Vital Signs - November 2003

February 2005

Employees Honored with URMC Chairman's Excellence Awards

2004 Excellence Awards were presented at the URMC annual board meeting on Jan. 24. In attendance were: (bottom, left to right) Susan Frederick, R.N., M.S., F.N.P., Bonnie Prince, incoming Board Chair Robert Hurlbut, outgoing Board Chair Roger Friedlander, Janis Croop, R.N., and Lisa Musshafen, R.N., M.S. (Top) Leway Chen, M.D., M.P.H., Michael Apostolakos, M.D., Susan Ruhlin, L.M.S.W., and Marc Williamson.

During the annual meeting of the University of Rochester Medical Center Board on Jan. 24, Chairman Roger Friedlander presented the Chairman's Excellence Awards to employees whose professional and personal standards exemplify quality patient care.

Michael Apostolakos, M.D., director of Adult Critical Care, was honored with the Physician Award for his dedication to patients and their families. Apostolakos has been at the Medical Center since 1987, where he served as a resident and then fellow. Since 1993, he has been an attending in the Pulmonary/Critical Care Unit, and was named director of Adult Critical Care in 1997.

Janis Croop, R.N., nurse manager in the pediatric intensive care unit at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, was honored with the R.N. Award for her role in the development of the new 20,000-square-foot PICU, which opened in December. Croop has been at the Medical Center for 24 years, the past 20 years spent caring for young patients and their families in the PICU.

Susan Frederick, R.N., M.S., F.N.P., a trauma nurse practitioner in the Kessler Family Adult Burn/Trauma Intensive Care Unit, received the Mid-Level Provider Award for her extensive involvement with state and national trauma nursing organizations, which helped her bring best practices in trauma care to Rochester. Frederick has been at the Medical Center for nine years, half of them focused on trauma.

Bonnie Prince, graduate medical education assistant and office manager, was honored with the Clerical Award for her commitment to quality and customer service in her work in the GME office, which assists medical residents and fellows during their tenure at the Medical Center. Prince has worked with the GME staff for five years.

Susan Ruhlin, L.M.S.W., AIDS Center social worker, received the Clinical Support Award for her dedication as a strong advocate for patients and their families. In addition to assigned duties, she was instrumental in developing a voter registration drive held at the Medical Center last fall in an effort to assist individuals who might otherwise not have the opportunity to register to vote. Ruhlin has been at the Medical Center for five years.

Marc Williamson, lead analyst and programmer for ISD/Informatics, was honored with the Non-Clinical Support Award in part for developing a computer application that manages bed census for the admitting office. This important initiative also helps the Emergency Department understand patient placement and flow, and has a positive impact on understanding, tracking and improving bed turnover. He has served as lead analyst and programmer since 1987.

A new honor created this year, the Team Award, was presented to the Heart Failure and Transplant Unit (7-3400), which opened in 2001. The honor recognizes the successful teamwork that goes into quality patient care, provided by everyone from physicians to nurses, social workers to transport personnel. The award was accepted on behalf of the 7-3400 staff by Leway Chen, M.D., M.P.H., medical director for 7-3400 and the Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation, and Lisa Musshafen, R.N., M.S., nurse manager for 7-3400.


Two Thousand Pints Well on its Way to Meeting Goal

Medical Center faculty and staff literally rolled up their sleeves in response to the Two Thousand Pints of Life campaign, the program recently launched to increase blood donations by employees. During January’s two-day drive, 270 pints were collected, nearly double the amount typically collected during past years drives.

"We are very proud that faculty and staff recognized our unique obligation as an institution to actively contribute to our community’s blood supply," said Mac Evarts, Medical Center and Strong Health CEO. "We are grateful for those who took the time to donate at the January drive, regardless if they met eligibility requirements, and we continue to encourage any one who can to participate in upcoming drives."

Of those participating, 43 were new donors—a significant accomplishment since the most difficult part in collecting blood is attracting and retaining new blood donors. One such donor, Ed Bender, information analyst at the Center for Child Health Research, decided to give for the first time after being told of the shortages routinely experienced in the Rochester community.

"I never really thought about giving blood until someone asked me why I hadn't yet. Once I was asked, I realized I was a bit fearful of the whole experience," Bender said. "But it couldn’t have been easier. It didn’t hurt, and it felt really good knowing that my blood was going to help someone else. I definitely plan to be a repeat donor."

Bender and all faculty and staff will have the opportunity to give again at the next Medical Center blood drive, scheduled for March 22 and 23. You can book your appointment by visiting

Quick Facts

  • You can give blood every 56 days.
  • Next Medical Center Blood Drive: March 22 and 23. Book your appointment by visiting
  • The Medical Center gets credit if you donate at a local community drive as well. Just present a Two Thousand Pints of Life card, available from Friends of Strong or your department’s blood drive recruiter. For a listing of area blood drives, visit


UR Strives to Hit $1 Million Mark for United Way Donations

Nine University of Rochester programs benefit from substantial funding from the United Way to provide services to Rochester's needy. Last year, nearly $1.3 million was funneled to the following University programs:

Mount Hope Family Center

  • Therapeutic Services
  • At-Risk School Age Programs

Children's Institute

  • Primary Mental Health Early Intervention Programs
  • Rochester Early Childhood Assessment Partnership

Strong Memorial Hospital

  • Baby Love (REEP)
  • Strong Start (at School #12)

Visiting Nurse Service

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Day Care Nursing Consultation

Strong Memorial Hospital

Later this month, Medical Center faculty and staff will begin pledging donations to the United Way, and leadership is optimistic that for the first time, the University will reach the $1 million milestone.

Last year, University employees and local retirees contributed over $972,000 to the United Way, which serves as the Rochester region's main artery for social services and outreach programs. In 2004, more than 200 community programs received allocations from the United Way, and another 300 received funding via donor designations, collectively serving more than 600,000 people.

Included among this funding was $1.3 million going directly to University of Rochester sponsored programs. From prenatal care to mental health programs to Meals on Wheels, University faculty and staff rely on United Way funding to operate their vital programs and provide services to our community's most vulnerable populations (see sidebar for programs).

"As the University relies on United Way to help fund several of its programs, the United Way relies on the entire University family to help it reach its overall goal, so that Rochester can continue to offer vital services to those most in need," said Robert Allen, who coordinates the United Way campaign for the University of Rochester. "It's our hope that we'll have a great participation rate by all Medical Center faculty and staff, so that we will do our part to ensure the University reaches the $1 million mark."

This year, the traditional United Way video has a distinct Medical Center flavor. Maxine Reaves, a finance administrator for the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Fred Borrelli, administrator for the Department of Surgery, are both featured in the video, explaining why they give to the campaign. And, at the end of the video, a group of Medical Center faculty and staff sing part of this year's United Way theme song "What Matters is You."

This year's United Way campaign will run from Feb. 28 through Apr. 1. For more information, call the United Way Hot Line, 273-4756.


Strong Receives $1.3 Million Grant to Transform ICU Nursing

Strong Memorial Hospital's Nursing Department received its largest grant ever to help attract more nurses into intensive care units, train them better, and create better systems for patient care and career development. Strong was among 38 hospitals selected from 336 applicants nationwide to receive the five-year, $1.35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Traditionally, new nursing graduates need to work a year or more in a general care unit before beginning preparations to work in the more specialized, high-tech realm of an ICU. With this grant, Strong is establishing a rigorous, six-month orientation for new graduates to learn the technology and procedures for saving lives in a critical-care setting. As many as 24 new nurses a year can be trained under the grant, preparing them much more quickly for work in ICUs.

"On top of the national nursing shortage, there's definitely a huge shortage of nurses in critical care," says Nancy Freeland, clinical nurse specialist and education coordinator for the grant. "Now, with the grant, we'll be able to recruit nurses into critical care nursing sooner, and they'll be expertly trained and mentored throughout."

With some of the grant money, the Nursing Department is buying computers for on-line learning and will purchase high-tech simulators so nurses can practice new patient care techniques. The simulations will allow nurses to get focused, hands-on experience – the kind that typically would require much more time while already working in an ICU.

"They'll be getting much more advanced development of assessment skills," says Freeland. "They'll learn more about picking up subtle changes in a patient's condition, which can help them anticipate problems and be ready to respond more quickly."

The grant's co-directors, Gail L. Ingersoll, EdD, director of clinical nursing research, and Judith Baggs, PhD, RN, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Nursing, see this as a chance to develop innovative ways to recruit and retain highly skilled nurses. Senior staff and leadership will receive advanced educational training, keeping them up-to-date with the latest ideas and approaches to care and management. National standards and best-practice guidelines will be applied to improve care delivery in the ICUs, and experts in education, research and administration will link with ICU nursing staff and management. Targeted recruitment of minorities will help increase diversity of the hospital's work force.

Mentoring will be a major component of the new program. It's vital, says Freeland, because nurses faced with the pressures and demands of critical-care nursing can "get lost" without support and guidance from more experienced workers. In addition, career development and continuous learning opportunities are built into the new program.

Ultimately, all the changes – from training recent graduates to improving the working environment and teamwork within the ICU– are designed to benefit patients. Nurses provide the majority of hands-on, bedside care, and several national studies have linked effective nursing departments with better patient outcomes and even higher survival rates.

For more information on the program, call Nancy Freeland at 275-6015 or Nursing Recruitment 275-5598.


Convenient Purchasing Available Throughout Medical Center

The House of Six Nation's Cafeteria and Strong Memorial Gift, Thrift and Specialty shops are among the many locations in the Medical Center now accepting credit and debit cards. With the launch of the new University Check Card, special point-of-sale equipment was purchased to give employees the convenient option to make purchases with a check or credit card (note: cards must have MasterCard or Visa logo to be accepted).

Over the next year, it is hoped that more locations will begin accepting electronic payments. For example, in March, the popular Espress Oasis coffee kioks are slated to begin accepting credit and debit cards for purchases.

If you don't have a credit or debit card, or would like the convenience of being able to purchase items electronically, you can sign up for the new University Check Card. Representatives from Advantage Federal Credit Union will be on hand to answer questions and register people for the new card on the following days at the House of Six Nation's Cafeteria:

  • Tuesday, February 8 -- 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, February 9 -- Noon to 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 10 -- 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the University Check Card, go to:


Faculty Spotlight

Outlets around the world, including the New York Times, the BBC, and Bloomberg, carried news of a study by Craig Narins, M.D. that discussed how health care "report cards" influence patient care decisions by interventional cardiologists. (Jan. 13) (Jan. 11),0,2805337.story?coll=ny-health-headlines (Jan. 11) (Jan. 10)

Geunyoung Yoon's
work on customized contact lenses was covered by TV stations around the country, including WCBS in New York. (Jan. 12)

John Gorczyca, M.D.
spoke with about the injuries sustained by tsunami victims. (Jan. 7)

Use of the drug Lyrica to ease the pain of diabetes was discussed with Reuters by Harold Lesser, M.D. (Jan. 7)

A new device developed by Steve Feldon, M.D. to help prevent glaucoma was covered by several TV stations nationwide. (Jan. ’05)

John Bennett, M.D.
discussed myelodysplastic syndrome with the Sacramento Bee. (Jan. 4)

Michael Pichichero, M.D. discussed whooping cough in an interview broadcast nationwide. (Jan. 6)



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Last updated: 06/23/2009 9:53 PM