WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories

WVU academics, athletics receive $5 million gift from Cline Family Foundation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s School of Medicine and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will both benefit from a $5 million gift from the Cline Family Foundation. Two million dollars will be used to create an endowed chair in orthopaedic surgery while $3 million is earmarked for the new basketball practice facility. The Cline Family Foundation was established by Christopher Cline, a southern West Virginia native and highly successful coal operator. “Chris Cline is a true West Virginian who has never forgotten his roots,” said WVU President Jim Clements. “His generosity to WVU will be felt for years to come, especially as we continue to pursue first-class national-caliber academic, healthcare and athletic facilities and programs. I join the WVU community in expressing deep appreciation for this wonderful gift.” The endowment creates the Christopher Cline Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, and will qualify for matching funds from the state Research Trust Fund, making the total benefit to WVU $4 million. Mr. Cline decided to establish the endowed chair after developing a close relationship with Joseph Prudhomme, M.D., a faculty member in WVU’s Department of Orthopaedics. Dr. Prudhomme will serve as the first chair holder under the new endowment. “Chris Cline’s gift will enable Dr. Prudhomme and the Department of Orthopaedics to develop and sustain a comprehensive program of biological, transitional, and clinical science in the discipline of orthopaedic surgery,” Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., said. “Gifts like these are transformational.” School of Medicine Dean Arthur Ross, M.D., thanked the Cline family for its generous gift and said he expects it to have a great impact on research productivity. “We are intent upon discovering knowledge which will help us to improve the health and wellness of West Virginians, many of whom suffer from musculoskeletal disease,” Dr. Ross said. The basketball practice facility, on the Evansdale campus adjacent to the Coliseum, is being paid for with private contributions. It will feature two separate gym areas for the men’s and women’s teams, a weight training center, meeting space for each program, an athletic training room and a basketball hall of traditions. The 64,000-square foot facility is expected to be completed later this year. “The Cline Family Foundation gift for our new basketball practice facility is helping us reach our vision of providing WVU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams with a first-class home on a daily basis,” said WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck. “Our goal is to win championships and this practice facility will help us take a giant step up in all facets of the college basketball world. We are very thankful for Chris Cline’s generous support through the Cline Family Foundation and their help in building champions at West Virginia University.” WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins added, “We’re elated with the Cline Family Foundation’s gift to the Mountaineer basketball practice facility. Chris Cline fully understands this building is a need, not a want, for the continued growth of WVU basketball. This facility will be the best in the country and would have never been possible without the Cline Family Foundation’s generous contribution.” Cline said, “I have been fortunate to have lived and employed people in West Virginia and I owe the state of West Virginia and its people much for my success. I wanted to give something back that will be beneficial to the people of the State.” Cline grew up in West Virginia as part of a coal mining family. In 1980, he went into business moving from mining small reserves in West Virginia to buying up and mining large coal reserves, mostly in southern Illinois. Today, he is the principal owner of Foresight Energy, LLC, a private mining company. While residing much of the year in Florida, Chris Cline also maintains a home in Beckley. WVU Foundation President and CEO Wayne King said, “The generosity of Chris Cline and the Cline Family Foundation is greatly appreciated. This gift, benefiting both academics and athletics, will have a lasting impact on students both in and out of the classroom for many years to come.” In 2008, the state created the Research Trust Fund with an initial appropriation of $50 million ($35 million for WVU, $15 million for Marshall) 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 gifts and pledges approved for RTF match total more than $16.7 million. The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.   [...]

Diehm receives Don Marsh Scholarship

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Rebecca Diehm, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree at West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, is the 2011 recipient of the Don Marsh Scholarship in Healthcare Writing. The scholarship includes a nine-hour tuition waiver and a paid internship in the Planning, Marketing and Communications Office at WVU Health Sciences. Diehm is responsible for writing press releases about WVU health news and events. She will also help with media events at the Health Sciences Center and WVU Healthcare.  This May, Diehm received her B.S. in public relations from WVU. Currently, she is enrolled in graduate summer classes and starting her internship at the HSC. Outside of academics, she enjoys playing tennis and reading in her spare time.  The scholarship honors West Virginia journalist Don Marsh, who was employed at the Charleston Gazette for 40 years – first as a reporter, then as an editor and columnist. Marsh gained a national reputation for exposing arrogance, corruption and hypocrisy through his work as a journalist. He became editor of the Charleston Gazette in 1976 and won The American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award for commentary in 1987. After his retirement from the daily newspaper, Marsh was a commentator on the West Virginia MetroNews radio network until his death in 1999. Diehm is the daughter of Jim and Cathy Diehm of Lititz, Pa., and a 2007 graduate of Warwick High School.   [...]

West Virginia raises grade on dental care for children

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – “West Virginia has a new reason to smile.” That’s how Louise Veselicky, D.D.S., interim dean of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry, reacted upon hearing the news that the state’s grade on dental care for children raised from an ‘F’ to a ‘C.’ Grades for all 50 states were reported by the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign. West Virginia was one of 22 states that received grades higher than their 2010 grades. Grades are based on states’ performance in meeting eight policy benchmarks for children’s dental health. To attain the ‘C’ grade, West Virginia met or exceeded four benchmarks: [...]

WVU Pharmacy students receive national and regional honors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University School of Pharmacy students received two awards during the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2011 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash., in March. The students are members of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP). The students won a regional award for educating the community about diabetes through the 2010 Operation Diabetes campaign. The Region 2 award includes student chapters from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington D.C.  The students in the WVU School of Pharmacy chapter worked to achieve this award by performing blood glucose screenings, conducting health fairs for seniors and children and participating in a variety of health education events to inform the community about preventing or managing diabetes. The students also raised awareness about diabetes through participation in the West Virginia State Fair and holding activities to observe World Diabetes Day. The national award honored the chapter for advancing the profession of pharmacy and protecting the health of the public by participating in the Operation Diabetes, Heartburn Awareness Challenge, Operation Heart and Operation Immunization campaigns. The campaigns focused on managing or preventing diabetes, heartburn and heart disease and educating the community about the importance of vaccinations. The student chapter also received recognition for attracting 90 percent or greater of eligible members to join. Only eight chapters of the approximately 120 chapters at schools of pharmacy across the nation received this award for the 2010 school year.   [...]

WVU study examines trauma in dementia patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As the elderly population of West Virginia increases, the number of patients with dementia who will require hospital admission for trauma will also increase as this population is at a higher risk of falls and injury. A recent study by the West Virginia University Department of Emergency Medicine shows that when these traumas occur, family members and healthcare providers must answer difficult questions in regard to the future care of the dementia patient. According to Charles Whiteman, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and lead author of the study, the two most difficult questions for family members and caretakers of dementia patients to answer involve the patient’s driving privileges and whether the patient should be moved to a long-term care or nursing facility. To conduct this study, Whiteman and his team used data from the trauma registry at WVU’s Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center from 2005 to 2008. During that time, there were 6,151 major trauma visits to the Center by patients at least 40 years old. Of those, 4.9 percent had dementia listed as a pre-existing condition and averaged 82 years old. The two most common injuries were those secondary to a fall – broken bones, head trauma, etc. – and motor vehicle accidents. Although most injuries occurred from ground-level falls, 10 patients were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Six of the 10 were the driver of the vehicle. “The decision to terminate a person’s driving privileges can be a really ugly discussion to have. It’s really tough on everyone involved,” Dr. Whiteman said. “Family members are more likely to notice difficulty with driving than the patient’s primary care provider. The loss of driving privileges is a really big deal for any person regardless of age or medical condition. Family members need to have this discussion with the patient’s doctor when they notice changes in driving performance. It’s a very challenging and tricky discussion to have.” Whiteman said that some patients in the early stages of their disease can be allowed to continue driving on familiar roads for short distances. While no family member wants to take away a loved one’s independence, at some point as the disease progresses, the patient’s driver’s license should be pulled. “This is a public health issue,” Whiteman said. “It’s not just the patient who’s at risk but everyone else on the roads as well.” Whiteman said that in the cases where the patients were injured as the result of a fall, most of them did not return home but were instead transferred to a nursing facility. “A lot of them were clinging onto residing at home, and the injury was the tipping point,” he said. “In addition to their cognitive impairment, they were then dealing with a physical impairment that often made it impossible for them to return to their homes.” Whiteman’s team did encounter one surprise in conducting this study. Of the elderly trauma patients with dementia who were admitted for their traumatic injuries, 20 percent had intracranial hemorrhage, bleeding within the skull. Patients with dementia are susceptible to falls for many reasons – the dementia itself, medication effects, worsening vision and arthritis, among others. Ninety-five percent of the injuries in the study were the result of ground-level falls. And, when a person falls, the highest point – the head – reaches the highest velocity, resulting in injuries to the head, face and neck. This finding presents a challenging treatment decision for healthcare providers. Many older people take aspirin or other anti-thrombotic medicines to treat atherosclerotic diseases, such as coronary artery disease and stroke. These medications increase the risk for an intracranial hemorrhage in even relatively minor traumas. The incidence of stroke and heart disease increase with age, just as the incidence of dementia increases with age. When an older person develops an unsteady gait and falls or is at risk of falling, the decision to start or continue anti-thrombotic therapy is a complex one for healthcare providers. “This further complicates the treatment of these patients,” Whiteman said. “On one hand, they could die from the bleeding in their heads after a fall, but on the other hand, they could die of a stroke or heart attack. It can be a no-win situation.” The 2000 census showed that 15.3 percent of West Virginia’s population was age 65 or older. That same year, the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources estimated 40,000 West Virginians suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Co-authors of the study include Roger Tillotson, M.D., Nicolas Denne, M.D., and Stephen Davis, M.P.A., all from the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine. It appears in the May/June issue of the “West Virginia Medical Journal” as a continuing medical education article.   [...]

Globetrotting WVU Healthcare specialist shares travel wisdom

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Whether the purpose is work or leisure, almost anyone who travels to another country comes home with an altered world view. After five years of treating patients and offering medical training in the remote Andes of southern Peru, Brian D. Riedel, M.D., a pediatric digestive diseases specialist for WVU Healthcare, returned with a clear understanding of the dedication and commitment required for international work. In the current issue of the American Gastroenterological Association’s “AGA Perspectives” magazine, Dr. Riedel shared his insights for other medical professionals considering heading abroad. Riedel’s “Lessons from the Southern Andes: A North American’s Perspective of Healthcare Challenges in Rural Peru” is a collection of reflections and observations gained from years of international medical outreach. Riedel’s travels began early in his career, through shorter mission trips to developing areas, each lasting a couple of weeks. “I appreciated the magnitude of the need and at the same time was frustrated by the inability to make lasting, meaningful changes in such a short time,” said Riedel. “During this same period, I was involved back home in community development projects in impoverished urban neighborhoods. From this, I became a student of community development and began to understand the concept of ‘health’ as having much broader implications than simply medical care.” That frustration led to a serious commitment, as the physician and professor packed up his family and left for the Peruvian mountains. The transition was a challenge for Riedel’s three sons, and the situation demanded adaptability of everyone. A willingness to go with the flow is one of the major requirements for the experience, said Dr. Riedel. “If considering this type of work, especially on a long term basis, it’s important to be flexible and adaptable, to have an entrepreneurial spirit, a lot of patience and a good sense of humor. As the bedrock foundation for it all, you have to be passionate about and deeply committed to your purpose in going. It’s that teeth-gritted passion and commitment that will keep you on the ground and effective when the challenges invariably come.” Riedel noted that the stress of immersing oneself in a completely different culture can be overwhelming. Just learning the language and adapting to societal expectations takes a great deal of energy and the sudden lack of modern conveniences can come as a shock. In short, a doctor has to be willing to persevere and perform to the best of his or her abilities with the given resources.   “International work is not a place for someone who can’t make it in their field in the U.S.  Social conscience and dedication to justice demand that we give our very best and insist on the same standards of quality even in the most remote and underserved places,” he said. Riedel plans to remain active in improving healthcare around the world. He is currently part of a committee to develop a fellowship training program in gastroenterology in Ghana. “It’s been more than a year now since I’ve left U.S. soil,” he said. “And I’m getting itchy feet.” Photo captions: Riedel and dentist: International field medicine requires the development of new skills. Dr. Riedel (left) learns emergency dental care from a visiting dentist. Morning commute: The morning commute: a river crossing en route to a remote jungle village for a health outreach campaign. [...]

Golf outing raises $14,000 for WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Michael Late Benedum Chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen (MLBC-AAPL) raised $14,000 for West Virginia University Children’s Hospital through its Third Annual Charity Golf Outing and Dinner Meeting on May 12 at the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling. [...]

Bonnie’s Bus to offer mammograms in Keystone, Sophia and Peterstown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit McDowell, Raleigh and Monroe counties this week, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be parked behind the Old Bank Building in Keystone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24. It will then head to the Municipal Parking Lot at 401 West Main St. in Sophia from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25. On Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27, it will stop at the Monroe Health Center in Peterstown from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.   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 Keystone call the Tug River Clinic at 304-448-2101. For an appointment in Sophia call New River Health at Gulf Family Practice at 304-683-4304. For an appointment in Peterstown call the Monroe Health Center at 304-753-4336. [...]

WVU study finds DVD helps teens better understand sexually transmitted infections

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The methods used to teach teens about sexually transmitted infections (STI) could have a real impact on the amount of information retained, suggests a study led by Maria Merzouk, D.O., an obstetrician and gynecologist for WVU Healthcare and assistant professor in the WVU School of Medicine. [...]