates Premium Lounges at DXB

A list of pampering and grooming services await Emirates first and business class flyers at the Timeless Spa at DXB airport. Enjoy an invigorating Thai stretch and hand rub. Take pleasure in a relaxing Indian head massage. Indulge in leg and feet reflex therapy. Try a mini facial, blow-dry, manicure and pedicure. If you want to discover why Emirates travelers appear calm when they travel, check out the Timeless Spa in Terminal 3, Concourse C by gate 23 at DBX.

Thai Royal First Lounge at BKK

Royal First and Royal Silk members enjoy a lavish choice of pampering services at the Royal Orchid Spa at Concourse D of BKK. The facilities include three suites for full body massages; six corners for neck, shoulder, and foot massages, two steam rooms, two saunas, and four shower rooms.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog

Medical Devices for Appearance Vs. Health and the Impact on Your Wallet


When it comes to medical devices, articles that impact the function or structure of the human body, how much the patient pays depends on who is paying the bill. If the implementation of such a device is considered medically warranted and is covered in part or in full by the patient’s health insurance, it will cost one price. If the implementation of the device is the patient’s choice, for cosmetic reasons and not covered by the patient’s health insurance in such a case, the same item may cost substantially less.

Breast augmentation provides a good example. A woman receiving a breast implant following a mastectomy, with proper health insurance, will have the entire procedure including implant covered by her plan. On her bill, it wouldn’t be unusual to see the breast implant billed at up to $3,500. A young woman with uneven breasts seeking an implant to give herself uniformity will pay on average, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, $3,718 for the implant and the procedure including the surgeon’s fee. That would suggest she paid much less for the implant than the patient in the first example.

Another example of medical device price discrepancy are knee and hip implants. A 2017 JAMA study showed that insurance companies were billed double the amount paid to the manufacturers for the implants by the hospital.

Why the price discrepancy?

Not all hospitals are non-profit and in those cases, it’s a business. But that business can have grave consequences for some.

One study in 2015 by Health Affairs stated “Collectively, this system [of giving hospitals free rein to mark up their costs] has the effect of charging the highest prices to the most vulnerable patients and those with the least market power.”

The vulnerable they reference would be those who don’t have medical insurance or don’t have enough insurance. If they should become ill, they are responsible for paying whatever the hospital wishes to charge, even if it sends them to bankruptcy court when they can’t pay.

The Health Affairs study found many of the hospitals with high-markups to be in the south. Of the top 50 such hospitals, 20 are located in Florida which offers a friendly environment for for-profit hospitals.

For patients without proper insurance, one course of action would be to determine which hospitals local to them are non-profit and which are for-profit. The for-profit hospitals tend to have higher markups. As long as the ACA exists, it requires non-profit hospitals to give discounts to uninsured patients that meet eligibility requirements.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview

How to Pack Smarter

Is there such a thing as packing enough belongings? There’s always something missing. However, spending unnecessary finances on the trip is not an option, and it is stressful dragging 10 bags around the airport. Luckily, there’s a happy medium.

Pack According to Airline Requirements
Check the airlines’ carry-on and checked baggage weight requirements on their website. Since the answers vary by airline, look for the number of acceptable luggage, types of acceptable luggage, and luggage measurements. Find out the cost of overweight luggage. Learn about the overhead cabin dimensions for carry-ons on the airline’s website too. Check the website for this information for every trip as requirements change.

Use Luggage Organizers
Packing cubes, plastic bags, zipper pouches, and travel bottles organize luggage so it’s easier to locate necessary items. The four offer additional storage space for liquids, small items, makeup, cell phones, tablets, chargers, and underwear. In the same vein, luggage organizers separate dirty and used items from clean items. An organized bag is easy for airport security to search the bag too, reducing time spent in line.

Maximize With Less
To avoid unnecessary stress, carry no more than three bags and maximize it. Use shoes to stuff socks, ear buds, and underwear inside. Include dual-purpose garments and lightweight clothes because it weighs less. In turn, travelers can pack more. Use mesh and see-through compartments to store items that require checking by security. Wear the bulkiest and heaviest clothes on the plane (i.e., coat, boots) to preserve luggage space and reduce luggage weight.

Divide the Group’s Clothes Between Suitcases
In some cases, checked bags arrive late. Some group members have clothes to wear while others must buy clothes until the bags arrive. While there’s nothing travelers can do about late bags, travelers can avoid buying clothes by dividing everyone’s clothes among the group. For example, if three people are traveling together and each is carrying one suitcase, divide everyone’s clothes into thirds. Each traveler’s bag will have clothing everyone can wear, and if a bag is late, there are two more bags filled with clothes to rely on in the meantime.

All tips listed will make traveling less hectic while staying on a budget no matter what happens. Travelers who commit to packing less by carrying less will benefit the most. Families will benefit from these tips too.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog

Millennials Are the Driving Force Behind the Rise in Urgent Care Facilities



Convenience is key for millennials seeking health care. Like every other product or service they consume, millennials look for speed of delivery, ease of access, and simplicity of service. While doctors’ offices are making use of technology to improve the customer experience, urgent care centers are the clear winners when it comes to finding cheaper, faster, and easier to obtain health care services.

Urgent Care Industry: $18 Billion and Growing

Here are some statistics about the urgent care industry that may be surprising. According to Medical Economics,

• In 2015, there were 6,946 urgent care clinics in the U.S. By mid-2018, that number grew to 8,258.
• Industry experts expect that number to grow by 5% to 6% by year end.
• Each year, 89 million people receive care at urgent care clinics.
• 29% of all primary care visits are at an urgent care facility.
• 15% of all outpatient care is handled in an urgent care clinic.

What do millennials want most from their healthcare providers and medical facilities?

When it comes to obtaining health care, millennials value convenient healthcare more than anything else.

Today’s patients are consumers, and that goes for non-millennial patients as well. They don’t want to wait weeks or even months to see a doctor for a simple evaluation, treatment, or prescription. Urgent care clinics provide conveniences that some traditional doctor’s offices still lack. These include same day or walk-in appointments, easily accessible, ground floor offices in retail locations, and on-site diagnostic equipment.

What are the real benefits of choosing an urgent care clinic?

1. Reduced costs. The average cost of an emergency room visit can exceed $2,000. For those with no insurance, or must pay a deductible or copay, this can be cost prohibitive. Urgent care visits, by contrast, can cost less than $200 depending on the services needed.
2. Less waiting time. People spend several hours in an emergency department to be evaluated for pain, flu, and other conditions or to be treated for simple fractures and wounds. Much of that time is spent waiting for diagnostic imaging and interpretation by a radiologist. Urgent care centers reduce that time and can provide diagnosis and treatment almost immediately.
3. Easier to access. Urgent care clinics are found in many residential and retail areas that are more accessible than hospital campuses. Parking is often available at the door at no cost in a retail area parking lot.

Consumers of Medical Care Have More Choice

There will always be a need for emergency rooms, hospital campuses, and traditional doctors’ offices. Trauma centers and surgical units are still the best place for major medical issues like cardiovascular emergencies. But for minor emergencies and everyday care such as wellness visits, work and sports physicals, evaluations and prescriptions, urgent care facilities provide people with a quick and inexpensive alternative for medical treatment.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview

Precision Medicine Advancements

Precision Medicine

Sema4 is a patient-centered health company that has begun looking at a new paradigm for healthcare. By using data from medical records, researchers can look at the underlying causes of disease, and develop accurate diagnostics identifying for identifying and preventing them as well giving individualized treatment for patients. Sema4 states that the current healthcare system for large hospitals and physician networks cannot provide this type of patient treatment yet. But, over the last few years Mount Sinai Health System in New York, has founded several groups that are advancing this field of precision medicine. The Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, Lab100 and Sema4 are among the groups started by Mount Sinai to research in this new field of medicine. By accessing new capabilities in gene sequencing, bioinformatics, pharmacogenetics, and RNA analysis, researchers at Mount Sinai are working with different groups and departments to bring healthcare into the future.

Bringing together scientists, data engineers, and clinicians, Sema4 is working to refine precision medicine. In 2015, researchers there carried out the first study to sequence the human diploid genome using sequencing technologies. They also developed one of the first holistic molecular models for Alzheimer’s disease, demonstrating the interactions of genes and environmental factors and giving insight into possible gene therapies for the disease. In August 2018, a different group at Sema4 developed two new reproductive testes using the Sema4 Health Intelligence Platform ( SHIP). These noninvasive prenatal tests can screen for genetic disorders that can cause developmental delays, like Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes, and detecting rates for such genes as CYP21A2( which causes adrenal disorders) and GBA ( mutations which cause liver disorders, bone pain, and anemia).

Doctors and researchers know that an inter-disciplinary approach is what will be needed across the seven Mount Sinai hospitals and the Icahn School of Medicine. Creating such things as DAPHNE, a software program that can decipher the RNA of multiple myeloma cancer cells, and developing machine learning algorithms that analyze large-scale molecular datasets, these groups are heading for the new frontier of healthcare. It is a future that will depend on accessing genetic and personalized information. With this information on a patient’s genes, environmental factors and medical history, generational healthcare can be developed for a patient and their children, and their future family.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview