In 1977 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned women “of child-bearing potential” from participating in clinical trials. This was in part due to thousands of children worldwide being born with missing and malformed limbs after their mothers had taken thalidomide — often prescribed in the 1950s for nausea and as a sleep aid.
A decade and a half later, in 1993, the FDA lifted this ban after Congress passed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act. However, as Alina Salganicoff noted in her keynote address at Penn State’s 2015 Women’s Health Research Day on April 28, women are still poorly represented in research and clinical trials.
Women’s Health Research Day was held at the Penn State College of Medicine campus for the second year in a row and researchers from both the Hershey and University Park campuses attended. Due to the number of applications this year, two more research presentation slots and 11 more poster presentations were added.
Poster presentations featured the work of faculty members, residents, graduate students and medical students. The researchers’ fields of expertise ranged from obstetrics and gynecology to kinesiology to public health sciences, and seemingly everywhere in between, covering a vast array of women’s health topics.
Dr. Ian Paul knows the importance of Children’s Miracle Network first hand. Through its funding, he helped create a tool for health care providers to determine whether a breastfed newborn is losing too much weight during the first few days of life.
A third of Children’s Miracle Network annual funding is used for pediatric research like Paul’s. Donations to Children’s Miracle Network through events like this weekend’s Telethon on WGAL-TV 8, help purchase equipment like giraffe omnibeds, a pediatric ambulance and a heart-lung bypass machine. Funds also support vital patient programs like Child Life.
As an academic medical center, Penn State Hershey helps improve pediatric care through educating the next generation of providers and through research and development of new technologies. The first of its kind Newborn Weight Tool, or NeWT, is one example of that.
“Funding from Children’s Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey was crucial to allow us to take our research findings regarding newborn weight loss and share them with pediatricians, lactation consultants, nurses, and even parents, around the world,” said Paul, a professor of pediatrics and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and a pediatrician at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. “The funding allowed us to build a website that can be used anywhere on a desktop computer, tablet, or smart phone to help individual babies and their mothers in real time.”
While Dr. Jerry Luck was known for being an excellent clinician, it’s the influence he had on the people around him that is being most remembered.
Luck, a professor of medicine and cardiologist, passed away on Monday, May 18 at the age of 68 after a bike accident in North Carolina.
“Jerry Luck was a great clinician and an even better person,” said Dr. Larry Sinoway, director, Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute. “So many over the past week have said, in one way or another, that they wished they could be more like him. This, to me, is evidence of his impact and greatness. It is so very sad when we lose someone so good and so vital.”
Luck joined Penn State Hershey in 1985 as director of cardiac electrophysiology. While he left in 2006 to private practice, he still taught here, and returned as a clinician last year.
Dr. Gerald Naccarelli, chief, Division of Cardiology, knew Luck since 1981, when both were in Texas – Luck as an assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Naccarelli at his first job at University of Texas Medical School.
“He was an instant favorite of the students, residents and fellows because of his ability to teach them at the highest level,” Naccarelli, who worked closely with Luck as heart rhythm specialists, said. “Jerry was one of the most caring physicians I have ever known. His patients and staff held in him in the highest regard. He was my father’s cardiologist before my dad died of cancer. All of us here at Hershey will miss him. “
Reading and creating health-themed comics helps medical students transition from laypersons to physicians, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis at Penn State College of Medicine. Researchers found that integrating comics into a medical school humanities program allowed students to reflect on the formation of their professional identities and fostered cognitive and behavioral skills needed to be good doctors.
Comics might not seem like required reading for medical students, but that’s just what’s on the syllabus for a unique course taught at Penn State College of Medicine. The class, called Graphic Storytelling and Medical Narratives, is offered to fourth-year students through the college’s Department of Humanities.
Michael Green, a professor of humanities and medicine, began teaching the month-long course six years ago. To date, 58 medical students have taken his seminar-style elective. The book-length graphic narratives Green selected for reading and discussion include both true and fictional accounts of patients and their loved ones dealing with illness. As the course progresses, his students create their own comic around a formative experience from medical school. Along the way, creative exercises stimulate reflection and help the students refine their drawing and writing skills.
Green’s new analysis, based on student surveys collected since the course began, found that reading and creating comics helps students with practical doctoring skills, such as experiencing more empathy, noticing non-verbal communication and being more aware of how they are seen by patients. He published his results in Academic Medicine.
Students’ comics generally express five themes: how I found my niche, the medical student as patient, reflections on a transformative experience, connecting with a patient and the triumphs and challenges of becoming a doctor.
Photos are now available on the Penn State Hershey flickr feed of the 45th Commencement of Penn State College of Medicine.
Penn State College of Medicine held its 45th commencement ceremony today at Founders Hall on the Milton Hershey School campus. This year, 129 medical students and 76 graduate students received degrees.
Remarks were delivered by Elizabeth Atnip, medical student class representative and daughter of Dr. Robert Atnip, a Penn State Hershey physician and faculty member; and Shane A.J. Lloyd, graduate student representative.
Dr. Bradford C. Berk, senior vice president for Health Sciences at the University of Rochester and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), was the guest speaker. Berk was recruited to URMC in 1998 as chief of the Cardiology Division. He founded URMC’s Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. Berk then served as chairman of medicine until 2006, when he became CEO.
Penn State Medicine will post photos from commencement next week.
The program book is available here: Commencement 2015
From Africa to Hershey: Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua’s journey has relied on the support of people around him
UPDATE (5/18/2015): Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua at graduation with his mentor, Dr. Jill Smith.
Editor’s Note: Penn State College of Medicine will hold its 45th commencement ceremony this Sunday, May 17 at Founders Hall on the Milton Hershey School campus. This year, 129 medical students and 76 graduate students will receive degrees.
The commencement address will be delivered by Elizabeth Atnip, medical student class representative and daughter of Dr. Robert Atnip, a Penn State Hershey physician and faculty member, and Shane A.J. Lloyd, graduate student representative.
Dr. Bradford C. Berk, senior vice president for Health Sciences at the University of Rochester and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), will be the guest speaker. Berk was recruited to URMC in 1998 as chief of the Cardiology Division. He founded URMC’s Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. Berk then served as chairman of medicine until 2006, when he became CEO.
Penn State Medicine will post photos from commencement next week.
Medical school is tough. It’s even tougher when English is your second language and the support of your family is an ocean way in the capital city of Yaoundé in Cameroon, Africa.
For Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua, his success is found in the support he’s received from the people around him since stepping off an airplane in Miami 10 years ago when he was 17. That support has helped shape his journey through his schooling, and now the beginning of his career.
Kankeu Fonkoua is a member of Penn State College of Medicine’s Class of 2015, which graduates this Sunday.
“My story starts with my paternal grandmother passing away from stomach cancer,” Kankeu Fonkoua said. “That’s when I started to learn a little about cancer. I was very intrigued. It’s been a driving force since then.”
After considering attending college in France (Cameroon is a former French colony), he decided to come to the United States.
“When I was leaving, my maternal grandmother gave me about $2,000 — which here may not be a lot, but back home is years of savings — just because she believed in me. That was all she had and she gave it to me.” (more…)