WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories

W.Va. expectant mothers urged to kick the habit

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –Though the number of pregnant women who smoke is decreasing nationwide, prenatal smoking in West Virginia has climbed dramatically. As more expectant mothers in the state are reaching for cigarettes, a West Virginia University researcher has received a competitive grant of $12,953 from the March of Dimes to study how midwives use a tobacco cessation program to encourage their patients to stop smoking. Ilana Azulay Chertok, Ph.D., R.N., is an associate professor with the WVU School of Nursing and a maternal-child health researcher who has performed studies in both the United States and Israel. In the West Virginia March of Dimes-supported study, midwives caring for women in Monongalia and Preston counties will use the “5 A’s,” a five-step tobacco cessation process recommended by the United States Public Health Service and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The program consists of: •    Asking the patient about tobacco use •    Advising all smokers to quit smoking •    Assessing smokers’ willingness to attempt to quit •    Assisting smokers with treatment and referrals •    Arranging follow-up contacts Success of the 5 A’s among pregnant smokers has varied in past studies, but appears to produce favorable results, said Dr. Chertok. “The ACOG 5 A’s has been documented to improve smoking cessation rates among pregnant women,” said Chertok.  “Pregnancy is a time when women are more motivated to make lifestyle changes. Prenatal health care providers are situated in an opportune position to facilitate this positive lifestyle change.” The rate of prenatal smoking in West Virginia increased dramatically from 24.5 percent in 2000 to 31.9 percent in 2005. Nationally, the behavior decreased in the same time period, dropping from an overall 15.2 percent in 2000 to 13.8 percent in 2005. Though researchers do not know exactly what is behind the climbing numbers, certain indicators have been associated with an increased risk for prenatal tobacco use, said Chertok. “Demographic characteristics have been identified that increase the likelihood that a woman smokes in pregnancy,” said Chertok, “including not being married, lower maternal education, younger maternal age, lower socioeconomic status, and rural location.” There’s also a higher risk of prenatal smoking among Medicaid recipients, she continued. Women who smoke while pregnant place both themselves and their babies at great risk for serious health problems. Babies born to prenatal smokers are at increased risk of being born prematurely and often suffer from low birth weight. Birth defects such as cleft lip or palate are also more frequent. Pregnant women are more prone to ectopic pregnancies and placental problems, as well as stillbirths. As the 5 A’s are implemented in the two counties, Chertok will evaluate midwives’ knowledge of the program, pregnant women’s use of smoking cessation resources, and pregnant women’s changes in smoking behavior. Chertok would like to see the method used on a larger scale. [...]

Grant supports Children’s Vision Health Programs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University Eye Institute has received more than $40,000 in funding from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) in support of the Institute’s crucial children’s vision services in the Kanawha Valley region, an area that includes Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln and Putnam counties. The $41,018 grant award will benefit the WVU Eye Institute’s Pediatric Vision Center and Rehabilitation Program. The Center offers treatment and rehabilitation services to Kanawha Valley area babies and children suffering from severe vision disorders, and to newborns diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a potentially blinding condition. In addition, the grant supports the WVU Eye Institute’s Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program (CVRP) which provides blind and visually impaired school-aged children with tools to become independent and employable by optimizing visual function both at home and school. CVRP's mission is to provide access to the visual environment for children with incurable vision loss through medical eye care, optical devices, assistive technology, educational recommendations and support to local school systems. Children receive the clinic’s services regardless of their family’s ability to pay. “We believe the Eye Institute provides one of the most valuable services in the health care arena,” said Becky Ceperley, TGKVF president and CEO. “Helping those who are visually impaired prepare for a rich and full life is a priceless gift for those babies and children receiving the specialized treatment from the Institute. The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is proud to be able to support the work of the Eye Institute in some small way.” The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is a public foundation that serves the citizens and charitable agencies of the Kanawha Valley by managing donations and appropriately distributing these funds to various organizations. For more information about the programs and services of the WVU Eye Institute, see www.wvueye.com. [...]

WVU Eye Institute receives $80,000 investment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Over the next two years, the West Virginia University Eye Institute will receive $80,000 from the Bernard McDonough Foundation in support of specialized ophthalmological outreach clinics and charity care. Many geographically and socio-economically isolated citizens in southern West Virginia have difficulty making trips to Morgantown, so the WVU Eye Institute offers specialized care in rural areas of the state. The McDonough Foundation’s gift will allow the Institute to expand its services and increase the number of patients receiving care in more remote areas of the state. “One of the greatest challenges facing rural West Virginians, especially in the southern region of our state, is access to quality health care,” said Robert Stephens, Ed.D., McDonough Foundation president. “Thanks to the WVU Eye Institute those families have access to quality eye care provided by well-trained professionals. We at the Bernard McDonough Foundation are pleased to be partnering with the WVU Eye Institute to provide these essential services.” Each year, the WVU Eye Institute sees approximately 31,000 patients from all 55 counties in West Virginia through its Morgantown facility and various outreach programs around the state. These clinics provide specialized care and treatment of eye problems that without attention, could sometimes lead to long-term vision loss. “We are so grateful for the Bernard McDonough Foundation’s generous investment in our vision-saving work,” Judie Charlton, M.D., director of the WVU Eye Institute, said. “This will have a long-lasting impact on many people in West Virginia.” The Bernard P. McDonough Foundation continues the philanthropy of its namesake, a longtime resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley who envisioned a “healthier, more educated and culturally appreciative citizenry.” For more information about the WVU Eye Institute, see www.wvueye.com.   [...]

WVU eye surgery fellowship program one of first to be accredited

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship Program is one of the first five programs in the country to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery, also called oculoplastics, includes the surgery of all the structures around the eye, such as the eyelids, the area behind the eye and orbital bone. It also includes the surgical treatment of Graves’ disease and the removal of the eye as the result of trauma and tumors. Jennifer Sivak, M.D., director of the WVU Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship Program, said attaining this accreditation moves both the program and the institution forward. “It establishes us on the cutting edge of education,” she said. One of the things that makes WVU’s program unique is that it involves a lot of multidisciplinary collaboration. “We work with several different specialties, including neurosurgery, plastic surgery and otolaryngology,” Dr. Sivak said. “It’s hard to have a successful program like ours if you don’t have the right team members in place. We are fortunate to have that here.” Norman D. Ferrari III, M.D., senior associate dean for student services and designated institutional official for graduate medical education at the WVU School of Medicine, said it is not only an honor to be one of the first to receive this accreditation, but it is also an honor to be considered among the leading institutions in the field. Other programs to receive accreditation include those at the University of Louisville, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, which is a Harvard University Medical School teaching hospital. “It’s recognition of the fact that we’re meeting high standards for quality education, patient care and safety and the discovery of new knowledge,” Dr. Ferrari said. “It’s not just us saying how great we are; now an external group is saying it, too.” The ACGME, which was established in 1981, is a private, non-profit council that evaluates and accredits medical residency programs in the United States. WVU has more than 50 ACGME accredited programs, making it the largest sponsoring institution in West Virginia. For more information on the WVU Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship Program, see www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/eye/FellowshipOfferings.aspx.   [...]

Mountain Loggers to make annual Christmas visit to WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mountain Loggers Cooperative Association has been making annual Christmas visits to West Virginia University Children’s Hospital for the past decade, and it’s a tradition they intend to continue. This year, they will visit the hospital on Dec. 18. “I would want someone to care about my grandchild the way I care for the ones that we visit each year,” Ann Glotfelty, association treasurer, said. “It breaks my heart to see them sick, but it is also a great reward when they look at you and give you a thumbs up or smile when you give them a toy.” Every year, they bring toys and stockings for all the patients at WVU Children’s Hospital. They also leave gifts behind to be given out to patients on Christmas Day. Glotfelty said every year she hears stories of the children and grandchildren of her friends in Garrett County, Maryland, who are being treated at WVU Children’s Hospital. “I get all excited about giving, and I truly give from my heart,” she said. “It’s especially difficult for children to have to stay in the hospital around the holidays and miss out on all the parties and activities they normally go to,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. “We’re so grateful to the Mountain Loggers Cooperative Association for their generosity in helping make the holidays a little brighter for our patients.” A non-profit group, the Mountain Loggers Cooperative Association is composed of loggers, foresters, sawmills and other forestry-related businesses in West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Association has donated $55,000 to WVU Children’s Hospital this year, bringing the total raised since 1996 to more than $1.2 million. For more information on WVU Children’s Hospital see www.wvukids.com.   [...]

WVU Healthcare offers education session for people with seizure disorders

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For approximately 20 to 40 percent of the patients who suffer from seizure disorders, drug therapies do not work. WVU Healthcare will host an education program for those patients and their families from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 in the John E. Jones Conference Center at the WVU Health Sciences Center. Daunice Lohr, R.N., epilepsy clinical nurse specialist in the WVU Department of Neurology, will present the program. Discussion topics include other treatment options available, including non-drug treatments, and the opportunity to meet other patients and families living with seizure disorders. Lohr said if those who attend the session only take one thing away from it, she hopes it’s that there are more options than medications in the treatment of these seizures. Reservations are not required but are appreciated. To register call Tami at 800-332-1375 ex. 7479. For directions call 304-293-4511 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information on the WVU Department of Neurology see http://wvuhealthcare.com/services/neurology/index.aspx.   [...]

Bonnie’s Bus offers mammograms

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Raleigh and Hampshire counties, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at Gulf Family Practice/Raleigh County in Sophia from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 14 and at the Hampshire County Health Department in Augusta from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 16. The mammograms are not free, but billing to insurers is provided.  Women who lack insurance may be matched to government or nonprofit charities. A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram. For a Bonnie’s Bus appointment at Gulf Family Practice/Raleigh County call 304-683-4304 and at the Hampshire County Health Department call 304-496-9640. During its first year on the road in 2009, the 40-foot long Bonnie’s Bus travelled 9,000 miles, visited 20 counties and provided nearly 400 mammography screenings. The goal for 2010 is to make at least 60 site visits throughout West Virginia with a focus on communities that have high breast cancer mortality rates. Bonnie’s Bus represents 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 Children’s Hospital therapist completes international training

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As a physical therapist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at West Virginia University Children’s Hospital, Debbie Wilson uses her hands to comfort the tiniest patients. Recently, she used those hands to obtain a special certification. Wilson completed the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP), an international program aimed at making sure all newborns in intensive and special care nurseries receive individualized, developmentally supportive, family centered care. Wilson said she uses the knowledge and skills she gained from completing NIDCAP training to help parents understand their babies’ cues and to assist nurses and other caregivers in reading those cues and adjusting their care accordingly. As a result of her training, a new program called Helping Hands was developed at WVU Children’s Hospital. In this program, an extra set of hands – a therapist’s, a nurse’s or a parent’s – is available to help keep the infant calm during stressful procedures. “When I speak with parents, I discuss the importance of developmentally focused care and how they can participate,” Wilson said. “I explain my role as a physical therapist and things that they can do to assist their infant’s development.” To become NIDCAP certified, a physical therapist must complete training from one of the 16 NIDCAP training centers worldwide. There are 10 in the U.S., five in Europe and one in South America. Much of Wilson’s initial work was independent study and practice sessions that she completed primarily outside her work hours. This year also marked the first time that an advanced practicum component was included as a requirement for certification. Wilson said her trainer explained that this four-month project is the equivalent of a thesis for a master’s degree. She said the final training and evaluation session was challenging and entailed reliability testing to assure her competency. “Although it was difficult and stressful at times since I was completing the training by myself, I still found value in the training,” she said. “The training was important to me in order to better understand my patients’ responses to caregiving and their environment and as a way to track their progress.” Wilson has been working with infants for more than 20 years and has worked in the WVU Children’s Hospital NICU for more than six years. She officially received her NIDCAP certification on Nov. 5. For more information on WVU Children’s Hospital see www.wvukids.com.   [...]

End-of-life care in W.Va. the focus of new documentary

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia Center for End of Life Care will be featured in an upcoming documentary in which individuals confronting end-stage disease reflect on how they want to live their final weeks. Produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, “The Last Chapter: End of Life Decisions” will air statewide Monday, December 13. The special examines the need for advance directives including a living will and medical power of attorney as medical providers, patients and families share stories that range from heartbreaking to inspirational. The importance of timely, open dialogue about death cannot be overstated, according to Alvin Moss, M.D., director of the Center for End of Life Care. “End-of-life discussions are very important. When patients, families, and doctors talk about the type of treatment that the patient would want at the end of life, everyone benefits,” said Dr. Moss, who’s also director of the Center for Health Ethics and Law at West Virginia University. “Research shows that in most cases, patients want to be kept comfortable at home with hospice helping their family. Patients don’t want to die in an intensive care unit connected to a breathing machine unable to talk. “ The program also discusses many ethical and practical questions about patients’ legal rights, family conflict surrounding end-of-life decisions, the tendencies of medical professionals to avoid conversations regarding death, and the need to document one’s desired scope of care in order to avoid treatment that can be unwarranted or even inappropriate. “In research about the impact of end-of-life discussions, patients report a higher quality of life and less depression if they have had them,” said Moss.  “Families say they receive more support from the health care team and have a better adjustment to the patient’s death. Doctors indicate that knowing what the patient wants makes it much easier to make decisions about what treatments to use and which to avoid. Overall there is less stress on everyone.” This program is part of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Aging with Grace and Dignity project, an on-going focus on healthy and productive aging and is produced by Suzanne Higgins. Previews of The Last Chapter: End of Life Decisions can be viewed at the West Virginia Public Broadcasting website at www.wvpubcast.org/television.aspx?id=17786. More information about advance directives and palliative care service, including downloadable forms of all the documents discussed in the program, is available through the West Virginia Center for End of Life Care website, www.hsc.wvu.edu/chel/wvi. [...]