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WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health announces scholarship winners

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Institute for Community and Rural Health has awarded five students with scholarships for the 2011-12 academic year in exchange for their commitment to practice in the state after graduation. The intent of the scholarship is to reduce financial debt and enable quality health professionals to practice in rural areas of the state. Recipients are required to practice in a part of West Virginia that is considered either medically underserved or a health professions shortage area. “We could have only dreamed of having such outstanding applicants for our inaugural awarding of scholarships to Health Sciences students. These awardees are not only representative of the most outstanding students in the schools of Dentistry and Medicine, they each have sincere passion for providing healthcare in underserved areas of our state,” Larry Rhodes, M.D., director of the Institute, said. “It is my opinion that if future applicants are of this quality and have similar dedication to the people of West Virginia, this program will have a significant impact on healthcare in rural West Virginia.” Two graduating seniors from the WVU School of Dentistry – Amy Isble of Kanawha County and Emily Mayhew of Jefferson County – each received $50,000 for two-year commitments to practice in the state. Both are finalizing plans to return to their home counties after graduation. “Growing up in a service-minded and hardworking family exposed me to people from various walks of life and has taught me how to relate to and have compassion for each individual,” said Isble, who hopes to practice in a rural area of Kanawha County. In recommending Isble for the scholarship, Susan Morgan, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor in the WVU Department of Periodontics, said, “I have no doubt that this young professional will not only be a positive role model for others, but that she will be a leader in her community as well as the dental profession.” Mayhew is finalizing practice plans in an area near her home and plans to care for patients in underserved areas. “Since I have actually experienced providing dental services in the community health setting, I am confident that it is a good fit for me to begin my career,” she said. “I would like to be able to afford to help those in need in my community.” Michael Bagby, D.D.S., professor in the WVU Department of Restorative Dentistry, recommended her for the award and said, “Emily is probably the best operator in her class. Her clinical skills are second to none. Her concern for her patients is on par with her clinical abilities. She is very effective and efficient in providing the best possible care for her patients.” Three students from the WVU School of Medicine – Stephanie Sisler of Preston County, Sky Gwinn of Summers County and Garrett Butler of Mineral County – also received scholarships. Sisler, who will graduate this month, received $50,000 for a two-year commitment to practice in rural West Virginia. After completing her residency training in pediatrics at WVU, she hopes to return to Preston County. “My strong conviction that patient rapport and close patient-physician relationships are keys to being a successful physician have drawn me towards the rural setting even more,” she said. Norman Ferrari, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, recommended Sisler for the award, saying her commitment and interest in rural primary care practice are much stronger than the average medical student. Though Butler, a second-year medical student, was born and raised in Nebraska, he calls Mineral County his home. He received $25,000 for a one-year commitment. “I’m a slow-paced individual who loves family and friends. My ideal career is working in multiple small, family clinics in rural areas,” he said. “I’d also like the ability to teach students how to better care for rural residents.” Gregory Doyle, M.D., professor in the WVU Department of Family Medicine who recommended Butler for the award, called him a warm and caring individual with unlimited potential. “He’s well above typical,” Dr. Doyle said. “He is totally committed to practice in a rural, medically underserved area.” Gwinn will not be the first in his family to practice in rural West Virginia. His 88-year-old grandfather still practices as a family physician in Oak Hill. The second-year medical student and member of the U.S. Army received $25,000 for a one-year commitment to practice in a rural community. “By accepting the scholarship, I feel a special personal obligation to promote access to quality healthcare for rural and underserved West Virginians,” Gwinn said. “It is widely accepted that obesity and related chronic-health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease and uncontrolled hypertension, are more common among rural residents. Working with this population on a daily basis would help me become more actively involved in rural health research and promote comprehensive health reform in order to bring affordable, high quality healthcare to those that need it most.” Gwinn was recommended for the award by Brian Talbott, M.D., a resident in the WVU Department of Medicine. “Sky is from and loves rural West Virginia. His ability to care for and about the people of this state is a key part of who he is,” Dr. Talbott said. “He’s a genuine guy. West Virginia needs doctors like Sky.” Each student received a certificate from Rhodes and their respective deans on April 24. Attention reporters and editors: If you would like individual photos of a particular student, please contact Angela Jones at jonesan@wvuhealthcare.com or 304-293-7087. [...]

WVU Foundation announces creation of endowed fund in pain and palliative medicine

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – “No student in the medical fields should graduate without knowing what hospice does and the impact of unmanaged pain in our country,” Malene Davis, West Virginia University graduate (M.S.N./M.B.A.) and current CEO of Capital Caring, said. That’s why Davis decided to found a lectureship. After raising funds among friends and colleagues, Davis, together with Hospice Care Corporation of West Virginia, hosted the first of the Perry G. Fine, M.D., Lecture Series in the fall of 2008. This coming October will mark the fifth annual lecture in which Dr. Fine along with other guest speakers has talked about current issues in palliative care to hospice workers, professors, students and other interested persons from the region. The WVU Foundation has announced the recent creation of an endowed fund to support this project: the Perry G. Fine, M.D., Endowed Fund in Pain and Palliative Medicine. Fine, a clinician and professor at the University of Utah, is one of the leading scholars on pain and palliative care. He has published extensively and has served on scientific advisory boards and the editorial boards of several peer reviewed medical journals. “He is a rock star of the pain world with a hospice heart,” Davis said. Davis and Fine met when they served together on the board of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Fine explained, “I’ve been very vocal about the important role of modern medicine in hospice care. Hospice care needs to move more towards mainstream medicine in terms of collecting outcomes and metrics. Malene shared this vision.” “I want to honor Dr. Fine in West Virginia,” said Davis, “because in his words ‘Pain respects no borders, and in order to help people get the care they need to live their lives to the fullest, I will get on a plane anytime, anywhere.’ I wanted our people serving our moms and dads to have the opportunity to hear him. We have really increased awareness of the need for palliative care and hospice. It’s a dream come true.” Davis hopes that other land-grant institutions will develop their own lectures about palliative pain management. “All medical professionals should ask patients about their comfort levels,” she said. “In West Virginia, when something is needed, we do it.” The lecture series is free and open to the public each October. Free continuing education units are provided.   This gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private, non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU. To contribute to the Perry G. Fine, M.D., Endowed Fund in Pain and Palliative Medicine, please contact the Office of Development at the WVU Health Sciences Center at 304-293-3980 or development@hsc.wvu.edu. [...]

New study examines role of intimate partner violence in workplace homicides among U.S. women

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University (WVU-ICRC) have found that intimate partner violence resulted in 142 homicides among women at work in the U.S. from 2003 to 2008, a figure which represents 22 percent of the 648 workplace homicides among women during the period. The paper, “Workplace homicides among U.S. women: the role of intimate partner violence,” published in the April 2012 issue of “Annals of Epidemiology,” reports that the leading cause of homicides among women was criminal intent, such as those resulting from robberies of retail stores (39 percent), followed closely by homicides carried out by personal relations (33 percent). Nearly 80 percent of these personal relations were intimate partners. Risk factors associated with workplace-related intimate partner homicides include occupation, time of day and location. Women in protective-service occupations had the highest overall homicide rate; however, women in healthcare, production and office/administration had the highest proportion of homicides related to intimate partner violence. Over half of the homicides committed by intimate partners occurred in parking lots and public buildings. “Workplace violence is an issue that affects the entire community,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Understanding the extent of the risk and the precipitators for these events, especially for women, of becoming victims of workplace violence is a key step in preventing these tragedies.” In addition to its focus upon the role of intimate partner violence in workplace homicides among women, the study reports that workplace homicide remains a leading cause of occupational injury death in U.S. women. In fact, in 2010, homicides against women at work increased by 13 percent despite continuous declines in overall workplace homicides in recent years. Other study findings include: •    More U.S. women died on the job as the result of domestic violence than at the hands of a client — such as a student, patient or prisoner — or of a current or former co-worker. •    Workplace homicide rates among women were significantly higher in private workplaces than in federal, state or local workplaces. •    Firearms, knives and other sharp objects were the top items used in workplace homicides against women. •    The most common locations where workplace homicides among women occurred were retail businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, convenience stores, and hotels and motels, followed by commercial stores, public buildings, and parking lots. For further research on workplace violence, visit the NIOSH topic page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/violence. NIOSH is a federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. More information can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. The WVU-ICRC is a CDC-funded research center which conducts and supports research intended to address national priorities for injury prevention while simultaneously emphasizing topics that are most relevant to West Virginia and the Appalachian region. For additional information on work-related and nonwork-related injury topics, visit the WVU-ICRC website at www.hsc.wvu.edu/icrc. For more information, contact Amy Johns, WVU Healthcare Director of Public Affairs at 304-293-7087, or Stacy M. Downey, CDC/NIOSH Health Communications Specialist at 304-285-6076. [...]

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