Occupational Therapist Brings Holiday Cheer to NICU with Photo Shoot

img_9300-3Just before the holiday season, Lisa Glass, an occupational therapist in The Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) set up a Christmas photo shoot to show off the festive side of some of our tiniest patients.

Glass, who enjoys photography in her spare time, developed the idea for the photo-shoot as a “cute way to give some nice holiday photos to parents”. Since NICU babies are often among the sickest children in the hospital, and need round the clock medical care, it can be difficult for parents to appreciate the traditional joys of having a newborn. Especially during the first few critical months of life, this can include newborn pictures. Glass and her coworkers wanted to be able to “highlight how beautiful [these] babies are,” and give parents a view of their child in a more upbeat and positive light.

img_9142-3After work hours, Glass and two physical therapy coworkers in the University of Maryland Department of Rehabilitation Services, Laura Evans and Carly Funk, went from room to room, and for four and a half hours, photographed over 30 babies. Following the photography session, Glass edited her pictures, emailed them to parents, and even printed a few copies to surprise parents in their babies’ rooms. Following the photo shoot, she received many happy emails thanking her for what she had done. But for Glass, going above and beyond to show compassion and joy was an easy feat.

“For me, it was a pleasure to interact with the babies and the parents”, said Glass. “Parents are used to seeing their children as sick patients, not as beautiful babies. It’s important to see your patients not just as patients, but as people, too.”

Glass also emphasized the importance of teamwork in this endeavor.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do this without [Laura and Carly’s] help the whole way through.” This NICU trio showcases the importance of working together to bring some extra joy to UMMC.

Glass’ photography serves as a great reminder to see patients as the people they are, and not simply for the medical treatment they are receiving. Although these babies may have breathing tubes and cords surrounding them, they are also enveloped in a multitude of love and support.

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Working Hard to Engage West Baltimore Communities

Members from UMMC’s Community and Workforce Development and Commitment to Excellence teams visited Mr. Barnett’s 5th grade class at James McHenry Elementary/Middle School.

The team dropped off 32 book bags (one for each student) filled with books and school supplies. Students also received holiday toys, donated by UMMC employees and staff. Additionally, through UMMC Commitment to Excellence holiday “Give Back Campaign”, UMMC employees and staff donated socks, undershirts, underwear, and other under garments to James McHenry Elementary/Middle School’s Uniform Closet.

UMMC has officially “adopted” this class, and will be closely working with them to provide mentoring, professional development and engagement opportunities. The UMMC community will continue to work with these students through middle school, high school, college and beyond!

This is just one example of how UMMC is continually working to improve the lives of those in its surrounding communities. UMMC aims to identify and address critical issues in West Baltimore by building permanent relationships with individuals and organizations in the area.

Some other UMMC initiatives include:

  • Launching the Stanford Living Well/Chronic Disease Management Program.
  • Implementing the BHEC Baltimore City-wide Community Health Work Training Certificate Program.
  • Sponsoring 50 youth in the 2017 Youth Works Internship program.
  • Initiating meetings with West Baltimore community organizations to introduce new CEO and re-establish collaborative relationships.

 

Learn more about UMMC’s community engagement efforts on our website: http://umm.edu/community

 

Setting the Table for Celiacs: Q&A with Celiac Disease Program’s Nutritionist

University of Maryland Medical Center nutritionist Pam Cureton answers questions about celiac disease and gluten-free diets.

pam-cureton-rdQ: What is gluten?

A: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. These grains in any form must be avoided. Foods labeled gluten free are safe to eat but if a food item is not labeled gluten free look for these six words in the ingredient list to see if it contains a gluten containing ingredient: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Malt, Brewer’s yeast and Oat (only use oats that are labeled gluten free).

Q: What exactly is wrong with gluten?

A: The problem with gluten is that it is not completely broken down into smaller amino acids that can be easily absorbed by the intestine. For the majority of people this presents no problem at all but in individuals with celiac disease, the body sees this protein as a toxin and this sets off a string of reactions leading to intestinal villous damage.

Q: What cross contamination problems should I look for in the kitchen?

A: Preventing gluten free foods from coming in contact with gluten containing foods make the difference in your guest enjoying a wonderful holiday meal or becoming ill and leaving early. Guest with celiac disease cannot simply take the croutons out of a salad or eat the meat from the wheat bread sandwich. Gluten free foods can be contaminated by using the same spoon to mix or serve foods, putting wheat products next to the gluten free dips, “double dipping” the knife into a condiment then gluten containing product then back into the condiments or using the same toaster.

Q: Can you taste the difference between gluten-free foods and their gluten counterparts?

A: Gluten free foods have come a long way in their taste and texture to be very close to their gluten containing counterpart. There are so many great tasting gluten free products on the market today that no one should be eating something they do not like.

Q: What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease:

A: Celiac disease can present itself in many different forms. Untreated, celiac disease causes multi-system complications such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, iron deficiency anemia, decreased bone density, failure to thrive, short stature, and behavior problems. If you have any concerns, please check with your primary care provider before you start a gluten free diet.

Q: I have severe reactions when I eat bread, such as stomach bloating and pain in my joints. Does this mean I could have celiac or gluten sensitivity?

A: We recommend that you see your primary care provider and ask to be tested for celiac disease. However, do not start a gluten free diet before this testing is done. The first step is a simple blood test for screening. If all the tests are complete and you do not have celiac disease, then try a gluten free diet to see if you improve as it may be non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Q: How common is late-onset celiac disease and is there any way to know if other family members are at risk of developing it later in life?

A: It is possible to develop celiac disease at any age. You may have had celiac disease for many years before being diagnosed because symptoms may have been attributed to other conditions or you may not have had any symptoms with the active disease. We recommend that all first degree relatives be screened for celiac disease after the relative had been diagnosed and if negative at that time, repeat the screening labs every 2-3 years or if symptoms appear.

Q: Is there a cure for Celiac Disease?

A: Currently the only treatment for celiac disease is the gluten free diet. In most cases, this treatment works very well but it can be expensive, socially isolating and, at times, difficult to follow. Also, there are people that do not respond completely to the diet or take up to 2 years to heal after diagnosis. For these people, additional therapies are need to prevent additional complications of celiac disease.

 

Learn more about the Celiac Disease Program or call 410-328-6749 to make an appointment.

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Building Better Breastfeeding Awareness at UMMC

breastfeeding2Breastfeeding is recognized as the best nutritional source for healthy infants. Unfortunately, breastfeeding rates in Baltimore city are well below the national average, so the University of Maryland Medical Center acknowledges the need to focus efforts on breastfeeding practices and do more to educate and support mothers within the community.

After a thorough evaluation, UMMC kicked off a commitment to embark on the journey to become a Baby Friendly designated hospital. UMMC follows the “10 Steps to Breastfeeding success” as outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).   The “10 Steps” involve all aspects of breastfeeding and include the efforts which begin in the pre-natal period and go beyond birth and delivery until breastfeeding is well established.

A mother’s choice to breastfeed is heavily influenced by education, cultural norms and how well the mother is supported in learning to breastfeed.  Although breastfeeding is a natural process, its success does take some practice and support.  UMMC saw the need to do more to support mothers from the prenatal phase through labor and delivery and beyond hospitalization in those early post-partum weeks.   In cohesive efforts to influence breastfeeding rates, UMMC nursing and medical staff have partnered with affiliated pre-natal clinics, called B’More Health Babies, as well as the Baltimore City Health Department and University of Maryland School of Nursing colleagues to approach breastfeeding education and support across the continuum of care.

UMMC nursing and provider staffs are in the process of completing specialty training on breastfeeding. This is an endeavor that includes all staff who works with nursing mothers with the highest level of training demanded of maternal/newborn nurses who all have completed 20 hours of didactic and practical training on breastfeeding.   Pediatric nurses, midwives, obstetricians, pediatricians, family practice providers, medical assistants and nursing assistants also receive additional training on how to support nursing mothers – a topic glossed over up to now in most nursing and medical school curricula.

Onsite Lactation Support

University of Maryland Medical Center has expanded lactation support to include six days a week of onsite coverage, a telephone hotline, and lacatationsupport@umm.edu email for questions and advice.  UMMC nursing and provider staffs are committed to extending this support to community mothers with the kick off of both inpatient breastfeeding support groups held weekly on the Mother Baby unit and a monthly community breastfeeding support group free to the public within the Family Medicine clinic.  UMMC is also committed to supporting our staff with the employee lactation lounge located on first floor of the Weinberg building where hospital grade breast pumps are available for our own UMMC community of nursing mothers.

Having health professionals, sudavis-and-boypport persons, peer mentors and others who can assist in teaching and reinforcing skills are critical to maternal success.   In partnering with providers, advocacy groups and agencies, UMMC staff are working to ensure patients are provided the education and resources needed for success.

For more information on UMMC’s lactation support programs, email us at lactationsupport@umm.edu .

University of Maryland Ear, Nose & Throat Team Preparing, Fundraising for Annual Volunteer Medical Mission

The University of Maryland Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) team is gearing up for their next volunteer medical mission trip – and they’re hoping you can help them help more people. The team, led by head and neck surgeons Rodney Taylor, MD and Jeffrey Wolf, MD, has begun fundraising for their March 2017 medical mission to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Fiji Team

The ENT Team during last year’s mission trip to Fiji

Every year, the ENT team travels to different under-served parts of the world to provide their services free of charge. The crew is dedicated to providing world-class care to those in need. They pay 100 percent of their own way, including airfare, shipping costs for their equipment and the cost of purchasing additional supplies not available onsite.

This year, the funds raised will also pay for patient transportation. While there is one hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, many Vietnamese citizens living in the rural hills don’t have easy access to health care. In fact, some of them have never even been to a hospital. This year, the ENT team will be covering the funds to get patients from their homes to the hospital to receive the care they need.

In Vietnam, Dr. Taylor says there is a higher rate of cleft lip and cleft palate, so they expect to see a lot of patients suffering from those conditions. The team also is planning to treat many patients with goiters (enlarged thyroid), parotid tumors (in the salivary glands), sinal nasal masses and even some cancers.

“It’s an area where we can make the biggest impact during our time there,” Dr. Taylor said. “We will also get the chance to soak in the culture, and learn valuable lessons from the patients we serve.”

Another huge win for the team, and the patients in turn, is the addition of a pediatric anesthesiologist to this year’s crew. That means the team will able to operate on children needing surgery, not just adults.

The ENT team is working with the Project Vietnam Foundation, a nonprofit humanitarian organization working to create sustainable pediatric health care in Vietnam, while providing free health care and aid to impoverished rural areas across the country.

All of the ENT mission trips are made possible through donations. If you cannot make it to the happy hour, donations are welcome on the Maryland ENT Mission website: http://www.marylandentmissions.org/donate.


­­­­Last year, the team traveled to Fiji for their annual medical mission. They performed 15 surgeries and saw 150 patients before the island was rocked by Cyclone Winston. Learn more here.

Remembering Dr. R Adams Cowley: A Revolutionary & Pioneer of Trauma Medicine


Dr. Cowley in the old CCRU

Dr. Cowley (center) instructing in the old CCRU

Dr. R Adams Cowley passed away 25 years ago today, but his contributions will live on forever in the form of thousands of lives saved.

R Adams Cowley, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon, was the founder of United States’ first trauma center, University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, and the Maryland EMS System. He revolutionized trauma medicine and is responsible for the development of the “Golden Hour” concept. As Dr. Cowley explained in an interview: “There is a golden hour between life and death. If you are critically injured you have less than 60 minutes to survive. You might not die right then; it may be three days or two weeks later — but something has happened in your body that is irreparable.”


Drs. Gens and Cowley

Dr. Cowley (left) with fellow trauma surgeon Dr. Gens in 1983

“R Adams Cowley was a pioneer, a man of immense vision and the father of American trauma care systems,” Dr. Thomas Scalea, Shock Trauma Physician-in-Chief, said. “At a time when we take organized trauma care for granted, it is important to remember that none of this would have happened without him and a few others who refused to take no for an answer. They fought the political and medical battles to demonstrate that organized trauma care saves lives. I am privileged to continue his legacy.”


Open Heart Surgery

A Baltimore Sun photo shows Dr. Cowley performing open-heart surgery on a 2-year-old boy

After many years of research and discussion, in 1958, the Army awarded Dr. Cowley a contract for $100,000 to study shock in people. He developed the first clinical shock trauma unit in the nation; the unit consisted of two beds (later four beds). By 1960, staff was trained and equipment was in place.

In 1968, Dr. Cowley negotiated to have patients brought in by military helicopter to get them to the shock trauma unit more quickly. After much discussion with the Maryland State Police, the first med-evac transport occurred in 1969 after the opening of the five-story, 32-bed Center for the Study of Trauma.

In 1970, Dr. Cowley expanded his dream, feeling that not a single patient should be denied the state-of-the-art treatment available at his trauma center in Baltimore. He envisioned a statewide system of care funded by the state of Maryland available to anyone who needed it.

Airport Drill

Dr. Cowley leads a drill at the airport

His dream became a reality with the intervention of former Governor Marvin Mandel. Governor Mandel became interested in Dr. Cowley’s program when a close friend was severely injured in a car crash. In 1973, the Governor issued an executive order establishing the Center for the Study of Trauma as the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medicine. The order simultaneously created the Division of Emergency Medical Services. Dr. Cowley was appointed as director.

Maryland had the first statewide EMS system, and it, like the Shock Trauma Center, has become a model worldwide. Countless lives have been saved due to Dr. Cowley’s vision.

r-adams-cowley-studentsWe thank you, Dr. Cowley, and will always remember your legacy.

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“No Screens Under 2” Q&A with Dr. Brenda Hussey-Gardner

brenda-hussey-gardnerHi, my name is Dr. Brenda Hussey-Gardner. I am a developmental specialist who works with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. I attended the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in San Francisco to share the results of research that I have done with colleagues here at the University of Maryland and to learn what other researchers are doing across the nation in order to bring this new knowledge back to the hospital to better serve our children and their families. At this conference, the American Academy of Pediatrics released their new guidelines regarding screen time and children.

Please see the Q&A here for more information on these guidelines.

Q: What is the “No Screens Under 2” rule and in what ways is it changing?

A: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) previously recommended no screen time for children under 2 years of age. In its new guidelines, the AAP offers slightly different recommendations for children less than 18 months and those 18 to 24 months of age.

Children less than 18 months

The AAP discourages parents from using digital media with one exception: video-chatting (e.g., Skype, FaceTime). This form of interactive media can be used, with parent support, to foster social relationships with distant relatives.

Children 18 to 24 months

The AAP recommends that parents, who want to introduce their child to digital media, do the following:

  1. Only use high-quality educational content.
  2. Always watch shows or use apps with your child. Talking about what the child sees helps foster learning.
  3. Never allow your child to use media alone.
  4.  Limit media to a maximum of 1 hour per day.
  5. Avoid all screen time during meals, parent-child playtime and an hour before bedtime.

Q: Can you provide some insight into how the decision was made? What research was taken into account?

A: The AAP Council on Communications and Media reviewed research on child development, television, videos and mobile/interactive technologies to develop their current recommendations. Research shows that children under the age of 2 years need two things to develop their thinking, language, motor and social-emotional skills: (1) they need to interact with their parents and other loving caregivers, and (2) they need hands-on experiences with the real world. In fact, researchers have demonstrated that infants and toddlers don’t yet have the symbolic, memory and attention skills needed to learn from digital media. Importantly, research also shows evidence of harm (e.g., delayed thinking, language and social-emotional development; poorer executive functioning) from excessive media use with young children.

Q: Why do these new guidelines matter to parents, and should they affect the ways parents and their young children interact with technology?

A: AAP guidelines matter because parents want their children to be well adjusted and smart, and they don’t want to do anything that may harm their child’s development. As such, parents should try their best to avoid screens with their children who are less than 18 months of age and realize that it is their interactions with their child that are the most important. Then, from 18 to 24 months of age, parents should strive to use only the highest quality educational technology with their child. As hard as it is, parents should try to avoid using technology as a babysitter and try to understand the negative impact that it can have on their child’s development.

Q: What is your biggest take-away from the session?

A: A parent’s lap is always better than any app!

Q: What is your opinion on the new guidelines and do you think it will affect your clinical practice? If so, how?

A: I believe that the new AAP guidelines, while a little more flexible, may still be difficult for parents to adhere to, as screen time is so pervasive in our society. However, it is very important for parents to make smart choices about digital media and screen time if they want to help their infant and toddler develop into a child who is healthy and ready for success in preschool. It is my goal to develop a pamphlet summarizing the research findings and AAP guidelines to help parents make the best choices for their child and family.

 

For more information about media, screen time, and child development, parents are encouraged to read the AAP recommendations located within the publication “Media and Young Minds,” and to read the “Early Learning and Educational Technology Brief” published by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Signs of Bullying

This information is provided by University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the Center for Infant and Child Loss and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

As a parent, there are many things you need to diligently watch for in your child. One of them is to look for signs of bullying.

There are health risks related to depression for the victim, bully, and those who witness bullying, which may include:

  • Irritability or angerdoctor-consoling-patient-126648704
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Multiple joint and muscle pains
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Depression
  • Difficulties in falling and/or staying asleep
  • Self-injury (i.e., cutting)
  • Impulsivity
  • Suicide attempts
  • Homicidal thoughts

If your child is experiencing any of the above, talk with them, and contact their pediatrician or teacher. For more information call 800-808-7437.

 

 

8 Tips to Confront Bullying in School

This information is provided by University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the Center for Infant and Child Loss and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

bullyingBullying is a behavior that is both repeated and intended to hurt someone either physically, emotionally, or both. It can take many forms like teasing, name calling, making threats, physical assaults, and cyber-bullying.

If your child is being bullied and is attending one of Maryland’s public schools, you and your child have the right to report your concerns. The school also has the responsibility to investigate those concerns. Here are eight tips to stop bullying and report the problem:

  • Ask your child’s teacher, counselor, or administrator if you can speak privately about a personal problem. Talk about what is happening or making you (or your child) uncomfortable, and how long it’s been going on.
  • Ask for a Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form; or download at GracesLawMaryland.com. Complete the form, return one copy to the administrator, and keep a copy for yourself.
  • Feel free to call the Maryland State Department of Education if you have additional questions regarding the completion of the Bullying Form. You can reach them at 410-767-0031.
  • If an incident occurs in an unstructured area, ask what the school will do to make you (or your child) feel safe.
  • Ask the administrator to investigate allegations, develop a plan of support and schedule a meeting.
  • If your child is being bullied on a social media site, take a screen shot and save the content to share with parents, police, and the school administration. Fill out a report as often as you need to.
  • Change your password, use privacy settings, and block people on social media who send negative messages, texts, tweets or photos.
  • Ask friends not to share negative social media or pass along to others.

For more information call 800-808-7437.

Kathy’s Story: Living Better with Mesothelioma – Possible with the Right Team of Experts

Kathy Ebright was enjoying life with her husband, 2 kids and 7 grandchildren in rural Pennsylvania, when everything changed suddenly.  This is true for thousands of people fighting cancer across the world, but hearing the word “mesothelioma” is not common.

“I went numb, I might have said a few words, but I couldn’t put words together to speak,” Kathy said.

Kathy and her husband, Doug

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, but Kathy and her husband didn’t know anyone with mesothelioma in their small town of Richfield. They only heard of the disease from commercials for lawyers who specialize in asbestos lawsuits.

Kathy’s mesothelioma was discovered during a scan of her abdomen, which she has regularly to monitor a heart condition.  Her vascular doctor saw unusual spots on her scans, which her primary care doctor and oncologist reviewed, and they determined it was pleural mesothelioma.  This means the cancerous cells are located in the chest cavity, and sometimes the lung.  Usually, those with pleural mesothelioma experience shortness of breath, but Kathy was lucky enough to catch her mesothelioma before experiencing any symptoms.

Kathy’s daughter, Ally, who works with the tumor registry at the Geisinger Medical Center, sprang into action after the initial shock.  They attended tumor boards at Geisinger, where physicians from multiple disciplines (radiation, medical, and surgical oncology) meet to discuss cases.  Kathy’s medical oncologist, Dr. Rajiv Panikkar, suggested to Kathy that she go to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, where she would see a team skilled and experienced in the most novel treatments for mesothelioma.

On December 20, 2015, about a month after her initial diagnosis, Kathy had her first appointment with Dr. Joseph Friedberg, a nationally known expert in mesothelioma and head of thoracic surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Kathy and her family were nervous, but mesothelioma nurse navigator Colleen Norton helped them navigate the unfamiliar and frightening process of a mesothelioma diagnosis.  She made sure they were prepared for their appointment beforehand, and Colleen even handled authorization with their health insurance company.

“We just felt we were along for the ride because Colleen always had everything taken care of,” said Kathy’s husband Doug.

And they were just as impressed with Dr. Friedberg, who was calm, reassuring and explained Kathy’s situation very clearly.

“On the back of his folder, he hand drew a lung to display what was going on with me, and it could’ve been taken right from a textbook it was so good,” Kathy said.

Kathy’s granddaughter, Carleigh, who serves as her main cancer-fighting motivator

They were also impressed with Dr. Friedberg’s tenacity and understanding.  Kathy wanted to spend Christmas with her family, but Dr. Friedberg didn’t want wait too long to perform the lung sparing surgery.

Her surgery was scheduled for January 5, 2016.

Throughout the surgery, Kathy’s family couldn’t have been more comfortable and informed.

“We camped out in the Healing Garden just about the entire time,” Doug said. “Melissa Culligan, Dr. Friedberg’s nurse, was in and out of the operating room, updating us every two hours.  We were never left wondering how Kathy was doing.  We also had the option to call into the operating room if we had any questions.”

During Kathy’s recovery in the hospital, she said the nurses were “phenomenal.”  Colleen also came to see her several times a day, and they added a La-Z-Boy to Kathy’s room so her husband could more comfortably spend the nights with her.

While there is no cure for mesothelioma, yet, Kathy and her family couldn’t be happier to have the UMGCCC team in their corner.  She now returns every 3 months for the next 2 years for check-ups, and Dr. Friedberg describes her scans as “pristine.”

“It’s very reassuring to know we have such caring people looking out for my health,” Kathy said.

Learn more about the Mesothelioma and Thoracic Oncology Treatment Center at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Center by clicking here, or calling 410-328-6366.