Housecall Summer 2009

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A Quarterly Publication of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences - Summer 2009

Transcript of Housecall Summer 2009


    SecondChancesCareer changers

    embrace health care

  • 2 HouseCall

    HouSeCallSummer 2009

    editorSusan Van Dusen

    art directorLaurie Shell

    managing editorLiz Caldwell

    creative directorKeith Runkle

    writersLiz CaldwellNate HinkelJon Parham

    David RobinsonSusan Van Dusen

    photographerJohnpaul Jones

    editorial advisory boardKathy Alexander

    Jerry AtchleyAnne BynumCindy PughDale Ronnel

    Carla SpainhourJudy SnowdenBecky Tucker

    chancellorI. Dodd Wilson, M.D.

    vice chancellorof communications & marketing

    Pat Torvestad

    associate vice chancellor of communications & marketing

    Leslie Taylor

    assistant vice chancellor ofcommunications & marketing

    Tim Irby

    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 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.

  • HouseCall 3

    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 adds new patient-friendly features

    on second Thought Health care is a top industry for people looking to

    change careers

    against the oddsPsychiatric inpatient care is now a reality in northwest Arkansas

    summer 2009










    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

  • 4 HouseCall

    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.

  • HouseCall 5

    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.

    Vaccines are

    in the works to

    prevent and treat


    diseases, such

    as cancer.

    Hit Me with Your Best ShotBy Susan Van Dusen

  • 6 HouseCall

    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


    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

    to pause.

    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.