The U.Va. Health System met several key goals to distinguish 2009–10 as one of its most successful and productive years. A large part of that success is due to the Campaign for Health and the people, research, programs, and buildings it is supporting. In April 2010, the Campaign for Health exceeded its $500 million fund-raising goal, more than a year ahead of schedule. The campaign benefited every area of the Health System, through gifts to support medical and nursing education, leading-edge research, and lifesaving patient care initiatives. A selection of campaign accomplishments below gives an idea of the scope of this generous support to the Health System.
CARTER-HARRISON RESEARCH BUILDING
U.Va. Health System
The Carter-Harrison Research Building, which opened in 2009, provides new laboratory space for biomedical science. Made possible by donor support, University resources, and state bond funding, the building is named for the families of the late Beirne B. Carter (McIntire '48) and the late David A. Harrison III (College '39, Law '41), both instrumental in advancing medical research af the University.
- Twenty-three professorships established for the Schools of Medicine and Nursing
- More than $11.8 million raised in medical and nursing scholarships
- Research support in cancer, diabetes, immunology, and pediatrics
- Completion of the Claude Moore Nursing Education Building and the Claude Moore Medical Education Building
- Construction of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center nearing completion, along with advanced planning for the Barry and Bill Battle Building at U.Va. Children's Hospital, and initial renovations of the School of Nursing's McLeod Hall
- New interdisciplinary programs in integrative medicine and in palliative and compassionate care
The Health System is now moving forward on a bridge campaign focused on new strategic directions, including translational research, clinical performance education, and interdisciplinary compassionate care programs. The bridge campaign will also address ongoing core needs, such as scholarship, fellowship, and professorship endowments, along with the completion of key capital projects, including the Battle Building and renovation of McLeod Hall.
Maximizing Innovation and Quality Care
New health care legislative reform will affect many areas of health, including research, education, and patient care. At the U.Va. Health System, a lasting commitment to innovation and high-quality care is evident throughout patient clinics, hospital rooms, classrooms, and laboratories. This commitment will remain a strong Health System priority. The appointment of Robert "Bo" Cofield as associate vice president for hospital and clinics operations supports the Health System's continued emphasis on high-quality patient care delivery and the need to recognize strong customer service.
U.Va. physicians and clinical staff bring the latest advances in care to their patients and offer sophisticated interventions available only at the nation's very best hospitals. They also lead medical and basic science research in many fields to understand how the body works, while setting the stage for new lifesaving therapies and treatments. The Health System also sustains innovation by encouraging students—future physicians, nurses, and scientists—to discover new ways to improve the practice of medicine and nursing.
The success of these efforts can be attributed to the quality of the U.Va. Health System staff—from the physicians, nurses, and therapists who take responsibility for the care of patients and their families to the scientists who lead its many laboratories, and to the clinical and administrative staff who ensure that the entire enterprise runs smoothly. The Health System has attracted an outstanding team that is widely recognized for its accomplishments and consistent success over the years.
This year seven medical specialties were ranked in the twenty-first annual survey of "Best Hospitals" from U.S. News & World Report, including: diabetes and endocrinology (11); ear, nose and throat (26); urology (31); cancer (32); gastroenterology (33); gynecology (37); and neurology and neurosurgery (41). More U.Va. physicians than ever before—186 doctors—were included in the 2009–10 list of Best Doctors in America, a 43 percent increase in just four years. Forty-seven physicians were included in the latest edition of America's Top Doctors. And for the sixth time, Thomson Reuters recognized the U.Va. Medical Center as one of the nation's top 100 hospitals for cardiovascular care.
Among the many Health System physicians and nurses honored in 2009–10 was Stephen Rich, a Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor and the director of the University of Virginia Center for Public Health Genomics. Mr. Rich was presented with the David Rumbough Award for scientific excellence by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. His interest in the genetic basis of Type 1 diabetes has led to the identification of more than forty regions in the human genome that contain genes affecting Type 1 diabetes risk.
Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, the Oscar Swineford, Jr., Professor of Allergy, was elected a fellow of the Royal Society for his pivotal research on the causes of asthma and allergic disease. The Royal Society, which elects only forty-four fellows each year, is the oldest scientific academy in the world.
At its 2009 annual conference, the American Academy of Nursing named Barbara Brodie, professor emerita of nursing, a "living legend." She was cited as a pioneer in developing pediatric nurse practitioner programs and for being among the first to make nursing the subject of serious historical inquiry. Her colleague Arlene Keeling, the Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing, was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
Better Technology and Health Care Approaches
The Health System not only offers the latest high-tech medical devices, it invests in the extensive training to support their use. For more than twenty years, Health System physicians have used Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery to treat tumors lodged deep in the brain. In January 2010, neurosurgeon Jason Sheehan conducted the first operation in the United States using the latest edition of this device, the Gamma Knife eXtend. He also supervises the Gamma Knife Fellowship Training program as he helps instruct students and oversees their clinical activities.
Also this year, the U.Va. Medical Center installed the latest da Vinci Surgical System. In the last seven years, U.Va. surgeons have performed more than 7,000 surgical procedures with this robotic system, which offers the benefits of high precision, minimal blood loss, reduced likelihood of infection, and fast recovery times. The newest model is used for advanced procedures such as removing the bladder and reconstructing the urinary tract. The Paul Mellon Urologic Cancer Institute purchased the first da Vinci system for U.Va., while the Ward Buchanan Fund provided funds for related expenses, such as training, additional equipment, and operating room renovations.
CARTER-HARRISON RESEARCH BUILDING
U.Va. Health System
Scientists in Carter-Harrison are making advances in the field of immunology and the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases, and many other diseases. The building offers state-of-the-art, multitask lab space, as well as easy access to intellectual and technological resources of the Health System and other areas of the University.
Advanced care, however, is not always high-tech care. As part of its commitment to patients' emotional and spiritual needs, the U.Va. Medical Center became the first hospital in Virginia to sponsor the conference "Cancer as a Turning Point: From Surviving to Thriving." The program encourages participants to view illness in the context of the whole person and as a transformative experience.
The way care is delivered is as important as its sophistication. The newly opened Hand Center brings together all specialists—physicians, nurses, therapists, physician assistants, cast technicians, and access specialists—needed to provide comprehensive and integrated care. The easier coordination of care results in better treatment outcomes. Patients also benefit from the convenience of reporting to a single outpatient clinic. The Health System's new Spine Center will follow the Hand Center model.
The Health System's new electronic medical record system is another comprehensive way to manage health care. The system uses a single database of patient records, accessible by doctors and nurses. Patients may also view their own records through a feature called MyChart. Nearly $122 million has been budgeted for development, implementation, and five years of tailoring the system. The new record system will be in use throughout the U.Va. Health System in spring 2011.
Twenty-First-Century Medical and Nursing Education
While the transition to the electronic record system will require some adjustment on the part of current employees, for the next generation of health care providers it will be second nature. Integrating the system into the medical and nursing curricula is an important part of the plan. This is but one aspect of the comprehensive curricular revision under way at both schools. Beginning with the Class of 2014, the School of Medicine curriculum will provide a system-based learning experience that more deeply integrates basic sciences into clinical medicine, is oriented to clinical performance, and uses the best evidenced-based models for medical education. In a departure from tradition, students will gain clinical experience starting in their first year.
CLAUDE MOORE NURSING EDUCATION BUILDING
School of Nursing
A lead gift from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation helped construct the new education building for the School of Nursing. The Claude Moore Nursing Eudcation Building supports the most up-to-date teaching methods, including the use of advanced technologies in nursing practices. The additional space is helping the School of Nursing accommodate the growth necessary to address the national nursing and nursing educator shortage.
The Schools of Nursing and Medicine also have launched an initiative to promote compassionate care. The goal of this initiative is to enlarge the perspective of caregivers, helping them better appreciate patient individuality while preserving caregivers' resiliency and capacity for empathy. Compassionate care is now part of both schools' curricula and research is being conducted about how to best integrate compassionate care into practice. Longtime U.Va. benefactors Tussi and the late John Kluge created endowed professorships in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing in this field and sponsor a compassionate care lecture series to support this work.
These curriculum changes, which stress mentoring and faculty-student interaction, make skillful teaching even more essential than before. This year, Eugene C. Corbett, Jr., the Anne L. and Bernard B. Brodie Teaching Professor of Internal Medicine, received one of the nation's highest teaching honors for physicians, the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award. He was recognized for exceptional teaching at U.Va. and developing national curriculum models for all medical students.
Building Partnerships for Research
Declining budgets for research at federal agencies as well as corporations have led to research activities that emphasize moving discovery out of the laboratory and translating it into products and processes that improve the well-being and health of patients.
U.Va. began such a project in March 2010, drawing on expertise in reproductive cell and molecular biology within the University's Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health and screening resources of Merck Research Laboratories' drug discovery and development groups in the Netherlands. The collaboration will lay the groundwork for a nonsteroidal contraceptive that targets a precursor of a mature egg cell.
Another collaboration, conducted with AstraZeneca, will accelerate the development of new treatments for coronary heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. AstraZeneca was attracted by the quality of research being conducted at the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center. One focus of the research is to find better ways to stabilize, slow, or reverse the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque on blood vessel walls.
Despite intense competition for limited funding from federal agencies, Health System researchers secured a number of major grants in 2009–10. Investigators led by Dr. Thomas Braciale, the Beirne B. Carter Professor of Immunology and director of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, received an $8.2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study how the immune system's efforts to attack viruses can damage the body.
A team led by Dr. John C. Marshall, the Andrew D. Hart Professor of Internal Medicine and director of the Center for Research in Reproduction, received a $7 million National Institutes of Health grant to study polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age.
Creating Public Service and Health Care Alliances
Although the Medical Center offers some of the most advanced health care in the nation, access to health care of any kind is often difficult for people living in remote areas. After the earthquake in Haiti in February 2010, the U.Va. Health System partnered with the University of Miami Health System through the Swinfen Charitable Trust to provide remote treatment for patients in Port-au-Prince. The Swinfen Trust connects physicians and their patients in poor or remote parts of the world through telemedicine with specialists who offer medical advice on specific cases. Patients' clinical histories and other information, such as x-rays and MRIs, are shared with partnering specialists, who review cases and provide feedback.
The Medical Center's MERCI (Medical Equipment Recovery of Clean Inventory) program also organized bandages, gauze, and other medical supplies to send to Haiti. In addition, MERCI and Health System Community Relations helped collect other supplies, such as canned foods, powdered milk, and tarps from U.Va. Health System employees for earthquake victims. MERCI also sends a trailer full of supplies to the Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) in Wise every year.
For the last ten years, the Health System has sent an ever-larger contingent of volunteers to provide medical care at the annual RAM Clinic in Wise County. More than 240 Health System volunteers treated almost 1,400 patients at the July 2010 RAM Clinic. These relationships developed at the clinic—with patients, providers, and government—help create a more sustained network of care.
This year saw the inauguration of the Healthy Appalachia Institute, a partnership among U.Va., the U.Va. College at Wise, the Southwest Virginia Graduate Medical Education Consortium, and the Appalachian Regional Commission to develop strategies to promote a healthier region. The partners work together to offer direct outreach and clinical programs funded by the Virginia Tobacco Commission and organized through U.Va.'s Cancer Center and Office of Telemedicine.
The School of Nursing expanded its graduate education outreach to rural areas with a $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to its Nursing Leadership in Rural Health Care project. The project helps nurses in rural settings gain expertise in community and public health leadership, health systems management, and psychiatric mental health. The School of Nursing also offers scholarships for rural nurses pursuing nurse practitioner certification and has received federal stimulus funding to support undergraduate and graduate student interns at the Rural Health Center.