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The new building consolidates all outpatient cancer care and translational research programs into a single location, and is the centerpiece of the Wilmot Cancer Center’s five-year, $65 million plan for expansion and recruitment. It also serves as one of the cornerstones of the Medical Center’s overall strategic plan for growth. The URMC cancer strategy includes recruiting more than two dozen scientists and clinicians, and expanding programs in lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers as well as lymphomas and leukemias, which are among the most frequent cancer diagnoses in the United States.
“Patient care is our number-one priority and this facility allows us to expand our clinical care and our already strong translational research programs,” said Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center. “We are dedicated to achieving national leadership in cancer care and research. Our team is recognized for novel clinical and scientific research contributions that have shaped treatments and cures.”
Two years in construction, the Cancer Center nearly doubles the medical oncology clinical space – enabling caregivers to provide chemotherapy infusions for up to 46 patients at a time, a dramatic increase from the previous facility which accommodated only 29 patients at once. It also offers patients greater privacy, individual televisions and wireless computer access.
“I’ve heard many patients ‘ooh and aah’ over the amenities – more space, wide windows that offer a bright, cheery environment, and personal televisions,” said Donna Cimbalo, R.N., of the Cornell and Weinstein Family Apheresis Center. “More space not only improves patients’ experience, but also helps nurses and other caregivers monitor our patient care in a more streamlined manner.”
Other new items in the Cancer Center include:
The new Cancer Center enjoyed extraordinary community support. In the weeks leading up to its opening, additional gifts for the facility were finalized, allowing University of Rochester President Joel Seligman to announce during the building’s dedication that the campaign reached its $42.5 million goal.
Leading the effort were co-chairs James Ryan, Jr. and Judy Wilmot Linehan. The Wilmot family and its James P. Wilmot Foundation jump-started the campaign with personal leadership gifts totaling $5 million, and recently donated another $3 million toward the goal. John Wallis “Jack” Rowe, M.D., former chairman and CEO of Aetna and a 1970 graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, donated the single largest individual gift of $5 million.
Other large donations came from the Davenport-Hatch Foundation, Harold and Joan Feinbloom, and Henry and Dorothy Hansen. The largest corporate gift to-date is $6 million from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Xerox Corp. and Bausch & Lomb also made major gifts. The local Congressional delegation secured $6.75 million in federal funds.
For more information about the new Cancer Center, visit http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/wilmot-center-news/
Aims to Curb Conflicts of Interests with Drug, Device Manufacturers
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is joining a number of leading academic medical centers that are strengthening policies aimed at decreasing implicit and implied conflict of interests when faculty, staff and students interact with representatives of the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and other commercial players in the health care industry. Like medical centers at Michigan, Stanford, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, the new rules govern what industry representatives may do in our facilities and what faculty, staff and students can do when they interact with industry representatives on any clinical or educational matters.
The underlying principle of the policy is that URMC faculty, staff and students may not accept gifts (including meals) from industry or its representatives that could bias clinical decisions or create the perception by patients and others that such biases might exist.
The policy is not intended to limit the many positive interactions that occur with industry representatives and their companies, whether in promoting optimal patient care, education, research, or community health. Importantly, the policy does not restrict use of medication samples, educational grants, or industry support of important public conferences and continuing education events.
The new Medical Center policy was extensively shared at various departmental meetings and with a broad range of clinical and administrative leaders, trainees, and students. It was discussed and modified after review by many groups over the past few months, including the Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals’ Clinical Councils, the Council of the Medical Staff, the Graduate Medical Education Committee, the Ethics Committee, the Therapeutics Committee, the Medical Center Board Quality of Care Committee, and the Medical Center Executive Team led by Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk.
The policy covers the following six topics:
To view or download copies of the policy, frequently asked questions,
or PowerPoint summary, go to the following links:
URMC faculty, staff, trainees and students who have questions about compliance with this policy should contact the URMC Compliance Office (275-1609) or the URMC Office of Counsel (758-7600) for assistance. Individuals with questions about policy development, implementation, or clarifications should contact Robert Panzer, M.D., associate vice president for Patient Care Quality and Safety.
Mayewski Steps Down to Take New Role Supporting Advancement
Effective July 1, Wallace E. Johnson, M.D. will succeed Ray Mayewski, M.D. as the new Director of the Center for Primary Care (CPC). A practicing primary care general internist with URMC-Eastside Internal Medicine in Fairport, Johnson is also associate chair for Primary Care in the Department of Medicine. Along with Thomas Campbell, M.D., Johnson has served as co-associate director of the CPC since its founding.
A graduate of Yale University who received his medical degree summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Johnson served his residency in Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital. He currently chairs the Council of the Medical Staff at Strong, and is a member of the boards of directors of the Genesee Valley Medical Foundation and the Visiting Nurse Service. He plans to remain in clinical practice.
“I’m honored to extend the initiatives begun by Dr. Mayewski,” Johnson said. “I’m pleased that the University, the regional insurers, and the regional employers all recognize the value of a strong primary care presence to ensure high-quality, cost-effective care.”
URMC Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Ray Mayewski, M.D., will take on new responsibilities as medical director in Advancement’s Donor Relations Program, helping to direct a systematic effort to identify and cultivate more donors to the Medical Center and the University.
“Ray has the respect of our clinical faculty and clearly appreciates
the institution’s needs and vision, so he has much to contribute
to our Advancement efforts,” said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk,
M.D., Ph.D. “Fortunately, we have Wally, an outstanding
leader in the Center for Primary Care, who can readily take the reigns.”
The Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has become an independent academic department within the School of Medicine and Dentistry effective April 1. K. Rao Poduri, M.D., who has led the Division since 2004, serves as chair of the new department.
Over the past four years, the Division has demonstrated its clinical strength, growing inpatient visits by 10 percent, and quadrupling outpatient visits to PM&R faculty. Today, 16 board-certified physiatrists provide care at Strong Memorial Hospital, as well as at Unity’s St. Mary’s campus, Rochester General Hospital and the VA Center in Canandaigua. In addition, 125 allied health care professionals provide physical medicine and rehabilitation services to the Rochester community, including physiatric consultations to five area nursing homes.
On the academic side, medical students from across the country, as well as our own School of Medicine and Dentistry students, continue to select Rochester for a premier residency training experience in PM&R. In fact, due to increased demand, the number of resident positions in PM&R has doubled to 12 since 2004. Research grants continue to grow as well, with five funded studies and many others in progress.
“These accomplishments are due, in great part, to Dr. Poduri, who has passionately led Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with a clear vision,” said School of Medicine Dean David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D. “Now, as a unit with full Department status, PM&R will be even more successful in recruiting well-qualified faculty and residents, and in expanding the fine clinical work underway in our community.”
The life’s work of cardiologist and Professor of Medicine Arthur Moss, M.D., continues to garner local and national awards nearly four decades after his first encounter of a patient with an irregularly beating heart.
Moss, whose research and discoveries have saved the lives of many patients and made many more eligible for new treatments, recently reached a funding milestone with his research. He also just received from the Rochester Academy of Medicine one of Rochester’s most prestigious honors for physicians, the Kaiser Medal.
The world’s leading authority on Long QT Syndrome (LQTS), Moss has for many years researched and defined this disorder, a condition that places patients at increased risk for sudden death from cardiac arrest and takes about 1,000 lives each year. Moss was among the researchers who first discovered the genes responsible for this disorder. He helped to establish the use of drug therapies like beta-blockers that today greatly decrease the risks for most patients. He continues to advocate for the expanded use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), devices that prevent the sudden loss of life from LQTS in patients at the highest risk.
Recently the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a four-year, $2.3 million grant to Moss and his team to continue to study Long QT Syndrome. With the latest award, the project has received continuous NIH funding for 23 years – making it one of the longest, investigator-initiated research projects at the University of Rochester.
Moss’ work with Long QT Syndrome and ICDs has also helped to save the lives of those for whom a heart attack has left behind scar tissue. Like LQTS patients, thousands of heart attack survivors are also at higher risk for arrhythmias and sudden death despite the best medical care. Moss’ study of LQTS had provided insights into much more common post-heart attack arrhythmias, and how they may be prevented by ICDs.
The physician-scientist’s extraordinary success is due in large part to his skill in patient care, at forging partnerships with scientist at other universities and with private companies, and with the participation of thousands of patients who have volunteered to be involved in this research.
Moss’ contributions were recognized on May 13, when he was presented with the highest honor of the Rochester Academy of Medicine, the Albert David Kaiser Medal. The medal, initiated in 1939 and named for Rochester pediatrician Albert H. Kaiser, M.D., recognized decades of distinguished service by Moss as a clinician, teacher, researcher and leader.
“It has been tremendously exciting to continue these several lines of research from the early days of trying to understand the nature of the heart’s electrical malfunctions to recent successes in developing new drugs and devices to treat these disorders,” Moss said. “For example, we presented research findings in April that identified a new drug, ranolazine, that will be useful in treating patients with some forms of LQTS. Our longstanding program in basic research is leading to new, and more effective treatments.”
Long plane rides over vast oceans leading to life-changing experiences seem to be a repeating theme in Jason Huang’s life. From the Tiananmen Square riots to the battlefields of Iraq, from hospital operating rooms to busing tables, there’s not much the 37-year-old assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry has yet to experience.
Huang has recently returned from a three-month tour of duty in Iraq, where he was stationed at the Balad Medical Center, serving as one of only two neurosurgeons in all of Iraq. Located about 60 miles north of Baghdad, Balad is the military’s main treatment center in Iraq for all U.S. and coalition forces currently fighting in Iraq, as well as for badly wounded Iraqi citizens.
But how U.S. Army Major Jason H. Huang ended up in Iraq is an even more fascinating journey, one that began in 1989. While attending college in his native China, Huang helped organize a group of students to participate in the Tiananmen Square protests. Jason was there to see the tanks roll into Tiananmen Square on June 4 and 5, and though he escaped unharmed, he was subsequently placed under house arrest. For three years, he withstood isolation and mental torture, forced to write confessions for crimes he did not commit, and blackballed from pursuing any meaningful career or profession.
Finally, in 1993, with the help of family and friends, Huang was able to obtain a fake passport, and used that to secure passage to the United States, where he was declared a political refugee. He would later go on to become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2000.
Huang stayed with relatives in California, where he worked as a bus boy at restaurants to earn money and took classes to improve his English. But that would be a short-lived career, as Jason’s academic aptitude earned him full scholarships, first to Amherst College, and then to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a fellowship in Neurotrauma and Critical Care, before coming to Rochester in 2006.
After September 11, Huang felt he needed to pay back his debt to the country that helped him so much, and joined the Army reserves. His recent deployment at Balad Medical Center was his first active duty assignment, and while he mentally prepared himself for some pretty gruesome sights, it still didn’t quite hit the mark.
“The extent of the head injuries – indeed all the blast injuries – were far worse than I ever would have imagined,” Huang said.
Throughout his three-month assignment, he and the only other neurosurgeon would rotate two days on, and two days off, though Huang would often visit the hospital every day to check up on patients, or to examine head injury patients not needing surgery. At times, Huang would operate for 24 hours or more, without a break.
“Our work schedule was driven by bomb blasts and attacks. We would work all day and night – regardless if we were on call – if we had patients who needed to be seen.”
Huang said that the majority of his surgical care was focused on stabilizing patients so they could be safely moved to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest military hospital outside the continental U.S. that cares for critically injured U.S. soldiers. And while the constant turnover of patients was hard for Huang, who was interested in seeing how patients progressed, he found a bright spot to this set up.
“I’m especially interested in head trauma, and so it was good for me to be exposed to so many cases, day after day,” Huang said. “I learned a lot, and hopefully, helped many injured soldiers.”
In addition to his surgical work, Huang helped treat soldiers with MTBIs, or mild traumatic brain injuries, a result of shock waves thrown off from IEDs and other types of explosions. Similar to concussions, MTBI symptoms include headaches, memory loss and even depression.
“I believe MTBIs will be the hallmark injury of this Iraq war, as many soldiers are exposed to multiple blasts,” Huang said. “This has implications because it is increasingly difficult to differentiate MTBI symptoms from another common war syndrome – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – which would call for a very different treatment approach.”
In fact, Huang hopes to do more research on MTBI here at URMC, teaming up with Department of Emergency Medicine Associate Professor Jeff Bazarian, M.D., who shares an interest in head trauma. The two have gained tentative approval to begin collecting and examining blood samples drawn from soldiers with head trauma in Iraq. Their hope is to find a biomarker to indicate physical trauma to the brain did occur as a way to streamline treatment from both MTBI and PTSD veterans.
For his work, Huang was presented with The Army Commendation Medal “for exceptional services as a neurosurgeon…Major Huang’s expertise in neurosurgery contributed to providing world-class surgical care to a patient population of over 1,200 soldiers…which resulted in a 98 percent survival rate.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs has selected Eric Caine, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, to serve on a nine-member panel that will recommend ways to improve V.A. programs in suicide prevention, research and education.
Recently, attention has been put on what appears to be increasing suicide rates among active duty military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and in response, the VA formed two panels to address this issue.The first, the “Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention in the Veterans Population,” is comprised of five representatives from the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop a report with recommendations by the end of June.
Then, Caine and other nationally renowned experts in public health suicide prevention programs, suicide research and clinical treatment programs, will meet to provide professional opinion, interpretation, and conclusions on the Blue Ribbon’s recommendations. The panel also will make recommendations on opportunities for improvement in the VA’s programs.
“I look forward to this process addressing a problem of national concern,” said Caine, who is the John Romano Professor of Psychiatry.
In a unique relationship created last year, more than a dozen faculty members from the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry helped to form a new Veterans Administration Center of Excellence in Canandaigua. The Center seeks to reduce premature death and treatable illnesses in veterans, with special attention to suicide and attempted suicide, post-traumatic stress and related stress disorders, depression, substance abuse, serious mental illness, and thefamily and social problems that can arise from these difficulties.
In 2007, the physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, activities therapists, and teachers who care for children admitted to the Medical Center with acute psychiatric illness made more than a minor change in the way they treat patients. The group, known as Team 1-9200, adopted a new philosophy—“kids do well if they can”—that transformed their approach to patients and method of treatment.
The team’s efforts won them a Meliora Award, one of two new awards recently created to honor outstanding service by staff working throughout the University of Rochester. The Meliora Award specifically recognizes staff members whose work performance over the past year exemplifies the University's motto, Meliora, or "ever better."
“This was a true cultural change,” says Joanne Bartlett, senior nurse manager in Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry. “We changed the way we think about children with challenging behaviors.”
The change has delivered positive results. Patient and family satisfaction scores are above the mean. Comments from patients and families show they trust the staff, have confidence in the model, and would recommend the unit.
“Nursing satisfaction and retention is high. Interdisciplinary collaboration and family partnership flourish,” Bartlett says. “Most importantly, the children that we care for truly improve.”
In 2007, the unit served 224 children, many with serious trauma histories. Most are admitted for severe out-of-control behavior at home or school. The children and their families have significant social, emotional, and behavioral needs. The average length of stay on the unit is 11 days.
In the past, the team followed a traditional behavior modification model with rewards and consequences. But the team determined that not only was the traditional model ineffective, it also left families feeling uninvolved. So beginning in December 2006, the team implemented a cognitive-behavioral model known as Collaborative Problem Solving that was developed by Ross Greene, a Harvard University psychologist.
“The new model is family-centered and built on the power of relationships,” says Cathy Peters, senior staff nurse and research project manager, who nominated the team for the Meliora Award. “The underlying belief is that difficult children lack cognitive skills necessary to manage frustration and master situations that require flexibility and adaptability.”
The team identifies a patient’s lagging skills, spotlights situations that might trigger meltdowns, and makes sincere efforts to work out problems.
“We demonstrate greater empathy, teach collaborative skills, and seek to reach mutually beneficial solutions as we problem solve with children,” Peters says.
The new treatment model increased visiting hours. Family members are encouraged to assist their children with daily care. If a parent wants to stay the night, a bed is provided. The team also has initiated a unique program, weekly family education and support meetings, to better prepare families for a child’s return home. As the new model was implemented, more and more families took part.
The 1-9200 team, which includes about 32 people, is working with the
New York State Office of Mental Health and the Mental Health Association
of Rochester to develop a community-based model of Collaborative Problem
Solving. They also plan an educational DVD for those who want to learn
independently or at their own pace.
“We benefit from the basics of collaboration: empathy, problem definition, and an invitation to find mutually helpful solutions,” Peters says. “The entire unit is a working laboratory. The result has been greater appreciation for our patients, their families, and each other.”
Note: Throughout the year, we will be publishing profiles on the winners of the 2007 Board Excellence Awards, which are given to those employees 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. All told, six individuals and three teams received Excellence Awards this year.
If there is a light on in the Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, that has to be Jean Boedecker, the GME Administrative Director.
“There is nothing special about this Saturday,” said Diane
Hartmann, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education. “It
is like every other Saturday that she has chosen to come in and go the
extra mile to make sure that the office runs smoothly for everyone that
“There is no other individual that epitomizes the quality and outstanding performance demanded of those who receive the Medical Center Board’s Excellence Award than Jean,” Hartmann says.
For the last six years as the GME Administrative Director, Boedecker has managed a staff of five and has a daily impact on 75 Residency Program Directors, 75 Program Coordinators and more than 700 medical and dental trainees.
“Every one of those individuals can count on the fact that if Jean is working on a project or question it will be addressed correctly, on time, and with a smile,” Hartmann said. “Jean conducts herself in a very professional and respectful manner. No problem is too small or job too big to tackle. She has promoted a departmental culture that is supportive and helpful to every one of the hundreds of people who regularly walk through our doors.”
In her years at the Medical Center, Boedecker, who lives in Brighton, has served as an administrator in the Director’s Office and as the administrator for residency education — and later as administrator for education of residents and medical students — in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her performance evaluations have consistently described her as a dedicated individual who goes the extra mile to make sure that things are done at a level of excellence that is unsurpassed.
Boedecker says her philosophy is to work well with the people who surround her. “They are the ones who support me. You can’t do work like this in isolation,” she said.
“Jean never shines the spotlight on herself but in her own special way lives the Rochester tradition of Meliora daily,” Hartmann said.