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WVU Health Sciences marks 50 years of leadership in health

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In 1960 the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center and University Hospital opened to great fanfare and high expectations. Until that time, there had been a shortage of healthcare professionals in the state, and access to healthcare was a challenge for many, especially for those with serious medical issues. Over the past 50 years, thousands of WVU Health Sciences graduates in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and other health professions have cared for patients in every corner of the state and throughout the country.  West Virginians who need specialty care have relied on WVU Healthcare physicians, hospitals and outpatient clinics to provide the highest quality of care, without having to leave the state. “A half a century ago, West Virginia University made a promise to the people of this state,” WVU Health Sciences Chancellor Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., said. “In exchange for their support, we created a network of people and institutions that is by far the largest force for health in our state.” The original health sciences and hospital building was built a penny at a time through the pop tax, thanks to the foresight and determination of Gov. Okey Patteson.  “As promised in 1960, we have changed the face of healthcare in the state,” Colenda said. “Our schools, our hospitals and clinics, and our research labs offer a welcoming beacon to the best and brightest young West Virginians – and attract a steady stream of well-educated, strongly motivated and highly productive people from around the world to West Virginia.” The West Virginia economy is $2.2 billion larger because of the presence of WVU’s health sciences schools, clinics, and hospitals, according to a study completed earlier this year by Tripp Umbach, a Pittsburgh research firm. Based on 2009 data, the firm calculated that 15,600 jobs statewide exist because of WVU-related health spending. State and local governments collected $191 million in tax revenue from businesses and individuals associated with WVU Healthcare and the schools. The anniversary of WVU Health Sciences is being celebrated at a Convocation for the health sciences and university communities at 4 p.m. today (Friday, Oct. 15) at the Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.  Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Institute of Medicine, is the keynote speaker.  Sen. Jay Rockefeller also will attend the celebration. The Fall 2010 issue of “WVUhealth” magazine examines and illustrates the history and accomplishments of WVU Health Sciences, and can be accessed electronically at a special HSC 50th website:  www.hsc.wvu.edu/50-years.   [...]

DUI simulator to be set up at Mountainlair

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In the U.S., alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and injure someone every two minutes. To show people the dangers of drinking and driving, the West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine will have a simulator set up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 13 in front of the Mountainlair. [...]

Charleston radiothon to benefit WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Second Annual WQBE and Electric 102 Cares for Kids Radiothon benefiting West Virginia University Children’s Hospital will hit the airwaves live beginning on Thursday, Oct. 14. [...]

Bonnie’s Bus offers mammograms

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Putnam and Barbour counties next week, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at the Teays Valley FamilyCare HealthCenter in Scott Depot from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12 and at Belington Community Medical Services from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 13 and 14. 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. You must be a patient of the Teays Valley FamilyCare HealthCenter to get a Bonnie’s Bus appointment at that clinic. Call 304-757-6999. For a Bonnie’s Bus appointment at Belington Community Medical Services call 304-823-2800. 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.   [...]

WVU’s National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health offers wellness retreat in Wetzel County

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health is inviting women in Wetzel County and the surrounding area to spend a day focusing on their well-being and personal empowerment. The Women on Wellness (WOW) retreat on Saturday, Oct. 16  is a day for and about women.  [...]

Meet an important member of the WVU Healthcare team: Physician Assistant

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Dena Pozeg, PA-C, wanted a career where she could help people and feel like she was making a difference in their lives. That’s why she became a physician assistant (PA). She is one of the 54 physician assistants at WVU Healthcare whose work is being recognized as a part of National Physician Assistants Week (Oct. 6-12). According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), physician assistants are health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive healthcare, assist in surgery and prescribe medications. “PAs are trained to work within a team in conjunction with others. I really like the idea of a team effort,” Pozeg said. “PAs are also trained to be an advocate for the patient and normally have a little more time to spend with patients than the physicians, since they act as an extension of them.” Pozeg works as the chief PA for the section of trauma and critical care surgery, where she goes to traumas, takes care of inpatients, does consults and sees patients in the clinic. She also acts as the primary contact for patients who have been discharged and call with needs, including answering questions or calling in refills for prescriptions. Working in trauma is never the same as the day before, Pozeg said, and that’s one of the reasons she chose to pursue that specialty. “Our patients are significantly ill or injured and most times ‘fixable.’ It gives me a great feeling to see patients in the outpatient clinic after their hospital course and know that I have helped them progress back to their normal lives,” she said. “It’s a really great feeling to see someone walk when they were unable to before or see someone who previously had a traumatic brain injury improve and return to school or work. Trauma just makes me feel that I can touch the lives of so many that need help.” Alison Wilson, M.D., director of the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center and chief of trauma and critical care surgery, said physician assistants are vital to the continuum of care for both inpatients and outpatients. “Physician assistants are an integral part of the healthcare team,” she said. “Their roles are developing and expanding. They will be essential to the success of healthcare in the future.” For more information on physician assistants, see www.aapa.org.  For more information on WVU Healthcare, see www.wvuhealth.com.   [...]

WVU Hospitals event for United Way is October 7

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – . “Fall Into the Spirit of Living United” is the theme of the 2010 United Way Fall Fest event for the community and West Virginia University Hospitals employees, Thursday, Oct. 7 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on front lawn of WVU’s Ruby Memorial Hospital. [...]

WVU to host National Museum of Dentistry exhibit

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Dentistry will celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month by hosting the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry’s MouthPower exhibit Oct. 6-25 at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center in Morgantown. [...]

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Twelve million Americans suffer from noise-induced hearing loss, which results from prolonged exposure to noise. For that reason, audiologists at WVU Healthcare and across the country are encouraging everyone to protect their hearing. “Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the microscopic hair cells, or cilia, which are found in the inner ear. Cilia are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear into electrical signals that travel to the brain,” Mary Archer, Au.D., clinical audiologist at WVU Healthcare, said. “Once damaged, our hair cells don’t grow back, and they cannot be repaired or grow back, causing permanent hearing loss.” The loudness of sound is measured in decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85 dB, such as concerts, sporting events, lawnmowers, fireworks and MP3 players at full volume. A brief exposure to a very intense sound, such as a gun shot near the ear, can also damage your hearing. According to Dr. Archer, an environment is too loud and considered dangerous if you have to shout over background noise to be heard, if it is painful to your ears or if it makes your ears ring during and after exposure. “There are several things you can do to protect your hearing. For example, if you’re going to be exposed to sounds louder than 85 dB for 30 minutes or more, wear hearing protection. When you’re listening to the radio, TV, MP3 player or anything through ear buds or headphones, turn down the volume. And, if possible, walk away from loud noises,” she said. Hearing loss not only affects a person’s ability to understand speech, but it also has a negative impact on his or her social and emotional well being. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur gradually over time. People often do not realize they are changing the way they live to make up for the disability. Those who suspect they may have hearing loss should see an audiologist for a hearing test to determine the type and severity of hearing loss. Protect Your Hearing Month is a project of the American Academy of Audiology and Quota International, an international service organization. For more information on audiology services at WVU Healthcare see http://health.wvu.edu/services/otolaryngology/audiology-speech.aspx.   [...]

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