The 4 Stage Game Plan for Being the Best KP Intern

By: Arielle Berman, Miles Lichtman & Cathy Li

Hey, genKP! We’re Ari, Miles, and Cathy, a few of this summer’s KP interns, and we are here to share a little bit about what our experience has been like over these past few months. Thinking about the internship experience as a whole, we broke it down into four stages to illustrate what it is like to be a KP intern and to share some things we learned along the way.


Stage 1 - The First Step

The first few weeks of the internship - you meet all the fun and ambitious interns at your orientation, you make a few friends and exchange numbers, you meet your awesome supervisor and the rest of your department, and you get your first, real, adult desk. You also have your own KP phone number and a fun new badge you can show off on your morning BART commute. You begin to accept that KP Learn and My HR won’t load and IT keeps telling you to wait a few days, but it is more of an exciting and anxious frustration than an irritating one. Your projects sound exciting, the University Relations intern events sound amazing, and you are ready to get started.

Despite all the excitement, this phase could be a little scary, but it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and explore all that KP has to offer. Go out with other interns for happy hour, reach out to your manager, and, above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially during this early stage of your internship. Take the first step to familiarize yourself with KP’s culture. Oh and don’t forget to sign up for genKP!


Stage 2 - The Balancing Act

The initial excitement is slowly beginning to wear off as you get into the swing of a 9-5 job. The work pace quickens, your projects are in motion, and you find yourself under the pressure of completing your deliverables on time. But since things are still new, you’re still eager to make time to meet new people and foster those new found relationships with your fellow interns and supervisor. Suddenly juggling work, socializing, and extracurricular become difficult. That’s when you finally understand what your supervisor meant when they told you to make sure to stay patient.

But don’t sweat it! And definitely don’t feel overwhelmed. Find your balance by understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie and communicate that with your manager. They understand you’re still learning, and with the years of experience under their belts, they can help you hone your skills to better navigate the workplace.


Stage 3 – Finding the Right Fit

This is where your quarter-internship crisis comes in. The frustration and big life questions begin to sprout up and take over your mind. We want to remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

For us, this is the stage where work began to feel slow. The free KP swag no longer felt quite so swaggy, and the days felt longer as balancing work and social life was not as challenging as it once was a few weeks ago. Inevitably, we began to question ourselves: What were we going to be doing for the remainder of our internship? Did the work we were doing even matter in the grand scheme of things? Did we want to continue to pursue this as a career? Was KP the right fit for us?

If you find yourself feeling as frustrated as we did, take a step back and try to see the bigger picture of how your work ties into KP’s mission. And if that doesn’t help, then that’s your cue to get creative-- stretch yourself by taking on responsibilities outside of your scope of work to pick up a few new skills, schedule informational interviews to see if other departments better suit you, or find a genKPer or a mentor to help guide you to finding the right fit for you.


Stage 4 – The Marathon

Winding down to the last couple weeks of your internship, you’re finally ready to present your projects to your director. It is nerve wracking, but you deliver your findings with grace and excellence. Then what? Well, that was just a warm up; now it’s time to put those tools to the test and see how far they will really help you run.

Completing this internship was only the prelude to our marathon, and there are many crests and troughs left to climb before we can retire at the finish line. Running alone might seem care-free, but there’s a long, unpredictable road that lies ahead.

It would be wise to run with a few friends you have met on the way, so be sure to keep in touch with the contacts you have made via LinkedIn or other networking sites. Also write “Thank You” cards to your department for the valuable opportunity to intern with them, and make sure everyone you’ve met over the course of your internship knows that you appreciated meeting them. Leveraging contacts, even that one intern you sat next to who never said a word to you, is crucial and will be beneficial in ways you may not even realize. Perhaps somewhere down the road that one intern might be the one to offer you water when you missed the last water stop.


Final Remarks

Thanks for reading our blog post. We hope these stages captured what it is like to be a KP intern, with hopes that you, and the next wave of interns, can read this article and leverage it as you go through the process of interning. Remember you are the next generation of the workforce, if you exercise these survival tips, you may increase your chances of making the transition from the red badge to the blue badge and KP needs you!!

Good luck!

Five Simple Computer Tips That Will Improve Your Day

By Anthony Lew, genKP Content Lead


The computer is an excellent piece of technology; we depend on to simply function at work. With the advent of the internet, there should be nothing that can stop us from conquering our everyday duties, right?




Most of us still gripe over minute issues, and these frustrations seep away energy that should be spent on better initiatives. I have practically suffered from every issue using the computer, but upon my grief I have discovered 5 simple ways to combat such thorn like problems.


Here is my list:

  1. Having trouble creating passwords? - Use lyrics from your favorite song

If death and taxes are inevitable, passwords are definitely close. Passwords can be a serious waste of time and energy as the character count keeps increasing and the requirements always change! With the average person having 5 several passwords to memorize, what can wind up happening?

Not remembering your password!

This can easily ruin the day, so here’s a cool trick to try: use lyrics from your favorite song.

For example:

Isley Brothers/Aaliyah: “At Your Best”

Password: ButatyourbestyouareloveYouareapositivemotivatingforcewithinmylife!

That’s 66 characters that are not only hard to crack, but also hard to forget!


  1. Having trouble writing emails? – Bookmark and print a “Transition Words” page

Reading and writing e-mails quite frankly is exhausting. One can literally spend half a day digging through e-mails, and the other half- properly responding. Here’s a tip: get a language cheat sheet. Transition words are fantastic because they can begin, clarify, dismiss, refer, identify, continue, replace, conflict, and conclude each sentence, and will get your thoughts in order. Bookmark and/or print a hardcopy of this page – it will help you.


  1. Not sure if the internet is slow or disconnected? – Log on to

Let’s be honest, we all have been duped by the signal reception bars, and quite frankly, it is frustrating to work on what seems to be a slow internet, despite our devices telling us otherwise. The 5 stacking pillars can be VERY deceiving, but most of us rely on this visual to see if we can access the internet. Instead, try logging onto as your first destination! It sounds ridiculous, but this site is a lighting fast dictionary that not only loads in milliseconds, but also defines any word at the same speed. Use this site to answer is there internet access and how fast is the internet. It will give you a concrete answer without the bells and whistles.


  1. Want to improve your Google search? - Type “Related:(add URL)”

There is so much information on the internet that sometimes, the results do not provide the answers we are looking for. So in addition to your Google search, try typing “Related: (add URL)”. This filters the search down to anything related to the URL you have previously searched for and is a more efficient way to sleuth for the answers you want.

For example:

Although this method is not perfect, make it the second option to execute when searching for information. As a third option, I would suggest is to add Reddit next to your search.


  1. Want the computer to move faster? Change the mouse speed

With computers, we forget that all we do is point, type, and click. What we do not forget however, is that there will always be a faster, cooler, and shinier computer that will render our current computers slower and obsolete. So instead of spending over $1000 for a new one, why not make the best of your existing one? Unless it is broken, try changing your mouse speed. Do not knock it until you try it – it will feel different. And the best part is – you can crank it all the way up to 11, and it will only get better! Use this time shaving method to become more productive throughout the day as well as to get work done more efficiently!

Here’s how you can change your mouse speed:

PC Users:

  1. Click the Start Button
  2. Choose Control Panel
  3. From the Control Panel’s search bar type: Mouse
  4. Locate Mouse and choose Change the mouse pointer display or speed
  5. Change the Speed of your mouse

Mac Users:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Choose View > Mouse, or click the Mouse icon.
  3. To control how fast the pointer (cursor) moves across your screen when you move the mouse, click Point & Click and use the Tracking slider to adjust speed.



Try these tricks to improve how you work and let me know what you think! What tips would you like to share?

What Does Health Equity Mean to You?

By Pauline Sze, genKP community benefit lead

Whether it’s close proximity to affordable healthy foods, equitable access to healthcare services, or safe routes to schools and homes – healthcare is at the center of the social justice movement. Over a hundred Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit leads gathered together in downtown San Francisco on March 20, 2014 as part of the 2014 Community Benefit Summit. This was an event put on by the Program Office Community Benefit program to advance the thinking on key challenges and opportunities that are facing Community Benefit and how we can align them to Kaiser Permanente’s strategic imperatives.

Dr. Raymond Baxter, senior vice president of Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente, delivered a thought-provoking keynote that outlined his vision for Kaiser Permanente to be a leader in Total Health. This vision for Total Health encompasses a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being for all. This moves us beyond looking solely at the hospitals and clinics that we operate, but more closely at the environments and communities that play a critical role in shaping our health on a day to day basis.

Slide from Dr. Raymond Baxter’s Presentation, “Where We Are, Where We’re Going: Challenges and Opportunities for Community Benefit” via

The message for Total Health became even clearer when Dr. Baxter projected a map of the health equities of the Bay Area. This map highlighted different pockets of the region that have drastically different health outcomes. What struck a chord was that the health outcomes that were being displayed on this map were specifically those of Kaiser Permanente employees who have the same access to healthcare coverage. This demonstrated what an important role that other factors play in healthcare, such as the environment, income status, and education. Dr. Baxter urged attendees to look at health equity and what Community Benefit can do to close the inequity gap, and that “if we stand for health, we must stand for equity.”

Share your thoughts in the comments section below on what health equity means to you and your ideas for how to close the gap on health inequity.

Millennial Management: Adapting to a Changing Workforce

By 2025, Gen-Y will form roughly 75% of the world's workforce. That's a short twelve years away, and today's managers are considering how they can adapt to the style and changing goals of this workforce shift.

According to Josh Bersin's Forbes' piece, "Millennials Will Soon Rule the World: But How Will They Lead?", nearly half of Gen-Y/Millennial respondents are already in leadership positions. Millennials are less interested in a defined career path and instead look for recognition based on performance, not tenure.

Kay Mercado
Kay Mercado

I spoke with Kay Mercado, a Kaiser Permanente manager who works with Gen-Y team members and is in tune with a "millennial management" style. Mercado is the Director of Design and User Experience in the Mobility Center of Excellence. She started at KP in 2000 with a graphic design background; in the past thirteen years, she has worked in areas including external sites (, intranet, and in the Innovation Labs Team at the Garfield Center.

Mercado, who identifies as Gen-X, has been in her current role at the Mobility Center for two years. In her first year on the job, she quickly realized the increased demand for mobile apps and projects, and expanded her staff. She now manages a team of four: three visual designers (focusing on look, feel, branding components) and one UX designer (focusing on interactive, wireframe, app flow elements).

Her team focuses on the interaction and visual design experience for iOS and Android apps, as well as piloting projects for the Windows 8 tablet. They also manage the certification of any KP mobile app developed internally or externally, ensuring that it follows standards for experience, design, branding and ADA compliance. Her team is based in Oakland's "IThrive" prototype floor, a modern, tech-focused environment that facilitates their collaborative attitude.

KP's IThrive Floor - Photo by Jasper Sanidad

Mercado's leadership style emphasizes collaboration and feedback, with weekly one-on-ones and design sessions with her team. Previously, Mercado was the only creative person in her IT group and found it to be a struggle, because she didn't have other designers to brainstorm with. "As soon as I became a manager, I knew exactly what I needed to do. My whole philosophy is based is on everything I didn't have [previously]," said Mercado. In their weekly design sessions, her team shares ideas, whether it's tricks in Photoshop or new apps they may have come across. Her one-on-one sessions provide a chance for informal feedback on both sides, by finding out if there is anything her team needs (software, hardware), and to ask for feedback on how she is managing.

When asked if she has a leader that she looks up to, Mercado mentioned Senior Vice President Wendy Lee, whom she had the opportunity to have a few one-on-ones with as her mentor. "She is very personal and in touch with her employees, and I highly respect that," said Mercado. She found that emulating that approachable mentality with her employees has been working very well within her own team.

For her peers in management, Mercado strongly recommends taking advantage of the KP Internship Program. One of her visual designers is an intern that she found through the internship program, and she described it as a great way to recruit young designers. Mercado mentioned the value of adding a millennial perspective to the team, in that "they just think differently and are exposed to different ways of doing design," citing social media as one example.

Mercado's transparent, collaborative leadership style naturally coheres with a Gen-Y perspective. After taking a look at the Forbes Millennial study, "I didn't even realize I was managing the way millennials like to be managed," said Mercado, with a laugh.

GenKP Volunteers at the Innovation and Advanced Technology Forum

By: Marina T. Aiello, kpLibraries

On October 23rd, the Innovation and Advanced Technology (IAT) team hosted the ‘Educating for Outcomes’ Technology Forum at the Garfield Innovation Center. The event was co-sponsored by National Patient Care Services and engaged about 130 attendees either in-person or via WebEx. For the Technology Forum, the IAT Team focused on concepts of education and learning as they pertain to patient care and the ever-changing healthcare environment.

Dr. James Lewis and Faye Sahai, VP of IAT
Dr. James Lewis and Faye Sahai, VP of IAT

James Lewis, MD delivered the rousing keynote message, which challenged attendees to consider current barriers to the adoption of educational technology as well as exciting future opportunities for learning within medical and health education. Dr. Lewis identified trends in technology and innovation that were reflected in presentations from the 12 exhibitors at the Technology Forum.


Google Glass Wonder
Trying out Google Glass at the Tech Forum

The exhibits offered presentations from KP Employees on topics like the KP Learning Forum, QR codes for supporting patient care, and prototypes envisioning the future of care at Kaiser. Also, the external exhibitors spoke with KP Employees to explore potential ways that their product might someday be integrated into the KP system, including Ayogo, Coursera, Knowledgefox, and more. In-person attendees were able to download apps to their personal devices, ask questions of the exhibitors, and try out new technologies (like Google Glass, see photo above). But WebEx attendees didn’t miss out on the fun because they were able to view live interviews with each of the exhibitors as well as request more information from any of the exhibits.

As GenKP volunteers, we were able to get an entertaining and informative behind-the-scenes look at how the Technology Forums are organized and implemented. We assisted exhibitors with setting up their booths, helped troubleshoot connectivity issues, and used iPads to survey in-person attendees for immediate feedback on their experience. Aside from the excitement around supporting the IAT Team in hosting the Technology Forum, we were also able to gain information on innovative projects at Kaiser Permanente as well as consider how these emerging technologies might be useful in our respective departments.

Prof Connary and Nurse Dan
"Professor Connary" and "Dr. Nurse Dan" opening skit

Overall, the ‘Educating for Outcomes’ Technology Forum was a wonderful opportunity for all attendees to discover the many ways that the future of technology will contribute to education, and ultimately, improve care for our members, patients, and communities. We are so glad that we were able to participate in this event as GenKP volunteers (and that we were able to learn a ton in the process)!

If you’d like to receive invites to future Technology Forum events, please contact:

Thanks to Marina for writing this guest blog post, and to Maren for providing the photos!

The Myth of Narcissism and Millennials

2013 and 1976... look familiar? Source:
2013 and 1976... look familiar? Image Source


The "ME ME ME" generation. "Entitled, needy, and self-centered"... possibly even "deluded narcissists."

It's seemingly inescapable, the barrage of media citing the Millennial generation as shockingly self-absorbed, verging on outright narcissists. The onslaught of Millennial critique came to a head with Joel Stein's May 2013 Time cover story, featuring that oh-so-familiar pose to any iPhone toting instagrammer: the selfie.

The cornerstone of Stein's article hinges on a widely-cited study of narcissism by the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.), featuring this statistic:

The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that's now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health; 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982.

Despite its wide circulation, this particular study is still under peer review and is the subject of a larger academic dialogue. For an interesting read, check out "A Back and Forth About Narcissism," a debate between two opposing social scientists, Dr. Jean M. Twenge and Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, on the credibility of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and methods of evaluating patterns of behavior in emerging adults. The N.I.H. findings shouldn't be considered the be-all-end-all answer, but instead considered another voice in the conversation.

While some aspects of millennial critique remain difficult to refute, such as the aforementioned #selfie onslaught, the majority of these self-absorbed claims have been cast at twenty-somethings for decades. Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic provided a clever response to Stein's Time piece, showcasing examples from 1907 to 2007 that feature nearly identical arguments against those preening, status quo-stinging youths. The most blatant example of history repeating itself is "The "Me" Decade" cover story (shown above), written by Tom Wolfe for New York magazine in 1976.

While working with groups of different ages or generations, it's wise to be aware of differences, but not hinge your beliefs on assumptions. Rather than casting a blank set of judgments about that newbie intern or the administrator nearing retirement, keep in mind that they are an individual with their own unique attributes, rather than one of the many. (Spoken like a true millennial: we like to think of ourselves as individual contributors.) A wide net of life experiences and skill sets enriches the working environment and fosters unexpected collaborations.

We might not even be as different as we think. While it's easy to assume that a younger co-worker would prefer to stay in the safe, warm glow of their MacBook, it appears that a good old conversation is the preferred means of communication for all of us. A 2012 CareerBuilder survey compared the preferences of workers ages 25-34 with those 55 and older, and found that the two groups shared a preference for face-to-face communication over e-mail, text or phone.

So, get out of your shell and talk to others that might be out of your standard social or generational circle. Whether it's discovering industry best practices from someone who has lived it first-hand, or figuring out that new Salesforce app on your phone, you'll never know what you'll learn.

Lauren Duffy is the Communications/ Social Media Lead for GenKP.

How 'Millennial' are you? Take the Quiz!

How do you get your news - mobile app or newspaper?
How you read the news may determine your 'millennial' score


"In the past 24 hours, did you read a daily newspaper?"

"How important is a high-paying career to you?"

"Do you have a tattoo?"

millennials-quiz-logo-mediumIn conjunction with the report "Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change," the Pew Research Center released a 14 question quiz that helps answer the question, "how 'millennial' are you?" While some of the questions seem to be poking fun at generalizations surrounding teens and twenty-somethings (really, asking about tattoos?), the findings are based on a national-cross section of 2,020 adults and are supported by decades of Pew Research Center and Census Bureau data.

The quiz and accompanying study back up the idea that regardless of your date of birth, you can adopt a millennial attitude. While some aspects of the quiz seem somewhat superficial, other areas, including trends regarding communication patterns and internet adoption, point to a larger shift in cultural and societal behaviors.

Here are some interesting statistics from the Pew Research Center report:

  • -- Three-quarters of Millennials have created a profile on a social networking site, and one-in-five have posted a video of themselves online. Despite this self-promoting behavior, the majority have placed privacy settings on their online profiles.
  • -- Despite entering the job market during the recession, Millennials are optimistic about their future careers, and about nine-in-ten believe they will eventually meet their long-term financial goals.
    -- Millennials are on track to be the highest educated generation in American history, with a record 39.6% of 18 to 24 year olds enrolled in college as of 2008.
  • -- In evaluating life priorities, Millennials agree with older adults and place parenthood and marriage above financial success. But, they are marrying and settling down at a later age than previous generations, with only 21% of Millennials currently married. See graph below:

  • -- Millennials respect their parents and elders, and a majority say "the older generation is superior to the younger generation when it comes to moral values and work ethic."

The quiz also lets you compare your results with others in your age group, so you can see how you fare compared to peers. I managed to score a 90 out of 100 - firmly in camp Millennial. Not too surprising, considering that I am the Social Media liaison for GenKP, possibly the most on-the-nose Millennial position imaginable.

Where do you score?

"How Millennial Are You?" Quiz

Lauren Duffy is the Communications and Social Media Lead for GenKP.

Women in the Workforce: Lean In, and Take a Leap of Faith

Did you know that women tend to attribute their success to others, while men attribute success to themselves? Some may see this as being humble, but in reality, it is only making women leaders diminish in the workforce today. Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk on "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders" empowers women to continue fighting and making an impact in their organization.

Sandberg gives women three messages they should make to stay and grow in the workplace. First, women should “sit at the table.” When we go into meetings with important leaders, women should not sit off to the side of the room. Sitting at the table commands attention and respect, while showing you are a leader and of authority. Women often take whatever is given to them. For example, 57% of men negotiate their first salary base, while women tend to take whatever is handed to them. As Sandberg states, “No one will get that promotion if they don’t believe in themselves.” Stand firm in your knowledge, women, and believe in your capabilities.

Second, Sandberg states that women should “make their partner a real partner.” Women and men need to work together fully and equally in order to be successful. If a woman and man work full time while having a child, statistics show that women do twice as much house work and three times as much child care than men. If a woman wants to reach a leadership position, how is that possible if your partner is not truly being your partner? Sandberg expresses the importance of equal commitments in the home so that both the husband and wife can commit to their job. Not to mention, houses that have equal responsibilities also have a lower chance for divorce.

Lastly, it is important for women not to “leave before you leave.” As a woman plans for a marriage, family, etc., she is mentally preparing to make time for all of these commitments. However, Sandberg urges women not to leave before they need to. Women who become pregnant may not fight for a promotion, due to the extended leave they will be taking after the baby. This is one of the biggest problems, according to Sandberg; women drop out before it’s too soon. If a woman waits, she may never get that opportunity again.

All in all, if women want to become leaders, it is important to believe and trust in your talents. Do not be intimidated in the workplace. It is time to take a stand and make a drastic change in the workforce, so that we see more women in leadership positions. Take a leap of faith, and go for it.

Lorin Lee is the Events Lead for GenKP.

The Power of Storytelling

Stories can make you laugh, cry, blush, cringe, excited, sad, anxious... they can bring out every type of emotion. In healthcare, stories can also give care providers the contextual knowledge needed to make a proper diagnosis, and provide culturally sensitive and competent care. In the book Every Patient Tells a Story, author and physician Lisa Sanders tells her own stories of patients who present with confusing symptoms, sudden changes in their health status, conflicting past diagnoses, and the artful approach she takes to learn about their story and piece the clinical information together to make the correct diagnosis. It is a must read for any healthcare professional, but also for everyone since all of us are patients at some point in our lives.


In recent years, storytelling has become more and more prevalent in the healthcare performance improvement world. Trained KP employees have captured hundreds of patient, family, staff and provider interviews on video in order to understand the successes and failures in the organization. These interviews are either converted into a video story--1 individual--or video ethnography--more than 1 individual--and shared back with frontline staff, support staff, physicians, and leaders to drive change. I've conducted over 40 interviews across 5 projects and have seen the impact this can have to inspire and motivate our teams. This approach has become such an important part of the organization, that this year the Care Management Institute (CMI) awarded its very first Video Award. If you're interested in learning more about video storytelling and ethnography within KP, you can visit the CMI wiki site at:


We should never underestimate the power of a story! It can say so many things about who we are, where we came from, what we value, our habits and lifestyle, which could ultimately save our lives one day!