Posts tagged ‘education’

Penn State Hershey offers science outreach program to local high school students and faculty

Classroom setting for SEPA-CREST: Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) - Collaborative Research Experiences for Students and Teachers (CREST)

Michael Chorney, Ph.D. and Gail Matters, Ph.D., both of Penn State Hershey, lead a lecture on immunology to Susquehanna Township students.

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…)

November 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

A one-minute vote that could help fund a cure for breast cancer—and support a darn good video

The fight against breast cancer is real—that’s why more than 600 Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center faculty, staff, patients, survivors and the Nittany Lion donned pink gloves and broke out their best dance moves to show that no one should fight this disease alone.

Voting is now open for the national Pink Glove Dance Video contest, and Penn State Hershey is in the running to win a $10,000 donation to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.

We were inspired by not only our patients, but also each other: Dan, a human resources professional who danced for his wife, a 10-year survivor; Maggie, a critical-care nurse celebrating 12 years of survivorship; and more. Backed by a breast center team that ranks nationally in patient satisfaction; Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute multidisciplinary cancer teams including specialists, nurses, and support staff; and research that has led to promising new discoveries, our commitment to fighting breast cancer goes well beyond the gloves.

Together, we give hope, courage, and faith—and continue to fight for a cure.

Penn State Hershey is currently in second place out of more than 260 entries. Your vote could push us to the top! Every vote counts until November 2. Use your Facbook account to vote for Penn State Hershey’s video at http://pinkglovedance.com . Click on the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, click the Vote button, and then use the link provided to share with all of your Facebook friends. Please encourage them to share it with their friends, too.

October 24, 2012 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Perspectives: Promoting health and wellness on our campus and in the community

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.

Dr. Harold Paz

Harold L. Paz, M.D., M.S.

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.

Read more about our community health and wellness education efforts in the complete “Perspective” here >>

October 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Paz reports on highlights of Medical Center’s fiscal year

Highlights from across all four parts of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s mission were at the center of this week’s annual public board of directors meeting. Dr. Harold L. Paz, CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine, addressed faculty, staff and community members. Paz discussed how new and expanded collaborations, growth in its clinical and research missions, and the presence of the first group of medical students in State College were all part of a successful 2011-12 fiscal year.

Read more about Dr. Paz’s presentation in this article >>

The presentation also included the following videos, each highlighting a key story from the past year:

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September 14, 2012 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

Class of 2016 White Coat Ceremony

Students from the Penn State College of Medicine‘s Class of 2016 officially began their medical careers last Friday with a White Coat Ceremony at the Hershey Lodge. During this annual rite of passage that included family and friends, 145 first-year medical students received their white coat from a distinguished faculty member and recited the Oath of Modern Hippocrates – the universally recognized creed for physicians. Students in this class represent twenty-five U.S. states and seven foreign countries.

The College of Medicine initiated its annual White Coat Ceremony in 1996 with funding support from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a public foundation fostering humanism in medicine. A White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at more than ninety percent of schools of medicine and osteopathy in the United States.

August 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

New education programs aim to better prepare students

Group of Penn State College of Medicine studentsIn its usual tradition of education innovation, the Penn State College of Medicine has recently introduced a number of new or reconfigured programs. From dual-degree programs to an exciting new Physician Assistant Program, the College of Medicine is realigning its curriculum to better prepare future physicians, nurses, and researchers for the changing landscape of the biomedical research enterprise, and the health care arena where new discoveries are applied.

The new interdisciplinary graduate program, Biomedical Sciences (BMS), is a departure from the traditional graduate programs. “Up to a year ago, our graduate programs aligned with their basic science departments. We determined that this structure wasn’t meeting how we needed to train our students for the future,” says Michael F. Verderame, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate studies, professor of medicine, and director, Medical Student Research Project. “Students can build their own curriculum to address the work that they want to do.”  The first class of students just completed their second semester in May.

Many of the new programs build on the tremendous strengths that Penn State has to offer to its students. One of those areas is its Department of Public Health Sciences, where faculty has been working for several years in developing the new Master of Public Health program. The first class included thirteen students. “The fact that we’re training the future generation to participate in the improvement of health in our nation is an important contribution,” says Verderame. Also in this department is a new Ph.D. program in biostatistics. That program targets a smaller number of students, who are expected to start with the next academic year. (more…)

August 7, 2012 at 10:30 am 1 comment

Scholarships and awards contribute to one student’s success

Michele (Kondracki) Gortakowski seated

Michele Gortakowski

Originally from Wilkes-Barre, PA, attended Dickinson College and graduated with honors with a degree in chemistry and biochemistry/molecular biology. She is a first-generation college student who has persevered despite the many financial hardships and illnesses in her family.

Gortakowski has worked hard and overcome many obstacles to get where she is today. She graduated in May from the College of Medicine and began a combined medicine-pediatrics residency training program in July at Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine in Springfield, Massachusetts. She also got married in early 2012, which adds another milestone to an already amazing year.

“I just always knew that I wanted to go to college. I really liked Dickinson because it was a place that I could thrive academically and personally, and I was able to go with a lot of scholarships and financial aid,” Gortakowski said.

As an undergraduate student, Gortakowski had the opportunity to participate in the Primary Care Scholar’s Program at the College of Medicine. “I knew that the College of Medicine was where I wanted to receive my medical education,” she said. “It was also a good fit since it was close to home.” (more…)

August 3, 2012 at 11:00 am 1 comment

A career protecting children from abuse

Mark Dias, M.D.

Mark Dias, M.D.

Since early in his medical career, Mark Dias, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.A.N.S., professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at the College of Medicine, has spearheaded research exploring hospital-based and public policy interventions for decreasing the incidence of shaken baby syndrome, now more often referred to as abusive head trauma. “Abusive shaking and blunt impact to the head has a devastating impact on infants; if the child survives, he often is challenged to recover from severe brain injury and swelling, skull fracture, and retinal hemorrhage and damage,” says Dias.

As part of his strong commitment to protecting children from abuse, Dias has helped to form the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children. In 2009, Dias began working to grow a team of specialists at the Medical Center to evaluate and treat victims of child abuse and neglect. The child safety team began informally with the part-time support of Laura Duda, M.D., and Kathryn Crowell, M.D., R ’01, pediatricians who trained at children’s hospitals in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as fellows in specialized pediatric child abuse medicine. In the summer of 2011, Andrea Taroli, M.D., a board-certified child abuse pediatric specialist, became the first director of the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children. (more…)

August 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm 1 comment

The Four Diamonds Fund celebrates forty years

Charles Millard with child at THON

Charles Millard (pictured) and his wife Irma founded The Four Diamonds Fund on the day their son Chris passed away in 1972.

It all started with a call to arms—conquer childhood cancer—that hasn’t changed for forty years.  When the Four Diamonds Fund first appeared in 1972, there was little chance for a cure and treatment choices were limited. Since its inception, however, Four Diamonds has provided more than 3,200 children and their families touched by cancer the means to fight back.

From Despair to Hope

The vision for the Four Diamonds Fund began during the darkest days of Charles and Irma Millard’s life. In 1970, the couple was visiting Children’s Hospital Boston with their beloved 12-year-old son, Chris, who was being treated for rhabdomyosarcoma of the nasopharynx. There, the Millards discovered the Jimmy Fund, a program that covered all out-of-pocket medical costs for children receiving therapy for cancer at the hospital. “That’s where we came up with the idea to start a fund that would benefit families in central Pennsylvania,” Charles Millard says. “In 1972, on the day Chris died at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, we initiated the Fund.”

For the couple, then living in Elizabethtown, their main goal was to relieve the financial burden that other young families may face during their battle with cancer, while providing support for the best medical care available. “In the first five years, it was slow moving, but we continued to do fundraisers,” Millard says.  “We felt really thankful that we had the opportunity to take this negative experience in our lives—the loss of our son—and turn it into something so positive.”

A Place of Healing and Caring

The mission of the Four Diamonds Fund is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting children treated at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and their families by funding superior care, comprehensive support, and pediatric cancer research.

Over the years, the organization has expanded its ability to take care of these desperately ill children. Today, a world-class team of professionals provide comprehensive medical care—including pediatric oncologists, nurse specialists, social workers and child life specialists. Some 100 new patient families benefit from Four Diamonds each year. That support includes getting the cost of all uncovered medical bills paid.

“Drawing on these resources, we are able to provide a level of cancer care, second to none,” says A. Craig Hillemeier, M.D., chair, Department of Pediatrics, at the Children’s Hospital. “If you are treating a child with cancer, you are really treating the whole family, and because of the Four Diamonds Fund, we are able to give a much more complete response to the terrible reality that the child and family experience.”

(more…)

July 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm 2 comments

A journey to Vietnam and back

Dr. Tim Craig with caregivers and a patient

Dr. Tim Craig with caregivers and a patient during a trip to Vietnam.

If you are planning a trip to a small country of more than 90 million people that’s rich in culture and traditions, you can imagine the kind of travel itinerary you’d keep. For Timothy J. Craig, D.O., professor of medicine and pediatrics, that itinerary looked quite different. Craig recently completed an eighteen-month fellowship in Vietnam where he spent time at a few different hospitals providing clinical, educational, and research support to help improve their overall quality of care.

Craig’s fellowship was part of the Vietnam Education Foundation federal grant, which supports educational exchange. “It was an incredible experience. When you go over once as a tourist, you don’t meet a lot of people,” describes Craig. “When you go six or seven times, you start to know the people and get invited into their homes and to their weddings.”

Originally, Craig had planned to work at the Lung Hospital in Hanoi to develop a protocol to determine adverse effects to drugs used for tuberculosis (TB). Then, his work led him to the Allergy Center in Hanoi. “There, I did some quality assurance programs. I retrained them on how to do their skin tests and went through some different ways to perform pulmonary function tests,” says Craig. He then travelled south to Ho Chi Minh City, where he worked with the ENT Hospital. There he taught staff how to do various allergy tests and how to incorporate that into their practice. “At this hospital, I saw that they hadn’t had the opportunity to determine what people were allergic to, so I helped them set up a holistic allergy clinic,” said Craig.

One of the things he continually emphasized in his training was quality assurance. It was during this retraining process that he realized they were not changing the filters on the machines they use to conduct breathing tests. “Unfortunately, in a country that has a high rate of TB, you want to change those filters each time, because someone can re-inhale a deposit left from someone else,” explains Craig.

(more…)

July 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

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