November 1, 2014.
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.
If anyone in San Diego were to be diagnosed with Ebola, they’d go to the UC San Diego Medical Center. Last week, the California public health department identified five hospitals in the state that were prepared to treat an Ebola patient, and this site in Hillcrest was the only one listed in San Diego. Dr. Jay Doucet, medical director for emergency preparedness, said volunteer nurses have received new in-person training on safely caring for one or two Ebola patients. “We’ve got a little over 50 people trained,” Doucet said. “We’d like to have all of our volunteers, close to 100, trained. But we could take (an Ebola patient) now if we had to.”
Wearing blue protective gowns over white biohazard suits and hoods with powered respirators, a doctor and nurse worked to take the blood sugar level of a dummy patient lying on a hospital bed at UC San Diego Medical Center Friday afternoon. The pair are among 50 selected to train for the hospital’s Ebola Response Taskforce, a new unit created to care for any patient who contracts the deadly disease in the region. UC San Diego is one of five university medical centers statewide designated for Ebola duty and just finished converting a former catheterization lab into a two-bed isolation unit separated from the rest of the hospital.
See additional coverage: ABC San Diego (video), CBS 8 (video), NBC San Diego
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.
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.
UCSF Dr. Phuoc Le is featured in this story about American doctors going abroad to treat Ebola patients. Some health care workers at UCSF are offering their vacation time to those going abroad to battle the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
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)
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.
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)
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.
G. Richard Olds, head of UC Riverside School of Medicine, also happens to be a tropical disease specialist. Dean Olds talks about dealing with Ebola on a global scale and precautions we should take locally.
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.
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
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 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.
Fever? Headache? Muscle aches? Forget about Ebola – chances are astronomically higher that you have the flu or some other common bug. Dr. Kristi Koenig, director of public health preparedness at UC Irvine, is quoted.
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.
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.
Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, writes about Ebola.
Three African American surgeons will share their success stories in a program designed to increase minority representation at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. The event, “Imagine a Career in Medicine — Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Surgeons,” is a collaboration between the UCR School of Medicine and the San Bernardino-based Black Voice Foundation. For physicians to “change behaviors it is a huge advantage for them to look like the patient they are treating” and come from a similar community environment, said Dr. G. Richard Olds, founding dean of the medical school, which is in its second year. The UCR medical school is the first new public medical school in California in more than four decades. Olds stresses that despite its name, the UCR School of Medical school belongs to San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties. The school targets incoming students from those three counties, he said, because they are likely to stay in the area after graduation.
“You just crashed a little bit,” Adam Gazzaley said. It was true: I’d slammed my rocket-powered surfboard into an icy riverbank. This was at Gazzaley’s San Francisco lab, in a nook cluttered with multicolored skullcaps and wires that hooked up to an E.E.G. machine. The video game I was playing wasn’t the sort typically pitched at kids or even middle-aged, Gen X gamers. Indeed, its intended users include people over 60 — because the game might just help fend off the mental decline that accompanies aging. Gazzaley is a UCSF neuroscientist who directs the Neuroscience Imaging Center.
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.
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.
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.
This story reports on a recent lecture at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA given to local pediatricians on how to discuss vaccinations with parents who feel they are dangerous to their children’s health. The lecture’s organizer, Dr. E. Richard Stiehm, an emeritus professor of pediatric allergy and immunology at UCLA, and Dr. Lisa Stern, an attending staff pediatrician at UCLA, are quoted.
This story reports on a study led by Dr. Stacy Pineles, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, finding that strabismus, or a “wandering eye,” can increase the risk of falls in older adults. Pineles is quoted.
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.
While so-called surgical robots have been around for a few years now, they are really not robots at all, but rather remotely controlled machines that faithfully execute the commands of their masters. For robots to be real robots, they have to be autonomous and able to do tasks without much operator input. True surgical robots can help bring forth a future in which tele-surgery is possible and where physicians don’t have to deal with routine tasks such as suturing and debridement. Researchers at UC Berkeley have been working on getting a da Vinci surgical system to be smart enough to do some basic tasks on its own.
“There is a magnetic appeal to gratitude,” says Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at UC Davis and a pioneer of gratitude research. Christine Carter, a sociologist at the Greater Good Science Center, at UC Berkeley, also is mentioned in this article.