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UT College of Medicine students to receive white coats at ceremony

The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences will recognize first-year medical students during its official white coat ceremony Thursday, Aug. 3, at 10 a.m. in Nitschke Hall Auditorium. 

The ceremony, held during the week of orientation, welcomes medical students to the college and prepares them for undertaking a medical career. Highlights of the event include a welcome from the dean of the college, a keynote address on humanism in medicine, and the presentation of white coats and recitation of the Medical Student Pledge of Ethics.

Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president of clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, will officiate the ceremony in which 175 medical students will receive their white coats. More than 75 percent of the new students are Ohio residents, and about 20 percent are from northwest Ohio.

“This traditional ceremony really underscores the foundation of the medical profession for first-year medical students,” Cooper said. “The white coat serves as a symbol of their achievement of being selected to medical school. Secondly, it reiterates their commitment to professionalism, continuing education, and their service to others through medical care.”

The annual ceremony will conclude orientation week for the medical students.

In addition to College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences holds a white coat ceremony for third-year PharmD students, and the UT College of Health and Human Services presents white coats to first-year physical therapy and occupational therapy doctoral students and respiratory care students in their junior year, which is the first year of their professional program.

Associate professor emeritus sketches Louie the elephant

On a recent Monday morning, Dr. Paul Brand found inspiration in the wise eyes of Louie, an elephant that was at the time housed at the Toledo Zoo.

“I belong to an informal group of artists, the Monday Morning Painters. We meet every Monday for breakfast and then sketch or paint in different venues around northwest Ohio,” explained the associate professor emeritus of physiology and pharmacology.

Dr. Paul Brand, who drew this sketch of Louie the elephant, will have a booth at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 30.

Though Brand was able to expertly capture Louie in his sketch, he pointed out that wild animals don’t always make the easiest subject matter: “Sketching at the zoo is fun, but challenging. Subject matter is mostly the interesting architecture; the animals would make great pictures if they would hold still. Happily, Louie held still for about 30 minutes while eating an enormous amount of hay.”

While Louie ate his breakfast, Brand studied the elephant’s features.

He described his artistic process: “I set up opposite him and laid out a sketch as usual, using a 2B drawing pencil, first noting the length and height of his body, the relative sizes of his head, ears and trunk, and the length of his legs compared to his height at his shoulder. Then I carefully outlined his body shape and used shading to give volume and character. I paid special attention to his face as that is where character is. Last, I made fine lines to show the creases around his eyes that give him the appearance of wisdom.”

Louie, born in 2003 at a whopping 275 pounds, recently was transferred to Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Neb. He resides with a herd of six other elephants rescued from Africa amid a severe drought. Zoo staff are hopeful that transfers such as these will serve a large role in saving the endangered species.

Though visitors aren’t able to visit Louie at the Toledo Zoo, they can still pick up greeting cards made from Brand’s sketch, and the original sketch, at Art on the Mall. The juried art fair will be held Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall. Brand will be at booth No. 98, located near the Health and Human Services Building.

“I enjoy showing my work at art fairs; Art on the Mall is one of the best: well-organized; friendly, competent volunteers; and an excellent location on campus,” he said. “This is my fourth year at Art on the Mall.”

2017 report for Ohio’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative highlights UT water quality research

Ohio Sea Grant released today its 2017 update on the statewide Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative documenting two years of progress seeking solutions for harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

The University of Toledo, situated on the western basin of Lake Erie, is one of the lead universities in the initiative, which consists of 10 Ohio universities and five state agencies and is funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and matching funds from participating universities.

The city of Toledo’s water intake is regularly monitored by UT researchers and students during the summer algal bloom season to check for toxins.

The 54-page report features a variety of important research activity underway by members of the UT Water Task Force to protect the public water supply and public health, including:

• Early warning system for toxic algae in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay by Dr. Tom Bridgeman, professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Ricky Becker, associate professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences;

• Developing methods to help water treatment plant operators make decisions on lake water pumping rates according to time of day and weather conditions in order to reduce exposure to algal toxins at the Lake Erie water intake, also by Bridgeman and Becker;

• Transport and fate of cyanotoxins in drinking water distribution systems, such as pipes and storage tanks, by Dr. Youngwoo Seo, associate professor in the UT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;

• Investigating alternative biological filtration for algal toxin removal in water treatment through better understanding of microcystin-degrading bacteria, also by Seo;

• Examining the influence of potassium permanganate treatment on algal cell integrity and toxin degradation, also by Seo;

• Developing microcystin-detoxifying water biofilters to upgrade water treatment filters with friendly bacteria through the discovery of enzymes and pathways responsible for microcystin degradation by Dr. Jason Huntley, associate professor in the UT Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology;

• Studying the accuracy of ELISA, the standard test measuring harmful algal toxins, in comparison to a more time-consuming but reliable method, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry by Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;

• Developing lab tests for detecting microcystin exposure through biological samples and measuring how much remains inside the body, also by Isailovic;

• Evaluating the ability of commercially available home purification systems to remove algal toxins from tap water by Dr. Glenn Lipscomb, professor and chair of the UT Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering;

• Reconsidering recommended healthy exposure limits by studying the impact of algal toxins in experimental models of pre-existing liver disease by Dr. David Kennedy and Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professors in the UT Division of Cardiovascular Medicine;

• Studying health effects of recreational and work exposure to harmful algal blooms through fishing, swimming or boating by Dr. April Ames and Dr. Michael Valigosky, assistant professors in the UT Department of Occupational and Public Health; and

• Creating an online database to help inform the public about harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie by Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT geography professor and associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Ohio Sea Grant, which manages the statewide Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative, is soliciting proposals for a third round of funding to continue the efforts underway to address toxic algae in Ohio’s Great Lake.

Participating universities include UT, Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Defiance College, Heidelberg University, Kent State University, Sinclair Community College, the University of Akron and the University of Cincinnati. UT and OSU serve as leaders of the university consortium.

To view the full report, go to http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/p/ib57m/view.

For Ohio Sea Grant’s news release, go to http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/news/2017/gz884/habri-report-year-2.

The UT Water Task Force, which is comprised of faculty and researchers in diverse fields spanning the University, serves as a resource for government officials and the public looking for expertise on investigating the causes and effects of algal blooms, the health of Lake Erie, and the health of the communities depending on its water. The task force includes experts in economics; engineering; environmental sciences; business; pharmacy; law; chemistry and biochemistry; geography and planning; and medical microbiology and immunology.

Water quality is a major research focus at UT. With $12.5 million in active grants underway, UT experts are studying algal blooms, invasive species such as Asian carp, and pollutants. Researchers are looking for pathways to restore our greatest natural resource for future generations to ensure communities continue to have access to safe drinking water.

Researchers and students help to protect the public drinking water supply for the greater Toledo area throughout summer algal bloom season by conducting water sampling to alert water treatment plant operators of any toxins heading toward the water intake. UT’s 28-foot research vessel and early warning buoy enable UT to partner with the city of Toledo and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the health of Lake Erie and provide real-time data.

Northwest Ohio students to experience medical school at CampMed

Teenagers today and potential physicians tomorrow will learn the tools of the trade and practice their clinical skills at the 20th annual CampMed program at The University of Toledo.

The two-day CampMed program will be held Thursday and Friday, June 15 and 16, on Health Science Campus.

The 2017 class has 39 incoming freshman high school students from across northwest Ohio who will get a sampling of medical school by participating in hands-on lessons such as learning to dress for the operating room and suturing wounds.

“It’s imperative to reach out to young people early to nurture their interests in science and discovery. Their dreams for the future, which for some might include becoming a doctor, are attainable, and we want to show them there are people who want to help,” said Courtney K. Combs, director of the UT and Ohio Area Health Education Center programs.

“CampMed gives students the opportunity to learn firsthand what it’s like to be in the medical field before they even start high school. The participants really enjoy learning from current students in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences.”

CampMed is a scholarship program at no cost to the students, most of whom are first-generation college students and other underrepresented groups. The camp is sponsored by the UT Area Health Education Center program, which along with other programs throughout the country, strives to improve the health of individuals and communities by developing the health-care workforce. First- and second-year UT medical students serve as camp counselors, and the campers also will interact with physicians and faculty members.

The students will begin Thursday morning after the welcoming ceremonies with a tools of the trade session where they will learn to use medical instruments such as blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes. Lessons will continue for two days with opportunities to tour a gross anatomy lab, make a cast and more.

CampMed, which began in 1998, is a competitive program that requires students to submit a letter of recommendation, a nomination from a science or math teacher or counselor, and a personal essay to be chosen to participate.

Pioneering surgeon to speak at College of Medicine commencement May 26

Internationally renowned minimally invasive surgeon Dr. Mehran Anvari will be the commencement speaker for the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences graduation ceremony Friday, May 26, at 2 p.m. at Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. in Toledo.

There are more than 200 candidates for degrees: 162 for doctor of medicine degrees; 10 for a doctor of philosophy degrees; 29 for master’s degrees; and four for graduate certificates.

Anvari

Anvari, one of the first physicians in Canada to use robotics in surgery who also won a NASA award for his role in developing an automated robot used for detecting the early stages of breast cancer, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Anvari serve as the speaker for our upcoming commencement,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, senior vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “His impressive body of work, particularly in minimal access techniques, should serve as an example to our graduates that pushing boundaries and finding new and innovative methods to replace established practices can lead to better, more positive outcomes.”

A tenured professor and chair in minimally invasive surgery and surgical innovation at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Anvari is the founding director of the McMaster Institute for Surgical Invention, Innovation and Education; the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery; and the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation.

“It is an honor to be invited to speak at the commencement of The University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences,” Anvari said. “My talk will focus on how innovation is an essential ingredient for social and economic progress and can solve the problems facing our global community. It should be a goal for all students and drive our future academic and professional endeavors.”

Anvari is a pioneer in his field. He is the founding director of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery and scientific director and CEO of the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation, affiliated with McMaster University and St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton.

In 2003, he established the world’s first telerobotic surgical service linking St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a community hospital.

In addition, Anvari has authored more than 120 publications and has been an invited lecturer numerous times on the outcomes and evidence for the increasing use of laparoscopic esophagogastric and bowel surgery, as well as on the use of robotics in surgery.

Girls in Science Day at UT May 10

More than 140 sophomore high school girls will visit The University of Toledo Wednesday, May 10, when prominent female scientists and engineers across the region will introduce them to the exciting world of science and technology careers through hands-on experiments and demonstrations.

The eighth annual Women in STEMM Day of Meetings, which goes by the acronym WISDOM, will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on UT’s Main Campus and Health Science Campus.

UT faculty and industrial professionals from Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Spartan Chemical Co. Inc. will help inspire a passion for science careers by exploring the tools of the trade. The visiting high school students also will get to interact with female graduate students in the various areas in science, engineering and the health sciences.

The girls will carry out investigations in a number of areas, including physics and astronomy, chemistry, biology, engineering, pharmacy, and medicine.

Activities for students will include building solar cells; using liquid nitrogen to make objects float in the air; swabbing their cheeks for a DNA sample; building a motor; generating electricity on a bike; making biodiesel fuel; using patient simulators to practice patient interventions; and making lip balm.

During lunch in the Brady Center on the Engineering campus, the students will learn about coding and its importance for future careers in STEMM.

“Girls are just as interested in science and technology as their male peers, but the number of girls that make it to college to pursue a major and get a job in a STEMM field is not growing as we need it to do,” said Edith Kippenhan, senior lecturer in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, director of WISDOM, and past president of the Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science. “Women approach problems differently, and they come up with different, equally valid solutions. We need them in the workforce to better design products and solutions for the various problems facing our society and our planet.”

Students from Toledo Public, Washington Local and Oregon Schools, as well as from the Toledo Islamic Academy and Wildwood Environmental Academy, will participate in WISDOM at the University.

“It is our goal to show the students they have a real and doable pathway to their dream career in STEMM,” Kippenhan said. “It is our hope that a visit to UT for events such as WISDOM will inspire them to embrace science and technology, and turn their dreams into reality.”

The event is hosted by the Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science. Sponsors include Marathon Petroleum Corp., Columbia Gas, Spartan Chemical Co., the Toledo Section of the American Chemical Society, the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, and the UT colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Executive assistant selected for Hymore Award

Candace “Candy” Busdiecker, executive assistant and liaison committee on medical education coordinator in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, is the 2017 recipient of the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award.

Busdiecker received the honor named for the longtime executive secretary to former President Lloyd Jacobs April 19 at the Outstanding Staff Awards in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center. The award is presented annually to an individual whose work defines the core values of the University in Hymore’s spirit of support, encouragement and service.

Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs, left, and President Sharon L. Gaber, right, presented the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award to Candace “Candy” Busdiecker.

“Candy wears many hats in her position. She provides assistance to the administrative director of operations for the dean, which is an extremely busy office. She is also taking calls, emails or visits in her capacity as ‘concierge’ for specific needs for UT Medical Center,” one nominator wrote. “She is always calm, smiling, happy and welcoming. No matter how small or large of an issue, she maintains professionalism throughout. She follows through and also follows up. She does not consider any matter resolved until she knows it has been satisfactorily done.”

She joined the University in 1995 as a secretary in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, becoming a secretary II in 1999. One year later, Busdiecker took on the role of administrative research coordinator staying within the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. She joined the College of Medicine Dean’s Office as administrative assistant to the chancellor in 2011.

“Candy is a very patient person. One of her biggest assets is the art of how she listens. She honors each person as unique and knows that it is not a one-size-fits-all type of approach in doing her job,” one nominator wrote. “She understands that the success of UTMC and UT as a whole is built one person at a time. Whether she is dealing with members for the affiliation, faculty, staff or students, her mission is that they have a positive experience however she is able to help.”

“I enjoy the people at UT and working with such a great team in the College of Medicine Dean’s Office,” Busdiecker said. “There is no way to express my gratitude to everyone for nominating and choosing me for this award. Ms. Hymore was an amazing lady and will always have a special place in my heart.”

University recognizes faculty, staff for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

UT outstanding advisers, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were honored last week.

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Winners of the Outstanding Adviser Award were Rose Marie Ackerman and Dr. Matthew Franchetti.

Rose Marie Ackerman
, associate director of student services in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering. She joined the University in 2006.

“Rose is the only adviser I know that does long-range plans for students. This helps tremendously because I am able to check off the classes I have already taken because she provides a specialized plan for each individual,” one nominator wrote. “She is the best adviser I’ve had at any university, and I’ve been to three different universities.” “Rose is always willing to see and talk to any student,” another noted. “She responds to emails quickly with any information needed. I just changed my major, and Rose is the person who helped me the most.” Another wrote, “She is the go-to person in the department for policies and procedures.”

Dr. Matthew Franchetti, associate professor and associate chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. He began working at UT in 2007.

“Dr. Franchetti is the most helpful person I have ever met,” one nominator noted. Another wrote, “The other day I walked into his office looking for advice on going to grad school. He went through the positives and negatives and all of the things required in the application process. He sat down and went over the different courses of study and what each plan entails. On top of that, he took the time to explain what the University is kind of looking for and offered to be one of my references. I do not know how I would have gotten through engineering without him.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Receiving Outstanding Research Awards were, from left, Dr. Robert Collins, Lee J. Strang, Dr. Blair Grubb and Dr. Mohamed Elahinia.

Dr. Robert Collins
, NEG Endowed Chair and Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Collins is an internationally recognized expert on thin films and photovoltaics, especially for his groundbreaking contributions in the use of optical measurements, in particular, ellipsometry for assessments of real-time thin-film growth. This work is not only important to the photovoltaics industry, but also is valuable to related technologies such as displays and sensors. His total research funding, either as principal investigator or co-principal investigator at both UT and his former university, exceeds $48 million. He is a prolific writer with more than 450 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings articles, and he is the editor or co-editor of nine books. His published work has more than 10,000 citations.

Dr. Mohamed Elahinia, professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering.

Elahinia’s group, with support from the Ohio Federal Research Network and NASA Glenn, has fabricated high-temperature shape memory alloys in 3D printing for the first time. His research on low-temperature shape memory alloys has resulted in several medical devices, which are at various stages of commercialization. In collaboration with NASA Glenn and the Cleveland Clinic, he organized the development of the Nitinol Commercialization Center to support startup companies. He has been the principal investigator and co-investigator on 37 research projects, bringing in more than $12 million in awards. He is the author of a leading book on shape memory alloys, as well as more than 70 journal articles; his publications have been cited about 2,000 times.

Dr. Blair Grubb, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Electrophysiology Program in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

He is one of the world’s authorities in the treatment of syncope — abrupt, brief loss of consciousness — and other disorders of the autonomic nervous system. He has patients referred to him from all over the world to help those dealing with severe autonomic disorders. His patients testify on how he takes a personal interest in their condition, and he has a long list of testimonials on how he has provided patients with ways to improve their condition. Grubb has published more than 240 scientific papers, authored five books, written 35 book chapters, and has been the recipient of 10 research grants while at UT. He has been recognized as one of America’s Top Doctor’s 15 years in a row.

Lee J. Strang, the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values in the College of Law.

Strang is an expert in constitutional law, particularly originalism and constitutional interpretation. He has expertise on the topic of law and religion and the history of Catholic legal education. He is highly sought as an invited speaker and expert on constitutional law matters and has presented his work at more than 150 conferences at top institutions. Since arriving at UT, Strang has authored 17 articles, two book chapters and five book reviews, as well as co-written a 1,500-page casebook. His work is highly regarded; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens cited Strang’s work on the original meaning of “religion” in the First Amendment. Strang’s work also was cited in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Hobby Lobby case.

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach and Dr. Andrew Jorgensen.

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach
, associate professor of educational foundations and leadership in the Judith Herb College of Education. She is the co-chair of the UT Anti-Bullying Task Force, a campus violence prevention and protection trainer for the Department of Justice, and author of “School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.”

“Dr. Pescara-Kovach has performed countless service in the community in working with the prevention of tragedy in our schools and workplaces. She works with University and community agencies in multiple stages: preventing bullying and other aggressive behaviors; preventing targeted violence and suicide; and postvention of first responders, victims and witnesses when such incidents occur,” one nominator wrote. “While many faculty think their work is life-changing, few (outside the medical fields) can honestly claim their work saves lives; Dr. Pescara-Kovach is such a faculty member.”

Dr. Andrew Jorgensen, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He studied climate change during his sabbatical at the National Council for Science and the Environment, helping to create Climate Adaption Mitigation E-Learning, an online program with more than 300 resources on climate change.

“Dr. Jorgensen has given more than 150 lectures to general public audiences all over the world about climate change. Having been an audience member, I can attest to the way he presents scientific knowledge in a nonpolitical, approachable way that makes a strong case for the need to address this topic,” one nominator wrote. “I admire his energy, commitment and passion, and am deeply respectful of his personal mission to educate as many people as he can about the importance of climate change to our global future.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Patricia Sopko, Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, Dr. Jillian Bornak, Dr. Nitin Puri and Dr. Todd Crail.

Dr. Jillian Bornak
, associate lecturer of physics and astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She began teaching at the University in 2014.

“She brought her enthusiasm for science into the classroom every Tuesday and Thursday night when we were all tired and drained. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and her energy made it easy to show up to every class that semester,” one nominator wrote. “She gave us every tool we needed to learn the material and pass her course with a good grade. She taught us with both ease and eagerness for her students to learn. Her students gained knowledge of these tough physics concept without ever feeling like we were too behind or too incapable of learning these concepts. The University is lucky to have her.”

Dr. Todd Crail, associate lecturer of environmental sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the faculty in 2012.

“I have yet to meet any professor as engaging and passionate about the environment as Dr. Crail,” one nominator wrote. “He has a distinct voice and motivation in what he teaches — take action. If you want a better world, a better environment, then you have to act upon it. Dr. Crail encourages students’ critical thinking, he supports the curious mind, and he makes time for his students.” Another noted, “He has changed the lives of so many students, and he deserves to finally be rewarded for all the hours of hard work and dedication that he puts into his class, activities, service learning, and the Department of Environmental Sciences.”

Dr. Nitin Puri, assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. He has been at the University since 2012.

“Dr. Puri teaches physiology with great passion and consistently has the highest turnouts for lectures and review sessions. He expects the most from his students and repeatedly encourages you to think like a physician,” one nominator wrote. “Dr. Puri’s teaching style is interactive and certainly yields the strongest staying power of the basic sciences. I still use his notes to prepare for clinical rotations. Dr. Puri is more than a teacher. He is a fierce advocate for students, an outstanding mentor and, most importantly, a genuine person.” Another wrote, “Dr. Puri prepares you for the future, not just exams, but for clinical practice unlike any other professor.”

Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, professor of early childhood education, higher education and special education in the Judith Herb College of Education. He came to the University in 2001.

“Dr. Slutsky always makes time for his students. He is always willing to give extra help, and he goes out of his way to provide students with learning experiences outside of the classroom — research opportunities, helps send projects to conferences, etc. His lectures are always thought-provoking and stimulate deep classroom discussions. He expects a lot from his students and, in turn, his students achieve great things,” one nominator wrote. “I am thankful to have had him as a professor and am thankful for all the things he has done for the college, as well as the University and community as a whole.”

Dr. Patricia Sopko, instructor in the College of Nursing. She joined the faculty in 2010.

“I was essentially failing my pathopharmocology class despite hours of studying. I always felt the exams to be very fair, and I approached Dr. Sopko to help me understand what I was doing wrong,” one nominator wrote. “When I did eventually speak with her, she in no way looked down upon me or made me feel intimidated, despite the fact that I should have approached her long before to ask for help. She not only clarified what I was doing wrong, she also made sure I was properly preparing for the final exam. She helped me improve my overall critical thinking abilities. The fact that she took the extra time to help me is something that I greatly appreciate.”

American Heart Association honors dean with Pulse of Toledo Award

Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and executive vice president for clinical affairs, recently was honored with the American Heart Association’s Pulse of Toledo Award at the 2017 Toledo Heart Ball.  

“Based on Dr. Cooper’s substantial impact on cardiovascular science, prevention and care over many years, the Executive Leadership Team of the 2017 Heart Ball nominated Dr. Cooper for the Pulse of Toledo recognition and award,” according to a statement from the American Heart Association of Northwest Ohio. “Dr. Cooper’s reach and impact has gone well beyond the city of Toledo, the state of Ohio, and throughout the world of cardiovascular care. Celebrating his impact and recognizing one of the predominate leaders in community health was a cornerstone of the 2017 Heart Ball.”

Dr. Christopher Cooper, flanked by Dr. Laura Murphy, assistant professor of medicine, left, and Nicole Hollingsworth, women’s golf coach, received the American Heart Association’s Pulse of Toledo Award at the 2017 Toledo Heart Ball. 

This marked the 20th year for this event, which brings together people from all over the community in an evening that celebrates the work and mission of the American Heart Association.

“I am humbled to have been honored with this award from the American Heart Association,” Cooper said. “I have personally seen the impact of the work the American Heart Association has done, one of my first grants was a local American Heart Association award that was critically important for my academic development. The support that the American Heart Association gives to early career investigators is so important for many of our faculty.”

According to the American Heart Association, the Heart Ball celebrates “donors and volunteers; and — most important — the lives saved and improved because of everyone’s efforts.”

Contributions received at the Toledo Heart Ball help support cardiovascular research, professional and community education, and advocacy efforts. 

Students use human simulators to practice caring for brain-dead, organ-donor patients

One organ donor can save eight lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation.

The University of Toledo is using state-of-the art simulation technology to help future medical professionals practice how to preserve and protect the organs of patients who suffered traumatic brain injury and brain death.

Using human simulators in the Jacobs Interprofessional Simulation Center, a half a dozen UT graduate students participated last week in a training scenario on caring for brain-dead patients who are organ donors.

“Our students are getting hands-on practice on how to medically manage brain-dead patients in order to recover organs and help save lives of others through donation,” said James Judkins, assistant professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and director of the Human Donation Science Program.

Two of the students who participated in the mock scenario, Riley Messer and Dylan Launder, thought the experience was not only beneficial, but unique.

“Actually coming into the Sim Center allows us to have real-time experience … and understanding,” Riley said.

Dylan added, “We’re there advocating for the donor that everything possible is done [to save her or him]. If we come on and we see that this test might have been done wrong, we are not just going to ignore it, we’re going to say, ‘You might want to redo it’ because we want to make sure that everything is how it needs to be.”

The students, who are on track to graduate in July with master’s degrees, are studying human donation science in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

As part of program curriculum, the students have been learning the principles of medical management in brain death. The use of the Jacobs Interprofessional Simulation Center allows these principles to be applied through the use of human simulators prior to going on clinical rotations in spring.