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The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Guthrie Health have announced plans to affiliate the two organizations, spreading access to the Medical Center's important clinical trials and teaching opportunities to Guthrie's homebase of New York's southern tier and northern Pennsylvania. Guthrie Health is a nonprofit system that includes primary care and specialty physicians, a regional trauma center, community hospitals, a research institute as well as home care and long-term care facilities.
The two systems will develop a strategic plan for Guthrie Health's research program, collaborating on basic science research and making URMC clinical trials available to the approximately 450,000 patients in the Guthrie network. Involving more patients in the University's NIH-funded population-based trials helps researchers to track more rapidly and efficiently the effectiveness of therapies over time.
In addition, Guthrie and URMC will work together on Human Subjects Protection, processes by which scientists guarantee the safety of patients enrolled in research studies. Earlier this year, URMC was named as one of 150 institutions to win a $250,000 NIH grant to work with other regional research centers to improve Human Subjects Protection. As participants in the URMC collaborative, investigators and research oversight staff at Guthrie Health and Cornell University will receive training from URMC, as well as informal consultations.
"Together with Guthrie, this clearly establishes the University of Rochester Medical Center as the hub for biomedical research in the region," said C. McCollister Evarts, CEO of URMC. "We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the fine physicians in the Guthrie network to extend leading-edge studies to more patients - while improving the protection of all patients involved in research."
Guthrie physicians will also be eligible to apply for faculty positions at the University of Rochester, and the two systems will study opportunities for students and residents associated with Guthrie to participate in rotations within Strong Health hospitals. Guthrie physicians will also be able to take advantage of the School of Medicine and Dentistry's Continuing Medical Education (CME) offerings.
"This sort of collaboration and information exchange will be a useful tool in improving patient care for both organizations," Evarts said. "We look forward to hosting groups of Guthrie physicians for training in programs such as robotic surgery and developing a host of other collaborative educational opportunities."
Guthrie and URMC are currently recruiting an administrator who will work with lead representatives from both systems to implement the collaborative.
A long-time member of the University's medical faculty, Kenneth E. DeHaven, M.D., has been appointed senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs and director of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group (URMFG), effective February 1. URMFG is the area's largest medical practice with more than 800 Medical School faculty members, and helps to negotiate contracts with third-party payers. DeHaven replaces Strong Health Chief Medical Officer Raymond Mayewski, M.D., who held the post for 14 years, and is stepping down to direct the University's newly formed Center for Primary Care.
"Ken is a great fit for this position," said C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., Medical Center CEO. "He's earned the respect of the faculty, plus he has the knowledge, the perspective and the energy to carry on in the successful tradition of Ray Mayewski."
As a sports medicine clinician, he is credited with saving the careers of hundreds of prominent and promising athletes. He serves as team physician for the Rochester Americans Professional Hockey Team and the Rochester Rhinos Soccer Team, as well as the University of Rochester athletic teams.
During the recent annual meeting of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Board, Chairman Roger Friedlander presented the Chairman's Excellence Awards to seven URMC employees whose professional and personal standards exemplify quality patient care. In its seventh year, the Excellence Awards is a prestigious honor, as it is the only award recognizing employees from throughout Strong Memorial Hospital and Eastman Dental Center.
John A. Borrelli, director of finance and administration for the Eastman Dental Center and Department of Dentistry, was honored for his administrative oversight of the department. A 17-year veteran of the University and the Medical Center, Borrelli oversees the research, education and patient care operations within Dentistry, managing a $25 million budget and seven senior administrators.
Mark Gestring, M.D., director of the Strong Regional Trauma Center, has had a profound and positive impact on Strong's trauma service since joining the Medical Center in 2000. From revising trauma triage criteria, to researching and ordering trauma-specific equipment, to meeting one-on-one with the EMS community, Gestring has worked to make every aspect of the trauma service better so that our patients have the best chance at survival.
For almost three decades, Respiratory Therapist Salvatore Giordanella, R.R.T., has been a mainstay of the respiratory care department at Strong. His compassionate work has earned him praise from patients and staff alike. He also serves as equipment manager, and recently overhauled the inventory system to simplify ordering and stocking equipment. The result is that respiratory therapists and nurses can spend their time providing care to patients instead of worrying about tracking down equipment.
For the past 13 years, Laurie Kopin, R.N., A.N.P, senior nurse practitioner and manager of the Strong Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, has helped to improve and expand Strong Health's cardiac rehabilitation unit. She has transformed a program that had two part-time nurses and 48 patients when she took over in 1991 into one of the region's largest programs, with more than 1,000 patients annually and 27 nurses on staff. As a nurse practitioner, she also maintains a patient caseload herself, serving as a role model to her staff and as a coach to patients recovering from heart attacks.
David Lane, director of the Ambassador program, joined Strong seven years ago, and in that time has built up a thriving program responsible for helping patients and their visitors find their way through Strong Memorial Hospital. In his role, Lane oversees 16 paid staff and 40 volunteers that collectively contribute over 7,500 hours annually. Ambassadors play a critical role in establishing Strong's reputation, for they are often the first and last contact patients have at this institution.
Daniel O'Connor, lead analyst for clinical systems, joined Strong in 2000 after a career as a registered nurse, where he worked at Strong among other hospitals. O'Connor manages 15 people and serves as the point person for Strong's Physician Order Entry system (POE) to Strong, the computerized system responsible for eliminating physicians' handwritten orders for medications and tests. O'Connor was the person responsible for customizing the system so that it would work for every inpatient unit in the hospital. Today, Strong is one of the few institutions in the nation with 100 percent POE implementation.
Dawn Urquhart, R.N., nurse manager, cardiology unit, has a unique and important role for helping to provide care for the 3,500 patients Strong cares for each year through its cardiology department. She is nurse manager of the cardiovascular step-down unit, which each year discharges about 2,300 patients, and also oversees the cardiac-catherterization and the electrophysiology lab, which perform close to 10,000 procedures annually. Dawn also serves as the "bed manager" for the floor, optimizing patient flow in and out of the unit
In an effort to streamline emergency department operations, Strong Memorial Hospital unveiled an expanded observation unit in January, increasing the total number of observation beds in its emergency department from eight to 24. The new unit is the largest of its kind in New York State, and one that Strong officials say will become a model for other emergency departments nationwide to follow as they seek to improve their emergency department operations.
With the new observation unit, Strong has tripled its emergency room observation capacity, hopefully easing some of the congestion caused by the extended time these patients spend in the emergency department. Observation patients are typically those awaiting imaging and/or test results, or who require ongoing evaluation, such as patients with chest pain.
Strong has formed a new medical team to provide the patient care in the new observation area. Emergency medicine physician Robbin Dick, M.D., serves as the unit's medical director, and is supported by a team of nurses, mid-level providers, and ancillary staff. In February, Imelda MacDonald, M.D., will join as an attending physician as well, ensuring 24/7 physician coverage in the unit.
"Observation patients are those that we know will need care for an extended period of time--anywhere up to 23 hours. With this new unit, we will be able to move these patients out of the emergency department, and into an area dedicated to meeting their very specialized needs," Dick said. "At the same time, we are freeing up beds in the emergency department so we can see more patients on a more timely basis."
It is also hoped that the expanded observation unit will improve the flow of patients awaiting admission to Strong. Many times, observation patients are admitted to the hospital to help facilitate testing and monitoring, reducing the inventory of beds available for acutely ill patients.
The new unit is located above the emergency department, and occupies more than 5,000 square feet. Each patient area contains a bed, telephone and TV, along with a chair for a visitor.