Posts tagged ‘Penn State College of Medicine’
This is the metaphor at the heart of Dr. Dan Shapiro’s new book, And in Health: A Guide for Couples Facing Cancer Together, that was released today (May 14). Part lifejacket, part buoy, the book offers practical advice for spouses and partners whose lives have been upended by cancer.
Shapiro, a clinical psychologist, knows this landscape firsthand. For five years when he was in his 20s, he battled lymphatic cancer, undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant and relying upon his spouse Terry for support. A dozen years later, the roles were reversed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Despite living in the cancer world since the 1980s, I underestimated how intense, painful and difficult it is to be the spouse and how important it is to understand that both roles are challenging,” said Shapiro, also chairman of the Department of Humanities, Penn State College of Medicine.
“We’re talking about really practical things we can do to make the experience easier and strengthen our relationship.”
Those “practical things” range from how to interact with the medical team and deal with emotions to how to talk about sex, to name a few of the chapter topics. The chapters themselves contain a mix of personal anecdotes, research findings and specific recommendations such as working less to scheduling weekly date nights when talking about cancer is prohibited.
All are aimed at helping couples navigate this unfamiliar and scary terrain that can include radical body changes, job loss, and role shifts.
They came without warning and didn’t go away: uncontrollable muscle twitches, weakness in his arms and hands, slurring of speech.
Even before the diagnosis in August 2011, Don Farrell and his wife Joan Darrah had figured out what they were confronting: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurological disease that is 100 percent fatal within two to five years after onset of symptoms.
“I can tell you that after the initial shock and grief, one makes a decision to move forward or not,” says Farrell in a documentary made by Penn State College of Medicine students Arissa Torrie and Brian Kinsman.
“It stimulated me to complete my life—not that I know what my life should be—but it stimulated me to finish it out strong, however that may be.”
Told through photographs and audio, “Don Farrell” is one of ten student documentaries that explore in searing and haunting detail the lives of patients facing debilitating diseases and terminal illnesses. Screened on May 1, the “Video Slam: Patient Project Documentary Films” is part of Penn State College of Medicine’s yearlong curriculum focused on giving first-year medical students insights into how patients live with illness.
In a typical school year, it takes the nurses of the Lebanon School District four months to conduct health screenings of the entire student body. This year, that effort is expected to take just two days thanks to the involvement of nurses from Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
The Medical Center nurses are teaming up with the district’s nursing staff to conduct vision, hearing, height, weight and scoliosis screenings for students. Nearly 60 Penn State Hershey nurses visited three of the district’s schools on December 7 and more than 75 have returned to the remaining four schools today (December 14). Normally, district nurses would team up to do the student health screenings, leaving their own buildings short-staffed. But this initiative spares the nurses precious time that they can now spend helping students in their respective schools.
Some of the information gathered will be provided to parents in the form of letters stating their child’s height, weight and body mass index (BMI). So-called BMI letters are common. In fact, every year, parents of all school-age children in Pennsylvania receive one from their schools. But this effort is unique because some of the letters sent out in Lebanon will feature a new format. The Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP), which is part of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, has drafted a revised BMI letter based on survey feedback from parents across Pennsylvania who said they wanted better explanations of health risks and a more detailed course of corrective action. CNAP plans to submit the revised letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Health next year in hopes that the new format will be adopted by all public school districts across the commonwealth. CNAP’s efforts to revise the BMI letter are funded by a grant from the Highmark Foundation. (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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
Following the completion of his doctorate at Vanderbilt University, Jefferson went on to do post-doctorate work at Cambridge University. While there, he had a visit with his former professor from Vanderbilt, Howard E. Morgan, M.D., who came offering Jefferson a position at Penn State. This was in the fall of 1966, a time when Morgan was recruiting rising stars in the medical and research fields for Penn State’s newly established Department of Physiology.
“I took the position sight unseen out of respect and regard for Dr. Morgan, who was a mentor and provided many opportunities for me,” Jefferson recalls. “I was also excited about being able to get in on the ground floor of the pioneering spirit of a new medical school.” (more…)
Below is an excerpt from the April 2012 edition of Perspectives, a monthly 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.
Conducting research is one of the key missions of any academic health center, and it’s a fundamental characteristic that distinguishes institutions like Penn State Hershey from other hospitals in the community. But biomedical research is expensive, and increasingly, researchers are having difficulty getting even the most excellent proposals funded. This challenge has become especially acute since the economic downturn in 2008. Government support for research is being cut back not only at the federal level, but also by many states, including Pennsylvania. In addition, many private sources of support for research – including philanthropic foundations and non-profit organizations – have reduced the amount of funding available, in response to the reduced value of their endowments or diminished philanthropic support these organizations rely on.
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In January 2011, E. Eugene Marsh, M.D., became the first senior associate dean of the Penn State College of Medicine Regional Medical Campus in University Park, where he will drive the College of Medicine’s vision for a regional academic and clinical campus in collaboration with the University and Mount Nittany Medical Center. He is also associate director of the Penn State Hershey Medical Group in State College, which has grown from one to five clinical sites in the State College area in the past year. He came to University Park from the University of Alabama, where he served as dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, the regional medical campus in Tuscaloosa as the culmination of a career ranging from private practice, medical education, and health care administration. In his new role, his priority list is long: to oversee the growth of medical group practices; to develop academic programs for College of Medicine students who will pursue their clinical training in State College; to craft a curriculum that emphasizes primary care and rural health; to develop dual-degree programs in areas such as business and law; and to establish a Family Medicine residency training program with Mount Nittany Medical Center. Dr. Marsh recently talked about the vision for the Regional Medical Campus and how it can help prepare physicians for the future demands of medicine. (more…)