Vital Signs

February 2007

Board Excellence Awards Recognize Employees, Teams

excelleantA cardiologist, dental hygienist and pediatric social worker were just some of the faculty and staff recognized for excellent performance during the annual meeting of the University of Rochester Medical Center Board on Jan. 29. Board Chairman Robert Hurlbut presented the 2006 Chairman's Excellence Awards to six employees and two teams whose professional and personal standards exemplify quality patient care, mirroring the values of the institution's Strong Commitment initiative: integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence.

The Excellence Awards are one of the most prestigious honors for Medical Center employees, as they are the only institution-wide awards recognizing individuals from throughout the organization.

Joseph Delehanty, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and director of the Cardiovascular Center, was recognized with the Board Excellence Award for Physicians. He is known for his exceptional dedication to the Medical Center and the patients he serves, and is considered one of the very best critical-care clinicians in the region, providing expert care and outstanding clinical competency and judgment.

Donna Garfield, A.A.S., a Secretary 4 in the Adult Partial Hospitalization Program of the Department of Psychiatry, was recognized with the Board Excellence Award for Clerical Staff. She is known for her professionalism, dedication, and dependability. Patients often mention her on satisfaction surveys as one of the staff who has made a difference in their experience in the program.

Katherine McMahon Flynn, R.D.H., a dental hygienist with the Eastman Dental Center (EDC), received the Board Excellence Award for Dentistry. During her 27-year tenure with the practices at the EDC, she has successfully built a loyal patient base with personal warmth and a determination to see that her patients get the best dental care possible.

Halle H. McNaney, project director of the Allscripts Touchworks Project, was honored with the Board Excellence Award for Business Support. Under McNaney's leadership, this comprehensive electronic health record system is now operational at 19 clinical sites, both primary care and specialists. The 13-year Medical Center veteran has orchestrated the roll-out with such efficiency that outpatient sites are now literally "lining up at the door,"waiting to be next in line for implementation – perhaps a first for the introduction of a new IT project.

Patti Murray, R.N., B.S.N., coordinator of James P. Wilmot Cancer Center nursing operations, was recognized with the Board Excellence Award for Nursing. She was honored for her commitment to high-quality, compassionate cancer care and outstanding leadership of the inpatient oncology nursing staff.

Jeff Rideout, L.M.S.W., a pediatric social worker with Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, was recognized with the Board Excellence Award for Clinical Support. He is known for his strong advocacy for and unwavering support of children at the Medical Center and for protecting pediatric violence victims from becoming victims again by connecting them with needed services prior to discharge.

A Board Excellence Award for Teams was presented to the 8-3400 Respiratory Special Care Unit for its superior teamwork and continuous commitment to improvement, problem-solving and patient satisfaction. The team is considered a model for excellence, providing an alternative to the ICU setting, and offering a sense of continuity to a complex patient population that frequently faces long lengths of stay. The award was accepted by Medical Director David Trawick, M.D., and Mark Ott, B.S.N.

A 2006 Board Excellence Award for Teams also was presented to the Communications Center for Strong Health. In any given year, the 20-member team processes 1.1 million pages, and answers more than 1.4 million calls. The group also manages the television and telephone systems for our inpatients. Under the leadership of Pam Pupatelli, the team has improved their workflow and added value to the Medical Center, such as the introduction of a Web Paging program. Now, all Medical Center staff not only can send pages via the web, but also can input and change department call schedules. The award was accepted by Pupatelli.



Foundation Taps URMC Community Health Programs

handsFive University of Rochester Medical Center community health programs, ranging from a county-wide report card on obesity to efforts aimed at preventing knee injuries in female athletes, were among the initiatives to receive Opportunity Grants from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation (GRHF). These are the first awards distributed by the Foundation which was created out of the merger of health insurers Preferred Care and MVP Health Care.

"The University of Rochester has a proud history of creating innovative community health programs and we are honored that the Greater Rochester Health Foundation has chosen to support these efforts,"said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of URMC. "This is the beginning of what I hope will be a long and productive partnership between the University, the Foundation, and the community to address the many urgent health problems we face in the region.”

Awardees include Golisano Children's Hospital pediatrician Stephen Cook, M.D., who will develop a Childhood Obesity Report Card to track the county-wide prevalence and distribution of obesity among children and adolescents. The program, which is being developed in cooperation with Rochester Community Pediatricians and the Children's Institute, will analyze the records of 8,000 children between the ages of two to 18 to gather data on height, weight, and demographics. These surveys will be used to determine the scope of problem in the community and assess the progress of local obesity prevention efforts.

Another initiative funded by the Foundation is an education program created by Michael Maloney, M.D., director of University Sports Medicine (USM), for female high school athletes. Maloney and a team of athletic trainers has developed a regiment of stretches, conditioning exercises, and prevention techniques proven to reduce the incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears among female high school athletes, who are at four to six times greater risk than males for ACL injuries. Through this grant, USM will bring the program to all 37 high schools in Monroe County, with a special emphasis on city schools. Females involved in JV and varsity level soccer, basketball and volleyball will be trained in the system, and USM will measure outcomes.

URMC received more than $1 million in total from the Foundation. Also receiving awards were:

  • School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean David Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., to convene a community-wide symposium – co-hosted by Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield – to discuss rising health care costs and quality issues;
  • Pediatrician Peter G. Szilagyi, M.D., for a collaborative program with urban primary care practices and school-based health centers to overcome health system barriers that result in low rates of immunization and preventative health visits for urban, primarily poor and minority adolescents; and
  • Rheumatologist Darren Tabechian, M.D., for a unique training for primary care physicians focusing on musculoskeletal examination and common treatment procedures for rheumatoid arthritis.

"I foresee the Greater Rochester Health Foundation having a significant impact on the Medical Center's ability to work in collaboration with our partners in the community to improve health,"said Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., director of the URMC Center for Community Health. "The Foundation will play an important role in funding programs that would have otherwise struggled to find the resources. It is my hope that it will also serve as a catalyst to bring the community together to confront some of our bigger health challenges, such as obesity and health disparities in care.”

GRHF was created in 2006 and is one of the area's largest health foundations with assets of $200 million. The foundation is governed by a community-based board of directors and its major focus is to improve the health status of all residents of the greater Rochester community including people whose unique health care needs have not been met because of race, ethnicity or income. The Foundation plans to award approximately $30 million in grants to community health programs over the next 3 years.



University sets 2007 United Way campaign goal

University President Joel Seligman, who is serving as chair of the University's United Way Campaign, recently announced the goal for the 2007 University's United Way/Red Cross Campaign: $1.3 million, an amount that exceeds the 2006 fundraising total of $1.2 million in donations from faculty, staff, and retirees.

"In line with our commitment to support the Rochester community, our continued support of the United Way helps fund programs and services vital to so many individuals and families living in the Rochester area, including many of our own employees, retirees, patients and students,"Seligman said.

Seligman added that more than $1.9 million in direct allocations come back to support University programs, including Baby Love and Strong Start, Mt. Hope Family Center, the Children's Institute, and Visiting Nurse Service's Meals on Wheels and Day Care Consultation programs. In addition, through donor designation, an additional $100,000 comes into Strong Memorial Hospital to help Golisano Children's Hospital and Wilmot Cancer Center.

Giving Made Easy

A "Continuous Pledge"option is now available. If you select this option, your donation will occur through payroll deduction, and will remain in effect from year to year, without the completion of additional paperwork.

Remember, the campaign officially launches Feb. 26. Please do all you can to support this year's campaign.


This year, Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Center CEO, and Peter Lennie, Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, will serve as vice chairs for the 2007 campaign. President Seligman also will be assisted by Frederick Jefferson, Ed.D., professor emeritus and University Intercessor, who serves as vice-chair for the retiree campaign; Vicki Hines, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Service, as vice-chair for the Visiting Nurse Service campaign; and Cindy Becker, vice president and chief operating officer of Highland Hospital, as vice-chair for the Highland Hospital and affiliates campaign. Andrea Lennon, executive director for the Center for Community Health, will again direct the 2007 University Campaign.

As the University continues to grow, so does our obligation to our community. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering making a pledge to the United Way campaign:

  • Close to 2,000 University of Rochester faculty and staff are helped by United Way supported programs each year.
  • The support of more than 5,000 faculty, staff and retirees in the 2005 campaign helped over 500,000 people including many of our own volunteers, donors and patients.
  • 100 percent of your gift goes directly to programs that help people in need. (Earnings from the United Way Endowment Fund cover the United Way of Greater Rochester's operating expenses.)
  • A "Continuous Pledge"payroll deduction option is available, which keeps your pledge in effect from year to year, without the completion of additional paperwork.
  • You have the option to direct your support to a particular agency or program through the "Donor designation"option.

This year's fundraising effort officially launches on Feb. 26 with a kick-off breakfast for the more than 550 faculty and staff who volunteer their time to make the University-wide campaign possible. For more information, call the United Way Office at x273 -4722 or visit



The Highlands at Pittsford Reaccredited by National Commission

The Highlands at Pittsford

The Highlands at Pittsford, a continuing care retirement community affiliated with the University of Rochester and Strong Health, has earned a five-year reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities' Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CARF-CCAC). The Highlands was the first facility in New York state to earn accreditation in 2001, and today remains the only accredited facility in the Rochester area, and one of only three such facilities in New York state.

Widely regarded as a "seal of approval" in the retirement industry, accreditation is a rigorous, voluntary process involving an extensive peer review and on-site survey by a team of CARF-CCAC evaluators.

"The five-year reaccreditation is both a testament of our past and a commitment to our future,"said Lloyd R. Theiss, executive director of The Highlands at Pittsford. "To get the ‘gold' is one thing, to keep it is another. This accreditation, coupled with our ties to the University of Rochester and Strong Health, establishes us as Rochester's finest senior care community, and places The Highlands at Pittsford among the best in the country."

"Providing the highest quality of care possible is what we are all about at The Living Center at The Highlands,"said Marvell Adams, administrator of The Living Center, the skilled nursing component of The Highlands at Pittsford. "Attaining reaccreditation validates the hard work and determination of our staff."

The Living Center's Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Unit, Memory Care Unit and Traditional Care Unit, which specializes in life enhancement, were all part of the reaccreditation process.

"It truly exemplifies the quality and integrity of the services our residents enjoy every day at every level of care," Theiss added. "Part of our mission is to deliver distinctive services within the continuum of living that will enable our residents to strive to reach their personal best. This accreditation solidifies that we are making our mission a reality."

Under New Leadership
Theiss joined The Highlands at Pittsford in August 2006, following a successful career with Essex Partners, a Rochester-based real estate investment group. His most recent role with Essex was as chief operating officer, where he oversaw 15 multi-family properties and 10 franchised hotels. Prior to Essex, he served as treasurer of Genesee Corporation.

"I joined The Highlands mid-way in the six-month assessment process for reaccreditation," said Theiss. "From day one, I was totally impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of the entire staff as the team embraced the rigorous audit to prove The Highlands worthy before the accreditation commission."

Joining Theiss is Ann Julien, director of sales and marketing as of December 2006. Julien holds a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and has over 15 years experience in long-term care. She previously served as a long-term care planner for Genworth Financial, director of sales and marketing for Emeritus Corporation, and director of community relations for St. Ann's Community.

The Highlands at Pittsford is an affiliate of the URMC and Strong Health. A local pioneer in the continuing care retirement community concept, it opened in 1994 with 96 independent living apartments, 48 enriched living apartments, and a 122-bed skilled nursing facility with a 20-person adult day program. Since then, 36 cottage homes and 51 apartments have been added to the campus.



Exploring the "small" universe of nanotechnology

millerBig opportunities are available by thinking small, chemist Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., told an overflow crowd in the Class of '62 Auditorium Monday night in his presentation on Biomedical Nanotechnology: An Emerging Frontier in Human Health.

Miller, associate professor of Dermatology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering, delivered the keynote address to faculty, staff, students and visitors as part of the Medical Center Board's annual meeting in late January.

According to Miller, nanotechnology isn't just about tiny devices, millions of which could fit inside the period at the end of this sentence; it's also about the strange behaviors of ultra-small devices that offer unique opportunities to scientists and physicians.

More than a century has passed since quantum physicists began making predictions that still sound outlandish – solid objects passing right through one another, for instance – but it's only been in recent years that it's been possible to make objects tiny enough to test those predictions. In every case, the strange predictions of quantum mechanics have been borne out.

While no one is talking about making solid objects pass right through each other, some scientists are trying to capitalize on the physics of the ultra-small to work in applications from everything to electronics to food processing to human health. Miller believes nanotechnology has promise in three areas of health care:

  • Imaging. As devices become smaller and smaller, how and when they light up or make a structure visible can change dramatically. For example, recent research has shown that ultra-small devices known as quantum dots light up the vascular system of a mouse far more brightly than other advanced imaging techniques. This technology has also allowed scientists to see a tumor much more vividly than they otherwise could.
  • Sensing/Diagnostics. New, ultra-sensitive techniques can help detect organisms such as bacteria, viruses, or antibodies. Such devices could have the potential to sense even a single viral particle in a blood sample, or could be used to detect any of dozens of types of bacteria, instantly, in a patient.
  • Drug delivery. New preparations made possible by nano-technology are already bringing about new medications. The cancer drug Abraxane, for example, is being used to treat advanced breast cancer, but without the side effects of similar drugs. Nanotechnology is also used in some sunscreen products.

The Federal government has plowed more than $2 billion in recent years into technologies based on devices just a tiny fraction of the width of a human hair, and in recent years, New York State has spent at least $500 million on this research. Yet, Miller said much of the research is aimed at electronics and computers, and biomedical applications are less common. Even among biomedical institutions that are putting nano-technology front and center, the University of Rochester presents unique strengths.

"Already the University has produced five spin-off companies based on biomedical applications of nanotechnology, and we have what is likely the strongest group in the world studying the potential health effects of nano-particles," Miller said. "We're ahead of the pack in that we have investigators from around the University – people in the College, people in engineering, several scientists and doctors at the Medical Center – already working together, crossing traditional boundaries to make new discoveries in this rapidly growing field. And these groups are already working with scientists at other universities and with counterparts in industry and in the national laboratories."



Faculty Spotlight

Media Clips


Research by Ann Falsey and Ed Walsh showing that rapid flu tests help doctors cut down on the use of antibiotics was carried by (Jan. 22).

The Washington Post (Jan. 21) ran an obituary about Lyman Wynne.

Gary Lyman's work showing that obese women and those with less education receive less chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer was covered by Scientific American (Jan. 18).

Scott MacRae's work on a new formula to improve LASIK surgery was covered by ABC affiliate stations around the nation (Jan. 18), including several carrying a piece by Dr. Dean Edell.

John Treanor (Jan. 13) was quoted in the Boston Globe about how studies of respiratory syncytial virus are conducted.

JAMA (Jan. 10) noted research by Jennifer Anolik, Ignacio Sanz and John Looney on the role of B cells in lupus. (Jan. 9) covered research by Roger Kurlan and Irene Richard on the use of medications to treat restless legs syndrome.

Howard Federoff's work showing that herpes might be a risk factor for Alzheimer's was covered by UPI (Jan. 5).


Stephen Cook, M.D., an assistant professor of Pediatrics whose research focuses on childhood obesity, was appointed by the Monroe County Medical Society to chair a committee to develop a clinical guideline for obesity. He was recently awarded a $270,000 grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation to create a Community Report Card on Childhood Obesity.

Two scientists studying causes and potential cures for breast cancer at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center received grants from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. Monica Guzman, Ph.D., senior instructor of hematology/oncology, received a grant to continue her work on a compound designed to destroy breast cancer stem cells. Kelley Madden, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded a grant to study whether there is a relationship between the body's natural response to stress and breast cancer tumor growth.

Researchers Michael D. Laiosa, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow with expertise in immunology and biochemistry, and Richard W. Stahlhut, M.D., Ph.D., a preventative medicine resident with training in statistics and public health, were chosen for an Environmental Health Sciences fellowship. The goal of the project by the nonprofit, Virginia-based Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of, is to make the latest research about environment and health understandable to the general public.

Karl A. Kasischke, M.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Dana Foundation to continue developing a new type of imaging system that gives scientists unprecedented knowledge of how the brain is working. Kasischke has developed an imaging system that looks specifically at individual cells in the living brain, measuring how much energy each cell is using.

Several Medical Center scientists and physicians have made Discover magazine's Top 100 Science Stories of 2006. At Number 27 on the Discover magazine list is the approval of the cervical cancer vaccine. Though the article doesn't go into detail about the research behind the vaccine, research done more than a decade ago by a trio of University virologists – Richard Reichman, M.D., William Bonnez, M.D., and Robert Rose, Ph.D. – in the Infectious Diseases Division was integral to the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. At Number 44 is Steven Goldman, M.D., professor of Neurology, with his discovery that brain cells derived from human embryonic stem cells improved the condition of rats with Parkinson's-like symptoms dramatically.



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Last updated: 02/28/2013 4:25 PM