Vital Signs

April 2006

Employees, Teams Receive Board Excellence Awards

Excellence Winners Honored:  Five employees and two teams were honored by the Medical Center Board in late March for excellence.  (From L. to R.): Melissa Nash, R.N., Marjory Earnhardt, R.N., Justine Zentner, N.P., Gail Kindlon, Emily DeBuck, Robert Hurlbut (URMC Board Chair), Joan Brisbane, Diane Hartmann, M.D., Marcia Buckley, N.P., Laura Hogan, N.P., and Timothy Quill, M.D.

During the annual meeting of the University of Rochester Medical Center Board on March 27, Board Chairman Robert Hurlbut presented the Chairman's Excellence Awards to employees whose professional and personal standards exemplify quality patient care.  The Excellence Awards are one of the most prestigious honors for Medical Center employees, as it is the only institution-wide award recognizing employees from throughout Strong Memorial Hospital and Eastman Dental Center.

Joan Brisbane, secretary III in the Department of Psychiatry, was honored with the Clinical Support Award for her outstanding support of the Adult Ambulatory Program.  Her commitment to patients, faculty and staff, and her extraordinary work ethic have had a direct impact on patient care during her 32 years in the department, where she sets an example of excellence every day.

Emily DeBuck, insurance collection specialist at the Eastman Dental Center, received the Eastman Dental Center/Dentistry Award. Her tireless dedication to patients who need assistance with the complicated paperwork involved in billing and private and state insurance reimbursement is an inspiration to all who work with DeBuck. Over the past 15 years at EDC, faculty, staff and patients have witnessed her integrity and willingness to put patients first, attributes that exemplify quality and excellence. 

Diane Hartmann, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, was recognized with the Physician Award. She maintains a thriving and busy clinical practice, specializing in geriatric women's health, where she is known to be a tireless and compassionate advocate for her patients.  She oversees 68 ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs in her administrative role, and recently helped the Medical Center receive an unprecedented six year accreditation for our graduate medical education programs – a first for any medical school in the nation.

Gail Kindlon was honored with the Non-Clinical Support Award.  As manager of Strong Memorial's patient account area, she oversees the complicated world of patient billing and processing for Strong Memorial, ensuring that the hospital accurately captures and bills for its services. Senior leadership and administrators rely on Kindlon for her sound and thorough advice, tapping into her 30+ years of experience in this area. Her ability to grasp multiple dimensions of projects, and her consistent follow through on the details has guided the seamless and efficient implementation of many projects at Strong and Highland hospitals.

Justine Zentner, N.P., Stroke Center Coordinator, accepted the Nursing Excellence Award.  Over the past 10 years, she has helped transform the Stoke Center into a multi-disciplinary, well-oiled machine that provides care to more than 400 patients each year. Zentner's determined and resourceful approach led to successful collaborations with various clinical departments, resulting in seamless care for our stroke patients.  Her tireless dedication led to a standardized set of evidenced-based protocols that served as the foundation for successful bids for New York State's Primary Stroke Center designation, as well as JCAHO's accreditation as a Stroke Center.

A Team Award was presented to the Adult Hematology Oncology Unit 6-3400 for its superior teamwork and continuous commitment to improvement, problem-solving and patient satisfaction. The team is considered a model for excellence, providing 24/7 physician coverage and focusing on outstanding care for the body and soul. The nursing care philosophy is one of inclusion for families, providing education for both the patient and their loved ones. The award was accepted by Melissa Nash, R.N., and Marjory Earnhart, R.N.
A Team Award also was presented to the Palliative Care Team, part of the Center for Palliative Care and Clinical Ethics. The honor recognizes the successful teamwork that goes into quality patient care, provided by everyone from physicians to nurses, social workers to massage therapists. Created in 2001, the Palliative Care Team serves a wide range of patients including those with advanced cancer; heart, lung and kidney diseases; and neurological illnesses who require specialized treatment for pain, discomfort and emotional distress as they battle a serious illness. The award was accepted by Timothy Quill, M.D., director of the Center for Palliative Care and Clinical Ethics, along with Marcia Buckley, N.P., and Laura Hogan, N.P.



URMC Launches New Community Health Center


A Community Effort:  Top leaders from throughout Monroe County were on hand to launch the Medical Center's new Center for Community Health.  From L. to R.:  Andrew Doniger, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Monroe County Public Health Department;  Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., M.S., Director, Center for Community Health; Manuel Rivera, Ph.D., Superintendent, Rochester City School District; C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center; Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive; Robert Duffy, Mayor, Rochester.

Officials from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, and Rochester City School District Superintendent Manuel Rivera recently joined together to announce the creation of a new center to expand and improve community-based health care and prevention services for the greater Rochester region.

Building upon a long history and nationally recognized leadership in the field, the new Center for Community Health will work in close collaboration with local government, grassroots and faith-based organizations, social service providers, schools, community-based clinics, business partners, foundations and private philanthropists to better identify, understand and target the health challenges confronting the region and expand important health services. 

"Rochester is faced with numerous health challenges," said C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center.  "As one of the primary providers of care in the region, we deal with the results of poor nutrition, exposure to violence, and substance abuse in our clinics every day.  At the same time we recognize that in order to have a meaningful and long-term impact on the region's health, we have to move beyond the walls of the examining room and into the community to understand and confront these problems."

The Center for Community Health will be led by Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., M.S.   Bennett is currently the Deputy Director of the Monroe County Department of Public Health. She will continue to work for the Health Department on a part-time basis and brings to the new center more than 15 years of experience in public health and community-based prevention.

Community Health Center
More than 250 initiatives representing over $32 million in community-based research and service programs are based at the Medical Center including:

  • Telemedicine and teledentistry programs in day care facilities and schools
  • Student-run health clinic
  • Lead research and abatement programs in inner-city housing
  • Mobile dental clinic
  • Hispanic mental health program
  • Immunization program to eliminate racial disparities
  • Health clinics in city schools
  • Community-based pediatrics physician training program
"We know that successful, effective and enduring community health programs arise from collaboration with partners in the community," said Bennett.  "This new center will bring everyone to the table to find ways to strengthen and replicate the programs that we already know are making a difference in people's lives and help develop new approaches to providing critical services to our most vulnerable populations.  It will also serve as a portal for the community to contact us and help us dedicate our resources to where they are most needed."

The new Center initially will focus and build upon existing Medical Center community-based programs in the areas of obesity, mental health, fitness/nutrition, tobacco cessation, injury prevention, immunizations, oral/dental health, health screenings, and others.  It will also strengthen the Medical Center's ongoing collaboration with Monroe County.

The County Department of Health and the Medical Center currently jointly fund and operate the Center for Rochester's Health, which oversees several important community health research, education and services initiatives. The new Center for Community Health and the Center for Rochester's Health functions and programs will merge, as faculty and staff will seek to develop similar relationships with the surrounding counties.



Well·U Springs into Action

For the latest news and program offerings visit

Three initiatives are set to launch this April and May as the University’s wellness initiative, Well·U, kicks into gear, offering faculty and staff a variety of options to increase physical activity, quit smoking and decrease stress in their work and family lives. 

According to Bob Merberg, Well·U coordinator, the programs were designed to tackle a broad range of issues that are likely to appeal to a large portion of our workforce.

"We did a series of focus groups last December with a cross-section of University employees, and themes such as increasing physical activity and stress management quickly rose to the top among all groups," Merberg said. "It’s our hope that these programs, and everything else we do in the future, will give faculty and staff the tools they need to live at an optimum level in all dimensions of their life—their physical health, their relationships, their sense of well-being, and their work, to name a few."

First out of the box will be a comprehensive seminar to help employees better manage and cope with stress. Aptly named Coping With Work and Family Stress, the program consists of a one-hour introductory session, followed by a seven-week intensive program. You can participate in one or the other, or both.

The program was created in partnership with the Strong Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  Sherry Nau, L.C.S.W., a Strong EAP Counselor, will lead the sessions.  The first will provide an overview on stress and stress management, useful tools and techniques that you can apply immediately, and an introduction to the upcoming seven-week program.

Introduction to Coping with Work and Family Stress Wednesday, April 26
Noon to 1 p.m. Whipple Auditorium (2-6224)

To register, call Diane Germain at 275-4987 or e-mail stress01@well-u.inf.

The seven-session Coping with Work and Family Stress Series starts Wednesday, May 17, noon to 1 pm.  Registrations will not be accepted until April 26 at 1 p.m.

"Participants in the seven-week program will really have the opportunity to transform their stress," Nau said. "From adopting effective strategies for managing stress and reducing harmful coping behaviors to developing a personalized stress management plan to maintain the program's beneficial effects, employees will leave this program with a customized plan on how to truly decrease stress at work and home."

Space is limited, so register as soon as you can. Participants in the one-session program will have the first-shot at attending the seven-week series.

Quitting Time

As the Medical Center continues to research and plan the steps necessary to become a completely tobacco free campus as early as November 2006, Well·U is linking with our Smoking Research Program to offer Quitting Time, a smoking cessation program.  Consisting of six weekly one-hour sessions, the program uses proven methods in a group setting to help participants select a quit date, learn about cessation medications, and discuss ways to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of quitting. 

The session is scheduled from 12:05 to 1 p.m. on Thursdays, beginning May 4 and ending June 15.  All University employees are eligible to participate. Early registration is advised, since space is limited.  Go to to register, or call 273-5240.

Getting on the Move

A six-week program aimed at motivating faculty and staff to increase their level of physical activity will be launched in early May. Well·U is partnering with America on the Move to provide faculty and staff access to an interactive Web site that will help them set a goal and track their activity – whether it’s walking, running or playing tennis – in a fun and interesting way.

As an added incentive, pedometers will be given to the first 1,000 who register with the program, and a variety of prizes will be available for those who complete the six-week program.

Many faculty and staff contributed to planning the partnership with America on the Move including Linda Dudman (UHS); Jennifer Glen, R.D. (Food and Nutrition Services); Jim Murphy, R.N. (Nursing); Heather VanOrdern (URMC Fitness and Wellness Center): and Chris Walsh (Human Resources).

"As our group looked at existing programs that could be successful in motivating our co-workers to increase their level of physical activity, America on the Move was clearly the winner," Merberg said. "The program allows people to set individual goals, and provides several imaginative methods to track your progress – you can see how far you’ve ‘walked’ along the Lewis and Clark trail as an example. You can also opt-in to receive a daily e-mail, filled with fitness and motivational tips customized for our region."

Registration for the program will occur during the first two weeks of May. Once registered, staff can begin their own six-week program, with all activity slated to be completed by June 25.  Look for more information in forthcoming weeks on how to register, or go to for the latest, including how to win prizes and get a free pedometer.

For those who do not have access to a computer at work or at home, Merberg said people can complete the program off-line. Logs will be available to easily record activity, and an 800 number will be set up to track activity at the end of the six weeks. For information about the off-line program, call 275-1756.



Wilmot Cancer Center Lands Second Batch of Federal Funds

(From L. to R.): University President Joel Seligman, Rep. Louise Slaughter and Medical Center CEO C. McCollister Evarts, M.D.

In the second time in as many months, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center was a benefactor of a substantial federal grant, a testament to the excitement building around the new cancer facility being constructed. Rep. Louise Slaughter secured $1 million in federal funding, which will be used to add state-of-the-art radiation therapy equipment in the new facility.  In March, the Wilmot Cancer Center received $2.5 million in funding from Reps. Thomas Reynolds and James Walsh to help support the expansion of the research infrastructure.

"We have seen tremendous advancements in the treatment of cancer, but there are many more challenges ahead," Slaughter said. "With this kind of technology at our disposal, leading facilities like Wilmot will be able to help more cancer patients in a more effective way than ever before."

 The funds will be used to bring the newest and most advanced radiation therapy system, Trilogy Radiosurgery System, to enhance treatment for people with cancer.

"The Wilmot Cancer Center and Medical Center have a long tradition of leading the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer.  This is a natural progression for us," said C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., senior vice president for Health Affairs and CEO of the Medical Center. 

Each year, Wilmot Cancer Center oncologists deliver more than 18,000 radiation therapy treatments and another 19,000 outpatient infusions and chemotherapy treatments to people with cancer.  In addition, they perform about 120 stem cell/bone marrow transplants, the second most in New York state.

"We appreciate the efforts by Congresswoman Slaughter to support the Wilmot Cancer Center as we expand our state-of-the-art cancer care for the people of upstate New York," said Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center.

The Wilmot Cancer Center is in the midst of a comprehensive campaign to construct a 163,000-square-foot facility to consolidate all clinical care in one building and expand cancer research programs. Leaders have raised $20 million, nearly half of the $42.5 million goal.

The new building and programs will let more Rochester area residents with cancer stay close to home for outstanding care and accommodate the rising number of people from outside the region coming to Rochester for Wilmot's expertise. It's expected the new building and programs will lead to Wilmot Cancer Center doubling its workforce, bringing the number to 1,200 employees, and creating an additional 700 jobs to support the operation.



Students Find a Match of Lifetime

Screams of joy, sighs of relief, and rings and beeps of cell phones were just some of the sampling of sounds that rang throughout the Class of 1962 Auditorium as the 2006 School of Medicine and Dentistry class learned their individual fates for the next step in their training: residency location.   

Called "Match Day," the process is repeated year after year in an identical fashion at every medical school in the nation. Fourth-year medical students tour and interview with hospitals, and eventually end up ranking their "dream" hospitals where they would like to train.  On a parallel path, hospitals undergo a similar process, interviewing residents, and ranking which students they think are a good fit for their program.

Both students and hospitals submit their information to the nonprofit National Resident Matching Program, which uses a computer to conduct a series of complicated computations, matching up those students and hospitals based on their rankings.

Then, precisely at noon on one day in March – March 17 this year – roughly 15,000 medical students across the country learn where they will be doing their residency training.  At Rochester, after the seconds were counted down to the noon hour, students rushed forward to the table containing nearly 100 white sealed envelopes.

"It’s where you’re going to spend the next four years of your life, handed to you in an envelope," said medical student Megan Hyland of Brighton, summarizing the experience. 

"This year’s match was spectacular," said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. "Needless to say, there is more than a little anxiety among our students when they walk into a room knowing that the next chapter of their lives—and one that will likely influence their entire lives thereafter—sits in an envelope based on a computer match.

"But it’s the computer that lets them reach for the stars, giving students a process that allows them to rank-order their programs according to their true desires, uninfluenced by program directors or institutions," he continued. "It’s a pure process that worked extremely well for this year’s class, judging from the very high quality of programs to which they matched. The next three to six years will be hard but exhilarating work for them, and I wish all students the best as they embark on the next phase of their training."



Rallying the Troops

On March 8, close to 50 representatives from throughout the Medical Center and Highland Hospital, as well as two members of the Medical Center's Board, converged on the Capitol Steps in Albany to join 3,000 other health care workers from across New York state to protest the proposed cuts in Governor Pataki's budget plan.  Their voices were heard, as many of the cuts were eliminated from the current budget.   



Faculty Spotlight

Media Clips


Timothy Quill spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer (April 3) about how doctors deliver bad news to patients.

Results of a study led by John Treanor and published in the New England Journal of Medicine on a potential vaccine against bird flu were covered by dozens of reporters at most of the nation’s top news outlets, including ABC (April 1), CBS (March 30), Time (March 29), the New York Times (March 29), Associated Press (March 30), and NPR (March 29).

Work by Kishan Pandya, Tom Guttuso and others on the use of gabapentin to treat hot flashes was covered by the New York Times (March 27).

The Wall Street Journal quoted Judith Baumhauer on the dangers of platform shoes (March 27), and Marshall Lichtman on new approaches to leukemia (March 28). Subscription required

Donna Palumbo continues to be a consistent source of information for a 10-part series on ADHD by United Press International. Recently she discussed environmental triggers of ADHD (March 15), the role of genes (March 22), and confusion about the disease (March 31).

Work by Shelly Yussman on teens’ use of herbal supplements was covered by Fox News (March 24),, and several other outlets.

The Australian (March 21) carried news of the important role that the University’s research has played in the creation of a vaccine against human papilloma virus.

Jill Halterman’s findings on the effects of a smoking ban on children with asthma were covered by the Austin-American Statesman (March 16), Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other outlets.

Karl Kieburtz discussed the potential benefit and problems of a medication to treat multiple sclerosis with the Associated Press (March 9), New York Times (March 8), Business Week (March 9), Bloomberg (March 9), and many other outlets.

Vikram Dogra, M.D., professor of Radiology, has been invited to be the Guest Editor for two Radiology journals:  Radiologic Clinics and Ultrasound Clinics. As guest editor, Dogra will manage content for an entire issue, soliciting papers from scientists around the world, arranging peer reviews and writing the editorials. Dogra also serves on the editorial board for Ultrasound Clinics.

The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine has selected Manish N. Shah, M.D., to receive an SAEM Young Investigator Award, which honors those physicians whose achievements point to a bright future in Emergency Medicine. Shah, an attending physician in the Emergency Department, is an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and of Community and Preventive Medicine. He is also the Director of EMS Research at the Medical Center. The SAEM will honor Shah at its annual business meeting on May 20 in San Francisco.

The Oxygen Club of California, a group of scientists concerned with advancing knowledge of dietary polyphenols, free radicals and antioxidants, honored Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., assistant professor of Environmental Medicine, with an Outstanding Senior Investigator Award at its annual March meeting. Rahman studies lung inflammation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition often associated with cigarette smoking.

Susan Bukata, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedics, received the Zimmer Orthopaedic Career Development Award at the recent annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF). Bukata will use the $50,000 grant to help fund research to discover cellular pathways in fracture healing that respond to drug therapies.

Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics Fred Sherman, Ph. D., received the 2006 George W. Beadle medal from the Genetics Society of America for outstanding contributions to the community of genetics researchers.  Sherman was recognized for his contributions to molecular biology including his role as one of the founders of modern yeast genetics, his service as an associate editor on several journals and work on numerous review panels, and his years of training yeast geneticists and molecular biologists.

The Department of Orthopaedics had a great showing at the recent Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Meeting in Chicago, where three of the 10 New Investigator Recognition Awards were won by it research students. Xue Yang, a graduate student, won a Best Poster award for her research on cellular mechanisms in cartilage development.  Research by Mo Chen, a graduate student, and Yushinko Nishio, Ph.D., a post-doctoral student, also was recognized in the New Investigator category.



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Last updated: 06/23/2009 9:56 PM