Posts filed under ‘Features’

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.

Kyle-Patient_HS_Graduations_06-02-2017_42

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

Graduation begins a new chapter apart from each other for twins

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Mark and Mike Nakhla are members of the College of Medicine Class of 2017.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Mike and Mark Nakhla are used to receiving one invitation, not two, to friend gatherings, being mistaken for each other and called each other’s name by professors and even occasionally their mom, but most of all they are used to being by each other’s side.

Commencement marks a milestone in these identical twins’ lives not only because they both will receive hard-earned diplomas from Penn State College of Medicine but also because it marks a fork in the road where Mark will head one way and Mike the other.

Ever since they came to America from their home in Alexandria, Egypt when they were just 2 years old – they marked their birthday on the airplane – the boys have lived life together. They went through primary and secondary school together, chose the same college where they both studied neuroscience and came to Penn State College of Medicine, where – wait for it – they both decided to specialize in psychiatry. (more…)

May 17, 2017 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Team-based learning sets College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program apart

By Carolyn Kimmel

Throughout college and graduate school, Amelia Poplawski learned very efficiently from her textbooks and lectures, so the first-year student in Penn State College of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program was surprised when a tool she had never heard of – team based learning – enhanced her studying.

“I am amazed at how much more enjoyable learning is,” said Poplawski, who was introduced to team-based learning when she sat in on a class during her interview process. “I could never have anticipated how much of an impact it would make.”

Sometimes referred to as “the flipped classroom,” team-based learning encourages the student to develop deep thinking and teamwork skills that are especially important in an increasingly team-based approach to medicine, according to Chris Bruce, program director and team-based learning coordinator of the PA Program. In comparison to other programs nationally, Penn State’s program devotes significant classroom hours weekly to true team-based learning.

The team-based learning model has three main components. Before class, students read educational materials or complete another activity. As class begins, a test is completed individually on that material. Students then join their pre-assigned group to collaborate on a group test that contains the same questions. Group members select and defend their answers; in cases of disagreement, students discuss until they select the correct answer. (more…)

May 10, 2017 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

Inspired Together: A cancer survivor’s journey from patient to Boston Marathon runner

By Carolyn Kimmel

If someone had told Tim Harner a year ago that he would run in the Boston Marathon this month, he likely would have laughed – or cried— because the number one item on his bucket list seemed so unattainable.

Yet on April 17, he crossed the finish line of one of the nation’s top races, living the message that he wants to give other cancer survivors: “Never give up hope. Live life; don’t let life live you.”

Harner, a lifelong runner, was just 29 years old when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that progresses rapidly. His diagnosis in November 2015 began a journey that would challenge his resolve to live but ultimately transform his life. (more…)

April 26, 2017 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

Newly-designed library illustrates modern education’s transformation

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Spaces the encourage interactions and collaboration, private meeting rooms, individual work areas and an open, bright design are some of the features of the new Harrell Health Sciences Library, Research and Learning Commons.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Third-year medical students Nathan Wong, Anne Chen and Wilson Chan munched on lunch as they talked through their notes in a group study room at the Harrell Health Sciences Library, Research and Learning Commons at Penn State College of Medicine.

To study better, they could grab a marker and write on the white board walls of the room, turning them into one large study guide with great visibility. Or they could pull up a PowerPoint presentation from class on the large screen on another wall.

“These are good spaces for students to study together; there were none here before,” Chen said. “Now the library accommodates different types of study styles. There are still cubicles if you are a self-learner, but if you are a group studier, like us, you can use one of these new rooms.”

“Our old library was old looking; this is much more a place where you want to come,” Wong said. (more…)

March 29, 2017 at 9:23 am 1 comment

Culinary Medicine: Teaching the importance of nutrition in medical school

By Jade Kelly Solovey

During future physicians’ four years in medical school, they expect to be exposed to many different environments. They become acquainted with the emergency room, operating room, delivery room and every other room in between. Instructors at Penn State College of Medicine hope to help their students become familiar with one more room-the kitchen.

Fourth year medical students at the College now have an opportunity to participate in a Culinary Medicine course to learn cooking and nutrition basics, which they can then pass on to patients. Culinary Medicine is a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine.

(more…)

March 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Researcher sees exercise as important aspect of cancer recovery

A photo of Kathryn Schmitz, arms crossed, leaning against shelves of exercise equipment

Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D.

By Jade Kelly Solovey

In a second floor, 300 square foot chemotherapy infusion suite in Penn State Cancer Institute are some dumbbells, some stretchy bands, two treadmills, a recumbent bike, a weight bench, some physical therapy tools, and a raised mat. It’s not much and it’s not very big, but for researcher Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., it’s what she wanted.

“What I asked for and got in coming to Penn State Cancer Institute was the exercise medicine unit in an oncology clinical setting,” Schmitz said. She needed it for her work.

With the help of an experienced master trainer, this is where she and her team plan to make exercise part of the standard of care for cancer patients as they research the role of nutrition and exercise in cancer treatment and recovery. She has several clinical research studies underway or in development. (more…)

March 2, 2017 at 8:16 am Leave a comment

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