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Archive for June, 2010

Emmy awarded for UT-focused science and technology show

WGTE Executive Producer Darren LaShelle, left, and Segment Producer Darin Hohman won Emmy Awards for

WGTE Executive Producer Darren LaShelle, left, and Segment Producer Darin Hohman

A two-season-old partnership between The University of Toledo and WGTE Public Media is earning accolades for television excellence.

The monthly student-hosted and reported science-and-technology-focused, magazine-style program, “Plugged-In,” earned an Emmy Award in the informational/instructional program series or special category June 19 from the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the organization.

“Plugged-In” explores the latest innovations in technology and research in northwest Ohio and airs the third Wednesday of each month on WGTE. Each episode presents four stories, with UT students presenting all aspects of the program.

Darren LaShelle, executive producer, and Darin Hohman, segment producer, received the award.

“This program is a great vehicle to not only show off the talent of our UT students, but also share the expertise and innovation of our UT faculty with the region,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “This award is proof positive that we are on the right path in terms of how we demonstrate the relevance of The University of Toledo to the outside world.”

UT students Jennifer Mondelli and Shaun McDonald

UT students Jennifer Mondelli and Shaun McDonald

“This program is a perfect example of the great things that can happen through partnership and collaboration,” said Tobin J. Klinger, associate vice president for university communications and marketing operations, and UT lead on the project. “And that collaboration extends beyond University Communications and WGTE. It includes the faculty who take the time to participate in the segments, the colleges and departments that support it financially, and the students who bring it all together each month.”

Support for the program also comes from UT’s College of Engineering, Office of Research and Development, College of Business Administration, College of Health and Human Service, and the College of Nursing. LAUNCH, a technology-based business incubation program of the Regional Growth Partnership, also provided support for “Plugged-In.”

To view previous segments from the show, visit youtube.com/utoledo and click on the “Plugged-In” channel along the right side of the page.

Department of Pediatrics helps fight obesity with dance

Employees from The University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics are teaming up with the Buckeye Community Health Plan and the YMCA to stem the growing epidemic of childhood and adult obesity.

Together, the three groups will offer Hustle for Health exercise and educational clinics the last Wednesday of each month during the summer to help youth along with adults burn some calories through dancing as well as learn how to live healthier.

Upcoming Hustle for Health events will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. June 30, July 28 and Aug. 25 in the Morse Center on the third floor of Dowling Hall on UT’s Health Science Campus.

According to Jodi Hojnacki, manager of utilization management at Buckeye, dance was chosen as a form of exercise because it is “adaptable to any age group and promotes a fun atmosphere that is upbeat — not the typical exercise that people tend to frown upon.”

The educational content will be distinct for the two different age groups, giving the clinics a comprehensive family focus. University officials will provide education about how to balance a nutritious diet with exercise. They are Dr. Joan Griffith, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics; Dr. Eliza McCartney, assistant professor of nursing and pediatric nurse practitioner; and Cheryl Weeks, pediatric clinic nurse manager.

“Partnering with Buckeye to advance their Hustle for Health initiative represents a ‘win-win’ for the community,” Griffith said. “Reducing the costs of obesity will require a joint, community-wide approach. What better team to do this than health-care providers, a nutritionist, a physical activity specialist and a community health plan leader?”

The Hustle for Health initiative is an extension of another program that focuses on fighting childhood obesity called the Lifestyle, Eating, Activities and Attitudes Program, or LEAP.

LEAP, a partnership between the UT Pediatrics Department and the YMCA, provides clinics designed for adolescents 21 and younger in need of behavioral change to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Participants receive physical screenings, nutrition counseling, individualized exercise routines and psychological evaluations to identify emotional influences eating habits.

The Hustle for Health events are scheduled the fourth Wednesday of each month in place of a weekly LEAP clinic. Once the summer ends, the children permanently can enroll in LEAP clinics.

To register for the LEAP clinics, children must either be enrolled in the UT Pediatric Practice or referred by their primary care providers. For more information, call 419.383.3771.

UT invites contractors to participate in renovation project

The University of Toledo is looking for a diverse group of contractors to participate in a more than $7 million renovation project to a campus building.

The University’s renovation of a wing of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories to create a Center for Biosphere Restoration Research is one of three projects approved by the state to test a new construction method aimed to be more flexible and efficient and increase minority participation in public construction.

UT is inviting contractors and minority-owned businesses to attend the Center for Biosphere Restoration Research Outreach Event from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, in the Memorial Field House Auditorium to learn the project parameters and bid schedule.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell will welcome participants and provide remarks about economic development in the region. And representatives from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services will provide information about the needed certifications and answer questions.

“This brings an important economic development opportunity to our community, especially to business owners from underrepresented backgrounds,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, UT assistant vice president for equity and diversity. “Our participation in this construction reform project will strengthen public construction in Ohio in a way that will increase the number of local and minority-owned firms that participate in shaping our university campuses and all other public facilities.”

What makes the Bowman-Oddy renovation project unique is it will use a construction delivery method of construction manager at risk, rather than the traditional “multi-prime” approach that awards numerous different contracts for the work. In this new approach, the construction manager would work with the individual trade contractors in way that is more flexible and saves time.

The rules regarding public construction contracts have essentially remained unchanged for the last 133 years, but Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio Chancellor Eric Fingerhut have undertaken a reform project to see if there is a more efficient way. Public construction accounts for nearly $3 billion in state spending, with about $1 billion of that at Ohio’s institutions of higher education.

“Managing public construction projects more efficiently is an opportunity for Ohio to save taxpayers millions of dollars,” Strickland said. “These projects will help us find the best methods that can accelerate construction projects while spending less money.”

In addition to increasing efficiency and lowering costs, the reform is looking for ways to increase minority participation in state projects. The University has set a goal of 15 percent participation from minority-owned businesses for the Bowman-Oddy renovation project.

The construction project will include the renovation of a 21,291-square-foot space on three floors of Bowman-Oddy to create the Center for Biosphere Restoration Research that will house 13 faculty members from the UT Department of Environmental Sciences.

The center will be located in the south wing of Bowman-Oddy, which was constructed in 1966. Wolfe Hall, built in 1997, will house the required “domino moves” involving the relocation of four undergraduate science instruction labs and other support from Bowman-Oddy. Those labs will be located in areas of Wolfe Hall vacated by the College of Pharmacy, which is moving to new and renovated facilities on the UT Health Science Campus.

The project, which is to be complete by April 2012, will include new mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, and, architecturally, it will involve wholesale reconfiguration of non-load-bearing partitions, new finishes, and new laboratory casework and office furniture.

Renovations at Ohio State University and Central State University also were selected as Construction Reform Demonstration Projects.

“These three pilot construction projects will utilize new methods of construction while we measure cost and time efficiencies, minority business participation, and project quality,” Fingerhut said. “Higher education is dedicated to finding new efficiencies, and we hope to find opportunities that allow us to save money while increasing our capacity to educate Ohio’s future work force and drive economic growth.”

UT receives grant to build algae biofuels research facility at Scott Park Campus

A research and development facility for algae biofuels soon will be built on The University of Toledo Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation.

This rendering by SSOE Group shows the Center for Algal Engineering Research and Commercialization that will be built on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation and include open ponds, ponds in a greenhouse and enclosed photobioreactors to test the efficiency of different growth systems. It also will have pilot-scale capabilities of converting the algae materials grown there into fuel.

This rendering by SSOE Group shows the Center for Algal Engineering Research and Commercialization that will be built on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation and include open ponds, ponds in a greenhouse and enclosed photobioreactors to test the efficiency of different growth systems. It also will have pilot-scale capabilities of converting the algae materials grown there into fuel.

The pilot-scale facility is part of a research project recently awarded a nearly $3 million grant through the Ohio Third Frontier Wright Projects Program that links research capabilities of Ohio colleges, universities and nonprofit research institutions with the needs of industry in the state.

Ohio University and UT are leading the three-year Center for Algal Engineering Research and Commercialization project that has a dozen collaborators, including many Ohio businesses involved in the energy industry.

For UT’s part, the half-acre facility at Scott Park will be constructed to include open ponds, ponds in a greenhouse and enclosed photobioreactors to test efficiency of a variety of growth systems. The facility also will have pilot-scale “downstream processing” capabilities where the algae materials could be converted to fuel — a complete system, said Dr. Sridhar Viamajala, UT assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering and a principal investigator of the project.

“What we would like is not only for University researchers to use the facility, but also to invite our business partners to come here and test their ideas,” Viamajala said. “We will look at what types of strains produce the best types of fuel, optimal ways to grow them, and the most economical approaches for conversion of feedstock into fuel.”

The oil from algae can be used to make fuel, just as soybean and vegetable oil can, but the difference is that algae are not a food source. Algae don’t need clean water or high-quality land to grow, and because they are simple, single-celled organisms, they grow much faster than more complicated plants, Viamajala said.

But creating fuel from algae is not yet done commercially. This research project will help advance the best practices of doing so and put Ohio on the map in this field.

Dr. David Bayless, Ohio University’s Loehr Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said UT’s role is instrumental in the research project because it will create a place for researchers and industry to test different aspects of algae. OU already has such a facility and will increase its analysis through this project, Bayless said.

“Ohio is in a race with the southwestern states when it comes to algae,” he said. “But Ohio has something they don’t — fresh water. You need a lot of water to grow algae, and at The University of Toledo the plan is to focus on Lake Erie algae that are adapted to local environmental conditions.”

UT College of Engineering Dean Dr. Nagi Naganathan said the ability to facilitate vibrant university-industry partnerships will accelerate the development and growth in the field of algal biofuels.

“Rather than having our University researchers do their own testing in the lab and the businesses doing their own development, we will combine our resources for the greater benefit,” Naganathan said. “This will allow real-world testing that isn’t being done now, and we can only imagine the quality and quantity of products that will materialize from this partnership. This is especially pleasing to see one of our young faculty members, Dr. Viamajala, actively engage and lead such an important technology transfer and economic development initiative.”

Naganathan also recognized the support from several individuals that made this possible: Chuck Lehnert, vice president for facilities and construction; Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president for research and development; and Tony Damon, CEO of SSOE Inc., and his staff.

“This has been truly a team effort,” Naganathan said.

The additional partners on the state algal biofuels project are: Algae Producers of America, Center for Innovative Food Technologies, Recombinant Innovation, Harrison County Engineer, Red Lion Bio-Energy, Midwest Biorenewables, Lubrizol, Independence Bio-Products, Tri-County Career Center, Parker Hannifin and Univenture.

The Ohio Third Frontier Wright Projects Program awarded a total of more than $20 million in funding to advance the state’s key technology sectors by supporting improvements to colleges, universities and research institutions, which in turn support the commercialization objectives of Ohio companies.

“Our colleges, universities and research institutions are developing Ohio’s next entrepreneurs, and the Ohio Third Frontier is connecting our students with the technologies of the future,” Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said. “The Wright Projects Program is helping prepare Ohioans for the new kinds of jobs our economy is creating.”

Phase one of strategic plan recalibration nearing completion

After more than six months of work, meetings, community meetings, revisions and more work, the first phase of the recalibration of the strategic directions document is nearing completion.

Since January, the 100-person-plus strategic planning committee has been working to revise the 2007 “Directions” document to account for real, supposed and probable economic, technological and social challenges, and to more closely align UT’s strategies with those of the University System of Ohio. The group held their most recent meeting of the whole Friday, June 25, and put the finishing touches on the first phase of the recalibration process.

Those final touches included an in-depth discussion on how to integrate the document’s six main goals and more specific sub-goals with each other and the identified themes of “relevance, sustainability, land use and distinctiveness.”

“We want to think about how this document starts to become whole, so that it isn’t just six different parts but starts to weave itself together,” said Chuck Lehnert, vice president for facilities and construction and co-chair of the strategic planning committee.

For instance, goal one’s focus of having a highly ranked and distinctive undergraduate education program includes the sub-goal of increasing participation in study abroad and online learning, which leads to a more sustainable use of energy because fewer students are on campus, and an increased role in global engagement (the main focus of the sixth goal). Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the current draft.

The draft includes input from every constituent group across and outside of the University’s campuses, including input from the attendees of six stakeholder meetings held with community members in May.

Getting opinions on the plan from a wide range of people was an important part of the process from early on, Lehnert said. In addition to the six stakeholder meetings, a robust website acts as the strategic plan recalibration online home. The site features full-length videos of every meeting of the whole; minutes, schedules, drafts and member listings from every work group; and pages of contextual information. A Facebook page also allows those interested to get involved and provide instant feedback on the draft document.

“This plan really belongs to the community,” Lehnert said. “If it’s only put together by a few individuals, then the plans can be very narrow. As we increase our constituent group, the ideals become limitless, more strategic, and we get better results.”

In phase two of the recalibration process, implementation plans, measures and metrics will be established using the same process that created and revised the main objectives of “Directions 2010.” Also, Lehnert urged more thought in phase two about the fiscal responsibility of the plan.

“We need to have more thought about how to do this in a downside economy. We can’t build a plan around ‘If I get more money, I can do this,’” he said. “If everything we’re doing depends on having a strong economy, money or resources, then we probably need to think a little more about it.”

After the completion of phase two in October, the finished document is tentatively scheduled to be presented to the UT Board of Trustees for a vote of adoption in November.

To learn more about the strategic plan and how you can become involved, visit utoledo.edu/strategicplan.

UTMC ranks highly in surgical care measurements

The University of Toledo Medical Center’s surgical care measurements have never been better.

UTMC, along with most other hospitals in the country, documents and reports a series of measures related to care before and after surgery. Those overall core measurements in the Surgical Care Improvement Project are all at target, with a number of them at 100 percent.

“The data shows we are among the top performing hospitals in the United States,” said Dr. Ronald McGinnis, UT associate dean for clinical affairs and UTMC medical director. “You can be assured of quality care taking place here, and we have the measurements to show it does.”

Measurements include providing the right antibiotics at the right time before surgery, maintaining a patient’s temperature, taking measures to avoid clots, and more.

Through the implementation of the Surgical Care Improvement Project guidelines, UTMC has improved patient care in a short amount of time. The medical center instituted new forms, held numerous educational sessions and meetings, and began a daily monitoring of these care measures to increase its compliance with guidelines.

For its efforts, UTMC was selected to participate in the University HealthSystem Consortium safety and quality forum this fall in San Diego, where McGinnis will share the hospital’s progress in increasing its ratings on the measurements

Correcting the documentation was a major component of meeting the guidelines. For example, physicians switched several years ago to clipping hair around a surgical site rather than shaving it because it is cleaner and there is less risk for an infection. But sometimes on the charts, the documentation would continue to list that the patient was shaved when actually the hair was clipped, McGinnis said.

“People were getting excellent care before and they are getting excellent care now, but now we are doing a much better job of documenting that care,” McGinnis said.

And as new guidelines have been added, such as removing a urinary catheter within two days of surgery, UTMC has been able to meet the target right off because of its close attention to evidence-based practices, McGinnis said.

In addition to its high scores for the surgical care measurements, UTMC is rated in the top 10 percent of all hospitals with its acute myocardial infarction care measurements. The medical center also is highly ranked on the congestive heart failure and pneumonia measurements, McGinnis said.

Interim dean of the College of Law selected

Steinbock

Steinbock

Daniel J. Steinbock has been selected to serve as interim dean of The University of Toledo’s College of Law.

Steinbock, Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values, has been a member of the UT College of Law faculty for nearly 25 years and has served as associate dean for academic affairs for the college since 2007. He will start his appointment as interim dean July 1.

“I look forward to working with faculty and staff in maintaining and enhancing the college’s academic success, community involvement and national reputation,” Steinbock said. “The biggest challenge is in reaching these goals in a tough economic environment.”

Dr. William McMillen, interim Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said Steinbock is a perfect match for the job because of his breadth of knowledge and familiarity with the college.

“The stability provided by Dan’s experience and history with the college is exactly what it needs during this time of transition,” McMillen, vice president for government relations and chief of staff, said. “The College of Law is in very capable hands under Dan, but finding a permanent dean for the college will be a priority in the next year.”

A search committee has been named, and Steinbock’s term as interim dean will last for one year.

Eagle Scout candidate donates time, effort to aid UTMC cancer patients

Janelle Tipton and Will Crown hold one of the blankets he helped make for patients at the UTMC Cancer Center.

Janelle Tipton and Will Crown hold one of the blankets he helped make for patients at the UTMC Cancer Center.

Battling cancer can leave one feeling cold, both physically when undergoing chemotherapy in a chilly infusion suite, and emotionally. A number of cancer patients at UT Medical Center, though, recently received gifts designed to soften the experience by warming the body and heart.

Will Crown, an 18-year-old graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School and Boy Scout, organized an effort to make about 25 chemotherapy blankets that were wrapped around nondenominational prayers and donated to the UTMC Cancer Center in mid-April. The blankets were gifted to cancer patients there for use at the facility and at home.

“The Boy Scouts focus on leadership in the troop and community, and a big part of that is volunteerism. Ever since I joined the Boy Scouts, it has been a huge part of my life,” Crown said. “People see you doing good and a cycle starts where more people do the same.”

He added, “The immediate effects are maybe hard to see, but the real joy is in knowing that you changed somebody’s life in a positive way.”

Crown developed a budget, enlisted about a dozen volunteers from his high school as well as the Christ Presbyterian Church in Toledo, where he is a member, and his local Boy Scouts troop, and acquired donated material to make the blankets.

Each blanket was made by a two-person team and took about 45 minutes to finish. Two different colors of fabric were used for each, making for a colorful wrap.

“It was a wonderful gift,” said Janice Cousino, a retired UTMC employee and recipient of one of the blankets. “The blanket was a comfort and a kindness, and I thought of the young man who made this for me, knowing that he had people like me in mind.”

The handmade nature of the blankets made them especially meaningful, she said.

Crown’s mother, Karen, works in health and hearing about her experiences with cancer patients is what inspired him.

“I heard about how their bodies are in a weakened state and get cold sometimes during chemotherapy, so the blankets seemed like a good way to offer emotional and physical comfort,” he said.

He selected the UTMC Cancer Center as the distribution location to impact his immediate community.

This endeavor was Crown’s Eagle Scout project. The venture was approved by his local Boy Scout troop and the American Cancer Society.

Janelle Tipton, an oncology clinical nurse specialist at UTMC, helped coordinate the effort between Crown and the cancer society because the organization needed to approve the project for him to proceed. She also aided in identifying patient recipients of the blankets and in distribution.

“His idea of helping patients with cancer was also a kind gesture for a young high school boy,” Tipton said. “Patients who have already received blankets have been pleased with this gift.”

New roles formalized for marketing, communications leaders

In an effort to better integrate the University’s marketing and communications activities, two longtime staff members have been asked to reconfigure operations and lead these efforts across the entire institution.

Klinger, left, and Fabian

Klinger, left, and Fabian

The UT Board of Trustees recently approved the new roles of Esther Fabian, associate vice president for branding and creative services, and Tobin J. Klinger, associate vice president for university communications and marketing operations. Previously, Klinger served as senior director for university communications, and Fabian was director of health-care marketing.

“Tobin and Esther have showcased great leadership during their years with The University of Toledo,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “Our marketing and communications staff are some of the best in the business, and Esther and Tobin have a shared vision for the future that will help us immeasurably as we work to grow enrollment and our clinical enterprise.”

Fabian joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1999. Since that time, she has held roles in alumni relations and development. On the Health Science Campus, Fabian led an office charged with internal and external marketing, social media and Web initiatives for UT Medical Center. She successfully worked with the offices of Marketing and University Communications on Main Campus to integrate marketing and branding strategies of UT Medical Center with the overall institution brand. Projects have received awards from the American Association of Medical Colleges, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and Healthcare Marketing Report.

“Nothing makes me happier at work than building and spreading excitement and collaboration amongst a team,” Fabian said. “We’ve only just begun looking at ways to enhance already strong commitment, creativity and collaboration amongst our team and other teams on campus.”

Klinger started as a media relations coordinator at UT in 2001. He also has been media relations manager and served as interim executive director of public relations and marketing. His accomplishments include shaping the vision and implementation of the myUT page as an internal communications hub; launching social media efforts; leading updating efforts of the UT homepage; numerous local, regional and national media placements; and the reinvention of the town hall meeting.

“It’s a thrill to be asked to serve in this role,” Klinger said. “The team in communications and marketing operations are some of the most diligent, dedicated and creative people that I’ve ever encountered. It’s an honor to work with them.”

UTMC organizational structure changes designed to match positions, skill sets

When he was appointed interim vice president and executive director of The University of Toledo Medical Center, Dr. Scott Scarborough told UTMC leadership he was going to start with a 30-day listening tour.

As those 30 days wind to a close, Scarborough, senior vice president for finance and administration, told members of the Operational Leadership Team June 16 that while there is still much he has to learn, he believed it was important to start moving forward with ways UTMC’s leadership could be better structured to maximize individual strengths.

“I want to emphasize this is not because anyone is doing anything wrong,” Scarborough said. “Quite the opposite. I want to see if we can put people in positions where their skill sets and passions will enable them to achieve more for UT and get more out of their jobs personally.”

Scarborough said the new draft organizational structure is the product of many productive conversations and that he, Norma Tomlinson and others will be seeking further input on in the weeks ahead. Tomlinson is associate vice president and associate executive director of UTMC.

Under the new structure, inpatient nursing and ancillary services will report to Tomlinson, while operating room administration and outpatient clinics will report directly to Scarborough with a dotted line relationship to Tomlinson. Finance, accounting and budgeting functions will continue to report directly to Scarborough.

Scarborough asked small teams to lead efforts to minimize wait times in outpatient clinics and find efficiencies. Additionally, a director of patient satisfaction position will be created to help address a priority need for the institution, he said.

“If this isn’t the right structure, then we’ll change it again,” Scarborough said. “But by working as a team, I think we’ll be able to accomplish more, and any team works best when members are put in positions where they will be most successful.

“I’m not worried about individuals’ weaknesses — the team covers up for that,” he said. “Where I have weaknesses, Norma and others in this room have strengths and that’s the case for everyone here.”

With the correct team members in the right places, Scarborough said the next step was to start developing a game plan to improve hospital services in the face of some challenging financial circumstances both at UT and in the health-care industry.

“I know some of the pieces of this game plan, but I need your help putting it together as one comprehensive plan,” he told Operational Leadership Team members. He also encouraged UTMC leadership to look at staff in their own areas to see if people were in positions that maximized their talents.

“We have a number of challenges in front of us that can seem pretty daunting,” Scarborough said, “but by working together and executing that game plan we will create, I think we’ll see improvements across the hospital.”