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Pediatric cancer research thriving thanks to Four Diamonds

By Jade Kelly Solovey

While outcomes for children diagnosed with cancer have improved greatly over the past five decades, one-in-five children will still die from their disease. In the United States, more children die from cancer than any other disease.

Investigators at the Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Research Center at Penn State Children’s Hospital are working to change that.

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August 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm Leave a comment

Physician Assistant Program students package 14,000 meals to combat hunger

 

 

By Jennifer Vogelsong

A parade of physician assistant students filed into the University Conference Center at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Friday afternoon with sacks of soy flour and rice slung over their shoulders. Others lugged plastic tubs filled with a dried vegetable mix, vitamin packets, funnels and digital scales.

In a matter of minutes, they set up stations for scooping and sorting, weighing and sealing more than 14,000 nutritionally complete meals to be distributed in some of the world’s neediest regions.

It is a tradition the students began last year as a community service project and looked forward to repeating. (more…)

August 1, 2017 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

‘Read me a story’ – Bringing books to the youngest patients

By Heidi Lynn Russell

With three children ages 2, 5 and 8, Dr. Daniel Schlegel has many-a-time answered a wistful call to “Read me a story, Daddy.” There is “nothing better” than snuggling with a child and a book, as tiny, chubby hands impatiently turn its pages into a world of imagination, he says.

“It does wonderful things for the parent-child bond,” says Schlegel, assistant professor of family and community medicine.

Inspired by a request from Dr. Sukhjeet Kamboj, Schlegel and Dr. Julie Radico, psychologist and assistant professor, were excited to hear about an innovative program out of Boston called Reach Out and Read. Medical providers hand out free books at well-child appointments, which opens the door to discuss the importance of literacy with moms and dads. Reading to a child aids in brain development, social interactions and emotional health, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. (more…)

July 26, 2017 at 10:34 am Leave a comment

More than medical needs: Four Diamonds provides social support

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Social worker Greg Baiocchi with Four Diamonds child Colton. (Courtesy of Four Diamonds)

By Jade Kelly Solovey

When a child is first diagnosed with cancer, the family may be scared and wonder how they will make it through. It’s during that time that the dedicated psychosocial team at Penn State Children’s Hospital introduces them to Four Diamonds.

In addition to the financial support offered to families of children with cancer, Four Diamonds provides holistic, family-centered care by addressing not only the physical but also the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families.

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July 19, 2017 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Over 45 years of research addresses the science of ‘wasting away’

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Dr. Leonard “Jim” Jefferson in the forefront with Dr. Scot Kimball.

By Heidi Lynn Russell

What happens in the research laboratories at Penn State College of Medicine doesn’t stay in the laboratories.

It reaches to outer space, as adventurers blast off in rockets. It affects American war fighters in oven-like desert heat. It touches cancer patients and aging Baby Boomers too weak to rise from their beds. And it even affects the average “gym rat” in the weight room.

In short, anyone who cares about loss of muscle mass has benefited from the painstaking work of Dr. Leonard “Jim” Jefferson and Dr. Scot Kimball. The research of these scientists has delved into the mysteries of skeletal muscle for over 45 years. Recently, the National Institutes of Health renewed a grant of $392,000 to continue their work – one of the longest continuously funded such grants in the country. (more…)

June 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

The case for innovation in healthcare through data

When Dr. Marco D. Huesch joined the faculty of Penn State College of Medicine’s Department of Radiology last July, he brought with him a passion for transforming data into innovations. Having spent a decade in the data-driven business of management consulting after leaving clinical practice, he knew first-hand the power of analytics to improve performance.

As head of CORVA, the newly established Center for Optimizing Radiology Value, the vice chair of radiology research leads a small team of data scientists tasked with streamlining operations and improving patient care within the department and throughout Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. (more…)

June 13, 2017 at 9:13 am Leave a comment

A hospital bed won’t keep these local high school grads from their diplomas

By Jennifer Vogelsong

Kyle Vosburg didn’t expect he would spend the last three weeks of high school at Penn State Children’s Hospital. But the 18-year-old Mercersburg resident was diagnosed with leukemia in February and came down with a nasty cold after his third round of chemotherapy. Friends and family had hoped Kyle would be well enough to go home in time for this weekend’s graduation ceremonies on the football field at James Buchanan High School.

Instead, staff at Penn State Health helped bring graduation to him.

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At noon Friday (June 2), the familiar bars of “Pomp and Circumstance” played from a cell phone as a procession walked through the door of his hospital room. Kyle sat in his green cap and gown, smiled, and accepted his diploma from his high school social worker.

Then came toasts and cake, the balloons and gifts – all the trappings of graduation, pulled together in record time by members of the Department of Patient and Guest Experience and their connections across campus.

“Patients are individuals, not just cases to move along,” said Peggy Creany, administrative director of Patient and Guest Experience. “This is something personal we can do to help while they are here.”

(more…)

June 2, 2017 at 5:55 pm 2 comments

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