A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
If you want to give in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, don’t get “pinkwashed.” Instead, consider donating to one of these five worthy organizations. This list of organizations includes the California Breast Cancer Research Program. Run out of the University of California, this program is the largest state-funded breast cancer research effort in the nation. While it accepts donations, it also has a stable revenue stream from California’s tobacco tax.
Ebola’s evolving threat studied in UCSF lab, San Jose Mercury News
Tiny vials of inactivated Ebola virus from Africa are coming into a San Francisco lab, carrying secrets that might reveal the killer’s past — and fateful future. So far, 30 samples have been genetically deciphered at UC San Francisco by Dr. Charles Chiu and his team, who are searching for any pattern of change that forebodes a worsening of an epidemic that has claimed at least 4,400 lives in its most recent outbreak in Africa. They have found no evidence of genetic changes — mutations — that could make the virus airborne or more deadly, said Chiu. Nor are there signs that it is weakening, which would make it less lethal but more burdensome. If Ebola killed more slowly, or just profoundly sickened people, victims would live longer and infect more people, and the disease would spread more widely. But it is critical to monitor its speedy evolution, he said.
Bay Area doctors join Ebola fight despite quarantine risks, San Francisco Chronicle
Doctors and other care providers from almost all major Bay Area health institutions are on the ground, or about to be, in West Africa to battle the Ebola epidemic at its source. But many potential volunteers may be held back by uncertainty over the long quarantine they may face upon their return, along with hurdles to traveling there in the first place, said doctors who are already in or on their way to West Africa. Those quoted include UCSF Dr. Phuoc Le leaves San Francisco next week for Liberia, where he’ll help shore up infection-control efforts and make sure patients get to new treatment centers in the Ebola-stricken West African nation. Also quoted are Dr. George Rutherford, director of the Institute for Global Health at UCSF who is heading the university’s Ebola task force; Dr. Dan Kelly, a UCSF infectious disease specialist who is in Sierra Leone now; and Sriram Shamasunder, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCSF who will follow Le to the clinic in Liberia later this year.
State orders quarantine for workers who had contact with Ebola, Los Angeles Times
California’s top health officer has ordered a 21-day home quarantine for all returning medical workers or travelers who have had contact with a confirmed case of Ebola in West Africa, and invoked the possibility of imprisonment and fines if the restrictions are disobeyed. The order, issued Wednesday by California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ron Chapman, is the latest in a series of measures issued by state governments in response to widespread — and some say unwarranted — public fear. Epidemiologist Ralph Frerichs, a professor emeritus at the UCLA School of Public Health, is quoted.
See additional coverage: KPCC (audio)
UCI attempts to calm Ebola fears, even as two Orange County residents monitored for virus, Orange County Register
At UC Irvine, a panel of experts addressed a crowd of more than 700, discussing the science, politics, economics and, above all, the fear surrounding the Ebola virus. That was Monday night. The morning after, Orange County health officials said they are monitoring the health of two county residents who traveled recently to West Africa. The news marks the first time health workers in Orange County have looked for Ebola. Those quoted include Andrew Noymer, associate professor of UCI’s Public Health Program; Brandon Brown, assistant professor at UCI and director of the Global Health Initiative; UC Irvine hospital spokesman John Murray; and Joy Valdellon, a registered nurse at UCI Medical Center.
UCI Ebola meeting: Epidemic in U.S. is highly unlikely (video), CBS Los Angeles
Doctors from across California convened at UC Irvine on Monday night to discuss their plan to fight the spread of Ebola should the virus arrive in California. Doctors discussed their plan of attack at UCI’s medical center, one of five medical facilities prepared to treat patients, and spoke to an audience of concerned residents about the possibility of an outbreak in the United States. The expert panel also reassured audience members by claiming that the probability of an outbreak is slim to none. Those quoted include UCSF professor of epidemiology George Rutherfordand UCI professor of infectious diseases Michael Buchmeier.
See additional coverage: KTLA 5 (video)
Ebola concerns continue (video), Fox Los Angeles
One night after a public forum is held to talk about Ebola at UC Irvine another is held at UCLA. It comes at the same time Riverside County officials say they’re monitoring two county residents. They’re not sick. They haven’t displayed symptoms. They are believed to be “low risk,” but they just returned from West Africa. That’s what they monitoring. In Westwood, Ebola was the subject of a public forum where health officials and others talked about the virus and the concerns some have about it. Dr. Zachary Rubin with UCLA told the audience that “over the last couple of weeks there’s been a huge amount of fear and anxiety not only in the general public, but also among health care workers. He talked about the protocols in place at UCLA Medical Center and the precautions that would be taken if a patient were to talk in the door. And, he talked about how transmission is through bodily fluids.
U.S. cases prove Ebola is ‘not a death sentence’, Los Angeles Times
When Amber Vinson walked out of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday, she became the sixth person in the country to be successfully treated for a disease that kills 70% of its victims in Africa, but has so far killed only one in the United States.Long thought to be a death sentence, Ebola has proved vulnerable to a mix of standard and invasive medical techniques, readily available in the U.S. but often beyond the reach of the impoverished nations at the heart of the outbreak. Breathing tubes, large-bore intravenous lines, blood dialysis, electrolyte monitoring and around-the-clock attention are largely responsible for the survival of patients under advanced Western care, experts say. ”It’s not a death sentence,” said Michael Buchmeier, a virologist at UC Irvine. “It’s a beatable disease.” The challenge for healthcare workers is to keep a patient alive long enough for the immune system to vanquish the virus and return to normal, according to Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at UC San Francisco.
Union: California hospitals not ready for Ebola, Associated Press
Five California hospitals that say they are ready to treat the Ebola virus lack proper training and equipment, a nurses union said Tuesday. The contention was part of an effort by the California Nurses Association to call attention to what it said was inadequate preparation at University of California hospitals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Davis and Irvine. On Friday, the hospital system told the California Department of Public Health the facilities were ready for patients. About half of the 80 workers at UC San Diego Medical Center who volunteered to treat Ebola patients have completed intensive training, hospital spokeswoman Jacqueline Carr said. Anyone who cares for an Ebola patient would have gear with no exposed skin, she added. The hospitals welcome suggestions from nurses, doctors and other staff members on how to be more prepared, said Dr. John Stobo, the University of California system’s senior vice president for health sciences and services.
See additional coverage: ABC Los Angeles (video), CBS Los Angeles (video), CBS San Francisco (audio, video), City News Service, CW 6 San Diego (video), Fox 5, KABC, KPBS, KPCC, KUSI (video), NBC Southern California (video), NBC San Diego (video), San Diego 6 (video), San Francisco Examiner
UCSF adding isolation room, staff for possible Ebola cases, San Francisco Examiner
UC San Francisco is preparing a second Ebola-specific isolation room and seeking additional volunteers to treat potential patients following the designation Friday of UC medical centers as the state’s priority hospitals to treat Ebola cases. The second isolation room designed for a patient with the deadly disease is being constructed at UCSF’s Mount Zion facility, where one isolation room was already set up that can handle the extra precautions needed with an Ebola patient, said Dr. Josh Adler, chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in San Francisco, but hospitals in the city and throughout the U.S. have been preparing for that scenario. In addition to San Francisco, the California Department of Public Health on Friday identified UC medical centers in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego as those positioned to accept patients with Ebola.
“The document is 20 some pages long and growing,” said Chief Nursing Officer Carol Robinson as she describes UC Davis Medical Center’s plan to keep its staff safe. Her facility is one of five designated by the state as treatment centers for any confirmed Ebola patients in California.
California hospitals prepare for possible Ebola cases (audio), Capital Public Radio
California state officials say University of California medical centers are positioned to treat Ebola patients should cases appear here. But they say all hospitals are expected to be able to screen, identify and isolate potential Ebola patients.
UCSF Dr. Phuoc Le, who is getting ready to treat Ebola patients in West Africa, discusses whether returning Ebola workers should be quarantined. Read more.
Ebola, an (un)ethical crisis, PRIM&R’s Amp&rsand
Brandon Brown, assistant professor and director of the Global Health Research, Education and Translation (GHREAT) Initiative at UC Irvine, will be chairing a panel on ethics and Ebola at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research’s Advancing Ethical Research Conference, Dec. 5-7, in Baltimore.
Op-ed: Rigid quarantines may harm, not help, the fight against Ebola, San Francisco Chronicle
The biggest challenge of the Ebola epidemic is staffing, not stuff or systems. As the epidemic grows, we will need more health care workers, and Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea cannot meet the Ebola-related needs — much less that region’s broader health systems’ staffing needs — without international support, writes Dr. Dan Kelly, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with UCSF who maintains the Wellbody Alliance clinic in Sierra Leone.
Op-ed: Ebola isn’t a crisis in U.S.; hysteria is, San Francisco Chronicle
Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, writes about Ebola.
100 physician leaders of hospital and health systems, Becker’s Hospital Review
This list of 100 physician leaders of hospitals and health systems for 2014, based on leaders’ health care experience, accolades and commitment to quality care, includes Dr. David Feinberg, president of UCLA Health System and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System.
Therapy treats lung cancer based on patients’ genetic markers, San Francisco Chronicle
A new type of clinical trial for lung cancer patients getting under way at hospitals in the Bay Area and around the country may change the way drugs are tested in the future. That’s a pretty bold expectation, but researchers say the study — called the Lung Cancer Master Protocol, or Lung-MAP — will do just that. It’s the first study to recruit large numbers of patients, profile their tumors for genetic markers, and then direct those patients to the experimental therapy that is most likely to help them. In standard trials, one drug is tested at a time and researchers have little advance knowledge about which patients are likely to benefit or why. The new trial involves testing five different drugs at the same time. Every patient will receive a test drug based on the genomic profile of his or her tumor. The approach is expected to save time, and possibly money, and offer patients a better chance of survival. “It’s not an overstatement to say the world is watching us,” said Dr. David Gandara, director of the UC Davis Thoracic Oncology Program and a lead researcher in the Lung-MAP trial.
UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations finds innovative ways to treat most common health problems (video), California Health Report
UC San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations puts many of the most common health conditions in the crosshairs, and uses research and outreach to improve the health of society’s most vulnerable-sometimes in unexpected ways.
We’re told that tweaks to the microbiome can cure everything from allergies to Ebola. Not exactly, say experts. Jonathan Eisen, a professor and biologist who studies the ecology of microbes at UC Davis, is quoted.