On Wellness in WV

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A half million dollar endowment providing scholarships for female students enrolled at the West Virginia University School of Medicine has been made possible by the late Ruth St. John in memory of her daughter.

The Dr. Judith Buff Memorial Scholarship Fund will benefit female students who are West Virginia residents and are either the first in their families to attend an institution of higher education, descendants of West Virginia coal miners or interested in coal miners’ health.

St. John, a native of Charleston, never set foot herself on the WVU campus, but the recent resurgence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis – black lung disease – as well as her late daughter’s perseverance in the medical field inspired her generosity. St. John passed away in 2011.

Judith Buff, M.D., graduated from the WVU School of Medicine in 1972. She was one of only two female students in her class, falling on the wrong side of the gender disparity in the medical profession at the time. Undeterred, after residency training at the University of Cincinnati, she began a career as a dermatologist. Dr. Buff passed away from cancer in 1999.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/Dr-Judith-Buff-Memorial-Scholarship-Fund-created-f

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Alejandra Meza, a first-year student in the West Virginia University School of Medicine Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) Program, spent 10 days last month in Gaborone, Botswana, assisting with a six-day training for histopathology laboratory staff at the National Health Laboratory (NHL).

Meza, originally from Los Angeles, was one-fourth of a team of pathology professionals sent by the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) to southern Africa on a global health trip August 1-13. Their mission was to instruct 17 participants in the theory behind the histotechnology practices outlined in their instruction manuals.

Histotechnology is the process of grossing, or cutting, fixing and staining a tissue sample on a slide to be examined and diagnosed by a pathologist.

Cherie Germain, P.A., director of WVU’s PA Program, recommended Meza for the team because of her prior histology experience and her experience working with limited resources in an Army combat support hospital.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/WVU-pathology-student-trains-laboratory-staff-in-B

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Pleasants 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 the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department in St. Marys from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23.  For an appointment, call 304-684-2461.

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.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/Bonnie%E2%80%99s-Bus-to-offer-mammograms-in-St-Marys

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Jefferson 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 the Kingdom Life Cathedral Health Fair at the Ranson Civic Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 21.  For an appointment, call 304-283-0115.

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.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/Bonnie%E2%80%99s-Bus-to-offer-mammograms-in-Ranson

Charleston, W.Va. (Sept. 12, 2013) – Dr. Julie Testman, Associate Professor at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, fulfilled requirements for the qualifications as a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists ASCP).

ASCP Fellowship is a special honor bestowed upon pharmacists who meet the highest standards in Senior Care Pharmacy and have demonstrated an extraordinary level of service and dedication in professional practice activities.

A Fellow of the Society must fulfill rigorous criteria established by the ASCP Board of Directors. A Fellow must demonstrate dedication and achievement in professional activities, educational activities, professional innovation, advocacy and civic activities.  An ASCP Fellow has made a commitment to go above and beyond the traditional pharmacy practice by distinguishing themselves through exemplary service and important contributions to the practice of senior care pharmacy and to society.

Dr. Testman earned her doctorate of pharmacy degree from West Virginia University School of Pharmacy in 2005.  She completed a PGY-1 residency in Pharmacy Practice at Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, W.Va.

Mr. David Bowyer, Interim UCSOP Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice said, “This recognition is richly deserved and emblematic of the dedication Julie provides to both her students and her patients.  She has always shown tremendous respect for the profession and it is very gratifying to see her honored for her efforts.”

WVU provost Michele Wheatly is excited by the new program.

“Dual-degree programs like this offer our students both the skills and the certification they really need to pursue a career. This program will graduate flexible, highly-employable young people who have had the opportunity to work with faculty across the WVU campus and to learn to ‘think outside the box’ as the best leaders do,” Wheatly said.

“The mission of the WVU School of Public Health is to improve the health of West Virginians through innovation and leadership in education, research and service,” said Jeffrey Coben, M.D., professor and interim dean, School of Public Health. “The M.B.A./M.P.H. dual degree embodies the skills required for today’s public health fields. Public health leaders and practitioners who achieve the dual degree will gain a broader perspective of the costs and benefits of prevention and other lifestyle choices that can provide lasting health solutions for all West Virginians.”

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/New-dual-degree-at-WVU-injects-business-knowledge

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Hospitals (WVUH) has filed a request with the West Virginia Health Care Authority for a public hearing on Mon General Hospital’s Certificate of Need (CON) application to provide radiation therapy to cancer patients. Mon General filed for the CON to purchase and house a linear accelerator – the equipment used for delivering radiation therapy treatments.

“This is the first time we have ever asked for a hearing for a CON requested by Mon General, and we did not come to this decision easily,” WVUH President and CEO Bruce McClymonds said. “But after an extensive analysis of their application and the projected demand for such services, we believe that a public hearing by the Health Care Authority is warranted.”

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/WVU-Hospitals-requests-hearing-on-Mon-General-Cert

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.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Twenty-five years ago, it might have sounded like part of a science fiction plot – operating on a patient with remotely controlled, robotic arms or using a 20-ton medical instrument that emits more than 200 radiation beams at a precise location.

Minimally invasive treatments, computerized robotic tools and advanced diagnostic capabilities have all revolutionized medical care at Ruby Memorial Hospital and positioned WVU Healthcare to remain a leader for the state of West Virginia.

Gamma Knife is one of the minimally invasive surgical tools that has transformed the treatment of benign and malignant tumors, facial pain and brain disorders. Ruby Memorial Hospital has the only Perfexion Gamma Knife radiosurgery unit in the state of West Virginia.

Though the name may be deceiving, it’s not actually a knife, and it’s not surgery in the traditional sense. Without the risks of open surgery or an incision, this 20-ton medical instrument emits 201 finely focused beams of gamma radiation at the precise location of the brain disorder and treats it with minimal effect on surrounding normal tissue.

For full release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/SEPT/Surgery-and-technology-light-years-ahead-of-where

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.