Vital Signs

August 2005

Strong To Overhaul Eighth Floor ICUs

Setting a new standard of care in treating our region's critically ill patients is the focus of a two-phase, two-year, $12 million overhaul to three of Strong Memorial's Hospital's intensive care units (ICU), representing the most significant renovation to these units in more than three decades.

Bianca Kotowski, RN, BSN, checks a patient's medicine in the current Medical ICU.
Bianca Kotowski, RN, BSN, checks a patient's medicine in the current Medical ICU.

"As the hospital continues to grow our tertiary and quaternary programs, state-of-the-art units are needed to provide highly specialized care for acutely ill patients in intensive care settings, such as those recovering from liver transplant surgery, systemic infections and stroke," Kathy Parrinello, chief operating officer of Strong Memorial, said. "When completed, these new ICU areas will be one of the most advanced in the nation."

At the heart of the overhaul will be enlarged rooms roughly two and half times larger than current rooms, a key when treating patients who often are on some form of life support and require extensive equipment to provide treatments and monitor their conditions. At 375 square feet, each room will not only be able to accommodate this necessary equipment, but allow bedside procedures to be performed more efficiently.

All rooms will be capable of delivering kidney dialysis, an important enhancement, as a significant number of these patients will experience kidney failure. In addition, each unit will have a number of positive and negative pressure rooms to care for patients with compromised immune systems or communicable diseases.

Increased family communication is another hallmark of the renovation. In-room comfortable sitting areas designed specifically for families, in-room internet access for families' use, and a new family waiting room complete with a private consultation room for discussions with medical and social work staff are just a few of the new elements being incorporated into the design to improve and facilitate on-going communications with patients' families.

The 36,000 square foot project will begin with renovations to the space recently vacated by the Kessler Family Burn/Trauma Unit on the eighth floor. Once complete, this space will become the staging ground for the other ICUs to temporarily move into while their permanent space is being upgraded. The Surgical ICU will move into this space first, followed by the Medical ICU when Surgical ICU construction is complete.

Once renovations to the two main ICUs are finished, the former Burn/Trauma space will become a surgical progressive care unit, a significant addition to the spectrum of ICU care offered at Strong. This unit will specialize in treating patients who are doing well in their recovery but still need more intensive nursing care, enabling the hospital to free up much-needed beds in the ICUs, which operate at near capacity every day.

Construction is slated to begin before the end 2005, and be completed by the middle of 2007. When finished, Strong plans to have a total of 70 fully staffed ICU beds, and 25 intermediate-level care beds throughout the hospital.


Med Center Earns Grant to Improve Geriatric Care

The Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center of Upstate New York (FLGEC-UNY), a consortium anchored by the Medical Center, has earned a five-year, $2 million grant to continue developing education programs for health professionals to improve the care they provide to older adults. Launched in 1997, FLGEC was created to improve health care delivery to older adults by enhancing geriatric education of the wide range of healthcare workers who interact with geriatric patients.

"Our mission is to further educate health care professionals to better take care of older adults," said Paul R. Katz, M.D., FLGEC-UNY project director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at the Medical Center. "With the steady growth in the number of older adults and the diversity of the urban and rural populations we serve, the need for geriatric continuing education is very strong."

Currently, about 3.2 million New Yorkers are age 60 or older; by 2025 that population is projected to reach 4.4 million.

The Geriatric Education Center often is a turning point in many geriatrician's careers. Thomas V. Caprio, M.D., who cares for older adults at Highland and Monroe Community hospitals in addition to duties as a research fellow in geriatrics and gerontology, credits exposure to the Center's training during his residency as an influence on his decision to pursue geriatrics as a specialty.

"I was introduced to issues in aging as a resident and it influenced me in deciding to enroll in a geriatric fellowship," Caprio said. "Such specialized training gave me a deeper appreciation of the vulnerabilities of frail elders and a greater awareness of the issues they face, such as interventions that can help them maintain life at home, and practice issues related to care in nursing homes."

The $2 million grant, which was secured from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services with help from Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter, will help the Center meet seven objectives, including:

  1. Interdisciplinary training and development in geriatrics
  2. Geriatric training for emergency medical technicians
  3. Education in aging and mental retardation/developmental disabilities
  4. Geriatric education in rural and underserved areas in New York
  5. Integration of geriatrics into nursing education
  6. Gerontologic social work development
  7. Geriatric education for chiropractors

Collaborating with the Medical Center in the Geriatric Education Center are Ithaca College, Nazareth College, SUNY Brockport (Social Work Department), New York Chiropractic College and SUNY-Institute of Technology.

Medicine Forms Two New Divisions;
New Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Starts

Paul Katz, M.D.
Paul Katz, M.D.

The Department of Medicine is creating two new divisions as a way to integrate and streamline the work of dozens of faculty and staff within its ranks.

The new Geriatrics/Aging Division brings together the talents of 28 faculty members previously spread across the General Medicine Unit. Paul Katz, M.D., heads the new division.

According to Brad Berk, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Medicine, establishing the new Geriatrics/Aging Division recognizes the outstanding clinical and academic work underway in this area, including the continuation and expansion of the HRSA Geriatric Education Center grant, the maturation of the Center for Healthy Aging, and stellar performance in the recent USNews ranking.

"I am confident that under Paul's able leadership, the Medical Center's reputation as experts in aging will continue to flourish," Berk said.

Katz is a nationally distinguished leader in geriatric care and the study of aging. He joined the Medical Center in 1991, when he accepted a post as director of our Geriatric Medicine Fellowship program. A graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, Katz has practiced geriatrics in a variety of acute care, rehabilitation, and residential care facilities. A frequent member of national Study Sections and expert panels, Katz has authored dozens of journal articles, books, and chapters on studies related to aging.

Andrew Rudmann, M.D.

Andrew Rudmann, M.D., serves as chief of the new Hospital Medicine Division (HMD), a division created to provide leadership and coordination of our growing team of hospital-based physicians. Currently, more than 13 faculty members serve as hospitalists throughout Strong Memorial, caring for admitted patients and working closely with residents and mid-level providers. The HMD also has assumed administrative oversight of nearly 40 full- and part-time mid-level providers who work on the medical service.

"Andy has proved himself as a superb clinician and an excellent administrator," Berk said. Given the growing complexity of acute care, I believe we will be adding more faculty to this division in the next year. Andy has the skills and foresight to capably manage this growth."

Rudmann received his undergraduate degree from Duke University before attending Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial before joining our faculty in 1996 as an inpatient physician.

New Chief of Pediatric Cardiology

Winston E. Gaum, M.D.
Winston E. Gaum, M.D.

August marked the start of Winston E. Gaum's, M.D., tenure at Golisano Children's Hospital as the new chief of Pediatric Cardiology.

"Dr. Gaum brings a wealth of experience to the role of Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong. He is an outstanding clinician and administrator and we are delighted that he will be joining our team," said Elizabeth R. McAnarney, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children's Hospital.

Roger Vermillion, M.D., will be the associate chief and will continue in a leadership role for expanding clinical services.

Since 1990, Gaum served as professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the State University of New York Health Science Center and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. He studied medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University School of Medicine in Halifax. After two years of residency study in Canadian hospitals, Gaum moved to the U.S., where he completed his pediatric residency at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Medical Center, followed by a series of adult and pediatric cardiology fellowships at Cincinnati and at the Krannert Institute of Cardiology at the University of Indiana School of Medicine.

Pharmacy Specialty Residency Earns Full ASHP Accreditation

Daniel Hays, PharmD, provides direction to Sarah Kelly, PharmD, who just completed the Pharmacy ED residency program.
Daniel Hays, PharmD, provides direction to Sarah Kelly, PharmD, who just completed the Pharmacy ED residency program.

The Pharmacy Specialty Residency in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at the University of Rochester and Strong Memorial Hospital has just been awarded a full six-year accreditation by the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP), making it the second such accredited program in the nation.

ASHP surveyors completed an intensive two-day site visit reviewing all aspects of the training program for specialized emergency medicine pharmacists. Accreditation ensures that programs are peer-reviewed and that they fulfill requirements needed to provide a state-of-the-art practice environment. In addition, accredited residency programs are eligible for Medicare graduate medical education funding, which helps defray the cost of operating them.

Daniel Hays, PharmD, clinical pharmacy specialist in Strong's Emergency Department, developed the ED pharmacist role and residency at Strong, and oversees the the training program that prepares pharmacists for clinical work in emergency and critical care settings.

"We are thrilled to earn accreditation and are grateful to the ED staff who contributed to the success of our site visit," says Hays. "In addition to our residents and Pharmacy Department leadership and staff, we thank the ED and ICU physicians, nursing staff and mid-level providers who were integral to this process for their participation and support."

Pharmacy residencies were initiated at Strong in 1998, with an accredited one-year pharmacy practice residency that prepares pharmacists for the complexities of providing drug therapy to hospital patients. After completing such a general residency, some pharmacists chose areas of specialty on which to focus and spend an additional year of residency to round out their training.

"Once they've completed a residency, pharmacists are better qualified to interact with patients and play a more vital role on the patient care team," says Thomas O'Brien, director of pharmacy for URMC and Strong Health.

With increasing recognition of the benefits of pharmacy residencies, the demand for residency programs is growing. In 2004, there were 635 pharmacy residency programs in 49 states that offered 1,452 pharmacy residency positions. For example, for the one Emergency Medicine/Critical Care residency position available at Strong, there were 15 applicants.


Faculty Spotlight

Media Clips


Progress toward a vaccine against bird flu, in a study led by John Treanor, was widely reported by outlets around the world in the past week. The New York Times (Aug. 8), NPR (Aug. 8) and USA Today (Aug. 9) were among the numerous outlets covering the story and speaking with Treanor. Treanor also discussed with Newsday (Aug. 8) new research toward a simpler flu shot that might be viable in several years.

Shanna Swan's findings on the health effects of phthalates were mentioned by USA Today (Aug. 2), and in a news article in JAMA (July 20).

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 1) quoted David Guzick about work on a testosterone patch to treat low sexual desire in women.

Research showing that second-hand smoke raises the risk for metabolic syndrome in teens from a study led by Michael Weitzman was reported in outlets nationwide including Reuters (Aug. 1), Forbes (Aug. 1), Associated Press (Aug.1), and many others.

Health Central and other outlets quoted John Bisognano about controlling blood pressure (July 23).

A reported link between plastics and lupus was discussed by Jennifer Anolik with WebMD. (July 15).

Research by Tom Gasiewicz about how green tea protects against cancer was covered by the U.S. News & World Report (July 14), Boston Globe (July 25) and other outlets.

Jonathan Klein’s efforts to prevent teen pregnancy were featured by the Washington Times (July 12).

WebMD quoted Ruth Lawrence in its report on campaigns to boost breastfeeding (July 7).

Michael Perlis discussed insomnia and depression with Newsweek (June 28).

Nicole Kuderer, M.D., hematology/oncology research fellow, recently received a Young Investigator Award from the Multinational Association for Supportive Care of Cancer. Kuderer was honored for her research into the incidence and prevention of febrile neutropenia in cancer patients, a condition of low white cells and fever that patients can experience during chemotherapy treatment.

Linda Chaudron, M.D., M.S.,
assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, recently was named the 2005 Marian I. Butterfield Early Career Psychiatrist by the Association of Women Psychiatrists. The Marian Butterfield award recognizes one psychiatrist a year who has excelled in an area of research and who has great promise for continuing to contribute to academic psychiatry. Chaudron's research and clinical interests focus on women's mental health issues across the lifespan, specifically postpartum depression and suicide risk factors among women.

Shanna Swan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Reproductive Epidemiology, was one of five scientists to receive the prestigious Jenifer Altman Awards. Created by the Upstream Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the award honors scientists not only for their research but for their steadfast commitment to scientific integrity - often in the face of great personal sacrifice. Swan was recognized for her pioneering epidemiological studies that drew scientific and public attention to ways that chemical exposure can affect reproductive health.

The Agency for Health Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded $600,000 to the Emergency Department at Strong to study ways to reduce medication errors and promote patient safety. Rollin J. "Terry" Fairbanks, M.D., M.S., is principle investigator. Two clinical pharmacists will be hired, and researchers will investigate whether there is a reduction in frequency of adverse drug events when the pharmacists are on duty.

Strong Memorial Hospital and Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, the organization that coordinates organ donations across much of upstate New York, were recently honored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Organ Donation Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor was given to the two organizations for achieving 75 percent "conversion" of eligible organ donors to actual donors for a sustained 12-month period.

Jim Quetschenbach, clinical manager of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, helped developed a manual currently being distributed to medical examiners and coroners nationwide. "Death Investigation and Organ & Tissue Donation: A Resource for Organ & Tissue Recovery Agencies" is a reference manual that explains procedures of organ and tissue donation to assist coroners and medical examiners in their decision-making process when a potential donor case falls under their jurisdiction.

Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology, Anesthesiology, and Medicine Shey-Shing Sheu, Ph.D., FAHA, has been appointed by the American Heart Association (AHA) to the Board of Directors of the AHA/ Northeast Affiliate, and named chair of its Research Committee. As a member of the Board, Sheu will be instrumental in directing the operations of the AHA in the northeast. In addition, in his role as research chair, he will help select research programs to receive funding. In 2005, more than $5.4 million in funding was awarded by this committee.

Cyril Meyerowitz, DDS, BS, director of the Eastman Dental Center and professor and chair of the Eastman Department of Dentistry, has been appointed to the American Dental Education Association's (ADEA) Commission for Change and Innovation in Dental Education. This commission will likely shape dental education for decades to come, as it helps to oversee the execution of recommendations on curricular reform and innovation in dental education recently made by the ADEA.



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Last updated: 06/23/2009 9:59 PM