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Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation celebrates 10-year anniversary

The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a gala Saturday, May 12, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Toledo.

The Toledo-based nonprofit organization, founded by UT Medical Center transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Rees, has led innovation in kidney transplantation around the world, delivering pay-it-forward chains of kidney transplants and founding the Global Kidney Exchange.

More than 25 percent of the living donor kidney transplants performed at UTMC during the last decade were performed as a result of the partnership with the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation.

For more information about the gala fundraising event, which is sponsored by UTMC, visit paireddonation.org/fundraiser.

Outstanding staff members celebrated

Five employees received the University’s 2018 Outstanding Staff Awards.

More than 20 nominees were honored at a ceremony April 26 in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.

Winners this year were:

Tiffany Akeman, clerkship and curriculum coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She has worked at the University since 2010. She received a master of public health degree and a certificate in gerontological practice from UT in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

“As one of her direct and immediate supervisors, I can state that every time I go to Tiffany asking her to help with some work, she welcomes the request, accepts to do the work with a smile, gets the job done as quickly as possible, and most importantly, conveys a feeling that she is happy to do that job. This indicates to me that she loves what she is doing,” a nominator wrote. “Moreover, she is efficient, logical in her approach to any work, focused, and task-driven. She is highly detailed-oriented, student-centered and a professional. She loves to help all who are in her circle.” Another noted, “Her help in almost every aspect of my and my colleague’s daily work tasks cannot be overestimated. She is always willing and capable to help, no matter how much time and effort is required. Her ability to think through all little details makes her truly invaluable for management of any function.”

Dan Kall, law registrar in the College of Law. He joined the UT staff in 1994. He received a bachelor of science degree in computer science and a master of arts degree in liberal studies from the University in 1995 and 2016, respectively.

“Dan goes above and beyond in answering questions, finding solutions, and maintaining a sense of calm during stressful situations, including finals and class scheduling. Dan not only partners with other staff members and faculty, but he provides students with a ‘compass’ to guide us through our academic pursuits. Dan never fails to answers calls and emails, even on breaks and weekends, to make sure that students feel supported,” one nominator wrote. “Dan inspires those around him to strive for their own personal best and models that through his own actions. Dan is professional, kind, empathetic and knowledgeable. For many of us, he has served as a mentor and counselor when we are trying to navigate through a difficult time with courts’ schedules and final grades.” “Dan Kall demonstrates personal commitment to the College of Law by his dedication on weekends, holidays and evenings to keep students up to date on grade postings. He is always quick to respond to any and all concerns that students have,” another noted.

Renee Mullins, custodial worker in the Savage & Associates Business Complex. She has worked at the University since 2015.

“Renee has great ideas to motivate and help her coworkers. If there is an issue in the building, like a needed repair or if you see a better way to achieve quality work, she alerts her manager. Renee has really single-handedly turned this high-profile building into one the students, professors and employees can be proud of,” a nominator wrote. “Renee has a notebook with all events and activities in her building so she does not forget a detail. All her closets are neat and tidy. Even her trash container is clean; she stated that she keeps it clean because students and guests see it in the hall and it reflects on her cleaning. She comes in early, stays late, works through lunch if needed all because she loves The University of Toledo.”

Lucy Salazar, custodial worker in the Collier Building on Health Science Campus. She started working at the University in 2010.

“Her responsibilities include the first floor which encompasses our lobby, large lecture halls, restrooms and other first-floor classrooms. I am so pleased to be able to nominate Lucy because she goes above and beyond her duties, and is a shining example of someone who takes great pride in her work, strives to do her best, and understands the importance of her role, realizing that the first impression visitors may have of our campus is when they enter the Collier Building,” a nominator wrote. “Lucy acknowledges everyone she sees. She is warm and kind and has a smile that resonates warmth and caring. She understands the importance of her work and takes it to heart. I wish there were more employees like Lucy in every department so our students, patients, staff and faculty could witness someone who genuinely cares about the work she does.”

Jeannie Stambaugh, secretary in the Department of Economics. She joined the UT staff in 1989. She received an associate’s degree in secretarial technology from the University in 1980.

“Jeannie is the heart and soul of the Economics Department, and she has been for decades. Jeannie is the main reason for the collegiality within the department. She radiates positive energy and enthusiasm every day. Her interactions with everyone, always, are unequivocally friendly and helpful. Jeannie has established a rapport with all 12 faculty in the department and with all the students. Jeannie demonstrates extraordinary personal commitment because this is not a job to her; we are her second family,” a nominator wrote. “She comes in every day with her long list of tasks to do and then manages to complete the tasks while being interrupted every 15 minutes by a faculty member, student, delivery, phone call, and she somehow gets it all done. Our department would literally come to a standstill without her. Jeannie goes so far beyond her ever-expanding responsibilities in her care and concern for everyone who enters her office.”

President Sharon L. Gaber, left, posed with the 2018 Outstanding Staff Award recipients, from left, Lucy Salazar, Tiffany Akeman, Jeannie Stambaugh, Renee Mullins and Dan Kall.

Satellites to hold book fair May 9-11

Stop by the Satellites Auxiliary’s Collective Goods Spring Book Fair, which will take place Wednesday, May 9, through Friday, May 11, in the Four Seasons Bistro Atrium at UT Medical Center.

The sale will be held Wednesday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The book fair is just in time for Mother’s Day. There will be more than 400 books for all age groups and all categories,” said Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary.

Profits will benefit patient programs, such as plush toys for pediatric patients, the UTMC Heart Walk team, and the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center Survivor Celebration.

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

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

Join UTMC team for Heart Walk

UTMC is the signature sponsor for the 2018 Toledo Heart Walk to support the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

The Heart Walk will take place Saturday, May 12, at the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo. Check-in will begin at 8 a.m. To join a UT team, click here.

As a health leader in the community, UTMC is sponsoring two additional fundraising walks in May.

The 2018 NAMIWalks Greater Toledo in support of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will be Saturday, May 12, on Health Science Campus. Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m.

The walk supports a stigma-free workplace for individuals and family members whose lives are affected by mental illness.

To join the UTMC Psychiatry team called Mental Strides, which includes Adult Psychiatry, Kobacker Center, Senior Behavioral Health and Inpatient Detox, register here.

UTMC also will help “Rocket to a Cure” with its team for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in support of the American Cancer Society.

Making Strides of Northwest Ohio will be Saturday, May 19, at Hensville Park downtown with registration beginning at 8 a.m.

To join the UTMC team, click here.

UTMC recognized as leader in LGBTQA+ health-care equality

The University of Toledo Medical Center’s commitment to the equal treatment of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning patients has been recognized for the seventh consecutive year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation with its “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation.

“We want all of our patients at UTMC 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 and 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.”

The recognition was recently reported in the 2018 Healthcare Equality Index.

The Health Equality Index is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, which is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQA+ equality. In addition to being a valuable tool and resource for health-care facilities, the Health Equality Index is used by LGBTQ patients and their loved ones to find facilities that provide equitable and inclusive care.

The annual survey consists of questions that determine whether a hospital meets the core requirements to become a leader. A record 626 health-care facilities participated in the 2018 survey. Of all those included in the Healthcare Equality Index, 418 nationwide earned a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation. 

UTMC is the only medical facility in northwest Ohio to earn this distinction and one of only 24 in the state.

New Starbucks coffee service coming to UTMC

A new coffee kiosk is coming to The University of Toledo Medical Center that will serve the whole line of Starbucks beverages to patients, visitors and staff.

“We look forward to proudly serving Starbucks products in an expanded coffee service venue that will enhance the coffee and food options currently available and also provide extended hours to allow more people to enjoy them,” said Mario Toussaint, chief experience officer for UTMC.

The new coffee service, which will be managed by the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired, a division of the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities state agency, is expected to open in August in the lobby area of the hospital.

The new coffee service will take the place of Caffeini’s, which has served the hospital well for many years, Toussaint said.

In addition to an assortment of Starbucks beverages, a menu of soups, flatbreads and a create-your-own-sandwich bar will be offered at the new location. It also will be open later and on the weekends. The hours of operations will be from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily.

Renovations for the new coffee venue are expected to begin in July. During construction, a temporary coffee cart offering limited Starbucks beverages and some food options will be available.

“We understand the potential disruption the renovations may cause, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience and ask for extra patience during this time,” Toussaint said.

High school sophomore brings touch of home to UTMC patients

Patients undergoing chemotherapy at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo were surprised earlier this month with gifts of fleece blankets from 15-year-old Mae Kennedy of Toledo.

“Two years ago, my grandmother was a cancer patient, and she complained of the scratchy hospital blankets at the hospital that smelled of medicine,” Kennedy said.

Mae Kennedy gave one of the blankets she made for her project, A Touch of Home ,to Fremont resident Cathy Warwick, a patient at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

Following her grandmother’s death last year, Kennedy wanted to replace those scratchy blankets with new fleece lap blankets.

Kennedy, who is a sophomore at Central Catholic High School, created an organization, A Touch of Home, for a National Honor Society project. She buys the fleece fabric and makes blankets to sell. The remaining fabric and any money she has left is used to make more blankets to give away.

Since beginning the project in December, Kennedy has sold more than 25 blankets.

April 3 was the first day that Kennedy distributed the blankets at UTMC, where her mother, Melissa Kennedy, is respiratory therapist.

Dana Cancer Center to host program for managing life with cancer

To help patients and their families handle the many challenges faced after a cancer diagnosis, the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center is hosting a program called “Managing Life With Cancer: It’s OK Not to be OK.”

The program will take place Thursday, April 19, at 6 p.m. in the cancer center on Health Science Campus to provide cancer patients, caregivers and health-care providers information about the resources available.

“A diagnosis of cancer complicates life for the individual, as well as her family members and caregivers,” said Katie Racz, UTMC social worker. “In addition to choosing medical treatment, you may experience physical side effects, absence from work, emotional distress, financial concerns and family issues.”

Racz will discuss support services available at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center and in the community to help patients and their families manage the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of living with cancer.

The program is free and open to the public, but registration is requested by calling 419.383.5243.

UT to host Opioid Summit April 10

The University of Toledo is hosting an Opioid Summit to connect UT researchers, physicians and community partners with state leaders to advance collaborations that can help address the crisis affecting Ohio.

The summit will take place Tuesday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Thomspon Student Union Room 2592 and will feature speakers who will discuss the opioid epidemic in Ohio and share the state’s focus areas and funding priorities to address the issue.

“This summit provides an opportunity to further current initiatives, identify new collaborations, and connect with community contributors in addressing this major public-health problem,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UT College of Nursing and co-chair of the committee leading UT’s opioid task force.

“Opioid abuse, addiction and overdoses affect families of every socio-demographic group,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, professor of public health and co-chair of the committee leading UT’s opioid task force. “Our research, education and service activities can help make a difference in the state of Ohio, as well as the nation.”

Charles See, vice chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, will speak at 9:15 a.m. in a presentation about the role of higher education in solving the opiates problem and supporting addicted students.

Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, will speak at 9:45 a.m. about strategic priorities, funding opportunities and resources through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Panel discussions will include representatives from the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team, Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Medicaid.

As Ohio and the nation struggle to stem the opioid epidemic, UT’s faculty, researchers and students are creating new, innovative solutions to address and prevent new users from forming addictions; developing methods for greater access to treatment and preventing the likelihood of relapse after treatment; and educating students and peers about opioid addiction and resources to seek help.

For example, a cross-disciplinary team that includes doctors and engineers is working to create a wearable device for opioid addicts that notifies the addict’s sponsor or 911 to indicate relapse or health distress from drug abuse. Also, researchers in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics are designing a drug that targets a receptor in the brain to limit dopamine release, thereby preventing opioid addiction and reducing withdrawal symptoms in addicted patients.

Faculty in the College of Nursing and the School of Population Health recently received a grant from Cardinal Health to promote prevention of opioid abuse by teaching fifth- through eighth-graders and their families about safe prescription drug use and storage.

In April 2017, UT Medical Center opened an inpatient detox program under the medical direction of Dr. Tanvir Singh, UTMC psychiatrist. This is the first and only hospital-based program in the region.

UT’s opioid task force was created by President Sharon L. Gaber to bring together researchers, physicians and educators across the University working on issues related to the opioid crisis.

The summit is among the committee’s activities to advance research and identify opportunities for additional partnerships and funding sources to support more collaborative projects.

Annual UTMC chili cook-off competition set for March 23

The University of Toledo Medical Center will host its annual Chili Cook-Off Championship Friday, March 23, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Four Seasons Bistro outside the Pinnacle Lounge. 

Fifteen contestants representing several departments have entered to have their chili recipes judged by UTMC CEO Daniel Barbee; Dr. Michael Ellis, chief medical officer; and Allen Siefert, chief administrative officer of outpatient integrated clinic operations.

The winner of the contest will be announced by emcees Monecca Smith, chief nursing officer, and Mario Toussaint, chief experience officer.

The winning department will receive a trophy to display for a year, a catered lunch, and a prize package.

Spectators at the event will receive complimentary chili or vegetable chili from the Four Seasons Bistro.