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Sign up for UT team to make strides toward cancer research

Join thousands of others by taking to the streets Saturday, May 6, for the 11th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk to help the American Cancer Society end the pain and suffering of those with breast cancer.

The 5K walk will take place at the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. Registration will open at 8 a.m. with the walk beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Before the walk, an opening ceremony will take place to help inspire participants to take action as well as to symbolize the uplifting and energizing commitment people have made in making sure that no one has to face breast cancer alone.

“This event is important to the community and the breast cancer survivors and families. Not only does it bring awareness, but the funds generated from this walk benefit research, and free events for patients undergoing treatments, programs on educating the public to prevent it, catch it early and treat it,” said Michelle Giovanoli, manager of radiation oncology at UT Medical Center. “Their goal is to create a world without pain and suffering of breast cancer.”

Last year, more than 5,000 participants raised more than $130,000 for cancer research. The money raised was able to support programs to fight breast cancer in areas such as research, education, advocacy and patient services.

So far this year, 1,600 participants have raised more than $154,000.

Giovanoli serves as a co-chair for the event, but also has a deeper connection to the walk as she herself is a two-year breast cancer survivor.

“My mom and my aunt both were diagnosed and are survivors; my best friend is as well. I am sad to say that my sister-in-law died of the disease when she was in her 40s,” Giovanoli said. “I want people to know they are not forgotten; we walk in support of those who have survived as well as those who have passed from their disease.”

The walk also will honor Renee Schick, manager of Renee’s Survivor Shop in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, as this year’s honorary survivor. She is celebrating 16 years as a breast cancer survivor.

A limited number of T-shirts will be available at the event for $20. Parking will be free at the Town Center at Levis Common. The parking lots on the back side of the mall also will be available for participants.

The University of Toledo has a team called Rocket to a Cure, and people are encouraged to register for it. Rocky and Rocksy also will be in attendance.

The walk is family-friendly, and there is no registration fee to sign up. Participants are encouraged to fundraise or donate, but are not required.

UT Health will sponsor a photo booth for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

To sign up for the event or to donate, click here.

UT Medical Center recognized as national leader in LGBTQA+ health care equality

The University of Toledo Medical Center has been recognized as a 2017 “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for its commitment to the equal treatment of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning patients.

“We want all of our patients at The University of Toledo Medical Center to be in an environment that is welcoming and supports the overall healing and recovery process,” Dan Barbee, chief executive officer of UTMC, said. “To achieve this, we believe that patients, their families and loved ones need to be in a nonjudgmental setting that promotes acceptance and allows a person to feel safe and protected to be their true self.”

UTMC is the only medical facility in northwest Ohio to earn this distinction and one of only 302 nationwide.

The designation was recently reported in the 10th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index, reflecting on a decade of progress in LGBTQA+ health care.

The Healthcare Equality Index is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQA+ equality. The annual survey consists of questions that determine whether a hospital meets the core requirements to become a leader.

A record 590 health-care facilities actively participated in the 2017 survey. In addition to active survey participants, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation proactively researched key policies at more than 900 nonparticipating hospitals. Of all those included in the index, 302 earned a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation.

UT Medical Center opens new Inpatient Detox Unit

The University of Toledo Medical Center is accepting patients to its new Adult Detoxification Inpatient Unit on the sixth floor of the hospital.

The 10-bed unit has a dedicated team of nurses, social workers and other staff with training and experience in detox and behavioral health. The detox unit will help patients safely manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug or alcohol abuse and then connect them with services to enhance their possibility for success in overcoming addiction.


“There is a drug abuse and overdose epidemic in our state, and UTMC is responding with this dedicated unit as part of our increased focus on behavioral health. We want to help people in our community who suffer from addiction,” said Dr. Tanvir Singh, UTMC physiatrist who serves as the unit’s medical director. “Addiction is a brain disease just like any other chronic illness, but these patients also struggle with social stigma and marginalization, which makes it challenging. We need to both treat the disease and connect patients with the resources they need to overcome those challenges for successful recovery.”

Patients will be admitted to the detox unit through referrals from other units within UTMC and through health-care providers in the community, as well as patients and their family members who contact the hospital directly for detox assistance.

Patients must be in active withdrawal from alcohol, opioids or other substances when they are admitted to the UTMC detox unit and commit to immediately entering an intensive outpatient treatment program following their stay in the hospital, which would average three to five days.

UTMC also plans to include individual talk therapy, group therapy, social work visits, physical exercise, mental exercise, and nutrition and self-care classes with community partners as part of its services in the detox unit to address the patients’ medical and psychological needs.

For more information, call 419.383.2337.

World Lymphedema Day event to provide education, support

There are more than 200,000 cases of lymphedema reported in the U.S. every year, but many women still do not receive proper instruction on how to manage the disease.

“It can be developed at any time,” said Renee Schick, manager of the Renee’s Survivor Shop and breast cancer survivor. “Mine started about six years after my surgery and treatments.”

Lymphedema is a disease that results from the lack of lymphatic drainage, causing swelling of the extremities. The condition is most often caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment.

While the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the disease sometimes go unnoticed, Schick warns of the dangers of letting lymphedema go untreated.

“Lymphedema is a condition that can be managed,” she said. “If it is not managed, it will continue to get worse and could have major complications.”

Lymphedema is a chronic, incurable disease that may even lead to disfigurement if the person affected does not commit to the long-term self-care.

Those who are interested in learning more about the disease and who may be looking for products to help manage the condition are invited to attend the World Lymphedema Day event hosted by Renee’s Survivor Shop.

World Lymphedema Day is Monday, March 6. The event will be open-house style from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Survivor Shop in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center on the UT Health Science Campus.

“Jobst representatives will have a display of new compression products, compression bras, lymphedema bracelets, swell spots and more,” Schick said. “We will have a lymphedema therapist at the event between 2 and 4:30 p.m. to answer questions.”

For more information, contact Schick at renee.schick@utoledo.edu or 419.383.5243.

Kids get active, eat healthy with Grow Well With Us program

UT Family Medicine residents are promoting healthy lifestyles with nutrition education and physical activity with the Grow Well With Us program supported by the Ohio Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program.

Grow Well With Us aims to teach kids how to make healthy lifestyle choices and is free for children and teens age 18 and younger.

Sessions are held once a week for an eight-week cycle. Each meeting lasts an hour and consists of a 30-minute interactive presentation focusing on nutrition prepared by a certified dietitian and 30 minutes of physical exercise led by an athletic trainer.

Participants take pre- and post-questionnaires, weights, physical fitness evaluations, and satisfaction surveys to evaluate their progress and provide feedback about the program.

Dr. Reem Tawfik, chief resident in family medicine and lead physician for Grow Well With Us, said after the first cycle of the program, parents saw their kids’ behavior change according to what they had learned at the program.

“Moms used to attend the sessions with their kids, and many of them have told me that their kids started to read labels, look at the calories per serving, and started to try healthy choices that were mentioned in the diet lectures,” Tawfik said. “We have even noticed that some of the residents who were delivering the lectures changed behavior and made healthier selections.”

Participants will receive many incentives such as water bottles, sports bags, lunch boxes, T-shirts and more.

All of the sessions will be held at the Morse Fitness Center in Dowling Hall Room 3324 on UT’s Health Science Campus.

The spring session for 2017 will run on Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 15 and 22 and April 5, 12, 19 and 26.

The fall session also will run on Wednesdays, Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27 and Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25.

Sessions will take place from 6 to 7 p.m.

For more information or to register for the free program, call 419.383.5502.

Health Science Campus Artist Showcase to open this week

The 12th Annual Health Science Campus Artist Showcase will open Friday, Feb. 17, and run through Friday, April 7, on the fourth floor of Mulford Library.

On display will be nearly 60 works — paintings, drawings, photographs and multimedia pieces — created by 30 students, faculty and staff members in health sciences, including medicine and nursing. 

“This is a chance for individuals who are typically only associated with science to be seen for their creative side,” said Jodi Jameson, assistant professor and nursing librarian at Mulford Library, and member of the artist showcase committee. “The showcase is a way of displaying their artwork and highlighting their talents.”

In conjunction with the free, public exhibit, a reception with the artists will be held Friday, March 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the library. 

“Attendees will have a chance to win books on art and medicine by participating in an art scavenger hunt,” Jameson said, adding that light refreshments will be served.

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 libguides.utoledo.edu/hscart or contact Jameson at jodi.jameson@utoledo.edu or 419.383.5152.

Orthopaedic symposium set for Feb. 18

Learning to diagnose and treat orthopaedic conditions of various complexities of the spine will be the topic of a symposium Saturday, Feb. 18, on UT’s Health Science Campus.

The event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Dowling Hall Room 2315.

The symposium will focus on discussing physical examination; identifying and diagnosing spine conditions; reviewing radiographic findings; and discussing operative and non-operative treatments.

Presenters will include members of the UT Orthopaedic Department: Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, Dr. Hossein Elgafy, Dr. Mustafa Khan, Dr. Joshua Schwind and Dr. Marshall Gillette.

Local physicians and clinicians working in primary care, internal medicine, orthopaedics, pain management, neurology, neurosurgery, and physical and occupational therapy are encouraged to attend.

The cost of the course is $25, and pre-registration is preferred as seating is limited. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

UT is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

For more information or questions, contact orthopedicsurgery@utoledo.edu or call 419.383.4020.

Hospital leader named UTMC CEO

Dan Barbee has been named chief executive officer of The University of Toledo Medical Center after serving in the role on an interim basis since June 1, 2016.

Barbee, who has nearly 25 years of combined clinical and health-care management experience, is responsible for the operational and strategic activities of UT’s medical center and clinics that average each year more than 12,000 admissions, 36,000 emergency department visits and 250,000 ambulatory care visits.


“We are very happy that Dan will continue to lead UTMC in the future,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “He has proven himself to be a passionate, flexible and effective leader. Together with his team, I am confident Dan will continue to guide the hospital successfully in the changing health-care environment.”

Prior to serving as CEO, Barbee was UTMC’s chief operating officer and vice president of clinical service. He joined the medical center in 2011 as chief nursing officer and associate executive director.

“I am honored for the opportunity to continue to lead our dedicated team of more than 2,300 employees and physicians who are committed to providing high-quality care in our community,” Barbee said.

Barbee received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Illinois State University and a master of business administration degree from the University of Phoenix.

He serves as a trustee for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio and on the boards of The University of Toledo Medical Assurance Co. and Toledo/Lucas County CareNet. Barbee also is a member of the UT College of Nursing’s advisory board and Mercy College of Ohio’s nursing program advisory committee.

Poetry, paint night set for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Spoken word poet and HIV/AIDS advocate Mary Bowman will headline the Black AIDS Awareness Poetry and Paint Session Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. at Club Evolution, 519 N. Reynolds Road.

“Mary is known to be fearless as she shares her story with audiences around the Washington metropolitan area,” Kennyetta White, minority outreach coordinator for the UT Ryan White Program, said.

black-aids-awareness-flyerAt 6 months old, Bowman was diagnosed with HIV. She found out about that diagnosis in fourth grade and began writing poetry to express herself in high school.

Bowman’s collection of poems, “Lotus,” was named the National Underground Spoken Word Poetry Awards’ Book of the Year in 2011. The book includes the poem titled “Dandelions,” which is about her mother who died of AIDS-related causes in 1992. Watch her perform the poem here.

“‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ is a quote that Mary lives by, organizing community events to raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness, facilitating support groups for HIV-positive youth, and sharing her personal experiences being born HIV-positive through the art of spoken word,” Richard W. Meeker, manager of fundraising and special projects for the Ryan White Program, said.

In addition to performing and writing poetry, Bowman has established an organization called POET (People Over Entertainment), which uses visual and performing arts to bring awareness and education about HIV/AIDS.

Bowman appeared at the University in 2015.

Local poets Huntor Prey, Lonnie Hamilton, Jordan Shawnee, Lorraine Cipriano and Shawonna Wynn also will take the stage. Elevated Thinkin and Kay Renee will be the hosts for the evening.

On-site HIV testing will be available during the event, which is sponsored by the UT Ryan White Program, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, MPressive Sound and Club Evolution. Those who are tested will receive a $5 gift card when they receive their results.

Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased at the door.

“Poetry is a great way to combine entertainment and education to raise awareness and nurture conscious and non-conscious thought,” Moni Featchurs of MPressive Sound said.

“We added the paint element to engage the audience,” White said. “Not everyone can express themselves effectively through words, so paint gives them another form of expression,” White said.

“National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events bring people together in a safe environment to promote change and encourage learning,” Meeker said.

As of June 30, 2015, there were 968 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Lucas County, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Of those, 47 percent were white, 46 percent were African-American, 4 percent were Hispanic, and 1 percent Asian/Pacific Islander.

“HIV infection is still a major concern among communities of color due to fear, stigma and shame,” White said.

Since 2000, the UT Ryan White Program has provided comprehensive care for individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The program offers adult primary care, mental health counseling, case management, advocacy, and HIV testing in Lucas County and the surrounding area.

For more information, contact White at kennyetta.white@utoledo.edu or 419.383.3683.

Physician’s research earns Sigma Xi award

Dr. Blair Grubb, director of UT Medical Center’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Program, has been named the 2015-2016 winner of the Dion D. Raftopoulos/Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Research, an honor given by the University’s Sigma Xi chapter.

Dr. Steven Federman, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and president of UT Sigma Xi, presented a plaque and cash award of $1,500 to Grubb Jan. 25 during a ceremony on Health Science Campus.

Dr. Steven Federman, right, shook hands with Dr. Blair Grubb after presenting him with the 2015-2016 Dion D. Raftopoulos/Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Research.

Dr. Steven Federman, right, shook hands with Dr. Blair Grubb after presenting him with the 2015-2016 Dion D. Raftopoulos/Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Research.

Grubb, who also is Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and director of the Syncope and Autonomic Disorders Clinic, said he and a team of international researchers have studied the field of autonomics for more than 30 years. The Baltimore native is one of the world’s authorities in the treatment of illnesses that include syncope (abrupt, brief loss of consciousness) and other disorders of the autonomic nervous system.

“This award is presented to faculty who have made significant contributions in their fields of research,” Federman said. “Dr. Grubb’s accomplishments in the study of autonomic disorders while a professor at UT are truly impressive, and UT Sigma Xi is pleased to honor him.”

Internationally recognized as a pioneering researcher, Grubb identifies autonomics as a new field. His work has had a significant impact on the practice of medicine across the globe, and has improved the lives of hundreds of patients suffering from these disorders.

Grubb, who called his study of autonomic disorders his “life’s work,” discussed his research in a lecture titled “Autonomics: The Birth of a New Science” during the ceremony.

“When I began in this field,” Grubb said, “we knew virtually nothing about these disorders, and patients were often disabled and without hope. Over the last three decades, we have carefully characterized and classified these illnesses and established diagnostic criteria for them. Recently, we have embarked on an ambitious program to identify the molecular, genetic and immunologic causes of these disorders. In addition, we have used this information to discover a series of new and innovative therapies that can return close to 80 percent of these patients to near-normal lives.”

His patients, he added, routinely come to UTMC from around the world for treatment.

He added that he is humbled by the Sigma Xi award, noting that Sigma Xi’s national office has honored a number of Nobel laureates, including Albert Einstein and Al Gore. It is the most recent recognition for Grubb’s dedication to medical research and patient care. In 2016, he was the recipient of UT’s Career Achievement Award. The year before, he was named Dysautonomia International’s Physician of the Year, as well as the British Heart Rhythm Society and Arrhythmia Alliance’s Medical Professional of the Decade — one of the only non-British citizens to be so honored.

He has authored more than 240 scientific papers, five books and 35 book chapters during his career in medicine.

Also known for a creative prowess, Grubb has published more than 50 essays and poems, including a book titled “The Calling.”

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society, is a national organization that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of scientific research and knowledge. A voiceover on the Sigma Xi website stated, “The honor of members is that we are a society of integrity… that we have been chosen and selected to represent science, that we are members of a society with Nobel laureates, and we carry a tradition more than 100 years old.”

The organization has 60,000 members worldwide. Chapters usually are found in universities, industrial facilities and government laboratories, as well as other locations where scientific research is conducted.

Grubb succeeds Dr. Yanfa Yan, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the 2014-2015 Sigma Xi awardee.