WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories

WVU Healthcare’s Penny Wars collects more than a million pennies to benefit cancer patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Healthcare’s fourth annual Penny Wars to benefit patients at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center (MBRCC) raised $11,868.70 – or 1,186,870 pennies – exceeding its goal to collect 1 million pennies – or $10,000 – in eight weeks. During the campaign, coin collection containers were set up at area businesses and around WVU, including the WVU Health Sciences Center cafeteria, WVUH Friends Gift Shop, Black Bear Burritos, Boston Beanery, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cool Ridge, Texas Roadhouse and the WVU Barnes and Noble Bookstore. The WVU Health Sciences Center collected the most pennies followed by the WVU Barnes and Noble Bookstore and Buffalo Wild Wings. “There are so many worthy causes to support these days, yet folks in our community always manage to dig a little deeper into their pockets to help cancer patients by donating to Penny Wars,” Jame Abraham, M.D., chief of Hematology/Oncology at WVU and the Bonnie Wells Wilson Distinguished Professor and Eminent Scholar in Breast Cancer Research, said. “Their kindness and generosity will mean so much to patients and families dealing with a cancer diagnosis.” The Clarion Hotel Morgan joined the campaign this year by hosting a Kentucky Derby Party on May 7. Guests watched the horse race, while enjoying dinner, mint juleps, raffle prizes and a hat contest. The party raised $6,500 for Penny Wars. Proceeds from Penny Wars benefit the MBRCC Comfort Fund that was established to provide temporary, short-term financial assistance for patients being treated at the Cancer Center until they can be linked with appropriate community, state or national resources. Penny Wars has raised more than $49,000 since it began four years ago.   [...]

Study examines relationship between mountaintop mining and birth defects

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A new study co-authored by researchers at West Virginia University found significantly higher prevalence rates for birth defects in mountaintop mining areas compared to other mining areas and non-mining areas. The team studied more than 1.8 million birth records in West Virginia and surrounding states in central Appalachia.  They compared the prevalence of birth defects in mountaintop coal mining areas compared with other coal mining areas and with non-mining areas for two periods of time: 1996-1999 and 2000-2003. “We found that birth defects were significantly higher in mountaintop mining areas versus non-mining areas for six of seven types of defects: circulatory/respiratory, central nervous system, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urogenital and ‘other,’” Michael Hendryx, Ph.D., co-author of the study in the WVU Department of Community Medicine, said. “Overall, the prevalence rate for any defect was significant in both periods but was higher in the more recent period. In the earlier period the rate of birth defects was 13 percent higher in mountaintop mining areas and increased to 42 percent higher in the later period.” Researchers used secondary data to study all live birth outcomes for the years 1996 through 2003. They determined the mother’s residence relative to county mining type (mountaintop mining, other mining, no mining) and controlled for birth-defect risks including mother’s age, race/ethnic origin, education, smoking and drinking during pregnancy, diabetes, metro/non-metro location, infant gender and low prenatal care. Dr. Hendryx added that mountaintop mining in one county may contribute to birth-defect prevalence rates in surrounding counties. “Elevated birth defect rates are partly a function of socioeconomic disadvantage but remain elevated after controlling for those risks, suggesting that environmental influences in mountaintop mining areas may be contributing factors to elevated birth defect rates,” he said. “A growing body of studies have found significant associations between coal-mining areas and a variety of chronic disease problems for adults, after controlling for other disease risk factors. Research related to infants has found that mothers residing in coal mining areas are more likely to have a low birth weight infant. This study extends that research, showing that mountaintop mining areas are associated with elevated levels of birth defect prevalence rates." The study was led by Melissa Ahern, a health economist at Washington State University. In addition to Hendryx, WVU co-authors of the study include Alan Ducatman, M.D., and Keith Zullig, Ph.D., of the Department of Community Medicine and Jamison Conley and Evan Fedorko of the Department of Geology and Geography. It was published online and will appear in an upcoming issue of “Environmental Research: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Environmental Sciences, Ecology and Public Health.” It can be viewed at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935111001484.   [...]

Bonnie’s Bus offers mammograms June 28 in Wayne

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Wayne County, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at the Wayne County Health Department in Wayne from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28.  The mammograms are billed to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available.  Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program or through special grant funds. A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram. For a Bonnie’s Bus appointment call 304-523-6483.   Last year, Bonnie’s Bus made 65 visits in 30 counties throughout West Virginia providing mammography screening to nearly 800 women. About half of those screened were medically underserved and from challenged socio-economic backgrounds and qualified for screening through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. The goal for this year is to screen at least 1,200 women. Bonnie’s Bus works in collaboration with a statewide partnership of women’s groups, clinicians, public health professionals and other community leaders working to help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer in West Virginia.  Made possible by a generous gift from West Virginia natives Jo and Ben Statler to WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Bonnie’s Bus is operated by WVU Hospitals. The bus is named after Mrs. Statler's late mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson. For information on Bonnie’s Bus, see www.wvucancer.org/bonnie. Attention reporters and editors: If you are interested in covering Bonnie’s Bus when it visits your area, please call the HSC News Service in Morgantown at 304-293-7087 in advance. Out of respect for patient privacy, please do not show up at the location without scheduling an appropriate time for interviews and/or photos.   [...]

WVU pharmacy students showcase talents to bring comfort to cancer patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Students from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy showcased their creativity and raised $1,432 for the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center (MBRCC) Comfort Fund. The Kappa Psi and the Academy of Student Pharmacists student organizations hosted the Third Annual School of Pharmacy Variety Show, which included a dance routine and several musical numbers by bands, duets and solo vocalists. “This is the third year that we have hosted the show, and the number of pharmacy students involved grows each year,” Justin Williams, Pharm.D., member of the WVU School of Pharmacy Class of 2011, said. “It’s really nice to see so many talented, caring students getting involved to help raise funds for a great cause.” The MBRCC Comfort Fund was established to provide temporary, short-term financial assistance for patients being treated at the Cancer Center until they can be linked with appropriate community, state or national resources.   Dr. Williams first became involved with the Variety Show as a third-year student when he coordinated the event in 2010. He coordinated this year’s event with the assistance of fellow student pharmacists Matthew Bailey, Leah Comis and Brian Dye. “The School of Pharmacy Variety Show is a different way for pharmacy students to show our support for the Comfort Fund and all that is does to help patients and their loved ones,” Williams said. “I really enjoy this event because we can come together for a fun evening, raise awareness about the Comfort Fund and help raise funds for it as well.” [...]

David A. Felton to lead WVU School of Dentistry

NOTE TO EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: Dr. Felton will be introduced to School of Dentistry faculty, staff and students at noon on Wednesday, June 22, in the Fukushima Auditorium at the Health Sciences Center. He will be available for media interviews before and after that event. [...]

Chestnut Ridge awards annual Grassroots Grants

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Chestnut Ridge Center, the behavioral medicine treatment center of WVU Healthcare, awarded eight area agencies with its annual Grassroots Grants at a luncheon today in the John Jones Conference Center in the WVU Health Sciences Center. The grants range from $400 to $1,000 and are designed to act as a catalyst for agencies to try new programs in order to enhance their services in the areas of mental health, substance abuse prevention and family preservation. Funding received from the Grassroots Grant Program may be used for events, materials, educational campaigns, treatment programs, conferences or related expenses. This year’s recipients and their projects are: Mental Health America – to provide art supplies for “Different Voices and Common Experiences,” which increases the self esteem of people with mental health disabilities Milan Puskar Health Right – to host a third Caregiver’s Care Day, which provides a support network for low-income family caregivers Monongalia County Starting Points – to provide “Conscious Discipline” training for parents MUSHROOM (Multidisciplinary UnSheltered Homeless Relief Outreach Of Morgantown) – to provide telecommunications for referrals while a team goes on street rounds Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living – to purchase group supplies for the Peer Support Program One Unique Recovery House Inc. – to provide transitional housing and recovery for addicted women Preston County Caring Council/Family Resource Network – to provide scholarships for a “Women on Wellness” health retreat Upshur Cooperative Parish for the Hall Neighbors’ House – to provide family support for parents attending peer support groups by affording childcare for parents once a week Chestnut Ridge Center is a leading regional referral center for treatment of psychiatric illnesses and addictions for children, adolescents and adults. The 70-bed facility is staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists and other professionals. It offers a continuum of care through inpatient, partial hospitalization, outpatient and residential treatment services. The Center is part of WVU Healthcare and is affiliated with the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the WVU School of Medicine. It is located on the WVU Health Sciences campus in Morgantown.   [...]

Bonnie’s Bus offers mammograms in Whitesville, Wharton and Omar

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Boone and Logan counties offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at the Raleigh-Boone Medical Center in Whitesville from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14. On Wednesday, June 15, it will be located at the fire department near Wharton Medical Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Bus will then head to Omar Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. The mammograms are billed to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program or through special grant funds. A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram. For a Bonnie’s Bus appointment in Whitesville call the Raleigh-Boone Medical Center at 304-854-1031. For an appointment in Wharton call Wharton Medical Center at 304-247-6202. For an appointment in Omar call the Logan County Health Department at 304-792-8645.   Last year, Bonnie’s Bus made 65 visits in 30 counties throughout West Virginia providing mammography screening to nearly 800 women. About half of those screened were medically underserved and from challenged socio-economic backgrounds and qualified for screening through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. The goal for this year is to screen at least 1,200 women. Bonnie’s Bus works in collaboration with a statewide partnership of women’s groups, clinicians, public health professionals and other community leaders working to help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer in West Virginia.  Made possible by a generous gift from West Virginia natives Jo and Ben Statler to WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Bonnie’s Bus is operated by WVU Hospitals. The bus is named after Mrs. Statler’s late mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson. For information on Bonnie’s Bus, see www.wvucancer.org/bonnie. Attention reporters and editors: If you are interested in covering Bonnie’s Bus when it visits your area, please call the HSC News Service in Morgantown at 304-293-7087 in advance. Out of respect for patient privacy, please do not show up at the location without scheduling an appropriate time for interviews and/or photos.   [...]

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds five WVU School of Nursing scholarships

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Nursing is among a select group of institutions to receive renewed funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). Grants provided through this competitive program are used for scholarships to increase the number of students enrolled in WVU’s accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. This groundbreaking national initiative, launched by RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), aims to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs. The WVU School of Nursing has received $50,000 to be distributed to five students during the 2011-2012 academic year. To date, the School of Nursing has awarded 15 NCIN scholarships to students from groups traditionally underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding also will be used by the School of Nursing to help leverage new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients. “Through the NCIN program, we are challenging nursing schools across the country to expand nurse leadership and strengthen education, two clear goals of the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report on ‘The Future of Nursing,’” Denise A. Davis, Dr.P.H., RWJF program officer for NCIN, said. “By diversifying the nursing profession through these scholarships, we are also helping to create a healthcare workforce ready to meet the needs of the 21st century American patient.” The New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program supports accelerated programs, which offer the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse for adults who have already completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing. Although enrollment in these programs has steadily increased over the past few years, many potential students are unable to enroll, because already having a college degree disqualifies them for receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students. The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem and will also address the overall nursing shortage by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education. The WVU School of Nursing’s BS/BA to BSN program allows students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree in another field to earn a BSN degree in 18 months. At the Morgantown campus, more than 65 students are enrolled in the accelerated BS/BA to BSN program. The program began in 2001 with eight students. Since then, more than 150 students have graduated from the program.  By bringing more nurses into the profession, the new scholarship program also helps to address the nation’s nurse faculty shortage. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession at the baccalaureate level are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing, which is the required credential to teach. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and healthcare of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 670 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve healthcare and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice. For more information, visit www.aacn.nche.edu. For more information about the WVU School of Nursing see www.hsc.wvu.edu/son.   [...]

Endowment established to help advance research at WVU Cancer Center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Mikki Van Wyk knows research is the key to finding a cure for cancer.  The long-time West Virginia University supporter is donating $25,000 to create a research endowment at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The endowment is expected to qualify for a match from the state’s Research Trust Fund (RTF), bringing the total investment to $50,000. The Van Wyk Cancer Research Endowment is aimed at advancing biological, biotechnological and biomedical sciences. “I have known people that have had cancer and have beat it because of the advances made in research,” said Van Wyk of Potomac, Md.  “I would like to be able to come closer to a cure.” “We are thrilled with the opportunity of this gift to enable a match from the West Virginia Research Trust Fund. Ms. Van Wyk’s vision to cure cancer and extend life-saving cancer treatments to our patients through our clinical trials efforts and emerging statewide clinical trials network is prescient,” Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said. Van Wyk is currently a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors. She has been a member of the visiting committees of both the School of Medicine and the Creative Arts Center. She is presently a member of the Arts at Mason Board for George Mason University and was a founding board member of The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University, the chair of the Thanks a Million Foundation, a board member of the Boarman Arts Center and a member of the Johns Hopkins University Council of Medicine. More recently, she has focused on improving access to dental care in West Virginia by sponsoring and helping organize dental clinics that provided free dental care to more than 3,600 people and by helping to establish the permanent Healthy Smiles Community Oral Health Center in Martinsburg. Van Wyk has worked as a cryptanalyst for the National Security Agency and a writer and editor in science and technology for clients such as Time-Life Books, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. Congress.  She also has worked as a special education teacher and a supervisor and counselor for adult basic education. Van Wyk views her gift as merely a chance to give back to a state that has given so much to her. “The WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center plays a vital role in the daily life of the people of West Virginia. Research funding is hard to get, so it’s important for individuals to seize the opportunity to help out in a way that will benefit the most people,” she said. In 2008, the state created the RTF with an initial appropriation of $50 million to leverage public and private investments that will transform West Virginia’s economy. WVU is able to tap into the fund to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, healthcare and job growth. To date, private and state dollars combined for WVU total over $33 million. The WVU Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.   [...]