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VPMA Voice

One of my favorite things about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is the opportunity it provides us all to reflect upon the many ways in which we are grateful. For some it may be family, friends, or a beloved pet. For others, an engaging job, good health, or a beautiful sunset. For the lucky ones, perhaps all of the above.

Although we may count the blessings in our lives differently, all of us who work, learn, or volunteer at UI Health Care share a special opportunity each year to protect and promote the health of patients and visitors—and each other—by receiving a flu vaccination. This is one of the simplest ways that each of us can help prevent the spread of illness and provide the best possible care for our patients.

Since the start of this year’s flu vaccination program, I am delighted to report that 12 departments have achieved 100 percent compliance, with an overall compliance rate of 90 percent. I am confident that these numbers will only continue to grow as we strive to reach our goal to achieve a 100 percent response rate from our “health care compliant” employees who are required to either receive the free vaccination or register their decision to decline. Please know that vaccinations are still available on a walk-in basis through Dec. 31 at the University Employee Health Clinic (UEHC) near Elevator A, Level 1.

Thank you for embracing this chance to help protect and optimize your own health and the health of others. Enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

Signed, Jean Robillard

Request for submissions to new medical journal

The Examined Life: A Literary Journal of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine is a new print journal published biannually by The Writing and Humanities Program at the UI Carver College of Medicine. A forum devoted to literary prose and poetry, the journal intends to deepen understanding of health care and healing, illness, the human body, and the human condition. With this in mind, submissions of previously unpublished, original works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will be solicited for the publication until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 15. For more information, click here.

New leadership for the Iowa Medical Student Research Programs

Peg Nopoulos, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, has agreed to serve as Director of the Iowa Medical Student Research Programs (IMSRP), and Judith Lehman from the Office of Student Affairs and Curriculum will be serving as Assistant Director of the IMSRP. They will be overseeing the medical student summer research fellowship program. Each summer almost 100 students participate in this program that provides a student stipend and 10-12 weeks of research with a faculty mentor. In addition, they will oversee the medical student Research Distinction Track.

HealthCare Heroes Awards call for nominations

Each year the Corridor Business Journal recognizes health care excellence in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor through its HealthCare Heroes awards. Awards are given annually in five categories: community advancement, advancement in health care, physician, non-physician, and volunteer. Nomination suggestions will be collected by Becky O’Rourke at rebecca-orourke@uiowa.edu, until the deadline on Dec. 8, 2010. More information about the award can be found here.

UI Hospitals and Clinics rated among elite cancer centers

Becker’s Hospital Review recently named University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to its annual list of “30 Hospitals with Great Oncology Programs.” The list recognizes the 30 hospitals as leaders in cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and education. The Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team analyzed, scored, and weighted data to determine which programs stood out above the rest in cancer care. The UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the state, and one of only 40 in the nation.

UI team develops comprehensive genetic test for inherited deafness

Pinpointing the exact cause of inherited deafness involves sequencing one gene at a time, a process that can take up to a year at a cost of around $75,000. UI researchers have recently co-developed a test that can screen all of the genes known to cause deafness in a single run, in one to three months, and for about $2,000. It means quicker answers for families anxious to determine treatment options or learn the likelihood that future children will have hearing loss. The new test, called OtoSCOPE, will be available through the UI’s Molecular Otolaryngology and Renal Research Laboratory (MORL) by spring 2011 to clinicians and patients. For more information, click here.

Project Linus to again provide blankets to UI Children’s Hospital

Project Linus is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide comfort and security to children battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. On Friday, Dec. 3, from noon to 6 p.m. at the UI Theatre Building, faculty, students, and community members are invited to bring fleece material and spend the day making blankets. The blankets are made by tying materials together, which means the ability to sew is not necessary. Organizers will deliver the blankets to the UI Children’s Hospital on Dec. 6. For more information, or to find out how to get involved, contact Kizzy Marco at 312-307-3775 or kizzymarco@gmail.com.

Help save some energy over the holidays

Before you leave for the holidays this year, please remember to unplug coffee pots, televisions, cell phones and MP3 chargers, computer game consoles, and other electronic gizmos that use energy even when turned off. Make sure the shared copy machines and other unneeded equipment are completely turned off and not just in “sleep” mode. Fully close the windows and outside doors. These simple measures are both cost effective and environmentally friendly.


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