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Table of Contents
New division chairman
Dental digital age
Shands AGH grows for kids
Cutting calories adds health
Little lab that could
Walking for future health
Preparing for disaster
Table of Contents
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Bob Rowley, of Ocala, prepares to .
release a mature American bald eagle
into a meadow May 31 at Paynes
Prairie in Gainesville. Assisting is zoo 4L
medicine technician Elijah Rooney
from UF's Veterinary Medical Center.
The eagle, which had been found on a
nearby road and taken to UF for
treatment on April 20, is believed to
have been hit by a car. Named
Samantha by UF veterinary students,
the bird was treated for shock and head
trauma and was released May 3 to
Audubon's Center for Birds of Prey in
Maitland for further rehabilitation.
us @ I for l(est news and events
MAKING WAY FORA NEW CANCER HOSPITAL
Demolition crews began tearing down the former University Centre Hotel in Gainesville May 22, as part
of the site preparation for the new Shands at UF Cancer Hospital. Crews are demolishing the 11-story
hotel using a 100-ton crane with a 180-foot boom and a 4,000-pound wrecking ball.
A NOBEL SPEAKER
Nobel Laureate Peter C. Agre, M.D., still
remembers what his mother said when she
found out he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry
"She said, 'Tell Peter not to let it go to his
head,'" Agre told a packed auditorium during
his keynote address as part of the College of
Medicine's annual research day April 11.
In 1992, while a researcher at Johns
Hopkins University, Agre pinpointed a protein
that allows water to permeate cells. Before the
discovery of this "water pore," scientists had
tried for years to discover exactly how water
could invade some cells and not others.
The discovery opened doors in genetic,
biochemical and physiological research,
allowing scientists to delve deeper into kidney
disorders and other diseases caused by water
Now 57, Agre, pictured below with Cauveh
Emrai, M.D., serves as vice chancellor for
science and technology at Duke University
DENTISTRY'S ACID ETCH TALENT SHOW IS A HIT!
Dental freshman Danny Bass put his exuberant and creative percussive talent in action to win $100 and first place
May 4 in the first College of Dentistry Acid Etch Talent and Comedy Sketch. Organized by the UFCD Dental
Ambassadors, Acid Etch featured 16 student and faculty performances -including a crowd-wowing baton-twirling
act by Dean Teresa A. Dolan -and video skits produced by each class in the D.M.D. program.
Attended by more than 200 dentistry faculty, staff and students, Acid Etch was modeled on TV's "American Idol,"
complete with a judging trio of fave faculty members Buddy Clark, D.M.D., Ph.D., (as Randy), Venita Sposetti, D.M.D.,
(as Paula Abdul) and Marc Gale, D.M.D., M.Ed., (as the irascible Simon). The judges critiqued performers in good spirit
and with enormous humor. After Bass' winning drum/stomp/drink-blending performance, which garnered a standing
ovation from the audience, Gale quipped, "I would like to know why you got to wear earplugs and we didn't!"
BUILDING TURNS HEADS
It hasn't even opened for business yet, and
the UF Cancer-Genetics Research Complex is
already winning awards.
The City Beautification Board of Gainesville
recently bestowed the 280,400-square-foot
building with a Silver Award in the Excellence in
Institutional Facilities category.
The five-story UF Shands Cancer Center/
ICBR wing is visible from Archer Road. Facing
north toward Lake Alice, a six-story wing
topped by a greenhouse contains the Genetics
Institute. Both wings are connected by a
perpendicular five-level common area, which
makes it look like an offset "H" from above.
Researchers are expected to start moving into
the building beginning in mid-June.
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Intrigued by the heart and stirred by medicine
White is first chairman of the department of radiology in Jacksonville
By Patricia Bates McGhee
i..m the get-go, he didn't want to go to medical school. But a trusted
undergraduate adviser gave Richard D. White, M.D., some advice that set him
..n a long, rather unorthodox path to being named the first chairman of the
department of radiology in the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville.
"I was a biology major at all-male Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and had no
idea what I wanted to do but knew I wasn't going the route of medicine," says White.
Along came Duncan Chiquoine, Ph.D., White's academic adviser, who cared about
White but showed it in an unusual way by frustrating him.
"He told me I was a good kid but I was boring and that I should go to med school and
%-,1,. :- r,_, 1_ Ide'.-
Dr. Richard D. White is stirred up by his new position as the first chairman of the
of radiology in the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville.
do two things get stirred up and fall in love," he said. "To this day I sort of thank him
for having not been gentle with me, even though his advice frustrated me."
To White's surprise, medical school did stir him up...eventually. Born in
Schenectady, N.Y., and raised in the Saratoga Springs area, he earned his biology
degree at Hamilton in 1978 and was ready to start med school at the University of
Rochester when the first frustration hit. Just days before he was to leave for Rochester,
Duke University med school called with an offer. White made a whirlwind trip to
Duke his first trek south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
"To me at the time, going south was going to visit my grandparents in Queens," he
says, "but I was intrigued about going to an Ivy League school within a tobacco town;
talk about getting stirred up!"
He accepted Duke's offer. Once at Duke, White didn't understand why he was there.
He hated every minute of it and was ready to quit until he stumbled onto a research
opportunity. Always intrigued by the heart, he began working with two cardiac
pathologists and a cardiologist, Galen S. Wagner, M.D., who became his next mentor.
White received his M.D. from Duke in 1981 before spending 1981-82 in cardiac
investigation as one of the first 10 fellows of the Sarnoff Foundation for cardiovascular
research. Still, he anguished over how to express an interest in heart work and in
research without spending 12 years training in cardiac surgery or years of residency
in general internal medicine prior to a cardiology fellowship.
"Ironically, I had a very interesting experience with a radiology rotation at Duke,
but I thought that wasn't really medicine and wanted a different route."
Again, White found himself in a new place without knowing what he was getting
himself into. He completed an internal medicine internship at
S the University of California-San Francisco Hospitals from 1982
until 1983. During this time he realized that his personal
interest in cases waned once a diagnosis was made.
"I was intrigued about the issues that existed before the
fundamental problem was identified," he says. "My attraction
was really in the diagnostic end of things but yet I always loved
Radiology became more attractive to White, thanks to UCSF's
impressive radiology department, directed by Alexander R.
Margulis, M.D. White completed a residency at UCSF in
"At San Francisco I was lucky enough to be one of the first
persons to do cardiac MRI and CT scanning in the early 1980s
when we were still trying to figure out how to do it, even though
I never had any formal training in it," says White, who stayed
on at UCSF for a two-year National Institutes of Health
fellowship in cardiovascular imaging.
After completing his training, White served as director of
cardiovascular magnetic resonance at Georgetown University
SHospital in Washington, D.C. from 1987-88 and as head of
cardiovascular imaging at University Hospitals of Cleveland
from 1988-89. In 1989 he joined the Cleveland Clinic
Foundation, where he eventually became clinical director of
the Center for Integrated Non-invasive Cardiovascular
Imaging and held appointments in radiology, medicine and
surgery and a joint appointment to the department of medical
subspecialty pediatrics (division of pediatrics).
Throughout his career, he has focused on the development, initial implementation
and eventual broad-scale clinical application of advanced MRI techniques for
anatomical and functional assessment of diseases of the heart and central vasculature.
More recently, White has been involved in comparative and integrative work with
both cardiovascular MRI and multidetector CT.
"My own path is a little atypical not what I consider a traditional radiology
approach," he admits. "I view myself as sort of actually circling back into radiology
rather than having gone directly at it."
At UF White is already stirred up.
"My goal is to try to replicate what I was able to do in a subset of radiology
(cardiovascular imaging) but apply it across the board," he says. "The department of
radiology is going to be more and more of a central technology facility for imaging
physicians and scientists that interfaces with all of the clinical services in patient care
and research, as well as providing a backbone for the growth of this institution."
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DMAT teams streamline the first response
By Patricia Bates McGhee
u!I\ a hundred emergency first responders and staff met last month
in he UF Health Science Center-Jacksonville campus to attend the
largest medical simulator-based national training event for avian flu
and hurricane preparedness, and for lessons in hospital administration during
Conducted by UF's Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research at
the College of Medicine-Jacksonville, the event targeted first responders
assigned to Disaster Medical Assistance Team, or DMAT, FL-4 as well as other
disaster management staff from as far away as Washington, D.C. and Colorado.
A DMAT is a group of professional and paraprofessional medical personnel
(supported by a cadre of logistical and administrative staff) operating under
Homeland Security that provides medical care during a disaster. DMAT FL-
4 is located in northeast Florida and includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay,
Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Nassau, St. Johns and Union
Attendees trained in several techniques and faced several scenarios all
following an avian flu outbreak. They role-played during an initial meeting
between DMAT and hospital administrators, as DMAT arrived on the scene at
the hospital after the outbreak. The next scenario jumped to midday of the
same day, after tents had been set up and DMAT personnel were evaluating
patients for avian flu and were treating trauma patients because the local
trauma center was overrun. The third scenario was set four days later and
"Training large groups like this
is a new approach for
nonmilitary disaster response
teams, and it is very realistic at
all levels." -David Vukich
involved a death toll of 30, logistical and communication failures, broken
generators, contaminated water and anxious health-care providers.
"Training large groups like this is a new approach for nonmilitary disaster
response teams, and it is very realistic at all levels," said David Vukich, M.D.,
a professor and chair of the emergency medicine department at the College of
Medicine-Jacksonville. "Everyone is familiar with how the military trains in
functional units, but civilian health-care teams like
DMATs rarely have the opportunity to bring all their
members together for coordinated, high-fidelity
training," he said. "By simulating a mass casualty
event, all members of the DMAT can be trained and
tested in their individual roles and we can test the
coordination, management and performance of the
CSESaR is a collaborative effort supported by the
College of Medicine-Jacksonville and Shands
.Jacksonville Medical Center. The 24,000-square-foot
center allows special forces medics, emergency
responders, hospital personnel, residents and
hh students to receive specialized computer simulation
training for anticipated environmental, medical or
terrorist disasters. CSESaR's mission is to promote
quality patient care, expand patient safety initiatives
and enhance multidisciplinary health care, education
and teamwork through simulation and goal-directed
CSESaR's simulation training unit uses "high-
fidelity" mannequins in place of actual patients.
Computer-controlled, the mannequins are complex,
lifelike robots that mimic almost every known
physical condition. A state-of-the-art adult female
robot, for example, can have a heartbeat, working
arteries and veins and have the ability to move, talk,
breathe and give "birth" to an infant robot.
UF's Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research at the College of Medicine-
Jacksonville was the site for a DMAT-4 training exercise for disaster first responders.
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Adapting to the digital age
Radiography in dentistry gets in-sync with the times
James Pettigrew Jr., D.M.D., left, division head of oral and maxillofacial radiology, with Madhu Nair,
D.M.D., an associate professor in the division, utilize cone beam computed tomography imaging to
enhance patient service.
By Lindy McCollum-Brounley
erman physics professor Wilhelm Conrad
R.-cnticn discovered X-rays by chance in
N..~.rmbh of 1895 while conducting
experiments using a cathode ray tube.
Roentgen's interest in the tube was to study
fluorescent light generated by electricity. What he
discovered instead was that the tube's invisible rays,
which he called "X-rays," had the ability to make some,
but not all, solid objects seem transparent when
recorded on photographic plates. One can imagine
Roentgen scouring his laboratory for objects to test the
power of his new X-rays books, coins and, eventually,
his wife Anna's hand.
When Roentgen developed the film plate on which
the image of Anna's hand had been recorded, the X-ray
revealed clearly defined and delicate bones encased in a
ghostly shadow of flesh, the third finger adorned by the
black shadow of a ring.
It was the first X-ray image of human anatomy, and, as
crude as it was, it set off a cascading chain of scientific
and medical advancement unimaginable by its inventor.
Modern X-ray technology, or radiography, has come
a long way since Roentgen's discovery. X-rays for dental
purposes, known as oral and maxillofacial radiology,
was accepted by the American Dental Association as a
recognized specialty in 1999 and has long been a fixture
of dental practice -yet dental imaging has transformed
in terms of technology just in the last few years.
"Oral and maxillofacial radiology may be seen as a
service area as it has been in the past, where radiographs
would be acquired based on a dentist's prescription,
much like a lab service," said Madhu Nair, D.M.D.,
Ph.D., an associate professor of oral and maxillofacial
surgery and diagnostic sciences. "But that has changed
with the increased use of advanced imaging modalities
such as CT and MRI.
"More complex procedures are now routinely done
by dentists and dental specialists, with radiologists
providing specialized expertise in digital processing
and interpretation of the images," Nair said.
Increasingly sophisticated oral, head and neck
surgeries, and other nonsurgical procedures have made
the immediacy and flexibility of digital radiography a
crucial tool for dental providers. Likewise, staying at
the forefront of cutting-edge technology is crucial to
the College of Dentistry's dental education and patient
Recognizing that and with help from a $2 million
U.S. Human Resources and Services Administration
grant, the college is bringing its clinics into the digital
age with installation of digital radiography
enterprisewide. The college also received an anonymous
donation through its Implant Center, which enabled
integration of cone beam computed tomography, or
CBCT, in the division of oral and maxillofacial
radiology earlier this year.
Digital radiography, which is quickly gaining
acceptance across the globe, does away with traditional
radiographic film and light boxes. It takes advantage of
sophisticated software and electronic sensor technology
to capture radiographic images, which are stored on
secure college servers.
Radiation doses are usually comparable or lower
with digital radiography than with film-based
radiography, but digital images can be enhanced with
software when they are less than perfect, further
reducing radiation dose sustained during re-takes.
Once the images are captured, they become part of the
patient's electronic chart, easily shared among
departments, clinics and specialists for increased
efficiency in patient care.
CBCT is another exciting addition to the college's
imaging capabilities. It uses cone beam technology to
scan the head and neck region; then the software
reconstructs the "slice" data as well as 3-D images that
can be explored inside out on the computer screen.
"The CBCT is going to enhance patient service
because it's convenient and gives us CT capability in-
house," said James Pettigrew Jr., D.M.D., an associate
professor and division head of oral and maxillofacial
radiology. "We've been referring patients to Shands for
CT scans, and we will continue to do that for contrasted
studies (where dye is injected) and those more difficult
studies needing medical grade images."
Head and neck scans, or studies, produced by CBCT
imaging are acquired at a fraction of the radiation dose
delivered during a regular, medical-grade CT scan.
CBCT reconstructs soft tissue as well as bone and
can drill down to very specific areas with ease, usually
with quality of detail necessary for radiologists to
clearly identify certain dental or maxillofacial diseases
and conditions. The images are useful for orthodontics,
implant imaging, presurgical planning for implants,
maxillofacial trauma and infections, some dental
tumors and diseases, and any other malady within the
scope of dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery.
CBCT and digital radiography are very different
imaging technologies, but they share a common
outcome of improved patient care through detailed
dental imaging and electronic access to the digital
images they produce.
There's no doubt that dental imaging has advanced into
a digital age filled with possibilities for the future. One
wonders if Roentgen would be all that surprised.
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Shands AGH's future to include relocated children's services
By Kim Jamerson
Shands HealthCare has outlined a vision to expand services offered at Shands AGH
and strengthen the community hospital for the future.
As part of Shands' strategic plan to enhance patient care in the Gainesville area,
a major portion of the children's services currently offered at Shands at UF will be
relocated to the Shands AGH campus and will feature private rooms for children
and their families.
"This is an exciting time for Shands HealthCare," said Tim Goldfarb, Shands
HealthCare chief executive officer. "We believe our plans will a provide a long-term
solution to revitalizing Shands AGH while maintaining the essence of the hospital
by supplementing its existing programs, such as family medicine and emergency
Programs moving from Shands at UF will include most pediatric nonsurgical
services as well as pediatric otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), orthopaedics,
oral surgery, outpatient surgery and corresponding consultative and support
services. Children's services staying at Shands at UF include cardiology, cardiac
surgery, bone marrow, neonatology, general surgery, transplantation, trauma/burn,
neurosurgery and a portion of pediatric intensive care. Vacated space at Shands at
UF will be used to expand other clinical services.
Phase two of the recommended plan includes building a dedicated patient tower
for children's services at Shands AGH. This goal may take several years, depending
on outside fundraising.
"Offering children's programs at Shands AGH will almost immediately improve
the access to health care for children and families in our community," said Terry
Flotte, M.D., College of Medicine chair of pediatrics. "There is great benefit to the
ease of a more intimate and easily navigable facility. This will also allow us to create
a door-to-door, child and family friendly environment for families under the great
stress of having an ill child. This is a practical model with much to gain in the
future. We ultimately hope to consolidate all children's services on a single campus
where there's room to expand."
In addition to resolving the underutilization of available resources at Shands
AGH, Goldfarb said the plan alleviates capacity issues that Shands at UF has been
wrestling with due to ongoing demands for care.
Shands developed the strategy based upon extensive input from Shands and UF
College of Medicine leaders. Goldfarb said they are in the early stages of the plan
and have not worked out specifics related to budget and timeline, although they
hope to have phase one changes complete in September.
The Shands HealthCare board of directors will finalize and approve the plans at
an upcoming meeting.
UF Physicians offer patients new Web-based way to access health service
By Kim Jamerson
For years patients seeking their doctors' advice
have had two choices schedule an
appointment for an office visit or try to catch
them by phone. Now, University of Florida
Physicians, the UF College of Medicine's
Gainesville-based faculty group practice
affiliated with Shands HealthCare, is offering
its patients an alternative, RelayHealth.
The RelayHealth service allows patients,
clinicians and staff to communicate with each
other in a secure, online environment using their
computers. Patients can use the service to resolve
non-urgent health matters, such as getting
prescription refills, scheduling appointments,
receiving lab results and requesting referrals.
They can also participate in a webVisit
consultation, which is an online medical
interview that gathers information about their
symptoms and relays it to their doctors.
Aida Vega, M.D., UF College of Medicine's
division of internal medicine associate chief, is
the medical director at Tower Hill Internal
Medicine and has been using RelayHealth to
process prescription refills and referral
requests. Soon she will begin using the
"My patients have given me a lot of positive
feedback about the increased level of access to
me and other clinic staff," Vega said. "I think
it's a wonderful system. In fact, I was on
vacation the other week and used it to
communicate with my nurse and staff, so I
could stay in the loop about my patients' needs."
While not a replacement for traditional office
visits, Vega said RelayHealth facilitates essential
follow-up care that is convenient for her and her
patients. Currently, 81 UF physicians have
registered to use the online system.
"We feel online care provides a good
opportunity to strengthen the doctor-patient
relationship," said Kelly Kerr, Faculty Practice
Clinics senior director. "Patients can send and
receive messages any time from any computer,
which decreases time away from work waiting
in a doctor's office. Physicians benefit from
increased productivity and improved patient
RelayHealth services are free to patients with
the exception of the webVisit feature, which is
about the same price as a face-to-face office visit
and may be covered by the patient's insurance.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is
sponsoring UF Physicians' introduction to the
UF Physicians' patients can access
RelayHealth through Shands.org.
Kim Jamerson is a public relations coordinatorfor Shands at UF
us @ f or latest news and events. BH H 7I
New clerkship makes the most of geriatric education
By Denise Trunk
,.inning July 10, all fourth-year medical students will add a new component to their
medical education a two-week clerkship in geriatric medicine.
Coordinated by the Geriatric Clerkship Development Team and led by director John
Meuleman, M.D., and Miho Bautista, M.D, in the UF Institute on Aging, the course will expose
students to numerous situations in treating and communicating with geriatric patients.
Miho Bautista, a clinical associate professor in the College of Medicine's department of aging
and geriatrics, said the new program will make a substantial contribution toward improving
Rebecca Beyth, M.D., an associate professor in the College of Medicine's department of
geriatrics and aging research and associate director of the Rehabilitation Outcomes Research
Center, will, as of July 1, be chief of a new division that will oversee the clerkship, the division of
career development and education.
"The students are going to see patients in different clinical settings whether it is the VA or
university private practice, nursing home or Shands Hospital to make sure they are getting
exposure to everything they would see, depending on what they do in their future careers,"
Beyth said. "Maybe they won't go into geriatrics, but even if they go into internal medicine they
are going to have to deal with older patients, and even if they go on to be pediatricians they are
going to have to deal with the parents or grandparents of the patients they treat. So they need to
During the weekdays the students will make rounds,
develop patient assessments, attend selected clinics and
participate in interdisciplinary meetings at one of four
locations. Two are in Jacksonville, at the Translational Care
Unit at Shands and the River Garden Hebrew Home, and
two are in Gainesville at Shands Rehab at UF and the
Geriatric Evaluation Management Unit at the Malcom
Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Each week will
end on Friday afternoon with a small group meeting with
Bautista in Gainesville at the Geriatric Research, Education
and Clinical Center at the VA. The first week's small group
will focus on falls and immobility, and the second week will 1
focus on dementia.
Under the direction of Marco Pahor and the Institute on
Aging, the team is working to help UF become a nationally <
recognized presence in the training of future clinicians and
researchers in geriatrics and aging.
"Starting with students is a good way to develop a brand
name and reputation because they'll go up through the
system and say, 'I was trained at UF and there was the
geriatric model,' "Beyth said. "The resident and the fellow
- they may already be jaded about what they think about
geriatrics. So we are focusing on starting with the students
before their mind is made up on the subject."
Third-year medical students will continue to encounter
geriatric patients as part of their family medicine and
ambulatory care clerkship.
Peggy Smith, education coordinator in the division of geriatrics and one of the course
developers, said the program's tagline of "Caring, Respect and Communication" sums up the
"The secondary goal of the clerkship is to teach practitioners to communicate with older
patients. They are sometimes difficult to communicate with, but they need a lot of care and
respect," Smith said. "With this course we need to get all of that integrated so doctors know how
to properly communicate with the patient, with the family and the interdisciplinary team."
"The students are going to see patients
in different clinical settings whether
it is the VA or university private
practice, nursing home or Shands
Hospital to make sure they are
getting exposure to everything they
would see, depending on what they do
in their future careers,."
Rebecca Beyth, M.D.
Dr. John Meuleman, left, Dr. Rebecca Beyth, Dr. Miho Bautista,
Peggy Smith and Michelle Griffin developed the department of
aging and geriatric medicine's new mandatory two-week
rotation in geriatrics. The first group of fourth-year students will
attend the course beginning July 10 in four clinical sites, two in
Jacksonville and two in Gainesville.
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MPH students give immunization
tracking system a boost
Master of Public Health student participants are (from left) Meghan Schuck,
Dana Mora, Cynthia DePew, Evelyn King, Kelly Palmer, Travis Johnson,
Fahima Sharker and Amanda Lampe.
By Jill Pease
Master of Public Health students in the College of Public Health and Health
Professions spent their spring break bringing the state closer to its goal of
registering nearly all of Florida's children in the state online immunization
The State Health Online Tracking System, or SHOTS, is designed to contain the
comprehensive immunization history of children born in Florida since Jan. 1, 2003
to ensure immunizations are up-to-date, to prevent unnecessary duplication of
immunizations and to consolidate immunization records from all health-care
The state hopes to meet the objective set by the Healthy People 2010 initiative -
a 95 percent enrollment of children ages 6 years and under in SHOTS.However, use
of SHOTS by pediatricians has been slow. Only 30 percent of private providers in
Florida are accessing and entering patient records into the confidential Web-based
system, which was established in 2000.
"Offices may not be participating because the program is new and different and
is perceived to be time-consuming, although it actually saves time in the long run
and improves patient care," said Joelisa Sherman, Florida SHOTS regional
To address this issue, 11 Master of Public Health students, in partnership with
the Suwannee River Area Health Education Center and Florida Department of
Health, brought along laptop computers and set up shop in the offices of five area
pediatricians during spring break. By week's end, the students had added several
hundred new child immunizations records to the SHOTS database.
"Having students in the providers' offices helped to jump-start their participation
in SHOTS and allowed students to have actual live contact with the offices,"
The spring break initiative was so successful that plans are under way to continue
the UF students' participation during the summer and to expand the collaboration
to include graduate students at other state universities, Sherman said.
STOP! Children's Cancer
funds new professorship
By Chris Brazda
Twelve-year-old Bonnie Freeman's dying request 25
years ago to spare children the pain and agony of cancer
now has more possibilities of being answered thanks to
the efforts of an organization created to fulfill her wish.
STOP! Children's Cancer, Inc., founded in 1981 in
Gainesville, announced at its 25th anniversary
fundraising gala a donation of$1 million to the
University of Florida to establish The STOP! Children's
Cancer/Bonnie R. Freeman Professorship for Pediatric
Oncology Research in the College of Medicine.
"There's no gift great enough to put an immediate
stop to cancer in children," said Howard Freeman, co-
founder of STOP! Children's Cancer Inc. and father of
Bonnie, who died of cancer in 1983, "but we feel that
"STOP! Children's Cancer's
commitment to research in
pediatric cancer is motivation
to all of us at UF in all fields
and all disciplines."
UF President Bernie Machen
this research professorship at UF is a huge step in the
In its 25 years of fundraising, Stop! Children's Cancer
Inc. has provided more than $1.3 million toward
pediatric cancer research projects, research scholars and
equipment in the Department of Pediatric Hematology
and Oncology in UF's College of Medicine. This latest
gift is the first that will create an endowment.
"STOP! Children's Cancer's commitment to research
in pediatric cancer is motivation to all of us at UF in all
fields and all disciplines," said UF President Bernie
The courage of Bonnie Freeman's expressed wishes is
clearly evident in this gift."
Income from the endowment will support a
professorship in UF's Department of Pediatrics
focusing on translational or laboratory research of
"The recruitment of a world-class researcher in the
area of pediatric leukemias will enable us to develop
new treatments for those children, for current therapies
are not enough," said Terrence R. Flotte, M.D.,
Nemours Eminent Scholar Professor and chair of the
department of pediatrics in the College of Medicine.
Iws and :evnts. I
By April Frawley Birdwell
L Y oris Rehberg sits, hands folded in her lap, waiting for the doctor
to examine her ear. The minutes pass, but Rehberg doesn't mind
the wait. She doesn't mind the 18-mile drive to get to the Alachua
County Organization for Rural Needs clinic, either.
She knows most everyone who works in the office they often peek in her
room to say hi or coo about her hat, a white number with beige flowers tacked on
it and she adores her doctor, Mimi Balch, M.D., a UF adjunct professor of
community health and family medicine and a co-medical director of the clinic.
If it weren't for them, Rehberg doesn't think she would be able to access quality
health care at all. The grandmother of eight wouldn't be able to afford it.
"I appreciate the ACORN clinic for taking me in," Rehberg said. "I wouldn't be
getting the care I need without it. I think it's wonderful, myself."
Tucked away on a rural highway near Brooker, Fla., about 12 miles north of
Gainesville, the clinic provides medical, dental and psychological care to patients,
nearly all of whom live at or below federal poverty guidelines.
Since the ACORN clinic opened in 1974, faculty, staff and students from the
UF Health Science Center have been there, volunteering their time to help people
like Rehberg, who have little access to affordable health care or to the resources
available in cities. UF medical and pharmacy students often have clinical rotations
there and dental students provide much of the care in the dental clinic, under the
supervision of UF College of Dentistry faculty.
But helping out in rural clinics is just one of the ways faculty and students from
the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine
and Public Health and Health Professions have contributed to the community in
the 50 years since the Health Science Center opened.
There have been community campaigns to spay and neuter feral cats and special
camps to help sick children realize they're not alone. But no matter what the cause,
HSC faculty and students generally get involved for one reason: to help people.
By 1969, there hadn't been a doctor in Lafayette County for 10 years. Back then,
patients with serious injuries often died before they could get the care they
Newly hired to head the
UF College of Medicine's
department of community
health and ambulatory care,
Richard Reynolds, M.D.,
didn't recognize anything at
the teaching hospital then that
reminded him of what his own
private practice had been like.
Establishing a clinic in Mayo,
Fla., the county seat, would not
only help the area's citizens but
also give students a taste of life
as a doctor, Reynolds thought.
"We ran it 24/7," remembered Reynolds, still a UF courtesy professor and a
vice president of Boca Raton Community Hospital. "The (medical and nursing)
students lived there ... We saw about 5,000 patients a year."
The program was one of the first community rural health programs HSC
leaders launched. College of Medicine founding Dean George T. Harrell had
hoped to establish clinics in nearby communities, but several local doctors,
worried about their own practices, weren't keen on the idea.
The clinic is still in Mayo, although the rural county now has a few doctors of
us U @ ftor latest news and events
Patients usually line up outside the door before the Equal Access Clinic opens on
Thursday nights. Only 15 patients are seen at the weekly free clinic, which UF
medical students established in 1992.
"It's not a huge number of people, but it's something," said Adam Mecca, a
first-year medical student and one of the clinic's co-directors. "We have some
people who come here all the time. Without it, they wouldn't have anything else."
UF medical students began planning the weekly clinic in 1988. Four years
later, with the help of faculty members and financial support from the UF
Alumni Association, it opened in a Salvation Army building.
Now housed in the UF Family Practice Medical Group, the clinic also allows
first- and second-year medical students the chance to work with patients. Medical
students typically do not work with patients until their third year, when they
begin their clinical clerkships.
"It's a huge opportunity for us and for the patients," Mecca said.
People aren't the only ones in need. Cats and kittens have problems too, namely
that there are too many without homes.
In Alachua County alone, there are 36,000 stray and feral cats, said Julie Levy,
D.V.M., a UF associate professor of veterinary medicine. Raised without human
contact, feral cats often turn wild and form colonies in neighborhoods.
homeless or in shelters," Levy
said. "That's a lot of suffering."
.. That's why Levy started
Operation Catnip at North
SCarolina State University in
1994. A trap-neuter-return
program, Operation Catnip
allows community members to
trap neighborhood strays and
bring them to a monthly clinic
Where they are spayed or
neutered for free by veterinarian
volunteers. This is a humane
way to battle the kitty
overpopulation problem, Levy said.
Levy expanded the program to Gainesville in 1998, one year after she joined
the UF faculty. So far, she and her colleagues have spayed and neutered 15,000
cats in Gainesville.
"I think this is a nice example of how UF and the residential community can
work together to solve a problem," Levy said.
Y^anA tct 2ewzr canjyC
For one weekend each year at Camp Crystal Lake in Keystone Heights, there's no
teasing or self-conscious worrying for children born with arm or hand defects.
For one weekend, 30 children can be with kids who are just like them.
Paul Dell, M.D., a UF professor of orthopaedics in the College of Medicine, and
two Shands Rehab hand therapists founded the Hands to Love camp in 2001 to
give children with congenital hand differences and their families a chance to
interact with each other and explore new resources.
"The main focus of the camp is for the kids to get together, meet new friends,
enjoy the camp experience and
play together," said Wendy Holt,
OTR, a UF lecturer in the
College of Public Health and
.. Health Professions. "This gives
them a chance to relax."
While there, the children can
try out archery with a special
device that allows them to shoot
a bow and arrow, as well as a
ropes course and even water
skiing. The families also have access to psychologists, hand therapists, orthopaedic
physicians, nurses and family counselors, Holt said.
Many of the volunteers at the camp are PHHP occupational therapy students,
who participate as family pals for the entire weekend. Dental students also come
to the camp to teach children proper dental care, Holt said.
For parents, the camp also serves as prime networking ground. But mostly, it's
all about fun, Holt said.
"They're amazing kids," Holt said. "To see them climb ropes and do all this
stuff; they're competitive, fearless. It is always a weekend to remember."
The UF Area Health Education Centers program isn't a special clinic or office
where community members can go for help. But it is the program that links
physicians, health professionals and students from every college in the HSC
except veterinary medicine to medically underserved communities from Ocala
AHEC, a state- and federally funded program, supports programs and clinics
in medically underserved areas, in rural and inner-city neighborhoods. Because
it is difficult to keep doctors in isolated, rural towns or in poor, urban areas,
AHEC also helps recruit and retain doctors there, providing them with continuing
medical education and linking them to the HSC and its resources.
"Many of the medically underserved communities are underserved for a
reason," said Larry Rooks, an associate professor of community health and family
medicine and medical director of the UF AHEC. "AHEC fills the gap and does a
lot to get quality health care in these areas."
AHEC, which has programs in 40 states, was started at UF in the early 1990s,
Program leaders are also working on ways to diversify health care and fix future
problems. The group established a Boy Scouts of America medical explorers post
in Jacksonville, as well as summer camps in other areas. They also formed the
Community Health Scholars program, which allows health professions students
to spend the summer studying health needs in rural areas. These students work
on finding solutions to health-care problems specific to rural areas.
"One thing I think the university needs to be careful of is forgetting we're a
little island in a rural sea," Rooks said.
One of the rural programs AHEC supports is the ACORN clinic, arranging for
faculty and students from HSC colleges to work there.
The help is needed. Most of the patients who come to the ACORN clinic have
nowhere else to go. Many are uninsured, said Chris Hoffman, R.N., coordinator
of the ACORN medical clinic. Without insurance, some patients would spend
$500 to $600 on medicine alone.
"They're struggling to get by," Hoffman said. "They all have their stories to tell."
Patients like Rehberg are just glad someone is listening.
"They're such good doctors," Rehberg said. "Everyone is just so nice."
/for latest news and events, B T
Neuroscientist Sue Semple-Rowland of the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute poses with a type of Rhode Island Red chicken born blind. Rowland
has developed a gene therapy that enables these animals to hatch with their sight intact, which proves in principle that a similar treatment can be developed
for an incurable form of blindness in children.
By John Pastor
n !i ii \ of Florida scientists have delivered a
.nr i hi ough an eggshell to give sight to a type
ol chicken normally born blind.
The finding, reported in the online journal Public
Library of Science-Medicine, proves in principle that a
similar treatment can be developed for an incurable
form of childhood blindness.
"We were able to restore function to the photoreceptor
cells in the retinas of an avian model of a disease that is
one of the more common causes of inherited blindness
in human infants," said Sue Semple-Rowland, Ph.D.,
an associate professor ofneuroscience with UF's Evelyn
F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute. "The
vision capabilities of the treated animals far exceeded
The bird a type of Rhode Island Red chicken -
carries a genetic defect that prevents it from producing
an enzyme essential for sight. The condition closely
models a genetic disease in humans that causes Leber
congenital amaurosis type 1, or LCA1. About 2,000
people in the United States are blind because they have
a disease that falls in the LCA family.
Semple-Rowland, a College of Medicine faculty
member, has worked since 1986 to first discover the
malfunctioning gene, known as GC1, and then to
develop a viral therapy to treat it.
"I will always remember the first animal that we
successfully treated," said Semple-Rowland, who is also
a member of the UF Center for Vision Research and the
UF Genetics Institute. "I thought I saw signs that the
chick was responding visually to the environment, but
I didn't want to believe it. Scientists always doubt what
they see it's intrinsic to how we operate. So I did this
simple little test, drawing little dots on a piece of paper.
The chick, which was standing on the table, came over
to the paper and started pecking at all of them. It was so
Later, more precise tests showed that of the seven
treated chickens, five displayed near-normal visual
behavior. Measurement of electrical activity in the
retinas of the same five animals showed they responded
to light. In comparison, tests on three untreated
chickens showed no meaningful responses.
To develop the treatment, UF scientists constructed a
virus able to infect photoreceptors, delivering a normal
copy of the GC1 gene to these cells. Using a very fine
glass needle, they injected the viral vector into the
developing nervous system of a chicken embryo through
a tiny hole in the eggshell. The shell was resealed and the
egg was incubated to hatching to produce a live chick.
"The process sounds straightforward but it really
isn't," Semple-Rowland said. "It took quite a long time
to build the vector, develop the injection procedure and
figure out how to hatch the eggs. By doing the injection
early during development, we actually treat the cells
before they become photoreceptors."
Work remains to refine the viral delivery system that
transfers the healthy genes to the photoreceptor cells. In
addition, solutions have to be found to make the treatment
long-lasting scientists have restored sight and slowed
degeneration, but the retinal cells still degenerate.
"We can do amazing things in animal models,"
Semple-Rowland said, "but this work can't be done
quickly. That's the hardest thing knowing there are
people who need these treatments now. But we work as
fast as we can. You'll see the first treatments for some of
these genetic eye diseases soon, especially after the
groundwork for an approved therapy is laid and the
Sus U @ f or latest news and events
Cutting calories slightly can reduce aging damage
By Denise Trunk
A lifelong habit of trimming just a few calories from
the daily diet can do more than slim the waistline a
new study shows it may help lessen the effects of aging.
Scientists from UF's Institute on Aging have found
that eating a little less food and exercising a little
more over a lifespan can reduce or even reverse aging-
related cell and organ damage in rats. The discovery,
described in the journal Antioxidants and Redox
Signaling, builds on recent research in animals and
humans that has shown a more drastic 20 percent to
40 percent cut in calories slows aging damage. The
UF findings indicate even small reductions in
calories could have big effects on health and shed
light on the molecular process responsible for the
phenomenon, which until now has been poorly
"This finding suggests that even slight moderation
in intake of calories and a moderate exercise
program is beneficial to a key organ such as the liver,
which shows significant signs of dysfunction in the
aging process," said Christiaan Leeuwenburgh,
Ph.D., an associate professor of aging and geriatric
research at the UF College of Medicine and the
paper's senior author.
UF scientists found that feeding rats just 8 percent
fewer calories a day and moderately increasing the
animals' activity extended their average lifespan and
significantly overturned the negative effects of
cellular aging on liver function and overall health.
An 8 percent reduction is the equivalent of a few
hundred calories in an average human diet and
moderate exercise is equivalent to taking a short walk.
To reveal the workings of the body's chemical
climate when aging-related damage happens, UF
researchers tracked levels of biomarkers chemicals
and molecules present in the liver in groups of
rats. The liver, a crucial organ for maintaining good
health during aging, cleans the blood and helps
regulate the body's immune system. The researchers
also plan to assess the same biomarkers in a study of
rats' hearts, muscle and brains.
The research team was surprised to find one of the
biomarkers, RNA, which is important for coding DNA
and for protein synthesis, is more quickly damaged by
aging than the more frequently studied DNA. RNA
damage, therefore, could be an excellent early signal to
indicate the onset of aging, researchers say.
"Because it is more sensitive to oxidative stress,
RNA can be useful as an early marker of oxidative
damage and even aging," said Arnold Y. Seo, a
doctoral student in UF's Institute on Aging. Seo
authored the report along with Tim Hofer, Ph.D., an
Institute on Aging research associate.
Don't ask, might not think to tell:
Communication key to preventing risky drug interactions
By Tracy Brown Wright
Older women who regularly mix prescription, over-
the-counter and herbal medications are risking their
health, UF nursing researchers warn.
Many also don't think to tell their health-care
providers about the nonprescription medicines they
are taking and too often practitioners fail to ask.
That lack of communication is especially alarming,
the researchers wrote recently in Geriatric Nursing.
"Many of these older women do not consider over-
the-counter and herbal medications 'real drugs' and
therefore don't report them," said Saunjoo Yoon, Ph.D.,
R.N., an assistant professor at UF's College of Nursing
and the study's principal investigator. "However, it is
clear that many health-care providers are not
following through to learn their patients' complete
Recent research has shown that nearly half of people
aged 65 years or older take five or more prescribed,
over-the-counter and herbal medications, and 12
percent take at least 10 medications. Yet little research
has focused on drug-drug interactions among these
three types of medications in elderly people, who are
more susceptible to their harmful effects.
Using a Web-based pharmaceutical program, Yoon
and co-investigator Susan Schaffer, Ph.D., A.R.N.P.,
a clinical assistant professor, studied 58 older women
who had reported taking at least one herbal product
while using at least one over-the-counter or prescribed
drug. The study's participants were a subsample of
143 women from previous published studies. Seventy-
four percent of the study's participants were in danger
of experiencing adverse effects from a moderate- or
high-risk drug interaction. Calcium supplements or
over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, when
taken in combination with certain prescription
medications, were among the most common culprits.
"It's so important for health-care providers to take
a careful medication history to evaluate all
prescribed, over-the-counter and herbal drugs to
monitor interactions in older women, particularly
because these women have been shown to take a
number of different types of medications," Yoon
said. "Although it is difficult to determine the impact
of the drug interactions for any given individual,
prevention of possible interaction is the safest
us @ fior Ivel es arnd :vitrnrl I
The little research lab that could
By April Frawley Birdwell
J,-0! Chegini's eyes twinkle as
he points to the photos tacked
on the wall of his lab. There
he is in most of the snapshots, posing
with postdoctoral fellows, medical
students, residents and collaborators
who have worked with him in his lab
over the past 20 years.
The higher the photo on the wall, the
less silver there is in Chegini's dark
hair, but the twinkle is still there in the
UF researcher's green eyes. You might
call it pride.
"Each individual postdoc, resident
and student has contributed to the
overall success of the research group,"
said Chegini, Ph.D., a UF professor of
obstetrics and gynecology. "By having
their picture in the lab, I do not forget
them, and at the same time, it reminds
Fibroids affect more than 70 percent
of women at some point in their lives,
and endometriosis often leads to
infertility, but unlike cancer or AIDS,
these conditions don't kill women,
meaning they've typically been a low
priority for researchers and funding
agencies. Because endometriosis and
fibroids only affect humans, there also
is no animal model researchers can
Chegini hasn't let that stop him
"We're using various approaches to
identify the differences in the
molecular environments of
endometriosis and fibroids as compared
with their normal tissue counterparts,"
he said. "Fibroids are benign tumors
but they account for one-third of all
me of their success in their own right,
which is most important to me."
But as proud as he is of his students,
there's no doubt the real star of
Chegini's lab is the research. For years,
Chegini has received grants for work in
areas of women's health that are often
overlooked. He doesn't study AIDS or
obesity conditions that receive
significantly more grant funding from
the National Institutes of Health.
Instead, Chegini and the researchers in
his lab are focused on uncovering the
molecular roots of endometriosis and
benign uterine tumors, commonly
hysterectomies performed in the
United States annually."
Much of his work has centered on
understanding how inflammatory and
immune-related molecules affect these
conditions. Among them is a protein
produced in the reproductive tract
called transforming growth factor beta.
Too much of this protein can lead to
tissue fibrosis. Chegini and the
researchers in his lab studied genes
regulated and expressed by this
protein, uncovering the regulatory
properties it has on benign tumors in
the uterus. The National Institute of
Child Health and Development
recently recognized this discovery as
an important scientific advancement in
Understanding what causes these
abnormalities may help doctors find
ways to stop fibroids from growing,
said Qun Pan, M.D., a postdoctoral
fellow who works with Chegini.
They're juggling several studies,
among them, a clinical trial testing to
see if a common antibiotic can help
with abnormal uterine bleeding in
contraceptive users. The researchers
also are studying why black women are
more apt to develop fibroids than white
"We're at the forefront of research in
the field," said Xiaoping Luo, M.D.,
one of the postdoctoral fellows who
works in Chegini's lab.
Chegini works closely with UF
clinicians, obtaining specimens from
them after hysterectomies or other
procedures. He's actually been working
with one of them since before either
came to UF. Chegini and Stan
Williams, M.D., a UF professor of
obstetrics and gynecology and chief of
the department's reproductive
endocrinology and infertility division,
first met when both were at the
University of Louisville more than 20
years ago. They have been
collaborating since then.
These diseases are important to
study because there is currently no
effective medical therapy for benign
tumors, which lead to about one-third
of all hysterectomies, or endometriosis,
which results in fertility problems in
about half of the women who develop it,
Williams said. Once researchers like
Chegini have answers, therapies can be
developed to solve these problems in
patients, he added.
Chegini's work with fellows and
students also has proved to be another
way to further research into these
"Dr. Chegini has probably had a
dozen or more postdocs get training
here who are now scattered all around
the world now doing their own
research," Williams said. "(This
research) has been extended because
he's training them in the same area.
"He goes out of his way to help each
and every one of them."
US f ior iretnii n v~l
Elders' ability to walk predicts future health outcomes
By Denise Trunk
As people age into their 70s, their ability to walk a
quarter mile becomes an important predictor of
overall health and even how long they might live,
according to study findings published in the Journal
Of nearly 3,000 healthy seniors studied, those
who were able to complete a quarter-mile extended
walking test were three times as likely to live longer
and were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular
disease and physical infirmity as they aged, said
Marco Pahor, M.D., director of UF's Institute on
Aging and the multi-institutional study's co-
principal investigator at its Memphis site.
Decreasing mobility, along with lack of muscle *
strength and a decline in aerobic ability, are
common aspects of aging that can diminish quality
of life, Pahor said. Understanding the mechanisms an exercise treadmill test, are more arduous than of aging and geriatric research. "This research is one
of how people lose mobility can keep people walking and are difficult to apply to elders because step toward developing an intervention."
functioning independently longer, he added. old age causes a decline in physical abilities. The Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh,
"This shows the predictive value of a simple study supports the use of the extended walking test as Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the
performance task," Pahor said. "This will help us a baseline for human fitness for elders, Pahor said. University of California San Francisco, the
develop a testable standard for fitness, which is the "The most promising intervention is regular University of Tennessee and the National Institutes
first step toward creating a strategy for maintaining physical activity; those who do more are more likely of Health's National Institute on Aging collaborated
independence in older people." to live longer and be healthier," said Pahor, a professor on the study, which was funded by the National
Existing means of assessing aerobic fitness, such as and chairman of the College of Medicine's department Institute on Aging.
How ancient whales lost their legs,
got sleek and conquered the oceans
When ancient whales finally parted company with the last remnants
of their legs about 35 million years ago, a relatively sudden genetic
event may have crowned an eons-long shrinking process.
An international group of scientists, including UF Genetics
Institute member Martin Cohn, Ph.D., a developmental biologist
and associate professor with the departments of zoology and
anatomy and cell biology, integrated data from contemporary
spotted dolphins and fossils of ancient whales to pinpoint in time the
genetic changes that caused whales, dolphins and porpoises to lose
their hind limbs.
"We can see from fossils that whales clearly lived on land -they
actually share a common ancestor with hippos, camels and deer,"
Cohn said. "Their transition to an aquatic lifestyle occurred long
before they eliminated their hind limbs. During the transition,
their limbs became smaller, but they kept the same number and
arrangement of hind limb bones as their terrestrial ancestors."
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists
say the gradual shrinkage of the whales' hind limbs over 15 million
years was the result of slowly accumulated genetic changes that
influenced the size of the limbs and that these changes happened
sometime late in development, during the fetal period.
However, the actual loss of the hind limb occurred much further
along in the evolutionary process, when a drastic change occurred
to inactivate a gene called Sonic hedgehog, which is essential for
Certain blood pressure-lowering
drugs reduce diabetes risk in Hispanics
The combination of drugs traditionally used to control blood pressure might not be ideal for
Hispanic patients, University of Florida researchers warn.
While beta-blockers and diuretics have long been used to treat patients with hypertension,
Hispanic patients appear to benefit from a tailor-made strategy that includes other
medications, particularly calcium antagonists and angiotensin-converting, or ACE, inhibitors.
Not only does the approach effectively lower blood pressure in many Hispanic patients,
it has an extra benefit: It dramatically cuts their risk of developing diabetes. UF researchers
reported the findings in the May issue of the American Heart Journal.
"We can successfully lower blood pressure in Hispanic patients with heart disease with
medications that include beta-blockers like atenolol or calcium antagonists like verapamil plus
the ACE inhibitor trandolapril, especially when compared with non-Hispanic patients," said
Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., a research assistant professor and associate director of
the clinical research program in cardiovascular medicine at UF's College of Medicine. "Lower
blood pressure translated into fewer heart attacks and fewer strokes, which is very important
for reducing cardiovascular risk in both Hispanics and non-Hispanics.
"The use of trandolapril and verapamil, however, also significantly reduced the risk of
developing diabetes in Hispanic patients," she said.
UF researchers tracked more than 22,500 patients from 14 countries for two to five years.
The study enrolled more Hispanic patients than any other hypertension trial to date -about
8,000 and included participants from the mainland United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba,
Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador.
Overall, Hispanic patients had a 19 percent increased risk of developing diabetes during
the study's follow-up period, but those in the verapamil group were actually 15 percent less
likely to develop diabetes, and the addition of trandolapril to verapamil was linked to the
Melanie Fridl Ross
us f ior Ivel es arnd :vitrnrl I
Hurricanes' latent hazards tracked by poison centers
By Patricia Bates McGhee
h the June 1 start of this year's hurricane
ason, Florida's residents are preparing for
the all-too-familiar havoc the storms can
wreak. But hurricanes cause more than flooding, high
winds and power outages they also spawn public
health hazards that often aren't evident until days after
winds die and storm waters recede.
Now, after fine-tuning it for the past two hurricane
seasons, a UF toxicologist and state Department of
Health officials have pioneered a real-time system for
monitoring storm-related public health hazards,
including carbon monoxide inhalation and
contaminated food and water supplies.
Using electronic data from Florida's Poison
Information Center Network hotline, the experts
designed a surveillance system to identify public health
threats and make this information readily available over
the Web to state health department epidemiologists.
Florida health officials, for example, were able to track
200 percent to 300 percent spikes in carbon monoxide
and gasoline poisonings related to generator use after
Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma made landfall last year
in Florida, according to data recently published in the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report. The CDC adopted the
Florida model and used data provided by the American
Association of Poison Control Centers to monitor other
hurricane-prone coastal areas, including Gulf Coast
regions in the aftermath of Katrina.
"The primary benefit is that you're not waiting and
reporting on things that happened three days ago -
you're seeing something and interacting in real time to
stop it," said study co-author Jay Schauben, Pharm.D.,
a UF clinical professor of emergency medicine and
pharmacy and director of the Florida Poison
Information Center-Jacksonville. "The quicker you
can identify a problem, the faster you can focus your
attention, the more individuals you might spare doing
the wrong thing which gets them into trouble, health-
wise. And I think that's the concept here."
For example, higher-than-normal reports of
gastrointestinal distress in a small geographic area may
indicate problems with a municipal water supply,
allowing health officials to warn residents to switch to
bottled water until the local water source is cleared.
Florida Department of Health officials started
reviewing data collected by the Florida Poison
Information Center Network during the 2004 hurricane
season. In 2005 the agencies began monitoring poison
control center records daily to see if any were connected
to storm-related health hazards.
"We monitored these hazards using a sophisticated,
Web-based data-gathering system we already had in
place here that was originally designed to characterize
epidemiological information the incidence and spread
of disease for our statewide poison control centers,"
Schauben said. "Now this same system provides valuable
real-time information and surveillance to identify public
health threats left in the wake of hurricanes."
Created by the Florida Legislature in 1989, the
network includes three poison control centers in
Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville. Health professionals
and the public can call the network via the nationwide
24-hour, toll-free telephone "POISON HELP" hotline,
Poison information specialists at each center gather
exposure and substance information from callers and
enter it into a local database that is then uploaded
within seconds to a statewide database, housed at the
During the 2005 hurricane season, state health
officials monitored exposure to carbon monoxide,
hydrocarbon fuels, batteries, fire, matches and explosives,
stings, snake bites, contaminated water and food
poisoning. They compared exposures from 30 days
before and up to one week after a hurricane's landfall.
The system provides a collaborative, online
reporting system, displaying surveillance graphs and
Geographic Information Systems mapping data with
hour-to-hour updates that can be accessed in the office
or on a laptop in a car, in an airport or in the field.
Health officials rely on spikes in the data to help
identify health-hazard incidences.
"Data spikes provide clues and allow us to zoom in on
something exactly when it's happening in a certain
location," said Schauben, adding that the system allows
users to track patients' names and addresses and then
alert the nearest local health department of the incident.
"For example, we'll tell the local health department
that we've had five carbon monoxide cases in a
certain area in the past 24 hours and ask them to get
out there and educate the people about generators,"
Operating generators in enclosed or poorly ventilated
areas can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Twenty-
eight incidents of carbon monoxide exposure were
reported to the network in the two days after Hurricane
Katrina made landfall in Florida.
"A couple of weeks after a hurricane hits, people
start running out of gas because of gas shortages,"
Schauben added. "When we saw data spikes for
inhalation of gasoline, we stepped up our messages
about using proper siphoning equipment."
Department of Health epidemiologist Robyn Kay said
that using a real-time, pre-existing sentinel surveillance
system increases state health officials' ability to detect
public health hazards and prevent deaths.
"Still, during emergencies and times of distress it's
just as important for Floridians to think with a clear
mind about how to approach each situation as it is for
them to have emergency plans to help ensure their
safety before, during and after the storm," she said.
Schauben said he sees a future for the system in other
states. "Poison control centers are the only entities in
the country that have an infrastructure to share data
between 64 centers (the number of centers in the United
States) in real time," he said. "We detect it, we see it
and we move on it."
us for ltest news nd events
COLLEGE OF DENTISTRY
ROGER B. FILLINGIM,
Ph.D., an associate
professor of community
dentistry and behavioral
science, has been awarded
a UF Research Foundation
Professorship Award. The
recognizes Fillingim for his Fillingim
distinguished record of research
and scholarship, which is expected to lead to
continued distinction in the field of pain research.
The professorship term is 2006 through 2008,
and includes a $5,000 salary supplement for
each of those years as well as a $3,000 one-time
allocation in support of his research program.
BARBARA HASTIE, Ph.D., a
research assistant professor
of community dentistry and
behavioral science, received a
five-year, $805,194 National
Institutes of Health grant
to study ethnic differences
and genetic factors in acute
postoperative pain and
analgesic response. In addition,
Hastie is the recipient of the 2006 "Future Leaders
in Pain Management" small grant award from the
American Pain Society. This award is given to three
researchers from around the country and is aimed
to advance pain research. Hastie will investigate
ethnic differences in pain and side effects using the
Third Molar model.
UF dental students MANAV MALIK and
MAGGIE M. NOVY have been awarded
scholarships from the Thomas P. Hinman Dental
Society. The awards were presented at a special
luncheon held recently during the 94th Hinman
Dental Meeting in Atlanta.
Student recipients of the scholarships are
known as "Hinman Scholars." Malik and Novy
are members of the American Dental Association
and rank among the top 10 percent of junior
dental students from 37 Southeastern colleges
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
PARKER GIBBS, M.D.,
an associate professor
of orthopaedic oncology,
and surgeon THOMAS
BEAVER, M.D., an
assistant professor in
surgery, were honored as
"Doctors of the Day" April
5 by the Florida Legislature Gibbs
as part of Gator Day 2006
at the Florida Capitol. The
Florida Medical Association
created the honorary
Doctors of the Day
program to provide medical
care for legislators and their
staffs. It is an honorary,
one-day position; however,
the doctors chosen could Beaver
be called upon to provide
medical care if necessary.
MARK GOLD, M.D., a
and chief of addiction
medicine with UF's
McKnight Brain Institute,
received the Nelson
J. Bradley lifetime
achievement award from
the National Association Gold
of Addiction Treatment
"As a person who has spent 30 years in
addiction medicine, receiving an award from
the nation's leading treatment professionals and
from representatives of centers such as the Betty
Ford Center is a great honor," Gold said. "It's
particularly exciting and gratifying that recovery
professionals feel my research has been
valuable and has helped make a difference in
how they care for patients."
Gold is recognized for changing the medical
field's understanding of how opiate drugs and
also cocaine hijack the human brain. His work
has led to new treatments for addicts, tests
for drug intoxication and understanding of
how heroin, other opiates and cocaine cause
dependence and withdrawal. His research has
also shed light on the dangers of secondhand
exposure to smoke and other drugs.
A faculty member in the psychiatry
department since 1990, Gold follows in a
long line of innovators who have received the
prestigious award since it was first issued in
$1 million gift creates College of Pharmacy's first graduate endowment
The UF College of Pharmacy has received a welcome
dose of support to create its first-ever graduate
The A.J. Spiegel Foundation has pledged $1 million
to create the Dr. Allen J. Spiegel Graduate Endowment
in Pharmaceutical Research. The fund will support
graduate students in the Department of Pharmaceutics'
Allen J. Spiegel, a UF alumnus and member of
the College of Pharmacy's National Advisory Board
since 2000, is a trustee of the foundation. He said
he decided the endowment was the best way to help
fund the college's graduate programs after discussions
with College of Pharmacy Dean William H. Riffee and
Executive Associate Dean Bill Millard.
"We need a good graduate research program,"
Spiegel said, "and in order to have one, we need
more support. Hopefully this will provide the support
necessary to aid those pursuing a Ph.D. in pharmacy."
Spiegel, who previously donated $100,000 to the
college to create the A.J. Spiegel Graduate Fellowship,
earned his Ph.D. in pharmacy from UF in 1957 and
retired as senior director of international patents
operations from Pfizer Inc., where he worked for 43
Millard said the college needs this type of private
funding for translational research, where scientists
first study disease at a molecular or cellular level and
later translate their findings to clinical applications for
patients. Also benefiting from the gift is research in
pharmacogenetics, the study of how genes influence
"Dr. Spiegel's endowment will now allow the
College of Pharmacy to expand its graduate training
program in both translational and pharmacogenetics
research by providing additional graduate student lines
and support in each of these research areas," Millard
said. "We are indebted to Dr. Spiegel's generosity and
support of our college."
The gift is eligible for matching funds from the State of
Florida Major Gift Trust Fund and will count toward the
Faculty Challenge Initiative. The initiative, which was
announced last year by UF President Bernie Machen,
aims to raise $150 million to meet the demands of
educating Florida's growing population and make UF
one of the nation's premier research universities.
Dean William Riffee, left, and Allen J.
Spiegel together after the A.J. Spiegel
Foundation pledged $1 million to create
the Dr. Allen J. Spiegel Graduate
Endowment in Pharmaceutical Research.
us @ f/or ltest news and events,
JAMES CHINGOS, M.D.,
is the new president of the
Association of Community
Cancer Centers, the
premier education and
for the multidisciplinary
cancer care team. He is
an associate professor and
division chief of the division Chingos
of hematology/oncology at the College of
Medicine-Jacksonville and an associate director
of the UF Shands Cancer Center. He also serves
as interim program director of the medical
oncology fellowship program.The ACCC's
membership comprises more than 650 hospital
cancer programs and oncology private practices
and includes all members of the cancer care
team. The organization seeks to promote quality
cancer care for patients and communities by
helping oncology professionals adapt to complex
clinical, regulatory and legislative changes.
ERIC CONDE, M.S.A.,
has joined the UF staff
as assistant dean for
administrative affairs a
new position in the Office of
the Senior Associate Dean/
Associate Vice President for
Health Affairs at the College
of Medicine-Jacksonville. Conde
With his more than 14 years
of experience in health-care administration, he
will be responsible for a wide range of complex
administrative, operational and governance
tasks. Conde comes to UF after having served
for 20 years in the U. S. Navy. His last active
duty assignment was as deputy director for health
affairs in the office of the Honorable William
A. Navas Jr., assistant secretary of the Navy for
manpower and reserve affairs. He also served as
a staff assistant and adviser for all health-related
issues, policies and programs within the Office of
the Secretary of the Navy.
DAVID A. HARMON, M.D.,
an assistant professor of
pediatrics in the UF College
of Medicine-Jacksonville, has
been named the medical
foster care statewide physician
consultant for Children's
Medical Services. A program Harmon
of the Florida Department of
Health, CMS serves children whose serious or
chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or
emotional conditions require extensive preventive
and maintenance care beyond that required by
typically healthy children.Harmon currently
medical director and primary care physician
for Kids 'N Care in Jacksonville, Florida's first
medical home for children in foster care -has
also served as the Jacksonville MFC medical
director since 2002.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH PROFESSIONS
BRIAN DODGE, Ph.D., an
assistant professor in public
health programs, received
the 2005-06 Excellence in
Mentoring Award from the UF
Gator Launch program. Dodge
was honored for his ongoing
work with undergraduate
student Omar Martinez, who Dodge
translated, from English to
Spanish, all materials associated with a study of
sexuality education in Florida public schools. The
A story about Yankee, a dog that received
successful surgery to remove a bamboo
barbecue skewer from its heart thanks to UF
human and animal doctors, took top honors
in the printed tools category of the 2006
Image Awards competition sponsored by
the Gainesville chapter of the Florida Public
The story, written by SARAH CAREY, M.A.,
A.P.R., the College of Veterinary Medicine's
director of public relations, received a first
place Image Award in the news release
subcategory and a Grand Image, or grand
prize, in the printed tools category. Awards
were presented April 26 at the annual FPRA
Image Awards banquet.
Yankee, a 6-year-old yellow Labrador
retriever owned by the Stazzone family of
Satellite Beach, continues to recuperate well
from her ordeal.
Gator Launch program is designed to enhance
the career development of UF students of diverse
BONNIE SACHS, a doctoral
student in the department
of clinical and health
psychology, received the
Behavioral Science Student
Fellowship from the Epilepsy
Foundation. She will receive
$3,000 to support her
research on the effects of
age and neurosurgical site
on postoperative seizure and cognitive outcome.
LINDSEY KIRSCH DARROW, SARAH
MCCANN, KIMBERLY MILLER and
UTAKA SPRINGER, graduate students
in the department of clinical and health
psychology, have been accepted into the 2006
Vivian Smith Advanced Studies Institute of the
International Neuropsychological Society. The
monthlong program will be held in Greece this
summer. Russell Bauer, Ph.D., a professor in the
department of clinical and health psychology,
will serve as one of the institute's instructors.
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
ROGER REEP, Ph.D., a
professor of neuroscience,
and Bob Bonde, a biologist
with the U.S. Geological
Survey's Sirenia Project,
have co-authored a book
on manatee biology and
conservation geared toward
professionals and lay people
interested in the unique and
endangered marine mammal.
Reep and Bonde, who also is pursuing his
doctoral degree at the UF veterinary college,
have collectively devoted 45 years to manatee
research. The result was "The Florida Manatee,
Biology and Conservation," recently published by
University Press of Florida.
Reep has published numerous papers and
lectured on the organization and evolution
of mammalian nervous systems. He was lead
organizer for the First International Manatee and
Dugong Research Conference in 1994 and for
the Florida Marine Mammal Health Conferences
in 2002 and 2005. Bonde has published
many scientific papers on manatee genetics
and mortality and on his aerial surveys, radio
tracking and observations of manatees in their
us @ for latest news and events
Vet student develops
tool in a flash
By Sarah Carey
,'. flash: At age 33, Mary Gardner, a sophomore veterinary
udent, is fast becoming an entrepreneur, marketing a
computer-driven flash card study program to students not just
at UF, but all over the country.
The program enables students to create flash cards on their personal
computers. They can organize the cards by subject, attach pictures, test
themselves, print out cards on paper and swap cards between friends.
For example, animal science majors might quiz themselves with
cards that ask questions like "What is a nutrient?" "What are the six
classes of nutrients?" or "What type of cattle is this?"
"If you have a PDA, you can put the cards on the PDA version of the
software to study away from your PC," Gardner said.
This may not exactly be news to members of the class of 2008, who
first heard about Gardner's program a few weeks after starting
veterinary school in the fall of 2004. At that time, Gardner had
reserved a classroom after hours to present a demonstration of the
product she developed with help from her father, a computer
programmer, and her brother, a Webmaster.
"The pitch was, we have to memorize all these facts, so let's split up the
work," Gardner said. "Everyone takes a chapter and we swap the cards."
Although only about 20 of her classmates wound up buying the
$29.95 software package, called PC Flashcards, nearly the entire class of
2009 purchased the program, Gardner said.
"That's because my class by then had done all the work and created
so many flash cards, over 20,000 to be exact, that were then
automatically available through our Web site to anyone else who
purchased the program," Gardner said.
One of PC Flashcards' key selling points is that a portion of the
proceeds from each sale goes to a student club, class or organization the
"My class has earned more than $500 just from sales," Gardner said.
"It's been our best fundraising event to date. There is no overhead and
no inventory, and we've learned while we made the cards."
Prior to being accepted into veterinary school, Gardner traveled the
world as a software training and design expert employed by the global
firm Ecometry, a company that specializes in creating software for
mail, phone and Web-oriented businesses such as Nordstrom, Nine
West, Ross-Simons, Coach, Lego and other household names.
But after a few too many red-eye flights and fluorescent lights, as she
puts it, Gardner burned out on corporate life and decided her true
dream was to attend veterinary school.
"The flash card business all started because before I was able to apply
for veterinary school, I had to complete my prerequisites, which
naturally involved a lot of study," Gardner said. "I was making
handwritten flash cards and I'd have stacks of them in my house. I
thought, this is ridiculous, there needs to be a software product to
automate all this."
Mary Gardner with her personal handheld computer outside the Veterinary
So Gardner drew up specs and conceptualized the product "on
paper." Then she asked her father if he would write the software.
"Within a week, he had a prototype," she said. "Now I take care of
customer support, marketing and product design, while my father
programs the changes and my brother takes care of the Web site. It
works out really well."
Students from six other veterinary schools, including those in
Hawaii, Puerto Rico and even Canada, are now using the program.
"The program is not just for college students," Gardner said. "We
have real estate agents, pilots and high school students using the
program. It's a great feeling to know that so many other people have
found the product helpful in their studies."
Gardner's goal is to make $1 million by the time she's 40 to help fund
the cost of starting her own small animal clinic.
For more information about PC Flashcards, go to
Sfor ltest news and ;events. B
John Williams, a veterinary research assistant at the University of Florida's
Veterinary Medical Center, exercises a Thoroughbred horse named Baby
Frank on a treadmill May 24. The VMC is conducting a series of drug
clearance studies for the UF Racing Laboratory using the treadmill to keep the
horses conditioned and also to assess the effectiveness of certain drugs used
in the racing industry.
Gainesville Fire Rescue's hazardous materials team conducted a mock
disaster drill for approximately 50 College of Medicine students in May.
The drill took place in the HPNP Plaza. In a scenario of a mock gas
attack on a crowded sports stadium, the students role-played as victims
and triage specialists.
UF Health Science Center
Office of News & Communications
Senior Vice President, Health Affairs
Douglas J. Barrett, M.D.
Director, News & Communications
Melanie Fridl Ross, John Pastor
Chris Brazda, April Frawley Birdwell, Tracy Brown,
Sarah Carey, Linda Homewood,Kim Jamerson,
Lindy McCollum-Brounley, Patricia McGhee, John
Pastor, Jill Pease, Melanie Fridl Ross, Denise Trunk
Cassandra Jackson, Beth Powers, Kim Smith,
The POST is the monthly internal newsletter for
the University of Florida Health Science Center,
the most comprehensive academic health center
in the Southeast, with campuses in Gainesville
and Jacksonville and affiliations throughout
Florida. Articles feature news of interest for and
about HSC faculty, staff and students. Content
may be reprinted with appropriate credit.
Ideas for stories are welcome. The deadline
for submitting items to be considered for each
month's issue is the 15th of the previous month.
Submit to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or deliver
to the Office of News & Communications in the
Communicore Building, Room C3-025.
UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA
Jamie Woodcock (left), a second-year medical student, evaluates a
standardized patient's condition at the College of Medicine's Harrell
Professional Development and Assessment Center. The standardized
patient Frances Harrell is an actor who imitates a specific medical
condition to test the student's examination skills. Instructors monitor
each student's performance on a computer screen in another room.