Posts filed under ‘Features’

From the military to becoming a physician assistant

Editor’s Note: The Commencement Ceremony for the graduating Class of 2016 will take place on Sunday, May 15, 2016. For more information on Commencement, visit this site. 

A little more than two years ago, Myra Galusha was looking for a physician assistant program that would be tough enough to balance out her lack of medical background.

At Penn State College of Medicine, the 32-year-old Michigan native found that and more: “That part was not a let-down,” she laughed.

Galusha is one of 144 medical students, 81 graduate students, and 30 physician assistants who will receive degrees this Sunday.

Myra Galusha

Myra Galusha

Galusha completed the military academy at West Point, majored in law, and then spent more than five years in the Army. After multiple deployments and time overseas, she eventually left the military. She and her husband, Colt – who is from the Gettysburg area – decided to move back to Pennsylvania when he got a job at Fort Indiantown Gap as an instructor pilot.

After leaving her work in military intelligence, Galusha’s sports background – and history of multiple sports injuries – drew her to the medical field. Being a new mother, she didn’t want to attempt medical school, so a physician assistant program seemed like a better fit. (more…)

May 12, 2016 at 10:30 am 1 comment

Clues to child abuse: Dr. Lori Frasier on the frontline of new training

“If it’s never on your radar screen, you’re never going to see it.”

That’s the philosophy that drives Dr. Lori Frasier in her efforts to better train pediatricians and other clinicians to be aware of clues that might suggest abuse.

Frasier is director of Penn State Center for the Protection of Children, division chief of child abuse pediatrics at Penn State Children’s Hospital and is board-certified in child abuse pediatrics. She will take her expertise statewide as she partners with the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance to provide new, state-mandated training of medically licensed professionals that will hopefully lead to better reporting of suspected child abuse. In 2014, 30 children died from abuse. (more…)

April 11, 2016 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit celebrates 25 years

Epilepsy Monitoring Group

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit conducts a surgical conference where team members discuss patient situations and treatment plans.

Like many mothers, Lorraine Schaeffer wanted to give her daughter every childhood opportunity possible, from play dates to participation in school and community activities.

Her epilepsy, however, stood in the way.

“I had to tell her ‘no’ so many times,” recalled the East Hanover Township resident. “It hurt me and I knew it hurt her even more. My daughter was getting ripped off in life because of my problem.”

The neurological disease had been Schaeffer’s nemesis since high school, when she experienced strange times of feeling like a “volcano” overtook her body and literally stopped her in her tracks. (more…)

March 23, 2016 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

New technology center builds on promises of College groundbreaking 50 years ago

Penn State Hershey groundbreaking

Eric Walker, president of The Pennsylvania State University; Sam Hinkle, Hershey Trust Company; Captain R.W. Roland, Penn State Board of Trustees president; and Arthur Whiteman, Hershey Trust Company, break snow-covered ground to signal the start of the construction of the Penn State Hershey campus on Feb. 26, 1966.

We’re all walking around with at least six billion pieces of information in our personal genome that, as the field of personalized medicine grows, can provide valuable clues to future health. When paired with clinical data from the electronic medical record (EMR), physicians will be able to provide individualized, precision medical care. The potential implications for improved health and efficiency of health care delivery are huge. So too are the technology needs to support that future.

In the not too distant future, every patient seen by providers at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Center will be offered genome analysis, something the organization’s founders could have never conceived of 50 years ago when the first shovel was plunged into the farm fields on Feb. 26, 1966, of what would become Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. The groundbreaking was a short three years after a $50 million gift offer from the M.S. Hershey Foundation to Penn State to establish a medical school and teaching hospital in Hershey.

“This is the most exciting time to be in medicine in terms of research capabilities and outcome for patients,” said Dr. James Broach, director of Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine. “The first genome sequence was generated in 2003 and that took 10 years and $3 billion. Now, in one day for about $1,000, we can do the same thing.”

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February 26, 2016 at 10:24 am 1 comment

Pediatric survivorship program provides support after treatment

Penn State Hershey program is supported by Four Diamonds.

DSC_6914FINAL

An event on Feb. 21 brought the excitement of Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The THON Reveal Party in the Tree House Café coincided with the final moments of the 46-hour dance marathon. Those moments included the final “reveal” that the latest effort had raised $9.8 million for Four Diamonds, whose mission is to conquer childhood cancer. One of the programs supported by Four Diamonds is the pediatric cancer survivorship clinic.

Each year, as the rate of children cured from pediatric cancers increases, so does the need for ongoing care of the young survivors.

Six years ago, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital started a survivorship clinic to educate children and young adults who have completed their cancer treatments about the therapy they received and possible late-arriving side effects of it.

“Most of the time, therapy-related complications happen several years after therapy is finished, when they are young adults,” said Dr. Smita Dandekar, head of the program. That’s why children are invited to the program at least five years after their original diagnosis, and at least two years after they have completed their treatments.

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February 22, 2016 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

‘Four Diamonds is absolutely instrumental for testing novel ideas’

FourDiamonds_Logos1

Four Diamonds support brings new pediatric cancer researchers to Penn State College of Medicine

Editor’s Note: Penn State’s THON Weekend is Feb. 19-21. Students will dance for 46-hours to support pediatric cancer patients. To date, $127 million has been raised and donated to Four Diamonds, a foundation that supports the families of pediatric patients at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, and the cancer research done here. For more information on THON, or to watch the activities live, visit THON.org. For more information on Four Diamonds, visit FourDiamonds.org.

Their journeys started halfway around the world, but their shared passion for uncovering the causes of pediatric cancer brought them to Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Wei Li is originally from Peking, China, and Dr. Vladimir Spiegelman is originally from Moscow. Now both are in Hershey, through funding from Four Diamonds, working to understand how pediatric cancers develop in the hopes of discovering new lifesaving therapies.

Dr. Li, assistant professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, came from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Spiegelman, Pan Hellenic Dance Marathon Endowed Chair in Pediatric Oncology and professor in the Department of Pediatrics, was most recently at University of Wisconsin.

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February 16, 2016 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Penn State Hershey Ghana team update, Feb. 11

Dr. Mike Malone

Dr. Mike Malone gives a presentation in Ghana.

Editor’s note:  Penn State Hershey clinical participants (senior medical students, residents, nurse practitioner students and faculty) are currently in rural Ghana to support and provide training for Ghanaian clinicians at the Eastern Regional Hospital. The team is sending periodic updates while there.

It has been a very exciting week at Regional Hospital Koforidua! We have seen lots of tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, typhoid fever and even a possible Schistosomiasis diagnosis, however, we are still awaiting confirmation. At the same time we have also seen great examples of cases that are more commonly seen in Hershey, PA including pneumonia, CHF, gastroenteritis, pelvic pain and motor vehicle accidents. Each patient presents with great learning opportunities, exam findings and lessons in practicing resourceful medical care.

On the wards, both Hershey residents and Koforidua house officers have been excellent teachers and role models as we enhance our clinical skills and further our differential diagnoses. Today we enjoyed two special presentations. The first was by Dr. Michael Malone who presented on Skin Conditions in Pregnancy. It was filled with great clinical pearls and treatment options for a wide variety of benign and pathologic rashes. This evening Dr. Kate Thompson presented on Nutritional Deficiencies and Dehydration. This was particularly relevant given that two children currently on the pediatric ward are diagnosed with Kwashiorkor.

We are only two weeks in, but we have certainly learned a great deal already and are very thankful for this opportunity. We are much looking forward to the next two weeks and the experiences ahead. Stay tuned as we join the surgery team next week.

Written by Reena Thomas, Elizabeth Wallace, Corinne Landis, and Kate Belser. 

February 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

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