Category Archives: Health Sciences

Medical Library Association recognizes Forbes for outstanding service

Laupus Library Interlibrary Loan Supervisor Carrie Forbes is the recipient of the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Chapter (MAC) Award for Outstanding Health Sciences Library Paraprofessional from the Medical Library Association (MLA). The award honors Forbes for her outstanding customer service efforts related to her work in interlibrary loan and document delivery for Laupus Library.

Forbes

Forbes (contributed photo)

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award and had no idea I was even nominated,” said Forbes. “I truly love working at Laupus Library and serving the ECU Health Sciences Campus and Vidant Medical Center by being able to provide Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery services for our patrons.”

The purpose of the MLA-MAC Outstanding Health Sciences Library Paraprofessional of the Year Award is to honor an outstanding library paraprofessional in a health sciences library and to recognize the critical role and important contributions library paraprofessionals make to the development and evolution of modern health sciences libraries and librarianship.

“Laupus Library is very fortunate to have many dedicated and talented staff,” says Roger Russell, Assistant Director for User Services. “I am elated that the MLA-MAC funds this award and that Carrie was chosen to receive it this year.”

–Kelly Dilda

Drs. Carabello and Kiser bring international experience to improve cardiovascular care in eastern NC

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center have appointed two acclaimed specialists to key leadership positions. Drs. Blase Carabello and Andy Kiser bring international experience and a new level of expertise in cardiovascular care to the East.

Drs. Carabello and Kiser

Drs. Carabello and Kiser

Carabello joins the ECU Department of Cardiovascular Sciences as chief of cardiology at Brody and director of the East Carolina Heart Institute (ECHI) at the medical center.

He is recognized worldwide in the field of valvular heart disease. He specializes in the care of patients with complex valvular heart disease and general internal medicine. He co-authored the AHA/ACC Guidelines for the Treatment of Valvular Disease from 1998 to 2016.

Carabello earned his MD degree from Temple University. He completed his training in both internal medicine and cardiology at Harvard Medical School.

“I’ve known a thousand doctors in my life but only 50 physicians,” said Carabello. “A doctor is a technologist. A physician understands the power of science and the importance of evidence-based medicine but also knows the limitations of those disciplines, and that’s where the art of medicine learned from experience takes over. That art and the willingness to feel the patient’s anxiety about his/her illness and calm that fear makes a physician a physician.”

Kiser joins the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences as chief of cardiac surgery and director of cardiovascular surgical services at ECHI. He arrives from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was chief of cardiothoracic surgery.

An international leader in minimally invasive valve and coronary artery surgery, Kiser has particular expertise in interventional surgery to avoid incisions in the chest. He developed the suprasternal approach for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), and performed the first such procedure in the United States in 2015. He also pioneered paracardioscopic procedures to treat atrial fibrillation.

A North Carolina native, Dr. Kiser earned his BS and MD degrees with honors at UNC-Chapel Hill, followed by training there in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery.

“The East Carolina Heart Institute has a long and outstanding history of providing excellent care to the people of Eastern North Carolina.  The cardiac surgery program is recognized as being one of the top 30 in the country for the best patient care and outcomes, better than 97 percent of all other cardiac surgery programs nationally,” said Kiser.

“This is an example of the commitment by the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health to have a heart team approach to care where the patient and family is central to our processes and decision making.  I am honored to be a part of this community and to be able to join such an outstanding team.”

–Amy Ellis

Laupus Library offers respites for stressed students

Final exam week is the busiest time for Laupus Library each semester, as students pack into every available study space for hours of studying. To encourage students to take a healthy break from their hard work, Laupus hosted a variety of stress relieving activities and programs April 26-29 for those needing a brief escape.

The library’s ongoing Pet Therapy program, sponsored by the Friends of Laupus Library, kicked off the week with much success as many students were eager to spend a little time with man’s best friend.

Health Sciences students take a break from studying for exams to engage in some pet therapy – part of an expanding student program sponsored by the Friends of Laupus Library. (Contributed photos)

Christa Sanderford, a graduate student in the environmental health sciences program, was talking on the phone about exams with her mom when she walked into the library and spotted the therapy dogs. “I was like, ‘mom I have to go,’” she said. “There are dogs in the library!”

“I am so excited,” she gushed after giving both dogs a good rub. “My exam is in 30 minutes and I am so much more cheerful now.”

“Bringing these dogs to the library is a way we can acknowledge that we appreciate what these students are going through and provide a bit of emotional comfort, particularly during finals week when the stress goes up another notch, explained Beth Ketterman, interim director of Laupus Library. “And there is good evidence in the health sciences literature that taking a few moments to stop and pet an animal has a positive impact on human psychology and physiology.”

Physician assistant studies student Hayden Mulligan says she spends more time in the library than her own home.

“Sometimes it’s hard to incentivize yourself to take a break because there is so much work to be done,” she said. “It’s so nice to be able to take a second away from studying and love on an animal that is sweet and generous and cuddly.”

“These dogs help me remember there is real life outside of school,” she continued. “They relax me and make the library feel a little more like home.”

Because of the positive response from students, the Friends of Laupus Library voted earlier this year to double the number of offerings by sponsoring sessions for fall and spring semesters during mid-term and final exam weeks.

Friends Chair John Papalas says the group is proud to support the library and students it serves.

“By sponsoring and promoting events like this we hope to highlight the prominent role Laupus plays in the education of a growing and ever more diverse student body,” he said.

Other activities held throughout the week included a Food N’ Fun Break on Wednesday evening for students who enjoyed free pizza, snacks, giveaways and board games. Also during the break, students completed surveys which collected feedback on ways the library can improve services to better meet their needs.

Programs concluded on Friday, April 29, as Laupus VIP contest winner Brittany Eure – a freshman nursing student – and four invited friends received 12 hours of private and reserved study space and a full day of pampering. Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner were delivered to the lucky group along with snacks and other giveaways throughout the day.

Laupus staff also decorated the exclusive spot to make the long study hours a more enjoyable experience.

“Winning the contest has made a huge difference in my studying,” claimed Eure. “I actually looked forward to coming to study today and was relieved not to have to worry about finding a room.”

The competition, created to encourage students to follow the library’s social media sites, required students to attend the Food N’ Fun Break and post a photo from the event on the Laupus Library Facebook or Instagram pages. Participant names were entered into a drawing held on Thursday morning.

“All these programs show the library cares about the students and wants to make this time as manageable as possible for us,” Mulligan said. “That makes me feel like they are on my team and I really appreciate their support.”

–Kelly Dilda

CSDI students present donors with patient-created quilt

Students from East Carolina University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders presented a group of long-time donors with a unique gift during several representatives’ visit to campus this April.

Students and staff from the College of Allied Health Sciences present members of the Scottish Rite organization with a quilt created by pediatric patients in ECU’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

Students and staff from the College of Allied Health Sciences present members of the Scottish Rite organization with a quilt created by pediatric patients in ECU’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

The Scottish Rite Foundation has supported the department – housed within the College of Allied Health Sciences – for more than 20 years, and members regularly tour the Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic and meet with the faculty, staff and students working to combat childhood language disorders and dyslexia.

“We just really appreciate everything you do for us,” said Kate DelGreco, who is working toward a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She and two other graduate students presented members with a quilt created by the clinic’s pediatric patients, who range in age from 2 to 18.

Clinical Operations Director Lori Kincannon said meeting the students shows the full impact of a gift to the clinic or department.

“We want them to know that not only do their donations help the children in our clinic, but they’re also supporting the training for future clinicians who will go on to help hundreds of children over their lifetimes,” she said.

Speech-language pathology graduate student Kate DelGreco speaks with Scottish Rite masons Michael May and Tom Broderick about the pediatric programs they sponsor in ECU's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Speech-language pathology graduate student Kate DelGreco speaks with Scottish Rite masons Michael May and Tom Broderick about the pediatric programs they sponsor in ECU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Inspector General Dr. William Brunk said it’s a pleasure to meet the people who further the foundation’s ongoing work to improve speech, language and literacy across the state and nation.

“(I get) the joy of knowing I’m a little part – just a very little part – of something that’s doing good for other people,” he remarked. “Our job it to try and make society just a little bit better.”

The ECU Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic averages 3,000 patient visits each year. Providers at the clinic offer comprehensive services to individuals of all ages experiencing speech, language, hearing, balance and communication disorders. For more information or to make an appointment, call 252-744-6104.

–Kathryn Kennedy

College of Allied Health Sciences awards 35 student scholarships

The College of Allied Health Sciences held its annual Scholarship Celebration during a March 31 luncheon at the Rock Springs Center. The event, created in 2014 to honor outstanding students from all allied health sciences disciplines, provided much to celebrate as 35 scholarships totaling over $100,000 were awarded to 71 deserving students for the 2016-2017 academic year.

“The college is very proud of the accomplishments of our student recipients, very excited that this group will be part of the next generation of servant-leaders in their professions and very grateful to our donors for their generosity,” said Dr. Greg Hassler, interim dean for the College of Allied Health Sciences.

Anand Jose, a junior in the department of health services and information management and Federal Work-Study student in the College of Allied Health Sciences, is the recipient of The Rear Admiral Christina M. Alvarado Scholarship. Born in Kerala, India, Jose moved to Cary before coming to ECU.

“This scholarship means a lot,” he said. “I’m the first person in my family to come to college. It means less burden on me financially and allows me to concentrate on my studies more.”

Jose’s plans for his future include completing graduate school before pursuing a career in health administration.

Physician Assistant Studies student Hina Khatri receives the Dr. Dale Newton Scholarship from its namesake, Dr. Dale Newton, an ECU professor and medical director of the PA Studies program. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

Physician Assistant Studies student Hina Khatri receives the Dr. Dale Newton Scholarship from its namesake, Dr. Dale Newton, an ECU professor and medical director of the PA Studies program. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

College-wide scholarship recipient Lea Taylor, a first-year graduate student in the department of occupational therapy, decided she wanted to be an occupational therapist at age 12. “My brother was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and started going to occupational therapy at an outpatient clinic,” she said. “Through that experience, I became really interested in occupational therapy as a profession.”

While completing her undergraduate degree in biology, Taylor fell in love with the university and the Greenville community. “Though a large university, ECU has a small community feel and that was a huge factor in my decision,” she noted. “The distinguished faculty and the excellent reputation of the program just solidified my decision.”

“Receiving this scholarship means that there are people within the community and the university that really believe in my ability to make a difference in this field and contribute to the profession. I have been so fortunate throughout my time at ECU to receive such amazing support from faculty, staff and community members, and this scholarship is just one of the many ways I continue to feel this support and encouragement from the ECU community. Grateful is an understatement.”

Recipients represented eight departments from the college including addiction and rehabilitation studies, clinical laboratory science, communication sciences and disorders, health services and information management, nutrition science, occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies.

Dr. Leonard Trujillo, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, congratulates graduate student Ashley Thigpen on receiving the Jessica King Memorial Scholarship.

Dr. Leonard Trujillo, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, congratulates graduate student Ashley Thigpen on receiving the Jessica King Memorial Scholarship.

College-wide scholarships and recipients:

The Berbecker Foundation Fellowship
Lea Taylor

The College of Allied Health Sciences Alliance for Excellence Scholarship
Alice Fratoni
Kirsti Robertson
Natasha Shah

The College of Allied Health Sciences Patriot Scholarship
Briceida Osborne
Gregory Pait

The Louise O. Burevitch Memorial Scholarship
Alexis Wilkerson
Allender Lynch
Ashley Ritter
Chelsea Hollingsworth
Chloe Medina
Christine Hamilton
Claire Harrison
Danica Motuz
Emery Bulla
Emily Wall
Karsyn Tall
Katherine Boyd
Kristin Messina
Matthew Monaco
Savanah Hatfield
Temple Mills

The Pitt County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship
Kasie King

The SGM Herman J. Kennedy Memorial Scholarship
Alex Courtney
Charissa Simpson


Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies, scholarships and recipients:

The Jennifer Elizabeth “Beth” Lambeth Memorial Scholarship
Allison Harris
Katherine Quillen

The Louise O. Burevitch Scholarship
Alexis Wilkerson


Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, scholarships and recipients:

The Stas and Brenda Humienny Scholarship
Chloe Medina

The W. James & Susan T. Smith Scholarship
Lejla Pozegic

The W. Richard Bamberg Memorial Scholarship
Joshua Conley


Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, scholarships and recipients:

The Dr. Thomas S. Joseph and Karen E. Joseph Scholarship
Tela Palmer

The Harold & Lois White Memorial Scholarship
Christina Kelder

The James & Carol White Speech Pathology Scholarship
Ashley Ritter
Eshan Pua
Kristen Prosser

The Lina Edwards Wheeler Memorial Scholarship
Haley Gilroy
Marisa Timmins

The Meta Downes Memorial Scholarship
Ashley Ritter
Betty Jennings

The Robert and Mary Muzzarelli Scholarship
Kazlin Mason
Michelle Morley

The Tanya Johnson McDowell & Riley Floyd Scholarship
Haleigh Meffert


Department of Health Services and Information Management, scholarships and recipients:

The HealthPort Scholarship
Alexandra Lindahl
Gregory Pait

The Louise O. Burevitch Scholarship
Courtney Harrell
Eric Woodruff

The Peggy H. Wood Scholarship
Elizabeth Baker

The Rear Admiral Christina M. Alvarado Scholarship
Anand Jose
Mary-Grace Kelly


Department of Nutrition Science, scholarships and recipients:

The Elsie Faith Seal Scholarship
Kelsey Cossio

The Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni and Friends Scholarship
Karsyn Tall
Kirsti Robertson


Department of Occupational Therapy, scholarships and recipients:

The Jessica King Memorial Scholarship
Ashley Thigpen

The Louise O. Burevitch Scholarship
Joshua Register
Katherine Boyd


Department of Physical Therapy, scholarships and recipients:

The Blaise Michael Youngs Scholarship
Barbara Brafford

The Catherine Virginia McCulley Memorial Scholarship
Eric Kosco

The Dale A. Huggins Memorial Scholarship
Barbara Brafford

The George Hamilton Scholarship
Chelsea Hollingsworth
Rachel Adams

The Kinetic Physical Therapy and Wellness, Inc. Scholarship
Eric Kosco


Department of Physician Assistant Studies, scholarships and recipients:

The Dr. Dale Newton Scholarship
Hina Khatri
Jonathan Bullock
Kendra Lisec
Rachel Bradley

The Louise O. Burevitch Scholarship
Jonathan Bullock
Kendra Lisec
Rachel Bradley


–Kelly Dilda

Symposium features health care quality improvement projects

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

Interprofessional collaboration and how innovative programs can improve the quality of health care and education were recurring themes at the second Quality Improvement Symposium, held March 2 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

The annual event is part of the ECU Redesigning Education to Accelerate Change in Healthcare (REACH) program – an American Medical Association grant-funded initiative to transform medical school curriculum so it better prepares future physicians in patient safety and quality improvement in an environment of team-based, patient-centered care. The Brody School of Medicine was one of 11 schools nationwide chosen to participate in the initiative.

QISymposium2016-22

Second-year Brody School of Medicine student Ismail Kassim gives a presentation during the second-annual Quality Improvement Symposium on March 2 at the East Carolina Heart Institute. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

This year’s symposium featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Jennifer Hepps, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and clinician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Hepps walked the more than 100 symposium attendees through how her institution implemented a program to improve patient “handoffs” between shifts at the hospital.

But the day also showcased the quality improvement efforts of faculty, health care providers and students from across ECU’s Division of Health Sciences.

“Someone at my table (today) said ‘quality improvement is a team sport.’ And I really think that’s true,” Hepps said.

Dr. Heather Oxendine of the Brody’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine speaks with another symposium attendee about her poster presentation.

Dr. Heather Oxendine of the Brody’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine speaks with another symposium attendee about her poster presentation.

“The posters and presentations you see today are a good representation of what we do at REACH, which is interprofessional collaboration,” said Dr. Jason Higginson, director of neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics and leader of ECU’s Teachers of Quality Academy – another REACH initiative.

The following participants were recognized Wednesday for outstanding presentations:

  • Ismail Kassim, a second-year medical student, took first place for his podium presentation about reducing sepsis-related mortalities through implementing a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Danielle Walsh, an ECU pediatric surgeon, and Vidant Medical Center nurse Elaine Henry earned second place for their collaboration to improve patient outcomes via a robust surgical quality program.
  • Third place was awarded to Danielle McMullen, also a nurse at the medical center – which serves as the Brody School of Medicine’s affiliated teaching hospital – for her interest in improving the integrity of specimens coming from lab draws in the Emergency Department.

Awards were also given for outstanding posters – all of which were displayed in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU lobby throughout the event. Recognized for their efforts were LaShawn McDuffie, a Vidant Medical Center nurse, Tim Barnes of the ECU Department of Radiation Oncology and Dr. Heather Oxendine of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine.

Lorie Sigmon of ECU’s College of Nursing speaks with a symposium attendee at this year’s QI Symposium – part of an American Medical Association-funded program to shape the future of medical education.

Lorie Sigmon of ECU’s College of Nursing speaks with a symposium attendee at this year’s QI Symposium – part of an American Medical Association-funded program to shape the future of medical education.

More information about the ECU REACH program is available online at http://www.ecu.edu/reach.

 

Allied Health professor inducted into National Academy of Inventors

By Kelly Dilda
For ECU News Services

Stuttering treatment pioneer Dr. Joseph S. Kalinowski of East Carolina University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is among 168 individuals to be named this year as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Election to the academy’s fellow status recognizes academic inventors who, according to their peers, have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that impact quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Kalinowski mug.jpgKalinowski holds seven U.S. and 18 international patents, three of which have been licensed to start-up companies. His most notable patents relate to treatments for stuttering and other fluency disorders. Janus Development Group, a North Carolina coproration that specializes in assistive living devices, has licensed these patents for developing products and services.

In addition, one patent is the subject of new computer applications to assist a subset of stutterers who struggle with silent block – caused when vocal muscle contractions are so severe a person is unable to make any sound when trying to speak. Another has been licensed to start-up company Reading Comprehension Solutions for development of products and services that improve reading comprehension of students and adults.

Kalinowski’s passion for helping people with communication disorders grew out of his own childhood experiences.

“I was a severe stutterer as a child but noticed that I was totally and immediately fluent when reciting the ‘Pledge of Allegiance,’ or during unison prayer in church,” said Kalinowski. “It seemed strange to me that something that was so debilitating and despairing could be eliminated when others said the same material at the same time. Choral or unison speech are rare events in our daily lives but those respites from severe stuttering were cherished.”

During the five years Kalinowski attended the University of Connecticut as an undergraduate student, he never spoke in class. He was also excused from group presentations, and job interviews were “immensely painful.”

He was drawn to graduate school to learn more about stuttering and earned a Ph.D. in Speech Pathology. After landing his first job with Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, he learned of a colleague’s interest in Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF).

Developed in the 1950s, DAF technology extended the time between the user’s speech and their auditory perception that speech. The user spoke into a device with a microphone and then heard his voice in headphones a fraction of a second later. The delay resulted in slower speech, which was thought to reduce stuttering.

Kalinowski worked on refining that technology to make speech sounds easier to manipulate. “I tried it on myself and our group had a ‘eureka’ moment,” he said. “I could speak as fast as I wanted and still be fluent.”

Then Kalinowski came to ECU in 1995 and began collaborating with colleagues Drs. Andrew Stuart and Michael Rastatter, which resulted in the development of SpeechEasy, a popular DAF device that fits inconspicuously inside the ear.

“We weren’t even thinking about building a device when we started collaborating,” said Stuart, noting that it was a natural progression from the powerful effects of altered feedback and participant demand to have something they could take away from the lab.

“With the work of Dr. Kalinowski, a new method of treating fluency disorders – such as stuttering – brings the best and brightest students to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders so they can be at the cutting edge of new technology and transform the care for future patients,” said Marti Van Scott, director of ECU’s Office of Technology Transfer.

Kalinowski said the team continues its work on applications to help stutterers and others with communication disorders. “There is much more to be done,” he said. “Some will be done by us but most will be done by our students until stuttering no longer exists.

“People in stuttering are passionate about their work,” he added. “We may differ in our scientific opinions but we are working so children and adults can live full lives.”

“Many things are coming together that have ECU on the verge of an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem explosion that will not only benefit the institution and its students, but also the region,” said Van Scott.  “Dr. Kalinowski and his co-inventors are excellent examples of faculty who push the limits of innovation and discovery to benefit the people of eastern North Carolina and beyond.”

Founded in 2010, the National Academy of Inventors is a non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and fellows spanning more than 200 institutions.

ECU professor elected to lead N.C. Public Health Association

An associate professor in East Carolina University¹s Department of Public Health has been elected president of the North Carolina Public Health Association (NCPHA).

Lea

Lea

Dr. Suzanne Lea, who also serves as the vice-chair of the Brody School of Medicine Women Faculty Committee, began leading the state affiliate of the American Public Health Association in September.

The NCPHA, which was founded over 105 years ago, is a professional association of both individuals and organizations that work together in order to improve the public¹s health through political advocacy, public awareness, professional development, and the interface between research and practice.

“Traditionally, NCPHA membership has been comprised of dedicated professionals working in the state and local health departments providing preventive and public health services,” said Lea, in her first memo as president. “As the role of public health has expanded in recent decades, NCPHA has a goal to broaden our reach to proactively engage all individuals who embrace their role within public health systems in our state.”

As president, Lea intends to boost the engagement of young professionals through leadership training and to develop collaborations with other professional associations in North Carolina that promote health improvement.

Lea, whose professional experience spans over 20 years in the field of applied epidemiology and public health practice, joined the Brody faculty in 2008. Prior to that, she served as a research epidemiologist at Triangle Institute International in Research Triangle Park. She has also worked as a communicable disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health and Human Services in San Rafael, California; as the chief epidemiology officer for the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, Arkansas; and as a communicable disease epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco, California.

She holds a master¹s in public health from Yale University and a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. She has authored numerous research articles, papers and textbook chapters focused on cancer, public health practice and health disparities.

– Amy Ellis

PA Studies professor advances urgent care research

By Alyssa Gutierrez
For ECU News Services

An East Carolina University faculty member in Physician Assistant Studies is prompting emergency department clinicians to thoroughly analyze urinalysis results for the possible diagnosis of serious illnesses.

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith, a clinical assistant professor and practicing physician assistant in emergency medicine, was published in the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine after she determined that routine urinalysis results can show an underlying presence of potentially life-threatening diseases. In her article, “Hyperbilirubinemia – An Urgent Care Approach,” Smith describes how she was able to link the presence of bilirubin in urine to a serious diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Bilirubin is a waste product of the normal breakdown of red blood cells and is responsible for the typical brown appearance of feces and yellow appearance of urine. It is most known for causing medical issues when it gets into the blood stream, usually resulting in jaundice, or yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes.

It was while working in the emergency department that Smith came across a case that demonstrated the importance of thoroughly reviewing urinalysis results. The patient, a 65-year-old woman, reported symptoms of dark urine as well as discomfort and a burning sensation while urinating. The patient, along with her family, viewed those symptoms as the result of a urinary tract infection and requested antibiotics that would address what she considered to be a UTI.

Smith ordered a urinalysis and all of the results were consistent with a UTI, with the exception of the presence of bilirubin. Bilirubin led Smith to believe there was a hepatobiliary system issue, which can affect the liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and gall bladder. Additional tests and procedures determined the patient did indeed have a serious health concern and she was eventually diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Smith, who is the first professor in the PA Studies department to be published, believes this case and discovery serves as a reminder to her students that they should consider the worst possible outcome, even when the patient’s presentation of symptoms seems to be routine.

“As the instructor, it is my responsibility to enable our students to think critically to understand the clinical significance of the diagnostic tests they will be ordering and interpreting,” said Smith. “On the surface, [this case] seems routine and uncomplicated, but upon more meticulous investigation actually revealed a diagnostic wolf (pancreatic cancer) disguised in seemingly benign UTI clothing.”

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