Vital Signs

May 2006

School of Nursing Opens New Hi-Tech Wing

son opening

A Grand Celebration: University officials were on hand to cut the ribbon for the new Loretta C. Ford Education Wing.  From L. to R.:  C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., CEO, URMC; Rep. Louise Slaughter; Patricia Chiverton, Ed.D., R.N., SON Dean; Loretta C. Ford, Ed.D., R.N., SON Dean Emerita; University President Joel Seligman; University President Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor Thomas H. Jackson; Robert Hurlbut, UR Board of Trustees and chair of the SON's Future of Care Campaign; Adam Tatemann, president of the School's Student Nurses Association.

The University of Rochester School of Nursing's new Loretta C. Ford Education Wing of Helen Wood Hall officially opened April 28, with a symposium, ribbon-cutting ceremony and gala banquet.

C. McCollister "Mac" Evarts, M.D., senior vice president and vice provost for health affairs and Medical Center CEO, called the new wing "awesome." U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter said nurses deserved such a grand building. University President Joel Seligman said the opening of the new wing was a "triumph" for Ford, School of Nursing Dean Patricia Chiverton, and all those who supported the expansion campaign.

The new wing is part of an $8.1 million expansion and renovation project that will help the School of Nursing increase student enrollment substantially, boost technological capabilities and enhance research. The Ford wing adds 28,000-square-feet of space. It includes four spacious classrooms, an auditorium that can seat 170 people, a seminar room and atrium. The wing's wireless and smart classroom technology and video conferencing capability will facilitate student learning. Much of the first floor of Helen Wood Hall also was renovated as part of the project.

"The new wing means we can teach and train more nurses and more nurse leaders at the master's and doctoral level, which ultimately means better patient care," Chiverton said. "But it also means we will have more opportunities for unique programs and for taking business ideas to the marketplace."

Students will begin attending classes in the new wing on May 23. 

The wing is named for Dean Emerita Loretta "Lee" Ford, internationally known for creating the profession of the Nurse Practitioner. Ford led the School from 1972 to 1986. Dedication day began with a symposium on the profession of Nurse Practitioner and Rochester's role in its development.

A banquet celebrating the new wing was held at Casa Larga Vineyards in the town of Perinton. At the banquet, the School presented its Health and Humanity Award to Johnson & Johnson Co. for its "Campaign for Nursing's Future," a national effort to attract more people into nursing and to develop more nursing educators.

Award, New Grant Underscore School's Progress

A statewide award and renewal of a multi-million dollar grant are tangible signs of the vitality and excitement surrounding the School of Nursing. It most recently was awarded Empire State Gold certification, the only nursing school in the state to receive Gold certification. 

 "We found a visionary leadership team, a collaborative culture, and a well-prepared faculty that is focused on student success," said George Hansen, executive director of Empire State Advantage, the organization that gave the award.

The Gold certification is awarded to educational organizations that have outstanding leadership and highly effective programs and practices that have been refined and improved over time. Performance results across key areas, including student achievement, staff effectiveness, operational efficiency and financial results, show overall positive trends and favorable comparisons against goals and external benchmarks.

The School also recently learned that the Helene Fuld Health Trust, HSBC Bank USA, Trustee awarded it $2.5 million to support scholarships and the development of new programs. In 2002, the Helene Fuld Health Trust gave the School $2.2 million. The two grants are the largest gifts from foundations to the School in almost 25 years.

The funds will be used to continue providing all-important scholarship awards to nursing students. Since 2002, 160 have benefited from a Fuld scholarship.  It also will help expand recruitment efforts. Despite some signs of improvement in the nursing shortage, recruitment of new talent to the profession remains a matter of national importance. The School estimates that the grant renewal will help to increase enrollment in its accelerated program by about 50 percent over the next five years.

The Helene Fuld Health Trust grant also will enable the School to redesign some programs and solidify faculty recruitment, improving the student-teacher ratio and the clinical experience for students. The School also will continue to develop new curriculum, including, for example, integrating approaches to patient safety and health care quality improvement.

"The first grant from the Fuld Trust helped us change the way nurses are educated and attract many people to the profession who otherwise might not have brought their talent and compassion to nursing," said Patricia Chiverton, Ed.D., dean of the School of Nursing. "The nursing shortage is about quantity and quality. The grant renewal will enable us to continue to address both issues."



Allscripts Implementation Full-Speed Ahead

Imagine a physician's office where patient charts, filing cabinets and the dozen or so office accessories that go along with keeping the chart organized like hole punchers and colored tabs are no longer. Think of the amount of space gained, trees saved and number of decreased deliveries from OfficeMax.  All this and more is happening in the here and now, thanks to the roll-out of the Allscripts TouchWorks project, which is rapidly bringing the electronic health record to Medical Center outpatient practices.

Chief Medical Resident Tim Johnson, M.D., regularly uses Allscripts to enter his patient information.

To date, the program has been integrated into 11 sites with 220 providers – both primary care and specialists – and over 300 support staff.  Faculty and staff reaction has been astounding, so much so that the Allscripts project team has doubled its efforts in order to train and implement more sites sooner than originally planned. It is hoped that by early 2008, most Medical Center outpatient practices – primary care or specialist, hospital-based or faculty-practice – will be using the system. 

What's driving the excitement?  Ease of use and the fact that "most providers now feel they can't manage their practices without instant access to a common patient-centric record," said David A. Krusch, M.D., chief medical information officer for the Medical Center, and executive sponsor for the Allscripts implementation project.

Beyond the Electronic Health Record

Krusch emphasizes that Allscripts TouchWorks is as much about introducing an electronic chart to a practice as it is reengineering workflow to enhance office process efficiency.

"To simply call this an introduction of the electronic health record doesn't recognize the many positive ripple effects it has on the operations of an entire practice, and the many tools it brings to help improve patient care and safety," Krusch said.

Currently, when a patient calls to request a prescription, it sets into motion at least 10 specific actions - from pulling the chart, to calling in a prescription, to re-filing the chart – that involves both office staff and health care providers.  With Allscripts, the process is streamlined and eliminates many opportunities for medical errors.  When such a call comes into a practice with Allscripts, the receptionist pulls up the patient's electronic health record, accesses the known medication list and enters a prescription authorization request directly into a physician's computerized "task list."

When the physician checks the task list, the prescription request is hyperlinked to the patient's chart for easy retrieval and review. If the request is authorized as ordered (one or two clicks for the physician), the system automatically alerts the physician of any potential allergies, drug interactions or incorrect dosages. It also checks the prescription against the patient's drug formulary for tier compliance, and offers an alternative when appropriate. The system then faxes the request to the patient's preferred pharmacy and automatically records this information in the chart.

Prescription management is just one aspect of the Allscripts system. It also provides a way to efficiently manage and store all medical information related to patients through a scanner that electronically sorts and files all paper reports into appropriate categories.  Physicians enter their patient encounters through a notes software system, which also helps them to identify proper billing categories for each visit.  A disease management program can be turned on to help manage wellness check-ups or even follow-up visits, using evidenced-based best practices as its foundation.

Steve Judge, M.D., chief resident of Internal Medicine, who helps oversee the urgent care clinic located in the Ambulatory Care Facility, was amazed at the user-friendly aspect of the system.

"It took me no time to learn the system," Judge said.  "If I saw a patient this morning, and referred him to a specialty clinic this afternoon, the physician there could read my notes, and have available complete information on medication, lab reports and past history."

Protection of medical information was a chief concern for Medical Center Chief Information Officer Jerry Powell, who worked to ensure that many levels of protection were available for many different areas of the system.

"The system compiles an audit list anytime a medial record is accessed or information is changed," Powell said. "The servers and databases are behind secure firewalls, and the data are replicated in real time to a duplicate secure database at a second physical facility.  In many ways, our patient chart is more secure and reliable than the paper record ever was."

Halle McNaney, Allscripts project manager, has seen a dramatic shift in the attitude of physicians toward the adoption of technology.  "We have all been amazed at the overall receptiveness of this ambitious project," notes McNaney.  "Expecting every provider to undergo training and begin using a technical system that changes the way they do their jobs is not trivial.  To see their optimism and acceptance of the TouchWorks application says a lot about its capabilities and the need for the types of efficiencies it delivers."

In addition to the disappearance of the large file rooms that previously held massive numbers of patients chart, Powell noted that there is one other significant change with the introduction of this system than with any other system he's helped introduce to the Medical Center.

"I truly was surprised at how quickly the benefits to the practice accrue," Powell said.  "Typically, when we talk about introducing a technology that will reengineer an entire workflow practice, often it's a long-term payoff.  But in this case, the benefits are almost immediate.  Physicians and support staff quickly see how easy and efficient the system is, and word of mouth travels among the practices.  Now, our problem is finding ways to bring the system to more practices, faster."



Distinguished Professional and Community Service Earns Evarts Multiple Awards

A distinguished career that includes pioneering work as an orthopaedic surgeon, mentor, educator and strategic leader has recently earned Medical Center CEO C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., multiple awards.

On May 3, the Monroe County Medical Society recognized Evarts with the Edward Mott Moore Award, the highest award bestowed by the Society named for the noted Surgeon-in-Chief at St. Mary's Hospital. Each year, the local physician society honors a physician and a layperson whose lives reflect the qualities exemplified by Dr. Edward Mott Moore as a physician, teacher, investigator, leader and contributor to the community.

Also in May, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and its Department of Surgery will honor Evarts by creating the C. McCollister Evarts, M.D. Professorship in Artificial Organs.  The Professorship was made possible through the generosity of Marlin Miller, Jr., a Reading, Pennsylvania executive who worked with Evarts during his tenure at Hershey Medical Center.

And last month in April, Evarts was recognized in the Physician Category of the Rochester Business Journal's annual Healthcare Achievement Awards for making a significant impact on the quality of health care in the Greater Rochester area.  In addition to his years of clinical work at the University of Rochester Medical Center as chair of Department of Orthopaedics, Evarts' leadership role in strengthening relations with Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield and increasing National Institutes of Health funding for the Medical Center were cited as ways he has helped improve the region's health care.

"These are great honors and many qualify," Evarts said.  "Throughout my career I've tried to serve my patients, students, colleagues and the community as best possible."

Evarts began his medical career as a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and served his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital. While in medical school, Evarts met his wife Nancy, who was a student at the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

During a 10-year stint at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation where he headed the Orthopaedic residency program and ultimately served as chair of the Orthopaedics Department, Evarts helped introduce total joint replacement surgery to the U.S. He returned to Rochester in 1974 as chair of Orthopaedics and is credited for transforming that department into a national magnet for both research and clinical care.

In 1987, Evarts left Rochester to become CEO, senior vice president for Health Affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine at Pennsylvania State University and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. At Hershey, Evarts guided the organization through a massive expansion in clinical, educational and research activity. Evarts became a University Professor at Penn State in 2000.  In 2003, he returned again to Rochester to serve as a senior advisor to the Medical Center CEO. He was appointed to his current position in 2003. 

A search is currently underway for his replacement. But don't count on him taking it easy.  As a Distinguished University Professor, Evarts plans to continue working at the Medical Center indefinitely, helping to provide services to uninsured and underinsured orthopaedic patients, to help with the education of medical students and residents, to aid in tech transfer initiatives and to participate in development activities.




Faculty Spotlight

Media Clips


John Treanor was quoted in the New York Times (May 2) in a story about the possibility of using in people a vaccine designed to protect chickens against bird flu.

Gannett News Service quoted Ed Puzas about milk and calcium in a story that has run in many newspaper including the Arizona Republic (April 30).

WebMD (April 26) spoke with Hulin Wu about how a possible bird flu pandemic might spread.

Karl Kieburtz was quoted by the Associated Press about conflict of interest and drug approvals, in a story that was carried by the San Francisco Chronicle (April 26).

David Pearce was quoted by the Asbury Park Press (April 23) about the use of bone marrow transplants to treat a rare pediatric disease.

Work by Alan Smrcka on cell signaling was covered by Forbes (April 20), and HealthDay (April 23).

The Wisconsin State Journal (April 19) discussed Steve Goldman's work using stem cells to treat brain diseases.

WebMD (April 18) covered research by Jeff Peters on the changing face of esophageal cancer.

The Associated Press quoted John Treanor in a story about flu shots for the elderly, in a story that was carried in dozens of outlets worldwide, including MSNBC (April 17), and CNN (April 18). In addition, HealthDay (April 18) and other outlets quoted Treanor about why people might not show up for work if there is a bird flu pandemic.

Mercury and the safety of seafood was discussed by Gary Myers on NPR's Science Friday (April 14).

The South Africa Independent (April 9) quoted Shanna Swan about a possible link between chemicals and a lack of baby boys.

The role played by physician Ben Segal in treating the parent of a college hockey star was highlighted by the Boston Globe (April 8).

Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and biophysics, was named as a new member of the 226th class of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The academy is an international society that elects to membership men and women of exceptional achievement from many fields.  Maquat was honored for decades of work that has advanced the understanding of how human cells protect themselves from constant and potentially destructive changes in gene expression. The research is important because the protection itself can contribute to disease, and the ability to side-step it may lead to new treatments for hundreds of genetic disorders.

Two Department of Dentistry researchers earned the 2006 International Association of Dental Research/ GlaxoSmithKline Innovation in Oral Care Award, which recognize the pioneering work of researchers to produce innovative technologies that can be used by the public to maintain and improve oral health and quality of life.  Hyun (Michel) Koo, D.D.S., Ph.D., an assistant professor and principal investigator of the Laboratory of Applied Oral Microbiology, and Yen-Tung Andy Teng,D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Dentistry's Division of Periodontology, were each awarded unrestricted research grants of up to $75,000 to further their research programs.

David Mathews, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship to continue his research on RNA, a molecule that is crucial to life and is a target of growing importance for pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs to treat disease. The award, designed to identify young investigators who "who show the most outstanding promise of making fundamental contributions to new knowledge," brings Mathews $45,000 to build his research program during the next two years.  Mathews is an expert on the computational biology of RNA.

Brenda Bartock, manager, intake and home care coordination at Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester and Monroe County, Inc. (VNS), was one of six individuals nationally recognized by the Visiting Nurse Associations of America at its 24th Annual Meeting.  Bartock was named Program Manager of the Year in recognition of her contributions which significantly improved VNS' operations and its ability to serve the Rochester community.

Moira Szilagyi, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, recently was honored during National Foster Care Month by Monroe County Family Court for her work as medical director of the Monroe County Foster Care Pediatric Clinic.

Peter Szilagyi, M.D., M.P.H., chief of general pediatrics at the hospital and professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, has been elected to be the next president of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association (APA).

Cyndi tenHoopen, P.N.P., a pediatric nurse practitioner at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, received the 2006 Innovation Award for Telemedicine from the American Telemedicine Association.

Zheng-Gen Jin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Institute, recently won the 2006 Thomas R. Lee Career Development Award from the American Diabetes Association. The award recognizes his excellence in diabetes-related research, and supports his lab's work with an $842,400 grant to study how diabetes dramatically increases risk for cardiovascular disease.

Jennifer Anolik, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Immunology and Rheumatology Unit, was chosen to give the Dubois Memorial Lectureship by the American College of Rheumatology. The honor each year goes to a scientist in recognition of outstanding research on lupus. Anolik’s research on immune cells known as B cells is enabling her and her colleagues to pioneer new ways to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.



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Last updated: 06/23/2009 10:09 PM