U of L Health creates scholarship in honor of Breonna Taylor Saturday, Jun 6 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

U of L Health, a health provider affiliated with the University of Louisville, is creating a nursing scholarship to honor Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, an African American woman who was killed by police in March, was an EMT at U of L Health Medical Center East. The scholarship was announced by U of L’s Black Student Union on June 5, in honor of what would have been her 27th birthday.

“Breonna was a member of our U of L Health family,” said U of L Health CEO Tom Miller. “We grieve her loss, but we are hopeful her legacy can inspire meaningful change. This scholarship is part of an overall commitment to ensure diversity in our workforce and develop ongoing plans to eliminate racial inequality in health care.”

The Breonna Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund in Nursing will be a 4-year renewable scholarship and will cover full tuition and fees. Preference for the scholarship recipient will go to a Black, female Kentucky resident.

“I am so appreciative that the University of Louisville, in partnership with the Black Student Union, will honor Breonna’s life through the creation of the Breonna Taylor Memorial Scholarship,” said Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.

“Breonna is smiling down knowing that there will be a path for students to pursue nursing degrees without accumulating student loan debt. Thank you to the university and its students for ensuring that Bre’s legacy will continue for generations to come.”

Those who wish to donate to the fund can do so on U of L’s donation website. 

Photo Courtesy// University of Louisville

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U of L researchers using computers in schools to help find new drug to fight COVID-19 Wednesday, Apr 15 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

University of Louisville researchers are using computers from schools across Kentucky to aid their search to find a drug that fights COVID-19. These computers are a part of DataseamGrid, which was developed to support research, education and workforce development in these schools.

Deputy director of basic and translational research at U of L Health – James Graham Brown Cancer Center, John Trent is helping conduct this research. By using virtual screening on the DataseamGrid, Trent and researchers are able to identify drugs that can potentially fight COVID-19.

“We’re applying all of the methods we use for cancer drug discovery to the new COVID-19 proteins that have been dried recently,” said Trent. He said that they have retooled their research to target these new proteins.

Trent and his team began this research in mid-March to help identify drugs and compounds that could help in treating or preventing COVID-19. Up to 80 percent of the computation used for the research comes from the DataseamGrid.

Their first approach in this research is to test 2,000 drugs that are already on the market currently. In addition, they will be testing 9,000 investigational drugs and nutraceuticals that have been tested and may be the most effective against the virus.

“We take a library of small molecules and we see individually on a computer, which one fits into the place where we want to block particular activities,” said Trent.

The molecular part of this research involves screening 37 million molecules to see which ones target the protein in SARS-CoV-2. This testing could help develop a new drug to treat COVID-19, but would have to be approved by the FDA.

“For the immediate approach, we are testing drugs that already are approved by the FDA or have been tested in humans. If we find activity with those drugs, we could get them into patient trials a lot quicker,” Trent said. “However, these drugs obviously were designed for something else and they may not have the same efficacy of a very selective drug.”

They have identified 30 potentially effective drugs that may treat the virus. These drugs are being tested in the U of L Center for Preventive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM).

If any of those drugs are found to be effective at CPM, they will be moved into the next phase of testing.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Louisville 

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U of L processing more coronavirus test results Thursday, Apr 9 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

The University of Louisville has increased its efforts with coronavirus testing to help fight the fatal pandemic.

Researchers at U of L are processing test results from 12 different hospitals, U of L Campus Health and four outpatient clinics in the Louisville area. As of April 1, they have processed 1,797 tests, with more than 1,000 of them coming from Norton Healthcare.

Out of the 1,797 tests thus far, there have been 204 positive results.

U of L executive vice president for research and innovation Kevin Gardner said they now have to capacity to test up to 1,000 cases per day. Other U of L researchers have put their duties on hold to devote their time to fighting this virus.

Last week, U of L Health opened the first drive-thru testing in Kentucky. As a part of this effort, the drive-thru testing will be processing up to 200 cases per day.

According to Gardner, U of L’s efforts are producing test results within 24 hours. This quick turnaround allows hospitals to isolate patients and healthcare providers with COVID-19. Along with that, they can move others out of isolation, saving protective medical equipment that is low across the state.

This processing is also an effort to help researchers answer questions about the deadly COVID-19. They are hoping to find how the virus has spread, how it progresses and who gets it. U of L is also working on long-term approaches to the virus.

Kenneth Palmer, director of U of L’s Center for Preventive Medicine, is testing potential treatments, one of which was developed at U of L in partnership with the National Cancer Institute and the University of Pittsburgh.

Support for this research includes $500,000 in funding from U of L, but the university is asking for those able to make a donation for further support.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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School of Medicine Dean named vice president for academic medical affairs Friday, Apr 3 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville named Toni Ganzel, School of Medicine dean, vice president for academic medical affairs March 30.

“I’m pleased to announce that School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel has agreed to take on an additional role in leading our Health Sciences Center,” said President Neeli Bendapudi.

Ganzel will be taking on the role of vice president for academic medical affairs while also remaining the School of Medicine dean.

Her duties as vice president will include overseeing research activity at the Health Sciences Center, areas regarding diversity and inclusion and faculty development and student health. She will be reporting the overseen activity to Bendapudi and provost Beth Boehm.

Alongside U of L Health CEO Tom Miller, Ganzel will be in charge of making sure that teaching and researching are successful at U of L Health.

“Dr. Ganzel has done an excellent job as dean of the School of Medicine,” said Bendapudi. “I value her expertise and her leadership and look forward to continuing to work with her in this new role. She and Tom Miller are a great team to lead medical education, research and care in our community.”

Ganzel has served as the School of Medicine dean since 2012. She joined U of L in 1983 as an assistant professor in otolaryngology and has held other various roles with the school since.

Bendapudi said she wishes Ganzel well in educating U of L’s health professionals of tomorrow.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville

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U of L Health expands telehealth program in response to COVID-19 outbreak Tuesday, Mar 31 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

U of L Health announced March 26 they are expanding their telehealth program in order to continue to treat patients while maintaining a social distance.

This telehealth program allows patients to have an appointment with their doctor over video chat. This service will be available to current U of L health patients as well as qualifying new patients.

“This is something that had been on track for a launch later this year,” said Wade Mitzel, chief operating officer of U of L Physicians.

“But given the current need to reduce contact and increase precaution, we fast tracked the launch in order to give our patients peace of mind, with a convenient and safe way to access their provider.”

Patients who wish to set up an appointment can do so by calling their primary care number at 502-588-4343. If it is determined that a telehealth appointment may be beneficial, the patient will be able to set up a video call with their provider.

U of L Health assures patients that these calls are secure and HIPPA compliant. The calls will also not be recorded or stored in any way.

Providers can use these appointments to assess possible COVID-19 symptoms as well as to treat minor illnesses like a common cold or flu. Providers will also be able to prescribe medication or recommend over the counter options when needed.

When necessary the provider can refer the patient to a specialist, a U of L health location or an emergency medical center.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

 

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U of L Health opens drive-thru COVID-19 testing Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

The University of Louisville began drive-thru COVID-19 testing March 26. The drive-thru is located in the U of L Health parking lot on Brook Street between Muhammad Ali and Liberty Street.

Dr. Hugh Shoff, chief quality officer for U of L Health, said that the drive-thru is an effective way to keep potentially infected patients from spreading the virus.

“Really what we want to do is centralize this to get it away from our clinics so that our patients aren’t exposing those other patients that are just there for routine care,” Shoff said.

Patients who want to be tested at the drive-thru must be referred by their doctor first.

Healthcare workers in protective gear are set up to swab the inside of patient’s noses while they remain in their cars. After the swabbing, the sample is placed in a test tube and sent to a lab to be tested for COVID-19.

The typical turnaround time for testing results is several days, possibly longer. There were around 12 patients tested at the drive-thru March 26.

Currently, the state of Kentucky has tested 4,016 people for the COVID-19 virus. Of that number, there have been 248 positive cases confirmed. Jefferson and Fayette County have the most reported cases in the state.

U of L Health said they plan to have more patients approved for their drive-thru testing in the coming weeks.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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How to avoid the flu and what to do if you get it Monday, Feb 17 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

It is flu season again. There are many ways to avoid getting the flu, but if you happen to draw the short straw, don’t panic.

What To Do If You Get Sick

The first thing to do if you end up with the flu is to stay home and avoid contact with others, except medical care, according to the University of Louisville Campus Health.

Resting, drinking lots of fluids (stay away from caffeine and alcohol, though), and using fever reducing medicine is suggested as well.

It is also recommended that those infected with the flu wear a face mask if they need to go out in public. This helps stop the spreading of the flu.

What Not To Do

U of L Campus Health says that people infected with the flu should not go to the emergency room unless their symptoms are more severe. “In most cases, you don’t need to see a medical provider when you have a cold or the flu,” U of L Health website said.

Anyone infected with the flu should avoid contact with others. This can be tricky for college students living in dorms since they can be such close quarters.

U of L Health’s advice for students in this situation is to avoid contact with the sick roommates belongings and wash your hands.

How To Prevent Getting the Flu

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent getting the flu says U of L Health. They also say that eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep plays a major role in boosting your immune system to fight off the flu.

U of L Campus Health also says to get a flu shot each year before flu season begins. And their website dispels the myth that getting a flu shot gives you the flu. “The flu shot contains dead viruses. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot or nose spray vaccine,” says its website.

U of L students can get a free flu shot at any of these locations:

  • Campus Health Medical Services.
  • Health Promotion Office.
  • Flu Shot Stations.

More information regarding the flu can be found at louisville.edu/campushealth.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Physicians at U of L Health celebrate 1,000 robotic-arm assisted surgeries Sunday, Feb 2 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

U of L Health physicians completed their 1,000 Mako Robotic assisted joint replacement procedure last month. Patients in Jewish Hospital’s Total Joint Replacement program seeking treatment for hip and knee arthritis are the subjects of this procedure.

“The Mako system procedures allow us to better plan for hip and knee replacement surgeries to exactly hit our surgical target which creates a more favorable outcome for the patient,” said Dr. Arthur Malkani, MD, Orthopedic Surgery.

Malkani was the surgeon for this Michael Kirkham’s operation. Kirkham had his entire knee replaced using the Mako Robotic assisted system. During these procedures, the arm accurately determines implant sizes and exact placement of the joint replacement parts.

Dr. Logan Mast and Dr. Madhu Yakkanti, along with Malkani, have performed the majority of hip and knee replacement surgeries at Jewish Hospital using this technology. “This innovative technology allows us to customize the placement and size of hip and knee implants for the individual patient using minimally invasive surgery techniques allowing for a perfect fit in addition to faster recovery, less opioid consumption and improved outcomes,” said Malkani.

This robotic arm allows the surgeons to make precise bone cuts and place the implants to exactly match patient’s anatomy based on the preoperative plan. This technology helps surgeons make any adjustments during the procedure and reach their surgical goal.

With this system, the physicians were able to replicate Kirkham’s knee alignment prior to his injury and before the area became arthritic. They were then able to reestablish his knee’s pre-arthritic alignment with better precision.

“The Mako system gives us the ability to develop patient-specific 3D models of the arthritic area,” said Malkani. “This 3D technology lets us know precisely where to place the new parts and the exact size of the parts needed.”

Patients like Kirkham have reported less short-term pain after undergoing procedures with the Mako Robotic assisted surgery. Those same patients have also reported faster recovery times than patients who underwent traditional replacement surgery.

“I am very satisfied with my surgery and without all the pain, I am looking forward to getting back to enjoying hiking, gardening, yard work, camping and spending time with our five grandkids,” said Kirkham.

“The use of computer technology and robotic assisted surgery has been a significant benefit and evolution in the field of total joint replacement in helping surgeons improve surgical accuracy and overall satisfaction in our patients undergoing hip and knee replacement,” said Malkani.

U of L Health – Jewish Hospital is the only facility in its region to perform these cutting edge procedures.

Photo Courtesy of U of L Health 

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Loan to help U of L with Jewish Hospital acquisition passes legislature Thursday, Jan 30 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville’s $35 million loan request to help with the purchase of Jewish Hospital passed one barrier of legislature Jan. 21. The Kentucky House’s Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved the university’s request, and now it moves to the full House.

“We appreciate the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee’s vote in favor of the state loan supporting the acquisition and enhancement of the properties that now are part of U of L Health,” said U of L President Neeli Bendapudi.

The request for this loan came back in August 2019 when U of L decided they would purchase KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville assets. Originally, U of L asked for a $50 million loan, but they announced that they decreased the loan to $35 million Jan. 9. Bendapudi said this was due to U of L calculating procurement savings and reductions in operational expenses.

“Under the leadership of Chairman Rudy, the committee showed its commitment not only to the teaching, research and patient care missions of the University of Louisville and its medical system, but also to the economic success of the commonwealth and the health and well-being of its citizens,” she said. “I also want to personally thank Speaker Osborne and Minority Floor Leader Jenkins for their continued support of the legislation.”

While the bill was passed, some still had doubts about this being good for the state. Andrew McNeill, state director of Americans for Prosperity, was concerned about this loan leaving tax payers on the hook.

The original terms of the loan request are being upheld: Half of the loan will be forgiven if U of L meets certain criteria, including retaining jobs and providing their services to underserved communities in Louisville. These terms were set by former Gov. Matt Bevin when he committed this loan last August.

“We continue to work with our elected officials to emphasize the importance of this loan, which will help us stabilize these assets and ensure the long-term viability of U of L Health,” said Bendapudi.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L Health – Frazier Rehab celebrates 65 years of healthcare Friday, Jan 24 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

U of L Health – Frazier Rehab Institute celebrated 65 years of healthcare Jan. 16. Frazier Rehab first opened their doors in 1954 under the title of Louisville Rehabilitation Center located in the basement of Louisville General Hospital.

“Frazier Rehab has had the privilege of improving the quality of life of thousands of patients throughout its rich history, and the innovations developed here and implemented at other facilities extend that ripple of impact even further,” said Cathy Spalding, chief administration officer of Frazier Rehab. “We could not be more grateful for our continued and ever-strengthening relationship with University of Louisville, which allows us to look forward to many more years of changing lives.”

The idea for Frazier Rehab was formed by Amelia Brown Frazier after she suffered serious injuries in a car accident in the late 1920s. Brown had to travel to The Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation in New York City for treatment since Louisville had no such place.

It was finally in 1954 when Brown Frazier received enough support and funding to open up what is now Frazier Rehab. Frazier Rehab moved to its current location in 1965 and was officially renamed after Brown Frazier in 1984.

“My grandmother [Amelia Brown Frazier] didn’t create the rehabilitation center as a monument to herself, but rather out of her own experiences with rehabilitative care,” said Sandra Frazier, granddaughter of Amelia Brown Frazier. “I have no doubt she would be amazed at how the Rehab Institute has grown and evolved over 65 years.”

Frazier Rehab works with multiple areas of rehabilitation, but their main focuses are on brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. They opened the Michael Brent Resource Center for spinal cord patients in 2010 and were selected as a Spinal Cord Injury Model System by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

In 2013, Frazier established the EMERGE Brain Injury program that helps diagnose and treat patients with low levels of consciousness. Even more recently, they introduced a pediatric treadmill that helps children with spinal cord injuries to recover.

Frazier Rehab has partnered with U of L Health for decades and officially became part of the U of L Health family when they purchased KentuckyOne Health’s assets in November 2019.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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