Sep 27 2012

50 years of caring: ULAM and U-M’s lab animals

“We love animals, and we love people, and that’s why we do the job we do.”

That short and simple sentiment says it all about the men and women responsible for the care of most of U-M’s laboratory animals.

They do what they do, says head U-M veterinarian Robert Dysko, DVM, because they know that responsible animal research can improve both human health, and animal health, worldwide.

This September marks the 50th anniversary of the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, the division of the Medical School that provides animal care and research expertise to more than 500 scientific teams from all over U-M.

This Saturday, ULAM is holding a symposium to mark the occasion.

More than 250,000 animals, from mice and rats to sheep and pigs, are in the care of the 190 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal care technicians and support staff who make up ULAM.

Without them, U-M researchers would have a much harder time making discoveries in animals that may someday improve the health of human patients.

That’s what drove U-M to develop one of the nation’s first laboratory animal medicine programs in 1962. Bennett Cohen, DVM, considered a pioneer of the field, founded the unit and led it for 23 years.

Today, ULAM is one of the nation’s most highly regarded programs both for animal care, and for the postdoctoral training of veterinarians who specialize in laboratory animals.

Dysko was once one of those young trainees himself, and the 100th trainee entered the program this summer. Also this summer, Dysko took the reins of the unit, succeeding Howard Rush, DVM, M.S., who returned to his faculty post in 2011 after 10 years as director. Rush had succeeded Dan Ringler, DVM, who directed the unit from 1985 to 2000 after Cohen stepped down. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 21 2012

Where we’ve been, how far we’ve come

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Sep 19 2012

Standardizing patient education materials: Singing from the same songbook

Imagine you’re a patient just returning from the hospital. The nurse’s instructions say one thing. The brochure from the doctor’s office says another. Which one do you listen to? And how does it make you feel about the care you just received?

Several clinical areas across the Health System are addressing inconsistencies just like these.

“A lot goes into the cleaning, care and replacement of respiratory equipment for cystic fibrosis patients, and a lot of it is different for these patients than asthma and COPD patients, such as the need to rinse nebulizers in sterile water,” says Paulette Ratkiewicz, respiratory therapy supervisor, whose area takes care of more than 300 pediatric CF patients on a regular basis.

Two years ago, patients were getting individual sheets of paper from various parts of the Health System with conflicting information. Today, thanks to a Patient Education Advisory Committee grant, The Cystic Fibrosis Guidebook is given to every CF patient at Mott.

“Everything in it is in line with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Guidelines. Patients and families can look at this and be confident they’re doing the right thing,” she says.

Throughout Mott Children’s Hospital, a team of advanced practice nurses and respiratory therapists came together to create the Trach Teaching Team. They teach families the ins and outs of taking care of the trachea and equipment, and use a 60-page book created by the Peds Otolaryngology staff which helps parents continue that intricate care when they leave the hospital.

“The book translates our care into the home setting and into the community by helping home care staff and the patients’ schools as well,” says Cathy Lewis, MSN, RN, clinical nurse specialist. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 12 2012

Gifts of Art creates new Kaleidoscope Coloring Book and Lullaby CD

Two new offerings from Gifts of Art are a feast for the eyes—and ears.

GOA recently released a new coloring book and a lullaby CD called Sweet Dreams.

The Kaleidoscope Coloring Book features art by renowned kaleidoscope maker Charles Karadimos, cover art by internationally recognized kaleidoscopic quilt maker Paula Nadelstern, and designs by several U-M School of Art & Design students.

The word “kaleidoscope” literally means “beautiful form watcher.” Children and adults alike have loved to see what images emerge as they color in the designs.

Doug Strong, CEO of University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, tries his hand at the Gifts of Art coloring book at the UMHS Ice Cream Social and Researchpalooza event in August.

And, this coloring book is more than just “busy work.” Since 2010 when GOA created its first coloring book, more than 30,000 books—each with a box of 24 crayons—have been given out to patients and families, providing an aesthetic diversion and helping combat the stress often associated with healthcare settings. The Kaleidoscope Coloring Book was made possible through a UMHS Fostering Innovation Grant (FIGs).

The Sweet Dreams CD features 15 lullabies from around the world sung and played by Gifts of Art bedside musicians, Mott music therapists, doctors and friends. It was funded by a gift from Concerts for a Cure, an international musical charity organization founded by acclaimed violin virtuoso Jourdan Urbach, who recently won the Jefferson Award for Public Service—considered the “Nobel Prize for Public Service”—at the age of 20.

Gifts of Art Director Elaine Sims says, “Sweet Dreams came about because GOA’s Bedside Music program is so successful—and the need is so great. Only about 38% of the patients referred by clinicians can be reached in any given day. Read the rest of this entry »