Posts tagged ‘College of Medicine’
When Dr. Graham Jeffries came to Hershey in July 1969 as one of the first academic faculty members, there was no hospital, only part of the signature Crescent building had been built and the three classes of medical students had to be taught in Harrisburg.
Jeffries, who became Penn State College of Medicine’s founding chair of the Department of Medicine, had not been particularly interested in leaving his job on the Cornell faculty at New York Hospital, but a visit to the new campus and meeting with George Harrell, the College of Medicine’s first dean, changed his mind.
“George had vision, and I realized that it would be exciting to start from the ground up,” he said. The medical school had students, but no faculty. When the hospital was built, it had an emergency room, but no house staff: “We all took turns being on call at night.”
They quickly recruited faculty to develop research programs. The hospital opened its doors to patients, and that generated money to support the faculty.
“Things developed slowly, but it was an exciting time,” he said.
Editor’s note: This story is one in an occasional series highlighting a relationship between Penn State College of Medicine and Mountcrest University College in Ghana.
Medical students in the United States don’t generally have to worry about things like unreliable electricity and Internet service. This is not the case in rural Ghana, where Mountcrest University College (MCU) is preparing to open the first private medical school in the country. Without reliable service, students are more dependent on printed materials than the digital resources available to their American counterparts.
As part of an ongoing partnership, Penn State College of Medicine library staff recently loaded two, 40-foot containers with donated materials bound for Mountcrest. This was the second donation from the College of Medicine since the inception of Mountcrest’s medical school last year.
The College of Medicine is in the process of renovating the George T. Harrell Health Sciences Library, requiring staff to cull large amounts of printed materials from its collection.
“This was a really opportune moment in time where we had this massive amount of materials that we were going to be removing because Penn State University Libraries has electronic access to the materials and the real estate is more valuable than functioning as a book archive,” said Cynthia Robinson, director, George T. Harrell Health Sciences Library.
This allowed Mountcrest to receive a significant amount of materials for only the cost of shipping.
For researchers early in their careers, it’s not just funding that matters—mentorship is also critical for success.
Dr. Dan Morgan has been studying cannabinoid signaling in the brain. Dr. Greg Lewis recently developed simulation software for fracture surgeries. Dr. Joslyn Kirby investigated bundled payments for management of a skin condition. These three Penn State College of Medicine doctors received guidance from senior researchers, along with $200,000 to fund their research, through the College’s Junior Faculty Research Scholar Awards program.
The program, launched in 2011, provides support to early-stage investigators in basic, clinical, and translational science research.
“It’s a way for us to jump start the research programs and career development of researchers here,” says program co-director Dr. Sarah Bronson, who is also director of Research Development and Interdisciplinary Research and co-director of the Junior Faculty Development Program. “We put equal weight on funding the scholar’s research program and recognizing a career and development plan that is going to make that research program happen.”
To that end, applicants don’t just propose the research they want to do. They also submit mentorship “dream team”—at least three experienced investigators who will provide advice and assistance in developing and executing a research proposal and a career development plan. The mentoring team meets with the scholar a minimum of once every six months.
Each scholar’s award is named to honor the contributions of senior investigators at Penn State Hershey who made a difference through their own research and through the mentoring of colleagues and trainees.
Incoming graduate students pursuing M.P.H., M.S., or Ph.D. degrees participated in the Graduate Student Oath Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 21 in the University Conference Center.
During this ceremony, first-year graduate students took an oath to uphold the values of integrity, professionalism and scholarship throughout their academic careers. This year’s keynote address was given by Sarah Bronson, Ph.D., director, Research Development, and director, Graduate Core Curriculum.
Symbolic of their initiation into the community of biomedical scientists, first-year Ph.D. students received white lab coats, and master’s students received a gift.
Prompted by an article in Science magazine, a group of College of Medicine graduate students spent a year developing an oath that reflected Penn State values. This is the seventh year for the Graduate Student Oath Ceremony.
Dr. Neal Thomas has made research his life’s work.
The newly named associate dean for clinical research hopes to help Penn State Hershey’s clinical research mission grow. One reason he is vested in seeing the expansion of clinical research is because he was personally affected by it — twice.
“In 2002, my youngest son was born premature and was given a medicine called surfactant into his lungs to combat lung disease that can happen from prematurity,” Thomas, a professor of pediatrics and public health sciences, said.
Being a researcher involved with surfactant use in older children, and also studying the surfactant genes and their impact on young children with lung disease, he was aware of the early clinical trial literature treating premature lungs. The fact that his son benefited from that early work would strengthen Thomas’s research interest in surfactant for years to come.
“It probably saved his life, but it certainly affected his lungs so that he is completely healthy now,” Thomas said. ”That wouldn’t have happened if scientists and physicians hadn’t conducted the clinical research to get to that point.”
He personally benefited from clinical research last year after having a heart attack.
Dr. Rodrigue Mortel has received the Penn State Alumni Association’s Honorary Alumni Award. This award recognizes those who are not Penn State graduates but have made significant contributions to the university’s welfare through their commitment and service.
Dr. Mortel joins fewer than 100 people who have earned this distinction since its establishment in 1973.
“I know that only two to four people are selected each year, and that since the award has been set up, only three faculty from the College of Medicine have been recipients of this award,” Mortel said. “I am proud to find myself in a very small circle of distinguished people to be selected from the College of Medicine.”
Mortel served in a number of positions during his 30 years at Penn State Hershey. He was promoted to full professor in 1977, only five years after joining the faculty, and later became the chair of obstetrics and gynecology in 1983.“His leadership at Penn State has been so very instrumental in establishing this Medical Center as one of the premier institutions in the country,” said Dr. Chester Berlin, professor of pediatrics, in a nomination letter for Mortel. “Penn State was so very fortunate in having Dr. Mortel in leadership positions so early in the life of Penn State Hershey.”
Added Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean, Penn State College of Medicine, CEO, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Health System and senior vice president for health affairs, Penn State, “Dr. Mortel’s prolific efforts over the years have supported the growth and reputation of Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. By helping train aspiring physicians and conducting groundbreaking research in our labs, Dr. Mortel deserves to be recognized for his service to Penn State.”
Photos are now available on the Penn State Hershey flickr feed of the 45th Commencement of Penn State College of Medicine.