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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WVU awarded $1 million endowment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at West Virginia University (OLLI at WVU) has received a $1 million endowment that will help to enrich the educational programs it offers to people age 50 and older. The endowment is from The Bernard Osher Foundation, a 34-year old philanthropic organization that supports higher education and the arts. OLLI at WVU conducted a drive last year to recruit more than 500 members, one of the criteria for the endowment from the Osher Foundation. “People come to OLLI because they have a love of learning,” Suzanne Gross, president of the OLLI Board of Directors, said. “The students have bright minds and want to keep them engaged through retirement. Our teachers have a lifetime of expertise. Bring them all together and it makes for a very rich classroom experience.”   About 40 active and retired WVU faculty members have supported OLLI by teaching classes.  Instructors also include state and local experts in public programs, business professionals and artists. Classes for Spring 2011 run the gamut from Basic Computer Skills and Basic Italian to T’ai Chi, Opera and Ibsen. Gross said OLLI at WVU gives people a chance to explore topics they didn't have time to tackle in their working lives – with no tests, no grades, no pressure. “It’s learning for pleasure,” she said. ”The progress the program has made since receiving initial support in December 2006 has been outstanding,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman.  “We salute the Institute’s dedicated volunteers and staff — as well as the leadership of West Virginia University — for developing such an exceptional educational program for seasoned adults in the Morgantown area.” Gross said previous support from the Osher Foundation has helped to build the program over the last several years.  The endowment, she said, will help to sustain OLLI at WVU into the future. “We are also very grateful for the support we’ve received from University President (James) Clements,” Gross said. “He feels very strongly that the University has a responsibility to the community and has committed support that allows us to occupy our space here in Morgantown and offer unlimited classes at no additional charge to our members.” Annual memberships are $85 for anyone 50 and older. Memberships can also be purchased for an individual season term for $45. There is no limit on the number of courses an individual can take. Dues, along with gifts, grants and investment interest cover the costs of the courses, office expenses and teaching materials. OLLI at WVU, founded in 1993, is part of the Center on Aging at WVU Health Sciences.  Its classrooms are at the Mountaineer Mall on Greenbag Road in Morgantown. For more information on OLLI, see www.olliatwvu.org or call 304-293-1793. About the Osher Foundation The Bernard Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader.  The Foundation provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, with special attention to reentry students. It also benefits programs in integrative medicine in the United States and Sweden, including centers at the University of California, San Francisco; Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston; and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.  In addition, the Foundation supports a national network of personal enrichment educational programs for seasoned adults, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, which now operate on the campuses of 117 institutions of higher education from Maine to Hawaii.  Finally, an array of performing arts organizations, museums, and selected educational programs in Northern California and in Mr. Osher’s native state of Maine receive Foundation grants. The Foundation is chaired by the Honorable Barbro Osher, Consul General of Sweden in California. (www.osherfoundation.org)   [...]

WVU Healthcare to hold Donate Life Ceremony

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hundreds of patients have benefited from the generosity of others through the Donate Life program in West Virginia. By choosing to become a donor, one person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and help heal more than 50 by tissue and cornea donation.  WVU Healthcare will hold its annual Donate Life Ceremony at 2 p.m. on April 27 in conference rooms 3A and 3B on the fourth floor of WVU's Ruby Memorial Hospital. The event recognizes donor patients, families and the healthcare workers who care for donors and donor recipients. Robert Nicklow, from the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) will present WVU Healthcare with the Silver Medal Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. WVU Healthcare also received the West Virginia Governor’s Award for Life in recognition of donor efforts. The celebration will feature a sneak peak at the new Donor Memorial Wall. The event is open to donor families, organ recipients, hospital employees, as well as the general public. Nearly 100,000 people in the United States are awaiting organ transplants;170 are West Virginians.    Organ donation decisions are made by individual donor designations on a driver’s license or state identification card. On driver’s licenses and photo ID cards in West Virginia, the symbol for medicine, a caduceus, appears on the front of the card. West Virginians can also designate themselves as organ donors by logging onto www.donatelifewv.org.   [...]

WVU trials of breast PET scanner show promise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Healthcare providers agree that the importance of regular mammograms cannot be overstated; yet, for women with denser breast tissue, traditional X-ray imaging can fail to identify some tumors. In a recent West Virginia University clinical test, a new 3-D breast scanning system developed at WVU has proven successful in finding difficult-to-detect breast lesions. A leading cause of cancer-related death among women, breast cancer is often difficult to diagnose in women with denser breast tissue, as traditional X-ray imaging can fail to identify small tumors. The current second-line screening method for women with denser breasts and higher risk factors is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). False positive results are common in MRI, however, which can result in the unnecessary biopsy of benign lesions. WVU’s Breast-PET (positron emission tomography) imaging system uses the physiology of the breast measured with a radioactive agent to produce 3-D images. “Since diseased tissue, such as tumors, often has different physiology than normal tissue, it is possible to visualize breast tumors more effectively, even in dense breasts,” Raymond R. Raylman, Ph.D., professor of radiology and vice chair of radiology research at the WVU School of Medicine and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said. “Since Breast-PET produces three-dimensional images, we do not have the problem of overlaying tissue obstructing tumors, and the breast does not have to be compressed.” “This technique has the potential to replace or at least supplement breast-MRI as the second-line method for imaging these hard to interpret cases, due to PET’s low false positive rate compared to MRI,” Dr. Raylman continued. “In addition to detecting some hard-to-image lesions, we were able to see disease infiltrations into areas not seen on mammograms in this study. In the future, such findings could be used by physicians to help improve treatment planning.” The WVU system is the only 3-D PET imaging device designed to also perform biopsies and is also the only system that has the demonstrated ability to measure metabolic activity of tissue, including tumors. For patients in treatment for known breast lesions, the Breast-PET scan can be combined with full-body PET imaging to see if cancer is spreading beyond the breast. “In addition to detecting tumors, we have the capability to measure the changes in tumor tissues in response to treatments, like chemotherapy,” said Raylman.  “We could potentially tell fairly early on if a treatment is being effective in attacking the disease. If it is not, the treatment plan can be altered. Currently, it can take weeks to months to determine if a therapy is working.”  Raylman’s team is continuing development of Breast-PET. The system will eventually gain the ability to perform tomographic X-ray images of the breast (CT scans). The combination of PET and CT will allow clinicians to better determine the size, shape, position and metabolic activity of suspicious breast lesions. “The work of Dr. Raylman and the team that developed this leading-edge technology will make a worldwide impact,” Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Cancer Center, said. “This is a prime example of WVU research shaping the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment.” The study, authored by a team of WVU researchers led by Raylman, appears in the current issue of the “Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology.”   For more information on the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, visit www.wvucancer.org.   [...]

WVU Stroke Center earns awards for excellence

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has awarded West Virginia University Hospitals’ Stroke Center its Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award for its commitment and success in continued excellent care for stroke patients. “This is a team effort achieved by the physicians, nurses and quality improvement professionals involved with the WVU Stroke Center,” said Laurie Gutmann, M.D., WVU Stroke Center director. “WVU Hospitals is one of only two centers in the state of West Virginia to achieve this status.” Stroke patients at WVU receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. The WVU Stroke Center has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate a stroke and perform the appropriate treatment in time to minimize damage to the brain. Get With The Guidelines is an AHA/ASA quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. To receive the award, the WVU Stroke Center achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. In addition to the Get With The Guideline-Stroke award, the WVU Stroke Center has also been recognized as a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of eligible ischemic stroke patients have received intravenous clot-busting medication within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time).   “The care our patients receive is our number one priority," Dr. Gutmann said. "Our greatest reward is serving our patients and seeing the lives we are impacting. That’s why we’re committed to turning treatment guidelines into lifelines.” [...]

Let’s talk about health: Department of Community Medicine to sponsor student poster presentations

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine will host its annual Student Poster Presentation Session on Tuesday, April 26. The session will feature more than 150 health-related poster presentations from both undergraduate and graduate students. “Every year, we see unique and interesting research done by the students on topics ranging from human trafficking to different types of cancers in men and women to body piercing,” Ruth Kershner, Ed.D., professor in the Department of Community Medicine, said. “We encourage students, faculty, staff and members of the community to attend and enjoy an evening of discussion and enlightenment about numerous health topics.” Arthur Ross, M.D., dean of the WVU School of Medicine will deliver opening remarks at 6 p.m. in the John E. Jones Conference Center near the Health Sciences Center cafeteria. The poster session will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.  Classes participating in the session include: Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Gender and Violence and Environmental Health. Light refreshments will be served, and the students will be present to discuss their topics and answer questions.   [...]

Friends of WVU Hospitals to sponsor spring jewelry and gift show April 18 and 19

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Friends of WVU Hospitals will sponsor a jewelry and gift show in conjunction with Thee Jewelry Show from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 18 and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19 in front of Friends Gift Shop at WVU Hospitals. The show will feature unique pieces that make perfect gifts, including sterling silver jewelry, fashion handbags, perfume and luggage. Cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard and Discover card will be accepted. Proceeds from this event will benefit the patients of WVU Hospitals. For more information on Friends Gift Shop see www.wvuhgift.com.   [...]

Vendors needed for WVU Healthcare Farmers Market

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Healthcare is looking for a few good farmers. In its third year, the Health Sciences campus Farmers Market is recruiting for this coming summer.  Items to be offered along with produce are locally made, grown or produced consumable items. The market will be expanding this year to include hand-crafted items. “We are inviting vendors and farmers from around the region to participate,” Dave Harshbarger, manager of The Wellness Program at WVU Healthcare, said. “We are looking for goods such as meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, canned goods, flowers, plants and hand-made craft items.” The farmer’s market, which is open to the public, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons beginning June 1 and running into the fall. It will be located between the Health Sciences Center and Ruby Memorial Hospital. Access and parking will be conveniently located at the site for vendors. “We are looking forward to providing our employees with access to locally grown and produced products,” Harshbarger said. “We think the farmers will be happy, too, because of the thousands of employees working in the vicinity, including the staffs of WVU, WVU Healthcare and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.” The farmer’s market is sponsored by WVU Healthcare. Vendors interested in participating in the market should call The Wellness Program at 304-293-2520. [...]

WVU receives $1 million for pediatric diabetes

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s efforts to combat pediatric diabetes received critical support on Wednesday with a $1 million donation to WVU Children’s Hospital and the WVU Department of Pediatrics from former state legislator Mike Ross. Included in the gift is $400,000 for research, which is expected to qualify for a match from the state’s Research Trust Fund. The gift will create two separate funds in the name of the Mike Ross Family. One will provide support for the treatment and education of children with diabetes and their families. The other, the Mike Ross Family Pediatric Diabetes Research Fund, will fund pediatric diabetes research. “Diabetes has touched nearly every family in West Virginia, including my own family,” Mr. Ross said. “With this gift, I challenge all West Virginians to join me in the fight against this disease.” "One of the major goals of the University's new Strategic Plan is to enhance the well-being and the quality of life for the people of West Virginia. This gift and the potential match from the Research Trust Fund are important steps on the path to achieving that goal, and we thank Mr. Ross for entrusting WVU to further our work in the critical area of pediatric diabetes,"  WVU President Jim Clements, Ph.D., said. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States – 8.3 percent of the population – have diabetes. Diabetes increases a person’s risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease and nervous system disease. “West Virginia is clearly in the top four or five in the country for diabetes. This gift is critical to reversing those trends. With chronic, life-long diseases like diabetes, education is essential and needs to start early. Without education, patients are not compliant with their treatment and do not properly take their medications. In the long run, this can have tragic consequences because compliance is key to diabetes management,” Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at WVU Children’s Hospital, said. “Mr. Ross’ gift is earmarked to meet exactly this strategic need because it will support specialized personnel promoting continuity of care for diabetic children through provider education, development of programs, evaluation of outcomes and direct interaction with patients, families and groups.” In 2008, the state created the Research Trust Fund with an initial appropriation of $50 million to leverage public and private investments that will transform West Virginia’s economy. WVU is able to tap into the fund to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, healthcare and job growth. To date, private and state dollars combined for WVU total over $33 million. The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU. Photo caption: (From left to right) Joann and Mike Ross accept a piece of artwork designed by a patient at West Virginia University Children’s Hospital from Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences at WVU.   [...]

Jenab lecture to examine nursing practice with vulnerable population

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A social justice advocate and health policy expert will be the featured speaker for the West Virginia University School of Nursing’s Jenab Lecture at 7 p.m., Friday, April 15. The biennial event will take place at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center’s Okey Patteson Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Sister Rosemary Donley, Ph.D., will present “Nursing Practice to Assure Justice for Vulnerable Populations.” Sister Donley is a professor of nursing and the Jacques Laval Chair in Justice for Vulnerable Populations at Duquesne University. As she describes her life in nursing as “a wonderful adventure,” Donley’s clinical and research interests are directed toward improving the lives and health of the underserved. A native of Pittsburgh and member of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Dr. Donley is a past Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow. In addition to holding six honorary degrees, she was designated as one of the American Academy of Nursing’s Living Legends in 2006 in recognition of her continued professional and societal contributions.  Donley received a diploma from the Pittsburgh Hospital School of Nursing and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University. She earned her Master of Science and doctoral degree in nursing education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a certified adult nurse practitioner. Donley served as past president of the National League for Nursing and is co-chair of the organization’s think tank on expanding racial, ethnic and gender diversity in nursing education. She was appointed to the United States Department of Health and Human Service Secretary’s Commission on Nursing and has been a consultant to the medical commands of the United States Army and Navy. The lecture is named for Lorita D. Jenab, dean of the School of Nursing from 1968 to 1992. For more information on the WVU School of Nursing, visit www.hsc.wvu.edu/son.   [...]

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