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Student nursing group aims to register 1,000 new bone marrow donors

The Student Nurses Association at The University of Toledo is aiming to register 1,000 potential bone marrow donors next week during a two-day blitz that could be the starting point for saving someone’s life.

The registration drive will take place Monday and Tuesday, April 15, and 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union and Nitschke Hall on Main Campus, and in the Collier Building on Health Science Campus. Signs will be posted. The event coincides with National Donate Life Month.

Bone marrow transplants are often the best — and in some cases, only — treatment for a range of diseases, including blood cancers like leukemia and genetic conditions such as sickle cell anemia.

“We have been touched by people who have had these diagnoses,” said Shannon Rafferty, vice president of the Student Nurses Association. “We wanted to spearhead an educational program and register donors. You have the potential to save someone’s life by doing this.”

The Student Nurses’ Association is partnering with DKMS, an international nonprofit based in Germany, to conduct the donor drive.

Volunteers from the University’s College of Nursing will explain to potential donors how the transplant process works, guide them through a registration form, and take three quick cheek swabs.

The swabs are then sealed up and sent back to DKMS to be cataloged, with the results ultimately being placed on the Be The Match Registry operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.

More than two-thirds of patients requiring a bone marrow transplant must look outside their immediate family to find a match, making international registries crucial to pairing willing donors to individuals in need of a transplant.

That was the case for a family friend of Patricia Sopko, an instructor in the College of Nursing and advisor of the University’s Student Nurses Association chapter.

The 16-year-old girl needed a bone marrow transplant after a blood cancer diagnosis. A match was found in the United Kingdom and an infusion was done in the States, but the cancer recently came back. She’s currently awaiting another match for a second bone marrow transplant.

Rafferty, a senior working toward a bachelor of science degree in nursing, said that personal connection was one reason the group decided to make a priority of registering new donors. They did their first drive last year during Relay for Life, collecting about 100 new donors.

Next week’s effort is one of the largest initiates they’ve undertaken.

“Volunteering is a huge thing our board believes in,” Rafferty said. “That’s one of the reasons we went into nursing — we have a passion to help people in our community. We’re trying to make a change.”

The group will again be sharing the story of Sopko’s friend to illustrate the need for donors and the potential impact they could make. While people on the registry can’t specify a wish to donate to a specific individual, the fact that so many are prepared to help is encouraging to those waiting on a life-saving donation.

“It made a huge difference for my friend’s daughter,” Sopko said. “It was like we were fighting for her life. She felt so much more hopeful seeing people were willing to do this.”

UToledo opioid epidemic expo, teach-in April 5

The University of Toledo, as part of its ongoing commitment to address the opioid epidemic in northwest Ohio and beyond, will host an educational resource expo and hold a community-wide teach-in Friday, April 5.

Together, the events are meant to serve as a day of community impact that will
provide links to community resources and a data-driven overview of the epidemic, while addressing myths and misconceptions that can serve as a barrier to seeking treatment.

“There tends to be a social stigma associated with opioid use disorder, but it’s important that people understand opioid use disorder is a complex brain disease that affects people from all backgrounds,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, professor of public health and vice provost for faculty affairs, who serves as co-chair of the UToledo Opioid Task Force. “By reducing that stigma, we can help save lives.”

The 2019 University of Toledo/Community Opioid Prevention Resource Fair and Expo will be held Friday, April 5, from noon to 7 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

The expo will feature a variety of speakers who will outline how opioids work; the difference between safe, medically necessary use and opioid use disorder; the effect of opioid use disorder on a variety of age groups; and prevention and treatment methods.

Naloxone training will be offered throughout the day, and there will be a variety of community service providers on hand to help connect attendees to key resources. Supervised children’s activities also will be provided.

Registration is not necessary for the free, public event. However, professionals in the fields of nursing, social work and counseling who wish to receive continuing education credit need to register in advance at the UToledo Opioid Task Force website.

The UToledo Opioid Task Force, alongside a number of community partners, also has developed a tool kit to provide educational materials that can be shared at schools, workplaces, churches and other area organizations for The University of Toledo/Community Partners Regional Teach-In.

“We want to meet people where they are to ensure that everyone in our community has access to information and resources that will help them understand opioid use disorder and where they can find help and support for themselves or loved ones,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing, who co-chairs the UToledo Opioid Task Force. “We hope to reach as many people throughout the community as possible on April 5.”

In addition to written materials, UToledo can arrange for expert speakers to visit participating organizations.

More information on the expo and teach-in can be found on the UToledo Opioid Task Force website.

UToledo graduate programs jump in U.S. News rankings

The University of Toledo’s graduate programs are recognized among the best in the nation, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings.

The College of Nursing and College of Law, in particular, jumped dramatically in the most recent rankings released Tuesday.

The master’s degree in nursing jumped up to 135 from the previous year’s ranking of 183. The doctor of nursing is ranked 135 compared to 152 the previous year.

The full-time law program is now ranked 126. It had been 137 in the 2018 rankings.

“The significant increases in the U.S. News rankings in just one year reflect the University’s increasingly positive reputation and the progress we are making advancing our academic and research excellence,” President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We are proud of these rankings, but, more importantly, the outcomes they represent in student success, program quality and accomplished faculty.”

In addition to the nursing and law programs, UToledo’s graduate programs in education and social work moved up in the rankings. Education is now ranked 172 up from 176, and social work is listed as 196 up from 201 the previous year. In addition, the engineering graduate program is now ranked and listed as 148.

The College of Nursing attributes its dramatic 48-point jump in the master’s program and increase of 17 spots in the doctoral program to attracting a more qualified student applicant pool, increasing program accessibility for students, strong graduation rates, and a growing research profile for faculty.

“We are proud of the recognition for our outstanding programs, excellent students and talented faculty, who are leaders in clinical practice, teaching and research,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing.

The 11-point increase in the College of Law rankings reflects improved bar passage results and a higher employment rate 10 months after graduation.

“The reputation of Toledo Law continues to grow in recognition of our strong faculty and commitment to student success, which includes advanced bar exam preparation and career development initiatives,” said D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law.

Maximizing office hours for student success to be addressed at forum

“Can I Meet With You? Web-Based, Student Self-Scheduling of Office Hours” is the topic of this month’s Future of Higher Education Forum.

The session will be held Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

Oberlander

James Oberlander, an instructor in the College of Nursing, will lead the forum.

He will talk about the correlation between direct student and faculty interaction and academic success. Oberlander will discuss scheduling methodologies used for office hour appointments and the importance of changing the perception of office hours to promote student success.

“Faculty have office hours to benefit students. It is a fact: Face-to-face interaction leads to student success,” Dr. Amy Thompson, vice provost for faculty affairs, said. “James Oberlander will share his research on office hours, as well as how to maximize the benefits of that time for students as well as faculty members.”

The Future of Higher Education Forums are coordinated by the Office of the Provost.

Register for this month’s program and read more about the forums, including how to submit proposals for upcoming events, at the Office of the Provost website.

Those who attend are asked to bring a laptop or tablet.

Faculty members who are unable to attend can watch live on the Office of the Provost website.

Health Science Campus Artist Showcase to open Feb. 18

The 14th annual Health Science Campus Artist Showcase will take place from Monday, Feb. 18, through Wednesday, April 10, on the fourth floor of Mulford Library.

This year’s exhibit features work from more than 30 artists who are students, faculty and staff in the health sciences from Health Science and Main campuses, as well as UT Medical Center.

On exhibit will be a variety of 2-D and 3-D artwork, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and mixed media.

An artist reception will be held Friday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of Mulford Library.

Dr. Paul Brand, UT associate professor emeritus of physiology and pharmacology, will speak at 4:30 p.m. at the reception. His talk is titled “Create Your Own World.”

“I paint and draw first for the simple pleasure of putting color on paper, and then to create paintings that stand out because they fuse realistic images and strong abstract designs,” Brand said.

A longstanding participant in the Health Science Campus Artist Showcase, Brand paints diverse subjects, most often landscapes, but also still-life and abstracts, using watercolors, acrylics, pastels or charcoal. He has four works in this year’s exhibit.

“I love watercolors for their luminous, fresh appearance, acrylics for their immediacy and simplicity, pastels for their intense colors and ease of application, and charcoal for the range of values and richness,” he said.

For the past two decades, paintings by the award-winning artist have been featured at several juried shows. In addition, Brand has taught art classes at the Toledo Botanical Gardens, Toledo Museum of Art and Art Supply Depo.

Like the exhibit, the reception and lecture are free and open to the public. Visitors can view the artwork during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to midnight; Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight.

For more information, visit the University Libraries website or contact Jodi Jameson, assistant professor and nursing librarian at Mulford Library, and member of the artist showcase committee, at 419.383.5152 or jodi.jameson@utoledo.edu.

UT online programs move up in U.S. News rankings

The University of Toledo continues to improve its place in the U.S. News & World Report list of the top online bachelor’s programs.

UT is ranked 114 out of 348 total institutions listed in the 2019 Best Online Programs ranking, an increase from 125 last year and 142 in 2017. The University is ranked 67 out of the public universities.

The rankings are determined based on criteria that includes student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and expert opinion.

Specific to online programs, there is a focus on graduate indebtedness, course delivery, and academic and career support made available to students remotely. UT made improvements in each of those categories in the most current rankings list.

“The University of Toledo is committed to student success, and an important part of achieving that goal is providing flexible learning options and supportive faculty and staff whether students are on campus or online,” UT Interim Provost Karen Bjorkman said.

The UT College of Nursing also is now ranked in the 2019 Best Online Nursing Programs. The University offers online RN to bachelor of science in nursing completion, and Master of Science in Nursing — Nurse Educator and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs designed to help nurses achieve their professional advancement goals.

For additional information about the rankings, visit the U.S. News & World Report website.

UT Student Nurses Association is Ohio chapter of the year

The University of Toledo’s Student Nurses Association chapter is again tops in the state.

The award comes from the Ohio Student Nurses Association, which recognized the group’s outstanding work in leadership development and community service. UT is also one of just a handful of schools nationwide to receive the Stellar School Award from the National Student Nurses Association, recognizing its continued involvement in the organization.

Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing, left, and Patricia Sopko, an instructor in the UT College of Nursing and the adviser of the Student Nurses Association, right, showed off the UT chapter’s award with students, from left, Jensyn Huffman, Hunter Perrin, Rylee Rosentreetor and Allison Patton.

“It’s a big deal for us,” said Christopher Foy, a senior working toward his bachelor’s of nursing degree and UT’s chapter president. “It’s just a nice way to verify that we’re actually making an impact in our community.”

The Student Nurses Association, which has chapters at colleges and universities across the country, is dedicated to fostering professional development and promoting the standards, ethics and skills that students will need as they enter the profession as licensed nurses.

“It is truly a leadership program,” said Patricia Sopko, an instructor in the UT College of Nursing and the adviser of the UT Student Nurses Association. “It’s really important to learn how to multitask, work as a team, delegate responsibility, and be comfortable speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves. They’re learning all those leadership skills without even realizing it.”

Sopko said one of the projects that helped UT earn chapter of the year was its volunteer mentorship program that pairs students in their first semester of nursing school with students who are deeper into the curriculum.

The UT chapter is also heavily involved in community service projects. The group has held stuffed animal drives for Lucas County Children Services, provided health education and after school programming at Sherman Elementary, worked with Mom’s House Toledo to adopt local families for the holidays, and recently led a drive to register bone marrow donors. That effort added nearly 100 names to the national registry.

“I’m so proud of the work our College of Nursing students do throughout the community,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UT College of Nursing. “Their dedication to helping others is inspiring, and through The University of Toledo’s Student Nurses Association, they are building leadership skills that will serve them well as they move into their professional careers. It’s wonderful to see them get this well-deserved recognition.”

Submissions sought for 2019 Health Science Campus Artist Showcase

Mulford Library is seeking submissions for its 2019 Health Science Campus Artist Showcase.

The deadline to apply for consideration to be included in the annual event is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11.

The library is accepting submissions from UT faculty, staff and students in the health sciences — nursing, medicine, pharmacy and the health professions — as well as UT Medical Center employees.

To be considered for the show, digital images of artwork can be sent to hscartshow@utoledo.edu, along with a submission form that can be found with guidelines on University Libraries’ website.

Artists will be notified if their submitted pieces have been accepted no later than Wednesday, Jan. 16, and will receive instructions for bringing in their artwork to the library for the showcase.

The showcase will be on display from Feb. 18 through April 10 on the fourth floor of Mulford Library. In the past, artwork included photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry making, quilting, multimedia, graphics, wood carving and more.

An opening reception featuring a talk by Dr. Paul H. Brand, associate professor emeritus of physiology and pharmacology, and accomplished artist, will be held Friday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m. in Mulford Library.

Questions about the showcase can be directed to Jodi Jameson, assistant professor and nursing librarian at Mulford Library, who is a member of the artist showcase committee, at 419.383.5152 or jodi.jameson@utoledo.edu.

National science leader and Toledo native to deliver UT commencement address Dec. 15

The head of the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious laboratories will return home, as Toledo native Michael Witherell is set to deliver the address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15.

Witherell, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, Calif., will address 1,474 candidates for degrees, including 1,437 bachelor’s and 37 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.

Witherell

UT’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Savage Arena and will commemorate 641 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Md Kamal Hossain, emerging cancer researcher and candidate for a doctoral degree at the University, will be the speaker.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the UT Views website.

Witherell, a distinguished physicist, educator and science leader, developed the foundation for his future at Toledo’s St. Francis de Sales High School. Salutatorian at age 15, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a distinguished career as a university professor performing research in particle physics, he devoted himself to leading large research institutions.

In 2016, Witherell was named director of Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the 17 labs in the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories systems. Berkeley Lab is a global leader in fundamental and applied scientific research in physical, biological, energy, computing and environmental sciences. The lab’s employees have earned 13 Nobel Prizes and played a role in the discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table, among its honors. The lab is managed for the DOE by the University of California.

“Our mission at Berkeley Lab is solving the nation’s most challenging problems through great scientific and technological discoveries. I believe that the national assets in addressing these problems include public universities and the students whom they are educating,” Witherell said.

Before joining Berkeley Lab, Witherell spent six years as director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He was vice chancellor for research at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he also held a presidential chair in the Physics Department.

His primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. Data collection is expected to start in 2020.

Witherell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and serves on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

“As a nationally recognized, public research university, The University of Toledo is pleased to have Dr. Witherell as our fall commencement speaker. Research not only helps us to discover new knowledge that advances all areas of study, but also instills critical thinking skills that our students can use to approach problems systematically and come up with solutions that improve everyday life,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We look forward to Dr. Witherell sharing his insights with our graduates, especially since he grew up in Toledo and has since made tremendous contributions through research.”

Witherell’s personal success can be traced back to the Glass City, as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hall Witherell, head of the Princeton Edition of Henry Thoreau’s writings, grew up in the same west Toledo neighborhood and were high school sweethearts. They have a daughter, Lily.

“The foundation for my career and life was my extended family in Toledo,” Witherell said. “Their support and the value they put on education and public service were central to my personal and professional development.”

Hossain

Hossain, the graduate ceremony speaker, is a native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who came to UT as an industrial pharmacist with a passion to develop innovative medicines.

“I’ve always been interested in studying health-related fields due to the suffering of people in my homeland from different types of disease,” Hossain said. “My focus is to develop a specific targeting approach for a more effective cancer vaccine. My research examined the utilization of a natural antibody already present in human serum that makes the vaccine more convenient to target tumor cells.”

He is a candidate for a doctor of philosophy degree in medicinal chemistry in UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UT’s fall commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

The College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Later that week — Friday, May 10, at
4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit the UT commencement website.

UT nursing student credited with saving life of motorist after crash

Hanan Ramadan was on her way home from her mosque when she came upon a minor car crash. It looked like a simple fender-bender, but something about the way bystanders were crowded around the open car door made her stop.

“Something didn’t seem right,” said Ramadan, who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing at The University of Toledo. “I just wanted to make sure everything was OK. Honestly, I thought maybe she had a broken arm, or she hit her head and there was a small cut.”

Ramadan

As Ramadan got closer, she realized the situation was far more dire — and she quickly sprang into action that likely helped save the woman’s life.

The driver’s face was blue. Ramadan, who also works as a nursing assistant in The University of Toledo Medical Center Emergency Room, looked for a pulse — there wasn’t one.

Ramadan’s training took over. She asked the person who had called 911 to put the phone on speaker and briefed the dispatcher on the situation. Ramadan told them she was basic life support-certified and asked for permission to begin CPR.

Unable to remove the driver from the car, Ramadan lowered the seat back as far as she could and started chest compressions. A police officer soon arrived and helped her safely get the woman onto the ground, where she could continue administering chest compressions.

“It was just us for a good five to 10 minutes before the ambulance showed up and the medics took over,” Ramadan said. “We were all very exhausted but doing our best.”

Sylvania Township Police Sgt. Lee McKinney, who was the first officer on the scene and helped get the victim out of the car, praised Ramadan for her quick thinking and readiness to help.

“The fact that you’ve got somebody who’s willing to be a good Samaritan, recognize a problem, and has some ability to jump in and help, that’s tremendous,” McKinney said. “Those few seconds were irreplaceable. She did an outstanding job in getting involved.”

Ramadan later learned the woman, Deborah Teachout, had been having chest pains and was on her way to urgent care when she lost consciousness.

Teachout’s sister, Bambi McNamara, credits Ramadan and another bystander, Jill Lynam, with helping to save her life.

“We will be forever indebted to Hanan and Jill for saving my sister’s life,” she said.

McNamara said Teachout has regained most of her strength after a week in rehab and should be back home soon.

Ramadan credits her training from the UT College of Nursing and hands-on experience at UTMC for giving her a clear mind in what could have been a moment of chaos.

“It was like muscle memory to me. I just instinctively knew what to do. All of the courses I’ve taken and all the training I’ve gone through, everything my instructors have told me for years, it all came together and just made sense to me in that moment,” she said.

“It made me confident. I knew this is what I’ve been taught and trained to do for years now — this is what I’m supposed to do, and this is what is going to help this person.”