President’s Lecture Series: The Wounds of War
The U.S. has been engaged in military operations for eight years in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. With advances in healthcare delivery on the battlefield, many combatants who formerly would have died of their wounds are surviving and coping with serious challenges, including major brain damage, spinal injuries and mental health problems. Veterans and their healthcare providers,
caregivers and families must face unprecedented challenges.
The Wounds of War: Healthcare On and Off the Battlefield — the second in the President’s Lecture Series inaugurated this spring by UMDNJ President William F. Owen, Jr, MD, to raise awareness of important health issues — addressed these critical concerns. The panel discussion, featuring six veterans, was held on October 23 at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School (NJMS). Panel members, both those who have treated the wounds of war, including the psychological aftermath, and those whose wounds have been treated, included (left to right): Karl Coutinho, an NJMS student and member of the N.J. National Guard's Medical Command; Charles “Chuck” Arnold, NJ Army National Guard (Ret), who has counseled returning veterans as a University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC) volunteer; Audrey Brooks, MSN, RN, School of Nursing instructor in Stratford and a flight nurse; Joseph Nyzio, Sgt., U.S. Army (Ret.); Frank Dos Santos, DO, a graduate of the School of Osteopathic Medicine, emergency physician, MPH candidate at the School of Public Health and a U.S. Naval Commander; Joseph Costabile, MD, a Robert Wood Johnson Medical School graduate, surgeon and Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserves Medical Corps; and co-moderators Cherie Castellano, program director, UBHC, and Kenneth Swan, MD, professor of surgery, NJMS (and a highly decorated veteran).
Preparing for Emergencies
The New Jersey Center for Public Health Preparedness at the School of Public Health (SPH) was awarded $500,000 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prepare public health and emergency management professionals and others for threats including natural disasters; infectious disease outbreaks; industrial, transportation and other accidents/incidents (including those involving chemical and radiological materials); and terrorist attacks.
This is the seventh consecutive year of funding from the CDC to SPH in support of the Center. The award recipients are Glenn Paulson, PhD, director, and George T. DiFerdinando, MD. Both are faculty members at SPH.
Along with its core funding from the CDC, the Center has received financial support from the NJ Department of Health & Senior Services, other state agencies and the medical community. Established in 2003, it is one of 27 such centers located at schools of public health across the country that receive funds from the CDC.
12 New Masters of Teaching
At the 25th Annual University Day Celebration, 12 new members were inducted into the Stuart D. Cook, MD, Master Educators’ Guild. Created in 2000, it recognizes exceptional faculty who have demonstrated gifts for teaching and serve as mentors to University students.
Rita Charon, MD, professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a recognized expert on narrative medicine, delivered the guest lecture and was recognized with the Guild’s first honorary membership.
Clinical Trials Call Minority Cancer Patients
Robert Wieder, MD, PhD, director of the New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Office, received two highly competitive state and federal grants — totaling more than $2.3 million — to enhance the clinical trials program at the Cancer Center and place it among a select group of facilities nationwide focusing their efforts on treating minority cancer patients. The grants are funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR).
The NCI grant provides $1.85 million to the Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Office and establishes it as an NCI-designated Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MB-CCOP), making it one of 14 in the nation and the only such program in NJ. This coveted designation provides support to physicians, such as Wieder, who are involved in the care of minority cancer patients.
The grant by the NJCCR, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, provides $476,000 to support the Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Office and is the only clinical research grant funded by the NJCCR geared toward combating health disparities. Its goal is to support the Cancer Center’s efforts to provide minority and medically underserved patients with better access to
cancer clinical trials.
According to Wieder, nearly 60 percent of the Clinical Research Office’s patient base consists of minorities who live in or near Newark. Historically, minorities have had low rates of participation in clinical trials. The grants, he hopes, will help change that.
“All current cancer treatments are derived from patients who participate in clinical trials. It is especially critical that we have an ethnically balanced representation on clinical trials because the effect of treatments may vary among different populations,” Wieder says.
Learning the Language of Health
The UMDNJ-School of Nursing (SN) is partnering with the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) to implement a health literacy program for Latinos in the Ironbound section of Newark. The goal is to improve the ability of people in that community to make appropriate healthcare choices and to access needed health services.
The Latino Health Literacy Initiative, supported by a $247,500 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to ICC, targets individuals with limited English proficiency who may also have difficulty reading and writing in Spanish. The program expects to serve more than 600 Newark residents over three years.
Frances Munet-Vilaró, PhD, RN, associate professor and director of SN’s advanced community health master’s degree program, is co-director of the grant along with Petra Chavez, director of ICC’s Family Success Centers.
It will focus on four areas related to health literacy: verbal skills, numerical skills, reading and writing, and cultural and conceptual knowledge. Additionally, participants will be taught to measure and record their weight, height, waistline and blood pressure. Some participants will be trained as community health literacy promoters.
National Kudos for Osteopathic Teacher
Paul M. Krueger, DO, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Osteopathic Medicine, has been named the American Osteopathic Foundation 2009 Educator of the Year.
Conferred upon only one recipient each year, the award honors an individual who upholds the osteopathic profession’s high standards of excellence in teaching and exemplifies a significant and long-standing contribution to the academic advancement of osteopathic students and the profession.
Krueger has been a full-time faculty member of SOM since 1993, garnering national prominence and respect for strong educational leadership in his specialty, as well as expertise in educational assessment and competency-based education.
In the past year, Krueger has spearheaded the plan for SOM’s class size expansion, which resulted in 130 first-year students joining the school on Aug. 3; led the implementation of a new curriculum; developed an expanded Center for Teaching and Learning; and planned a 30,000 square-foot addition to the Academic Center to meet the school’s growing needs.
He has been recognized with three Golden Apple for Excellence in Teaching awards; the Christian R. and Mary E. Lindback Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award; the UMDNJ Excellence Award in Education; and two Excellence in Teaching awards from the Foundation of UMDNJ.
Tragedy Inspires Even Greater Generosity
Warren Township couple, active in supporting cancer programs after having lost two daughters to the disease, is contributing $5 million to support research and treatment at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). CINJ has named its breast center the “Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center” after one of those daughters.
Ed and Sue Goldstein are known as founders of The Valerie Fund, named for their 9-year-old daughter who died in 1976 from Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. The non-profit organization supports the creation of pediatric cancer and blood disorder programs in hospitals throughout NJ to help families cope and to support pediatric cancer treatment in the State. The Valerie Fund has recently affiliated with CINJ through The Valerie Fund/CINJ LITE (Long-term, Information, Treatment-effects and Evaluation) program, providing long-term health education and late effects screening for the growing population of childhood cancer survivors.
In 2001, the Goldsteins lost their 37-year-old daughter Stacy to breast cancer, which last year claimed the lives of 40,000 nationwide and 1,400 in NJ, according to the American Cancer Society.
This is not the couple’s first connection with CINJ. In recent years, they funded the Stacy Goldstein Breast Oncology Fellowship Award, which enabled two medical oncologists at CINJ to launch their careers through the biological study of breast cancer. A portion of this latest gift will continue to support the fellowship.
“We recognize there is still a great need in this area,” says Ed Goldstein. “We hope to help CINJ advance cancer research in a way that will help bring an end to this terrible disease.”
New Emergency Nursing Program
A three-year, $809,207 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was awarded to Mary Kamienski, PhD, RN, assistant dean of graduate programs at UMDNJ’s School of Nursing (SN), to develop an Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) nursing specialty track as a component of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program.
The initiative aims to prepare advanced practice nurses to provide timely and comprehensive emergency services to patients, thereby expanding all patients’ access to high quality care and alleviating healthcare disparities. Graduates will be eligible for national certification as Family Nurse Practitioners and as Acute Critical Care Nurse Practitioners.
“The emergency department has become the gateway to healthcare for many of the ethnically diverse and impoverished residents of NJ,” Kamienski says. “Emergency departments and their nursing staff must be prepared to manage care that ranges from birth to end of life, from non-urgent to critical problems, while addressing health promotion and disease prevention issues.”
The ENP track will consist of 50 credit hours and 819 clinical hours, requiring six semesters of full-time or eight semesters of part-time study for completion. It follows the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), with an added emphasis on cultural competency and evidence-based nursing. Emphasis will be placed on recruiting ethnically diverse nurses to the program.
Recognition as Tops
Broadway House for Continuing Care, an affiliate of UMDNJ, again has been named one of “America’s Best Nursing Homes” by U.S. News & World Report. The only specialized care facility in NJ for adults with HIV/AIDS, it is one of just 41 nursing homes — out of more than 15,000 included in the survey — to earn this recognition. This is its second consecutive mention on the list, which debuted in March and is updated every three months. It is one of only two facilities in the State to make the updated honor roll.
Honor roll rankings are determined using data and ratings found on “Nursing Home Compare,” a federal website created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The CMS collects and analyzes information on nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid residents and rates the facilities on numerous measures. “All (honor roll members) achieved a perfect five-star rating in each of the federal government’s three yardsticks: health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality measures of individual care,” according to U.S. News & World Report.
Broadway House offers comprehensive medical and psychosocial support by 154 clinical and support staff to about 350 residents per year.
Our Docs Are the Best
ixty-two physicians, faculty members at New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, made New York magazine’s “Best Doctors” list.
Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd, a New York City research and information company, compiles the annual “Best Doctor” list for the magazine from surveys sent to 12,000 medical professionals in Manhattan, Westchester County, Long Island, and portions of NJ and Connecticut, including physicians and senior administrators from every hospital in the area. The survey asks recipients to identify physicians who not only are the best in their field, but also are the physicians to whom they refer their own patients and family members.
More Top Docs
More than 270 UMDNJ faculty members have been designated “Top Doctors in New Jersey 2009” by Castle Connolly. Of the 770 top doctors from central and northern NJ who made this year’s list, more than one third are UMDNJ faculty members.
Each year, Castle Connolly sends out about 30,000 invitations, nationwide, to board certified physicians, as well as chief officers from more than 1,500 hospitals, to take part in the Top Doctors survey. In NJ, more than 4,000 physicians are invited to nominate annually.
Legislators in the Lab
Expert-led tours of the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, the Mammography in Motion mobile unit, and the Emergency Department at University Hospital were among the highlights for lawmakers from NJ and nearby states who participated in the “Legislators in the Lab” program held in August on UMDNJ’s Newark campus.
The program is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and designed to let leaders in the health field share their expertise with state legislators who have a strong interest in healthcare policy. The event was one of nine “Legislators in the Lab” programs scheduled for this year by NCSL in locations throughout the country. Deputy Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, Upendra J. Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex), hosted the UMDNJ event.
Interaction with S.H.A.R.E. (Student Health Advocacy for Resources and Education) leaders and a compelling lecture by fourth-year medical students about the Student Family Health Care Center were among highlights cited by lawmakers. In surveys completed at the end of the program, all participants reported an increase in their knowledge, with one lawmaker remarking that this program was the best he had seen in his seven years as a Representative.
Major Funding for TB Research
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a 10-year, $4.4 million contract to the Global Tuberculosis Institute at New Jersey Medical School. The funding allows the Institute to continue its clinical trials participation in TB prevention and treatment investigations as part of the CDC's Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC).
UMDNJ has a long tradition of participation in TB research, according to Bonita T. Mangura, MD, NJMS professor of medicine and principal investigator for the NJ site of the TBTC. Over the last decade, Mangura’s team has participated in 10 U.S. Public Health Service studies and enrolled nearly 500 patients. Currently, the Institute is participating in the study of new drug regimens that could significantly shorten TB treatment.
$7.5 Million NIH Grant to Improve TB Diagnosis
David Alland, PhD, chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), received a five-year $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a new 10-color detection test for tuberculosis. The color identifier will complement the GeneXpert® System that enables clinicians to provide patient results quickly and efficiently. The new technology is expected to deliver more cost-effective infectious disease panel testing applications by increasing the total number of diagnostic results per sample. The technology will also enable the development of new, comprehensive antimicrobial resistance and oncology tests.
“Our goal is to continue the transformation of the clinical mycobacteriology laboratory by making it possible to replace time-intensive and less sensitive culture processes with rapid, sensitive, and accurate molecular techniques that are not constrained to a central laboratory environment,” says Alland, who is also Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at NJMS. He is collaborating on the NIH grant with Cepheid, the manufacturer of the GeneXpert® System that allows for the automation of molecular analysis, producing accurate results in a timely manner with minimal risk of contamination.
When coupled with other technology under development at UMDNJ and Cepheid, the new 10-color system will have the potential to detect hundreds of different DNA targets per sample.
Top Dentists, Too
Twenty one faculty members at New Jersey Dental School have been named to the “Top Dentists” list in the July issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine. The list covers eight dental specialties and each includes at least one UMDNJ faculty member. For this year’s list, New Jersey Monthly commissioned an independent survey of the state’s dentists by the Polling Institute at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, where ballots from 1,229 New Jersey based dentists were tallied.
More than 2,800 New Jersey Army National Guard members got a hearty “Welcome Home” from staff at University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC) when they returned to Fort Dix, after a year long deployment to Iraq. For three weeks, beginning in June, the vets were served by trained veteran peer counselors and UBHC clinicians, who provided one on one psycho-educational sessions.
Each day during the “Welcome Home” initiative, 150 to 200 veterans were seen. Military emergency services and resources were also available. Veterans were offered outreach and follow-up telephone contacts provided by peer counselors with the “New Jersey Veterans for You” program upon request. Top among the goals of the initiative were to decrease the stigma of vets seeking help and increase the chance that veterans will disclose concerns regarding their mental health.
UBHC and the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs sponsor the “New Jersey Veterans For You” program and partnered for this reintegration initiative.
A Little Camera Makes a Big Difference
Whitman Park, a neighborhood in Camden, mirrors the streets of a lot of inner cities in America. In the throes of socioeconomic decline, it’s an incubator for crime and drug trafficking. But a small digital camera gave the children who live there a voice for a little while.
For seven weeks this summer, UMDNJ students worked with 30 children, ages 6 to 17, to document aspects of their lives. On August 6, the children’s stories came alive when 30 of their photos were displayed at the School of Public Health in Stratford.
In one photo, an 11-year-old boy poses in front of a makeshift memorial for his deceased uncle. Graffiti art and more than a dozen empty bottles of alcohol surround him. “My uncle got killed for nothing,” says Sevin. “This is a memorial to him.”
PhotoVoice shows the children’s many serious concerns. “This was an opportunity for them to show and share their stories, and to identify and think about the health-related issues relevant to their daily lives,” says Sarah Nezworski, coordinator of the project, and a student in a dual degree program through UMDNJ’s School of Public Health and School of Health Related Professions.
Two Fulbright Scholars at New Jersey Dental School
New Jersey Dental School’s Muralidhar Mupparapu, DMD, and Jeffrey Kaplan, PhD, are among the U.S. faculty and professionals to go abroad this year as part of the prestigious Fulbright Scholars Program.
The program is designed to increase mutual understanding among scholars from the U.S. and other countries. Chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, the two scholars take their places among five previous Fulbright Scholars from UMDNJ.
Mupparapu is a professor of diagnostic sciences and director of the dental school’s Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. He will spend six months at the University of Malta Medical School to work with its dental surgery faculty and he will teach courses on oral and maxillofacial radiology to dental students and post-graduates. These courses are currently nonexistent at the school. In addition, he’ll team-up with faculty to conduct research on the genetic aspects of developmental dental anomalies.
Kaplan is an associate professor of oral biology. In January 2010, he will travel to Université du Littoral Cote d’Opale in Boulogne Sur Mer on the northern coast of France to conduct research. For six months, he will work in the laboratory of Dr. Said Jabbouri, a biochemist with whom he has authored three papers. By combining their areas of expertise, they hope to gain a better understanding of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and discover new methods of treating staphylococcus epidermidis infections. Kaplan, a microbiologist, was named one of New Jersey’s top 10 researchers in the December 2008 issue of New Jersey Biz magazine, and has received an NIH National Research Service Award.