Housecall Summer 2009
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Transcript of Housecall Summer 2009
A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES SUMMER 2009
embrace health care
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editorSusan Van Dusen
art directorLaurie Shell
managing editorLiz Caldwell
creative directorKeith Runkle
writersLiz CaldwellNate HinkelJon Parham
David RobinsonSusan Van Dusen
editorial advisory boardKathy Alexander
Jerry AtchleyAnne BynumCindy PughDale Ronnel
Carla SpainhourJudy SnowdenBecky Tucker
chancellorI. Dodd Wilson, M.D.
vice chancellorof communications & marketing
associate vice chancellor of communications & marketing
assistant vice chancellor ofcommunications & marketing
HouseCall is published quarterly by UAMS Office of Communications &
Marketing, 4301 W. Markham St. #890, Little Rock, AR 72205-7199
Phone: (501) 686-5686 Fax: (501) 686-6020
Read current and archived issues of HouseCall online at
www.UAMShealth.com/housecall I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. Chancellor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Welcome from Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson
As I write this column, arkansas unemployment rate has reached 6.6 percent. While still considerably less than the national rate of 8.5 percent, thousands of arkansans continue to struggle with lost wages, declining retirement funds, mounting bills and insecurity about the future. For some people, these uncertain times can translate into new opportunities, including the chance to explore a different career path. Health care offers some of the most stable and well paying jobs in any economy, but especially during an economic downturn. an october 2008 document released by the u.s. Bureau of labor statistics showed that despite major job loss in industries such as manufacturing, construction and retail trade, the health care industry added more than 20,000 positions in that one month alone. The largest employment jumps were seen in outpatient services and hospitals. In fact, health care was one of only three major industries to add jobs in the latter part of 2008; the other two were mining and government. In this issue of HouseCall we highlight four uaMs employees who made a transition from other careers to health care. The reasons for their career moves are varied, but the end result is the same: rewarding careers in a stable industry. as you read about these health care professionals, remember that there are many more like them enrolled in uaMs colleges and working on its staff. These people will fill vital health care roles in arkansas future, and for that we thank them.
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on the cover: at age 44, Kim Carman made a career change to health care.Cover photo: Johnpaul Jones
Hit Me With Your Best shotThe latest word on vaccines from UAMS experts
user FriendlyUAMShealth.com adds new patient-friendly features
on second Thought Health care is a top industry for people looking to
against the oddsPsychiatric inpatient care is now a reality in northwest Arkansas
In every issue
18 Healers Hip resurfacing procedure puts a former Razorback on the mendDid You Know Newsworthy happenings at UAMS
Partners Volunteer Win Rockefeller Jr. donates his time to improve
access to cancer care
Builders New Cancer Institute tower will have many distinctive features
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When Heather smith took her infant daughter, Makaela, to the pediatrician for her first round of immunizations, there were plenty of tears. and they werent all from Makaela. I broke down and cried the first time I took her for shots, said Smith, director of the uaMs librarys learning Resource Center. Theyre no fun, but they are necessary. For new parents like smith, immunizations are a way of life. During a childs first 15 months, there are 25 recommended immunizations. and thats just the start. In fact, vaccinations can and should continue throughout your lifetime, not only for your own good health, but also for the health of the community. New vaccines are constantly being developed and tested, said Dr. Robert Hopkins Jr. and he should know. an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at uaMs, Hopkins serves on state and national boards that evaluate and recommend immunizations for children and adults throughout the united States.
Hit Me with Your Best ShotVaccines help create a healthier world.
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an interest in immunizations has followed Hopkins since his medical school days. While vaccinations were a core piece of his pediatric training, they were not as heavily emphasized in his other specialty, general internal medicine. I like to think that I carried my interest in preventive care and immunizations from the pediatrics world into the internal medicine world, where I spend most of my time, he said.
ON THe HORIzON Vaccinations are designed to stimulate the bodys immune system to provide protection against disease. While they are primarily effective against infectious disease, such as measles or chicken pox, vaccines also are in the works to prevent and treat noninfectious diseases, such as cancer. uaMs own Dr. Thomas Kieber-emmons, professor of pathology, is preparing to begin Phase 1 testing of a breast cancer vaccine that he calls the culmination of my lifes work. In fact, his research has been federally funded for about 17 years, attesting to the lengthy process involved in developing something as complex as a cancer vaccine. The immune system has to be primed to be on guard for cancer cells, since they often dont send out danger signals to the immune system in the way other disease-causing agents do, Kieber-emmons said.
in the works to
prevent and treat
Hit Me with Your Best ShotBy Susan Van Dusen
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In the case of the breast cancer vaccine which is intended to prevent recurrence of the disease Kieber-emmons goal is to trigger an immune response to the carbohydrates covering the surface of the cancer cells, thus destroying the cells and leaving the healthy tissue alone. The challenge in creating a cancer vaccine lies in being able to target the cancer cells only, while not attacking the normal tissue, Hopkins said, adding that its a different concept than vaccinating against something like the flu virus. If you target the flu virus with a vaccine, you kill it off, get it out of your system and it doesnt make you sick, he said. Cancer, however, causes abnormal changes in the body, and its a much bigger challenge to target a vaccine that goes after that abnormality. Keiber-emmons clinical trial which will be conducted in conjunction with Dr. laura Hutchins, director of the uaMs Division of Hematology and oncology will show if the
TRUTH Be TOLD
vaccine does indeed accomplish its intended purpose.
MORe TO LeARN The complexity of the immune system is the reason that each vaccine is administered on a unique timetable. some areas act transiently and require repeated vaccinations, such as for the flu. other areas provide longer-lasting protection, allowing one
or two childhood vaccinations to last a lifetime. We have learned an incredible amount about the immune system over the past 20 years. It only makes sense that our knowledge of vaccines and their potential health benefits would also continue to grow, Hopkins said. We will always be developing, testing and monitoring vaccines for the health of our community.
New mom and UAMS employee Heather Smith knows the
importance of immunizing her daughter, Makaela. But when it came
time for Makaelas 15-month MMR shot, Smith felt she had reason
Is there any truth to the claim that the MMR vaccine can cause
autism, she asked her pediatrician. His answer was reassuring.
He told me that there is no proven scientific link between the
MMR vaccine and autism, she said, adding that it concerns her that
some parents choose not to immunize their children. I dont want an
unimmunized child to put my child at risk.
The increasing rate of children diagnosed with autism during the
past 30 years has caused some people to question a possible link
between the brain development disorder and the MMR vaccine, which
has been used worldwide for about the same amount of time.
These perceived risks, said UAMS Dr. Robert Hopkins Jr.,
associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, are unproven.
every medicine has a potential risk, and we need to critically
look for those things. But this is something that has been looked at in
multiple venues and has been shown to be safe and critically important
to the health of our children and our community, Hopkins said.
The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella
(or German measles) and has dramatically reduced instances of these
diseases during the past three decades.