OHSU School of Nursing and Veterans band together

A new collaboration, dubbed the Veterans Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP), will open new channels for OHSU nursing students and create a pool of nurses well-versed in the health care needs of Veterans.

One of only six programs selected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Oregon collaborative will receive $4 million in funding to promote safe and effective care of Veterans throughout the state. The program funds five faculty positions the first and fifth years of the program, and a total of 10 positions in years two, three, and four.

From OHSU, faculty can provide coaching and mentoring on teaching-learning to clinical experts in the VA system. Conversely, VA nurses will help faculty and students become better versed in the special needs of Veterans.

The VA faculty who are experts on Veteran care will pair up with OHSU’s excellent teaching staff. The cool thing about this grant is it allows staff nurses who have worked in the VA system for years to gain faculty appointments with the OHSU School of Nursing while remaining VA employees.” 

- Michele Cooper, R.N., M.S., nurse educator at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center

In addition to common acute and chronic medical problems seen in the civilian population, Veterans have conditions associated with military service, such as traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and complications from exposure to nuclear, biologic and chemical warfare.

VANAP will impact all undergraduate  nursing students, not just those selected for the program. It will introduce Veteran-centric concepts within the curriculum so that all of our graduates are familiar with the specific needs of the growing vet population.

More from the OHSU School of Nursing in their Fall Connections newsletter.

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Lee Lewis Hulk lives and works in Bend, Oregon. She was the Media Relations Director and spokeswoman at OHSU from 1984-1997 and has been writing for the School of Nursing since 1998.

The Casey Eye Institute’s van with a vision

As a resident physician at the Casey Eye Institute, I am afforded many opportunities in my training – not the least of which is the chance to learn from world-renowned faculty. I surgically train in an amazing facility and have the good fortune to be surrounded by an overwhelmingly supportive work environment.

But I have to say, my favorite aspect of training at OHSU hasn’t actually occurred within the walls of the Casey Eye Institute.  It happens on the weekend, when I have a chance to volunteer on the Casey Eye Institute (CEI) Outreach Van.

Eye Care on Wheels

A mobile ophthalmology office, our team travels across the state offering free eye examinations to those who would not otherwise be able to access care.  Through the hard work of the CEI van coordinator, Katie, and our fearless driver, Francisco, we’ve performed thousands of dilated eye exams and dispensed more than one thousand eyeglass prescriptions.  The CEI van does screenings for diabetic eye disease, cataracts and glaucoma and, most importantly, connects our patients with local ophthalmology clinics if they are in need of treatment or follow-up care.

A Lasting Impact

In my three years as a resident, we’ve traveled beyond Portland to Astoria, Hood River, Sisters, and Central Oregon.  I have so many great memories of my patients from the eye van, but my favorite memory is of a young man who was legally blind due to cataracts in both eyes. I eagerly referred him to a local ophthalmology practice for cataract surgery.

Little did I know that that this same patient would return to my clinic two months later on that very same referral! I walked into the exam room and we smiled with mutual recognition. It was an amazing moment. I was privileged to perform both of his cataract surgeries at OHSU, helping this man to see again. In his post-op visits, he told me his restored vision allowed him to get a job at a local restaurant and support his family once more.

It takes a village

The CEI van is so much more than the physicians who volunteer there. On any given weekend there are about 10 volunteers that help to register patients, take histories, hand out readers and keep things working smoothly.  Without their efforts and generous donations from the community, we would not be able to do this important work. It is truly the best part of my job and embodies every reason why I first went into medicine.

Click here to learn more about the Casey van or to become a volunteer.

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Stephanie Cramer is a third year Ophthalmology Resident at OHSU.  Stephanie’s  passion is to work in rural Oregon as an Ophthalmologist, and she enjoys volunteering on the Casey Eye Outreach Van.  She will begin her professional career this upcoming August in Astoria, OR as an OHSU Faculty member.

Tricks for Dealing with Halloween Treats

Does the thought of Halloween candy sitting around your house have you feeling a bit spooked? You can still enjoy this festive holiday while minimizing or even avoiding the sweet temptations. Here are some tricks for dealing with the treats:

  • Wait until the day of Halloween before purchasing candy to pass out, or try waiting until the week of Halloween and keep the bags sealed and out of sight until the trick-or-treaters start arriving.
  • Buy your least-favorite type of candy – you’ll be much less tempted to dip into the candy bowl if you don’t like the treats.
  • Choose healthier treats to pass out, such as small packages of popcorn, trail mix, pretzels, dried fruit, or granola bars.
  • Consider giving out Halloween-themed toys instead of candy. Craft and party stores have a wide selection of fun,  inexpensive party favors such as temporary tattoos, whistles, stickers, bubbles, spider rings, and—my personal favorite—zombie eye patches.

What to do on November 1 when there’s leftover candy calling your name? Get it out of the house! I love the Halloween Candy Buyback program—here’s how it works:

  • Drop by a participating dentist office to deliver your leftover candy after Halloween. Contact your dentist to find out if they are participating, or go to www.halloweencandybuyback.com and enter your zip code to search for a list of local participants.
  • Your candy will be weighed and you (or your kids) will be reimbursed per pound (usually $1 per pound of candy, although some dentists may offer another form of “buy back”). Many dentists also enter donors into a raffle for a chance to win additional prizes. This is a great incentive for kids to donate their excess candy!
  • The candy is then sent to Operation Gratitude, who uses it to create care packages for troops stationed overseas.

This program is a fantastic way for little ones to enjoy a reasonable amount of candy on Halloween and still have a treat (through cash and raffle prizes) after the holiday, all while supporting a good cause. Plus, it eliminates the post-bedtime dips into the candy stash by Mom and Dad!

Food banks and pantries, homeless shelters, and nursing homes may also be good options for donating your leftover candy. Think twice before taking it to the office though—if you don’t want to be tempted by the candy dish, chances are your coworkers don’t either.

Happy Halloween!

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Tracy Severson is an outpatient clinical dietitian at OHSU. She moved to Portland from Tucson in 2010, and has worked at OHSU since 2011.

Tracy works with the OHSU Surgical Weight Reduction clinic and Cardiac Rehab program, and also provides medical nutrition therapy for General Adult Outpatient Clinics at OHSU.

Alumni give thanks for inspirational OHSU faculty

Faculty play a crucial role in the lives of students. Experiences in the classroom permeate the stories and memories of alumni for years to come.

This year, I have had the pleasure of helping to coordinate more than 20 class reunions for the School of Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry. I’ve scanned countless yearbooks, poured over OHSU Historical Collections and edited photos of faculty images converted into life size posters.

Honoring inspirational faculty

School of Dentistry Class of 1983

Our alumni have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the faculty that taught them. So much so that five, 30 and even 50 years later, faculty still receive invitations to attend class reunions! The MD Class of 1983 had a record number of eight faculty members in attendance at their October reunion.

Alumni from all three schools are honoring faculty in other ways. The School of Dentistry Alumni Association presents a Legacy Faculty Award, recognizing a longtime faculty member whose teaching and mentoring has influenced a generation of dental professionals. The Association also has awarded honorary alumni status to many OHSU faculty, designating them part of the alumni family. This year’s honorees were Jeff Stewart, DDS, MS and Denice Stewart, DDS, MHSA.

Gratitude triggers alumni generosity

School of Nursing educator Guhli Olson with an eager class

Well over 60 OHSU endowments have been named after faculty members and those philanthropic efforts are often founded and supported by grateful alumni. A recent endowment, initiated by Jane McEldowney, BSN ’63 and Penney Hoodenpyle, BSN ’63, honored one of the most impactful administrators and teachers of the School of Nursing’s illustrious history, Guhli Olson.

The two classmates partnered with the OHSU Foundation and have raised more than 115 gifts from alumni to establish an endowed scholarship fund in the late administrator’s honor. The team expects to complete their fundraising goal by the end of this calendar year – that of their 50th class reunion – and looks forward to awarding scholarships one year thereafter.

On behalf of the Alumni Associations from the School of Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing – thank you, faculty members, for creating such amazing memories with our students; thank you for staying in touch with alumni after they graduate; and thank you for inspiring the next generation of health care professionals!

If you’d like to honor an influential educator in your life, click here to make a tax deductible donation in their name. If you are interested in coordinating your class reunion the Alumni Relations Program can help. Email alumni@ohsu.edu for your starter packet and a class list.

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Lauren Cox is the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and is the go-to person for class reunions. She and the alumni relations team are proud to count almost 35,000 dentists, nurses, physicians, researchers, technicians and other health professionals as OHSU alumni. The team strives to keep them all connected with the university, with its students and with each other.

 

Welcome to the world: Resources for new parents

If there is one thing more exhilarating than the combination of excitement and terror one experiences during pregnancy it is the combination that occurs once the baby has arrived.  You may recall from a previous post that I was expecting my first child, and I am pleased to announce that my son was born a very healthy little boy in March.

Like many new moms, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of this experience.  Luckily, the resources at OHSU helped me navigate the waters before, during and after the arrival of my son.

OHSU Hospitals & Clinics

In addition to the fabulous prenatal care provided by the clinicians at Gabriel Park Family Medicine, my husband and I took several classes from the Center for Women’s Health, including Newborn Care, Breastfeeding Basics and Infant CPR.  During our stay in the hospital Mother Baby Unit, the nursing staff and lactation consultants were incredibly supportive and answered endless questions with ease.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Our newborn had pretty severe jaundice, and we also spent several days at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.  While there, the specialized care nurses, doctors and staff were all incredibly accommodating and helpful as we weathered an unexpected hospital stay.  Our healthy, happy baby boy has been receiving excellent care at his well-baby visits.  My family has been provided with the information, tools and medical advice to ensure our child has a healthy start.

New Moms Group

Perhaps the single most valuable resource to me during my first few months with baby has been the OHSU New Moms Group.  Every week I meet with an incredible group of ladies, babies and facilitators.  It has been an amazing experience to meet women going through the same exhausting and exhilarating experience as myself, and I am so grateful to have met so many new friends, both for myself and my son. To any and all new mom’s out there – I highly recommend checking it out!

To all of the doctors, nurses and specialists at OHSU, thank you for making the experience of pregnancy, birth and newborn life so wonderful. Being a professor here is distinctly different than being a patient and a parent, and I am so pleased to know that my OHSU experience has been excellent regardless of what hat I am wearing!

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Jackie Wirz, Ph. D., is an Assistant Professor and the Biomedical Sciences Information Specialist at the Oregon Health & Science University Library. Her research career has covered diverse topics in molecular biology and biophysics; her professional interests include data visualization, information and data management and research ethics.  Jackie believes in evolution, salted caramel buttercream and Jane Eyre.


 

Latina health and a return to traditional food culture

I have been involved in the research field that arose some 25 years ago as a result of Professor David Barker’s discovery that established the connection between a person’s birth weight and their risk of dying of heart disease.

His study found that the lower a baby’s birth weight, the more likely they were to die of heart disease as an adult.

Similar studies have since found correlations between birth weight and the risk of acquiring many other diseases. For instance, those at the low end of the birth weight scale have an eight-fold increase in their risk of becoming diabetic. We now know that low or high birth weight babies are at risk for later disease.

My interest in this research has led me to collaborate with organizations such as the OHSU Center for Diversity & Inclusion, Familias en Acción, Estrella TV, and others on Latina health projects. Our goal is to improve the nutritional awareness of expectant mothers to avoid high-calorie malnutrition, in which some women eat a diet that provides plenty of calories but with as little nutrition for their babies as if they were on a starvation diet.

Many studies now show that the nutrition the embryo receives even before implantation – that is, before a woman is officially pregnant – determines the maturation of the embryo throughout pregnancy. Its growth trajectory is already being set at that early stage of development.

Also, the nutrition the fetus receives before being born can determine when certain genes turn on and off through a process called epigenetics. Being able to change the regulation of genes is very important in the developmental process and determines the long-term outcome of the pregnancy.

The reason I chose to focus on Latinas is because the Hispanic community is only just beginning to show the effects of the Westernization of their diets, especially in second- and third-generation Latinas in this country.

Mexico, for instance, has one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world, but we’re seeing that by the second and third generation in the U.S., Mexican-Americans are seeing their disease rates going up. This appears to be related to the fact that Mexicans who reside in the U.S. are eating more simple sugars, and processed foods, and leaving the fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains out of their diet that were readily available in Latin America.

The Latina health project is working to find ways to educate and help these young women before they become pregnant, to avoid these health problems.

The Hispanic community can avoid the massive changes that occurred in the non-Hispanic community, if they decide to do so. If Latinos can change their food culture, to incorporate more of a traditional Latin diet into our everyday meals, it could improve the health and well-being of both the Hispanic and the non-Hispanic community.

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Dr. Kent Thornburg is Professor of Medicine in the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, in which he directs the Center for Developmental Health, and is director of the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness.

OHSU clears major hurdle in quest for AIDS vaccine and cure

After more than a decade of research, an OHSU team of vaccine and gene therapy experts has developed an AIDS vaccine candidate that appears to completely clear HIV from the body. This breakthrough, led by Louis Picker, M.D., could overcome the biggest obstacles to developing an effective vaccine for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS in humans.

How does it work?

The vaccine uses a unique method to better equip the body’s immune system to detect and destroy infected cells. Picker’s team engineered a version of a common virus, called CMV, to express SIV viral proteins. This prompted a protective and lasting immune response that was able to completely banish the AIDS-causing virus in 50% of infected monkeys.

This is the first time a vaccine has ever cleared the AIDS virus from the immune system. “Our data shows that SIV, which is even more aggressive than HIV, can be cleared with an immune response. And that suggests that we might be able to do the same thing in humans,” said Picker.

What’s next?

The next step will be to make a human version of the vaccine. Dr. Picker anticipates it will take two to three years before they are ready to conduct clinical trials in humans. The potential to improve human health is enormous – more than 34 million people have contracted HIV worldwide.

Click here to hear more from Dr. Picker on his hope for a cure. Then, help us accelerate the team’s next phase of research by making a gift to OHSU today.

 

5 steps to meal planning for busy lives

Now that school is back in session, life has shifted into high gear—rushing to work after dropping off the kids, hurrying to soccer practice, piano lessons, karate, etc.

Do you find yourself at the drive-thru in the evening because you’re too exhausted to think about what to cook for dinner? Or do you start the week with good intentions, loading up on fruits and vegetables, only to have them go bad because you don’t know what to do with them? You need a plan!

Meal planning saves time and money and improves the quality of your family’s meals. Even with a busy schedule, knowing exactly what’s on the menu when you get home each evening—plus having all of the ingredients on hand—helps you stick to a healthy diet and to a budget.

So how do you do it?

  1. Schedule it: Set aside 20 to 30 minutes each week to write down the meals you plan to prepare during the upcoming week. Do you know you have an especially busy day coming up? Consider preparing a dish in your slow cooker before you head out that morning, or prepare an entrée in advance and store it in the freezer. Don’t forget to plan for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks!
  2. Consider your options: Save time and money by looking through your pantry and refrigerator to see what ingredients you already have on hand. Also, keep a recipe file of healthy meals that your family enjoys or new recipes you’d like to try. Are you a cooking novice? Master a few basic recipes, but keep them fresh by varying the ingredients—try shrimp instead of chicken or brown rice instead of pasta. If you’re tech-savvy, meal planning apps exist for your smart phone or tablet that allow you to use stored recipes to create meal plans and grocery lists (I love Paprika), but old-fashioned pen and paper work just as well.
  3. Master the balancing act: Make sure your family is enjoying healthy, balanced meals made up of lean protein, vegetables and/or fruit, and fiber-rich whole grains. Good sources of protein include fish, skinless poultry, beans and legumes, eggs, low-fat dairy, and lean meats such as pork tenderloin, pork loin, flank steak, or sirloin. All vegetables and fruits are great, but aim to eat a variety of colors to get maximum health benefits. Fiber-rich whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta round out the meal.
  4. Make a list: Now that you know what you’ll be making, create a grocery list so you’ll have all of the ingredients stocked and ready to go. Shopping with a grocery list saves money and decreases food waste by preventing unnecessary purchases.
  5. Start cooking!

By spending a small amount of time planning your meals, you can reduce food waste, decrease your grocery bill, and be ready to face each week with a plan for nutritious and delicious meals that fit within your schedule, budget, and comfort level in the kitchen. You can enjoy delicious foods at home that are also nutritious and affordable—all it takes is a plan.

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Tracy Severson is an outpatient clinical dietitian at OHSU. She moved to Portland from Tucson in 2010, and has worked at OHSU since 2011.

Tracy works with the OHSU Surgical Weight Reduction clinic and Cardiac Rehab program, and also provides medical nutrition therapy for General Adult Outpatient Clinics at OHSU.

By the numbers: Alumni at OHSU

We’re delighted that many of our alumni continue as employees after completing their education or training at OHSU. About 5% of our alumni population, that’s 1788 people by our count, currently work for OHSU across the state.

Here’s an infographic describing our faculty/staff alumni profile. Anything you see surprise you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lauren Cox is the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and is the go-to person class reunions. She and the alumni relations team are proud to count almost 35,000 dentists, nurses, physicians, researchers, technicians and other health professionals as OHSU alumni. The team strives to keep them all connected with the university, with its students and with each other.

 

Hope for women suffering from pelvic floor disorders

Congratulations to OHSU Department of Urology’s Dr. Kamran Sajadi, one of the first physicians in Oregon to be board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS).

Pelvic floor disorders affect 1 in 3 women, but only about 1 in 10 will seek treatment. Although they can affect women of all ages, pelvic disorders and their resulting complications – incontinence, overactive bladder, prolapse – do become more common with aging. They are also quite common in women who have given birth or struggled with weight issues. There are a variety of treatment options available for these problems, both surgical and non-surgical.

To learn more about Urogynecology, Dr. Sajadi’s certification from the American Board of Urology, or if you think you may be experiencing a pelvic floor disorder, contact the OHSU Department of Urology for a consultation.

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Kamran Sajadi, MD has been a faculty member in the Department of Urology since 2011. He is board certified in both Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and Urology.  His interest in women’s health stems from his understanding that while these concerns can be difficult to talk about, they can have a significant impact on daily life.

OHSU Health Fair at Pioneer Square.

Why 96,000 Square Miles?

President Robertson is fond of saying that OHSU has a 96,000 square mile campus, serving Oregonians “from Enterprise to Coos Bay, from Portland to Klamath Falls.”

This blog aims to highlight that breadth. 96,000 Square Miles (96K for short) will focus on the people of OHSU, the Oregonians we serve and the ripple effect of our work in Oregon and beyond.

Read more

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