Posts tagged ‘College of Medicine’
Penn State College of Medicine students are told to put emotions aside when they enter the anatomy lab. It is about the science, not the humanity. They quickly realize that is just not possible.
That was evident a few weeks ago in Hershey, as the future physicians honored the people and families who generously donated bodies for study by the students. Through an annual ceremony they organize, students reflect on the people who once were, not the bodies in a lab.
Some conveyed their feelings through song, others through poetry, and all shared their unending gratitude to the donors and their loved ones. “It’s an intimate opportunity for the students to convey to the families of the donors what they learned and what they gained from the experience,” said Michelle Lazarus, Ph.D., assistant professor of neural and behavioral sciences. “It also provides an opportunity for the families to better understand how their family’s gift impacted students.”
Students like class of 2016 president Steven Cornelius, who spoke of the importance of these gifts. “We learned a great deal of information in the lecture hall,” Cornelius said. “In reality, the primary place where we learned something was in the cadaver lab.”
Profile: The public health and homeland security connection—How a deployment works with the College of Medicine and World Campus
You would be hard pressed to find a student more perfectly suited for a Penn State Master’s Degree in Homeland Security—Public Health Preparedness (MHS-PHP) than Lt. Col. Guy Moon. A full-time active duty officer with the Nebraska Army National Guard, Moon completed part of his degree while on a deployment in Afghanistan. He formally received his degree from Penn State College of Medicine at its 2013 commencement today.
Moon’s position as the guard’s statewide education services officer put him in a unique position to know exactly what he wanted in an online program and, more importantly, how such a program should work. “I fully understand the value of education for military personal regardless of where they are in the career,” Moon says. He consulted higher education rankings that named Penn State as a military-friendly school and looked for an online program that offered homeland security programs. Moon narrowed his search down to three to four different schools, which he studied closely before make his choice.
So, why Penn State?
Penn State Hershey used to be a place of grief for Meagan Horst.
It was the place she went to say goodbye to her father when he died of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 44. Fourteen years old, she was the oldest of four children, waiting her turn to go into his room and say her final goodbyes.
As she sat with her siblings, she saw a little boy walk by, clutching an IV pole. He seemed so happy, excited by the simplest of things. “I knew right then that I was going to be a doctor,” she said. “I knew I was going to grow up to take care of people like him. He was just so happy to be alive.”
After high school, Horst spent a summer between her sophomore and junior years of college in Honduras and the Dominican Republic, shadowing doctors and learning about the world of medicine. There, her experiences in the operating room convinced her she wanted to become an anesthesiologist. “I was always interested in the other side of the curtain, and it just felt right,” she said. “I love everything about it.”
The following summer she traveled to Peru, interpreting for a medical team that needed help with Spanish. “I’ve always been ambitious and had lots of goals,” she said.
Growing up in Togo, West Africa, Elom Amoussou-Kpeto was acutely aware of the barriers that kept people from accessing quality health care. Not only was there a lack of highly skilled providers, but transportation was a challenge.
He spent a lot of time with his grandfather, a nurse, who cared for the whole community “doing almost what a doctor would do,” he said.
Amoussou-Kpeto realized that by becoming a doctor, he could give so much back to the community: “That is my ultimate objective.”
So, upon graduating high school with good grades, he applied to Camden Community College near Philadelphia, where an uncle lived. Once accepted, he began the process of obtaining a Visa to come study in the United States, where he felt like he would get a better education.
After two years studying biology there, he transferred to Temple University to finish a degree in biochemistry. It was a rocky road though.
Language was a huge barrier. Amoussou-Kpeto grew up speaking Ewe and French. In school, he learned to read and write some English, but had difficulty expressing himself in the new language. “I felt like time was constantly working against me–especially with standardized tests,” he said. “I felt like I was fighting a combat on two fronts–between who I am and who I want to be.” (more…)
“There’s a lot of tension. You go on eighteen or nineteen interviews at all these different places all over the county. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. Then there’s one envelope that basically determines where you’re going.”
This is how Nathan Keller, a member of the Penn State College of Medicine Class of 2013 described the “Match” process that culminates in Match Day, an annual tradition when medical students learn where they will be headed for residency training. Four years of preparation at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine had brought them to the moment when they would open a plain white envelope that contained the location of where they would continue their medical training. Match Day is the culmination of a process that began months ago as students visited and evaluated residency programs – and the programs evaluated them. Some of the students will remain at the Medical Center while others will go to residency programs throughout the country.
More than 130 students took part in the 2013 Match Day ceremony at the Hershey Country Club. The excitement built as the students received their envelopes one by one. Classmates cheered for each other as they counted down to noon, when they were finally able to tear open the envelopes and discover their match.
Some students were matched to their first choice. Others were not as lucky. (more…)
This week, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a graphic narrative by Penn State College of Medicine professor Dr. Michael Green. It marks the first time a clinically oriented medical journal has published a comic.
The comic, which Green created in collaboration with freelance illustrator Ray Rieck, addresses a question that many new doctors face – when to trust others and when to rely on their own judgment.
Dr. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of Annals of Internal Medicine, said the journal had been considering using the graphic story format as a new way to present selected case reports at about the same time that Green submitted his piece.
“We found it a compelling way to highlight some of the issues covered in a series on patient safety that we had in the works,” she said. “We decided that publishing it would be a good way to draw attention to that series and see how readers react to the graphic story format.”
Green, who has been teaching a course on comics and medicine to fourth-year medical students for several years, believes in the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.
He sees graphic storytelling as an effective way to communicate a complicated subject and anticipates it will be well-received in the medical community. (more…)
As part of an initiative to educate students in the surrounding areas about research related to health, faculty members from Penn State College of Medicine, in conjunction with colleagues from Penn State Harrisburg, Juniata College, and the Raystown Field Station offered 16 sophomores from Susquehanna Township High School and five of their teachers a week-long, summer opportunity to take a closer look at environmental and medical research techniques, and the interchange between the two areas of science. The formal title of the program is SEPA-CREST, so named for the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) that funded it and the opportunity it provided for Collaborative Research Experiences for Students and Teachers (CREST). It serves not only as a vehicle for students and teachers to gain more intensive experience in science, but also as a research opportunity for college faculty to gauge their ability to improve science literacy with these groups.
Participants travelled to the Raystown Field Station, an environmental center in Huntingdon, PA operated by Juniata College for a multidisciplinary study of the interactions between humans and the environment.
“The great thing about a week-long experience like this is that we’ve been able to address a wide range of topics and techniques,” said Sarah Bronson, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology, Penn State College of Medicine. “Each of the students are drawn to different areas in science, so this approach raises the likelihood that we’ll score a hit with one of the 16 kids and they think, ‘I want to know more about that’ or ‘I’d like to do that when I grow up.’” (more…)
This is an excerpt from the October 2012 edition of Perspectives, an electronic newsletter from Harold L. Paz, M.D., chief executive officer, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, senior vice president for health affairs, Penn State, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine.
As an academic health center, we have a proud mission that extends beyond treating the sick – promoting health and wellness has long been a vital part of what we do for our patients, our employees and students, and the community as a whole. Increasingly our nation’s health care system is changing in ways that reinforce the importance of wellness, prevention and effective disease management. More than ever before, hospitals and clinicians are being rewarded for keeping people healthy and out of the hospital, rather than the more traditional model of being paid for taking care of people once they’re sick. With preventable illness and often manageable chronic diseases taking a significant toll in terms of mortality, quality of life, productivity, and health care resources, it’s essential for academic health centers to lead the effort to find effective strategies to promote good health through prevention, wellness programs, and tools to help patients and the public take charge of their health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined obesity as an epidemic. It accounts for more than 10% of U.S. medical costs, or about $150 billion a year. Currently 1 in 3 adults and nearly 1 in 6 children are obese, so finding effective ways to help patients reach and maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important ways an academic health center can improve health and well-being among the populations it serves. We know that cultural changes such as the increased presence of higher calorie foods and larger portion sizes have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the past few decades. At the same time, Penn State Hershey researchers are finding that other societal changes, like the advent of social media, may be useful in fighting it.
A recent study conducted by Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Christopher Sciamanna, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and public health sciences, and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and colleagues in Hershey and at University Park, demonstrated the effectiveness of a web-based weight loss program that features successful strategies of others who have lost weight. The researchers designed a website called Achieve Together using data gathered from a previous study that identified key behaviors associated with successfully maintaining a weight loss of 30 pounds or more. The website matched users to role models closest to them in age, gender, and target weight, and allowed them to view their role models’ strategies for weight loss, which they could then use to develop their own weight-loss plan. Over the course of twelve weeks, study participants who used the web-based program lost an average of 4.5 pounds more than members of a control group of people trying to lose weight on their own. As the researchers suggest, since web-based programs like this one entail minimal costs, they could prove to be a cost-effective way to promote and support weight loss.
While growing up in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, James Powell M.D., ’92, knew he wanted to be a doctor from an early age. His experience with his own childhood pediatrician, Robert Childs, M.D. (also an alumnus of the College of Medicine as he completed his residency in 1975), was another deciding factor for Powell.
As an undergraduate and a College of Medicine student, Powell had the opportunity to shadow Childs and James Caggiano, M.D., ’77, at their Hazleton pediatric practice when he was home on weekends. This experience, along with the wisdom of his College of Medicine advisor, Cheston Berlin Jr., M.D., was influential in Powell’s decision to study pediatrics.
Powell received his undergraduate degree in molecular and cell biology from Penn State. Unsure of a specialty when he started at the College of Medicine, it was this background that ultimately led him to choose pediatric hematology/oncology.
He completed his pediatric residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, followed by a fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in pediatric hematology/oncology.
In 2003, he returned to the Medical Center to work in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. During that time, Powell was instrumental in starting a sickle cell disease clinic. He also spent time working with several satellite clinics, including Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College.
He served on the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Council from 2004-2010 and the College of Medicine Alumni Society Board of Directors from 2005-2010, which was a way for him to give back and stay connected.
“It’s important for me to give back to the school that helped me get where I am today,” Powell said. “I’m glad I chose Penn State for both degrees since I received an outstanding education.” (more…)
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine are actively working in Hershey, with colleagues at Penn State, University Park and other Penn State campuses, and with colleagues at various institutions across the country to conduct groundbreaking research. Their discoveries continue to contribute to the advancement of health care on all levels.
A tracheotomy performed within the first seven days after a severe head injury results in better overall patient outcomes, according to a team of College of Medicine researchers. This is especially true for patients who have a greater chance of surviving when admitted to the hospital. A tracheostomy is an opening created in the front of the neck directly into the trachea to allow unimpeded breathing (a tracheotomy is the act of making that opening).
“The CDC estimates that more than 200,000 individuals are hospitalized annually for traumatic brain injury,” said Kevin M. Cockroft, M.D., ’02, associate professor of neurosurgery at the College of Medicine. “Severely head-injured patients, particularly those with additional injuries, often require tracheostomy at some point during their hospital stay.”
Previous studies have shown mixed results. “Traditionally, tracheostomy, or ‘trach,’ has been recommended to prevent airway complications,” Cockroft said. “Early trach has been advocated as a means to improve outcome, with various studies suggesting that it may decrease the incidence of pneumonia, reduce intensive care unit days, and shorten overall length of stay. Some evidence also exists to suggest that early trach does not improve outcomes. As a result, the timing of trach in these critically ill patients remains controversial.” These results indicate a complex relationship between tracheotomy timing and outcome but suggest that a strategy of early tracheotomy, particularly when performed on patients with a reasonable chance of survival, results in a better overall clinical outcome than when the tracheotomy is performed in a delayed manner. Researchers reported their results in the journal Neurocritical Care.