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WVU Health Sciences tightens conflict-of-interest rules

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s four health professions schools have adopted a new set of rules governing relations with vendors and industry that substantially strengthens safeguards against potential conflicts of interest. The new Code of Conduct forbids faculty, staff and students at the HSC from accepting gifts or meals from drug or medical device industry representatives, or from vendors who may do business with the University or its affiliated healthcare organizations.  “We are committed to an uncompromising adherence to our public trust, and to transparency and accountability in our actions as educators, scientists and clinicians,” said Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., WVU Chancellor for Health Sciences.  “The Code of Conduct is intended to establish best practices on how to deal with potential and real conflicts of interests with industry representatives.  It applies across the HSC, including external campuses and offices.”  The Code also strictly limits the use of pharmaceutical and medical device samples, and establishes limits and reporting requirements for consulting relationships and other contacts between individuals and industry. All industry gifts—even those of nominal value—are prohibited. The familiar pens and mugs with drug company logos are going to disappear from Health Sciences Center offices and events. The deans of the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy each serve on the committee that unanimously approved the Code, and each voted in favor of its adoption. It was drafted by a faculty committee led by Alvin H. Moss, M.D., director of WVU’s Center for Health Ethics and Law. Dr. Moss said the new Code is intended to strengthen trust among healthcare professionals, educators, students, and patients. “The HSC is holding to high standards our patient care, training of students, and relationships with industry,” he said. “This is an opportunity to emphasize that patients are our first priority and that the HSC values accountability, transparency, objectivity, and integrity.” Dr. Colenda noted that the new Code is not intended to prevent active collaboration with industry representatives or programs. “Those who develop and maintain close relationships with professionals outside academia strengthen our work,” he said. “It’s critical that faculty members remain aware of developments in industry or elsewhere that may have an impact on their research, the care we deliver to patients, and our educational activities. Many faculty are also involved in professional organizations that also include colleagues working in industry. “This new Code of Conduct is not meant to prevent those relationships – only to set some ground rules. The basic principle is that you are free to establish and maintain productive relationships with industry, but should refrain from taking any action that benefits you financially or might be perceived to influence your decisions.” The Code of Conduct was adopted in late September and became effective Oct. 1. It is available online at: http://bit.ly/9MTTpY   [...]

Walk to benefit Betty Puskar Breast Care Center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Pro Performance Rx, an indoor athletic training and rehabilitation facility in Morgantown, is sponsoring a walk for its members to benefit the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at West Virginia University. Participants in the Betty Puskar Walk for Breast Cancer are being challenged to walk 77 miles by the end of October - the distance to Canaan Valley - for a chance to win various prizes, including a weekend getaway to the Canaan Valley Resort. They may also do alternate forms of exercise with 30 minutes as the equivalent of one mile walked.  “Since October is national walking month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to do something that would encourage exercise while supporting a local facility that provides women with important breast care services,” Brittany Taylor, a trainer at Pro Performance, said.  “Research has shown that being overweight or obese increases the risk for breast cancer. But physical activity decreases that risk. The ultimate goal of the Betty Puskar Walk for Breast Cancer is to promote a healthy lifestyle.” The money generated through the event will come from sponsorships and donations obtained by participating members. In addition, Pro Performance is selling breast cancer awareness T-shirts for $15 and donating all of those proceeds to the Breast Care Center. Anyone interested in joining Pro Performance as a new member this month can do so for a special monthly rate of $30. For information on Pro Performance Rx see www.properformancerx.com/about_us.cfm. For information on the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center see www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/bpbcc.   [...]

Fashion show to benefit WVU breast care center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 2010 Betty Puskar Breast Cancer Fashion Show featuring breast cancer survivors and local women as models will be held on Monday, Oct. 25 at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown. The event honors breast cancer survivors, raises awareness about breast cancer and serves as a fundraiser for the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at West Virginia University. “What makes the fashion show such a special occasion is knowing that it’s all about the survivors,” Judith Schreiman, M.D., radiologist at the Breast Care Center, said. “Seeing their reassuring smiles as they sashay up the runway is so inspiring. They may be fashion models for a day, but more importantly they are role models every day to women who may be battling breast cancer.” [...]

WVU grad to deliver third annual Stitzel lecture

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Researcher and West Virginia University School of Medicine alumnus Thomas C. Westfall, Ph.D., will deliver the third annual Robert E. Stitzel Lecture at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. He will present “A Love Affair With Catecholamines and the Sympathetic Nervous System.” Dr. Westfall currently serves as chair and William Beaumont Professor of the Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Science at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in pharmacology from WVU in 1962 and completed postdoctoral work in the Department of Physiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1965, Dr. Westfall joined the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine as an assistant professor and was eventually promoted to professor. He joined the faculty in his current department as professor and chair in 1979. He assumed his current role in 1990. He also serves as director of the Saint Louis University Center of Excellence in Neuroscience. Dr. Westfall’s recent studies have focused on the interactions between the neurotransmitters and the system that regulates blood pressure, which is out of balance in many patients with hypertension. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow impulses to pass from one cell to another in the body’s sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for the fight or flight response. These studies have deepened the scientific community’s understanding of the treatment of hypertension. His research program has been continuously funded by NIH since 1965. He has supervised research training for 24 graduate students and 17 postdoctoral fellows. He has also directed a training grant in pharmacological sciences since 1990. He has been a peer reviewer for journals and granting agencies and has been active in the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The lecture series is named for the late Robert E. Stitzel, who served WVU as an educator, scientist and administrator for more than 40 years. Graduate students who receive funds for their education through the Stitzel Awards will be recognized after the lecture. The lecture is in the Fukushima Auditorium (Room 1901) in the Health Sciences Learning Center. Immediately following, there will be a reception in the foyer adjacent to the auditorium.   [...]

Bonnie’s Bus offers mammograms

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Pendleton and Ritchie counties next week, offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at Pendleton Community Care in Franklin from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19 and at Ritchie County Primary Care in Harrisville from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 21 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 22. 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, call Pendleton Community Care at 304-358-2355 or Ritchie County Primary Care at 304-643-4005. 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.   [...]

Kohl’s to donate nearly $130,000 to WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Kohl's Department Store will present a check for nearly $130,000 to the Kohl’s Healthy Kids University at West Virginia University Children’s Hospital at 11 a.m. Oct. 20 at the Kohl’s store on Bosley Parkway in Parkersburg. Donations were collected from Kohl’s stores throughout the state. Since 1999, Kohl’s has donated more than $566,000 to WVU Children’s Hospital. “Kohl’s has been a great supporter of WVU Children’s Hospital for more than a decade. We are very grateful that they continue to renew their partnership with us year after year,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. The event will feature the Kohl’s Germ Free Kids Club, which teaches children in kindergarten through third grades proper hand-washing techniques and the importance of proper hand washing to stay healthy and reduce the spread of germs. In addition to the Germ Free Kids Club, the Healthy Kids University at WVU Children’s Hospital includes the Healthy Babies program, which provides education to new parents, and Babysitting 101, which teaches teens basic child-care skills. Kohl's commitment to WVU Children’s Hospital is made possible through the Kohl's Cares cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys; 100 percent of net profit benefits children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one. Kohl's has raised more than $150 million dollars through this merchandise program. In addition, Kohl's Cares features a scholarship program, which recognizes more than 2,100 young volunteers with a total of $410,000 in scholarships and prizes this year; the Associates in Action program, which encourages associate volunteerism and provided more than $10 million in grants to youth-focused nonprofit organizations last year alone; and fundraising gift cards for schools and youth-serving organizations. For more information, visit www.kohlscorporation.com. For more information on WVU Children’s Hospital see www.wvukids.com. Kohl’s Department Stores Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment.  By the end of September, Kohl’s operates 1,089 stores in 49 states with a commitment to environmental leadership. In support of the communities it serves, Kohl’s has raised more than $150 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which operates under Kohl's Cares, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit www.kohls.com.   [...]

WVU women’s soccer team to make $12,000 donation to Breast Care Center at halftime

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Members of the West Virginia University women's soccer team will declare Sunday Breast Cancer Awareness Day during their Oct. 17 matchup against Georgetown at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The Mountaineers will dress the part, wearing pink Nike uniforms during the game, and present a donation of more than $12,000 to the WVU Betty Puskar Breast Cancer Fund during halftime. Fans will be provided pink bracelets, breast cancer awareness magnets and educational material about breast cancer. “The Betty Puskar Breast Care Center here at WVU is a vital organization that plays a pivotal role in the ongoing fight against breast cancer,” WVU assistant coach Marisa Kanela said. “The Center’s support and dedication to women battling this disease is truly inspiring. While we cannot change the disease itself, we hope that the continued support over the years that the women’s soccer team has brought to the community will help aid in the fight. Little by little each year we are trying to give courage to those fighting, to keep battling because they are not alone. Today these young ladies are not just fighting for a win, they are fighting for a cause.” The WVU women’s soccer team raised $12,141 this past spring in its effort to help fight breast cancer. On March 6, the team competed in the “Three’s a Team … the Fourth’s a Mountaineer” all-day event at the Caperton Indoor Facility. The annual 4-on-4 tournament was open to boys and girls in grades three through eight, with an open division for college-age and older groups. West Virginia also played Pitt and Akron in the seventh annual Betty Puskar Breast Care Center Soccer Invitational on April 10 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The donation goes directly to the Betty Puskar Breast Cancer Fund, which supports diagnosis and treatment efforts and helps patients and their families in the midst of battling breast cancer. “Speaking for the team, we know that many people are affected by breast cancer, and we want to let people know that we will fight for them,” junior soccer player Meghan Lewis said. “It is also our way to contribute and give something back, because this devastating disease affects many women, especially our friends and families.” Fans are encouraged to wear pink at Sunday’s 1 p.m. contest against the Hoyas. Over the past seven years, the women’s soccer team has raised more than $60,000 for the Breast Care Center. For more information on the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center, see www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/bpbcc.   [...]

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. [...]

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