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UTMC joins Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network

To better serve the people in the Toledo region who suffer from addiction, The University of Toledo Medical Center has joined the Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit treatment provider and its Patient Care Network is the first of its kind in the addiction treatment industry working to address the needs of patients beginning their recovery journey.

“We saw the need and felt the obligation to join the fight against substance misuse that is so prevalent in the Toledo community, the state of Ohio and our nation,” said Dan Barbee, CEO of UT Medical Center. “As a member of the Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network, we will have access to resources, best practices and most-effective treatment approaches that will be invaluable additions to our current care provided in the UTMC Adult Detoxification Inpatient Unit to aid our patients as they work toward a successful, long-term recovery.”

In April, UTMC opened a 10-bed inpatient, acute detox unit for adults ages 18 and older. The unit has treated about 320 patients with a nearly 94 percent program completion rate.

“The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s experience, knowledge and expertise uniquely position us as a ‘center of excellence’ to share our clinical best practices and tools with other leading-edge health-care providers through our innovative Patient Care Network,” said Bob Poznanovich, executive director of business development for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “We are committed to sharing our multifaceted, evidence-based approach to confronting the opioid crisis with states like Ohio, and our own system benefits mightily from collaborating with other leading-edge health-care providers like The University of Toledo Medical Center.”

As a member of the Patient Care Network, UTMC will gain access to tools, resources and collaborative consultation for its leadership, staff, patients, families and communities. This is especially timely as the opioid crisis places added pressures on hospital systems, substance use disorder treatment providers, primary acute mental health providers, and other specialty providers across the country.

To learn more, visit hazeldenbettyford.org/professionals/patient-care-network.

UTMC focuses on hand hygiene for infection prevention

In recognition of International Infection Prevention Week, The University of Toledo Medical Center is going back to the basics of infection prevention by focusing on proper hand hygiene.

UTMC’s “Wash in-Wash out” hand hygiene policy states employees should perform hand hygiene with traditional soap or water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or waterless antimicrobial hand gel, spray, wipes or foam before and after they enter a patient room or environment. By doing this, the risk of hospital-inquired infections is significantly reduced.

“Practicing proper hand hygiene is not only the most effective method of preventing the spread of germs, but is the least expensive method to assist with infection prevention efforts,” said Ann Keegan, director of infection prevention and control for UTMC.

The hospital’s current compliance rate is 79 percent, which exceeds the goal of 75 percent.

“If everyone holds themselves and their colleagues accountable for proper hand hygiene, we can increase our observed compliance and decrease transmission of infections,” Keegan said.

The World Health Organization recommends these five moments to perform hand hygiene:

• Before touching a patient;

• Before clean/aseptic procedures;

• After body fluid exposure/risk;

• After touching a patient; and

• After touching patient surroundings.

“Keeping patients safe from infection is everyone’s responsibility,” Keegan said. “By continuing to practice proper hand hygiene, we promote a safe environment and are decreasing the possibility of spreading infections throughout our facility.”

UTMC sponsors Walk to End Alzheimer’s Oct. 14 on Main Campus

The University of Toledo Medical Center is sponsoring the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday, Oct. 14, on Main Campus.

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m., and the ceremony and walk will begin at 10 a.m. on Centennial Mall.

Two teams will represent UT and UTMC: the Lab Rats, led by Dr. Isaac T. Schiefer, UT assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and associate director of the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence, and Senior Behavioral Health, led by Kim Kross, community education manager for Senior Behavioral Health at UT Medical Center.

Schiefer is the 2017 walk chairman. He is the recipient of the Alzheimer’s Association’s $100,000 New Investigator Research Grant to support his work to develop an Alzheimer’s drug.

“I am very grateful to be chair of this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s,” Schiefer said. “My research is focused on exploring ways to improve memory and maybe find a cure for this debilitating disease.”

Schiefer, a synthetic organic chemist, has developed a prototype molecule that improves memory in mice. He is studying the drug characteristics of the prototype molecule, which was designed to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor, also known as BDNF. It is the first step toward a drug that could be given to Alzheimer’s patients.

To join one of the University’s teams, visit the Alzheimer Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s Toledo region web page here.

Participate in UT Day of Giving activities Oct. 12

Rockets around the world are coming together for The University of Toledo’s first Day of Giving, Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives, on Thursday, Oct. 12.

UT students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and volunteers can get involved by participating in a number of on-campus activities to celebrate UT’s history and support its future.

Activities kick off Wednesday, Oct. 11, with special group exercise classes at the Student Recreation Center. Popular local Beachbody instructors and master trainers Angie Green and Laurie Vass will lead classes at 4 and 5:30 p.m. for $5 donations to the Day of Giving fundraiser.

Donation tables also will be available starting at 3 p.m. at both the Rec Center and the Morse Fitness Center on Health Science Campus. All in-person donations will receive a donor recognition sign for a $1 gift, a blender bottle for $5 and a T-shirt for $10, while supplies last.

On Founder’s Day Oct. 12, Centennial Mall will host a number of activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate the day and raise awareness of the opportunity to give. There will be a dog-petting station and photo booth available for donations of $1, and blender bottles for donations of $5. Students also can participate in raffles for the chance to win a Rocket football jersey signed by Coach Jason Candle for a donation of $10, a view of campus from the rooftop of Parks Tower for a $25 gift, and a tour of the clock tower in University Hall for a donation of $50.

The on-campus giving stations will accept credit and debit cards, checks and Rocket dollars. Locations to accept in-person donations include, on Main Campus, Centennial Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thompson Student Union and Rocket Hall all day, and on Health Science Campus, in the Collier Building and Wolfe Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Four Seasons Bistro in UT Medical Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Orthopaedic Center from 4 to 6 p.m. Giving stations on Health Science Campus will accept debit and credit cards and checks.

Online donations are accepted at rocketforward.utoledo.edu. All Rockets also are asked to share their stories and encourage others to give on social media using #rocketforward.

Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives begins at midnight Thursday, Oct. 12, and continues through noon Friday, Oct. 13. The goal for this inaugural Day of Giving is to encourage as many people as possible to support the University.

UT to honor three for contributions to emergency medicine

The University of Toledo will recognize three local individuals for their work and dedication to the field of emergency medicine at the seventh annual Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor Induction Ceremony.

A reception will be held Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 11:30 a.m. in the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus. The program will start at noon with a welcome from UT President Sharon L. Gaber followed by remarks from Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and Dr. Kristopher Brickman, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

“This ceremony celebrates individuals who have demonstrated a passion for the field and epitomize what emergency medicine is all about,” Brickman said. “Through their leadership and commitment, each has helped advance the field to the next level.”

The Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor, made possible through funding from IPI Insta-Plak Inc. and The Blade, was established in 2011 to celebrate the achievements of those who committed to service within the emergency medicine community.

Each year, nominations are submitted by a committee of community stakeholders and reviewed by a multidisciplinary selection committee.

This year’s honorees are:

• Dr. Todd Brookens, emergency medicine physician. Considered a favorite among hospital staff at ProMedica Toledo Hospital for his approachability, enthusiasm to teach and outgoing nature, Brookens earned his doctorate of medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed his internship and residency in emergency medicine at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. The emergency department physician also is the associate medical director of the ProMedica Transportation Network and medical director for many EMS agencies in the northwest Ohio region.

• Marja Soikkeli-Dooner, registered nurse. Soikkeli-Dooner developed extensive experience in nursing and administration throughout her career at Mercy St. Vincent and ProMedica Toledo hospitals, where she was director of emergency services. Prior to her retirement, Soikkeli-Dooner served as the vice president and chief nursing officer at ProMedica Wildwood Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital. She earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Pen Valley Community College in Kansas City, Mo., followed by a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in liberal studies at UT. She is regarded as an exceptional mentor who has helped mold many of the great leaders in emergency medicine.

• Heidi Hess, emergency medical technician. Hess served 22 years in the Springfield Township Fire Department, before retiring as captain of the EMS department in 2014. She began her career in 1978 as an EMT-basic, and by 1981 had earned her paramedic certificate licensure. Hess played an integral role in EMS education by providing training to thousands of firefighters, EMTs, nurses and physicians throughout her career.

Surgeon named director of cancer program

With nearly 30 years of experience in cancer-related care, it comes as no surprise that Dr. F. Charles Brunicardi has been named director of the cancer program in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

This administrative role oversees the coordination of the three key components of the cancer program — clinical, education and research studies in affiliation with ProMedica.

Brunicardi

“I am honored to be here and enjoy working with President [Sharon L.] Gaber, Dean [Christopher] Cooper, and UTMC CEO Dan Barbee,” Brunicardi said. “In this administrative role, I really aim to focus on enhancing relationships between clinical staff, clinical and basic science faculty, as well as the learners, in order to take the cancer program to its next level of excellence. The ultimate goal is to build a precision medicine program for targeted cancer therapy in affiliation with ProMedica.”

A practicing general surgeon specializing in personalized surgery and precision medicine, Brunicardi joined UT in 2016 as chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of academic surgery for ProMedica.

Prior to this, he was a member of the Department of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he served as professor in residence and vice chair of surgery since 2011 and the Moss Foundation Chair in Gastrointestinal and Personalized Surgery since 2012.

“Dr. Brunicardi was an ideal choice for this role because of his vast experience in translational cancer research, surgical oncology and his strong leadership skills,” said Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and executive vice president for clinical affairs. “This role is critical for the integration of high-quality patient care, state-of-the-art research, and education. Dr. Brunicardi has the skills and experience to accomplish this.”  

In addition to his impressive experience, Brunicardi’s clinical interests include pancreatic cancer neuroendocrine tumors, as well as breast surgery. His research focuses on translation precision medicine and personalized surgery, specifically pertaining to pancreatic cancer. He has published 284 papers, seven books and 38 book chapters, and is the lead editor of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery.

After receiving his medical degree from Rutgers School of Medicine in 1980, he graduated the surgery residency program at State University of New York Downstate, where he also spent three years as a research fellow in pancreatic diseases. He served as an assistant and associate professor at UCLA, then served as professor and chairman of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston for 12 years.

He has designed and founded three breast cancer centers and served on boards of three cancer centers. He has served as the first vice president for the Texas Surgical Society, as a member of the board of directors for the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and on the board of trustees at the Mary Crowley Medical Research Center. He is a member of the Committee on Technology and Communications Association for Academic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, and is a charter member of the Cure Focus Research Alliance. He has held several positions within the Association for Academic Surgery; these include president, recorder and historian.

Brunicardi also dedicates time to editorial services for medical publications, including the Journal of Translational Medicine; American Journal of Surgery; Cancer Management and Research; Clinical and Translational Science; Pancreas; and World Journal of Surgery.

Two UT Medical Center physical therapists earn neuro certification, bringing total to four

The physical therapy team at UT Medical Center has another reason to be proud: Alison Pollacek and Eman Jarouche are the most recent therapists to be certified in neurologic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, bringing the total number to four at UTMC.

“This is not a requirement for all physical therapists to achieve,” Pollacek said. “We have a passion for what we do and believe that in order to offer the best therapies to our patients, we needed to pursue a certification of this merit.”

Certified in neurologic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists are, back row from left, Eman Jarouche, Alison Pollacek and Tori Smith, and, front, Cathy Hites.

Both Pollacek and Jarouche went through 2,000 hours of clinical training and took the certification exam in March. They received official notification of their passing scores in June, demonstrating their knowledge of evidence-based treatments integrated into excellent clinical practice.

“It was a lot of hard work, but, in reality, it’s small compared to the work our patients put in for us,” Pollacek said.

According to the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists’ website, only 2,290 therapists in the United States have earned the distinction of neurologic clinical specialist as of June. It is rare for one institution to have one board-certified neurologic physical therapist.

“To have the number of neuro-certified therapists as we do at UTMC acknowledges our desire to better serve our patients and keep up to date on best practices in terms of therapeutic approaches and research,” Jarouche said.

Cathy Hites was the first at UTMC to receive her certification in 1999, followed by Tori Smith in 2009. Both knew that they wanted to further support their patients with neuro-related injuries such as those from strokes, trauma, or those for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.

The number of patients coming in for treatment with strokes, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries has increased over time, resulting in the need to focus on the best practices in physical therapy for this patient population, as well as those with degenerative diseases.

“We want our patients to feel confident during their therapy sessions and trust we are backing their individual treatment plans with knowledge that leads them back to their everyday lives,” Smith said.

In addition to the four neurological clinical specialists, the Outpatient Therapy Services at UTMC has two therapists certified as sports clinical specialists and one as an orthopedic clinical specialist.

For more information, call the Outpatient Therapy Department at UTMC at 419.383.5040 or visit uthealth.utoledo.edu.

Satellites to hold $6 sale this week

The Satellites Auxiliary’s $6 sale will take place Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 27-29, in UT Medical Center’s Four Seasons Bistro Atrium.

Check out a wide variety of items that will be for sale for $6: rings, watches, bracelets, scarves, ties, sunglasses, belts, earrings, cuff links, purses, wallets, totes, reading glasses, pendants, chains and more.

The sale will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

Cash, check, credit cards and payroll deduction will be accepted.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit scholarships.

The Satellites Auxiliary is a volunteer group designed to promote education, research and service programs; provide support of patient programs in accordance with the needs and approval of administration; conduct fundraising events; and provide services.

For more information on the sale, contact Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites, at lynn.brand@utoledo.edu.

UTMC helps BMX racer beat paralysis to get back on track

Sixteen-year-old Dakota Gillett was an avid BMX bicycle racer with the dream of going pro.

“BMX was my passion. It was just my thing,” Gillett said. “I’d just focus on that and do my school — and that’s all I did.”

Dakota Gillett, who was diagnosed with lifetime paralysis after a bike accident last year, was pedaling again recently on Health Science Campus.

On July 3, 2016, while on vacation in Tucson, Ariz., he entered a BMX contest that would forever change his life. When attempting a jump over a barrel, Gillett fell and broke his C3 and C4 vertebrae, which resulted in him being paralyzed from the chest down.

His mom, Heidi, was home in Montpelier, Ohio, when her son was injured. After arriving at the hospital in Arizona, she was not prepared for what she saw.

“There was Dakota, with tubes everywhere. He had a ventilator in. He had tubes coming out of his neck, he had two central lines put in,” she said. “He was just sitting there. He just looked so miserable and so sad. I’ve never seen him like that.”

Eman Jarouche, physical therapist at UTMC’s Outpatient Therapy Services, worked with Dakota Gillett.

After undergoing surgeries and beginning rehabilitation, Gillett was transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Northwest Ohio on the UT Health Science Campus to be closer to home. He then progressed to outpatient care at UT Medical Center.

“He started off here in our facility in a wheelchair,” said Eman Jarouche, physical therapist at UTMC’s Outpatient Therapy Services. “He had mentioned that he was able to stand a couple of times and try to take a step, but that was all he was able to do when he started here.”

During the next nine months, Gillett and his mom traveled more than an hour from their home to UTMC at least twice each week for physical therapy and occupational therapy services.

Gillett and Jarouche

“Once he came here, they instantly put him on a harness, and they put him on a treadmill and got him walking,” Gillett’s mom said.

In spite of a diagnosis of lifetime paralysis with little chance of walking, Gillett was determined to get back on his bike by the first anniversary of his accident.

“As my body got stronger, we started talking about getting back on my bike,” he said. “I went out and bought a helmet and bought a strap for my left leg and said, ‘OK, now it’s time to focus.’ They put the belt on and were like, ‘OK, you’re on your own,’ and I look back and I’m on my own! This was unbelievable.”

“His biggest goal was getting back on the bike by the one-year mark, and now he’s riding with the wind in his hair!” Jarouche said.

Gillett’s mom credits Jarouche and the rest of her son’s therapy team at UTMC for pushing him while giving him the quality care he needed.

“I felt like these guys actually cared and made sure that that person could get to where they needed to get,” she said. “When Dakota would get his goals, they would be doing dances with him. I’m just so happy with this place.”

“My experience at UT is possibly the best experience that I’ve ever had in my whole life because they never give up and they always push you to your limits,” Gillett said.

To watch Gillett’s story, click here.