WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories

Friends of WVUH wins awards for Festival of Trees

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Friends of West Virginia University Hospitals recently won two awards at the annual luncheon of the Auxiliary of the West Virginia Hospital Association (AWVHA), which was held in October at The Greenbrier. Friends won the Project Award for hospitals in the 320- to 540-bed category and the Overall Project Award for the Festival of Trees event. The overall winner is selected from all entries submitted from the hospital auxiliaries in West Virginia. The 2009 Festival of Trees featured custom-decorated holiday trees, wreaths and decorations. WVU interior design students worked with local designers, tree sponsors and Friends’ board members on the event. Guests were able to purchase tree decorations or even buy an entire tree with all of the trimmings. Friends President Shera Lorenze and President-Elect Jane Clark attended the conference. “We were thrilled to win both of these awards for the first year of our Festival of Trees event,” Lorenze said. “Most importantly, we made more than $14,000, which was used to improve patient services at WVU Hospitals.” This year, the festival evolves into a multi-day event featuring live entertainment, gourmet cuisine, a tree auction and a decoration shop. The festival kicks off on Nov. 18 with a holiday shopping and tree tour from 5 to 9 p.m. K.C. and The Sunshine Band will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19. The festival wraps up with breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m. on Nov. 20. All three events will be held at the Morgantown Event Center at Waterfront Place. “Attending the Festival of Trees is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and all of the proceeds go to a great cause,” Lorenze said. Tickets to the 2010 Festival of Trees are available at www.morgantowneventcenter.com. For more information on the WVU Hospitals, visit www.health.wvu.edu.    [...]

Wearing blue for diabetes awareness

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – When can one small blue circle make a difference to the health of people across the globe? When it is the symbol of diabetes. West Virginia University School of Pharmacy students are holding a World Diabetes Day observance on Monday, Nov. 15. The observance will be in front of the WVU Health Sciences Center at 6:30 p.m. “The symbol for World Diabetes Day is a blue circle,” Holly Kirk, third-year pharmacy student, said. “Many people may know someone who has diabetes, or may even have diabetes themselves. By coming together and wearing blue, we are showing our support for our friends and loved ones and are also showing we are a unified voice in diabetes awareness.” The theme of World Diabetes Day is Diabetes Education and Prevention. Kirk is a member of the WVU chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). She and fellow student pharmacist Micah Plants are the student chapter’s Operation Diabetes Campaign co-chairs. “The ASP chapter is very active in providing and promoting health care and information to our community members,” Kirk said. “Our chapter participates in health fairs where we offer free health screenings like blood glucose testing for those who want to check their health or monitor an existing disease state.” “Diabetes is a growing concern not only in our community, but across the globe,” Kirk added. “As student pharmacists, we know we can make a difference in the lives of our patients by providing them with the information they need to make healthier choices and to also speak with them about their diabetes medications. And even though we can help them through these ways, we can also help by shining a light for awareness.”   [...]

WVU students help collect money for Rosenbaum Family House

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Members of the West Virginia University chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society of professional counseling for master’s level students, were looking for a way to give back to the Morgantown community when they came across the Rosenbaum Family House’s Expansion of Hope campaign. “We were interested in expanding our efforts this academic year so that future generations of our honorary have well-established philanthropic opportunities in and around Morgantown,” President Jennifer Randall said. Randall, a native of Buckhannon, said she was touched when a family friend shared her story about staying at Rosenbaum Family House, which provides lodging and support services to out-of-town adult patients and their families while the patients are receiving medical treatment at WVU Healthcare. The house is adjacent to Ruby Memorial Hospital. “I know this family’s struggle was lessened by the efforts of the staff and volunteers at Family House,” Randall said. To assist with the Expansion of Hope campaign, which is aimed at not only expanding Family House but also enhancing the current facility, Chi Sigma Iota members are collecting change at area businesses from the Houses of Hope boxes on display. The boxes were donated by Scott Radman, of Meyer, Ford, Glasser and Radman PLLC, who is a member of the Family House advisory board. The boxes are currently located at 12 businesses throughout the Morgantown area: Archie’s Restaurant and Pub; Black Bear Burritos; Buck’s Corner Pub; Chic-n-Bones Rhythm Café; Crockett’s Lodge; Daniel’s Men’s Clothing; Friends Gift Shop at WVU Hospitals; Howard Hanna Real Estate; Kegler’s Sports Bar and Lounge; Miller Orthopedics; Slight Indulgence; and the UPS Store on Patteson Drive. To date approximately $500 in change has been collected from the boxes. Boxes will be placed at additional locations in the near future. In addition to collecting change every two weeks, Chi Sigma Iota members also hosted a dinner for Family House patients and guests from 5 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 4. “We are very grateful that the members of Chi Sigma Iota are donating their time to help our guests both in collecting change and preparing this meal,” Jena Prokopchuk, director of Rosenbaum Family House, said. “Our guests are far from home and truly appreciate a home-cooked meal. These meals provide a taste of home and opportunity for fellowship.” For more information on the Expansion of Hope campaign and other ways to assist Rosenbaum Family House see http://wvuhealthcare.com/rosenbaum/help.aspx or contact Suzanne Likins, Family House development specialist, at 304-598-6094 ext. 4 or likinssu@wvuh.com. For more information on Rosenbaum Family House see http://wvuhealthcare.com/rosenbaum/index.aspx.   [...]

International human trade activist to speak at Global Health Day

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - According to the United Nations, human trafficking is a burgeoning worldwide black market industry, raking in annual revenues of an estimated $7 billion dollars. It is believed that anywhere from 700,000 to four million women and children are sold into forced prostitution, labor and other forms of exploitation each year. The Global Health Program at West Virginia University will host activist and advocate Diep N. Vuong at its annual Global Health Day event Nov. 15. Diep is co-founder and president of Pacific Links Foundation (PALS), an international organization whose mission is to support the sustainable development of Vietnamese communities and the enrichment of their cultural heritage. A volunteer-based organization, PALS seeks to encourage sustainable development through the exchange of knowledge between professionals in Vietnam and in the developed world, with an emphasis on community building and empowerment through knowledge. Since 2005, PALS has placed focus on women’s empowerment, which has included efforts to fight human trafficking. Diep will deliver her Global Health Day speech, “Health Care Issues Encountered by the Victims of Human Trafficking: Remote Areas of Vietnam,” at noon in Room 1905 of the WVU Health Sciences Center. A cum laude graduate of Harvard University’s economics program, Diep earned her Master’s in Public Administration from San Jose State University. Formerly known as the International Health Program, the Global Health Program was established in 1991 as an interdisciplinary program at the WVU Health Sciences Center. It is a student-centered program composed of faculty, students and staff who work to promote the education of students and healthcare professionals in global health.   [...]

WVU Cancer Center participates in national study on new drug for hard-to-treat breast cancer

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University is participating in a national study on a promising new treatment for advanced triple-negative breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the nearly 200,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. It is an aggressive type of breast cancer that doesn’t respond well to targeted drugs commonly used to treat the majority of breast cancers. But a new class of drugs called PARP inhibitors – the first targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer – is making inroads in this tough-to-treat breast cancer. The Phase III clinical trial underway at WVU’s Cancer Center involves combining two standard chemotherapy drugs (gemcitabine and carboplatin) with a PARP inhibitor called BSI-201, or iniparib. “Iniparib is the best known PARP inhibitor and is the furthest along in being clinically developed,” said Jame Abraham, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at WVU. “Early data on the drug is very exciting. It’s been shown to have excellent antitumor activity in patients with triple negative breast cancer, and those enrolled in the study at WVU are seeing similar results.” Teresa Stevens of Fairmont, who’s 60 years old, was diagnosed with late stage triple-negative breast cancer in 2006. She enrolled in the Phase III clinical study at WVU last year after learning that her cancer had spread to her lung and brain.  “Eight weeks into treatment my tumors began shrinking, and they continue to shrink,” Stevens said. “This drug gives me hope. I feel relief and believe I am going in the right direction.” Beth Ujhelyi of Boothsville, who’s 37, is another hopeful patient. She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2008 and enrolled in the research study this January after the cancer spread to her lungs.   “I am a firm believer that this is the right treatment for my type of cancer,” Ujhelyi said. “After six weeks, my cancer was 90 percent gone. I was in shock. When Dr. Abraham showed me my scan results, I cried, and the nursing staff cried with me. After an additional six weeks of treatment, there was no sign of metastatic disease. That is miraculous to me.” Dr. Abraham said PARP inhibitors are different from other treatments. “Unlike most targeted therapies for breast cancer, PARP inhibitors do not single out specific hormone receptors or the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2),” Abraham said. “These drugs work by targeting the tumor’s DNA preventing it from repairing itself so it can grow and spread.  PARP inhibitors actually help standard chemotherapy work better.” BSI-201 is being developed by the pharmaceutical company BiPar Sciences, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sanofi Aventis. The company is also studying the new therapy to treat other cancers including lung, ovarian, uterine, brain and pancreatic. For information on the PARP inhibitor trial at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center see http://oncore.hsc.wvu.edu/sip/SIPControlServlet. For information on the clinical development of BSI-201 see www.biparsciences.com/000014.html.      [...]

Bonnie’s Bus offers mammograms

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Mercer and Logan counties, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at the Bluestone Health Center in Princeton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 11; and at Dignity Hospice of Southern WV in Chapmanville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 12. 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 Bluestone Health Center call 304-431-5499 and ask for Debbie or Emily; and at Dignity Hospice of Southern WV call 304-855-4764. 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.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/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.   [...]

Speedway SuperAmerica completes ‘Mile of Love’ for WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In mid-September, employees of Speedway SuperAmerica’s District 145 set out to create a “Mile of Love” for West Virginia University Children’s Hospital. They sold paper links to their customers in hopes of creating a chain one mile long. One month and more than $14,000 later, they achieved their goal. Speedway SuperAmerica is one of the largest chains of company-owned and operated gasoline and convenience stores in the country. District 145 includes stores in Parkersburg, Ravenswood, Ripley and Vienna in West Virginia and Belpre and Marietta in Ohio. To celebrate reaching the goal, Speedway SuperAmerica and Froggy 99 are inviting members of the community to join them at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Erickson All Sports Facility football field on Blizzard Drive in Parkersburg. The one-mile chain will be stretched out across the field to spell the word “LOVE.” They are looking for 200 people to hold the chain. “We are so grateful for the hard work of the employees and customers of District 145. This money will help us ensure that every child that walks through our doors receives high quality medical care,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. Speedway SuperAmerica has been a charitable partner with Children’s Miracle Network for almost 20 years. Since 1991, Speedway has raised more than $29 million for Children’s Miracle Network through a variety of grassroots fundraising campaigns and corporate-sponsored activities. In 2009, a total of 111 Speedway SuperAmerica stores across the state and region raised more than $290,000 for WVU Children’s Hospital, the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in West Virginia. WVU Children's Hospital provides maternal, infant and pediatric care for West Virginia and the surrounding region, giving care to high-risk mothers, premature infants and children with life-threatening conditions through adolescence to adulthood. For information on WVU Children's Hospital, see www.wvukids.com.  The Children's Miracle Network is a fundraising program to benefit hospitals providing healthcare for children. Created by the Osmond Foundation in 1983, the Children’s Miracle Network includes 170 hospitals throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. For information on Children's Miracle Network, see www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org.   [...]

WVU Ph.D. student gets grant to study smoking and sexual minorities

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Through his research, John Blosnich, M.P.H., has discovered that compared to their heterosexual peers, gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults who smoke have higher odds of contracting respiratory illnesses. Now he wants to know why those sexual minorities smoke as much as they do. Blosnich, a Ph.D. student in the West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine, recently received a grant for more than $40,000 from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In the study titled, “Disparities in Smoking and Acute Respiratory Illnesses Among Sexual Minority Young Adults,” Blosnich, fellow WVU Ph.D. student Traci Jarrett and their advisor Kimberly Horn, Ed.D., associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine, examined whether sexual minorities experience more of the diseases caused by tobacco. “We know that sexual minorities smoke more than the general population. Given that we know smoking causes a lot of illness and disease, we had assumed that if sexual minorities smoke more than their heterosexual peers, it stood to reason that they would probably experience more respiratory illnesses than heterosexuals,” Blosnich said. The trio found that the sexual minorities in their sample had an increased chance of having strep throat, sinus infections and bronchitis in the past year. They also found that a significant part of those increased chances of illness can be explained by smoking. The study was published in the October edition of the medical journal “Lung.” To read the study see www.springerlink.com/content/j9717l7378885136/fulltext.html. Now, Blosnich will use his federal grant from NIDA to specifically examine the risk factors for smoking among sexual minorities and try to answer the question of why they smoke more. “We don’t really have a good grasp on why sexual minorities smoke more, but we think it may have to do with issues of discrimination, violence and harassment, which can increase stress and decrease self worth,” he said. Blosnich is the first public health sciences Ph.D. student at WVU to receive this type of grant. “Writing the grant was definitely challenging, and it feels great to have it be well received by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. I have wonderful support here at WVU,” he said. He credits his success thus far to the guidance of his advisor Dr. Horn. “Dr. Horn is wonderful, and she is immensely supportive of the type of research I do. I began my grant application in her Grantwriting for Public Health class, and I know that my application was made better and more competitive because of her guidance and experience,” he said. “Great mentorship is such a big part of our doctoral program, and the successes I experience are, in no small part, due to the amazing mentorship of Dr. Horn.” Blosnich originally anticipated graduating with his Ph.D. in May 2011, but with the grant award, he is now planning to add a fifth year putting him at May 2012 for graduation. After graduation, he plans to apply for post-doctoral positions. “I aspire to do more research to document and address health disparities among sexual minority populations,” he said.   [...]

Breast Cancer Relief Foundation donates $10,000 to WVU Cancer Center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center has received $10,000 from the Breast Cancer Relief Foundation to support the work of Bonnie’s Bus, WVU’s mobile  mammography unit that offers digital mammograms and breast care education to women throughout West Virginia.  The funding will be used to underwrite the cost of mammograms provided on the Bus for women who do not have medical insurance or are underinsured. “We are grateful to the Breast Cancer Relief Foundation for helping Bonnie’s Bus provide mammography services to more women in West Virginia,” said Susan Faulkner, Ed.D., associate director for Research Development and administrator of Bonnie’s Bus.  “Thanks to the Foundation we have an additional funding mechanism to better ensure that every woman regardless of insurance or financial status has access to mammograms.” Mammograms on the Bus are not free, but billing to insurers is provided.  Women who lack insurance are usually matched to government or nonprofit charities.  The single largest percentage of women who’ve gotten a mammogram on the Bus were either uninsured or underinsured and qualified for funding through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCSP).  The award from the Breast Cancer Relief Foundation will help fund mammograms for women who need help to pay for their mammograms, but who may not meet the BCCSP federal guidelines to qualify for funding. The Foundation funding will also support breast health education programs on the Bus.  “Bonnie’s Bus is more than a vehicle that provides mammograms,” Faulkner said.  “It’s also a place where we strive to encourage and empower women to play an active role in their health.  We want them to know what steps they can take to detect breast cancer early. For example, we provide literature to teach them how to do breast self-exams and about the early warning signs of breast cancer.” The Breast Cancer Relief Foundation is a program of the Cancer Center for Detection and Prevention, a non-profit organization headquartered in New Orleans that is committed to helping women obtain mammograms and other diagnostic procedures to ensure early detection of breast cancer.  It also funds projects dedicated to educating women on breast cancer and its early detection. For information on the Breast Cancer Relief Foundation see www.breastcancerrelief.org/preventionEarlyDetection.asp. For information on Bonnie’s Bus see www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/bonnie/.   [...]