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August 2009 Archives

31
2009

The day Dr. Ferreira-Gonzalez offered perspective on direct-to-consumer genetic tests for the National Academies of Sciences.

Today’s health-care marketplace includes what is known as “direct-to-consumer” genetic testing, through which consumers can buy genetic tests directly from private companies rather than their health care providers. This practice brings with it a new set of technical, legal, policy and ethical questions in regard to regulation of the tests and privacy concerns.

A day-long public workshop hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. tackled these topics, assembling representatives from science, medicine, law and policy makers along with members of the public.

Among those representatives was Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, Ph.D., professor of pathology and director of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab at the VCU Medical Center.

The forum was aired on C-SPAN on September 6, 2009 and is now available on the cable channel’s Web site. The link below will take you directly to Panel 2, in which Dr. Ferreira-Gonzalez participated. Watch C-SPAN’s coverage.

25
2009

The day Dr. Boling’s House Calls Program garnered media coverage.

Twenty-five years ago, Internal Medicine Professor Peter Boling, M.D., started his house calls program for elderly patients who had difficulty getting to their appointments at the medical center. Some saw it as a throw-back to the days when physicians drove a horse and buggy to visit their patients instead of the other way around.

In today’s ongoing health care reform debates, house calls are being discussed as an option that has the potential to save costs as well as improve care. In fact, Boling helped craft language for the Independence at Home Act (S. 1131/HR.2560) that advocates home-delivered care for individuals with functional impairment, high costs and multiple illnesses.

The August 25, 2009 edition of the Los Angeles Times details Boling’s house calls program and includes data from a study by the medical center that looks at recently discharged patients who are seen in the program. The news article reports… “the house call program helped cut in half the number of days these patients spent in the hospital, saving the medical center as much as $2 million.”

Read about the work of Boling’s team in “Getting cheaper, better healthcare at home?

The Los Angeles Times’ story has been picked up by the Chicago Tribune and was the top story in their Tuesday, August 25 e-mail blast from America’s Health Insurance Plans to health plan executives.

22
2009

The day the Emergency Medicine Department grew mustaches for a good cause.

“It started as a lark,” explains Doug Franzen, M.D., M.Ed., director of medical education for the Department of Emergency Medicine. “One week one of our residents said ‘lets all grow crazy mustaches’.”

That was all it took to get them started, especially those who only had to shave off beards to have a full-grown mustache in place.

But then a few days later a faculty member discovered Capitol Ale House’s announcement of its First Annual Stache Bash. Coinciding with National Mustache Month, the fundraiser benefits the Massey Cancer Center. With the news that they could grow ‘staches for a good cause, others got on board for July 29’s clean-shaven kick-off.

Franzen says “There are four of us officially in the event—including one female nurse who had the brilliant idea of cutting longer and longer mustaches out of paper to simulate growing one.” Several others are growing mustaches but were not able to make it to Capitol Ale’s weekly check-ins due to scheduling commitments in the emergency department.

The team raised nearly $300. You can track their mustaches’ early progress on “Capital Ale’s growth chart.
August’s weekly check-ins culminated in the Stache Bash on August 22 at Capital Ale’s downtown Music Hall. In the end, Franzen won the contest, being voted “best mustache” of ‘Stache Bash 2009.

19
2009

The day alumnus Dr. Chris Colenda was named WVU’s Chancellor for Health Sciences.

A graduate of the Class of 1977, Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., has been named Chancellor for Health Sciences at West Virginia University.

Since January 2003, he has served as the Jean and Thomas McMullin Dean of Medicine and Vice President for Clinical Affairs at Texas A&M Health Science Center. In March, he became Vice President for Clinical Affairs at Texas A&M. He will begin his new role October 30, 2009.

At a news conference announcing Colenda’s appointment, WVU President Clements said of him: “Chris Colenda is a visionary… a strategic thinker… an energetic and dynamic leader… and above all, he is committed to the educational, research, clinical and outreach missions of WVU Health Sciences. He is also focused on moving us to higher levels of competitiveness and success. He is the very best fit for this important position.”

Read the West Virginia University news release and watch a video of the news conference.

In 2003, VCU celebrated Colenda’s contributions to the medical field by naming him one of the medical school’s Alumni Stars.

17
2009

The day Dr. Longo announced his latest flock of fledgling researchers.

In the field of family medicine, the Grant Generating Project is known for its success in identifying, nurturing and equipping junior researchers for success in the competitive world of grantsmanship.

Daniel Longo, Sc.D., professor of family medicine, is the longtime director of this “fellowship without walls” that teaches junior faculty from family medicine departments in the U.S. and Canada how to take a concept paper to a fully funded grant.

The project has seen enormous success, with over $208.5 million in grants generated by the project’s alums. Successes include major awards from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program, a state foundation grant of $2.6 million and a $616,000 Mentored Clinical Scientist Award from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Longo’s own research has been supported by more than $33.3 million in grant funding over his 27-year career in areas as wide-ranging as quality improvement, patient safety and health literacy. He also serves as co-director of ACORN, the Department of Family Medicine’s long-standing research network of about 50 family medicine practices throughout Virginia.

The project’s sponsors include the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, the North American Primary Care Research Group and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Fellows named for the 2009-2010 year are:

  • Ping-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.
    UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School
  • Angela M. Jo, M.D., M.S.H.S
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Marcia O. Miller, M.D.
    University of Florida
  • Patti Pagels, M.P.A.S., P.A.C.
    University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
  • Carlos F. Rïos-Bedoya, M.P.H., Sc.D.
    Michigan State University
  • Eric K. Shaw, Ph.D., M.A.
    UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Harry A. Taylor, M.D., M.P.H.
    Oregon Health and Sciences University

11
2009

The day Dr. Wenzel’s perspectives on swine flu appeared on the front page of the NY Times Health section.

In the August 11, 2009 edition of the New York Times, medical correspondent Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., calls upon Richard Wenzel, M.D., for lessons learned in the fight against the swine flu virus (H1N1).

In his regular column, “The Doctor’s World,” Altman writes: “Few experts can match the personal overview that Dr. Richard P. Wenzel, chairman of the department of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, has had of the swine flu virus’s activity in the United States, Mexico and four South American countries. At the invitation of former trainees in those countries and aided by some travel support from industry, he has visited them to observe cases, advise on control measures and critique their data.”

Read about unusual features of the virus in the August 11 column “Seeking Lessons in Swine Flu Fight.”