On Wellness in WV

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—The Marshall University School of Pharmacy, along with several other conference partners, is sponsoring the 2013 International Symposium on Safe Medicine (ISSM) beginning today in Charleston. The conference, which has historically been held in the state of Maine, brings together pharmacists, physicians, toxicologists, educators and others for sessions on prescription drug use, abuse, return and disposal.

Dr. Kevin W. Yingling, dean of the School of Pharmacy and a speaker for the event, said the escalation of prescription drug abuse across the United States makes it imperative for health care professionals to collaborate with others in the field.

“There are many facets of the prescription drug abuse issue that need to be addressed,” Yingling said. “This symposium exposes health care professionals to educational topics like best practices in medication prescribing, creating public policies about drug diversion, the roles of pharmacists in medication therapy management and even environmental issues impacted by the unsafe disposal of medications.”

Dr. John V. Schloss  is professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the Marshall School of Pharmacy and is one of the organizers of past ISSM conferences in Maine.

“Prior to joining the Marshall University School of Pharmacy, I was heavily involved with the conference planning in Portland,” Schloss said. “There are many parallels between Maine and West Virginia that contribute to their common problem in prescription drug abuse. This symposium has facilitated cross-disciplinary approaches to solving the drug abuse problems, not just in West Virginia, but across various states.”

The conference also features speakers from Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, the MU Forensic Science Center and the College of Health Professions. Additional speakers are from the Pew Prescription Project, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and various companies and universities.

The symposium is being held in conjunction with West Virginia’s Integrated Behavioral Health Conference.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Researchers from Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, in collaboration with international partners in China and Italy and colleagues in the United States, will present their findings at the 2013 American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions later this week in New Orleans.

“We are very pleased that all eight of our research abstracts were accepted for presentation at this world-class conference,” said Nader G. Abraham, Ph.D., Dr. H.C., FAHA, vice dean for research at the School of Medicine. “Marshall is truly expanding its medical research footprint and is being recognized at the international level.”

In making the announcement, Abraham said research from Marshall scientists and clinicians includes findings on heart disease, obesity, fatty liver, and hypertension.

“Much of our research here at Marshall is focused on the issues that plague our population in West Virginia and really the entire Appalachian region,” Abraham said. “For instance, the project that the dean, Joseph Shapiro, and I have been working on with researchers from Beijing and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science in North Carolina has found that there are small, special fatty acids that can improve heart attack mediated damage to prevent further damage, which may eventually lead to developments in new therapies and prevention.”

The following is a list of the abstracts that will be presented in New Orleans:

  • EET Agonist Improves Cardiac Energy Metabolism and Heart Function by Regulating Fatty Acid Oxidation and Oxidative Stress in Infarcted Myocardium, presented by Jian Cio, Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing in collaboration with  Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D. and Nader G. Abraham, Ph.D., Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
  • CYP2J2 Targeting to Endothelial Cells Attenuates Adiposity and Vascular Dysfunction in Mice Fed a High Fat Diet by Reprogramming Adipocyte Phenotype, presented by Dr. Abraham in collaboration with Marshall researchers Komal Sodhi, Ph.D., Anne M. Silvis, Ph.D., and Shapiro. This study was the first to demonstrate that targeting the vascular endothelium (small cells that line the circulatory system) with human gene CYP2J2 in mice fed a high-fat diet actually decreased the fat and vascular dysfunction and improved metabolic parameters.
  • Enhanced VEGF and ETS-1 Recruitment by T Reg-Heme Oxygenase-1 Module Increases Blood Flow in Post-infarction Myocardium in SCID Mice, presented by Marshall cardiologist Ellen Thompson, M.D., along with Marshall researchers Robert Touchon, M.D., Larry Dial, M.D., Abraham and Shapiro.  This poster presentation shows the beneficial role of the human gene heme oxygenase-1 in improving heart function and blood flow in immunodeficient mice after heart attack.
  • Heme Oxygenase-1-mediated PPARδ Improves Cardiac Fibrosis and Inflammation in SCID Mice Via Induction of T Reg Cells, presented by Marshall researcher Robert Touchon, M.D., in collaboration with MU researchers Thompson, Sodhi, Dial, Abraham and Shapiro.  This research is looking at the role of heme oxygenase-1 in improving kidney function in immunodeficient mice.
  • Body Mass Index Exacerbates the Hypertension Mediated Increase in Endothelial Cell Sloughing and Suppression of Antioxidant Heme Oxygenase-1, presented by Marshall physician-researcher Ryan Stone, M.D. with Marshall researchers, David Chaffin, M.D., David Jude, M.D., Zeid Khitan, M.D., Dong Hyun Kim, Ph.D., Imran T. Khawaja, M.D., Abraham and Shapiro.  Research is already available that shows being overweight (BMI >25) increases the risk for hypertension – but the mechanism for this development is unclear. This project is studying biomarkers in the bloodstream that contribute to vascular dysfunction.
  • Targeting Endothelial Cells with HO-1 Attenuated Vascular and Adipocyte Dysfunction in Mice Fed High Fat Diet,  presented by Marshall School of Medicine research assistant Morghan S. Getty with Marshall collaborators Kim and Abraham looks at the role of heme oxygenase-1 in reducing obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet.
  • HMOX1 Ameliorates Fatty Liver and Metabolic Syndrome by Reduction of Hepatic Heme and PGC1α, presented by Marshall researcher Sodhi along with Marshall collaborators, Wade G. Douglas, M.D., Imran T. Khawaja, M.D., Dial, Shapiro and Abraham.   This abstract reviews the beneficial effects of heme oxygenase-1 in reducing non-alcoholic fatty liver, a condition marked by the accumulation of fat in the liver.
  • PPAR-δ Binding to Heme Oxygenase 1 Promoter Prevents Angiotensin II Induced Vascular and Adipocyte Dysfunction in a Model of Renovascular Hypertension, presented by Sodhi with fellow Marshall researchers, Zeid Khitan, M.D., Dial, Shapiro and Abraham.   This research is studying the beneficial effects of heme oxygenase-1 in reducing obesity and hypertension.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Darshana Shah, associate dean of faculty affairs and professional development with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, has been selected as chair of the professional development and program subcommittee of the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Group on Faculty Affairs (GFA) committee.

The appointment follows her election as an at-large representative to the GFA’s Steering Committee earlier this year. The mission of the GFA is to build and sustain faculty vitality in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

“Dr. Shah’s commitment to guiding faculty members in their professional development and career pathways is absolutely terrific and I cannot think of a person more fitting to serve in this position,” said Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.   “She is one of those individuals who always sees the glass half-full and is determined to find solutions in the complex world of medical education. We certainly are proud of her achievements, both here and on the national level.”

Shah will serve a three-year term on the committee and says she is eager to begin her new role.

“Developing programs to assist and nurture faculty is an essential component of any medical school,” Shah said. “I am thrilled to participate as a JCESOM faculty member in designing added-value programs at the national level.”

Shah is the first from Marshall to be elected to an AAMC steering committee.

In addition to her role as associate dean, Shah is a professor of pathology and is an active leader within numerous other professional and educational groups.  Currently, she serves as president of the Group for Research in Pathology Education, a national organization whose purpose is to promote and facilitate excellence in pathology education.

Shah has received several teaching awards and is the faculty advisor to the JCESOM’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, an international group dedicated to compassionate medical care.

Shah graduated from the University of Maryland with a master’s degree in microbiology and earned her doctorate in biomedical sciences at West Virginia University before completing postdoctoral research work at the JCESOM.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) on the rise, not only in West Virginia but nationwide, the field of respiratory care is needed more than ever.

Chris Trotter, associate professor of respiratory therapy at Marshall University, said respiratory therapists are and will continue to be in high demand due to the many respiratory hazards in this region.

“We live in an area dependent on the special metals and coal industries,” Trotter said. “As great as this is for our economy, it is equally detrimental to the respiratory health of our residents. We understand the urgency of this problem, which is why Marshall University was one of the first to step up and do something about it.”

According to the United Health Foundation, 25 percent of the population over 18 smoke on a regular basis in West Virginia. Smoking is considered the most prominent risk factor for COPD, which has been the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. since 1991, and the third-leading cause of death in West Virginia for eight of the nine years from 2000 through 2008, as noted by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

With COPD on the rise, licensed respiratory therapists are wanted to evaluate, educate and treat patients with all types of breathing disorders.

Since 2005, the St. Mary’s/Marshall University cooperative school has offered a Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care. Currently, it is one of two nationally accredited programs in West Virginia, joining Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va.

Keith Terry, associate professor of respiratory therapy at Marshall, said unlike the traditional four years required for most undergraduate programs, the respiratory therapy program takes just three years to complete.

“Our program provides a comprehensive, faced-paced environment which allows for a better understanding of our profession,” Terry said. “Our advanced coursework engages our students, fostering the foundation of knowledge necessary to result in better patient outcomes.”

Housed in the St. Mary’s Center for Education on 29th Street in Huntington, the respiratory care classrooms have state-of-the-art equipment complete with an on-site library and a new high fidelity simulation lab.

Dr. Michael W. Prewitt, dean of the Marshall College of Health Professions, said the partnership between the college and St. Mary’s provides a unique opportunity for those interested in pursuing careers in the health professions.

“Our graduates are able to seek employment in multiple health care settings,” Prewitt said. “An increasing number of respiratory therapists are now working in skilled nursing centers, physicians’ offices, home health agencies, specialty care hospitals and medical equipment supply companies.”

The St. Mary’s/Marshall University cooperative respiratory care program accepts 20 new students each year.  For more information on enrollment, contact Christopher.trotter@st-marys.org or call 304-399-4969 or 304-399- 4970.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Christopher Adams, M.D., a cardiology fellow with the department of cardiology, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, recently received the James Willerson Clinical Award Competition for Residents and Fellows from the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (IACS).  The award was established to promote, encourage and recognize young talents in cardiovascular science, medicine and surgery.

The award is named in honor of James T. Willerson, M.D., president and medical director of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston and current president of IACS.

Adams was recognized for his research, “Perivascular Fat Relation to Hypertension:  WV-Appalachian Heart Study,” which he has been conducting for several years with faculty members Paulette Wehner, M.D., a professor of cardiology and senior associate dean for graduate medical education, and Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor in the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology.

“Dr. Santanam and I are very fortunate to collaborate with Dr. Adams,” Wehner said.  “The award is particularly important because Dr. Adams started the Appalachian Heart project as a medical student and has continued the work through his sixth year of post-graduate training.”

Wehner continued, “The work was partially funded through a translational research grant awarded by Marshall Health to promote research within our institution.  According to a recent Gallup Healthcare poll, the residents of the Huntington-Ashland Metropolitan area are twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack as the national average.  We are hopeful that our research may help identify why we are having such a higher incidence of heart attacks in our area.”

Adams presented the findings at the Cardiovascular Forum for Promoting Centers of Excellence and Young Investigators meeting earlier this month in Louisville, Ky. He was one of five international applicants invited to participate.

Adams is a graduate of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Marshall as well.  His future plans include an interventional and structural heart disease fellowship next year at the University of Kentucky.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Kimberly R. Becher, M.D., a family medicine resident in the Department of Family and Community Health at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, was recently elected to serve as the National Congress of Family Medicine Residents representative to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Becher was elected to the national post by her peers at the AAFP’S National Conference of Family Residents and Medical Students last month. She will serve as the sole resident member on the AAFP’s board of directors representing more than 3,000 family medicine residents nationwide.

“Dr. Becher is the quintessential family doctor.  She is engaged with her patients, cares about her community and is always looking for ways to improve medicine,” said Dr. John Walden, chair of the Department of Family and Community Health. “I cannot speak highly enough of her dedication to improve the health care outcomes of West Virginians and others in the Appalachian region.  She is an outstanding ambassador for our school and our state. ”

Becher, who grew up in West Virginia and graduated from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2011, is in her third and final year of residency and serves as one of the department’s chief residents.   Highly interested in health policy and reform advocacy, Becher also serves as one of Marshall’s Paul Ambrose Health Policy Fellows.

Following residency, Becher plans on working in Clay County for Community Care of West Virginia.

Dr. Kevin Yingling, left, today announced creation of a new endowed scholarship fund that honors Paula Campbell Butterfield, right, a pharmacist and longtime owner of Trivillian’s Pharmacy in Charleston.

A Charleston pharmacist is lending support for a new scholarship. As per Marshall University:

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Kevin W. Yingling, dean of the Marshall University School of Pharmacy, announced today creation of a new endowed scholarship fund, the Paula Campbell Butterfield Scholarship for the School of Pharmacy.

The scholarship is named in honor of Paula Campbell Butterfield, a pharmacist and longtime owner of Trivillian’s Pharmacy, an iconic independently owned pharmacy in Charleston.   Butterfield, who completed her pharmacy degree at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, has owned and operated Trivillian’s for more than 30 years.

In announcing the scholarship, Yingling praised Butterfield for her years of mentoring young women and men in the field of pharmacy.

“Ms. Butterfield’s generosity is obvious, not only in her willingness to create a scholarship for our students, but in her every-day commitment to mentoring young pharmacists in the field,” Yingling said. “Additionally, she is the epitome of what a community pharmacist should be – a valued member of the health care team dedicated to educating her patients about their medications and how to use them safely.”

The Paula Campbell Butterfield Scholarship for the School of Pharmacy will be awarded to a recipient who is a full-time student at the school and a resident of West Virginia.   First preference will be for a female student who lives in Kanawha County or an adjacent county (Jackson, Roane, Clay, Nicholas, Fayette, Raleigh, Boone, Lincoln or Putnam).  The recipient must  have and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

The award is renewable.

For specific information on the scholarship, contact the Marshall University Office of Financial Aid at 304-696-3162.