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WVU Pharmacy students advocate for changes to the profession

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Eighty West Virginia University School of Pharmacy students will travel to the State Capitol on Monday, March 7, to advocate for their profession during Pharmacy Day at the Legislature. The goal for the student pharmacists is to discuss the revisions and updates to the Pharmacy Practice Act, which is in review this legislative session. A practice act defines how a certain profession can practice in the state and outlines all laws and regulations that must be followed for that profession. Each year the legislature asks different boards in the state to review their practice act to keep the laws current. “We are fortunate as students to be able to give our input on the way we will practice as future pharmacists,” second-year student pharmacist Kristin Showen said.  “It’s great to see so many WVU pharmacy students taking an interest in this important matter.” Changes to the Practice Act have been proposed by the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy, with input from the WVU School of Pharmacy and University of Charleston, and will be introduced as House Bill 2513. There has not been an update to the Practice Act since pharmacy schools have changed from a bachelor’s degree to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree — approximately a decade ago. The advanced Pharm.D. degree provides more clinical knowledge and training, making the need to expand the scope of pharmacy practice as stated in the current West Virginia Code even more important. Students will meet with legislators and talk to them about the important changes that are proposed, including allowing trained and certified pharmacy students to provide immunizations. “Allowing student pharmacists to provide immunizations will give us the experience we need to provide this service to our community members after we graduate,” Showen said. “This will help increase the number of immunizing pharmacists in our communities, and it will also make it easier and more convenient for patients to get these immunizations.” The WVU student pharmacists will also provide health screenings during Pharmacy Day at the Legislature in the lobby of the State Capitol. Screenings will include blood glucose testing, blood pressure screenings and bone density screenings. “We hope that through educating our legislators about the types of healthcare services pharmacists offer to the members of our community, the proposed changes pass so pharmacists can provide the best healthcare to West Virginians who need it,” Showen added.   [...]

Bonnie’s Bus begins third year of operation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women, will visit Lewis County as the Bus begins its third consecutive year of operation. A service of WVU Healthcare, Bonnie’s Bus will be at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.   The mammograms are billed to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program or through a special grant from the Susan B. Komen for the Cure Foundation. A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram. For a Bonnie’s Bus appointment call the Tri-County Health Clinic at 304-924-6262.  Last year, Bonnie’s Bus made 65 visits in 30 counties throughout West Virginia providing mammography screening to nearly 800 women. About half of those screened were medically underserved women from challenged socio-economic backgrounds and qualified for screening through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. The goal for this year is to screen at least 1,200 women. Bonnie’s Bus works in collaboration with 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.wvucancer.org/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.   [...]

Walk your way to better health

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s that time of year again – time to start organizing your team for the annual “Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days” campaign, which runs from March 21 through June 28. [...]

Take control of your health

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in West Virginia and the United States. In fact, it kills nearly 7,000 West Virginians each year; in the United States, that number is close to a half million. [...]

National Pancake Day to benefit WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Eating pancakes has never been so rewarding.  IHOP will be working together with West Virginia University Children’s Hospital to raise money during National Pancake Day. [...]

First diaphragm pacemaker implanted at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Patients who suffer upper spinal cord injuries are often left unable to breathe on their own and require the assistance of a ventilator, sometimes for the rest of their lives. But a revolutionary procedure being performed at WVU Healthcare is helping to get patients off ventilators and on the road to recovery. An upper spinal cord injury breaks the connection between the brain and the diaphragm – the brain can no longer tell the diaphragm to contract. But for some people who suffer this type of spinal cord injury, a diaphragmatic pacemaker can be put into place to help them breathe. Just as a pacemaker for the heart helps to control the heartbeat, a diaphragmatic pacemaker stimulates the diaphragm to contract, allowing the patient to breathe. The surgical team at West Virginia University’s Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center implanted a diaphragm pacemaker on Feb. 14 in a patient who sustained spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries in a car accident in late January. Jennifer Knight, M.D., assistant professor in the WVU Department of Surgery and member of the team caring for the patient, said the patient made more progress in the day after the pacemaker implantation than in the prior three weeks of hospitalization with a ventilator. Most patients who could be candidates for the diaphragm pacemaker come into the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center during the summer months when ATV accidents and diving accidents occur more frequently, Dr. Knight said. She anticipates that there are other patients in similar situations who are treated at other facilities in the state who could benefit from this procedure. “West Virginians who are candidates for diaphragm pacemaker implantation don’t have to go to Baltimore or Cleveland to have the procedure done,” Knight said. “We’re doing it right here in their own backyards.” In order to move to a nursing or rehabilitation facility, patients cannot be dependant on a ventilator for breathing. The use of the pacemaker allows patients who wouldn’t be able to come off the ventilator to take the next step in their treatment. In addition, the cost of using the pacemaker versus the cost of being hooked up to a ventilator is tremendously less expensive. Knight said the batteries for the pacemaker cost about $20 to replace every three weeks whereas it can cost upwards of $500,000 for a patient to remain on a ventilator for a year. “For the patients who will benefit from this, it is life changing. Your life is totally different when you’re not hooked to a machine,” Knight said. The device, NeuRx DPS is currently being used in less than 35 cities nationwide, according to its manufacturer, Synapse Biomedical. For more information on the device, see www.synapsebiomedical.com. For more information on the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center see http://wvuhealthcare.com/hospitals/jmm-trauma-center.   [...]

WVU students put on their dancing shoes for WVU Children’s Hospital

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University students will be putting their dancing feet to the test Feb. 26 and 27 at the Mountainlair during the 2011 Dance Marathon, benefiting the WVU Children’s Hospital. The event lasts 18 hours, most of which will be spent dancing to raise money. Volunteers will also provide the dancers with other forms of entertainment, including games and refreshments. Former patients of WVU Children’s Hospital will stop by and allow the dancers a chance to visit with people similar to the ones they are helping. “We really appreciate all the students who organize and participate in the Dance Marathon each year. Eighteen hours is a long time to dance, so these students are working really hard to help us out, and we are very grateful for their efforts,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. Last year the student-organized event raised more than $30,000 through contributions and support from the community and pledge sponsors. This will be the 13th year the WVU Children’s Hospital has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network to host the Dance Marathon. This year’s theme is “Dr. Seuss: One Kid, Two Kids, We Dance for All Kids.”  Any business or individual interested in underwriting the event should contact Lora Edgell, Children’s Miracle Network director, at 304-598-4346 ext. 2. For more information about the WVU Dance Marathon, including information on donating, see http://www.helpmakemiracles.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.eventDetails&eventID=761.   [...]

WVU research featured on journal cover

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A West Virginia University research study that made headlines in 2010 is the cover story in the latest issue (Feb. 15) of the “American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.” The cover – a montage of three maps of West Virginia showing the distribution of rural areas in the state – is taken from data collected as a part of a landmark WVU study on asthma and obesity in nearly 18,000 children. “West Virginia is now officially ‘on the map’ of leading respiratory research,” said Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., chairman of WVU Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at WVU Children’s Hospital, who led the study. The journal, he said, is the top-ranked academic publication in respiratory science. Children of any weight who have an imbalanced metabolism due to poor diet or exercise may be at increased risk of asthma, according to new research at WVU. The findings challenge the widespread assumption that obesity itself is a risk factor for asthma. When the journal released the paper online in September 2010, the surprising results were featured on news and health websites around the world. “Our research showed that early abnormalities in lipid and/or glucose metabolism may be associated to the development of asthma in childhood,” said Dr. Piedimonte. “Our findings also imply a strong and direct influence of metabolic pathways on the immune mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of asthma in children.” “The key takeaway message for parents is this: there’s one more good reason to make sure your children eat healthy and exercise,” WVU pediatric researcher Lesley Cottrell, Ph.D., said. “Even healthy-looking children can be at higher risk for asthma if they are sedentary and have a poor diet.” The article, “Metabolic Abnormalities in Children with Asthma,” was authored by Drs. Cottrell and Piedimonte, along with William Neal, M.D., Christa Ice, Ph.D., Miriam Perez, M.D., all of the WVU Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Research Institute.   [...]

WVU professor named Fulbright Specialist

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A Fulbright Specialist grant will send West Virginia University Occupational Therapy Associate Professor Anne F. Cronin, Ph.D., to the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, to help university faculty design a new undergraduate degree program for occupational therapists. Though home to a large, modern medical school, there are few training opportunities for occupational therapists in that country, according to Dr. Cronin, who travels to Sri Lanka in May. “They have a tentative curriculum, but it is heavily medical,” Cronin said. “I have been asked to help them build a curriculum that reflects excellence in occupational therapy. There is only one other educational program training occupational therapists in Sri Lanka, and it is a technical program that does not include a bachelor’s or master’s degree.” Fulbright Specialist award recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, and Cronin will be one of about 400 select United States university faculty and professionals traveling abroad through the program. The Specialist grant was created 10 years ago to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program. Through these short-term academic opportunities, the work of Fulbright grantees supports curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post-secondary academic institutions around the world. The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 60 years of existence, more than 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields. Cronin is honored to be included among them. “After being surprised, I was excited,” Cronin said. “There are a lot of people in West Virginia whose families came from the Indian subcontinent. When we talk about supporting diversity as we train clinical practitioners, experience with issues commonly addressed by occupational therapists as they interface with these cultures will make me a better teacher and clinician.”   [...]

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