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Medical student checks over x-rays in the Histology Lab

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The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (KPCOM) has a long history of coordinating medical outreach trips to underserved parts of the globe. Not surprisingly, after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico in September 2017 with winds measuring 155 miles per hour at landfall, the college’s dean, Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., made the humanitarian decision to coordinate a medical outreach trip to the battered island nation as soon as feasibly possible.

Due to the dangerous conditions that existed in Puerto Rico in the weeks and months following Hurricane Maria, the college postponed an initially planned December 2017 trip until it was deemed safe for the college’s students and faculty and staff members to travel there. Three months later, the college journeyed to Puerto Rico to work at a clinic site located in Barrio Mameyes de Utuado. During the March 3–11 medical outreach endeavor, 15 first-year KPCOM students and 5 faculty and staff members assisted more than 320 patients who were in critical need of various health care services.

Class of 2018 Graduation - CongratulationsSenior Week provided a wealth of opportunities for the class of 2018 KPCOM students to celebrate their long-awaited graduation while attending an afternoon awards presentation, participating in a celebratory bash at the B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and attending the Senior Awards Dinner Dance at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.

The week culminated on Friday, May 18 when a multitude of KPCOM graduates received their degrees during the Health Professions Division Commencement Ceremony held at the Rick Case Arena at the Don Taft University Center on NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus. During the ceremony, 239 D.O., 80 Master of Public Health, 19 Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics, 6 Master of Science in Nutrition, 3 Master of Science in Medical Education degrees, and 2 Master of Disaster and Emergency Management degrees were conferred.

On March 27, the KPCOM’s Pediatrics Club won the NSU Graduate Organization of the Year Award at the 20th Annual Student Life Achievement Awards (STUEYS) held March 27 in the NSU Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center. For those unfamiliar with the STUEY Awards, the event honors the people and organizations that best exemplify the NSU Core Values of academic excellence, student centered, opportunity, scholarship/research, integrity, diversity, innovation, and community within the university community.

When the inaugural cohort of 24 KPCOM Bachelor of Science in Public Health (B.S.P.H.) students began taking classes in the fall of 2017, they did so with the comforting knowledge that the college was doing everything possible to ensure their academic success and personal growth thanks to the implementation of a progressive mentoring program. The B.S.P.H. mentoring program comprises several goals, including encouraging undergraduate students to become engaged at NSU and in the KPCOM, and helping them develop meaningful, productive, and quality faculty-student relationships through insightful conversations centering on academic, professional, and life goals.

Ashwin-Wallace HandstandImagine the following scenario. You’re a medical student who just completed a grueling training shift at a local hospital during your third-year clinical rotations. It’s now 1:00 a.m., and you walk to the roof of the hospital’s parking garage. If you’re Ashwin Kalyandurg, however, you’re not about to get in your car and head home for a good night’s sleep. Instead, you spend the next hour or two practicing your hand-walking skills on the garage’s roof.

It may seem like an odd way to unwind after a long day of medical training, but for Kalyandurg, who is now a fourth-year NSU-KPCOM student, it was just another ordinary day in his quest to break the Guinness World Record for walking the farthest on his hands in eight hours. On June 20, Kalyandurg achieved his dream when, at 5:10 p.m., he had traveled about 3.17 miles—11,220 exhausting steps—at the Clive Daniel Home interior design store in Boca Raton, Florida, besting the 2002 record by 100 meters.

Jamaica GroupDuring the past 17 years, NSU’s Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM) has made numerous medical outreach pilgrimages to various areas in Jamaica to provide vital health care services and offer preventive health education to medically underserved citizens. The latest outreach endeavor, which took place June 3–12 in the areas of Kingston and St. Mary, provided a range of health care services to more than 3,200 patients. Although the medical outreach trip to Jamaica is coordinated twice a year by the college through the tireless planning of Paula Anderson-Worts, D.O., M.P.H., associate professor of family medicine, the humanitarian effort has evolved into a true interprofessional and multidisciplinary alliance.

AIM Higher-Drawing BloodIn June 2017, NSU-KPCOM observed the second year of Achieve in Medicine (AIM-High)—a weeklong program established to enhance enthusiasm for careers in the health professions and to instill a passion for medicine in exceptional high school students. More than 150 phone calls and 115 completed applications from 18 states demonstrated the robust interest in the residential medical immersion camp. Building on the success of the first year, 93 students from 8 states and 3 students from Puerto Rico joined KPCOM faculty members and medical students to experience college life on the NSU Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus.

Joseph DeGaeano honored as FOMA Physician of the YearJoseph De Gaetano, D.O., M.S.Ed., FAAFP, FACOFP, professor of family medicine, received the FOMA Physician of the Year Award during the 113th Annual Florida Osteopathic Medical Association (FOMA) Convention held February 18–22 at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa in Weston. The accolade honors an osteopathic physician who during the past year has made significant and considerable contributions not only to the osteopathic profession, but also to the community on both a local and statewide level.

NSU-COM receives $2.5 Million Grant for Health LiteracyHealth literacy is a critically important ability that allows people to become active participants in their health care. Yet, one in three Americans have little to no health literacy skills according to the National Center for Educations Statistics.

Further, 24 percent of African Americans (9.5 million), 41 percent of Hispanics (21 million), and 29 percent of people 65 or older (12.5 million) possess below basic levels of health literacy. This suggests these individuals may be unable to use health information for even the most basic tasks such as following directions on how to take a medicine.

A research team led by Raymond L. Ownby, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., professor and chair of NSU-COM’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, recently received a five-year, $2,756,300 R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to combat this major challenge. The monies will be used to develop a user-friendly computer application (app) to help educate people on a variety of chronic health concerns at a level appropriate for them. 

Examples of some health-related topics the app will address include fatigue, pain or physical discomfort, shortness of breath, sleep problems, depression, anger, stress, memory problems, and medication adherence. “With patients having to navigate an increasingly complex health care system, our goal is to provide people the information they need to manage their health in an easily accessible, personalized way they can understand and use,” Dr. Ownby said.

Once developed, the program will be accessible in English and Spanish via an app downloadable from the App Store® or Google Play™ or available through the Internet. Users will provide basic demographic information and answer additional questions to determine their health issues and literacy. From there, users will be able to view relevant educational videos with slides and audio narration. Researchers will test the program at NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus and at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, by measuring how much people learn and how they apply it to their health based on positive results.

 In addition to Ownby, the interprofessional research team includes: Amarilis Acevedo, Ph.D., NSU College of Psychology; Ron Chenail, Ph.D., NSU College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Michelle Doldren, Ed.D., M.P.H., CHES, Robin Jacobs, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S.B.I., and Arif Rana, Ph.D., Ed.S., M.S., NSU College of Osteopathic Medicine; Michael Simonson, Ph.D., NSU Fischler College of Education; Kofi Kondwani, Ph.D., M.S., Morehouse School of Medicine; and Sara Czaja, Ph.D., University of Miami.

(Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01MD010368. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.)

Scott Colton of NSU-COMIn March, NSU-COM further cemented its reputation as a communications leader when it received two national awards in the 2016 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Excellence in Communications (EIC) Awards Program.

The college’s popular publication, COM Outlook, earned third-place honors in the Best Magazine category. In addition, Scott Colton, B.A., APR, who serves as COM/HPD director of medical communications and public relations, received second-place honors in the Best Feature Article category for his piece titled, “Childhood Cancer Survivor Daniel Bral Targets Bright Future.” 

AACOM represents the 31 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, which are accredited to deliver instruction at 46 teaching locations in 31 states. 

Osteopathic Medical student Kelly ThibertIn February, fourth-year student Kelly Thibert was named NSU-COM’s 2015–2016 Student D.O. of the Year. Thibert was nominated by her peers and chosen by the NSU-COM Local Selection Committee, whose members were determined by the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP).
Thibert has held or currently holds leadership positions in multiple organizations that benefit her fellow medical students, underserved populations, and public health in general. For example, she has demonstrated commitment to the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) by serving as a leader during her four years at NSU-COM, as well as on a national level throughout her years as an undergraduate and graduate student. One of Thibert’s primary goals as national AMSA president-elect is to promote osteopathic awareness within the organization and across the nation.
Each year for the past five years, Thibert has worked with children suffering from muscular dystrophy. She has also dedicated her time to the uninsured, women suffering from abuse, and children with special needs. Of particular note is the fact that she is the cofounder and a board member of a student-run, free clinic for homeless and underserved populations. In addition to all her accomplishments, Thibert was selected for this award because of her uplifting personality, enthusiasm, and commitment to the osteopathic profession. 

Elaine Wallace accepting her award from Frederick Lippman, R.Ph., Ed.D., Health Professions Division chancellor (far left), and George L. Hanbury II.During the NSU Health Professions Division Commencement Ceremony held August 21 in the Don Taft University Center, Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., who serves as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was presented with the Morton Terry Founders’ Award, which honors inspirational leadership in education and health care administration.

“Your commitment to the community—including our university and the many organizations you have served—is a tribute to the high standards that govern your life,” said George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., NSU president and chief executive officer. “Throughout your career, both personally and professionally, you are looked upon by your colleagues and friends as a person of high integrity who is driven by impeccable principles and ethics.”

The award, which was last presented to a recipient in 2008, has been accorded to four other individuals over the years: Barry Silverman, M.D. (2008), Sylvia Urlich, M.A. (2006), Ray Ferrero, Jr., J.D. (2005), and David Rush (2004).

Carisa Champion-LippmannIn July, Carisa Champion-Lippmann, J.D., a fourth-year College of Osteopathic Medicine student, received the loftiest of honors when she was named to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Board of Trustees as its sole student representative at the AOA 95th Annual House of Delegates meeting held July 17–19 in Chicago, Illinois.

“Carisa is an ideal representative for her fellow osteopathic medicine students throughout the United States as a member of the AOA Board of Trustees,” said Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., NSU-COM dean. “She has a good understanding of issues facing the field and has achieved so much at such a young age. We can only imagine the possibilities Carisa has in store for her future.”

The AOA Board of Trustees, which is the association’s administrative body, has authority to conduct all business when the House of Delegates is not in session, and when such policies are essential to the management of the AOA. These duties include administration of the association’s finances, appointments to bureaus, councils, and committees, decisions on all questions of ethical/judicial issues, and review and approval of amendments to the constitution, bylaws, and regulations of affiliated organizations.

Champion-Lippmann, a class of 2016 NSU-COM student and master of public health candidate, was the inaugural student in NSU’s pilot parallel D.O./J.D. program and received her Juris Doctor degree from NSU’s Shepard Broad College of Law in May 2015.

Dr. Barbara ArcosBarbara Arcos, D.O., associate professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, received a significant honor during the 35th Annual Florida Society of American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (FSACOFP) Convention and Family Medicine Update, held July 29–August 2 in Orlando, when she was named as the recipient of the Educator of the Year Award. Established in 2006, the FSACOFP Educator of the Year Award is selected by the FSACOFP Board of Trustees to honor an individual who has significantly enhanced the academic credibility of osteopathic family medicine in the state of Florida by a sustained, long-term commitment to osteopathic family medicine in academic settings.

Dr. Stephen GrantThe Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill, which occurred on April 20, 2010, was the largest disaster of its kind in history as its negative impact on the economy ran in the tens of billions of dollars and caused irreversible damage to the environment.

To help preventable disasters like this from occurring again, the college’s Institute for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness (IDEP) created Project SEAMIST (South East Area Marine Industry Safety Training) in 2010, which was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health.

“Project SEAMIST provides training so that vessels and seaports can function safely and efficiently, supporting an important economic component of Florida and the Gulf Coast,” said Stephen Grant, Ph.D., primary investigator of the grant and associate professor of public health.

As a result of its initial successes, the NIEHS has awarded an initial $590,000 to IDEP and recommended a total award of $4,289,274 over a five-year period (2015-20) to continue the program and enhance its offerings.

During the first five years (2010-15) of Project SEAMIST, the program developed a set of safety training curricula specifically targeting the unique hazards of the marine industry and environment. It provided 120 training sessions to nearly 3,000 workers throughout the Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi) and Virginia, including law-enforcement officers, port workers, safety trainers, vessel operators and crew members, cruise-ship employees, and medical personnel.

This new addition to Project SEAMIST is being spearheaded by co-collaborator Kristi Messer, M.S.W., M.P.H., IDEP assistant project manager and assistant professor of public health and disaster and emergency preparedness. Messer developed the complementary Hazardous Material Maritime Industry Response Training Safety Initiative to enable workers in the industry to reduce injuries and death related to all disasters and emergencies involving hazardous materials.

(Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U45ES019350. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.)

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