On Wellness in WV

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Gail VanVoorhis, M.S.N., has many years of experience with simulated healthcare education, whether using a potato to practice dressing a bloody wound or employing a manikin to simulate the birth process. Now, that knowledge has earned her a job training healthcare professionals in Rwanda.

VanVoorhis, a teaching assistant professor, clinical instructor and clinical practice lab director with the West Virginia University School of Nursing, will depart Thursday for the Republic of Rwanda, an African country still trying to rebuild after the 1994 genocide.

She will be working with the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program, an initiative launched in July 2012 by the government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Health. Committed to meeting the health needs of its citizens by 2020, the HRH Program aims to build Rwanda’s healthcare education infrastructure and workforce to create a high quality, sustainable healthcare system by addressing the country’s most challenging healthcare obstacles.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/JULY/WVU-School-of-Nursing-professor-to-train-healthcar

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Charles D. Ponte, Pharm.D., professor in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy Department of Clinical Pharmacy and the WVU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine, was recognized for his commitment to helping educate healthcare professionals and patients about diabetes and diabetes management by being selected as a fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).

The AADE Fellows Program recognizes “diabetes educator leaders who have made outstanding contributions to diabetes education and care through clinical practice, research, education or health policy, including the development and implementation of mentorship programs for diabetes educators.”

Dr. Ponte is one of nine pharmacists who have been selected to receive AADE fellow status since the program was established in 2008.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/Ponte-selected-as-American-Association-of-Diabetes

HSTA celebrates 20 years of success

WVU education program helps nearly 2,000 high school students

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) at West Virginia University has wrapped up its 20th annual camp, a summer institution at WVU. HSTA serves high school students throughout the state by easing the transition into college and encouraging them to explore careers in science and health.

“Twenty summers is such an incredible achievement for this WVU community partnership,” Ann Chester, Ph.D., HSTA program director and vice-president for education partnerships at the WVU Health Sciences Center, said. “HSTA has helped nearly 2,000 of the best high school students in West Virginia be successful in college and their careers.”

HSTA encourages rural 9th through 12th graders to pursue higher education. The program not only helps educate underserved populations but also serves to recruit more scientists and healthcare providers in West Virginia’s medically underserved communities. HSTA students who complete the program earn tuition waivers for West Virginia state-run colleges. These waivers may be used from undergraduate work through professional school in certain majors. More than half the time, HSTA students choose to pursue health-related careers.

The camp offers participants a chance to learn the research process in a way that’s meaningful to them. Students choose a health or science research project they find interesting that is also relevant to their communities. After completing the project, HSTA students present their findings to their home communities, teaching as they learn.

“I keep hearing how these students surpass all expectations from academics to compassion and resilience and dedication to West Virginia,” Dr. Chester said.

Impressively, 92 percent of HSTA students go on to graduate from college, where one-third of non-HSTA students discontinue studies in their first year. While still in high school, HSTA students have been shown to have better grades overall and routinely score better on annual standardized tests.

“HSTA students are ‘knowledge brokers’ for better healthier lifestyles, taking what they learn in the program and acting as role models for their families and friends,” Chester said. “Their research projects on health issues help them make decisions about what they eat and drink, how they exercise, how much sleep they need and what behaviors will help them stay out of trouble.  As they grow through the HSTA program, these students become true leaders in their communities.”

Last year, HSTA received a renewed pledge of major funding made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year, $1.3 million NIH grant, “Teaching to Learn,” supports HSTA’s mission while encouraging health promotion in rural areas.

For more information about HSTA, visit www.wv-hsta.org.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/HSTA-celebrates-20-years-of-success

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A woman with a migraine headache that lasted for more than a month came to see Kendra Unger, M.D., for medical acupuncture at the WVU Clark K. Sleeth Family Medicine Center after seeing several other doctors and being told there was nothing they could do except write her a prescription.

“I found the muscle spasm that was causing her pain, and two hours after a 15-minute acupuncture treatment, her headache broke. She’s now down to maintenance appointments every two months,” Dr. Unger said.

As a general practitioner, Unger often saw patients for chronic pain who were on three or four different medications. She was inspired to become a medical acupuncturist through the Helms Medical Institute in Berkeley, Calif., to try to help people feel holistically better without needing more medication. Board certified in medical acupuncture, Unger uses acupuncture in conjunction with her medical training from the WVU School of Medicine. She holds a weekly acupuncture clinic at the Sleeth Family Medicine Center.

For full WVU release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/JULY/Medical-acupuncture-at-WVU-Family-Medicine-Center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Over the past 25 years, there have been advancements in diagnosis and treatment for many kinds of cancer. However, until recently the same was not true for lung cancer.

“Until five years ago, I would have said we had made no progress in improving the survival of patients with lung cancer. But in the last five years we have made progress in improving outcomes and survival,” John Parker, M.D., pulmonology specialist at Ruby Memorial Hospital, said.

Effective screening has played a critical role in catching lung cancer in early stages. Dr. Parker, who is also a member of the Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Comprehensive Lung Cancer Program at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said early detection has led to a 20 percent increase in survivability.

For full WVU release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/Screening-program-helps-detect-lung-cancer-earlier

Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Mercer County offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women.

A service of WVU Healthcare and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Bonnie’s Bus will be at Bluestone Health Center in Princeton from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14. For an appointment, call 304-431-5499.

The mammograms are billed to private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) or through special grant funds from the West Virginia affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No woman over 40 is turned away due to lack of funding.  A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram.

(WVU Release)

The program “Doctors On Call” has celebrated 700 episodes. The program features physicians and health professionals. As per a WVU Health Release:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As WVU Hospitals’ Ruby Memorial celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, another impressive milestone has been reached. This week marks the 700th episode of “Doctors On Call” (DoC), a statewide program on West Virginia Public Television that features WVU Healthcare physicians and other health professionals.

When “Doctors On Call” debuted on Jan. 14, 1993, it was instantly popular with viewers throughout the state. But no one would have predicted that the live, medical call-in show would still be on the air more than 20 years later, as few things last that long on television. Today, the phone lines still ring off the hook, and doctors donning makeup sit under the set’s bright lights to answer as many viewers’ questions they can fit into a half-hour show.

“Doctors On Call,” a joint production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, WVU Healthcare and WVU Health Sciences, began as a way to reach people in the far corners of the state with up-to-date medical information.

“It really took off immediately because people were so hungry for information about their health,” Amy Johns, producer of DoC and director of public affairs for WVU Healthcare, said. “Now, even though there are so many more options readily available for such information, the program is still relevant. I think one of the reasons is the interactive nature of the show. Another is the positive reputation of the healthcare experts at WVU.”

“The program has provided a great forum to enhance awareness of health issues throughout West Virginia,” Bruce McClymonds, president and CEO of WVU Hospitals, said. “It has enabled West Virginians to learn and ask questions about critical issues impacting their health.”

“Doctors On Call” wasn’t the educational institutions’ first foray into television. Since 1990, WVU doctors have been sharing their wisdom on the WVU Health Report, first on WCHS-TV in Charleston, then a few years later on evening news broadcasts throughout the state. The health reports now appear on West Virginia Media stations in Clarksburg (WBOY-TV), Charleston-Huntington (WOWK-TV), Beckley (WVNS-TV), and Wheeling (WTRF).

Both television efforts initially featured former WVU Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the WVU School of Medicine Robert D’Alessandri, M.D., who became popularly known as “Dr. Bob.” Dr. D’Alessandri considered the television programs “natural extensions” of the mission of the health sciences at WVU. Current WVU Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., agrees.

“As a way to bring medical and health information to the citizens of West Virginia, ‘Doctors On Call’ and the health reports have been a tremendous success.  From Dr. Bob to Dr. Rolly (Sullivan), all of the WVU hosts and their experts have been focused on one vision – to transform lives and eliminate health disparities,” Dr. Colenda said.

Many WVU Healthcare doctors, even those initially reluctant about appearing live on television, have become comfortable in front of the camera and consider the television shows to be a valuable way to communicate with patients.

“It is a real honor to be invited into the living rooms of so many West Virginians each week as we try to do our part to help improve their health and wellness,” Arthur Ross, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the WVU School of Medicine, said. “We value these partnerships and look forward to many more episodes to come.”

Rolly Sullivan, M.D., an addiction specialist for WVU Healthcare, hosts the WVU Health Reports and “Doctors On Call.” Other hosts for Doctors On Call are pediatric cardiologist John Phillips, M.D.; pediatric infectious disease specialist Kathy Moffett, M.D.; orthopaedic surgeon Joe Prudhomme, M.D.; and gynecologist Mahreen Hashmi, M.D.

The topic for this week’s 700th “Doctors On Call” is lung problems. The show airs at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. Upcoming topics are vascular problems, breast cancer and joint problems. Recent WVU Health Reports focus on spinal deformities in children, travel vaccines and heart health. All shows and reports are posted to WVU Healthcare’s YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/WVUHealthcare.

Viewers of DoC can learn about upcoming topics and provide feedback and requests on the program’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DoctorsOnCallWVU.