October 21, 2011.
A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
UC Riverside refuses to give up. Rebuffed by Sacramento last summer in its quest to secure the necessary money to open a top-flight medical school, the university has turned elsewhere for the cash. Richard Olds, founding dean of UCR’s planned School of Medicine, said that if the university can obtain enough pledges by next spring to ensure a steady stream of revenue totaling $10 million a year for several years, the school’s will open its doors in 2013.
For nearly three decades, the Gladstone Institutes has played a largely behind-the-scenes role in studying some of the world’s most pressing health crises: Alzheimer’s, heart disease and AIDS, just for starters. But stem cells, increasingly part of the institute’s studies, are putting Gladstone in the spotlight. Today, it is announcing a new stem cell center, funded with a $5 million donation from the Roddenberry Foundation. Creating the new Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine – named after the man who created “Star Trek” – underscores Gladstone’s new emphasis on shepherding potential treatments beyond the labs and into patient hands, researchers there say. Gladstone is affiliated with UCSF.
Walk down certain hallways at UC San Diego and you may overhear someone say, “Be like Shu.” The phrase is catching on at the Jacobs School of Engineering, where faculty member Shu Chien is being held up not only as an example of how to succeed in research, but in life. Friends and colleagues call the bioengineer a gentle genius. On Friday, President Barack Obama may say something similar at the White House. He will award Chien the National Medal of Science for bringing together the worlds of biology, engineering and medicine to improve human health, notably the “river of life” that is the cardiovascular system.
See additional coverage: The Associated Press
In March 2008, Dr. Laura Stachel arrived in the obstetrics ward of a state hospital in Zaria, Nigeria, determined to find out why so many women were dying in childbirth. Stachel, an obstetrician-gynecologist then pursuing a doctorate of public health at UC Berkeley, expected to provide clinical advice on ways to improve procedures. But she learned something far more basic was going wrong: The hospitals and health clinics simply didn’t have electricity for large and unpredictable parts of the day. So instead of giving medical advice, she decided to get them more reliable power. As it happened, she knew whom to ask. Her husband, Hal Aronson, has spent more than a decade teaching about renewable energy systems throughout California. When Stachel returned from Nigeria, they set to work designing a solar system for the hospital. The project would eventually lead them to form WE CARE Solar, a Berkeley nonprofit that’s now delivered 80 compact solar systems to health clinics around the world.
Dr. Michael McCloud started off thinking small. He expected only a handful of people to show up in early 2002 for what he thought would be a one-time series of classes on healthy aging, his spin on the growing “mini-medical school” concept. In general, mini-medical schools – a public outreach program with a catchy name – provide classroom sessions on the health sciences for laypeople. Universities across the country have used them primarily to showcase their institutional research. McCloud, a UC Davis Medical Center geriatrician, liked the mini-medical school idea, but wanted to finesse it for older adults. Classes would be free, taught by medical school faculty members. At the end of the series, participants would receive diplomas. He just hoped enough people would sign up for classes on aging that he could fill the 150-seat Maidu Community Center meeting room in Roseville.
The dean of UC Davis’ medical school and a veterinary medicine expert at the university were named to the prestigious Institute of Medicine. Claire Pomeroy, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, and Patricia Conrad, veterinary parasitologist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, were elected to the institute, considered one of the top honors in health and medicine in the country. (A total of 14 UC members were elected to the IOM: See story.)
See additional coverage: North County Times
Earlier this week, UCSF Medical Center celebrated a milestone in the construction of its $1.5 billion new women’s, children’s and cancer specialty hospital at Mission Bay, “topping out” the new structure with a 1,600-pound steel beam.
Billionaire philanthropist Li Ka Shing, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and a standing-room-only crowd on Friday dedicated the campus’ new Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences. The $80 million, six-level, 200,000-square-foot facility, which will feature UC Berkeley’s stem cell program on the third and fourth floors, was funded in large part with a $40 million gift in 2005 from Hong Kong businessman Li. It also received $20 million from California’s taxpayer-supported stem cell research funding agency.
Health professionals meeting with patients at the CareNow event at L.A.’s Sports Arena aim to promote diet, exercise, smoking cessation and screenings. Jose Alexander Chavez, a scholar with UCLA’s International Medical Graduate program, is quoted.
An Italian woman who arrived in California on vacation two months ago is leaving San Diego for home Saturday with a new liver, thanks to UCSD Medical Center. Monica Rossi was stricken with a critical case of Hepatitis B, and wound up comatose for almost two weeks.
If someone asked you to name the most recent and promising advancement in cancer research, would you guess that it had nothing to do with an FDA-approved drug? Would you believe that the process by which a discovery is made, is just as important as the discovery itself? At the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Research Center, they revolutionized the research process by bringing patients, physicians, scientists and the bio-depository under one architectural-award winning roof. Instead of operating in their separate silos of academia and medicine, the essential elements to cancer therapy are integrated in a strategic collaboration that ensures success on all sides.
More than half of women who are screened annually for breast cancer will get a false positive result within 10 years of their first mammogram, according to a UCSF study that throws more fuel on the controversy over when, and how often, women should be tested.
See additional coverage: KQED Forum (audio)
Treating tuberculosis and HIV infections at the same time can be a challenge for patients and their doctors, but attacking both diseases early and aggressively isn’t harmful and could save the lives of those who are sickest, according to a global study led by UCSF researchers.
The gift to UC Irvine’s School of Biological Sciences by Francisco J. Ayala, one of the world’s top molecular biologists and owner of more than 2,000 acres of Central Valley vineyards, follows recent budget cuts in response to state funding reductions.
The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District is one step closer to acquiring a telehealth program that will allow local patients to be seen by specialists at UC Davis and other hospitals without leaving Garberville. The Northern California Health Care Authority announced that SHCHD will receive a grant of $65,000 to be used for telehealth equipment, as part of a larger grant NCHCA obtained from the UC Davis Health System and the California Telehealth Network.
In another controversy involving all-metal hips, an influential group has found that there is insufficient evidence to show that an alternative technique known as hip resurfacing is as safe and effective as a traditional replacement. The author of the report, Dr. Judith Walsh of the University of California, San Francisco, noted that the group’s previous assessments of hip resurfacing indicated the lack of clinical trials directly comparing the outcomes of patients who got a hip resurfacing with similar patients who got a standard replacement.
Medicare has begun publishing patient safety ratings for thousands of hospitals as the first step toward paying less to institutions with high rates of surgical complications, infections, mishaps and potentially avoidable deaths. The new data, available starting last week on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website, evaluate hospitals on how often their patients suffer complications such as a collapsed lung, a blood clot after surgery or an accidental cut or tear during treatment. The article quotes Dr. Patrick Romano, a professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine who helped the government design the measures.
Last week, the NIH published the results of a major study investigating whether taking vitamin E or selenium supplements reduced the risk of developing cancer, as earlier research had suggested. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) discovered just the opposite to be true: Men who took significant daily doses of vitamin E had a greater prostate cancer risk. A Q&A follows with Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, a urologic oncologist at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and one of the SELECT study co-authors, and Dr. Christopher Kane, chief of the division of urology at Moores.
A severe physician shortage in rural California is just one reason that many farm workers don’t get health care. But in Stanislaus County, the Valley Consortium for Medical Education is taking on the shortfall with a boost from the federal health reform law. Now, a $2.5 million dollar annual grant to the Valley Consortium under the Affordable Care Act will help the residency program chip away at the Central Valley’s yawning physician gap. The article mentions that one of the participants, Gilberto Cota, grew up in the border city of Mexicali, and landed a spot in a UCLA program designed to train Spanish-speaking doctors to practice in the United States.
Many first- and second-generation Hmong immigrants to America fought their way through wars, jungles, starvation and thirst to get to their adopted land from Indochina. Now some of them and their children are facing another serious threat. hepatitis B is highly prevalent among the Hmong people, including those living in Merced and throughout the Central Valley, but nothing is being done to combat the issue, a Merced group said. Project Prevention — an organization of young professionals, a community researcher and UC Merced students — decided it was time to take action to address the problem, at least on a small scale, targeting the Hmong community in Merced.
A Mexican doctor sees great opportunities for collaboration with UC Merced on binational health initiatives intended to decrease the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among Mexicans and migrants. “Binational efforts are amazingly important,” Dr. Carlos Cabrera, of the Mexican non-profit organization Brazos Abiertos (Open Arms), said last Thursday evening, following a presentation at UC Merced.
Obesity has a greater impact on the blood pressure of teenage girls than on teenage boys, a U.S. study has suggested. The researchers from the University of California say the link may be counteracting the known protective effect of the hormone oestrogen on the heart. The article quotes UC Merced associate professor Rudy Ortiz, who led the study.
Five-term Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California announced Thursday he will not seek re-election next year, expressing frustration with a political process that rewards “screamers” and criticizing the Obama administration for what he characterized as a failure to solve the housing crisis. He was instrumental in locating the University of California’s newest campus in Merced, and said he will continue to work for the creation of a medical school there.
Giving premature babies even low doses of steroids after birth interferes with development of the brain’s cerebellum, which is important to motor skills, learning and behavior, new research finds. For the study, researchers analyzed MRIs of 172 babies born very early (under 32 weeks’ gestation) at two medical centers, the University of British Columbia and the University of California, San Francisco.
This column about Monte Vista High School football player Ryan Neil notes that he successfully had a brain tumor removed at UCSF Medical Center. Neurosurgeon Mitchel Berger is mentioned.
Kaiser Permanente will begin offering trauma center services at the Vacaville Medical Center Monday. The center’s Level III status will allow Kaiser to accept and treat accident and violence victims, saving travel time and possibly lives. Previously, severely injured victims were airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek and UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
Dr. Byron H. Demorest, a longtime medical and community leader who was a founding father of the UC Davis School of Medicine, died Friday of multiple myeloma, his family said. He was 86. Dr. Demorest was a widely respected ophthalmologist for more than 50 years. He was active in efforts to start a medical school at UC Davis and co-founded the ophthalmology program in 1965. As the first department chairman, he helped organize the faculty and created the medical school’s first accredited residency program.
Dr. John D. Baxter, 71, a longtime UCSF faculty member who with his colleagues first cloned the key genes for human and bovine growth hormone, died Oct. 5 after surgery for cancer. As a endocrinologist, Dr. Baxter founded the UCSF Diabetes Center, and as a scientist he entered deeply into the early days of research on recombinant DNA and genetic engineering that led to major advances in medical therapies, major new gene cloning technologies, and the booming biotech industry. His lab’s success in cloning the key genes for human growth hormone led Genentech, then a new biotech company, to develop a synthetic form of the hormone that has been widely used in the treatment of children and adults with growth hormone deficiencies.